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A few years ago, my son was killed in a motorcycle accident. I took a week off from work but then had to go back. It was all I could do to keep myself together during the months after his death and the hour drive each way for work was unbearable at times. I always kept WGRC on the radio and would focus on the message in the music and the scriptures that were shared which many times felt like they were directed at me at the time I needed it most. (Williamsport)

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More American Christians Prefer Traditional Values and Identify as Conservative Rather Than Liberal

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 5:38pm
Despite the culture wars over issues like homosexuality and the constant barrage of messages in mainstream media declaring conservative values outmoded, research shows more American Christians prefer traditional values and identify as conservative rather than liberal.
Categories: Christian Post

Loretta Lynch confirmation

WGRC News - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 2:14pm

Loretta Lynch is headed to the Justice Department. The Senate confirmed her nomination yesterday. Lynch is a veteran federal prosecutor from New York and will be the first African-American woman to head the Justice Department.

Categories: Local News

Road construction

WGRC News - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 2:13pm

The weather this past week did not cooperate for workers looking to repair Route 11 in the borough of Northumberland. The work will now begin next Monday April 27th. A maintenance crews will repair the roadway from the White Bridge spanning the Susquehanna River to the railroad underpass and traffic will be restricted from 8:30am to 2pm each day during the two day project. Motorists on that busy roadway should expect delays or seek alternate routes.

Categories: Local News

PA Public assistance bill

WGRC News - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 2:12pm

A bill is currently being considered by a state house committee which would make it illegal for person receiving cash assistance from the state to purchase tobacco products. The house bill would prohibit those on public assistance and who use the EBT Access card from buying any tobacco products. They would also not be able to use the card for cash withdraws and casinos and bars. State lawmakers in favor of the bill say the legislation would make it fairer for taxpayers who foot the bill for public assistance. As it stands now, the card holders can use it for cash withdrawals for whatever they want.

Categories: Local News

Saint or 'Brutal Colonizer' of Native Americans? Catholics Debate Canonization of 'Flawed but Heroic' 18th Century Franciscan Friar Junipero Serra

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 1:31pm
Roman Catholic clergy discussed at a panel earlier this week the upcoming canonization of 18th century Franciscan Friar Junipero Serra, with some of the panelists arguing that his depiction as a "brutal colonizer" by Native Americans should not discount the good work that he did.
Categories: Christian Post

CRI has a new distribution strategy

Mission Network News - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 5:00am
International (MNN) -- There are thousands of people coming to Christ each month worldwide. This is especially true in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. It's a great blessing to watch new Christians craving God's Word and truth from other Christians. Unfortunately, in many nations, Christian resources such as Bibles and books are not always accessible. If they are, people can't always afford them, as average salaries in some of these regions are about $140 a month. A new Bible can sometimes be a significant part of their monthly salary. That means many pastors go without. Christian Resources International is addressing this problem, especially in nations where English is widely spoken. They take gently-used Bibles and Christian books and send them to those in need. CRI is doing this even more effectively through national distribution centers. "We have our first-ever CRI distribution center in Nigeria--in Lagos. We also have a distribution center--that's our latest plant--in the Philippines, about four hours north of Manila in Dagupan." Woolford says Nigeria is especially strategic. "People in that nation and even neighboring countries are getting God's Word from that distribution center for absolutely free. Even the Word of God is going into Jos," which is where the terrorist group Boko Haram has been active. You can provide even more resources to these countries with your donation of used Bibles and Christian books. If this doesn't work for you, you can become a Book Missionary. $20 a month can provide 240 books to pastors and new Christians in many countries around the world. Click here to find out how to donate Bibles and books or to provide shipping costs.
Categories: Mission Network News

Orphans supported, advocates honored

Mission Network News - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Orphan Outreach)

USA (MNN) -- The results are in! More than $110,000 was raised through Orphan Outreach's second annual Children's Hope Dinner. "That translates to real work with these orphans: leading them to Christ, letting them know about the Gospel," says Orphan Outreach Director of Marketing and Development, Tiffany Taylor. Supporting orphans

Nishant needs a sponsor!
(Photo courtesy Orphan Outreach)

