Monday, May 19, 2014

Set Apart to Serve a Different Master

Set Apart to Serve a Different Master

May 08, 2014
Bible college graduates have planted hundreds of churches in villages throughout Nepal. This congregation in a Mondol community is grateful to have their own church building.
Shakya’s* parents were devastated when the son they had groomed to become a Buddhist monk told them he had other plans.
“Something wonderful has happened,” the 14-year-old Nepali announced. “I have become a follower of Jesus.”
At first the teen’s father stared at him, trying to make sense of this startling revelation.
“You speak foolishness. Don’t you know this will bring shame to us?” his father asked, genuinely hurt.
Shakya breathed a silent prayer for the right words. Fighting back tears, he told his parents how much he loved them and that he wanted them to know the Savior too.
Finally Shakya’s father could no longer tolerate what he viewed as his son’s insolence and deliberate disrespect toward the family. He pushed the boy against the wall and struck him repeatedly. Shakya’s mother pleaded for him to stop, but he ordered her and the other children standing nearby to go outside.
When the beating was over, Shakya’s face was bloodied and both of his hands were broken.
The young man knew there was only one place where he could turn for help and not face rejection—the believer who had led him to Christ. Concerned for Shakya’s safety, that believer brought him to Kathmandu and introduced him to a Christian couple who operated a children’s home and a Bible college.
That meeting ultimately plotted a new course for Shakya’s life—and dozens of others whose lives he has touched.
Shakya comes from the Newar (Newa) ethnic group. Because they are in the clan of priests, by tradition Shakya’s family expected their second eldest son to eventually commit to service in a temple.
But Shakya received a different calling when Jesus Christ—not Buddha—became his Teacher and Master.
After arriving in the capital city, the Christian couple welcomed him like a son and provided for his material and emotional needs. They encouraged him to finish high school and pursue God’s purposes for his life.
Shakya thrived in this nurturing environment. the young man desired to further his education and go into full-time Christian service, so he enrolled in the couple’s Bible college.
During the three-year program, Shakya immersed himself in church administration classes, evangelism training, and Biblical studies. He also completed his internship at a church. Upon graduation, he received an assignment to serve at a church in Kathmandu. Those five years provided a great training ground for him, as he worked with children and youth and experienced the joy of leading people to Christ.
A brilliant scholar, Shakya took classes at the local university while he continued working at the city church. Now the 29-year-old holds additional degrees in journalism, law, and English.
What is most impressive about Shakya, though, is his heart for the Lord and the Nepali people. He works as the office secretary at a large church in Kathmandu and serves the ministry run by his “foster parents” by equipping others to plant churches. He has also translated Christian evangelistic materials into the Newari language.
As for his family, Shakya makes periodic trips to their farming community to briefly visit his parents and now grown brothers and sisters. Sometimes he brings a basket of fruit or other small gifts. It grieves his heart that his father has disowned him.
There is a glimmer of hope, however. Shakya’s sisters, once reluctant, now welcome his visits. They have even attended his church’s Christmas and Easter programs. Although they have not yet received Christ, his sisters are open to hearing the gospel. In time, they and other family members may commit their lives to the Savior and seek reconciliation. That is Shakya’s daily prayer.
“His is a wonderful story, one of many examples of how the Lord is using our Bible college graduates to be salt and light and to establish the kingdom of God in Nepal,” said the ministry leader.
*name changed
Use the form below to contribute online. Or call 434-977-5650 to contribute by phone. If you prefer to mail your gift, please mail to Christian Aid, P.O. Box 9037, Charlottesville, VA 22906. Please use Gift Code: 600SAM. Thank you!

New Opportunities in War-Torn Syria

Syrian Christians have asked for care packages to share with their Muslim neighbors.
The Voice of the Martyrs has distributed Action Packs to persecuted Christians in countries like Iraq, Pakistan and Sudan for many years. These care packages, which are filled or sponsored by Christians in the United States, contain clothing, bedding, toiletries and other items of need.

Now our front-line workers in and around Syria want to share these packs with Muslim, Syrian refugees as a demonstration of Christ’s love for them. They believe these packs will help open the door for the gospel.

