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Violence in Niger weighed as question of another eruption looms

Mission Network News - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Christian Aid Mission/Wikipedia)

Niger (CAM) -- When protests against depictions of the prophet of Islam in a French satire magazine emerged across some of the most hardline Islamic countries this month, the West African nation of Niger was not on too many people’s radar. It is now. Rioting Muslims vented their anger at Charlie Hebdo magazine and France over the weekend of Jan. 16-18 by killing Christians and burning church buildings and other Christian institutions, including medical clinics and an orphanage. Violence in the country with a 98% Muslim population that had lived in relative peace with its tiny (0.3%) Christian minority for decades pointed to extremist elements that analysts have long suspected. There are signs that there could be future incidents. “There have been rumors of people going around marking Christians’ houses for further attacks,” a ministry leader native to Niger wrote to concerned parties on Tuesday (Jan. 20). “Later in the night, we received several phone calls from local Christians and missionaries that confirmed that their houses were marked. Please continue to pray for the very insecure situation in Niger.” Analysts say the rise of violent Islamist groups across Africa, such as Boko Haram (supported by Al Qaeda in the Maghreb) in neighboring Nigeria, have fed the growth of radical elements in Niger. They theorize that Islamic extremist groups were an important factor in Muslim Nigeriennes, shouting, “Kill the infidels, kill the Christians,” burning 72 church buildings and killing at least 10 people. “The Charlie Hebdo saga has become an opportunity for attacking Christians in Niger, an Islam-dominated country which has been praised for its secular government and relative tolerance towards Christians,” Christian support organization Open Doors reported. “Over the past few years, the country has seen growing radicalization.” While protests raged across countries with high-profile Islamic extremist elements like Somalia and Pakistan, the violent response in Niger was surprising. Niger was unranked on the Open Doors 2015 World Watch List of the worst persecutors of Christians. In the capital, Niamey, furious Muslims burned 46 Protestant worship sites and 15 Catholic church buildings, a locally-based Christian leader said. Among church buildings destroyed was 1 1/2 miles from the compound of a ministry Christian Aid Mission assists, he said. “Also this morning, we learned of the Assemblies of God church being destroyed; this has very close proximity to the new office building,” he added. “Today we have many blessings to count, one of which is the fact that our church was spared.” Violence began on Friday (Jan. 16) in Zinder, where several church buildings and Christians’ homes were razed. The rampaging continued, ruining church buildings in Gouré, Tanout, Magaria, Maradi, Birnin Gaouré, and hitting Niamey the next day. Besides Christian targets, angry Muslim youths also looted shops, attacked police stations, bars and hotels, as well as businesses that were either owned by non-Muslims or linked with France. Following the Jan. 7 shooting deaths of 12 editorial staff, workers, and police at Charlie Hebdo offices by two Islamic extremists avenging cartoon depictions of the prophet of Islam, the periodical published a cover showing a weeping Muhammad carrying a sign with the slogan (“I am Charlie”) that had quickly come to signify solidarity with the victims and free speech. Depictions of Muhammad of any kind are forbidden in most strains of Islam, and key schools of Islamic jurisprudence prescribe death for defaming him. Among the dead from the attacks in Niger were at least three Christians trapped inside church buildings. Another leader of the ministry assisted by Christian Aid Mission condemned the violence. “Of what crime are the churches and Christians of Niger guilty?” he said. “We condemn these disturbances and deplore the loss of human life and the high number of injuries among the innocent citizens they attack.” The ministry leader in Niamey said he and other church leaders did not witness further demonstrations on Monday (Jan. 19). More than 170 people were injured, officials said, and the scale of the rioting suggested other factors contributed to the chaos besides a magazine cover. Rioters also expressed anger that Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou participated in a unity march in Paris against the attack on Charlie Hebdo. Analysts also pointed to the violence beginning in Zinder, where there is a strong opposition to the ruling party, suggesting political rivals were stoking the fires following the president’s presence in Paris. The hand of Islamic extremist groups was suspected, and officials were said to be investigating whether Boko Haram of neighboring Nigeria was involved. Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau is from Niger, and Boko Haram flags appeared amid the chaos. While the majority of Niger’s Muslims may not have approved of Charlie Hebdo’s depiction of Muhammad-- including President Issoufou, who emphasized that he was marching against terrorism and not supporting the magazine, most did not seem sympathetic to the scale and degree of the riots. Many Nigerienne Muslims helped Christians who were fleeing in terror. “I look forward to the fact that next month, I have the opportunity to meet each and every Muslim who aided the safety of God’s people in Niger and to thank them,” said one leader of a ministry assisted by Christian Aid Mission. He likened those who attacked to those who crucified Jesus, saying Christians must forgive them because they knew not what they were doing. “Just as Jesus was wrongly condemned and tortured, so were the Christians in Niger. But I wholeheartedly believe that they [the assailants], too, ‘know not what they have done,’” the ministry leader said. “So, as Jesus made the bequest to the Father, I too plan to forgive these people.”
Categories: Mission Network News

