Some years ago, when I felt the Lord was calling me to pastor in our Arabic community, it took me years to seek God for His confirmation to my calling. Sometime in Mid-2017, through Pastor Gayle Hill, I was introduced to North Baptist Church in Craigieburn. My wife, Martha and I, started attending the church and seeking God’s confirmation to His calling to start the Arabic ministries at the church.
In June 2018, I was locally ordained to start my pastoral role in the church. Since then, the journey has had its ups and downs. But with encouragement and support from God, the pastoral team, Elders and the Arabic brothers and sisters, God has established the ministry rapidly with joy and success.
Due to the closure of the of the rented facility at Craigieburn, God opened the door to move the Arabic Ministry to Mill Park Baptist Church (MPBC). With this move, our ministry expanded beyond North of Melbourne to North East of Melbourne. On 1st March 2020, just a couple of weeks before the Covid-19 pandemic hit us here in Victoria, the Arabic Ministries started at MPBC.
Through God and the support and prayers from the MPBC pastoral team, elders and senior pastor Geoff Shepherd, we have expanded our Arabic Ministry online and are reaching more people than before the pandemic hit. Our Facebook and YouTube online Sunday Arabic service reaches between 2000 to 3000 people weekly with almost 1,500 regularly watching the service, from Victoria, Australia, and other parts of the world.
Our ministry extends out from the main service on Sundays, through to prayer meetings every day. The ladies meet twice a week; Sunday school runs once a week; youth and young adults meet twice a week, and a bible study group meet once a week. These are currently all being run online.
My wife Martha puts in huge efforts, praying, preparing for the ladies meeting, Sunday school and pastoral care for women. She resigned from her work a year ago to support me in our Arabic Ministries. The Lord has also appointed a lot of brothers and sisters in the Arabic congregation to get deeply involved in all these services.
Because of the forced move to online services due to COVID-19, we have seen a positive aspect of the pandemic, as it has allowed the Arabic Ministries at MPBC to grow beyond what we can imagine. One of the ladies recently requested that we keep the bible study meeting online as she cannot attend it on Fridays in the church – but she can attend it via zoom. She has never missed a zoom meeting and I am sure others in similar positions. I pray that once we are back to normal, we are able to run both the bible study at the church, and continue the zoom meeting at the same time so anyone can join us.
We all see the positives of what God has allowed all of us to go through during this pandemic and are sure it will pass in His great timing – All praises to our Almighty God. We are praying for God to grow us more to know and serve Him until He comes again.
Associate Pastor (Arabic Ministries)
Mill Park Baptist Church