As I begin to write today’s update, I think back to House of Blessing missionaries I’ve written about so many times…people like Omar, Same, Mufiedah, Fatwa, Sarah, Fatima and so many others. Then, of course, there is Pastor R, leader and founder of H.O.B. A question that could be asked is: “What motivates a missionary to continue doing what they do, day after day, month after month, and for many of them, year after year? Considering the fact that not one of them does what they do to earn a living, there can only be one answer. LOVE. Philippians 2:5 includes this written instruction: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…” The passage goes on to describe the uniqueness of what Jesus did as the Son of God, but also that He made Himself of no reputation, took the form of a bondservant, and humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death–even to death on the cross. That is LOVE.
True ambassadors of the Kingdom of Heaven mimic the actions of the Messiah. Even though Jesus was not recognized by most in His day for Who He really was, it did not take away from His true identity. Yet, as the Creator of the entire universe, and also as the coming KING of Kings and LORD of Lords, He humbled Himself by submitting Himself to death by crucifixion as a common criminal.
Disciples of Jesus have submitted and surrendered their lives for the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus for the last 2,000 years. Multiplied millions have been subjected to the cruelest of treatment as well as the most brutal forms of execution. What enables them to continue under these circumstances? LOVE. And, in spite of the fact that the world supposedly is becoming more educated and sophisticated with countless organizations actively promoting peace all around the world, lasting peace continues to elude humanity. Additionally, persecution of Christians around the world has escalated exponentially since the beginning of the 20th century. Several thousand HOB missionaries have given their lives since just 2012. They have been beaten or hacked to death, crucified, buried alive, raped to death, and most any evil means man could think up. Yet, they look death in the eye and continue! That’s LOVE. That’s loving the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength…and their neighbors as themselves, as Jesus commanded.
As I write this update Ramadan 2018, celebrated by Muslims around the world, comes to an end this weekend. The House of Blessing missionaries have made the very most of every moment of every day as a gift given by the Lord. Even though so many today don’t recognize it, the return of the Lord in the clouds to take His faithful Bride into His presence is imminent. We should each live every day with that thought in mind.
Over the last few days of evangelism, brothers Omar, Same, and Radwn were able to reach another 540 with the Gospel of Jesus. Each of these prayed the sinner’s prayer and became part of the ever-growing HOB community of believers. Many other groups of HOB missionaries were out ministering to the people wherever they found them. Most of the believers slept very little during this past month, and God blessed with an abundant harvest!
Sisters Mufiedah, Fatwa, and others of the Widow Sisterhood took the opportunity to minister to the medical needs of about 40 people in the last few days. There are still military conflicts raging in different places, which leaves many in need of care. Often there is not any professional help available to them. For the missionaries, ministering to the needy has always been one of the most convincing ways of sharing the Gospel, and these women make the most of every opportunity the Lord presents. There are also still scores of people that are responding to the message of the HOB missionaries due to the stunning display of resurrections of the dead not long ago. At present, Mufiedah and Fatwa are regularly meeting with about 300 that very much want teaching in the ways of God. As has been repeated by so many people over the past months, the missionaries keep hearing the same words: “We want to meet the God you serve! We have never ever seen anything like this before!” The missionaries then take the opportunity to tell the wonderful story of God’s love and how they can be assured that their own sins can be forever forgiven. People continue to respond by the score!
It continues to be the same story with Sister Sarah. Once God intervened in her own life so many months ago, she became an unstoppable force of power in prayer and godly encouragement to those who have lost so very much. She and the 70 who work with her meet with one crowd after another. Just as it was recorded in the Book of Acts in the early days of the Church, wherever the Spirit of God is moving, the crowds gather! The latest crowd she and the 70 ministered to, numbered over 900!
I haven’t shared much about the communion services of the believers lately, but whenever the missionaries have the resources, they arrange a communion service. These special services are so well known and so looked forward to that enormous crowds gather when they are available. Sisters Hafezah and Ferial served communion to at least 1,200 believers this last week. As always, these are great times of refreshing, refilling with power by the Holy Spirit. Many people experience healing during these special times that usually last into the early hours of the morning.
Pastor R also continues to be very busy. He finds himself praying for 500-600 most every single day. When he steps out of his tent, there is always a line waiting for him to pray for them. These people come with every ailment imaginable, many of them also having experienced unspeakable tragedies. Just as the power of God touched people among the gathered crowds in the days of the Apostles Peter, John, and Paul, so He does today, especially in places where people come to the Lord with a child-like faith. What a unique day we live in!
One report of very good news that I received with the latest phone call from Pastor R is that the arrangements have finally been completed for the training of the 44 widows of the murdered HOB missionaries in the Mosul area recently. It has taken a bit of time getting all the details worked out, but Sister Fatima, who Pastor R says is an excellent teacher, will handle some of the teaching and training, as well as oversee those helping her. The names of the women helping her with this training are Nofah, Sana, Randa, Rana, and Sawsan. The training and discipling will last about ten hours per day. I don’t know the length of time it will take to complete this training, but it usually lasts at least 45 days or so. One of the greatest needs was figuring out what to do with the 88 children belonging to these widows. They obviously would not be able to properly care for these children while taking such an intensive training course. A Sister named Mariam, along with four women, named, Aisha, Khadijeh, Zahrah, and Zaynab will be caring for the children for the entire length of the training course. Please pray for each of these women by name. They are making a commitment to take the places of their fallen husbands and take it very seriously. They really desire to be instructed and empowered by the Holy Spirit of God. By the way, the children will also be taught during their mothers’ time of learning. They will all be grounded in a children’s version of what their mothers are being taught. During the time of this training, the remaining 12 missionary men who survived the devastating attack will be cared for by Brother Munser. They are gradually healing from their gunshot wounds.
