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Buckets share love, hope

Mission Network News - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy of Baptist Global Response)

Africa (MNN/BGR) -- In Sub-Saharan Africa, there are about 23 million people living and dying with HIV/AIDS, but "buckets of love" are providing help for many. At Main Street Baptist Church on November 3, 2014, students from University of the Cumberlands packed 5-gallon buckets with medical and hygiene supplies. The project was part of an emphasis by Baptist Global Response, to show love and offer hope to individuals who are struggling with the disease. After working with partner organizations, BGR has determined what items would be best in the Hospice Kits. The average retail cost for one complete kit is around $85. UC’s Bucket Project effort was made possible by money that was collected from students and staff who represent 28 different departments at UC as well as donations from alumni. “In addition to the money that was contributed, a big factor in this effort was also the involvement of some alumni who helped in unique ways” stated Rick Fleenor, Assistant to the President for Church Relations. UC alums Barry and Drew Mahan donated 100 boxes of vinyl gloves to be included in the kits. Barry is the owner of Southeastern Medical Supply, Corbin, KY and Drew serves as pastor at Forward Community Church, Corbin, KY. “Our local Walmart store was also a great partner in the effort,” said Fleenor. Store Manager Steve Centers and Assistant Manager Will Bentley, both UC alumni, helped place orders for the items needed and provided special pricing to help make the money raised go as far as possible. As a result of their assistance, the final cost of each individual bucket was only $52. About 40 UC students and staff members processed 3,000 items that were packed into the buckets. Each bucket contained 30 items. After they were assembled, the buckets were taken to Bowling Green, Kentucky, for the annual meeting of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, as part of a challenge to churches across the state to provide 800 buckets. From there, the buckets were delivered by truck to Houston, Texas, and then shipped on to Sub-Saharan Africa. BGR has found this project may be one of the most effective ways to open doors to share the Word of God. Missionaries and other believers deliver the buckets and share the Gospel with patients. Pray for HIV/AIDS patients to find eternal hope in Christ.
Categories: Mission Network News

Pakistani Christians need help to rise above poverty, terrorism

Mission Network News - Wed, 11/19/2014 - 5:00am

Muslim workers pause for a few minutes along an alleyway in the afternoon to offer their ritual prayers.
(Image, caption courtesy FMI)

Pakistan (MNN) -- According to a new study, over 80% of the deaths caused by terrorist activity last year happened in only five countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Syria. The Global Terrorism Index (GTI) says most, but not all, of 2013's terrorist attacks were motivated by religion, and two-thirds of the attacks were carried out by members of radical Islam. The groups al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, Islamic State, and Taliban were responsible for a majority of last year's terrorist violence. Pakistan, ranked third on the GTI behind Afghanistan and Iraq, saw a 37% rise in terrorism-related fatalities during 2013. The GTI says most attacks in Pakistan were against religious and educational institutions. According to Forgotten Missionaries International (FMI), terrorism only adds to the challenges Pakistani Christians face daily. The plight of Pakistani Christians Poverty The average income for a Pakistani citizen is somewhere near $3,100 USD, according to CIA data. "Now, that's [the] average. If you're Christian, it's less than that," notes FMI's Bruce Allen.

A young married couple teams together to mix clay and
slap it into a metal form. Their baby joins them during
their workday in the "giant sandbox."
(Photo, caption credit FMI)

Nehemiah* is the director of FMI's ministry in Pakistan. He says society's worst jobs are saved for believers. Christians are appointed to menial tasks like street sweeping, cleaning sewers, or brick-making. "We call them 'Three D' jobs. Three D jobs mean dirty, difficult, and dangerous," Nehemiah explains. When he and his cohorts surveyed the largest Christian community in Lahore, Pakistan, they uncovered another startling statistic: "Almost 40-45% of women, Christian women, are involved in prostitution because of the poverty." Education The Pakistani Christians' challenges don't stop at employment. "We need to help bolster and fortify the education system here. That's one of the major areas where Christians are discriminated against," Nehemiah shares. Nehemiah and other FMI-supported pastors are adding classrooms to their church buildings so the children of Christ-followers and other religious minorities have a safe place to learn. "It's a long process, and it takes a generation for the fruit to be seen…but, there's no other real way," Allen adds.

