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Women in Leadership: Part Three

Mission Network News - 3 hours 43 min ago

Bright Hope believes that equipping the local, in-country church is the critical element needed to combat human trafficking in India.
(Image, caption courtesy Bright Hope)

International (MNN) -- Throughout the world, women are treated as less than human. Gender-based killings -- practiced everywhere from China to the U.S. -- kills thousands of baby girls before they take their first breath. In many of the world's "developing" nations, mothers and wives do 75% of the household labor. If girls and young women make it beyond the age of five, they face a myriad of dangers specifically tied to their gender: female mutilation, the risk of becoming a child bride, being sold and/or trafficked as a sex slave, etc. The list goes on and on. In light of our current series about women in leadership, that begs the following question: How can you develop women leaders if their basic rights aren't even recognized? Karin Primuth of Asian Access (A2) says not only is it possible, it's key to growing God's Kingdom. "It's a very critical opportunity," Primuth emphasizes. "Basically, to develop a woman is to develop a family, a community, and a culture, because she is going to re-invest in her family, her children, and her community."

(Photo cred: Asian Access)

A2 helps women recognize the skills God has given them, and then use those skills to tell more people about Jesus. But, they're not the only mission agencies investing in an oft-overlooked people group. "There are women who are trying to catalyze opportunities for other women to create ministries that encourage their development," notes Primuth.
  • Global Advance walks a similar path as A2: developing women in leadership.
  • Mission India helps women find their voice by teaching them how to read and write.
  • Gospel for Asia empowers women to reach other women for Christ.
  • Food for the Hungry uses micro-loans to help women develop economic skills, thereby decreasing her vulnerability to traffickers and similar predators.
Click on the highlighted group names above to learn more about each opportunity. Though our series has ended, keep praying for women -- those in leadership, those who serve the Lord in silence, and those who don't know about His love. Ask the Lord if He wants you to invest in programs, like those mentioned above, that are sharing the Gospel with women around the world. Read previous stories in the series: Part One and Part Two.
Categories: Mission Network News

Prison ministry a shining light in the dark

Mission Network News - 3 hours 43 min ago

(Photo credit CBI)

Puerto Rico (CBI/MNN) -- Puerto Rico has an incarceration rate of about 332 per 100,000 people, and cocaine trafficking has nearly quadrupled in the last seven years. New York Times reports that the increase in drug trade is due to traffickers in Columbia and Venezuela who are looking for new ways to import cocaine into the United States. But like a shining light in the dark, Crossroad Bible Institute (CBI) is thrilled to announce the launch of a new satellite campus in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (USA). The fast-growing campus has already enrolled 92 students and trained over 40 instructors under the direction of long-time prison chaplain Madeline Garcia. “When Madeline approached us about starting this campus, we were excited to see how this move could help grow the ministry,” said Sandra Chang Raak, CBI international coordinator. “We believe training local Instructors is the best way to empower Puerto Rican church leaders in the area of prison ministry.” CBI has served Puerto Rican students for many years, due largely to Garcia’s efforts to personally distribute and collect lessons throughout the island’s prisons. However, without indigenous support, these lessons had to be processed through CBI headquarters in the United States, which nearly doubled lesson turnaround rates. Garcia realized that establishing a self-sufficient satellite campus would be the best solution to streamline lesson processing. Garcia has worked passionately for many years to address these problems and bring rehabilitative programs to Puerto Rico’s prison population. CBI Puerto Rico will serve as a key piece in this mission, specifically at the two rehabilitation centers Garcia founded for newly-released prisoners. Garcia is already incorporating CBI’s discipleship program into each person’s treatment plan and facilitating weekly sessions in which students can complete lessons together in a classroom setting. “CBI Puerto Rico truly embodies the vision for holistic healing that lies at Crossroad’s core,” said CBI president Dr. David Schuringa. “Our growing international program--with 20 established and 7 emerging campuses--reminds us that the need for long-term discipleship and reentry support in America is also present in prisons all around the world.” Pray that the Puerto Rico satellite campus will continue growing and helping the lives of the prisoners. Click here to learn how you can help.
Categories: Mission Network News

Coming under increased scrutiny

Mission Network News - 3 hours 43 min ago
Kazakhstan (VOMC) -- The Voice of the Martyrs Canada reports that increasing numbers of Christians in Kazakhstan are being given short-term prison sentences for refusing to pay fines linked to their religious activity. Fines are now being regularly imposed for violating the country's harsh Religion Law, which includes distributing religious literature, talking to other people about religion, and meeting with others for worship without compulsory state registration or license. In addition, social projects run by religious groups are coming under increased scrutiny. Within the first 10 weeks of 2014 alone, 45 such fines were handed down. Generally, the fines equate to one or two months' average wages.

