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She gave out of her poverty

Mission Network News - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Food for the Hungry)

Thailand (FH) -- There is, perhaps, no story that reflects the true spirit of Christmas more than the one found in Mark 12:41-44, the story of the Widow’s Mite. The key to the quality of her giving was summed up best when Jesus said, “The others gave out of their wealth, but she gave out of her poverty.” Frequently, we look at our financial situation and feel that the paltry amount we might be able to give would be meaningless, unable to bless anyone. The truth is: what we give may bless people in ways we have never even considered. Working in Asia during the aftermath of one of the world’s most horrific tsunamis of all time, Food for the Hungry (FH) staff were greatly moved by the church in a small agriculture town in northern Thailand. Members took up an offering to help those in need and collected a grand total of $7.00 and a dozen of eggs. They weren’t worried about what they didn’t have; they gave what they did have! To those individuals who were putting in 20+ hours a day helping those victimized by the tsunami, the gift of eggs impressed them more than the five-figure donations they received from others. While we may be able to give only a little, FH is blessed by the cumulative effect of dedicated people who give all they can. Together, you provide much more than you may have imagined. And, if you prefer to give a tangible gift rather than money, take a look at Food for the Hungry's Gift Catalog. It contains much-needed items that will bless others while fitting into even the tightest of budgets, including: 1. Mosquito Nets: For only $6.00, you can help protect a child from deadly malaria-bearing mosquitoes and a host of other creepy crawlies. 2. Hope Packs: Your gift of $4.00 will provide a student with school supplies, including pens, paper, notebooks, and other items that will allow children to develop their God-given skills and talents. As we prepare to share the Christmas season, let's take just a moment and share our comparative bounty with those in parts of the world who have so far less than we do!
Categories: Mission Network News

Joy for India: a matching campaign for children in India

Mission Network News - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 5:00am
India (MNN) -- There are many ways to do Christmas a little differently this year.

Mission India presents the Gospel
to children and adults in India in a holistic way.
(Photo by Mission India)

Mission India has an interesting approach. They're encouraging you to be an ambassador for Jesus to children in India. How? It's pretty simple. They're calling it "Joy for India." First of all, you can print off a Bible verse coloring page from their Web site, color it, and send it to Mission India so that it can be given to a child in India. The second step is to create a giving page as a family. Here you invite your friends to help you bless India's kids with a holistic presentation of the Gospel. Through the month of December, all these gifts will be matched. Finally, you can get resources that will teach you more about global missions and what life is like in India. Todd VanEk of Mission India says, "It's just a great way to encourage the heart of giving in our kids. At this time of year when our culture is so focused on getting, it's a real tool that we as families can use to lift up the great commission and really talk about that as a family."

Color a verse page and send it to
a child in India to let them know you're thinking of them.
(Photo by Mission India)

Mission India hopes that this project will encourage life transformation so that both the giver and the receiver will make Christ the center of their life. Not only are you doing something different this Christmas, but you're sharing the meaning of Christmas--namely Jesus--with children in India. VanEk says this project is part of what it can look like to be obedient. He says, "The #1 reason that anyone should get involved in this is from the Gospel standpoint: Jesus gives the great commission to go and make disciples of all nations." Find out how to get involved by visiting their project page here. The connection point for Mission India to share the Gospel is through their children's Bible clubs. If you'd simply like to give to the matching fund, click here.
Categories: Mission Network News

Boko Haram cannot stop Christmas

Mission Network News - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 5:00am
Nigeria (VOM/MNN) -- The commercialized version of Christmas that has taken root so firmly in the West has little to offer people who are suffering. But when Jesus birth is being celebrated in an appropriate and reverent way, then Christmas means everything--even to victims of Boko Haram in Nigeria. Late last month, Voice of the Martyrs brought Christmas to Christian families in Borno. Dozens of children clapped and sang as a Christmas celebration began in a Maiduguri church. Although they were among the thousands of Christians who fled Islamic extremist violence in northern Nigeria, inside there were smiles and songs. The late November celebration was held to distribute Bibles and aid to Christian families in Borno state’s capital city who fled attacks on their churches, homes, and villages. Some of the families receiving the aid now live in makeshift tents set up around the perimeter of the Maiduguri church compound.

