Hardly a week goes by in which there is not a new story to tell in the lives of House of Blessing missionaries. For over 32 months, there have been stories of the many who have found their Messiah Jesus as Savior. At the same time, there are the difficult stories of the losses and the heartache that comes with them. In spite of deaths of the missionaries killed for their faith, others continue sharing, knowing that each day might be their last. This week was no different.
Pastor R***** was stricken with a severe case of the flu and had to be taken to the hospital as he was meeting with several of his helpers. After he left, these men were attacked and killed by jihadists and the tent they were in was burned to the ground. This, as I understand it, was not the larger teaching tent, but another tent used for storage of supplies with which to help the refugees and volunteer missionaries. Our pastor friend was spared but deeply pained by the death of men he had just been with.
As most know by now, there have been many massacres in the Middle East in the last three years as dozens of jihadist groups seek to expand their influence in both Iraq and Syria. Both of these nations have become killing fields. A story that has been on multiple news sources this past week is of the massacre in northern Iraq of over 150 women and girls who refused the jihadist marriages that ISIS allows between their fighters and captives. Most of the women were Yazidi tribe women and children, and many were Christian. The report said that the women were killed and dumped into mass graves and the children left in the desert.
Some of the widows we have been writing about, whom we refer to as the Widow Sisterhood, were caught up in this massacre. Sadly, I confirmed that 15 of the Widow Sisterhood were among the 150 murdered. Many of the others were women that these widows had been ministering to. This last week it was also confirmed that 5 other widows were murdered on the Syrian side of the border (a border which has essentially been erased by ISIS).
I have touched on this before, but I feel I need to mention it again. For those of us in other parts of the world that are not yet facing this type of brutal persecution, it is easy to ignore these tragic stories and bury ourselves in other concerns. Yet, even though we don’t know these people personally, they are “family”. They are part of the family of God and we are commanded to pray for them, and it must be more than a shallow “Lord, please bless the missionaries.” The Apostle Paul when he wrote to the Ephesians asked them to pray like this:
“…praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints–and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” (Ephesians 6:18-20)
I know that there are many missionary works across the planet today, and they all need prayer and support. In our case, God has seen fit to join us at the hip with House of Blessing, in Jerusalem, Israel. So pray, I must, and I do, and I am thankful for every single word of prayer each one of you readers send up to the Throne of God. He hears and He answers. Pray that the daily needs of these folks are met. They never ask for anything except Bibles. They would rather study God’s Word than eat, yet human beings need a place to sleep, blankets and mattresses, and food. The Lord has given us the right to approach His throne boldly with these needs, and He will bless those that help.
Tens of millions of Christians have been martyred for their faith since Jesus warned us that if the world hated Him, they would also hate us. In our day, more Christians are being martyred than ever before in history. The second coming of our Messiah is imminent and the evil one is in a rage because he sees his time running short. Let’s all determine between us and God to finish our short stay in this fallen world well. We would all like to hear the words: Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord. (Matthew 25:21 NKJV)
Very soon now, the number of souls that are going to be reached before the Great Day of the Lord comes will be fulfilled. Somewhere that last one will be reached and then sudden destruction will fall upon this wicked generation as the 7 years of tribulation begin. It might just be that person you speak with tomorrow! Or, maybe that last one will be in China, or Iraq. Only God knows. Our job is to do as written in the hymn by John Sammis so many years ago, “Trust and Obey”.
God Bless and keep each one of you.