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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

Changing demographics of evangelicals in Ecuador

Mission Network News - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo credit: ReachBeyond)

Ecuador (Reach Beyond) -- Upbeat music and thought-provoking comments by youthful voices in Spanish are some of the attention-catching sounds you’ll hear on ControlZ.fm, a digital outreach of Reach Beyond (formerly HCJB Global) in Quito, Ecuador, also home of the world’s pioneer missionary radio station, dating back to 1931. New energy, new enthusiasm, new communication tools, new expressions, and labels in a new culture are some of the realities facing the next generation of Christ-following media specialists at Control Z, a media platform launched nearly three years ago that has embraced a new era of broadcasting amid a fast-changing culture. Using the word new implies change, and that’s exactly what’s happening at Control Z. Using the slogan, “Undo your boredom,” the Web site is named after the popular computer keyboard function known as CTRL+Z. It’s a feature that will “undo” what has been created on the computer, allowing operators to take a step back and rethink what they’re doing. Bryan Rubio, a member of the Control Z design team, said the Webpage features an online radio link which is a 24/7 music format. “The music we play on this radio link is both Christian and non-Christian,” he said, clarifying that any secular music on the site is carefully screened, not containing any foul language or blatantly sexual or anti-Christian themes. “Video is just one of the methods we use to try to reach the Latin-American youth,” he added. “Our Internet page also has articles that cover everything from interesting and curious news, to life-application devotionals.” The Control Z team also maintains both a Facebook page and a Twitter account to promote content on the site. “Something that cannot be tracked online are our community outreaches,” Rubio continued. “We try to promote our brand at events such as concerts at schools or other venues where we gather young people and present a topic relevant to their lives. This serves as a direct ministry and as a hook to attract more users to our page.” Although the numbers were off to a slow start, efforts to promote content on Control Z have seen steady growth. “At each of our events, we reach between 200 and 500 young people,” Rubio recounted. “Our Webpage reaches about 3,000 users per month. The number of those who watch our videos varies--from a few hundred to more than 1,200 views.” Two months ago, ControlZ.fm reworked its Web page, placing the content more strategically to boost viewership. The changes worked. Google Analytics for November 2014 showed that visitors spent an average of 1½ minutes on the site, up from just 36 seconds per visit to the site two months earlier. “Also, the majority of visitors are there for the first time. One major goal is now to increase repeat visits to build community and trust,” explained Curt Cole, vice president of Global Ministries. Team member Jimmy Sarango said the digital outreach has sparked numerous comments from young listeners, many looking for advice or to express gratefulness for the programs. One listener who described himself as a “revolutionary for peace, crazy for Jesus” thanked the programmers for “proclaiming Christ in a super cool way. Keep moving forward.” Another listener expressed concern for a friend who faces many family issues and tries to cope with the stress by cutting her wrists and arms. “How can I help my friend to stop doing that?” he asked. A young listener in Barranquilla, Colombia, described the conference that staff members held in his city recently as a “great blessing…. I will keep praying without ceasing for your ministry.” Glen Volkhardt, a former missionary with HCJB Global (now Reach Beyond) who led the mission’s Broadcasting Division in the early 1990s, said the contemporary sound at Control Z reflects the changing demographics in the fast-growing evangelical church in Ecuador. “I remember the discussions about the ‘young, urban, secular’ masses of Latin America,” he explained. “This came out of research [at the time]. We were not surprised by the ‘young’ part. It would have been hard to live in Latin America and miss that. But we were surprised to find research saying that the region was 73% urbanized, and we were surprised that ‘secular’ characterized Latin America more than ‘Catholic.’” Research conducted in the late 1980s showing the rapid growth of the evangelical church in Ecuador led to changes in the broadcasting content. “When we found ‘young, urban, secular’ to be a handy shorthand for describing Latin American demographics of the early 1990s, it became the target profile of the ALAS satellite network that we carried on HCJB-FM,” said Volkhardt, now serving as CEO of Paraclete Mission Group. Surveys taken at the time showed that typical listeners to the station were from an older generation, explained Anabella Cabezas, the ministry’s media director in Ecuador. “The average listener was a woman in her 60s. In response, our leadership decided to make changes to attract a younger audience.” From the frontier, pioneering efforts of international shortwave radio, format changes began to attract a much younger audience. HCJB-FM was reprogrammed, moving from a classical music format aimed at the upper class to one that included more contemporary Christian music [with a broader listenership]. As a result, the average age of listeners dropped to 35. Then, in an effort to reach an even younger audience more effectively, the mission launched ControlZ.fm in 2012. The ministry began recruiting younger, dynamic, Latin America staff such as Rubio, Sarango, Fernando Arroyo, and Fernanda Quezada, along with missionary Matt Parker. Volkhardt concluded that he has “every confidence that the Lord is directing current leadership in the changes they are making, and that they will reach the new audiences they are trying to influence for our Lord.”
Categories: Mission Network News