(Photo by VOM)

In mid-September, Boko Haram militants surrounded and besieged the city of two million people. Many of the roads into the city were impassible, and neighboring cities were overrun by the Islamist group. Nigeria’s military intervened in Maidurguri, but conflict in the region has not ended. Tens of thousands of Christians in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states have been forced to flee the violence. When Boko Haram attacks, those who aren’t killed flee into the bush, leaving behind their homes. Insurgents steal food, livestock, and anything of value, and armed men guard the village to prevent villagers from returning to reclaim their property. Villagers are then forced to live as refugees in surrounding areas, hoping that they will someday be able to return to their homes. As the Christians at the church gathered, they began by joining in prayer for the people of Maiduguri as well as those throughout northern Nigeria. VOM workers from Nigeria told the believers that Christians all over the world have heard about the violence. “You are not left alone, and they are sharing your pain with you,” they said. The day included activities for both adults and children. Some of the widows and children in the group performed songs, focusing on all that Jesus had done. Then the distribution began. The gifts included much-needed food staples like rice, beans, noodles, and milk. Children also received soccer balls, coloring books, school supplies, and a children’s Bible. With no end to the violence in site and thousands of believers displaced after repeated violence, VOM continues to provide aid throughout northern Nigeria. Click here to support VOM's efforts in Nigeria.
Categories: Mission Network News

Peshawar school attack deadliest since 2007

Mission Network News - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 5:00am

This is a logo owned by APSACS Secretariat for Army Public Schools & Colleges System.
http://www.apsacssectt.edu.pk/

Pakistan (MNN) -- More than 140 people, mostly students between the ages of 12 and 16, lost their lives yesterday when six Taliban suicide bombers attacked a military school in Peshawar. "What is so strange is that even the Taliban spokesman, as he was saying it's a revenge attack for the army offensive, he also said, 'Our suicide bombers have instructions not to harm the children, but only the target army personnel'," says Bruce Allen of Forgotten Missionaries International (FMI). This was the fourth terrorist attack against a school in 2014, he adds. According to BBC News, Taliban suicide bombers scaled the walls of Peshawar's Army Public School and Degree College Tuesday morning and entered the school with intent to kill. Four suicide bombers detonated their devices, while the remaining two were shot by Pakistani security forces while holding students and teachers hostage. While yesterday's attack was exceptionally bloody, Pakistan is no stranger to terrorist violence. Last year's twin suicide bombing outside the All Saints Church in Peshawar killed more than 80 and left hundreds wounded. Since 2007, there have been at least 31 major attacks in Pakistan, according to the Associated Press; yesterday's was the deadliest. "All these parents and families are talking against Islam now. Our national director there, he says, 'This is such a ripe time to share the Lord's peace and comfort'," shares Allen.

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)

FMI supports three evangelists in the Peshawar area; 26 Muslims living there recently placed their faith in Christ and are preparing for baptism now. Some of FMI's greatest evangelistic work in 2014 has occurred in Peshawar. Pray the evangelical leaders who are responding to this tragedy will have chances to share Christ with disillusioned Muslims. Terrorist attacks in Pakistan are usually the first to gain media coverage, but there's another form of violence that deserves just as much attention. "We get concerned about terror groups…but this is a little more insidious because this just happens at 'Main Street' level, among neighbors," suggests Allen. "It gets very, very common, and it has disastrous effects." Read about a daily threat to Pakistani Christians here. While you might not be able to change Pakistani laws, or fly to Peshawar to counsel families, there are a couple of things you can do. First, take the issue to the Lord in prayer. Pray that families who've lost loved ones "don't give up and they don't despair", Allen suggests. Pray for softened and open hearts. "God's love wants to shower down on these people, so pray that they would be receptive to the Christians who intercept them." Secondly, help Pakistani believers through FMI. You can help FMI meet the needs of a church leader and his family through monthly sponsorship. Or, you can help believers respond to spiritual needs in Peshawar by supporting evangelistic outreach.

Tribal Art Bus collecting commuters on the Gora Kabrustan Stop in Peshawar. (Photo cred: zerega via Flickr) CC2.0

"Earlier this year, we sponsored the production of Scripture on audio CDs in the tribal language [of] this region," says Allen. "We've already distributed ALL of the copies that we have…[it's a] great opportunity to share the "JESUS" Film, other things for these people who are hurting and searching for real answers. "Many are saying, 'Islam is not the way'." Connect with FMI here for more on these opportunities. "We give and minister in Jesus' name, and we actually minister TO Jesus when we take care of our Christian brothers and sisters," Allen adds.
Categories: Mission Network News

Haiti election stalemate brings crisis

Mission Network News - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 5:00am

(Photo Laurent Lamothe courtesy Wikipedia)