(Courtesy VOMC)

Recently, a believer named Nikolai Novikov faced prison for refusing to pay his fine. He served five days in prison in West Kazakhstan Region, making him the 14th known individual to face jail time for refusing to pay a fine. His fine was due to his role in a congregation that has not sought state permission in order to meet for worship. During the month of July, another Christian, Anatoly Stakhnev, served 10 days of imprisonment in East Kazakhstan Region for refusing to pay a fine for the same charges. In spite of ongoing pressure and intimidation, pray that Christians throughout this Central Asian country will resolve to follow Jesus despite the restrictive laws made by human authorities. Specifically, pray that God will bless Nikolai and Anatoly, and provide for their every need. May the faith of these two men be strengthened so they can continue to serve as lights for Christ through their daily lives and unwavering witness. Please also pray that God will use these latest obstacles in Kazakhstan to refine and further empower His church so that His name will be greatly honored and glorified.
Categories: Mission Network News

Iraqi refugees tell their story

Mission Network News - 3 hours 43 min ago
Iraq (MNN) -- ISIS continues its offensive across Syria and Iraq, leaving many victims in its wake. The stories of ISIS killing males above 10 years old, the systematic rape of women and girls, and the looting of personal possessions is shocking, even to many Muslims. SAT-7, a Christian satellite television network to the Middle East and North Africa, went into a refugee camp to interview victims of these heinous crimes against humanity. We've transcribed these interviews so you can get a sense of what they've experienced.   SAT-7 is coordinating a day of prayer for the Middle East this Sunday. Get your prayer kit here.  Announcer: Friends, from the heart of the land of St. Mark's Coptic Church in Sulaymaniya, which is still under construction.  The hall is now being used to hold [services]and prayers, but this has been turned into a camp for displaced Christians from Mosul, among them some Egyptian Christians who we'll meet and we'll meet with Christians displaced from Mosul. Announcer: Mr. Abu Ayzan, we welcome you and your honorable family. Abu:  Greetings to you, and thank you. ANNOUNCER:  Mr. Abu Ayzam, you were in Mosul and your wife is Iraqi. Tell us exactly what happened? ABU: It was -- a Friday morning. A group of people in Mosul called us. My wife and kids threw our belongings together and reached a checkpoint.  We took a taxi and came across armed men along the way.  They asked us if we were Christians. We said, yes. They demanded, "Give us you mobile (phones), your gold, and your money." They took our mobiles and our gold. WIFE: They took 450,000 [Dinars] ($386.93 USD) out of my husband's pocket. ABU: They said, "Pay the jizya tax, convert to Islam or be slaughtered." We were going to pay the jizya tax. We paid it and said, "Let us pass."  This happened yesterday, we were going to pay them.  They said, "No, that's not going to work this time."  We had hidden our money around our waistbands. WIFE: The armed men passed by me and behind them were veiled women, wearing red clothes.  And, they searched me, took my money and gold. They even searched my daughters. It was our lifesavings. They took all of it.  The 450,000 dinars were in my husband's pocket and they took it. There were six batches of money they took from me and all of the gold. My parents had sold their home. I had hidden THIS money in my house in Mosul. When we were going up from Mosul they threatened us.  They took our stuff and detained us along the way, like a checkpoint. ANNOUNCER: So, they took all the savings and everything? WIFE: Believe me, they stole everything. They said, "Let your Bishops give you money." They demanded our Bishops initiate a ransom for us. They didn't let us pay the jizya tax. They threatened us.  If you saw the situation of Christians at checkpoints, you would cry. They were bringing more armed men to add more pressure on us.  You see the beards … and they don't communicate.  And, their manners are never pleasant. ABU: I told her to take half her money and I'll take half, so we can pass. WIFE: You see, the Christians look pitiful lying on the ground or crying. Some hid their money and gold in cars and even the cars were stolen.  God will grant us our rights from them, God-willing. May Christ grant us our rights from them, God-willing. MAKRAM FAHMY: My name is Brother Mkram Fahmy.  I'm from Minia, Egypt. WASFI ABDULLAH: I'm Wasfi Abdullah from Fayoum, Egypt. ANNOUNCER: Tell us what happened to you, Brother Makram. MAKRAM: What happened is, we were leaving Mosul. All the Christians were leaving.  We went to Hamdaneya, stayed about 13 days, then [we] went to Erbil. From Erbil, we came to the church here, because this is the only place with a Coptic Church. Not just because of the church, but it's also safer here. It's safe and the people are good here. ANNOUNCER: Isn't Erbil safe, too? MAKRAM: Erbil is dangerous and it's not like here. ANNOUNCER: Did you ever meet any ISIS members.? MAKRAM: When I was working in Mosul, there were times I talked to them. At first, they seemed like good people. But, that wasn't their true selves. They were playing a part. ANNOUNCER: And, they were in Mosul, working among you…. MAKRAM: Yes, we had no idea. People were asking them, "What do you want?" They said, "We're killing the Shiites." ANNOUNCER: There were Shiites in Mosul? And, ISIS was killing Shiites? MAKRAM: Yes, they knew the Shiites and were killing them, particularly the police. They turned on each other. They turned on Islam. The Muslims despise [the police]. ANNOUNCER: So, ISIS started out against Shiites and now they're against Christians and Yazidis? MARKAM: Yes, ISIS doesn't accept equality. They