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BTAKs enhance safety of Bible translation

Mission Network News - Thu, 09/17/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy of Wycliffe Associates)

International (MNN) -- The life of a Bible translator can be stressful. Many translators in hostile areas, such as the Middle East and North Africa, are consistently on the run. They must keep their work inconspicuous to avoid being persecuted or even killed. That’s why Wycliffe Associates started Bible Translation Acceleration Kits (BTAKs). The kits may contain a laptop computer, satellite communications terminal, solar-powered charger, battery, and power supply. They’re enhancing the safety of the translation process and making it possible to continue work on the go. “It provides a reliable power source in places where there are not existing electrical infrastructure,” says Bruce Smith, president and CEO of Wycliffe Associates. “For the translation teams that are using laptops and using electrical resources, the ability to provide them a reliable solar power system on their location is the first thing that enables them to just do their work on a daily basis. “The second thing is that it provides them communication capabilities so they can connect with resources that are beyond their local village, so that they can be in contact with consultants [and] access online resources to help their Bible translation quality assurance process. “But the third thing, in light of the insecurity...is these things are all portable and small. We’ve got lots of stories of our partners who basically just put them in a backpack, put them on their back, and take them with them when they have to migrate because of the threats that are around them.” One would think that seemingly endless threats of violence and having to relocate so many times would take its toll on the Bible translators. But Wycliffe Associates says Christians aren't giving up. “Just last year in both Northern Nigeria as well as the Central African Republic, because of the terrorist activities that are going on in both of those places, we’ve had teams that had to essentially abandon their homes, abandon their offices with a suitcase and with a backpack, and just grab their kids' hands as they started walking and heading away from the violence,” Smith says.

(Photo courtesy Wycliffe Associates)

“The fact that they care enough about God’s Word, that this is one of the first things that they take with them when they have to abandon their homes, is a huge testimony to their own commitment to getting God’s Word to their people.” But these kits aren't just beneficial during times of chaos. Advancements in technology have accelerated the Bible translation process as a whole. “Just by connecting them with good power and reliable communication has in many cases doubled the pace of Bible translation, just because it has removed the delays that previously were in place when they couldn’t recharge their computers,” Smith says. In the past few years, Wycliffe Associates has already installed about 515 of these kits around the world. Throughout the next year, it’s looking to install 250 more at $3,967 apiece. Can you help provide these resources to those who greatly need them? Click here to see how you can help.
Categories: Mission Network News

Breaking Global Hunger down to the individual

Mission Network News - Thu, 09/17/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Baptist Global Response)

International (MNN) -- When we say Global Hunger, there’s not really an image of an individual that comes to mind. Instead it’s more like a sea of unknown faces. Baptist Global Response (BGR) encourages you to look closer. Right now, there are nearly 800 million individuals that are malnourished, according to the World Food Programme (WFP). Each one needs help. This includes refugee families who have fled ISIS or Boko Haram, children who have lost their parents due to disasters like the Nepal earthquake, and forgotten people who live in extreme poverty. While the issue is easily ignored when you’re not near it, look around. Malnutrition affects nearly half of all countries, according to the 2015 Global Nutrition Report. That could include yours. While nearly 800 million is already a scary number to begin with, the threat of that growing is even scarier. But what if you could make a dent in that number? BGR’s Global Hunger Sunday is October 11, a time to take a step forward and start ending malnutrition. BGR has partnered with Global Hunger Relief to feed people around the world. A recent video shows some of the workers who brought 100 tons of food to a forgotten village in Nepal. Villagers they served are just a few people they’ve been able to help. And, with your support, they’ll be able to bring tangible encouragement to even more. In Jesus’ name, they are using food as a bridge to share the hope and peace only God can provide. “You’re helping to give food to those who need it the most,” says Jeff Palmer of BGR. And, 100% of any donation you make will go toward ending world hunger. Start making a difference in the life of an individual or a whole family today.
Categories: Mission Network News

Courage and hope remain for Roshni

Mission Network News - Thu, 09/17/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Open Doors USA)

