Save $300 Now on Fall 2018 Jesus Film Mission Trips

Jesus Film Mission Trips™  (JFMT) offers more than 40 mission trips each year to Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Their professional mission trip leaders provide safe and meaningful experiences for teams ranging from 5 to 30 participants.

JFMT is looking for people with a love for the Lord, a taste for adventure, and a desire to serve Christ by helping to reach those who have never heard the gospel.

And right now they’re making it much easier for you to join a truly life-changing trip.

JFMT is offering a limited-time promotion for the first 100 accepted applicants for Fall 2018 Mission Trips! Simply submit an application for any of their Fall 2018 mission trips by August 31, 2018. If accepted, you’ll receive $300 off your trip cost! The $300 is applied toward the final payment of the trip cost for a JFMT Mission Trip occurring between September 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018 and is non refundable and non transferable.

Choose from locations in West Africa, South Asia, Eastern Europe…plus Japan and Nepal.

To learn more, please visit Jesus Film Mission Trips Fall 2018 Special Offer Page for all the details. But hurry…they only have 100 spots available for this special offer!

At Jesus Film Mission Trips they want everyone, everywhere to encounter Jesus. They believe film is the most dynamic way to hear and see the greatest story ever lived — so they are driven to bring Christ-centered video to the ends of the earth.

When people come face-to-face with Jesus—when they see him smile, when they hear him speak in their own language, with their own accent—they are forever changed. They believe movies offer the most dynamic way to hear and see the greatest story ever lived.

Film brings the story to life in ways that transcend written communication. This is true especially in oral cultures—places where written communication is scarce. When people see the life of Jesus portrayed on screen, it is life-changing.

JESUS Film Mission Trips sends 40 professionally led mission trips out each year.  They do strategic-effective ministry with volunteers like you who want to make a difference in helping fulfill the Great Commission.  Some places we go are easy, and some are challenging, but it’s worth it!

More than 490 million people have come to Jesus after watching these films! Come join them this fall for a journey that will change your life and the lives of people you will meet.

On MissionFinder, we have over 1,000 ministries offering opportunities like this to serve at home and around the world. Does your church or organization need help organizing mission trips? Check out our partner site, MissionMinder.com. Their easy-to-use software will help you manage all the details for your short-term mission trips and team members online. Unlimited Trips. Unlimited team members. Easy online fundraising for your team members. Try it free for 30 days. Learn more here.

The post Save $300 Now on Fall 2018 Jesus Film Mission Trips appeared first on Mission Finder.

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The next initiative for teens

USA (MNN) – For the 76 years Keys for Kids has been opened, the ministry has primarily focused on ministering to kids in the four to fourteen window. But now, they’re starting up devotionals for a new age group: teens.

“We didn’t want to do teen ministry actually,” Keys for Kids’ Greg Yoder shares.

“It’s a hard group to reach because it’s ever-changing.”

However, the ministry was repeatedly approached and asked how they were reaching teens. Yoder says camps said they needed devotional materials for teenagers and he assumed there were enough devotional materials out there to reach the age group. But, the camps said otherwise.

Yoder shares camps said, “There’s not anything that will take them from their ninth-grade year to their twelfth-grade year and there isn’t really anything that goes in depth. A lot of things are very ethereal and make them feel good, but nothing really focuses in on letting kids know that they need a savior, letting them know that they can have a relationship with Him and then becoming defenders of their faith. That really is missing in a lot of teen devotionals.”

Keys for Kids decided to proceed and are in the planning stages of creating the Keys for Kids Next Initiative, which will focus on ministering to teens and getting them to be interactive with one another in their faith.

‘Unlocked’ Devotional

One part of the Keys for Kids Next Initiative is their devotional, which will be called ‘Unlocked’.

This devotional will feature true and fictional stories from individuals, poetry, and writing pieces from young people who want to contribute.

So far, the ministry has assembled about 14 stories that will be included in the devotional.

Soon, they will gather together focus groups consisted of teens and youth leaders to determine if the devotional will meet their needs.

Yoder says the ministry will use theological reviewers to help with the process and have leaders who are experienced in working with youths to guide teens as well. But their vision for this devotional and for the Keys for Kids Next Initiative is to get peers talking to peers.

Keys for Kids hopes to release ‘Unlocked’ by next June.

But, that’s just one part of the Keys for Kids Next Initiative.

Next Initiative App

“It’s not going to be just a book. That wouldn’t effectively help us reach kids,” Yoder says.

“We’re printing the books to kind of be the hook to get the kids involved and then we’re going to be producing this really cool app. And the app is obviously delivering the material. It’ll have audio, but then our dream is to make sure that there’s interactivity that we can create.”

(Photo by Luke Porter on Unsplash)

The main idea behind the interactivity is having teen and youth group chat rooms so teens can share their story, learn from others, and from their leaders so that ‘iron is sharpening iron’.

With the app, comes an even larger opportunity to share the Gospel with teens.

“Once we have the English in place, there have been many in the international community that have said we need something for teens too and if you get something done, we want to translate it.”

Teens all over the world will then have a devotional and app that will effectively help guide them in their walk with Christ.

Get Involved

This project is not a light undertaking, but it will be an effective one.

Keys for Kids invites you to help teens in the United States and across the globe to grow deeper in their faith.

Help sponsor the Keys for Kids Next Initiative devotional and app project.

“This is a project that is going to require some significant funding, but the great news is once we have it initially funded, it’s going to be self-supporting,” Yoder says.

Help support the program here.

Also, pray for the Lord’s provision and that He will speak through this devotional and app, making a great difference in teen’s lives.

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Global Church offers kingdom perspective for those who listen

International (MNN) — The global Church. It’s a big family with the ability to sharpen itself the way iron sharpens iron.

The global Church may be made of folks from different countries, but ultimately it shares the same citizenship—being a citizen of God’s Kingdom. Yet, are we taking advantage of the opportunities the global Church provides for us to renew our minds?

“I highly value the opinions of people who live in other cultures, other brothers and sisters in the Lord, who can help me see the areas that I have blind spots to, simply because of where I grew up. And I’ve become so acclimated to certain things that I think, well, this is the way it should be when that’s not necessarily the case,” FMI’s Bruce Allen explains.

Fruits of the Global Church

The global Church also helps each other see the cultural flaws which impact how we respond to God’s word. For Westerners, this could be hearing a story of persecution from Ahmed, which helps them to have a greater value for their religious freedom, and then exercise it more.

Bangladesh

Rural church in Bangladesh. (Header photo and photo courtesy of FMI)

“And they need me, so I can hold up a mirror of reality to them, and help them understand their culture as well, and say, ‘is this in line with Kingdom values or not’,” Allen shares regarding friends in the global Church.

