Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Look! The Day is Dawning!


Look! The Day is Dawning!

Look up and see the horizon ahead my child. For as you look up you will see that the day is breaking and that the sun is spreading its golden blanket over the land that I have given to you. For where before you stumbled around in the dark, I am turning on the light.
Where before you sought me in the dark of the night, now you will run with me in the light of the day. For the night had its season and while you could not see, I was rearranging circumstances and bringing things into line on your behalf.
But look! The dawn is breaking and the sun is coming over that horizon. Your eyes will begin to see again. Your ears will begin to hear again. You will begin to have confidence again and wisdom will flow again. So do not regret the steps you have taken. Do not regret the nights where it was dark.
For in those moments I was giving you rest. In those moments, I was giving you time to change and go through a process. Yet now that time is over. The work has been done and it is time for you to see all that I have accomplished in you! So look up! Look forward to this time and see that my goodness lies ahead of you, says the Lord. Amen.

Pushing Aid through Closed Border in North Korea

Pushing Aid through Closed Border in North Korea


June 2, 2017
North Koreans on the border with China picking wild grass.
People on the North Korean side of the border with China pick wild grass to survive.
Rising tensions between North Korea and the West have shut down border traffic between China and its isolated neighbor, but an indigenous ministry has found ways to get aid to starving North Koreans.
With another missile test this week defying United Nations resolutions, North Korea has further provoked a nuclear threat that has brought Chinese soldiers to the border, ready to rush in should the regime fall, said the leader of an indigenous ministry on the Chinese side of the border.
There is widespread suspicion on the border and within North Korea that the regime is shaky, and China has amassed soldiers to prevent South Korea and the United States from filling any power vacuum, while North Korea has increased vigilance and troop presence on the border, he said.
"The people in the border area, half of their life income depends on the border trade, official and unofficial, but at this moment, all border crossing has been closed," he said. "Their winter is very long in that area, so they couldn't cultivate anything in the last six months. Their grains have run out; they have nothing to eat."
An indigenous missionary on the North Korean side of the border from the undisclosed ministry has reported deaths by starvation, he said.
"Now our missionary sees there are so many people on the mountains picking up that grass because they are so hungry right now," the director said. "We want to do something for them."
"Before there was so much green grass, but now she sees there are so many people on the mountains picking up that grass because they are so hungry right now," he said. "We want to do something for them."
Any North Koreans trying to cross the border into China now will be executed, rather than sent to prison camps, he said. The cross-border smuggling of goods crucial to the area economy has stopped. Of 23 border crossing points, however, there is one that indigenous missionaries have been able to identify as less tightly monitored than the others.
Moreover, because of their familiarity with local contacts, the indigenous workers have been able to obtain permission from North Korean authorities to transfer nearly 1,500 tons of donated corn to starving North Koreans.
"If we send rice, their officials and other powerful people will take it," the ministry director said. "That's why we decided we'd send corn. This corn they don't eat; only the poor people or farmers eat corn."
The ministry's negotiations with North Korean authorities included winning the right to put the corn, donated from churches in China, in bags with a cross on it, he said.
Bag of Chinese corn.
Churches in China donated corn for transport to North Korea.
"We made a cross on 30,000 empty grain bags [now 50,000 bags are planned], and we showed them to the distribution workers," he said. "We said, 'We are going to send them to you with the cross – so if you are hungry and want to receive this grain, we'll send you this bag.' We insisted on bringing the bags with the cross, and we got the approval from the authorities in North Korea."
With assistance from churches in China and Christian Aid Mission, the undisclosed indigenous ministry plans to provide corn for 150,000 people for one month. If the hungry North Koreans mix the corn with wild grass, as is customary, the shipments could feed 215,000 people for a month, the ministry director said. The cost to ship the food in five trucks, including freight and labor, is $50,550.
"We are ready to send it to them, and they are willing to accept it," he said. "This is official, not smuggling, because smuggling is impossible right now. Ask the Western brothers and sisters to pray for them because of the border crossing. They are starving to death right now, so we need to do something for them."
The central government speaks of being opposed to outside aid, but local governments allow it, he explained.
"Both the China side and the North Korean side agreed – this is why we can do it openly," he said.
The corn will be distributed in a city near the border with the help of a ministry contact and local officials.
"Last year we sent over 580 gifts into North Korea," he said. "These people will have a direct benefit. The rest of the gifts will be shared with urgently needy people."
People in North Korea are hoping that a change in leadership is imminent, he said.
"It looks like something is going to happen very soon on the other side – even the people who don't know God are talking differently than before," he said. "Of course, on the other side they cannot talk openly. If they do, they get executed."
Christians in North Korea have exceptionally strong faith in the midst of the turmoil, he said, even though their movements and speech are severely restricted.
"Everybody knows that something is going to happen soon on the other side," the director said. "They are in danger of starvation. Their agony is too hard for them to bear. All walls are closing in, and there are no lights of hope for them. There is only a little ray of hope in this very tiny spot of the country. Please pray for our brother and sisters in darkness. Let North Korean people seek the Lord God, who will do some awesome works for them."
To help indigenous missionaries to meet needs, you may contribute online using the form below, or call (434) 977-5650. If you prefer to mail your gift, please mail to Christian Aid Mission, P.O. Box 9037, Charlottesville, VA 22906. Please use Gift Code: 836NKW. Thank you!

