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Brute force from ISIS could backfire

Mission Network News - 7 hours 37 min ago

(Photo courtesy Voice of the Martyrs Australia)

Iraq (MNN) -- A recent story from Al Monitor questions whether or not the Islamic State terror group's methods might be backfiring on them. There may be some flaws in the juggernaut's underbelly. According to Al Monitor, the Islamic State's absolute brutality may be fomenting a rejection of the group, its ideologies, and by extension, its grip on the city of Mosul. Todd Nettleton, a spokesman for the Voice of the Martyrs USA, commented, "It is interesting to see how quickly the tables have turned across northern Iraq. We know in some parts of Syria, the Sunni population sort of welcomed them." Nettleton goes on to explain that part of the terrorist's strategy to occupy cities originally relied on taking advantage of Sunni complaints about Baghdad. "When the Islamic State came to power, they made kind of a PR campaign that 'We are the defenders of the Sunni. We are taking care of the poor. We are setting up a court system.' They really made an effort to present themselves as a legitimate government." In fact, when Sunni anger at the Iraqi government reached its peak, I.S. swept in as the "white knight." After they entrenched, residents realized that life under ISIS really was more a case of out of the frying pan, into the fire. "The population is starting to say, 'Wait a minute. These guys, who were supposed to be our defenders, are arresting our family members on trumped-up charges. They're executing people. They are brutal. Is this really what we want?' So, it seems like they're losing the confidence of the Sunni population that initially they had." ISIS brutality spared no one. Reports surfaced of massacres that included women and children. Within two months, Sunni sympathy for the terrorists cracked. Nettleton doesn't think the residents will be able to dislodge ISIS, though. "Does the Sunni population have the power to rise up against the Islamic State, even if they want to, even if they'd like to see the Islamic State lose that control?" Violence is increasing as fighters from elsewhere join the group, which is calling for ever more volunteers from other countries. Plus, Nettleton adds, "They are exercising a very high level of control. They have spies within the neighborhoods. They have the religious police that are keeping an eye on things. Any real move against them is going to take a lot of work and come with a great deal of risk."

(Photo courtesy Christian Aid Mission)

The future of Christians in Iraq remains grim. In July, hundreds of families fled Mosul, after I.S. members demanded that Christians remaining in Mosul convert to Islam, agree to pay a tax, or face execution. The fleeing Christians left most of their possessions behind, and many who were stopped at checkpoints were stripped of items such as money, vehicles, jewelry, phones, IDs, and even food and medicine. Some Christians, such as the elderly and infirm, were unable to leave Mosul. While Muslim neighbors have protected some of those remaining in the city, other Christians have been forced to convert to Islam by reciting the Islamic prayer of faith in a Sharia court. As the group enlarged its caliphate, more Christians fled Iraq. Nettleton spoke with church leaders who stayed behind: they are discouraged. One pastor stated, "There is no future for us here. Even if the Islamic State is gone, we don't know what the future holds. We don't trust the government. We don't trust that there won't be a new version of the Islamic State a year from now, or five years from now." However, telling their stories and advocating for the remnant Church lets them know others are being their voice.

Todd Nettleton visits with a displaced Iraqi family in Northern Iraq.

To that end, they're simply asking: "Pray that God will call the Christians here to stay, that God would specifically place on their hearts: 'We need to stay here. We need to be ministers of the Gospel in spite of the danger.'" Pray that God would send workers for His Kingdom, as many services and relief deliveries have been delayed due to a shortage of workers. Ask God to save misled young people from ISIS and judge the leaders who are aware and yet still misleading youth with their evil desires and ideologies. And finally, pray that the Church would pray with one heart: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven."
Categories: Mission Network News

The Middle East is finding Christ

Mission Network News - 7 hours 37 min ago

(Courtesy Open Doors USA)

