I am primarily an evangelist and teacher who travels around the world in apostolic ministry as God leads and enables me. In addition to preaching and teaching the Bible, I mentor our key partners to be more strategic and impactful for the Gospel in their countries and cultures, just as they continue to mentor me. I am relationally focused rather than program or project focused in ministry relationships and partnerships.
“… I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tabernacle.
Its ruins I will rebuild and I will restore
in order that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord
and all the Gentiles who bear My Name,
says the Lord, who does these things …”
A crane used to rebuild a 5-star hotel outside Port-au-Prince, and a beautiful
view of the Port-au-Prince harbor.
A memorial stone for the killer earthquake of January 12, 2010. At right,
Patt and I in the makeshift mass cemetery outside Port-au-Prince,
where untold thousands of Haitians were buried after the earthquake.
Dear Ministry Partners,
God is not only the God of redemption, He is the God of rebuilding and restoration. After times of destruction – whether through divine judgment or natural disaster – God called and commissioned His people to rebuild the temple … rebuild Jerusalem … rebuild the walls … and rebuild the ruined cities (Ezra 5:2; Neh. 2:17; Ps. 102:16; Dan. 9:25; Amos 9:14). And the physical rebuilding was always for the greater and higher purpose of spiritual rebuilding so that “… mankind may seek the Lord” – but especially “… the Gentiles who bear My Name.” And in this case, the “Gentiles” are the Haitians.
It has now been over 5 years since the killer earthquake devastated much of Port-au-Prince. Since then, several billion dollars in Foreign Aid have poured in for the rebuilding process. In addition, untold numbers of Christian work teams and medical teams have gone down to do their part in the physical, spiritual, emotional and social rebuilding and restoration. My latest trip was no exception. While there are encouraging signs of significant progress in the rebuilding of the devastated infrastructure of Port-au-Prince, the evidence of the spiritual rebuilding process is even more encouraging.
The hillsides outside Port-au-Prince continue to be covered with small houses,
built precariously on the slopes. It was poorly built houses like these that
"pancaked" during the earthquake, killing so many. While there is major road
construction taking place in Port-au-Prince, there are still many side roads
like the one in the picture at right, that are nothing but potholes, mud,
and sewage water.
I often say this about Haiti: “When you step into the streets, you see what is WRONG with Haiti. But, when you step into the churches, you see what is RIGHT with Haiti!” As far as the news is concerned, the incredible spiritual rebuilding is the untold story of Haiti – it is nothing short of miraculous!
According to secular studies, the evangelical church now comprises 45% - 50% of the population of Haiti! That makes it one of the biggest success stories of church growth in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries. There are few other countries in the world that can match that level of church growth. So, Haiti has emerged from the earthquake as one of the strongest, most resilient, dedicated and dynamic churches on the globe! It is a church coming of age that has much to offer the rest of the ecclesiastical world.
NEHEMIAH VISION MINISTRY
The first part of my week was spent at NVM with my dear friend and partner, Pastor Esperandieu Pierre, who is also the director of Campus Crusade for Christ, or Cru, in Haiti. He is one of the dynamic young leaders of Haiti who is doing both spiritual and physical building and rebuilding – just like Nehemiah, after whom he has named his ministry. He welcomes work teams down almost every week to help rebuild churches and houses damaged or destroyed by the earthquake.
Esperandieu shared his testimony with a work team that was in Haiti at the
same time as I was. At right, the team builds a small cement house for a homeless widow.
In addition to preaching, teaching and mentoring, one of my personal pet projects at NVM was to do the landscaping and tree planting for their growing campus. Our friends and partners at Double Harvest have been very generous and helpful in supplying me with trees, bushes and flowers for this project of reforestation and beautification.
In between my times of preaching and teaching, I have enjoyed landscaping
these dorms at NVM from this ...
... to this!
On my next trip, I will landscape the new NVM Hospital
that was built after the earthquake.
ONAVILLE EARTHQUAKE CHURCH
One of the primary purposes for my trip to Haiti this time was to revisit the church we had built for earthquake victims on the barren hillsides outside Port-au-Prince. It was a little over a year ago that this entire church was built in less than one week – which is why the men who did the construction have earned the reputation as the “Manteo Miracle Men!" To build anything to completion in one week in Haiti is a miracle – much less a church of this size! It was a blessing to visit and preach at the church that has been well used and well maintained over the past year.
The outside of the beautiful Onaville Church against the barren hillsides,
where hundreds of thousands of earthquake victims have settled.
At right, the inside of the church, packed each Sunday with growing Christians.
Like all of the evangelical churches in Haiti, this church is a worshipping church…
... a praying church …
... a Bible church …
... a giving church …
... and a preaching church.
Until the “Manteo Miracle Men" built the metal building, this tent was used for their church after the earthquake. They have now partitioned it into several classrooms for their new Primary School for over 150 children.
