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Fire leaves Pastor and family without a home

WGRC News - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 2:01pm

A Fire has left a pastor and his family without a home. It’s believed a fire which struck in the city of Williamsport yesterday started on the stove in the kitchen. The fire broke out around 10am at the home at Memorial Avenue owned by the Freedom House Community Worship Center and occupied by Reverend Joseph Walker and his family. Two people inside the home escaped without injury. The fire caused $50,000 dollars in damage to the home.

Categories: Local News

A beachhead for ISIS?

Mission Network News - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 5:00am

(Map courtesy Wikipedia)

Libya (MNN) -- Four years after Muammar Gaddafi was toppled, Libya is a failed state. A failed state is defined as a state whose political or economic system has become so weak that the government is no longer in control. Basically, Libya is engulfed in a power struggle resulting from the leadership vacuum. Emily Fuentes, a spokeswoman for Open Doors USA says, "For ISIS to realize the really easy ground it was to cover, is not surprising. Secondly, it's a really strategic geographical point for them in that they are spreading beyond Iraq and Syria to other parts of the Middle East and Africa." In short, Libya is now the beachhead for ISIS to push into Africa. Already well-established in Iraq and Syria, with affiliates in West Africa, Libya makes perfect sense for training grounds and a staging base for a global caliphate, explains Fuentes. "They are apocalyptic by nature. They believe that the acts they are committing right now are going to bring about the end of the world. [They believe that] they will be glorified in the acts that they are doing in killing all non-Muslims or Muslims who aren't strict enough in their minds." Citing their progress on several continents, she adds, "As of a month ago, and it's grown since then, there were over 40 groups that had pledged allegiance or at least a commitment to ISIS. and several were coming from the North African region."

(Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Affiliates still had some autonomy, and not everyone bought into the new ideology. "Some of those groups still haven't sworn allegiance yet almost because there's a bit of a 'power struggle' in some of these groups." Recent moves indicate an effort to streamline, to share resources and training. "It'll be interesting to see what the bigger ones do eventually, if they either become irrelevant or if they realize that the strength would be to unite together." With nothing to lose, how can ISIS be stopped? That's a question being approached from all sides: spiritually, emotionally, economically, and militarily. Christians find themselves squeezed between fanatical religious groups and criminal gangs. Fuentes suggests that the followers of Christ remaining in Libya are seeing something the secular world isn't seeing. "Syria, basically, [is] where it all began. Our contacts there can't even keep up with the demand for Bibles because so many people are coming to Christ." Fuentes says that builds confidence, especially when reminded of Syria's part in the early Church. "Syria specifically stands out to me because it was on the road to Damascus where Saul had his encounter with Christ and became Paul, and became one of the greatest Christian leaders ever. That's happening today in Damascus in Syria. Pray that they could just continue to remain strong and reach out to those folks."

(Photo courtesy Open Doors)

If it could happen in Syria, it could happen in Libya. People are praying, and they're sharing some pretty amazing stories. "They're seeing God do miracles in spite of what the Islamic State is doing. They're seeing Christians loving their neighbors (who want to know more about Christ), and they're coming to Him. They're even seeing former persecutors, former Islamic extremist members, coming to Christ." To that end, Fuentes adds, "I think the overall prayer request for Christians is to remain strong, and that they could remain a strong force in these countries just because we're seeing an amazing turnover to Christ, even from those who were once persecuting." Based on these stories, Fuentes wonders if the unasked question is: Could Libya also be a beachhead for Christ across Africa and the Middle East? Here's how you can help: By supporting Open Doors USA, you enable them to provide physical help to the families of persecuted Gospel workers in these high-risk areas. By praying, doors open. Here are some specifics: *Pray that some semblance of peace and a stable central government will come to the country, which is a failed state. *Pray that Muslim-Background Believers will not be targets of their families or their communities. *Pray for God’s people inside and outside the country to encourage those Christians in the cross-hairs of Islamic militants and violence.
Categories: Mission Network News

Bikers the target of outreach in the U.S.

Mission Network News - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 5:00am

World Missionary Press has donated Scripture booklets for Black Biker Week. (Photo Courtesy of BlackBikerWeek.us)

USA (MNN) -- Last weekend, violence erupted after motorcycle gangs clashed in Waco, Texas. Nine suspected gang members died and 170 were arrested following the weekend brawl that involved as many as five gangs. This weekend, about 500,000 people are expected to gather in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for the 2015 Black Bike Week. Their Web site says it's a time of non-stop motorcycle riding, partying, and more. The "more' includes illicit behavior you can only imagine. World Missionary Press is helping some motorcycle riders to share Christ during the event. Fred Eiler is a World Missionary Press field representative. Eiler says the ministry didn't intend to be involved. He was speaking at a church in Bedford, Pennsylvania. "After the service that morning, we ran into a man and his wife who have a ministry to bikers and a street ministry. We were able to share with them about the Scripture booklets, and [we] were able to give them around 2,000 booklets in English as they go to Myrtle Beach to the Black Bike Weekend." Eiler says this was an amazing meeting. Last year, violence plagued the event. "You don't take a family vacation [in Myrtle Beach] on that weekend." This year a larger police presence is expected, especially after the Ferguson and Baltimore unrest.

