When we heard Sarah’s story of seeing God’s glory and seeing her children alive and happy in His presence, we could only imagine the impact that had on her and those around her. To see into the heavenly realm is not easily described or even imagined, but to also see your loved ones in His Presence, is beyond our ability to comprehend in the natural. Yet what Sarah experienced is only a small taste of what awaits her. For Scripture tells us in Isaiah 64:4:
For since the beginning of the world men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen any God besides You, Who acts for the one who waits for Him.
And in 1 Co 2:9:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Cor 2:9
It is certainly the choice of our loving Father to have planned from before time and space were established, to offer us something so amazing that we are incapable of imagining it, describing it, or fully understanding the wonder and glory and joy that will be ours in His presence. Yet, in His great love, He does give some glimpses of what is to come to a few. Why some and not all? That is for Him to decide. But even just hearing about how He sovereignly and lovingly took a suffering mother out of the pain and sorrow of unspeakable grief, is a taste of His gift. We readily rejoice with her and praise Him for fulfilling His word.
Recall that Sarah’s response to Father opening her eyes to actually see her children alive in His Presence, was a desire to tell everyone she could about what had happened to her. She started to do so immediately, and in the week since, she has continued to tell her story to all who would listen. We received a call from Pastor R to tell us “the rest of the story” as relayed to him by a friend of Sarah’s:
Sarah has been going from group to group telling her story. She was with a group of about 45 women when another woman by the name of Bassanah approached them. Her clothes were blood-stained and she carried a bag that was also bloody. Walking up to Sarah, Bassanah was obviously experiencing great grief. She opened the bag and explained that this was all that was left of her 3-1/2-year-old son, killed in the ongoing bombing. She begged Sarah to ask God to provide the same miracle for her that Sarah had experienced. She wanted to know that her son was with God. Sarah told Bassanah that she would pray for her but that she could not tell God what He should do. He is God!
Sarah and many of the women laid hands on Bassanah and prayed. Bassanah fell to the ground and laid there for at least 45 minutes as they prayed. (I wonder at the great faith of these women, most of whom only recently have come to know Yeshua as Messiah, who would persist in prayer for this length of time. What faith in Him and belief that He answers persistent prayers!)
As the women continued to pray, Bassanah suddenly sat up with a stunned look on her face. She stood and began praising God, saying that not only had she been given a vision of her little boy in heaven, totally restored and happy, but she also saw him with Jesus! She saw Jesus!
What joy this brought to everyone involved in this time of “keep watch and pray!” Imagine being absolutely convinced, beyond any doubt that you might have because of all the terrible things happening around you, that the God “Who acts for the one who waits for Him” has shown Himself full of mercy and compassion and lovingkindness in your sight!
The outcome of this nearly identical move of God? Sarah and Bassanah are now ministering together, going from tent to tent, place to place, telling how the One True God has touched them with His love and compassion. All of this is occurring just as the Muslim month of Ramadan begins, a month of daily fasting from dawn to sunset and offering of prayers. Each year, this month finds Muslims worldwide reaching out to Allah. But the God of Sarah and Bassanah is reaching out to those Muslims and some will hear and respond to His love and compassion. Know that this is so. Pray with us, with Pastor R, with Sarah and Bassanah, and all the HOB missionaries, that the harvest will be great!
Father, pour out your Spirit on all your people. May our sons and daughters prophesy, our old men dream dreams, our young men see visions. On all your servants, pour out your Spirit. Show wonders in the heavens and on earth and save everyone who calls on the name of the Lord. Joel 2:28-32
May God strengthen us all until He calls us home.
As I think over the events of the last few days, reminding myself of details received from Pastor R in his calls, I again try and put myself into the shoes of those who are in the middle of the chaos and carnage of the Mideast. Having lived in the West all my life, I find it hard to even imagine. Yet, the stories tear at one’s soul, again and again.
