In This Issue: Reaching the spiritually thirsty
- SOUTH ASIA: Reaching the Spiritually Thirsty by Radio
- AFRICAN SAHEL: A Song of Thanks
- HORN OF AFRICA: Lost in Legend
- PARAGUAY: Autistic Boy Becomes Missionary to Japan
- ALGERIA: Healing at a Soccer Match
- KAZAKHSTAN: Court Overturns Bible Destruction Order
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Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
SOUTH ASIA: Reaching the Spiritually Thirsty by Radio
Source: TWR Europe, March 2013
The Lord has provided TWR with an opportunity to reach spiritually thirsty souls in the region of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and North India (PANI). While TWR has shortwave programming in some of the languages of the region (Panjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, Urdu, Farsi, and Dari), the new AM transmitter will allow more time each week for programs in these languages.
Several years ago, God opened a door in this region of the world for TWR to increase its signal strength from shortwave to AM radio. More than 200 million people live under the reach of the new 500,000-watt AM PANI transmitter.
Four antennas have been installed and the transmitter is ready to be shipped. The next step is to complete the construction of the transmitter building. Lord willing, we’ll be on the air by July 2013 to the “heart of the unevangelized world,” as the seventh edition of Operation World describes the area. Interestingly, “pani” is a Hindi word that means water. Pray that those who will hear the gospel will joyfully receive the spiritual water of life that Jesus offers.
» Full story with pictures.
» Also from South Asia, see Bangladesh PM Rejects Muslim Demand for Blasphemy Law (World Watch Monitor).
AFRICAN SAHEL: A Song of Thanks
Source: Mission Network News, April 10, 2013
How do you respond when someone brings you food? Maybe you say, “thank you” or do something nice for them in return.
Jeff Palmer of Baptist Global Response (BGR) says people in the Sahel region respond like this: “They started dancing and sang a song of thankfulness that they just made up on the spot, saying, ‘You know who’s cared for us? Who’s cared for us? These followers of Jesus cared for us.’”
About 12 million people are facing widespread famine in the Sahel region. BGR recently brought food and supplies to Christian communities that had absolutely nothing.
“These were groups of believers that have fled their areas, and no other agencies were helping them,” states Palmer. BGR focuses on helping people who “fall through the cracks” of the governmental system. The recent delivery allowed one family to eat for the first time in a week.
“You have a lot of people caught in this very complex situation,” Palmer explains. “Crops have failed because of famine; [they] can’t grow the food because they can’t stay in one area.”
The Sahel is a 3,400-mile stretch that spans Africa from coast to coast. It covers portions of Senegal, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Algeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon, and Eritrea, as well as volatile nations like Mali, Nigeria, Sudan, and South Sudan.
» Full story with picture.
» If you are interested in reversing desertification, consider this TED talk. It speaks more directly about the Sahel at about 18 minutes. (Thanks, Brigada!)
HORN OF AFRICA: Lost in Legend
Source: IMB Connecting, April 16, 2013
Jonah’s family told him he didn’t deserve to live and when he died he wouldn’t be buried. It’s all because of what he did with his knife one day – and with his heart.
That day, Jonah had walked into the room where his whole family was sitting. He slipped his finger under the black string tied around his neck and tugged on it gently, for the last time feeling its familiar pressure there.
“In our country, a black string around the neck is a sign of being Orthodox, so I cut it off in front of my family as a symbol that I don’t follow any religion – I follow Jesus Christ,” he said. The persecution came immediately.
Jonah’s family was Orthodox, a religion full of crosses and paintings and things that seem centered around Jesus. [Yet] when their son dusted off the family Bible in the corner and decided to read it and do what it said, they told him he was a sellout, a rebel.
Where in all that did Jesus get lost?
» Full story. If you’d like to know more about how to pray for the Orthodox people of the Horn of Africa, visit prayforthehorn.com.
» For another story from East Africa, see Evil Thrives in Lawless Sinai (Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin).
