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Genocide label thrown on ISIS persecution

Mission Network News - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 5:00am
Europe (MNN) -- The European Parliament (EP) broke out the "G-word" yesterday, voting unanimously to label the Islamic State's persecution of Middle East Christians as "genocide."

(Photo credit: Stephen Melkisethian via Flickr)

It's a step in the right direction, according to Emily Fuentes with Open Doors USA. "Historically, it's rare that we see action on behalf of the international community unless something is labeled 'genocide,'" she explains. While the genocide label doesn't necessarily guarantee action, "It makes it a lot more likely that it's not going to be something that's merely talked about, or viewed as a sad event, but might actually have international repercussions and more action." Genocide? Europe says "yes" As the law-making body of the European Union, the EP is responsible for passing laws, overseeing institutions, and approving budgets. Carrying the EP's "stamp of approval," the genocide resolution can be brought before the United Nations Security Council for consideration.

(Wikipedia)

As explained here, it is then within the UN Security Council's power to "authorize use of military force and other diplomatic, humanitarian, and strategic measure to address the crisis." "It's really important that the Parliament passed it, on a political level and a moral level," Swedish EP official Lars Adaktusson told Newsweek. "The significance is the obligations that follow such a recognition--the collective obligation to intervene, to stop these atrocities, and to stop the persecution in the ongoing discussion about the fight against the Islamic State." Director of European Union advocacy at ADF International, Sophia Kuby, echoes Adaktusson's thoughts. "Determined action at the UN on this genocide is long overdue," she states. "We hope that the clear language that members from all political groups agreed upon in this resolution will accelerate these important next steps and help to save lives." Meanwhile, political leaders "across the pond" remain seemingly undecided. U.S. answer remains to be seen Despite a push in early December by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), the U.S. State Department still hasn't released any official comments on the genocide issue. There was talk in late November of a State Department response to ISIS persecution. The U.S. was expected to designate attacks against the Yazidi and other minorities as genocide, but not those targeted against Christians. Will the U.S. join Europe in designating ISIS atrocities as genocide? "No U.S. president has ever made genocide prevention a priority," penned U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, in her 2002 book, A Problem from Hell. "And no U.S. president has ever suffered politically for his indifference to its occurrence. It is thus no coincidence that genocide rages on."

A video screen grab shows Operation Inherent Resolve Spokesman, Army Col. Steve Warren briefing the Pentagon Press Corps on Oct. 21, 2015. Michael Feddersen/U.S. Navy

Other U.S. officials take a more direct stand on the issue. Speaking to CNN's Wolf Blitzer, military spokesman Col. Steve Warren claimed, "ISIL doesn't care if you're Christian, if you're Muslim…. We’ve seen no specific evidence of a specific targeting towards Christians.” However, now that Europe has spoken, "it's just increasing the likelihood that America will do more to help these Christians and other minorities," claims Fuentes. Urge U.S. officials to act on behalf of Christians persecuted by ISIS. What now? You don't have to wait for political leaders to act before you help persecuted Christians.

(Photo courtesy Open Doors USA)

Through Open Doors, you can encourage fellow believers and help refugees learn about Christ. Help meet the immediate needs of Christians persecuted by ISIS. "Tthe most important thing, and the #1 thing we hear from our brothers and sisters around the world who are being persecuted, is that we pray for them," Fuentes reminds.
Categories: Mission Network News

Perseverance brings new life to Guatemala

Mission Network News - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 5:00am
Guatemala (AMG) -- Making a difference: it’s what can happen when you get involved. AMG International shares the following impact story:

(Photo courtesy of AMG Int'l)

When Guadalupé’s pregnant sister told her she was afraid to raise the baby on her own, Guadalupé decided to step in and help her through the pregnancy. She named the baby boy José Armando after her father and brother. Her sister struggled to raise little José and wanted to abandon him. Guadalupé intervened, began caring for José herself, and won custody of him. They have lived together for the past two years. One day, José decided to attend the church service across the street from their house. He did not know at the time that this is a church that AMG partners with. From that first day he went to church, he kept going back and insisted that Guadalupé attend church with him. Guadalupé finally gave in and praises God that she has now given her life to Christ and is able to raise José with Christian values in their home. Because of the generosity and faithful prayers of AMG ministry friends around the world, José is in the fifth grade now and attends an AMG school in Guatemala. Guadalupé participates in an AMG-sponsored sewing program which provides hope, restoration, and an income for single mothers called “Sew Hope.” AMG has been sharing the love of Christ in Guatemala for over 35 years. They currently assist more than 8,000 children, their families and communities, through a network of 28 Christian schools and childcare centers, camp ministries, healthcare centers, vocational services, and agricultural development programs. Restoring people to the image of God with purpose and vocation is their ultimate objective.
Categories: Mission Network News