This mirror Allen speaks of also helps the global Church to see and appreciate different parts of itself. Similarly, a fish doesn’t it’s wet until it’s on deck, different characteristics or become more apparent when they’re absent in our lives. And this can help us appreciate things even more.

If you’re unsure of how to access the global Church, start in your own community. Reach out to a missionary your church supports. Another way to get involved is writing to FMI supported pastors and church planters in Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.

The global Church really helps the whole body of Christ become much healthier.

“As we listen to each other and share scripture together, to sharpen each other, and to understand the scripture in the way that God intended, not just through the lens of our own culture,” Allen says.

Be Prayerful, Be Active

Ask God to open opportunities to be sharpened by the global Church. Pray for hearts which would be open to the messages our global brothers and sisters have for us, and for these messages to help renew our minds in Christ. Let’s also pray for God to use us to sharpen others as well.

Find ways to connect with the global Church through FMI here!

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Violence in Papua New Guinea is met with Gospel

Papua New Guinea (MNN) —  Papua New Guinea is under a State of Emergency following political unrest and inter-tribal conflict. The broader issue of the ebb and flow of conflict between people groups also affects ministry.

Earlier this month, Wycliffe Associates was hosting a translation workshop in the highlands of Papua New Guinea with five language groups. Already, the workshop was defying generations-worth of challenges when chaos broke out.

Bruce Smith, President and CEO of Wycliffe Associates, says, “Historically and traditionally, these groups have lived in competition and in– for many generations– in animosity against one another. So the mere fact of them coming together at a workshop was really quite a landmark, in terms of their history, of working together to see God’s Word move forward.

“And we love to see that, when Christians work together in harmony and when the Gospel really transforms and impacts the cultures.”

Violence Erupts

But while these translation groups were coming together with a like goal in mind, underlying tensions erupted into violence around them.

(Photo courtesy of Wycliffe Associates)

“While the workshop was underway, two of these tribal groups actually in their home community areas ended up with a sort of a resurfacing with these tribal animosities. And people were shot, they were fighting with knives and with spears.”

And so it was no surprise that the translation project was disrupted by the violence going on at home. In fact, homes were burned, family members killed or injured, and crops destroyed. Smith says it was necessary to pause the workshop so members of these two tribes could grapple with the heavy emotions they were feeling.

However, he says for these translators, it was a reminder of why their work to translate Scripture for their people was so important. Only God’s Word is capable to bring true and lasting peace to this earth.

“They also took a field trip. Our trainers went to these communities, along with these Christian elders from their churches to begin the reconciliation process, and were part of bringing prayer, bringing Scripture into the actual immediate the aftermath of this warfare.”

For groups like this who have been warring with their neighbors for generations, the peace of the Gospel is more than just an abstract concept. It’s absolutely necessary.

For many of these translators, the first response upon hearing of the renewed violence caused deep feelings of anger, hatred, and reminded them of the antagonism towards other tribes that they were born into. These kind of emotions are not easy to just shrug off.

(Photo courtesy of Wycliffe Associates)

“So, they turn against one another, but within the context of realizing, hey, God’s Word speaks directly to these issues. And so, that initial emotional response is met by the truth of God’s Word and the exhortation to live in peace with one another, to forgive one another, to create harmony within the Body of Christ.”

And so, once the translation workers decided not to retaliate, they had to consider how to bring this truth back to their people and convince them of the need for reconciliation.

“People are still bleeding and still hurting from the actual physical battles and so this is where the truth of Scripture for them comes to bear directly, not only with their history, but their current experience and the anger that they’re still dealing with. So, only God can bring peace into those kinds of situations.”

Translation is changing in Papua New Guinea

Events like this make it clear why Bible translation is so important. But the way Bible translation happens in PNG is rapidly changing.

Smith says that historically, translation has taken place in the difficult-to-reach highlands. This is because this part of the country is central to many of the different language groups. However, Wycliffe Associates is looking to start translation work up in the city of Port Moresby.

Local Christians have requested this move because they believe it’s the best way to see the translation work go forward. Therefore, Wycliffe Associates is seeking church partnerships in the area. But there is a lot of work ahead.

“There’s more than 800 languages that have been researched and documented that need Scripture in Papua New Guinea. But when we talk to the tribal leaders, to the Christian leaders in that country, they actually think the number is probably two to three times that many.”

Photo Courtesy Wycliffe Associates

The local insight into the issue is just one more clue that it’s time for the Church of Papua New Guinea to take over.

Smith says, “For generations, for decades of my life and your life, the Bible translation movement in this part of the world has been completely dependent upon foreigners. That is no longer the case. The church is rising up. They’re ready, willing, and able to do this work. They’re asking us to come alongside with training, with technology, with some physical infrastructure that I’ve described, with prayer and encouragement and financial support.”

Do you want to be a part of supporting this work? Start with prayer.

“Pray that God’s Word and the truth and the peace that passes understanding from God’s Word can penetrate that violence and that hatred and that sin, in order to reconcile these people, not only to God, but also to each other.”

Pray also for the translators who risking their lives and making sacrifices in order to do this work. Pray for their courage and protection as they speak against the flow of their cultures. Pray that this violence would not hinder their work, either.

If you’d like to support this work financially, click here. 

 

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Religious restrictions reach new high

International (MNN) — According to the latest Pew study, Christians and Muslims faced more religious restrictions than any other group in 2016. Christians faced governmental and societal pressure in 144 of the 198 countries studied. Furthermore, international religious restrictions reached the highest levels since 2007.

A nationalist is defined as “a member of a political party or group advocating national independence or strong national government.”
(Photo by Mike from Pexels)

In many countries, restrictions were a direct result of nationalist agendas. As just one example, nationalist parties in approximately one-third of European countries targeted religious minorities in their political statements. This was up from 20% of countries in 2015.

The results of the Pew study came as no surprise to Joe Handley. “Pressure is rising, particularly government pressure,” he says.

Handley serves as President of Asian Access, a Christian ministry operating in 13 Asian nations. Asian Access develops Christian leaders and helps believers overcome the legal and social restrictions studied by Pew Research.

“The rate of persecution that’s been happening in most of the countries [where Asian Access works] has been on the rise,” Handley notes.

“The Lord put the government in charge to help us follow rules of order. At the same time, when they put restrictions on things that we’re obligated to do spiritually, we have to find ways to work in society that maintain peace but also pursue the Gospel.”

Religious restrictions and outright persecution

Since oppression varies from nation to nation, “it’s a significant dilemma you have to work around, depending on your work in the country and the work of the Church in that country,” Handley says.

