MIDEAST UPDATE 5/6/2019
As I thought about how to approach today’s update, I thought about the perilous times in which so many missionaries today find themselves, particularly in the Middle East. As I write today, we have yet to hear any news concerning Sisters Mufiedah and Sarah, and brother Omar since they were arrested a few weeks ago for sharing the Gospel. Church history includes an untold number of stories of the persecution followers of Jesus Christ have received in the two thousand years since the beginning of the Church Age. In our generation the number of Christian martyrs have escalated exponentially.
Not only is it very dangerous to speak of Jesus Christ in many nations of the world today, but the world itself is becoming more dangerous every day. News coming from the Mideast over the past weekend tells of over 700 rockets launched into population centers in southern Israel. This of course brought about retaliation against the terrorists responsible and there are reports of those killed in both Israel and in Gaza. The number of injured is in the hundreds.
We know that soon this will escalate into a wide-range mideast conflict involving Israel and Israel’s Arab neighbors. How soon until the hostilities escalate into a full-blown war, only God knows, but it will be very soon. According to the latest news reports, another ceasefire has been confirmed, but ceasefires in the Middle East only last long enough for the perpetrators of the violence to re-arm and reposition themselves for their next onslaught. Israel is quickly coming to the place of saying, Enough is enough, and they will take no more.
According to the Old Testament prophets, Israel will be involved in several major conflicts just prior to the return of the Messiah to set up His millennial kingdom. In order for this to be possible, the Jews had to return to their ancient land after having been scattered around the globe for over 1,800 years. We know that Israel became a nation again in 1948, nearly 71 years ago. Israel has been involved in several wars within that 70-year time period, but all of them will pale in comparison to what is now on the horizon.
The House of Blessing missionaries know that a major time of war is coming and they have been preparing themselves to be used however God chooses to. The Muslim month of Ramadan has begun and will continue until the fifth of June. As is the case every year, the HOB missionaries are strategically positioned where they can share the Good News of Jesus Christ, the real Messiah. Many of us have heard the stories of Jesus miraculously appearing in the dreams of thousands of Muslims. We are witnessing a great time of harvest today and as ambassadors of the kingdom of God, we need to make the most of the time we have. Most of us don’t have the opportunity to physically be part of this great harvest of souls in the Mideast, but we can be involved through prayer and helping to provide Bibles to the new believers.
Since the last Mideast Update, the HOB missionaries were once again able to purchase a half truckload of wheat and beans with which to take care of several hundred families. This always goes a long way in demonstrating the love of God to a people who have lost almost all hope. In war torn areas of the world, people are most grateful to be introduced to the promise of a glorious eternity in a kingdom that is free of the sin and corruption infecting this fallen world. The offered assurance of genuine forgiveness and right-standing in God’s sight is unknown to most people in the world. Yet, this is exactly what God has freely offered to anyone who will believe in Jesus, the only true Messiah. This is why there are so many people in third-world countries coming to Christ today. They are responding to the drawing of the Holy Spirit.
As the world around us is traversing into more and more dangerous times, many within the western church are oblivious to the signs of the times that Jesus warned us to watch for. The distraction of an overabundance of material blessings and unlimited sources of entertainment, blinds many to the fact that we are at the very end of the age. The Bible tells us that it is the unbeliever who will be caught by surprise at the return of the Messiah—not the Church! Yet, many who claim to be followers of Christ are so inves ted in the “good life” that they would rather not hear that we are at the very end of the age. Many would be very happy to have Jesus wait a while before returning. But we are at the end of the age. Jesus gave us sufficient warning of what we are to watch for. There is a good reason why the Apostle John left us this exhortation:
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:15-17
The family of the House of Blessing that is scattered all across the Mideast continues to celebrate communion as they are able. Sometimes they have the necessary supplies, sometimes they don’t. When they are able, they spend hours in worship of the One who gave His life for them. The Spirit of God is always present where God’s people gather to worship Him.
Pastor R continues to trust the Lord for the wisdom needed to keep the House of Blessing going from day to day in the direction God has for them. A ministry like this with several thousand missionaries scattered all across the Mideast takes a lot of coordination, financial support, and guidance from the Holy Spirit. The bottom line is, we all trust in the Lord of the Harvest. Without Him, there is no ministry, no missionary work, and of course, no souls reached.
Each day, hundreds still line up to receive prayer. Pastor R and the men ministering with him pray with every last one of them before their day comes to an end. And God is always faithful to answer prayer!
In conclusion, I want to thank all of you who continue to lift the House of Blessing missionaries before the Lord in prayer. They truly depend on the prayers of fellow believers around the world. Many thanks also to those who have been faithful to help them financially. It is the faithfulness of God’s people for the last seven years that has made it possible for HOB to see such a large number of souls saved in Jesus. The needs are greater during special times of evangelism as during the month of Ramadan. Any gifts are greatly appreciated and every dollar is carefully spent as the Lord directs.
The task of this part of the harvest is nearly complete and the Lord’s return for His faithful people is at the door! Let’s do our best in helping each other finish well.
Forever in His Service,