Against Odds, Patricia Bailey Takes Gospel to Arab Nations
- Janet Chismar Senior Editor, News & Culture
- 2004 19 Nov
She was just 21. Even worse, she was the single mom of a three-month-old son. “How could you possibly hear the call to overseas missions?” asked her friends and family. But Dr. Patricia Bailey wouldn’t listen – to the objections, that is. Believing that God would protect her and her young son, Bailey joyfully accepted an invitation from the late Daisy Osborne (wife of evangelist T. L. Osborne) to travel to East and West Africa.
Over the course of the next decade, she served as a missionary in the nations of Zaire, Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Togo, Republic of Benin, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
As the founder of the Master’s Touch Ministries, Bailey has devoted her life to spreading the Gospel to people living in the “10/40 window” – which includes North Africa and the Middle East, an area that is the most populated, but least evangelized, in the world. The “window” extends from 10 degrees to 40 degrees North of the equator, and stretches from North Africa across to China.
Her primary focus in the current season of ministry is North Africa, Oman, U.A.E., Kuwait, Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco and Algeria.
However exciting it may sound to visit these exotic nations, and in spite of God’s protection, Bailey points out that her work is not without challenges. “I am an African-American single mother,” she explains. “In a lot of Arabic nations, the household helpers are indentured servants bought from sub-Saharan African countries. So, in their thinking, as far as the class system or the caste system goes, I’m at the bottom of the bottom of the bottom. All the odds are against me, not to mention the cultural thing of women not being able to teach men.”
But Bailey believes that God really does take “the foolish things to confound the wise.” Her situation forces her to depend totally on God. “There’s no analytical reasoning at all as to why it’s working to be a single woman teaching extreme radical Arab men,” Bailey notes. “I just tell people that anointing knows no gender and it really proves that the place of assignment is the place of purpose.”
Faith is the key to her success. “I believe that He guides, He provides, and I just know that I know that I know He’ll never leave me or forsake me. I literally focus not on my fate but His faithfulness, not on my courage but His ability to protect me.”
Another important factor in mission work is consistency, Bailey explains. People need to know that you genuinely love them. “It helps when they see you’re putting your life on the line continually to be there in perilous times – and they see you coming back.” The Middle East is covenant conscious, she adds. “It’s very important that you keep your word. When they see you do that, the walls come down. Now they protect me, they’re there for me and I enjoy that.”
Because Master’s Touch Ministries is headquartered in Atlanta, Bailey spends half the year in the United State and half overseas. She used to travel more frequently, but due to the tension in the Middle East, has been more cautious about timing trips.
Re-entering the United States always jolts Bailey. “You come back after seeing the suffering and the challenging, unfinished work. You come back to seeing so much of the kingdom resources being improperly distributed and people just taking for granted what we have.” Yet, she acknowledges, there are some here who don’t have anything and are so appreciative of everything they receive.
“You really almost have to guard against becoming cynical. You’ll see people up and leave the church because the pastor preached something they didn’t like. I see the shallow and hollow sense of commitment in ministry. It’s really disillusioning, especially when you’re coming out of places like Sudan and Ethiopia.”
While Bailey gains soul satisfaction from her ministry, her heart just breaks at times because of the gut-wrenching suffering she has witnessed. In Western Saharan refugee camps, for example, 250,000 people have been stranded in the desert for 27 years. In addition to needing the Gospel, children there have never eaten vegetables or fruit. “Sand is all they’ve ever seen and their bodies have never been emerged in water,” Bailey adds. ”There are a lot of suffering people, a lot of hurting people out there, but you see in scripture – in Exodus 3:10 – God says to Moses, ‘I’ve seen the suffering of the people. I’ve heard their cry; their oppression has come up to Me.’
“We can see that God is very much aware of the suffering that is going on around the world,” says Bailey. “However, in the next verse, He comes down by sending Moses. That’s why there’s a need for us to get equipped, be prepared to be an extension of God – sent out to those who are suffering.”
MTM: Where the Inner City Meets International Missions
Statistics reveal that less than 1 percent of African American and Hispanics get involved in foreign missions. This lack of involvement is due to the lack of information, not lack of passion, says Dr. Patricia Bailey. “So, local churches need to bring missions awareness to the minority communities.”
Through MTM Inner-City, pastors are taught strategic mission strategies. As a consultant to local churches, Bailey analyzes the needs of the local assembly and helps the congregation to transform into an “Outreach-Mined” church.
Y.U.G.O. (Young Adults United for Global Outreach) is the missions training component of Master's Touch Ministries. Y.U.GO. brings missions to the inner city to enable youth “to reach beyond economical and cultural barriers and to put feet to their convictions.” Y.U.G.O. does not exclude any race. However, it embraces all people groups in an effort to bring racial reconciliation beginning with the youth.
It consists of a combination of training sessions and street evangelism. Youth and young adults participate in step team competitions, drama, poetry reading, and rap and neo soul worship. The college students and teens are allowed to demonstrate their love for Christ in their own unique way.