Under a makeshift canopy, a street vendor
cobbles shoes and sandals.
(Photo, caption credit FMI)

Anti-Blasphemy Laws A Pakistani NGO recently reported that between 1987 and October 2014, 1,438 people have been accused of blasphemy under Pakistan's infamous law. Religious minorities account for 50% of those cases, and 182 Christians have been targeted; the latest arrest, a 40-year-old Christian professor, was made yesterday in Lahore. Overcoming darkness with light With their financial needs met by FMI, pastors are sharing Christ in whatever ways they can, both in the pulpit and in the community. FMI also provides resources like bicycles for pastors’ transportation, materials for church site construction, and the ministry helps maintain two safe houses for persecuted believers.

Children perform a song during a worship service in a congregation of about 70 people. The church site has brick walls and mats on the floors, but no roof.
(Photo, caption credit FMI)

"Even if they have a fairly sizeable congregation, [Pakistani Christians] don't have the economic resources to fully support a pastor," Allen explains. "We come alongside and say, 'We want to keep you in ministry, the people here need you.' We provide monthly support for them, we give them resources." You can come alongside their efforts here. Although the economy presents significant challenges for impoverished Pakistani Christians, Allen says it has the opposite effect on donations to FMI. "The U.S. dollar will go very far here," he explains. "So, when people want to help the pastors stay in ministry and do outreach, a gift of $100 goes very far." More stories from Pakistan here.
Categories: Mission Network News

Pope Francis coming to Pennsylvania

WGRC News - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 12:55pm

Pope Francis is making his first visit to the United States as Pope, a trip to Philadelphia, next year. Pope Francis has announced that he’ll be in Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families organized by the Catholic Church, which is expected in late September of next year.

Categories: Local News

New information in fatal crash

WGRC News - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 12:54pm

We now know the names of two people who died in a Schuylkill county crash. It happened when a Veterans’ Affairs van slammed into the side of a tractor-trailer. The driver of the truck was headed east on Keystone Boulevard and went into the intersection with Highridge Park Road in Cass Township, and the driver the van, who was headed southbound, hit the side of the trailer. The driver of the van, 67 year old James Metzger, and a passenger, 73 year old Elaine Bradley of tamaqua, were killed.

Categories: Local News

Nick Vujicic and Wife Tell of Finding 'Love Without Limits' in New Book (Part 1)

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 12:21pm
Nick Vujicic, the Christian motivational speaker known as the "limbless evangelist," tells of his journey to finding true love in the new book, "Love Without Limits," and the challenges he and his wife, Kanae have faced on their journey to marriage, and beyond.
Categories: Christian Post

Pope Francis: Man and Woman Are at the Root of Marriage and Family

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 10:42am
The head of the Roman Catholic Church declared during a conference on Monday that marriage is by definition a union of man and woman, defying past claims by some that the Church was considering a change in its views on same-sex unions and sexuality.
Categories: Christian Post

The Powerful Attribute of Patience

Christian Post - Living - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 9:06am
When you approach an elevator and see that the up button is lit, do you ever push it anyway? Or when you are stuck in a grocery line that will not move, do you ever think how poorly managed the store is? Our patience, or lack of it, spills over into many aspects of our lives.
Categories: Christian Post

Russia openly violating truce with Ukraine

Mission Network News - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Hannu Haukka)