Each ticket purchased for this event provides six vulnerable children a month's worth of vital resources. Orphan Outreach is improving the lives of orphans and at-risk kids in seven countries: India, Latvia, Kenya, Guatemala, Russia, Honduras, and the United States. By sponsoring mission trips, programs, funding, and partnerships, Orphan Outreach prevents at-risk children from becoming another of the many victims throughout the world. Through their child sponsorship program, Orphan Outreach provides for needs like tuition, food, clothing, and most importantly, Christian discipleship. "Caring for orphans is so close to God's heart. He says it again and again in the Old Testament, and the New Testament," says Taylor. Supporting orphans isn't the only goal of the Children's Hope Dinner. Honoring advocates Taylor explains, "At the Children's Hope Dinner, we honor some people that have really made an impact to the world's orphans." Last week's record-breaking crowd applauded the selfless efforts of five doctors and a business woman as Orphan Outreach awarded them the 2015 Champion of Hope Award and 2015 Children's Hope Award, respectively. Dr. Carlos Barcelo, Dr. Jorge Corona, Dr. Shai Rozen, Dr. Timothy Trone, and Dr. William R. Trawnik provided life-changing facial reconstructive surgery for Gersi Ordonez, an orphan from Guatemala. Their story is currently being chronicled on Univision.

Cindy Brinker Simmons received the 2015 Children's Hope Award.
(Photo courtesy Orphan Outreach)

The recipient of the 2015 Children's Hope Award, Cindy Brinker Simmons, also delivered a speech at the event. “There are children from all corners of the world waiting for someone to give them hope,” said Brinker Simmons. She and her son sponsor more than 18 orphans and vulnerable children through Orphan Outreach, and consider them to be "part of their family." “Love is a powerful tool. For those children who feel unwanted and unvalued, sponsorship lets them know they are worthy to be loved. It transforms their lives and the lives of the sponsor.” Also recognized at the Children's Hope Dinner was country music star and children's advocate Jimmy Wayne. He shared his personal testimony and also spoke about his recent visit to Guatemala with Orphan Outreach. Watch the music video here. "[It] was just an amazing testimony to hear: that you can make a difference for these children," notes Taylor.

Jimmy Wayne speaking at the 2015 Children's Hope Dinner.
(Photo courtesy Orphan Outreach)

At 9 years old, Wayne's family forced him to live in the streets. He grew up in the U.S. foster care system until he was eventually taken in by an elderly couple who introduced him to Christ. Wayne's experiences have made him a passionate advocate and valuable partner of Orphan Outreach. "The pain I felt growing up homeless pales in comparison to what I saw in Guatemala," Wayne said at the Children's Hope Dinner. "Growing up as I did, I am very careful with where I donate my money. I feel confident that your donations to Orphan Outreach are going to make a huge difference in the lives of these children." Learn more about the ways YOU can partner with Orphan Outreach here. "We've had many of your listeners come along and join us on mission trips; that's a huge blessing," Taylor shares.
Categories: Mission Network News

Friends instrumental in transformation

Mission Network News - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Mission Eurasia)

Central Asia (Mission Eurasia/MNN) -- Who you spend time with has an impact on who you become. This could have either a positive or negative outcome. Fortunately, for one boy who attended Mission Eurasia’s School Without Walls program, it was an incredible transformation. Growing up, Marat’s family members were moderate Muslims from a region in Central Asia where radical Islam has been rapidly growing. However, his family never sat still. He said, “My mother does not have a permanent job, but frequently travels to Russia to earn money. My father does car repairs and also occasionally travels to Russia to work, so I grew up not seeing my parents very often.” Since the constant moving took over much of his life, Marat had to drop out of school after the 7th grade. “Now I work odd jobs and help my father with car repairs, which I enjoy a lot,” he said. About a year ago, his quiet life flipped upside down. “I started hanging out with a friend who’s a Christian. He invited me one day to hang out with the youth from his church in a park. I reluctantly agreed, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that they accepted me into their group as if they had known me for a long time.” After spending more time with these newfound friends, they began to tell Marat more about the Gospel and Jesus. Eventually, Marat believed in Christ, and his life took another unexpected turn. They invited him to the Mission Eurasia School Without Walls program. This program helps to educate and train people, while also teaching the Gospel. It has helped over 2,500 people in 13 countries. Marat said, “One of the first sessions I attended was on spiritual gifts, and I discovered that my spiritual gift is evangelism.” Since then, he has been digging deeper into the Word of God, sharing the truth with other friends, and helping children’s and youth ministry. He hopes to continue his education, learn guitar, and discovery how he can further serve God using his gifts. School Without Walls introduces kids like Marat to the transforming power of the Gospel everyday, and they could use your help to do it. Click here to help!
Categories: Mission Network News

