As I track the news coming in from different parts of the world, I am staggered by how quickly things are moving. Things are escalating so quickly now that it is nearly impossible to keep up with everything transpiring. Jesus spoke about our generation, foretelling the wars and rumors of wars, nation rising against nation, kingdom against kingdom. We are seeing this very thing and it is rapidly escalating.
The Middle East has been on fire for a long time, but especially since the so-called “Arab Spring,” which began in early 2011. What we see unfolding, well into the second half of the sixth year since that fateful day when a young Tunisian street vendor killed himself in protest by setting himself on fire in January of 2011, is a quickly escalating conflict between the two most powerful nuclear military forces on earth. What was once just a war of words between the United States and the Russian Federation has morphed into a proxy war between the two world powers.
My intent in this update is not to get into international politics except to highlight how critical the hour is that we find ourselves in today, and especially how dangerous the situation is for the House of Blessing missionaries. The internet is full of real-life photos of the continuing disaster in infrastructure damage, and more importantly lives. Note: Photos included in these updates are genuine photos, but not necessarily directly involved with HOB operations.
The threat of a third world war has never been more grave. At this point in time, all the talks between Russia and the U.S. have stopped. The so-called cease-fire, if there ever really was one, is non-existent. The rhetoric from both powers, which is openly displayed before the whole world, is now worse than it ever was, even during the years of the cold war. The Russian federation has taken some steps within the last 24 hours that are truly game-changing, and I will share a few details about this near the end of this update.
As things continue to deteriorate, basic life-sustaining essentials are becoming ever more difficult to acquire. The UN deliveries have been stopped because of the supply caravan that was bombed, and until the situation on the ground improves, there will be no further deliveries. The House of Blessing, however, is continuing to try to get wheat to people as the finances come available. Another two full truckloads of wheat is once again being distributed to the most needy areas.
Right now, there are at least 180 HOB missionaries and another 200 new believers that have volunteered to help get the wheat delivered. HOB has found that they can break the 40 ton loads into smaller amounts so that the supplies actually get to its destination. Smaller vehicles are used, as well as mules. Some of the stronger of the volunteers are even carrying a sack of wheat on their backs. As is always the case, people who are saved from starvation are very open to the gospel. Hundreds are being reached each and every week. Our prayer is that this number is multiplied. Time is very critical and no one knows when the door of opportunity will be closed.
In Aleppo, people continue to be killed by the bombing runs, sadly, always including children. Sister Mufiedah and the widows working with her continue to minister to the wounded. This week another 38 were ministered to and were led to a personal relationship with Messiah Yeshua. Fifteen of the adult believers were killed along with an additional 8 children. HOB missionaries were able to get 35 of the bodies buried in the last few days.
Sister Hafezah was able to share communion with approximately 800 believers in the last few days, and the 12 Bible class teachers along with their 24 assistants are continuing with their classes. There are an abundance of bomb-damaged buildings that serve as meeting areas. The plan is for these classes to continue, with students being promised one meal a day, and continuing to completion within 50 days. Hearing stories like this is a good reminder of how good we in the West still have it. It makes our complaints of the lack that we might see in our own facilities seem rather insignificant!
In Fallujah, another 20 believers were lost. The situation continues to be very difficult. But, the work of the missionaries continues non-stop. There are about 120 HOB missionaries working with the people in that area. Sister Fatima was able to share communion with 1,200 believers this last week. What a miracle this continues to be. The Holy Spirit always shows up in power, comfort, and refreshing. The 26 widows that we have been praying for this past few weeks have now also joined the rest of the community of believers, and are regularly partaking of the special communion services.
In Mosul, the situation also continues to deteriorate. Preparations continue for a military onslaught to wrest the city free from the hold that ISIS has on it. As of yesterday, the latest date to begin this attack is set for October 19. But, as fluid as things are in the Mideast at this time, anything could happen between now and then. Only our Father knows. This last week, another 32 of the missionaries and believers were lost in the Mosul area. There continues however to be a good sized group of missionaries and volunteer believers working amongst the people. A great number of souls are being reached and brought to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Praise God!
