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Thank God for His provision of your hands, feet and voices willing to speak His truth throughout our region - what a blessing you continue to be.  (State College)

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Billy Graham: Angels Can Appear as Ordinary Humans

Christian Post - Pastors - Mon, 02/01/2016 - 2:07pm
In an effort to shed some light on angels, the Rev. Billy Graham offers his thoughts on the supernatural beings that never fail to captivate.
Categories: Christian Post

Billy Graham: Angels Can Appear as Ordinary Humans

Christian Post - Living - Mon, 02/01/2016 - 2:07pm
In an effort to shed some light on angels, the Rev. Billy Graham offers his thoughts on the supernatural beings that never fail to captivate.
Categories: Christian Post

Persecuted Christians need your prayers

Mission Network News - Mon, 02/01/2016 - 5:00am
Mexico (MNN) -- Last week in Tuxpan de Bolaos, Mexico, approximately 50 believers were driven into hiding because they wouldn't deny their beliefs. These persecuted Christians need your prayers.

In early December, the village mentioned in this story passed a resolution expelling Protestant members if they refused to convert to Roman Catholicism.

As shared by Voice of the Martyrs Canada, believers were "threatened with lynching if they did not leave their homes." The full report, shared below, was compiled by Christian Solidarity Worldwide: Twenty Protestant families were forcibly displaced from their homes on 26 January in Tuxpan de Bolaos, Bolaños municipality in the state of Jalisco because of their religious beliefs. The group of approximately 50 individuals, including children, are all Baptists and members of the Huichol indigenous group. They were expelled from their homes under threat of violence on 26 January after the Mexican government failed to take measure to stop the forced displacement. Dr. Jorge Lee Galindo, director of the Mexican religious freedom organisation Impulso 18, told Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) that following a community assembly held at noon on 26 January, the Protestants were given three hours to leave the village. The group was informed that a truck would pass by their homes to remove them from the village. They were threatened with violence, specifically lynching, if they did not obey the order to leave. According to the National Baptist Convention of Mexico (NBCM), after being taken away by the truck, the group was then "abandoned" in the mountains. The NBCM transported most of them to the municipality of Puente de Camotlán, a safer municipality about an hour away from their homes, where some received shelter. The remainder are staying in the municipal capital of Bolaños. According to Humberto Bayon of Open Doors-Mexico, the group is hoping for government intervention to allow them to return home and to retain their lands. Threats of expulsion have been ongoing since 6 December 2015, when a resolution was adopted by the village assembly stating that the Protestant members of the community would be expelled if they refused to convert to Roman Catholicism, "the traditional faith." According to Dr. Lee Galindo, this violated an agreement made under a previous local government that guaranteed the Protestants’ right to freedom of religion. At the December assembly, the current village leaders stated they would not abide by any previous agreements.

Photo of Wixarika (Huichol) woman and child on road near Tuxpan de Bolaños
(Photo credit: Arturo Ramos via Wikipedia)

According to Dr. Lee Galindo, the Jalisco State Human Rights Commission was alerted to the threats against the religious minority in Tuxpan de Bolaños in December and recommended a community dialogue to resolve the problem. State and Federal government officials were also made aware of the threats, however, no preventative measures were taken to stop the mass displacement. CSW’s Chief Executive Mervin Thomas said, “We are deeply concerned that despite almost eight weeks’ warning and the knowledge of explicit threats of violence and forced displacement, both State and Federal governments failed to take action to protect the religious minority in Tuxpan de Bolaños. Unfortunately, we have seen similar government inaction in repeated cases of severe violations of freedom of religion or belief in Mexico, compounded by impunity for those responsible for these crimes. "Once again we call on the Mexican government, at both Federal and State level, to take swift action to facilitate the safe return of the 20 displaced Huichol families in Jalisco, and to ensure that fundamental human rights, including freedom of religion or belief, are respected and upheld by the authorities at every level.” Working alongside VOM Mexico, VOM Canada helps persecuted Christians in southern Mexico by providing training, advocacy and more. Last fall, the groups produced a training manual for persecuted Christians titled, "In the Shadow of the Cross."