Syrian refugees: where will they go?

Mission Network News - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy IMB)

Syria (MNN) -- Syrian refugees are back in the headlines as Europe struggles to deal with its Mediterranean migrant crisis. Shipwrecks have killed nearly 1,800 migrants so far this year; many were Syrian refugees. According to the International Organization for Migration, that number is 30 times higher than last year over the same period of time. Yet amid the ongoing trauma, an International Mission Board (IMB) strategist says doors are opening like never before. “The worst humanitarian crisis of our day is opening doors among peoples we have never had access to before,” IMB strategy leader James Keath* told the Baptist Press (BP). “We are finding not just broken lives but open hearts.” Broken lives

Syrian children march in the refugee camp in Jordan.
(Photo © 2013 IMB / IMB file photo)

Syrian refugees are currently the world’s largest displaced population. Approximately 12.2 million Syrians have been displaced, either by the civil war or ISIS. Some 7.6 million are still within Syria’s borders, while nearly 4 million have fled to neighboring countries. As more of those host countries “close their doors” to Syrian refugees, despite migrants flee to Europe. Despite the great need, many agencies have noted a steep decline in the financial support of Syrian refugee relief and development projects. It seems “compassion fatigue” is setting in--a gradual lessening of sympathy for tragedy and suffering over time. In March, Jeff Palmer, Executive Director for Baptist Global Relief (BGR), shared how to combat compassion fatigue by taking a new look at the Syrian refugee crisis. Some believers are fighting compassion fatigue and persevering in faith. BP reports continued support for Syrian refugees from U.S. Southern Baptists through BGR.

(Photo courtesy BGR)

“I just really felt a burden that the folks in Iraq and Syria--those persecuted Christians and minorities--needed food and water and shelter and medical care more than we needed our building, even though we do need our building,” Pastor Curtis Pace told BP. Pastor Pace shepherds the New Bethel Baptist Church in Philadelphia, Mississippi. Last fall, church members sent their Sunday morning offerings to support BGR’s Syrian Refugee Project. BGR partners are providing food parcels, hygiene kits, and the hope of Christ to families in need. Normally, the collection would’ve been used to fund New Bethel’s building project. Open Hearts With financial support from churches like New Bethel, and individual Christians, Syrian pastors are able to continue their ministry to internally-displaced people. “I am staying…I am staying for the church, to keep the message of Jesus as a light for the lost and frightened. [And] I am staying because the harvest is plentiful,” one Baptist pastor told BP.

(Photo courtesy IMB)

In this article, *Pastor Ziyad shares how the Lord is working through Syria’s crisis to bring people to His side. Another Christian worker in the Middle East tells BP, “We have a God-given moment in history. Will we be cowards and shrink back, or will we play the role that God is calling us to? I pray that you [the church] will stand with us as we respond to this window of opportunity that we have been privileged to be a part of.” Find out how you can help Syrian refugees through BGR. * Name changed for security
Categories: Mission Network News

Confusion surrounds cover-up in Pakistan persecution story

Mission Network News - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 5:00am

"Fodor" suffered burns on 55% of his body.
(Photo courtesy of Forgotten Missionaries International)

Pakistan (MNN) -- On April 14, MNN released a story about persecution of Christians in Pakistan, in which two boys from Lahore were lit on fire, allegedly for their faith. Immediately, conflicting reports surfaced, and as time passed, the confusion only got worse. World Watch Monitor covered the story on April 17 with additional details of a family dispute, allegations of a cover-up, and more. The backstory: 14-year-old Nauman Masih, a Christian boy, was first reported to have been doused with gasoline and set on fire because of his faith. Family members filed a police report, according to the World Watch Monitor account, and authorities promised quick action. However, he died on April 14th in Lahore, Pakistan. Conflicting reports then emerged. Bruce Allen with Forgotten Missionaries International has been working with the FMI national director on the ground in Pakistan to get to the bottom of the issue. "There seems to have been a bit of a cover-up of who really was behind this attack: was it random, or was it perpetrated by someone else?"