GARDENING & TREE PLANTING
Since Onaville is a squatter town of earthquake victims on the barren mountainsides outside Port-au-Prince, we do all we can to introduce farming and reforestation there. For that reason, we planted a garden behind the church as it was being built. Because most of the good topsoil has been washed into the sea by generations of deforestation and erosion, we are trying to slowly build up new soil through grinding up sugar cane stalks that rot after the sugar is extracted. All we have to do is pay for trucking the sugar cane to our garden projects. Gradually, this is helping to add compost to the poor dirt.
Shredding the sugar cane in a chipper that we sent down earlier.
Because there are less than 3% of trees and vegetation left in Haiti, reforestation is one of the greatest needs and biggest challenges – and one of our top priorities. To help teach the importance of this, I have written a book titled: Trees in the Bible. We are so thankful for ‘Double Harvest’ (who is perhaps the top tree grower in all of Haiti) for their partnership in this.
Double Harvest grows hundreds of thousands of different
varieties of indigenous trees for transplanting around the country.
Sadly, the Haitian government still does not make
reforestation a serious priority.
We planted these fast-growing pine trees along the border
of the church property when we dedicated the church
a year ago. They have grown significantly from the small
seedlings that were 12" high last year! On this trip,
we added many fast-growing fruit trees.
After my several days of spiritual and physical farming at NVM and the Onaville Earthquake Church, I had the joy of speaking to around 200 seminary students at the Bolosse Seminary on the opposite side of Port-au-Prince. This was a special privilege since I first visited and spoke on this campus in 1969. This time I was asked to teach on Islam – a subject I never thought I would need to teach in Haiti! However, there are currently a dozen or so mosques in Haiti! There is also a madrassa, or Islamic school, that has been established. Just like the Christian schools, the Muslims are offering free education, except they are indoctrinating young children in Islam and Sharia Law.
The Bible Seminary.
Pastor Edner Jeanty, Jr. and his wife Dominique.
Another primary reason for this latest trip to Haiti was to speak at the graduation ceremony for the Barnabas Leadership Center founded and headed by my dear friend and partner, Edner Jeanty, Jr. Through the years we have had many opportunities to partner together in various ministry projects. He and his wife Dominique are a wonderful and dynamic couple who are setting high examples of integrity and excellence in Christian marriage and ministry in Haiti.
Edner was asked by Dr. John Maxwell to spearhead his EQUIP Leadership Training Seminars in Haiti. This was the third 3-day Seminar attended by 530 pastors and leaders from all across Haiti.
What a joy to be in the presence of hundreds of church leaders!
Our hearts were prepared for worship by a wonderful chamber orchestra.
It has been exciting to see the spiritual and technological growth of pastors and
Christian leaders in Haiti over the last few decades. When I first started teaching
pastors, most had little formal education and almost none had computers ...
... all of that has changed, however, as most of them are now IT savvy!
What a blessing it was to be asked to preach the graduation ceremony on the timely subject of “Salt & Light” to these key pastors and leaders from all over Haiti. We hope to have that message on line soon for you to watch.
I always know when Edner is translating for me that he will preach a good sermon
in Creole, regardless of what I say in English!
The Conference attendees lined up to receive their certificates.
A very proud father, Edner Jeanty, Sr., gives the benediction at the
end of the graduation program that was organized by his son.
It was an unexpected privilege to meet up with two of my missionary models and heroes, Wallace & Eleanor Turnbull, pictured at left. Patt and I first met them in the late 1970s when we were living and ministering in Haiti for the summer with our 4 young children. Later, after our son Jonathan graduated from college, he spent a summer working in their Baptist Haiti Hospital outside Port-au-Prince. This proved to be a time of confirmation for his call to medicine. He returned to Haiti with me to do medical work right after the earthquake. We thank God for the impact that the Turnbulls have had on our personal and family life.
Wallace and Eleanor and their extended family served faithfully in Haiti for the equivalent of several generations. During that time, they planted hundreds of churches, schools, a hospital, agricultural projects and many other self-help programs to generate jobs. After retiring a few years ago in their 8th decade of life, they returned to America where they continue to work with the Haitian Diaspora – especially university students. But each year, they return to Haiti several times to continue to nurture and encourage the work that they started many years ago. This time, they said they bought a “one-way-ticket” so they could stay down as long as they were needed. They are living testimonies of the promise of God in Psalm 92:12-15:
“The righteous flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon … They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green …”
Like the “palm tree” with its flexibility and the “cedar of Lebanon” with its firmness, they are a beautiful example of two saints who have “grown old gracefully” and are still “fresh and green” with the eternal spiritual sap of the Spirit! The Lord willing, this is what Patt and I will still be doing in our 8th and 9th decades if the Lord graces us with that many years. Thank God for ministry and missionary models like Wallace and Eleanor who are not just “growing old” – but are “old and growing!”
