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Winds of change in Sri Lanka?

Mission Network News - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Christian Aid Mission)

Sri Lanka (MNN) -- Hardship and civil war have oppressed Sri Lanka for 25 years. Even when war ended in 2009, many were fighting battles of their own, particularly for freedom of religion. But those dark days seem to be waning, opening doors to sharing the truth, and Christian Aid Mission wants to take full advantage of that change. Lacking Freedom of Religion Sri Lanka is declared a secular state, but the majority of the population is Buddhist. Open Doors UK reported that according to constitution, religious minorities have freedom of religion; however, the government has enforced laws where groups must receive letters of registration issued by the Ministry of Buddhist Sasana and Religious Affairs to worship. At #44 on the Open Doors World Watch List, the South Central Asian country stands as a symbol for Christian persecution. Voice of the Martyrs reported that Christians have been discriminated against in employment and education situations. According to Open Doors UK, at least 60 violent incidents of persecution took place in 2014--many of which were led by Buddhist monks and radicals supported by the government. Peace on the Rise According to the International Mission Board, President Maithripala Sirisena was elected in an unexpected upset. And while many were braced for violence, peace was a welcome surprise. The new president is taking a step back to deal with the country’s past, including persecution and discrimination against the Tamil people--many of whom who were in refugee or internment camps after the civil war. President Sirisena has promised to give the people freedom to move and is giving back most of the land the government obtained from them. IMB reports, “Many remarked that in their lifetime, they have never seen this kind of peace in Sri Lanka.” Key Timing for the Gospel It would seem that now is a key time for spreading the Gospel further, but the overall population of Sri Lankan Christians is remarkably small. According to Joshua Project, 1.2% of Sri Lanka is Christian. With your help, an ministry supported by Christian Aid hopes to send three more indigenous Christian workers to reach new areas that have yet to hear about Christ. Help sponsor these workers, by clicking here, and scrolling down to April 20.
Categories: Mission Network News

Planting Gospel seeds with Pokot bears spiritual fruit

Mission Network News - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Joshua Project)

Kenya (MNN) -- The Pokot tribe of northwestern Kenya is a deeply spiritual people group. Many of their religious beliefs are connected to their lives. Travelogues show that their animism has a deep root in sacrifice. According to their mythology, the universe consists of two plains: the above refers to the sun and the rain. The below consists of the humans, animals, and plants. The Pokot are proud of their culture and heritage, and every ritual instills that meaning into the next generation. World Mission CEO Greg Kelley says they recently visited North-Central Kenya where about 130,000 Pokot live. Throughout the region, less than 10,000 people are followers of Jesus. The story of the Gospel makes sense to a people already used to sacrifice, so World Mission teams distributed the Treasure--a solar-powered audio Bible, and they saw immediate impact. "We were just told about a village just down into the valley that had not a single Christian among them," says Kelley. A couple of years later, because of Treasure distributions and the Word of God, there are now 70 people worshipping Jesus in a new Church."

(Map of Pokot region courtesy Joshua Project)

More than that, the hope of the Gospel equips the followers of Christ to deal with the challenges of survival. According to National Geographic, the group is nomadic, splitting into the Hill Pokot who practice both farming and pastoralism, and the Plains Pokot who living in dry and infertile plains, herd cows, goats, and sheep. Kelley explains, "Currently, they're enduring the worst drought conditions since the 1980s, so it's having an enormous effect on these pastoralist people who have goats, and cows, and some camels, as well." The area where the Pokot live is neglected, with no roads, medical facilities, or schools. It's also violent because of issues with rival tribes, says Kelley. "There's a lot of battling back and forth and raiding. It's like the Wild, Wild West,  where people are taking property and they're taking animals from one another; unfortunately there are fatalities involved in many of those instances." A lack of education keeps people so poor that the elders are now sharing concerns about a survivable future for their young people. World Mission and several other holistic ministries are trying to turn that around, physically and spiritually.