Ukraine (MNN) -- Ukraine is doing what it can to be ready for the war it is sure will come. Russian troops and equipment movements over the border, along with rhetoric from Russian President Vladimir Putin, seem to back up the accusations that Russia is openly violating the truce. Wayne Shepherd serves on the board with Mission Eurasia (formerly Russian Ministries) and recently returned from a visit to Slavyansk, Ukraine. "The separatists, and the terrorists, if you will, are being funded, apparently, by Russia. They deny it, but it sure is clear that's where it's coming from; some are even mercenaries who are hired to come in." Ukraine’s president is trying to deter the separatists, ordering all state services in rebel-held areas cut off, including funding for hospitals and schools. The central bank is moving to cut the separatists off from Ukraine’s banking and credit-card system. Plus, the country’s new parliament is considering revoking a law granting self-rule to the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. These are measures that may help, but the reality is: Ukraine is out-muscled in a match with Russia. "The Ukrainian Army has some resources, but not very much. The government, again, doesn't have much to spend on this war. It's my understanding that a lot of the private citizens are helping to take care of the army," says Shepherd. Putin has been throwing around phrases like "ethnic cleansing" and "neo-Nazism" when describing Ukraine. This rhetoric is designed to divide, and it's working. Shepherd says, "In the case of Orthodoxy in Russia, the Moscow Orthodoxy is totally behind President Putin in this regard. Even those who are coming in to fight from Russia are referring to themselves as the 'Orthodox Army,' persecuting evangelicals."

(Photo courtesy Hannu Haukka)

Food shortages in Luhansk and Donestk are rampant, future food security is in question, infrastructure is partly destroyed, and roughly half of the region's residents are in need of medicine. "Mission Eurasia and a few other organizations are able to get things in there. But the government isn’t able to help at all. They're broke, so whatever we can do to help is greatly appreciated." What Shepherd saw during his visit humbled him. "Just like the Macedonian church that Paul talked about in Corinthians, I saw the church in Ukraine giving generously out of its poverty. That was a great challenge to me, and actually kind of puts the North American Church to shame in many ways, how they respond with everything they have to meet this crisis." Shepherd is back in the United States now, telling their stories, sharing their concerns and their prayer needs in order to keep the story in front of a compassion-fatigued populace. Some of the church leaders in Ukraine use social media to tell their own stories, which can also be shared. "One pastor who is a refugee himself (and has a reward on his head, as a matter of fact from the separatists) has been living apart from his family for seven months; he's posting just about every day what's happening to care for the refugees and supplies that are being provided from the West." Most of these stories indicate concerns of a war just days away. Believers are using abandoned buildings to provide some kind of shelter for the refugees. "The Church in eastern Ukraine has reclaimed these buildings and is trying to retrofit them for the refugees to have a warm place to stay this winter." Shepherd says that response comes in three ways. First: "The Church can provide resources, can provide money for food and medicine, can provide warm clothing, and can provide heating systems for these churches. There's so much that we can do if we simply determine that this is a need."

(Photo courtesy Hannu Haukka)

Then you can pray: "None of them have appealed that the persecution they're feeling would end. They always just appeal that we pray for them that they would have the stamina and the faith to persevere during that time." And remember those who are the hands and feet of Christ. The opportunity is unprecedented: "In times of crisis and fear, when you have been stripped of all your possessions, when you have nothing but your family, your home is gone, your possessions are gone, where do you turn for answers? That's when people are receptive to the Gospel, and we're seeing that happen."
Categories: Mission Network News

