Dearest Friends,

My Friend’s Story and Your Dinner Invitation

I have the most wonderful story to tell you! Many times I have felt God telling me to do something, and though I was obedient, I never really knew what happened as a result of what I did. I am sure you’ve had the same experience. You felt the Father telling you to speak to someone or to give someone a Bible, but you never knew what happened after that. So seldom, do we really get to find out all that God is doing. For all the times you never knew the rest of the story, you are going to love this story!

My friend Shadi, who I work with in the Middle East, has a wonderful partner in ministry. His name is Mafood. I have been working with both of these men for several years now and have been amazed with how they both love Jesus. I always tell people that Mafood really embraces forgiveness in a way that few Christians will ever understand. While serving in the military, he was shot numerous times by the Syrian army, and his brother was killed by them. It would be so easy for him to hate everyone from Syria, but he chooses to follow Jesus and walk in forgiveness. He sacrificially gives of his time and energy to reach Syrians with the Gospel because he is a true follower of Jesus Christ.

Last year, Shadi’s father became very ill. Mafood and his wife went to visit them in their home. He saw a photograph on the shelf and asked Shadi, "Who is in this photograph?" Shadi assumed Mafood was making a joke. However, he quickly realized Mafood was serious because he kept staring at the photograph. He asked again, "Who is this man?"

And now you will hear the wonderful story of how God called Mafood to faith. He told Shadi that in the late 80s he had met the man in the photograph. He was walking down the street when that man stopped him and said, "Jesus loves you." He was at a point in his life where he had lost hope. The man handed him a Bible, which he read. As a result of that encounter, Mafood came to faith in Jesus Christ. After telling Shadi this story, he stared at the photograph. He said, "This man saved my life. Who is this man?" Finally, Shadi got him to understand that this was his own picture when he was much younger and had a full head of hair.

What a wonder! All those years ago, Shadi had been obedient to God and was handing out Bibles. He could not have known that some day, many years later, one of the people he spoke to would become his best friend and partner in ministry. I think this is the sweetest story of how God moves in and through out lives. It is a delight to work with these men and to be considered part of their family. Please continue to pray for this work.

You can meet Pastor Shadi and hear him tell the stories about the work that he and Mafood and others are doing. I will be hosting two dinners on Monday, March 3 and Tuesday, March 4 here in my home in Georgia. Shadi will be here visiting and speaking at churches. If you are interested in coming to one of these dinners, please respond to this e-mail. I am also hosting a breakfast and a lunch meeting on that Tuesday, which you can attend. Please take advantage of this opportunity to hear more about the wonderful way God is calling people to faith in the Middle East.

My Heart

Yesterday I had heart surgery at Emory in Atlanta and the doctors believe it to have been very successful. I had been waking up with heart rates of 170, but that will no longer be a problem. I am very happy to report that they believe they have fixed the problem. I should have more energy now so that I can do a better job of telling children about Jesus. I am very grateful for all of you who have prayed for me and ask that you continue to pray as I am recovering. I confess that I find it very difficult to rest and I am probably the worst patient there ever was. I have many dear friends taking care of me but you will need to pray for them to have patience with me. I am excited to see how much better I will feel. Praise God for his mercy and His providence.

In Jesus,