despise them in Mosul. ANNOUNCER: What would you like to say, brother (Wasfi Abdullah)? WASFI:  I was displaced from Mosul. I had moved from Egypt to Mosul. ANNOUNCER: When was that? WASFI: I've been in Iraq 32 years. I've lived in Mosul for 26 years and in Qaraqosh for six years. I fled Mosul, but at that time, there was no ISIS. There were other terrorist militias. They were taking a jizya tax from shops. I owned shops, thank God, that God had given me. But, the Lord gives and the Lord takes away, bless the name of the Lord. It's all gone, praise God. Every so often, I paid the jizya tax. ANNOUNCER: What kind of shops did you have? WASFI: I had a shop selling nuts and spices. I had supermarkets with Egyptian products. I had a Christian bookshop beside the church. ANNOUNCER: Was it all taken? WASFI: Yes, I would bring things from Egypt, from here and there. I used to go to Egypt and get Christian products like crosses to bring back. I was selling them to the churches. I was selling the products to pay the jizya tax. I found an envelope with a bullet in it in the door of one of my shops. They said, "Pay or get out." This is the other thing. I took my family -- I'm married -- and we fled to a village called Bartella. We went from Bartella to Qaraqosh. I went to my bookshop in Qaraqosh. ISIS had arrived in Qaraqosh. I went up at 11pm. I was the last one ot leave from Qaraqosh that night. [ISIS] had set up a checkpoint. I was the last one to leave. There are people staying, but most fled. If I had taken five minutes longer, they would have detained me. We left with the shirts on our backs. They stole all our things. They burned down my bookshop and stores. And, here we are. So, we arrived in Erbil. Father Shenouda contacted us. He's responsible for Jordan, but he is also the Bishop for also northern Iraq. He would check on us from time to time to ask, "Where have you arrived now?" The association sent a car because we said, "Father, none of us have any money." He said to take a taxi at the expense of the Egyptian Church, and take everyone who wants to go to the Church. ANNOUNCER: From Qaraqosh? WASFI: No, from Erbil. We went from Erbil to Ainkawa. We went to Ainkawa. There were people sitting in the street in, the sun. People in the building said, "I have no mat, no food, no cold water." It's crouded. How can that be? There were more people than you can imagine. ANNOUNCER: So, you went to Erbil? WASFI: Of course, we went to Erbil. This long, old road was congested on both sides. Cars couldn't pass. People were sleeping in the streets. There wasn't even any food. So, our priest told us, "Take the car and go to Sulaymaniyah, all of you." I said, "What about the checkpoints?"  He said, "Don't worry about it. The Church will pay the bill, inform the authorities, and get you there." Praise God, we got to Sulaymaniyah. We arrived. We asked our priest about the money. He said, "Get it from the church." I said, "This is too much to pay." He said, "It was an order from the archbishop to pay as much as it costs for your safety." He said, "We'll pay for you. If you want to travel, travel on the church's tab." Thank God we didn't need anything. We're staying, but we're exhausted. We don't know what our future is. What is our fate? We don't know.  We're confused and lost. I've been in Iraq 31 years. There's nothing left from me in Egypt. ANNOUNCER: God willing, this land will be freed and you can return where you were before. WASFI: And then? The shops are burned down. Where will we work? After all that, how will we work? I can't go back to my work. At my age, I can't start over. ANNOUNCER: Ms. Nehad Nejmi Yaqoub, we welcome you to SAT-7. You're from the Chaldean Church and you serve here in the Coptic Church. We learned you were up all night checking on the patrols of all the people traveling. Tell us about your experience helping the displaced Christians who are fleeing. NEHAD: in July, they began coming here from Mosul. The priest called me late at night and said, "You have to help." Our brothers, they're all coming from the checkpoint, because there was crowding from the Yazidis and Christian groups. It was difficult to enter Sulaymaniyah.  The director of the checkpoint is a friend. We called him and made it easy, we said, "Bring them up to the church." ANNOUNCER: Who are the 900 people we heard about? What happened to them? NEHAD: There were 900 factory works and engineers in Salah al-Din City. There was an attack on the factory and our priest called us. We called my cousin and he helped them out. He's the director of security in Ainkawa. ANNOUNCER: Where did they go? NEHAD: They all went to Egypt. They're all Christians. ANNOUNCER: God bless you. How do you feel now about the situation and the future? NEHAD: I'm happy because all of the Christians came together a the church in unity. The important thing is we're Christians. I don't like to say Coptic, Catholic, Syriac. We're Christians. We're all one. ANNOUNCER: Thank you Ms. Nehad and may God bless you and your work. Iraqi woman: God have mercy on us and on  all Christians and on Muslim refugees. Deliver us from this crisis. Help us return home. We don't care if the house is empty or destroyed. We can live by its wall. Living there among ruins is better than living here. Iraqi man: I pray God will deliver us from this persecution and tyranny.  God knows what is happening and will give us justice. Iraqi Woman: I pray for all Iraq and for all the Middle East as well. Iraqi Man: I ask God, what did these people do, these peaceful, simple people? Was their crime that they go to church and pray? I pray to God to solve this problem. Iraqi Woman: I don't want anything but to go back home…home with peace and safety. This is my only request of God. Iraqi Man: I pray that the situation gets better Iraqi Girl: I want to go back to my school.
Categories: Mission Network News