Middle East (ODM) -- Editors note: This is a report from Open Doors USA sharing how the Middle East is finding Christ, despite hostility and turmoil. The Middle East is in turmoil. Civil war in Syria, a battle against the Islamic State in parts of Iraq and Syria, refugees flooding Lebanon and Jordan, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) fleeing to safer areas in Syria or Iraq. That is the negative side, but the other side looks more positive: Muslims finding Jesus in all four countries. During church services in Syria and in Lebanon, there are amazing scenes taking place. Take, for example, on one recent Sunday morning in a Lebanese church, a transformation continued. Early in the morning, busses stopped in front of the church. Groups of Syrian refugees jumped from the busses and walked into the building. The pastor even started a second service on Sunday mornings to have enough room to accommodate refugees and his own church members. During the services, veiled women sang praises to God. Later, their children sang two moving songs with all their hearts while making the gestures, filling the building with joy and painting many smiles on their parents’ faces. In Lebanon, a miracle has happened. Previously, many Lebanese Christians hated the Syrians because of the actions Syrians carried out during the occupation of Lebanon less than a decade ago. Now they embrace many of them. Many former Muslims have entered the church buildings in other countries such as Syria. Recently a young Christian woman from Syria even said: “Thank God that we have gone through this crisis. We, as a church, became stronger because of it.” Pray for refugees in the Middle East to continue coming to God and learning to love one another.
Categories: Mission Network News

Kingdom Expansion: Part One

Mission Network News - 7 hours 37 min ago

God on Throne -- Anonymous painter from Westphalia, late 15th century
(Image credit Wikimedia Commons)

Bangladesh (MNN) -- The Kingdom of God is growing in Bangladesh, despite growing restrictions on missionaries. Over the next few days, we'll be highlighting this Kingdom expansion in a 4-part series. "There's a huge need in [Bangladesh] today for training, and they have a facility they're trying to build that will service all these training groups, including Asian Access, Wycliffe Bible Translators, many others," shares Asian Access (A2) President Joe Handley. "Several of us are rallying to help Peter in raising the funds for this center." Peter Mazumder, co-national director for A2 Bangladesh and general secretary of InterVarsity Bangladesh, dreamed of starting a facility like this years ago. The vision he invested in and laid foundations for years ago is finally gaining traction and support. Watch as Mazumder shares his vision for the LWC here. "The buildings include the actual training center, a dormitory, the chapel will be in one of those buildings, and then a clinic," Handley explains. "The foundation has been laid for one of the buildings and a few floors for the other building. Kingdom Expansion: Asian Access

Peter Mazumder at the inauguration
of the Living Water Center.
(Screenshot taken from BSFB.org)

A building project like this isn't something A2 usually focuses on, Handley says. Normally, Asian Access spends its resources and time investing in Asia's church leaders. "In this case, we have a very unique situation for the country, where they lack that freedom of expression and freedom to worship the way they would like to in these training centers," says Handley. "So, we saw that as a critical need for the country." Another bonus? The Living Water Center would cut costs to run A2 Bangladesh by 70%. The benefits are more than physical and financial, though. A spiritual dynamic runs throughout this Kingdom expansion. "This center is not just for those of us doing ministry," Handley explains. A community of 6,500 garment workers lives near the future site of the Living Water Center. Only 150 of these workers follow Christ, and Mazumder hopes the LWC will become a regular place of worship for these believers, as well as an outreach to the community.

(Screenshot taken from 2013 progress video)

The LWC's health clinic will play a critical role. "When you have 20, 30, 50 people living in very small rooms and cramped quarters without hygienic conditions, you can imagine the healthcare needs of this community," says Handley. Meeting physical needs can often open doors to start a conversation about Jesus. Tomorrow, we'll share how the Living Water Center will help ministries reaching out to college students. Stay tuned!
Categories: Mission Network News

Perishing without Christ in Kenya

Mission Network News - 7 hours 37 min ago

(Photo courtesy Christian Aid Mission)