Haiti (MNN) -- A political standoff in Haiti cost Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe his job. Lamothe stepped down in response to pressure from Haitians angry about graft, the slowness of disaster recovery,and ongoing poverty. A caretaker government is wading through a political standoff that threatens to bog down a long overdue January 12 local and national election. The country is awaiting word on the successor President Michel Martelly will choose as a replacement for Lamothe. That decision is expected Wednesday, under a timetable set by a special commission last week. In an effort to resolve a dispute over delayed legislative and municipal elections, Martelly also accepted that commission's other recommendations which included the resignation of the entire cabinet, the head of the Supreme Court, and an interim electoral council. Meanwhile, protests are getting more violent, even as protestors also demand Martelly's resignation. Eva DeHart of For Haiti With Love says, "There are manifestations in all parts of Haiti now, and it's really sad. Like all political scenes, there are two sides. There appears to be a government bottle-neck between two branches, one trying to move forward and the other sitting on the bills, or motions." At least one person has died in the protests. DeHart says some of the demonstrators appear to be paid, adding that the damage they're causing isn't doing much to endear people to their cause. "These are obviously not people with Haiti’s best interests at heart, or they wouldn’t be burning tires on their newly-paved streets and destroying the advances that have been made in the last few months." Manifestations have since spread to Gonaives and Cap Haitien. Unlike those in Port-au-Prince, they've remained smaller and calmer. "I think that we probably have the rain to thank for that. No matter how upset they get or how much money they're offered, there are those who don't want to go out in the rain. So, I think probably the level of manifestations in Cap Haitien will stay down as long as it's raining." For Haiti With Love's clinic will remain open, adds DeHart, in spite of the chaos. "We're just trying to keep the things of the mission as stable as possible with the chaos around us. The clinic operates every day. We will take care of those hurt in the manifestations, questions unasked." Plus, life goes on because the margin of survival is thin. "We have a container of food coming in. We pray for the safe arrival of that and the safe passage up to our headquarters. [We are] ust basically continuing on with what we are doing and maintaining the focus of serving the poor in God's name." A note to add: For Haiti with Love has been serving Cap Haitien officially since 1982. Their main headquarters building has been a reliable source of help for over three decades. However, things are beginning to show their age now. The chaos of the area may be a factor, but DeHart says they have repairs that need to be made, demonstrations or not. A hotel's retaining wall came down and took out FHL's water line from the reservoir. Right now, they don’t know if the pipe was buried or washed away. Then, the ministry lost its inverter, and the generator is showing its age, too. Finally, on top of this list of critical needs: "Our headquarters roof is leaking after several days of non-stop rain. If anyone has any of their philanthropic budgets left for year-end gifts, we could use help with the roof project." The growing "To Do" list shows that regardless of the politics of Port-au-Prince, life goes on, and the people of Haiti need both help and hope. Click here to read more about the various ministries FHWL is involved with and how the story of Christ figures into all of that.  
Categories: Mission Network News

Lower gas prices are hurting the Fracking Industry

WGRC News - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 1:45pm

Fracking is a modern American success story. The technique for extracting oil from shale has made America the world’s leading oil producer. Lower energy prices have been an early Christmas present for consumers, but they also hurt companies that drill for oil. And with oil prices now below $60 a barrel and likely to go lower, fracking is facing a challenge. Analysts say, Saudi Arabia and OPEC are trying to use the low world oil prices as a weapon to kill off fracking as an industry by making the process too expensive compared to the price of oil. They don’t like the competition from the U.S. They think if they drop the price, they’ll be able to cause enough pain and push some of them out of business, and they’ll be able to raise the price back up.

Categories: Local News

Accepting Our Inheritance

Christian Post - Living - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 12:40pm
The word inheritance usually brings to mind the money and real estate handed down from one generation to another. But God has an even greater legacy to share with His children—one that they are given the moment they enter His family.
Categories: Christian Post

How Jesus' Servant Heart, Humble Love Came to Oaxacan Migrant Farm Workers Through Clean Feet

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 9:26am
Just under a two-hour drive south of the Tijuana, Mexico border, Christmas gifts and a strong message that Jesus came to serve the poor, were delivered by a group of Christians on a recent weekend missions trip that included washing the feet of Oaxacan migrant farm workers living in sparse homes inside a colonia.
Categories: Christian Post

Drug Dealer, Pimp-Turned-Preacher: We Can't Wait for Racism to Go Away to Change Perception of Black Men

