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Tartus caught between epicenters of terror

Mission Network News - Mon, 08/31/2015 - 5:00am

Bombed-out bus in Aleppo, Syria.
(Photo, caption courtesy Christian Aid Mission)

Syria (CAM/MNN) -- As ISIS tries to wrestle control of Aleppo and Damascus out of government hands, seaside Tartus absorbs the fall-out. Christian Aid Mission reports ISIS made steady gains toward Damascus this month, even as it continues fighting for Aleppo--the war-torn country's largest city. The terrorists allegedly used chemical weapons in a recent attempt to take Marea, a town north of Aleppo. According to U.S. and German officials, ISIS has also used chemical weapons against Kurdish soldiers. Caught in the middle, Syrians like Samir who are taking refuge in Tartus are running out of options. Samir has no money, no job, and his kids are begging him for food because they haven’t eaten in days. He has nowhere to turn, and ISIS is on his doorstep. The only glimmer of hope comes when local missionaries supported by Christian Aid Mission tell Samir about a God-man called Jesus. Samir’s story

Two of the many children in Syria who have seen the horrors of war take comfort in weekly Christian programs, and they find trustworthy friends in the volunteers who organize activities with the help of local churches.
(Photo, caption courtesy Christian Aid Mission)

Samir and his family fled from an undisclosed city in Syria when rebels demanded $1,000 a week and told the men in his family that they must join their ranks. The indigenous leader of a Tartus ministry assisted by Christian Aid Mission says when night fell, Samir paid a taxi driver $350 to help them flee. The driver left and did not return. "They hired another driver but were stopped by a gang and robbed of the rest of their money," said the ministry director (name withheld for security reasons). "The taxi was stolen, and Samir, his family and the taxi driver were all left stranded on the road with no money, still miles from Tartus." The family walked and hitchhiked to the Mediterranean coast, begging for food and hiding from bandits and insurgents. "Once they arrived in Tartus, Samir's two oldest sons left to join the fighting, with the promise of $2,000 a month," the director said. "Within three weeks, their bodies were returned for burial. Samir was left with no money, no job, hungry younger children, and a despondent wife."

In Aleppo, Syrian Christians pray amid ravages of war.
(Photo, caption courtesy Christian Aid Mission)

Christians who befriended Samir in Tartus had no money to offer him, but they prayed and shared blankets and meals. One also hired Samir to do some work. They all shared Christ with his family. Today, Samir's family attends Bible studies and reads the New Testaments they have received. The director said knowledge of God's love is giving them some comfort amid the turmoil in their lives. Their view of Christ still tends to fluctuate, he said, but they do take increasing comfort in His sacrificial death on the cross for them. Please pray with us that Samir and his family will accept Christ’s free offer of salvation. The bigger picture

(Photo courtesy Christian Aid Mission)

Besides the social and psychological trauma of war and losing their businesses and jobs, people like Samir live in crowded basements and tents in unsanitary conditions that often lead to serious disease. Many lack access to clean water. Some sleep on the streets. They also need food, medicine, and clothes to prepare for cold weather, the director tells Christian Aid Mission. His ministry has not only found strategic ways to share the Gospel with Muslims, but it also works among Domari Gypsies--a stateless and illiterate people who are often abused. To help prevent unscrupulous people from taking advantage of the Domari, the ministry provides the Gypsies with literacy training. "Teaching the Gypsies to read and write allows Gospel workers to build relationships through which they can eventually share the Good News of Christ," the director said. The ministry team includes a medical doctor whose work has also helped the team build relationships and trust. The group has been assisting displaced people for four years in spite of few resources. They are praying for assistance in order to provide medicine, clothing, and food for 50 displaced families (four members, on average) for $65 a month. Sorely-needed community water supply and sanitation facilities for 25 shelters or tents would require $10,000. The ministry also plans to provide 50 families with tents furnished with cooking stoves, cookware, dishes, blankets, and electricity at a cost of $1,200 per shelter.

