As I begin to write this update, I think back to all that has transpired in the last few years. A little less than a year after the beginning of the Arab Spring in the Middle East, the Lord spoke to Pastor R, the founder of House of Blessing, asking him to go over the border from Israel and begin a new project. What initially began in northern Jordan, within months spread into Syria, Iraq, the Kurdistan area, and even over the border into western Iran.
It has now been 4½ years since the first shipment of Bibles was taken into Jordan and distributed. It was not long before HOB missionaries began to lose their lives, but at the same time, a multitude of souls were reached. One thing the Lord had promised from the very beginning, was that every single Bible would bring fruit, in fact, much fruit. This is exactly what we began to see happening, and, quickly.
As more and more of the House of Blessing missionaries were murdered for sharing their faith in Jesus Christ, we began to ask the Lord to bring 100 souls into the Kingdom of God for every missionary who was martyred. It quickly became evident that this was happening. As our faith grew, we asked the Father to bring even more, and He has been faithful to do so. It is impossible to know the accurate number of souls that have been reached over the past 4½ years, but the Lord of the harvest knows. While even one soul saved from an eternity separated from God is of inestimable value, the eternal destiny of a huge multitude of people has been changed. There are now in the hundreds of thousands, those who had been on their way to an eternity of loss, who now have had their sins forgiven and will spend their eternity in Heaven and in the presence of God Himself. Praise God for the continued miracle that is unfolding in the Middle East! One experience that a great many Muslim people are having, is that they are having dreams and visions of the real Jesus. This has happened all across the Muslim world, and has now happened so often that the testimonies are now readily available in story form as well as video.
While the miracle of eternal salvation through the mighty power of the Blood of Jesus is continuing to be shared and experienced by increasing numbers of people, the Middle East is racing headlong into continued major conflict. The war that is about to unfold goes beyond the sectarian violence and political maneuvering that has had the Mideast in its stranglehold. All-out war is being threatened from almost every side and within a very short period of time, this is exactly what will engulf most of the world. Within the last few hours before uploading this update to the internet, all significant communications have been broken between the Federation of Russia and the United States. This means that NATO is also not communicating with Russia. Russia and its allies are pitting themselves against the Western forces.
Russia has just successfully completed an enormous exercise involving hundreds of thousands of emergency personnel all across the great expanse of its land in which 40 million of its citizens were evacuated to 5,000 underground facilities. This was done as a “practice run” in the case of all-out thermonuclear war, or any other major cataclysmic event, whether geological or cosmic, which might threaten the lives of its population.
Now, just a few hours ago, I have seen from multiple sources that the Russian Federation has sent out an urgent message urging all state officials and government workers to bring all of their children who are studying abroad back home immediately, even if their school terms are cut short. They have also urged the parents of these same officials, if their Russian citizenship is still valid, to be brought back to Russia immediately. This has an ominous sound to it!
For those that understand Bible prophecy, this is not all that surprising. About one third of Scripture has to do with foretelling the future. What many don’t know, is that among all of the so-called “holy books” available today, the Bible is the only one that has a 100% accuracy record. This tells us that we can have complete confidence in what the Bible tells us is still to come in the future. What is about to unfold upon this earth is foretold in the Bible in great detail.
For those who are the true believers and followers of Jesus, the Messiah, there is nothing to fear concerning the days ahead. In fact, one of my favorite passages in Scripture has this to say about the time we are now in:
Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the LORD will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. Isaiah 60:1-2
Just one chapter later the prophet Isaiah had this to say:
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound… Isaiah 61:1-2
This second scripture was of course quoted by Jesus Himself as He stood before the people in a synagogue. These words, however, do not just apply to Jesus. They also apply to every true follower of Jesus. These are words of the ministry of the gospel in action. This is exactly how the HOB missionaries are living. They experience the anointing to preach good tidings, to heal the sick and brokenhearted, to proclaim real freedom to those in bondage, and open the prison doors to those who are spiritually bound. This is the Great Commission being fulfilled in real life.
As cease-fires are proclaimed and then fail, Sister Hafezah continues to offer communion to many hundreds of people every week, somewhere between 900-1,000 in the last few days. As these communion services are going on in the northern regions of Syria, the same is happening in the Fallujah, Iraq area. Sister Fatimah provided communion for about 1,100. As always, the folks direct their attention toward the One who is the true Messiah. The Holy Spirit, the third member of the Godhead, then begins to touch the lives, souls, and bodies of the people. Into the early hours of the morning, they sing, praise, worship, and dance before the Lover of their souls. When they finally do leave to get some sleep, they leave recharged and re-energized spiritually. God is good!