PARAGUAY: Autistic Boy Becomes Missionary to Japan
Source: Baptist Press, April 2, 2013
From the beginning, doctors said Steven was high functioning. Even so, he displayed all 14 of the most common symptoms of autism. Steven couldn’t tolerate change, for example. He didn’t like to hug. He preferred being alone. He avoided eye contact, echoed others’ words and laughed at inappropriate times. He also had a habit of spinning himself and objects.
Today, as a missionary in Japan, Steven has only one of the 14 symptoms and it’s hardly noticeable.
Steven spent years struggling to overcome most of the other symptoms, and God used many people in that process. Steven’s parents [IMB missionaries in Paraguay] created a structured and loving family environment, guiding him through the challenges of autism. Professionals like speech therapists and physicians provided specialized help. Strengthened by God and his support team, Steven himself did years of hard work for healing.
Through God’s power, Steven has climbed to some amazing heights. One of these was Steve’s commissioning as a missionary to Japan.
“I’ve felt today that so many questions about Steven’s autism have been answered,” Steven’s mom said, “like a veil is being lifted from my eyes and I’m seeing things through God’s eyes. I’m thinking, ‘for this day you were born, Steven.’”
» Full story with picture.
» Note: This story was published on April 2, United Nations Autism Awareness Day. Learn more about autism at autismspeaks.org.
ALGERIA: Healing at a Soccer Match
Source: God Reports, April 8, 2013
Mohand grew up in an Algerian mountain village among the Kabyle Berber tribe. His family were devout Muslims. After his father passed away when Mohand was young, his mother responded with a dose of Muslim fatalism, saying, “It is the will of Allah; He has done it. We can only accept it.”
In Mohand’s mind, this meant Allah killed his father, so he grew up hating God. Like so many others of the Berber tribes, he also grew up hating Arabs, because they conquered his country and imposed their rule many centuries earlier.
As a young man, Mohand played enthusiastically on his village’s soccer team. One summer weekend, several of the local mountain villages gathered together for a weekend playoff.
A group of Algerian Christians from the capital city, Algiers, decided to have a spiritual retreat in the mountains that same weekend and ended up camping next to the soccer teams.
The Berbers eyed the Christian group with curiosity, not sure who they were. They were obviously not a soccer team. They spent a lot of time reading, which led to the conclusion they were probably students. But why would they spend time studying during summer vacation?
Even more confounding, the group seemed to be a mix of Berber and Arab! Who could bring those two groups together in friendship and harmony?
» Read more about what happened in Mohand’s life as a result of this (now long-ago) soccer camp, and praise God for how he’s grown his church in Algeria.
KAZAKHSTAN: Court Overturns Bible Destruction Order
Source: Barnabas Fund, April 15, 2013
An appeal court in Kazakhstan has overturned a ruling that 121 pieces of Christian literature, including Bibles which were seized from a street evangelist be destroyed.
The controversial decision provoked widespread outrage among Christians and civil rights defenders in Kazakhstan and attracted negative publicity around the world. This is believed to have had an influence on the appeal court’s decision to cancel the ruling.
Vyacheslav Cherkasov [had been] found guilty of violating the country’s harsh rules regarding the importing, publishing, and distribution of religious literature, and fined the equivalent of around one month’s average wage in Kazakhstan.
Vyacheslav appealed the ruling, insisting that it was his constitutional right to distribute religious literature to those who wanted it. While the order to destroy the Bibles and Christian literature was lifted, the fine was upheld.
Vyacheslav said, “Thank God they didn’t destroy my books.”
» Full story.
» For news about human rights in this country, see Nazarbayev: Kazakhstan’s Glass of Democracy “Half or Three-Quarters Full” (EurasiaNet).
Pat Noble has been the “news sleuth” for Missions Catalyst since 2004. In addition to churning out the news, she is working to create a SWARM (Serving World A Regional Mobilizers) in Northern New York using the NorthernChristian.org website. You can connect with her at www.whatsoeverthings.com.