Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Workers Battle Drought, Starvation and Superstition

Workers Battle Drought, Starvation and Superstition

June 22, 2017
Emaciated boy in Niger.
A clinic in southwestern Niger was this malnourished boy's only hope for survival.
Weak from drought and fearing angry spirits, Samira* felt she could do nothing as her 2-year-old son wasted away.
The weary young mother in the drought-stricken, West African country of Niger had already seen two of her children die from starvation. Now her son Adamou*, born in her mud hut in Tsaboudey village in Niger's Sahelian southwest, was acutely malnourished, his skin clinging to his bones.
Adamou had never received any medical treatment. In her native Kollo District, Samira had taken him to traditional healers, whose ritual incantations, koranic verse recitations and attempts to make contact with spirits via plants and perfumes had not protected Adamou from the ravages of Niger's drought.
More than 80 percent of Niger's people are Muslim, though many practice their religion alongside the animistic rituals of their ancestors. In Samira's area, traditional healers and marabouts (Muslim holy men) discourage people from seeking treatment from medical clinics. They gave her little hope of recovery for Adamou.
"The child is severely malnourished," the ministry director said, "and as usual the parents came very late to the health center after visiting several marabouts."
"The native healer told me that the spirits are not happy about me, and that I have to pay with my children," she said.
Many rural people in Niger are deeply suspicious of modern medical practices, and Samira's neighbors were continually frustrated when they urged her to take her children 22 miles away to an indigenous ministry's medical clinic in Dantchandou. At the clinic another toddler, 19 months old, was suffering from Kwashiorkor – the protein deficiency that leads to a swollen belly – along with anemia and diarrhea.
"One week after the admission, the mother ran away with the child to a marabout," said an indigenous medical missionary at the clinic. "She came back two weeks later, when the child was in bad condition." He offered himself consolation with a final thought: "Only God is in control."
Another mother at the clinic was suffering from mastitis, an infection not from drought or malnutrition but a common breast inflammation during breastfeeding. The precarious condition of her baby went from bad to worse.
"The child cannot continue the breastfeeding because of the condition of the mother," the doctor said. "Therefore, the child is severely malnourished, and as usual the parents came very late to the health center after visiting several marabouts."
Some people avoid the clinic because of its Christian leadership. Enough Muslim animists seeking treatment eventually have put their faith in Christ that area religious leaders advise against it. The grandmother of a baby who refused to nurse his first three weeks of life said the family initially declined to bring him to the clinic.
"We were advised to come here with the child, but at first we refused, because we were told that once you come here, you will be Christian," she said.
Woman holding emaciated boy in Niger.
A malnourished boy's mother brought him to a modern medical clinic just in time.
The clinic was able to refer the baby who refused to nurse to a hospital, where it received a life-saving blood transfusion. Personnel from the clinic in Kollo are following up every day with the infant in a hospital in Niamey, the capital.
The indigenous ministry director that oversees the clinic said personnel are gentle, tactful and wise in sharing the reason for their hope within.
"In our experience, most people are open to listening [to the gospel]," he said. "The decision to follow Christ may not come immediately, as some plant, and others water, and others harvest. Over here, it's basically a one-on-one thing with lot of patience, as God does His work through their hearts."
The impoverished country of mostly Saharan Desert and some semi-arid Sahel is home to several tribes, including Hausa (slightly more than half the population) Zarma-Sonrai, Tuareg and Fula, and nine official languages besides French – Arabic, Buduma, Fulfulde, Hausa and Tamasheq, among others. Amid this complexity, indigenous missionaries are in prime position to understand and minister to the unique, multilayered characteristics of the various micro-cultures.
Suffering alongside those they're serving, the indigenous teams are enduring the drought in the Sahel region of West Africa that is threatening 1 million children with severe malnutrition. As malnutrition rates are reaching 15 percent in Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali and northern Senegal, food prices in the region have risen 20 to 25 percent over the past five years and could reach 30 percent by August.
As many as 13 million people are expected to suffer the effects of drought this year, such as Samira and the young son becoming weightless in her arms. Recently her neighbors finally persuaded her to take Adamou to the clinic in Dantchandou.
"At the clinic, she had it explained to her that it's just a problem of food," said the director of the ministry, which is assisted by Christian Aid Mission. "The child is malnourished. By the grace of God, he will be fine again. We referred him to a hospital for further management. We are following up on the case, and the mother says, 'I'm very happy.'"
Most of the parents who arrive at the clinic return, he said.
"The mothers are always happy and appreciate a lot what they are receiving all the time from us," he said. "Most of them are thankful now and smiling when they come to the center. A lot of lives are changing. Thanks a lot for all your support, especially your prayers toward us."
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: 511HIS. Thank you!