Church Family

Young people study the Bible at a church in China.
Young people study the Bible at a church in China begun by trafficked women from North Korea who were rescued from slavery and came to know Christ as Savior and Lord. Established in 2015, the church near the border with North Korea includes the women’s Chinese husbands and children, among others. The church now meets in three locations, each with plural leadership – 65 worshiping at the original site, 21 at another and 15 at the other. Each congregation needs financial assistance for summer schools, Bible schools, micro-enterprise projects and rented facilities. “If you can, pray for one location that has financial problems,” the leader of the indigenous ministry that rescued the formerly trafficked women said. “They have no funds to pay the rent.”

Walk in Him

Walk in Him
“As you received Christ Jesus the Lord [the Narrow Gate],
so walk in Him [the Narrow Path].”
COLOSSIANS 2:6 ESV

We come to the Lord admitting that we cannot save ourselves, and He does the saving. That is the Gate. Now we come to the Lord every day, admitting that we cannot enter the Kingdom, and He does what it takes to conform us into His image. That is the Path.

Hence, I have no secret for the Christian Life, but Christ. I have no key, but Christ. I have no method, but Christ. I have no formula, but Christ. I have no technique, but Christ. I have no life, but Christ – for it is no longer I who lives, it is Christ Who lives in me (Galatians 2:20). In Him, through Him, because of Him, and by Him we may enter the Kingdom.


Source: “Embrace the Cross” by Chip Brogden
http://www.chipbrogden.com/books/embrace-the-cross


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Provide Action Packs to Persecuted Christians in Sudan

Man with Action Pack
Show Your Love by Taking Action for Our Persecuted Family in Sudan
Imagine living in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains, where you are bombed almost daily by your own government and there’s no place to hide. Your goal each morning is to survive through the day, and you know you must do it with little outside help.

Then you receive an encouraging gift of love from Christians in the U.S. to help you and your family endure — a VOM Action Pack.

Opening the pack, you find items of clothing, a blanket for cold nights, fresh socks for your feet and soap to help you stay clean. Suddenly, you feel renewed and strengthened in faith; you realize your Christian family members have not forgotten you. You see a photo of the family who assembled the pack, and you know they are praying for you. Then you see the Bible and are reminded that Jesus loves you, too, and is always with you.

VOM had planned to ship 2,000 Action Packs to Christian families in the Nuba Mountains this year, but faithful believers like you helped us send 3,454 packs instead! We were overwhelmed by your generous response, and now our workers in Sudan are asking for even more packs.

When you order an Action Pack, we’ll send you a special bag to be filled with items you select from a list included with your pack. After filling the pack, you will ship it back to The Voice of the Martyrs. VOM workers will then deliver your Action Pack and a Bible or Gospel story book to a Christian family in Sudan, Pakistan, Iraq, Jordan or Lebanon.

I Want to Fill an Action Pack

Children reading story
Even more important than the physical aid is the Bible or Gospel story book delivered with each pack. God’s Word strengthens our brothers and sisters to continue living for Christ despite hardships and persecution.

If you do not want to pack an Action Pack yourself, you can sponsor one and VOM workers will purchase the items, fill the Action Pack and distribute it on your behalf. Either way, our persecuted brothers and sisters will be blessed by your generosity and reminded that they are connected to the wider body of Christ.