(Photo courtesy World Watch Monitor)

The Express Tribune reported that the investigating officer said the statement was actually filed by Masih’s paternal grandfather, who accused an uncle and his wife of “ordering the attack” due to a land ownership question. Then, authorities attacked the veracity of the persecution aspect, despite Nauman's deathbed statement, Allen says. He goes on to provide some new information, as shared by their Pakistani contact. "Some people are saying that it was relatives who were trying to land grab. I checked with our contacts in Pakistan, and our national director said, 'This is a 14-year old boy. He can't OWN land.'" He also questions the sudden care taken by officials when Masih was first brought to the hospital. If that were true, he would have been moved to a better hospital equipped to care for the severity of Masih's burns. Then, there's this other issue: "We also found out that a lot of the employees of this hospital were on strike at the time. So, putting together a special medical team, it could be that, in reality, all they were doing was to find people to care for this boy because of the strike."

(Photo courtesy World Watch Monitor)

No one seems to be questioning the attack itself, just the reasons behind it. The situation remains fluid, and new information is coming in. However, Allen stands by the integrity of the story they first shared. Nauman Masih was attacked for his faith and died as a result of his injuries. Christians, as the minority population, are concerned about the lack of protection, security, and justice afforded them. Tensions since the Peshawar school attack have been on a knife's edge. Allen says, "The majority population is in charge of anything that is going to deal with legal issues, civil issues, and Christians are feeling very disenfranchised right now. They don't know who to trust. They're really looking for 'who will help us in these situations?'" Over recent months, Allen and others working with the Pakistani Church have shared their concerns over the rise in targeted violence. They're either greeted with a blank stare or the question, "What can I do about it?" On the first, Allen reminds us, "The apostle John says, 'If you see your brother in need, but you don't help, how can you say the love of God dwells in you?' You say you love a God who is invisible, but then you don't take care of the brothers and sisters who are visible to you; that doesn't make sense. It would call into question the validity of that type of Christianity." (1 John 3:17-18 and 4:11-12) On the second, Allen says, "We do have a responsibility to them to pray for them, to provide them with the resources so that they know God's Word better for assurance during these difficult times, as well as so that they know what God's instructions are when you are oppressed by an enemy." Explore the work of Forgotten Missionaries International. Pray about your involvement, then do something about it. Click here to start your journey.
Categories: Mission Network News

Be a Friend

Christian Post - Living - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 3:19pm
Somewhere along the line, we have separated evangelism from discipleship. We preach the gospel, but we don't disciple. We don't get people on their feet spiritually. But the two go together.
Categories: Christian Post

Watch 5,000 Years of Religious History in 90 Seconds to See the Amazing Impact of Christian Missions

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 9:45am
An animation map showing 5,000 years of religious history in 90 seconds shows the effect of Christian missions on the spread of Christianity.
Categories: Christian Post

Yemen crisis fails to stop evangelism

Mission Network News - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 5:00am

Yemen is located on the southern region of the
Arabian peninsula.

Yemen (MNN) -- If you’re wondering what’s going on with the Yemen crisis, you’re not the only one. On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia announced an end to its four-week air raids, better known as “Operation Decisive Storm.” The Saudis said they were shifting focus to “Operation Renewal of Hope” – an initiative aimed at bringing peace to the region by political means. Yesterday, less than 24 hours after the Sunni kingdom declared an end of its military aggression, Saudi airstrikes began again. At press time, it remained unclear if these strikes were a continuation of Operation Decisive Storm, or a new initiative. According to the Assessment Capacities Project (ACAPS), the Yemen crisis has worsened significantly since March 23. The escalation has displaced 150,000 people, adding to the existing humanitarian needs of 15.9 million Yemenis. Much of daily life “has come to a standstill” in some regions, reports Open Doors USA. It plods on in other areas, but with heightened fear and uncertainty. And yet, despite Yemen’s ongoing turmoil and risk, believers are boldly sharing the hope of Christ.