In some countries, Asian Access can work with the national government and lobbyists. This isn’t possible in other nations, though, and oppression often takes a harsher turn. For example, a leader partnering with Asian Access in an undiscosed location was poisoned by members of another religious group a few weeks ago.

“The people who poisoned him stole his cellphone, laptop, everything he had with him. We’re concerned for him because of the personal data that was on the laptop,” says Handley.

The leader was unconscious for several days following the attack. To help ease the financial burden on his family, Asian Access raised funds to cover the leader’s medical bills.

What can we do about it?

asia-map

(Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels)

More than 2 billion people live in China and India. Notably, these two nations were mentioned in the Pew study as having significant levels of governmental oppression (China) and societal oppression (India).

Due to the uptick in religious restrictions in these nations and more, Asian Access is looking to partner with watchdog groups like Open Doors and Voice of the Martyrs. “Let’s work together to help leaders who are facing pressures and persecution,” says Handley.

83 percent of the world’s population lives in countries where following Jesus is a high-risk commitment. Now that you know, will you ask God how He wants you to respond?

“Please come help us. Pray for us, give to us, and do call government officials to see if they can help out,” Handley requests.

“You can call your congressmen, your senators, and speak on behalf of the persecuted Church, speak on behalf of those in restricted countries.”

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Man known as “the devil” finds hope in the Gospel

Liberia (MNN) – While Christians make up a large portion of Liberia’s population, satanic practices like witchcraft are still very much alive in this part of the world.

There are many cases in which superstition and witchcraft rule communities with fear. That was the case in one Liberian community until a ministry worker dared to venture there with the truth of God’s Word.

Helen Williams of World Missionary Press (WMP) says the community had become a stronghold for satanic activity. There was one spiritual leader who locals called the devil, and he had followers. The people in this area obeyed and feared him.

“The believers there were really hesitant to even enter this area,” Williams says.

World Missionary Press works with Wordsower Libera by supplying them with Scripture booklets. The leader of this ministry and WMP’s contact recently visited and sent back a report. Williams relays his story from that report:

liberia - map - pixabay“He was in the country, and he decided that he was going to visit this town. So, [the report] says he went into this town, and he found this man, sitting in front of a little shop. He said, ‘I sat down beside him, I shared the Gospel, I shared about heaven and hell. We both knew that many in the town were watching us from a distance. As I left, he publicly laughed and he ridiculed me.

“’About a month later, he found me in another town. As I approached him on a motorbike, he began waving frantically in the road. He beckoned me to stop. He said, “We need to talk. I want to know more about God, heaven, and hell.” We sat and talked. I reminded him about our time in front of the shop and he said, “Yes, I was only laughing on the outside.”

“’Today, this man, Peter, is a believer. He comes to our base to collect training material that we print on our printing press to take to the church that he attends in that town.’”

Williams says this is truly a testimony of how God’s Word has the power to break down spiritual strongholds. Furthermore, she says, “I just think that’s a wonderful demonstration that there is no one beyond the grace of God.”

The Boldness of the Gospel

The Gospel as revealed in God’s Word is not a message of fear. Even so, it is powerful. Williams says the locals in this village were able to grasp that fact even before they heard the Word themselves. And that was because the Christians were entering the village to share it with them. They were not afraid of “the devil.”

“By their going in, continuing to go in with boldness, if you will, that boldness had to come from the message that they had. And I think that’s the biggest demonstration to people that are held under these rulers and the satanists, fear, and false teaching and all of this, denying God.”

It is clear that God is working in Liberia. Would you like to be a part of that?

Williams says, “They’ve asked for prayer and we… have work going there, we have shipments that have gone, we have a national there. We have shipments that have gone, we have a national coordinator there. We have ministries there, and we’re going to be providing a thousand French New Testaments for this ministry as soon as we get them printed. They really need to get the New Testaments in. So we would ask for prayer for that– that, you know, the Word that’s there and the work that’s being done will continue and that we would be able to do what we can.”

If you’d like to support World Missionary Press, click here.

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Monsoon rains nearly halt ministry in Bangladesh

Bangladesh (MNN) — Monsoon rains are falling like a curtain in Bangladesh. They are expected to last for at least another two weeks before momentarily halting.

“The storms sometimes deliver up to five inches of rain per day. Now, that’s not just a one-day storm; that’s a season from June to September,” FMI’s Bruce Allen reports.

Most parts of Bangladesh can expect to receive 80-100 inches of rain for the year, the majority hitting during monsoon season. The heavy rains expectantly complicate daily life. However, it also threatens it with flooding and landslides.

Monsoon Rains Pause Life

Farmland gets eroded, traffic comes to a stop, and local Uber drivers offer raft rides in place of car rides. Even then, certain pathways and roads are still impassable. This means ministry also slows down.

The FMI supported partners in Bangladesh mostly come from impoverished backgrounds. They don’t, or at least their congregations don’t, have access to tools like Facebook live or streaming services. This makes it significantly more difficult for pastors to hold church service and disciple their congregations.

(Photo courtesy of FMI for MNN use.) Rural Pastor in Bangladesh.

Yet, FMI partners are continuing in ministry. Sometimes, they’re risking their safety for the spiritual well-being of others. The simplest way ministry continues is by delayed church services. In the extreme, some pastors are still continuing to make long treks, despite the flooding and potential landslides, so people will hear the Gospel and have their faith buoyed.

“I know one pastor’s wife in particular, in Bangladesh. In the area near where the refugee camps have been set up, for the Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, she’s very nervous for her husband when he goes out, because often there would be people who cannot make it to a church service during the week.

“And so he’s going out to visit them, or there’s other ministry activity going on, and it takes an emotional toll on the pastors family, especially,” Allen explains.

Path of Destruction

A landslide has already claimed the lives of an entire family who lived in this same pastor’s area. The landslide collapsed the family home and buried the people inside. Allen says FMI partners are trying to minister in the face of devastation, while they themselves face the same devastation.

Bangladesh, Rohingya

A Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh. (Photo courtesy of FMI)

To complicate things more, people are also dealing with power outages, polluted water supplies, and water-borne illnesses. Allen says food prices have tripled, sometimes in a single day, because of the risk and costs associated with getting food to certain areas. But the monsoon rains don’t discriminate between the citizens and noncitizens of Bangladesh.

“In recent weeks, more than 28,000 people (the Rohingya refugees) have been affected. And 133 landslides have damaged more than 3,000 of these makeshift shelters,” Allen says.

Be Prayerful, Be Active

While the monsoons don’t come as a surprise, each year when the season hits, it leaves a trail of destruction in the country. So please, will you pray?

