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A few years ago, my son was killed in a motorcycle accident. I took a week off from work but then had to go back. It was all I could do to keep myself together during the months after his death and the hour drive each way for work was unbearable at times. I always kept WGRC on the radio and would focus on the message in the music and the scriptures that were shared which many times felt like they were directed at me at the time I needed it most. (Williamsport)

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SAARC: equipping leaders on the mission field

Mission Network News - Wed, 02/10/2016 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Global Advance)

South Asia (MNN) -- The 12th South Asian Games are underway, providing a perfect showcase for international collaboration under SAARC, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. It was created to organize and unite the governments of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Myanmar has expressed interest in becoming a full member, while Russia and Turkey have applied for observer status. The region is home to 21% of the world’s population and 9% of the world’s economy. It is also a region known for its hostility to the Gospel. Six of the eight SAARC nations are in the top 50 countries of places where the persecution of Christians is the worst, according to the 2016 Open Doors World Watch List: Afghanistan (4); Bangladesh (35); Bhutan (38); India (17); Maldives (13); Pakistan (6). The challenge for the region’s church leaders and pastors is how to cooperate internally with all of the external pressures mounting. Many of these countries also have a growing ISIS presence. Jonathan Shibley with Global Advance says, “Every one of these pastors has counted the cost. They know that potentially, their life could be on the line. But also, they all say--to the last one of the--that the love of God is what can penetrate the hardest of hearts.” Last week, Global Advance held a Frontline Shepherd’s Conference. Shibley explains that the strained relations between India and Pakistan affected the church leaders, which is why it was hosted in an undisclosed location inside a neutral country for these church leaders. He marvels, “This group: they have a robust vision to plant 1500 new churches over the next 15 years. Many of those will probably be in the form of home churches.”

(Photo courtesy Global Advance)

How does this take shape in the shadow if ISIS? “Through relational evangelism, through friendship, God is breaking through to people, and they’re opening up to the message of Christ. We need to continue to pray that they [pastors] will be protected, that they’ll be strengthened, that they’ll be emboldened.” Some of that involves sharing their burdens. Shibley explains, “One of the brothers had one of the only Christian television networks out of Karachi, Pakistan. It was a worldwide news story when his station was firebombed in November. He was a part of our meetings and just shared some of the challenges, yet also, the openness to the Gospel.” The healing was something to behold. When he said he was rebuilding, the body of Christ responded in kind. “It was a beautiful sight to see pastors and leaders from Sri Lanka give of their own resources to help him buy a new camera to get going again.”

(Photo courtesy Global Advance)

Global Advance training events are catalysts for church planting and more. The ministry provides national pastors and church leaders with a vision in their hearts and tools in their hands, says Shibley. In the SAARC nations, persecution is not a surprise, but that doesn’t make it less hard. “Pray for these leaders, that they’ll continue to be bold, that they won’t back down, that also they’d be protected, that God would carry out His purposes in their regions of the world, and for us to help them when we have opportunities.” What it boils down to: Equipping indigenous leaders = the best ROI in Missions.
Categories: Mission Network News

A life transformed by literacy in India

Mission Network News - Wed, 02/10/2016 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Mission India)

India (Mission India) -- Illiteracy trapped Tolsing in poverty. Without an education, he wasn’t qualified for any jobs with good pay. He’s not alone. 86% of Indians earn less than $2.50 a day. The 35-year-old did odd jobs for small wages. He struggled to provide for his wife and three children, but sometimes they had nothing to eat. Tolsing wanted to get better employment. He tried to start business ventures, but none of them worked. Not being able to count money, read, or write traps generations of families into a cycle of poverty. Then, Tolsing heard about Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Mission India’s Adult Literacy Classes. He enrolled and never missed a class. During the year-long classes, graduates like Tolsing achieve a 5th-grade level of reading and writing, and the Bible-based lessons introduce them to Christ. As he completed his studies, Tolsing also learned how to make candles, liquid cleaner, and other items. Soon, he started a business selling liquid cleaner and candles, and his income improved dramatically. A local man noticed Tolsing’s business savvy and helped him get a steady labor job with the city. Tolsing’s family always has enough to eat now. And through the Bible-based lessons at his classes, Tolsing learned about Jesus. He and his wife both received Christ and are raising their kids to know the Lord. It’s amazing to see the holistic transformation these classes bring; students learn so much more than just reading and writing! $30 enrolls a student in Mission India’s 52-week Adult Literacy Class.  
Categories: Mission Network News

Tragedy rises and the Gospel spreads in South Sudan

Mission Network News - Wed, 02/10/2016 - 5:00am
South Sudan (MNN) -- South Sudan has seen a year of economic tragedy.