500,000 people are expected in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for Black Biker Weekend, as Christians reach out with Scripture booklets. (Photo Courtesy of BlackBikerWeek.us)

What can stop it? The Gospel. Eiler says this couple is sharing it. "They go on the street and they preach, and they're able to share God's Word. And, when you do that, when you put a 48-page Scripture booklet into somebody's hand, you've just given the Holy Spirit something to work with in that person's life. Why are these booklets needed in the United States, a country founded on God? Eiler says we live in a post-Christian nation. "The amazing life of Christ, the Scripture booklet, is a real thing -- a tool that can be used today because Americans don't know who Jesus is, and that's sad." The Pew Research Study tells us fewer Americans today consider themselves Christians. This kind of evangelism and more will be needed to see revival take America back again. World Missionary Press provides Scripture free of charge to those who request it. They're able to do that as you support them. Eiler says $21 purchases a case of 525 Scripture booklets. In addition to English, "We supply Scripture booklets in 343 different languages in 209 countries absolutely free." If you'd like to help World Missionary Press provide Scripture booklets around the world, including events such as the Black Bike Weekend, click here.
Categories: Mission Network News

‘JESUS’ movie leads witch to Christ

Mission Network News - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy The JESUS Film Project)

Zambia (JFP/MNN) -- God’s power reigns in the most pagan of environments. Even in cultures where evil is worshipped, God is still working. This was made clear to Alex Mbewe. Alex is a team leader for The JESUS Film Project, which strives to spread the message of Jesus around the world by showing a movie about the Savior’s life. It started when Alex’s group was showing the film in Zambia. A witch became angry when she found out the movie would be played in her village, so she took action. She summoned a demon to flip over the table holding the group’s film equipment. It disrupted the event and terrified the audience. But Alex and his group stood firm. They prayed Psalm 24:1, saying: “Lord, You own all the creation in heaven and on earth. Everything on earth belongs to You, and we believe this ground also belongs to You. We are very confident that the show tomorrow will be the source of salvation for many in this area.” And that was exactly what happened. Alex and his group showed the movie the next day. They saw over 600 people give their lives to Christ, including the witch.

(Photo courtesy of The JESUS Film Project)

But then something unexpected happened. The witch approached the JESUS film team and explained that she had been having nightmares the past few nights. She saw a strange beast dragging her toward a pool of fire and heard a voice telling her she was going to hell because she had not responded to the message of truth being shared in her village. After talking with members of the film team, she gave her live to Christ. Now, a church has been planted in the village with at least 83 members and many more regular attenders. The witch actively served in the church before passing away earlier this year. No person is beyond the reach of God’s grace. No matter how rooted in evil someone may be, their heart is still vulnerable to the Gospel. You can help the message of salvation stand strong in pagan environments. Pray that missionaries would stay hopeful when teaching Jesus to places under Satan’s grip. Pray also that these people would recognize the truth that God is supreme. You can donate to The JESUS Film Project by clicking here.
Categories: Mission Network News

SAT-7 reunites best friends

Mission Network News - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy SAT-7. Myriam's best friend, Sandra, was invited to the SAT-7 Lebanon set)

Middle East (SAT-7) – [Editor’s Note: We’ve talked about the 10-year-old refugee, Myriam, who forgave ISIS on a SAT-7 video that went viral. In it, she said she wanted to be reunited with her best friend, Sandra. Now, SAT-7, a Christian satellite television ministry to the Middle East and North Africa, has brought them together over a video phone call. ] They had been separated when Myriam’s family fled to Kurdistan and Sandra’s to Lebanon when Islamic State took over their hometown of Qaraqosh last summer. Neither knew where the other was. SAT-7 first heard their story from Myriam, who was interviewed by popular presenter Essam Nagy (known to children as "Mr Know") just before Christmas when he visited the camp in Ankawa, Erbil where she is living. Myriam expressed her great desire to see Sandra again, and Essam said he hoped SAT-7 would be with the girls on the day they met again. SAT-7 then traced Sandra and invited her to come to our Lebanon studio to take part in Let’s Sing Together and talk to Myriam, who was watching the live programme in Kurdistan. When Essam asked Sandra what she wanted to say to Myriam, Sandra replied: “I want to tell her I miss her so much and I want to see her so I can hug her. We want to go back to Iraq and see her, but there is no safety.” Myriam responded with a prayer for Sandra: “Jesus Christ, I pray for Sandra, my friend. Please protect her and put in her path people who love her and appreciate her. I thank You, Jesus, that we are seeing one another again, even if not face to face. Amen." Essam said the encounter brought to his mind Psalm 8:2, “Through the praise of children and infants You have established a stronghold against Your enemies.” He said: “It was a very remarkable moment to watch this amount of genuine, true love speaking out of the hearts of kids to the whole world through SAT-7 KIDS.” Essam’s first interview with Myriam, in which she expressed forgiveness for the Islamic State militants who drove her from her home, has been watched by millions around the world on social media. Pray that their friendship and faith in Jesus will inspire other Christian refugees to find peace and joy in forgiveness.
Categories: Mission Network News