“The weather still responds. The clouds and the waves still know that Jesus is in charge, and we can pray about that. We can pray for the Christians, their ability to persevere and have stamina in the face of these monsoons,” Allen shares.

Also, pray for these partners’ provision for ministry, their capacity to show compassion to people in need, and for people’s health. Pray that the Christians in the area would learn how to care for one another and to learn the blessing of sharing the little they have with others in need.

And finally, pray for Christians outside of Bangladesh to stand with their brothers and sisters impacted by the monsoon, either through prayer or by providing for tangible needs.

FMI is accepting donations to its “Overseas Partner” and “Tangible Resources” funds to help FMI partners and others impacted by the heavy rains in Bangladesh.

Click here to give.

Header photo courtesy of Santanu Sen via Flicker.)

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Nigeria outranks India in poverty

Nigeria (MNN) – Recently, Nigeria outranked India with the highest number of people in extreme poverty. Right now, more than 82 million people in Nigeria are suffering from poverty – that’s 44.2 percent of the nation’s entire population.

According to World Poverty Clock, six more people in Nigeria fall into poverty every minute.

India is improving their economy because they have one of the largest workforces in the world and are becoming more stable. On the opposite end, however, World Poverty Clock estimates that by 2030, the percentage of people living in extreme poverty in Nigeria will rise to 45.5 percent.

Causes of Nigeria’s Poverty

World Mission’s Greg Kelley shares what has led up to this economic crisis.

“It’s really the perfect storm from an economic standpoint. A lot of foreign investment has been highly discouraged just because of the instabilities in the areas and the security concerns. It’s been kidnappings of foreign workers and all kinds of violence that’s going on and it just really discourages outside investment. So, that’s a big thing and that has just pummeled the currency which is the Naira and it’s been devalued.”

Prices of food, housing, water, electricity, and other essentials have risen because of the devaluation of the Naira, making it difficult for people to get even the basic necessities.

Kelley says people are working up to twelve hours a day to try to provide a single meal for his or her family on a daily basis.

Further, the economic strain has increased due to the number of refugees and internally displaced people in the nation and the money it takes for the government to care for them.

“When you have tens of thousands of refugees inside of your own country, the government is definitely trying to care for them, but that puts such a drain on the economy as you’re constantly trying to care for these needs of people who literally have nothing.”

Kelley adds, that the economy, “it’s not really stabilizing. That’s the problem.”

The poverty in Nigeria is widespread throughout the cities but takes an even larger role in remote areas.

“Generally speaking, the larger population centers like Lagos and Abuja are going to create more opportunities and so, people are drawn to those communities, but in the rural areas, especially in the north and in the middle regions where Christianity and Islam collide, where the tensions are the highest, those are the places that really are the most vulnerable because the security issues are lacking and so, you’ll find in those situations, the poverty to be much more extreme,” Kelley says.

Nigeria is split in half between the Christians and Muslims. Muslims tend to live in the north and Christians tend to live in the south.

Yet, World Mission sees the importance of the national Church to stop the separation and unite their efforts to reach Muslims as well as their own people.

A Discouraged Church

Right now, many in the Church are discouraged and unmotivated to help others in need as well as sharing the Gospel because of the economic problems and the persecution they face.

“When the Church is weak, spiritually speaking, it’s non-missional. It’s not going to be concerned about outreach,” Kelley says.

“You’ve got two things going on in the Church at the same time. The commitment to growing and to strengthening itself, but also, you’ve got this outward orientation and what you, unfortunately, find in the Church in Nigeria in the south, is there’s just not an appetite, there’s not an interest to be missional and to go out into the northern part because literally, it’s an issue of fear.”

Kelley says there are many stories of Christians being persecuted and targeted, especially when they travel to the north to share the Gospel.

Fear has taken root in many believers and they’ve lost their drive to share the Truth with others.

Supporting World Mission

(Photo courtesy of World Mission via Facebook)

However, World Mission is helping to raise up leaders who are willing and committed to sharing the Gospel in the north through the distribution of solar-powered audio Bibles, the Treasure, and by kick-starting humanitarian aid projects.

“What we found in northern Nigeria is that providing water and medical specifically create tremendous inroads to sharing the Gospel,” Kelley says.

“Our national partners will go into these areas that are most vulnerable, lacking water and medical. They’ll become the hands and feet of Jesus and that creates the open door for us to distribute the Treasure into these particular areas.”

Seeing how poverty has increased in the nation, World Mission knows there is no lack of needed aid projects or the Gospel to give people hope.

Come alongside World Mission in their efforts to provide people with physical and spiritual support, and pray for missionaries who go north to share the Truth of Jesus.

“It’s important that the Church in the west understand that there are people who are risking their life, even children, young people, that are standing up” and taking the Gospel to these dangerous areas.

“We have to come alongside those individuals. We have to pray for them. We have to resource them because they’re going into places that Jesus is unknown, that the Gospel has never been shared.”

Header photo by 2Photo Pots on Unsplash

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Boys Home of Virginia

Boys Home of Virginia has been building successful men since 1906. It’s been many decades since Boys Home was founded, but many of the reasons why it was founded remain. Boys Home provides care for young men in a healthy, supportive environment. We offer them a life-changing experience with caring adult supervision meant to increase their sense of personal responsibility. It’s a fresh chance for a young man to mold his character in positive, meaningful ways.

We show them how to respect themselves and others and uncover their spiritual sides. We give them the education they need and lead them to become well-rounded men. We’re not an orphanage, or just a school. We provide food, clothing, shelter and guidance, almost entirely privately financed by individuals and churches.

Our entire environment is focused on this mission. Our 1400-acre campus has a school where boys can catch up academically. We have a vocational/technical center to help them develop work skills. Our chapel supports them spiritually, and recreational facilities build them physically and socially. Our location in the beautiful Alleghany Highlands allows them to learn more about themselves as they explore and enjoy the hills, swimming holes, and woodlands. Each of these experiences gives a boy a better chance to become a successful man.

For over 100 years, Boys Home of Virginia has been blessed to have leaders with vision, contributors with heart, staff with energy and commitment, and trustees with a sense of purpose. The generosity and work of those people have resulted in generations of fine, accomplished alumni, many of whom have given back to Boys Home more than they received.

The post Boys Home of Virginia appeared first on Mission Finder.

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They Saved 393 Lives in 2017

Heartbeat International (HBI) was born out of compassion and generosity. In the early 1980’s a Guatemalan physician, Dr. Federico Alfaro, watched helplessly as his young patient died for want of a pacemaker. The family couldn’t afford to pay for their child’s treatment.

