During the years that I’ve been writing the Mideast Updates for the House of Blessing, there have been hundreds of stories with news from the front lines of the ministry. Many of the stories have been hard to read, especially coupled with some of the photos that accompanied the stories. Other news told of the manifold blessings provided by our Lord GOD.
Today, I would like to briefly share some of the very recent blessings that God has provided. We find these words in Psalm 145:
I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works. Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts, and I will declare Your greatness. They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness and shall sing of Your righteousness. Psalm 145:5-7
In Psalm 31 we find the psalmist David saying:
Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You in the presence of the sons of men! You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the plots of man; You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues. Psalm 31:19-20
In a previous update, I shared the story of Sister Sarah’s capture, terrible abuse and injuries that she received at the hands of several Islamic militants. Many people around the world who read the story have been praying for her daily, and we are most grateful. Pastor R and the House of Blessing have had a desire to set up a special tent for her during her recovery. In answer to prayer, that need has been met by a Canadian couple, long time supporters of the House of Blessing.
HOB has been able to purchase a special tent and get it set up, including a concrete base and outside barrier to keep water from running in. It was also set up so that Sarah could be specially cared for until she has fully recovered. I’m sure that this tent accommodation will be quite useful for others that have special needs when the time comes. In the meantime, we continue to keep Sarah in our prayers as the Lord ministers to her in His own way. She has been a brave, faithful witness of the love of God to many thousands of people since she found Jesus as her own personal Savior.
A second financial need was met from a very unexpected source. If you are a regular reader of the Mideast Updates, you will remember a series of stories that involved the reaching of a family of hardened Islamic militants with the Gospel of Jesus. You will remember Suleiman and his four grown sons who came to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. In turn, their immediate families as well as their extended families became followers of Jesus. It didn’t take much time for the entire mosque full of men with whom they associated to come to realize that Jesus Christ truly is God and that they needed to repent of their sins and make Him their Lord. These men of course, being patriarchs of their own individual families, soon brought their families to the feet of Jesus.
Very recently, Suleiman heard of specific financial needs that the House of Blessing was burdened with. He contacted Pastor R and offered to help. As it turns out, Suleiman has an olive business. Olives are harvested in the Middle East anytime from August through November, depending on when they fully ripen. Suleiman offered to donate some of the proceeds of his olive harvest to HOB. In addition to his olive business, Suleiman also owns a large herd of goats.
Suleiman took proceeds from his olive harvest, combined that with the sale of some of his goats and presented the funds as a gift to HOB. Through this gift, HOB was able to cover $15,000 that needed to be paid for a previous purchase of Bibles. He also provided enough for HOB to purchase an additional 1,000 Bibles plus two full truck loads of wheat sacks to distribute to the refugee camps. The purchase of these additional Bibles will help to provide Bibles to many of the latest group of new believers who had no access to one. Praise God for His blessings!
Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness. Psalm 107:8-9
Over the years, there have been believers from around the world who have prayed for the ministry of the House of Blessing. Financial gifts of all sizes come as well. The House of Blessing is very thankful for every single one, large and small. Folks from many nations, including the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Finland, Australia, Canada, and many from all across America have given as the Lord has asked of them. God takes each gift, no matter what size and multiplies it to His use. So, thank you one and all from all of the House of Blessing!
In regular HOB news, ministry groups all across the mideast continue to share the Good News of the Gospel, distribute food, Bibles, and pray for the sick. Celebrations of communion continue on a daily basis with between 15-20 at a time, five times a day.
Omar, Sami, Mussa and their helpers were able to reach 220 families with the gospel and share food with them since the last update. Mufiedah, Fadwa, and their helpers did the same with an entire 140 families. Ibrahim, Akram and their team were able to bring 90 families to the feet of Jesus, and Adel, Mahmoud and the team added another 60 families. In western Iran, Shahbandar and Mortadah prayed with an additional 35 families who decided to ask Messiah Jesus to be their Lord and Savior. These groups of HOB missionaries also buried at least 30 people who died of varying diseases.
The very limited report above gives a few statistics covering those who most often provide reports to the HOB leaders. House of Blessing communities of believers stretch all across the Mideast and most do not report in regularly. The harvest however is coming in by the multitudes. We thank God for every single soul reached, but we know that the Age of Grace is swiftly coming to an end.
As I was thinking a couple days ago during my personal devotion time about all the things that are going on today in our world, I was directed to the Old Testament book of Joel. I reread the book and made a mental note of a couple passages I had highlighted some time previously. The first part is a very strong warning to a future God-rejecting world and the second passage is a cry from the Spirit of God for the lost to repent before it is too late. That Latter Days generation is our generation, often called the terminal generation. Many people don’t care to read or hear about God’s judgment in our day but we would be foolish to ignore anything God has to say, especially so near the return of Jesus. Here is what I read:
Alas for the day! For the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as destruction from the Almighty. Is not the food cut off before our eyes, joy and gladness from the house of our god? The seed shrivels under the clods, storehouses are in shambles; barns are broken down, for the grain has withered…Joel 1:15-17
“Now, therefore”, says the LORD, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning, so rend your heart, and not your garments: Return to the LORD your God. For He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm. Who knows, if He will turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind Him—a grain offering and a drink offering, for the LORD your God? Blow the trumpet in Zion, consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly; gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children and nursing babes. Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, and the bride from her dressing room. Let the priests, who minister to the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar…” Joel 2:12-17a
We live in a time when those things described in the first passage above are already a reality in many nations around the world. The signs of The Great Tribulation are everywhere and they are ominous. John the Revelator’s apocalypse truly is at the door. Yet, the reality of what’s coming at the world like an out of control freight train is lost on so many people. It’s time to recognize the signs of the times.
It is a time to let go of the things that we are distracted by, things that keep us from looking upward for our soon returning KING of Kings and LORD of Lords! If you are a true follower of Jesus Christ, you are a citizen of His Kingdom. We are just passing through this world system! It’s time to let go! There is a special blessing promised in 2 Timothy 4:8 to those who are watching:
Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. (emphasis mine)
The Rapture of the Church is very near…!
In conclusion, Pastor R told me that he is again praying for between 100-180 people per day, besides the many necessary meetings with the HOB leadership. Please keep him in your prayers as he is not yet feeling 100%. The harvest however is more important to him than anything else at this point. The Lord has been confirming to him that time is now extremely short.
Let’s continue to pray that a great many find Jesus as their personal Savior in the little time we have left!
Forever in His Service,