We are excited to come alongside these faithful Christians in this incredible outreach opportunity, and we invite you to help us equip these front-line workers. Through a network of workers in and around Syria, VOM hopes to distribute 10,000 Outreach Packs. You can join us in one of two ways.
Child in Syria
Fill Your Own Outreach Pack
You can receive Outreach Packs from VOM, fill them yourselves with items from an enclosed list and return the packs to The Voice of the Martyrs for distribution. Your $7 donation for each Outreach Pack covers the cost of the bag, shipping to you and final distribution.
Sponsor an Outreach Pack
You can sponsor Outreach Pack(s) to be filled in the field (you will not receive an Outreach Pack). Your $30 donation for each pack covers the cost of all items in the bag, the bag itself and distribution.

Outreach Packs

Bringing the Word of Life to Vietnam

Bringing the Word of Life to Vietnam

May 15, 2014
A ministry in Vietnam has translated the Bible into several tribal languages and plans to make the New Testament available to 20 more ethnic groups during the next six years.
“If you will not leave your faith, stab me now with this knife!”
Mr. K.* could not believe the village leader’s request. His palms sweated, holding the blade the elder had shoved toward him.
“We are friends. I could never commit such a terrible act,” Mr. K. replied.
The elder grew more incensed. “By worshiping the god of the foreigners, you have already brought judgment upon everyone in this village,” he said. “It is better for me to die now than to face the wrath of the people and the spirits.”
Mr. K. did not know what to do. Two months ago he had joyfully committed his life to Jesus Christ. People in his Hmong tribal village assumed he had lost his mind. The greatest insult, however, occurred when Mr. K. and his family removed the altar from their home. He told relatives he would no longer offer animal sacrifices to their ancestors.
Most people went out of their way to avoid him. Few visitors stopped by his home. Now a friend he held in high esteem was practically begging Mr. K. to kill him.
Knowing this incident would not be the last, Mr. K. hastily walked away. A short time later village officials and a contingent of border police showed up at Mr. K.’s house. Unlike the confrontation with his friend, this request demanded an immediate, inescapable response.
“You have stirred up fear and conflict among the people,” they stated. “Either leave your new faith or leave the village.”
The decision was plain to Mr. K. He gathered his family and left the village. They found refuge in a field he owned in the nearby hills. No one would bother them there.
After Mr. K. fled the village, one resident walked into his abandoned house and set up a new altar. The Hmong villagers sacrificed a chicken, convinced they needed to make penance to their ancestors for Mr. K.’s perceived misdeeds.

Reaching Vietnam’s unreached tribes

Sadly, this northern Vietnam village’s response to one of their own coming to faith in Jesus reflects long-held attitudes of suspicion and ambivalence toward Christianity. At least local authorities gave Mr. K. and his family the option of re-settling elsewhere. In other similar instances, the new believer might have been arrested, severely beaten, or even killed because he or she has allegedly transferred allegiance to Christ.
“In Vietnam today, persecution is more of an issue among the reclusive tribes in the mountains than it is in the major cities,” said Stephen Van Valkenburg, the Southeast Asia area director for Christian Aid Mission. “They believe that Christianity is a religion from America, and they have been taught to view anything American as a threat.”
Despite persecution, more Hmong churches are springing up and flourishing in Vietnam’s northern highlands.
While the communist government has succeeded in creating a climate of national distrust toward “foreign religions,” it is ironic, perhaps, that some of the country’s most disenfranchised ethnic groups are the ones experiencing the most rapid move toward Christianity.
The Hmong are one of the largest of the 54 minority people groups scattered throughout Vietnam. Predominantly found in the northern highlands, they barely scrape out a living cultivating “dry” rice and corn on cleared patches of forest. In the most remote villages these hardy mountain people remain resistant to outside influences, celebrating their culture and practicing animist religious beliefs much the same as their ancestors did hundreds of years ago.
There were almost no Christians among the Hmong in the late 1980s, according to Operation World. Western missionaries were kicked out of the country in 1975, leaving indigenous believers in Vietnam with the primary responsibility to spread the good news of Jesus Christ to their people.
Today there are an estimated 400,000 Hmong believers in Vietnam. Those numbers continue to grow as Hmong gospel workers make great strides to form house fellowships in some of the most isolated mountain settlements.
Other minorities are experiencing a similar openness to God’s good news, but there remain 22 ethnic groups who do not have any known followers of Christ.
Christian Aid Mission assists four Vietnamese ministries that are sending workers to share the Father’s love with several under-reached and unreached tribes. Getting to these villages is half the battle, as missionaries travel by motorbike, bicycle, or even on foot to provide spiritual nurturing and plant churches.
Once a small fellowship becomes established, the need arises for Christian literature such as Bibles, discipleship materials, and hymn books.
The process is not as simple as purchasing Bibles and distributing them to these rural areas. First the Bibles must be translated into the local language.
During the next six years, one ministry is planning to translate the New Testament into more than 20 languages. They already have New Testament translations for 14 other groups.
This same organization has also translated the Old Testament into seven languages and plans to do the same for 11 more ethnic groups.
In 2014 they would like to print 1,000 copies of the Old Testament in the Hmong language and another 1,000 copies in the Mnong language. Each copy costs approximately $8.
The ministry leader reported they have missionaries serving among the Tho people (pop. 68,000), Giay people (pop. 40,000), Khang people (pop. 10,000), Bo Y people (1,800 pop.), and the Brau people (pop. 400). They also would like to send pastors to lead house churches attended by Vietnamese groups living in Laos and Cambodia.