Prison ministry sees 15-year dream become reality

Mission Network News - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 5:00am
International (MNN/CBI) -- It’s been a long road for Crossroad Bible Institution to get where they are. CBI is a ministry that helps prisoners come to know God. This year they launched Tier 2 Life Skills Program, which features practical courses on the Christian work ethic, family, addiction recovery, financial stewardship, and community. The launch was a 15-year dream come true, and the lessons are pouring into CBI offices around the world. The international program has expanded to include 20 established satellite campuses, with several more emerging. But that wasn’t the only 15-year dream in the making. The next dream up and coming is the development of Crossroad College International. In the mid-90s, Congress cut off Pell Grants for people in prison. Since many prisoners are among the poorest of the poor, this termination of Pell Grants, combined with the increasing tuition costs of financially-driven colleges and universities, cut many prisoners off from the opportunity to take college courses. However, CBI has been piloting a handful of college-level courses known as Tier 3. So far, over 3,500 students have participated in Tier 3, which helped CBI perfect their delivery system. For the last five years, CBI has been in Phase 1, developing the college and functioning as a licensed post-secondary school by the State of Michigan, authorized to grant diplomas. The next big leap is into Phase 2. This project is a three-year plan. It involves a $1.2 million endeavor to become a fully accredited two-year degree granting institution. Professors with PhDs are preparing courses, and Tier 3 Instructors will continue serving as students’ Teaching Assistants. A College Advisory Board of experts has also been appointed to guide the process. Instead of the institution being a Bible college, it will be a Christian liberal arts college, preparing students to think critically as Christians. CBI says, “We envision that such a well-rounded education can be applied to any line of work that our students will undertake when they reenter society." As Phase 2 begins, pray for opportunities for more students to sign up for courses.
Categories: Mission Network News

How to stop child trafficking: pray, shop, give

Mission Network News - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 5:00am

(Graphic credit Family Christian via Facebook)

Dominican Republic (MNN) -- More than 1.2 million kids are bought and sold every year. Two-thirds of those worldwide transactions are for sexual slavery. Next week, you can do three things to stop child trafficking in the Dominican Republic: pray, shop, and give. "I'm gonna be as bold as I can and just say, 'Help us!' We need to get this work done," says Family Christian Stores' Steve Biondo. "We need to press back darkness, we need to introduce the Gospel. There are all kinds of opportunities that the Lord puts in front of us. We would just ask folks to prayerfully consider this one." Step One: Pray

(Image courtesy Bethany)

Family Christian and Destiny Rescue are teaming up to stop child trafficking in the DR. In the past, Family Christian has financially supported Destiny Rescue's 5-part program. Now, they're taking their partnership to another level. See what the project will involve here. Prayer is the first and best way you can support their efforts to stop child trafficking. "We have to recognize we are at war, as believers, and that our enemy is devouring lives," Biondo notes. Pray for victory as these ministries begin to push back the darkness of exploitation. Ask the Lord to protect His people from harm and to restore innocence to trafficking victims. Pray that people will support this project in whatever ways they're able. "God's heart is for His Church to execute justice across the globe," shares Biondo. "His heart is for the oppressed, and our God has called us to the same mission." Step Two: Shop This time of year, there are two types of people: those who love buying Christmas gifts for their loved ones, and those don't. No matter which side you fall on this season, the end result is life-saving.

(Graphic credit Family Christian)

Starting Saturday, when you purchase something at one of Family Christian's retail locations, you'll become part of the effort to stop child trafficking in the DR. See which location is closest to you. "After we pay our expenses for labor, [to] keep the lights on and buy that product, the profits will be carved out and dedicated to this project," Biondo explains. If shopping's really not your thing but you still want to help, don't worry. There's a third option. Biondo shares, "The shopping works, but the giving also will multiply the effort and expedite the project." Step Three: Give A third way you can help Family Christian and Destiny Rescue kick-off their project is by giving directly to their work. You can give $5 and wrap one of the rescued kids in a warm blanket, or help rescue a child for $100. Learn more here.