(Photo courtesy Open Doors USA)

Christians are meeting for mutual encouragement, as well as reaching out to the surrounding communities. Pray that Christ’s peace and hope would be evident among these believers as they share His Truth with their neighbors. Following Christ comes at a price in Yemen; Yemenis who leave Islam may face the death penalty. Ranked at #14 on the Open Doors World Watch List, Islamic extremism and tribal antagonism are the two primary sources of persecution in the Arab nation. Prayer Needed Lots of prayer is needed for the Yemen crisis. The wider Shia-Sunni Muslim battle taking place on Yemen soil between Saudi Arabia and Iran poses a wide-ranging threat to religious minorities.

(Photo courtesy Open Doors USA)

On their Web site, Open Doors shares the following prayer requests:
  • Praise God that national and international believers have not been paralyzed by fear, but have remained active.
  • Pray that they will remain active, taking advantage of open doors to share their hope in Jesus.
  • Pray that the believers will continue to experience fellowship and grow even more unified.
  • Please pray for the people in Yemen that in the midst of this uncertainty, God will speak to them in visions and dreams, showing them that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and Life.
  • Pray that through this disruptive time, the seeds of the Gospel will be scattered. Pray that those seeds will land in ready-made soil in the hearts of those who don't know Jesus yet.
  • Pray that believers are able to follow up with these seeds and show Christ's love to the people around them.
You can change the lives of persecuted Christians in Yemen and around the world by meeting their greatest needs. Click here to learn how.
Categories: Mission Network News

Kachin state turmoil calling for creative aid

Mission Network News - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy of Partners Relief and Development)

Myanmar (MNN) -- Human trafficking abounds with poverty and violence. This is certainly true in Kachin refugee camps in Northern Myanmar as a result of fighting that "broke out in Kachin state in June 2011, and that broke a 17-year ceasefire. The Burma army attacked the Kachin army," explains a team member working with Partners Relief and Development. "That has meant that many villagers have had to flee for their lives and run to camps that are along the border with China." He says Kachin state's rich resources are at the heart of the conflict. Once again, the desire for money has drawn out heavy violence in men. Long-term conflict means creative, long-term aid After the initial breakout of violence, Partners focused on relief efforts among the Kachin people. More recently, however, they have expanded their focus. The team member says, "We were involved in rescuing four girls over the last year through the group that we're involved with." These girls are especially vulnerable to traffickers because in the Internally Displaced People camps, the men are often absent because they are off fighting and families struggle to survive. Partners is still doing some of the relief work they started in 2011, but they've more recently partnered with a local Kachin organization to set up a community support network system. The Kachin, who are 90% Christian, are encouraged through this network to live out Mark 12:31 -- the command Jesus gives to "love your neighbor as yourself." "It's a network throughout the camp of volunteers who look out for those that are struggling and those that need help. And then they help to coordinate the community to be able to provide some practical help for those people," the team member says. The biggest needs The team member says the IDPs struggle most with getting adequate healthcare. Partners helps connect them with clinics and also aids families with loved ones in the hospital. They also speak to families dealing with domestic violence or assist in more practical everyday tasks like collecting firewood or providing basic supplies for new arrivals. They are also working on integrating preventative practices to protect people from being trafficked. There have been reports of increased violence in some parts of Myanmar. The team member says it's hard to tell. "It is just continual fighting, really. It's just this ongoing conflict that keeps on going and going without any end in sight, really. That's really hard, especially, for those that are stuck in IDP camps and have nowhere to go." He says many are without hope that the war will ever end. So where do they find hope? "Many of them are Christian, and a lot of them definitely turn to God to look for in these times of need. I think that gives them a lot of strength. And the pastors in the churches are very involved in the community," the Partners team member says. "But it is also very depressing for them, and that's why we see some of these things happening like some of the domestic violence and some of the trafficking and some of these social problems occurring: it's because it can be very difficult for people." Through this new community-support network, Partners hopes to encourage the IDPs to give back to their community, giving them and their community hope. You can help. "Prayer is really important," the team member says. "Whenever I go...I tell [the IDPs] that people in other countries are praying for them, and that really encourages them." Pray specifically for peace and for the people to be able to go back home. Pray also that in their current situation, they would know God's love and trust and hope in Him. You can also encourage your local government to draw attention to what is happening in Myanmar.
Categories: Mission Network News

