It is rare to see public evangelism in the Middle East, but It Is Written (IIW) conducted public evangelism meetings from March 15 to 30, 2019.
For five evenings a week, two identical services were held in succession in the Adventist School auditorium, with an average total of 53 non-Adventists attending.
At the culmination of the final Sabbath, five attendees were baptised, and 24participants came forward when Bradshaw appealed for them to give their lives to Jesus Christ.
Leaders of the East Mediterranean Region of the Middle East North Africa Union decided to have these meetings in order to reach people for Christ.
“The purpose was to cast the net widely--advertising broadly--and hoping to reach as many people as possible,” said Jared Miller, pastor of the Middle East University Church and head of the IIW planning team in Lebanon.
The series only focused on the first angel's message, and covered the key fundamental teachings of the Bible: salvation by grace through faith in Jesus, God and the Bible can be trusted, the Sabbath, the sanctuary and the judgment, the second coming, the spirit of prophecy and the true church of Revelation 12.
In an interview with John Bradshaw, speaker and director of It Is Written, Bradshaw explained why the IIW team decided to accept the invitation to hold meetings in Beirut. “We felt strongly impressed that God was leading us here,” he said. “It’s not difficult to feel that God is leading you to a place that is so incredibly challenging, and where we see God doing so many amazing things.”
Local churches and members started creating awareness of these meetings a few months ago when Bradshaw came for a weekend in December, 2018.
During that weekend Bradshaw was introduced to the community at a Christmas program at the Jdeiedah Municipality building.
“Since that time, we have distributed many thousands of fliers all around Beirut,” said Miller. “We advertised on two sides of a billboard in our Bouchrieh area – close to where the meetings were held.”
Advertising was also done via radio, Facebook and social media in addition to cooking classes, stop smoking seminars, ESL classes and health clinics offered to the community.
In an interview, Yves Monnier, evangelism coordinator for IIW said, “We were very impressed here at IIW to see the amount of work and prayer that took place in preparation for these meetings.”
“The venue, the audio visual, the slides, the translators…everything has gone so smoothly,” he said. “More importantly how they have connected with the people in the community to let them know about the meetings.”
As a result, a core group of people who are open and eager, seeking something better, have been attending the meetings because of personal invitation and other community events.
Along with the evangelistic team came the IIW medical team and the Andrews University Friendship team to help during the meetings.
One attendee told how it was the first time to ever hear about Jesus.
Sick with diabetes she decided to come for just one meeting. After attending the first one, she said “Even though I am not well, I didn’t want to miss any of the meetings, so I went home every night and slept for as long as I could and just kept coming back.”
Bradshaw experienced that God touched hearts of many people.
“People told me, ‘I believe everything you are saying, and I am applying it to my daily life,’” he said.
Rick McEdward, president of Middle East and North Africa Union, remarked on how Bradshaw did a tremendous job in articulating what the Bible says.
“I was thrilled to see several different faith groups attending each night,” he said. “It has been a tremendous blessing for our church here in Lebanon to receive this kind of outreach.”
There has not been an evangelistic series in Lebanon for many years, so some of the members were a little nervous about what would happen during these meetings.
“I am happy to report that all our fears were relieved. God has really blessed in that people have been able to come and listen and to see the spoken word thru service and love,” said McEdward.
Miller has started studying the Bible with new members to encourage them to keep growing spiritually.
He believes that discipleship is a process that includes more than just leading people to baptism.
“It also involves helping them follow Jesus day-by-day, and that’s what we hope to do through the discipleship process,” he said.