Some of the best food in Edmond and OKC are some of the Arabic and Persian restaurants, which reveal the growing population of Arabs and Persians of the Middle East calling Edmond home. While more Middle Easterners become our neighbors, there is likely no greater ostracized groups than the various Arab and Persian peoples. This hypocrisy against the Great Commission and Christ’s mission is one of the largest obstacles to reaching them with the saving truth of the Gospel.
Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Syria, Egypt, Iraq. Just some of the many Arabic countries with strong representation in Edmond. Persians of Iran are also an increasing population in the city, as well. While nationally, culturally, and religious diverse, they all hail from the Greater Middle East. While hard to estimate, various statistics would support, that together, they represent close to 1-2% of Edmond’s population. As students of the University of Central Oklahoma, they make up over 10% of the school’s international body (most coming from Saudi Arabia). Edmond holds one of only a few mosques in the state.
Predominately Muslim, Arabs tend to follow a branch known as Sunni Islam with Persians usually following Shia Islam. In almost all Middle Eastern countries, Christianity is a minority with little Gospel presence due to restrictive laws against evangelism. While persecution and religious extremism do exist, the vast majority of Middle Eastern culture is marked by hospitality and honor. Those living here in the US will express their pursuit of a better and peaceful life.
The great struggle to impacting the Arab and Persian peoples of Edmond with the Gospel is the unchristlike fear and rejection from Christians and churches. To this, I have much to say but fear it would begin to be a rant. I will summarize only with this. You will find no such fear, rejection, or hostility in the Word of God. If you bring it, your bring it from your own sinful heart and mind and I ask you to repent. However, it is because of this spirit that almost no Gospel work is present in Edmond (or throughout Oklahoma, for that matter). I know of only one church planter working among the Persian people. I don’t know of any among the far larger Arab people groups.
The real need for salvation to come to the Arab and Persian peoples is for obedient Christ-followers to be willing to pray for, befriend, and share the story of Jesus Christ. This is an act not of fear but hope, not of rejection but love, not of hostility but of obedience.
For the Arabs and Persians:
-Pray for genuine Christ-followers to build kingdom-worthy relationships among Arabs and Persians.
-Pray for the Muslims of Edmond to recognize Jesus as more than a prophet but as their divine Savior and Lord.
-Pray for an Arabic church to be planted in Edmond and OKC, growing and multiplying.
-Pray for the Persian church and that others will join it in reaching Persians with the Gospels here and abroad.