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Ramadan spotlight: India

Mission Network News - Thu, 06/25/2015 - 5:00am

A mosque in New Delhi.
(Photo credit: MNN/Katey Hearth)

India (MNN) -- Most people who are praying for the Muslim world during Ramadan probably focus on the Middle East. It's fairly common to associate followers of the Islam with the Middle East; according to the Pew Research Center, 93% of the Middle East-North Africa's 341 million residents are Muslim. But did you know India has a huge Muslim population, too? "Most people don't think of India as a country that would have very many Muslims, but it's actually one of the three most-populated Muslim nations," shares Lindsay Ackerman of Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Mission India. Ramadan in India The most holy month on the Islamic calendar is observed each year by around 180 million Muslims in India. By 2050, Pew expects over 300 million Indian Muslims will be fasting and seeking encounters with God during Ramadan. "It's a spiritual time for them," Ackernman notes. "It's also a time…for our ministry partners to focus in on praying for [Muslims] and ministering to them."

(Photo courtesy of Mission India)

For most Mission India volunteers, it's merely an extension of what they've been doing all along. "They're knocking on doors; they're meeting people out in public areas and just striking up conversations," says Ackerman. Through Adult Literacy classes and Children's Bible Clubs, Gospel workers cross paths with Muslim adults and children. Friendships are formed along the way, and as conversations turn toward spiritual matters, Mission India partners get a chance to share Christ. "It's an opportunity, during Ramadan especially, for our partners to reach out and continue to minister, to continue to grow and develop those relationships among Muslims," Ackerman says. It may also be one of the only times unreached people groups are open to talking about spiritual matters.With over 2,000, India is the #1 source of unreached people groups, according to Operation World. "350 of those people groups are Muslim people groups," Ackerman observes. So what? Those two factors make it especially important to pray for Indian Christians during the rest of Ramadan.

(Photo courtesy Mission India)

"Our prayer would really be…that God would raise up people to reach each of those unreached people groups [and for] an opportunity for that Gospel to be introduced for the first time," Ackerman states. For the next 22 days of Ramadan, will you join us in praying that believers in India will be brave enough to share Christ with at least one Muslim? "The transformation really starts with that first believer, that first person who receives the Gospel and then is able to share that Good News in their family and among their friends." At Mission India's website, you can help them equip indigenous Christians to share their faith through Children's Bible Clubs or Adult Literacy Classes.
Categories: Mission Network News

Scripture booklets make it easier to share the Gospel

Mission Network News - Thu, 06/25/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy World Missionary Press)

International (MNN) -- Have you ever wanted to share the Gospel with someone, but didn’t know how to strike up the conversation? World Missionary Press is making it easier by equipping believers with free Scripture booklets. “The Scripture booklets were a vision the Lord gave our founders in South Africa when they saw the great needs and hunger for literature. The Lord put it on their heart to provide the Word of God in the heart language of as many people in the world as they could,” says Helen Williams of World Missionary. “We were founded with that vision, and that’s still our vision.” World Missionary Press has been producing 100 million booklets each year for the last 53 years, and all them have been free. “As people ask, we provide as our inventory as production allows,” Williams explains. While millions of booklets are being given away, incredible testimonies are being shared. Testimonies in North America Volunteer distributors are making an impact in the lives of thousands. With the help of the Scripture booklets, they’re guiding

(Photo courtesy World Missionary Press)