Wallace stands with his ever-present 'shepherd's staff',
(that he calls his 3rd leg) to help him get around.
His aging legs have taken him all over the mountains
and valleys of Haiti.
It was also a joy for me to have a visit with Pastor Chavannes Jeunes, who has been a close friend and partner for several decades, and is one of the most influential and respected Christian leaders in Haiti. Through him, we built several of the “containerized churches” through the work of the “Manteo Miracle Men.”
Chavannes and I also worked closely together on the “Haiti At The Cross” events for the anniversary of Haiti as a nation when the forces of voodoo were seeking to bring Haiti back under the dominance of the devil. He was also a presidential candidate in the last elections and came in fourth to now President Michel Martelly, a former rock star, pictured at right.
Since then, Pastor Chavannes has continued to do holistic Christian development with 410 Bridge based in Atlanta, Georgia. This organization takes its name from I Peter 4:10 and is committed to “helping people help themselves.” Like our Kingdom Entrepreneur initiatives, they are committed to offering a “hand up,” rather than a “hand out.”
But Chavannes has also continued to be active in trying to unify the Haitian church to greater political involvement as God’s “salt” and “light” as they face their next elections in 2016. Sadly, politics in Haiti has been dominated for generations by institutionalized corruption, inept bureaucracy, incompetence and voodoo. Just like the Christians in America, the Haitians have the numerical critical mass at 45% - 50% to sway the next election and determine whom ends up controlling the government. But too many Haitian pastors and Christians have stayed away from active political involvement believing it to be the “devil’s territory.” So, pray for Chavannes that God will continue to use him to galvanize and unify His church for greater political influence and integrity through authentic servant-leadership – like Joseph and Daniel exerted in the Bible.
Thank you for taking the time to make this quick trip through Haiti with me. Since it was our first country of evangelistic engagement and involvement, it will always be my “first love” in missions! I hope to return soon after Patt and I go to Jordan over Easter to work among the Christian Refugees there.
For the Haitian Church,
PS: After writing this report, I received the following pictures from Pastor Sangge Sherpa who has now safely arrived back in Lukla to resume his ministry. I wanted you to see them and rejoice with us in his “medical miracle” after his recent accident. Thanks again for praying him through this life-threatening incident. Please continue to pray for him as he resumes his ministry of evangelism and church planting in the high Himalayan Mountains all the way up to Mount Everest Base Camp.
Dear Friends and Partners,
As we have done in the past, we like to highlight one specific partner so you can get to know him or her better. While J.L. is in Haiti this week, we decided this would be a good time to introduce you to Komivi Christophe Ayiboe.
Brother Komivi is from Lome, Togo. Togo is a slender country sandwiched between Ghana to the west, Benin to the east, Burkina Faso to the north and the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean to the south.
He has been a friend and partner of J.L. and Patt’s for almost 15 years. God first intersected their lives at the Billy Graham Conference for Itinerate Evangelists in Amsterdam in the year 2000. But, a closer connection occurred later at a pastors’ conference in Ghana that JL was conducting for local Ghanaian leaders and others from surrounding West African countries.
Although Komivi is a schoolteacher, he is very active in Scripture Union activities throughout the year. He participates in summer youth camps, Christmas programs and the giving of food packages to the widows and orphans in the villages. He has also distributed New Testaments and helped organize pastors’ evangelism campaigns in rural areas. He is very industrious, having completed an intense course in poultry raising with additional plans to begin an agricultural project.
Summer Youth Camp.
Children's program in rural Togo, and village evangelism.
Through the generous gift of one of our US partners, funds were given last fall to relocate him from a dangerous and unhealthy area of Lome to a safer place outside the city and a new home. He and his wife, Mokpokpo (which means Hope), have 3 children: a daughter, Lydia-Patt, and two sons, Kaleb and Yedidia. They even have a watch dog named Jack!
Komivi and his family at their new home.
Thank you for your prayers for Komivi and the work to which God has called him, because he is truly worthy of our partnership. Also pray for him and his family to stay healthy, as there is malaria in that part of Togo.
Finally, my thanks for your prayers for J.L. as he ministers this week in Haiti.
Grateful to be investing in Komivi and his family,
Patt and J.L.
P.S. Let me remind you again about our current efforts to raise funds for the ISIS victims. For every gift of $25 or more, we want to send you this “N” pin, the Arabic letter for “N”, representing the word “Nazarene,” a name for Jesus in the Koran. It is the symbol painted on Christian homes for destruction and death. Wearing this pin is a wonderful way for you to publicly identify with their plight, to remember to pray for them, and to help raise consciousness to this growing international crisis.
In this Lenten Season, I want to remind you of my book The Passionate Christ, a detailed accounting of Jesus’ last days and hours before His crucifixion. It is my prayer that this book will enhance your devotional studies this Easter, and that it will be a blessing to you as we celebrate the resurrection of our Savior! Please click on the picture of the book to be redirected to our online store for complete ordering information.