Open Doors launches new social media project

Mission Network News - Thu, 02/04/2016 - 5:00am
Middle East (MNN/OD) -- In the digital age, new ways of sharing the Gospel keep cropping up, but one that seems consistent is social media.

(Photo courtesy Sean MacEntee via Flickr)

Open Doors USA is initiating the social media project, I Share Life – Young Christians Online, in the Middle East. The goal is to facilitate Christian youth from Iraq, Syria and Lebanon to use their online presence to share the love of Christ online in the Arab world. Starting in 2016, a group of about 6 teenagers will start publishing posts on their own channels such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube in which they witness in a personal way about how Christ works in their lives. Their hope is that these posts will inspire others to live with Him as well and start sharing their stories. To help, Open Doors will be providing equipment and training for the youth involved as well as offering them a chance to grow in faith. According to *Alex, an Open Doors worker involved in the project, two coaches will be meeting the teens regularly and will join them in a discipleship journey. “That is really one of the strong points of this project,” says Alex. Recently, the kickoff for I Share Life took place in a village in the Middle East with participating Christian youth originating from Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. After reading the Bible and praying together, they thought about the best ways to share God’s love on social media in the Arab world. Social media is a great platform for doing so since posts are easily “Shared” and “Liked” across country borders and potentially have a huge impact.

(Photo courtesy of Jason Howie via Flickr)

But rather than telling these youths what to do, Open Doors is putting them in charge. “It is very easy to speak about youth and organize all kinds of activities for them. In this project we want to put them in the driver’s seat, to facilitate and challenge them to be present with their own story,” says Alex. “They are far more spot-on to the things that are relevant for their lives than we are.” The youth involved in the kickoff decided to formulate their vision in terms of creating hope, speaking about God, and sharing life online. Soon they will be posting their first I Share Life posts on their own social media. As a first step, they all are thinking of one person they know that they want to show God’s love to. “We will start by focusing on this person that is close to our hearts and then grow from there,” says *Seif, one of the youth present. “I chose to focus on one of my relatives in Syria. The only way for me to stay connected with them is through Facebook and WhatsApp.’’ After starting the project, the teenagers and their coaches will monitor the posts and the responses to see what lessons can be drawn for the future. In the meantime, if you would, please pray for the success of this project, the safety of the participants, and for the work of the Gospel. * Names changed for security reasons
Categories: Mission Network News

Answered prayer in Egypt

Mission Network News - Thu, 02/04/2016 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy SAT-7)

Egypt (MNN/SAT7) -- Egypt: a country trying to keep the lid on turmoil threatening to boil over at any second. Given the anticipated uproar surrounding the 5th anniversary of the Arab Spring uprising, the government began cracking down months ago on anyone they perceived to be dissenters: raiding offices, collecting equipment, and arresting people. On October 10, 2015, the SAT-7 Cairo studios were raided. The question: was this connected to the official crackdown? As it is with any speculation, suggested theories could be debunked but then resurface as different conjecture. SAT-7 USA president Dr. Rex Rogers demurred on the subject, redirecting to the facts at hand. In the October raid, censorship police removed much of the studio’s production equipment, including cameras and all of the computers used for editing. Executive Director Farid Samir was also temporarily detained over "licensing" issues. Rogers says, “They issued three legal challenges, all of which we’ve been able to demonstrate are not valid.” The problem is that when authorities took the equipment, they made it so the SAT-7 team couldn’t function. “We’ve had to shut down our live programming," says Rogers. "We had $100,000 worth of equipment that was not central to it [live programming], and I might add, along with the equipment, on...one of those drives were unedited programs that had been filmed but were not backed up because they were still in the editing phase.” However, the SAT-7 ARABIC and SAT-7 KIDS channels screened live programs from the SAT-7 Lebanon studio and programs produced by SAT-7 partners as normal.

