Responsive Design: If Your Church Leadership Ideas Don’t Adapt For Size, You’re Behind The Curve

Like responsive design for different sizes of devices, responsive design for different church sizes is more possible – and necessary – than ever before.

Are you involved in church leadership? As in, does any of your ministry involve overseeing, teaching or helping other church leaders?

If so, have you ever been frustrated by the inability of some small churches to utilize your ideas? No doubt you have.

Here’s a simple illustration that will show you why that happens a lot. And how we can help each other get better at this.

Responsive Design In Church Leadership

What size of a screen are you reading right now?

If it’s a phone, the screen looks very different than if you’re reading it from a laptop or a tablet.

That’s the result of something called responsive design and it’s an accepted standard for websites.

Responsive design is programming that automatically reformats what you see based on the size of the screen you’re reading.

Bigger screen? You’ll see more options like a sidebar, floating social media buttons, and so on. Small screen? You’re probably only seeing a few paragraphs of text and you’ll have to hit a drop-down to get other options.

This week, news came out that Hertz (the car rental company) is suing Accenture (a tech company) for 32 million dollars. According to the lawsuit, Accenture didn’t deliver a new website as requested. One of their biggest failures, says Hertz, is that they didn’t include responsive design in their programming. In other words, the website doesn’t adapt to the size of screen the customer is using.

So what does this have to do with church leadership?

Plenty.

Do Your Church Leadership Principles Adapt For Size?

In the last 20-30 years, some very creative people have been producing a lot of new tools for everything from discipleship to worship to small groups.

Most of these innovations …

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2019 Cyclone Fani: Facts, FAQs, and how to help

Cyclone Fani made landfall on the Bay of Bengal coast of India about 8 a.m. local time on Friday, May 3. The storm hit Puri city in Odisha state with heavy rain and wind speeds exceeding 130 mph, equivalent to a Category 4 hurricane. More than a million people in Indian were evacuated from the coastal zone.

The cyclone tracked north along the north with diminishing force before reaching Bangladesh. Rain and possible flooding are expected to continue in Bangladesh through the weekend.

Storm warnings were issued for 19 districts of India’s Odisha, West Bengal, and Andhra Pradesh states, the most likely to be in the storm’s path. In Bangladesh, the national government sounded warnings for coastal cities, including Cox’s Bazar, home to more than 900,000 Rohingya refugees.

FAQs: What you need to know about Cyclone Fani

Find answers to frequently asked questions about Cyclone Fani and learn how you can help people affected by disasters like Cyclone Fani.

Cyclone Fani in the Bay of Bengal. Cyclone Fani’s projected path as of Thursday, May 2, shows the storm tracking along the east coast of India and into Bangladesh.
Cyclone Fani’s projected path as of Thursday, May 2, shows the storm moving along the east coast of India and into Bangladesh. (Image courtesy of the Joint Typhoon Warning Center)

Where did Cyclone Fani develop?

Cyclone Fani formed as a tropical depression in the Indian Ocean near Sumatra. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii first tracked the developing storm on April 26. As it drifted west, it began to strengthen. From April 30, it has been an extremely severe cyclonic storm, the first of the 2019 season.

BACK TO QUESTIONS

What’s the difference between a hurricane, a typhoon, and a cyclone?

Hurricanes form in the Atlantic and Caribbean, cyclones in the Indian Ocean, and typhoons in the Asia-Pacific region. Scientifically, they are all large, spiraling storms known as tropical cyclones.

BACK TO QUESTIONS

Do cyclones hit during the monsoon season?

Cyclones are most common from April to June and September to November in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. They are more likely to occur before and after the monsoon season. Monsoon winds bring heavy rains, but not the isolated, spiraling storms — cyclones — that are generated when ocean temperatures are higher.

BACK TO QUESTIONS

What is World Vision doing to help?

World Vision disaster management teams in India and Bangladesh are ready to deploy as needed. They are coordinating with government authorities and other aid agencies to organize the response.

Ahead of the storm’s landfall, staff helped communities where they work who are in the path of the storm to activate the disaster preparedness plans they’ve made together. These focus on the needs of the most vulnerable, especially children. Franklin Jones, interim head of humanitarian and emergency affairs for World Vision in India, says the grassroots teams World Vision has trained are also prepared to be first responders.

Fred Witteeven, national director for World Vision in Bangladesh, says, “World Vision has emergency supplies ready to go in the [Rohingya refugee] camps and we have had thousands of refugees working on improvements to camp roads and drains over the previous months. Nevertheless, people are living in homes made of bamboo and on steep hillsides, which puts them at even greater risk.”

BACK TO QUESTIONS

How can I help people affected by disasters?

