One of the blessings for many people around the world is springtime—especially for those who have been struggling to survive the cold without any heat source. This is the case with most of the people who compose the mission field of the House of Blessing. In his latest phone call to me, Pastor R said that it seemed the weather turned within a week or so this year. As I write this update, weather in the Aleppo area will be at 99 F (37.2 C) on May 20 and 109 F (43 C) by June 2. Instant summer heat. Amazing!
Regular readers will be aware that the House of Blessing has had to adjust their mode of operation lately on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. The entire world has changed since the coronavirus made its entrance into our world, now affecting virtually all nations on the planet to one extent or another. With Saudi Arabia having cancelled the yearly hajj to Mecca and large gatherings during the Muslim month of Ramadan being avoided, HOB missionaries have resorted to meeting with small groups at a time, all across the Mideast wherever the HOB community has a representation. Most of the work of sharing the Good News has been carried on from tent to tent.
Ramadan is now nearly over but the harvest is not, and has once again been exceptional, regardless of the virus. Although many have lost their lives due to the virus–including a number of those belonging to the HOB community of believers, the work has continued. In my short call from Pastor R a couple days ago, I was information of how things are going in at least a few of the locations.
Presently, there are a large number of HOB missionaries located in the Aleppo / Idlib region of northwestern Syria. Most of those in the leadership who had come down with the virus are well again and back working with the refugees and anyone else that will hear what they have to share.
Omar, Sami, and Mussa, along with a team of about 320 House of Blessing missionary men were able to gather some funds, mainly from those who on their deathbed had donated whatever money they had left to the HOB mission. God once again took a little and multiplied it into a great amount. When the gifts were added up, the Lord had blessed with enough to purchase a truckload of wheat, 1,000 Bibles, and there was still a little left over for some fresh water to those that need it the most. What a miracle that turned out to be!
With what was purchased, Omar, Sami, and Mussa were able to distribute badly needed wheat for cooking to about 2,500 families. Mufiedah, Fadwa, Sarah, and about 120 women helping them were able to help meet the needs of about 550 women. Of course, as always, this provided a wide open opportunity to speak about the love of God and the plan of salvation that He has provided.
As they worked with the people, they of course ran across many who had the virus and many who had not survived it. The numbers of those who were infected were at least 200 or so–just in this one area, and near four dozen had lost their lives. One of the things that HOB was able to do was to get 55 small thin one-man tents to put infected people into. This helped keep the infection contained at least a little bit. This was much better than having to have the sick within tents that often have 15 people packed into them.
The HOB community in Iran has had a very difficult struggle for a long time now. The coronavirus only made the situation much worse for them. However, although they had been hit pretty hard, they began to get well, with many of them experiencing a genuine supernatural healing in response to prayer. The last numbers I received from Iran told of 68 who had caught the virus and at least 28 who had died as a result. The community appears to gradually be on the mend now but they have a great need for clean water. HOB is hoping to send some of the funds received in Syria to the HOB community of believers in western Iran for that purpose.
In other areas, as was reported in the previous Mideast Update, the communion services are continuing as they have been, with small groups of 15-20 at a time. This is done about five times a day so that no one who wants to participate is left out.
Pastor Farid and his family have a regular schedule of praying for anywhere between 100-130 or so every single day. The last I heard, neither he nor any of his grown children ministering to the people have caught the virus. Praise God!
As I conclude this short update, as always, I ask you all to keep these brave missionaries and their underground Christian communities in your prayers. I also thank those of you who are already doing so; many of you for several years now. The harvest has been a very large one, indeed!
Our Lord encouraged us to work while it is day, for the darkness comes when no man can work. We are very near that time, but it is not here yet. So…let’s make the most of what little time we have left. The Times of the Gentiles are almost at their end. Then, God will once more turn His attention back to His chosen people as He promised to through His prophets. We are now so very close!! Can you hear the hoofbeats of the Apocalyptic Riders circling the globe? I can!
Forever in His Service,