Middle East Report by Daren Downs

At the end of January we headed back into Egypt. For the last three years we had faced many hindrances due to political and social situations throughout the Middle East. We were invited to teach the School of Christ to Assemblies of God pastors and leaders. The School was held in Alexandria with pastors coming from different parts of Egypt. This is a desperate time in the Middle East. It is a time when God’s people need answers; they need strengthening, and encouragement in this fight.

This was one of the most profitable trips I have ever made to Egypt. We saw God do more in a week than we usually would see in several weeks of work and ministry. One of the pastors that had planted a new church asked for prayer. He said, “I have had bitterness in my heart and it is hindering me. I want to be free.” He testified the last day that we were together that he had made the decision to forgive. You could see the change in him. Several told me, “Our minds are being opened. What is being taught is changing our thinking. We are being changed.”

Several former students attended the week with us. What a blessing to see one of them pastoring a great church near the pyramids in Egypt. Another is an associate pastor. We thank God for the fruit that has come from the former students of the School of Christ.

During these trying times in the Middle East there are actually more doors open to us than in the past. This summer we have been invited to return and minister to over 100 Pentecostal pastors in Egypt. More than a hundred churches from all over the nation will be represented. This is a great opportunity to speak to the Pentecostal Church in this crucial time for the Arab nations.

We received an update from Nabil and Amany on the work among the Syrian refugees in Jordan. They travelled there last year and found a people open to the Gospel. They went from house-to-house visiting the refugees and ministering to them. There are several other Egyptian missionaries working among the refugees as well. One of them is a former student of the School of Christ in Egypt.

A Syrian woman was fleeing the war in her country with her family. Her son, who is nineteen years of age, had been wounded fighting for the Syrian government forces. He was treated by the Israelis, but had not fully recovered and was suffering as his mother led the family on their journey to the refugee camps in Jordan. The Syrian woman said, “I had no food to feed my family and I didn’t know what we could do. One night I had a dream in the early hours of the morning. I saw a white river flowing and a man dressed in white clothing approaching the river from the other side. He began to say to me, Come unto me! I responded, who are you? He said, I am Jesus. Come to Me. I said to Him, the current of the river is too great and the waters to deep. I cannot cross. He then walked over to a tree that was at the water’s edge. With His hand He gently pushed the tree across the river and said, Hold onto the branches. He then gently let the tree lift and carry me over to Him. I woke up and found my son with a very high fever. I had no medicine so I put a cool cloth on his head. I began to pray, Jesus, if that was you in my dream, touch my son. The fever went down, and the woman testified that if she had not woke up at that time, her son’s fever could have taken him. A few hours later there was a knock at the door. It was early in the Middle East, and it is very uncommon for someone to visit you at such hours of the morning. The Syrian woman said, When I answered the door, there stood a man whom I had never seen before. He handed me some money and said, Here is some money to buy food for your family. The woman said, Not only did Jesus come to me in my dream, He came to my home and provided for my family.”

This story demonstrates to you and me just how far-reaching the love of God is for lost humanity, that when there is the absence of workers He can still reach the lost. The Syrian woman still didn’t fully understand the Gospel. A former student of the School of Christ explained to her the Good News. She is now a born-again believer.

Nabil and Amany hold Sunday School for the children from the refugee camps. They teach them about Jesus and sing Christian songs. Some of their mothers came to the church with them as well. When Sister Amany has an opportunity to share with them she said, “I shared with them about Esther. How she was an orphaned girl raised by her relative, Mordecai. How the king chose Esther and when she rose to become the queen, the prayers of this woman saved a nation. I then asked them, “How many of you know someone that has died as a result of the war in Syria?” All of them raised their hands. I then told them, “God has kept you alive for a reason, and you need to find out why.”

When you see the plight of these suffering people, many times you feel like there is nothing you can do. I want you to know that you are doing something. Your prayers are reaching people that you could not otherwise reach. God is taking your heartfelt giving to reach people that we could never reach.

Keep praying for this work. Remember the pastors in Egypt and the Middle East. They desperately need our prayers to strengthen them in these trying times. Remember Nabil and Amany and all of the former students of the School of Christ as they minister and reap the harvest of the Middle East. Thank you and God bless you for supporting this work.

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