Desert Life

Arab Countries



Sharing the Gospel through personal contacts in 5 Arab countries

Arab Countries



Sharing the Gospel through personal contacts in 5 Arab countries

Project story

Desert Life! Sharing the Gospel in closed Muslim countries

Who we are
The name of Ismael Foundation refers to Genesis 17:18: “Oh that Ismael might live before thee!” The foundation works in the belief that Abraham’s prayer will also be spiritually fulfilled to the Arabic-speaking peoples of the Middle East.

Ismael Foundation is a pretty young Dutch organization, founded in 2007 as an inter-denominational organization with board members from various Reformed Churches in The Netherlands. The initiators of Ismael Foundation have great compassion for the many unreached people in closed Muslim countries in the Middle East.

Rev. W. Visscher, the chairman of the Ismael Foundation: “For the Arab world, there are still Biblical promises. For example, Isaiah 19:24 and 25 says: “In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria (this is Iraq), even a blessing in the midst of the land: Whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance.”

‘Making God’s word sound in the closed Muslim countries, that is an important part of our foundations mission.’  –  Board Ismael Foundation

What we do
From that promise and perspective, Ismael Foundation is committed to building the Church in the heartlands of Islam! While we depend on God’s blessing, we initiate various projects to realize this goal. Therefore, our main focus is on missionary projects:

  • Initiate or support projects to share the Gospel with Muslims in the Arab world about the grace that the Lord Jesus Christ has acquired for all who believe in His Name;
  • Support Christian congregations and pastors in the Arab world in their need;
  • Inform Western Christians about the lives, gatherings, and sufferings of brothers and sisters in the Arab-speaking Muslim world so that they may have a place in their prayers and their hearts.

Project Desert life
Unfortunately, they do exist: countries where there is still no church 2,000 years after the coming of Christ. This is particularly the case on the Arabian Peninsula. To achieve our goal, the ‘Desert Life’ project sends out field workers (also known as tent makers) to live as Christians in word and deed in countries where no open church is allowed to exist. Doing their daily business, in personal contacts, they share the Gospel. In that way they try to support the small, sometimes underground, church that exists in almost every closed Muslim country. In Arab countries where an above-ground church does exist, our workers seek cooperation with the various local churches.

Our field workers live in 5 different countries like Jordan, Egypt, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The first priority for the field workers is studying the local language. After this trajectory, they will start a job that pays them a salary to cover part of their own living costs.

Project Costs
Each field worker has its own customized project budget, depending on the local context, the abovementioned salary, and the size of the family. But at all times they will be dependent on external resources. Ismael Foundation is grateful that already 70% of the additional funding needs is covered by the Home Support Teams of each individuel field worker. The remaining 30% is committed by Ismael Foundation and need still to be raised through its own supporters base. The total project costs for all 5 countries are $ 215,000 of which $135,000 (70%) is already secured by the Home Support Teams. The remaining part is still $80,000 (30%) for 2024.

Therefore, Ismael Foundation has approached MissionInvest USA to help raise the 30% of the yearly budget for the Desert Life project. Since MissionInvest very much love the approach of Ismael Foundation to also spread the Gospel in the Arab countries, we like to reach out to our network of family foundations, high-net-worth individuals and churches to seriously consider financial support for this amazing Kingdom project!

In some of the Arab countries there is still no church and hence The Ismael Foundation is longing to spread the seed, which is the Word of God. The Lord Himself has explained what can happen to the seed. Sometimes it falls on a road; sometimes on a rock; and sometimes among the thorns. But we know for sure that sometimes the seed will fall on good ground, and will spring up, and bear fruit. The impact is not the work of men, but the work of the Holy Spirit. But He does want to use people for it, including the field workers involved in the project Desert Life.

Although MissionInvest usually sees a large number of people being reached by the Gospel in their projects, this project is quite different. In contrary, the aim of this project is to develop personal relationships with a limited number of people. Most realistic is that they can reach out to perhaps 10-20 people per country. Evangelism cannot be done openly or on a large scale, due to the specific context of those countries. Obviously, it is also very difficult to express the impact of this project in exact numbers. In addition, also reporting possibilities are pretty limited.

The ultimate goal of Ismael Foundation is supporting small-scale (sometimes underground) churches that slowly but surely expand like an oil slick. It’s MissionInvest’s prayer that God blesses this project richly in creating a kind of ripple effect that will have lasting impact on the longer term to further expand God’s Kingdom in the Arab world!  

Project impression

Script EN
Script EN open and not realized


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