Suffering for Christ’s sake

According to the 2014 World Watch List, Vietnam ranks 18th among countries that most persecute Christians. That’s three spots above last year’s ranking.
Government laws passed in 2004-2005 and in 2013 have granted religious groups the right to legally register. The situation is certainly an improvement from a decade ago when there was a major crackdown on house churches. Hundreds of pastors were seized and jailed. Many vanished, never to be heard from again.
The Evangelical Church of Vietnam (north and south divisions) has been formally recognized by the government, as have other, smaller denominations. However, in reality, most churches that apply for registration are denied the status or must adhere to strict regulations. Unregistered fellowships face harassment and forced shutdown by the government.
Persecution is worse for minority groups like the Hmong. Because of strong anti-Western sentiment, isolated tribes view Christianity as a menace to their society. As a result, church buildings are burned and believers are brutally punished or killed.
This group of tribal believers is receiving Christian leadership and discipleship training.
The situation is especially heartbreaking for tribal pastors who have been imprisoned for their faith. Another ministry supported by Christian Aid reports some 250 pastors have been jailed, most of which are from the Ede, Mnong, and Jorai tribes in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.
Without the breadwinner at home, the wives and children of these pastors struggle to survive. The ministry wants to help 60 families by providing them with $300 each per year ($25 per month).
“The imprisoned pastors are all suffering from lack of food and medicines, and are forced to perform hard labor. Several have died in prison. A couple of pastors have been released, but are very weak and sick or are disabled. They continue to live under surveillance even after their release,” the ministry leader shared in a letter to Christian Aid staff.
“We still have difficulty meeting directly with the families of other imprisoned pastors. The local police keep them under direct surveillance. They are unable to leave their area without permission from the police. Accordingly, we distribute support to the families through pastors or church leaders who live nearby. They use different ways to reach the families, as it is very dangerous for both sides,” he said.
The ministry also sends financial aid to families so they can make one yearly trip to see their husband and father in prison. They are permitted a one-hour visit.
Other forms of persecution include prohibiting Christians from access to clean water. In some southern Vietnam communities the government provides wells. Believers cannot use them, however, unless they deny Christ and agree to take part in the worship of their ancestors or other gods.
The situation is different in Vietnam’s towns and cities, where believers have more freedom to live out their faith. Churches must be legally registered, however, and evangelistic events must be approved by the government.
“If Christians are meeting inside the four walls of an approved church, they can have evangelism and discipleship programs and do just about anything they want,” said Van Valkenburg. “That’s the case as long as the government can keep tabs on them. The problem comes when they do something without government authorization.”
Perhaps most notable is the explosive growth of evangelicals—nine-fold according to Operation World—from 1975 to 2010. With Catholic and Protestant denominations combined, there are currently more than 8 million believers in Vietnam.
“There has been a very active, progressive movement of Christians within Vietnam,” Van Valkenburg said. “Over time the country’s leaders have seen that Christians are law-abiding, they are not disruptive, and they are not trying to overthrow the government. They are helpful, productive citizens who are a blessing to their communities.”
In every region of the country, indigenous believers are making Christ known—and people from every tribe are responding.
*name changed
Use the form below to contribute online. Or call 434-977-5650 to contribute by phone. If you prefer to mail your gift, please mail to Christian Aid, P.O. Box 9037, Charlottesville, VA 22906. Please use Gift Code: 740WMN. Thank you!
Provide Bibles for Vietnam’s minority ethnic groups in their native language
Assist families of imprisoned pastors in Vietnam
Provide a bicycle for a missionary to use as transportation in Vietnam


