This will be a very short update. I would like to pass on some information I just received a few hours ago. Pastor R called me earlier today, broken hearted, to let me know of an incident that he had just been made aware of. As regular readers will remember, the House of Blessing opened four Bible School classes just recently to teach and train some of the new believers that decided they would like to join the ranks of the HOB missionaries. The House of Blessing has done this many times before and will continue to do so as the Lord makes provision for them.
As these four classes were being arranged and were scheduled to begin, I remember asking for special prayer for the teachers, the teacher’s assistants, and of course, the men taking the course. The schooling is quite intensive, running between 6-8 or even 9 hours a day. Holding schooling like this surrounded by Muslims has often proven dangerous and sometimes deadly. The HOB School of Ministry has endured some severe attacks in past years from Islamic militants.
This is what happened today. It was Brother Assam’s class that was attacked today. Several ISIS militants walked in on the class and demanded that all of the men deny their faith in Jesus Christ and return to Islam or die. After discussion back and forth, without the class teachers or their students being willing to deny Christ, they were all shot to death.
Brother Omar heard the shooting and immediately ran to see what happened. When he got there, the militants had left and nothing but blood and bodies was scattered across the floor. He found one man barely alive and that was the head teacher, Brother Assam. He was bleeding badly but was able to give Omar a quick summary of what had transpired before he passed away. All other 27 had been murdered, including his two assistants, Tayseer and Emmad.
In the last ten years I have been privileged to pass on accounts of what has transpired on the front lines of the HOB mission field, more than 5,000 homegrown missionaries and volunteers trained by the House of Blessing have been martyred for their faith. Another 28 were added today. Although we know that these are already in the presence of God, the pain is still very, very real. This is especially the case for all of the wives and children of these men. They left for their schooling in the morning, excited to learn new things about their newfound faith in Jesus Christ, but did not return home. The ones that need prayer the most are the wives and the children they now need to raise up by themselves. This will be very hard on these widowed mothers–especially under the difficult circumstances they already live in. The House of Blessing will of course do everything possible to aid these widows, as they always do.
One decision that has been made among the leaders since this tragedy is that the schooling will in fact continue with the remaining three classes, but instead of running five consecutive days of the week, they will run the classes every other day, totalling three days a week. This will lessen the financial burden a little on HOB until they can figure things out going forward. Please pray as they seek God’s wisdom. Thank you.
While all this was going on in northern Syria, HOB has continued with the work of evangelism. Scattered reports have come in of at least 250 families that missionary teams were able to bless with some supplies, HOB’s Oregano tea mixture, and most importantly, teaching from the Word of God. The harvest is most plentiful and people are very easy to reach with the Good News about Jesus Christ, the coming KING. It is the only message that provides true assurance of forgiveness of sin and subsequent eternal life they have ever heard. They are quick to respond.
It was in my previous update that I made mention of the fact that the West seems to be the only part of the world that is missing out on the greater part of this great outpouring of God’s Spirit on this generation, with multiplied millions finding Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior every year, and experiencing stunning miracles in the process. A question posed to me on a number of occasions has been: Why has the media not been made aware of these “supposed” miracles? My answer would be that the miracles would point directly to the One the world is doing its best to reject—Jesus Christ. The same answer would apply to why no one in the media is likely to ever hear of the 28 men who were slaughtered today by ISIS. It is because they were unwilling to deny their faith in this same Jesus Christ.
Will the West experience some of this before Jesus returns? Only God knows…
Forever in His Service,