After receiving a phone update this week from Pastor R, and thinking about all the things that God is doing through the House of Blessing missionaries in the Middle East, I am reminded of a number of Scriptures. One of these is Ephesians 4.
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head–Christ–from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. (verses 11-16)
There have been many spectacular events that I have had the privilege of reporting, and today I have another story to add. About two weeks ago, four head sheikhs asked permission to sit in on one of the classes being taught by four of HOB’s teachers, Yosef, Zakaria, Abed, and Faisal, in the Fallujah area. This class was one of those set up after the great event when former sheikh Salem preached a sermon at a local mosque in which every one of the 250 men present became believers in Jesus Christ. These four sheikhs, after listening in for these many days and taking in the material which was being taught, approached the teachers of the class and asked if they would help them pray so that they would be forgiven of their sins and become part of the Kingdom of God. Each of the four then confessed their sins to the Lord, accepted Him as their Lord and Saviour, and were baptized in water. They then asked if they would be allowed to continue with the class until its completion.
All four of these new converts head their own mosques and congregations where they regularly preach. Between the four of them, they have a total of about 18,000 men who regularly attend their services on a weekly basis. After having committed themselves to Messiah Jesus, none of the four want to go back to preaching in their mosques. But, each of them, being a head sheikh and having having taught people for 40-50 years, still want to be of influence in people’s lives. They have decided to go through the entire School of Ministry course and then do everything they can to reach their families, friends, and people who have attended their mosques over the years.
What an absolute miracle, once again! I enjoy hearing and retelling stories of the extraordinary miracles that are happening today, but there is no greater miracle than the salvation of a soul and the change in eternal direction it brings…all because of the power of the Blood of Jesus.
These four new Brothers in Christ asked that I share their names, along with their photo, asking that believers around the world would keep them in prayer. Please join me in honoring this request from our new brethren. Their names are: Mefliah, Radi, Taher, and Shaher.
As to the news from the rest of the missionaries, all of the other Bible classes being taught in the Fallujah area are doing well. The new classes being taught in the Kurdistan area and in Iran are also continuing.
The news coming from Syria is both tragic and glorious. Sister Norah, through an e-mail sent from Jerusalem, says that Mufiedah has seen another 95 people healed of their war injuries. She was able to lead them to the Lord as well. Hafezah and Ferial are continuing to offer their tent for people wanting to take communion. Another 850 souls committed themselves to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, took communion, and were all baptized with the Holy Spirit! The number of people being reached this way continues to grow every day!
Along with the wonderful news of the new believers and those who have experienced the power of the Holy Spirit coming over them, there is a continuing tragedy. Not only are many being killed or injured due to the heavy bombings, but many are starving to death. There is just no food available to so many areas. In Madaya, Syria, the Assad regime has had a blockade up so that nothing can get in or out. All of the dogs and cats have been eaten, and people are resorting to eating grass. Many don’t even have that. Land mines have been put all around the town, and now a barbed wire fence has been put up as well. People who dare to try to brave the land mines in search of food are shot to death by the government forces. In Madaya, 35 new believers just died of starvation. In another town called Zabadani, which is also under siege, another 40 have starved to death. Both Madaya and Zabadani are not far from Damascus.
Pastor R continues to be moved quite often, sometimes as much as twice a day, so as to keep him safe. He has lived in many tents, sometimes in caves, and other times in bombed out buildings. He often struggles with different health issues, but never has a complaint. I trust that many of you will keep him and all of the HOB missionaries and new believers in prayer. They depend on our prayers.
I would like to close with another Scripture, spoken initially by Paul, but now in the hearts and minds of so many HOB missionaries around the Middle East:
…praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints–and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. (Ephesians 6:18-20)
Praying blessings for all,
House of Blessing; 3206 SW 45th Street; Redmond, Oregon USA 97756