Couple serving unreached for more than a decade
Lauren Pratt | May 30, 2017
From our local community to the outermost parts of the world, Southeastern students and alumni are reaching people with the gospel by fulfilling the Great Commission. Using the model of Acts 1:8, we want to highlight these stories of how our Southeastern family is serving in North Carolina, North America and around the world. Acts 1:8 Stories create a collective and consistent way to tell the story of Southeastern, one person at a time. From local pastors to missionaries among the unreached, God is doing a great work among students and alumni. Where are they now and where are they going? We can’t wait for you to find out! This is the first story in the Acts 1:8 series.
*Benjamin O. Breeg remembers when he was first being called to reach Muslims that lived in unreached parts of the world.
He began reading a book called “Let the Nations Be Glad!” by John Piper for his missions class with Dr. Keith Eitel at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. It was through this reading that the specificity of reaching the unreached in the Muslim world became clear.
For his wife, *Abigail Breeg, her call to overseas missions came through her Journeyman term with the International Mission Board in Central Asia. She attended Southeastern after finishing her term, and is now living out that call with her husband.
More than twelve years down the road, the Breegs find themselves serving in a closed country, trying to find creative ways to share the gospel with Iranian religious and academic leaders. One of the most challenging aspects of ministry comes from being unable to live in the home country of such leaders.
“We’re working with the people who are killing Christians,” said Benjamin. “[They] are the ones that are persecuting Christians, that are developing laws that are against religious freedom.”
While seeing decisions among people in their area is not uncommon, the difficulty comes in the longevity of that decision to follow Christ.
“You see people making decisions, but whether or not they stick or not, that’s kind of where the rubber hits the road,” Benjamin said.
Benjamin wrote about one such experience with a man named Jack:
“*Jack was one of the first people we met from our people group. He was a student living and studying outside of his country. Soon after befriending him, he made a profession of faith, but Jack seemed only to want to eat pork, drink alcohol, and not be Muslim. His belief in Christ was incorrect. He believed Jesus was God’s son in the sense that we have fathers and mothers, not in the sense that Jesus was ‘begotten, not made’ as the Council of Nicaea of 325 A.D. aptly explains. Jack did not believe in the full divinity and full humanity of Jesus. Nonetheless, he proclaimed to be a Christian and we gave him a Bible. About a year or two later, he got sick and had to go home.
“Jack contacted us about six months ago. He admitted that when he first professed Christianity it was to be free from the constraints of Islam. He told us he found Christ with his wife a couple years ago. As there is no church in their city or province, he asked us to find him one. He realized the need to obey and be baptized. A bit apprehensive, we asked why he became a follower of Christ and what Jesus being God’s son meant to him. He described the meaning and the importance of the full divinity and full humanity of Jesus. He explained it was because Jesus was all God and all man that he could come to earth, live a sinless life, die and resurrect to pay the punishment of our sins so we could have a right relationship with him. Recently, we put him in contact with believers from his people group. They are working with him and his wife to find a time for baptism.”
Sometimes decisions take many years. The couple had such an experience as they shared the gospel with a friend eight years prior to her becoming a follower of Jesus just last year.
“It’s encouraging to see that God works in His time and not ours,” said Benjamin.
The Breegs desire prayer as they seek to reach Iranian leaders with the gospel, while living distantly from them.
“It is challenging since we can’t and don’t live inside the country,” said Abigail. [We are] always needing to find new, creative ways to do things.”
The couple said it’s also difficult coming back to the States and hearing Iranians being spoken of negatively out of ignorance.
“Iran is very much misrepresented in America and misunderstood, said Benjamin. “It’s one of the most democratic and most stable countries in the Middle East and the people are kind. You can imagine [the misrepresentation is] a lot of what’s said in the media.”
Two ways he recommends for believers to correct their view of the Middle East is to read, “The Ayatollah Begs to Differ” by Hooman Majd and to watch Rick Steves’ tour through Iran, which was commissioned by the U.N.
Despite differing ideological views from his own, Benjamin said “their assessment of Iran is quite accurate.”
The two believe that Southeastern prepared them for their time overseas among the unreached through theological education and conversations as well as learning practical ministry decision-making overseas.
And as long as God allows, they are going fulfill their call to the unreached.
*Names changed for security reasons