The Word of God is rapidly spreading throughout Upper Egypt through the preaching and witness of our outreach teams; and by the dispersal of the Holy Bible into the hands of new believers, eager to learn the Scriptures. Because of the increase in the number of our discipleship groups over the last few months we’ve encountered a desperate need for more Arabic language Bibles. We also need Bibles for Village Outreaches now in progress as well as those we plan to do over the next few months.
Bibles are expensive for our people in Egypt, especially in the current economic climate of inflation. They are also very precious to those who do have them. Pastor Rezk of Praise Chapel, Al Qusia, shared this with me just a few days ago.
Bro. Jack, something great has happened this month! The Egyptian Bible society has offered a 75% discount for each Bible, including two books of Bible Study lessons, if we can buy a quantity of them. I pray that we can buy 400 Bibles, as it is a great opportunity and will help us spread the Word of The LORD. I took the first step today and bought 10 Bibles for this new Discipleship group, these are new believers, they are eager to learn all they can. – Rezk
We are enjoying a great season of opportunity in Egypt right now, and while the doors are open we want to move through them and spread the word of God as quickly and far as we possibly can.
I told Pastor Rezk to order 1000 Bibles at this discounted price, we’re going to need them and they will get into the hands of the people who need them most. The discounted cost for these 1000 Bibles, plus the two included Bible Study books with each one, is $2500.00. That’s $2.50 per Bible! What a bargain! What’s more, these are high quality hard back versions that will last for years to come.
WE NEED YOUR HELP TO DO THIS
TO GET THE WORD OF GOD INTO THE HANDS OF OUR EGYPTIAN BRETHRENAND THOSE THEY’RE NOW REACHING WITH THE GOOD NEWS OF JESUS CHRIST
Yes, this week in Egypt is Christmas Week. We celebrate Christmas on January 7th. The atmosphere here is very nice, but very very cold, more so than normal, even as it rains, the rain turns to snow, this is strange experience for us here in Egypt.
But we continue to move among the churches and provide support to the pastors and their wives, and we celebrate in giving to them with joy. I will send another report on my trip in Assiut and Sohag the day before yesterday It was a very successful trip!
Today we just finished the second part of our meeting with 60 women, Pastor’s Wives. I’m spending this time worshiping and singing strong with my wife Heyam.
I also presented the word of God to them, (Deuteronomy 9:1-3) He spoke of God’s purpose for us to cross, and that the Lord is the one who passes before us.
They also got a Christmas present with all our love, respect and appreciation for them. They each received a very beautiful Winter blouse and shoes for each wife, a present, to help them celebrate Christmas. They also shared a time of food and fellowship together.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! … for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore. -Psalm 133:1-3
Today we had a very enthusiastic meeting with a group of pastors and their wives, about 30 people, and I talked about the importance of our being together despite our different ideas and sects.
When we are together, in unity of spirit and purpose, this is where the Lord has commanded the blessing.
Together we are bringing about a change in the kingdom of God.
We talked about making a renaissance, and we raised the idea of holding great evangelistic meetings in different churches, and everyone was responsive.
We had true loving communion with each other, we shared a meal and enjoyed a fun time of fellowship together. The Lord has blessed us!
Pastors Habib and Heyam are working tirelessly throughout Egypt with these small group mini-conferences for pastors and Church leaders. They are casting a vision for like-spirited ministry to unite together in the common cause of evangelizing the nation and its working! It’s imperative that we stand with them and all our workers in Egypt. THIS IS THE TIME! -Jack Harris
The Spirit of God is moving throughout Upper Egypt, good things are happening as The LORD continues to give us favor.
We invited about 100 pastors and leaders to attend our Outreach & Evangelism Training Camp. Our vision is to prepare and motivate existing local ministries to band together in a concerted effort to make a Gospel impact throughout our region, with a common goal for outreach, evangelism and discipleship.
We need your prayers as we continue!
I am so glad for the success of the day. This is the first step in our vision towards the pastors and leaders of our area, and the Lord blessed us in a marvelous way. Praise be to His name.
It was a time of prayer, worship, training and fellowship. There was much joy as we gathered together.