Dr. Alfaro swore that would never happen again under his watch – and we at HBI have kept that promise alive for generations of patients around the world. We build international networks of physicians and industry to provide free pacemakers to those most in need.

Read these Heartbeat International’s success stories from around the world.

Luz from the Philippines is only 27 years old and suffered from complete heart block. She was in critical need of pacemaker but couldn’t afford to get one on her own. Her life was in great danger.

With the our help she received a pacemaker and is now living a healthy life. Luz has more energy and is very happy and lives her life to the fullest now.

Aldrich was only 16 and when he was diagnosed with complete heart block. As a young child in the Philippines, he still has a whole lifetime ahead of him and has many dreams yet to fill. Unfortunately, his family was not able to afford to pay for a pacemaker for him. They needed help.

Heartbeat International was able to provide the pacemaker, the implant surgery and the follow up treatment for Aldrich. Aldrich is now able to purse his goals, find his future and have fun with his friends. His family is very grateful for the life changing, and saving device, provided through the Heartbeat International program.

Arturo’s heart problems began when he was three years-old. His father worked long hours at a taco stand in Mexico to support the family, but he felt scared and helpless. “I didn’t have the money for that surgery. I couldn’t save my own son’s life.”

His mother was equally devastated. “When my son was sleeping, sometimes I couldn’t hear his heart, and I knew one day he might not wake up in the morning.”

Arturo’s family found hope when they met Dr. Ricardo Meneses of Heartbeat International. Arturo traveled 100 miles to a hospital and was rushed into surgery for a pacemaker implant.

Today, Arturo runs around and plays with his friends. The experience has had a positive impact – he’s back at school and hopes to become a doctor someday.

Heartbeat International Foundation (HBI) is the only global charity providing free access to pacemaker therapy for disadvantaged women, children and men. Heart rhythm disorders are complex and the devices to treat them are expensive, especially in the developing world.

We save the patients and families we support from catastrophic healthcare bills, severely declining poverty, and mortal danger. Without us, they would have to sell all of their belongings and commit their families to indentured servitude, or face years of debilitating health and death.

We depend on medical device companies to provide us with donated pacemakers from their surplus inventory. Our patients get the treatment they need, and we prevent them from having to sell their belongings and indenture their families with years of debt.

Heartbeat International recruits cardiologists and other specialized physicians, as well as nurses and volunteers. We coordinate their activities to evaluate our patients, perform pacemaker implantation procedures, and make sure everything is okay during the follow up period.

Heart Centers are located in public hospitals that donate the space in their facilities for the procedure to take place. They also encourage their staff to donate time to help take care of our patients. Our local partnerships are friendly as well as formalized to ensure safe and competent care.

After treatment, our patients live full, productive lives. Children play and grow, and parents continue to care for their families. We’re the only charity of our kind and we need your support. Together, we can be their lifeline. Learn more about Heartbeat International here.

On MissionFinder, we have over 1,000 ministries offering opportunities like this to serve at home and around the world. Does your church or organization need help organizing mission trips? Check out our partner site, MissionMinder.com. Their easy-to-use software will help you manage all the details for your short-term mission trips and team members online. Unlimited Trips. Unlimited team members. Easy online fundraising for your team members. Try it free for 30 days. Learn more here.

The post They Saved 393 Lives in 2017 appeared first on Mission Finder.

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At En-Gedi, children are learning all lives are valuable

Kenya (MNN) – En-Gedi, a ministry partner of Set Free Ministries, is working to care for unwanted children with disabilities. But while they care for the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of these children, the ministry is also advocating for them.

Margaret Njuguna, founder of En-Gedi, believes that it’s the Church’s responsibility to look out for the downtrodden. In Africa, there are very few resources for people with disabilities. In fact, there are a lot of cultural beliefs that stand in the way of them being accepted as valued members of society.

Many people believe that disabilities mean someone is cursed.

(Image courtesy of En-Gedi)

En-Gedi is working to change that among parents, but it’s likely that much of the superstition and stigma will remain in older generations. But recently, Njuguna came up with a plan to make sure that the future of Kenya harbors fewer people who look at disability as a curse.

“Some of those beliefs would take probably generations to change when parents and older people believe in that,” she says.

“And one of the things that I’ve started is to work with children. The churches that are around our town, including my own child, we have been having Sunday school children, who are between the ages of seven to 11 years, come to us on Sunday mornings, once in a while, for their Sunday school class, to come to En-Gedi and to have the children service with us.”

“They’re not sick.”

This aspect of the ministry started because of one young boy who kept calling En-Gedi to check on his brother. Njuguna says this boy would call in frequently, asking if his brother was well. Finally, she asked him why he was so concerned with his brother’s health.

“He told me, ‘My brother John has a very bad illness and we were told not to talk to him. And he lived out there in the bush and we could just go and quickly give him some little milk and then dash back because he has a very bad disease.’

“So, that lie is the one that a lot of parents give to the siblings so that the disabled child is isolated. And I thought I can change the attitudes of children. I cannot change the attitudes and the belief system of the adults.

“And it has worked so well. Children would come, and they would ask me all these questions. ‘When will these children be healed?’ And it’s like, they’re not sick. God made them this way. And it’s alright to work with them. They build blocks on the floor. Some of them are still afraid, but within the short visit, they are all on the floor doing things with them.”

(Photo courtesy of En-Gedi)

This occasional Sunday school meeting has helped change attitudes in a big way. In fact, Njuguna gets calls from parents telling her that their children pray every day for the children at En-Gedi.

Supporting this “Place of Refuge”

God is using this ministry to form people’s hearts to be more like His. Do you want to help? Start with prayer.

First, ask God to send more people to En-Gedi who have the same passion as its founder. Currently, along with Njuguna, En-Gedi has four full-time caregivers, two trained reserves, part-time therapists, and a nun who help out.

“God used me to start En-Gedi and be the carrier of His ministry at the beginning. But it’s not my ministry. And I am praying that God will give me other people who can come out and work with me as partners, equal partners serving God together. I’m also looking for volunteers who can come short-term, long-term.”

(Logo courtesy En-Gedi Children’s Home)

She’s also hoping that God will open the doors to start a program with Christian colleges to do interim classes at En-Gedi focusing on special education, early childhood development, and things like physical therapy.

If you feel like you could be of use in any of these ways, contact En-Gedi here.

Also, pray for hearts to continue to be impacted by this ministry:

“Keep praying with us that people will embrace disabilities as a, you know, as a way of life. It’s different. But we all belong to God.”