Kenya (CAM) -- Bandits, tribal turf battles, and Islamist terrorists--not to mention lack of modern facilities and basic necessities--are enough to keep many foreign missionaries from certain areas in Kenya. In such areas, however, a locally-based ministry which is being helped by Christian Aid Mission, your link to indigenous missions, has planted hundreds of churches. “So many missionaries to Kenya want to stay in comfortable areas. They tend to live where the security is good, where there are facilities, good schools, clean water,” said the director of the native ministry, whose name is withheld for security purposes. “We go to the difficult areas because we realize these people are perishing without Christ. It’s amazing: we meet people who have never heard about Jesus or even a church.” Working in 13 of Kenya’s arid northern and northeastern counties, the native mission group has planted more than 1,300 churches among semi-nomadic tribes such as the Samburu and Turkana. “We have to go step-by-step because most of them believe in traditional animistic religions, and they do sacrifices,” he said. “In every village, there is one guy who acts as a seer for them, who can foresee young men coming with cattle from one direction. And when he sees that, the young men start walking in that direction, see people from this tribe, and just fight and steal their cattle.” The main activity of the tribes, the leader said, is stealing cattle from one another. So there have been a lot of fights, but the tribes are being changed by Christianity. They are changing their life, their way of living. Besides tribal warring, banditry has increased the past few years. The director has been robbed various times, and bandits robbed and killed one of the ministry group’s missionaries last year. The Kenyan government is eager to have the peaceful influence of the native missionaries in these areas, and for a fee it provides police escorts to help protect them. The banditry, inter-tribal fighting, and attacks by members of the Somali Islamic extremist group, Al-Shabaab, have made the areas so dangerous, however, that security escorts for the evangelists are no longer willing to subject their police cars to attacks. "Now it’s a requirement by law that when you have security, you provide them with an extra vehicle. Before, we used to drive together with the police in the same car,” the ministry director said. “Our expenses went higher, because we are forced as a ministry to take the police escort to protect us from both bandits and Al Shabaab.” Driven from Somalia by Kenya-led African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces, Al-Shabaab rebels battling the Somali government have launched retaliation attacks on Kenyan soil the past few years. The militants have targeted churches and Christian leaders. The Islamic extremist threat and banditry have made obtaining a car for security escorts one of the ministry’s top needs. “The first thing we need is an extra vehicle, then we need motorcycles for the people who train the pastors,” he said. “We train them and give them motorcycles and send them out to train the pastors.” More than 80 full-time gospel workers and over 300 part-time helpers work in the ministry, and their discipling of new believers is paramount. While Kenya’s population is nearly 83% Christian, church attendance is only 7%, and superficial or syncretistic faith is common among evangelicals (estimated at 41%), according to Operation World. The native ministry trains leaders for follow-up and discipleship, as well as for church-planting. Many of its churches have sprung up where the ministry has dug wells, as water supply is a major problem for the semi-nomadic tribes. Whereas a well dug with a drilling rig costs $20,000, the ministry works with local community members to dig the wells manually and then affixes a pump, which costs only $2,000. “We have dug 22 wells, and we expect God to provide more wells where they are needed,” the leader said. “Also, there are some areas where we are not able to provide wells, so we provide people with a big plastic tank, and people get water there. There are some areas we pipe the water from the water source to a village, maybe five kilometers [three miles].” A representative of Christian Aid Mission added that the group has been a pioneer in an outreach to one of the most disregarded sectors in Africa. One of most-unreached people groups in Africa is the deaf. It is one of the most unreached groups in Africa because there’s a stigma attached to being deaf. They are shunned. The indigenous ministry director noted that most people on the continent think that having a disability is a curse, and therefore people tend to hide children who are deaf. Parents keep them home, and most of the churches don’t have the programs to convert the deaf. If you have six kids, you take five to Sunday school; the deaf kid is left at home and will not learn about Christ. The ministry director’s wife, who works at a deaf school, has brought deaf children together in various villages and set up programs for them to learn about Christ. “And also, we show the JESUS film for the deaf,” he said. “You have to show it for about two minutes, and then the person will translate it for them, because they don’t have the film in sign language. We are praying that one day we will get the movie in sign language.” To help indigenous missionaries in Kenya working with Christian Aid Mission, find a link here. Pray for the continuous spread of the Gospel in Kenya.
Categories: Mission Network News

Christmas is an opportunity to give hope

Mission Network News - 7 hours 37 min ago
India (MNN) -- The simple fact that you're reading this story gives me some indication that you're missions minded. You want people to hear the Gospel. You may even want to be the one share it. You're probably already doing that in your own neighborhood. What if I told you that you could have the same impact, but on an international scale, by just adding someone you don't know to your Christmas shopping list? The program is called, Gifts that Make an Impact, a ministry of India Partners. "This is a way for you to help someone in need and honor the people you love here in the U.S., choosing one of about 12 or 14 possible gifts on our Web site," says Donna Glass with India Partners. These are practical gifts that go to poor and needy individuals who don't know Jesus. At IndiaPartners.org, you can choose from providing a water well for just $175, a sewing machine for $95, an audio Bible for $15, or a day of safety for a child whose mother is working in the red-light district. Glass says sewing machines are a popular item because it's a simple way for a woman to start her own small business. "After completing a free tailoring [course], she would receive a free sewing machine. [Women] can start a tailoring business out of their home, and they can make some money to help support their family. This is the only money that their family may have coming in on a regular basis." While this opportunity meets their physical needs, what about the spiritual needs? Glass says these women are introduced to Christ through the classes. "They have daily devotions. They are exposed to the Gospel every day. Most of the sewing schools are held in a local community church. So, if they should ask 'Why are you doing this,' that opens up the door to sharing the Gospel." Christians in the region also provide farm animals. If you'd rather purchase farm animals such as chickens for $25 or goats for $75, you're providing individuals or families an opportunity to produce eggs, milk, and protein for their own consumption, or to sell in the market. Many nationalistic people in India believe Christians are forcing people to convert to Christianity through these programs. Glass says Christians wait for questions before sharing Christ. She says it's difficult to be accused of forcing Christianity on someone when that individual is asking the questions. The needs in India are great this year. Consider purchasing a gift in honor of a loved one. Click here to see the options.
Categories: Mission Network News