people and helping them discover the goodness of God. “People receive the Lord because they have tools. And that’s really what we’re doing: providing tools for believers.” One-on-one work has proven to be an effective way of guiding others. Recently, a woman said she wanted to share the Word with her Dutch-speaking neighbor who was battling cancer. “We have a booklet in Dutch that would share the Gospel, and so individuals can share with one person they know,” Williams says. “Or you can go to full communities. We have two or three areas that as the booklets have entered an area, the hunger has just come.” In one situation, a man received a booklet, became a believer, and then became a distributor himself, passing out booklets in his neighborhood. “I so badly want to share the Gospel but find it difficult where to start. I feel that since this booklet introduced me to the Gospel and planted the seed of the Love of God in me, this is the best way to do it,” he told World Missionary Press. Testimonies Received from Other Countries Anyone can be a missionary right where they are. In every situation, Scripture booklets are making an important impact, and sometimes its taken distributors to different countries. A retired pastor in Arizona had throat problems and figured his time of preaching the Gospel was over. But after meeting a volunteer and receiving a case of Scripture booklets, he handed them out in a market area in Mexico. Several hours later, he returned thinking he could pick up the booklets that were thrown on the ground. But what he found surprised him. “As he came into that market area, the clamor that you normally hear in a market area had almost stopped,” Williams says. “He looked and vendors were sitting outside their little shops or on their cart, reading the Word. And the Spirit said to him, ‘You can do this.’” And World Missionary Press says you can, too! It’s the everyday people in everyday situations that are making a difference. Order booklets or get in contact now. The booklets are catching the attention of Church groups everywhere.

(Photo courtesy World Missionary Press)

In Peru, a shipment of one million booklets was sent. “That shipment had just cleared customs when Mr. Diaz [the head leader of the church group] said, ‘We have 1,300 churches up and down Peru that want to be involved with this. Can you send us more?’ “That’s how it grows,” Williams says. “We have no lack of ‘clients,’ if you will. As churches are exposed to the opportunities and the tools, they’re willing to do it. That’s our challenge. Believers all over the world are willing to accept the Word if we can get it into their hands.” Most of the people who request and receive booklets are actually national believers or churches that don’t have access to the Word. In fact, 82% of World Missionary Press’s clients are overseas. “Wherever and whenever, we try to provide,” Williams explains. “We have a contact in Myanmar, and he has been in a difficult area. He says the need for literature is huge. They want more and more booklets [because] there’s a revival in one of the states--Shan State. Out of the civil unrest has come a need and a hunger. He says WMP booklets are one of the most effective tools for the people to grow.” Translation Adults, children, cities, and tribes are receiving booklets, and these tools are coming in their heart language. “We’re still working on more languages; we have about 343,” Williams comments.

(Photo courtesy World Missionary Press)

World Missionary Press is working with national pastors, Wycliffe Bible Translators, New Tribes Missions, and Bibles International to translate. The process can take years, but then the pace can take off in an instant. “Like in the Dari for Afghanistan: it sat idle for 20 years, and all of a sudden it just exploded.” In other cases, a major setback can take place. When World Missionary Press was working on an Inuit translation in Alaska, the translator passed away. However, God always provides. Another missionary volunteered to finish the translation. “The translation work is done voluntarily…. They see the need for a piece of literature in their language, and if they’re willing to provide the translator, we’ll follow it up,” Williams says. Giving

(Photo courtesy World Missionary Press)

World Missionary Press operates entirely on donations; the millions of booklets printed each year are only possible because of people like you. “As the Lord provides, we print,” Williams says. “Because we have a very tight budget, we try to be very economical in what we do, and we have a large volunteer base that comes in and helps. Each of these little booklets costs about 5 cents.” Will you support World Missionary Press? Just $5 can print 100 booklets and change the lives of people forever.
Categories: Mission Network News

Asia Bibi: failing health on death row in Pakistan

Mission Network News - Thu, 06/25/2015 - 5:00am

Asia Bibi

Pakistan (MNN) -- Her story reads like a conspiracy theory novel. The main character is a 50-year-old woman, falsely accused. She languishes in jail for six years, charged and convicted of a federal crime with no evidence, and no recourse. The problem is: it's not fiction. It's Asia Bibi's story. Bruce Allen with Forgotten Missionaries International says the mother of five was accused of blasphemy in Pakistan. Voice of the Martyrs USA recounts the early part of the case: On June 19, 2009 there was an intense discussion among the women about their faith. The Muslim women told Asia about Islam, and, according to VOM sources, Asia responded by telling the Muslim women that Jesus is alive. “Our Christ sacrificed His life on the cross for our sins.... Our Christ is alive.” That led to a beating and a blasphemy accusation. In November 2010, Bibi was convicted under the blasphemy penal code, and sentenced to death. An appeal has been filed with the Supreme Court, but there's no word on how soon the case will be heard. Time is running out for Bibi, says Allen. "She's suffering from internal bleeding. She requires urgent medical treatment. She vomits blood. She suffers terrible pain, and she can hardly eat." In the meantime, "Here's this woman, languishing in a prison under this death sentence for a crime that she vehemently denies."