Pokot kids with Greg Kelley. (Photo courtesy Facebook)

For the Pokot, hope goes a long way. With a small group of 70 followers of Christ in a new Church, it's a seed that is bound to grow quickly. Since the people group has an inclination toward spiritual thinking, Kelley closes with this last thought: "Please pray for the Pokot people of Northern Kenya, that the Gospel would get entrenched here, that there would be revival in the land, and there would be peace among the neighboring people groups."    
Categories: Mission Network News

Used Bibles can change a church

Mission Network News - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 5:00am

With the help of their supporters, CRI sends resources to believers all around the world.
(Image courtesy CRI)

USA (MNN) -- Old Bibles. Old books. They typically sit on our bookshelves collecting dust. What if they could literally transform the life of a pastor, or even better, an entire church?  That's what can happen when you donate them to Christian Resources International in Fowlerville, Michigan. CRI Executive Director Jason Woolford says, "For the last 60 years, we've encouraged people around the United States to send us their extra Bibles and Christian books sitting on their shelves. Then we have taken those and sent $272 million worth of donated Bibles and Christian books to over 170 nations." These are books requested by Christians around the world. Woolford says they're going to "people...who are yet to be saved, to the person who got saved, the person who wants to be a leader, the person who wants to be a pastor." Some people in nations requesting Bibles can purchase them, but many "don't have the money to even buy Bibles, even if they are there. So, for them to be able to get a Bible or a Christian book, and look at the back of it and see that when it was new it was $50 or $60, that's half of their income for a month. They're so blessed." How many requests for Bibles and books does CRI receive? Woolford says they receive "literally hundreds of thousands of requests...whether they come from the mail or a telephone call." Woolford says while there are many who send used Bibles and Christian books, equally as important is funding. Without that, the books would stay in Michigan. How much does it cost to send a Bible or Christian book? "It usually works out to about $1 a book." Research indicates that each Bible or book is shared by 19 other people. The books or Bibles you donate or fund can be the difference in a pastor preaching from the Word of God, or preaching from what he remembers hearing from the Word of God. This is a great project for a family, Sunday school class, or entire church. If you can help support CRI with a donation of Bibles and/or books, or through a generous financial donation, click here.
Categories: Mission Network News

Christian persecution increasing in India

Mission Network News - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 5:00am
India (VOM/MNN) -- [EDITOR'S NOTE: Christians in India don't have it easy-- some places are more dangerous than others. Yet, the same Christians who face danger each day understand the message they carry about Jesus is worth more than their safety. Voice of the Martyrs recently shared the following two stories of persecution brought on by Hindu Radicals and Muslims respectively. Pray that Christians in India would remain strong in their faith and their efforts to tell others about Jesus.] Mob Attacks Pastors Though a small house church in India had previously received warnings from Hindu extremists, a recent attack on two church leaders was surprising. As the church met on Sunday March 15, radicals from the RSS and BJP Hindu political organizations stormed the service. Pastor “Arul” was in the middle of a sermon when more than 30 extremists poured into the building. They began to beat him in the face, head, and chest. “Omkar,” another church leader, tried to stop the attack, but he was overpowered.

Pastors Arul and Omkar
had to be hospitalized for their injuries.
(Photo and caption by VOM)

