Many times in these updates I have mentioned how great a miracle it is for every single soul that is reached with the Gospel news pronouncing that man can have the assurance of forgiveness and the promise of an eternity in God’s heaven. Those of us that have grown up raised in a church where this was taught, may take it for granted, but this is not the case for people brought up in a different culture. The Islamic belief system recognizes Allah as their God. His prophet, Muhammad, wrote the Koran, but nowhere in the Koran is a sure way given for experiencing eternal forgiveness. The more good deeds a Muslim does in his or her life, the better their chances of maybe receiving a reward on judgment day. But, a Muslim never knows for sure.
When a Muslim hears the message that Yeshua / Jesus is the true Messiah, and that He, as God in the flesh, died for the sins of the world, making forgiveness a sure thing for the one that asks, this Muslim man or woman will gladly put their eternal faith in the true Messiah…because this is not the mystic or imagined writings of some self-proclaimed prophet, but rather the true Word of God. They come to recognize that there can only be one Messiah, only one God, and His name is not Allah; He is Jehovah, God of the Old Testament.
Contrary to the beliefs of many in the West, Allah and God are not one and the same. There really is only one way, and it was expressed by the Messiah 2,000 years ago. Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father except through Me.” It is not acceptable today to say there is only one way to eternal life. It is considered to be too narrow minded in a world where a world government, world economic system, and world religion is intended to be the answer to all of man’s problems. The reality is that only Almighty God, known in the Old Testament as Jehovah God, the One who created and ruled the entire universe, is capable of ruling Planet Earth with perfect justice and righteousness. In the last few years, today, and even right now, the harvest of souls around the world has increased by leaps and bounds. The reports from some of the most difficult places on earth seem to indicate the greatest number of people being reached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the only One Way.
It has been over a week since the last Mideast Update and much has happened since. One thing that is uppermost in my mind as I write this update, is the physical condition of Pastor R. At the end of this update, I will share at least some of the details of his condition which we did not have the full measure of in the past. He is in great need of prayer!
The work of the House of Blessing missionaries is continuing. What God started through Omar and Same (Sammy) in southern Syria is continuing. All 2,000+ of the original men reached with the Gospel are well into their intense studies in the Word of God. Although there are not enough Bibles to go around, thousands of studies have been copied with full Scripture passages, and these are being used to help the men memorize Scriptures and provide them some homework. This of course automatically gets the Word of God into their homes, which will cause the harvest of souls to multiply in great numbers. As it was in the early Church when there were not copies of the Old Testament available to the people, and the New Testament had not yet been written, the people got together regularly with the Apostles and those that had been set aside as teachers, and diligently studied the Word as it was given to them. They were thus opened up to understanding by the Holy Spirit. Those of us who have an abundance of Bibles at our disposal often have forgotten how to listen to the guiding and instruction of the Holy Spirit, whereas those who have such a lack of available Bibles, do not have any other choice. Sometimes, the latter, experience God in a much more literal and real way. This is the only way they can survive and even thrive as believers.
Mufidah and Fatwa and the Widow Sisterhood, regardless of the great difficulties and the losses they have endured, continue with the specialized ministry the Lord has given them. They have ministered to another 38 of the more seriously injured. During the same time period, Sister Sarah ministered to another 220 in the specialized way God has given her to minister to people.
Because of the warring between the different factions in conflict with each other in Syria, there are always more casualties. The six year conflict has not abated. HOB lost another 13 of their community of believers. However, there are another 170 new names that have been added to the Lamb’s Book of Life. Sister Hafezah and her team served communion to about 1,100 followers of Yeshua as the Holy Spirit led them to move from location to location. It has become an integral ministry to the Body of Christ in their area in Syria. God is good!
