Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, it was normal for Global Gates missionaries in Queens, New York to meet Bengali Muslims in homes, at parks, on the streets, and in restaurants and stores.
Now, they are using other avenues to interface with Bengalis not only in New York City but also in Bangladesh and other parts of the world.
The internet and social media give believers access to people around the globe. Our prayer is for God to bring about movements to Christ among Bengali Muslims through media.
This Kingdom work is called media to movements. The idea behind it is to find seekers from Muslim people groups in different areas through social media advertising that leads to evangelistic and discipling relationships.
The social media platform provides Muslims the freedom to ask questions, and explore Jesus, the Bible, and Christianity.
Global Gates missionaries to Bengalis in Queens formed a coalition with other local ministries in January. They have seen how God in his sovereignty provided this Kingdom resource. COVID-19 left Bengalis shut in with their computers and phones not only in New York but in Bangladesh and other parts of the world. Gospel seeds were sown worldwide, and new Bengali brothers and sisters in Christ from a Muslim background are the fruit.
An ad they ran around “The Night of Power” during Ramadan was a 15-second clip of Jesus appearing in and out of dreamy clouds. It had a short script that said, “Many people are seeing Jesus in their dreams. Have you seen him? To find out more, click our ad.”
Another recent ad said, “Hey, we’d love to give you a free Bible. Give us your name, email, and phone number, and then we’ll give you a link for you to get a Bible.”
Several people gave their contact information and clicked to read the Bible through the website that missionaries set up. Evangelists follow up with these people to see if they read scripture, if they have any questions, and if they want someone to read it with them.
The coalition switched to an ad that targets viewers who have seen most of its other ads in NYC. This ad invites folks to message them. Workers ask responders why they are messaging, then try to share the gospel through Facebook Messenger.
A man from Bangladesh named *Sufian responded to the ad. He said, “Can you send me something from the Injil (The New Testament) that talks about Jesus, if he’s the Son of God or not?”
After reading the Bible portions sent to him, Sufian asked for scripture on Jesus’s death and return. A missionary sent him more Bible passages, and asked, “Who do you think Jesus is?” Sufian answered, “I think he’s God’s Son.”
The missionary asked, “Do you want to become a follower of Jesus?” Sufian said, “Yes, from today I want to become a follower of Jesus.”
The missionary spent an hour with Sufian to make sure he understood Jesus’s identity, what it means to be a Christian, and how to read the Bible and pray. He also led him through a prayer of repentance and belief and explained that, in prayer, the posture of one’s heart matters more than the eloquence of one’s words.
The coalition ran another ad that amassed 30,000 views. The first campaign this team ran was met with 200 messages in less than a week, and four Muslims in Bangladesh came to Christ over Facebook Messenger through that ad. Our missionaries now see the vast evangelistic potential in media to movements and believe it’s a necessary resource to go alongside normal ministry in the future.
*Name changed for security reasons.
-Ben Doster, Global Gates Director of Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org