Satisfying Parched Souls in Kenya

May 15, 2014
Martha (pictured) and other residents from the village of Kisile in Kenya were excited to receive a well so they won’t have to travel several miles each day to find water for drinking and bathing.
Martha went through the same routine every morning. Before daybreak, she and other women from the village of Kisile would tie five-gallon jerry cans on their donkeys and ride off in search of water. The nearest source—a contaminated river—was six miles away.
During times of drought the river dried up and they had to travel even longer distances looking for water. Sometimes that quest and the return trip home lasted all day.
When gospel workers from Cornerstone Evangelistic Ministry (CEM) first visited Kisile in 2006, they saw how villagers like Martha struggled to find clean water for drinking and bathing. Water-borne illnesses like diarrhea and typhoid plagued the people. Children suffered the most.
“We were much touched by the plight of these people and started praying for God to make provision for a well for their village,” said the ministry’s leader. “God answered our prayers and provided a well back in 2009.”
At the time very few Christians lived in this Turkana village, where most of the people still practiced traditional rituals to honor their god, Akuj, and the spirits. They believed Akuj was angry with them when too little or too much rain fell from the skies. To halt his displeasure, they offered animal sacrifices and cried out for mercy.
Missionaries with CEM brought a message of hope and deliverance to the people. In addition to digging a well by hand, they told villagers about the “living water” (Jeremiah 2:13) offered by Jesus Christ. Only He could quench the thirst of their souls, and His shed blood on the cross was the ultimate sacrifice that washed them clean from sin.
God used Martha in a mighty way, as she was one of the first believers in Kisile, even before the arrival of CEM’s workers. At age 10 she insisted on attending a church in a nearby village. Although her parents were skeptical of the teachings, they permitted their daughter to go to the church with other children.
When she was 16, Martha attended an open air evangelistic event in another village and committed her life to Christ. She led two of her brothers and a sister to the Lord. By the time the missionaries arrived, this young evangelist had already prepared her people’s hearts for a great spiritual harvest.
“The true God has come to our village,” she boldly proclaimed.
Established just a few years ago, the Kisile church has grown to more than 70 members.
Since then Martha has been in the forefront to bring others to Christ. She celebrated when the newly-installed well gave her people access to clean water, but she rejoiced even more when later in 2009 a church was constructed in Kisile.
Martha played a crucial role in assisting the missionaries with their evangelistic outreach and helped plant the church. Five years later, the church has grown tremendously with over 70 members.
With assistance from Christian Aid Mission, CEM has built 14 wells thus far for Turkana villages in the Ngaremara area of Kenya. The average cost for a hand pump well like the one in Kisile is $1,650. The wells have saved lives and improved the overall health of residents. As gospel workers demonstrate the Savior’s love in tangible ways, they are winning many souls to Christ and transforming entire communities.
Now 29 years old, Martha is a Sunday school teacher and directs the congregation’s youth group. She has an infectiously joyous spirit and has led more than 40 people to follow Christ.
Just as she once guided members of her village to sources of refreshing water, Martha now points them to the One whose “fountain of water springs up into everlasting life” (John 4:14, NKJV).
Use the form below to contribute online. Or call 434-977-5650 to contribute by phone. If you prefer to mail your gift, please mail to Christian Aid, P.O. Box 9037, Charlottesville, VA 22906. Please use Gift Code: 572CEM. Thank you!