The extremists wrenched Arul and Omkar out of the building. The angry mob punched and kicked the two as they dragged them a quarter of a mile to the police station. There, police charged the men with “forcing conversions,” a crime in many Indian states. The attack left Arul and Omkar bloodied and badly bruised, and Arul had difficulty breathing. He and Omkar went to a nearby hospital. A chest x-ray revealed that two of the pastor’s ribs were fractured. Omkar, an evangelist, met Arul when he came to the village to share the gospel. The two began working to establish a house church in the area. Approximately 20 believers now meet every Sunday in a rented building for prayer and worship. A month after the church began meeting, RSS and BJP members threatened the Christians. They also pressured the building’s owner to evict the church. In spite of the threats, Arul and Omkar have continued to lead the church each week. Although India’s constitution allows religious freedom, attacks on Christians have risen in the last year. Hindu nationalist groups such as the BJP and RSS feel greater freedom to act now that BJP leader Narendra Modi is prime minister of India. The BJP and other Hindu nationalists subscribe to the idea that all Indians should be Hindu. Other religious groups threaten this belief. After they were released from the hospital, VOM contacts met with the men and prayed with them for their recovery. VOM will continue to support them as they return to their ministry. Fined for Sharing Faith While at home in early February, “Vijay” received a call from the police. After six Muslim men recently beat him and a friend after a follow-up meeting with a new Christian, angry men from the local mosque formally brought a complaint to the police against him for entering their community and sharing his faith. The police called him to the station several times, including the morning a VOM partner was meeting with him. “Vijay had to pay a 20,000 rupee fine to the police in front of his accusers who would not guarantee his safety unless he did so,” the VOM partner said. VOM helped Vijay move to a nearby neighborhood and covered the costs of his fines, his first month’s rent, and moving expenses. “Vijay has successfully moved out of his old neighborhood that was causing him trouble and into a new apartment about a mile away,” the VOM partner said. “There are more Christians in the new area, though there are Muslims and Hindus there as well. No news from those who brought up the case against him, so that’s a relief.” A VOM partner has been meeting with Vijay regularly and reviewing pertinent Bible verses, such as Colossians 1:24-29 and Acts 4. Vijay feels the seriousness of the events, but remains positive. He recently received training from VOM, and his family is remaining positive, too, as it willingly accepts that it may face further persecution. “Several of us went to his new place last week as a house-warming gathering and prayed with him,” the VOM partner said. “He and his family seem to be getting back to normal. Vijay accompanied me and two other men on Tuesday of this week to conduct training five hours away. He taught for about a third of the four hour training. This week he’s taking a Nepali believer to the north part of the city to model for him how he does evangelism among Muslims.” [Source: VOM Sources]
Categories: Mission Network News

Pakistani Christians face new threat

Mission Network News - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Zoriah via Flickr) cc2.0

Pakistan (MNN) – Ranked third on the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) by the Institute for Economics and Peace, Pakistan is a known hub of extremism. More often than not, Christ-followers and other religious minorities serve as an easy target for jihadist wrath. However, terrorists aren’t the only ones threatening Pakistani Christians. “Mainstream residents, as well as the police, are taking an attitude against Christians that is full of animosity and hostility,” says Forgotten Missionaries International (FMI) Executive International Director, Bruce Allen. “People [are] just buying into this ideology: if you don’t totally agree with what these terrorists say, in terms of their theology and doctrine, then you’re worthy of death.” Pakistani persecution

(Image courtesy Forgotten Missionaries International)

Persecution is no stranger to Pakistani Christians. Pakistan has been in the top 15 of Open Doors USA’s World Watch List since 2010. Muslim radicals are the boldest and most consistent persecutors of believers, but they aren’t the only ones. Last year, a mob threw a young Christian couple into a brick kiln and burned them alive. While Pakistani society has long discriminated against Christ-followers, the latest increase in violence has Allen concerned. “I think we’re going to see an uptick in these isolated events against Christians,” he says. Here’s a round-up of what’s been happening since Taliban bombers attacked two churches in Youhanabad on March 17:
  • March 19A church is burned down, and citizens are encouraged to kill Christians who were involved in riots following the March 17 bombing.
  • March 20Over 100 Christians are taken into police custody for suspected involvement in the riots. Police continue kidnapping Christian men and young boys and bringing them to undisclosed locations.
  • April 5Police arrest the mastermind of March’s twin church bombings and discover the lynching of two Muslim men was pre-planned to stir animosity toward Pakistani Christians.
  • April 10Masked Muslims set two boys on fire, after the young men identify themselves as Christ-followers.
  • April 16One of the burn victims, 14 year-old Nauman Masih, dies.
  • April 17Masked men try to attack Christian school, shoot security guard and student before escaping on bike.