Corporate Freedom Climb 2015

Mission Network News - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Operation Mobilization)

Tanzania (MNN) -- We've talked about Freedom Climbs before with Operation Mobilization. They are mountain climbing events that symbolize the struggle women and children face in other countries each day. Not only that, but the climb raises money to help oppressed and enslaved women and children. Operation Mobilization is putting a little twist on the event this year, however. They're getting ready for the Corporate Freedom Climb 2015. Tina Yeager fills us in: "The Corporate Climb was created in order to get more organizations (churches and businesses) to rally with Operation Mobilization against these issues." The climb offers a way for these people to come together and raise funds and awareness in their organizations and communities regarding human exploitation such as human trafficking. Yeager says, "We actually go to Mount Kilimanjaro. February 26 we start the actual climb, and it's a seven day trek. And we have about 20 participants that will be trekking up the mountain with us." For the first time with a United States initiated Freedom Climb, men are invited to come along and help raise awareness. Each sponsor has the goal to raise $50,000 toward projects around the world. "We have 55 projects as a whole around the world that are addressing prevention, rescue, rehabilitation, and development," Yeager says. "OM really believes in a model looking at the whole need, from development issues to how do you share the Gospel with the family if they're not even able to provide food for their children?" Situations like this put children at a higher risk of being trafficked. One church has already raised funds to open a second rescue home for girls in India to help them leave a life of sex slavery. To find out more about the Corporate Freedom climb and how you can get involved, click here.
Categories: Mission Network News

Sierra Leone lifts Ebola quarantine mandates

Mission Network News - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Crossroad Bible Institute)

Sierra Leone (CBI) -- Although the Ebola crisis has faded from news headlines, Crossroad Bible Institute campuses in West Africa continue to reel in the wake of the devastating epidemic. The numbers alone are staggering: so far, over 8,000 people have died in West Africa, with 3,083 of those deaths occurring in Sierra Leone. These statistics hit close to home when CBI recently received an update from CBI Sierra Leone’s campus director Lahai Kargbo. “Since the outbreak of the Ebola virus, life and situations have been really difficult on us here,” Kargbo said. “I am thankful that the Lord has kept me up until this day to serve Him in whatever opportunities He has for me.” Moreover, Kargbo reported that the crisis has left his country at a standstill: the government has temporarily shut down public services, businesses, and Internet cafés, which complicates everyday tasks like visiting family or accessing e-mail. However, Ebola’s tragic impact has been far more irrevocable. With great sadness, Kargbo reported that four CBI Instructors have died of Ebola since the outbreak, as have three members of Kargbo’s family. This heavy news comes on the heels of an update from CBI Liberia’s acting director Jacob Vambo, who likewise noted Ebola’s dire effects at both the national level and the local level of CBI’s prison ministry. “As members of the body of Christ, our hearts lament over the hardships and the deaths of loved ones that CBI Sierra Leone has experienced,” said CBI’s international coordinator Jacob Busscher. “Even though updates on the Ebola crisis may not be on the front page of our newspapers, the CBI family around the world cannot forget to pray for Kargbo, Vambo, and all of the West African students and instructors still immersed in this crisis.” As you pray, explore ways you can help Crossroad Bible Institute from your own home. Click here.  
Categories: Mission Network News

Teamwork leads to Gospel opportunities

Mission Network News - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy 드림포유
via Flickr)

Peru (MNN) -- Teamwork is the name of the game when it comes to spreading God's Word. Faith Comes by Hearing (FCBH) knows this firsthand. FCBH is dedicated to getting Scripture to everyone, everywhere, in a form they can best understand. They know teamwork and partnership are vital for achieving this goal. "By working together, we can overcome the obstacles that stand in the way of people receiving the Scriptures in a form they can understand," explains FCBH Americas Director, Gil Moreno. Case-in-point: Peru. A three-strand cord In Ecclesiastes 4:12, King Solomon writes, "Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." In August, three groups came together to help a people group in need. On the evening of August 24, 2014, a 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck southern Peru. "People's homes were destroyed; there were 8 fatalities, many injuries," Moreno recalls. One of FCBH's indigenous partner organizations, Bible Society of Peru, sprang into action. They contacted ATEK, another indigenous group committed to the Great Commission. ATEK works among one of the Quechua-speaking communities that was heavily-affected by the August earthquake.

