Saturday, May 30, 2015

Hear Directly from Persecuted Christians on VOM Radio

Event If You Take My Life
“Even if you take my life here in front of my wife, … I will not deny Christ.”
ISIS soldiers aimed their weapons at the Iraqi Christian. Their demands were clear: Deny your faith and become a Muslim. The Iraqi believer refused, and through God's miraculous intervention he lived to tell the story.
Hear the Story
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Syria: Revival Comes with a Cost
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“Today in Syria, we are not talking about one person; we are talking about hundreds and thousands of Muslims coming to know Christ.”
—Brother John, Syria
South Asia: The Power of the Gospel
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“We believe in the power of the gospel.”
—Prem Kumar, South Asia
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Sudan's Aerial Bombing Kills 3-Year-Old Girl, Wounds Mother in Nuba Mountains

Sudan's Aerial Bombing Kills 3-Year-Old Girl, Wounds Mother in Nuba Mountains
By Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST Ministries and the ASSIST News Service
Bashir president of SudanJUBA, SOUTH SUDAN (ANS -- May 28, 2015) -- A Sudanese Air Force bomb on Monday (May 25) killed a 3-year-old girl and wounded her Christian mother at their home in Kauda, South Kordofan state, sources said.
According to the Sudan correspondent for Morning Star News (, in the latest civilian death in nearly 3,500 government bombings of civilian targets since April 2012, Kaka Abdu Kuku Tiral died after the bomb hit outside her home while her mother, Hamida Osman of the Sudanese Church of Christ, sustained a head injury, aid workers said.
“Kauda is the political capital of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North (SPLA-N), but there is no military installation near Osman’s house, they said. The area’s predominantly black ethnic Nuba people believe that since South Sudan split from Sudan in a 2011 referendum, the government’s goal of quashing SPLA-N rebels is also meant to rid the area of non-Arabs and Christianity,” said the correspondent.
“Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has said post-secession Sudan will adhere more exclusively to Islam and Arabic culture.”
The warplanes on Monday (May 25) also targeted the compound of the Roman Catholic Diocese of El Obeid in Kauda, damaging windows and doors of a church facility there, the sources told Morning Star News.
He went on to say that the Government planes hit another civilian area of Kauda on Thursday (May 27) at about noon, wounding two people, they said. Salah Ismail sustained a back injury, and Fatina Fadul was injured on her right leg, though it was not broken, the source told Morning Star News.
“As we talk now, the warplanes are flying over the area, causing a lot of panic among the population,” an eyewitness in Kauda told Morning Star News. “It had been calm for some months, but the renewed aerial bombardment is causing fear among the people.”
Sudan has dropped 3,740 bombs on civilian targets since April 2012, according to Nuba Reports. On Feb. 6 one of them killed a Christian woman who was nine months pregnant, a relative said. Naheed Saeed Komi, a 25-year-old mother of a 3-year-old boy, was walking from her home in Tangali village, Dalami County in South Kordofan state, to fetch water when a bomb from a Sudanese Air Force plane hit nearby, killing her instantly, said her sister on condition of anonymity.
Komi was an ethnic Nuba woman who was a member of the Sudanese Church of Christ. There was no military presence or installation in the area where she was killed, another source said.
The Morning Star News story stated that a Christian girl, Nour Kalowas of the Sudanese Church of Christ, was also reported to have been killed in the same bombing. Three others were seriously injured.
