Saturday, May 28, 2011
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Dear Brethren in Christ,
Last night the Lord graciously enabled me to complete the meetings here. It appears to have been a very fruitful event.
Qatar is a little peninsular country on the Persian Gulf in between Saudi Arabia and Iran, as you can see in the map of the Middle East below. Qatar is the finger of land inside the black circle.
Of the approximately 1.5 million residents, only about 400,000 are local. The rest are a mixture of expatriate Indians (800,000 strong), Filipinos, Nepalese, Nigerians, and various other nationalities including Americans. The USA has an airbase here. As I mentioned in an earlier email, the government here makes it extremely difficult to share the gospel with the local Arabs. One cannot share Jesus Christ in the conventional way here as done in the west. You have to be on the ground here to understand the scope of the difficulty. One needs great wisdom from the Lord to be able to reach them effectively. Even in the meetings I was not free to share an effective approach for reaching them, because the government can send informers to spy on what is being taught in churches.
Within a particular expat community here consisting of nearly 5,000 people, the Lord has raised up a vibrant church which we will not name. The members are mostly expat believers. There are thousands of these churches around the world; in the USA alone there are 551.
The host church
A Church here in Doha is led by a faithful brother who works as an engineer. I found the leaders to be filled with the Spirit and committed to the Lord and the gospel. The response to the Basic Training was unusually enthusiastic. From feedback I received it was eye-opening, ministry-transforming and even a "revelation" to them. The Lord was gracious to confirm the teaching by performing various miraculous healings during the meetings as the believers laid hands on one another.
In particular were testimonies of people healed last night during the climactic evangelistic healing service. Instead of preaching "God's love and blessings" in the usual manner, I preached repentance as did John the Baptist when he appeared two thousand years ago in the spirit and power of Elijah to prepare God's people for Coming of the Lord. In order to confirm the message of repentance needed to prepare God's people for the great and terrible Day of the Lord, we asked the Lord to perform miraculous healings on the infirm.
Two testimonies of healing
Now within the expatriate community consisting of mostly healthy workers, there are probably few cases of severe illness. But some did come forward for healing last night and were touched powerfully by the Lord. One man had been suffering from severe back pain for 18 long years. He had tried everything to no avail. But as the brothers laid hands on him and rebuked the infirmity, God's healing power came upon him. Through tears of joy and amazement he shared dramatically that after 18 years the pain was completely gone.
Among the others whom the Lord touched was a woman in her forties. After sisters ministered to her, she stood silently with her eyes brimming with tears. When after the others had testified I asked her to tell the people what the Lord had done for her, she was so overcome by emotion that she stood speechless for several moments as the crowd waited. Finally she blurted out the barely decipherable words, "I cannot say." The Lord had healed her of something extremely personal. She nodded when I asked her if she had felt the Lord's healing power in her body.
Through all the testimonies of healing the Lord had said to His people, "Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent." (Revelation 3:19)
An abominable practice
There is a special brother who is faithfully serving me with my transportation needs during my stay here. Last night in my hotel room this brother shared with me how impactful it was that the miraculous healings were used to confirm the message of repentance at the final service. In the past he has seen how miraculous healings have been used by unscrupulous ministers to dig into people's wallets and purses. If an infirm person gave an offering of $500, they would receive a certain level of ministry from the minister. But if they gave $1,000 they would get much more effective "treatment." The miraculous healings were not used to confirm the truth of the gospel, but to line the pockets of the minister. This gives us some understanding of Jesus' words:
Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
The pastor of this congregation is now determined to make this kind of ministry a vital part of the life of the congregation. Please pray that the Lord will grant him the strength and wisdom to carry out this intention for the purpose of reaching out to the big expatriate community here with the gospel of Jesus Christ. May the Lord grant him the wisdom to lead his people to reach out to the unreachable nationalities using what was taught.
Late tonight I will fly back to Malaysia where Lucille has been staying. May the Lord grant me a safe and pleasant overnight journey.
Thank you all for praying for the work here, dear ones. The seed has been planted.
Below is the view of Doha I see from my hotel window. The climate is very hot here, and buildings with light colors will reflect the sun's rays and stay cooler than they would otherwise. There is not much greenery or vegetation here with the desert climate.
Pastor William Lau