POBLO recently celebrated an historic gathering—the opening of 3 new mission fields in the same year, and the introduction of 4 new missionaries, all converts from Islam. All of this happened during POBLO’s Board of Director’s meeting. Board members were introduced and then got to hear the life stories of the missionaries, how they were brought to faith, and how they are now serving. The three new mission fields, all started in 2016, include Bloomington, MN, Houston, TX, and St. Louis, MO. There are six new missionaries who have been assigned to the three mission fields. They are: Nader and Georgette Alaraj—Bloomington, MN, Hassan Awadalla and Sarah Al-Saab—Houston, TX and Hady and Vickie Matta—St. Louis, MO. Other missionaries in training were also introduced, Joy Markus and Sarah Christian, who are also converts. Along with veteran POBLO missionary, Karim Musa, a total of six missionaries, all converts from Islam were present. Ebou Faye from Wisconsin, was the 6th convert present. Five of the six converts speak Arabic.
All of these factors point to the growth of POBLO towards identifying suitable missionaries and expanding the U.S. mission fields. This is in keeping with POBLO’s 10 year goal of having 100 missionaries to Muslims in the U.S. by 2025. Since we still have freedom in this country to evangelize Muslims, POBLO is moving ahead towards the big goal, making use of that freedom.
Three new mission fields in the same year, and 6 Arabic-speaking converts from Islam both represent a big move ahead for POBLO. Other states are requesting missionaries as well. The achievement of placing 100 missionaries in various U.S. mission fields is crucial if POBLO is to keep up with the rapid growth and influence of Islam in America. The gathering took place in Troy, Michigan. Each missionary shared the story of God’s calling on their life, the struggles they faced, and how POBLO Ministries opened the door for them to serve, fulfilling their calling to take the Gospel to Muslims. The 6 missionary converts are also young, 3 of them in their early 30’s.
POBLO’s recruitment and training of converts seems to mark a welcome reality, not known in previous years: there are more converts available now. They are either converting overseas, or upon arrival in the U.S. Of the 6 converts, 3 became Christians in the U.S. and 3 overseas. Rev. Dr. Gary Rohwer of POBLO comments about the new opportunity. “In years past, it was a struggle to know the names of more than a few converts. Today, however we are seeing more people out there. Many are converting here in America, while there are many who are coming to faith overseas. And we are also seeing a greater number of converts from the Arab countries. For POBLO, this means a greater number of possible kingdom workers who can be trained, catechized, and placed as LCMS missionaries in the United States. Our goal of having 100 missionaries by 2025, though large, is doable. After all, God is the greatest missionary, and He’s the One bringing us all these people.”
Please pray for more missionaries for U.S. mission fields. Currently the total number of U.S. missionaries stands at 16.