After receiving the tragic news of the death of brother Omar and his wife a few days ago, I decided that I would write an update this week around them and what their lives have meant to the Kingdom of God as they worked as missionaries through House of Blessing.
As regular readers will know, our contact with House of Blessing began in the last week of March in 2012 when my wife Anne and I spent a few days in Jerusalem. In response to a very specific prayer offered by us, God put us in contact with Pastor R and we’ve been joined ever since, although about 10,000 miles apart. It was a divine appointment that at the end of this month will be four years ago!
In the last few days, I have spent hours going back into the blog archives to reread past accounts of all that has transpired over these years. As I read account after account of the miracles, the multitudes reached with the Gospel of Jesus, the tragedies, and the martyrdoms of so many hundreds of HOB missionaries, and countless new believers, it really seemed that this saga should cover the span of an entire century, not just four years.
House of Blessing first went into Jordan, bringing the first 1,800 Bibles printed in Arabic with them. As HOB gained a ministry foothold in northern Jordan, the Word of God began to spread like wildfire. Through the conversion of a mullah, who was murdered within days by men within his own mosque, and then through the ministry of his widow, amazing stories began to unfold as the Holy Spirit of God began touching lives by the hundreds.
After ministering in two separate locations in northern Jordan for months, Pastor R and another brother took a chance and crossed into Iraq, taking the remaining handful of Bibles to distribute. As they shared Jesus with the people, a work began that grew like no one could ever have expected. It was primarily brother Omar who nursed this fledgling church along until more Bibles and more help could be sent.
I didn’t hear very much about the work in Iraq for a few months. When I did finally get some news, there was a powerful and strong work being built, which now numbered into the hundreds. As HOB was able to, they sent loads of Bibles into Iraq. At that time, it was about a nine hour trip from where Pastor R was located to where Omar was ministering. Pastor R also personally trained and sent missionaries to help Omar. As God blessed the work, the number of people being reached began to multiply–especially during the annual Muslim observance of the month of Ramadan. Every single year, as the Muslim people fasted and prayed to Allah, Jesus interrupted these prayers, appearing to many of these people and making Himself known to them through dreams and visions. Week after week, month after month passed. Hundreds more were reached by the love of God. At the same time, many Christian missionaries were brutally murdered by Muslim extremists, most often by ISIS jihadists.
In August of 2014, Omar and his wife had the devastating experience of losing their 12-month-old child. When it happened, they could find no reason for his death. Their little boy that had been healthy, but he suddenly became sick and died. Even though they had seen more than their share of suffering and death, there is nothing like losing one’s own child. All they could do was grieve and put it into the hands of the One who gave His own Son as a ransom for us all.
A very short time later, Omar and his wife heard the screams of a man begging for help from anyone that could hear him. Omar ran out and found a man laying on the road bloodied from having been shot. The injuries were very serious and Omar pulled him off of the road and into his own tent. As Omar and his wife tried to attend to him, he tried to fight them off, telling them that if they knew who he was and what he had done, they would rather kill him than help him. Omar then found out that this man was commissioned in the Iraqi army and had been watching Omar for some time. He knew that Omar was a Christian, an infidel in his eyes. He had decided that rather than killing him outright, he would torture him in a different way by attacking his family, thus causing great fear among the believers whom Omar was leading.
This Iraqi officer was horrified to find that the man and woman he had targeted to make an example of were the very ones that pulled him off the road. This officer then confessed to Omar that he had ordered his wife to see to it that the milk that Omar bought for his child was poisoned. So now, the life of the officer who had had Omar’s son poisoned was in Omar’s hands! The officer refused to allow Omar and his wife to aid him and certainly was not accepting their offer of prayer.
What a shock this was for Omar and his wife, now that they faced the horrid revelation of how and why their infant child had died just a few days earlier. They now needed to make a quick decision–one that many have had to make; do we forgive or do we take advantage of the situation at hand? Did God bring this killer and his wife into their hands so they could get revenge?