Worst flooding in history hits Malawi

Mission Network News - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy World Renew)

Malawi (MNN) -- Imagine that more than one third of your country has been declared a "disaster zone." How would you respond? Where would you go? That’s what the people in Malawi are wondering. Over the past several weeks, Malawi, Mozambique, and Madagascar have been hit by severe flooding, with Malawi being the worst. The southeastern African nations have had buckets of rain in the last few weeks from the Tropical Cyclone Bansi. On January 13, Malawi got more than six inches of rain in 24 hours. According to BBC News, over 200,000 people are displaced, and more than 170 people have been killed. CNN cited a statement released by the Malawian Government saying more than 300 people were saved by helicopter and 1,300 more by boat. This is the worst flooding in Malawi's history, according to the report. It has not only dismantled lives and homes, but crops as well. Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world, and much of the population works as farmers. Now they are left wondering where their next meal will come from. CNN cited Doctors without Borders who believe around 20,000 people at the southern tip are cut off from the rest of the country without food nd healthcare. World Renew is working through church partners in Mozambique and Malawi to give displaced persons the relief they need. In Malawi, they are reaching out to people in the southern tip by providing water purification supplies, tarps, small household items, and mosquito nets. In Mozambique, World Renew is providing food, seeds, farming tools, and water purification supplies to about 1,000 families. In each country, they show the compassion and love of Jesus while providing services. They share how Christ impacted suffering people and how He is now pushing them to help others in distress. In the next few days, World Renew workers are going to head to the African countries to work side-by-side with their church partners. They could provide much more to displaced people with a little help. Click here to help World Renew in their efforts.
Categories: Mission Network News

Who is in control of Yemen?

Mission Network News - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Flickr/CC/Brian Harr)

Yemen (MNN) -- The Yemeni government say Shiite Houthi rebels stormed the Presidential Palace and attacked the Prime Minister's residence yesterday in a coup. The rebels deny that, claiming they have not removed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi from office, although they maintained a guard over his home on Wednesday. If they're not seizing power, what do they want? David Curry, President and CEO of Open Doors USA, says the Houthi want equal rights. "They've been escalating their attacks. They seem reasonable in what they're asking because they have been oppressed, being a minority group." The rebel leader went public with demands yesterday for constitutional changes that would increase Houthi influence in the management of Yemen. Yemen is the poorest Arab country with about a tenth of the wealth belonging to neighboring Oman and Saudi Arabia. Widespread corruption, unemployment, poverty, and violence are blamed for the mismanagement. Right now, nearly half of the population lives below the poverty line. The Houthi finally had enough. The trouble with their uprising is that it taps right into one of the oldest feuds in the world: Shia v. Sunni Islam. Curry says, "There's no doubt that the extremist Shiite group has gained some leverage. I think that through that, you could say that Iran, which is a part of this--they seem to be, at least tangentially, playing a supporting role to this group--has gained some leverage in it all." Add a weak government in, and the balance of power could tilt explosively. "It seems to be playing out similar to Tunisia and Egypt where you have these weak governments that have been propped up for all the wrong reasons." Curry goes on to add that, "Really, you have two extremist groups here that are battling for control of the country," and Christians are caught in the middle of the whole thing. Yemen is #14 on the 2015 Open Doors World Watch List, a ranking of the world's 50 worst countries known for the persecution of Christians. The Constitution of Yemen declares Islam as the State religion, and Sharia--the Islamic law--as the source of all legislation. The government forbids conversion from Islam and proselytizing of Muslims. When a Muslim becomes a Christian, he or she often faces persecution from family and the government. That there are Muslim-Background Believers at all implies that the story of Jesus is still being shared. However, many MBB remain quiet about their faith and are very cautious about expressing it at all. Open Doors helps partners in the region. "Are there people who want to own a Bible in Yemen? Yes. Are there people who want to read a Bible? Yes. Are there people who want to believe and follow Jesus? Yes. Do they do so under tremendous pressure in secret? Yes." While practical support to the church is important, strategically, helping the church grow and mature is vital. Local believers need good role-models and Christians with the capacity to disciple believers and help them follow Jesus. Another need would be strong fellowship among local believers. The risk of being betrayed or exposed by other Yemenis is a real one and cannot be overlooked. This may hinder the growth of trust and strong fellowships. With Yemen's unpredictable future, please keep praying. "Pray for the Yemeni Christians, that they would have Bibles, that they would come to faith, that they would be protected. Just lift them up in prayer, and then, support projects in these regions--if you possibly can--that will help the church to grow and flourish and be a place of salt and light in this community."
Categories: Mission Network News