  • Pray for people who are in need and the aid workers who are working to bring relief.
  • Give to World Vision’s disaster relief fund. In the wake of disasters, it’s common to feel powerless — but you have a trusted partner in World Vision. With decades of experience and an established network of global staff and pre-positioned resources, we respond to major emergencies worldwide quickly and effectively.

BACK TO QUESTIONS

The post 2019 Cyclone Fani: Facts, FAQs, and how to help appeared first on World Vision.

A Family Vacation with a Purpose

Edify partners with those who are providing low-fee Christ-centered private education to children in underserved countries. “Edupreneurs” currently offer robust educational opportunities for children in 10 countries, to provide them hope and opportunity to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. Yet all these schools face common challenges: few capital resources for expanding classrooms and facilities, a lack of academic and extracurricular resources to provide a strong Christ-centered education. That’s where Edify steps in, financially, educationally and spiritually. My family landed in Punta Cana and made our way to La Romana. What ensued was eight days of service, fun, love, education and joy. You’ll see from the photos and short recaps just that. I’m not sure who learned more: the local children, my family or myself.

On Sunday, we traveled to the Dominican Republic. The villa is beautiful — not what I expected for a mission trip. And then on Monday we toured three private schools run by women who have taken out multiple loans to improve and expand. These schools charge about $15 a month per student — very affordable from an American point-of-view, but a stretch for many families in the Dominican. Edify forecasts 98% payback on their loans in the next three years, having over $8.5 million in loans serviced the last nine years.
We also met Luis Sena, Edify’s VP of Latin America programs. After sharing dinner with Luis, I was anxious to listen to this wise, inspiring man again on Friday.

Tuesday was the first day of summer camp kickoff. The kids sang and danced to celebrate the kickoff. Our camp had a little more than 60 students from preschool-age to 16, with three teachers. The students take great pride in their schooling and value building a community, something our kids back at home miss out on all too often. We split into four stations: technology, Bible, craft and recreation. My nephew and I led the technology station, with half-hour lessons exploring the use of battery-powered technology that uses a tablet because the electricity is very unreliable.

Wednesday was another day of back-to-school camp! The kids did their rotations through the four stations. Today included time spent picking up trash with the students in their neighborhood, which was a lesson for all of us on stewardship.

Met a 12-year-old girl named Penelope, who had a brother who was diagnosed with cancer at age 3 and underwent 25 chemo sessions and a kidney removal. He is now healed and back to normal, turning 5 in October. God is good.

On Thursday the students enjoyed engaging with one another and making new friends. My wife and I were amazed as we watched our kids step up and make true connections and impacts.

On Friday  we hosted Fiesta Day at the school with a jump house, popcorn, and stations for bean bag toss, balloon pop, Plinko, ring toss, Nerf darts, and face and fingernail painting. The kids won tickets at each of the stations and could use the tickets for water balloon toss and whip cream pie in the face. My daughter received the most pies in the face, and all the kids were great sports.

The best part was hearing the students call our kids out (through a translator) for how much they appreciated and loved them.

Saturday and Sunday We celebrated the great week by hanging out at the beach. Then we headed back home on Sunday.

The Edify Family Experience in the Dominican Republic took me away from clients, from work and from business partners. I understand, in our society, that leaving these things behind for even a week can be difficult. But seeking to serve on a deeper level teaches us so much more than we can learn otherwise. It can give us insights, provide us perspective — even help us recharge — as we head back to our professional callings. I encourage you and your families to find your Edify Family Experience mission. Go make a difference. Connect with others. Seek to serve. Written by  a volunteer participant with Edify and their Family Experience Mission.  To learn how you can volunteer for an Edify  mission trip or support their work visit their website here.

Edify makes quality education more accessible to children in developing countries. Millions of children in developing nations will never even have the opportunity to step into a classroom. There are currently an additional 250 million students that are unable to read, write, or do basic math despite having spent several years in school. Edify offers a solution by helping to improve and expand existing, national-led schools that are making an impact. Edify provide loans and training to entrepreneurs who offer quality, affordable and financially self-sustainable Christ-centered education for children in their community. This partnership helps them grow their infrastructure, improve teaching, and incorporate innovative education technology solutions into their curriculum.

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 pages. Try it free for 30 days. Learn more here.

The post A Family Vacation with a Purpose appeared first on Mission Finder.

The biggest support for missions isn’t your money

USA (MNN) — Today is the National Day of Prayer in the United States. Sadly, prayer sometimes receives little more than an eye roll. Some people see prayer as a lackluster response to real life issues. And in the ministry world, some see prayer as bare-minimum support for outreach — certainly not as desirable as tangible donations.

However, Barry*, the international prayer leader with Global Disciples, says they hold a high-level view of prayer and its impact.

“We believe at Global Disciples that prayer often precedes and lays the foundation for God to work in lives and communities and even nations.”