On Oct. 6, 2014, Sudan dropped bombs on Heiban, South Kordofan that killed six Christian children. Sudanese Air Force bombs destroyed an Episcopal Church of Sudan (now officially called the Province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan) complex on Oct. 10 in Tabolo, South Kordofan, church leaders said.
Thousands of civilians have taken refuge in Nuba Mountain caves in South Kordofan, which borders South Sudan.
“The Nuba people have longstanding complaints against Khartoum – including neglect, oppression and forced conversions to Islam in a 1990s jihad – but as Sudanese citizens on the northern side of the border, they were never given the option of secession in the 2005 peace pact between northern and southern Sudan,” added the Morning Star News Sudan Correspondent.
“The rebels in the Nuba Mountains were formerly involved with the southern Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) forces fighting Khartoum before the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). Fighting between Sudan and South Sudan broke out in June 2011, when Khartoum forcefully attempted to disarm the SPLA-N in South Kordofan by force rather than awaiting a process of disarmament as called for in the CPA. When the CPA was signed in 2005, the people of South Kordofan were to vote on whether to join the north or the south, but the state governor suspended the process.”
Sudan’s bombing of civilian targets in the country’s Nuba Mountains in May and June last year killed at least 10 Christians, sources told Morning Star News. Four children and an elderly woman were among the victims of bombings. Church leaders and aid workers told Morning Star News that Sudan’s bombings of civilian areas in its war with the SPLA-N killed 14-year-old Abdo al Nour and Abdel Rahman Hassan, 15, in the village of Um Serdiba on June 13.
The story said that in the same area on May 20, 2014, according to the sources who requested anonymity, a Sudanese Air Force bombing killed 30-year-old Kimmia Calals of the Sudanese Church of Christ, leaving her nursing child motherless.
On June 17 in Tabalo village, a Sudanese bomb from an Antonov plane killed Yasin Salah, 16, and another minor, Ado al Sawaq, the sources said. On June 11 in the same village in Um Dorain County, 80-year-old Amira Ballula was killed when a plane dropped a bomb on her house, they said.
The bombing of civilian targets in South Kordofan state in May 2014 targeted the region’s only hospital and damaged an orphanage school and a relief agency, sources said. In Um Serdiba on May 18, 2014, Sife El Deen Ibrahim, 40, was killed immediately when a bomb from an Antonov jet hit the Christian’s house, an area church member requesting anonymity told Morning Star News.
Ibrahim left a widow and four children, ages 12, 15, 17 and 20, who were dependent on him for their livelihood, she said.
Photo captions: 1) Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. 2) Norma and Dan Wooding.
Dan and Norma Wooding at Movieguide small imageAbout the writer: Dan Wooding, 74, is an award-winning journalist who was born in Nigeria to British missionary parents, Alfred and Anne Wooding, who were serving with the Sudan Interior Mission (SIM), and is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for nearly 52 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. He is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS) and he hosts the weekly “Front Page Radio” show on the KWVE Radio Network in Southern California and which is also carried throughout the United States and around the world, and also “His Channel Live,” a TV show beamed to 192 countries.
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Growth Opportunity