There are also some facility needs as well. They have a building that will be available to rent out for extra income. However, they cannot make this a commercial offer until they get a backup generator. They also need to have some facility updates that accommodate children who cannot sit in a wheelchair or fit in a bathtub.

Furthermore, their therapy room, which will be open to the public eventually, does not have any equipment.

If you would like to walk alongside En-Gedi financially, click here for more information.

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Family reunification and trauma care

USA (MNN) – Families separated at the United States’ southern border have started reuniting though thousands still wait to be reunited.

“The forced separation of refugee children from asylum-seeking families is a gaping wound in our country and this wound cannot even begin to heal until every child is reunited with their families,” Bethany Christian Services’ Chris Palusky says.

“Bethany will not rest until every child is reunited with his family.”

Pew Research Center reported there were almost 203,000 people detained along the United States and Mexico border from January to June of this year. Last year, there were around 104,000 people detained between January to June. This includes family members, unaccompanied minors, and individuals.

Pew Research Center further reports that after the “zero tolerance” policy was announced, 2,342 children were separated between May 5 and June 9 of this year. NBC News reports the Department of Homeland Security says more than 4,100 children have been separated altogether since October 2016.

Rapid Family Reunification

Organizations like Bethany are working to reunite families that have been split apart.

“We want to see these children reunited as quickly as possible,” Palusky says. “They should never have been separated from their families.”

Bethany is making efforts to reunite children with their parents or family members by calling detention centers, working with the Department of Homeland Security, and working out a reunification plan with parents.

“We would like to see the enabling of rapid reunification by families and that’s by linking children and families’ claims in court,” Palusky says.

“Right now, you have DHS – Department of Homeland Security – you have HHS (the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services), they’re handling different sides of the case. So, with DHS, they’re handling the parents. HHS is handling children. They’re not always linked. This can just increase delays in people being able to have their day in court.”

Palusky says for asylum cases, it can take up to three years for a case to be heard. During that time, Bethany believes families and children should not be kept in jails or detained.

Similarly, they believe children who have been forcibly separated and unaccompanied children should be in a family setting rather than being detained in tent cities, military bases, or big box stores with hundreds of other children.

They see this through by providing foster care.

Transitional Foster Care

“Bethany has provided refugee foster care to unaccompanied children since 1975. Since 1980, we have served unaccompanied children. Since 2013, we have had a transitional foster care program whose primary goal is family reunification,” Bethany’s Dona Abbott says.

Their program applies to unaccompanied children and children forcibly separated from their parents.

Bethany believes children should be allowed to live in a safe foster home while they work to reunite families who have been detained and separated, find unaccompanied minors’ parents who are still in their home country or find a relative in the United States to reunite them with.

For separated children, Bethany will contact families in detention centers.

Sometimes parents will ask that children be with them as they’re detained. Other times, they’ll request children to stay with a family member in the country or with a foster family.

For unaccompanied children, Bethany will locate and contact their family to see how they would like to proceed.

“Some families feel it is safe and they are able to provide safety for their children if their child joins them in their country of origin, sometimes not,” Abbott says.

“They ask that their child apply for asylum in the U.S., maybe join a family member. It’s very unique depending on the family’s situation and again, that’s why it’s so important to listen to families about how they want to take care of, protect, care for their children.”

If parents request that children stay with family in the United States, Bethany will do background checks and fingerprint on the entire household to ensure a safe place for the child.

“We have helped over five thousand families in the reunification process and of those five thousand families, five hundred of those children were children that were in Bethany’s transitional foster care program,” Abbott says.

(Photo courtesy of Bethany Christian Services via Facebook)

On Tuesday, July 10, Bethany was able to reunite all the children under the age of five who were forcibly separated from their families in their program.

Seven children in Michigan and Maryland were successfully reunited. And, one hundred unaccompanied minors are staying in foster homes as Bethany goes through the process of reunification.

“This just confirms the commitment Bethany has to reunite families and keep families together,” Abbott says.

Trauma Care

Yet reunification is just one step. The issue goes deeper.

Many of these children have had to flee their homes due to gang-related violence and other conflicts, they’ve gone through Mexico where many people have been robbed or raped, and they’ve been separated from their parents.

They’ve gone through a number of traumatizing events and don’t know how to cope with it.

Bethany gives children mental health care support while they’re in foster care and even after they’ve been reunited with their family.

“While the children have been in care, we’ve had staff who have trauma-informed services to the children and to the foster parents through clinical and case management services as well as educational support,” Abbott says.

“When the children are reunified, those that get post-reunification services will get assistance in helping the family identify local providers of those services as well as meeting any special education needs the child has or any additional needs the family may need in the community.”

Get Involved

Bethany’s priorities are rapid family reunification, alternatives to jail and detention centers, and community-based care.

Pray for the Lord’s guidance and provision as they help in reuniting families and giving children temporary foster homes. And, pray for healing for children who have been traumatized while fleeing their homes and being separated from their parents.

You can be a foster family to a child here.

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Riots resurge in Haiti

Haiti (MNN) — Over the last few week, riots have been surging through the streets of Cap Haitien and Port au Prince in Haiti. Though they all but stopped a few days ago, For Haiti With Love’s Eva Dehart received word Wednesday morning that protests were reigniting in Port au Prince.

“The thing that triggered it was a major increase in the price of all fuels,” Dehart says. “Diesel went up to three dollars a gallon and gasoline went up to five dollars and fifty cents a gallon.”

“It just took things so totally out of reach of the poor people, and the only way they know how to get attention down there is to hit the streets.”

Why was everyone so incensed? Dehart says people just wanted to watch some soccer.

“Neither Port au Prince nor Cap Haitien was providing power for the people, which meant that they wanted to go out and buy gasoline or diesel for any generators that might be available,” she says. “They wanted to watch the World Cup. It’s very important to them, and suddenly their access to that was shut off. When you only have one form of recreation and your access to that is suddenly shut off, then you get upset at the government.”

According to Dehart’s contacts, Port-au-Prince was violent enough that there were paid rioters. In most places, the riots escalated quickly thanks to high emotions.

“You’re talking about people who make, in their own money, two dollars a day, and they’re looking at gasoline costing twenty dollars a gallon.”

Though Cap Haitien’s riots went quiet immediately after fuel prices went back down, Dehart says Port au Prince tends to be more passionate about politics, hence the resurgence of discontentment.

“It’s a lot of very complicated politics and finances, and poor people are caught in the middle of all of this.”

Now, even in areas where the riots have ended, the fallout of the chaos is still having repercussions.

“What you’re going to start seeing now is a lot of respiratory issues because there were so many burning tires and burning rubbish piles and everything was going up in flames,” Dehart says. If it weren’t for recent rains, the lack of wind would have let the smoke settle so that everyone would be breathing it in.

