For seven years, John & Karen Elias served in London, ministering in Muslim communities. Prior to this, John had been on the pastoral staff at Cedar Crest BFC for ten years. Their work in London involved personal evangelism, literature outreach, and mobilizing local churches and Christians for outreach in their own areas. Since January 2014 they have led The Bridges Option. They are available to churches to help assess area needs and opportunities, develop strategies for outreach, and provide training and resources for effective outreach.
In 2020 John had surgeries and radiation to treat cancer in two areas of his body. He has recovered and continues the work of The Bridges Option. His blog written during his treatment and recovery can be found under John- Home Health Journey.
John and Karen Elias have recently transitioned into an exciting new field of ministry, reaching out to Muslims in the Mid-Atlantic United States. My church and I are so pleased at what God is doing through them in this time and place. John and Karen helped open a dialog between us and leaders of the mosque in our community. This led to a Meeting for Better Understanding in October of 2012. The purpose of the meeting was to share the beliefs of the two faiths. We used the Christian belief of Christmas as a gateway to sharing the Gospel. The Muslim speaker shared about the Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca). It was a great opportunity to contrast the works system of Islam with the grace to be found in the Christian message. Our second Meeting for Better Understanding is being planned for the Spring of this year. John and Karen were indispensable in preparing us to respect their culture while lovingly sharing our faith in Jesus. They would be a great resource for you and your church to reach Muslims in your community!
Pastor Timothy Schmoyer, Whitehall BFC in Whitehall, PA
I wanted to thank you so much for the materials that you brought to Pinebrook and for speaking to us. Before your talk I had been beginning to establish an friendship with my Muslim neighbor lady, but was completely feeling at a loss in understanding her- she is from ******* and has a completely different way of thinking then anyone I have ever meet. We had had conversations about religion but in my American way of thinking did not want to offend or insult so I began just by listening and trying to understand what Muslims believe. As of late, I have been walking each morning with her. We have been talking and building a friendship and I have been praying that God would open doors for me to talk with her about the gospel. Yesterday I was studying the information that you gave me and praying over it begging God to open doors to our conversation. I remembered what you had been talking how they would respect you more by disagreeing with them. So today I did. And it went wonderful!!
I was able to share the gospel with her. She openly rejected it and is very devoted to her Islamic beliefs. She had a hard time with the idea that a man could be God, but thankfully since I read your flyers I could explain that Man could not become God but rather that God who can do anything can become man. She openly rejected everything I said, but I keep praying that God would soften her hard heart. She is very open about talking about Christianity. I am planing on studying the information you gave us and reading more of the book today before our talk again tomorrow. If you have any other tips or resources I would love to hear them.
Thank you so much for your ministry within the BFC denomination. Your talk and materials have been so helpful to me. Please be praying for ****** salvation, and for me to have wisdom to know what to say and how to interact.
A pastor’s wife
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