Nations Within: How God is Moving in Middle Eastern Communities

It took Ali over five years to discover a Bible.

Raised in the Middle East, Ali grew up in a family with no access to Christianity. Though he had heard of Jesus as a prophet who is a healer and a miracle worker, Bibles were strictly forbidden, especially after a military movement swept into the country. However, Ali was curious about Christianity, having called upon Jesus for healing in the past, and he had a deep desire in his heart to know more about Him. 

Two sets of hands that are wrapped around each other in prayer. One set of hands has Indian style henna designs.

At the time, the military movement had cut off TV and radio programs, so there was no way to hear from the outside world. One day, though, Ali climbed to the top of a mountain so that he could seek a signal for his radio. He was having trouble finding a station, when all of a sudden, he picked one up — a Christian radio show playing worship music and sharing Bible stories.

“God directed me to one channel that I connected with — it was a Christian channel, and as I listened, it was interesting and beautiful,” Ali recalls. “All I loved was the music and the story, but it was so clear that God provided this opportunity for me when I was desperately looking for something.”

Ali went searching for a Bible, but he couldn’t find one in his country. Knowing he wouldn’t be able to learn more in his home country, he decided to look elsewhere. He left his home in 2005, and it took him five years of traveling and walking from country to country to discover a small Christian community, where he finally gave his life to Christ. “I found the Bible and started studying and learning, and I discovered things that I always felt like I wanted, needed,” Ali says. “I fell in love with Jesus.”

While he was away from his home country, Ali applied for refugee asylum, and he eventually made his way to the United States in 2009. After moving to Colorado Springs in 2017, he met The Navigators at a Nations Within collaborative ministry event in the city.

After a year of spending time with the Navigators, Ali said, “I want to be a Navigator.”  At first, Navigators staff tried to talk him out of it, since he’d have to fundraise. But he replied, “I can trust God, who got me out of the Middle East. I can trust Him again to do this job.”

Ali joined The Navigators Nations Within staff in 2020 to start a ministry reaching other refugees in Seattle with his wife, Sierra. While there, Ali connected with another Christian refugee from his homeland named Latif, who soon after also joined the staff of Nations Within to reach the refugee community in Memphis. 

The fruit of both of their ministries has been abundant and multiplying disciples, reaching far beyond Seattle and Memphis to bring Jesus to those who have little to no access — men and women back in the Middle East.

Uplifting Middle Eastern Communities in the United States

In Ali and Latif’s different ministries, there is a specific way they build community and reach people for Jesus — meeting needs, hearing stories, and healing past hurts.

“You are working with people who have been used, tortured, manipulated, or hurt physically, mentally, or spiritually,” Ali says. “Some have never experienced love or compassion from others, even their parents, because of where they grew up. They may have different perspectives that require you to love them, serve them, be patient, and see where God is leading.”

In Seattle, Ali serves Middle Eastern refugees and families by helping them find jobs, communities, housing, schools, and more. By meeting physical needs, he creates a starting point for relationships and trust to grow, eventually leading others to Christ. 

Just one of the many stories of this occurring was several months ago, when a couple from the Middle East came into Washington with no place to stay. Ali connected with them and found a family from his church to take the couple into their home. Eventually, they learned the couple’s story — they had run from their home country and desperately needed community. Ali and the church continued to share the gospel and love the couple by serving and providing for them, and after a few months, the Lord opened their hearts. The husband and wife accepted Christ and were baptized!

“You are working with a minority group coming from harsh places here in the United States,” Ali says. “But by continuing to help them, talk, and work with them, they will reach a point where they get healed. They will receive love and become more and more comfortable. They will love you, hold you, count on you. And God can do some significant things through them.”

Similarly, Latif creates a safe space for Middle Eastern refugees in Memphis to connect and create community. Whether it’s Saturday night soccer games or inviting women into his family’s home for tea, Latif will welcome others in and create relationships where he can share the gospel. 

“We love them and serve them, and now we have a very good friendship with them,” Latif says. “It’s not easy, but we see the word of God work in our ministry. We started with three people here in our church, but now we have about 40 Middle Eastern believers meeting every Sunday.”

How God is Moving Across the World

The beauty of Ali and Latif’s ministry is that they have extended their work to not only reach those in the United States, but their families and communities back in their home country. 

Ali currently splits his time by creating schools and work for Middle Eastern women who are not allowed to be educated or have public jobs. Currently, he and his team have provided education for over 1,000 girls and job opportunities for 300 women, employing them to make beautiful lamb’s wool rugs that are hand-dyed with berries. 

Latif is also reaching people across the Middle East through media channels, much like the radio station that Ali found when he was young. Twice a week for an hour, he broadcasts the gospel, and they often get calls and messages from people around the world with questions or who are praising God. This has led to over 20 virtual Bible studies, led by Latif and his team, that are currently happening in home churches in the Middle East. 

“We are building a community of believers inside the Middle East, providing an opportunity to answer their questions, share the gospel with them, and send them whatever they need,” Ali says. “For me, 20 years ago, I was desperately looking for a Bible or a Christian to tell me who Jesus is. We want that to be available for other people, too, whether in the Middle East or the United States.”

A Light in Dark Places

The work that Ali and Latif are doing with the Middle Eastern community has inspired others to step up and do similar ministries across the country, from Louisville, Kentucky to Dallas, Texas. The work has grown to four locations and almost 10 staff working with those from the Middle East, and they have seen over 200 people come to Christ that Nations Within can count, both in the States and across the world. 

For Ali, the spread of the gospel makes sense. After all, light shines brightest in the darkest of places. 

“It’s been a very unfortunate time inside of the Middle East — people are grieving, and it is dark there,” he says. “But because it is dark, people are desperate for light. Christ’s light is shining brighter and brighter, and when they see it, they have questions and want to be around it.” 
If you feel called to support Ali and Latif’s ministry, you can both come alongside them in prayer and become a partner monetarily by offering a gift to our Nations Within ministry.

Discipleship Tip:

Ali and Latif excel at building trust in relationships, listening to people’s stories and meeting their tangible needs. Think about how you can build trust with non-believers in your circles. Are you listening well to where they are coming from, learning about their past experiences and what they might need? Getting to know people well — and letting them know you — can be the best first step to sharing the gospel and introducing them to Jesus.

How to Impact Your Community

Ali and Latif have made a significant impact in their communities by serving others, loving them well, and sharing the gospel. How can you be a good neighbor in your communities? Learn how you can make meaningful discipleship relationships in our resource, “Share God’s Love With Your Neighbors.”


  1. Praise God for His work…all around the world. The Gospel is reaching hearts.
    Thank you Lord.

  2. My heart is full of praise to God and admiration for these special people! My wife and I are seeking similar things among the mainstream secular here in the USA.

  3. We take for granted our FREE and easy access to The Word of God and opportunity to fellowship with other believers. Ali had the fire of Abba in him, searching for FIVE years! We must rise up in unity as Believers to Love others into The Kingdom!

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