Thanks for praying for us,
Things are going well in Jerusalem, we manage to go out on a daily basis to speak to people about the gospel and hand out many bibles in various languages.
Recently we started to distribute the book the return of the Kosher pig written by a rabbi who came to believe and many Orthodox Jews have taken the book from us.
We continue to go on a weekly basis to the area of Judea and Samaria and we distribute new Testaments to Muslims on mount Gerizim, who buy alcohol from the Samaritans and Muslims we meet as we drive by and offer them the New Testament. We hand out around 200 New Testaments every week.
We have some good responses, people receive the word gladly and some have shown a great interest in knowing the gospel.
I think as people see the violence and the cruelty of Islam people become disillusioned with it. On Fridays we continue to go to Tel Aviv in the evening. We have two groups one with the foreign workers and the other goes to local people , many people take the work , it’s really a ministry of sowing seeds but one day soon we pray that the Lord will give the increase .
This is a small report from our last trip to Iraq; I am sending this report from the airport in Istanbul on my way for a nine day visit to Iraq.
We have many audio bibles that we want to distribute and also we have aid. We purchase 1000 electric heaters and 1000 electric single hob stoves. The situation is very different now as many nominal Christian towns have been liberated as well as Muslim villages and many horror stories and atrocities caused by the Isis have come to light. Because of severe damage to these towns and infrastructure, the future for these is uncertain and it is not clear when they can return to their homes.
I am always filled with anticipation at what the Lord will do before setting out on a missionary trip to Erbil, Iraq. What is even more exciting is the work the Lord does through us before we ever arrive in Iraq. This was the case as we set out on our most recent Gospel mission trip in the middle of September for 10 days
• We had a 12-hour layover in Istanbul, Turkey’s Atatürk Airport while on the way to Iraq. I saw a bag that was unintended and was concerned about it. Eventually, an airport attendant began to move the bag, but I stopped him. I said, “It is not wise in this day and age of Islamic terrorism to handle an unattended bag, especially here in Turkey.” I explained to him that if this bag was intended to be used in a terrorist attack, that it was not left by a Christian, but a Muslim. He understood my point that the majority of terrorism in the world is Islamic. The attendant was a Tunisian Muslim, and I got to share the Gospel with him as well as giving him a New Testament. I love these providential meetings.
• We met a young Russian girl who was having trouble connecting to the Internet. She told me she was robbed in Skopje (capital of the Republic of Macedonia) and how she had to get a temporary passport and can’t leave the airport. She is an atheist, but accepted a New Testament and said she will read it.
• During our layover, we distributed much literature and spoke to a number of Muslims.
Our first day was a great blessing. We began visiting houses, but no one received us. Eventually a car drove by, and the driver asked us for an audio Bible. We invited ourselves to his house, and he graciously accepted. Once there, we shared the Gospel with his family, visited several other families, and distributed audio Bibles. One family thanked us and let us know that we are the only Christians to have ever visited them. They told us how much they appreciated our visit and invited us to come back every time we return to Iraq.
While traveling around by taxi, we distributed three Kurdish New Testaments. One driver, who told us he works for the secret intelligence police, gladly received a New Testament from us.
In the evening we held a Gospel meeting of about 100 people and I preached from Mark 12 where Jesus and the Sadducees discuss the resurrection. Following the meeting, we distributed cleaning materials to needy families.
It was another wonderful day of distributing necessities to the poor and sharing the Gospel with the spiritually needy. I preached to about 100 people today from Ephesians 2:8-9.
Later, we visited families and distributed audio Bibles. We had visited most of the families before, and they graciously invited us into their home and showed us wonderful hospitality. Later, we met three Muslims from Mosul and gave them New Testaments in Arabic. We asked them what they thought about Obama, Clinton, and Trump – they were for Trump.
We visited families and distributed audio Bibles. We also met people in stores, handing out Bibles to them, as well as Kurdish-language Bibles to taxi drivers.
We met some refugee leaders in a small community, which was not easy as they were “traditional” Catholics, though some told us they did read their Bibles. Despite this, we did get the opportunity to present the Gospel and distribute audio Bibles.
Later at our Gospel meeting – attended by more than 100 people – we preached from Galatians 1:1-8, and then distributed aid to the refugees. Following the meeting, we set out for a shopping mall where we were stopped by security. They asked us about our audio Bibles, and we gave them a couple. We were able to speak with a number of Syrian Kurds and gave them New Testaments.
We had more opportunities to visit families and explain the Gospel. People gladly received us and showed us hospitality. We also discovered that some of the families have pressing medical needs, and we will do our best to meet as many as we can.
In one house we visited, we saw a large statue of Mary. It is so sad that they add Mary to the Trinity without even knowing it, and we have to explain that it all about the Lord Jesus. He is the center of everything and we don’t need anyone intervening for us in regard to the Lord Jesus. He invites us to come to Him as we are – that is, as sinners.
In the evening we visited six Yazidi families, bringing them food parcels and presenting the Gospel to them. They were very open to us. They are from Sinjar, and their villages are still under ISIS control. These Yazidis fought ISIS attackers for eight hours before running out of ammunition. They had no choice but to flee.
Though we visited fewer refugee families today, we saw several people give their lives to Christ. Many houses rented by “nominal” Christians have crosses on the outside. This is good as it helps up identify the homes we need to visit.
As we distributed audio Bibles, one woman in particular was very receptive, and this blessed us. She told us she experienced many miracles in her life and was nearly captured by ISIS. We were also blessed by two elderly sisters from the area of Nineveh who greeted me with a kiss and were pleased to receive audio Bibles.
We ended the day with a large Gospel meeting.
We delivered 50 food parcels to Syrian Kurds and handed out children’s Bibles and audio Bibles as well as shared the Gospel. People enthusiastically received us.
Many of the people we encounter live in difficult conditions and receive very little help. Most of the husbands and fathers can’t find work, and even if they do, they often don’t get paid.
We spoke with one woman with three sick children, her daughter blind in one eye. Many children are in need of urgent medical care.
Later in the day we delivered aid to Christians who live just a few kilometres from an ISIS stronghold. We also distributed about 200 audio Bibles, and gave out Kurdish New Testaments to the Peshmerga (Kurdish forces) at the checkpoints. We also distributed aid to 120 families while presenting the Gospel to them.
We visited the city of Sharafia, where we distributed much aid and shared the Gospel.
We visited a Nestorian church, also known as Church of the East, which is a Christian church within the Syriac tradition of Eastern Christianity. The priest allowed us to preach the Gospel, and in the end he called me “Father.” I told him that I am not a “Father,” simply a servant of God.
After distribution of aid, a family invited us to their home for lunch. The young daughters served us our meal and then sang a Christian song as we left. We had a delightful time.
We then went to the city of al-Gosh, where Nahum the prophet is buried. His tomb is in very bad condition, and I told the people, “You see, all the church buildings in Iraq will be like the tomb. They got rid of the Saturday people [Jews] and now they are trying to get rid of the Sunday people [Christians].”
During this last day of our trip, we distributed aid to about 50 families as well as audio Bibles. At night, following a Gospel meeting, we handed out much-needed household items to about 100 more families. During our Iraq outreach, we distributed aid to approximately 1,050 families. We also gave away a large number of audio Bibles, children’s Bibles, and New Testaments in the Kurdish language.
Now we are on our way back to bring refugees both practical aids for the winter as well as spiritual healing for their souls by sharing the Gospel of salvation in Christ. Please be in prayer now for this upcoming trip. As usual, we covet your prayers and support.
May you be blessed,
Antony and Dona Simon