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Summer Survival Kit helps refugees

Mission Network News - Mon, 06/29/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Global Aid Network)

International (MNN) -- Imagine being forced from your home with nothing but the clothes on your back and what you can grab on your way out the door. That’s the life of a refugee. Nearly 60 million refugees and IDP’s in the world are looking for help, looking for food or shelter, looking for a warm embrace and hope that everything is going to turn out okay. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports one in every 122 people are displaced. “Right now, there are more refugees and people who have been displaced from their homes than any other time in recorded history,” says Mark Gaither of Global Aid Network (GAiN). Men, women, and children are being forced from their homes and countries as a result of natural disasters and the brutal forces of terrorists, war, and persecution. Fathers, mothers, and children wonder what’s going to happen and how they’re going to survive the next wave of terror. “They’re traumatized, they’re afraid, they’re confused,” Gaither says. The UNHCR says the war in Syria has caused the largest amount of people to become refugees at 3.88 million, and 7.6 million to become IDPs. The largest refugee-hosting country in the world is Turkey, at 1.59 million refugees. “With huge shortages of funding and wide gaps in the global regime of protecting victims of war, people in need of compassion, aid, and refuge are being abandoned,” Antonio Guterres of UNHCR said. Global Aid Network is working with partners in refugee-stricken countries and asking for help to make Summer Survival Kits.

(Photo courtesy Global Aid Network)

The Refugee Summer Survival campaign was started as an effort to help 8,000 individuals survive for the first 21 days of being exiled from their home or country. Each kit includes food, clothes, shoes, blankets, and any other necessary items. “We (on average each year) ship out about 50 to 60 containers…. We also wire money through our partners there. Sometimes it’s easier for them to get access to aid within the country, and then purchase it and deliver it,” Gaither says. GAiN’s main focus is on Middle Eastern refugees. GAiN is working in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Southern Iraq. But they’re also working in East Africa, North Africa, and Nepal. The ministry is letting the Gospel speak and take action, and making refugee camps sanctuaries. “In that state, when [refugees] run away and run to a place where there’s somebody waiting for them with open arms… that says, 'We love you. Jesus loves you.'” Many of the refugees who are Muslim are perplexed at why GAiN is helping. “They ask, ‘Why are you doing this? Aren’t we supposed to be your enemy?’ We delight to tell them that we are there on behalf of Jesus--somebody they hear as a prophet, but not as a savior,” Gaither says. “We tell them that we’re doing this because He loves them and because God wants to have a relationship through Jesus with them. That kind of grace is so rare and is so disarming that it’s regarded with suspicion at first.” Gaither shares the example of a Muslim man in Turkey. He had wanted to fight against ISIS, but was told that he was too old, so he settled in a refugee camp. When GAiN showed him kindness, he wasn’t sure if their work was serious, but they continually brought necessities and didn’t pressure anyone to convert to Christianity. “It’s this kind of ongoing effort that eventually he begins to question his own belief and consider who Jesus Christ really is because His followers are so different from how he thought they were,” Gaither explains. Christian ministries' work is proving to be an effective way to share the Gospel. In a 2014 article, missionary and author David Garrison estimated around 2-7 million Muslims have converted to Christianity in the last two decades. A big part is because they’re seeing the grace and kindness coming from Christians. Those numbers are only growing with an estimation of 16,000 Muslims converting everyday. “When we help people in other parts of the world, and we bring the kind of aid that we’re bringing, it says something very powerful to them. It says that this belief that we have in Jesus is not just word; we’re not just another tribe,” Gaither says. “We are followers of a man who is God who cares about people.” GAiN has a goal of $320,000 to provide for 8,000 refugees. The Summer Survival Kits are $40 for a person to survive 21 days – that’s less than $2 a day. Will you help? Pray for refugees’ safety from violence and natural disasters, and for them to find the love and goodness of God.
Categories: Mission Network News

Clock ticks down for Urbana 15

Mission Network News - Mon, 06/29/2015 - 5:00am

(YouTube)

USA (MNN) -- Time's running out for college kids. Tomorrow, June 30, is their last chance to secure a reduced-rate place at Urbana 15. You can help spread the word here. "Urbana" is the tri-annual student missions conference from InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Thousands of global-minded students from across the U.S. will spend five days in Missouri this December learning how they can change the world for Christ. Will you be one of them? Why should I go to Urbana?