Omar and his wife decided there was nothing more important than to forgive! This soldier’s life was likely on the line, but more importantly, his eternal destiny was at stake as well. They chose to forgive, whether or not this man accepted it. Omar and his wife finally convinced the man that they had truly forgiven him, and he allowed them to pray for him. As they prayed, our God healed him completely!
Omar and his wife then asked to pray for the officer’s wife who was huddling in the corner of the tent. However, she furiously rejected the offer in the strongest terms, extending her arms in their direction in rejection, saying, NO, NO, NO! As she did so, her skin turned yellow and she fell dead right in front of them! What a tragedy when forgiveness and healing were offered so freely! However, 20 soldiers who were under this man’s command, witnessed their superior being healed and praying the sinner’s prayer, and they all became believers that day as well!
It was only about three months later that brother Omar was leading a group of approximately 60 believers in worship during a teaching session. As they had their hands raised in worship, without warning a group of ISIS terrorists attacked the gathering, splaying them with machine gun fire. Twenty-three were killed on the spot, with five more badly shot and left for dead.The rest managed to crawl out of sight or flee. The five critically injured men included Omar, who had multiple gunshot wounds. All five were taken to a hospital for emergency surgery to repair extensive internal injuries including torn livers, stomachs, etc. All five recovered.
There is so much more that could be told of the life that Omar and his wife lived, but for this update, I will just mention a few more things. It was Omar who ran the HOB operation in Iraq with the help of Adel. He also had the help of a man that was always known only as ‘Rami’s father’, a former head sheikh. With the help of these men, Omar set up mass meetings, something that can not happen without a miracle from God in a place like Iraq. Sometimes, it seems that God sovereignly sets a location aside and shuts the enemy’s eyes and ears until it is too late for them to stop what God had planned. I have photos on file of such meetings.
It was also at a Bible class that Omar was teaching that a large group of sheikhs stopped to listen as they were traveling on the way to the yearly hajj. All of these men, after hearing the teaching, asked to be prayed with so that they also could become believers and followers of Jesus Christ. They and their families traveling with them were then baptized in water. I also have photos of this event in my files!
The story of former head-sheikh Salem was also closely tied to the ministry of brother Omar and his wife. After 250 men who attended a sermon Salem preached became believers, this good brother was murdered as he was walking the next morning. But, that initial 250 new believers turned into many thousands in a very short period of time! Salem’s wife, Fatima, began to serve a special communion to all the new believers and God began to heal and baptize them all with the Holy Spirit, just as in the Book of Acts. There were so many coming to the home of Salem’s widow, Fatima, that Omar had to send at least a dozen of the more mature believers to help with this great harvest of souls!
Omar then arranged for enough locations and teachers to take 250 at a time through the HOB School of Ministry course as quickly as possible. As these classes were being taught, a special group of four head-sheikhs requested permission to sit in on the classes. After a few days of listening in for 4-6 hours a day, they requested to be prayed with so that they could also become believers and followers of Messiah Jesus! This story also got so very much bigger! After taking the course, the four decided to go back to their individual mosques and preach one sermon. They did not tell anyone what they were doing. It turned out that these four men preached to a total of about 18,000 men in their four mosques! Within days thousands were coming to be prayed for! However, tragedy struck these four former head-sheikhs. ISIS caught all four of them and they have not been heard from since, as is the case with Rami’s father and many others.
It was brother Omar that was in the middle of this, and the logistics of it all were becoming a real challenge! I have photos of the hundreds upon hundreds that were gathering so that they could be taught! Through all this, Omar and his wife were used by the Lord to provide leadership so that this harvest could continue. Omar of course called Pastor R many times for wisdom and prayer, and God always provided.