LOGISTICS AND CHALLENGE
The things which continue to unfold in our efforts throughout Upper Egypt are unprecedented. The LORD has touched His people here and they have a mind to work. Personally, I think that this is something GOD is doing all over the earth right now, an awakening of His Spirit, His answer to the fear and despair that has gripped the whole earth over the last several years.
“WHEN THE ENEMY SHALL COME IN LIKE A FLOOD, THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD SHALL LIFT UP A STANDARD AGAINST HIM.”
I do sincerely believe that these are those days spoken of by the LORD and the Prophets, when, “Whosoever shall call upon the Name of THE LORD shall be saved.”
I also believe that we must do more than just rejoice and say, Praise God! We must understand the times and labor with Him for the Harvest.
We MUST work the works of HIM who has sent us! For as HE said, “The Night is coming when no man can work.”
Egypt, especially upper Egypt is one of the poorest places on earth, yet there is a treasure trove of precious people who are coming to Christ, RIGHT NOW! God Himself is raising up an Army of Redemption and Ministry, RIGHT NOW!
The Apostle Paul makes this observation and asks this question;
What soldier has to pay his own expenses?
-1 Cor 9:7 NLT
No army can long fight without resources, the key to defeat is to cut off the supply line; Do that and defeat is not far behind.
Our Workers in Egypt and Iraq have the Zeal, the Courage and the Will to fight the good fight of faith but they lack the resources. Far too often the supply line is cut off, especially this time of year … this cripples our workers who depend on us for the resources to move forward.
WE HAVE A STRATEGY, WE HAVE THE PEOPLE, WE HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY!
But to see, a Victory, we require a sustained effort, we NEED YOU, to stand with us.
NATIONS ARE NOT WON NOR DOES CHANGE COME OVERNIGHT
THIS REQUIRES COMMITMENT AND A SUSTAINED EFFORT.
Please consider making a monthly pledge for our works and workers in the Middle East. By doing so, and encouraging others to do so as well, you will go a long way toward helping us surge forward and win a great Harvest.
You can also help us by sharing our updates with others, when you do so you are helping us to spread the Word.
This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. -1 Tim 1:15
It’s this time of year that we take the time to celebrate and reflect upon the miracle of the incarnation.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: -Isa 9:6
THE GOOD NEWS is that He came into the world to save it, not to condemn it. In fact, according to John, the world had already been condemned.
Think of it, a Condemned World; not unlike a condemned building, something that has deteriorated to the point of being dysfunctional and dangerous, awaiting destruction before it collapses upon itself.
Yet HE was sent to redeem it, to fix it, to salvage all that can be salvaged with an eye toward reconstruction.
He came into our world, a world where all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. -1John 1:8
He was the only sinless human being to ever live.
John the Baptist declared Him,
“Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.”
The Apostle Paul reveals Him as the second Adam, come to undo the damage of the first Adam. To make the transition from the corruption and decay of the Natural order unto the eternal Spiritual order.
As we celebrate Christmas as that first coming of the Lord, so should we look for, and expect, His second coming; and though no man knows the day or the hour of His return, we are not in darkness, as others, that ‘that day’ should overtake us.
His coming is our hope,
When you see these things begin to come to pass, lift up your heads for your redemption is drawing near.
Though we’re to live expectantly, we’re also commanded to occupy until He comes.
When the Son of Man returns, will He find faith upon the earth?
This is His question not mine.
Just as we celebrate His first coming as our most joyous holiday, so should we remember with the same joy, that He promises to come again.
As we celebrate the Joy of Christmas in a world still staggering under the weight of a worldwide pandemic, the threat and fear of war, of dramatic climate change, social unrest, of rampant violence and crime, let’s remember that first Christmas, the Why of it, the Purpose of it, and most of all the Hope and Promise of it.
Ours is to be about our Lord’s business, to be gathering with Him, not scattering abroad.
This is a true saying, Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners!
This is what Christmas is all about, not unlike Dickens Classic story, A Christmas Carol, we’re confronted with the three instructive spirits, that of Christmas Past, Present, and Future.
One of the names of GOD is, El Olam, translated as, the Eternal or Everlasting God. This idea encompasses HIM as the Age-enduring God, or the God of Ages, the God who works within and throughout the unfolding framework of human history.
Make no mistake about it, God is a work in our world today. He’s at work in our lives right now.