Photo and header photo courtesy of For Haiti With Love

So far, only one victim has come to For Haiti With Love’s burn clinic because of the fires, but property damage could be one of the most problematic results of the protests.

“They’re destroying businesses that would help the economy, they’re destroying homes of families that will be displaced,” Dehart says. “There’s just no logic to what happens when a mob gets into a frenzy.”

But it’s not all bad news. None of For Haiti With Love’s facilities or personnel were harmed, and several missions groups visiting the country were actually thankful for the opportunity.

“Their whole thing was thanking God for extra time with the people, and they had a whole different outlook on the fact that their stay had been extended,” Dehart says.

“A lot of compassion and a lot of good things took place in the background where God was getting a lot of glory out of the mess.”

Ask God to provide a quick, peaceful, and satisfying compromise. Want to support Dehart and her work in Haiti? The upcoming Christmas in August event is the perfect opportunity to get involved.

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Education now possible for MENA women

MENA (MNN) — Our world holds more than 68 million displaced people. Many of them come from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), driven from their homes by violence and civil war.

According to UNHCR, “women and girls make up around 50 per cent of any refugee, internally displaced or stateless population.” Additionally, nearly half of the world’s refugee population is under 18 years old.

(Photo and header photo courtesy SAT-7)

If you’re a refugee mom trying to feed and shelter your family, education is probably the last thing on your mind. Unless, of course, the schooling is for your children.

“Without education, a child doesn’t really have hope for a bright future,” explains SAT-7’s Dennis Wiens. “It’s fundamental that we provide education.”

In an unexpected twist, refugee women are discovering they can participate in the classroom, too.

“Mothers who never had the privilege of education are learning to read and write by just bringing their kids and watching along with their kids, which is exciting because – as girls – they weren’t allowed education, and now they have this privilege.”

SAT-7 is a Christian satellite television ministry to the Middle East and North Africa. A few years ago, they rolled out a new education program called “My School.” It teaches refugee children the basics of Arabic, English, French, and mathematics.

“They take cameras into a classroom, film it for 90 minutes, put it on the satellite, and we can deliver — free of charge – education…to anybody who hasn’t had an education.”

Learn more about “My School” and SAT-7 Academy here.

Education programs like “My School” open doors for the Gospel. Pray for opportunity.

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In Cuba, new Christians are tossing idols into the river

Cuba (MNN) – In Cuba, people are coming to Christ after witnessing the faith of their neighbors and family members.

Helen Williams of World Missionary Press says that they’ve “… been providing Scripture booklets into Cuba for many years and we have distributors there that are working with local churches and separate smaller ministries and working within the parameters that are allowed there, and the Lord has really blessed.”

They recently received word from a contact who has been distributing World Missionary Press materials into Cuba. This couple visited Cuba in May to meet with church contacts there.

Williams says, “He said they ‘… had many activities, heard wonderful testimonies of God working in the hearts of the people,’ in this particular city. ‘People are being saved who are in the military and people who have been idol worshippers are taking their metal idols and throwing them in the river.’”

(Photo and header photo courtesy of World Missionary Press contact)

The idols were made of materials that weren’t able to be burned. Williams says the fact that these people got rid of their idols must have been an amazing testimony to their families and friends.

Overall, their contact was able to confirm that God is at work in Cuba, and many hearts are turning towards Him.

“People are coming to recognize Jesus Christ as the only way, through His Word and the quiet testimony of the believers there.”

When Williams says “quiet testimony” she means that Christians in Cuba rely heavily on their individual testimonies, shared by word of mouth and by the way they live their lives, to witness to others.

“I just want to encourage our listeners to know that the Word is there, it is being shared, and that even in a country where there are restrictions or concerns or whatever, the Word is working. People are coming to the Lord and making it public. And we just want to praise God for that, it was just a wonderful report from Cuba of what the Lord is doing.”

New connections are being made and World Missionary Press has begun printing for a new container shipment that’s already been approved by the government. Congregations are able to meet openly. Even so, there’s still a lot of need for prayer.

“It’s still an atmosphere that’s not necessarily open to the Word. But these believers in many of these cities are meeting together, and their lives are being changed, and that’s what’s demonstrating to others who might not have, maybe, the courage, if you will, to openly accept the Lord or receive the Lord, to see that the changed life is the testimony.”

(Photo courtesy of World Missionary Press contact)

In this way, Christians are able to share their faith with their communities and families. Meanwhile, they’re able to act as the hands and feet of Jesus, too.

Earlier this year, a plane crashed soon after taking off in Havana. The crash killed over 100 people dead and was particularly devastating for the Church.

“There were ten Nazarene pastors and their wives. They’d been at a conference in Havana, and they were all killed. That left ten churches without pastors and 17 orphans,” Williams explains.

The church that the World Missionary Press contact visited is planning on visiting these orphans and inviting them to youth camp.

Williams says, “There’s a working together of the believers there, and that’s a sign of growth in the Church.”

If you’d like to support World Missionary Press so that they can support more outreaches like this, click here.

Ask God to bless and strengthen the Church in Cuba.

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Nationalism’s intersection with the Christian faith

International (MNN) — Nationalism and the Christian faith–Bruce Allen with FMI says Gospel workers face this tension, and sometimes it leads to persecution.

An example of this is in India, which shares borders with both Pakistan and Bangladesh (two of the three countries where FMI works). In India, to be Indian is to be Hindu. If an Indian isn’t Hindu, they’re almost considered an enemy of the state.

Christians Facing Pressure From Nationalism

Allen says a lesser extreme of this type of nationalism is seen in Indonesia, but to a greater extreme in Pakistan.

“I think it’s very helpful for the Western audiences to understand what it’s like in so many other countries of the world, where simply by virtue of being born in that country, you are legally considered a Muslim,” Allen explains.

People in these countries who don’t fit the majority are often singled out, treated differently, and discriminated against by society.

“There is this feeling that if you are not of, in Pakistan, of the Muslim faith, you are a second-rate citizen. When you start treating people as second-rate citizens, you end up saying, ‘to be a first-class citizen, you have to be a member of this particular faith’. That’s when nationalism creeps in, where you’re saying only ‘certain’ people can be considered ‘us’,” Allen shares.

However, it’s important to note the differences between patriotism and nationalism, because the two are not synonymous.

How Patriotism Differs From Nationalism

Patriotism is a healthy appreciation and love for one’s country. There’s nothing wrong with this. But, a patriot loves his or her country in a way that allows he or she to see where it can grow. Truth is spoken by a patriot, both the good and the ugly.

terror

Mosque skyline in Lahore, Pakistan. (Header/Photo Courtesy of FMI)

One analogy Allen uses is that of a parent and child. A parent will love and cheer on his or her kid. But, a parent will also critique a child to help shape he or she into a better person. A patriot also does this with his or her country.