(Photo credit Christian Aid)

Provide emergency help for people fleeing ISIS here. "The displaced people fled the missile attacks, cluster bombs, and barrel bombs that wrought havoc and destruction on cities and villages across Syria," the director said. "We pray our ministry among these people will flourish, and many will come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord."
Categories: Mission Network News

Shelter home: more than four walls and a roof

Mission Network News - Mon, 08/31/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Open Doors USA)

Bangladesh (ODM/MNN) -- What would you do if neighbors constantly harassed your kids while you were at work? Muslim-background believers (MBBs) in Bangladesh don’t have many options. But thanks to a shelter home provided by Open Doors USA, they’re praising God anyway. “He provided a place where they [our kids] can practice their Christian life,” one parent states. What is a shelter home? At first glance, a shelter home seems pretty self-explanatory. But within the context of Muslim-majority Bangladesh, it provides more than four walls and a roof.

(Photo courtesy Open Doors USA)

Bangladesh is approximately 89% Muslim and 0.66% Christian. The country is ranked #43 on the Open Doors World Watch List--a compilation of the world's 50 worst persecutors of Christians. According to Open Doors, MBB parents experience pressure from their Muslim neighbors for leaving Islam, and they lack confidence in defending their faith. “Why do people mock me by calling me ‘son of a Christian?’” 11-year-old *Nur asks his mother. His question goes unanswered. In other instances, Open Doors’ shelter home provides the reassurance MBB parents need to sleep at night. “After I received Jesus, I could no longer keep my daughter in the house,” shares Bristi’s mom.

(Photo courtesy Open Doors USA)

“Our neighbors would assault her every time I left for work. She’s better off at the shelter home where she can study and live in safety.” Open Doors' shelter home, which is operated through a local church, offers sanctuary to 36 children ages 6 to 14. Thirty-four of these children come from MBB families, and the other two are from a tribal background. At the home, kids receive proper education, nutritious food, and spiritual training to develop their faith in Christ. Why does it matter? Along with discipleship, the shelter home provides better care for the children’s physical needs. Due to poverty, many children in Bangladesh have a future of illiteracy, malnutrition, poor health, and stunted growth to look forward to. This is especially true of children from MBB families. MBBs are often denied access to community health facilities because of their faith in Christ.

(Photo courtesy Open Doors USA)

“Without this shelter, our children may end up illiterate like us. Worse still, they may have to start working or run away from home,” parents tell Open Doors’ partners in Bangladesh. “Their peers may morally corrupt them. They may not learn who the true God is. They may die for lack of food or shelter. This is happening to other children in Bangladesh. “But we praise God that He has provided our children with studies, food, and shelter.” Learn how your gift can help Open Doors bring more persecuted Christian kids into the shelter home.
Categories: Mission Network News

Microsoft's 'Surface Pro 4' rumored to have Intel's latest processor, Skylake

Christian Post - Living - Sun, 08/30/2015 - 8:40pm
Microsoft will launch its Surface Pro 4 in October this year and it will be made available to the public sometime in November. Intel has just showcased its new Skylake processor and it shouldn't be a surprise if Surface Pro 4 comes with the Skylake processor.
Categories: Christian Post

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 Slim makes an impression

Christian Post - Living - Sun, 08/30/2015 - 4:05pm
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 Slim was meant to be a notable competitor for Apple's iPad Air 2. This has certainly been the case as there is no doubt that the tech giant has come out with an excellent tablet.
Categories: Christian Post

Charles Colson's 'My Final Word' Warns of 'Long Bloody Clash' in War Against Radical Islam

Christian Post - Bible - Sun, 08/30/2015 - 11:27am
Imagine that a loved one dies, and years later you receive a letter they wrote before they passed. That's how writer Anne Morse describes My Final Word, the new book she co-authored posthumously with the late evangelical figure, radio commentator and former Nixon aide Charles Colson, which shares Colson's uncanny foresight and words of wisdom regarding many of today's critical issues — most notably religion.
Categories: Christian Post

Charles Colson's 'My Final Word' Warns of 'Long Bloody Clash' in War Against Radical Islam