The skeptic and the cynical will point out, and it’s a tired and threadbare argument as old as the Bible itself, If God is with us, where are all the miracles our fathers told us about? Where is the promise of His coming?
If God is so good and loving, how come He allows such evil and suffering?
It’s like a broken record, repeating the same question over and over again.
The simple answer is, at least to my thinking, He allows evil because He allows you!
Covid-19 didn’t come from Heaven, it came from a human laboratory in China, funded in part by our own government. It’s an engineered virus, it has human fingerprints all over it.
Whatever the motive behind such things, it’s, nevertheless, as so many other worldwide or domestic crisis, the work of man not God. It’s human sin, against God, against nature and our fellow man. It’s our failure to take responsibility for our failures and point the finger back at God.
The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. -Isaiah 24:5
Once more, we celebrate the Spirit of Christmas Past, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son.”
At the same time, we are about to celebrate Christmas Present, and I personally sense the reality of the Presence of this living Spirit of Christmas as never before, no matter the accompanying circumstances facing us all in a troubled world. I sense the Hope of it, the Promise of it, and the good Charity animating it.
The important thing is this, How we remember Christmas Past and how we Celebrate Christmas Present will determine the outcome of Christmas Future.
I believe that there is a plan, God‘s plan, and I’m part of it, and so are you. The plan I’m talking about began 2021 years ago in the small town of Bethlehem. It involves a stable, a manger, a young couple and a newborn child. An Angel will herald His birth, and the host of Heaven will be heard to sing, but only a small band of Shepherds, tending their flocks by night will hear them.
There’s also a caravan of Magi, Wisemen from the East, probably from the Median Capital of Amedi, an ancient city in what is now called N. Iraq. They’ve seen a new Star in the heavens and have followed it because, they know what many in the land of Judaea haven’t discerned; this Star proclaims He that is born King of the Jews. They’ve journeyed far to find and worship Him.
It all happens on this Night of nights we now celebrate as Christmas Day.
Enjoy the ornaments! The presents, the feasting, it’s a Holiday! It’s a Celebration! It’s ours to enjoy and so we shall!
But let’s also remember that we’re part of this ongoing story, that we who believe, are essential to the ongoing redemption of our world and what we do now will have an impact and consequences, good or evil, upon the future until HE who shall come WILL COME.
The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. – Mat. 4:16
Iraq and it’s people have passed through many sad stages. These stages of change have had a great impact on the annual celebration of Christmas in Baghdad and throughout the Nation.
THE 70’S, A TIME OF PEACE, OPTIMISM, AND GROWTH.
In the 1970s, peace and calm prevailed in Iraq due to Saddam’s control of extremist activists. Iraq entered a new phase, that of bright hope and aspirations for the future. It was a time of construction and development.
That period was the most beautiful period for the Iraqis. Joy was present in our homes. Travel to the whole world opened for us and Iraqis began to visit Western countries and learn from the civilization there. This had a great impact upon our way of thinking and how we viewed our neighbors?
SECTARIANISM OR RELIGION WASN’T THE ISSUE
At this point people didn’t care if you were Christian or Muslim. The important thing was that we were all Iraqi.
The doors were opened for foreign companies to come and help build Iraq. These companies came, with their people and their culture, they lived with us in Iraq for more than ten years, and they most certainly had a great impact and influence upon our culture.
During the 70’s the streets of Baghdad were filled with Christmas lights and decorations. Christmas trees were set up everywhere and decorated with lights. I mean, you’d have noticed that there was a sense of celebration in the soul of all the people, there was a joy of heart. But back then this was only in Baghdad, the Capital.
AN IMPORTANT OBSERVATION
Only when Iraqi Christians are happy and at ease will you clearly see that the educated Muslim class rejoices too. Most of the wealthy in Islam have Christmas trees in their homes.
But if the Christians grieve, then the whole of Iraq grieves because we are the ones who decorate the earth, and this is a fact. (something to think about)
1980-88 THE IRAQ/IRAN WAR
The Iraq/Iran War is regarded as one of the most destructive conflicts of the late 20th Century.
Then came the 1980’s and with them, the War with Iran. At the beginning of the eighties, that is, in the first two years only, there was a very clear extension of the seventies. There where victories, holidays and you could still see Christmas on the streets of Baghdad.