(Photo courtesy CallforMercy.com)

Multiple news sources indicate her lawyers have requested that officials move Asia to a prison in Lahore, which would make it easier for her to receive medical treatment, as well as see her family more often. If nothing else, Bibi's case serves as an international focal point for justice for minority Christians. Allen explains, "Under the current law, the abuses are enormous against religious minorities in Pakistan." For example, they have been and can be used to settle personal scores between neighbors. The accused have little hope of defending themselves because the charge of blasphemy by a Muslim usually serves as sufficient evidence of the crime. Although there is a reform effort underway, there's a long way to go yet to get the bill signed into law. Allen also considers the possibility of increased harassment and outright persecution in the days ahead. "If the law is going to be changed into a better thing, potentially, they may say, 'Well, now is the time that we have to take action while THIS is still the current law and it is easy to abuse.'" In the meantime, more than 150,000 Christians have signed a petition demanding justice for persecution victims, including Asia Bibi. The Voice of the Martyrs and other Pakistani brothers and sisters in Christ are lifting their voices in a call for mercy.  They're hoping to gather a million signatures on her behalf. (Click here for the petition). Allen says Bibi is not alone. In the days ahead, he's asking you to pray for Christians in Pakistan. Between Ramadan and the disturbances generated by the reforms, "Pray for the Christians in the area to remain steadfast, that they would experience God's protection and provision." Their work will continue on. Many people are coming to saving faith in Christ through the ministry of nearly 30 national pastors and evangelists, supported by FMI who often maintain ministries in multiple cities and rural villages. FMI also provides tangible support, such as bicycles for pastors’ transportation, materials for church site construction, and helps maintain a network of safe houses for persecuted believers.
Categories: Mission Network News

Open Doors petitions President Obama on advocacy

Mission Network News - Thu, 06/25/2015 - 5:00am
International (MNN/ODM) -- ISIS has once again proven that they’re capable of extreme savagery with a recent video depicting the gruesome executions of numerous prisoners. These violent acts serve as glaring evidence of the horrific brutality the religious extremists are capable of, and more often than not this deadly rage is directed at Christians. However, ISIS is not the only cause of increased persecution against Christians around the world. A staggering number of Egyptian Christians are being abducted each year--up to 700 women and girls kidnapped annually. In Pakistan, blasphemy laws have been the source of riots, attacks, and whole Christian villages being destroyed. In Iran, in spite of the pre-election promises of the president, the persecution of Christians is unimproved. Churches can be closed down if they use the national language, Farsi, and Christians are regularly beaten and imprisoned.

(Photo Courtesy Open Doors)

As persecution spikes and countless Christians find themselves in more and more danger each day, it’s becoming clear that something has to be done, and quickly. That’s why Open Doors is asking you to join a new movement pleading with President Barack Obama for advocacy, asking him to take action to help protect Christians across the globe. As leader of one of the most influential nations in the world, he can make a crucial difference in the fight against persecution, and here’s how. Last summer, Congress passed a bill that would make it possible for President Obama to appoint a Special Envoy for Religious Minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia within the U.S. State Department. The Special Envoy would work to publicize and combat instances of intolerance and persecution targeted at religious minorities. As of yet, the position has remained empty, and Open Doors says it’s time to change that. Yet, appointing a Special Envoy is only a first step toward fighting global persecution. Open Doors is asking President Obama to form a plan to protect Christians in the areas where persecution is the most severe. This plan would also address the eviction of Christian populations from areas where the communities are centuries old, not to mention attempting to guarantee the safe future of young believers in persecuted areas. In other words, such a plan would protect the past through upholding ancient sites of worship, the present through the safety of Christians in today’s most at-risk areas, and the future in the lives of the children who will otherwise grow up amid severe persecution.