Mission trip to Philippines great success: hunger for God’s word apparent

Mission Network News - 3 hours 43 min ago

Smiling faces of a family who
just received free Christian literature.
(Photo courtesy of Christian Resources International)

Philippines (MNN) -- Pretend you have to travel hours to get to a concert you've been looking forward to for months. You realize that there is likelihood for you to be late. So you call up the information desk where the concert is going to be held and ask them, "Will I still get my Bible?" Christian Resources International returned from the Philippines earlier this month. What they found was a hunger for the word of God. Concert During this trip, CRI held a concert/evangelistic meeting with Christian music where those in attendance would receive a free Bible. They also heard the testimony of Jason Woolford, CRI's executive director. The meeting was held in Cuenta Astrodome. "We had 4,000 people come and get to hear the word of God preached," Woolford says. This was part one of their distribution of the $3 million worth of Bibles and Christian books collected and shipped to the Philippines earlier this year. One pastor who was helping organize the concert said he received many calls, e-mails, and texts from people concerned they would not be able to get a Bible since they were late. There were no questions regarding whether or not they would still have their seat, or how close they would get to the stage! Out of the 4,000 who heard the message of Jesus Christ, many decided to follow Him. Many more rededicated their lives to serve Him. Woolford says, "I'll try to be very conservative on these numbers. At least from what we could count with the lights just barely up, that we could see, were over 500 people who asked Jesus Christ into their life for the first time, and hundreds that rededicated their life to the Lord." Pastors Conference The second purpose of the trip was a Pastor's Conference. Woolford reminds us that being a pastor is hard work. "Statistics show it's one of the fastest occupations where people feel defeated and give up and get out of that line of work, so to speak. And so we were able to speak an encouraging word--a message into their life, reminding them that God will see them through, one way or the other." One of the ways of giving encouragement was to provide the 700 pastors with multiple boxes of Bibles and Christian books each. These resources will help them disciple people who non-believers, new believers, and even those in seminary. One of CRI's partners also donated food for them to hand out to the pastors. The pastors could choose what they needed most: food or Bibles. Woolford says every one of the pastors chose the Bibles. "It just choked me up to see that they have an understanding that 'man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.'" It's often the case that Christians who go to bless others are blessed by those they go serve. "I was just overwhelmed to meet these men and women of God who just were impacted by God," Woolford says. After Woolford shared his testimony, a man approached him. He explained that he left the ministry 8 years earlier when his 8-year-old son was shot and killed in the car by a drive-by shooter. He stepped out of the ministry because he was angry at the situation and confused at why God would allow such a horrible thing. He explained to Woolford that he had thought several times about going back into ministry, which was why he showed up at the conference. He thanked Woolford for sharing his story, and assured him that he was heading back into ministry. Distribution Bookstores The final part of the trip was to establish two distribution centers in Northern Manila. These distribution centers are essentially bookstores where people pick up the books they need--for free. "No one's being charged for the Word of God; people are coming to be able to get it for free, and lives are going to be changed. This will be an ongoing program that we will have, and we're so excited for it," Woolford says. And it goes on--with your help! CRI stepped out into faith in order to distribute these Bibles and provide encouragement for the people of the Philippines. The financial costs, once the books were given, were immense. But CRI trusted God to provide the means to complete what He had called them to. Woolford says, "When God calls us to do things, He doesn't always call us to do it when everything's in order." Woolford says that following God's call even when it's hard is to follow the Kingdom path, not the common path. Will you help them continue this vital work? Become a book missionary with CRI: donate that extra Bible sitting on your shelf, or the Christian books you've already read through. Or, you can help by contributing toward the $10,900 cost of shipping the next container of books. For more information, call 517-223-3193, or visit the CRI Web site here. Finally, watch for their video highlighting the events that took place on their trip. Woolford leaves us with this prayer: "As you live a life for God, I know God will make a way for you. I pray that He will meet your needs in the realms spiritual, physical, and financial as you honor Him, in Jesus' name."
Categories: Mission Network News