In Syria things were unusually quiet for at least a couple days. Of course, it never lasts very long, and again, it didn’t this time. During the temporary lull however, HOB tried to get as many of the dead buried as they could. They managed to bury about 24, but also lost another two believers during the same time.
Sister Sarah was able to tell her miraculous story to another 110-120 people, mostly those that have lost children or close family members. What God did in Sarah’s situation has brought great comfort and encouragement to many who have experienced unspeakable horrors. The Lord continues to use her testimony to build a bridge to hundreds of lost. In the end, they also become true followers of Yeshua, the true Messiah.
Right now there are about 70 HOB missionaries ministering in the northern area of Syria, particularly around Aleppo and the surrounding area. This is also the area where Sister Mufiedah and her “Widow Sisterhood” are ministering. In the last few days, they had the opportunity to minister healing to a dozen or so badly injured people. Each of these also prayed the sinner’s prayer and became disciples of Yeshua.
It is hard to imagine the utter destruction everywhere in cities like Aleppo, Idlib, Homs, and others. Buildings hit with bombs or missiles end up in smoking ruins. What makes it worse is the continuing attacks on hospitals and clinics. It makes no sense to destroy facilities that, in spite of the dangers, keep offering as much medical treatment as they are able. Of course, we know that terrorists will use hospitals, schools, and mosques as a means to hide themselves. They also think nothing of taking their gun battles directly into the middle of a group of school children! It is a graphic picture that shows the absolute hatred and disdain the devil has for the human race.
Akram and Adel reported that they lost another ten of their missionaries since the last update. In the Fallujah area where they are located, many people have absolutely no place to stay, not even a tent to use as shelter. But, HOB continues to do what they can for as many as they can with the meager supplies they can get hold of. God continues faithfully to multiply again and again.
The 100 HOB missionaries in the Mosul area continue trying to be prepared for the military clash that is expected within days. As all the other missionaries, they are trying to make the most of the time they have. Even before this expected onslaught to free the city from ISIS, another 18 of the volunteer missionaries were lost in the last few days. Let’s not neglect to pray for their families who have lost their loved ones. It’s too easy for those of us who are not attached to these folks, to just see them as “numbers” lost, instead of living, breathing, human beings.
The Bible School classes that we have been referring to in the last few updates are continuing, regardless of everything that is happening around them. All 12 teachers and their 24 assistants have been faithful to their task, and as it always is, the students are very eager to learn, and will sit for many hours as the teaching is offered. There is a dedication expressed by these new Christians that is rare in many other parts of the Christian world. And, God will honor them for it. HOB is doing its best to provide at least one meal a day for the teachers and students. They total 324 people in all.
At my last contact with Pastor R, he let me know that Mufiedah contacted him with a very exciting story. There in northern Syria where she is, one of the buildings that was hit was a mosque. There were many dead and wounded, including seven badly wounded Muslim head-sheikhs. The Father provided the way for her to be able to not only minister healing to these severely injured sheikhs, but in the end was also able to pray the sinner’s prayer with them as well. Mufiedah could only rejoice and celebrate the goodness of God! Our Father continues to work circumstances out so that the evil intentions of the devil are turned around and the true Church finds itself triumphant once again! God in His great mercy spared the lives of these men. Now, in time, they will be able to reach out to the many whom they have taught in the past, and they can tell them the REAL story about the REAL GOD, and His REAL forgiveness through the Blood of the REAL Messiah, Yeshua! Hundreds more will be saved from being lost for eternity. God is good!!
In closing, I want to remind us all that time is running out very quickly. Maybe you are one that is tired of hearing this. It is, however, true nonetheless. Our opportunity to make a difference is quickly running its course. Jesus warned us about this when He said: “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.” The night is now very near. It is time for true Christ-followers to make sure our own priorities are where they belong. So much of what we see as so important or valuable is about to pass into oblivion. Only what has been done in Jesus’ Name or in obedience to His nudge upon our heart, has eternal value. The Apostle Paul was directed to write these words:
…Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light. See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:14-17
In His Service,