I have always thought that one of the fascinating privileges we will have as we begin an unending eternity in the presence of our glorious LORD and God, will be access to the millions upon millions of individual stories, recorded with intricate, accurate detail, of the lives of God’s faithful people as they navigated life on this fallen planet. I am sure that we will find ourselves amazed again and again as we review in living color and in panoramic vision, seeing through the eyes of God’s faithful servants, as they faced circumstances and challenges; impossibilities without obvious solution in the natural, for which God sent intervention so that His plan is brought to perfect completion.
God has accurate records of every thought and action of every single one of us as His children throughout our entire lives. I believe we will find that God has been much more involved in every situation we have found ourselves in than we could ever imagine. Earlier today I heard the retelling of a missionary’s story from years ago that I would like to use as introduction to today’s Mideast Update. This is how I heard it.
Years ago, a young couple felt that God was calling them to minister as missionaries to an island inhabited by cannibals. As they were being brought by boat to this island, the skipper of the boat told the young missionary couple that they could not possibly consider being left by themselves on this most dangerous of islands. They would surely be murdered and eaten by the inhabitants. But, the missionaries told him that they felt that this is what God had asked of them, and regardless of the outcome, they wanted to obey His call on their lives.
As the couple was left on the island, they set up a little camp on the beach where they would sleep. As they looked back up the beach into the brush, they could see the glow of many eyes staring at them, but they put their lives in the hands of the One that had called them to this place. As the days went by, they continued staying on the beach. Every night as they got ready to go to sleep, they could see the many eyes staring at them from the brush.
As it turned out, the wife was pregnant, and in time she delivered the child, but both the mother and child perished during childbirth, leaving the missionary alone on that forsaken beach. The father buried both the mother and child right on the beach and then slept on top of the grave, night after night, apparently for weeks, if not months.
As the story continues, one of the native men from the island got in trouble with the tribe, and was banished from the tribe. This man in time became friends with the missionary, and eventually a connection to this tribe of cannibals was made. After a long time of ministry the tribe responded to the gospel and good news of God’s love and forgiveness and left their life of cannibalism, learning the ways of Jesus instead.
After about thirty years of giving his life in ministry to this tribe, the missionary was about to return to his home. As he prepared to leave, the chief of the tribe told him that he needed to ask one question of him before he left. When the missionary asked him what it was, he said, “We watched you for many weeks as you camped and slept on the beach. Who was that army of warriors who surrounded you all that time??
Well, we know the answer to the chief’s question! I have to wonder though, how many times does God send supernatural intervention in our situations that we are not even aware of? I think that has been the case with many House of Blessing missionaries over the last four years!
This last two weeks has been very full for the missionaries. As usual, there were blessings experienced, and then there were once again the tragedies. One of the unusual things that happened these past few days is difficult to explain in words that do justice to describing God’s intervention into the affairs of men. All regular readers of this blog will know that Pastor R, some of the missionaries, and hundreds of others have struggled horribly with the effects of exposure to mustard gas. There are a great many who have died because of these effects. A few days ago, the Lord spoke to Sister Mufiedah and gave her a short list of ingredients to put together as a paste or lotion of sorts to treat the mustard gas victims. The ingredients came together as a powder and mixed together with oil and water. Between two and three days after the paste had been applied, over 500 victims were completely healed! Pastor R used the same paste on his own body and was also totally healed of the spots and blisters from the mustard gas!
There are likely going to be some who find this story hard to believe, but God has used “strange” means of bringing His miracle power in contact with the needs a number of times in the past many months! God will not be put into a box. The Bible is full of examples of “odd” supernatural things that happened. Jesus told us that His followers would do even greater things than He did while He was on this earth.
Another blessing from this past few days is that enough finances were made available to get another truckload of wheat to Mufiedah for distribution. The forty tons of wheat along with water was enough to provide some needed nourishment for tens of thousands of starving refugees. This was a much needed blessing because the people have been so desperate they have been eating whatever grass they can find. Much of the grass, however, is contaminated with the mustard gas.
One of the recurring difficulties has been dealing with the many corpses. The children were having to witness large rodents feeding on dead bodies. The HOB missionaries took this need to the Lord in prayer again and had their prayer answered in an unusual way. Usually, HOB will rent a tractor for the purpose, just as a service to the refugee communities. This time, however, a man came riding by some of the missionaries on a tractor. When the missionaries approached the man about possibly burying the dead, he seemed very happy to help. With the tractor and help from some of the missionaries to handle the corpses, over 350 decomposing bodies were put into the ground in northern Syria.
This last few days also saw Sister Hafezah in northern Syria and Sister Fatima in Iraq receiving some more help so that they could continue their special communion services. Hafezah was able to serve another 1,200 new believers and Fatima over 1,500! Many of these received healing and all were baptized with the power of the Holy Spirit as they worshipped God while taking communion! Such amazing events under such difficult circumstances! It just proves once again that Jesus Christ is LORD!
The attacks on the missionaries continue on a daily basis. Another 5 missionaries were murdered by ISIS in the Fallujah area, with an additional 8 attacked and killed in Mosul. In Fallujah, another 50 people have been taken by starvation and 35 in the Mosul area.
The situation in northern Syria is not getting any better either. People trying to get to Turkey are unsuccessful and eventually have to come back to the refugee camps where they had left from. At least one or two hospitals and several medical clinics have been hit with bombs or missiles, with many people being killed, including many children. This was also the cause of death for seven of Mufiedah’s widows. Forty-two of the injured have been treated by HOB missionaries or Mufiedah’s widows and are in the healing process.
The specially picked 12 men whom Pastor R finished training just before he was exposed to mustard gas, are doing well. Many reports are coming in about the people they have been able to reach with the Gospel of God’s love and forgiveness. Also, we are again receiving reports of many who have found their peace with Messiah Jesus in the last few moments of their lives! What a blessing that these people are reached before they enter eternity!
The HOB leadership in Iraq was able to send one hundred of their missionaries to northern Syria to help Mufiedah and the widows and male missionaries working with her. They have been overwhelmed with the enormous needs and multitudes of people needing and wanting to hear about Jesus Christ. The harvest is very great!
As far as conditions on the ground in both Iraq and Syria, there is chaos everywhere. Yet, God is using the missionaries to touch lives absolutely everywhere! The fields are white for harvest, but as Jesus said, the laborers are few. And, they need our prayers and support. Many more of us need to link arms with these brave missionaries. Their lives are continually on the line. They never know if they are going to live through their day of ministry.
Many reports are also coming in, through the news services as well as from those located in the Mideast, that the civil war in Syria is still raging. So is the fighting within Iraq. There are struggles for power everywhere. It appears that Syria’s dictator Hafez Assad may be taking his last stand by trying to get control of Syria’s largest city, Aleppo. He is of course allied with Russia, Hezbollah, and Iran. This is raising the violence level even more–if that is possible!
For those who pay attention to the news, Iran’s top military general in Syria is also now in charge of all troops located just north of Israel’s border. Assad intends to get control over the Golan Heights area, and Iran is helping to facilitate this. Benjamin Netanyahu has made it very clear that this would not be allowed by Israel in any shape or form. This just warns us all again that greater wars are imminent.
The Word of God warned us two millennia ago that this would be the case, and would be a specific sign of the End of Days. We find these words in Matthew 24: 6-8
You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
It’s time to make sure that our relationships with our God are in order. He’s coming very soon for the Bride of Christ! Live your life like you might be here for a while yet, but at the same time, like you might leave this earth at any moment! God’s faithful ones are going home SOON! Matthew 24: 40-41 gives us very good advice:
Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.
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