(Photo courtesy of Pioneers)

Dan Janzen with Pioneers USA explains that over the year, currency has been greatly devalued, leaving money about 1/5th of what it used to be. Prices and salaries have not adjusted accordingly. Because of this, the country now faces both a fiscal  crisis and a food crisis. Much of the food consumed in South Sudan is imported. Because value has dropped, not many can afford enough food for the entire family, and because of violence, organizations are having trouble getting food in. "The UN is having a very difficult time getting food into that region because of the unrest or even shipments being absconded and taken to different areas and not reaching their destination," Janzen explains. Families are rationing meals by going from three a day, to two a day, or less. Adults and children are slowly starving. With this cause-and-effect chain, education is also being negatively impacted. A number of children have had to drop out of school to afford food, have been separated from families to attend a boarding school in another country, or are too distracted by the hunger they're facing to pay attention. According to a report, "every single school that they were surveying said that the #1 problem for the children for their education was that they were hungry," Janzen laments. Illiteracy is also a problem in South Sudan. Only about 25% of the entire country is literate. For women who have been forced into marriage as young as 14, the percentage is even smaller: about 16%. With this combination of factors playing into the crisis, along with the violence of the ongoing civil war and new sprouts of terrorism groups emerging, scores of people have fled the country, and families have been separated. "There are well over a million displaced and refugees in these other countries and within the country, and more people are fleeing the country every day because there still continues to be unrest," Janzen says. How Pioneers wants to Help Pioneers is on the ground in Bor, a populous town close to the capital of South Sudan (Jubha). Their location could not be better set, and Pioneers wants to use it to the advantage of the people and for God. "We're starting a new team there, and we're recruiting people now to form that team," Janzen says. (If you'd like to learn more about this opportunity, click here.)

(Photo courtesy of Janzens in South Sudan Facebook page)

"We'd like to form an international, interdisciplinary team to do community health evangelism and also reopen two schools that have been given to us…. I think the education, having it locally, is going to be a big difference for the people because it will bring families back together." Pioneers want to provide education for even the poorest of the poor. Both the schools and the community health will rest on the foundation of the Gospel. "Without our Christian worldview, you really are not going to have an effective change." Janzen gives an example of the corruption in the government. With unequal and unfair favoritism that runs the system, the people of the country are not receiving the truth or the help they need. But, "justice and peace will drive the system when the foundation is laid on the Bible," he says. "Pioneers' core values are about church planting, about a ethos of grace, and servant leadership, and so we're applying those core values wherever we're going and working with the local church." Pray for the South Sudan team and for new members to join. Pray for the end of the South Sudanese conflict, for provisions, and for the economy to stabilize. Also, you can contribute financially and know you will be providing much-needed help to a desperate country.
Categories: Mission Network News

Sponsorship opens doors of opportunity

Mission Network News - Wed, 02/10/2016 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Orphan's Heart)

Guatemala (MNN) -- Classes are back in session in Guatemala, where the school year typically runs from January to October. Education is a luxury most impoverished families can't afford, but sponsorship is opening doors of opportunity for 47 kids in San Juan, Guatemala. Meet the children here. According to Orphan's Heart, education is one of the most important parts of its child sponsorship program. Young people need the skills gained through an education in order to break out of poverty's chains and create a more sustainable future. Along with school supplies and tuition fees, Orphan's Heart sponsorship also connects kids with local believers. In turn, these believers introduce children and their families to the hope and love of Christ. See who's still waiting for a sponsor in Guatemala. As you go about your day, pray for the children you've met through this story.

Sponsorship provided school supplies for Domingo and Sandra.
(Photo courtesy Orphan's Heart)

  • Pray for the sponsored children as they study, learn new things in school, and put their new school supplies to good use.
  • Pray that those who don't know Christ will come to know Him as Savior.
  • Most importantly, ask the Lord what He's asking you to do in response, now that you know this information.
If child sponsorship isn't an option for you, check out these other opportunities available through the ministry of Orphan's Heart.
Categories: Mission Network News

Soldiers needed ahead of Thai exodus

Mission Network News - Wed, 02/10/2016 - 5:00am
Thailand (MNN) -- Over 8,500 soldiers are reportedly taking part in Southeast Asia's largest multinational military exercise: Cobra Gold.