“This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people
but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.”
(II Corinthians 9:12)
Dear Ministry Partners,
Because of the growing global threat of Islamic jihaddism, my last few weekly reports and op eds have focused on those situations. We are continuing our efforts on behalf of the persecuted and displaced Christians from Iraq and Syria as a result of the barbarism of ISIS. Because of the recent alliance of ISIS with Boko Haram in West Africa, their Islamic Caliphate is gaining strength beyond the borders of the Middle East.
In the coming days, other more localized groups of jihadists will no doubt join this radical alliance to bring the entire world under their Caliphate and Sharia Law. So this current “War on Islamic Terrorism” will only get hotter and deadlier – with us Christians being their special target. Opposition and persecution will be the “new norm” for the rest of our lives – and our children’s lives also.
As a ministry, we will continue to do all we can to awaken American Christians to this reality of Islamic terrorism locally and globally. At the same time, we will do all we can to minister to our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ who have lost everything in the face of the advance of groups like ISIS.
But in the process, we will not ignore our other many fruitful partnerships in other countries. The only reason we are seeing this revival of radical Islam is because of the great growth of the church. This is the greatest day of harvest in human history! God is building His Kingdom and Jesus is establishing His church at an unprecedented rate around the world. And He is using all kinds of people – simple people like you and me, to touch people and transform their lives and living conditions through the “power of partnership.”
I hope you will be blessed and encouraged by the “Ministry of Multiplication” that is taking place through our national partners. These pictures represent just a few of our wonderful partners that you are touching through “This service that you perform in supplying the needs of God’s people.”
PASTOR SANGGE SHERPA & PASTOR HANOK TAMANG IN NEPAL …
We are so thankful for those of you who have supported Sangge through your prayers and finances after his recent accident that could have cost him his life. I am thankful to report through these pictures that his recovery is nothing short of miraculous.
Pastor Sangge and Pastor Hanok outside the
Aradhana Church after service this past week.
Sangge shared Christian songs in the Sherpa dialect used in their ministry
to the Sherpa people in the high Himalayas.
The latest picture of the wound, almost totally healed!
Sangge and his team will be leaving Kathmandu, traveling
back to their mission field, when you receive this email.
After taking a bus as far as they can go, they will then
have a 3 day trek to Lukla.
TIMBUKTU & BAMAKO, MALI ...
As you know from the news, the Islamists have just attacked and killed people in Bamako, the capital of Mali, as well as in the cities of Kidal and Gao. We thank God for our key partners there like Pastor Nouh Yattara, Professor Mohamed Yattara and Pastor Mohamed Ali. I have encouraging reports from each of them but will just share these brief pictures from Pastor Mohamed Ali. He is an evangelist and talented musician who continues to use his music and Solar Digital Bibles to share Christ in this Muslim country.
VICTORIA FALLS, ZIMBABWE ...
Taison Mumpande is not only a pastor, but is also a gifted entrepreneur in sewing. Pastor Taison, along with his wife, makes T-shirts and work clothes to support their ministry. Through recent gifts we have helped them buy new machines to expand their output. We also gave them seed money to buy more material to make more T-shirts to sell in this famous Tourist City of Victoria Falls.
Pastor Taison and his employees.
THE GOSPEL THROUGH GOATS, PIGS & CHICKENS ...
To poor people with no job or means of support, a pair of goats, pigs or chickens can be the difference between poverty and dependency – or success and self-sufficiency. That’s why we have been involved in various micro-animal projects for decades. One of our partners in Hwange, Zimbabwe, Godfrey Mkolo, sent these pictures of recent animal distributions to widows and orphans in the rural areas of Zimbabwe.
Giving goats to widows. Through the "give back" program,
the widows give their firstborn goat to another widow.
Some of the widows and orphans with their chickens.
RESOURCING REFUGEES ...
Recently, Pastor Santosh Ramdan stopped by our home on his way to visit new Bhutanese Nepali Refugees from Nepal. God first networked us together over 2 decades ago in East Nepal, where he was living in one of the 7 Bhutanese Refugee Camps composed of over 125,000 people. There we helped him start “Sewing and Weaving Centers” that morphed into churches. After more than 20 years, over 60,000 of the refugees were repatriated to America – where Santosh has continued to evangelize and plant churches among them. He not only pastors a large Bhutanese-Nepali Church in Atlanta, he circulates around the States to encourage other such churches and leaders.
I always love it when God brings some of our partners together!
During Santosh's brief visit, Bishop Trevor Manhanga from
Zimbabwe was also with us. This was their first time
to meet and to learn about each other's ministries.
Santosh asked for multiple copies of my books to give to
his pastors and key leaders now living in America. We also
loaded him down with socks and hose donated by a
When you purchase one of my books, you enable us to give them free to national
pastors and leaders like these from Bhutan and Nepal who now live in America.
