[shoulders] Please make this a matter of prayer

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From: "Bob Tolliver" <rtolliver@...>
Date: Sat, 10 Jan 2009 21:47:18 GMT
My Dear "Shoulders" and "Hope4Kyiv" Friends:
I am writing this very important letter from a motel room in Quincy, IL, where Jo Ann and I will spend the week-end as we visit our youngest daughter and her family in nearby northeastern Missouri, and also bring a "thank you" report to their church who has supported us over the past few years.   This is my fourth attempt; apparently the wireless service is not well received by my "Shoulders" mailing service. 
If you happen to be on both of these mailing lists, and many are, you will get two copies of this letter.  It is no error; just a duplication caused by you subscribing to both letters.  I ask you to read the following with great sensitivity to the situation, praying for God to prove Himself mighty in behalf of some people. 
Not long ago Jo Ann and I sent you a report of what God has been doing in the Farsi work in the country we just left last month.  When we think of "M", "F", "H", "V", and others, three things are constantly on our minds.  First, we are awed by what God has done the past two years in that ministry.  Second, we are shamed when we see the comparison of how these people bravely and boldly share the Gospel while most of us exercise unacceptable carelessness and neglect in sharing the Gospel.  Finally, we are constantly aware of the risks and dangers these men and women face simply because they have chosen to surrender themselves to Christ and abandon the teachings of Islam. 
Earlier this week, I received a prayer request from "M" asking that we pray for three of them as they met with five or six "friends" of a "friend" who had expressed interest in knowing more about Christ.  As you will see in the following letter, those "friends" turned out to be one of his home country's most powerful Imam's and another fanatical Muslim the Imam is mentoring.  This encounter has placed "M", "F", "H" and others of our Farsi group in full view of radical Muslims living in the city Jo Ann and I just left.  Now these young men face two critical dangers, as you will read below (potential harmful reactions from local Muslims and embassy officials from their home country, and the ongoing attacks against foreigners by ultra-nationalist and skin-head Ukrainians who frequently attack foreigners. 
The following letter is a report to the meeting for which prayer had been asked earlier. 
Needless to say, this situation has caused us great concern, both for the welfare of our dear friends, and for the ministry of proclaiming the Gospel in which they are engaged.  So, we are asking you to place these situations on your daily intercession list, and cry out to God for their safety and welfare, for courage and boldness, and for softening hearts toward the message of Jesus Christ. 
Please pass this letter on to others, but please, please, please, do not divulge anything that identifies individuals or locations. 
Thank you for caring; thank you for praying. 
Please read on. 
Dear friends,

Thanks for your prayers. We went to the house of the person "F" and "Faith" had shared with. As soon as we entered, we saw the "Imam" of one of the biggest mosques in "my country" along with one more VERY fanatic Muslim that turn out to be Imam's disciple!!!  Honestly, we were afraid at first.  That guy had told "F" that he has 5 or 6 friends that are interested in the Bible and are curious about Christianity and would like to know more about it.  We never expected to see the head "Imam" of one of the biggest mosques in "my country". 

As we sat down, that person who had led us there started the conversation asking us to defend our faith before this "Imam".  The "Imam" continued the conversation by introducing himself: "I'm the head "Imam" of "that" mosque, I have studied Islamic theology for all my life in "that" Islamic school".(He was in late 50)  As soon as I heard the name of "that" school, I was REALLY frightened!  That school is the strongest Muslim school in the world where all "my country" Islamic revolution leaders come from there.  It's famous due to intensive Islamic teaching.  That "Imam" had spent all his life studying in that school. 

The "Imam" added that he has come to "this city" on a mission trip to preach Islam and Muslim faith to all the people specially [people from my country]. He told us that he wants to talk to young people to lead them to follow Islamic faith. 

Then it was our turn to introduce ourselves.  There were me, "F", "Hu" and "Faith".  Making a long story short:

We shared the gospel with the "Imam", "F"'s acquaintance, and the third Fanatic guy that was Imam's disciple, for more than 3 hours.  We shared our testimonies, discussed about misconception of Bible's alteration, assurance of Salvation, problem of sin and the need for salvation through [our] Lord and the Good News.   

I need to tell you friends that it was one of the most frightening situations we have ever been.  We don't know why "F"'s acquaintance led us to that "Imam", but I want to tell you that the Lord provided an opportunity for us to preach the gospel to one of the most devout and influential Muslim leaders in "my country"! 

We also found out that he had been invited by our embassy to preach Islamic faith and probably is going to report back about us to the embassy.  At the end, I could feel the anger in his eyes as we testified that the Lord has changed our lives and we are not crazy. 

We left that apartment with a sense of joy and peace on our hearts.  But it might get EXTREMELY dangerous.  Please continue praying for us friends.  No one knows what's the next step that embassy could take. 

Please pray for me as well.  As I was coming back home from that meeting today, 3 people attacked me spraying a gas balloon from my side to my face in underground wagon.  [They were standing about 3 meters away from me.  The gas balloon had "Paralyzing effect" [substance] and my feet, face and hands went numb.  I didn't see them at first, and I found out about their attacks when my feet and hands were numb.  I couldn't breath and I was falling on the ground.  Besides me, 2 more people struggles too.  Thank God that I only inhaled one breath and afterward I held my breath inside, but two men had to drag me out of the wagon because I couldn't walk by my own.  As I left the wagon, I fell on the ground on the platform and 3 women that were in charged of the station, helped me to come into a police booth that was on the platform.  They gave me a tablet and water. 

They told me that several foreigners have been attacked that way lately by racists, and I was lucky that held my breath inside, because I could end up going to hospital because of severe intoxication.  Thank God I'm now home and feeling better.  However as I'm writing to you, my feet are still numb!.  I feel dizzy and [am] vomiting.  Please continue praying for me. 

May our Lord bless you in your walk with him,

Love and Peace in Him,

"M" and other servants. 
Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. (Jer 33:3)

Finally, if you would like to receive periodic e-mail reports from "M" and the ministry the guys have, let me know and I'll pass that information on to him. 
Also, if you would like to help support that ministry financially, our ministry has an easy way to do it, and I'll be happy to explain to you what to do. 
Most importantly of all, though, is to pray incessantly for these courageous young people and their families.  "M" is married, as is "V", and the others are university students.  They live lives of obedience to Christ that put them at great risk every single day.  Therefore, there should be no days off in our praying for them. 
In His Bond, By His Grace, and For His Kingdom,
Bob and Jo Ann
Bob Tolliver