In Joel 3:14, we find these well known words:
Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.
This is the scene all over the world today as millions face the valley of decision. In the Mideast, most people have lost all hope of life ever becoming normal again. Day after day news stories detail the horrors of people’s homes being hit with bombs or missiles. Barrel bombs are being dropped by the dozens, and although most military forces claim to be avoiding civilians as much as possible, the truth on the ground is otherwise.
Hospital after hospital is being badly damaged or totally destroyed. Children’s hospitals have suffered the same, as have blood banks. On occasion, so-called escape routes are being provided. Often, they do not prove to be ways of escape but rather ambushes. People are being urged to get out of the areas that are experiencing the heaviest bombings, but where are the people suppose to escape to? Most take whatever they can carry and go out to the desert. They have no food, no shelter, no sanitary facilities, and certainly no medicines. They do gather into groups however, hoping, by sheer numbers to find ways of protecting each other and surviving.
Note: Photos do not necessarily directly have to do with the story line of this blog, but are pulled from my current Mideast files as illustrations.
For most it is hopeless. Powerful militaries from different parts of the world are engaged in battle. Added to this is the ever-present conflict between the Sunni Muslims and the Shiite Muslims–a conflict that has been going on for centuries. And then there are the dozens of jihadist groups that have moved into the area just to kill, without recrimination by any functioning law. ISIS gained a reputation of being the worst of the worst. Wherever territory is taken back from them, there seemingly is no end to the mass graves filled with butchered people. School yards are found filled with beheaded corpses, children’s toys, and skulls.
Large cities like Aleppo, Homs, Idlib, and Damascus, Syria; as well as Mosul, Fallujah, Ramadi, Kirkuk, Iraq, have been decimated. Huge sections of these cities have been leveled. People are trying to survive in burned or bombed out buildings, tent cities, or out in the desert. It is beyond description.
Millions of people who have been raised in the Muslim faith are now looking elsewhere for truth. The Islamic truths that they have been devoted to their entire lives, have turned into a death trap. If you, as a devout Muslim, don’t happen to belong to the particular understanding of the Islamic faith that the man with the rifle in front of you has, you are going to be tortured and slaughtered. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims are now ashamed of their own religion because it is being demonstrated to the entire world that Islam is not a religion of peace, but rather one of hatred. What is being demonstrated in the name of religion is beyond barbaric, it is demonic.
As Christian missionaries tell the story of the tremendous love of God for the human race, demonstrated through the life, death, and resurrection of Messiah Yeshua, hopeless Muslim people find genuine hope once again. There really is a God of love, and His name is not Allah! There really have been true prophets of God, but the prophet Muhammad was not one of them.
Story after story is retold by House of Blessing missionaries about how easy it is to reach Muslim people with the true gospel, found in the Bible. The real story just needs to be told, and the harvest of souls is in the hundreds every single week!
A story was passed to me just a few days ago about another of the new graduates of the School of Ministry. This graduate’s name is Omar. Long-time readers may remember another Omar and his wife who became martyrs. This Omar is another man, a young man of 27, who also had the same desire as Same (pronounced Sammy) had in a previous Mideast Update, to reach his father, who also was a Muslim leader. Omar’s father, Anwar, is 72 years old and serves as head-sheikh to a small mosque having 50 regular male attendees. When Omar began to tell him the good news of Jesus Christ and who He really was, and the real story about His crucifixion and resurrection and the eternal forgiveness offered through His blood that was shed for the sins of the human race, the old sheikh asked his son to pray the sinner’s prayer with him! A couple days later, Sheikh Anwar, told the story of what he had done and why to his entire congregation of men that had gathered for Friday prayers. Before the day was over, Anwar and his son, Omar, had led every single man in that mosque to the feet of Messiah Yeshua in prayer. All 50 men became followers of Jesus last Friday and are now, as leaders in their families, bringing their families to the Lord as well. Omar was able to leave five Bibles with the new Christian congregation. The miracles just go on, and on, and on!
One of the first things this elderly sheikh decided to do, was to go to meet Pastor R. He traveled to Pastor R’s location and spent some quality time with him, receiving advice, instruction, and of course, a special prayer of blessing over Anwar at his request. As it turned out, Sheikh Anwar was still fellowshipping with Pastor R in his tent at the time that Pastor R called me with updated information. Anwar was able to speak some English and asked to speak with me on the phone. After talking together for a few minutes, he asked if I would pray with him over the phone. It is very difficult to convey the emotion I felt at having such a privilege! After hearing his great excitement about his newfound relationship with the Creator of the universe, it was an honor for me to pray with and for this man! The 10,000 miles between us did not exist! We were as close as if he were in my office, or I were in the tent with him and Pastor R! What can I say but to tell you that the joy of the Lord connected the three of us in a way that nothing on this earth ever could! God is good!! So, please pray for this former Muslim sheikh, Anwar. He is now a child of the KING of Kings. I am sure that Anwar’s son, Omar, will help his father learn all the things he himself learned while attending House of Blessing’s School of Ministry.