India (Open Doors) -- Fifteen-year-old *Roshni of India is still struggling with the trauma of her past. Two years ago, she was raped as a punishment for passionately sharing her Christian faith. She and her parents filed a case against the assaulter, but they were denied justice as he was set free after serving only two years of imprisonment. The news of his release petrified Roshni--so much so, that she stopped eating. As a result, she fainted due to weakness and was admitted to the hospital to recover. Roshni is just one of the hundreds of Christian girls and women in India who are physically or sexually assaulted because of their faith in Jesus Christ. Many of them fear disgrace and do not file official complaints. If they do report the abuse, they are called into court to remember and testify in public about their horrific experiences. They are usually denied justice because the judicial system is never in favor of Christians. “The culprit managed to bribe the lawyers and make connections with the local politicians. He was set free,” says Roshni’s father. Roshni comes from a very poor family. They struggle to meet even their basic needs. Roshni and her family--her parents, three brothers, and two sisters--moved to the city five years ago from their native village in hope of earning a better living. Her parents came to faith during a Christmas worship service where they saw people being healed in Jesus’ name. Slowly but surely, the entire family, including Roshni, gave their lives to Jesus. In the excitement of her new faith, Roshni began sharing about Christ. “I used to share my faith with my neighbors. They ridiculed me for it,” she recalls. After a brief pause, she resumes: “The ladies in my neighborhood often made fun of me, but one day they seemed very interested about my faith. They called me to a home to share about Jesus and served me juice, which I drank, not knowing that they planned to drug me and have me raped afterwards. After the drink, I lost consciousness. "When I came back to my senses, I realized I had been raped. Since I feared public disgrace, I ran to my home silently and told my parents everything. A police complaint was made, and the case lingered for two years. My attacker was jailed during that period of time but was proven innocent and released.” “She tried committing suicide after the incident. By God’s grace we were able to bring her to the hospital in time and her life was saved,” recalls her father with tears rolling down his face. Due to financial constraints, Roshni was able only able to study through the 4th grade; however, she manages to read the Bible slowly. Roshni still struggles with depression and is trying to overcome her fears and feelings of insecurity. When a partner of Open Doors went to visit Roshni in the hospital, she still looked sad and pale. For a long time she just stared outside the window. During the conversation, she told the Open Doors representative that she liked to sing worship songs. She was then gently persuaded to sing one worship song. She sang in an exceptionally sweet voice. The lyrics were very clear: “When I sing, Lord, let Your spirit fill my soul and let Your name only be glorified. Let it be that I keep singing and You keep listening to my song of praise.” Her expression changed as she sang. She looked a lot stronger and her eyes beamed with courage and hope. India ranks #21 on the Open Doors 2015 World Watch List of the worst persecutors of Christians. *Name changed for security reasons
Categories: Mission Network News

Government crackdowns alert Christians

Mission Network News - Thu, 09/17/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Hans V)

Egypt (MNN) -- Red flags are going up among Egyptian Christians following the latest round of government crackdowns. President Abdul Fatah al-Sisi’s administration is trying to eradicate corruption and terrorism in Egypt. As a result, they’re passing hundreds of new laws restricting basic freedoms. Take the freedom of assembly, for example. “When you start talking about a law against people gathering together in a private home, well, is that going to affect house churches? Obviously it could; the police could come into that meeting as well,” explains Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) USA spokesman Todd Nettleton. Bottom-line: while government crackdowns are intended to target terrorists, Christians could bear the brunt of unintended ripple effects. “I think as we see him [SiSi], sort of, ‘tighten’ the levers of control, Christians are starting to say, ‘Wait a minute, we need to watch this closely,’” Nettleton shares. Government crackdowns: 2013 Two years ago, then-President Mohammed Morsi was ousted in a coup d’état by Egyptian Armed Forces. Several weeks of protests followed as demonstrators for and against Morsi’s removal gathered in the streets.

2013 protests

A series of government crackdowns culminated on August 14, 2013, in what is now known as the Rabaa massacre. The following summer, then-Defense Minister Abdul Fatah al-Sisi was elected President. “When SiSi came to power, predominantly the word we heard from Christians in Egypt was, ‘This is a good thing,’” Nettleton shares. “Coming out of the Muslim Brotherhood being in control, this looked like…a step in the right direction.” However, a barrage of new laws and the latest government crackdowns are making believers a little uneasy. Government crackdowns: 2015

President Sisi
(Photo courtesy Abdelfattah Elsisi via G+)

According to a recent Al-Monitor report, nearly 200 laws have been passed since Sisi took office. “There is not a sitting Parliament, and so these laws are being put in place by the presidential administration without a lot of checks and balances,” explains Nettleton. Furthermore, the laws are being put in place under the auspices of “fighting terrorism.” Anyone who questions whether the laws are needed is assumed to be a supporter of terrorism. “There are some real challenges going on in Egypt,” says Nettleton. “These laws are already being used to ‘put a lid on’ freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.” Over 20 people are currently being detained because of their activity on Facebook. “It does seem--from a human rights perspective, and a freedom perspective--things are going in a very concerning direction.”

(Photo credit 8thirty8 Facebook page)

Learn more about the troubles faced by Egyptian Christians on VOM’s Web site. As this story continues to unfold, please surround Egyptian believers in prayer. “Certainly as we see these laws passed, we want to be aware of the fact that they do affect Christians there as well,” notes Nettleton. Prayer Points
  • Pray that the new laws being put in place won’t hinder Church growth.
  • Ask the Lord to protect His followers in Egypt from potential harm.
Categories: Mission Network News