(Photo courtesy SAT-7)

After three months of downtime, police returned all confiscated equipment to the SAT-7 studio in Cairo. It’s a relief, but there are still concerns, says Rogers. First, “We’re still in the process of trying to determine just what shape it’s in [the equipment]: is it all okay? Is it accessible? Can it be rebooted?” Second, the case "has not been completely dismissed, so what remains open is actually the charge against the executive director.” The latest on that, says Rogers: “Just to boil it down and say that his name was confused with someone in the southern part of the country. Whatever the crime supposedly was had nothing to do with our man. But whether that was invented, or that was a mistake somehow (bureaucracy), we don’t know. Thankfully, that’s been demonstrated to be erroneous.” As the team regathers to get things moving toward full function, the chilling effect could come into play. A chilling effect describes a situation in which rights, like free speech, are threatened by the possible negative results of exercising these rights. The effect is to silence free speech. Rogers agrees. “Sometimes it’s not what is done, but the threat of what could be done. So, something like this happens, and it’s really never followed through with, but it’s the implied statement [from the government] that 'We could do more.’”

(Photo courtesy SAT-7/Executive Director SAT-7 Cairo, Farid Samir)

To that end, pray for wisdom, creativity, and boldness, Rogers urges. “We’re still not certain that we can do live program filming in our studios as we’ve done before, so that’s a prayer request. Another prayer request, of course, is to have all of the charges that are erroneous completely dismissed against our executive director, and then be able to return to full functioning.” Samir, in a press release, said, “During the last few weeks, our spiritual muscles were stretched. But the support of the worldwide Church kept us encouraged.” SAT-7 is a Christian satellite television ministry to the Middle East and North Africa. The ministry has five channels (SAT-7 ARABIC, SAT-7 PARS, SAT-7 KIDS, SAT-7 PLUS and SAT-7 TÜRK). Their goal is to show viewers God’s love, give local churches a satellite TV platform to educate and encourage their communities, and to build bridges with the non-Christian majority without compromising the truth of God’s Word.
Categories: Mission Network News

‘Source of Hope’ school continues to grow

Mission Network News - Thu, 02/04/2016 - 5:00am
Guatemala (MNN/Kids Alive) -- In a country known for its poverty and human trafficking stands Source of Hope, a school born out of a partnership between Kids Alive International and a local church, Iglesia Galilea.

(Image courtesy Kids Alive)

The school is located in the town of Zapote--an area where food, work, and education are in short supply. Children at Source of Hope receive a solid education, health services, and a nutrition-based meal program--often the only real meals they receive each day. The school began 10 years ago with 40 preschoolers and continues to grow. For the first time in its history, 10 students are continuing on to high school at Source of Hope. Through many of Kids Alive’s Guatemalan programs, including Source of Hope, students, kids, and their families are being introduced to Christ, in some cases for the first time. Sharing Christ is a key to the curriculum. So when kids attend Source of Hope, they’re not just getting an education, they’re also getting a chance to meet Jesus. And you can help! Here’s how. Helping in Guatemala
  • Sponsor a child
  • Donate to “Source of Hope”
  • Support ministries in Guatemala
  • Pray for God’s grace and love to wash over these people. Pray for people to come to know Christ and for lives to be transformed
See what else Kids Alive is doing.
Categories: Mission Network News

Fighting human trafficking: Priceless

Mission Network News - Thu, 02/04/2016 - 5:00am
Latin America (MNN) -- The 2016 Olympic Games will carry on in Brazil this August, despite a widespread outbreak of the Zika virus.