Heroin bust

WGRC News - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 2:52pm

Williamsport City police confiscated 110 bags of heroin, $2,000 dollars in cash and four weapons, two of them stolen. State parole officers went to a Fourth Avenue home to look for Andre Hayes, wanted for absconding parole. There they found Hayes, as well as Kalonji Jones who was out on bail after being charged last year with dealing heroin. Jones is locked up in lieu of $200,000 bail.

Categories: Local News

Houston Mayor withdraws subpoenas from Pastors

WGRC News - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 2:51pm

Houston Mayor Annise Parker has announced that she will withdraw the subpoenas against five pastors who have spoken out against the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, an LGBT city ordinance that some opponents claim would allow men to use women’s public restrooms. After much contemplation and discussion, I am directing the city legal department to withdraw the subpoenas issued to the five Houston pastors who delivered the petitions. Parker said during yesterday’s press conference.
“It is extremely important to me to protect our equal rights ordinance from repeal, and to make sure that every Houstonian knows that their lives are valid and protected and acknowledged,” added Parker, who’s the city’s first openly-gay mayor.

Categories: Local News

Knowing and Trusting the Lord

Christian Post - Living - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 12:11pm
How much do you trust God? Before you answer, think about these scenarios: Do you really trust the Lord when everything seems out of control and He appears absent? When He has called you to move in a certain direction that seems illogical and risky? When painful circumstances continue, making you wonder if the Lord really cares?
Categories: Christian Post

ERLC Conference Shifts From Compassionate to Judgmental, Says Same-Sex Marriage Activist (Interview)

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 8:27am
While most within the Southern Baptist Convention applauded the opportunity to openly discuss how Christians should respond to the growing cultural and political acceptance of gay marriage during a three-day conference hosted by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, most in the LGBT community tracking the event were not so pleased.
Categories: Christian Post

Christian Leader With Same-Sex Attraction Says Parents Must Show Love for Their Gay Children

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 7:24am
Sharing his own story of becoming a Christian as a same-sex attracted man at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission's National Conference Tuesday, Moody Bible professor Christopher Yuan revealed how Christian parents can best love their lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual children and guide them back to the Gospel.
Categories: Christian Post

Houston firestorm reveals bigger religious freedom issues

Mission Network News - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 5:00am

Annise Parker (Photo courtesy Wikipedia)

USA (MNN) -- Houston Mayor Annise Parker has decided to withdraw the subpoena of sermons and other communications belonging to several pastors in a lawsuit involving the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO).  The mayor made the announcement Wednesday during a press conference. Background: after the ordinance passed, people who took issue with the rights the law extends to gay and transgender residents launched a petition to repeal it. The city claimed a large number of petition signatures were not valid. That prompted a lawsuit, and the sermon subpoenas were part of the research in the suit. Bethany Christian Services president and CEO Bill Blacquiere says the problem was: overstepping authority. "We now have a society that has not had any experience with religion, and they have no knowledge of the Constitution. Therefore, anybody who makes statements that go against someone else's beliefs, they attack." Public outcry forced the mayor's office to backpedal, but it did little to quiet the protest. "They just changed the word 'sermons' to 'speeches.' What it shows is a total lack of knowledge of our Constitution and of our religious rights, and I think that is going to start to impact organized religion." The protest extended to a flood of Bibles (between 500 and 1,000) being sent directly to the mayor's office from around the country. Pastors from across the nation descended on Houston on Tuesday to support the pastors who were subpoenaed.

(Photo courtesy Wikipedia)

Blacquiere says the situation reveals an uncomfortable future for Christian ministries. When you add in campus access issues for groups like InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and Fellowship of Christian Athletes, lawsuits to force pastors into conducting same-sex marriages, Blacquiere thinks it won't be long before the pressure becomes more obvious and widespread. However, "One of our strongly-held core beliefs is that we will always be a Christian organization. We need to work on legislation, we need to work on policies and administrative rules that protect the religious freedom of faith-based organizations like Bethany." Hiring practices could be next in line after campus access issues, says Blacquiere. "Some of the attempts that are going on in society and with our government would be to limit the proclamation of the Gospel and what it really means to be a Christian organization." None of this happened overnight. Ordinances passed with little opposition. By the time it gets to laws involving bigger Constitutional issues, it'll be too late.

