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Always Victorious

I have recently returned from the Middle East. As you may know, this has quickly become my favorite place to travel. Going there this time in the height of the conflicts occuring there was, although concerning, extremely exciting. Upon returning I typically tell you a story from our trip. It’s hard to pick just one, because they are all significant and worth telling. The whole time our team of three was there, it felt like we were constantly on the move, and the Lord was clearly on the move in the area too. So instead of telling you about the government officials who tried to intimidate and scare us off, I want to share the story of a boy from the new refugee camp I visited that, through no effort of his own, may have changed the lives of thousands.

Truthfully I wish I could remember his name, but I can’t. What I do know is that he was born with a deformed spine and experienced so much pain that they had to take him to the small local hospital multiple times a day for morphine injections. This boy was told that, without surgery, and even potentially with it, he would not likely walk. The small number of believers in the camp of 5,000 gathered and prayed for the boy before he was to go into surgery.

I am sure at this point, you can see where this is headed. When he got to the hospital and the doctor examined him, he said, “There is no way that this is the same boy.” His spine had completely realigned and he was healed. Now without diving into the theology of healing, let me first say that I know this can be difficult to believe. If I am being completely honest, it was and is for me, too. But, I saw this kid. I heard the same story from multiple people there. His miraculous recovery is one of the reasons people have opened up to the Gospel in this camp.

Now he and all his friends are training to become pastors, with the hope of smuggling the Gospel into other regions of the Middle East. People in this camp are now asking questions about Jesus and are more receptive to His teachings than I have ever seen.

It’s literally like walking through an orchard, and the branches are so heavy with fruit

that you don’t even have to reach to grab the apple.

I don’t know what the future holds in this area, and the truth is, I can look back at some moments on the trip and be discouraged, but that’s the enemy’s game: to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10). When God closes a door, I think we need to be careful not to become so angry or upset that we miss the window He opened instead. It’s true that a door may have closed for us in one part of the Middle East because corrupt men in government stand in the way. However, in the midst of that, God may have invited us to play a part in a journey all across the Middle East. Without the mishaps I never would have met this boy or seen the fruit of what the Lord was doing in other parts of the country--that we have now been invited to come alongside to help reach.

So, I ask that you pray for the Lord’s plan to become clear about what the future holds in the Middle East, for our upcoming trip to the Nuba Mountains this March and for my parents to find refreshment on their Sabbatical.

And most of all, celebrate with me that God is always victorious



Jake never thought he would follow in his father's footsteps, but after stepping in to lead an emergency relief trip to the Nuba Mountains in the fall of 2017, he knew God was leading him into missions. After graduating from Virginia Tech with a degree in Agricultural Science and a minor in Social Change and Leadership, Jake accepted a full-time position as ATC's Field Coordinator. When he's not leading trips or coordinating projects, you can find Jake working on the family farm or hanging out with his wife A.C.

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