Pastor Layth Ibrahim- Praise Chapel Duhok
Dear Brothers and Sisters
I want to share a wonderful story with you. We had a family activity day at our church. Families gathered together to play table tennis, billiards, volleyball, and basketball. Our women supplied us with food for the occasion. Suddenly, two young men appeared and it was clear that they were very shy and embarrassed.
So I ran to them and asked, How can I help you guys?
Their answer was, We want a church. I pointed to our worship hall and offered to take them inside. When I opened the door, as they entered, their eyes and mouths were opened wide. They asked me if they could take some pictures of the big cross on the stage.
After they had finished taking pictures, with great joy on their faces, they said, Thank you, for allowing us to experience all this and for the way you’ve received us. Then the Holy Spirit gave me the boldness to ask them to sit down. I began to explain to them how the Qur’an had concealed half of the truth of Christ and how all of Islam did not know or understand the true Christians. As I spoke I was filled with supernatural power and began to talk about who Jesus Christ is and why He came into our world and how God loves us so much that He decided to die for us.
Their answer, (that I always hear from Muslim people) was, This is the first time we have heard this in the way you have explained it. They began to compare the leaders of the Islamic religion (the Shia in particular) with me and what the difference is between the two. Then came the decisive moment when I asked them if they’d like to give their lives to Jesus and receive Him into their hearts.
They had been told by Islamic religious leaders that if they entered any church, the Christians would kill them. “But look at how you have treated us and the love and welcome you and your people have shown us!” I immediately invited some of our brothers and sisters from the Islamic background to come and encourage them.
They rejoiced a lot when they knew that these too were from Islam. Their response was, So, you are like us! I invited them to pray and ask for forgiveness from the Lord Jesus Christ. Their answer was, We do not know how to pray. So I said, Dear brothers, I will pray, and you will repeat after me, but with all honesty and trust. They then prayed clearly and eagerly.
They had come from Baghdad to Northern Iraq on a tour with a group of tourists. They knew that one of the buses went to Erbil and the other to Duhok. They decided to go to Duhok. Strangely, they stayed in a hotel close to our church.
Their program was to visit some tourist places in the Amadiyah area but they decided to withdraw from the group and go looking for a church. They searched the whole day and found no church, then they asked a young Kurdish man who had a small market if he knew of any nearby church. The Kurdish man replied, There is a church close by in this area. They found our building but the back gate was closed. They walked around to the other side where the main entrance was open. Here they found our children playing in the outer courtyard who instructed them to go inside where they found us.
I told them, Do you realize that all that has happened to you is an arrangement from God Himself, that He wants you to know Him and to know His Son? I explained to them how that God looks from the highest heaven and sees all of us as we are, as sinners, that we will receive eternal punishment which is separation from him forever. But because He loves us, He provided the solution, He decided to cover us so that He would no longer see our sins. This covering must have special qualities so that the eyes of God no longer penetrate it. This covering can only be the blood of His Son, Jesus. When His blood is applied to our lives the eyes of God the Father halt and stand at this covering. I asked them, Do you want to receive this cover? They answered with a loud voice, Yes, now! We prayed together and Christ accepted them into His kingdom. I then explained to them that their next step was to receive water baptism. They agreed to be baptized in our evening service that very day.
We had come to our study in the Bible to chapter three of the Book of Acts of the Apostles. Here the subject was supplemented when Peter explained who Jesus is. We saw these two young men filled with joy, they knew that God had been with them up to that very moment, that He led them into all this. Then they were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
My beloved brothers and sisters, I am very happy, because God brings distant souls to Himself and He uses our Church to complete this work. I have confirmed the vision that God gave me for this building. (That God will use this building to bring many souls to Himself). Thank you for supporting us and for sharing in this vision with us.
I want to share something with you from the Holy Spirit. You have been used of God along with us to complete this great work. You share in the blessing of others. Truly, the Lord is blessing the work of your hands. May He expand your stature and fill you more and more with His Holy Spirit, that you may pour over us His blessings to all. Thank you so much!
“of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power. To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ;” Ephesians 3:7-9 NKJV
P. Layth Ibrahim Praise Chapel Church- Kurdistan Program Pastor for Entrust- Kurdistan. Kurdistan, Iraq