We knew something special was happening when we saw Martin’s* feet. Normally he was a snappy dresser, but that day he wore blue flip-flops.
“Big day today, Martin!” someone greeted him.
“Yes! I have been waiting!” He was walking on air.
A few hours later he stood waist-high in a pool in the middle of a crowd.
Several months earlier some coworkers had thought they could “beat it out of him.” They sought to teach Martin a lesson for embracing Jesus. But Martin wouldn’t budge.
There he stood proudly, a new creation, one with Christ. As Martin told his story, his voice remained steady until he recited some Bible verses he had grown to love. Then the tears flowed. When the pastor helped him under the water and back up again, the crowd cheered.
Martin climbed out of the baptismal and sloshed across the patio, hugging people as he went, filled with joy over his public proclamation of faith in the Triune God.
Several weeks later one of Martin’s coworkers called and feigned interest in Jesus. When Martin met him, a group ambushed him. And he didn’t fight back, though they broke his arm and injured his face. Martin’s response? He was deeply encouraged.
This report came from Gloria (MA/CE, 2007), who serves in Dubai. This fall Martin will become the first intern in her church’s mentoring program, which her husband Dave (ThM, 2007) coordinates. Martin believes God is calling him to full-time ministry, and Gloria and Dave want to serve him and others like him.
Another of our graduates, Bob* (ThM, 2002), came to Dallas planning to minister as a North American senior pastor. But God had other plans. Today Bob lives in a country that’s more than 90 percent Muslim.
Back when Bob was at DTS, he wrote his thesis about economic aid in Islamic societies, and he switched his emphasis to cross-cultural studies. Part of what God used to redirect him was an adjunct faculty member’s work—Arabs in the Shadow of Israel. Through this book Bob saw with clearer vision God’s heart for Arab peoples. And while Bob does not see massive numbers responding, he has seen Muslims within his sphere of influence place their faith in Jesus Christ.
God is at work among the children of Ishmael.
This issue of Kindred Spirit is the first of a two-part series that takes us to the Holy Land. You will read an article by the author God used to redirect Bob—Dr. Tony Maalouf, an Arab Christian scholar from Lebanon. Through his exposition of Genesis 16, Dr. Maalouf helps us understand God’s promises to Hagar as she would have heard them. You will also read the dramatic testimony of Jane [name changed for security], a recent graduate who came to Christ out of Islam. And you’ll catch a glimpse of some Holy Land sites located beyond the borders of Israel—the country we’ll focus on in the next issue.
The prophet Isaiah exclaimed, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Isa. 52:7). As Dr. Maalouf says of his own Arab peoples, “In a post 9/11 world preoccupied mostly with ‘the tough,’ the church must not forget that there are saints in the making.”
Are you praying for them? How beautiful are your feet?
*Not their actual names
About the Contributors
Dr. Bailey assumed the role of DTS Chancellor after serving for 19 years as the Seminary’s fifth President, and continues his role as Sr. Professor in the Bible Exposition department. In addition to his years at Dallas Theological Seminary, he has pastored various churches in Arizona and Texas. He was a seminar instructor for Walk Thru the Bible Ministries for twenty years and is in demand for Bible conferences and other preaching engagements all over the country and world. His overseas ministries have included Venezuela, Argentina, Hungary, and China. He is also a regular tour leader in Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, and Rome. His board service includes Bible Study Fellowship, Walk Thru the Bible Ministries, and Word of Life.