For the House of Blessing missionaries, as well as Pastor R, the founder, it has been both a trying, yet miraculous past two weeks. Anyone having read recent update articles will know that, not only have many of the HOB missionaries and new believers lost their lives, but the founder of House of Blessing, Pastor R, was nearly himself if it were not for the miraculous hand of God having answered earnest prayers once again.
Pastor R is now anxiously waiting to be released from the hospital where he underwent emergency treatment and surgery and has been recuperating for the last few days. There was an army of Christian believers who stationed themselves at the hospital when he was brought in. They prayed. You prayed. I prayed… and, God answered! We serve the only prayer answering God. This is because He, as the ALMIGHTY, is the only One who can do what no false god can EVER do! The Scriptures are full of stories which I call my favorites, but I have included a passage below about answered prayer that I really love. I pray that it encourages you, as it does me, because God did exactly the same thing for us as we earnestly came before Him concerning our brutally injured brother, R.
Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison. Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, “Arise quickly!” And his chains fell off his hands. Then the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and tie on your sandals”; and so he did. And he said to him, “Put on your garment and follow me.” So he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they were past the first and the second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads to the city, which opened to them of its own accord; and they went out and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him. And when Peter came had come to himself, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people. So, when he had considered this, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying, and as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a girl named Rhoda came to answer. When she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her gladness she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter stood before the gate. But they said to her, “You are beside yourself!” Yet she kept insisting that it was so. So, they said, ”It is his angel.” Now Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. But motioning to them with his hand to keep silent, he declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Go, tell these things to James and to the brethren.”… (Acts 12:5-17)
I wonder how often we go through the motions of prayer and unconsciously don’t expect anything? I have done it! Maybe there have been times when we prayed and prayed, but seemingly, our prayers only went as far as the ceiling of our prayer room! I won’t go into a study at this time on why prayers sometimes don’t get answered because it is a study all of its own. But, I would like to challenge you as I do myself, to begin praying with true expectation; pray in faith believing! God will always be sovereign, but was it not after all, God, who instructed us to come to His throne with boldness? The veil in front of the Mercy Seat has been forever removed! Let’s begin to expect our prayers to be answered again and again and again, not because we’ve earned it, but because we believe in the faithfulness of our GOD!
I have spoken to our brother R twice now since I wrote the last update. The latest call was just a few hours ago. From having watched the world news–especially news coming out of the Middle East in the last few years, I have seen many reports telling of hospitals and clinics having been bombed. It continues to this day. I don’t have a tally of the hospitals have been hit with missiles and bombs–even for this year. It seems that the Geneva rules of war have been thrown out; in fact, it has now become a strategy of war to bomb hospitals! Medical vehicles or buildings have always been designated as exempt from any military attack, yet, multiplied dozens of hospitals, medical facilities, or clinics have been heavily damaged or completely destroyed since the Arab Spring began in 2011. The attacks on medical facilities continues to escalate each year as the chaos in the Middle East continues.
In addition, many facilities that have not been damaged or destroyed have been forced to close due to the serious lack of medical personnel and or medical supplies. When I spoke with Pastor R this morning, he told me that seven more medical facilities had been destroyed just recently, but the facility he is in is still functioning and he is still being taken care of. Praise God! He is however very much wanting to be released, and this is an absolute miracle considering the condition he was in just a few days ago. Until he is released, he continues to have four missionary men who refuse to leave his side as they have vowed to sacrifice their own lives rather than see anything further happen to their spiritual father–not that R obviously has ever expected or asked this of anyone.
The news coming from the different locations where HOB missionaries are ministering continue with both wonderful miraculous news…yet, also the tragic losses.
The bombings in and around the Aleppo area continue to be absolutely brutal. Many ISIS terrorists are being killed, but so are hundreds of innocent people. It is not just the Russian air force that continues to bomb, but many coalition air force jet fighters and bombers as well, including the Americans. Word just came through that another 400 or so people have been killed in Aleppo in the last couple days or so. This includes another four of HOB’s missionaries and 30 of the newer converts, as well as a tragic 32 children belonging to the missionaries and believers. It is truly hard to comprehend these facts. Once the true story sinks in, it is beyond sobering–or at least, it should be-
In the midst of all this chaos, Sister Hafezah continues to have her special communion services; services where all sorts of miracles happen and are witnessed. Then there are the beautiful outpourings of the Holy Spirit on all the worshippers! Hafezah is serving between 1,200 and 1,400 at least weekly, if not more! As has been reported previously, these special services are a highlight to the war-torn believers. God always makes His presence and pleasure with His people known, and all leave refreshed and spiritual strengthened. What a God we serve!
Sister Mufiedah and her widows were again able to treat and minister healing to another 50 badly injured people, also in the Aleppo and surrounding area. Each of them also became believers in Messiah Yeshua. Just a question at this point: What is the value of one soul? Sometimes we get caught up with the mathematics…these are souls, like us, who will NEVER die! Praise God for His miracle in touching a single soul!
Reports from Syria also tell of the hundreds of people that Sister Sarah continues ministering to. Many who come to hear her have had great tragedies of their own, just as she had experienced. The Spirit of God continues giving her the spiritual knowledge, strength, and wisdom to minister to these devastated wives and mothers. God is so good!
