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By Shawn Hendricks
BEIRUT, Lebanon (BP)--Sometimes "Jack" cries when he goes up into the mountains overlooking Beirut, Lebanon. He sees a city with so much potential, yet so much political turmoil and obstacles that get in the way of sharing the good news of God's love.
Jack recently moved to Beirut with his wife and daughter to serve as a strategy coordinator, launching a bold effort to carry the gospel to the entire city within three years. The plan includes praying over and getting a Bible into nearly every household in the city of about 400,000 homes. "From my eyes, I look at it, and we'd be lucky to plant a church in a lifetime," he says. "Yet everything in me says God wants to move."
Jack and his missionary team will recruit churches in the United States to serve as prayer partners and to sponsor and help train Baptist churches in Beirut. Beirut is a critical city for reaching the Middle East, Jack says. By reaching Beirut, the gospel will spread rapidly into neighboring countries.
"There are about 50,000 Saudi Arabians in Beirut, 17 people groups," he says. "They can go right back into their host countries and share the gospel."
Jack admits he and his wife struggled with whether they should go to Beirut, but he realizes he has no choice. "I read in Acts how Paul spent three years in one location and a whole continent heard the gospel," he says. "Is it my lack of faith that says it can't happen in Beirut?"
Despite continuous news reports of fighting and religious persecution in the Middle East and other parts of the world, times haven't changed that much, Jack says. Christians have always faced adversity when it comes to sharing the gospel.
"Where were the Christians when Muhammad was searching?" he asks. "You can go to the cave towns today where the Christians hid. No one was there, and now we have the world's largest false religion. [Christians] were in the caves, hiding all throughout the Middle East."
It would be easy for Jack and others to stay in the United States, but
knows he's where God wants him to be.
"It's not about a physical war; it's a spiritual war," he says. "Where
the Christians going to be after Sept. 11?"