New Partnerships in the Arabic-Speaking inner-city
Avdal Boktor is from Egypt. He came to the United States several years ago as a refugee. Like many other highly educated immigrants, he was unable to find work when he first came, eventually settling in a depressed area near Detroit. We met Adval during our time at the Unleash Converge Pastor’s Conference in January.
For nearly two years, Adval could not find a job. He had come to know Christ while still in Egypt, but found it very difficult to find a place to worship in the inner-city where God had placed him. In time, God began to give Adval a deepening burden for the Arabic people who, like him, had to flee their country and were now struggling in the American inner city. He began to go door-to-door to meet people in his apartment building.
At first, he was just trying to build relationships. Then he began inviting people to his small apartment to feed them and to tell them about Jesus. People started to come to faith in Jesus. Soon, his small apartment was not big enough to hold them. They prayed themselves from one meeting place to the next, each a bit larger than the last. Before long, Adval was able to start a church in his city for Arabic-speaking Muslim background believers.
When we asked him to look at the Arabic translation of Simple Truths, he became quite excited. Many of the people who come to his church have had no teaching about Jesus. “This book will help them very much.” We gave him all of the books in Arabic that we had with us and are preparing to send more. We believe that this partnership will grow into something significant in the days ahead.
Pastor Boktor is only one of many Arabic-speaking people to move to the North America over the past 30 years. In 1986, there were approximately 300,000 Arabic speakers living in North America. Today, Arabic is the eighth most spoken langauge in North America with nearly 1.4 million speakers. According to the Pew Trust, Arabic is the fastest growing language in the United States in the past decade.
Adval is now pastor of Hope Church in Sterling Hills, Michigan. He is also leading a ministry to Arabic-speakers called Hope for Arabs. You can find out more about that work by visiting www.hopeforarabs.org.