(Graphic credit Family Christian)

Sometimes even the smallest "suggested" financial gift can be a stretch; why not share this story with your Facebook friends or small group and make a donation together? No matter which way the Lord leads you to get involved, it's important to do something. "This is our generation, this is our time, this is our watch, and we know these things to be true. We need to take deliberate action," says Biondo. "That's what this project is all about: financial opportunity to make small donations that have a big impact, covering this project in prayer, and potentially even traveling to the Dominican Republic to help." Find previous stories about this project here.
Categories: Mission Network News

La Gonave, clean water, and the Gospel

Mission Network News - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 5:00am
Haiti (MNN) -- If you had a choice between dying from dehydration, or dying from the disease that comes with drinking the only water you have, what would you do? When that is a question presented to you on a daily basis, imagine someone coming to your town with a third option: clean water. In La Gonave, this is reality. Steve Edmondson of Starfysh says that dirty water is the second-largest cause of death on the island. "Clean water is a major, major, major issue in all of Haiti," Edmondson says, "especially La Gonave which is isolated from the rest of Haiti." This causes diseases like Typhoid and Cholera. In most western countries, we don't know the reality of day-to-day life-and-death decisions. "Its not that they have a choice," Edmondson says. "There is no clean water for them. It's not like they have clean water on the one hand, dirty water on the other hand, and they opt for the dirty water. And when they're thirsty and they're dehydrated and they might die from that dehydration, they'll just go ahead and drink the dirty water, knowing that they may well pay the consequence."

(Photo courtesy of Starfysh)

Part of the work that needs to be done is to build wells and teach communities how to take care of them. However, often more than half of the wells on the island are broken and sit useless after a year. The other answer is to clean the water from the sources that are already there. In the La Gonave context, bio-sand water filters, which mimic natural filtration and purification processes, work best. Starfysh has been blessed with inexpensive access to large quantities of filters. They've seen illness rates decrease in the villages, and so far, 600 villages and homes around the island--equating to 4000-5000 people--are now drinking safe water and are not getting sick. Not only do the water filters prevent harmful illnesses, but installing them provides teams an opportunity to spend time with these people. "In going and visiting a home, yes, one of the important reasons we visit a home is to place the filter," Edmondson says, "But we also want to invest in them and to build on their God-given dignity and to recognize that they're people, and they're not just objects of our affection and objects of our good works. "They are people who are created and loved by God." The people of La Gonave are not a check mark on a to-do list.

(Photo by Starfysh)

Starfysh underscores this by training Haitians from  La Gonave all about the filter so they can help when Starfysh isn't there to troubleshoot the appliances. They also gauge how well the filters are working. In this way, Starfysh is enabling the people of La Gonave to carry out solutions to their own problems. Finally, the filter works as a platform to share the Gospel. Edmondson says, "Installing a water filter is an expression of the Gospel. It's not the Gospel over here and the water filters over there. What we do is a tangible expression of love, and it's a tangible expression of the same Gospel we proclaim." When they bring the water filter to these places, Starfysh follows up by telling the villagers why they are there in the first place. They want to show how faithful Christ is. If you would like to help the work of Starfysh in Haiti, Edmondson suggests you start by praying. He explains that nothing they do will be meaningful unless God is working alongside them. He asks that you pray for the power of God to work through Starfysh.

The container eventually was released to Starfysh in Haiti. (Photo by Starfysh)

Edmondson explains that many times they see prayer working all around them. When customs held a container full of water filters for many months, Starfysh asked people like you to pray. Within two weeks, the container was released to them. Pray also that Starfysh would continue to seek God's will. For practical ways to help, click here to give financially or go on a trip.  
Categories: Mission Network News

I Will Trust by Fred Hammond

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 5:00am
For more than 25 years, music listeners around the world have known Fred Hammond as a talented songwriter, bassist and vocalist. With I Will Trust, he makes a return to the style of Praise Worship he defined as the standard early in his career.[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

Goliath by Steve Taylor & The Perfect Foil

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 5:00am
Labeling a band comprised of accomplished Nashville rock scene purveyors as a "new artist" seems like a misnomer. But for Steve Taylor The Perfect Foil this designation is only a technicality due to the surprising confidence and self-assurance of their debut album, Goliath. Long time friends and frequent creative collaborators, Steve Taylor The Perfect Foil (Jimmy Abegg, guitar; John Mark Painter, bass; Peter Furler, drums) is a natural assemblage of diverse talents with a common drive to rediscover the thrill of creating music unencumbered by the confines of industry limitations and reins.[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

