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Bridging the Gap: Equipped to Serve at Home

Bridging the Gap: Equipped to Serve at Home

Babelem comes from a Muslim-majority country in central Africa—a place where more than half of the nation’s people groups are unreached by the gospel.** Although there’s a significant Christian population in this country as well, a major barrier prevents most of these followers of Christ from sharing the good news: Few of them speak the local dialect of Arabic that’s understood by over half of the country’s people.

As Babelem explains, less than 1% of pastors in his country are able to preach in this language, giving Arabic speakers few opportunities to be introduced to the good news and receive biblical teaching. But now, thanks to the training he received at Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary (JETS), Babelem is equipped to reach out to his fellow countrymen in Arabic.

Babelem was born into a polygamist family, though his mother, a devoted Christian, dedicated him to God several months before his birth. At the age of 7, Babelem came to know Christ through Sunday school lessons. By the time he was 15, he had read the whole Bible by himself, which helped him to learn more about Jesus. A few years later, he joined a group of young people dedicated to sharing the good news.

Fast forward twenty years, and Babelem was working in the petroleum industry. But, he still had a heart to spread the gospel, and God gave him a desire to study theology in an Arab country so that he could better minister to the many Arabic speakers in his homeland.

In 2014, while in the United States for a work-related training program, Babelem had the opportunity to attend an Arabic church. The pastor there was a JETS graduate, and he told Babelem about the school. Three years later, Babelem arrived at JETS and began studying for a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies, which he recently completed.

“I came [to JETS] to study theology in an Arabic environment to help raise up my level of understanding of the Arabic language and [in a similar way to learn] theology, but with an Arab perspective,” Babelem explained. At JETS, he was taught the importance of digging into Scriptures, being faithful to the text and avoiding fallacies. He was also able to discover doctrines such as the Trinity from an Arab point of view, which he found invaluable.

“I liked studying the Bible at the feet of people who really love God and encourage you not to study theology only to study, but to apply what you learn in your daily life.” Babelem added that he appreciated the administration, lecturers and his student peers “for helping me reach my goal for God’s glory.”

Since returning to his homeland, Babelem has had the opportunity to be involved in three ministries. He has started recording a new Christian TV program on a private TV channel, meeting with some Muslim-background believers to study the Bible and giving Arabic lessons to elders from a few local churches, which will help equip them to minister among the least-reached in their own country.

“The job which is waiting for us is huge,” Babelem reflected. “But we are thankful to the Lord because we know He is faithful!”

**According to Joshua Project statistics.

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