    Mourners surround the body of 25-year-old Farman Masih.
    (Photo courtesy Forgotten Missionaries International)

  • April 18Eyewitnesses claim police push handcuffed Christian man into river, where he subsequently dies.
According to this report, police say 25-year-old Farman Masih jumped to his death. However, the man’s family defends his innocence and says the police tortured Masih before taking him into custody without an arrest warrant. “Whether a crime was committed or not, many Christians in Pakistan are beginning to sense that police are against them, not serving them as full citizens of the country,” writes Allen in an email update. Despite the present risk, indigenous believers want to keep sharing Christ’s love with their neighbors. Pakistani Christians press on FMI-supported pastors and evangelists throughout Pakistan gathered recently for a four-day conference. Allen says events like these are rare. Because FMI helps indigenous missionaries “reach the unreached” for Christ, this often means equipping pastors and church planters for Gospel work in remote regions. These areas are often difficult to reach, making long-distance fellowship nearly impossible.

(Photo courtesy FMI)

“It’s great for them to be able to come together in a very open atmosphere, where they can share their concerns, their prayer requests, their praises, and make strategies for further outreach,” says Allen. “Already we’ve been seeing pastors applying what they’ve learned and going back into their communities, and reaching out to the rest of the population.” By sponsoring a Pakistani Christian leader through FMI, you can provide for physical needs while they attend to the spiritual needs of the lost. “[Christians are] discriminated against in terms of education, as well as employment. So, even if a church has 50, 60, 70 people attending, they might not be able to financially support their pastor to stay in ministry,” explains Allen. Learn more about Pastor Sponsorship here. “It’s amazing the impact that we can have through this type of sponsorship,” Allen says. “In general, for the cost of what it takes to propel one Western missionary, we can support 50 indigenous pastors.” Most importantly, keep surrounding Christ-followers in prayer. Find more Pakistan stories here.
Categories: Mission Network News

How to Get a Life

Christian Post - Living - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 9:50pm
Some may think the Christian life is restrictive, but actually it is the very opposite. Out there in the world where there are no restrictions, people will start reaping the consequences of their foolish actions. But those who are following Christ will find life at its fullest. Yes, there are boundaries and parameters, but they are there for our own protection.
Categories: Christian Post

Reinhard Bonnke, Evangelist Who Clashed With Muslims in Africa to Win Millions of Converts for Christ to Get Lifetime Award for Global Ministry

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 1:27pm
Reinhard Bonnke, a longtime and once hardline global evangelist who clashed with Muslims in Africa to win millions of converts for Christ on the continent, is set to get a Lifetime Global Impact award at the Global Congress of Empowered21 in Jerusalem for his trailblazing ministry next month.
Categories: Christian Post

You can do something about ISIS

Mission Network News - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Children's HopeChest)

East Africa (MNN) -- As if Ethiopian orphans didn't have enough to deal with, the Islamic State is on their doorstep. Over the weekend, dozens of Ethiopian Christians were slaughtered by ISIS in Libya. Yesterday, government leaders announced three days of national mourning. ISIS has been flaunting its use of child soldiers in Iraq and Syria, recruiting children to join their ranks as "Cubs of the Caliphate." Without the guardianship of parents and an innate desire to belong, orphans make an easy target. The world has been waiting for someone--anyone--to do something about ISIS. Wil Crooks of Children's HopeChest (CHC) says they need YOU to respond. "It is one thing to hear about the atrocities that take place globally…but until you're on the ground…there's a gap between what we know and…what we can do about it," Crooks states. CHC isn't asking for donations. They're asking you to see their ministry in-person by joining them on a Vision Trip. Find details here. Protecting innocents

(Photo courtesy Children's HopeChest)

By protecting a vulnerable child, you can tangibly do something about ISIS. While many great things are done through individual child sponsorships, CHC believes teamwork is vital to complete transformation. Relationships are a key part of that equation. "You don't just pour in resource, because resource without relationship really becomes a transaction," says Crooks. "We believe that transformation happens when it's one life on one life." Using a Survive, Thrive, and Succeed approach, CHC changes kids' lives by pairing Christ-followers in North America with believers on-the-ground in nine countries. Two of those nations in East Africa--Ethiopia and Uganda--have a combined orphan population of 7.2 million. "Children's HopeChest will only partner with communities that are already reaching out to the orphans and vulnerable children," clarifies Crookes.

