Dearborn, Michigan? Why go to Dearborn? Isn’t that Henry Ford’s hometown and the world headquarters for the Ford Motor Company? That’s right, and you get a blue ribbon for answering correctly!
What most Americans don’t realize is that Dearborn is also home to the largest concentration of Arab Muslims in the United States. Some 40,000 Iraqis, Yemenis and Lebanese live within the city limits and to visit there is like visiting a Middle Eastern country. Signs on shops put Arabic first above English. Men and women are seen in the streets wearing traditional Muslim clothing. Even the Muslim call to prayer at the several local mosques is allowed to be broadcast in Arabic five times daily over loudspeakers throughout the city. These Arabic speaking Muslims have gravitated to Dearborn looking for work, economic opportunity and to escape the harsh and often dangerous living conditions back home.
What does this mean for the Church in America? Fear? Anger? Even hate? No. What this means is opportunity. Historically, the Church has largely ignored the Muslim world, thinking it too difficult or costly to reach them, so little has been done to bring them the light of the Gospel. Maybe God, with a wink and a sense of humor, has brought them to our doorstep where our excuses for not telling them about Jesus have quickly run out!
The Dearborn Assemblies of God has planted a church in the heart of Dearborn in order for Muslims to finally hear the Word of God. Timberline Church is partnering with the team in Dearborn to help that church finish a few remaining construction projects. But more than that, the mission team that Timberline will send May 17-24 will have many chances to immerse themselves in the culture of Dearborn, meet many Muslims, experience new sights, smells and tastes of the Middle East, and as God leads, have opportunities to share about Jesus.
As our team last year discovered, Dearborn’s Muslim community is surprisingly open to hear about Jesus of the Bible. Please take up the challenge and prayerfully consider being part of Timberline’s mission team to Dearborn this May. We guarantee your horizon will be expanded and your heart opened and blessed by what you will discover there.
(Stop by the table in the mall this weekend for more information or visit www.lovereaches.org for trip application and payment links. Applications and deposits are due by March 17.)
(Courtesy of guest Storyteller Wes Tucker)