Conference Speakers Report Revival in Middle East!
Written by Teddy on October 30, 2015
In America we’ve come to rely heavily on network news for accurate and up-to-date reporting of world events. Unfortunately, that public trust is seriously misplaced when it comes to the state of the church around the world. Network media continues it virtual blackout of the wholesale persecution of Christian believers, choosing instead to turn a blind eye and deaf ear to their plight.
If we were to believe these secular outlets, the Middle East has nothing but misery, violence and bloodshed on a growing scale. But according to Gilbert Hovsepian and brother John from “Voice of the Martyrs”, despite unprecedented waves of persecution, quite the opposite is occurring there.
Co-sponsored by Frontiers radio host Dr. Bruce Jones and radio station W.M.H.R., the October 11 event, “Pray for the Persecuted Church”, saw 230 turn out at the Northside Church in Liverpool to hear these two precious brothers set the record straight. Honestly, I expected a meeting that would be sober and intense, focusing on all the difficulties and challenges of life as a Christian in the Middle East. But, to my surprise and delight, brother Hovsepian and Brother John replaced the secular news’ endless drumbeat of darkness and despair with a report of personal grace, widespread spiritual revival and genuine hope.
The son of Armenian parents, Gilbert Hovsepian hails from the nation of Iran where His pastor father was martyred for his success in building the church in a land whose government is intensely hostile to the gospel. Gilbert’s own experiences of personal torture notwithstanding, he courageously grasped the torch and is running the race right from where his dad left off.
Brother Hovsepian now reaches hundreds of thousands in Iran through his American-based TV evangelistic programming. He’s finding a hungry and responsive audience among the rapidly growing number of disillusioned Iranians who are rejecting Islam after discovering what life under Sharia law is really like.
In one video frame Hovsepian showed scores of apartment building rooftops in Tehran, each one completely cluttered with hundreds of dish antennas that enable them to receive the officially forbidden broadcast signals of foreign programming. Letters and emails continue pouring in, telling of genuine and sometimes miraculous salvation encounters with Jesus Christ.
Brother John reports the same revival taking place in his homeland of Syria, where the ongoing strife has already claimed the lives of over 220,000 people. Yet, in the midst of all this catastrophic pain and suffering, the believing church in Syria isn’t merely surviving; it’s exploding with unprecedented growth! Overflow crowds in the hundreds are packing churches every Sunday to hear the Word of hope spoken to them via the gospel of Christ! Imagine, in the very same city of Damascus where Paul went to persecute Christians, God is sending revival! (see Acts 9:1-2).
One example was an occasion when a suspicious looking individual approached the front of a worship service and sat down. He kept interrupting the speaker by yelling, “Allah Akbar!”, a phrase frequently used by terrorists just before striking with deadly intent. But it can also be used as an Arabic expression of worship when one is sincerely giving praise to God. Each time the visitor shouted “Allah Akbar” everyone in the church panicked, expecting a bomb to detonate. When the preacher finally spoke to the man it was discovered that he was a new Christian who was simply praising God in the way he knew best!
“Pray for the Persecuted Church” was a most unusual event. Two speakers who have personally experienced and survived the fires of persecution firsthand stood up and declared that Jesus is LORD, no matter how intense the pain, suffering and opposition. Each recounted how the amazing grace of God sustained and empowered them to remain steadfast and true in the midst of unbelievable hardship and loss.
One might expect to hear a note of bitterness and revenge in their delivery, but instead, these gentlemen related how, time after time, the Lord gave them the grace and strength to respond to their circumstances in a Christlike, forgiving manner. They shared their remarkable >stories of God’s grace, not with angry scowls and resentful frowns, but with thankful hearts and peaceful smiles.
Since the purpose of the gathering was to spark attendees and their respective churches to pray regularly for persecuted Christians around the world, this article will close with the Voice of the Martyrs recommended list of biblically-based prayer targets. Please pray:
1. That persecuted believers will sense God’s presence. (Hebrews 13:5)
2. That they’ll feel connected to the greater Body of Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:20, 26)
3. That they’ll be comforted by God when their family members are killed, injured or imprisoned for their witness. (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)
4. That they’ll have more opportunities to share the gospel. (Colossians 4:3)
5. For their boldness to make Christ known. (Philippians 1:14)
6. That they’ll forgive and love their persecutors. (Matthew 5:44)
7. That their ministry activities will remain undetected by authorities or others who wish to silence them. (Acts 9:25)
8. That they’ll rejoice in suffering. (Acts 5:41)
9. That they’ll be refreshed through God’s Word and grow in their faith. (Ephesians 6:17)
10. That they’ll be strengthened through the prayers of fellow believers. (Jude 20-25)
See more, including a video of Gilbert Hovsepian’s message in its entirety at:
Also, be sure to visit Voice of the Martyrs at: www.persecution.com