In Iraq the stories of God’s faithfulness in the middle of chaos continues as well. Here also, there continues to be tragic loss of life in the ranks of the House of Blessing missionaries and the surrounding multitudes of believers, many very young in their walk with Yeshua. In fact, as hard as it is to face the fact, it sometimes becomes difficult to have an accurate number. But…our God knows…
Sister Fatima continues, seemingly day and night, as all the missionaries do. They sleep little, minister much, especially this time of year. As Hafezah and other HOB missionaries scattered throughout the Mideast, continues with her special communion services that God has so greatly blessed her with. She has again served communion to about 1,400-1,600 people. She serves this many at least every passing week now it seems, especially since the ISIS threat has lessened in Fallujah. Unfortunately, this does not eliminate threats from other haters of Christians, including many of the Iraqi soldiers. Bombing attacks continue in Iraq as well as they do in Syria. In addition to the bombings resultant of the war, there are the homicide bombers. These twisted souls take as many innocents into death as they can. A total of at least 20 more believers lost their lives along with a great many injured. In addition to these were another 14 of HOB’s missionaries who were killed and 18 more injured.
The situation in Mosul continues to deteriorate. A plan is in action to drive ISIS out of Mosul as it was in Fallujah, but Mosul is a major city, much larger than Fallujah, and it will not be an easy task. ISIS is well embedded and has no intention of losing this strategic, profitable asset. Within the last few days, HOB lost 26 more of its missionaries in Mosul and many of the family of believers were also either killed or injured. Then there are almost always the children! many of these precious young ones were lost. Now, in Mosul, as it was in Fallujah and the surrounding areas, starvation is beginning to take its toll. People are literally starving to death.
The war in northern Iraq and Syria continues to escalate, in part, due to what is happening in Turkey. Not only has the leadership of Turkey played a corrupt game by secretly aiding ISIS, supplying it, and buying its stolen oil on the black market, now that there has been a failed coup in Turkey, Turkey’s prime minister Erdogan has initiated a three month period of national emergency in which he is able to do as he pleases, including purging anyone he sees as his enemies. He appears to be consolidating his power so that he can rule as absolute dictator, rather than just elected prime minister. Whether he gets there or not, he intends to become the caliph of the Muslim world and rebuild the Ottoman Empire. None of what is happening bodes well for the rest of the world.
Even though we as Christ-followers do our best not to become too involved in international politics as we continue in what God has called us to, current political situations inevitably affect us all in our mission field, especially on the front lines. Things will become increasingly intense as the Kingdom of God nears, along with the Apocalypse which precedes it.
In conclusion, I ask you again to pray earnestly for HOB and Pastor R. If the Lord of the harvest has called you to be one of those to link arms and spirits with these brave, true ambassadors of God’s Kingdom, do it with great earnestness! And, if the Lord speaks to you to support them, do so! I am not a fund raiser, but I know the need is very great, and it is one of my daily–often hourly prayers that the Master will raise up those who desire to give…not for the recognition of men, but of God Himself. Living a life of trust and obedience is all that really matters in the end! We are laying up treasures in Heaven, and taking part in the eternal destiny of souls; a huge multitude of souls–people that God loves deeply! There is no recognition in supporting a small “no name” missionary organization, at least in the eyes of man here! But, in the eyes of God it is a totally different story!
I do want to thank the small and very special “God-picked” group of people who have prayed and supported the House of Blessing since I have had the privilege of writing these updates. God has done such great things because of your obedience to Him…more than any of us will ever know–at least until we arrive in the presence of the One who has continued guiding us, and given specific instructions, and… kept an indisputable record!! Pastor R has asked me again and again to thank all of you from the bottom of his heart. He is overwhelmed with the love of God’s people. So am I!
R told me that he well knows he could have everything that just happened to him, happen again after he leaves the hospital. We pray it does not, but, he said every time God has brought him through one of these harsh times, he has come out stronger than he was before. He said today, he feels as strong as a semi truck!! I cannot not doubt it. I have never met a man like this man. He then continued by saying that he knows God will meet the $10,000 bill he has been told he will receive upon release from the hospital. He knows God didn’t keep him alive without reason! And, he also knows that God will continue meeting all the other needs he tries to meet, needs that seem so overwhelming to us as humans. These needs are not overwhelming to Abba Father! He is all powerful and can create out of thin air…but, He chooses to allow us a part in what He is doing on this earth. Now that is overwhelming!!
Many have asked how the 26 widows who were in captivity to ISIS are doing. They are continuing to be cared for, physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. But as one can imagine, with the horrible things they went through, they will need one more month of recovery time. This will take another $300 apiece, or $7,800. As we have seen so many times though, when God has completed His healing, these brave women will reach thousands! Then, there is always the enormous need for Bibles. Pastor R is working out the arrangements as he has so many times in the past, to get the 5,000+ new believers gleaned from the harvest during the month of Ramadan trained so that they can begin to take leadership places, especially of the many missionaries who have fallen and are now in the presence of the Master. As Jesus said, the harvest is white, meaning the harvest is great and ready! More laborers are needed so that the harvest can be completed just as the Master has laid out before the foundations of the earth were ever laid.
In the service of the coming KING,
House of Blessing; 3206 SW 45th Street, Redmond, Oregon USA 97756