Christian Post - Living - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 7:59am
Career criminal-turned-minister John Turnipseed said the image of African American men as violent troublemakers has to change so when incidents like Ferguson occur, the public will fight for them.
Categories: Christian Post

Enduring opposition for the Kingdom

Mission Network News - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 5:00am

India is ranked #28 on Open Doors' World Watch List, a ranking of the countries where persecution of Christians is most severe.
(Photo credit Open Doors)

India (MNN) -- India's recent bout of persecution underscores the need for well-equipped church leaders who aren't afraid of opposition. Gary Bishop, President/CEO of  Far Corners Missions, says now that their Bible college expansion is finished, they can focus on sending more pastors to unreached villages. "We have documented 1,250 villages that are 'unreached,' at this point, in our part of Andhra Pradesh, India," notes Bishop. Thanks to the recently-completed expansion of the Word of Life (WOL) Bible College, "We can now add 25 students, and our recruiters are out doing that right now. "These young men launch out with their training to go make the Gospel news available and to be the hands and feet of Jesus. The only thing holding back adding some of them is that they require support." Equipping the local Body of Christ Andhra Pradesh is included in a region known as the "Hindu Heartland" of India. Oppression is on the rise in this state, and attacks against Christians often turn violent: stabbings, murder, church arson, and life-threatening beatings.

Photo courtesy of Far Corners Missions

Into this daunting landscape Far Corners sends its WOL graduates. The ministry has been used to do great things in Andhra Pradesh over the past few decades, Bishop adds. "Far Corners has been in India for 47 years now, and we've planted 1,100 churches," he says. "God's opened the door; we are able to [plant churches] in almost any village in our part of India." Of the 1,100 churches mentioned above, 800 are completely "self-sustaining." This means the congregation can support their pastor without help from Far Corners. Bishop says once a pastor is trained and begins work in an unreached village, his church will be self-sustaining after a couple of years. "[Sponsoring a pastor is] a great, great investment in the Kingdom," Bishop states. "It's such a small amount, when you think about education in the United States." According to CollegeCalc.org, the average total cost per year for a two-year Bible/Biblical Studies associate program in the U.S. is $21,258. The average total program cost amounts to $42,516. In comparison, sponsoring a pastor until he completes WOL's two-year program costs $1,560. Based on Far Corners' past experiences, it takes about two years for a village church to become completely self-sustaining, which translates to an investment of roughly $3,120.

(Image courtesy Far Corners Missions)

A pastor would need to be supported by sponsors for over 27 years in order to equal the cost of one year's tuition at the average U.S. Bible college. "For $65 a month, you pay for the complete education [of a WOL student], the living expenses…all of their supplies, three meals a day, and all their practicums of getting prepared to go out into the field and become a village pastor," notes Bishop. Could you and your small group help an impoverished believer reach his people for Christ? Click here to sponsor a pastor through Far Corners. "Once you engage, it's a whole lot more than just writing the check. It's praying for him, it's knowing how he's doing, it's understanding the challenges he may be facing."
Categories: Mission Network News

Can we trust God with our children?

Mission Network News - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 5:00am
International (MIS/MNN) -- The following is an enlightening perspective from a missionary with The Mission Society:

What is it like to raise children on the mission field?
(Photo courtesy of The Mission Society)

What is it like to rear children cross-culturally? How do you respond when people, including close family members, question your parenting skills because you moved overseas with young children? How do you deal with the day-to-day dangers of living in certain areas? Because these questions are near and dear to our own hearts, we asked one missionary couple to weigh in on these common concerns related to rearing families overseas. Here they share their journey as they sought God’s will for their family amid cross-cultural ministry, and how God deepened their faith in the process. Before we had children, I was pretty adamant that having kids would not affect our call to minister cross-culturally, and particularly in a least-reached area. Then, sometime in the first year of our daughter’s life, concerns began to creep in that I had hidden away. These concerns were multiplied by the voices of others, particularly family members, who were not comfortable with the situation in which we live--and our daughter’s safety. I really had to press in to God and ask Him how He felt about these concerns. Having prayed and processed this issue quite a bit, here is my advice to young families considering cross-cultural ministry. We are ill-equipped to give our children absolutely everything they will ever need and to prevent any bad thing from touching them, no matter where we live. There are dangers everywhere. I have discovered that I can be more comfortable with the familiar risks that America presents (car crashes, etc.) than with all the unknown risks of my new country. But that doesn’t mean that one location is actually more risky than another. In truth, these points are a response to the symptom of this issue, rather than its actual cause. The real issue is this: do I really trust Jesus with my children? I’ve come to understand that I do. But it took some processing and some honesty on my part. Also, importantly, I’ve realized I would rather my children learn what it is to be obedient to Jesus than to learn what it looks like to fear man more. The thing that God used to free my worrying heart from all these concerns was that He would take much better care of my children than I could, no matter where we are. I am evil,and yet desire to give my kids good gifts. And He is perfect! So how much more so can He give my children? It does not matter where we live. I believe, though, that each parent will have to seek God about this. Press into Him without relenting until you get a truth from Him that will stick through the hard days. And He will give it. I have no doubt. This couple has two children and they minister in a least-reached area. Their names have been withheld for security purposes.   Whether you're considering heading out to the mission field with your children or are missions-minded, take time to pray for families on the mission field. You can check out missionaries with The Mission Society here to pray for specific families.
Categories: Mission Network News