I Want to Sponsor an Action Pack

Having Him

Having Him

“We know that the Son of God has come
and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him…”
1 JOHN 5:20

There is a difference between salvation and a Savior; between deliverance and a Deliverer; between healing and a Healer; between redemption and a Redeemer. The first is a “thing,” the second is a Person. This may sound self-evident and elementary, but before God the difference is vast, and in actual experience the difference is incalculable. If we are not clear on the matter of His Son we will find the Christian life very difficult, if not impossible, to live. I have the “thing” because I have Him; having Him, I do not need to search for the “thing” anymore.

What do you have? An experience? A word? A doctrine? A belief? Or a Man? This is the difference between a living Christianity and a dead religion.


Source: “Lord of All" by Chip Brogden
http://www.chipbrogden.com/books/lord-of-all


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Otto Warmbier, US student sent home from North Korea, dies

Otto Warmbier, US student sent home from North Korea, dies

I recall the time I thought I was going to be arrested in North Korea
By Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST News Service
Otto bows before the courtCINCINNATI, OHIO (ANS – June 19, 2017) -- The American student who was released last week after being held in captivity for more than 15 months in North Korea has died, his family says.
Otto Warmbier, 22, returned to the US last Tuesday, but it emerged he had been in a coma for a year.
The BBC says that North Korea claimed that botulism led to the coma, but a team of US doctors who assessed him dispute this account.
Mr. Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for attempting to steal a propaganda sign from a hotel, where I once stayed.
He had suffered severe brain damage, and was medically evacuated from North Korea on June 13, 2017, to a hospital in his home city of Cincinnati. Ohio. It is unclear how he fell ill.
The Warmbier family has blamed his death on torture that they say he suffered in North Korea.
Otto put in front of media“It is our sad duty to report that our son, Otto Warmbier, has completed his journey home. Surrounded by his loving family, Otto died today at 2:20pm,” a statement from his parents, Fred and Cindy Warmbier, said.
The statement said the student had been “unable to speak, unable to see and unable to react to verbal commands.”
“The awful torturous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans ensured that no other outcome was possible beyond the sad one we experienced today,” it added.
What was medically wrong with Otto Warmbier?
His parents only discovered his medical situation in the days leading up to his release.
Shortly before he was freed, they told the Washington Post that they had been informed by the North Korean authorities that their son had contracted botulism, a rare illness that causes paralysis, soon after his trial in March 2016.
He was given a sleeping pill and had been in a coma ever since, the newspaper said.
But a team of doctors assessing him in Cincinnati said they had found “no sign of botulism” in the student.
“His neurological condition can be best described as a state of unresponsive wakefulness,” said Dr. Daniel Kanter.
Doctors also confirmed that there was no sign he had been physically abused during his detention, based on scans.
Who was he?
The economics student from the University of Virginia was travelling in North Korea as a tourist when he was arrested on January 2, 2016.
Fred WarmbierHe appeared emotional at a news conference a month later, in which he tearfully confessed to trying to take the sign as a “trophy” for a US church, adding: “The aim of my task was to harm the motivation and work ethic of the Korean people.”
Foreign detainees in North Korea have previously recanted confessions, saying they were made under pressure.
North Korea said it had released Mr. Warmbier “on humanitarian grounds.”
The time that I thought that I was going to be arrested in North Korea
After hearing the sad news today, memories came flooding back to me of the time I was “bugged” in North Korea’s largest hotel, and constantly peppered with questions by “minders” as I traveled around the world’s most secretive country. I even thought I could be arrested at any moment because of my reporting activities while I was there.
I had joined a small delegation of Christians, led by Dr. David Cho, a Korean pastor who had formed an unlikely friendship with Kim Il-sung, the country’s despotic leader, having known his Christian mother. Cho had been invited to bring in another a delegation, of which I was to be a part. But then “Great Leader” died and it seemed that the trip would not occur. But then, and after the lavish state funeral, we were told that the trip was on again, and we became the first group to enter the country following his death.
main Koryo Hotel in North KoreaI had not expected to be staying in such a huge hotel when I arrived in Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital city, on the first day of my trip. It was the twin-towered Koryo Hotel, which at 469 feet, is one of the tallest buildings in Pyongyang. In fact, it is a major landmark there.
Only three of us -- Dr. Cho, Michael Little from CBN and myself -- were initially granted visas, and then Dr. Charles Wickman, a then board member of ASSIST, was able to join us shortly afterwards.
