Hearts Healed Amid the Pandemic
Like many places around the world, ministry in the Middle East has been different because of the coronavirus. But God is at work healing and transforming hearts!
Impact Middle East (IME) leaders in Egypt share the stories of two families who received spiritual healing even though the ministry has been forced to change.
Shehata is the head of a family. He has eight sons, all of whom are married with three children. The entire family – three generations – lives together in one building. Although Shehata is a believer, he became terrified of dying because of the coronavirus. He lost his peace.
Our leaders started a house church in his home. In worship, they began to pray and sing to the Lord. Brother Shehata has changed since the house church began. He now feels peace in his heart and in his home.
Wilyam is a 70-year-old widower. Although he is from a strict Orthodox background, he drank alcohol heavily, smoked cigarettes for 50 years and was very evil. IME leaders started a house church in Wilyam’s home. He accepted Jesus as Savior, and the Lord accepted him as a son. Wilyam’s heart has changed, and he wants to share the reason for the change with his three sons, who are not believers. He offered to hold regular meetings for them in his home. Brother Wilyam has become a son of peace, and through him, we will be able to serve many houses and conduct many house churches. Please pray for Brother Wilyam and our ongoing ministry.
Leaders in Jordan are also seeing God transform situations and lives of Muslim Background Believers (MBBs). One pastor in Jordan shared the results of a Zoom prayer meeting. During the meeting, the pastor prayed specifically for MBBs and those who have physical, financial and psychological problems. An MMB friend later called the pastor and shared he had been going through a time of significant psychological and financial testing. Previously, he had decided to follow Christ. Due to family pressure, he had succumbed to fear and retreated from his decision. When he began to have severe chest pains, his family carried him to the hospital. That night – the same night as the prayer meeting – he saw the pastor in a dream. He explained that when the pastor touched his chest, the chest pains left him. He continues to feel better, and his faith is renewed.
Praise the Lord for hearts healed!
Go and Preach
We prayed, asking God how to share the gospel with the people in one particular Iraqi village. We asked the Father to open peoples’ hearts and minds to ask us about the reason for the hope in us. God told us: “Go and preach because there are some people who will believe in Me, and I will save them.”
I had finished teaching an English language class to a group of girls in the village when my wife, Dilveen, asked to speak to the class members. She began by asking the girls, “Do you have fears?” Some of the girls answered no, but others confessed they did have fears and worries. A few of the girls shared about terrible dreams. Hala, one of the group, said, “I fear that one day I will die without knowing God.”
As she talked more, Dilveen sensed in her spirit that some of the girls were not ready to hear the message of hope she offered. But she knew her words had entered deeply into Hala’s heart. When all the other girls left, Hala stayed behind. She told my wife, “Your message touched my heart.”
Dilveen continued to talk with Hala about God. Hala asked Dilveen to pray with her. The next day, Dilveen and Hala met again. They spoke of Jesus Christ and prayed together. On the third day, Hala brought two of her sisters and two of her friends along. The group of girls learned more about Jesus Christ and requested we pray for them.
The girls want us to continue to meet and talk with them. They want to learn more about God.
Praise God! His words to us – “Go and preach because there are some people who will believe in Me, and I will save them” – are being fulfilled!
An Encounter With Her ISIS Captor
At age 14, Ashwaq, a Yazidi young woman, was kidnapped by extremist ISIS militia and kept as a sex slave near the city of Mosul. She endured this nightmare for three long months.
After being freed, she sought asylum in Germany, where she joined her brother’s family. Ashwaq enrolled in a German school and started receiving professional mental health care. As she began her new life, she felt safe and believed life would be OK. But one day, while she was shopping with her family in the market, an Iraqi man approached her and called her by name. He was one of her kidnappers and one who had raped her in Mosul. He not only recognized Ashwaq, he knew where she lived. This encounter with her kidnapper triggered severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in Ashwaq.
No longer feeling safe in Germany, she returned to Kurdistan. Ashwaq is now part of our Impact Middle East ministry at the Noor Center. She is enrolled in several classes and workshops at the center, learning English and receiving trauma care.
One day during her English class, she blacked out. We later discovered Ashwaq had been having frequent fainting episodes because her brain could not handle her traumatic memories. She has a long journey of healing ahead.
She is one of many wonderful young women who are part of our handicraft workshops. While learning practical skills, these young women listen to stories about love, as revealed in the Bible. Our team in Northern Iraq prays the words of Isaiah 61 over these beautiful people who are wounded and broken:
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon us, for the Lord has anointed us to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent us to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released
and prisoners will be freed. He has sent us to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come,
and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the Lord has planted for his own glory.
(Adapted from Isaiah 61:1-3, NLT)
Amen! Please join us in praying for Ashwaq and the other women at the Noor Center.
The British Broadcasting Network (BBC) recently featured Ashwaq’s story: bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-45209868
01 Wednesday / Missionary Kids
Pray for our missionary kids, who are also Third Culture Kids (TCKs). They often struggle with questions like, “Who am I?” and “Where do I belong?” Pray they will find their identity in Christ and also find a healthy community where they can thrive.
Birthday: Wendy Lorenz (Costa Rica)
02 Thursday | Asia
Pray that during the coming months FM leaders and missionaries in Asia will be granted unusual favor and opportunity to share the love of Jesus.
03 Friday | Ethiopia
Ask God to supply a durable and reliable vehicle for Superintendent Mekebib Desta to assist him in visiting remote village churches.
04 Saturday | Peru
David and Yeya Lopez started a church in their living room two years ago. In January 2020, this group of 80 was recognized as an official church. The Lopezes have also helped plant several other groups in Lima. Pray for their continued efforts in church planting and discipleship.
05 Sunday | Spain
Pray the Lord will open new and creative opportunities for Susy Fajardo as everyone in Spain adjusts to a “new normal.” Pray her eyes will be open and she will have unique sensibilities to what the Spirit reveals.
Birthday: Susy Fajardo
06 Monday | Jordan
Pray for people of the majority religious background, having experienced the compassion of Christians, to be open to the saving power of the gospel.
07 Tuesday | FMWM
Ask the Lord to give Jan Coates clarity as she communicates information and prayer requests to help guide individuals and churches in their prayer support for our missionaries and the global FMC.
Birthday: Jan Coates (FMWM Communications Content Coordinator)
08 Wednesday | Creative Access-C
Ask the Lord to encourage, strengthen, protect and give wisdom to missionaries working in some of the world’s most challenging and potentially dangerous areas.
09 Thursday | Spain
Pray the Lord will give wisdom to José Hernández as he navigates the difficult times due to the economic realities in Spain because of the coronavirus. Pray Jose will be a blessing to national leaders and churches, as well as to all who look to him for wisdom in the recovery process.
Birthday: José Hernández
10 Friday | SEED
Located in Kibera, the largest slum in Africa, the Faraja Widows project empowers widows affected by HIV/AIDS. Pray for this group that receives its primary source of income from the sale of bags and African jewelry made out of domestic animal bones.
11 Saturday | Greece
Summer Miller is serving a one-year VISA assignment in Greece where she is partnering with missionaries Michael and Maria Long. Pray for peace and confidence as she works with children, youth and refugees in Thessaloniki.
Birthdays: Summer Miller; Lena (Creative Access-C)
12 Sunday | Liberia
Earlier this year, Liberia became a provisional annual conference. Pray for the continued formation of a robust and healthy church in Liberia.
13 Monday | Southeast Asia
Pray for the Clemente family’s adjustments to life in the United States as they return for a time of Partnership Building. Also, pray for Carmen as she begins her first year at Asbury College in fall 2020.
Birthday: David Clemente
14 Tuesday | Ukraine
Pray for Misha and Lena Petrochenko, our country leaders. Misha’s mother passed away in April. Ask God to continue to comfort them in their grief and to give them strength to carry out ministry in a challenging situation.
15 Wednesday | Brazil
The Nikkei Conference (Japanese) in Brazil recently became a provisional general conference. Pray for their continued creative ministry efforts to both Japanese and Brazilian communities
16 Thursday | Middle East
Continue to pray for thousands of people, especially women, who are suffering from long-term psychological trauma because of horrible things they have witnessed or experienced. Praise the Lord for those experiencing healing and peace and finding they can talk to Jesus. Pray many more will meet Jesus and find healing and transformation.
17 Friday | Guinea Bissau
There is one established church and three other fellowships in Guinea Bissau. Pray for these groups and particularly for discipleship among the young people.
18 Saturday | Japan
Missionary Minori Hall has been teaching at Christian Academy in Japan. Pray for her rest, rejuvenation and preparation for her second year of teaching.
Birthday: Minori Hall
Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide as the leadership team in Hungary seeks relevant ways to follow up and engage with individuals who have been involved in various outreach ministries, Bible studies and prayer groups.
20 Monday | Dominican Republic
Pray for many students’ lives to be changed through their experiences at FM-sponsored elementary and secondary schools.
21 Tuesday | Zimbabwe
Pray for the FMC in Zimbabwe and the provision of resources and staff for their educational and medical institutions.
22 Wednesday | Philippines
Missionaries Matt and Christin Sauder began online campus ministry during the pandemic because students were no longer on campus. Praise the Lord more students are connecting and the ministry is starting to grow. Pray these students will grow in Jesus.
Birthday: Matt Sauder
23 Thursday | Set Free
Pray for the Set Free Movement team in Creative Access Country-I. This country has the highest prevalence of slavery in the world, with an estimated 18 million people forced into bonded labor, prostitution, child trafficking or other forms of exploitation.
24 Friday | Nicaragua
Pray for the socio-political situation in Nicaragua, for job sources for the population at large, and encouragement and provisions for brothers and sisters in our churches.
25 Saturday | Bulgaria
Joy expects to begin her two-year VISA assignment in September 2020. She will assist in coordinating logistics and helping network with other missionaries, non-governmental organizations, and businesses throughout Bulgaria and Europe. Pray for her preparations for departure and transitions on the field.
26 Sunday | Middle East
Using Colossians 2:2-3, pray for the encouragement of all our leaders in the Middle East. Pray they may be encouraged in heart and united in love so they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in Whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
27 Monday | Cameroon
In 2016 one of our leaders left Douala for Bamenda “to learn how to repair cars.” By 2017 he had begun evangelizing and started a small group. With local offerings, they were able to rent a small property in 2018. Pray for the continued growth of this fellowship and the 16 leaders there who gathered for several full days of training earlier this year.
28 Tuesday | Philippines
As an English teacher at Asia Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary (APNTS), Marie Osborne works with students of various nationalities who need to improve their English skills. Pray she will be effective in her teaching and be an encourager and mentor to them as they adjust to life and challenging studies far from their home churches and families.
Birthday: Marie Osborne
29 Wednesday | Colombia
In one impoverished section of Bogota, several houses of peace (church plants) are meeting each week. One group is composed of 45 children. Pray for the Lord to strengthen each of these gatherings. Pray each individual will grow in their faith and invite others in their sphere of influence.
30 Thursday | Israel
Praise God for church planters serving more than 36 house churches and 1,000 people. Pray for the continued expansion of church planting efforts here.
31 Friday |Togo:
Several church plants have begun in the central region of Togo among Muslims. Pray many Muslims in this region will come to know and love Jesus.