Bill Blacquiere (Photo courtesy Bethany Christian Services)

Fortunately, says Blacquiere, there are still religious freedom advocates who are narrowly focused on the United States' issues. "The good news is that I think there are still a lot of individuals who hold office who want to protect religious freedom. The concern would be that people would try limiting Bethany's practice in how we do adoption, how we do foster care, how we carry out our ministry." And stay alert. "Pray for the church body that we would have wisdom in how we deal with these challenges to carrying out our faith and proclaiming our faith."
Categories: Mission Network News

Fear was present, faith was stronger

Mission Network News - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 5:00am
Iran (MNN/SAT7) -- Iran is #9 on the Open Doors World Watch List, a list of the 50 worst persecutors of Christians. Seeking out God or spreading the gospel in Iran can lead to imprisonment or other serious consequences. And though fear was present, a stranger slipped a note to a young Iranian woman on the bus. This note explained to the woman what the Gospel was and how she could accept Christ. The Iranian woman we’ll call "Sara" disregarded the note for eight years, until a TV channel caught her eye. SAT-7, a Christian satellite television ministry to the Middle East and North Africa, reminded her of the note she received many years ago. Compelled, she called the phone number displayed on the screen and was able to receive information from a SAT-7 counselor. She learned more about the Gospel and how to connect with Christians near her. Sara was even blessed to find a house church nearby to attend. In Sara’s case, she is quite fortunate to have found a house church. Small groups usually meet together in private, but they’re hard to find and slow to grow due to fears of raids and imprisonment. Often those who seek out fellowship with other Christians cannot attend church since churches have even been pressured to ban Farsi-speaking Christians from services. Identification is even required before entering. With SAT-7 PARS, God has provided a way for Farsi-speaking Christians to learn more about Him and His Word. The ministry is broadcasted in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan, offering engaging and biblically-sound programming options that help to present Christ and strengthen those with Christian faith. SAT-7 PARS also offers programs to inspire individual Christians as well as programs for children who can watch from the safety of their own homes. 
It is providing much-needed answers to life’s greatest questions each and every day for people who cannot learn biblical truths in almost any other way. SAT-7 is completely donor-funded. If you would like to make a donation, click here. Your gift of $10 supports 10 viewers for 1 year! Pray that the Farsi-speaking Christians would find ways to connect with other Christians and that they would grow in their faith.
Categories: Mission Network News

Women in Leadership: Part Two

Mission Network News - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 5:00am

(Photo credit UN Women)

International (MNN) -- In Part Two of our series about women in leadership, MNN is going "straight to the source." As women in roles of leadership themselves, Kӓrin Primuth  of Asian Access and Wendy Wilson with Missio Nexus have a lot to say on the subject. In this article, Kӓrin and Wendy explore the "pros and cons" surrounding the issue of women in leadership. Women in Leadership: "Pros" As the CEO of visionSynergy and the only woman on the Asian Access Board of Directors, Kӓrin Primuth has plenty of first-hand experience to share. Primuth says she has "naturally gravitated" toward positions of responsibility throughout her life. "I was very fortunate to not really have gender be an issue in my 'growing up' years, so I never felt like being a woman was a barrier or prevented me from stepping into opportunities for leadership," Primuth states. "I think for many who move [to positions of leadership], especially within a Christian ministry or mission context, they aren't necessarily aspiring to a role like that. It's often a fairly 'meandering' journey, and eventually they may be asked into a position because their leadership gifts have been recognized. I know that's certainly been the case for me."

(Photo courtesy Steve Wilson via Flickr)

Women in leadership positions are often called "career-minded," and it can be assumed that female leaders prioritize work over family responsibilities. Stepping away from work to start a family is sometimes seen as a "deal-breaker" for young women in leadership. "We can tend to see those years at home with our kids as a barrier to progress," Wilson observes. But for Primuth, it's more about life seasons than making an either/or decision. Becoming a "stay-at-home mom" didn't mean she stopped being a leader; rather, opportunity took on a different shape. "I continued to build a lot of skills in those years, even as a young mom. I didn't feel like I had to step out [away from]…leadership development opportunities," Primuth says. Volunteering in her church and community helped Primuth learn how to organize events, lead diverse people groups, and it equipped her for public speaking. "I think that's one thing I would encourage women who have a sense of giftedness in providing leadership: continue to nurture those skills and abilities, even if [it means stepping out] of formal roles of responsibilities." Women in Leadership: "Cons" The advantages and disadvantages of placing women in leadership roles may differ for each organization, family, and individual. But as Wendy Wilson shares, more and more mission agencies are looking for women leaders. "Missio Nexus [desires] to help more agencies steward well the gifts of their women," Wilson says. "Part of my role is to help them figure out ways to do that." Wilson shares three obstacles she often encounters when helping ministries develop women leaders:
  • Traditional/cultural barriers
  • Structural barriers
  • Personal barriers