Persecuted Christian praise the Lord. (Screenshot)

In Chiapas, Mexico, many persecuted Christians have been left without jobs. VOM Canada is giving these believers an opportunity to learn a new trade through practical skills training, and is assisting others in the establishment of new businesses. Support persecuted Christians through VOM Canada's Families of Martyrs Fund here.
Categories: Mission Network News

European refugees desperately need hope

Mission Network News - Mon, 02/01/2016 - 5:00am
Europe (MNN) -- If word is getting back to those in Syria, Turkey, Iraq, and Afghanistan that Europe is no place to go, the message is falling on deaf ears. Numbers of refugees migrating to the North are expected to climb in 2016, despite the pitfalls.

(Photo courtesy E3 Partners)

Refugees continue to pour into Europe, according to *Andrew, an E3 Partners representative. People just trying to escape the violence in their own country travel to other countries and find refugee camps filled far beyond capacity. “They are fleeing into neighboring countries where now, since the conflict has been going on for so long--over four years, the living conditions in the camps are so bad that they are either fleeing back into Syria to get to Turkey, or they’re trying to get to Europe,” Andrew explains. He isn’t the only one expecting the numbers of immigrants to Europe to increase. The EU Executive Commission has projected up to 3 million refugees could migrate to Europe this year, despite the dangers most will face crossing the Mediterranean. Despite the numbers who die on the crossing, the cold, and the lack of certainty about their future, they keep coming. "Do you really think we would take this dangerous journey and freeze out there if we were safe in Syria?" one traveler, Mahmoud, asked a UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) worker. Mahmoud, his wife and their children--age four and four months--stood on a platform covered in ice and snow at the Presevo, Serbia, train station. Many of the refugees are ill equipped for the cold of the European winter. E3 is looking for Christians willing to step out in faith and be part of that answer with short-term missions to Germany. There are 6 trips to Germany, beginning in March and running through the summer. “We found a lot of momentum with one or two [trips], and they build on each other. Momentum overflows from one trip to the next as a new team comes in,” Andrew says. Participants get training in how to share their story of salvation and how to bridge that to God’s story. Teams go out into the cities in the evenings to meet refugees and gather them together. “Last summer we did some picnics where several hundred refugees would come together at one time and sit in small groups and start a conversation,” says Andrew. “Often times, there are people who want to do sports. We kicked around soccer balls with them. Lord willing, people come to faith and are then discipled.” Andrew says they don’t expect volunteers to be trained going into trip or to speak a second language. “We want people to be stretched, but you’ll have someone more experienced to go with you. It’s awesome if you know a second language, but we’re finding that a lot of these people know English or are at least trying to learn English,” he says. Click here to contact E3 Partners to register for one of the six trips beginning in March to share the Gospel with Germans and with new immigrants. * name changed for security purposes
Categories: Mission Network News

OM launches Crossfit ministry

Mission Network News - Mon, 02/01/2016 - 5:00am
Slovenia (MNN) -- Do you like Crossfit? Operation Mobilization (OM) is launching a Crossfit ministry to Slovenia this summer. If you like working out and sharing how God entered your life, you might want to take a closer look.


As described on OM's website, "Crossfit Slovenia will use the sport of Crossfit as a platform to forge relationships within the gym. Because Slovenes are such relational people, training Crossfit workouts together will immediately give you a connection with them because you will be doing something that they love." For a couple of weeks in July, you'll be able to train Slovenes in Crossfit and introduce them to Christ. Or, if they already know the Lord, your story might help them deepen their relationship with Him. Learn more about this mission trip or send your application here. Crossfit Slovenia a unique ministry approach for a nation steeped in Protestant history but desperate for discipleship and evangelical growth. According to Operation World, Protestants have had a presence in Slovenia ever since the Reformation. Although most Slovenes (60%) are Catholic, the Catholic churches in most cities are primarily there for cultural and societal reasons. Prayer Points
  • Ask the Lord if He would have you serve Him in Slovenia through this opportunity.
  • Pray for evangelical churches within Slovenia to begin reaching their neighbors with the Truth of salvation.
  • Pray for creativity to find new ways to engage Slovenes with the Gospel.
Categories: Mission Network News