Today’s update is once again quite short as it is regarding a special call I received from Pastor R concerning an incident that happened three or four days ago. There is a Scripture in John 15 I would like to share that is applicable.

18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. …19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you in My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.” John 15:18-21

The incident that Pastor R called me about had to do with some of the House of Blessing brothers who were sharing the Good News about Jesus. As most of you know, the month of Ramadan is well underway and HOB has its missionaries and volunteers scattered all across the Mideast and there is a great harvest coming in during this year’s Ramadan. 

The reason for this short update is to let you know that five of the brothers were caught by ISIS (Daesh) militants. They had two Bibles with them and copies of this year’s teaching materials. I did not receive details, but it was passed on to me that when the five missionaries were taken, the militants demanded that they renounce their belief in Jesus Christ or they would be killed. When none of them would do so, the militants killed one of them at a time, making the others watch. The names of the first four men were Mouhamad, Fathalah, Awadd, and Fahmee. When these four had been murdered, the fifth man was overcome and agreed to recant his belief in Jesus. He was then set free. 

Not long afterward, the surviving missionary spoke with Pastor R and with great sorrow and a broken heart confessed to his failure, asking if God could ever forgive him. As believers, we must have compassion on this man and pray for his restoration. I am reminded that the biggest difference between Peter’s denial of Jesus and Judas’ denial was Peter’s repentant heart. In spite of his failure, God made him into a great soul winner, and years later, Peter gave his life for his faith, and this time he was not controlled by fear. 

There is in fact an appropriate passage of Scripture found at the end of Peter’s first epistle in which we find these words:

But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 1 Peter 5:10

It is these words, with the heart of compassion, that we are praying for our heartbroken friend.

In conclusion, I will briefly mention that the many teams of HOB missionaries are continuing their preplanned means of evangelizing during this month of Ramadan. Some have already surpassed their goal of spending at least an hour sharing the Good News with the families in 100 tents. Some have already ministered to 90 tent families, others 75, 70, 45, and so on. 

All of these folks are being prayed with and the majority of them decide to join the family of God by accepting Jesus as their Savior. Praise God!

Pastor R is still struggling with a constant headache and fever and a few other issues but continues to thank God for His continued strength. He also very much appreciates the prayers of all of you, as does all of the House of Blessing. Thank you all so much for your prayers and support. Ten years ago, the Lord promised me that every single Bible will bear fruit, in fact, much fruit. I am continuing to believe Him for that, even ten years later. I believe God for the same with all of the teaching materials because much Scripture is included within each one. 

Jesus is coming back very soon!

Forever in His Service,

Jake

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