As I sit down at my laptop to write this update, I find it hard to know where to start. I have now had the privilege of reporting the amazing story of what our God has done through Pastor R and House of Blessing in the Middle East for 3 years and 8½ months. Today’s update will again include the miraculous interventions of Almighty God on behalf of His faithful servants, incredible stories of hundreds of people being reached during the worst of times, and also the account of more missionaries having paid the ultimate price.
Few people are unaware of the atrocities committed in Paris on Friday November 13. Just days before the mass-casualty terrorist attack in Paris, a Russian passenger plane was brought down in the Sinai with a bomb that had been smuggled on board in Egypt, killing all 224 aboard. The responsibility for these terrorist attacks was claimed by ISIS. As a result, there has been a marked increase in bombings of known ISIS locations. According to military sources, Russia had already flown about 2,300 bombing sorties in the last 48 days. Ever since confirming that the passenger plane was in fact brought down by an on-board bomb, they have more than doubled their bombing runs. In addition to the step-up in bombing runs by Russia, France has now come in with a vengeance and bombing ISIS positions, particularly ISIS’s proclaimed capital, Raqqa. France’s aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle and its support ships are now also steaming toward the eastern Mediterranean Sea in order to engage in this war effort against ISIS.
No matter how much detail I might be able to include in this update, it is impossible to portray the true picture of what it is like for the people on the ground with all that is now happening. At this point, reports from several news sources tell of even panicked ISIS jihadists trying to get themselves and their families out of the line of fire, especially from in and around Raqqa. It is especially difficult for us to imagine what it has been like for those who have been having to deal with the murderous jihadist groups, and now incessant bombing runs. People are trying to find some safety, even if only momentary! The number of dead on the ground is growing. Just days ago, House of Blessing managed to find a tractor to rent and buried well over 300 believers and an untold number of Muslim people just as an act of love for the relatives of the dead.
The events of the last few days have not become any easier for the HOB missionaries. As people are lying injured and dying everywhere the planes have just passed, the missionaries run over to see who is still alive and can be ministered to. Hundreds of the dying genuinely ask Messiah Jesus to become their LORD and Master with the help of the praying missionaries. Hundreds of other Muslim people have become believers as well. The phone call I received this morning described that at least 180 of the newly reached believers were killed in the last couple days of bombing and are needing to be buried, tragically including another 17 widows belonging to Mofidah’s “Widow Sisterhood.” Many of the dead had been reached the day before they passed into eternity. House of Blessing is presently looking for another tractor that can be rented for the burial task. As last time, they will again bury as many others as they can. Sister Mofidah confirmed to Pastor R that there are a great many being killed. Even though terrorists are the target, scores of innocents are dying as well, but we live in a fallen world and this is the way war is.
Pastor R was able to get some news from Brother Omar in Iraq. They had apparently been able to have a good sized gathering and God once again did amazing things. The large group of sheikhs that were reached not long ago when they happened on a teaching meeting, are still meeting with leaders who are instructing them in the true ways of Messiah Jesus. These men and their families have been able to extend their reach greatly, reaching more and more of their friends and former followers. God is good!
Four of Omar’s missionaries were tragically caught by ISIS jihadists and were murdered because they would not return to Islam. Things like this are always hard to bear but these men will never suffer again! They are now in the presence of the One that died for them!
As I shared in my previous update, cholera is spreading swiftly in Iraq. I don’t know the latest figures, but thousands have been infected. The missionaries are being urged to collect as much rainwater as possible for drinking instead of accessing streams or rivers. Because so much of the infrastructure has been damaged, the rivers are polluted by sewage.
Now I would like to make an attempt at giving you the account of an extraordinary experience Pastor R just had. For those that have read previous updates, you will remember that Pastor R has been moved several times a week due to the extreme dangers from bombings, etc. This last week, he was moved seven times! Because of the fact that he is confined to a wheelchair, he quite often has to be carried while someone else carries his wheelchair. Just hours before he called me this morning, the missionaries who stay with him and care for him decided they needed to quickly move him again. As they were hastily moving him, they saw what appeared to be one of Russia’s smart-bombs aiming right at where they were running. It caught them so much off-guard that they dropped Pastor R on the ground and scattered in all directions. As R found himself on the ground facing this incoming projectile, thinking this was how he was going HOME, he threw his arm into the air in its direction and shouted “Glory Hallelujah” at the top of his voice. As Pastor R was telling me this, he said, “I don’t even know how to describe what happened next! He said as he pointed right at the incoming bomb or missile, and shouted those words, it was like some kind of supernatural electricity or force shot out of his fingertips and as incredulous as it sounds, that weapon of death instantly changed its direction, veering off at an angle, hitting the ground far enough away that none of the destruction it caused reached him where he lay on the ground!
Of course, those who had been carrying him came running back apologizing profusely, but no apology was required. It was just something that happened! God was well aware and intervened in a rather unique way! Once again, it proved not the time for Pastor R to leave this earth. Psalm 91 reminds us of where we stand with God during trouble:
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most high will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God,in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
One question that naturally is asked, “Why does God not spare every believer from bad things”? We do live in a fallen world and it will rain on the just as well as the unjust. Accidents happen, death happens, but for a believer, nothing escapes God’s attention. If it does not fit into God’s plan, it will not be allowed to come to pass. This last week, HOB lost 17 widows to bombs and 4 missionaries to martyrdom. Pastor R was targeted by the enemy of our souls, but he could not overrule God’s masterplan. This is the promise we find in Psalm 91 for the believer who walks with God.
As is shared with every update, the needs are huge. The winter is setting in and with the war becoming more and more extreme, our missionaries need daily earnest prayer of intercession. Their needs also include winter clothing, mattresses, medicine, wheat, and of course Bibles. For anyone that has any other questions, feel free to send me an e-mail.
I want to close this update with one thought. Over the 44 months I have been writing these updates, I have found folks having a difficult time believing that there is really this great of a harvest. The miracles are also hard to believe. Yet, what we are seeing is exactly what was prophesied in Scripture for these last moments of this age. God said that His Spirit would be poured out in great measure, the miracles would be astounding, and the harvest reached, immense! Can we not allow for the fact that God is fulfilling His promise? I watched part of a video a few days ago that was taken at a very large gathering of many thousands of Egyptian Christians totally lost in their worship of Jesus Christ. This is happening in all countries within the Muslim world today. No matter that some of the Body of Christ is not doing as well as it should, the majority of the true remnant Church today is flourishing and has the power of God’s Spirit working through it. Allah and his prophet are not winning the battle today! God is! The devil is in a rage today and would like to murder every single Christian alive, but God will not allow it. He will rather, remove the “Restrainer”, as is promised in 2 Thessalonians 2:7. Who is the Restrainer? This is the true remnant Church operating with the power of the Holy Spirit. As long as this Church is still here, unrestrained evil cannot be unleashed. The Restrainer (of evil) must be removed first! Then all hell will break loose…literally!
As far as the numbers of people being reached in the Middle East today, many Christian organizations are now confirming this. I have numerous articles on my desk confirming these facts. Others ask if these “salvations” are truly genuine. Again, many missionaries, and representatives of numerous organizations confirm this as well. The proof is in the fruit!
I want to thank each person that has responded so many times to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, in strategic prayer and so many other ways! Pastor R, Brother Omar, Brother Adel, Sister Mofidah and the several hundred missionaries that are serving with House of Blessing also send their grateful thank you. Your prayers work because God answers prayer!!
House Of Blessing; P.O. Box 2093; Redmond, Oregon USA, 97756