As many of you know, Haiti is our oldest field of ministry – dating back to 1968. This weekend I will be returning to my “Haiti Home” to be with 3 of our dear friends and partners. They have invited me back to participate in special ministry events. This will also give me the opportunity to check on some of our other projects there after the killer earthquake of January 2010.
Pastor Edner Jeanty, Jr., his wife Dominique, daughter Melissa and son Didier.
Three generations of Jeantys: Edner, Sr. , who first translated
the Bible into Creole, Edner, Jr., and Didier.
Edner and I together after I preached at his
church in Port-au-Prince on a previous visit.
Pastor Esperandieu Pierre and his wife Dianne, with Lemi, Charissa and Nathan.
At right, Esperandieu and I at Onaville, where tens of thousands of earthquake
victims became squatters, and where we also built a church through the
"Manteo Miracle Men." It will be a joy to revisit this church this week and
preach for the saints there.
The "Manteo Miracle Men" at the completed
Ambassador Lewis Lucke and I with Pastor Chavannes Jeune,
one of the key leaders of Haiti and a past presidential canditate.
Thanks for taking a few moments to look at this pictorial report from some of our key partners I have not reported on recently. While the ISIS crisis has the major attention of the world, God’s work goes on around the world. And while we will continue to also do all we can to help support the victims of Islamic radicalism, we will not abandon our other faithful partners like these above.
Thanks for standing with us as we continue to stand with them through prayer and financial support. As Paul assured the saints at Corinth about their support of some of their poorer brothers and sisters in Christ: “The service that you perform is supplying the needs of God’s People.” But the partnership does not stop there. As a result of your support of them through various means, their hearts “ … overflow in many expressions of thanks to God.”
For His Kingdom & Glory,
JL & Patt
PS: Let me remind you about our current efforts to raise funds for the ISIS victims. For every gift of $25 or more, we want to send you this “N” pin, the Arabic letter for “N”, representing the word “Nazarene,” a name for Jesus in the Koran. It is the symbol painted on Christian homes for destruction and death. Wearing this pin is a wonderful way for you to publicly identify with their plight, and to help raise consciousness to this growing international crisis.
“…Epaphroditus (Sangge), my brother,
fellow worker and fellow soldier … was ill,
and almost died. But God had mercy
on him … honor men like him,
because he almost died for the work of Christ …”
Sangge and Pastor Hanok in Kathmandu. Patt & I wearing
the Nazarene pin in support of persecuted Iraqi Christians.
“Thanks Dr. JL, for your continued prayer. I am really joyful with pastor Hanok. We are enjoying blessing here. I want to give good news that my leg is 90% recover now thanks to God and you. Also I will go back Lukla after 1 week March 10. Brother Pema has come here for Bible seminar for 4 days. Then we will go back to Lukla together.
Love in Christ,
Dear Ministry Partners,
The words above that Paul wrote about his partner, Epaphroditus, certainly apply to Sangge. Just like his First Century counterpart, Sangge nearly lost his life in the Lord’s work. If he had not received good medical attention, that deep wound could easily have gotten infected and cost him life or limb. Bacteria had already set in and was attacking the bone, due to his long delay in getting to Lukla where there was some basic medical care.
So by God’s grace and the prayers and financial gifts from many of you, his leg was saved. Thanks for being a part of his healing team through your prayers. And thanks to all of you who gave. Thanks to your generosity, all of his medical bills are paid! Additionally, he has some offensive money to continue ministry just as soon as he is released from his current medical care in Kathmandu, where he is having his wound dressed and bandages changed daily.
In another week or so, he should be fully released to leave Kathmandu and head back to the high Himalayas where he will be reunited with his wife and young son.
While Sangge is away, his brother in ministry, Pema (Peter) continues to nurture the new churches they have planted together.
Pema (left) and Sangge (right). Pema preaches the Word in one of the
remote mountain churches.
Even after Sangge’s initial treatment in Lukla, he and Pema joined their spiritual mentor and friend, Pastor Gyan Sunuwar, to visit churches and share the Word. Gyan has been one of our partners through the “Everest Base Camp Outreach” (EBCO) for two decades. He also founded a small Bible College in Jiri to train evangelists and pastors for these “high church” assignments!
Pastor Gyan Sunuwar, head of EBCO. Gyan, Sangge and Pema
on an evangelistic outreach.
Pema, Gyan & Sangge outside one of their churches.
Below is Pema’s testimony that he sent to me a while back. I thought you would enjoy reading in his broken Nepali-English …
“My name is Pema Sherpa. I was born in Juke of Solukhumbu. I was born in Buddhism family so I grew with that culture. I started my school and was studying well but my father took me out from that school for study lama course to become a Buddhist monk. I studied there 4-5 years. But I didn't get any answer of my question. That means I didn't get peace in my life, I got only sadness, emptiness, and no peace. My life was passing and I though I never get peace in my heart.