Well with Their Souls

People celebrating new well in Niger.
As drought threatens the health of thousands of people in Niger, residents of a community in the country’s Sahelian southwest celebrate the flowing of fresh water from a new source. Clean water prevents cholera and intestinal parasites, the director of the indigenous that helped the community install the well noted. “Access to clean water does not affect just one person’s life, it affects the entire village,” he said. Wells are especially important to children, who are most susceptible during drought as they dehydrate more quickly than adults from the diarrhea accompanying disease. The ministry has drilled just over 100 wells, and several others need to be completed with hand pumps. When not drilling wells, the ministry employs an indigenous team to monitor existing ones. “We often find government wells broken and repair them for villages,” the director said. “It is our desire to drill as many wells as possible each year, but finances most often restrict this. Once the water well has been drilled, the health of the entire village changes.”

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].”

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

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I am your brother,
Chip Brogden 

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

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I am your brother,
Chip Brogden 

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.
Note: If you would like to help support the ASSIST News Service, please go to www.assistnews.net and click on the DONATE TO ASSIST NEWS button to make you tax-deductible gift (in the US), which will help us continue to bring you stories like this one. You can also make out a check to ASSIST and mail it to PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609, USA.
** You may republish this and any of our ANS stories with attribution to the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net). Please also tell your friends and colleagues that they can receive a complimentary subscription to our news service by going to the above ANS website, and signing up there.

Found Under A Tree

"...Our workers, not death... Found Manuel under that tree..."

Whether or not you have the opportunity to share the Gospel in person today, you do have the opportunity to share the Gospel through our teams of pioneer missionaries. With your help, they are reaching people who desperately need to hear about Jesus — people like Manuel dos Santos in Mozambique.
Manuel was excited when he moved to the city to find work in the wood mills. Unfortunately, the job nearly killed him. Working long hours without a helmet or breathing mask, Manuel breathed in sawdust and became sick.
Too weak to continue working, Manuel lost his job. He found himself completely alone, dejected, ill and hopeless. Believing he had nothing left to live for, Manuel lay down under a tree and waited for death to find him.
But it was our workers, not death, who found Manuel under that tree. Filled with compassion and moved by the Spirit, they bought Manuel treatment for his illness. This act of love and their witness for Christ gave Manuel a glimpse of the God who died for him — and he gave his life to Jesus. Today, Manuel has recovered from his illness, and he is being discipled by an EHC partner church.
When you give to support our workers, God uses you to show His love in the nations. A gift of $50 will help us tell roughly 150 families about the hope found only in Jesus.
This is your opportunity to share the Gospel today. Will you give to help EHC pioneer missionaries reach more people in dire situations like Manuel?
For the harvest,
Your friends at Every Home for Christ

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Step Out Boldly

Step Out Boldly

My child, you do not have to be afraid of the unknown. You do not need to be afraid to step out into the waters. For indeed, it is when you step out into the deep, that you will see miracles. It is when you step off the cliff, that you will feel the wind beneath your wings, and feel the freedom of letting go of control. It is then that you will see my Hand move in ways that you did not before.
So step out boldly and let go. Trust in Me, in faith, that if I have told you to take a step, I will also catch you. Let go of your reasoning, let go of your fears, and believe in the Word that I have given.
When I speak and you step out in obedience, you will see favor. You will see blessing and you will know that I can do anything I want to do. Indeed, your strength and ability can take you only so far, but when you put your faith and hope in Me, you can be brought to the highest pinnacle and see from a view that you did not think possible.
You will see yourself accomplishing and living out visions that you could not do on your own. So step out boldy, in faith, trusting in the impossible. Amen.

He Will Be In You

He Will Be In You
“You know Him; for He dwells with you, and will be in you.”
JOHN 14:17

Just as Testimony follows Revelation, so Life follows Light. We simply know what to do because He Himself is doing it through us. If we have put on the Lord Jesus then we need not look to the past, or to the future. We need not look up to the heavens, or down upon the earth. We need not look outward at all, for the Kingdom of God is within us.

The One Who said, “I am with you, and will be in you” has now taken up residence within all who believe.