Then the coffins began to come. For the first time we saw the Iraqi flag draped upon the coffins of our fallen soldiers. This was strange to us. At first we considered it a sign of patriotism, even of victory. But as time passed and the fighting escalated, we learned that this was a great catastrophe that had befallen the Iraqi people. Here, we replaced our flags of joy which flew from our homes with the black flags of mourning. A great sadness began to get a grip on all of us.
The Christmas tree? Now, if you want to see it, it is only present in the homes of Christians. It is now hidden behind walls so that you do not see it when you are walking in the street. There was now a fear of offending the feelings of the families of the martyrs (those who died in battle).
This continued until the end of the war in 1988. Then the joy returned to the Iraqis and the celebrations could once more be seen in the streets, and we forgot the sadness.
And back came the Christmas tree. Once more it was seen in public on the streets of Baghdad. But this did not last long.
THE GULF WAR, SANCTIONS AND THE 1990’S
The nineties came with the total destruction of Iraq, the infrastructure and the people. Iraq lived in darkness and without electricity for eight months. Refrigerators turned into a cupboard. The Iraqi people learned to make an oil candle from glass soda bottles. Our homes were filled with black smoke. We will not return to that former time of celebration and joy and there will be no Christmas trees.
After this there will be ten years of economic siege imposed upon Iraq. This will impose extreme hardship on the people only and not on the Iraqi government. The people ate animal food. Any joy the people had was now extinguished, and Christmas in Christian homes was limited to the simplest and most meager of fare.
TEN YEARS OF EMBARGO!
Everything has turned forlorn and gloomy. There were no tours. No travel outside Iraq. And the Iraqi citizen was forced to tighten the belt as in the days of the World War.
THE NEW MILLENNIUM AND THE WAR ON TERRORISM
The year 2000 came and here is a turning point that will effect the whole world.
It was September 11, 2001 – The Terrorist Attack on America; and Iraq is seen as a part of this terrorism, and once more, it will be the common people that pay the price; and Christmas will share in this devastation.
2003 OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM
The Overthrow of Saddam Hussein and the Ba’ath Regime. The beginning of the Iraq Insurgency.
2004 JACK HARRIS & LAYTH IBRAHIM BOTH COME TO KURDISTAN OF IRAQ
Here you (Jack) and I (Layth) are in Iraq. You remember those days well.
NOTE: It will be about three years before Layth and I meet for the first time. I will meet him when I discover a thriving Church meeting in his rented house in Duhok. It is the beginning of a lasting friendship and partnering together to reach Kurdistan with the Gospel. -Jack Harris
There will be Fifteen years of rebuilding the Nation, it’s infrastructure and the building of a new government. But this new government will change the Iraqi Constitution in such a way as to make it serve the Islamic state in Iran. A period of severe decline in thought, culture, education, health, and the police began. Our army was completely dissolved, a Shiite army serving the Iranian Revolutionary Guard was established in its place.
During this period the Christmas tree will be such a rarity as to be almost be none existent. Then came Covid19, with two years of lockdown, pain and depression for all.
But … Something strange has happened!
A new change has come to the people’s thinking. Surprising impressions and new conclusions have begun to dawn upon the people. I believe this because God has revealed all the falsehoods in the existing sectarian government, and the people have realized just how much they have lost in their individual lives and that of their families.
The loss of the future for our boys and girls in the corruption that now exists; the entry of drugs into the country in abundance through Iran, the killing of scientific talent and the displacement of our good doctors outside of Iraq.
There has come a revolution of the Spirit to our people, a renewal of mind and heart. The people have revolted to fulfill their wishes. We are now beginning to feel the joy starting to return to our lives and with it, our feeling that Iraq CAN and WILL change for the better.
The Meelad Tree (Birthday Tree in Arabic) has begun to live again, and joy our has returned with it.
The Christmas Tree in Iraq is not a symbol of commercialism, nor does it have its roots in paganism, it’s The Meelad Tree, the BIRTHDAY Tree and it only points to one child’s birth and the message which accompanied that birth.
“PEACE ON THE EARTH, GOOD WILL TOWARDS MEN.”