Hello Someday EP (Acoustic Sessions) by Cor Captis

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 5:00am
"Surfacing in 2014, Cor Captis (Latin for "Heart Capture") has been a thrill ride for the guys in the band (from left to right Joe Keil, Bryant Urich, Brenton Miles, Tim Webb, and Dustin Langston). With their debut EP "Hello Someday" released in May of 2014, this rock band from the midwest town of Springfield, MO is making a stance against human trafficking around the world and writing music to not only inspire, but also initiate fans to actively spread awareness, and fight against the rampant pandemic of global injustices like human trafficking. Cor Captis' first radio single "Heart[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

Iraqi refugees begging for money and food

Mission Network News - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 5:00am
Iraq (CAM/MNN) -- As night-time temperatures begin to drop, locally-based aid workers report that illness is deepening the gloom for many Internally Displaced People (IDPs) already discouraged at the lack of prospects for returning home. “The needs are great, and the displaced feel very disappointed,” said the director of an Iraqi ministry providing aid in northern Iraq’s Kurdistan region. “They thought they would return to their homes within days, but the wait is getting longer. Now they know they will not return soon, and their condition is worsening with the onset of winter and the low level of aid.” In Erbil, Dohuk, and Zakho, where people arrived when Islamic State (ISIS) militants drove them from their homes in Mosul and other areas of Iraq, IDPs are suffering acute respiratory infections, flu, and severe cases of diarrhea, among other illnesses. They need medicines for these sicknesses, as well as antibiotics, treatment for burns, and drugs for high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. The indigenous ministry would buy the medicines locally if it had the funds to do so. “One young child had a nail penetrate her foot because she does not have shoes, causing many infections in her body, and she suffered from high temperatures,” he said. “I bought an antibiotic for her, and that’s all I could do. There are very large needs, as the number of children is huge, and the list of patients is in excess of 200 children in each compound.” Another child had an ear infection that led to swelling on the left part of her head, and it prohibited her from speaking. “And the list goes on,” he said. A United Nations spokesman said this week that illnesses, especially among children, are expected to spike when winter brings temperatures below freezing to hundreds of thousands of people in the high-altitude areas of Kurdistan. The ministry assisted by Christian Aid Mission, your link to indigenous missions, has been distributing blankets and heaters to the people who have taken refuge in concrete buildings under construction and those living in tents and other outdoor areas. Yazidis--members of a minority religion blending Christian, Islamic, and Zoroastrian rituals--along with nominal members of historic churches and Muslims are among those receiving aid and opportunities to hear the message of Christ’s sacrifice. The last few visits to the displaced Yazidis showed a long list of sick people, and most of them were kids. Their family can’t afford to take them to hospitals, and they have no medications. In Duhok, churches have provided volunteer doctors who are willing to help once they have supplies. “We have two volunteer doctors so far, and we believe there are more who want to help--even volunteer doctors from around the world who want to visit and help for a while,” he said. In Erbil, Duhok, Zakho, and surrounding villages, the ministry in the past three months has distributed about $5,000 in medications; 3,500 mattresses at a cost of about $70,000; 3,500 blankets at a cost of about $35,000; 1,000 heaters costing $30,000; 2,000 food boxes for 2,000 families at $25 each; 1,000 meals and sandwiches for $2 each; 10,000 Bibles, tracts, children’s Bibles, coloring books for $5000; 10,000 radios and Bible audio players for $5,000. More funds for heaters and blankets, foods and medications are needed. A leader for another ministry supported by Christian Aid Mission said he saw 1,000 people packed into an unfinished building in Erbil. “Living in a construction site, many suffer from sinus infections and skin and eye problems,” he said. “They have nothing. They share a tank of gas to cook their meager meals.” The streets of Erbil are lined with children begging for money and food. Displaced families are everywhere: in tents and churches and unfinished buildings. Many of the displaced people are doctors, engineers, business owners, and professionals who have lost everything to ISIS. Some of them walked for days to make it to Erbil and Duhok. The leader shared, “Our people feel very grateful and appreciative for the assistance you offer them. And while it’s difficult for us to mention our sources of assistance for many reasons, such as our work with Muslims, everyone without exception saw the love of God that appeared in the giving, which was a blessing for the salvation of many.” To donate to refugee Iraqis, click here. Pray for Iraqis to receive enough and learn the Word of God.
Categories: Mission Network News