Since I was staying in monastery at that time, my brother and his friends come by describing about good news. They told me about peace and salvation and gave New Testament Bible. I took that book by fear because if my teacher knew about it he would have forced me to leave that monastery. I should study that book by hiding and I got a sentence by Jesus: “I am the way, true, and life.” This is written in Bible (John 14.6). It is the first inspiration word because I hadn't got such kind of word and inspiration during my 4-5 years studying at monastery. Then I believed in Jesus Christi as my Savior. Latter on I went in Bible School in JIRI and I had got Biblical knowledge. After my Bible School I come back to my own place. I have been helping my brother Pastor Sangge in his ministry. Thank you very much for your payer for me.
UPDATE ON MINISTRY TO PERSECUTED IRAQI CHRISTIANS
Thanks again for your prayerful and financial support for these dear brothers and partners who are taking the Gospel to some of the highest places on earth. And as you pray for them, do so in the spirit of this promise:
“The Lord God is my strength, He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; And He enables me to walk on high places” (Habakkuk 3:19).
Finally, we are continuing our efforts to raise emergency relief funds for persecuted and displaced Iraqi Christians. We deeply appreciate those of you who have responded already. We hope many others will do the same. For every gift of $25 or more, we will send you the “lapel pin” pictured at left, and worn by Patt and me in the picture at the beginning of this email (limit 4 pins per gift of $100 or greater).
Just to remind you of the meaning of this symbol, it the Arabic letter "N" ("Noon"), meaning “Nasrani” or "Nazarene” – which is the word used for “Christian” in the Koran. That’s because Jesus was born in Nazareth and called the “Nazarene” in the Bible (Matt. 2:23; Mk. 14:67; 16:6; Acts 24:5, etc). It is for this reason that the Islamic Jihadist, ISIS, painted it on the walls of the Christian’s houses for confiscation, pillage, and destruction. This is a timely way for you to join us in identifying with these dear brothers and sisters, and to raise public awareness in America to their persecution and plight.
I also want to once more make available to you my book, "A Christian Perspective on Islam”, a timely tool for your spiritual arsenal. This book is a wake-up call to anyone who has believed the politically correct rhetoric that says "Islam is a peaceful religion that has just been hijacked by a few religious radicals", as well as a "crash course" in Biblical theology to show that Muslims and Christians do not believe in the same God. Please click on the picture of the book cover to be redirected to our website for complete ordering information.
In His Love & Compassion,
JL & Patt
“I know where you live — where Satan has his throne.
Yet you remain true to My Name. You did not renounce your faith in Me …
even where Satan lives.”
Dear Ministry Partner,
Satan has always hated the Church of Jesus Christ. That’s because Jesus loves the Church and calls her His Bride (Isa. 62:5; Eph. 5:25; Rev. 19:7; 21:9; 22:17). So, whatever Jesus loves – the devil hates.
We can see this spiritual hatred and political antithesis demonstrated in God’s words of comfort to the church of Pergamum who was living in the very shadow of “ … where Satan has his throne.” The evil one especially loves to establish “… his throne" in places where it will be a threatening presence to the church. The history of Christian persecution shows how dangerous and deadly it can be to bow before "God’s throne" in the very shadow of “Satan’s throne!”
Today, you and I are seeing this freshly demonstrated in the Islamic State of Iraq & Syria, abbreviated as ISIS. These Islamic jihadists are fueled by the words of their prophet Mohamed through very specific verses in the Koran (see my book on Islam). These Muslim savages are systematically carrying out barbaric atrocities against Christians that rival anything in recorded history! They are indeed “crimes against humanity” of the highest order including crucifixions … beheadings … burnings … kidnappings ... rapes – all in the name of Allah.
All of this is being diabolically orchestrated from the self-proclaimed Islamic Calif, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the latest human demagogue to sit on Satan’s throne in the territory they have conquered in Iraq and Syria. The diabolical darkness of this group of Islamic Radicals is seen in their black uniforms and black flag – each a reflection that they are a demonic hoard from the “kingdom of darkness” (Col. 1:13)!
Down through history, the devil has used pharaohs, kings, tyrants, Caesars, Marxists, Maoists – and now Muslims – to try and destroy His Church. Through the Radical ISLAMIC Jihadist, ISIS/ISIL, Satan is again out to destroy the Church – this time one of the most ancient Christian churches in the Middle East dating back to the First Century. It is the Iraqi Church – today known as the “Chaldean” or “Assyrian” Catholic Church.