Some of the poorest children in one of the world’s poorest nations, Burma (also called Myanmar), gather at a nursery school run by an indigenous Christian ministry near Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon. About 15 children from Buddhist families meet in a small structure made of bamboo and banana leaf, paying little mind to a sewage ditch visible through the floor. The nursery helps build bridges to share Christ with both parents and children. Besides various evangelism outreaches, community works and micro-enterprise assistance, the ministry also helps poor children attend school. “We want to thank you for helping us to provide aid to children too poor to attend school,” the ministry leader said. “Due to your kindness, many poor and needy children can now attend school regularly.”

Solution Sought for 'Boat People' Fleeing Burma, Bangladesh

Solution Sought for 'Boat People' Fleeing Burma, Bangladesh

May 29, 2015
Ethnic Rohingya who fled to India are able to make living driving rickshaws provided by an indigenous ministry.
Southeast Asian nations convene a conference today in Thailand on the crisis besetting the region's migrants adrift at sea, with representatives of one of the primary countries they're fleeing – Burma – in attendance.
For decades Burma (also known as Myanmar) has denied rights to the ethnic Rohingya who make up most of migrants stranded at sea this month. Officials have refused to participate in any conference that mentions them. Last week, however, Burma agreed to attend today's meeting only after organizers promised to avoid mention of the Rohingya and refer to them only as "irregular migrants."
The primarily Muslim Rohingya have long faced discrimination and expulsion from mainly Buddhist Burma, as well as attacks by the military. Though many trace their roots in Burma back to the 19th century and some much earlier, the government regards the more than 800,000 Rohingya there as illegal immigrants. Some 100,000 have fled Burma, while more than 100,000 are forbidden to leave the dilapidated displacement camps the government has assigned them to.
Burma President Thein Sein refers to the Rohingya as Bengalis, implying that they came from Bangladesh, where approximately 300,000 Rohingya are a despised ethnic minority. Many Rohingya say they and their ancestors have always lived in Burma's Rakhine state.
Last year Burma's government gave the Rohingya a choice: apply for second-class citizenship by presenting evidence of their residency in Burma since 1948, or be sent to displacement camps to await word on their probability of being deported. As many lacked residency papers and/or did not fulfill extensive requirements for residency, the result was a huge wave of Rohingya trying to get out of the country last October and November.
At least 14,500 Rohingya went to neighboring Thailand in hopes of reaching Malaysia at that time, and the U.N. estimates 25,000 Rohingyas climbed aboard decrepit boats in the first three months of this year – some escaping oppression in Burma, and some fleeing economic hardship in Bangladesh. This month's crisis erupted when smugglers, who had mistreated the Rohingya aboard boats for months, abandoned them in the face of a crackdown on smuggling rings by Thailand.
Last week an estimated 7,000 to 8,000 mostly Rohingya men, women and children suffering malnutrition, exhaustion, dehydration, and disease at sea hoped for landfall at countries that officially do not give asylum and have not signed the U.N. Refugee Convention – Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. More than 3,000 of them managed to reach the shores of Malaysia and Indonesia, with survivors reportedly saying some passengers starved to death, their bodies tossed overboard.
U.S., Malaysian and Indonesian naval vessels have conducted search-and-rescue operations, and Burma's navy also recovered 208 Bangladeshis adrift at sea; Burmese officials said they would return them to Bangladesh. Initially denying access, Malaysia and Indonesia have reluctantly agreed to provide shelter for one year to some of the Rohingya and other refugees.
Bangladesh also assigns the Rohingya to displaced people camps, and officials in Dhaka announced this week that it plans to relocate the "Rohingya camps" to Hatiya Island in the Bay of Bengal.
Christian Aid Mission assists a ministry that originated in Bangladesh in 1986 and serves the Rohingya.
Rohingya in Bangladesh who received Christ receive their first Holy Communion.
"This ministry in Bangladesh decided to bring them the gospel," said Christian Aid's South Asia Director, Sarla. "They asked us for fishing nets first, which would give the Rohingyas a way to make a living. So beginning of 2013, we raised funds for fishing nets."
Empowering the Rohingya to earn their livelihood by fishing has helped the ethnic minority to overcome discrimination and diminished the economic hardship that drove thousands of Rohingya into smugglers' boats. With assistance from Christian Aid, the ministry also provides bicycle-rickshaws so that new arrivals can make a living driving them.
Proclaiming Christ among this people group remains paramount.
"The first step of translating and dubbing the Jesus Film into the Rohingya language is going well," the Bangladeshi ministry director said. "But please pray that the Lord provides the necessary money to complete the next steps. Please pray for the financial assistance to work among the Rohingya people group in Bangladesh."
There are at least 100,000 Rohingya in India, and a Rohingya member of the ministry team in Bangladesh who had become a Christian in Burma felt a responsibility to serve his people in New Delhi. Christian Aid Mission assists the ministry he established there.
"This group is doing a wonderful job," Sarla said. "Ten families accepted the Lord in a year's time through our help."
The Rohingya also face discrimination in India.
"In 2014, I visited their camp in New Delhi and saw first-hand how they were suffering," Sarla said. "Since then, we have been helping them with children's education, building temporary shelters, buying them rickshaws and also adult education."
The ministry is also helping the Rohingya to learn Hindi, which will help them integrate into Indian society – countries denying them asylum or residency commonly argue that they do not assimilate well.
"The reason for helping them was that this was a completely unreached people group, and an indigenous ministry was working among them," Sarla said. "They asked us for help, so by God's grace we did."
The leader of the ministry in India said Rohingya who receive Christ are especially challenged to make a living, as they leave behind the support of their Muslim social structures.
"They are tempted in every corner and are being challenged in their livelihoods every day," he said. "We Christians are less than 1 percent of the population of the Rohingya community. We feel that God answered our prayers, and now the number of believers is increasing day by day."
To help indigenous missionaries 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: 650RCA. Thank you!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Assyrian Priest, Deacon Kidnapped in Homs, Syria (Breaking News)