Christians in India attacked by Hindu mob for singing about Christmas

Mission Network News - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 5:00am

(Stock photo carolers in India courtesy Flickr/CC/SkiptheBudgie)

India (MNN) -- 'Tis the season, but singing about Christ in the Advent Season got a pastor and 15 carolers beaten up in India this weekend. A report from International Christian Concern was confirmed by the Voice of the Martyrs USA. VOM spokesman Todd Nettleton says, "Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon occurrence to see a church meeting attacked, to see people harassed and beaten up, and sometimes, even the police are called." The ICC report notes that around 30 Hindu radicals attacked the group in Hyderabad, accusing the Christians of trying to convert people. The report details an assault that left Pastor Bhim Nayak of Banjara Baptist Church and four other Christians severely injured. Christians make up around 2% of India's population, but they face increasing hostility from some of the more radical Hindu nationalists in India. Nettleton says, "With the election of Prime Minister Modi this year, and the rise to power of the radical Hindu RSS-backed government, there is an atmosphere where Christians can be persecuted and the persecutors really don't worry about repercussions." Nettleton says the issues: "they [radicals] don't worry that they're going to face stiff penalties for persecuting Christians. That's the atmosphere that has taken hold in India." Here's why they're concerned about that: in August, the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said, “The entire world recognizes Indians as Hindus, therefore India is a Hindu state.... The cultural identity of all Indians is Hindutva, and the present inhabitants of the country are descendants of this great culture.” Hindutva refers to Hindu religious fundamentalism and an ideology that all other religions are invalid. Now, an RSS coordinator in the Uttar Pradesh region says his organization plans to convert Muslims and Christians to Hinduism in two separate programs this month. The Indian constitution guarantees freedom of religion. Yet 6 of the 29 state governments have implemented laws forbidding “forcible conversions.” Christians are concerned, especially as Advent draws closer to Christmas Day celebrations. Nettleton urges other believers to pray. "We can pray for their protection, and I think also pray for their response. One of the challenging calls that we have as Christians from the New Testament is to love those who are persecuting us."

(Stock photo Christmas in India, courtesy Flickr/CC/DigantaTalukdar)

Why is it challenging? "You can imagine that if your pastor's being beaten up, as has happened in this case, that's a pretty challenging thing to try to show love and not anger and not animosity toward the people who are persecuting you." Stories of attacks on Christians are coming in every day. Even as churches are beefing up security amid terror threats, this is a season where the hope of Christ is the message behind everything the Church does. "[Pray] that God will supernaturally allow them to show love and to respond in forgiveness and love when they are being persecuted."
Categories: Mission Network News

Pygmy tribes in Africa receiving Treasures

Mission Network News - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 5:00am

World Mission distributes Treasures to third world countries, including these people from DRC. (Photo by World Mission)

DRC/Congo (MNN) -- In a world where technology is always improving, values seem to shift, and the latest craze will be forgotten tomorrow, it's hard to grasp the fact that many people around the world are living life much like they did a hundred years ago. Often these isolated people groups change much more slowly. Some are even resistant to change, and that can include religion. Greg Kelley of World Mission recently sent us a report from the field about a tribe living in The Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo. The Gospel has not yet reached this group. He shares more about it and how you can be praying: "I'm looking out over the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo and even across the river into the Republic of Congo, where the last remaining unreached people group in both of these great nations lives: it's the Pygmy people. World Mission has two teams--one is on sight right now among the Pygmies in the northern part of the DRC, and another one leaves next week for the Republic of Congo. They will be distributing Treasures in the native tongue of the Pygmy people who have largely rejected the Gospel, and they largely have been overlooked; there's not been mission activity. But we have two teams that are going out, and they'll be targeting these precious people that Jesus died for. So we just would encourage you to be praying for the Pygmies of the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo that they would open their hearts to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ." If you'd like to partner with World Mission, visit their Web site here.
Categories: Mission Network News