Let’s commit ourselves to continued prayer for these brave missionaries. There is great chaos and destruction everywhere. People are running for their lives and trying to hole up wherever they can find a temporary shelter. There are of course tens of thousands trying to survive in their tent cities. Winter is coming soon and the situation is deteriorating daily.
As promised early in this update, I have a few more details to share concerning the latest changes in the Middle East, especially concerning Russia’s latest movements. There appear to be two major changes that Russia has just made. The first change concerns a nuclear agreement it has had with the United States since the year 2000. This agreement required the individual destruction of 34 tons of plutonium from each nation. Russia has now decided against its part in this agreement. The second step Russia has taken, is in bringing a fairly new weapons system into Syria that will change things dramatically. The weapons system is called the SA-23 missile defence system. This weapon system will make it nearly impossible to send any cruise missiles into Syria. Russia, in effect, is telling the U.S. they will control what goes on in Syria and any attempt to counter any of Russia’s plans or attempt to intervene will bring an “earthquake” of a response.
It appears that preparations are underway for a serious escalation in this war. Russia, as of today, October 4th, and through the 7th of October, is reportedly taking 40 million of its citizens into 5,000 underground shelters as a civil/military exercise. This is a mammoth undertaking, something that has never been attempted anywhere. Another interesting fact is that Russia held legislative elections September 18. The first formal session of the new legislature was scheduled for October 17, but has now been moved up to October 5. And…they are meeting inside a bomb shelter as part of the exercise described above.
What will come of these strange goings-on? Again, only the Father knows. But, Russia has been threatened with terrorist attacks on their cities, and have at times been accused of things that they may not have been guilty of. The news we all hear has many layers of truth and falsehoods. Many things are decided behind closed doors that rarely see the light of day. Russia, however, appears to be preparing their own people for something. They are also giving warning to the Middle East, Europe, the West, and the United Nations of a change in how they view the current situation, and possibly in how they intend to deal with it.
The changes Russia is making also complicate things for Israel. It will make it very difficult for Israel to take out the weaponry that is being smuggled to the terrorist army, Hezbollah, within Syria from Iran. To this point, Israel has been able to target these smuggled weapons as they are being convoyed. They have also been able to keep on top of terrorist sites that have been a threat to Israel. Russia’s new weapons system threatens to curtail all of that activity. Israel has been keeping a very close eye on Damascus, and has drawn a line in the sand concerning the use of weapons of mass destruction against Israel. Israel has made it quite clear to all concerned that Damascus or Beirut or both would be obliterated if any of these weapons were to be used against Israel. This will in fact happen. Both Isaiah 17 and Jeremiah 49 describe the utter destruction of the city of Damascus, a destruction so complete that the city and the entire surrounding area are left uninhabitable. We may be very close to this very event coming to pass overnight one of these days.
In referencing the signs of the times in our generation; the wars, rumors of wars, clashes between nations, ethnicities, and religions; the exponential increase in number and intensity of volcanic activity and earthquakes, as well as cosmic threats and signs in the heavens, Jesus said: When you see all these things coming to pass, look up, for your redemption draws near! The second coming of Messiah Yeshua truly is imminent!
In conclusion, let’s keep all of the House of Blessing missionaries in prayer. We need to do better than just…. “God, please bless the missionaries.” Let’s intercede with earnestness for their provision, protection, strength, wisdom, direction, and power from on high. Let’s pray that they know exactly when to turn right, left, and when to stop, and when to go forward. Let’s pray the promises of Psalm 91 over them. God will answer these prayers! Let’s also pray that the Lord of the harvest will intervene to meet the continued great need for funds, both for more wheat and Bibles. God is good!
We also need to continue praying for Pastor R. He is STILL struggling with his temperature going up and down. His broken ribs are also still bothering him a lot, although I have yet to hear him complain about anything. He’s an inspiration to me!
In His Continued Service,
House of Blessing; 3206 SW 45th Street, Redmond, Oregon USA 97756