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Sun, 08/30/2015 - 11:27am
Imagine that a loved one dies, and years later you receive a letter they wrote before they passed. That's how writer Anne Morse describes My Final Word, the new book she co-authored posthumously with the late evangelical figure, radio commentator and former Nixon aide Charles Colson, which shares Colson's uncanny foresight and words of wisdom regarding many of today's critical issues — most notably religion.
Categories: Christian Post

Harvest Crusade Anaheim: Evangelist Greg Laurie Warns Against the 'Unforgivable Sin'

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Sun, 08/30/2015 - 10:24am
In his second nightly message at the Southern California Harvest Crusade on Saturday, Pastor Greg Laurie warned a crowd of tens of thousands in Anaheim's Angel Stadium that it's possible to reach "a point of no return" if they consciously reject God's forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
Categories: Christian Post

5 Questions to Consider When Leaving a Church

Christian Post - Church Growth - Sun, 08/30/2015 - 10:14am
Here are a five questions to consider before leaving a church or discarding fellowship.
Categories: Christian Post

Christian Students at Duke University Refuse to Read LGBT Porn Novel

Christian Post - Bible - Sat, 08/29/2015 - 4:54pm
A group of students in Duke University's freshman class are speaking out publicly about their refusal to read a novel that was selected as the freshman summer reading book because the book's pornographic content violates their Christian beliefs and moral principles.
Categories: Christian Post

Pastor's Family Struggles Take Center Stage in the Screen Adaptation of 'Let the Church Say Amen' (Interview)

Christian Post - Pastors - Sat, 08/29/2015 - 3:57pm
Preachers deal with the same struggles as the rest of the world once they step away from the pulpit, and the BET premiere of the new movie "Let the Church Say Amen" showcases many of those challenges with the help of an all-star cast.
Categories: Christian Post

Massive Swarm of Bees Create 10 Feet Tall Hive Inside Historic 95-Y-O Colorado Church (Watch)

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Sat, 08/29/2015 - 2:17pm
A swarm of bees have made an unlikely home inside a 95-year-old Colorado church, creating a hive inside the sanctuary's rafters that's close to 10 feet long and 3 feet wide.
Categories: Christian Post

Kierra Sheard Remakes Beyoncé Song for Single Christian Women Waiting for Love

Christian Post - Bible - Sat, 08/29/2015 - 10:34am
Gospel singer Kierra Sheard recently remade Beyoncé Knowles' 2008 hit single "If I Were a Boy" from the perspective of a single Christian woman.
Categories: Christian Post

Nearly 30,000 Harvest Crusade Angel Stadium Attendees; Pastor Greg Laurie Says Happiness Is Not a Lost Cause

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Sat, 08/29/2015 - 10:28am
As tens of thousands of Californians filled Anaheim's Angel Stadium for the Southern California Harvest Crusade 2015 on Friday night, pastor and evangelist Greg Laurie delivered the event's first nightly message, sharing how happiness can be experienced through our creator, who is "a happy God."
Categories: Christian Post

Christians in Hong Kong feeling pressure from mainland China

Christian Post - Church & Ministry - Sat, 08/29/2015 - 7:18am
Christians in Hong Kong are now feeling pressure from authorities in China after the city has enjoyed freedom from the mainland for quite some time.
Categories: Christian Post

Moto X Style to be rebranded as 'DROID Turbo 2' – Rumors and Specs

Christian Post - Living - Fri, 08/28/2015 - 4:10pm
Everyone is expecting a high-end DROID phone from Verizon before the winter holidays. Rumors have it that Verizon's full-priced flagship will be called DROID Turbo 2 and will be based on Motorola's Moto X Style/Moto X Pure Edition.
Categories: Christian Post

Terrorism grows, but so does the church

Mission Network News - Fri, 08/28/2015 - 5:00am
Egypt (MNN) -- In Egypt, threats of terrorism are at a high, but according to 8thirty8, a prayer ministry kick-started by E3 Partners, that’s not stopping the faithful from flocking to worship all across the country. Why the surprise? Terrorist operations have been plentiful in the past few weeks. On July 11, a car bomb struck the Italian consulate in Cairo, killing one man and injuring nine others.