Kay Warren Remembering Her Son on 'Survivor Day': There's Hope as Suicide Is Preventable

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Sun, 11/23/2014 - 9:12am
Sharing on International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day on Saturday, Kay Warren, co-founder of California's Saddleback Church, recalled that her late son, Matthew, was the funniest and most courageous person she has ever met in her life, and said that while the suicide rate is alarmingly high in the country, there is hope because suicide is preventable.
Categories: Christian Post

Ready and Willing

Christian Post - Living - Sun, 11/23/2014 - 8:00am
Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?" — Acts 8:30 Tell me, was the prophet talking about himself or someone else?
Categories: Christian Post

Is It a Need or a Desire?

Christian Post - Living - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 11:17pm
In the fourth chapter of Philippians, Paul declares that God will "supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (v. 19). When we read that passage and apply it to our daily lives, we must be careful to interpret it correctly.
Categories: Christian Post

Williamsport Christmas Parade

WGRC News - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 2:42pm

The city of Williamsport will hold its 65th annual Billtown Christmas Parade this weekend. The parade is scheduled to begin at 5pm tomorrow at Elmira and West Third Streets. The annual Victorian Christmas will take place from noon to 5pm, and a Market Place at the Holiday Inn. Tonight at 6, it’s the Festival of Lights getting underway in Brandon Park.

Categories: Local News

Pay raises for State Officials

WGRC News - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 2:41pm

Pay raises are ready to go for top elected and appointed officials in Pennsylvania State Government. A 1.6% automatic annual cost of living adjustment will go into effect on January 1st for the Governor and members of his cabinet as well as those appointed to various boards and commissions, appellate judges and other elected statewide row offices including legislators. Governor Corbett and his cabinet members have been returning their yearly raises. New governor elect Tom Wolf has already said he will not accept his salary, as well as other perks.

Categories: Local News

Without Question

Christian Post - Living - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 11:05am
Philip was used to leading others to Jesus because he was obedient. How easily Philip could have argued with the angel who gave him these instructions from the Lord: "Arise and go toward the south." But why? Philip had been preaching in the city of Samaria, and revival was breaking out. And now God was sending him alone into the desert?
Categories: Christian Post

Popular 'Prophecy Expert' and Bible Teacher Suggests Possible Reasons Why America Is MIA in the End Times

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 10:21am
In "Agents of the Apocalypse,"Dr. David Jeremiah, noted author and Bible teacher, takes a new approach to unpacking what is possibly one of the Bible's most popular yet confusing books — and he recently shared his thoughts on why America seems absent from the Book of Revelation and other prophetic writings regarding the eschaton.
Categories: Christian Post

ISIS could take Pakistan in months

Mission Network News - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 5:00am

An elder of a Pakistani village church. It is estimated that only about 2% of the nation's population claim to be Christian.
(Photo, caption courtesy FMI)

Pakistan (MNN) -- While the world watches ISIS continue its stronghold in Syria and Iraq, it's now reaching out into other parts of the region. Fighters loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria are now in complete control of the city of Derna: population of about 100,000, not far from the Egyptian border and just about 200 miles from the southern shores of the European Union. Now, we're hearing from Christian workers in Pakistan that the country may be the next to fall. Bruce Allen with Forgotten Missionaries International says, "The Taliban have already sworn allegiance to ISIS. So, it's bound to happen in the next one month to six months." That's not the worst of the problems. "Pakistan is a nuclear power. And if the government or military falls, things will get very bad if the nuclear weapons fall into rouge hands." (Listen to the complete interview with Bruce Allen below)

Congressman Frank Wolf (R) Virginia.