Thousands need Bibles, you can help

Mission Network News - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 5:00am

Christian Resources International needs
financial supporters to help ship donated Bibles
and Christian books all over the world. (Photo by CRI)

USA (MNN) -- This week, we've highlighted the value of used Bibles and Christian books for resourcing pastors and church leaders in other countries.  While some people have an abundance of unused books they can donate, others may not be ready to part with their Christian literature. That's okay. You can get involved with Christian Resources International in another way. You can actually send Scriptures to the far corners of the world without leaving your home and without emptying your bookshelves. How? Funding is needed to ship the donated Christian resources from the CRI office in Michigan to the uttermost parts of the earth. President of CRI Jason Woolford says this is where you come in. "We call the folks who are a part of this ministry, Book Missionaries. They're having the ability to make an eternal difference in other parts of the world." How much is needed to ship the books? "It usually works out to about $1 a book," says Woolford. As a Book Missionary, you can send 20 books each month for $20. That's 240 books a year that are sent to areas of the world where Christians don't have ready-access to God's Word--places like Nigeria, Philippines, India, and Africa. There's also an opportunity to make an even greater impact by shipping a full container of books for $10,000. "Each container has the ability to reach anywhere from 25,000 to 30,000 people with Bibles or with a Christian books. The average person that has a book [will share it with] 20 other people." This would actually make a great project for a church or Christian school. If you'd like to become a Book Missionary or a sponsor of an entire container of books, click here.
Categories: Mission Network News

Passing the baton at Missio Nexus

Mission Network News - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Missio Nexus)

North America (Missio Nexus) – [Editor’s Note: The following is a press release from Missio Nexus concerning a big change coming this June.] Missio Nexus is pleased to announce that Dr. Ted Esler has been appointed as the network’s new president and CEO, effective June 1, 2015. “After an extensive search, we are grateful that God led us to select Ted Esler,” said Warren Janzen, board chair of Missio Nexus and international director of SEND International. “Not only is he a creative and critical thinker, he’s got a passion for the gospel and for local churches around the world. As a fellow mission leader, I appreciate that he has the track record to match what we need for the next season of Missio Nexus.” Esler brings a combination of leadership, mission, and business experience from 15 years in executive roles with Pioneers USA and Pioneers Canada--both of which are longstanding agency members of Missio Nexus. Esler also previously served as a church planter in the Balkans and a software entrepreneur and consultant in the United States. “I am energized by the opportunity to contribute more significantly in the broader North American mission movement,” said Esler. “As a network, Missio Nexus can tap into the flow of people and ideas across traditional borders which are changing how we serve together in the missionary task. We’re living in a new generation that gives new hope to the Great Commission, particularly in its ability to think, act, and be multicultural.” Esler earned a PhD in intercultural studies from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, and a master’s degree in theological studies from Heritage Theological Seminary in Cambridge, Ontario. He authored the book, Overwhelming Minority, about his family’s ministry in the Balkans, following the end of the Yugoslav civil wars. Esler succeeds Steve Moore, who has served Missio Nexus since 2006 and who announced last year that he would resign this June to return to ministry focused on developing young leaders. Moore said: “I couldn’t be more enthusiastic about passing the baton to Ted. He is a top-notch leader, and I have every confidence in his ability to strengthen the Great Commission influence of Missio Nexus.”
Categories: Mission Network News

Ukraine truce on the brink of failure

Mission Network News - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Slavic Gospel Association/CEF in action)

