Today Muslim activities capture headlines, many times for the wrong reasons. Muslims emigrate from their original lands to many parts of the world and thus find themselves sharing neighborhoods with people of other faiths, including the Seventh-day Adventists.
According to the 2013 New Zealand census, the number of Muslims in New Zealand are 46,149, up 28% from 36,072 in the 2006 census. The numbers are increasing. New Zealand now has many mosques in the major centers. Also, the 2016 Australian Census tells us that the combined number of people who self-identify as Muslims in Australia, from all forms of Islam are about 604,200 people. Our Muslim brothers are all around us.
Isaiah 60:6-7 tells us that God has an amazing plan also for the descendants of Esau and Ishmael. Also, the great commission as recorded in Matthew 28:19-20 invites us to take the gospel message to all the people of the world. This includes our Muslim brothers as well.
Presently, in Spain Adventist College, the Global Center for Adventist Muslim Relations of the General Conference is running a training to equip people from all around the world. They are developing coaches to enhance positive relationships between the Adventist Church membership and the Muslim world with the purpose of building bridges of understanding for harmonising co-existence and sharing of God’s truth.
At present we do not have an intentional ministry that is catering for this need. Hence, the South Pacific Division chose three individuals to attend this coaches training. The Bible tells us that in the last days, just before the second coming, there will be a great ingathering of people from all backgrounds and foreign lands and this includes Muslims. The time has come for our church members in areas with a Muslim presence, to mobilise and be involved in establishing relations that will build bridges of understanding with the Muslims for the fulfilment of the Great Commission.
– Pr Younis Masih reporting from Spain.