For example, Allen says many Christians in Pakistan care for and love their country. There’s no friction between loving their country and loving Christ. But, they also intimately know the areas where their country can change for the better. Like, religious freedom for all. Still, they’re aware of the stigma in how they’re considered less of a Pakistani because of their faith and minority status.

“'[God] has ordained that we live here, and so we will do it to the best of our ability and reflect Christ’s values, His purposes. And because we love our fellow countrymen, we want to share the Gospel with them’,” Allen recalls from Pakistani Christians.

Nationalism, on the other hand, is the “us vs. them” mentality. The “us” being the majority and the “them” being the minorities. This can be in regards to race, religion, political views, ancestry, and more. Nationalism can appear as protectionism, isolationism, and ideas of false superiority. This belief system counters God’s heart for all people, and it’s something Christians everywhere should guard against. No one is immune to it.

Challenges of Nationalism

The tricky part of nationalism, though, is it can blind individuals into thinking they’re just being patriotic, when indeed they’re being nationalistic. Nationalism ranks its country above others, to the point of calling it the ‘best’. It oftentimes fails to address the areas where the country can grow and mature.

(Photo courtesy of FMI)

Allen says if anyone had the right to be nationalistic, it would have been Abraham from the Old Testament. Abraham was promised his descendants by God. He knew of the chosen nation, yet he still saw his citizenship not here on earth, but in God’s Kingdom.

“[Abraham] considered his real home to be a place that was not built by human hands on this earth. Hebrews 11:13 says it’s an easy thing for me to admit that I am a stranger and an alien as long as I am walking this earth,” Allen says.

“He really saw himself as a sojourner or a pilgrim. The real problem comes when we no longer have that attitude of being sojourners and pilgrims, and we become settlers—and we’ve settled down into the comfort of whatever country it is that we live in.”

But, all of Christ’s people are called to live with their eyes on Him, not their passport nationality. Furthermore, Christ-followers, regardless of citizenship, are called to love their neighbor as themselves. Nationalism is a thorn in this commandment.

A Different Kind of Citizenship

“If I’m a citizen of His Kingdom, I have to understand what the apostle Paul was saying in Acts 17, about from one single person were all people born from. Therefore, we have a common bond with people in Kenya, in Japan, in Germany, in Uruguay. It was God who ordained where people should live, according to that same verse,” Allen says.

Furthermore, there are more things which connect humans to each other besides nationality. These include our common humanity, our fallen natures, and the love of a God who wants to redeem us. And ultimately, all people have been created in God’s image, not a select few.

“His Gospel is for everyone. And so we dare not blur the lines between healthy patriotism and nationalism, that starts to do an ‘us vs. them’ mentality,” Allen urges.

“It also means that I have to be willing to be a minority voice at times, regardless of how the message is received because my allegiance is to the Kingdom.”

Guarding Against Nationalism

So, how does one guard against nationalism? By testing one’s thoughts against the Bible and God’s truths. It also helps to grasp what patriotism looks like and understand the boundaries of an earthly citizenship.

(Photo Courtesy Sean MacEntee via Flicker)

“I appreciate living in the US. I find, man, there’s a lot of beautiful places here. There’s a lot of topographical diversity from beaches to mountains, to deserts, to canyons, to cities, to farmlands. We have…jungles, we have all sorts of things…more diversity than most nations do. Wow, let’s appreciate that,” Allen expresses.

“But, we don’t let that become, ‘so our country is better than yours’. No, God said all of His creation was good, not just the boundaries that we call the USA.”

Pray that regardless of where we live, we’d all stand firm in our citizenship of God’s kingdom, have a healthy sense of patriotism, and to not give way to nationalism in our minds or hearts. Also, pray for laws denoting citizens as less or as second-class to be repealed worldwide.

Pray for all pastors to reinforce the notion of how this earth is not our home, instead, we are ambassadors of Christ’s kingdom. Ask God to give perseverance and encouragement to those who face persecution. And finally, pray for all Christians everywhere to grow in the ways of God and to reflect them, too.

Help support FMI pastors and church planters here!

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Health inspections disguise persecution in Algeria

Algeria (MNN) — Persecution is ramping up against Algerian believers, but if this is the first you’ve heard of it, you’re not alone. Miles Windsor of Middle East Concern says the Algerian government is using technicalities and health inspections to disguise increased pressure against the local Church.

State persecution of churches began ramping up around November last year.

“They were sending around health and safety committees which were strangely formed of officials from intelligence, security, and other government agencies, and they started the process of shutting down churches in some of these places,” Windsor says.

Another recurring tactic is the claim that churches don’t have “the right permits to operate places of non-Muslim worship.” The problem is, the law requiring these permits went into effect in 2006, and since that time, not a single permit has been issued, even when churches made every effort to comply with the new law.

It’s not just about full congregations, either.

“The issue of laws related to sharing the Gospel is being used on other separate individual cases against individual Christians,” Windsor says. Those laws are so vague that even miniscule offenses can be skewed to make trouble for believers.

“I heard about one Christian who was asked if he would give a person who asked for the Bible he was carrying his Bible,” Windsor says. “His answer of ‘yes’ was used as an excuse to take apostisism action against the individual.”

But why justify persecution with health inspections and permit challenges in the first place? Windsor says the state is trying to be subtle so the international community doesn’t have a problem with their actions. More smokescreens means less outside pressure.

Photo and header photo courtesy of Middle East Concern

That doesn’t mean everyone’s turning a blind eye.

“Since that time, actually, we’ve been encouraged by a degree of pressure that has come on Algeria from the international community to encourage a different approach, to encourage them to cease this persecution of Christians and closure of churches.”

Because of this pressure, three churches have reopened. However, they still haven’t been given permits, so their safety is rocky at best.

“The picture seems to be that we’re taking five steps back and one step forward in the hope that our one step will be enough to take the heat off of Algeria.”

It all speaks to why Algeria needs your prayer. The local Church is asking the global body of Christ to pray for boldness and security for Algerian believers so that they can stand firm and live out their faith. You can also pray that pressure levied against the Algerian Church would ease up.

Still want to do more? Consider contacting your local government representative so that the persecution in Algeria does not go unnoticed. Middle East Concern can help keep you posted about the situation so far.

“It’s encouraging to see how determined the witness of that Church is and how it is growing,” Windsor says. Pray for the continuation of that growth as pressure mounts.

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