Dear Praying Friends:
It is hard to believe that 2013 is already one quarter gone! We praise the Lord for His journey mercies as we ministered in seven states from Minnesota to South Carolina, as well as traveled to Southwest Asia. With that schedule, it was more than heart-warming to meet a gentleman last month at Oakwood Baptist Church in Anderson, SC, who said, “I heard you speak at another church several years ago, and I started praying for you then, … since you work with the Persecuted Church.” The “several years ago” was actually almost nine years ago! How vital are the intercessions of the Lord’s people to us as we seek the Gospel’s advance in the world’s difficult places!
What an encouragement it was to find in that Southwest Asian nation faithful servants of the Lord who are advancing the Gospel where the population is 93% Muslim. In one church the pastor related how the government had ordered his congregation of 500 believers to be dissolved because they were not registered. In spite of that decree, they are continuing to meet for worship, and to carry out their evangelistic outreach with joy. Please pray for them as their case is being appealed to the Constitutional Court, the highest court in their country.
When we met with the leaders of the Bible distributors in that country, they informed us that just the previous day the KGB had called them in for the purpose of questioning them about their activities. Though the pretense was supposedly just to get acquainted, the unspoken message was one of intimidation. Yet, these believers continue take risks in order the make the Word of God available in the heart languages of the people.
One other exciting opportunity came to us when an underground pastor from a neighboring radical Islamic country journeyed to meet with us. Discussions have begun concerning an underground Bible printing project in his country, which is fraught with all kinds of risks. The meeting was very sobering as he remarked to us, “If my government knew that I was meeting with two Americans, I would be killed.” Please pray for God to make it abundantly clear how to meet all the challenges for such a project.
Pastor Saeed Abedini remains imprisoned in Tehran with an eight-year sentence for the sake of the Gospel. Please continue to pray for special grace for him as he experiences abuse under harsh prison conditions. Don’t forget to intercede, as well, for his wife and two children in Idaho who are trying to raise awareness of his plight.
The premiere of “The Power of His Rising,” which is the sixth episode of FMI’s DVD missions series,Dispatches from the Front is just three weeks away. This portrayal of how God uses ordinary believers—bakers, pilots, and coffeemakers—to share the Good News of Jesus to Muslim people in South Asia will be very insightful in terms of whom God can use in missions. Please pray that the Lord would use this new episode as a means of calling out workers—with varied skills—for the harvest fields.
On a personal note Lois and I were thrilled, and humbled, as another of our sons—Joseph—was installed as the lead pastor of Wapiti Valley Church in Cody, WY in January. He and his wife, Sarah, have served there for over five years, and they are now ready for this new step. We are grateful for this church which has been a faithful supporter of FMI for a number of years now.
With the economic challenges in this country still affecting many people, we are grateful for your faithful support . . . and intercessions on our behalf!
John and Lois Hutcheson, Frontline Missions International, Taylors, SC 29687