AIM transforming communities with Kireka Home

Mission Network News - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 5:00am
Uganda (MNN) -- God is doing some really cool stuff in Uganda. Through Africa Inland Mission, God is changing the hearts of people toward children with disabilities.

Kireka homes teaches children skills they can use into adulthood. (Photo courtesy of Africa Inland Mission)

Julie, a long-term missionary with AIM, is heavily involved in this work. "I had the privilege of being born into AIM," she says. She's also a 5th-generation missionary with AIM: her great, great-grandma was a missionary in Kenya. Julie has a passion for showing children with disabilities that they are an important part of the Body of Christ. In some areas of the world, including places in Uganda, there is a misunderstanding toward children with disabilities. "A lot of people think that people with disabilities have been cursed, or their parents have been cursed, or they're demon-possessed, or they're just seen as a real shame in society for the most part," Julie explains, reminding us that not everyone in Uganda thinks this way. However, in places where witchcraft is practiced, adopting the belief that children with disabilities are cursed is a natural tendency. "Because of that, a lot of times they are not treated very well because there's an element of shame involved," Julie says. "Kids with disabilities--I've seen them tied, I've seen them locked in rooms. Often they're the last ones who are clothed or fed." Julie believes that communities and families who do this aren't really sure what else to do with the children. "They are ashamed of them and they don't understand the biblical truth of who they are in the Kingdom of God." A place for change

(Photo courtesy of Africa Inland Mission)

In Kampala, there is a government school called Kireka Home. It is a safe place for children with mental disabilities and other disabilities to grow and learn, and most importantly, a place to be loved. There are about 80 students at this boarding school from all over the country--some even coming from other countries because services like this are rare. The school helps students with their education and daily life skills that will help them when they become adults. Julie notes that there are other places in Uganda where programs like this are being started. The attitude is starting to change. So, how exactly does Kireka Home help kids? It starts with letting them be children. Julie says, "I think one of the big things that often shocks onlookers is that these kids can have fun. They're happy, and they interact with each other. It just helps people start to see that they are people, just like we are, and can learn and have fun and interact with each other." A second way the school helps disabled kids is by teaching the families and communities of these children who they really are. Julie says it's rewarding to help the adults figure out a more biblical understanding of who these kids are: "whether it's at Kireka Home or in churches around the country or different schools that are working with these kid.s That they were made in the image of God is a big concept for them to grasp," says Julie. When the concept is grasped, it makes way for them to learn more about Jesus and His purpose for them. It also destroys the worldview of shame, giving both the families and their children a new sense of freedom, which Julie says is her favorite thing to see. She says, "When you see a kid or a family or a community make that shift from being in total bondage and shame and fear, to being free, to being loving, to being joyful again and to not having that fear of the spiritual (the witchcraft piece of things), it is a beautiful thing to watch." Ways you can help For this freedom to take place, there has to be a transformation in people's hearts. Julie says without your prayer, the transformation won't happen. That's where you come in. You can pray for the transformation of communities and families and children after they come to know Christ. You can pray for that freedom to come over children with disabilities and those taking care of them. You can pray that with that freedom, these people will share Christ with others. Learn more about Kireka Home here. If you'd like to help the development of programs like Kireka Home, you can give online. Click here and select the Other folder; then select subfolder Other4. When you get to the "Gift Comment" field, designate the gift to "Special Needs Development." If you'd like to send your gift in the mail, you can find the address here. In the same way, designate your gift for the "Special Needs Development" fund. Julie reminds us that every member of the Body of Christ is needed to help it function correctly. That is why she wants to make sure that people with disabilities are included. She says, "One thing that I am just so excited and passionate about is helping the Body of Christ--the Church with a capital C--to be whole, to be complete."
Categories: Mission Network News

