I am sent out, as a missionary, by a local Baptist church. As a missionary I run the day to day operations of our ministry, work with the national pastors, and take two trips a year to the Middle East. On these trips, I serve the churches that we support and make sure that the pastors are being held accountable.
In order to provide accountability and direction to the ministry of Light of Life International, we have a board of directors that is made up of four local church pastors (one retired) and myself. The board provides oversight and guidance, both financially and practically, by making sure that I am working within established guidelines, maintaining exceptional personal work ethic, and possessing the Christlike character necessary to be directing this vital ministry. I receive a pre-determined salary to direct the ministry. As our ministry grows, all new support is used in two ways. First, to help support more church planters. Our goal is to have as many church planters as possible, since we work in such an unreached area, with so few churches. Second, the finances will sometimes be used for special projects—mainly outreach projects to refugees.
The board also stewards all finances. Even though I am the director of ministry, I am unable to either write or cash any checks for the ministry. This is only to be done by our treasurer or secretary. This ensures a system of checks and balances. We also believe that being sent out by a local church, while also having an independent board which oversees the ministry, is an excellent way to keep all costs of ministry low. Currently, we average 5%-7% yearly on administrative costs. Because of our structure, more of the money given to missions ends up on the mission field. All of our board members serve as volunteers.
Our Board Members
Pastor Jon Allen
The Community Baptist Church
Garden City, MI
The members of the Community Baptist Church and myself as pastor recommend Missionary Irfan Abdullatif to you. We have licensed him to the gospel ministry. He has excellent preaching and presentation skills. After years of watching him grow in faith and grace, watching him lead Light of Life International as the director, we give a full recommendation to you and your church to take Irfan on for support. Our church supports him and I serve on the board of directors for Light of Life International.
Pastor David Miles (Retired)
First Baptist Church
Flat Rock, MI
It has not only been a privilege to serve on the Board of Directors of Light of Life International Baptist Ministries; it has been an honor. Light of Life is the most dynamic gospel ministry I have known! That is why I whole-heartedly recommend it and it’s Director, Irfan Abdullatif, to you and your church. The only thing that is going to stop what is going on in the Middle East is a change of heart and only Jesus can bring that change! This is what Light of Life and Brother Irfan are striving to do! Through his efforts, and the national pastors there, we are seeing one Muslim after another coming to know Jesus as Savior!! If you are looking for a worthy missionary work to support, you have found it.
Pastor Dallas Berry
I am excited to be able to recommend to you Irfan Abdullatif and Light of Life International. I’ve had the privilege to be a part of the Board of Directors since 2005 serving with Irfan’s dad, Monthir, and now Irfan since Monthir’s passing in 2011. You will be blessed and enriched to partner with Irfan in reaching Arabic speaking families and individuals within the States and overseas. What a thrill to know you are a part of a ministry where life transformation is taking place in the darkest of places. The Holy Spirit is changing lives as a result of Light of Life. If I can ever answer questions you have concerning Irfan or Light of Life, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you for your willingness to join with us in a global outreach to the Arabic speaking community.
Pastor Barry Bedwell
Faith Baptist Church
Dearborn Heights, MI
As pastor of the Faith Baptist Church in Dearborn Heights, MI, I appreciate anyone who has a heart for mission work in Muslim countries around the world. God is using Irfan in many new and exciting ways. He is an impressive and articulate speaker who understands the needs of the Muslim world. Irfan has a heart of compassion to win souls as he supports churches in many areas of the Middle East. I highly recommend him as an outstanding preacher…one worthy of your support. It is a privilege to serve as a board member for Light of Life International!
Light of Life International
Hazel Park, MI
Of course I’d recommend Light of Life as a ministry worthy of support, but it runs very deep for me personally. This spot on the globe is a spot I feel called to explicitly. I could serve in no other place but the Middle East. It is personal. As someone who was born in Iraq and who comes from a Muslim heritage, I have a deep and burning passion for all the people of the Middle East. This is a labor of love. Every person we see come to Christ thrills me in a way that I never knew was possible before I became involved in Light of Life. In a place that is stricken by war, hunger, and trials, the only hope for the people we serve is Jesus. They will likely always deal with problems you and I can never truly understand, but when I see a Muslim from that part of the world become new in Jesus, we have transcended those earthly trials and given to them life everlasting.
On top of that, I get to work with some of the most amazing men as I train and labor with national pastors. My respect and love for these men grows year by year as I see their commitment to sharing the gospel regardless of the circumstances. These men are heroes to me. Sacrifice is a daily exercise for them and they do it gladly. I am honored to be a part of Light of Life International because I know we are sharing light in the darkest of places. What a blessing to serve our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the Middle East.
Irfan’s Role as Director of Ministry
As the director of the ministry, I am involved in almost every aspect—from choosing whom we will support, maintaining the website, to writing the newsletter—I do a little bit of everything.
One of my essential duties is choosing who it is that we will support as national pastors. I take this task very seriously and work closely with the men before I choose whom we will support. I make sure that all those we work with are doctrinally sound. I do this not only by speaking to them but by listening to them teach the Scriptures. I also spend time with them (often several weeks) getting to know them as individuals as well as getting to know their families and lifestyle. The process of choosing whom we will support is a rigorous one, and we undertake it with the utmost responsibility.
Twice a year, I visit our church planters. These trips usually last somewhere between 4-6 weeks. The purpose of these trips is to make sure that we are spending the resources the Lord is providing in the correct fashion. We want to make sure that what we are told by our church planters is actually being done. We believe one of the keys to working with nationals is providing accountability.
Some have wondered what I do with the rest of my time if I am only in the Middle East for a few months. One of the great responsibilities I have is getting the word out about our ministry. Since we work in closed countries with heavy persecution, almost everyone who becomes aware of our ministry does so through me directly. In fact, many people have no idea that you can do church planting where we are doing it. This makes it very difficult to do church planting.
Because of this, I travel and speak in many churches. In the last year alone, I spoke in almost 30 different churches. Some of these churches were new churches that were considering our ministry for support. Many were churches that wanted updates on the ministry. Because I live stateside, many churches which support us have me in often, some every year, to update them. I relish these opportunities as I want our supporting churches to be aware and praying for our ministry.
I also travel to raise support for our church planters. We currently have 6 church planters, but our goal is to have many more. The irony of the situation is that there are many churches who want to support missions to the Middle East, and there are also men willing to plant churches; however, there is no way for them to meet. That is where I am of help. I work as an intermediary to help national church planters get sponsored to build self-sustaining churches.
Finally, even when I am stateside, I am in contact with our church planters, encouraging them, receiving reports, and discussing the course of the ministry.
Why We Use National Pastors to Plant Churches and Make Disciples
Light of Life International uses national church planters for several reasons:
We operate in the Middle East, often in areas where the community is hostile to the gospel, making it very difficult for an outsider to start a church.
National church planters do not have to face the barriers of language and customs. Language training can often take years and be very expensive. Often, even after several years, it is difficult for a traditional missionary to fully understand the customs of the country they are in.
National church planters are already in the areas we want to be. We use church planters who are reaching their own people.
It is cost effective. We are able to support a national church planter for a fraction of what it would cost to support a missionary in the traditional way.
It gets results! Almost every month we see people accept Christ and follow him in baptism.