(Image courtesy RHM/OEW)

In the full interview, Wilson describes each barrier and how Missio Nexus helps ministries and individuals overcome them. "If we can think through those, probably a lot of barriers would kind of 'dissolve,'" she shares. When barriers come down and women start to develop their leadership skills, "They begin to gain more confidence and vision for how they can serve, and other people notice what they're doing and how they're able to serve." Women in Leadership and you This series isn't limited to women or people in leadership. However God has shaped you, and wherever He has placed you, you can respond to this story by taking action.

(Image courtesy Bethany)

First of all, pray for women in leadership positions around the world. Ask the Lord to help women realize their gifts and become the people He's designed them to be. Secondly, if you do happen to be a woman, ask the Lord if He's designed you to be a leader. "If you are drawn to be in a role to provide leadership, in some kind of context, look for ways to see how God would open the door for you to be able to use those gifts," Primuth advises. Tomorrow, Kӓrin and Wendy share the spiritual impact and opportunities surrounding the topic of women in leadership. Read Women in Leadership: Part One here.
Categories: Mission Network News

App gives global access to Bible stories and translation

Mission Network News - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 5:00am

(Image by Wycliffe Associates)

International (WAS)—Wycliffe Associates, a global organization that empowers national Bible translators around the world, has launched a new, free app that makes Bible stories accessible to smartphone users worldwide. Called translationStudio, the Android operating system app is available for download on Google Play . “God’s Word in every language took a giant step toward reality as our translationStudio app was released for free download in the Google Play store,” says Bruce Smith, president and CEO of Wycliffe Associates. “This is just the beginning of developing a tool that puts Bible translation within the reach of Christians worldwide.” Earlier this year, Wycliffe Associates tested the beta version of the app with translation teams working in some of the most difficult and dangerous regions of the world for Christians. Their feedback has been incorporated into the current release. The translationStudio app features “Open Bible Stories,” a set of 50 fully-illustrated Bible stories. Open Bible Stories has been released under Creative Commons’ Attribution Share-Alike licensing, which allows translation into any language, anywhere, at any time, and by anyone--without copyright limitations.

(Photo courtesy of Wycliffe Associates)

Open Bible Stories currently includes a collection of 21 Old Testament stories and 29 New Testament stories, and provides a chronological overview of God’s relationship with humanity, from creation to redemption. “In the coming months, we will have Open Bible Stories loaded in at least 50 gateway languages, enabling people who are bilingual in any of these languages to begin translating these Bible stories into their own language,” says Smith. “Once local translators have completed the Open Bible Stories, they can easily make the transition into a full Bible translation program. The Open Bible Stories method actually fits perfectly into the culture of many language groups that have a tradition of storytelling handed down through generations.” The Resource section of the app provides information on key terms and how to overcome translation challenges, intended to assist local translators in creating translations that are clear, natural, and accurate. In addition, collaboration tools enable any number of people to work together, online or offline, to draft and revise their work for the best possible result. “We are also working to load English source text for the entire Old and New Testament that will be licensed to allow immediate translation into any language, without copyright limitations,” says Smith. “All of this is available at no cost to the local church or their translators.” The digital format enables the Scriptures to be published immediately and at very low cost through the Internet or by sharing memory cards. “This project is not finished. It is really just beginning,” says Smith. “We need technicians, app developers, trainers, and Bible scholars to share in maximizing the benefit of these resources to the global church. We need financial partners to include this strategy in their stewardship priorities as a blessing to the world. We need partners to lift this up in prayer, seeking God’s continuing wisdom and guidance for everyone involved.” If you fit one of these descriptions and want to help, contact Wycliffe Associates here. Pray that God will open the right doors and lead the right workers to help with this project. About Wycliffe Associates:  Organized in 1967 by friends of Bible translators, Wycliffe Associates is a ministry that participates in Bible translation worldwide. Because millions of people around the world still wait to read the Scriptures in the language of their heart, Wycliffe Associates is working as quickly as it can to see every verse of God’s Word translated into every tongue to speak to every heart. Wycliffe Associate empowers national Bible translators to provide God’s Word in their own language; partners with the local church to direct and guard translation work, harnessing their passion and desire for God’s Word; and engages people from all around the world to provide resources, technology, training, and support for Bible translation. Last year alone, 3,145 Wycliffe Associates team members worked to speed Bible translations in 71 different countries.
Categories: Mission Network News

Leadership training in China: reaching youth through small groups

Mission Network News - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy of China Partner)

