Over the years that I’ve written updates for the House of Blessing, there have been many accounts of horrific things that HOB missionaries have gone through. Thousands of these men and women would not bend from their commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ, even when facing sure and imminent death.
In the previous update, I told the story of four HOB missionaries; Mouhamad, Fathalah, Awadd, and Fahmee who were sharing the Good News about Jesus. They were caught by a number of ISIS (Daesh) militants and were told if they did not deny Christ, they would pay with their lives. There were actually five men there and as one at a time were murdered, the fifth man, a man named A***, finally broke down from the horror he had to watch, and did deny his faith in Jesus and he was released. As you remember, this man, A*** then called Pastor R in tears to tell him what had happened. He repented of his failure from the depths of his heart, fearful that God could not forgive this betrayal. Pastor R not only reassured him that God’s forgiveness was absolute for a truly repentant believer, but then sent him back out into the mission field to continue with the work that God had called him to! (What a significant reminder for us when we feel we have failed!)
Now, for the rest of the story…
Some time later, upon returning to the harvest fields, A*** heard angry shouting, fighting, and then a barrage of gunshots. He immediately ran to investigate and found that there had been a shootout between ISIS and Hezbollah fighters. I don’t know how many casualties were among the Hezbollah fighters but of the ten ISIS militants involved, six were killed and four were still alive but with serious gunshot wounds.
As A*** came close, he heard the injured men begging for help. When he came up to them, he, in horror recognized that they were four of the militants who had murdered his HOB missionary friends. When the militants saw and recognized him, they begged him to come and pray for them. They told A*** that they knew they had done a terrible thing when they killed the HOB missionaries. They had not had a moment of peace since, not able to sleep without having horrible nightmares, etc. They asked the question so many have asked in the past, “Is there any way God can forgive them for what they had done? A*** told them he, as a man, could forgive but they needed to repent before God and ask for His forgiveness as only God could set them free of their sins. This they did, repenting and claiming Jesus as Savior and Lord
A*** did pray for them but immediately sent someone to get Sister Mufiedah and some of her helpers. As regular readers will know, Mufiedah has much field experience in dealing with battlefield trauma. She and the women she brought with her removed the bullets and treated and cauterized the wounds. It appears all four of the men will survive their injuries.
Several of the missionary brothers then spent time with the four men in order to make sure that their turn to Jesus as Savior and Lord was genuine and not just a ruse. When they determined that they had genuinely repented and asked Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior, they made arrangements to have them taken to Brother Suleiman, a former ISIS militant Imam, for further training in what it really means to be a believer in Jesus Christ and to live a Christian life.
As I have said many times, it is very difficult for those of us who live in the West to take such a story in and accept it at face value. In the West, we have a system of law and order that would not allow killers to go free, even if they became believers in Jesus. They would have to face the consequences of their crimes. But, in a place where there is little real law and order, things are quite different. And, God deals with the circumstances as they are. He not only forgave A*** for his denial because he genuinely repented, but the Blood of Jesus was also potent enough to eradicate the sins of the militants who had brutally murdered the four HOB missionaries. In Muslim nations, murder is not really considered a wrongful death when the victims are ‘infidels’. But God forgives murderers, just as he forgives rapists, or liars, or thieves, only requiring a genuine repentance and recognized need for the gift of grace that is Jesus’ sacrifice.
These men now need prayer for a total healing, not only of their gunshot wounds, but of the religious poison they have been fed since they were children. Their names are: Ibrahim, Yosef, Mahmud, and Mutaz.
The story of Saul the militant Pharisee comes to mind again; how Saul became Paul the Apostle. Here are a few verses of the scripture, reminding us that only God knows the power of His Spirit in a man who repents and turns to doing His will:
13 Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have beard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake. Acts 9:13-16
I was given the names of the widows of the four murdered HOB missionaries and the number of children left behind. Samira, one boy and three girls; Hanan, one boy and two girls; Dalal, two boys and three girls; and Nihad, two boys and four girls. Please pray especially for these four widows and their 18 children to be raised under very difficult circumstances. The House of Blessing is stepping in to do everything they can to help them get established with those that can help them.
As I finish this update, the Muslim month of Ramadan will be over in a few days. The work of evangelization continues all hours of the day and most nights. Many of the missionary teams have already reached their goal of spending one hour in 100 tents, and are continuing to reach as many as they can for Christ. The House of Blessing has been very successful this first three weeks of Ramadan, having reached many hundreds of families with the Good News of the Gospel. Thank God for the harvest that is coming in. Although the missionaries have run out of Bibles to distribute, they have copies of their teachings to share. Each teaching has all of the Scriptures printed out in full for the people to read, study, and memorize. God is good!
Pastor R continues guiding the HOB leadership as the Holy Spirit leads. Please continue to pray for him as his physical battles with pain and high temperature have not let up. Let’s bathe him in intercessory prayer.
As we come ever nearer to the return of our Messiah and Lord, let’s continue being diligent in what it is God has called each of us to. Let us also always be aware that the enemy comes around as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. As the devil’s time becomes ever shorter, he will attack God’s people in any area of weakness he sees. Let’s not let him get a foothold any way, any where!!
8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous, 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called in this, that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For “He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. 11 Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil. 13 And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good?.14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit. 1 Peter 3:8-18
Thank you all for your prayers and support. The harvest is ripe and it is coming in in great numbers!
Forever in His Service,