A quechua woman, wearing a tall, brimmed hat and carrying woven belts on her back in a colorful, cloth sling, walks the streets of Cusco, Perú, selling the hand-crafted belts to tourists.
(Photo, caption courtesy of Nathan Gibbs
via Flickr) cc2.0

"Atek was able to respond to the Bible Society and give them specifics about what was going on," explains Moreno. "The Bible Society gathered their friends and partners together and were able to mobilize food and clothing, medical assistance, and psychological help for those experiencing loss." In turn, the Bible Society of Peru contacted FCBH. Audio Scriptures were needed in the Quechua language, as many of them were illiterate. Quechua is in the same language family as Cusco, the mother tongue of over 1 million people. "Because we already had this partnership in place, we were able to respond quickly and ship the units so they could arrive in time with the other supplies," Moreno says. FCBH sent 20 Proclaimers with God's Word in Cusco to the communities being helped by the Bible Society and ATEK. As a result, hundreds of people were able to hear in their heart language about the God who created and loves them. "These Cusco speakers, particularly in this area, had never had access to the audio Scriptures before. So, this was new to them and they were very grateful," shares Moreno. It's still unknown whether anyone is following Christ as a result of hearing God's Word through the Proclaimers. Pray for the Holy Spirit to keep softening hearts. Pray for understanding of God's Truth. FCBH works in Peru with 12 other ministries in over 30 languages. But Peru isn't the only place where teamwork results in Gospel opportunities. Taking God's Word global

FCBH wants to reach every person with the Gospel.
(Photo courtesy of FCBH)

On the world stage, FCBH partners with groups in more than 200 countries to make Scripture accessible. If you're passionate about making God's Word easy to get and easy to understand, click here to team up with FCBH. "The poor are everywhere, and people need the Scriptures in their heart language."
Categories: Mission Network News

Prayer: A Conditioned Reflex

Christian Post - Living - Sun, 01/25/2015 - 10:48am
Have you ever been gripped by fear? You know the feeling. Your blood goes cold. You get a shiver down your spine. Your stomach sinks. Your hair stands on end (in my case—that is singular, not plural). All of these are emotions associated with fear.
Categories: Christian Post

Popular Christian Rapper Talks Race, the Church, and Why It Could've Been Him

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Sun, 01/25/2015 - 9:38am
It is an "irresponsible argument" for critics of the claim that police officers are biased in their targeting of and interactions with black men to point to so-called black-on-black crime, according to Christian rapper, pastor, author, and thought leader Trip Lee. That only deflects from the real issue, he said in a recent interview in which he comments on race, the church, and how he identifies with Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
Categories: Christian Post

A Passion to Serve God

Christian Post - Living - Sat, 01/24/2015 - 1:53pm
Oswald Chambers, author of My Utmost for His Highest, died in 1917 at age 43. His influence, however, lives on. Almost a century later, God is still using this man's book to speak to hearts; I am one of the many convicted by his words. Chambers' message has lasted because he gave priority to things of eternal value rather than to things of the world.
Categories: Christian Post

How to Get a 'Dream Job' With World Vision in 60 Seconds or Less

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Fri, 01/23/2015 - 5:12pm
World Vision, a leading Christian humanitarian aid organization, has partnered with what's described as a new "opportunity platform" that allows participants to compete for a chance to nab the job of their dreams, if only for a week or two.
Categories: Christian Post

Luis Palau and Francis Chan to Blanket NYC With Four Nights of Powerful Preaching

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Fri, 01/23/2015 - 5:04pm
Seasoned evangelist Luis Palau will be joined by popular preacher Francis Chan and worship leader Kristian Stanfill and the Passion Band for a series of free events next month across the New York City metro area.
Categories: Christian Post