Spending Christmas In His Presence Instrumental Vol. 2 by Mark T. Jackson

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 5:00am
In efforts to preserve the integrity of traditional Christmas Carols, Mark T. Jackson has arranged 17 Christmas Carols to get you in the Christmas Spirit. This is a Piano Instrumental CD that will soothe your spirit and calm your mind. This is the second volume of the In His Presence volumes. You will love it! [...]
Categories: Christian Music News

Christians, Yazidis, and the needs that unite them

Mission Network News - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 5:00am
Iraq (CAM/MNN) -- The following is an update from Christian Aid Mission, your link to indigenous missions, on both Christians and non-Christians who have fled from ISIS and have great needs.

A statue of Mary symbolizes the church aid
displaced Iraqis found at a church-run tent camp
in Ankawa, outside Erbil--unlike in Dohuk.
(Caption/photo courtesy of Christian Aid Mission)

The mainly non-Christian Iraqis who went to the northern city of Dohuk after fleeing the Islamic State (ISIS) this year have less help than the many Christians who went to Erbil--a golden opportunity for a locally-based ministry. Displaced people from villages, towns, and cities in Iraq’s northern province of Nineveh who made the mountainous trek to Dohuk, a city of 280,000, did not find the large, welcoming church presence that displaced people did in Erbil’s outlying town of Ankawa, which helped to provide tents, food, and medicines. Needs far outstripped supplies even in Erbil. At least 600,000 people--five times as many as arrived in Erbil--went to Dohuk. “They ended up in the streets and under the trees. They live in any building they find, any building under construction, and they just lay their head there,” said the director of a local ministry providing aid in Dohuk. He noted that many of the arrivals were Yazidis, who practice a blend of Christian, Zoroastrian, and Islamic rituals. Long labeled “devil worshippers” by Muslims, the fleeing Yazidis were especially hated and targeted by ISIS. Many came from Sinjar, also known as Shingal, populated mainly by Yazidi Kurds, undertaking the 3-5 day journey to Dohuk on foot. “A lot of Yazidis living in the streets were in a state of shock. They saw a lot of killing of their family members, fathers, brothers, and daughters kidnapped,” he said. “I was giving out a sandwich to a Yazidi man in Dohuk, and the man responded, ‘What are you giving me? Food? My kids are taken. I lost two daughters.’ Some said, 'I lost my wife, what are they going to do to her?' and they would start weeping.” Ministering to these people’s spiritual needs was even more daunting. “You don’t know what to do,” the director said. “These people are Yazidis; they aren’t Muslims and they’re not Christians. We offered to pray for them, but it was sort of meaningless to them because they don’t know Christ. But some of them said, ‘Just pray to any god, because I do need help.’”

In an Ankawa tent camp, a makeshift chapel even emerged. (Caption/photo by Christian Aid Mission)