What has been shared above is just a very tiny piece of what is going on. The last count I was given, HOB has about 2,200 missionaries as well as those who are volunteering to help with the work of evangelism. These missionaries are scattered all over the Middle East and all depend on our prayers foremost, as well as any financial support. As you can imagine, the needs are enormous! But, we serve a big GOD!
There is still a waiting line of at least 8,500 waiting to be included in the classes taught by the House of Blessing School of Ministry teachers. HOB just doesn’t have the resources and teaching staff to take on that many new students all at once! It takes thousands of Bibles, teaching materials, and of course at least one meal a day for the students. It presents huge challenges.
Just before concluding today’s update, I would like to share a few short thoughts…
We live in a time when there are scores of missionary organizations, denominational organizations, innumerable charity organizations…ALL asking for financial help. It becomes overwhelming. It is not possible for every person to support every valid ministry today. I am convinced though that God is more than capable of leading all of us as His people in how we support the work being done in these last moments of the age. As we follow His leading, the needs will be met. God also still multiplies the resources as He did when Jesus fed the 5,000 men plus women and children, and then again with the 4,000 plus. Jesus is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.
Although I have sent funds on for the work of the House of Blessing missionaries, I am really not officially a fundraiser. It is, however, scriptural. In fact, two whole chapters of 2nd Corinthians are devoted to raising funds for needy bodies of believers. The Body of Christ is one family. From the very beginning of the fledgling Church after the Day of Pentecost, the more needy members of the Christian community have received help from those who were a bit better off. The Apostle Paul spent about ten years gathering funds for what was generally referred to as “The Jerusalem Collection.” During the time of these collections, the Judean believers were facing harder than usual economic times as a result of a devastating famine. Paul and Barnabas made an initial famine-relief visit to Jerusalem in 46 AD and delivered a financial gift from the Church at Antioch. For the next ten years or so, the churches of Macedonia and Achaia “were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem.” There were, however, many other churches that contributed. Help came from Berea, Thessalonica, Derbe, Asia, Philippi, Lystra, Corinth, and others. God has always greatly blessed those who will look beyond their own wants and needs and care for the desperate needs of others.
In a day when denominations are reluctant to contribute to entities of a different name, it is a real blessing to have House of Blessing supporters see that the need is much too great to be hindered by denominational pride or “ownership” of a ministry. I want to thank every single person who has contributed by giving financially and/or by your sincere prayers. Truly, in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, nor male or female. As Galatians 3:28 tells us, we are one in Christ Jesus.
We are in the last moments of the age and the time of harvest is nearly over. Whatever we do today will have eternal results. Tomorrow may be too late. We must redeem the time! In the West, we have gotten used to spending the bulk of our finances on maintaining a complicated church machinery. Very little ever really gets to where the greatest needs really are. Please pray to the Lord of the Harvest to open doors and open hearts in this most critical hour.
The need for Bibles continues, as well as the need for wheat, medicines, and the most basic of survival supplies. The House of Blessing has no paid staff and there are no building or office expenses. Every single dollar goes straight into the work of evangelism and helping the HOB community of believers survive the desperate times they find themselves in. In the West, much of the Church consumes most of its income on itself. It is also tragic to see how much of the modern western Church is becoming apostate and rejecting the true teachings of the faith. In the third world, however, there is a great hunger for Truth. They search, they listen, and they respond…by the hundreds of thousands! We must help them as the Church of Jerusalem was helped so long ago. One of my favorite passages on this subject is found in 2 Corinthians 9. It reads this way in the Living Bible:
…cheerful givers are the ones God prizes. God is able to make it up to you by giving you everything you need and more, so that there will not only be enough for your own needs, but plenty left over to give joyfully to others. It is as the Scriptures say: “The godly man gives generously to the poor. His good deeds will be an honor to him forever.” For God, who gives seed to the farmer to plant, and later on, good crops to harvest and eat, will give you more and more seed to plant and will make it grow so that you can give away more and more fruit from your harvest. Yes, God will give you much so that you can give away much, and when we take your gifts to those who need them they will break out into thanksgiving and praise to God for your help. 2 Corinthians 9:8-11
Thank you one and all and may the Lord bless you abundantly as we live our lives in expectation of the Lord’s shout as He descends from heaven, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, causing the dead in Christ to rise first, and with those of us who are still alive meeting them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then, we will be with the Lord FOREVER…so, comfort one another with these words!
Forever in His Service,
NOTE: For those who would like to help with the work of the House of Blessing, please use the provided PayPal button. All funds go directly to the House of Blessing. Thank You.