In today’s update, as is the case so often, I have both good news and some that is a bit hard to take. If you’ll remember, my last update was quite short because I was on an out of state trip at the time that I received Pastor R’s call. I received another call while still on the road and was given a little more information about the unusual event at the mosque in northern Syria. In my previous update, I mentioned Omar, Sami, Mussa and others going to a rather large mosque on a Friday when most Muslim men gather to hear sermons. This particular mosque was one attended by men of a more radical belief system. After Omar began to share, he and the others were promptly run out of the mosque. 

As they were thrown out, they witnessed a bolt of what looked like lightning come out of a clear sky and hit the mosque, doing great damage to the mosque and killing and injuring an untold number of those inside. And today I am able to share more of the story

After the House Of Blessing missionaries were thrown out of the mosque, they began to evangelize those outside as they walked away from the mosque. It was after the missionaries had cleared the immediate area that the mosque was hit. There was of course a great deal of chaos and confusion after the blast but as time passed, people began to gather around the missionaries, asking them to tell them about this Messiah of whom they knew nothing about. As the men began to share the good news about Jesus, the crowd got larger and larger. In time, the HOB missionaries found themselves surrounded by somewhere between 2,000-2,500 people! 

What really happened in the mosque? The missionaries don’t know any details other than what they saw. The explosion was quite large so it was possible that opposing Islamic sects had sent suicide bombers, or perhaps other explosives were in the building when it was hit. But it was a blessing from the Lord that the missionaries were totally clear of the area when it happened. They could not be blamed for what happened, neither were any of them injured by the blast.

What did come out of the event is that, instead of the HOB leaders getting a chance to preach to a crowd of 400-500 radical militants, they were given the opportunity to reach a much larger crowd of people—people who were very receptive to the Gospel of Grace that Omar and those with him shared. As a result, a very large number of souls were gathered into God’s Kingdom! The harvest is truly plentiful in these last days of the age.

And now to a more difficult part of today’s update:

Over the past years of writing these updates, we have become quite familiar with many of the HOB missionaries’ names. One of these is Sister Sarah. As Pastor R began to tell me this story, he broke into tears because he has such a great love for these brave, faithful missionaries. 

What he had been told was that Sarah had been slowly walking with an older woman with cancer. As they walked and Sarah prayed for her, Sarah was approached by five Muslim militants who said they had overheard her praying, using the Name of Jesus. Was this true? Sarah told them, yes, this is true. It is what God has asked her to do. The men then grabbed her and took her somewhere out of the way. They blindfolded her and said, “We’ll see what your God does to save you from our hands!” They then tied her hands, gang-raped her, then severely beat her. They did not kill her, but left her in a very bad condition. 

The House of Blessing missionaries took Sarah to Sister Mufiedah and others who are caring for her.  Pastor R said that she really needs our prayers. Not only is she physically injured but she is having an emotionally hard time with what was done to her. Militants, such as Sarah’s attackers, have been taught that their religion allows them to violate infidels however they choose. They don’t care how depraved their actions are, nor do they care what others think of their actions. The women who have been raped–or worse, find it very hard to live with themselves if they do survive the attack. 

So, please pray for Sarah. Only Jesus can heal pain and suffering that goes so much deeper than just the physical body. It is a blessing that she has women, such as Mufiedah and others, who have experienced many very hard things and have been brought through them. They will take very good care of her. 

I have to tell you, I have prayed much for Sarah, but I am also praying for those five men. My prayer is that the Spirit of God doesn’t let them sleep, doesn’t let them eat in peace, and upsets their lives entirely, until they recognize that they need the forgiveness of the only one that can truly forgive them. The very one they thought was not watching when they abused Sarah. Jesus! His grace is sufficient!

In other news, the work of the missionaries continues from day to day. The House of Blessing was able to purchase two truckloads of wheat and one of rice which they distributed to many thousands of people. As usual, many hundreds of entire families were reached with the Gospel. Again, the harvest of souls was overwhelming. Once the people hear the true message of God’s grace and forgiveness through Jesus, they are very anxious to give their lives to the control of Jesus Christ and ask Him to forgive their sins. Islam does not promise its followers assurance of forgiveness on judgement day. What a blessing it is that the true people of God can know they are forgiven for eternity!

Please continue to pray for the safety of all the HOB missionaries and volunteers. Pastor R is back in Syria once again and needs our continued prayers as well. He has trusted his health totally into the hands of God.

In conclusion I would like to share a passage of scripture out of 1 Corinthians which serves as a reminder that we are not our own and are only passing through this very short life on our way to a much greater one.

“…do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price, therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 

A big thank you once again to all those around the world who pray for the House of Blessing and also to those who help to support the work financially. May God bless you all abundantly! Our part of the task, as pretribulational believers, is nearly complete!  

Forever in His Service,

Jake

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