(Photo Courtesy Open Doors)

It’s easy to see why there’s concern. Hundreds of thousands of Christians have been forced from their homelands in Iraq and Syria, and their ancient places of worship have been demolished in the wake of their retreat. Religious extremism is at an all-time high, primarily due to ISIS and its terrifying brutality. The savagery displayed in ISIS’s executions of 21 Egyptians and 28 Ethiopian Christians, not to mention the recent capture of 88 Eritrean Christians, is more than enough cause to take action, according to Open Doors. Across the globe, believers are facing all-time highs in the areas of persecution and religious extremism. Open Doors thinks that President Obama can help, but they need help getting his attention. Click here to join the petition and send a letter to the decision makers that can make a difference. Then keep participating by praying that God will work in the lives of our leaders, the persecuted believers, and the oppressors themselves in a way that shows them that not only is there a God, but that He’s active in today’s world in a very real way.
Categories: Mission Network News

Reborn by Finding Favour

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 5:00am
Gotee Record's Finding Favour, is scheduled to release their first full album, Reborn, June 23, 2015. Produced by Casey Brown (Love the Outcome, All Things New), the new project shows the maturity and growth of Finding Favour since they first signed with Gotee Records in 2012. Reborn features 10 new songs that were co-written by the group, along with a reprise of their Top 25 National Christian Audience chart hit, "Say Amen." The first radio single from the album is the anthem ballad, "Cast My Cares," that is currently going for adds at AC and Hot AC/CHR radio, but[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

Anxiety by NYVES

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 5:00am
Dark, pulsing soundscapes are woven together by Clark's instantly identifiable vocals; resonate layers are balanced by Torres's crystal clear and expert production; and high levels of experimentation are outweighed only by melodic sensibility and sonic accessibility.[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

My Own Worst Enemy by Tragic Hero

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 5:00am
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Categories: Christian Music News

Caves by Caves

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 5:00am
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Categories: Christian Music News

Adonai: The Power Of Worship From Israel by Various Artists

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 5:00am
ADONAI, the internationally acclaimed Messianic worship classic now presents a new sonic experience with a spectacular remastered edition. Blending English and Hebrew, ADONAI weaves modern world music with the history and the culture of Israel, taking you on a journey of powerful worship. ADONAI was the first album ever recorded by believers in the Land of Israel with a 160-nation distribution and features Paul Wilbur, Karen Davis, Barry Batya Segal and many others.Recorded on the first Year of Jubilee celebrated in over 2000 years, ADONAI is literally the Word of the Lord going forth from Zion in the form[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

Elohim by Various Artists

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 5:00am
ELOHIM, pronounced EL-O-HEEM is the Hebrew name for GOD. The One and Only True GOD. The GOD of the Bible. The all Powerful GOD of the Universe. Who is the same yesterday, today and forever!Experience Worship from the Heart of Israel with the Remnant of GOD'S people who live in the Promised Land.Join the Spiritual and Physical Levites as they Worship the LORD in Spirit and in Truth, in Hebrew and in English, in their Culture and in their History. Together, let us Praise the Holy One of Israel. May this music cause you to love and worship ELOHIM.[...]
Categories: Christian Music News

AsOne by AsOne

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 5:00am
AsOne is both excited and humbled to be releasing their initial album in 2015. The unique melodies they offer to the world will surely make a lasting impact in music, as they work to make a difference together, as one![...]
Categories: Christian Music News

Crystal Clear (Deluxe Edition) by David Dunn

New Release Tuesday - Tue, 06/23/2015 - 5:00am
David Dunn will be releasing his full-length album Crystal Clear LP on June 23, 2015. The hugely successful radio single "Today Is Beautiful" landed the artist on the map in 2014.[...]
Categories: Christian Music News