As the violence in the Middle East continues to escalate, the suffering of the innocents also increases. Most of the people live in wretched conditions with little if any food, and insufficient clothing for the coming cold winter months. The description of their circumstances is not given to lay guilt on those of us who are not experiencing the same, but rather to let us know what is really going on. Much of the world is going through chaos like very few of us can even imagine. We cannot possibly alleviate the misery of the entire world around us, but we can–in fact, we must, be sensitive to the leading of God’s Spirit in how we can be part of His overall answer.
In the middle of all this mayhem and upheaval are the brave committed missionaries. They represent numerous organizations, but this update is written on behalf of those who are part of the House of Blessing, Jerusalem. Here is the latest news I have received.
Due to the increase in the bombing campaigns in Syria, hundreds, if not thousands of innocents are being killed every week. These people are running from place to place with no area of safety to escape to. Within the last ten days or so, several hundred of the newer Christian believers in northern Syria have been killed and their bodies lay out in the open days later. House of Blessing made arrangements for the rental of a tractor and HOB missionaries took on the task of getting the bodies buried in the ground as quickly as possible. Many others, besides those connected to House of Blessing, were buried, just as an act of love. No one else seemed available to do so.
After burying the bodies, the missionaries returned to the task they had been called to…the sharing of God’s love with those who knew nothing but a false god who offers little more than hatred and murder. The response to this message and showing of love continues to be enormous.
Presently, at least a portion of HOB’s “Widow Sisterhood” led by Sister Mofidah is working amongst about 40,000 refugees in northern Syria where the bombing runs continue relentlessly. As I have shared in previous updates, there are a number of nations who have sent militaries. This is bringing catastrophic collateral damages as well as mass deaths. Often entire families are reported to have been lost. This explains the large number of dead buried by HOB missionaries. Hundreds of these were relatively new believers, including their children, as well as some of the missionaries among the dead.
Since the previous update, Pastor R was unable to connect with Brother Omar in Iraq. It was something that some of us took to prayer…and God answered. As soon as Pastor R heard from him, he gave me a call to let me know. Brother Omar said that the situation in Iraq is worsening. HOB is dealing with at least 2,500 families that have absolutely no shelter, no tents, and nothing but what they are carrying on their backs. In addition to these difficulties, cholera is becoming a greater problem every day. Thousands are already infected with this deadly disease and the situation is becoming more critical with each passing day. Available clean drinking water is a real problem, and so people find themselves having to drink from rivers. Many of these rivers are polluted with sewage or decomposing bodies. The missionaries make sure to boil any water they use for drinking to avoid contracting cholera or any other water-born disease.
According to Omar, due to the extreme danger in ISIS controlled areas, the missionaries have learned to send four or five missionaries out as scouts so as to ensure safe routes for ministry. This has worked well, but they do get caught sometimes. This happened in just the last few days when a group of about 23 missionaries sent out a scout group of five men. These men were caught by ISIS and subsequently murdered. The remaining 17 men could find no safe place for shelter for 7-8 days. They did find a small outcropping of rock to hide under. They had no water for the entire time except for what they could trap when it rained. They managed to find some grass that they were able to tear up and eat. But, God spared them and they were finally able to get to relative safety after the large group of ISIS jihadists that had been controlling the area, moved to another location.
I asked Pastor R how the work is proceeding in the Kurdistan area and he said the HOB missionaries there are moving carefully, but methodically. The situation has become much more complicated since Turkey has gotten into this war. They have attacked the Kurds many times and so the danger of being hit with bombs or missiles from the war planes has increased exponentially. They are however reaching 10-20 family units each week. These are people who are genuinely reached by the Good News of God’s love for them and the incredible price paid by the Messiah. They gladly and humbly pray the sinner’s prayer and become included in the number that will spend an eternity sheltered by the one and only Almighty, who made this eternal freedom available by offering the spilled Blood of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. What a contrast this is for a people who have been taught there is no assurance of paradise unless one becomes a suicide bomber or by murdering an infidel! We serve a God of love and justice…His way!
The work continues in Jordan and Iran as it does in Kurdistan; very carefully, but with the Great Commission continuing to be fulfilled. There are hundreds and hundreds of small groups of believers in Jesus meeting all over the Mideast! What a miracle we are privileged to watch unfold! God is good!
One of the special miracles happening more often than most may be aware of is that God takes the faithfulness of His people in their giving, and multiplies it many times over. What would normally feed about fifty people seems to feed a thousand! Only God can do this! It does take the offering of the loaves and fishes as we see in the Gospels. But, God takes that small amount and does wonders with it! And why would He not, when God’s people are faithful with what He has given to them on “loan” for their own subsistence? HE IS GOD! He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end! We cannot even imagine His majesty and greatness!! In the eighth Psalm we find King David saying these words:
O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is Your Name in all the earth, who have set Your glory above the heavens!…When I consider your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?…O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is Your Name in all the earth! (verses 1,3,4,9)
Some wonder how our believing brethren in the Middle East handle the difficulties they experience day after day. Pastor R explains that they have literally taken the Word of God found in 2 Timothy 1:7-12 to heart. This is how it reads in the New King James Version:
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound “disciplined” mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and teacher of the Gentiles, for this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.
These words need to be taken seriously. Our brethren, who have applied these words literally to their own lives, have become examples for the rest of us! Many reading this blog live in Western society and have seen little of the extreme violence associated with being a committed believer in Jesus Christ as the true Messiah as our brethren in Muslim nations experience. Will we see this kind of persecution in the future? Possibly, only God knows. We however already face a demonic attack of another kind, through the onslaught of filth and moral depravity that is flooding our society. Question: Are we facing this onslaught by standing by the power of the Spirit of God within us? Are we taking advantage of the covering of the Blood of Jesus Christ from the top of our heads to the bottoms of our feet? If not, we are doomed to follow the leading of the flesh! Romans 8:5 tells us this:
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, for to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
One thing is quite clear in this day and age. We are now experiencing the events of the End Times; in fact, we are now in the END of the End Times! Whether we are willing to accept these facts, matters little, we are there nonetheless! I believe that God will call His faithful Church home soon. I am one who believes our Bridegroom is going to bring His Bride home before the world is subjected to the events of the last seven years of this age before Jesus returns to rule during the 1,000 year Kingdom Age. There are many promises in the Word of God that speak to this promise. One of these is found in Revelation 3:10-11
Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell upon the earth. Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.
In conclusion, I want to again emphasize that we truly are living at the very end of the age. Jesus warned us of what we will see during this time:
…you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. The they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. The many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved, and this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
It truly is amazing to be alive during this time! We are witnessing all of these things! The rumors of wars, earthquakes, and societal lawlessness are all making themselves known around the globe! Jesus gave us these warnings so that we would be on the WATCH! The great trumpet of God is about to blow and call His faithful remnant home into His presence! Each one of us is called to be on this watch, personally. So WATCH!!
House Of Blessing; P.O. Box 2093; Redmond, Oregon USA 97756