(Graphic courtesy PricelessCube.com)

Officials are taking extra measures to prevent contamination, but the Games carry with them a threat of another insidious epidemic: human trafficking. Trafficking and exploitation are ugly topics, but they're reality for 27 million people worldwide. Half of those victims are kids. You can help protect the innocent by fighting human trafficking, both in Latin America and abroad. "Children are being forced to work; they're being forced to have sex with up to 30 people in one day, or one evening," shares E3 Partners' Katie Brown, the Coordinator for E3's Priceless ministry. "I really think that God has a huge heart for this, and it's something we can take a stand against." Human trafficking & Rio 2016

(Wikipedia)

As explained here, "Where there is tourism, there is also sex tourism." Exploitation was a major concern in the lead-up to 2014's FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The same concerns remain today, as Brazil will be hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this August. Brown says E3's Priceless cube is an effective tool for fighting human trafficking before it even starts. Learn how the Priceless cube works here. "It works with law enforcement; it works with local churches, and it really is an entry-point to their [at-risk individuals'] lives, and eventually to getting to share the Gospel with them." 4 ways to start fighting human trafficking If God places it on your heart to protect the innocent, E3 shares four ways you can put that desire into action. PRAY
  • Ask the Lord what He's calling you to do, now that you know.
  • Pray for the literal and eternal freedom for anyone who's trapped in human trafficking.
  • Pray that believers in Latin America will start fighting human trafficking in their communities.
LEARN Connect with E3 here to discover how they are fighting human trafficking. GIVE

The Priceless Cube (Photo courtesy E3 Resources)

E3's Priceless ministry equips churches around the world to prevent human trafficking. Using the Priceless cube, E3 seeks to educate those who are at risk, draw them out of their desperation, and bring them the hope of Jesus. With your help, E3 can accomplish the following: $8 = Produce 1 Cube $144 = Produce 24 Cubes $384 = Produce 96 Cubes $100 = Translate the Priceless Cube into a new language $250 = Develop new training videos in new languages. Click here to help E3 Partners prevent slavery before it starts. GO In 2016, E3 Partners is fighting human trafficking in four countries: Thailand, Cambodia, Ethiopia, and Colombia. Sign up for an upcoming trip.
Categories: Mission Network News

Live Hymns & Worship by Guy Penrod

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 5:00am
Known and loved for his heartfelt, country gospel style and powerhouse vocals, this former Gaither Vocal Band member has created a collection of some of today's most popular hymns and worship songs, including "Amazing Grace," "The Old Rugged Cross," "Shout To The Lord" and many more classic and contemporary favorites. Performed LIVE at Thomas Road Baptist Church, this all-new release showcases the talent and charisma that have made Guy a fan favorite in the gospel and country music formats.[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

WOW Gospel 2016 by Various Artists - "WOW" Series

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 5:00am
WOW Gospel the premiere collection of gospel music is back for its 19th year! Featuring the best in Traditional and Contemporary Gospel Music, this compilation contains your favorite radio tunes and praise anthems. A double CD set and companion DVD, this years release features powerful hit songs from artists such as Kirk Franklin, Tasha Cobbs, Charles Jenkins Fellowship Chicago, Israel Houghton, Smokie Norful, Brian Courtney Wilson, Donnie McClurkin, Fred Hammond, Kierra Sheard, Jonathan McReynolds and many more![...]
Categories: Christian Music News

Way Up EP by Prodigal Son

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 5:00am
The Prodigal Son "Way Up" E.P. is an innovative uplifting collection of Gospel Hip Hop Music that is relatable to all walks of life as vividly described in the featured song "ALIVE". This New Era of inspirational music ensures to inspire, uplift and motivate to make you realize with God all things are possible! Take a journey with Prodigal Son as we go Way Up! Pre-Order the "Way Up" E.P. on Amazon, I-Tunes or Holywoodrecords.com Official release date January 29, 2016 from HOLY-wood Records/TyscotLOUD[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

Eclipsed EP by Fellowship Creative

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 5:00am
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Categories: Christian Music News

Ever Be EP by Aaron Shust

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 5:00am
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Categories: Christian Music News

Hymns II: Shine On Us by Michael W. Smith

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 5:00am
Hymns II: Shine On Us is a collection of classic songs and contemporary hymns that Michael hopes will bring your spirit to a place of worship every time you listen. All of these songs are brand new recordings performed as only Michael can. This new album takes you on a nostalgic journey, infusing Smith's gospel roots and beautifully, captivating arrangements on of some of the most popular hymns we know and love. The physical album is available exclusively in Cracker Barrel stores nationwide and all digital outlets. [...]
Categories: Christian Music News

GFG Reload by J Moss

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 5:00am
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Categories: Christian Music News

I Am Justice by Canton Jones

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 5:00am
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Categories: Christian Music News