THE BIRTHPLACE OF HUMANITY
As any serious Bible student knows, this particular area in the Middle East has great spiritual, historic and geographic significance. According to the Bible, this ancient area known as Mesopotamia is both the “Cradle of Creation” and the “Cradle of Christianity." We read in Genesis that it was in the area of the headwaters of the four rivers: Pishon, Gihon, Tigris and Euphrates, where the Garden of Eden was located (2:10-14). It was there that God created Adam and Eve to rule over the cosmos as His stewards (Gen. 1:24). Any wonder then that this is where Satan would establish his throne?! This is a very specific “in your face” to God!
The Bible also teaches us that Abraham, the patriarch of the 3 great monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, was called by God out of “ ... Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan,” or Palestine/Israel (Gen. 11:31). This is the area chosen by God as His “Holy Land.”
THE HOLY LAND
In accordance with His sovereign will, God gave this land to His people, the Jews. Previously it had been a very “unholy land” under the occupation of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites – some of the most pagan and idolatrous people ever recorded in history (Gen. 15:18-21). And the depth of their depravity was their practice of “child sacrifice,” which is referred to as “...passing through the fire” or a “ ... sacrifice to demons” (Lev. 18:21; Deut. 12:31; II Kings 17:17-18; 21:2-6; Ps. 106:37-38; Ezek. 16:20-21; Jer. 7:30-34, etc). It was especially for this sin, that God called an “abomination,” that He judged these people and the “ … land vomited them out” (Lev. 18:28). As Americans, we are fearfully close to the same divine judgment because of our equal sin of abortion!
THE BIRTH OF THE CHURCH
It was in this geographical region that the Triune God first “pitched His tent” with man through the Tabernacle and later the Temple. It was in this Holy Land that this same God was incarnate through Jesus Christ. It was there that Jesus prophesied: “I will build My church.” It was on the Holy Mount of Jerusalem that He was crucified, buried, resurrected and ascended. (Is it any wonder why the Muslims hate the cross?!) It was in Jerusalem that He birthed the church on the Day of Pentecost – which has great significance for this current situation with ISIS.
At the Feast of Pentecost in Jerusalem, we read that there were “... God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.” Then a partial list of nations – primarily those surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, were listed where these God-fearing Jews and “converts to Judaism” were from: “Parthians (Iran), Medes, Elamites (Babylon), residents of Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, parts of Libya, visitors from Rome, Cretans and Arabs...” (Acts 2:5-11). I have highlighted the primary countries in blue that are a part of what we refer to as the “Arab World” today. So, from the very birthday of the church, both Jews and Arabs have played a significant role – although it was predominantly Jewish until the ministry of Saul/Paul to the Gentile World.
I share this brief bit of Biblical history to put this current Middle East crisis into a wider context. Both the "racial Jews" and "spiritual Jews” (Jews, Arabs & Gentiles) were a vital part of the early First Century Church. Many of the Jewish and Arab Christians from the current Islamic State of Iraq & Syria, or ISIS – not to mention those from Egypt where the 21 Coptic Christians were from who were beheaded – have their spiritual roots in these ancient Christian churches in the region of Mesopotamia. And we know from the Book of Acts that Saul was headed to Damascus, Syria, to persecute the strong Christian church there (Acts 9).
As an aside, it is also very interesting to read that God directed Saul-now-become-Paul into Arabia for 3 years to spiritually mentor and mature him in his new faith in Christ as God’s Messiah. After that, he returned to Damascus and Jerusalem. The radical Jewish Pharisee who was on a “Jewish Jihad” against Christ and Christianity became the great “Apostle to Gentiles.” And the Bible School God sent him to for 3 years was not in Jerusalem – but in Arabia – the very cradle of historic Islam and the stage of the ISIS crisis today! How mysterious indeed are the ways of the Lord!
Both the New Testament and secular history teach us that there were millions of Jews and Christians living side-by-side in these regions until the prophet Mohamed conquered them in the 7th Century (He conquered Iraq in A.D. 633). After this Islamic conquest, the Jews were systematically persecuted by the Muslims down to such a tiny minority that only a literal handful of Jews remain in these areas today. After this "Jewish Holocaust” took place in the Middle East, the Christian persecution slowly intensified. It has now reached its bloody crescendo under ISIS through their current bloody “Christian Genocide.” Since Mohamed first brandished his sword, his call to “convert or die” has not changed for Jews or Christians – or for any other religious belief, down through the centuries.
MURDEROUS MUSLIM MARCH
During their murderous march through these ancient lands of Christianity and the Yezidis (*), crosses were smashed … churches were destroyed … graves were desecrated … Christians were tortured, crucified, beheaded, burned … their women were raped … their children were kidnapped for jihaddism indoctrination … their daughters were sold into sex slavery … their property was plundered and pillaged, and those who escaped lost everything and had to flee for their lives to neighboring Jordan. As ISIS jihadists took over the cities, they used former Christian churches they did not destroy as places of torture and prison for Christians as well as places to store their weapons and ammunition.
