The music was tremendous, and included a violin solo of the theme from the movie Schindler's List, and I have never heard such beautiful violin music. Brother Andrew gave away two of the devices which his ministry in Iraq is presenting to those persecuted Christians who have lost everything. It was, I know, of such importance to those who received it. The Christians of Iraq have lost everything in this present tragedy taking place in their country, including their Bibles, which have been confiscated and burned. The device was a solar powered electronic Bible, which also would use sound to read aloud the Bible to the listener. Our own Makiya received one of those gifts, and was so thrilled.
Brother Andrew spoke from a text in Romans which is among my favorites:
17 and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and coheirs with Christ—seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.
From Groans to Glory18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.
Certainly the Christians of all the Middle East are suffering at this time, and when they mourn, we mourn with them. It was so moving to hear Brother Andrew pray in Aramaic, the language in which Jesus preached to the multitudes. He spoke of the joy in which his congregation worship on Sundays, despite the circumstances they find themselves enduring. He told of how they proclaim, "when everything is taken away, still we have Jesus." He told also of the broken hearts of the people who have lost loved ones in horrific acts of violence committed by ISIS. He told of how the children of one Christian family were told they must renounce their faith or die, and those children refused and were killed and their bodies ran over with heavy equipment in front of their parents. May God deliver the world from such calloused violence quickly! Daily I spend time in prayer for the Christians of Iraq, and I pray for those who are left behind, not those who have been martyred, for they go immediately to our Lord in Heaven, never again to know sorrow, pain, death, or fear. It is those who remain, who must deal with the atrocities inflicted upon these gentle people with whom I grieve.
As always Brother Andrew's attention was drawn to the children in the congregation, and both Samara and Makiya were so impressed with the message and moved at the plight of Christians in Iraq, understanding that their persecution is because of their faith in God. It is always impressive to anyone who learns that the Christians in the Mosul area are the reminent of the church established by Jonah, as in Jonah and the great fish, at Nineveh, so many thousands of years ago.
Not only did we get to see Brother Andrew, but my dear Sister Sarah was there and we had such joy in meeting in person for the first time. Brother Andrew has promised to come to Houston to see us, and our local NBC affiliate will be interviewing him, so if you live in the area plan to watch. He also will be speaking at churches in the area. As Makiya kept telling his dad, "we are going to need to get some bigger churches."