(Photo courtesy Urbana via Facebook)

The Urbana Student Missions Conference is a place of connection. Not only do students meet like-minded peers from around the nation and world, they connect with mission leaders and speakers who can help them discover God's purpose for their lives. For the most part, college kids pursue a degree for a specific reason. Urbana helps them realize how they can use that degree--along with the gifts and talents God has given them--to further His Kingdom. Click here for more reasons to go. Who else can I bring? Urbana draws people from all over North America who want to learn more about global realities, current missions issues, and their place in God's mission. The conference is geared specifically toward college students between the ages of 17 and 29, although there is no upper age limit. High school students must be at least 17 years of age by December 27, 2015, and in their final year of high school. International students are welcome too! What exactly are we going to do?

(Photo courtesy Urbana 15 via Facebook)

An itinerary for Urbana 15 isn't available yet, but time will be spent in four general categories: Bible study, prayer, worship, and seminars. Learn more on the Urbana 15 website: There's also a new component this year called Hack4Missions. The Urbana 15 hackathon is a great opportunity to explore technology’s place in God’s mission. Students can discern how their skills and interests could be used to serve God around the world. Where can I sign up? Students can secure a place at Urbana 15 for under $400, as long as they sign up before midnight June 30. After that, registration shoots up to $459.

(Photo courtesy Urbana 15 via Facebook)

Secure your place at Urbana 15. The registration fee includes all conference costs and 4 evening meals. Travel and housing costs are not included. Find out where you can get lodging, meals, and transportation at the Urbana 15 website. Pray for students and InterVarsity staff preparing for Urbana 15. Pray that Urbana 15 will help inform, equip, and mobilize college students for global missions.
Categories: Mission Network News

The meaning of outcast

Mission Network News - Mon, 06/29/2015 - 5:00am
India (MNN) -- India is known for its strict caste system that separates its people into high and low levels based on nothing but their family’s history. Lindsay Ackerman, a spokesman for Grand Rapids Michigan-based Mission India, says there’s a connection between this segregation system and a word you're probably familiar with. “Outcast is a word we use in our own English language pretty commonly, but we don’t really understand the true background behind that word.” Ackerman says it's based on the lowest level of the ancient caste system, rooted in the Hindu religion. This social order system is designed to categorize people according to rank by birth, based on the idea  that people are different, and different people will fit well into different aspects and roles of society. The end result is a segregated country and countless castes, explains Ackerman. “People are identified by their occupation and by their people group. When they’re born, they’re born into a caste, and in India they believe that you remain in that caste until you die.” She adds, “If there’s discrimination against certain castes, you’re expected to just submit to that.” So where do outcasts come into play? Ackerman says, “In India what that means is you are so low in the caste system that you’re really outside the caste system.” Since this system dominates everything India, these outcasts (also called Dalits) are invisible and given the lowest, dirtiest, least-wanted responsibilities possible. “You’re just really doing the unclean work because you’re too low to be considered clean in the first place,” Ackerman remarks. Plus, they're considered so low that any contact with higher caste members would render them unclean, hence the term Untouchables. “There was a time when people who were Untouchables were required to sweep away their footprints behind them because it would have been unclean for a higher caste person to step in their footprints or even cast a shadow upon a higher caste person.” Although these traditions are technically outlawed by the Indian government, the attitudes behind them persist, especially in the more rural areas that aren’t as connected to modern society. In fact, “They’re not aware the government has outlawed these kind of things," explains Ackerman. So how does the Gospel change their thinking? Mission India's impact has come through reaching lower caste members with ministries like church planting, literacy classes for adults, and Bible clubs for kids. A little care and a lot of love make all the difference in the world, Ackerman adds. “Part of that good news for India’s low-caste people is the discovery for the first time in their lives that they are created by God in His image, that they’re cherished, that He knows them personally.” It's a message that counters the Hindu tradition. Dalits believe they earned their low-caste position because of sins committed in a previous life. As a result, they are often blown away be the idea of a God who cares deeply for them with an unconditional love.

(Photo Courtesy Mission India)

“It truly is life-changing for these Dalits when they’re able to understand that their Creator God loves them, cherishes the, and has wonderful plans for them,” says Ackerman. But how does the upper caste react to the news that they are equal to the people they once considered free labor? Ackerman admits it’s not an easy thing for upper caste members to accept. “It’s a very challenging message to think that, if they come to hear the gospel, that they’re equal to somebody who they’ve thought for their entire lives is unclean or unworthy.” Yet Mission India is working hard to make a difference in the lives of both the upper and lower caste members. “We know that transformation can’t just come from below: it has to come from above,” Ackerman explains, adding, “Everybody in the culture needs to open their eyes to the devastating effects of the caste system and be willing to honor and respect one another as equals. And the Gospel is bringing that message of hope.” How can you help? Spread the word about what Mission India is doing, and share the stories of people who've seen transformation. “When you read about these topics and hear about them and then share them with your friends and neighbors, that’s really honoring to God,” comments Ackerman. Mission India continues to use children’s Bible clubs, adult literacy classes, church-planting trips, and more to reach out to the people trapped in the traditional segregation of India’s many castes. Check out their "Clay Cups" video sharing more about the "Untouchables" here.
Categories: Mission Network News

Which prayer requests are ‘trivial’?