Pastor R was able to share just a few details with me about what God is doing through the efforts of the HOB missionaries in Iraq. Adel and the brethren working with him in the Fallujah area continue reaching the lost and dying as God gives them the opportunity. The Master of the harvest gave them about 120 in the last few days to pray with, who asked Jesus to become the Lord of their lives. The losses however continued as well. Another 16 belonging to their community of believers were killed.
Fatima and the team of missionaries that minister with her, doing just as Hafezah in Syria, move from place to place, serving communion with the congregated believers. They spend hours praising God, worshipping Him, and celebrating His goodness in their lives. Obviously, they are not celebrating their great prosperity–at least in the form of dollars or possessions they have acquired. Neither are they attending seminars on how to build up their personal self-esteem. They have considered all things as loss for the sake of Christ. They have as well committed themselves to being bond-servants to the One who died for their sins, was resurrected, and now sits at the right hand of the Father. They celebrate the power of the Holy Spirit that is imparted to them so that they can continue fulfilling the Great Commission until the Lord of the harvest calls us all home.
In Mosul, the conditions continue to be brutal. The attempt to remove the several thousand remaining ISIS fighters continues. As we have said before, these remaining jihadists are embedded within the remaining 750,000 civilians and intend to kill as many as they possibly can. They know they are ultimately going to die but are doing their best to murder as many of those around them as they can, in honor of their god…not Allah as they think, but rather the fallen Lucifer, who has a hatred for the human race that we cannot fathom.
The House of Blessing community of believers in the Mosul area lost another 38 of their number in the last few days. At the same time, there were about 500 more reached with the love of Christ and His forgiveness of their sins. They now know they do not have to try and earn the favor of their god through their religious works, including the killing of infidels according to the Koran.
The 56 escaped and rescued women who had been widowed and then trapped as ISIS sex-slaves are gradually being restored. As Sister Miriam and her assistants have worked diligently with them seven days a week and 24 hours a day, they are gradually healing emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Even though we do not know these women personally, God will answer our prayers for them.
This is a very bare minimum of what is going on in the work of the ministry through HOB, but it is at least a sample to help us pray for them. All of these missionaries deserve, and absolutely depend upon, our prayer support. It is more than an expectation that we pray for those laboring in the fields of eternal importance, it is our great and holy privilege. It is our assignment.
Now to Pastor R: The physical challenges he has had in the 5 years I have known him would fill a book if we wrote and described the full details. All are well detailed in the books being accurately kept in Heaven, but for this update, I will just provide a brief sketch of what I have been provided by e-mail from Jerusalem.
Pastor R does not know or recognize the full seriousness of the conditions he is facing. He had an expectation that a pacemaker would be a simple solution for lhis heart irregularities. In fact, a pacemaker will not correct what is really going on. A number of tests have been done, including tests used here in the U.S. He has blockage of three of his arteries and his heart muscle is at about 25% strength. It has also been determined that he has a cancerous tumor which is causing blood weakness. Pastor R also has diabetes mellitus Type 2. The report on his condition also states that he has congestive heart failure, elevated liver functions, chest pains, myocardial infarction (non ST elevation), acute renal failure, hypertension, and other issues. He is on a number of medications which I will not detail here.
At this time, surgery to unblock the arteries is the only right solution. A pacemaker device will not clear the three blocked arteries. We need to pray earnestly for this man. He is very much needed in the little remaining before our Lord returns to call us home.
In enumerating all these physical problems, it seems that it is already a miracle that Pastor R is still with us, still pouring himself into the ministry, still believing for “one more soul” before the work is done. But we can, in corporate agreement, take our request before the throne of God where we are given unrestricted access, particularly in lifting up the needs of another faithful believer. With that faith, will you join my wife and me in praying for DIVINE, MIRACULOUS, GOD-GLORIFYING HEALING for our brother? That kind of miracle is needed, and quickly. Please take this need and share it with friends that know how to pray. God does answer prayer, and has many, many times in response to the prayers of His people.
God bless you all, and thank you from all of House of Blessing for your prayer and financial support.
Forever in His Service,