(Photo courtesy Children's HopeChest)

Christ's command in Matthew 28 is the driving force behind CHC's work. "We want to go and to make disciples. We want not only the children, but the caretakers and the entire community, to know Jesus Christ and to have a relationship with God through Christ." As believers in the West come alongside overseas communities through CHC, they help to make an eternal difference for the "least of these." It's one thing to read these words. It's another to see them in action. Seeing, believing, responding On a CHC Vision Trip, Crooks says partakers get to do a few things. First, they meet with local leadership and learn about the difference CHC's Community–to–Community (C2C) model is making. "We're going to sit down with the leaders, and the leaders are going to tell us three things," explains Crooks.
  1. What the challenges are for orphans and vulnerable children
  2. What the team is currently doing about it
  3. What the leaders' dreams are for the community

(Photo courtesy Children's HopeChest)

"The second thing we're going to do is get to know the children and get to know where they come from." Part of that process involves touring the child's community and walking the child's daily routine with them: where they go to school, how far they have to walk to get water, etc. The whole time, Crooks says visitors will be encouraged "to listen to what God is up to, to lean into His voice and what He may be calling a church or a community to get involved in." CHC's next Vision Trips to East Africa are heading out in September. Click here to sign up, or check out their "Vision Trip" page to see ministry in other locations.
Categories: Mission Network News

More executions by ISIS in Libya

Mission Network News - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 5:00am

Seal of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.
(Image courtesy Wikipedia)

Libya (MNN) -- The Islamic State terror group released another grisly propaganda video over the weekend. It was another mass execution of Christians in Libya: this time, Ethiopians. It bears a resemblance to February's Egyptian Christian murders. Libya has become a hub for migrants across Africa hoping to cross the Mediterranean to enter Europe for work and better lives. Open Doors USA CEO David Curry says it's possible this group of Ethiopians fell into that category. "Within Libya, you have migrant worker groups, just like when you had Egyptians who were there to work within Libya. It's likely; we don't know.... What we know about this incident is what ISIS has been willing to brag about thus far." The White House has condemned "in the strongest terms" the mass murders. But Curry says that doesn't really go far enough. "What you have here is another example of ISIS showing that they are targeting Christians within the Middle East regions. It's not just within the caliphate, the region of control that they set up in Iraq and Syria. It's in Libya--it's in anywhere where they can gain a foothold, where they're not being resisted." Why target Ethiopians? Although Ethiopia is a predominantly Christian nation, Christians in Muslim areas have been reporting discrimination. The country has also drawn the ire of Islamic extremists due to military's attacks on Somalia, which is over 99% Muslim, according to the Joshua Project.

(Photo courtesy Open Doors USA)

ISIS violence in Libya is creating a reaction among moderate and non-Muslims. Curry explains, "It essentially forcing a mass exodus out of the area and has for some time now. But, you're going to see that speed up to where you'll have a region total devoid of Christian faith. That destabilizes the societies within the region." He goes on to say that the ISIS strategy is straightforward. "They're exporting their ideology, their resources to these areas, and their strategy to eliminate Christianity throughout the region." The response has been twofold: first, there have been government responses. After the February killings of the Coptic Christians, Egypt's military responded with airstrikes targeting Darna, a militant stronghold. Curry notes, "The civil governments need to recognize what is happening, because right now, the United Sates government, the administration, has not even recognized that Christians are being targeted within the region." Curry goes on to note, "This isn't just a failed state, it's not just a governmental program. It is an ideology which has targeted, which has explicitly said they want to eliminate Christians." It's that threat that launches the second response: "I think that this is part of a plan to unsettle Christians...Christians need to be aware that there is a component here of spiritual attacks on Christians that the enemy doesn't want us succeeding. It wants us to live in fear." Violence against Christians has increased in a country where rule of law is absent. Curry expects Islamic extremism to spread rapidly. What is our responsibility? Pray. "Recognize your brothers and sisters in faith are in danger. Pray that they are safe, that they can worship in freedom," says Curry. What else can we do? Make some noise, says Curry. "We need to pray for the American Church to wake up to what is happening, so that we will stand behind these people and let our voice be heard. The politicians don't care, because we haven't been heard on this subject. I think we need to let people know we care that Christians around the world are being executed. These are just the ones that we know about."
Categories: Mission Network News