Mission Network News - Mon, 06/29/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy Vision Beyond Borders)

Central America (VBB/MNN) -- Have you ever asked God for silverware? Maybe not. Maybe you feel like a lot of people, that asking God for little stuff is just too trivial to matter. But what happens when God answers those little prayer requests? Often, you grow in the confidence that not only is God faithful, but also that He hears, answers, and cares about every aspect of your life. That's what the most recent Vision Beyond Borders team experienced in Central America. The team shared some of the highlights from their recent trip into a closed country. Heading into the visit, there were concerns that supplies they were carrying could be confiscated. First answer: the team arrived with all of the Bibles and Gospel materials they took; government agents seized nothing. The team traveled to visit a large church of approximately 1,000 members. It was a poor church, and the poverty was evident. When the team asked what they could do to help, the pastor shared the church's desire to reach more children, but that they had no money for it. They really needed teaching and training materials for the children. The dream? Flannel graphs. In countries where many are illiterate and oral tradition is strong, people use pictorial literature to teach their history. Flannel graphs were created to communicate the Gospel and history of the Bible. The pastor told the team the church was praying for three flannel graphs to teach the children God's Word. VBB had been distributing kits along the way and thought there might be some in their vehicle. He went out to check and found three flannel graph kits for the church: God's second answer.

(Photo courtesy Vision Beyond Borders)

As the trip wound down to a close, the VBB team dropped by a church they had sent a box of supplies to earlier. They celebrated with the church as they opened the box…and found silverware. A random extra? Not random at all. The church was thrilled! They said they had been praying for silverware, and the box came in response to their prayers. Third answer. What it means is that when this church says to their community, "God supplies all our needs," a fork will remind everyone that even in the small things, God is faithful. VBB is sending Bible supply teams to closed countries where they have church partners every month from now until the end of the year. Ask God where He might be directing you next. His answer could surprise you.
Categories: Mission Network News

Three continents see terrorist attacks on same day

Mission Network News - Mon, 06/29/2015 - 5:00am

(Photo courtesy of VOM USA)

International (MNN) -- Ramadan is a time to draw closer to God. For some radical Muslims, that includes violent attacks. Three continents witnessed terrorist attacks Friday morning, June 27. It is still unknown whether they were part of an ISIS-led coordinated effort, or isolated tragedies. In France, an assailant decapitated a man at an American-owned chemical factory and unsuccessfully attempted to blow up the building. Flags bearing Islamic inscriptions were found next to the severed head. In Tunisia, gunmen opened fire at a beach resort, killing at least 37 people. And, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for an explosion at a Shiite mosque in Kuwait that killed and wounded at least 25 people. These acts of terrorism follow a pair of June 25 attacks where ISIS soldiers wearing Kurdish security uniforms detonated bombs and opened fire in the Syrian-Turkey border town of Kobani. In southern Syria, rebel groups started a new operation to push government forces from the city of Dara’a. The sudden spike in bloodshed comes days after ISIS spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani released an audio message encouraging Muslims to celebrate Ramadan as a time of increased violence against unbelievers. “Ramadan is the month when Muslims are fasting and really thinking about spiritual things,” says Todd Nettleton of Voice of the Martyrs. “They are trying to earn the approval of Allah. One of the ways that Muslims can do that is through jihad, through fighting on Allah’s behalf, or fighting for Allah’s cause.” So what's next? “It’s certainly possible that in the coming 2 or 3 weeks that we have left of Ramadan that we will see more attacks like these,” Nettleton says. “And that’s the sad reality. That’s the reason you see governments responding with increased security and increased vigilance because that risk is very real.”

(Screen capture courtesy Voice of the Martyrs USA)

Danger is increasing for everyone in Muslim-majority countries. But those who face the highest risk, especially during Ramadan, are Christians. “We typically see unfortunately an uptick in attacks and violence during the month of Ramadan,” Nettleton says. “It’s one of the reasons we ask people here at Voice of the Martyrs to pray for Christians living in Muslim countries during this month because it’s often a time where we see an increase in attacks.” Nettleton asks you to join VOM in prayer, asking God to protect, encourage, and embolden believers in Muslim-majority nations. But they aren’t the only ones who need help. “Muslims are fasting and praying and seeking God. And I hope Christians will pray that they find Him, that during this month of Ramadan they encounter the one true God and His Son Jesus Christ," Nettleton says. Visit VOM’s website for more ways to support persecuted believers around the world.
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