U.S. Congressman Frank Wolf is an advocate for religious freedom around the world. He agrees with Allen. He's puzzled by why nobody is talking about this. "It's just kind of getting out of control, and it's almost like nobody's really doing anything about it." Especially the United States. In the past, the U.S. was a neutralizer. Wolf says those opposed to ISIS are afraid, especially now. "America's credibility, reputation, and strength seem to be--it's painful to say this--at an all-time low around the world. They don't hear the United States speaking out. They don't hear the President speaking out." Ultimately, Congressman Wolf says, "I think the responsibility really rests with the church in the West. We are fundamentally failing, and for the longest period of time the church in the West has been relatively silent." Allen says that's only part of the problem. "We in the West tend to value our comfort, and convenience, and things like that; however, the media plays a part in that. If the church was more aware of what was actually happening, I think they'd get more galvanized." Allen says if ISIS takes over, Christians will face more persecution, and ministries in Pakistan will be forced to close or go underground. That's why your financial support and prayers are needed now. "We want to make sure that before it gets worse, our staff are really prepared to continue serving in the midst of chaos." You can support a pastor for $100 a month, which goes a long way. Click here to help. Also, will you begin talking about these issues on your Facebook page? Start a conversation by posting a link to this story and asking people to respond. Also, begin calling media outlets and letting them know about ISIS in Pakistan. Listen to MNN's Greg Yoder talking with U.S. Congressman Frank Wolf of Virginia here.
Categories: Mission Network News

Liberia after Ebola faces new normal

Mission Network News - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 5:00am

Color-enhanced electron micrograph of Ebola virus particles.

Liberia (MNN) -- Ebola: the crisis swept through West Africa over the course of several months, prompting a global scare. The World Health Organization released figures this week showing that nearly 3,000 Liberians died from Ebola since it surfaced last spring and exploded this summer.  The country bore the brunt of the illness, but now it seems, things are turning a corner. Liberia's president hopes to defeat the dreaded disease by Christmas. While Peggy Maynard, Global Fingerprints Liberia Coordinator, shares some relief at good news, there's a cautionary note. "We're very thankful that the rate of infections does seem to be slowing, and we pray that it will continue. However, I don't want people to think that the crisis in Liberia is over, because it isn't by a long-shot." Ebola has left long-lasting scars in Liberia. "Their economy has been devastated. About half of the people in the country are unemployed still because of the crisis, and they had a high unemployment rate before that. The price of food is still very high." The healthcare system has been decimated because the caregivers paid the ultimate price to help other Ebola victims. "This is going to take many years to replace these healthcare workers and bring their healthcare back up to standard and open the clinics. This is going to be a long recovery even if Ebola is eradicated today."

(Photo courtesy Evangelical Free Church)

Plus, with 3,000 deaths, there's an orphan crisis now. Maynard shares about one of their church partners. "A pastor and his wife both died, and they left eight children orphaned. So they have been taken in by relatives. These children are fortunate to have been taken in. You can imagine the family that already has their own family, probably unemployed, and then suddenly, they have eight more children to take care of." Global Fingerprints is working on family-based solutions within Liberia for the orphans because, says Maynard, the government in Liberia put adoptions on hold 6-8 years ago. "So, adopting these children out of the country is not an option at this point." Another facet of the problem is the fear and stigma that surrounds Ebola in Liberia. "Some of these children are not being accepted by anyone because of the fear of Ebola, and they're left on the streets to fend for themselves. So, organizations are trying to reach out and provide a safe place for these children." They need help, and Global Fingerprints--the child sponsorship wing of the Evangelical Free Church, is stepping in to assist. "We have entered these children into our Global Fingerprints system, and we are trying to find sponsors for them, which will pay for their healthcare, their education, and it'll help the families with food."