When we arrived at the huge and impressive Koryo Hotel and were checking in, I noticed a crack in a nearby door and saw some men wearing headphones with tape machines whiriing, apparently listening to visitors on concealed miniature microphones in order to monitor and/or record people’s conversations.
Immediately, I was alerted the team that our rooms, telephones, and the places where we would eat, almost certainly had bugs planted. To add to the surreal atmosphere in the lobby, there was an auto-piano playing hits from the Beatles, and “All you need is love,” was the first song that we heard.
Before I had entered North Korea, I had called Bill Clough, the then UPI Radio Network’s Religion Editor in Washington, DC, and he immediately said, “Dan, if you get into the country, please do a daily story for us.” (I had been doing a weekly commentary for the UPI Radio Network for several years about religious persecution, and that’s how we knew each other.)
Clough said that each story would be recorded over the phone by a colleague in Beijing who would call my room, record my story, and then forward it onto him. When I mentioned the possibility of the North Koreans listening into my stories from the hotel room’s phone, he said, “I've got a solution. When he calls you, just say, 'Say hello to Bill's mother in Amarillo,” which would alert our UPI man not to ask questions, but just record my piece. Fortunately, he did just that, and my stories got stronger each day, mainly because, hopefully, I thought I would soon be able to safely leave the country.
Dan Wooding and Michael Little at the DMZDuring meal-times, even though there were only about 10 guests in the entire hotel, we were ushered each time to the same table in the massive restaurant. We all noticed that there was a flower pot on it, in which, we assumed, was hidden a microphone. So, we kept our mealtime discussions down to a minimum.
Each day, during that week, we would be ferried around the country to places like the DMZ, a film studio, the home of a North Korean family, who extolled how wonderful it was to live in such a “paradise” as North Korea, and during each trip, a “minder” would sit next to us and pepper us with questions about life in America, and what we thought of its leaders.
Then, each morning, a call would come into my room from the UPI man in Beijing, and as I was convinced I was being listened to and recorded, I would say the code words about Bill’s mother in Amarillo, and then read my story that my colleague would record and then send onto Bill Clough.
As the week progressed, my stories became more critical of the North Korean regime, and I would then leave my room for breakfast, and look around in case I was arrested for what I had just been saying.
One day, I even recounted the story of visiting a film studio that was resplendent with the sayings of Kim Jong-il, the new leader of the country, and the son of Kim Jong-Il. When I asked my “minder” what one of them said, he replied, “The ‘Dear Leader’ says, ‘When you turn on your movie camera, don’t forget to put some film in it.’” I had problems holding back my laughter, especially as my “minder” thought what he had said was quite profound.
Another day, I recounted our trip to a North Korean church, which we never found out if it was a real one, or whether the pastor and congregation were actors, all playing a role for their visitors, in a bid to show that there was religious freedom in North Korea.
I also talked about our visit to the DMZ, where we were told that America “started the Korean War”, and we were then shown round a museum full of horrific pictures of atrocities that our guide claimed were committed by American soldiers.
Dan in church in North KoreaAfter a week of wondering if I would get a tap on my shoulder in the very hotel where Otto Warmbier was later arrested, and I would be incarcerated and put on trial for my critical broadcasts, we packed our bags and were ferried back to Pyongyang Airport, and soon we were winging our way back to Beijing -- and relative safety.
It was certainly a trip to remember and, looking back, I realize that I was skating on thin ice with some of my broadcasts. I had prayed a lot for protection during that week, and when I finally arrived back on American soil, and was reunited with my wife, Norma, I thanked God for protecting me, despite myself, from a brutal regime.
Otto Warmbier was not so fortunate!
Note: If you would like to interview Dan Wooding about the above story, please send him an e-mail at assistnews@aol.com with details of which media outlet you represent.
Photo captions: 1) Otto Warmbier bows before the court in Noth Korea. 2) Otto in brought before the media in North Korea. 3) Fred Warmbier speaking at a press conference on his son’s return. 4) The twin-towered Koryo Hotel where Dan stayed. 5) Michael Little and Dan Wooding with a North Korea guide at the DMZ. 6) Dan Wooding with some of the team members in a North Korea “church”.7) Dr. David Cho and Dan Wooding in North Korea.
Dan and Cho in North KoreaAbout the writer: Dan Wooding, 76, is an award-winning journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, Alfred and Anne Wooding from Liverpool, now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for 54 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. He has a radio show and TV shows all based in Southern California, and has also authored some 45 books, and is one of the few Christian journalists to ever be allowed to report from inside of North Korea.
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