As I look over the last few updates, I can see how the reports I have been receiving of the missionary work from the front lines in the Middle East, very much reflect the news from that part of the world. Only someone totally oblivious to the news of the world would not be aware of the dramatic increase in tensions in the Middle East. As tensions in the area increase, there is also a dramatic increase in the amount of military equipment and manpower in the region as well as obvious preparations for what can only be an expected major escalation very soon.
Many of the reports that I receive describe tens of thousands of people running for their lives as relentless bombing is carried out by many militaries. An estimated 350,000 people have been killed in Syria since the civil war began in early 2011. About half of the Syrian population has been displaced, with many millions having fled the nation completely. For those who remain, things are bleak, with much of the infrastructure now destroyed and rubble everywhere. During one of the recent bombing campaigns in and near Aleppo, international news services reported 70,000 people running for their lives within one 24-hour period from just one part of Syria’s second largest city. There are war planes criss-crossing Syria’s skies from Great Britain, France, Greece, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, Qatar, Russia, United States, Israel, and of course Syria’s own air force. Add to this, other nations who are represented either with their military involvement, weapons provision, or other military support. Additional to this, there are the many jihadist groups who are using Syria as a “killing field.” Some estimate that there are about thirty of these groups.
In the middle of all this chaos are the Syrian people who are just trying to survive…and in the midst of them are the missionaries! The missionaries are also running from one place to another, but their running is mostly for different purposes. They continue to try and reach as many of the wounded or dying victims of this war as they possibly can. The injuries due to bombings and shrapnel are everywhere. The Lord continues to use the HOB’s “Widow Sisterhood” in particular in treating the injured, praying for their healing, and most important of all, leading them to a knowledge of Jesus Christ, the real Messiah. I have detailed many of the true accounts of their ministry over the past months. The work of these widows continues in spite of the fact that again and again I receive the tragic news that more of them have been killed, many as victims of the incessant missiles, bombs, or artillery. In the last couple weeks I have received reports of 15 widows being killed at one time; this after another 3 widows had been killed along with 11 children (3 of them handicapped) that the widows had been caring for. Then a report of two entire families killed, 21 in all including several children. These were all new believers. Another 120 new believers were also killed and a hospital hit by a missile resulting in unimaginable carnage. This is only some of the many tragedies befalling the HOB missionaries and the new believers being discipled by them.
More and more deaths are also being attributed to kidney failure and diabetes. The lack of essential supplies is so critical that additional scores are dying of starvation. Previously I had received reports that the United Nations was only able to supply food for about 45% of the refugees. That percentage has now reportedly become much less. House of Blessing has bought truckload after truckload of wheat and other essential supplies as God has supplied the means to do so. This has helped to keep some of the people alive physically as they hear the message of the love of God which has provided forgiveness to the seeker. Many hundreds are praying the sinner’s prayer every week…some just before entering eternity.
In Iraq, the work of the missionaries continues as well. Along with the typical challenges of the work the missionaries face every day, cholera has now become a problem in Iraq due to sewage getting into the drinking water. Over 1,800 cases had already been confirmed as of a couple weeks ago. Brother Omar also confirmed dozens of deaths, some being missionaries and others of the new believers. In Iraq and Syria, HOB’s missionaries are desperately trying to get the hundreds of bodies buried. This is something that is now consuming a great deal of time and energy.
In this latest report, I received good news about the surviving former Muslim sheikhs that recently became believers. They are all doing well and are continuing to reach family, friends, and those who formerly attended their mosques. God is good!
Reports coming out of Iran, Kurdistan area, and Jordan also tell of innumerable small groups of believers meeting to study God’s Word and for prayer. The true Church of Jesus Christ is very much alive and changing the world around it!
Please join me in continuing to pray earnestly for Pastor R and HOB’s faithful missionaries. The work of House Of Blessing is very much alive, but they need the prayers of their Christian family around the world. These missionaries are in constant danger. As the cold of winter begins, they often go without food and water and there are times when they are sick. There are also times of discouragement. Often, the demands they face are overwhelming. But we are being called to intercede for them before the throne of God. The Apostle Paul put his prayer requests in these words:
Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one. (2 Thessalonians 3:1-3)
I end this update with Paul’s words in Romans 15:
Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me that I may be delivered from those in Judea who do not believe, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you. (verses 30-32)
NOTE: Due to many comments and requests coming in in response to the special update dated October 26th, I will continue to see to it that any gifts sent for the ministry of HOB, be deposited as before. The needs will always be there, but funds will just not be solicited via the blog updates, as requested by House of Blessing leadership. We will continue trusting God to meet every need and thank Him as He does so. Thank You.