In 2003, a mission trip led by Wahid and Laila Wahba with members from Highlands Fellowship radically changed how our church approached the call of Jesus to ‘go and make disciples’. From this trip, Highlands Fellowship stepped out in faith to take the Great Commandment and Great Commission seriously. The church has now hosted and trained over 400 pastoral leaders from 112 countries through our Global Glory of God conference.
We share the passion of 4G3 to ‘be disciples who make disciples’ as evidenced by the 800k people who have been trained in the Middle East. We are very excited about being part of 4G3’s strategy of adding five additional training institutes to the 12 that currently exist.
The 4G3 Middle East Gala event shared stories, songs and inspirational moments. One story that Wahid shared resonated with me; he spoke of the fact that 2020 has marked our world with uncertainty. For the past eight months, we have tried to understand this pandemic, how to take steps to remain safe all while continuing to live our lives. Our daily patterns have been disrupted and, honestly, are likely to continue to be so for a few more months. I admit I have whined a lot through this season, I have experienced frustration and I have felt sorry for myself, especially because I have been unable to visit my family in California. Even so, I realize this will eventually pass.
Wahid shared that, unlike the United States, uncertainty is a way of life in the Middle East due to political unrest and religious persecution. Uncertainty for a Christian in the Middle East never goes away. This realization makes our partnership with 4G3 a privilege. Our partnership, and your partnership, enables 4G3 to offer training and education to Christians who are displaced and persecuted for their beliefs. Part of the 4G3 expectation for each student is to reach a minimum of 100 people for Jesus. One student has personally shared the love of Christ with over 800 people … that is amazing!
As part of our evening, we received a “tattoo” cross for us to apply to our right wrist. In 640AD, Christians who refused to convert to Islam were marked with a cross, which led to their persecution. Persecution continues today and the tattoo cross is seen as a positive symbol among Christians, others can see they belong to Jesus. The cross tattoo I applied at the 4G3 gala is now beginning to fade. I must admit that while wearing the tattoo in my community, I have not experienced discrimination nor have I been persecuted for my faith. Let us not forget to pray for our brothers and sisters in the Middle East, those marked with the cross, those who belong to Jesus. I do not have a permanent tattoo, but if I did, it will be the cross on my right wrist. Jim Fleming Executive Pastor Highlands Fellowship