As to the rest of the updated information from the Mideast: I am sure that most readers have read the story of how Sister Mufidah and seven of those belonging to the “Widow Sisterhood” had been in a place that had been bombed. As you know, they could not outrun the ordinance their area had been targeted with and they were badly injured, but not killed. They suffered very serious injuries that I don’t have details of yet and they had lost a lot of blood. Due to the response from praying people from different parts of the world, when the urgent need was made known, enough money was raised to pay for two units of blood for each of the women. They are being treated, but sadly, one of the women, Sister Nawal, has passed away. She had been very seriously injured and had lost a great amount of blood. But she is now in the arms of her Saviour and Lord, Yeshua. She will never suffer again! Please do pray for the other seven women as they recuperate from injuries.
I do want to mention in passing that, due to Mufidah’s heavy injuries, she has had to turn her leadership over to Sister Fadwa. She will need our prayers just as Mufidah did. Hopefully, Mufidah will soon recover and be able to go back to the front lines where she wants to be. Fadwa is presently ministering to 18 of the war-injured as Mufidah would have.
Another miracle to report has to do with the ten women I had mentioned in a very recent update that were missing. You might remember that three more widows had been located who had been kidnapped about two years ago. They were part of a group of 13, who like the rest of the women found in bombed out buildings, had been used and abused as “jihad sex slaves.” All had had to watch as their husbands had been tortured and murdered in front of them. Most of them also had children murdered before their eyes.
As the story was told to me, once again, brother Akram was out evangelizing when he saw something out of the ordinary. He saw a group of women trying to bury someone. What was unusual was they were trying to perform a Christian burial. When he went to investigate, he found that these women were nine of the ten missing women they had been looking for. The tenth widow had died and this is who they were trying to bury.
Akram and those with him then helped the women bury the fallen Christian woman. Afterwards, he took them to the same place where all the others had been taken who came out of this horrible circumstance. As I count it, there are now 56 widows being housed in the same place, all of which had been captives of ISIS, all needing great care and healing. It truly is a miracle that these women have all been found and are together in one place. As you might remember, Sister Fatima, from Falluja, sent up a sizeable group of women to help in their care and healing process. God is good!
The loss of believers seems to continue every week. This past week, another two of the new believers were lost in the Aleppo area, along with 12 children. At the same time however, Hafesah was able to serve communion to a large gathering of believers. She and those that were helping her served at least 1,050 people! All of these people were met by the presence of the Holy Spirit, who strengthened, anointed, and healed many! Those meeting, who have not been baptized with the power of the Holy Spirit, always leave having been immersed with His presence and power!
Sarah continues moving from place to place, sharing the love of God through her testimony. Many are touched and commit themselves to the Messiah as a result. In northern Syria, this last week, at least 117 souls were reached and brought into the Kingdom of God! The harvest field is everywhere and includes men, women, and children…lots of children!
In Fallujah, where brother Adel and Sister Fatima are located, the situation continues to be very difficult. There is great chaos, and at this time, nothing less is expected. Four believers were martyred and another eight children were lost. However, in spite of experiencing these losses, at least 80 souls were brought into the Kingdom of God. Think of it; another 80 souls whose eternal destiny was rerouted due to the power of the Blood of Jesus! Sister Fatima held communion as well this past week and served 950 believers! It is hard for me to imagine having communion services like this in some of the most dangerous places on earth–especially for Christians!
Mosul continues to be both a killing and a harvest field. Many of the mass graves I referred to earlier in this update are being found in and around Mosul. Iraqi soldiers continue finding these mass graves due to the smell. Most of the graves are very shallow. It has to be heartbreaking to see firsthand what the ISIS terrorists have done, especially to innocent children. The terror and its markings are everywhere.
It is in this general location that brother Akram and those ministering with him are evangelizing. Those of us reading these updates should imagine ourselves walking at the side of these powerful missionaries. We also can carry the presence and power of God with us…and we should! We are going to need it! We just have to want it badly enough, and then go after it! Listen to the words of this psalm of David in the wilderness of Judah:
O God, You are my God; earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh faints for You, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding Your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise You. so I will bless You as long as I live; in Your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise You with joyful lips,…” Psalm 63:1-5
In closing, I want to thank every person that has responded to the urgent needs at hand, both in earnest prayer and also in support. It truly is humbling to get the inspired notes you folks send. House of Blessing is greatly blessed to have your support! God is doing an amazing thing, and He is not finished!
I would like to share one of the notes I have recently received from “Down Under”:
“What a blessing your recent M.E. updates have been!…the photo of one of the lorry loads of wheat that arrived safely, hearing how many people were fed, news of the ongoing healing of the 26 widows…so much to praise our faithful God for! I also appreciate the Scriptures you highlight and feel so privileged to be able to support HOB in prayer, knowing individual names makes it much more personal…” J…B…
Another reader says:
“Please know our partners are praying intently with you. Thank you for keeping us updated on our dear brothers and sisters, so we may pray and stand with them. May All His Prayers be answered! “ S…
And a third recent comment:
“I join in prayer for these faithful women of the Lord!!!! Please know that my heart is with you and them!!!! Also, give my love and blessings to Pastor R!!! Blessings Always,” A…
May the Holy Spirit bless and empower each and every one of you at this late hour in our generation.
Continuing in His Service,
House of Blessing, 3206 SW 45th Street, Redmond, Oregon USA 97756
(questions can be sent directly to my e-mail address at firstname.lastname@example.org)