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Joy Comes in the Mourning

From the desk of Dr. Michael Youssef

Dear Friend,

You should have seen the women who had fled ISIS’ atrocities as they filed into the room.

Though they had put on their best clothes for the occasion, it was impossible to cover the expressions of brokenness, weariness, fear, and sadness.

And yet, by the end of the weekend, these 80 women from nearby refugee camps and safe houses in Iraq had experienced healing and restoration at Leading The Way’s women’s retreat. They had heard a Gospel message, sung songs of praise, debriefed their trauma, received encouragement, and found hope to carry on.

One attendee shared, “There are people the Lord sends from very far in order to hear your agony, to look at your pain, and then to heal whatever you carry inside you. I would like for everyone to feel this — a joy from within, to know that you are important to the Lord, because He sent so many people from different countries to do this conference.”

This is why we go to Iraqi refugee camps, where two or more families are crammed into 10 x 10 rooms and shipping containers as houses. In the midst of these unbearable circumstances, we are able to provide spiritual hope and practical help -- meeting their physical needs while also offering the comfort of Christ.

Seeing them worship God, so freely, you would never know ISIS-controlled territory was only an hour’s drive away, or that many of them held their babies through the night for fear of the rats living in the camps. Their exhaustion melted away as the peace and hope of Jesus flowed through our ministry teams.

Thanks to your support, our sisters living in the midst of war, loss, and poverty have been reminded that God sees them, loves them, and is working for them even in their pain.

Thank you for opening your heart to those who are hurting and allowing us to reach into places like these refugee camps with the Good News. We thank God for you and cherish your prayers for us as we press forward in Christ -- sharing His love and Truth with those who so desperately need it.

Gratefully,

Signature

Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

P.S. The loss experienced by the millions of people now living in refugee camps in Iraq is astounding. They need the hope and peace only Jesus can bring. Thank you for helping us share the Gospel message in Iraq.

Abram's Story: Hope for the Infidel

Abram was born and raised in a conservative Muslim family in Syria. At just 13, his curiosity about the Christian faith led him to a local Catholic church, where he began talking to a priest. But his search for Truth came at a price.

When Abram’s family found out, they beat him, locked him in the house, and began forcing him to go to the mosque and pray the Islamic prayers.

Yet Abram’s hunger to know more about Christ only increased.

At great risk to his life, he insisted on going to church and learning more about Christianity. Once family and friends filed charges of apostasy against him, the arrests began. Considered an infidel, he was detained by the secret police for days at a time and beaten with iron bars and canes. Al-Qaeda kidnapped him and tortured him. ISIS issued death threats.

Fearing for his life, Abram fled to Turkey, where his arduous search for Truth would finally come to an end -- and his new life in Christ would begin.

While in Turkey, Abram found a church planted by a young convert who came to Christ through Leading The Way’s broadcasts and personal follow-up. Believers welcomed Abram in, providing him with food and a place to live, sharing the Gospel with him, and introducing him to Leading The Way’s teachings.

There, after years of searching, Abram made the decision to follow Christ. He knew the cost; he had already endured it. But now, for the first time, he knew the hope of Jesus. He found the true purpose of his life.

As Abram begins this new life as a Christian, he is not alone. Believers from the local church are meeting with him for discipleship, and Leading The Way’s on-the-ground teams are in contact with him, providing spiritual support and helping him with housing and living expenses.

Through your partnership with Leading The Way, together we are:

  • Airing Biblical teaching programs like the ones Abram watched before he came to Christ.
  • Following up with new converts like Abram, engaging in discipleship with those who need it.
  • Providing practical support for the persecuted, meeting the urgent physical, financial, and spiritual needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

New converts like Abram need our support. Some live in fear of what could happen to them as a result of their conversion. Others live as refugees, unable to work without visas. They need personal discipleship and practical help. With your help, we are standing with them, assuring them they do not stand alone in these trying times.

