What is “Enduring Love”? Find out more about Christian ministry in the Middle East.
“In the Middle East and North Africa, for centuries there has been a void in Christian mission,” says IM Global Servant Dan Chetti. Dan and Sarah Chetti are the first IM global servants in the region.
In 2014, as the Arab Spring spread through the region, God gave Dan a vision to equip Arabs to reach Arabs. He formed Enduring Love (EL) to enable these Arab servants of God to engage in evangelism, discipleship, and church planting.
Despite many challenges, including safety concerns and persecution, EL is flourishing. During the pandemic years, these EL servants baptized more than 200 new believers, formed nearly a dozen congregations across the region, and shared the good news of God’s love.
How does Enduring Love work?
“Experience has shown that the most fruitful work in the Arab world is being done by the Arab people themselves,” Dan explains. Enduring Love empowers 27 Arab servants of God, who minister in their home countries of Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq.
Meet Soraya and Ibrahim*
Twenty years ago, during a violent civil war in Darfur, Sudan, Soraya fought as the only woman alongside soldiers who called her the “mother of the army.” Later, she fled to Egypt as one of 2 million Sudanese refugees. In the midst of all the upheaval and trauma she’d experienced, Soraya sensed God calling her to become a Christian. She prayed, telling God that if that was the case, God would have to send a teacher to her house.
Not long after Soraya prayed, God sent Ibrahim, a fellow Sudanese refugee and EL servant. He shared the gospel and began to disciple her as a follower of Jesus.
“I became convinced, there is no peace without Christ,” says Soraya. “Peace doesn’t come from the rifle. No. There are people I used to accuse—they killed my husband, they raped my daughters. Today we pray for them… Egypt has become a blessing to us. We were refugees, but God had a plan to bring us here to open our eyes so that we would know him.”
As he walks alongside her, Ibrahim has given Soraya a new name. “I said to her: You are the mother of the believers.”
Several EL servants receive support, while a few receive grants for business-as-mission startups. This is an effective way to navigate faith and ministry in a “closed” country—leading to self-support.
In Lebanon, Salim and Aaliah* are two EL servants who have thrived in business-as-mission. Recently, they met a Syrian refugee family living in an unsafe refugee camp. Through a grant from an Oregon church, Salim and Aaliah purchased an abandoned farmhouse and hired the refugee family to care for the land. The farm provides the family with housing and food, with additional food for other church members in need.
“Jesus gave him a new lease on life,” Salim says. “He was so grateful that Jesus has a plan for him and his family! What an amazing testimony to the provision of God.”
Dan launched EL thanks to generous donations from across the U.S., including churches in Ohio, Colorado, Idaho, and American Baptist Churches of the Rocky Mountain Region and Great Rivers Region.
In 2017, Todd McClure, Minister of Missions and Finance for the American Baptist Churches’ West Virginia Baptist Convention, joined EL’s leadership, serving alongside Dan as the associate director. Todd is also an IM Special Assistant for the Middle East and North Africa.
“When we made our most recent trip in 2022, we saw how this ministry has expanded,” Todd says. “While we certainly credit Dan’s vision nearly a decade ago, it’s clear that this is not Dan’s ministry but God’s. We are grateful for those whom God has called to serve alongside and to support Enduring Love.”
*Names have been changed.
This story originally appeared in our On Location newsletter. You can read past issues here.