China (MNN) -- A lot is happening for the Church in China. Make sure you're not missing it. In China, house churches are often not legally registered as the government demands of them. These churches are small and imitate the house churches described in Acts. They provide a place of intimate community and solid discipleship. The problem is: they do not have a lot of freedom to operate. China Partner comes alongside the registered Church in China to support them. Working with the Church that's recognized by the government gives them more freedom to operate as a foreign entity. Erik Burklin says China Partner starts with the leaders. "We're equipping especially lay pastors and volunteer church leaders--those who are actually doing the ministry of local churches, many of them who come from rural churches." China Partner is on the ground right now in Fuzho, the capital of the Fujian province. On this trip they will visit two more provinces. The pastors from various churches are invited to a training center where they are taught Christian leadership through spiritual formation. At the training center this time, Burklin says there are some new topics being covered: "This is very exciting. We are starting to focus more on some of the more of the practical issues of the pastoral leadership. One of them is marriage and family." Burklin explains that lay and volunteer pastors in China are too often expected to be in "ministry mode" at all times, ready to address the many needs of the congregation at any moment. Meanwhile, they have to work a job or run a business on the side in order to provide for their family. Part of the training will address what boundaries are appropriate to set up, and how to keep them so that the pastors can take care of their family. "The other thing that we're concentrating on is youth ministry training. The way we're doing that is through some much-needed small group ministry training, just helping them to understand the principles of how small groups can actually help build community amongst one another. Therefore, in a smaller group setting, they have a little bit of a better way to also reach the next generation for Christ," Burklin says. Burklin explains that these small groups are really no different from house churches except that the government doesn't interfere with them. "House churches are really small groups meeting in a home," he says. Small groups are becoming more and more necessary for registered churches as they grow rapidly. "Within the registered churches there is really a tremendous need of teaching them how to operate in a small group ministry setting because so many of these churches are huge," Burklin says. "Many people have come to faith over the last few years, but now the big challenge is: 'Okay, how do we train these new believers? How do we disciple them, how do we equip them?' A small group ministry model is very helpful" for that context. While this small group setting can reap some of the same benefits as the house churches do, they also have another advantage. Registered churches in China often have a good relationship with the government, depending on the location. Burklin says there is an extreme mutual respect. While the churches don't agree with all aspects of the government, they are respecting the leadership that God has put into place without compromising their morals. And sometimes, churches even use their relationship to witness to government officials. As pastors come to seek this valuable training, there are many things you can do to help. Most importantly, you can pray. Burklin says, "Pray for their spiritual health and also their families. They have tremendous pressure put on them to...be ministers 24/7." Here are some other ways to get involved. For more background on China Partner, check out these stories.
Categories: Mission Network News

Sabbath or Die? Church Planters Talk the Importance of Godly Rest at Leadership Conference

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 3:30pm
The founder of New Life Fellowship Church in Queens, New York, Pastor Pete Scazzaro said he knew that an 80-hour work week with no rest was one of the issues holding his church back, in the past, from experiencing change for the better.
Categories: Christian Post

Bean faces more charges

WGRC News - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 1:53pm

An area man, already jailed on burglary and rape charges was arraigned on several more counts stemming from 15 burglaries across our area in which he allegedly stole more than $80,000 dollars’worth of jewelry and other items. David Bean is accused of breaking into homes in several townships across Lycoming County from December of 2012 into early last November when he was arrested for the burglary of a Loyalsock Township home as well as sexual assaults. He’s locked up on $500,000 dollars bail.

Categories: Local News

Turn back clocks this weekend

WGRC News - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 1:52pm

Remember 2am this Sunday morning is the day to turn back the clocks an hour when daylight saving time ends for the year. As we go through our homes and change the clocks we should also make this the time to replace the batteries in our smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. The chance of surviving a fire significantly increases when you have a working smoke alarm. In addition to replacing the batteries, you should also prepare and practice having a family fire escape plan.

Categories: Local News

More and More Like Him

Christian Post - Living - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 12:54pm
When two people have been married for a while, they start becoming like each other. This has happened with my wife and me. We know each other so well that I can start a sentence, and she can finish it. She knows what I'm thinking, even when I'm not saying it. I'm just amazed at her intuition. Having been married for more than three decades now, we've spent a long time together. This is even more the case when we have been spending time with Jesus Christ.
Categories: Christian Post

Fire does major damage to home

WGRC News - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 12:10pm

A family lost everything when a fire did major damage to a mobile home at 357 Astro Village North in Milton. The Daily Item says the fire broke out on Tuesday afternoon. Officials say it was an electrical fire that started when a wire underneath a kitchen counter near the refrigerator overheated. A family of five lives there. No one was hurt.

Categories: Local News