Source: “Lord of All" by Chip Brogden

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I am your brother,

Behind Desperate Pleas in Syria, Broken Families

Behind Desperate Pleas in Syria, Broken Families

June 8, 2017
Syrian Refugee child crying.
Unmet needs can drive Syrian families apart as parents take desperate measures to survive.
Family is everything for Syrians, and refugees in Turkey who have fled Syria's war atrocities are not eager to tell how they have lost their children.
They have lost them after losing everything else: home, health, business, vehicles, friends and other relatives, clothes. The long, fine-knit robe a Syrian woman wore as she fled Syria's six-year old civil war might be the sole reminder of the middle-class life she left behind — surrounded by kin and clan, along with the children she and those around her regarded as gifts from God.
Moreover, those squatting in tents at unofficial camps in southern Turkey have lost their homeland — one of the longest continuously inhabited countries in the world, containing some of the world's most ancient cities.
Surrounded by an increasingly hostile Turkish society, the Arabic-speaking refugees struggle to learn Turkish and to find work. A grandmother named Amena* arrived at one of Turkey's makeshift camps with her daughter-in-law and three grandchildren after her son was sent to fight Islamic State militants. After months of receiving aid from a ministry based in Turkey, she had enough trust in the group director to tell him how refugees are losing their children.
"These refugee mothers are so desperate that they leave their children to find work, hoping to earn enough to rent a place to live," Amena said through a translator. "But the children then get lost and used wrongly."
Untended, the children wander away from their tents, their fates unknown for months — or ever. They might be kidnapped, abused, sold or lost. Others are lost when their parents feel forced to sell them off. Syrian parents, usually mothers deprived of their husbands and older (fighting age) sons, fiercely guard their daughters' virtue, if only for family honor. But in the wrenching grip of hunger or illness, many see no option but to get money by handing their daughters over to nightclub owners.
Untended, the children wander away from their tents, their fates unknown for months — or ever. They might be kidnapped, abused, sold or lost.
"These girls, or newly wedded 'brides,' are then used as slaves — their families don't see them again," the ministry director said. "The refugees are embarrassed about it and don't even admit it's happening to their neighbors, but they ask us to pray for another way to safely earn their money."
Typically a nightclub owner pays $100 after the girls have worked one month.
"But then nothing else comes, and no word about where the girls are being kept is given them," he sighed. "We're seeking God's wisdom on how to help them and do appreciate your prayers."
Such needs persist even as the indigenous ministry regularly provides food, water, and other items to refugees in nine camps spread across four cities — about 10,000 people. The mothers in these camps weep as they plead for baby food, vitamins and clean water, which the ministry teams provide along with infant formula, disposable diapers and milk. The elderly receive medicines, clean water and food tailored to their needs.
For people who on any given day may not have enough water to wash their hands, such aid goes a long way toward the refugees opening their tents and hearts to ministry teams. At the same time, the ministry is planning to provide sewing machines and fabric to older girls and young women so they can make and sell clothing — instead of themselves.
Such assistance softens hearts, and the ministry director thanked Christian Aid Mission donors, as team members are seeing God work miracles in the refugees' hearts.
"We will be forever thankful for your generosity in allowing us to answer these hurting people," he said. "It's a joy to us to hear them saying, 'Christians are so good, so generous with all the help. It's Christians that care enough to provide our needs when there's no hope.'"
Coming from a country long segmented by class distinctions, both Syria's poor and its expanding middle class find themselves marooned on the same island of want. Refugees who were once well-off clamor for aid alongside the poor — though not so poor in their home country that they could not obtain the milk, water and other essentials they now lack.
Syrian refugees unloading supplies from back of truck.
Middle class or poor, as refugees Syrians are equally desperate for aid.
"Now they are on top of one another coming to our truck to receive a package of food to fill their present needs, and you've been the source of providing these needs," the director said of Christian Aid Mission and its donors. His ministry also supplies notebooks, books, pencils and other items needed for schooling for refugee children.
His gratitude for Christian Aid Mission donors overflowed: "By your prayers and helpful support, you are definitely a part of the firm foundation on which the church in Turkey is being built. You are blessing some 10,000 people by helping us to supply their needs, and we are very thankful to be able to deliver what you're giving to us. Our prayers are with you, as you have been so instrumental in allowing many hungry stomachs to feel full again."
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: 416MPO. Thank you!

Sweet Relief

Syrian refugees unloading supplies.
Aid from an indigenous ministry in Turkey for Syrian refugees not only brings smiles to otherwise despairing mothers but helps keep families together. Refugees fleeing atrocities of the six-year war in Syria are so desperate for income to feed their families that they resort to handing their daughters to nightclubs as sex slaves; after one month, payments to parents dwindle or stop altogether, and their daughters may be trafficked elsewhere, according to an indigenous ministry director in Turkey. He recently heard a Syrian refugee, a grandmother, speak of parents losing their children this way. “As I explained that God loves her and her family so much that He will not forsake them, she was deeply touched,” he said. “Just then two or three other older women came to me saying they lost their daughters, too. So I prayed for each one of them.” Besides vitamins, formula, milk, medicines, clean water and food, indigenous ministry teams are bringing the hope of Christ to torn families. “This isn’t just because of the financial support coming to us, but also due to your faithful prayer support,” the director said. “God is answering prayer!”

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Whom Shall I Fear?

Whom Shall I Fear?
Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,
that He may exalt you in due time.”
1 PETER 5:6

When we are submitted to the Lord, we find Grace. We find Peace. We find Rest. All things are in His hands, and He does all things well. We need not fear what any devil or any man can do to us. To be submitted to the Lord is to be under His care, under His guidance, under His power, under His protection. Whom shall I fear? What can man do to me? What can the devil do to me?
If I have humbled myself beneath the mighty hand of God then He will exalt me in due season; He will justify me; He will defend me; He will fight for me. If our submission to God is complete, if our surrender to the Lord is total, then victory is assured.

Source: “Embrace the Cross" by Chip Brogden

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I am your brother,
Chip Brogden