A service member with the Royal Thai Navy helps build a multipurpose room at the Ban Cham Kho School, in Rayong, Thailand.
(U.S. Marine Corps Combat Camera photo by Cpl. Hilda Becerra/Released)

In the 35th annual war game, military personnel hail from seven nations: Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and the U.S. U.S. and Thai officials kicked off the 19-day Cobra Gold exercise yesterday with an opening ceremony at the Royal Thai Navy Command Center. As explained here, Cobra Gold began as a training drill to improve teamwork between U.S. and Thai troops. This year, Cobra Gold was used by U.S. officials to urge their Thai counterparts toward democracy. "As deep and broad as our partnership is today, it will grow stronger still when, as the prime minister has affirmed, Thailand returns to elected governance," said U.S. Ambassador to Thailand, Glyn Davies, in yesterday's opening ceremony. "With a strengthened, sustainable democratic system, Thailand's regional leadership role--and our alliance--can reach its full potential." Vision Beyond Borders is looking for skilled Thai soldiers, too, but not for the same reasons as the Cobra Gold coordinators.

Thai and U.S. Army Soldiers practice tactical maneuvers during exercise Cobra Gold 2006.
(DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Efren Lopez, U.S. Air Force/Released)

"There are still a lot of dangers, a lot of booby traps, land mines and active fighting. Our contacts are hiring soldiers to protect them, and the kids, and all the caretakers [during the journey]," shares VBB spokeswoman Dyann Romeijn. In a few weeks, VBB's contacts plan to move 90 orphans and their caretakers from refugee camps in Thailand to a safer children's home in Myanmar (also known as Burma). Learn why their partners are making the move in this article. "They don't want to be a part of that mass exodus [in 2017]…. They feel like the [Burma] Army will be more prepared for a move like that," Romeijn shares. "A lot of times they place land mines around these villages and trails to make it difficult for ethnic tribes to move around." While the group's final destination--the children's home in Burma--is safe, the journey itself will have danger around every corner. They may face death, but the kids aren't scared. "These kids are some of the strongest kids, spiritually, that I've ever seen," says Romeijn. "They pray for the soldiers that persecute them, and they forgive them; they're just such an example of the true love of Christ."

(Photo courtesy VBB)

Along with your prayers for safety and protection, Vision Beyond Borders needs a little financial help to underwrite the trip's costs. Click here to help VBB cover the costs of this relocation. "To move everybody will [cost] about $5,000--hiring soldiers, all the transportation, and all the food that they will need during the two weeks of traveling."
Categories: Mission Network News

Futuristic Food: 3D Print Your Pizza, Spaghetti Sauce and Gaucamole

Christian Post - Living - Tue, 02/09/2016 - 9:40pm
The growing number of devices for 3D food printing has the potential to completely alter the way in which consumers view food and food preparation.
Categories: Christian Post

Costco vs. Walmart Tires – Which Is Cheaper?

Christian Post - Living - Tue, 02/09/2016 - 8:42pm
Being the bargain hunter I am, I set out to do my research and get the detailed price breakdown to find out who wins the price war when it comes to cost versus what you get.
Categories: Christian Post

NASA Banning 'Jesus,' Censoring Christian Employees' Religious Speech, Workers Claim

Christian Post - Missions - Tue, 02/09/2016 - 4:01pm
NASA's Johnson Space Center in Texas has been accused of censoring religious speech among its Christian employees, including banning the name Jesus.
Categories: Christian Post

NASA Banning 'Jesus,' Censoring Christian Employees' Religious Speech, Workers Claim

Christian Post - Bible - Tue, 02/09/2016 - 4:01pm
NASA's Johnson Space Center in Texas has been accused of censoring religious speech among its Christian employees, including banning the name Jesus.
Categories: Christian Post

Ohio Homeschooling Families Unjustly Threatened With Jail Time, Says Legal Group

Christian Post - Missions - Tue, 02/09/2016 - 3:54pm
Two homeschooling families in Ohio could face hefty fines and many years in prison for failing to properly fill out a form with their local school districts.
Categories: Christian Post

