Watching the news further confirming a call from Syria in the wee hours of the morning, it is obvious that circumstances continue to deteriorate in the Middle East. Many of you may have heard of the horrors happening in the Syrian city of “Deior-ez-Zor” (one of several spellings). It is located in the northeastern portion of Syria and was brutally attacked by ISIS. Included in the hundreds of civilians murdered and kidnapped were House of Blessing missionaries and new believers.
Pastor R received a report from Brother Faruk, one of the HOB leaders in the area, who said that 25 of Mufiedah’s “Widow Sisterhood” women were killed outright and another 17 were kidnapped. With the captured crowd were also ten male HOB missionaries. Among the scores that were murdered were about 40 children who were also believers. The whole Deior-ez-Zor area is under siege and the people are facing horrors very difficult to imagine. There is now great fear of a group massacre. (Please note the news link at the bottom of this update.)
House of Blessing has been hit very hard since the beginning of 2016. It is one of the signs of the nearness of the hour of the Messiah’s return! The fallen Lucifer knows his time is now very short and he is on a rampage that will not abate until he is chained in the abyss. As I sit here remembering some of the many difficult things so many have gone through in the last months, I am again reminded of Hebrews 11:36-40:
Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented–of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.
Yesterday morning I received the names of the 17 widows and 10 male missionaries who were abducted and I will list them here so that praying people can lift them before Abba Father. The men are: Motaz, Fayez, Abass, Fathee, Salah, Hafaz, Raddy, Hassan, Fahmy, and Esan. The widows are: Madiha, Nora, Samiha, Nadia, Samara, Naheda, Rolla, Fatma, Fadwa, Lamya, Samaher, Noha, Sarah, Soha, Waffa, Mageda, and Sahar. I know if we were in their place, we would cherish every single prayer sent up for us.
In a world where people are taught to love their friends and hate their enemies, we find a command given to us by Jesus that is contrary to human nature. This is what He said in Matthew 5:
“You have heard it said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (verses 43-48)
People who have had their sins forgiven and have made Jesus the Lord of their lives, practice loving others just as Jesus did. Jesus, as He was hanging on the cross, asked the Father to forgive those who were murdering Him. Christian martyrs have been doing so ever since.
There is one more incident that I would like to share before closing this update. As Pastor R was receiving this most difficult news, he once again had a heart attack. The pain in his left arm and chest became excruciating, but after about fifteen minutes it let up. Once again the Master stepped in sovereignly and touched our brother! As it turns out, someone very close to me happened to have a real burden of prayer, and in comparing the time of the heart attack and the burden for prayer, and allowing for the ten hour time difference, it was the same time! It goes to prove that it is important to respond to every nudge by the Holy Spirit! This is how close all of God’s people are!
In closing this short update, let’s cover our brethren in prayer. The physical needs are very great and there is also a great need for Bibles. Let’s trust the Lord of the harvest to provide, and if He speaks to us to put feet to our prayers, that is the right thing to do. Time is running out!
I pray the Lord’s blessing on all,
House of Blessing; 3206 SW 45th Street; Redmond, Oregon USA 97756