Assyrian Priest, Deacon Kidnapped in Homs, Syria (Breaking News)
By Dan Wooding, Founder ASSIST Ministries and the ASSIST News Service
Assyrian Refugees Syria Elizabeth KendalHOMS, SYRIA (ANS – May 22, 2015) -- An Assyrian priest and deacon were kidnapped yesterday (Thursday, May 21, 2015) in Homs, Syria.
The Assyrian International News Agency (, is reporting that according to witnesses, two armed men riding a motorcycle entered the grounds of the Mar Ilyan al-Sharqi monastery of the Assyrian Catholic Church at about 3 PM.
“The monastery is located in the town of al-Qaryatayn in the Homs Region. The kidnappers forced the head of the monastery, Fr. Jacques Murad, and Deacon Hanna Boutros into Fr. Murad’s own car and drove away,” said the AINA story.
“No information is available on the identity of the kidnappers and they have not contacted anyone.”
In April, 2013 an Assyrian and a Greek Bishop were kidnapped in Syria, by armed rebels in the northern province of Aleppo, state news agency SANA said, and their whereabouts is still unknown.
Two bishops kidnapped in SyriaThey were the Syriac Orthodox and Greek Orthodox Archbishops of Aleppo, Paul Yazigi and Yohanna Ibrahim respectively, were seized by “a terrorist group” in the village of Kfar Dael as they were “carrying out humanitarian work.”
Several prominent Muslim clerics have been killed in Syria's four-year-long uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, but the two bishops are the most senior church leaders to be caught up in the conflict.
A Syriac member of the opposition Syrian National Coalition, Abdulahad Steifo, said the men had been kidnapped on the road to Aleppo from the rebel-held Bab al Hawa crossing with Turkey.
Ibrahim, who is familiar with the route and had crossed there several times before, had gone to collect Yazigi and the two men were driving to Aleppo when they were kidnapped, Steifo said.
Assyrian Church bombed AINAAccording to reports from Syria and also the Turkish press, ISIS has bombed two churches in Syria, the St. Odisho Assyrian Church in Tel Tal and the St. Rita Tilel Armenian Church in Aleppo. The churches were bombed on Tuesday, April 28, 2015.
Located on the Khabur river in the Hasaka province in Syria, Tel Tal is one of the 35 Assyrian villages that was attacked by ISIS on February 23. ISIS captured nearly 300 Assyrians in those attacks and subsequently released 23, all from the village of Tel Goran. The remaining Assyrians are still being held captive.
According to AINA, attacks on Assyrians in Syria have escalated since 2012, resulting in multiple instances of killings, kidnappings and attacks on churches and villages.
The entire Assyrian population of these villages, nearly 3,000, has left their homes and are expected never to return. Some have already emigrated to Lebanon. Most are living in Hasaka or Qamishli and are planning to leave Syria.
Photo captions: 1) Assyrian refugees praying for the violence to stop. 2) Kidnapped: Greek Orthodox Bishop Paul Yazigi (left) and Assyrian Orthodox Bishop Yohanna Ibrahim. 3) The St. Odisho Assyrian Church in Tel Tal, Syria, was bombed by Islamic State. 4) Dan Wooding reporting from outside of the Kurdistan Government Building in Erbil, Northern Iraq.
Dan Wooding reporting from outside the Kurdish Parliament in Erbil Northern IraqAbout the writer: Dan Wooding, 74, is an award-winning journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for nearly 52 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. He is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS) and he hosts the weekly “Front Page Radio” show on the KWVE Radio Network in Southern California and which is also carried throughout the United States and around the world, and also “His Channel Live,” a TV show beamed to 192 countries. Dan has reported on the conflict in the Middle East when he made a two week reporting trip Northern Iraq.
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