As we enter into this new year, we have taken some time to reflect on the year that has passed and all we experienced. There were a lot of challenging things that we faced this last year that changed us in ways we didn’t expect. It was a year full of unknowns, fears we’d never dealt with before, and learning how to respond to crisis situations.
But what stood out to me when I was reflecting back on this year is the surreal amount of answered prayer we experienced. It may have been because there were so many needs and problems we simply couldn’t solve on our own. But, even aside from all those instances, I realized that there were several other long-suffering prayers that the Lord happened to answer this last year as well. Some were needs we had been praying for over five and another fifteen years.
All of these encounters with God and answers from Him have a way of redefining everything. It is much easier to look back on all the challenges in light of all He has done. Personally experiencing the Lord’s care, provision, healing, and deep kindness is so transforming that we find ourselves at the end of a difficult year fully overwhelmed by joy and thankfulness. Jesus’ ways are awe-inspiring and continually leave us surprised by joy.
Let all that I am praise the Lord;Psalm 103:2-4
may I never forget the good things he does for me.
He forgives all my sins
and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death
and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
Earlier last month we were driving home and a friend came to our mind so we messaged him asking how he was doing.
It turns out—right at that moment—he was standing in front of the university hospital in our city with several of his relatives because his cousin had just been in an accident that day and fallen from a high area, landing on his head. He was taken into emergency surgery because of several areas of major bleeding in his brain. The doctors had already told the family that it did not look hopeful and that if he even made out of the surgery alive, he’d likely have brain damage.
We told our friend we would immediately start praying for Jesus to heal his cousin and asked if we could share his situation with others we know who love to pray, and he said “Yes.” We sent this prayer request out to our prayer partners on the WhatsApp group, and many of us we praying for this man’s life.
The next day we heard that he made it through the surgery, but there were still a few areas of bleeding they couldn’t stop. We all kept praying. The day after, they told us that he woke up and all the doctors were amazed because though he couldn’t speak a lot, he did communicate with them and he was able to move his hands and legs!
Our friend (was working at the same hospital at the time that his cousin was there), and he said the news of his miraculous recovery spread among all the doctors in that hospital. We praise Jesus for answering our prayer for this man and continue to believe for more miracles in this family’s life.
For those of you who are in the WhatsApp prayer group, thank you for the part you played in praying for this need! For those who don’t know, this is a WhatsApp group where we and others on our team share more immediate prayer requests. If you’d be interested in joining this group to pray for different needs here in the Middle East, please reach out to us and we will add you to the group!
RELIEF EFFORTS UPDATE
Last month we spent a week in another region constructing two container homes for a family and their neighbor. Since the first trip we took last February, this family has been living in a tent. We hoped to have these container homes shipped and built in time for winter so that they would have a safe, warm space to live. We were able to finish the majority of the work on these container homes in the week that we spent there, but as with any construction project, there were some small hiccups along the way.
Over the past year, our relationship with both of these families has deepened. When we visit them they continually say to us “We’re family now” and we feel like family when we’re with them.
We’ve also had the opportunity to share many spiritual conversations and pray together with them. They are part of a smaller sect of Islam that has some distinct beliefs. We found it so interesting to hear and learn more about their holidays, some of which celebrate Jesus’ birth (like Christmas) and Jesus’ baptism in the month of January.
PRAY WITH US FOR:
🙏 Our friend—whose cousin was miraculously healed. Pray his heart would be open to start a discovery group among those in his community who desire to learn more about Jesus.
🙏 A local believer we’ve been walking with. The place he was working has closed down because of the economic crisis. Please pray that God provides a new job that allows him to continue and finish his university studies.
🙏 The young people of this nation. Due to serious issues with the economy, education system, and gov’t, many of the young people feel depressed, without hope or a future in their own country. Pray for them to encounter Jesus, and be filled with an unwavering faith and hope; that their trust and security would rest on the Father who is able to do anything.
🙏 Our relief efforts—we have commissioned another two container homes to be made for families still in need. We will be travelling back and forth in the upcoming weeks as we help coordinate and build these container homes. Please pray for our safety, stamina, health, and unity among those we will work with. Pray also for the families and their community, that they will experience the tangible love of Jesus through all these efforts.
We ask for this same experience of joy over each of you; that you would remember all the good that God has done in your lives.
How He forgives all our sins, heals all our diseases, redeems us from death, and crowns us with love and tender mercies.