On the Mend

May 15, 2014
This Christian physician received surgery last month in Damascus to remove a tumor from inside one of his ears. A Syrian ministry that receives assistance from Christian Aid Mission helped pay for some of his medical expenses.
A Syrian doctor who underwent emergency ear surgery two weeks ago is back at home and hopes to return to his medical practice this week.
Christian Aid Mission helped provide the funds for Dr. Samir*, a general practitioner and a friend of the ministry, to have a procedure called a modified radical mastoidectomy to clean out a rapidly advancing infection in his left ear.
Surgeons removed a tumor from inside the middle ear cavity. Though larger than anticipated, praise God the growth was benign, based on biopsy results.
Dr. Samir has a history of ear infections. The most recent flare-up quickly progressed since available antibiotics were having little effect. If left untreated, the infection could have spread to his inner ear and brain.
“I feel a great debt to God and I feel that I became closer to Him through this experience,” Dr. Samir said. “The excellent results of the operation are God’s answer to your continued prayers for me. My sincere thanks and appreciation to everyone who had a part in making this surgery possible.”
An indigenous ministry assisted by Christian Aid responded to Dr. Samir’s request for financial help and covered the bulk of the costs for the $8,500 ear surgery. Originally the procedure was scheduled to take place in Jordan, but the danger of traveling necessitated having the surgery in Damascus. He returned to his home May 8.
Dr. Samir said the operation successfully removed the tumor and infection, but it did not address the 90 percent hearing loss in that ear. Typically in these cases, a follow-up surgery is performed six months later to place an implant in the middle ear. Such a procedure would restore an estimated 50 to 70 percent of Dr. Samir’s hearing ability. That operation is expected to cost around $6,500.
The dedicated doctor plans to go back to work in the next day or so. He knows his services are greatly needed, as most physicians have fled Syria and medical assistance of any kind is in short supply.
When he is not seeing patients, Dr. Samir helps his father minister to Syrian families who have been displaced by the civil war. Christian Aid has supported their work by providing funds for food packages and other emergency relief.
Offering medical services in a war-torn country may be challenging, but Dr. Samir says he cannot imagine doing anything else. He adds that nothing can “take the place of the happiness” he feels providing quality care in Christ’s Name.
“Thank you with all of my heart for standing with me. May the Lord bless you all,” he said.
*name changed
Use the form below to contribute online. Or call 434-977-5650 to contribute by phone. If you prefer to mail your gift, please mail to Christian Aid, P.O. Box 9037, Charlottesville, VA 22906. Please use Gift Code: 400MED. Thank you!


Christian Aid Mission assists an Indian ministry that is reaching out to the Mising (also known as Mishing or Miris) tribe in the northeastern state of Assam. The Brahmaputra River is the lifeblood of the people, who settled along its banks and raise crops on the fertile plains. They remain despite destructive floods. The Misings practice a mixture of Hinduism and their own religion called “Donyi Polo.” They believe they are descendants of the sun and the moon and worship them. Some are now converting to Christianity. In the photograph, a group of gospel workers are traveling across the river to hold a baptismal service in one of the Mising villages.



"God loves with a great love the man whose heart is bursting with
a passion for the IMPOSSIBLE." - William Booth.

"Depend upon it, if you are bent on prayer, the devil will not leave
you alone. He will molest you, tantalize you, block you... What
he minds, and opposes steadily, is the prayer that prays on until
it is prayed through, assured of the answer."
- Mary Warburton Booth

"If we once get above our Bibles, and cease making the written
Word of God sole rule both as to faith and practice, we shall soon
lie open to all manner of delusion, and be in great danger of
making shipwreck of faith.'"
-George Whitefield

"God is not looking for brilliant men, is not depending upon eloquent
men, is not shut up to the use of talented men in sending His
Gospel out in the world. God is looking for the broken men who
have judged themselves in the light of the Cross of Christ. When
He wants anything done, He takes up men who have come to the
end of themselves, whose confidence is not in themselves, but in God."
-H.A. Ironside

"Though the cross of Christ has been beautified by the poet and the
artist, the avid seeker after God is likely to find it the same savage
implement of destruction it was in the days of old. The way of the
cross is still the pain-wracked path to spiritual power and
fruitfulness. So do not seek to hide from it. Do not accept an easy
way. Do not allow yourself to be patted to sleep in a comfortable
church, void of power and barren of fruit. Do not paint the cross nor
deck it with flowers. Take it for what it is, as it is, and you will
find it the rugged way to death and life. Let it slay you utterly."
-A.W. Tozer