Constitution craze continues on decision day

Mission Network News - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy: U.S. Pacific Air Forces via Flickr)

Nepal (MNN) -- It's "decision day" in Nepal. Today marks the appointed deadline for a draft constitution, but turmoil continues to surround this long-awaited document. The process first began in 2008, when Nepal changed from Hindu kingdom to democratic republic. Deadlines have come and gone, and power has repeatedly changed hands among political parties. In the run-up to today's deadline, pressures surfaced when lawmakers got violent in parliament, throwing chairs and microphones. Whether officials can agree on a new constitution or not, and what exactly that ruling document entails, will undoubtedly trigger even more ripple effects. As noted in a previous report, Nepal could fall into crisis mode if no agreement is reached by political leaders. Maoist government officials have already called for a nationwide strike, resulting in violent protests and chaos. "In spite of what happens in the next few days, with the government collapsing or surviving or whatever, God's work will continue," notes Audio Scripture Ministries India-Asia Director, JP Sundararajan. "We just hope the door stays open so we can actually be a blessing to those already on the field." Please keep Nepal's leaders and its people in your prayers today. Pray for violence to stop escalating, and ask the Lord to protect ASM's contacts in Nepal. Bringing Jesus to Nepal

(Photo courtesy: ASM via Facebook)

Nepal's long history as a Hindu Kingdom has resulted in lots of opposition to Christianity. "The main concern for a long time, for us, has been the closed door that we've always found in Nepal," Sundararajan states. "But right now, Nepal is probably one of the thirstiest regions in the world, as far as God's Word is concerned." According to Operation World, 93% of Nepal's 30 million people have yet to hear about Jesus. "We are sensing from the believers there in Nepal that they need to get more Scripture…into the hands of their people. So, we're trying to mobilize our resources and get there as quickly as we're able," says Sundararajan. It hasn't always been easy, though. "We have had some problems with a prior translation of the Nepali Bible, and so we've been working with another organization--The Trinitarian Bible Society--who graciously let us record their translation of the Nepali Bible," explains Sundararajan. "It was just a few weeks ago that we had completed and edited a recording of the New Testament, and already we are getting a TON of feedback from pastors as well as the translator that was involved in this work. People are very excited about the imminent release." Help needed

(Photo courtesy WCOI via ASM)

World Cassette Outreach of India (WCOI), ASM's ministry partner in India, mails audio players filled with the Nepali New Testament into Nepal. Shipping restrictions, however, make it hard to keep up with demand, Sundararajan shares. "We're kind of, basically, sending a trickle of audio Bibles into a place where they expect a flood of it," he says. You can help ASM send more Nepali audio Bibles here. "We hope to be releasing this New Testament in the next few weeks, and we are looking forward to what 2015 will do through this recording in the churches in Nepal," Sundararajan says. More about ASM's work here.
Categories: Mission Network News

Jesus Revealed by Jason Nelson

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 5:00am
Worship leader, producer, multi-instrumentalist, and soulful contemporary singer/songwriter Jason Nelson burst onto the scene in 2005 with his independent albums, I Shall Live, Brand New Day, and Place of Worship in 2008. As his ongoing ascent to the forefront of Gospel music continued, Jason penned the title track "Thirsty" for Marvin Sapp's #1 album release of the same name. In 2012 Jason signed with Verity/RCA Inspiration and released Shifting The Atmosphere, which debuted at #3 on the Gospel Album chart and featured two Top 5 Gospel Radio hits, the title track Shifting The Atmosphere and Nothing Without You. His major[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

North Point Music: Beginnings by North Point Music

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 5:00am
North Point Music continues its tradition of creating accessible, innovative worship music with the label's latest project, North Point Music: Beginnings. The double disc, available Jan. 20, 2015, showcases the best worship offerings from popular North Point Music albums and artists. Produced by two-time GRAMMY Award-winning producer Nathan Nockels (Matt Redman, Laura Story, Passion) and Steve Fee, Beginnings comprises 21 total tracks. The compilation is North Point Music's first, designed to bring together fan favorites from both past and present. Disc one, titled "Then," highlights music from previous North Point Music live releases, including North Point Live, North Point Live: Awake,[...]
Categories: Christian Music News