Columbia County Fire leaves family homeless

WGRC News - Fri, 01/23/2015 - 2:22pm

A fire in Columbia County has left a family homeless. The fire broke out around 5am yesterday at the home on Mountain Road in North Centre Township. Firefighters had a tough time getting to the home due to icy roads, and when they arrived they found flames shooting through the roof. The family made it out without injury. It’s believed the fire started in an attached garage in the rear of the more than 100 year old home and quickly spread. The home is a total loss. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Categories: Local News

March For Life

WGRC News - Fri, 01/23/2015 - 2:22pm

Up to a half a million people from across the United States and abroad gathered at National Mall in Washington DC yesterday for the annual March for Life.
The walk has become the largest ongoing civil rights march in American history. The March for Life began as a small demonstration and rapidly grew to be the largest pro-life event in the world. The peaceful demonstration that has followed on this somber anniversary every year since 1973 is a witness to the truth concerning the greatest human rights violation of our time, abortion.

Categories: Local News

The Pursuit That Will Leave You Empty

Christian Post - Living - Fri, 01/23/2015 - 10:30am
Has there ever been a more pleasure-mad culture than ours today? It seems that we can't be entertained enough. We have continuous media coming our way with constant imagery and sounds, all things that are supposed to bring us pleasure.
Categories: Christian Post

Grace on Display

Christian Post - Living - Fri, 01/23/2015 - 9:52am
Paul described himself as the worst of sinners, and yet someone to whom the Lord had expressed His favor and love (1 Tim. 1:16). Because of divine grace, the apostle became spiritually alive and a member of God's family. He had a new purpose for living—one that would glorify his heavenly Father and help build His kingdom. From that day forward, Paul's attitudes and behavior were dramatically different.
Categories: Christian Post

Moving forward after flooding in Mozambique

Mission Network News - Fri, 01/23/2015 - 5:00am

(Map credit Operation World)

Mozambique (MNN) -- The South African National Defense Force just did an aid drop to survivors of Mozambique's floods. 2014 was a weird year, going from drought to deluge within a few weeks of each other. Unusually heavy rains kicked out by Cyclone Bansi were followed up by Tropical Storm Chedza. It was too much water too fast, starting in mid-December and not letting up until last week. As a result, Malawi, Mozambique, Madagascar, and Zimbabwe saw floods that killed 260 and displaced 360,000 people. Malawi and major parts of Northern Mozambique were hit the hardest, leaving them without power and waiting for the sun to come out. That could be a long wait because heavy rain was forecast in the coming days. Getting aid in was hampered by bridges that have been damaged, effectively isolating the survivors.

Audio Scripture Ministries has been working in Mozambique since 2005.
(Photo by ASM)

Audio Scripture Ministries Executive Director Jim Loker says this is coming at a time when ASM is expanding work in Mozambique. "It's affecting areas where we have done Bible distributions in the past. We would hope to be able to get into those places after the flooding has receded." Some of the distribution projects planned in the flooded region will have to be revisited. "Basically, the roads have to be passable and life has to be back to 'normal' so then we can get back into those areas of northern Mozambique where there would be contact again." However, their work can't stop. "There are people who are crying out to God for help. In many countries, their faith is what sustains them, but they have no access to the Scriptures because they're not a literate people." ASM provides God's Word in an audio form of a heart language, loaded onto a player.  They use durable, solar-charged digital players as well as optional field accessories. Players are designed to be self-sustaining and offer great versatility. They are built with rugged durability for the most extreme climates. Loker says in the past, whenever they've done audio Bible distributions and recordings from the central part of the country, there have been traveling logistics, poor infrastructure, and limited connections that made ministry challenging. That's why ASM broke ground on a new “satellite” training and recording studio/distribution center in the central part of the country. "We're about a third of the way done. It's a smaller studio. It's a training facility in the town of Chimoio, which is south of those provinces that have been affected by the flooding." Because it will be smaller than their Xai-Xai headquarters in the south, they're hoping to have it ready for use by April 2015. ASM will be among the "third wave" responders in this crisis. Typically, first wave response included emergency support, rescue, and humanitarian aid; second wave response involves cleanup, rebuilding, and medical help beyond emergency. Third wave responders deal with the emotional and spiritual trauma. Loker says, "Be praying that God would touch their hearts for the need to know Him and to know the Scriptures. That's where we come into play, where we can provide the audio Bibles. God will be glorified through this, and we'll be there to help with any of the people who need audio Bibles or spiritual help."
Categories: Mission Network News

