Praying for a World in Pain
By Randy Hurst
Reports from AG personnel over the weekend have been heartbreaking reminders of how members of our spiritual family have been affected by several tragedies that have taken place in various countries.
Late last week, AG workers in the Middle East reported two young brothers from the Lighthouse School in Gaza were killed when a missile from an F-16 hit their home.
Increasing chaos also surrounds Iraqi believers as a militant group known as the Islamic State (previously known as ISIS), tightens its grip in and around Mosul. On July 17, Christian leaders were summoned to a meeting to be informed of Muslim rules to be imposed upon all non-Muslims. The Christian leaders did not attend, prompting the militant leaders to order all Christians to leave the city (leaving all property behind) or be executed. Reports are that many fleeing families were stopped at checkpoints and stripped of money and personal possessions. It is believed most Christian families have now fled Mosul. All Christian homes have since been marked with the letter N for Nazirite, and other minority homes (including inhabited ones) bear the label “property of the Islamic State.”
While the crisis in the Middle East has caused much heartache and turmoil, the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine has brought grief to many families, including some from AG churches. Over the weekend, Dutch officials released the names of passengers from the Netherlands who were aboard the flight. Of the 298 people who perished on the flight, 193 were Dutch.
Among them were Arnoud Huizen, his wife, and their 2-year-old daughter. Arnoud was a former student at Azusa Theological Seminary in Amsterdam. He worked with Chi Alpha at Free University in Amsterdam and did an internship with Teen Challenge. At the time of the crash, the couple was living in Indonesia, Mrs. Huizen’s homeland. They had been in Amsterdam to get a Dutch passport for their daughter.
Tim Southerland, area director of Northwestern Europe, states, “Arnoud was a diligent student who loved the Lord. His death is a great loss to the Dutch Assemblies of God and also among the missionary family who knew and loved him.”
Two women from AG churches in Indonesia were also killed.
“Our hearts go out to families and individuals who are suffering in the collateral damage of the civil conflicts taking place throughout the world,” says AG General Superintendent George Wood. “These trying times afford a challenge to the church of Jesus Christ to offer comfort to the suffering and convey the compassion, love and message of Christ wherever we can.”
While it is impossible to truly empathize with people who are in such pain and suffering, the Holy Spirit can stir our hearts to fervently intercede. Through prayer, we can help make a difference in the lives of the suffering.
“The needs of our brothers and sisters who are suffering should compel us to be faithful and fervent in our intercession for them,” adds AGWM Executive Director Greg Mundis. “I ask our missionaries, our churches in the U.S., and other fraternal fellowships worldwide to remember those who are so vulnerable right now due to the crises taking place in these nations.”