Today’s update will be shorter than most. Pastor R’s call was a very quick update but he asked me to get a little information out to keep people updated.
It looks like one of the last of the winter storms has come into the northern parts of the Middle East. It has brought wind, rain, cold temperatures, and snow. It is always a difficult thing for the people to deal with the cold, wet weather. Hundreds of tents–sometimes thousands of them collapse and have to be rebuilt. Hopefully, spring weather will soon provide some relief from the harsh winter conditions.
Pastor R told me that there are still scores of people coming down with the winter flu, the Coronavirus, and many other ailments, some of course due to exposure to the elements. He said that it is impossible to tell the difference between the flu and virus there in the camps. The symptoms are very similar. There are deaths from the flu every year in the refugee camps and the virus just became an additional sickness to deal with. Pastor R said that he was told that there were at least 14,000 children sick with either a virus or the flu within the camps that he had reports from.
The missionary teams continue ministering to many hundreds of people every day. Omar, Sami, Mussa and their volunteers ministered to the needs of 420 families. They rebuilt 280 tents for the people and buried 17 of their dead. Mufiedah, Fadwa, Sarah and their helpers ministered to the needs of 250 families. They also rebuilt 120 tents and buried 8 of their dead. Ibrahim, Akram and their team ministered to 240 families and Adel, Mahmoud and their team another 180 families. Sahbander and Mortadah shared the love of God and prayed with 45 families. Communion services continue wherever it is possible to do so, some with 25 at a time five times a day; others with about 30 worshippers five times a day.
Pastor R shared a brief praise report that he asked me to pass onto you. You might remember a man Suleiman, who along with his three grown sons, all of them terrorists, found the Lord a few months back and were gloriously touched by the Spirit of God and then began sharing the Good News with others, including those in their mosque. Pastor R told me that Suleiman recently reached three men, all of them Muslim head-sheikhs. These men all have their own mosques and regular crowds of men who attend every week. For those that may not know, a “head-sheikh” has a higher status than a regular sheikh. A head-sheikh is usually much more educated and is considered an important community leader. They have great influence among the people associated with them.
I don’t have many details yet other than that all three, along with their families, have bowed the knee to Jesus Christ and now believe Him to be the true Messiah and have become followers. Two of these men had three wives each. In order to bring their lives into alignment with the New Testament which requires a man to be married to only one woman, each is now only living with one wife. The other wives have also become believers but are living as single women now, although their subsistence is taken care of. This is an issue that has come up for missionaries in many nations with social customs much different than what we in the West may be accustomed to. Some have chosen to maintain their lives as they are by following Christian teachings as best they can under their circumstances. These men however, have made this decision. I was given their names and the names of their #1 wives so that you might pray for them and the harvest the Lord would like to bring in through their influence.
- Thayer and wife, Muna
- Hassan and wife, Samirah
- Adel and wife, Hanadi. Adel had only the one wife. They have three sons.
(Incidentally, this Adel is not the same as the HOB missionary I have written about in past updates)
In conclusion, I want to pass on a great big thank-you from all of the House of Blessing for your prayers and your support. Plans are being formulated to facilitate the special evangelistic efforts for this year’s month of Ramadan. Many Bibles are needed along with other supplies. Some funds have already coming in. Teaching materials will also need to be mass-copied for the 2,000 or so HOB missionaries to use. Of course, they’ll also need food and water. Thank you for your financial help and your prayers.
Pastor R is continuing to meet with his leadership but he is still struggling with a high fever and other issues. He asked me to pass on how grateful he is for everyone’s prayers!
Forever in His Service,