Tuesday, October 21, 2008


This weekend, I will brief The Joshua Fund's board of directors on the latest geo-political developments in Israel and the epicenter. Our staff will brief the board on TJF's latest projects to bless those who are poor and needy in Israel today, and pre-position supplies ahead of the next war. We will also spend several days in prayer for the peace of Jerusalem and for the Lord to bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus.

Here are a few of the specific prayer requests we'll be focusing on. Would you join us in lifting these needs before the Lord?

1. First and foremost, let us continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and the entire region.

2. While we pray for peace, let us also pray that the Church would be prepared for the next war -- prepared with food, water, medical equipment, and other relief supplies.

3. Please pray specifically for the leadership of The Joshua Fund to make wise decisions in acquiring a warehouse and stocking it with the right supplies, and pray that we can move quickly, not knowing how much time we have before the next war.

4. Please pray for evangelical pastors, ministry leaders and believers to answer God's call to bless the people of Israel physically, spiritually and emotionally, and to do so sensitively and humbly -- with a willingness to learn from and walk alongside those men and women who already live and serve there.

5. Please pray for righteous and courageous national leaders to emerge in Israel.

6. Please pray for God to change the hearts of the leaders of Iran, or to put new leaders in office there, so there will be peace, not war.

7. Please pray for the next American President and the new leaders in Congress to stand bravely for the defense, support and blessing of Israel, while also showing love and compassion to Israel's neighbors.

8. Please pray that the evangelical Church around the world would be prepared to stand with Israel with unconditional love, even if our commitment begins to cost us personally.

9. Please pray for the believers in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza to have the grace, courage, wisdom and strength to be a shining light for the Lord, to love their neighbors, to love their enemies, and to a beautiful model of peace and reconciliation to all who live in that region.

10. Please pray for the pastors in Israel and the Palestinian territories to proclaim the "good news to the poor" as the Prophet Isaiah instructed, and to teach the Word of God in their congregations verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book, so that people really know the Bible inside and out and are motivated to obey God's Word more than ever before.
11. Please be praying for courage, protection and wisdom for Christians in the Iraqi city of Mosul (ancient Ninevah), where violence and persecution has worsened dramatically in recent weeks. Latest headline: 15,000 Iraqi Christians Driven Out of Mosul. "More than 15,000 Iraqi Christians, or 2,500 families, have been driven out of Mosul over the past two weeks," reports the Christian Post. "The number skyrocketed from last week’s estimate of some 3,000 Christians that fled the northern Iraq city, which is said to be the last urban stronghold of Al-Qaeda. Officials in Mosul also reported that some 13 Iraqi Christians have been killed in the past four weeks and at least three Assyrian Christian homes were bombed on Saturday alone, according to the Assyrian International News Agency." Please also pray for comfort for those affected by the violence, and for God's peace and tranquility to descend on that city and the entire country of Iraq.
12. Please also be praying for courage, protection and wisdom for Christians in Afghanistan. A Christian aid worker was just murdered in the capital city of Kabul, only a week or so after Jeremy Grafman and I visited there. Please also pray for comfort for the family and friends of Gayle Williams, 34, who was shot dead by two gunmen. Please also pray for God's peace and tranquility to descend on Kabul and the entire country of Afghanistan.

Thank you so much and may the Lord bless you for your faithful prayers.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


(Erbil, Iraq) -- Jesus said "it is more blessed to give than to receive." He was so right. Few things in life are as wonderful as giving an unexpected gift at an unexpected time, especially to a child, and to see that child's face light up in joy and deep gratitude.
As the new school year begins, The Joshua Fund continues helping followers of Jesus in the epicenter give much-needed relief supplies to needy children. Over the summer, because of your generous donations, we were able to fund the transport of three trucks filled with relief supplies to the northern Iraqi region known as Kurdistan. Among the materials you helped send: children's backpacks, school supplies, desks, chairs and other school furniture. These supplies are now being distributed by local Iraqi Christians and what a blessing it is.
In late September, Jeremy Grafman -- Joshua Fund's director of special projects -- and I had the privilege of traveling to the city of Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish region of Iraq, to participate in and observe several relief projects. At one school in Erbil, we helped hand out backpacks to some 350 needy children, some of whom were Muslims and some of whom were from a nominal Christian background. Each backpack contained reams of notebook paper, lots of pens and pencils, art supplies, and a stuffed animal. Often, illustrated children's Bibles in Arabic or Kurdish, copies of the children's version of the Jesus film, and other Christian literature for children are provided in the backpacks that are distributed through TJF funding. In this case, the school principal had previously allowed Bibles and Christian literature to be made available to those children who wanted them so they weren't provided in the backpacks.
As you can from the pictures, the backpack distribution was a big hit. The kids were so excited to meet with us, to have a chance to practice a little of the English they are learning, and to receive these fun gifts from Christians in the West. Their sweet faces were absolutely beaming. One of the little girls actually gave us handfuls of her own little stash of candy to say "thank you." When a needy child in a war-torn country gives away her own candy of her own volition, you can be sure she has been touched by your love. The principal, teachers and staff were also deeply grateful and kept telling us how thankful they were for the backpacks, the school furniture and our visit. We had a wonderful opportunity to sit with several of them and learn more about what is happening in their school. We also had the privilege of letting them know that followers of Jesus in the U.S. and Canada love them and the children they care for, are praying for them, and are eager to continue helping them.
On behalf of the entire Joshua Fund team, please allow me to say thank you for the kind and generous investment you're making in this work. Because of you, we are able to bless children in Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, Iraq and elsewhere in the name of Jesus and through local Christians in each of these places. Please continue to pray for these children, their parents, their teachers and for all the people of Iraq. Security is improving. The economy is growing. The Church is growing. But Iraqis continue to face enormous challenges and need the love and grace of Jesus Christ more than ever before. Thanks again, and may the Lord richly bless you as you help us bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus.