The first thing I would like to do in today’s update is to thank every one of you who prayed for our brother, Adel. Pastor R called to tell me that the Lord has touched him and he is mending quickly and doing much better! We praise God for His mercy.
I have a little story to pass on today that just happened this past week. Before I do, I would like to refer to a wonderful story found in the sixteenth chapter of Acts.
The story of the Philippian jailer in Acts 16 shows how easy it really is to become a follower of Jesus Christ. Most of us know the story of how Paul and Silas found themselves thrown into a prison in Philippi. They had been stripped of their clothes and severely beaten with rods. In order to ensure there was no chance of escape, they were being held in an inner prison with their feet secured in stocks.
About midnight, as they were praying and singing, a great earthquake shook the area where the prison was located. The foundations of the prison shook so violently that all the prison doors popped open and all the prisoner’s chains came loose. The prison warden, thinking that all his prisoners had escaped, pulled his sword and was going to kill himself but Paul shouted at the man, telling him that all prisoners were still there. It was at this time that the jailer, who likely had heard Paul and Silas singing praises to God instead of cursing the authorities and those who had beaten them, fell at Paul and Silas’ feet and said:
“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them, and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.” Acts 16:30-34
The setting of today’s short story is in Daraa, Syria. Daraa is a city with a population of the metro area of about 150,000 (as of 2011 before Syria’s civil war began). The city is only about 6 miles (10 km) from the border with Jordan. The missionary work reached across the Jordanian border into Daraa in 2013 and then of course spread into a number of Middle East nations since. Daraa has become the target once again for the Russian and Syrian air forces as well as ground forces that are trying to stamp out all rebel resistance. These attacks, as always, bring great suffering and death to the civilian population.
Brothers Mahmoud and Ahmed were ministering to people in Daraa this past week. They were sharing the effective tea mixture with the people as well as sharing the Good News about Jesus when they noticed a small family of ten waving at them trying to get their attention. When they went over to them, they were asked for some of the tea mixture. As they began to pour the tea they told the family that the Lord had sent them out to share the love of God with people everywhere and they began to share the story of Jesus.
It turned out that the father of the family had heard some of the story before and so it didn’t take very long until he asked the same question of the men that the Philippian jailer had asked Paul and Silas. ‘How can I be saved and how can I know God the way you do?’ As Mahmoud and Ahmed shared with them, the whole family of ten decided they wanted to ask for forgiveness of their sins and ask Jesus to become the Lord of their lives. As they prayed, they began to sing praises to God. All of a sudden, the power of the Holy Spirit came over them all!
Mahmoud and Ahmed then brought some food for them and they decided to have a time of fellowship as they ate together. Just as they were about to take their first bite, a series of three missiles hit the house and its surroundings. The first one to wake up from the explosion was Mahmoud and as he looked around, he saw Ahmed and the family members all laying on the floor with blood all over them. He then went and prayed for each one. As he did, the Lord woke them up. As they checked their injuries, none of them had received anything more than just small cuts and abrasions. That is what caused the splatters of blood. As they looked around, they found that the rest of the house, except for the little corner in which they had set the meal, was totally destroyed. They crawled out from under and behind the rubble of the house and were able to look back at the catastrophe the Lord had spared them from! That was quite a first miracle to experience as brand new believers!
This is evidence of prayers God is answering every day in response to intercession from those of you around the world who pray for the House of Blessing. Don’t ever think your prayers have no effect! God hears and God answers!
In further news, the 480 recent graduates I have been writing about for the past weeks are ready and anxious to join other HOB missionaries and become a part of the workers in today’s great harvest of souls. In the Mideast, HOB tries to help them with about $50-$100 each. This is usually enough to supply their basic needs for an entire month. This way, those with families can leave something for them to survive on. Times are very difficult in the Mideast but we serve a big God and He always makes a way.
The rest of the missionaries, which number at least 2,000 from what I last heard, continue sharing Jesus with anyone that will listen. They also continue to distribute the special oregano tea mixture that has been so effective against the many illnesses, including the Covid virus. Pastor R received word from those who usually report to him and Omar, Sami, Mussa and their volunteers were able to reach 420 families with the Gospel. Mufiedah, Sarah, and Fadwa and volunteers added an additional 315 families. Ibrahim, Akram, and their team reached 160 families. Sahbander and Mortadah and volunteers added an additional 55 families to the total. All have continued making the tea mixture available to anyone that would like some. The special tea has even been added to the bowls of communion. Thousands of people continue to take part in these celebrations, usually with anywhere from 15-25 at a time, five times daily.
In all the areas where the people are being ministered to, the HOB missionaries continue to help the people bury their dead. Just from groups mentioned above, there were at least 100 in need of proper burial. HOB considers it a ministry of love to help the refugees in this way. And, God blesses.
I asked Pastor R how he is and he says he is feeling better finally. He says the two nurses continue to take good care of him. Of course, Pastor R is not one to complain about anything. He just shares the need for prayer when things aren’t as they should be. Let’s continue to hold him up in prayer. He needs fresh wisdom from the Lord every day in overseeing such a large and widespread community of believers. Soon, our part of the harvest will be completed and the Lord will call His faithful ones HOME! Praise GOD!
Thank you all for your prayers and your financial support. The needs are great but our God is greater!
Forever in His Service,