In a quickly changing Middle East, each nation is trying to deal with the facts on the ground from one day to the next. It is the same for the Christian missionaries on the front lines. In my latest calls from House Of Blessing, I have had it confirmed that HOB is breaking into four segments so that there is better continuity in case of emergency situations in this volatile area of the world. Strong leadership has been raised up in Syria, Iraq, Iran, and the Kurdistan area. Each leadership has its own group of elders, all still staying in touch with Pastor R***** for overall spiritual leadership, wisdom sharing, and finances for each ministry.
Gradually, the weather is turning and that is a welcome sign because there has been much hardship this winter season for the refugees as well as the missionaries. I personally want to thank each and every one of you who have contributed to help so many refugees dealing with lack of clothing, shelter, mattresses, bedding, food, and Bibles. Every time I speak with him, Pastor R***** sends his thank you along with that of the multitudes who are touched by your giving. We will never fully realize the full impact made in the lives of so many people until we all stand before our Messiah Jesus! I am looking forward to that great day!
Each time I receive a call from Pastor R*****, I hear of the increase in war activity. Many areas where HOB missionaries are located are hit quite hard, not only by ISIS and other jihadist organizations, but also by the violent fighting between armies and the air forces of the different nations involved. Bombs and missiles kill the innocents as well as those involved in the fighting. There is death and destruction everywhere. Families are torn apart, children killed, women raped and sold off as sex slaves. Christians continue to be the favorite target of Islamic jihadists. All of the official numbers reported for war casualties are grossly underestimated. This is also true for the number of Christians being martyred. There is a steady flow of martyrs into the area under the altar described in Revelation 6:9-11:
When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was complete.
Within the last few days, a number of missionaries were killed, some in Fallujah where there is considerable fighting ongoing. The fighting was so heavy, it was not possible to reach the bodies for burial. Oftentimes, those that have killed the missionaries watch for friends or family to approach the bodies in order to attack them as well.
Along with the tragedies that are always a part of these updates, there is always good news. The good news is that the underground church in the Middle East is growing exponentially. Neither the news media nor international religious organizations realize how many thousands are becoming followers of Jesus, the Messiah. The real numbers are truly amazing, and continue to be so. The worse circumstances become, the more people seem to be reached.
I believe these days are historic. As we look at Bible prophecy, we can see that we are facing the very end of the Age. Just ahead is the Great and Terrible Day of the LORD. God’s word tells us that there is a great harvest of souls right at the end of the Age of Grace. We also find that there is a great harvest of souls brought into God’s kingdom after the true Church has been removed from the earth. I believe that many who are so skeptical of the Gospel of Jesus Christ today, will realize later that they have missed their opportunity to escape all the things coming down upon the earth, but will then make the decision to put their faith and trust in Jesus Messiah, although it will likely cost them their lives. Revelation 7:9-17 references this very group of people. Many passages of Scripture warn us about the importance of recognizing our time of grace. One of these is found in Romans 13: 11-14:
And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. (NKJV)
For those in the Middle East, life is pretty tenuous. Death is everywhere, and life and death decisions are made every day. For those of us in the West, distractions are everywhere. We have a responsibility to exercise control over the dozens of things that demand our attention every day. If we do not, we will find ourselves missing the opportunities God gives us, not only to grow in our relationships with Him, but also in the part that He may have laid out for us to play in the lives of others. Eternity is just around the corner. Is our walk with God touching the lives of those around us? What are we doing to reach a lost world? The opportunities we have today to make a difference in the lives of the masses overseas are only going to be there so long. The Age of Grace is nearly over! Let’s do what we can while the door is still open!
The generosity of many has kept untold numbers alive this last winter, many of them subsequently becoming believers in Jesus. Today, there is a great need for Bibles. Brother Omar has said that in the areas of Iraq that he is aware of, there are about 150,000 believers needing Bibles. The majority of these are new believers. If God prompts you to help in this regard while the door remains open, please accept the challenge and receive the blessing that comes from obedience to His voice. Below is the post office box to use for donations to help House of Blessing. Thank you and may God bless each one of you abundantly as we do everything we can to finish this race well!
House Of Blessing (HOB); P.O. Box 2093: Redmond, OR 97756