Chadian among Coptic Christians killed

Mission Network News - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Voice of the Martyrs)

Libya (VOM) -- [Editor’s Note: This Voice of the Martyrs story sheds light on one of the 21 Coptic Christians executed by ISIS in February, who was unknown for a time period.] Following the martyrdom of Coptic Christian men by Libyan Islamic State (IS) militants in February 2015, the names of 21 of the martyrs were widely shared. The martyrs were kidnapped from Sirte, Libya, where they were working. Initially, it was believed that all of the men killed for their faith were from small villages in Egypt. However, the name and background of one of those killed, a black man, was unknown. Mathew Ayairga was soon identified by friends after being recognized in video footage of the killings released by IS. According to Ahram-Canadian News, Mathew was from Chad. Mathew had gone missing in January 2015, captured by one of the radical groups in Libya who have kidnapped hundreds, both Muslim and Christian. The video made public on Feb. 15 shows each of the men dressed in orange jumpsuits, kneeling on a beach, with their black-clothed attackers standing behind them. Each one is systematically beheaded, and the video clearly shows many of the men praying “Lord Jesus Christ” in their final moments. According to reports, Mathew Ayairga was not a Christian. However, when moments before his death the IS extremists demanded that he follow Islam, Mathew turned them down. After reportedly witnessing the “immense faith” of the Egyptian believers, he decided to become a follower of Christ. On camera, one of the terrorists asked Matthew, “Do you reject Christ?” “Their God is my God,” he responded, and he became one of the 21 men laying down their lives for their faith in Christ. The Names of the 21 Martyrs: 1. Milad Makeen Zaky 2. Abanub Ayad Atiya 3. Maged Soliman Shehata 4. Youssef Shukry Younan 5. Kirollos Boshra Fawzy 6. Bishoy Astafanous Kamel 7. Samuel Astafanous Kamel 8. Malak Ibrahim Sinyout 9. Tawadros Youssef Tawadros 10. Gerges Milad Sinyout 11. Mina Fayez Aziz 12. Hany Abdel Mesih Salib 13. Samuel Alham Wilson 14. Ezzat Boshra Naseef 15. Luka Nagaty Anis 16. Gaber Mounir Adly 17. Esam Badir Samir 18. Malak Farag Abrahim 19. Sameh Salah Farouk 20. Gerges Samir Megally 21. Mathew Ayairga Sources: VOM sources, Bombay Orthodox Diocese, Diocese of Los Angeles Coptic Orthodox
Categories: Mission Network News

Helping underground believers understand the Old Testament

Mission Network News - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy SAT-7)