Ukraine (MNN) -- Ukraine's ceasefire remains on the books in name only. Heavy fighting between pro-Russian and Ukrainian forces continues in Mariupol, which includes a fierce struggle for the Donetsk Oblast. Fighting continues and the urgent needs of the people remain, even as winter will shortly give way to spring. Bret Laird with Slavic Gospel Association was in Mariupol on Monday. He says aside from the concern over a return to full-scale conflict, "Both sides are reporting that a major looming crisis is coming, because there's not going to be a harvest this year. As you know, Ukraine is a very heavily agricultural economy. Most common folks depend on the food products that they raise in their gardens and on small farms to sustain themselves." The coming food shortage is barely making a blip in the headlines. Laird says, "Unfortunately, a lot of the land in the eastern part of Ukraine has unexploded mines or ordnance on it, so people are afraid to plant their fields." He says in one area he visited, one farmer braved the risk and tried to plow his field. He hit a landmine and died. The result: nobody else is trying to plant. With no crops, "A couple of pastors from the separatist-controlled side came out to try to receive some humanitarian aid (food products and other things) collected by the Ukrainian churches," says Laird. Then, "as they tried to take that back to the villages that really need the help, they were stopped at check points and the aid was not allowed to go through." What it means is there's a whole area that is cut off from the international community. The only real way to get aid in there is to provide financial aid, he adds.

(Photo courtesy SGA)

Sending money poses a whole other set of problems if you don't have a trusted network in place to distribute funds. However, Laird notes, "We're really grateful for these local church pastors that are risking their lives every day to take aid around to these villages. They know the needs, they do need evaluations, give us lists of families that have the need." Churches in strategic locations serve as staging venues for food distribution to the needy regions. They are asking for help. SGA’s Crisis Evangelism Fund helps local pastors who have few resources and enables their churches to distribute vitally important food aid, as well as Bibles, Christian literature, and other essentials. "As we are able, we raise funds and provide the financial support that enables them to purchase the needed products locally," says Laird. "Unfortunately, the prices inside the conflict zone are very inflationary, and so it's very difficult for the folks there." Financial aid, he goes on to explain, allows churches to purchase food and then create food packets that they deliver to needy people--but it goes further. The church members receive another food packet to give to someone else. "It's local pastors that we know who are identifying needy families within their own congregation. And then, [for] those congregation members, we're also giving them the opportunity to help a needy neighbor. So, they choose the neediest family in their immediate vicinity."

(Photo courtesy SGA)

When that Christian neighbor comes to the door with food, it starts a conversation. "Because the local churches are the distribution network, and because the food aid is being delivered personally by church members, it opens up wonderful opportunities to share the Gospel. We heard several reports, when I was there, of people coming to Christ." That's been borne out in the churches, themselves, too. Several have seen twice as many people coming as they did before the war. What's more, adds Laird, "We're actually seeing some signs of a spiritual revival beginning to take place." $15 can help provide a food pack, which can contain items such as flour, cooking oil, pasta, and other staples, plus Christian literature. A gift of $56 will help provide warm clothing such as warm socks, scarves, sweaters, and jackets to the most needy individuals and families. Larger gifts can provide other items like mattresses, pillows, and bed linens, plus Bibles and evangelistic literature. "Continue to pray that the Lord would use the conflict to cause people to turn their attention to spiritual things, to be willing to hear the Gospel, and to put their faith in Christ who is the only true Hope." If you would like to help financially, click here.
Categories: Mission Network News

Supervoid Exists, Scientists Confirm

Christian Post - Living - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 3:42pm
A supervoid exists and it is "the largest individual structure ever found by humanity."
Categories: Christian Post

Jesus Is Lord

Christian Post - Living - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 2:23pm
What does it mean when we say that Jesus is Lord? We hear the word used so frequently that we are in danger of losing the significance of its sheer power and magnitude.
Categories: Christian Post

Creflo Dollar Slams Critics: 'If I Want to Believe God for a $65 Million Plane, You Cannot Stop Me'

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 1:48pm
After coming under heavy criticism for asking the public for $65 million dollars to purchase a luxury airplane for his ministry last month, popular televangelist and founder of World Changers Church International Creflo Dollar responded in spectacular defiance in a recent message to his church declaring: "If I want to believe God for a $65 million plane, you cannot stop me."
Categories: Christian Post