Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Thank you for your prayers and support. This newsletter offers a brief update on current activities as well as our plans for the near future.
We remain involved with the ministry of reaching out to the lost in Jerusalem. Our evangelistic tours continue on a consistent twice-weekly schedule. Meanwhile, our church gatherings have relocated to a more preferable facility and location. The meetings are going well.
Outside of Israel, we have a burden to minister to the many displaced peoples who reside in Iraqi Kurdistan. Over the past six months we have travelled there many times, mainly to preach the Gospel while also providing material aid to the refugees.
We intend to return to Iraq in less than two weeks as the door remains open to distribute the Scriptures and additional aid among several people groups in the area. The horrific spree of ISIS terrorism has left its mark on recent history and bereaved many in the region who have lost loved ones, their homes, and just about everything they own. However, God has not ignored the suffering of those decimated by the sword of ISIS. Amid the sorrow and grief, the Almighty has engineered circumstances to generate new opportunities for the Gospel to reach the heart of people groups previously outside of our scope.
As many of you know, it was only weeks ago that 21 Coptic Christians were beheaded by ISIS butchers. Perhaps at this time we will again witness the truth of the familiar early church saying: “The blood of the martyrs is the seed [of the church].” The murderous activities of ISIS have effectively cracked the door for the Gospel to strategically advance in Iraq. God willing, we now have access to ripe fields filled with Iraqi Yazidis, Kakai people, Shiites, Sunnis (Sala ha-Din province), Kurds from northern Syria as well as displaced professing Christians from Mosul (i.e. Nineveh), Karakosh, and other Christian villages and towns in the nearby region. We request your focused prayers that God would draw some from among these diverse peoples to Himself.
The opportunity to spread the Gospel to each of these people groups through both the spoken word and the printed page remains available for us to seize. While we have occasion to preach to multitudes of eager individuals during each visit, we are grateful for the many Bibles available for distribution in the language of each respective ethnic community.
During recent visits we held several Gospel-focused meetings with nominal Christians where we had the opportunity to preach salvation through faith in Christ alone. Many of those attending gladly listened. Ironically, if we had visited the villages of many of these people prior to the ISIS assaults, most would not have been receptive; instead, they would have driven us away. Far more than simply storing their Bibles on a shelf as a good-luck charm, we encouraged them to read the Scriptures and listen to the voice of God as he speaks through his Word.
We continue to give away the Scriptures (complete Bibles, New Testaments, and Arabic children’s Bibles) in printed format. We also distribute audio Bibles (Mega-voice) to further circulate God’s Word among communities which have remained largely ignorant of a clear Gospel witness. Mega-voice units (the Scriptures in audio format) are available to us in Arabic, Kurdish Kamanji, and Sorani.
To supplement the spread of the Gospel through preaching at public gatherings and the dissemination of both the written and audio forms of Scripture, we intend to distribute items necessary for everyday domestic life. Due to the large number of displaced people resulting from ISIS aggression, there is a considerable need for food, diapers, medicine, and numerous other staples. Three weeks ago we distributed heaters to people living near the border of Iran and gave kerosene heaters to the Kakai people who also use them to cook. We were able to help more than 1,000 families with food packages which included chicken and eggs.
For our March visit, we intend to consult with locals to determine additional urgent needs that we may assist with. Meanwhile we plan to give chicken, eggs, bulgur wheat, tomato paste, and oil to refugee families while carrying on with evangelistic efforts. We intend to hold meetings with the dual aim of preaching the only hope for sinners while also encouraging the local area church to take proper initiative in sharing the Gospel themselves. We ask that you commit these matters to earnest prayer; particularly that God would grant repentance and faith to those who hear the truth. “In wrath, [may God] remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2). “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee, the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain” (Psalm 76:10).
POINTS OF PRAYER
We ask that you would remember the following as matters of focused prayer:
- The five people which comprise our team.
- Trouble-free border crossings. (We anticipate entering Iraq with 400-500 audio Bibles. Please pray that we accomplish this.)
- Opportunities to preach the Gospel and the wisdom and boldness to do so as we should.
- Open and receptive hearers who will receive the truth.
Grace and courage for the local believers to continue to build God’s Kingdom after we leave.