(First of all, this Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 23, 2023) if you are not able to enjoy a sit-down meal with all the trimmings, you are cordially invited to come to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4061 in Cañon City after 11 a.m. for one of the best Thanksgiving Meals you will ever eat. The meal is free and donations are gratefully accepted. If you want to volunteer to help out on that day, please call the VFW at (719) 275-9886 and leave a message with your contact information and they will get back to you.)

Many of you know that the war between Israel and Hamas rages on. Hamas is using the local civilians as shields and Israel is showing as much restraint as possible to avoid collateral damage and deaths. There has not been much good news coming out of Gaza but when it does, I want to share it!

Numerous Muslim men in Gaza have converted to Christianity in recent days after seeing Jesus in their dreams in what is being described as a “miracle,” according to a new report from underground Christians in the region.

This after the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital was struck by a missile from the Islamic Jihad terrorist group and a bomb struck the complex of the historic Church of Saint Porphyrius in Gaza on Oct. 19, 2023, killing more than a dozen of the hundreds of Christians and Muslims taking shelter inside and wounding others.

The report about the Christian conversions was first posted online by author and Christian defender Michael Licona, who said, “God is working in the midst of war.” Licona is a professor of New Testament studies at Houston Christian University and the author of multiple books, including “The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus.”

“Over the past two days,” the report from the ministries said, “we have ministered to hundreds of fathers who have lost most, if not all, of their children in the war.”

“As we moved these men to safety, we fed them, washed their clothes, and began to read the Bible to them -- sharing the way of peace through Jesus,” the report said. “Then, a big miracle happened. Last night, Jesus appeared to more than 200 of them in their dreams! They have come back to us to learn more from God's Word and are asking how to follow Jesus.”

Licona said the report should be celebrated by Christians all over the world.

“I side with Israel in this war, not necessarily for theological reasons but because Hamas and those backing it are pure evil,” he wrote. “Yet, I know that not all Palestinians support Hamas. In fact, they will be punished severely if even suspected of not supporting Hamas. Let's pray that this war can be over soon and that Israel can eradicate Hamas so that Palestinians can be free . . . of Hamas!”

As an active Christian and supporter of many ministries in this area, I also rejoice in these new Christians coming into the faith even though it came through unbelievable hardships and loss. I hope that my readers will pray for these new believers because they are headed for some very hard times.

According to missionaries that are stationed in Islamic cultures, if a new believer belongs to the most radical Muslim families, he or she is locked in a room and given three days to return to Islam. If they refuse, they are honor-killed. If they escape, they will be hunted by family for years. If children are involved when a husband comes to Jesus, they are considered bastards because they no longer have a Muslim father. They are either given to another family member or killed.

In a less religious family, the convert may be taken to the Imam, who may lead the family in beating the believer. If the convert is a woman, her family may force her to marry a Muslim cousin to avoid shame and scandal. Many have been restrained with ropes, burned with acid or hot oil, and subjected to electric shocks. Sometimes families commit converts to mental institutions, thinking that leaving Islam is a sign of insanity. Others are forced to leave their home, family and the community they know.

So, continue to pray for them, give contributions to worthy charities on the ground like Samaritan's Purse and above all enjoy your families and friends over the coming holidays because you never know when that can all change!