Bitter cold has begun to bite in the area, and many Internally Displaced People (IDPs) are wondering how they will survive the winter. The director said that the IDPs in Dohuk were among the recipients of his ministry’s recent distribution of 4,035 blankets (at a cost of $40,350), 1,900 electric heaters (at a cost of $57,000), winter clothing and jackets (costing $10,000), as well as 500 oil heaters at a cost of $25,000. “Winter has started, so they need heaters,” he said. “Where the people are living they need tents to be replaced with buildings with real walls. So we started buying huge plastic tarps to cover their area. In Erbil they have tents, but in Dohuk they sleep in the open.” The government provides the IDPs a small monthly food ration, but it’s not enough, the director said. “And the government does not give medicine,” he added. “They don’t give mattresses, or covers or pillows, stuff like that. And we are doing this. In three month,s we distributed over 6,500 mattresses. In October, when it started getting cold, we distributed 3,500 blankets.” The director said that on a recent visit to Dohuk he went to a building used as housing, expecting to find only a few Yazidi families; but his locally-based team was swarmed by 500 children: a sign of their overcrowded quarters. In an Ankawa tent camp, a makeshift chapel even emerged. “Everybody had a need,” said the ministry director. “I took a list; I said, 'OK, who is sick here? Who’s hungry? Who needs a mattress?’ I had three lists, and to my surprise, the list of sick people was the biggest one. One of the children was crying because he had an infection because he stepped on a needle or something. He had a bad infection and he was like less than a year old--almost a baby.” Another child had an ear infection that had begun to affect his brain; he had begun losing his memory. The director asked him if he could find a doctor, and the child along with others only replied, “Who’s going to take us to the hospital?” The ministry has begun operating a mobile medical clinic in northern Iraq to provide for such needs. It is a large van equipped with medical equipment and supplies. The director spoke of a married 17-year-old Yazidi girl he met whom ISIS had taken for 96 days. She was raped nearly every day by four men. “She said, ‘They took me under the cries of "Allahu Akbar" [God is greater]. I was taken from family, from my husband,’” she said. “In 96 days she attempted suicide four times, but she didn’t die for some reason. She tried to hang herself but couldn’t. She drank poison, but for some reason, I believe, God let her live.” At last ISIS sold her as a slave for $500 to a family friend pretending that he didn’t know her. “So when he bought her, he called the family and said, ‘Hey I have your daughter. Come and get her,’” the director said. “This is one of thousands of stories. So we need to do more than just provide help. We sometimes just bow our heads and feel with these people, pray with them, cry with them. When they see the tears, that gives them some healing. And then the next step is, ‘Here is Jesus Who can save and heal.’” To help indigenous missionaries meet these overwhelming needs, you may contribute online using the form here, or call 434-977-5650. If you prefer to mail your gift, please mail to Christian Aid Mission, P.O. Box 9037, Charlottesville, VA 22906. Please use Gift Code: 444IRAQ. Thank you!
Categories: Mission Network News

Busiest shipping day of the year

WGRC News - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 8:32pm

You’ll likely be standing in long lines if you have Xmas gifts to mail. Today is expected to be the busiest shipping day of the year for the U.S. Postal Service with more than 640 million cards, letters and packages expected to be processed. FedEx also said it’s expected to be the busiest day it has ever seen. USPS says Monday is the deadline to send mail using standard post where it can be guaranteed to arrive in time for Christmas morning.

Categories: Local News

Montoursville State Police investigate a murder

WGRC News - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 8:31pm

The investigation continues into a man found dead yesterday morning in Loyalsock Township. State police in Montoursville say that 40 year old Ty Kimble was in a car with a woman along Warrensville Road around 2am when an argument between the two became physical with Kimball being shot and killed. An autopsy was scheduled for this morning. The woman who has not been identified was taken into custody.

Categories: Local News

Home burglary

WGRC News - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 8:31pm

State Police continue to investigate a home burglary near Hughesville last month. Sometime from November 21st to the 22nd, someone broke through an exterior door window ata home on Barto Hollow Road in Penn Township. An air purifier was stolen as well as about $2,000 dollars in change and another $250 dollars in cash. Anyone with information is asked to contact State police in Montoursville.

Categories: Local News

Food for hungry souls

Mission Network News - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 5:00am
International (FFH) -- Wouldn’t it be wonderful, if when we were sick, we could go to one place, take one pill and have that one pill solve any sickness that we have? I don’t know if that will ever happen in the realm of healthcare, but there are cures for many of the issues of life that people suffer from. One woman, Fidelina, who lives in the Dominican Republic, was raised in a culture dominated by witch doctors who held sway over people by keeping them under the dark shadows of fear. Fidelina found herself trapped in fears stemming from tales of unspeakable things the witch doctors reportedly did to babies and young children. Having birthed six of her own, her fears were multiplied. In addition, the witch doctors used fear to promote gambling as a quick fix amongst those under their influence. Winning a lottery became Fidelina’s dream. Once she became addicted to gambling, her dream became her nightmare. The thing she wanted to protect the most--her family--became the thing that suffered the most. In Bolivia, Gertrudiz and her husband, Julio, earned a living by traveling to Chile to work in the Chapare coca-producing region. Either would leave for extended periods of time, effectively abandoning their three children in their home village where the only running water was a single, communal tap. In their quest to provide, they ended up neglecting their family greatly. Though their stories were different, the result was the same. Their families were suffering, but they weren’t broken beyond repair. Food for the Hungry has an outreach program which includes providing food where there is hunger, healthcare where there is illness, and income sources where none exist. They also lead individuals and families to the One who is Truth and who promised He would never leave or forsake them. This is how the women and their families were reunited and rejuvenated. The Bible and God are the pills, which heal everything, even families torn apart by gambling or fighting. No matter who we are, where we live, or what our circumstances are, there is only one lens through which we can view the world correctly. That lens is trusting in God to provide. In that regard, sometimes the cure is not as obvious as food, shelter, or health care. The cure is introducing people to Christ and giving them Bibles to read and instruction in God’s ways. As families learn biblical principles, they are transformed by the renewing of their minds so that their perspectives on life and their priorities change. They learn that the truth of God’s Word never changes; they can depend on it to direct their lives, and on God to provide for their needs. FH's outreach in every area of service includes food for hungry souls. That’s what they had the opportunity to do for both Fidelina and Gertrudiz. These women and their families have completely changed since. Their families are whole, and their worldview is much clearer. Make a difference in a family's life and give hope to those who can no longer see a future. Click here to donate through their gift catalog. When you visit the “Eternal Impact” section, you will discover how to give the gift of Bibles and discipleship training. Your gift could help change a life forever.
Categories: Mission Network News

