Over the past three years, I have become used to receiving calls from the Middle East; calls telling me of some of the most amazing happenings. Then in the same call or a day or two later, I hear the stories of HOB missionaries who paid with their lives for daring to share the love of God for the human race. This week I received one of those calls with both the anticipated good news of more people reached with the Gospel, along with the news that is more difficult to hear and absorb. If you are a regular reader of this Mideast Update, you will likely know that an explosive device detonated outside of Pastor R*****’s tent while he was receiving updates from three of the HOB missionaries. As soon as it went off, all three men threw their bodies over their beloved R*****, shielding him from as much of the shrapnel as their bodies could absorb. These men were all killed, but as a result of their protective response, the life of Pastor R***** was again spared. However, his legs suffered eight serious shrapnel wounds. Because he has little feeling in his legs, he was able to remove the shrapnel from his legs, but he lost a great deal of blood. The names of the men who gave their lives to shield their pastor are Faruk, Ghazi, and Jamal. I would ask that we continue to pray for the families of these three men as they continue to share the good news of God’s love and provision for the sins of the human race through Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago. I wish I had the names of all 600 or so House Of Blessing’s missionaries that have died martyr’s deaths over the last 3 years, but I do not. God however knows each one quite well and has every detail recorded. They will be eternally rewarded for their faithfulness as they served to the very point of their physical lives being extinguished!
At the time of my call a couple days ago, Mofidah, leader of the “Widow Sisterhood” had been very involved with praying with the dead and dying once again. The brutal battles between Bashar Assad’s forces and the resistance in Syria again left many hundreds–if not thousands of innocents dead and dying. Bombs, missiles, artillery shells, IEDs, and other weaponry, in the hands of tens of thousands of Islamic jihadists have killed hundreds of thousands since the early spring of 2011. Again and again, missionaries are caught in the crossfire or where bombs and missiles impact. These missionaries know quite well that they may be killed or wounded but they have only one goal and that is to reach at least one more soul before they die. Sister Mofidah, within the last few days was able to pray with over 200 who were dying. These folks, in the last moments of their physical lives on this planet gave lordship of their very eternities over to Messiah Jesus, asking Him to forgive them of their sins and accepting His free gift of salvation. What miracles!! The transformation of a life from heading to an eternity without God to Paradise in His glorious presence is a much greater miracle than any physical healing or even raising from the dead! Hallelujah!
Yet, there is always a price. More of the widows were killed in the fields of the dead and dying by more bombs and missiles. After losing some of the widows last week, another seven were killed within the last couple days. It is such a tragedy, but they are now in the presence of their Master, Jesus the Messiah. They will never have pain again, nor will they ever have to experience any grief.
During the same time another four of HOB’s missionaries were killed in Syria. In Iraq, brother Omar lost eight more of his volunteer missionaries! Many of them were lost in Fallujah. This is a very difficult area. The war is very intense. Added to the violence of the war is the agenda of ISIS and other Islamic jihadists that intend to wipe Christianity off the face of the earth.
While all of these attacks were going on, many hundreds have become followers of Messiah Jesus! Our Lord has continued to answer one of our most intense prayers; please multiply each and every one of the fallen missionaries by at least 100 souls. He has done this and much more!! This has happened from the very beginning of this project in late March 2012 until this present day! Praise GOD!
As well as providing more Bibles for the new believers, HOB has done all it could possibly do with the funds available to provide additional wheat, survival supplies, mattresses, blankets, etc. It is so amazing what God has laid on the hearts of God’s people to sacrifice so that the desperate needs of so many of the destitute are reached! And, He has multiplied EVERYTHING! That’s the GOD we serve!
As the missionaries have learned to trust God for every single day of survival, they see thousands of innocents being slaughtered. We in the West cannot even imagine. It is however important that we allow ourselves to be impacted with what is happening in other parts of the world. The fallen Lucifer knows his time is short and he still intends to win! Can he? Absolutely NOT, yet in his twisted view, he thinks he will still destroy Jehovah GOD’s sovereign rule and control over His creation…and eternity! It will not happen!! Our God is GOD! There is only ONE! Let’s look at this this powerful passage in Isaiah 45:
I am the LORD, and there is no other; There is no God besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me, that they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is none besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other; I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the LORD, do all these things. (verses 5-7, NKJV)
While all these things are going on, great gains are being realized in the Kurdistan area, western Iran, and in Jordan. What a continuing miracle it is! As we submit ourselves to the authority and leading of the Master, souls are being harvested by the tens of thousands. The love of our Father is so great!
As I was preparing to get this update edited, I received the troubling word that Pastor R***** has taken a turn for the worse. When I spoke with him a couple days ago, the prognosis for him getting back out of the hospital was quite positive. Today, they have found that gangrene is threatening to enter his bloodstream. Folks, our brother is already in a wheelchair due to the things he has already endured in his service to our Master. Now he is being threatened with gangrene—which must be kept from his bloodstream. Without a miracle this could cost him his legs. Let us pray en masse! Pastor R***** has given his all. The believing world does not even know what all has been sacrificed…and in a sense, it is not important for all to know details, except that the Kingdom of God has been given the highest priority. This is what matters most–especially now. Time is very short; we are at the end of the age and our Lord is about to call His faithful servants home!
In a book of stories of martyrs through the ages I found a couple paragraphs I would like to reprint here:
Being “eternity minded” is one thing that those who are so willing to give their lives for Jesus have that others seem to lack. Their perspective looks something like this: “So, ten thousand years from now, when I am just settling into heaven, will I remember the things I do today with satisfaction or shame?
Though they are heavenly minded, they are not so wrapped up in thinking about heaven that they are content to just wait life out on earth in their impatience to get there, nor are they so excited about the Rapture coming that all they do is study end-times prophecies to the exclusion of almost all else. They want to do things in this life that will make a difference for heaven, and they want to make that difference every day. What is life on earth really worth compared to an eternity in heaven? Isn’t it worth living in a little discomfort or inconvenience here to make a difference for our eternity there?
I believe that it is important to understand how end-times prophecy is unfolding. There are also advantages to understanding current events, especially since nearly one third of the Scriptures have to do with prophecy. At the same time, we must be about our Father’s business, which is completing the Great Commission. The closer we come to the beginning of the Great and Terrible Day of the LORD, the more dangerous it will become for true believers in Jesus Christ. This is why it is of the utmost importance that we are well connected to Him. We cannot do it without Him.
The Apostle Paul said this in 2 Corinthians 4:11-18:
Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus’ sake, which makes Jesus’ life all the more evident in us. While we’re going through the worst, you’re getting in on the best! We’re not keeping this quiet, not on your life. Just like the psalmist who wrote, “I believed it, so I said it,” we say what we believe. And what we believe is that the One who raised up the Master Jesus will just as certainly raise us up with you, alive. Every detail works to your advantage and to God’s glory: more and more praise!
So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever. (The Message)
Please keep House of Blessing and their missionaries in your prayers. They are our brethren. Because of the fact that we get requests for prayer from many sources, it is very easy to say we will pray and then we forget. Prayer however is of the utmost importance and we must hold these brethren up. If we were in their shoes, we would be grateful for others interceding for us. With Pastor R*****, earnest prayer, pleading the BLOOD of Jesus over his life and body might just be the thing to spare his life…
For those that have a desire to help, the mailing address is below. Thank you.
House of Blessing (HOB); 3206 SW 45th Street; Redmond, OR 97756