Nazareth, Assembly ISRAEL

Spring 2022
Written by George and Rosamond Khalil - Israel

The Emmaus Arabic correspondence course work began in a very simple way in 1975. George Khalil, a young Palestinian believer, found a few old Arabic Emmaus courses on a shelf in the Nazareth Assembly in Israel and sent them to contacts he had made during a local outreach. Forty-six years later, there are now 45 titles! Tens of thousands of these Bible courses have reached Arabic speakers in the form of hard copies, online and mobile phone apps, and through church and home group Bible studies. Many from nominal Christian and non-Christian backgrounds find Christ through the study of His Word. The work was mainly centered in the Holy Land - Israel and Palestine, until about ten years ago when God answered our prayers to expand the work to surrounding Middle Eastern countries beginning with Jordan. In 2016, more Emmaus centers opened in Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, and South Sudan.

The Holy Land
During the 1980s and 1990s, the Arabic Emmaus courses were instrumental in introducing thousands of individuals to the Christian faith, and as a result, two local churches were planted. Today in Nazareth, we have a team of four people working on the translation and editing of courses, the management of the online students, the distribution of studies, and the coordination of the work in the Arab world. We continue to provide courses and books for local churches. (Next issue in Part 2, we will tell you more about the work and news from Nazareth and assemblies in Israel)

Only about 2% of Jordan's population is Christian, mostly nominal, and only a few evangelical churches. The Emmaus work in Amman, Jordan, began about 15 years ago, when a newly married couple, *Abe and Linda with a burden for church planting, used the evangelistic Emmaus courses inhome Bible studies with several families. Some came to faith, and they started to come together for meetings and breaking of bread, so the new assembly began to grow. The wars in Iraq and later Syria brought thousands of refugees flooding into Jordan. Many were nominal Christians who knew little about the faith. They arrived traumatized and were looking for hope and peace. The Emmaus workers held a book table at another local evangelical church, which held weekly meetings for about 600 refugees. Many enrolled in the courses and started to attend the new assembly meetings, consisting of an hour of different levels

George & Rosamond Khalil

of Bible classes - from evangelistic to Christian life studies, and an hour of a general combined meeting. The numbers have grown to such a point that they now have to hold two sessions of the Bible classes. Another small assembly has also been planted in another part of Amman. The leaders make regular home visits, which they see as the key to seeing growth in the church. A number of people from Islamic backgrounds have also come to faith. This puts them and the assembly leaders at significant risk. Pray for them, for wisdom, protection, and safety. One of the refugee couples that came to faith in Jordan has returned to Iraq and is now planting an assembly in Irbil using the Emmaus courses.

The Emmaus courses have been welcomed in Lebanon by the local evangelical church es. They have been teaching them both individually and in group studies. The churches there have greater freedom to distribute Bibles and courses in the refugee camps. They have even studied a group in a Turkish refugee camp via Zoom. The leaders report that they have seen a number come to faith and significant growth in the faith of local believers. Pray for our director *Karim and the believers as the economic crisis and pandemic have severely affected the ministry in the local churches.

10% of Egypt's population is Christian - mostly Coptic. There are a number of evangelical churches, and Christians are often subject to discrimination and persecution. Two groups are distributing Emmaus courses in Egypt. One of them is led by a brother, *John, who tells us that the courses are especially appreciated by young people since they are simple, powerful, stimulate discussion and speak to the heart. Adult groups are studying the courses in Cairo, Alexandria, and Upper Egypt. A new assembly was planted in Cairo through *Abe. Who visited and gave training to some brothers a few years ago. They use two adjoining apartments, which they open up for the meetings and are now bursting at the seams! Egypt is our main center for the storage and distribution of new courses. The pandemic has paralyzed the shipment of courses to other Middle Eastern countries. Please pray for this problem.

It is another conflict zone where Christians have suffered greatly. However, there is also great hunger for God's Word, and our brother Ben is working in the remote Nuba Mountains area. We are able to send Arabic courses from Egypt, but the demand has increased so much that they have now printed their own from our files. Those from non-Christian backgrounds particularly like the course One God, One Way.

Central African Mission (ZAM) is a sister organization distributing our Arabic courses in many North African countries. After many years of lonely labor in Nazareth, sowing the seed of the Word through Emmaus courses, we are so encouraged that, despite the conflicts and opposition, the Lord is using this ministry to bring many to faith in Christ, to plant new churches and to help believers to grow in their faith. It is His work, and so the fruit and the glory belong to Him!

Spring 2022
Written by George and Rosamond Khalil - Israel