In light of world events lately, life and death are on the minds of many—especially with the latest catastrophic loss of life from the twin earthquakes just over the northern border of Syria in Turkey. The Bible has many things to say about life and death, especially for the true believer. One of these is found in 2 Corinthians 5:1-4:

1 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, 3 if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. 4 For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. 

Pastor R shared some sad news with me again in his latest call. He said that Sami and Mussa had both passed away. As you know, Omar, Sami, and Mussa all contracted cholera and had been sick for many days. It seemed at one point that they were getting better but Sami and Mussa took a turn for the worse and died half hour apart from one another. One passed away at 3:30 am and the other at 4:00 am. Praise God we know where they are. Mussa, for one, has joined his family members in the Lord’s presence, all who had been murdered some months back. 

All of the HOB missionaries have exerted a maximum effort trying to bring help to the tens of thousands of refugees in the tent cities they’ve been embedded in. This was certainly the case with Omar, Sami, and Mussa—especially in light of the fact that they had come down with cholera. In spite of their serious illness and extreme weakness, they continued making the necessary arrangements to get deliveries of wheat and other life sustaining items needed by the desperate masses. In time, Sami and Mussa’s bodies apparently couldn’t take more and they passed away. Actually, since these men were sold out in service of our Heavenly Father, it was He who decided it was time for them to come home. They had finished the task He had called them to. We find additional comforting words in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18:

13 But I don’t want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with him those who sleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.

I don’t know Omar’s condition at this time, other than the fact that he has survived. Please hold him up before our Father in prayer. 

Suleiman, his grown sons, their team of HOB missionaries, and volunteers were able to distribute supplies that Omar had ordered. A total of 33 family-sized tents were provided. These cost about $300 each. Four families share in each tent, each family occupying a tent in 5 ½ hour shifts per day. This way four families have shelter at least a few hours per day. Desperate times require desperate measures.

Besides the 33 tents, the House of Blessing was able to take delivery of a truckload of mattresses, a load of blankets and other supplies, as well as four truckloads of sacked wheat. These supplies were taken by teams of missionaries and distributed until they ran out. 

Some have asked why the United Nations is providing so little aid to northern Syria. It is complicated and somewhat political in nature but according to some reports, it has to do with the fact that the Assad regime insists on being the sole distributor of the emergency supplies being flown into Syria. According to independent journalists on the ground in Syria, there have been an abundance of supplies coming in on cargo planes but the Assad regime holds the lion’s share of emergency supplies for the regime-controlled part of Syria. Unfortunately, the hardest hit area in Syria is in the northwest portion of the country where opposition forces have some control. This leaves badly damaged cities like Aleppo, Idlib, and others, for the most part, to fend for themselves. Is this the complete story? Probably not, but this does appear to be a major contributing factor. This leaves several million people in an extremely desperate situation. 

When I was speaking with Pastor R, I asked him if more survivors had been found from the 160 HOB missionary families (500-600 in all) who had been in three of the apartment towers that collapsed in the earthquakes. He confirmed that only three people had survived. The situation is terrible and there are great numbers of bodies requiring burial. Suleiman and the large team working with him in Aleppo have been burying bodies as quickly as possible after they are brought up out of the rubble and identified. They continue burying 10-15 at a time in large graves. Their workday is about 20 hours long. 

The latest official death count I was able to find today listed well over 42,000 dead. That is the total between the two nations. Officials expect the count still to top 50,000. At this point, the possibility of someone having survived all these many days is very, very slim. Pastor R said it is near impossible for the outside world to imagine the devastation. 

This should give all of us pause. We all need to be thankful for the safety and comfort most of us have been blessed with. It only takes a moment of time for everything to change. 

Thank you all for your continued prayers and support for the efforts of the House of Blessing as they minister to the needs and share the love of God with the destitute. The harvest continues.

Soon, we will all join Sami, Mussa, and thousands of previous HOB missionaries that have been murdered for being followers of Jesus, or have passed on. Today’s missionaries who have paid the ultimate price for their faith have joined the tens of millions that have paid the same price throughout the past 2,000 years since the first martyr of the fledgling Church, Stephen. Soon all of us who are true followers of Jesus will be brought to that great gathering before God’s throne and worship Him in person. Hallelujah!!

Forever in His Service,



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