Chakma Christians not wanted

Mission Network News - Fri, 01/23/2015 - 5:00am

The Chakma Christians
(Photo courtesy of Forgotten Ministries International)

Bangladesh (MNN) -- There's a tribe in Bangladesh whose theme is isolation. Holding strongly onto Buddhism, the Chakma people have violently separated themselves from the otherwise Muslim-dominant country. But what happens when one of their own opens up their heart to the saving truth of Jesus' death and resurrection? This tiny restricted area--part of the Iowa-sized country of Bangladesh--cannot be accessed without special government permission. It's impossible for a foreign missionary to have any sort of effective ministry there. Therefore, it's a perfect area of ministry for Forgotten Missionaries International. "We don't send people from here to become missionaries there. We are empowering the local believers, the national indigenous believers, to do the church planting, the evangelism, to own the ministry of church leadership," says Bruce Allen of FMI. He shares an important prayer need for a congregation of Christians in one Chakma village. One of the church planters who has outreaches to three different villages was approached by the tribal leaders of his primary village. Allen explains, "The village leaders, just days ago, told the Christians that they needed to leave the village: they were no longer welcome. This congregation is part of the Chakma tribe which is a little bit of an anomaly in Bangladesh." Again, the Chakma people are Buddhist while Bangladesh exists as the third-largest Muslim-dominant country in the world. Despite their steep history of Buddhism (catch up on the Chakma background here), there has been a great movement in the last few years. "The Gospel had come into several Chakma villages and [is] changing the villages," Allen says.

Late last year, village leaders interrupted a baptism.
(Photo courtesy of FMI)

This transformation causes village leaders to feel threatened. They, in turn, are threatening the future of a 40-member strong congregation. At best, the church will be sort of socially ex-communicated, as Allen puts it. They'll have to find a new place that will welcome them. But even to visit another village is a three-hour hike. And it's hard to believe another village will accept these Christians, judging by their already tense relations with the Muslim government. The pastor is not being deterred by this request, however. While he remains respectful in how he approaches leadership, his passion to teach others about Jesus is not quenched to any degree. If you've been walking with God for a while, you know it's easy to get discouraged without much support for what you're doing. Can you take a moment to consider how you could help encourage this pastor in Bangladesh? Let's start with financial giving. Here are several options: - You can help provide Bibles and hymnals in the Chakma language, and other evangelistic literature as well. - Another way to help is to contribute to the National Pastors fund with FMI. An upcoming conference still needs to be covered financially. - Finally, your church can help support a church planter. Three more church planters have been approved in Bangladesh. Their sponsorship is $100 a month.

(Photo by FMI)

Click here to see a full list of options for supporting FMI. Another way to help is through prayer: - "Pray for this congregation's boldness and tactfulness as they will consistently testify of Jesus Christ...in a respectful manner," says Allen. "Pray that God would change the heart of this village leader, that his heart would be open to hearing and believing the Gospel message." - Pray for the congregation as they experience uncertainty about their future. - Ask God to make Himself known through this hard time.
Categories: Mission Network News