(Photo courtesy
al-monitor.com)

Then, on August 20, a bomb was set off in an Egyptian security building, and 29 people were injured. The most recent attack was four days later, on Monday August 24. According to a FOX News report, a roadside bomb hit a bus in Cairo. Three police officers were killed, and 27 more were injured. With all the threats of terrorism sweeping across the region, 8thirty8 quoted one pastor as being caught off guard by the number of people flooding through their doors. And believe it or not, extremist attacks aren’t the only thing churchgoers have to be afraid of. The extreme weather is actually a huge issue for many Egyptians. The high temperatures are scorching the nation, and over 80 people have died in August alone. Yet despite the heat waves and terrorism attacks, churches are filling up with Christians and Muslims alike, all desperate for an answer. It’s just another example of how God can use a bad situation for His glory.
Categories: Mission Network News

A lost generation in Yemen

Mission Network News - Fri, 08/28/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Open Doors USA)

Yemen (MNN) -- 65 civilians have been killed in the matter of a day due to heightened attacks on Yemen. This raises the death toll to nearly 4,500 in recent months. Around 400 of the victims were children, according to a recent UNICEF report, and 600 more have been injured. The conflict, which has been dragging on for years, escalated into a pro-government versus anti-government fight, resulting in the deaths of civilians, and injuring or killing an average of 8 children each day. “One [side] is led by the Saudi Arabian government coalition with other countries, including the U.S. And then one are those who see themselves as level fighters, but often Muslim extremists are linked in with this group,” says Emily Fuentes of Open Doors USA. “Of all the deaths that have taken place, approximately half have been civilians in the past recent attacks.” After coming back from the war-stricken country, Peter Maurer told the Associated Press conditions were catastrophic and “Yemen, after five months looks, like Syria after five years.” Air strikes have blown up homes, churches, and schools. Earlier last week, Saudi Arabia bombed a school, killing 13 teachers and 4 kids. United Nations criticized them, saying it was "senseless bloodshed." But Fuentes says it’s difficult to know if they were targeting civilians on purpose. “Every reason--at least that’s been given this far by the Saudi Arabian side--has been, ‘Oh we believed that there were anti-government forces there.’ And so their reasoning might be--at least publically--that they believe that was a breathing ground of where the anti-government forces were. “On the other end, though…it’s hard to believe that it’s okay to sacrifice targeting the school and teachers and all of that, where there’s a high likelihood that there are innocent civilians, especially children.” UN’s Leila Zerrougui said in a statement that Yemen had become another country "creating a lost generation of children" who have an "uncertain future." Christians in the country also stand as a lost generation without a foreseeable future.

(Photo courtesy Open Doors USA)

According to Open Doors, the few thousand that remain and meet in secret or meet quietly for church have a target on their back. Since anti-government fighters are mainly Muslim extremists, Christians not only face the danger of bombings, but also the threat of religious persecution. “If you’re a Christian, those who are Muslim extremists are going to seek after you,” Fuentes says. “It’s just getting worse as the warfare carries on.” Civilians who have survived attacks are now facing disease as well as malnutrition. World Food Program (WFP) reported the country was just "one step away" from a famine. BBC News says of the population of 26.7 million, 21 million are in need of humanitarian aid. Around 1.3 million have been forced to flee their homes, according to UNICEF. Some are looking for refuge in neighboring countries or in Europe. “Open Doors has been working in the Middle East in several countries to help those who have been displaced, or victims of warfare, of refugee crisis, of attacks by Muslim extremists, whether it’s ISIS or other groups.” Fuentes says there’s severe trauma scarring people in the Middle East, but Open Doors is bringing the love and encouragement of Christ throughout the region as they share food, shelter, trauma counseling, and Bibles with refugees. Get involved with their refugee care project here or sign a petition to help persecuted Christians.
Categories: Mission Network News