Middle East and North Africa Union Mission

Upon completing my seminary training, I was assigned to pastor a group of new believers facing a big challenge. They needed to purchase property on which to build a church, but they didn’t have anywhere near the money required.

At the time, my wife, Marcia, and I owned some worn-out furniture, a well-used car, and little else. As we joined the church members in fundraising, we asked God to guide us in our efforts to fulfill His mission in our new community. Then we made our pledge. It was far less than other families were giving, but it was much more than we could afford. It was an act of faith.

During the next several months, we experienced so many miracles of God’s providence. Somehow He multiplied the little we had and added many blessings besides. Sometimes, an elderly man would give us fresh greens from his garden, or we would find bags of groceries by our door. Other times a birthday or Christmas gift of cash met our obligations exactly. When the campaign was over, we found that we had received back what we had committed. Hearing our story, one church member told us, “You didn’t have enough faith; if you had pledged more, God would have met that too!” 

We learned many lessons about trusting God day by day, expressed beautifully in the words of the old gospel song, “Little Is Much When God Is in It.” We had no idea those lessons would one day be valuable to us as cross-cultural missionaries for the church. 

In 2000, we felt a strong pull on our hearts to the mission field. The doors didn’t open immediately, but eventually, we were called to Sri Lanka, where I served as the coordinator for Global Mission. Financial resources were tight, and we frequently experienced a need for more qualified people to help open up new work. Yet God continually used little to provide much for His work. During our time there, several new congregations were formed, and new workers appeared, committed to the task of sharing the gospel in spite of invariably challenging circumstances.

I remember one young man who became a Global Mission pioneer. He was a humble person who had grown up working on the local tea plantations. During his first week of service, he built a small place of prayer that consisted of four posts and some palm branches in the middle of a plantation. He started a prayer meeting which, over time, grew into four new worship groups. He did what he knew, and God blessed him. 

Another Global Mission pioneer sometimes had tigers stalk him as he walked from village to village late at night to share the love of God. The groups he formed and nurtured were always full of joyful people who knew that Jesus had set them free from fear. His long walks repeatedly wore holes through his shoes until they could be no longer repaired.

God took the hours and miles offered by this servant and made something beautiful out of them. 

Since 2016, Marcia and I have served in the Middle East and North Africa Union Mission (MENA). To say that the task here is immense is an understatement. MENA comprises 20 nations, none of which are Christian. In only seven is the church legal. In the other nations, mission work is illegal, and being a Christian can bring persecution. With a population of more than 558 million people, most of whom do not know the basics of God’s plan of salvation, the MENA territory is considered one of the most challenging mission tasks remaining. 

Currently, MENA has 5,200 church members spread among these 20 nations, meaning there is 1 Seventh-day Adventist for every 107,000 people. Our small band of workers seems insignificant when compared to the populations around us. Even our faithful workers often feel unequipped for the daily challenges they face. We can easily ask the question, “Who is qualified for this task?” Then we remember the promises of God, whose “strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). He always fulfills His promises. Every week, I hear stories about people who have found joy and hope in Jesus. Even with few frontline workers available in needy areas throughout MENA, we see, day by day, how God is using the little we have to provide for His work. 

One young man living in London had a strong impression that he should return to his home country in the Middle East. He couldn’t understand why this was being asked of him, but he knew it was a call from God. In the middle of winter, when it was cold and rainy, he returned to his home city, one of the largest in the world. 

One day as he was walking along a busy street, he stopped at a rack of books along the sidewalk. His eyes were drawn to one book. Once it was in his hands, he couldn’t put it down. That book dramatically changed his trajectory, leading him to give his life to the Lord as a Global Mission pioneer. At that very same book rack he would tell people stories about Jesus and invite them to come to the onsite worship center. His life has since taken him to other places, but today there is a congregation made up of local people worshiping each Sabbath. God is doing something special in this large city!

We see stories like this in most MENA countries, stories that can’t be told because of the security risk to individuals who are faithfully sharing the message with others. Each story in the Middle East and North Africa represents the work of the Holy Spirit, a work that defies national boundaries and communication barriers. Every day we see the fruit of God’s love being demonstrated by church members and workers throughout this immense territory. 

I’ve heard some people say, “I can’t give much to the mission offering, so what difference can my small gift make?” This question always makes me think of the Bible stories about David and Goliath, the boy with the two fish and five loaves, and the widow’s mite—stories that speak of God taking our small offerings and making them powerfully effective. 

Here in the 10/40 Window, we can personally and dramatically see how God uses the smallest of offerings to change the lives of those who seek Him. Every day we pray for God to pour out visions and dreams on the people of this territory, dreams leading people to ask a Seventh-day Adventist about Jesus and His soon return. Our prayers are being answered. It is the stories of changed lives that tell how much my offering still matters. 

God’s mustard-seed conspiracy is still moving forward through you. I want to thank all our church members around the world. Through your contributions to the mission offerings, God is working miracles. It’s worth repeating—little is much when God is in it!


Global Mission supports thousands of local church planters, called pioneers, in starting new groups of believers in areas of the 10/40 Window where there is no Adventist presence. But they need our help. Please support their ministry with your prayers and donations at

To see what’s happening in mission in the Middle East and North Africa Union Mission, <strong>visit m360.tv/middleeast</strong>.

Rick McEdward is the president of the Middle East and North Africa Union Mission of Seventh-day Adventists.