Then, in late February, Omar and his wife were robbed of thousands of dollars they had in their tent that was intended to be used for purchasing more much needed Bibles, and were brutally murdered. The person that found them said it was a sight no one should ever have to see. We were warned by Jesus however that just as He was hated, so would we be hated because of our belief in Him. So, we know the devil will play his hand, but absolutely everything is under the control of Almighty GOD. Nothing gets by Him…NOTHING!
Brother Omar and his wife are now joined to their little son, and best of all, they are in the presence of the One who died to set them free! For a true Christian, it always ends well!
Earlier in this update, I mentioned the Mullah’s widow from the very beginning of this project in early 2012. For those that might remember, Pastor R had gone into a town square in northern Jordan and was having tea at a little outside table when the town Muslim mullah came to sit across from him. The mullah then began to ask very pointed questions about Pastor R which quickly began to touch on belief systems. R is not a novice and was quite careful in what he said until the Holy Spirit prompted him to “tell it all”, as he put it. The end result was that the mullah became a genuine believer and prayed right there in the town square. A few days later he testified to what he had done to the 300 or so gathered in his mosque, telling them that he needed their forgiveness for teaching them from a book of lies for over 40 years. As was recorded in the archives of this blog, this mullah was viciously attacked and mortally wounded in front of his own family, friends, and followers. But, as has proven to be the case every single time, the seed that was planted in the ground and died bore fruit, and a great harvest it became!
Without going into detail of what all came about, let me just include here that every one of his killers became a believer, four of them within the week, and the fifth a few months later. The person who led them in prayer as they became part of the Kingdom of God, was the mullah’s widow! Since that time, we have had little news from her area, but she has been leading underground teaching sessions and raising up new believers all this time! As I spoke with Pastor R yesterday, I learned that she had been very sick and passed away recently. Her work has been completed and she is now with her husband, who is not a mullah now but a genuine child of God! They are enjoying being in the presence of their Master and KING, Jesus Christ, the Messiah!
Because of the length of this update, I will add only a few details of all that is going on currently with HOB.
Sister Mufiedah is still in the Damascus area but makes trips back and forth between there and Aleppo, where most of her band of widows are ministering. I am told that there are those who will drive the “suicide trip” up and down the corridor between the two cities. Many are trying to get out of the Aleppo area and to get into Turkey. Some at least make it to the border, but many also starve before they ever get there. As I have said so many times, we here in the West, cannot even imagine the conditions on the ground there. The whole corridor between Aleppo, Damascus, and south toward the border with Israel, is a brutal war zone. It is the same across from Aleppo toward Raqqa, the supposed headquarters of ISIS. But, the HOB missionaries continue day after brutal day. Some have died of starvation, others have been brutally hacked to death by jihadists, still others have been hit by bombs, artillery shells, or missiles from one military force or another. The world has lost track of them, but our Father has NOT! They were always in the palm of His hands, no matter what they were experiencing. Now however, they are at total peace forever! This is the same eternal peace and joy I am living for! Are you? I pray that you are!
I also want to add that the work in Iraq continues, although I know that they are trying to fill the shoes of Omar and his wife. 320 new believers graduated from the School of Ministry course about the time of the deaths of Omar and his wife and as I write this, plans are being brought together to teach 1,000 all at once, in 20 different locations! What a GOD we serve!!
Pastor R, who is quite weak physically as most know, is training a special group of twelve men about four hours a day; men like Omar, maybe even better equipped than Omar was. These are men who are being filled with the Word of Truth and are baptized with power from the Holy Spirit.
Please pray for all of these brave, dedicated servants of the KING of Kings. Support them if God asks you to. They are not serving church organizations, nor have they been captivated by any given religious organization, but they are part of the true Church of Jesus Christ! You may not fully realize how vital your prayer support is for these men and women on the true spiritual battlefield, but know that your prayers are heard by our Father, and felt by those warriors of the Cross.
Thank you to all who have prayed for and supported these precious saints! This is a thank you from Pastor R, all of House of Blessing missionaries, and of course, Anne and myself. God bless you all. We’re going home SOON!
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