President Obama meets wife of Pastor Saeed Abedini

Mission Network News - Fri, 01/23/2015 - 5:00am
USA (ACLJ) -- U.S. President Obama met with American Pastor Saeed Abedini’s wife, Naghmeh, and two young children, Jacob and Rebekka, in a private meeting Wednesday in Pastor Saeed’s hometown of Boise, Idaho The meeting lasted about 10 minutes, and President Obama assured Naghmeh that Pastor Saeed’s freedom is a “top priority” for him and his administration. This was the first time that President Obama met or spoke with Pastor Saeed’s family, and Naghmeh left the meeting with a “renewed sense of hope.” As Naghmeh described their meeting: President Obama came in and shook our hands and talked to the kids for a moment. Then he sat right in front of me and started speaking of how much of a priority Saeed's case was and that he was working on getting Saeed home to our family. He mentioned his first call several months ago to Iran’s president Rouhani and how Saeed was mentioned in that call. He again reiterated that Saeed's case was a “top priority” and getting him back to the U.S., to our family, was a top priority. He also said that he meets with Secretary of State Kerry regularly and follows up on Saeed's case. He also said that Secretary Kerry brings up Saeed every time he meets with the Iranians. I told him how appreciative I was that he was willing to meet with my family and for everything he was doing to bring my husband home. I told him that I was praying for him and had been praying for months I would have the opportunity to meet with him. He took my hand, squeezed it, and smiled. I could tell by the look in his eyes he cared. As the meeting ended, I said, "My son, Jacob, has something to say.  Jacob said, "Mr. President, can you please bring daddy home for my birthday?" President Obama asked, "When is your birthday?" Jacob said March 17th, and the President said he would try very hard. He smiled, got up, hugged me again, and said goodbye. He shook the kids hands and left. Meeting with the President of the United States of America and seeing how much he cares about Saeed’s case has given me a renewed sense of hope. I want to thank everyone who has been praying for this meeting to take place and for my husband’s freedom. ACLJ is grateful that President Obama took the time to meet with Naghmeh and speak with her and the children. Pastor Saeed has been wrongly imprisoned for nearly two and a half years. He has been separated from his wife and children; the pain experienced by the Abedini family is impossible to imagine. The meeting between President Obama and the Abedini family is a very welcomed development. It demonstrates the President's concern and compassion for this family. It also underscores the importance of Pastor Saeed's case, a U.S. citizen imprisoned in Iran merely because of his Christian faith. The face-to-face meeting elevates Pastor Saeed's plight on the world stage and should send a powerful message to the Iranians: it is time to release Pastor Saeed so he can return home to his family. Also today, Pastor Saeed’s family in Iran was able to visit with Pastor Saeed and give him updates about how Naghmeh and his children are doing. Like Naghmeh, they are hopeful that President Obama’s direct involvement in this case will lead to Pastor Saeed’s freedom. Please continue to pray for Pastor Saeed, his family, and his swift release.
Categories: Mission Network News

Mission-minded people view the world differently

Mission Network News - Fri, 01/23/2015 - 5:00am
International (IMB/MNN) -- Mission-minded people are different. That’s it. Somehow they manage to see the world from another perspective. The things they do and the decisions they make are just different than what other people would usually do. You can find them in your church, place of work, or coaching Little League. They are aware of the power of the Gospel to change lives. They know that even the smallest actions can demonstrate the grace and mercy of God. But honestly, every Christian “knows” this. So, what do mission-minded people actually do that’s different? Southern Baptist International Mission Board missionaries from around the world helped compile a list of 13 things that make up a mission-minded person. Maybe you will see yourself in their responses, or maybe, like me, you will see an area in which God is challenging you. So, here we go: 13 things mission-minded people do differently: First, they WANT to meet someone who does not follow Jesus Christ. Mission-minded people follow Jesus’ plan in Luke 10 to go work “His harvest.” They actively seek out non-believers for conversations and friendship. Second, they constantly look for creative ways to share the Gospel. Mission-minded people find intentional ways to share so that people understand. It is not a “canned presentation” but relative to that person/group. They do the abnormal...irrational...counter-intuitive..take risks...all in an effort to share Christ. Third, they have different worldviews. They think more about the world, culture, and languages than they do about the tiny place where they live. They understand that the Gospel is not just for them but for all people. They are committed to getting it to the rest of the world. Fourth, they hear the voice of God and are obedient. Mission-minded people hear the voice of God and obey. God will tell you if He wants you to go across the street, to another town, state, or country to share about His redeeming love. Fifth, they pray...a lot! Praying is a direct link to God. They believe that God will do greater things than we can ever imagine, and they pray for it to happen. Sixth, they make disciples. They constantly ask themselves if what they are doing will result in disciples. If the strategy is only for people to hear, then the Gospel will not spread. Mission-minded people know the importance of discipleship. Seventh, they meet human needs while sharing the Gospel. Mission-minded people realize that it doesn’t matter how many wells you dig or how many orphans you feed; if you aren’t following Christ’s mandate to take the Gospel to those who have not heard, you are just wasting time and money. They know that it’s possible to help people and talk about Christ at the same time. After all, that’s what Jesus did. Eighth, they know that being mission-minded is not a “task" -- it’s a lifestyle. They live out missions in their everyday life. From the moment they wake up until they go to bed, they impact the world around them. Ninth, they are relational. They are willing to leave their own “bubble” to make relationships with those considered the “least of these.” They have an awareness of the people around them and look for ways to build a relationship that will lead to sharing Christ and discipleship. Tenth, they go! It doesn’t matter where God tells them to go: Timbuktu or Kalamazoo, they grow where God plants them. And, they are willing to move on when He says, “GO!” Eleventh, they see people with a future. When they look at an unreached people group, they see potential “brothers and sisters” in Christ. They see that eternity and joy are available for everyone and are excited to share it. Twelfth, they send! They know that we are responsible for ALL people groups hearing the Gospel. They follow the example from the book of Acts to “send” out other missions-minded people. They support them in anyway possible. Thirteenth, they understand “the task” is not done. Mission-minded people know that once they have reached their family and friends with Christ, they are not done. There are still billions in the world that have not proclaimed Jesus’ name. To explore mission opportunities available through the IMB, click here. (EDITOR’S NOTE: List by IMB missionary writer Susie Rain. She lives in Southeast Asia and works with an unreached people group.)
Categories: Mission Network News