Middle East (SAT7/MNN) -- Does the Old Testament still remain relevant in 2015, or is it simply outdated? Questions like this are brought to the television series, Theological Themes in the Old Testament, which is hosted by Rev. Faribouz Khandani, broadcast on SAT-7, a Christian satellite television ministry to the Middle East and North Africa. Rev. Khandani has recognized the importance of the Old Testament and has been careful to not overlook it. He says it brings knowledge to the table that can help people create stronger relationships with God. Knowing about the revelation of God before the First Coming and the early ministry work of Jesus are two examples that will help strengthen this relationship. The new program teaches people that general revelation alone, while genuine and important, does not suffice because it does not reveal our sins. Episodes began airing in March on SAT-7 PARS, which broadcasts to more than 2 million people in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan. During the start-up of the program, an introduction of the Old Testament took place, covering topics on the importance of knowing God and how He reveals Himself through His relationships with people. Future episodes will talk about God’s promise to Abraham, knowing sin, and the importance of covenants in the Old Testament. As part of the SAT-7 PARS Seminary of the Air, or SOTA, series, it leads believers to a deep, detailed understanding of biblical themes and equips them to serve and lead in house churches. The Presenter, Rev. Khandani, has had a dramatic spiritual journey that helps him relate to viewers with good humor and a warm spirit. As a teenager in Iran, Rev. Khandani held extremist beliefs. When his sister became a Christian, he began reading the Bible to disprove her new beliefs. He says, “I was convinced that the Bible was corrupt and filled with inconsistencies…. Little did I know that the Word of God was powerful to convict, and I began following Christ. This was in 1976.” Growing persecution against Christians caused his family to immigrate, and Rev. Khandani now pastors a church in Toronto, Canada. He holds a degree in Biblical Studies and is conducting advanced research in Historical Theology. Now, he wants to share the Gospel targeted toward underground believers. He says, “In terms of TV ministry, the burden on my heart is to see the leaders of the underground churches in Iran grow and learn so that they help nourish and teach the lay members.” These believers are in desperate need of a ministry, and this television series is a great way to provide it for them. Many have nowhere else to look for the truth because of restrictions in the countries. One woman told SAT-7 PARS, “I gave my heart to Jesus two years ago and continue to watch your programs daily. I joined a small house church and married a Christian man who loves me and treats me with respect. Now, ten members of my close family and relatives are also Christians, and we come together to worship God and watch your programs.” Pray that Theological Themes in the Old Testament will stir interest in those who have not yet received Christ as Lord, and deepen understanding for those who know Him as Savior. SAT-7 can only keep this series alive with your contribution. Click here to help.
Categories: Mission Network News

‘More Jesus’ organizes prayer effort

Mission Network News - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 5:00am
USA (MNN) -- A ministry originating in northern Michigan is encouraging the body of Christ to pray for persecuted Christians around the world. More Jesus, based in Traverse City, Michigan, is a ministry that went viral a few years ago. Their goal was to use those two words "More Jesus" to encourage Christians to seek after Jesus more, while encouraging non-Christians to find Him.

Jennifer Stoll giving her testimony on Our Daily Bread.
(Photo courtesy of Our Daily Bread)

Eight weeks ago, that ministry's co-founder Jennifer Stoll, became burdened. "I had had a growing burden for the persecuted church, but I didn't know what to do. So, I'm part of a prayer ministry and a lot of people around me who pray, and we prayed." God gave the group a conviction to gather the community to pray for Christians who are suffering simply for claiming Christ as their Savior. Stoll says that started an 8-week prayer campaign. "We just wanted to gather people and invite them to come together to turn discouragement into encouragement. We were concerned that as Christians, we were not honoring God fully by just discussing these things and mourning over these things, instead of walking in the victory God is promising us." More Jesus partnered with Mission Network News affiliate WLJN in Traverse City to get the word out. For the last eight weeks, Christians representing more than a dozen local churches have been gather each Sunday to pray for Christians suffering for their faith.

More than 70 people attended week 8 of the More Jesus prayer effort for the persecuted church at Bayview Wesleyan Church in Traverse City, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Kase)

Stoll says, "We've had people say that they can come here, and come heavy and leave light. They can come and gain new understanding of what's happening around the world. We've had people that said they wouldn't watch what's happening on TV, but now they want to know." Stoll says the prayer effort is strengthening their walk with the Lord. "We don't know where God is going to take this, but we want to be found faithful, and we feel God has called us to do this." She believes every community should have a similar prayer effort. "I absolutely do. In fact, in one of my prayer times, I felt God's conviction that part of the problem across the water--in the Middle East--is because we have not been praying." Stoll adds, "Prayerlessness is a sin, and not relying on God is a sin." What is her end hope? "That other communities would rise up and see the power and the love of God, that their hearts would be expanded, His grace would be multiplied, people would be saved in the Middle East, but that our enemies would be saved." Stoll believes that this prayer effort will ultimately lead Christians to be more bold in their witness. If you'd like additional information on how to start a community wide prayer effort, contact More Jesus here.
Categories: Mission Network News