(Photo courtesy Evangelical Free Church/Reach Global/Global Fingerprints)

Church partners plan to open a temporary orphanage to get some of these children off the streets. This has been met with such a strong positive response that "church partners in Liberia have a plan to plant 50 new churches by January because they see that this crisis is making people think about their mortality. It's putting them into a position where they feel vulnerable, they're seeking answers about life, and they're open to the Gospel." What can you do? You can provide an avenue for hope to grow. Maynard says first, there's prayer: "Pray for our church partners there who are bravely ministering to people, without regard for their own safety, in order to bring them the hope of the Gospel." Then, there's action: "Our church has set up an Ebola Crisis Response Fund, and that money will be used to meet some for these urgent needs for food and healthcare. Just pray that the crisis will be brought under control." Click here if you can help support the Ebola Crisis Response Fund.
Categories: Mission Network News

Importance of hygiene learned, taught

Mission Network News - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Reach Beyond)

West Africa (RBD) -- One lesson taught is another one learned. When staff from the partner Christian radio station in the West African country of Burkina Faso prepared to lead a hygiene lesson in a nearby community, they never imagined it would draw more than 200 people. And they didn’t realize that their words would be translated into two to three languages so everyone could understand. Although unexpected, these realities added to the richness of the training. Beneath the shade trees and bamboo shelters of this rural village, babies fussed and children fidgeted, but everyone was attentive and engaged. Men, women, and children spoke in their native languages as they joined the conversation around posters of daily behaviors, categorizing them as healthy or unhealthy. Volunteers demonstrated effective techniques for hand-washing amid encouragement and laughter from their friends and neighbors. This community meeting took place on the third day of a 4-day course conducted by Sub-Saharan Africa’s community development team that traveled from Ghana in early October. The training was held for staff members from Radio Evangile Développement, Gospel Radio for Development or RED, a partner of Reach Beyond in Burkina Faso. The event focused on hygiene, sanitation practices, and management and maintenance of a clean water project. The goal was to train participants so they can teach these topics in villages where Reach Beyond and RED fund future water projects. To further equip the participants to become teachers themselves, the course also covered principles of community development and the use of interactive lessons to engage adult learners. In one such interactive lesson, learners watch a drama and identify the various ways that diarrheal disease is spread. Using colorful, culturally-appropriate posters, the learners map out pathways of disease transmission. A second set of posters depicts behaviors that stop the spread of disease: hand-washing, boiling water, using a latrine. The learners identify where on the pathways that these behaviors block the transmission of disease and discover the information for themselves as they watch a drama and arrange the posters--an effective strategy when teaching adults. By incorporating a community meeting into the curriculum, the three Reach Beyond trainers were able to see the participants put their learning into practice. Both groups learned from the experience: participants received feedback on their teaching, and trainers gained insight into adapting lessons for different settings. “I think the training was perfect,” wrote one participant. “I learned a lot, and I pray that our good God will help me teach others what I have learned.” “We work with partners because they are the people who live in the country, are part of the culture, and speak the [local] language,” said missionary engineer and trainer Adeline McCartney. More than 60 languages are spoken throughout Burkina Faso, including 6 that are spoken by half a million people or more. And that’s only one of 48 countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa Region. Reaching all these places and people groups would be impossible for Reach Beyond missionaries themselves. Working in partnership, however, dramatically increases their reach. Already, RED and Reach Beyond have witnessed some fruit from the community meeting. After seeing a tippy tap (a simple device made from a gallon jug for hand-washing--especially appropriate in rural areas where there is no running water), a school girl replicated it for use in her home. In addition, Reach Beyond’s partner organizations “are the ones with an existing Gospel witness in their areas,” added McCartney. For some people, it’s revolutionary to learn that God cares deeply about their health--even their hygiene and sanitation practices. This knowledge, in itself, can turn hearts toward God. While clean water, hygiene, and sanitation impact lives directly, these lessons give the partners additional opportunities to share the good news of Jesus Christ, further changing lives. Pray for people in West Africa as they continue learning the importance of health, hygiene, and the Love of God.
Categories: Mission Network News

Life Matters Worldwide equips pastors in India

Mission Network News - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 5:00am

(Photo credit Steve9091 via Flickr)

India (MNN) -- Have you ever used an ultrasound to share the Gospel? Life Matters Worldwide educates national believers about pro-life issues and equips them with resources like ultrasound machines so they can reach out to women with unplanned pregnancies. By starting conversations with women about life and its value, doors open to share the message of Christ. Bob Foust recently visited India with Life Matters to teach 200 pastors about the process. "There are, around the world, 55 million abortions a year. India ranks about 4th on that list of abortions per capita," Foust shares. "If the Church is 'geared up' and ready to reach [women] at that point, I believe [it] can be a great, great opportunity. Saving unborn lives involves the Church A report issued last year reveals a woman dies every two hours in India because she had an unsafe abortion. "There's a very low esteem of life. Many abortions are provided there in India, both legal and illegal," notes Foust. "They're going to be affected by abortion in the Church, just like we are in the U.S." Realizing this fact, national pastors wanted to know how they can encourage people in their communities to choose life. "The pastors wanted to get fortified and know exactly what the Scripture teaches on the matter," Foust says. He taught pastors about the biblical theology behind pro-life movements and how to develop sermons focusing on this subject. For many, it was their first time even hearing about an option called "pro-life."