Tragedy strikes Kachin community

Mission Network News - Fri, 01/23/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Free Burma Rangers/KBC via Partners Relief and Development)

Burma (MNN) -- Hearts are breaking in Burma. Army soldiers raped and killed two young Christian women as they slept in their church compound in Shan state. Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports the women, ages 20 and 21, were teachers working with the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC). Partners Relief and Development sources say the KBC sends volunteer missionaries two-by-two every year into areas of need. The Kachin women mentioned above were sent by the KBC to people living along the Kachin State-Shan state border. They were actively teaching people about God's love, Partners' contacts report. "This event really highlights what has been going on daily," shares Partners co-founder Steve Gumaer. "Burma is still under the same kind of military rule and brutality as it has been since the '90s." A crime like this one stands in stark contrast to the image Burma's government is trying to portray. As noted previously, Burma's current administration claims the country is taking great strides toward democracy.

Burma's President, Thein Sein, at the 2010 World Economic Forum.
(Creative commons image from Wikimedia Commons)

However, as Gumaer consistently reports, reality on-the-ground is anything but positive. "The conflict is brutal. The conflict hasn't let up, despite the quasi-civilian governmental change," he states. "[This is] a continuation of the same kind of impunity that the Burma Army operates under." No one is holding Burma's government accountable for its crimes. You can help change that by sharing this story with your elected officials. If you live in the U.S., contact your state representative or senator here. "Pray that this war would end, and that the deception that surrounds Burma and the regime would be identified," Guamer requests. Fighting for the Kachin Partners has been helping the Kachin people in Jesus' name for nearly five years. They began working alongside this persecuted people group soon after June 9, 2010. "The Burma Army was forcing [the Kachin] to become a proxy of themselves in 2010, and on June 9, 2010, they began attacking their positions because the Kachin wouldn't join the Burma Army," explains Gumaer. The Kachin and Shan states, where most ethnic Kachin people live, are located in northern Burma along the border with China. These areas are rich in natural resources like teak, jade, gold, and oil, Guamer explains. Therefore, the land and Kachin people are a prize commodity regularly exploited by Burma's government. Since 2010, "It's been overt war; it's been Burma Army forces advancing on Kachin villages and Kachin defensive forces."

(Image courtesy Partners Relief & Development)

In the beginning, Partners helped the Kachin organize relief supplies like tarps, bamboo, and rice. Now, they're working with Kachin leaders on more sustainable solutions for the 375,000 people displaced by government forces. "We also helped them set up schools for their kids and various other things, like training leaders in each population of refugees to care for their own people," says Gumaer. Check out Partners' projects here.
Categories: Mission Network News

Homesick for Heaven

Christian Post - Living - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 2:24pm
Have you ever been to a really beautiful place that stayed with you long after you returned home? Maybe you have a picture of it as your screensaver, and you just sit and gaze at it. You love that place. That is how Paul felt about heaven.
Categories: Christian Post

Christian Leaders Matt Chandler, Russell Moore Fed Up With GOP Decision to Hold Off on Mid-Term Abortion Ban

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 1:47pm
Church and ministry leaders join forces with conservative political groups the morning of the 42nd annual March for Life to publicly rebuke House Republicans for its last-minute decision to delay the vote on a bill to ban abortion after 20 weeks. Church leaders, unlike policy groups, are seemly not appeased by GOP's decision to switch support to another pro-life bill that would ensure taxpayer dollars aren't going to abortion providers under health insurance plans offered on the federal exchange.
Categories: Christian Post