I get asked the same question over and over, “What is the relationship between 4G3 and MELTI?” You have every right to get an answer to this question. My wife Laila and I founded MELTI (Middle East Leadership Training Institute) in the year 2000. MELTI has been so successful ministering in 22 of the most challenging and unstable countries in the Middle East and North Africa. The attrition rate of employees has been less than 1%, and the loyalty of employees and volunteers has been incredible. 4G3 is the fundraising USA arm of MELTI.
One of the highlights of MELTI’s ministry is the Middle East North Africa conference that commenced in 2001 and has been occurring yearly since then. Each year, we choose a spot that would be safe for participants from different countries to gather together to be encouraged, to fellowship together, and to be loved upon. Besides, they are trained on two new courses to take back to their respective countries. For some of them, we never hear anything from them until the following year for security reasons.
This year, the MENA conference was held in Lebanon from 21-25 August. There were 55 participants from 7 countries.
And what is a more appropriate curriculum to train them on than Rick Warren’s course, ‘Unshakeable?’ This course is a study of the book of Daniel. It is about four young men brutally displaced from their countries and made to work in the king’s palace, yet they chose to hold on to their faith.
Daniel, (דניאל Daniyyel), “God is my Judge”, Hananiah (חֲנַנְיָה Ḥănanyāh), “Yah is gracious”, Mishael ( מִישָׁאֵל Mîšā’êl), “Who is what El is?” and Azariah ( עֲזַרְיָה Ǎzaryāh), “Yah has helped”, decided to live faithfully in spite of their young age and their displacement . They honored God and lived glorifying Him whatever it cost them even if it cost them their very lives. Their faithfulness impressed kings, ministers, nations, and history.
With the Arab Spring, the wars, the turmoil, the internal and external displacement, the refugee problem, and the corrupt regimes we as Christians can and must be faithful messengers of God. We are ambassadors for Him wherever we live and whatever the events. Amid the turmoil, we must contend for the faith.
As Jude put it so eloquently, But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And on some have mercy, who are in doubt; and some save, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
Now unto him that is able to guard you from stumbling, and to set you before the presence of his glory without blemish in exceeding joy, to the only God our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and power, before all time, and now, and forevermore. Amen. Jude 1: 20-23.
Let us all like Daniel and his friends hold on to our faith, whatever the cost. Annual Middle East North Africa conference, 21-25 August, Lebanon.
This year we were blessed to have 55 participants from 7 countries: Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait, Iraq, Sudan, and Jordan.
God blessed us with 4 MBB participants who attended for the first time to be trained in two courses and take them back to their fellow MBB believers.
Participants were thrilled to be trained in two new courses. They wait expectantly every year to return to their people and train hundreds and in other places thousands of people with the material they have received.
Participants face a lot of challenges to get to the conference site: travel, security, stability, financial difficulties. Some have to travel through Europe before getting to the conference site.
What more appropriate curricula than, Unshakeable, a course on Daniel and 7 Secrets of Happiness, a course on Philippians. Happiness is a foreign concept to Middle easterners even if they are Christians. Middle Eastern culture is a very somber culture. This is why spirit-filled Christians shine like stars with their God-given joy. But it does not end with the end of the conference. We need to do a lot of follow up after. 4G3 will need to travel to closed countries to train many.
Meet Sameh Nagui, a graduate of 4G3 Leadership Institute in Egypt.
For Sameh Nagui, 29, his story with God didn’t start with a dramatic experience like what most of us tend to share. It started with one incident that showed him how much God cares about the minutest details in our lives, not just the big, pivotal moments. “I tasted God’s tenderness in a small detail that made me realize that God is closer than I think. He is not out of reach. God is my friend.”
Sameh went to perform his compulsory military service. One of the first things he packed was a small case with his Bible and a multi-color Bible highlighter. When the patrol officer found out what he had with him, he confiscated the Bible and broke the highlighter in two and threw it away. “For me, this was the one thing I couldn’t do without. I knew that my Bible would be instrumental in helping me get through my army service gracefully. I insisted that I could not start my daily duty without my Bible, risking being imprisoned or disciplined. The officer eventually gave me back my Bible but not the highlighter that he broke.
Three days later, Sameh felt sick. He was sent to the military medical center to get treatment. It was the first time he’s been to that hospital, but as soon as the doctor spotted Sameh, he gave him his prescription along with the intact half of the highlighter pen.
“I was so surprised that he remembered my face among three thousand people on the military base and that he kept the highlighter with him in hopes that he might see me again. The doctor informed me that he was leaving for a long vacation that very day and that he had decided to throw the pen away if he didn’t see me. It meant so much to me that God planned this; that He cared about my disappointment in such a simple matter. He sees the little things.”
Sameh joined the 4G3 Leadership Institute when a friend, who is also a student, encouraged him to jump in. Throughout the training, he struggled with self-discovery. “My personality naturally leans towards leadership positions and so learning the right mindset and ways of thinking as a leader was essential for me.”
He learned how to lead and steer a small group. Discovering his potential as a leader and getting the chance to develop the right tools were the highlight of his 9-month training. He also loved the 7 Laws for Spiritual Growth. “The trainer was very down to earth and authentic in his walk with God.
You could tell how rich his history with God is just by listening to him teach because he walked his talk.”
This season for Sameh is a season of learning how to be still in God’s Presence, sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening. “It’s better to be close to God than be busy all the time.”
“I want to encourage anyone who is thinking of joining the leadership Institute: you won’t be disappointed. The topics you will study are a lot to digest, but you get the privilege of hearing from teachers who carry a lot of grace. You need to be willing to learn and to apply what you learn in your walk with God. You will build up yourself and your community.”