Powerful Moments from Our Iraq Women's Retreat

Iraqi Women Experience God’s Healing

Recently, through the support of ministry partners like you, Leading The Way hosted a retreat in Iraq for women who fled ISIS and are now displaced in refugee camps. It was an honor to provide these persecuted women with spiritual and physical nourishment, a time to debrief their trauma, and a safe place to heal, fellowship, and worship the Lord.

A pastoral counselor walked them through the healing process, and the women shared their stories of the suddenness of displacement and the dangers of their families’ flights to freedom and safety. But they also remembered the Lord’s mercy in the midst of their persecution.

During the final worship time at the retreat, each woman was draped with a shawl as a reminder of God’s protection and care over her. One woman shared, “I would like for everyone to know this thing -- a joy from within, to know that your soul is important to the Lord.”

This is why our Help The Persecuted ministry exists: to lift up our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ in trying times. We seek to stand with them and meet their needs whether physical, emotional, or spiritual, demonstrating the love of Christ as we serve.

As you watch footage from the retreat, you can sense the joy that God restored to these women through this experience. Thank you for your ongoing prayers and gifts, which enable us to continue helping the persecuted around the world.

You're Helping Us Reach the Unreached

You're Helping Us Reach the Unreached

For generations, missionaries labored hard and long to create tools for disseminating the Bible to the masses. William Carey devoted decades to translating Scripture into the native tongues of India; Hudson Taylor worked tirelessly to bring the Gospel to the Chinese in their language. But they struggled to overcome high illiteracy rates and the limitations of printed material in some of the darkest places in the world. Missionaries then longed for a way to penetrate that darkness with the light of God's Truth.

Today, that technology is here. Building on the work of missionaries that have gone before and incorporating the creative technology that God has brought about in our time, Leading The Way's Navigator, a solar-powered audio device, crosses barriers with God's Word and Biblical teaching from Dr. Michael Youssef.

Because it is solar-powered, it can serve those with little to know power source. Because it is an audio device, it serves those in areas with low literacy rates. Because it is digital, it can hold the Bible and solid Biblical teaching, both in native languages to equip believers and disciple new converts. And because it is discreet, it can comfort the persecuted and be hidden away and kept safe to continue to bring hope in dire circumstances.

Over the last two years, with the support of faithful partners, Leading The Way has distributed more than 100,000 Navigators to some of the most remote places in the world. Would you see thousands more receive the precious gift of the Gospel through initiatives like the Navigator?

Reach the Lost

Gypsies living in a fanatical Muslim community in Albania heard the Gospel for the first time through the Navigator and received Christ through this discreet, life-giving device that holds within it the greatest missionary: God's Word.

Equip Believers

Lepers in India longed to read God's Word, but were unable to turn the pages of their Bibles because of their atrophied hands. The Navigator brought them joy as they heard God's love through these simple-to-use devices.

Comfort the Persecuted

Syrian refugees who fled ISIS are now stuck in makeshift refugee camps in danger of sickness, poverty, and hunger. The solar-powered Navigator brings them hope as they listen to and remember God's promises.

 
God Answered Your Prayers in Cairo!

Despite the threat of political protests following a recent government decision in Egypt, roughly 5,000 people came to hear Dr. Michael Youssef preach in Cairo, Egypt, this past weekend, with many more watching via the live satellite broadcasts of THE KINGDOM SAT. At least 500 people responded to Dr. Youssef’s clear invitation to salvation during his three-day preaching event.

During the first evening of the event, a heavy military presence was outside the church bracing themselves for protests in Tahrir Square. On the last evening, brief technical issues interrupted the live broadcast. Yet in spite of distractions and spiritual opposition, God did a mighty work in the lives of those who attended, drawing many to salvation and encouraging the body of Christ.

Thank you for your prayers and partnership for this exciting three-day evangelistic outreach. We invite you to continue praying with us for these new believers in Christ and for a mighty move of God’s Spirit to continue throughout the church, city, and nation.

If you missed the livestream of the event, you can watch the services at LTW.org/Egypt.

To help us continue our global outreach, click here.

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