While this barbaric invasion is new to our world, it is not to theirs. In AD 1258, the Mongol army under the grandson of Genghis Khan, invaded, and conquered. In similar manner the Mongols savagely killed people, burned and looted homes, destroyed churches and Bibles, raped women and slaughtered children. But in comparison, these Iraqi Christians say that this invasion and occupation by ISIS is far worse.
Ellen Vaughn of the Wilberforce Initiative visited the area and interviewed many of the Iraqi Christians now living in refugee camps. She asked one Christian if this persecution and savagery had caused him to lose his faith in God. His response was typical of others who said: “These sufferings have increased our faith in God. We have confidence that God is with us and will do what is good for us.” Once again Christ is demonstrating that “ … the gates of hades” will not prevail against His church (Matt. 16:18). It is as eternal as He is!
And all of this carnage against Christians is being carried out in obedience to Mohamed and in the name of Allah! President Obama still cannot bring himself to call it what it is – Islamic terrorism!
(*) Yezidis are an ancient group in Iraq who call themselves “worshipers of god.” They are an admixture of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and some say Zoroastrianism)
It is because of the spiritual, Biblical and historic significance of this area known as the "Middle East," that some of the most bloody “holy wars” in history have been fought in this region. And according to the Bible, the final great battle of history – the “Battle of Armageddon” – will be fought there (Rev. 16:17-21). It is interesting and instructive that these fanatical followers of ISIS have their own twisted and perverted satanic apocalyptic vision that they are seeking to fulfill to help bring in their global Caliphate of Islamic rule under Sharia Law!
HELPING CHRISTIAN REFUGEES
As you know from my last email report, we are involved in a relief effort for our Christian brothers and sisters from Iraq. We are doing what we can in partnership with our ND Alumnus, Ambassador Lewis Lucke, to assist these "Christian Refugees.” In all probability, they will never be allowed to return to their homeland. They will either end up living in Jordan as refugees for the rest of their lives, or be repatriated to America or Canada – which could take years! Either way, they need our prayers and help as brothers and sisters in Christ.
Their Christian tradition with all of its religious vestments, liturgy, rituals, and iconic veneration of saints may not be what you are used to or comfortable with through your local church or denominational background. But these people still proudly and boldly name the Name of Christ and worship Him as the incarnation of the Triune Godhead – as man’s only means of salvation. So as Paul said: “While we have the opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith” (Gal. 6:10).
For every gift of $25, we will send you one of the “lapel pins” you can use as a way of identifying with these persecuted Christian Refugees. You will receive two pins for $50, 3 for $75, and 4 for $100, and so on. We hope you will share them with other family members, church friends, business associates to help raise the awareness of this “Christian Genocide” in the name of Islam.
While this symbol may look like a “smiling face,” it is anything but! It is really the “face of death, destruction & dispersion" for Christians! Just to remind you of the meaning of this symbol, it the Arabic letter "N" ("Noon"), meaning “Nasrani” or "Nazarene” – which is the word used for “Christian” in the Koran (Jesus was called the “Nazarene” in the Bible; Matt. 2:23; Mk. 14:67; 16:6; Acts 24:5, etc). That is why ISIS painted it on the walls of the Christians' houses for confiscation, pillage, and destruction – and even on children's hands so they could later be identified for slaughter. Since these ancient believers would not convert to Islam, they fled to Jordan where they have been reduced to refugees.
(Photos courtesy of Reuters, RNS, Catholic Services, UN, and other free public domain sources).
When you get your “lapel pin” in the mail, please wear it as a visual means of identification with these persecuted Christian Refugees. It can also be a timely conversation piece that will give you opportunity to share about their plight and our efforts to help them.
Just as Christians put on the “yellow arm bands” with the Star of David that the Nazis made Jews wear to mark them for the gas chambers, this is a way for us to identify with these Christian brothers and sisters marked for death by the Islamic Terrorists. It will be a visual reminder to pray for them regularly.
A quick update and final note: As you probably know from the news, a recent snow storm has hit Jordan which has only made things far worse for the hundreds of thousands of people living in these temporary make-shift refugee tents or houses. So we need to do all we can as quickly as we can to help ...
Thank you in advance for your gift of love and compassion for them,
JL and Patt
P. S. Finally, thank you to those of you who have already responded to this urgent need, and who are praying for these precious brothers and sisters. I also want to once more make available to you my book, "A Christian Perspective on Islam". Another timely tool for your spiritual arsenal, this book is a wake-up call to anyone who has believed the politically correct rhetoric that says "Islam is a peaceful religion that has just been hijacked by a few religious radicals." It is also a "crash course" in Biblical theology to show that Muslims and Christians do not believe in the same God. Please click on the picture of the book cover to be redirected to our website for complete ordering information.
Also, in the next few days I will send you an encouraging update on Sangge in Nepal. Thank you again for your prayers and support for this dear brother in Christ.