We have not known a day like this before in Iraq. When the Iraqis celebrate in this way.
Christmas trees are being set up everywhere! On the streets of Baghdad, in the Malls and General Stores, in Public Parks. At night, the street is full of happy people and families. It’s as if God has begun to compensate this people for what they had lost for decades.
Here in Dohuk, in Kurdistan, I see that most of our restaurants are celebrating Christmas. All the big Malls here have put up giant Christmas trees. It’s the same thing in Baghdad.
Today, many Muslim families put a Christmas tree in their homes.
It is the beginning of liberation from sectarianism, blind religiosity, and a new openness to Christianity. I think this is the beginning of an awakening. The beginning of a renaissance. The beginning of a new age for the Church to rise up to proclaim the Christ’s truth anew.
As Joseph said to his brothers, “You intended evil for me, but God has turned it around for good.”
I THINK THIS IS IT!
The evil one wanted to destroy whole peoples through the spirit of extremism and the spirit of religiosity, but God has turned those evil intentions around for good.
As I read Pastor Layth’s words my own heart is once more captivated by the Wonder and the Miracle of Christmas; by what we’ve come to call the Christmas Spirit. That Spirit which has inspired the Hymns and Carols we sing, the heightened sense of Goodwill, Compassion and Generosity we feel toward our fellow man. This season gentles us, it humbles us, it renews our hope, in fact, it calls forth those three immutable, indestructible and everlasting virtues we call,
FAITH, HOPE AND CHARITY
These three are arguably, the Holy Trinity of GOD’S own eternal nature, they are the Elohim that breath life into what we’ve come to call the Christmas Spirit, all else are merely the outward manifestations and expressions that all point back toward the truth at the core, that core truth being the gift of The Father, our Father, which art in Heaven, the Father, who so loved the world that HE gave HIS only Begotten Son …
The rest are merely the ornamentations and accoutrements that have over time attached themselves and have been passed down through the generations; not as scripture but as expressions of our joy and delight. They’ve become stories, myths, songs and every other form of expression by which we celebrate. They’re quite human expressions, typically so, in fact, comfortingly so; and I don’t think GOD Almighty is put out by them in the least. We know the Reason for the Season because we know Him.
So, we’ll leave you with this thought, What’s in a Christmas Tree? Well, I think that depends on how you’re choosing to look at it. Maybe we over here could take a lesson from our brethren and the people of Iraq, who see something of hope and joy in something they call the Birthday Tree. They all know whose birthday it symbolizes and though they may be still wrestling with the idea of what it all means, that is, Is He a great Prophet as they’ve been taught from birth to believe, or is He the Son of God? Personally, I stand with pastor Layth, I think this is The LORD’S doing. This is evidenced in the fact that more and more are coming to Christ now. Something unprecedented in history. I do believe that we are living in the time when, Whosoever shall call upon the Name of The LORD shall be … saved!
Isn’t it interesting that the Christmas Tree, of all things, has an attraction and draw for them? This, and the fact that Christmas Trees are lighting up this year throughout Iraq.
Layth and I, along with our families wish You and Yours a very Merry Christmas and may you all be filled with all the Joys of this Glorious Season.
Jack Harris, PC Missions – Jack Harris Ministries
THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING OUR ONGOING WORK IN THE MIDDLE EAST.
Al Minya, Upper Egypt – Village Evangelism Outreach
I’d like to give you the good news about the third village we just visited. The Lord gave us 15 more women who opened their hearts to receive Jesus. – Pastor Habib
THE WOMAN OF EGYPT ARE RESPONDING TO THE GOSPEL!
Pastors Habib & Heyam have just finished services in another small village church. This is the third village this week in a series of evangelistic outreaches to villages surrounding the large Upper Egypt city of Al Minya.
The total number of those who’ve received Jesus as their Savior this week is now at 39 Woman!
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Pastors Habib and Heyam ministered in a local village church where 18 more woman responded to their invitation to receive Jesus as their Savior.
This is the second in a series of Village Evangelism outreaches which Pastor/Evangelist Habib and his Wife, Heyam are currently bringing to the villages surrounding Al Minya in Upper Egypt. So far 24 Women have received Christ as their Savior. There’s more to come, we’ll keep you updated on our progress as they move forward
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