Quiet persecution in Vietnam

Mission Network News - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Voice of the Martyrs, USA)

Vietnam (MNN/VOM) -- Two Asian nations are among the top 20 on the Open Doors World Watch List (WWL), a ranking of 50 countries where persecution of Christians is the most severe. Guess which two? If you said North Korea and Vietnam, you'd be right. North Korea has been the world's worst persecutor of Christians for nearly a decade. Vietnam ranks 18th, far above China, which is 37th on the WWL. Yet, with active harassment, oppression, and persecution of Christians within its borders, the prayer vigil for Vietnam's body of Christ has seemingly gone silent. Todd Nettleton, a spokesman for the Voice of the Martyrs USA, attributes some of that to improvements made on the human and religious rights fronts. "Over the last five years, we've seen them open up registration to additional churches. We've seen less persecution. We've seen some very large Christian meetings held in Hanoi." Still, he reminds us, "The reality is: there is persecution, and it is a Communist country. As we know in Communist countries, the issue for them, with regard to religion, is control." Specifically, "When the Church says, 'Our first loyalty is to Jesus Christ, not to the Communist Party, not to the Communist government,' that makes them very uncomfortable and they respond with harassment and persecution to try to regain that control." Last year, Nettleton explains, Vietnam implemented a new government policy (ND-92 is a revision of the former, less-detailed ND-22). It's more restrictive, providing the government with additional legal tools for control and repression. By impeding the day-to-day functioning of church groups with even tighter reporting, registration, and permission restrictions, there is the increased risk of diminishing the rapidly growing size and number of churches within its borders.

(Photo courtesy Voice of the Martyrs USA)

However, he goes on to note, "The Hmong tribe is among the significant ones that has had a great revival over the last 20 years. Tens of thousands of Hmong people have come to Christ. The government doesn’t trust them because they're part of this minority tribal group, and then they don't trust them even more because they're Christians and they're involved in church activity." A case in point: Ho Chi Minh City Bible School has often been the target of police activity in recent years. The Bible school leader, Pastor Nguyen Hong Quang, said last month the school was attacked and destroyed for the seventh time since June. Nettleton adds, "I think the initial intent is to send a message, but ultimately, they would like to shut them down. The government sees this Bible School as a threat." After large scale attacks in June, the water and electricity for the school were cut off, and in October, all roads to the school were barricaded. Why? Nettleton explains, "One of the things that pastor Quang is involved in is training the church leaders from some of the minority ethnic tribal groups across Vietnam, and then they go back to their villages to lead churches, to plant churches."

(Photo courtesy Voice of the Martyrs USA)

Even with the heavy intimidation, school leaders have continued to operate the school, and students continue to study faithfully, intent on their mission to share Christ throughout Vietnam. However, they wrestle with this: "How do we respond to these laws in a godly, Christ-like way, while still doing what we need to do spiritually--doing the things that God has called us to do, at the same time showing respect for (as the Bible says) those in authority over us?" Harassment isn't likely to go away. The new government policy continues to control, restrict, and penalize religious groups and their organized activities. Under Communist rule, Christians and their church leaders in Vietnam suffer harassment, arrest, and imprisonment, all under ambiguous charges of threats to national security, public order, unity, and national tradition. What can you do? "We can pray for godly wisdom among those church leaders to help them know the best ways to help them do that," says Nettleton. Pray that the faith of these Vietnamese believers will become more fervent despite the government's attempts to implement further restrictions and repression, bringing forth greater blessings to the church as a whole.
Categories: Mission Network News