Bob Foust speaking to pastors in Imphal.
(Photo, caption courtesy Life Matters)

Life Matters partner in India shared the impact of Foust's message in a recent letter. "He said, 'Bob's teaching and preaching on the sanctity of life was wonderful. Many lives were touched, hearts convicted, and eyes opened,'" recounts Foust. "'A hole has been cut in the ice, and we can move forward.'" Some of the pastors in attendance are now planning to start pregnancy centers in their community. Foust and some others have already been invited back to help teach Indian lay people how to provide biblical counseling to women who've had an abortion. But, none of this can happen without your help. "[It] takes a great deal of funds: not just for the [ultrasound] machine, but getting it through customs, shipping, getting all the legalities across nations," Foust explains. Come alongside Life Matters' work financially here. Life Matters Worldwide Foust formerly served on Life Matters' Board of Directors and remains a close friend of the ministry, which began as Baptists for Life, Inc. back in 1984. Today, Life Matters Worldwide pursues a three-fold goal: education, mobilization, and partnership. The ministry articulates the biblical pro-life message in ways that honor God and move His people. Life Matters also trains God's people for pro-life ministry in their churches and communities, and works alongside God's people in pro-life ministry at home and abroad. Learn more about their work here. Life Matters in India Life Matters Worldwide began working in eastern India in 2003 and partnered with the Emmanuel Rural Hospital in Assam in 2009. Life Matters provided an ultrasound machine for the hospital's pregnancy care program. "They actually have a wing of that hospital that reaches out to pregnant young women in distress," shares Foust. The focus of Foust's visit was to build on the foundations mentioned above.
Categories: Mission Network News

Bible translation hits a bump in the road

Mission Network News - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Wycliffe Bible Translators USA)

Philippines (MNN/WYC) -- In 1999, Wycliffe Bible Translators USA realized that if Bible translations continued to go slowly, it wouldn’t be until 2150 that a Bible translation could be started for every language. So they dreamed up Vision 2025: a commitment to do what they can to get a Bible translation program going in every language by 2025. As of this month, the full Bible has been translated into over 500 languages, and with the help of computers, the process has gone much quicker. But one of the programs in the Philippines has hit a bump in the road. Recently, a vital computer modem was stolen from the Matigsalug translation team. While the team has already drafted 90% of the Old Testament, their work slowed down considerably after the theft. It has already been difficult for team members to communicate with each other, especially for those living in remote areas, but this is another discouraging trial altogether. This has not been the first time something has been stolen from the team. And unfortunately, many of the team's hard drives are failing and they have corrupted back-ups. It seems that problem after problem is being piled on the team. It’s true the team has hit a bump in the road, and they are hurting and discouraged. But it won’t stop them from overcoming the test. They will be giving hope to the 50,000 Matigsalugs in the region, and they will be giving them life. Pray that the team will be able to stay focused and continue working efficiently.
Categories: Mission Network News

Baby of Stranded Couple Safely Delivered During Buffalo Snowstorm; 'It's Not Odds, It's God,' Dad Says

Christian Post - Living - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 12:08pm
Parents of a new baby girl in Buffalo, New York are thanking God for sending "two angels" after they became stranded in a snowstorm on Tuesday.
Categories: Christian Post

The Purpose of Conviction

Christian Post - Living - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 8:05am
Have you ever seen a parent firmly grip a naughty child and lead him to where he ought to be? Sometimes our heavenly Father must employ a strong directing hand with us. Even as believers, we're a wayward people who are prone to wander. But when we go too far, God helps us back to the path of righteousness.
Categories: Christian Post

Billy Graham's Legacy of Evangelism Continues Online; 5 Millionth Person Indicates Decision to Accept Jesus as Savior

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 7:46am
The Internet evangelism ministry of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, marked a milestone this past weekend as the 5 millionth person indicated a decision to accept Jesus as his Savior through their evangelistic online presence at PeaceWithGod.net.
Categories: Christian Post