Preparing for the Islamic State means when, not if

Mission Network News - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Voice of the Martyrs Australia)

Middle East (MNN) -- The Islamic State (also known as ISIS) and al-Qaeda are teaming up in Syria, and more Middle East groups are pledging allegiance to the caliphate. Late last week, reports surfaced of the terrorist groups agreeing to work together in Syria instead of fighting each other. Al-Qaeda initially distanced itself from the Islamic State, but as ISIS has grown in resources and size, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda has vowed to fight with Islamic State instead of against it. In addition, an audio clip reportedly featuring ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi acknowledged the allegiance of Muslim radicals in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt, Libya, and Algeria. Meanwhile, Islamic State growth in Pakistan is going virtually unnoticed. "More than 400 Islamic State leaders are in Pakistan. They are operating in Syria and Iraq from Pakistan," shares *Nehemiah, the national director of Forgotten Missionaries International's work in Pakistan.

Osama bin Laden was found and killed in Pakistan.
(Screenshot from FBI.gov)

"90% [of the] leadership [is in] Pakistan, not in Afghanistan," he adds, recalling the U.S. hunt for al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden. In 2011, Bin Laden was found and killed in his Pakistani compound by U.S. Navy Seals. Although Taliban leaders swore allegiance to the Islamic State last month, FMI's Bruce Allen says the Pakistani government denies an ISIS presence in their country. "They're saying this while they're removing the banners, the stickers, and the posters that are announcing Islamic State is here," Allen says. "They're acting like ostriches with their heads buried in the sand." Preparing Pakistani Christians Based on Islamic State activity they're seeing on-the-ground, Allen says Pakistan will soon join Iraq and Syria in the headlines.

For all places of worship--whether indoors or outdoors, Christians remove their shoes to indicate the space is holy ground. Typically, men sit on one side of the meeting area (or the front), and women sit on the opposite side (or the back).
(Photo, caption courtesy FMI)

"What we anticipate in just the next few weeks or months: there will be an attack here in Pakistan," he states. A Muslim doctor recently called Nehemiah and expressed concern about an Islamic State base being constructed near her home. "She was very worried; she called me and told me [what was going on]. So, I told her, 'Nothing to worry [about]. They are going to kill Christians first,'" Nehemiah shares. FMI is helping national pastors prepare for challenges yet still share wisely about Christ and His salvation. A seminar they held in February--before there was any mention of Islamic State expansion into Pakistan--taught evangelical leaders how to identify and manage risks that come with sharing Christ. Learn more about FMI's work in Pakistan here. Allen says he's grateful for God's timing, because as he visits with Pakistani leaders now, he is able to remind them of principles covered during the February seminar. "We specifically mentioned that verse from John where Jesus says, 'In the world you're going to have trouble, but still be of good cheer.' Don't panic; don't despair, because 'I have overcome the world.' So, whatever evil we encounter--and we will encounter it, Jesus is infinitely greater," Allen notes. "There is this hope, there is His purpose, His liberation, and that's what needs to buoy us as we move forward."

(Photo credit FMI)

Your prayers are needed, too. Pray that the forces of radical Islam are driven back, and that they would take no further territory. Pray that shelter and resources will be provided for families taking refuge throughout the Middle East. Ask God to open the eyes of Pakistan's indigenous Christian leaders so they can prepare their congregations for challenges and encourage them in the hope of Christ.
Categories: Mission Network News