Tyrese Says He Lacks Nothing Because He Has Jesus

Christian Post - Evangelism - Tue, 02/09/2016 - 3:14pm
Entertainer Tyrese thanks Jesus for his sphere of influence and says since finding Jesus he wants for nothing.
Categories: Christian Post

Al-Qaeda Terror Group Releases 80-Y-O Christian Missionary, but Still Holding Husband Captive

Christian Post - Missions - Tue, 02/09/2016 - 3:07pm
An Australian Christian missionary who was kidnapped by an al-Qaeda affiliate in the African nation of Burkina Faso last month has been released, however, her husband still remains detained.
Categories: Christian Post

Lawsuit Alleges Gospel for Asia Fraudulently Solicited Hundreds of Millions in Donations, Enriched Leader

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Tue, 02/09/2016 - 2:30pm
Gospel for Asia, one of the largest missions agencies based in the U.S., was named in a class action lawsuit Monday alleging that it and several affiliates fraudulently solicited hundreds of millions of dollars in charitable donations and misdirected the fund to the organization's leader.
Categories: Christian Post

Jimmy Kimmel Mocks GOP Candidates in 'What Would Jesus Say?' Skit (Video)

Christian Post - Evangelism - Tue, 02/09/2016 - 1:58pm
Late night host Jimmy Kimmel mocked Republican presidential candidates in a "What Would Jesus Say?" skit by having an actor portraying Jesus repeat some of the controversial comments they've made at campaign events.
Categories: Christian Post

Attorney General Kathleen Kane may be booted out of office

WGRC News - Tue, 02/09/2016 - 1:28pm

Could Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane be the first elected state official to be removed from office since the 1890’s. The senate is scheduled to vote tomorrow whether or not to remove the Attorney General from her post. Kane has been serving for months despite not having a law license which was taken away from her following criminal charges of leaking grand jury information in a reported effort to take down a state judge. Kane has proclaimed her innocence and despite calls for her to step down has stayed in her job.

Categories: Local News

Report out on President Obama’s Healthcare Law

WGRC News - Tue, 02/09/2016 - 1:27pm

A new government report on health insurance has implications for the presidential campaign. The National Health Interview Survey says eight states saw a significant drop last year in the number of residents without health insurance. They are Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, and New York. Politically, that’s a mix of red, blue and purple states. All but Florida had accepted a Medicaid expansion that’s one of two major pathways to coverage under President Obama’s health care law. The other coverage route is subsidized private insurance, available in all 50 states. GOP presidential candidates are vowing to repeal “Obamacare,” with hardly any detail on how they’d replace it without millions losing coverage. Overall, the nation’s uninsured rate dropped to 9.1 percent in 2015.

Categories: Local News

Colorado College Bans All Locker Room Nameplates to Avoid Allowing Bible Verses, 'Lord,' 'God' or 'Jesus'

Christian Post - Bible - Tue, 02/09/2016 - 12:20pm
A Colorado college is banning all locker room nameplates in its gym to avoid allowing people to include Bible verses on the plates, despite previously allowing phrases like "Give 'em Hell" and "Take your whiskey clear."
Categories: Christian Post

Bishop Marvin Sapp, Gospel Singers Rally Donations, Bottled Water for Flint, Michigan

Christian Post - Pastors - Tue, 02/09/2016 - 11:25am
Bishop Marvin Sapp is one of numerous gospel singers, including Donnie McClurkin, Karen Clark Sheard, Dorinda Clark Cole and Kierra Sheard, that are using their platforms to help Flint, Michigan, in the midst of a water crisis.
Categories: Christian Post

Billy Graham Answers: Is It OK to Have Secular Hobbies?

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Tue, 02/09/2016 - 9:40am
God doesn't mind if his followers have hobbies outside of church, as long as they maintain a Christ-centered perspective throughout their week, the Rev. Billy Graham says.
Categories: Christian Post

Newlywed House Fire Miracle: God Allowed Survival of Two Most Important Things in Life

Christian Post - Bible - Tue, 02/09/2016 - 9:12am
A newlywed couple in Irving, Texas, say they are trying to remember the important things in life after losing all of their possessions in a house fire – except for their Bible and marriage certificate.
Categories: Christian Post