"Some of the recent meetings seemed to take..."
Dear Christian Friend,
Some of the recent meetings seemed to take up the same theme: The increase of robberies due to the increase of poverty.
Even some prayers voiced the prayer in Proverbs where the writer said, "May I not be so poor as to be tempted to steal," and adds, "Nor so rich as to forget the Lord and fall into the temptations of sinful luxury."
It is surely a national problem here and in other countries also. The ordinary unsaved and poor men will feel desperate, ready for violence, accepting the danger of jail or death when there is actual hunger and deep poverty. It seemed strange to hear prayers raised in our meetings in behalf of the robbers who seemed forced into their sin and crime by plain hunger. Although some missions and churches do a good work helping in distributing some food, it does not solve the great widespread problem. A few years ago it was difficult to imagine there could be famine as prophesied in Revelation. We thought modern science and transportation could solve all such dire shortages or drought, but here it is people dying of malnutrition and hunger in various parts of the world. The added irony is that other parts of the world, such as the US, have surpluses. The US used to send any missions interested a great quantity of surpluses for free distribution, but the Catholics complained, wanted exclusive distribution rights, and got that control through the US Congress, working with the liberals there who also hate anything evangelical and Biblical. However, once they got control of CARE, it seemed that total amounts distributed or available diminished greatly. I hear also that the US had a large quantity of food ready to help that region in Africa that is starving, but the main problem is political hindrance. The Communists want those people dead, just as in Russia, in Stalin's day, because they resisted Communism and wanted to follow their own ways and customs.
So our believers are praying for the poor. Most of them are definitely poor also, but they feel God's help and confidence, and so can sincerely pray for the really suffering who do not personally know the promises of God. They pray for them and give of their own pennies for others. Many churches preach tithing, and (I am still bemused by this) they pray for the robbers.
We get nothing through CARE, have not for years, nor any other source that might have US surpluses. We buy all supplies, beans, and flour and other such food for free distribution. We buy fresh milk for daily distribution to the children and mothers.
There are added dangers also in such perilous times. The testimonies in the meetings speak of it and tell of God's deliverances. A sister testifies of how when she entered her darkened street, suddenly two men fell in on each side, grabbing her arms, a common tactic. Then one tried to hold a hand over her mouth so the other could rob her of everything. In this case, our sister testifies, she looked to the Lord and before one could get his hand over her mouth, she cried out, "Dear God, protect me, in the name of Jesus!" The men seemed struck motionless, helpless for a moment, then went running off into the darkness. The congregation rang with hallelujahs at the testimony. Another believer says nearly the same sort of thing happened to her, but she had no bag, no money, and felt the men were planning to do more than just take some money, but she cried out, "I rebuke you, Satan, by the blood of Jesus," at which these men also lost their boldness and ran.
Others testified of having pistols pointed at their heads, but suddenly the would-be robber or assassin would just give up and go off. The testimonies all tended to show that although robberies and violence were greatly increased, God was protecting His own. People were being robbed and killed on all sides, but no great harm had come nigh. Some of us had had money stolen, but no one was shot while in the neighborhood that the gang had not only robbed, but killed four or five people in their homes or shops.
Along with looking to God for protection, we must also pray for the poor people and make sacrifices to help in material as well as spiritual ways.
A worker with several little churches in the mountains came in for his literature and other helps. He testified of an answer to prayer that greatly helped the work in one of his villages that has been very difficult. The work had been continually bothered and harassed by an influential man in charge of the church when the priest was not there, and strongly forbidding anyone to attend any gospel services. This worker's son had epilepsy and the father took the boy several times to the evangelical healing services. However, after some time a friend brought the boy without the father's permission. He was healed and everyone around began noting the change, the cure, and giving the credit to Jesus. The father was finally convinced and converted, and has since been using his quite widespread influence in that direction so that the evangelical group has now become one of the most remarkable, fast growing and strong ones.
At the same time, the pastor himself was having trouble with failing eyesight. He went to a doctor who prescribed a very expensive type of glasses which the pastor with difficulty could afford, but to no avail. The sight continued to fade. Then about the same time as the service with the epileptic boy, he touched the Lord for faith for himself too, threw away his new expensive glasses, and was since showing everyone how he could read his little pocket Bible with fine print and with NO glasses at all.
So I said, "You are the man I want to pray for me," which he did. He suddenly added, "This may be the Lord's will to hold off the healing until His time, but I believe it is already answered." Several others have said the same, so we shall rest in the Lord.
Prosper, Blessings, Sincerely,