Maybe it is because I am now an old guy, but it seems like time is flying by faster every day! Here we are, nearly at the end of June, 2022. The House of Blessing is already preparing for its evangelism effort during the time leading up to and during the yearly Muslim Hajj. Officially, the Hajj begins July 7 and continues on through the 12th. Muslims around the world are already making the necessary arrangements to go on the Hajj, or if they are not traveling to Saudi Arabia, they will at least participate in the annual sacrifice wherever they are located.
The Muslim, Eid al-Adha, the day of the sacrifice this year begins the evening of July 9 and ends the evening of July 10. From my understanding, Eid al-Adha, is the culmination of the Hajj (pilgrimage) to Mina, Saudi Arabia, near Mecca. The feast actually lasts about three days and is celebrated by Muslims as a recognition of the willingness of the prophet Ibrahim, known as Abraham, in Judaism and Christianity, to sacrifice his son, Ismail, as ordered by Allah. Muslims will sacrifice whatever they can afford, whether it is a sheep, goat, cow, camel, or whatever, and share it with the poor, family or friends. Gifts are also exchanged in celebration of the feast.
As Christians, we realize that what Islam’s prophet, Muhammad, wrote in the Qu’ran, was a twist on the original account written by Moses in the Old Testament. Abraham was not instructed to offer Ishmael as a sacrifice, but rather Isaac. Most of us know the story and God’s intervention by supplying a ram for the sacrifice instead of Abraham’s son, Isaac.
The details of Eid al-Adha above are mainly to give a background to those who know nothing of the Muslim Hajj and this particular Muslim feast. It has been one of the yearly times when HOB has made a special effort to reach Muslims with the Good News of the Gospel. Part of this special outreach is to share the good news that God provided the one and only sacrifice needed to pay the price for the sins of mankind and make the free gift of a relationship with Him available for the asking. The same is available today, whether Jew or Gentile.
Hebrews 10 makes it clear that the yearly sacrifices the Israelites participated in were only a shadow of the provision God had planned from before the foundations of the earth were laid. The yearly sacrifice celebrated by Muslims is in many ways mimicking what Moses wrote in the Old Testament, but with some religious twists. The writer to the Hebrews said this:
1 For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. 2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshippers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. 3 But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins…..9 then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God. He takes away the first that He may establish the second. 10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
This is the message that is being shared to those preparing for Eid al-Adha. Pastor R called and shared how Brother Suleiman and his adult sons traveled to a new refugee camp to share this message. The Lord provided them an opportunity to share with a large group of sheikhs and Imams. They shared how one ultimate sacrifice for sins had already been made that was sufficient to pay for the sins of the world. None other will ever be needed, nor would it ever be sufficient. All God requires is for men to recognize who Jesus really is and accept His free gift of salvation through His blood on the cross 2000 years ago, and it’s just for the asking. When Suleiman and those with him had completed their testimony, 50 Islamic sheikhs, mostly Imams, admitted that this is something they had never heard before. After discussing it with the men, they bowed their knees before Jesus, and with the help of Suleiman, prayed the sinner’s prayer. They, and their entire families, are now believers and followers of Jesus Christ!
About one half of these men then resold their goats they had purchased for the Muslim sacrifice and donated the money to the work of the House of Blessing. Goats cost about $200 each during this time of year. This money was then sadded to other gifts to HOB and two truckloads of wheat were purchased for distribution among the people. Omar, Sami, Mussa and many volunteers are helping to get the sacks distributed to the most needy. In addition, an additional 500 Bibles were printed for distribution among the new believers.
On another day, Suleiman and his team went to another camp and had the same experience with another 70 leaders and at the end were able to bring another 70 families into the kingdom of God! How amazing!
Along with the wheat that was distributed, HOB passed out their Oregano tea mixture and other supplies as they had them to give. There are still many sick with winter sicknesses, including the Covid virus. The tea mixture continues to be quite effective.
Many HOB missionary teams are going from camp to camp sharing the Good News with anyone they find an opening with. This includes much time spent in tents with families. As a result, several hundred additional families have been added to those listed in the Lamb’s Book of Life! The harvest continues!!
As the missionaries minister to the people, they happen across some that have passed away. The people are aided in getting them buried as quickly as possible. Note: Some ministry tasks are not as glorious as others, but they must be done. God’s ministers are all servants of the Kingdom and honor the Lord with the “less noble” tasks as much as the ”more noble.”
Some have asked how the HOB School of Ministry is doing since the terrible attack they had. The 20 widows of murdered students are continuing to take the classes and are doing quite well. The remaining 8 widows are continuing to care for the 81 children of the 28 students and teachers until their mothers complete their course. As a good friend in the UK said to me this morning, “I can’t find the words…!” I really can’t either! Other than…Amazing! God is good!
Pastor R continues to pray for a great many people who line up all day long—sometimes way late into the night. Please continue to hold him up in prayer. He still struggles greatly with headaches that won’t go away, as well as stomach pains. But, he continues…as should we.
In conclusion, let’s intercede for all of the House of Blessing during the days ahead. Much labor is going into bringing the harvest in before it’s too late. War is on the horizon, as are many other signs of the end of the age. I am hearing more jet aircraft high above my home than I remember in the ten years I have lived in my home. Jesus is coming, and He is coming very, very soon! Are you ready??
Forever in His Service,