It is an unbelievable story that I’m about to reveal to you. A miracle? Yes, but well beyond. We read of miracles in the Bible with astonishment, but I suspect Moses and Joshua and Elijah and Elisha must be tempted with jealousy when they hear about this one.
Millions have been displaced or disappeared in a certain Middle Eastern country, where war has ravaged the people for over a decade. Mass graves have become common, and widows and orphans have increased at least a thousand percent. All the deficits that follow such terror have also increased; water is scarce, and what is on hand is not fit to drink. Food is in short supply, causing thousands to be malnourished and even starve. Health care is virtually non-existent, and doctors have no medicine to treat illnesses and few supplies for necessary surgeries.
This has become a land that exemplifies the expression, “hell on earth.”
But there are Believers there, former Muslims who have been adopted into our Father’s family. You and I have helped them in the past, so many times for so many reasons. They, too, have endured what their fellow citizens have, but they have also been hunted and slain by the thousands. Their suffering is multiplied because of their outspoken faith in Jesus Christ as they witness, preach, distribute Bibles, and openly glorify Christ.
Their love for others and their stubbornness to stand with Christ have caught the attention of their Lord’s enemies, and as a result, some of the persecutors have come to Christ while others have watched in amazement as they show love to their persecutors. That is where this miracle has its roots.
Because of their testimony:
A governor, who has long been both a persecutor and a prosecutor, has come to us with a request. He comes from a small town in his province that has been badly affected by their crisis. Family, neighbors, and friends of a lifetime are suffering badly, and he has no means to help them. Yet, observing our churches for years and seeing their grace and hospitality, his eyes have seen the Light of their testimony, and he has humbled himself to ask for help.
Proverbs 25:21 says, “If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink.”
A thousand years later, in Romans 12:20, Paul quoted this verse in his letter to the Roman church encouraging them, “If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirsts, give him drink.”
This governor has asked our house churches, whom he has persecuted, to now be generous to the people of his hometown and give them food, fuel, and clean water. Our people have responded by saying they will do all he has asked, but he must also allow them to share the gospel with the families and give each one a Bible. They desire to do as Paul instructed in the next verse, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”
I have often asked you to give so we can care for our people in this region, and more specifically, in this country. You have fed them, bound their wounds, and buried their dead. But this is the first time I have ever asked if you will give so their enemies will be fed. We are here, and they are there. Only God will know where the funds come from; therefore, it is God who will receive the glory for your gift. But the food, water, fuel, clothing, etc., will be delivered by the hands of preachers and Believers who will deliver these items with a smile and a word of comfort; but more importantly, with a Gospel witness and a family Bible.
Do we have a church there in that town? No. Not yet. But you can be assured that as these seeds are planted, a harvest will be the result, and already we have the laborers standing by to reap the harvest. So, your gift will plant a church in the hometown of the governor. (BTW: No promises, but I imagine the persecution in his province will be diminished when the persecuted are the ones feeding his people?)
Felix, the governor, sent Paul away, saying, I’ll call you back when I am ready to hear more. Festus, the governor, his replacement, told Paul, you have almost persuaded me. In both instances, the seed fell on thorny ground. But now we have a governor near the same land, who is not calling our pastors to stand before him condemned, but coming to them, asking for help, and authorizing the gospel preaching in his hometown. A miracle? Yes, and far, far beyond that.
Historically and Culturally (expand your knowledge):
Typically, a village is inhabited by a “tribe” as most people living there (unlike a large city) can trace their ancestry back to the same “father.” Thus, they are all related, distantly. So, what he is asking is that we save not only his people but his tribe. Everyone in the Middle East belongs to a tribe, and often, when the leader of the tribe converts, the extended family feels it is acceptable for them to consider conversion. So much respect and confidence are given to the leader that the members of the tribe follow his lead as a child in American would follow his father’s will. We find this same custom in Acts when Paul witnessed to the jailer in Philippi and told him that he and his household would be saved.
Now, their request:
Our pastors have estimated that because about a hundred families live there, with five to fifteen per family, they will need $10,000 to meet the need. (That is their estimated total) As per the governor’s request, they have, by faith, promised aid to arrive before Christmas. What a wonderful Christmas gift this will be for our Savior. Our infant Lord was born in a similar small town, not far away. He came to His own to be sure, but the angles declared that night, His coming is also good news (gospel) “to all people.”
You can give online above, or mail in a check and designate it to "Governors Town".
Let me say that this is but a slice in a much larger miracle in that land. Other things are happening that reach higher than a governor, but I cannot publicly share that information—yet.
With all our requests and all your giving over the years, you may feel like we are chipping away at one mighty oak in a forest of thousands. But, in reality, we have nearly cleared the forest and left behind thousands of pioneers who have built Christian homes and fortresses with the timber they have felled. They have cleared the forest, but you provided the axes.
Here, in this one small town, we have a tree with deep, ancient roots in Islam. But as Solomon purchased trees from Lebanon to build a house for the Lord, I am asking you for one more supply of axes so our workers can fell this tree. It will fall as others have before it. Listen for the shout -- “Timber!”