I sincerely hope and pray that you, a reader of these updates never become inured or desensitized to what you read again and again. Every week there are tragedies, and then there are the victories. Every tragedy; every loss of life, has a story behind it, and is unique. There are friends and family members that suffer heartache and pain. And in the Middle East today, there is great pain. But, there are also great, great victories being won. Yeshua, our Messiah, promised that the gates of hell will never prevail against the Church. It has not, nor will it ever! As hundreds of House of Blessing missionaries have lost their lives on the front lines in the past four years, hundreds of thousands have found forgiveness of sin by repentance and submission to the only One who can truly forgive, Jesus Christ. These hundreds of thousands now have their names recorded in a heavenly book called the “Lamb’s Book of Life.” They are now assured of an eternity in the presence of our Creator God! So, the work continues…
In Syria, the bombing continues. Since the last update, there have been many hundreds of bombing runs in the Aleppo area alone. The missionaries often are hit, just as many other innocents are. Every week there are more HOB missionaries lost, male missionaries, more of Mufiedah’s “Widow Sisterhood”, and children. It is seeing the photos of innocent children being injured and killed that is the most painful for most of us. Yet, in the middle of the chaos of war, the missionaries continue sharing the love of Jesus, by ministering to the wounded, and sharing the good news of Jesus’ death, resurrection, and soon return for His own. As a result, hundreds continue to be brought into the Kingdom of God. Mufiedah and those helping her have seen God heal dozens more of the badly injured. Amazing things continue to happen before the eyes of the believer and non-believer alike. The non-believers find themselves desperate to meet the God of the missionaries, because no other “god” has ever done the amazing things they are seeing with their own eyes. As we have believed God for from the very beginning of this project over four years ago now, hundreds are brought into the Kingdom of God for every single missionary that falls! And, that number will only continue going up until we are all called the presence of our KING.
The bombings in Syria are not just in the Aleppo area. The entire country is on fire. The civil war is continuing everywhere. One example is the town of Manbij, an ISIS stronghold on a supply line between Raqqa, ISIS’s de facto capitol, and Turkey. According to Fox News, all major roads have been closed and Manbij is surrounded on three sides by US backed forces. Syria’s dictator, Assad, has vowed that the loss of life will continue. He continues to try and salvage his rule. Many of the bombs have chemicals in them, and this brings great suffering.
Our own Pastor R continues struggling with what the chemically laced smoke does to his lungs and throat, in the Damascus area. The bombs and missiles continue to rain down on the terrorists and innocents alike. The last conversation I had with Pastor R was during a gathering at my home of our home fellowship group. He was exhausted, sick, and his voice was very raw. We again prayed for him as we always do. God continues to keep him alive, and he continues praying for hundreds of people that line up at his location on a daily basis! But, the need for continued prayer has never been more needed or obvious.
In Iraq, the situation is desperate. This is particularly the case in the Fallujah area. By last reports, there are still at least 50,000 people trapped between ISIS forces and the Iraqi military and their allies. 20,000 of these are apparently children. There is no food to be had and people are literally starving to death. Another 28 of HOB’s missionaries have lost their lives as of a few days ago, and another 12 in the Mosul area.
A “free” road that had been offered for people to use as an escape, is not so free at all. Those who try to use this route are caught and very badly treated…and not just by ISIS. The Iraqi military has been guilty of rape, torture, and other despicable acts as well. This is the Iraq that most of the world does not see.
As believers, these missionaries are our brethren. We must continue to support them financially and by prayer. The month of Ramadan began on June the 5th. We are all praying for a great harvest of souls. God has been bringing in support a bit at a time, but much more is needed. As I have said before, we don’t know that this might be the last Ramadan before the Bride of Christ is called home to her Bridegroom. All of us will stand before our KING and give account of what we have done with what He has blessed us with in this life. We must do more than just be concerned with the comfort of our own lives. It was Jesus’ command to all of His disciples, from the times He walked on this earth until we are all gathered in His presence.
The signs of the time are becoming more and more obvious. Jesus is returning SOON! I pray God’s blessings on you all.
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