Putting Words to Action

Global Disciples seeks to reach the least-reached around the world with the Gospel. They have over 1,600 programs and directors leading church planting movements among the least-reached.

(Photo courtesy of Global Disciples)

Additionally, Barry explains, “We ask all of them to work at developing a prayer team. So we potentially have…about [1,600] prayer teams internationally that are being encouraged and equipped and developed and are praying. That’s a pretty amazing network.”

The ministry also has eight regional prayer leaders who advance on prayer initiatives in their regions around the world.

“We have one regional prayer leader who is focused specifically on developing teams in restricted access regions. That’s something we are just getting off the ground and so that’s pretty exciting too. They are going to be focused on areas in the Middle East and North Africa and in Asia where it’s particularly restricted for missionaries or others to go in,” Barry says.

“We also send teams into groundbreaking areas [and] least-reached areas ahead of our programming. We also try to have an on-site prayer team at all of the training events and things that we do.”

First Line of Defense

Sending prayer teams ahead of ministry initiatives means prayer is literally Global Disciples’ first line of defense.

Barry says they saw the power of prayer firsthand when a Global Disciples team recently held a gathering event in a high-crisis region.

“There was lots of violence, lots of rampant gunshots, and it was a really difficult area for people to gather. There was a lot of uncertainty about what would happen, but they decided to hold the event anyway.

(Photo courtesy of Global Disciples via Facebook)

“So there was a team that went in ahead of time to pray and they sent me an email basically saying that during that week, there were no gunshots. The whole region was quiet — totally, almost unexpectedly — and they had no issues with any of the people arriving there safely. While the event was happening, there was only one person who became sick and they prayed for them and they were healed and able to fulfill their responsibilities.

“[It was] just an amazing way that our on-site team was able to really quiet the area through prayer and through God’s work.”

Barry also heard another powerful story from a woman in a least-reached village in Asia. She and her three children suffered from illnesses and demon possession. Then a prayer team with Global Disciples visited her village and met her. The team prayed for her family, but nothing happened.

“She just was weeping as she told the story. [The prayer team] left and went back…and decided that they were going to pray and fast and then eventually go back. So they prayed and they fasted. They went back to this house and surrounded it with the whole team. Then a few of them went in again and prayed over this family.

“This time, God healed this family, and the oldest son in that family is now the pastor of the first church that’s planted in that village.”

Join the Movement

There are several ways you can be part of this Gospel-based prayer movement. You can pick a people group or country and pray with boldness for their people to seek the face of Jesus. Pray for Christians going into least-reached regions to find favor and a platform to share the Gospel.

(Photo courtesy of Global Disciples)

You can also join Global Disciples in prayer and fasting on the first Friday of every month. Several of their team members set their alarms for either 9:38 or 10:02 as a reminder to pray. The times represent Matthew 9:38 and Luke 10:2.

Finally, Global Disciples has several prayer resources available at their website here!

“We have a 7 Day Family Prayer Guide on there, which is a really good resource for families,” Barry says. “It talks about different people groups, a little bit about the Muslim world, the Hindu world, the Buddhist world, and so forth, and just can educate families on how to pray into the work of reaching everyone with the Gospel. There’s also a 40 Day Prayer Guide for the least-reached, so you can access those through the website.”

Today, as we recognize the National Day of Prayer, please join MNN and Global Disciples in praying for God’s name to be made great in least-reached communities around the world.

“I think the foundations that are being laid in prayer right now are going to open the way for some pretty powerful things that God is going to do in the world in this generation.”

 

 

*First name only for security purposes.

Bringing the Gospel to dying languages

Int’l (MNN) — A language dies every two weeks. Right now, about 2233 different languages have less than 1000 native speakers left. Wycliffe Bible Translators is tackling Scripture translation for some of those endangered languages and helping preserve them along the way.

The Gospel First

Andy Keener Wycliffe USA’s Executive Vice President for Global Partnerships, gives a clear definition of their mission. “Wycliffe’s focus is to see that God’s Word is available in each community, for each individual around the world in the language or multiple languages that serve them best.”

For them, the first order of business is the Great Commission. In that respect, the urgency of the task isn’t necessarily about language preservation. The goal is to offer the Good News in a language they can understand at a heart level.

Structure and Literacy

While the message of Christ is foremost, part of showing God’s love is demonstrating that He can relate to all people in their own language. To do that, Wycliffe USA brings structure to indigenous tongues that are missing it so they can provide better Gospel translations.

Keener explains, “We work with communities that have minority languages, so that language is no longer a barrier between them and the Gospel. While we do that, we also do work on the language alphabets, literacy, etc.”

Without an alphabet, many endangered languages are not passed on or included in formal education. These lesser-well-known languages remain in the background in situations where a main-stream language can be substituted. Eventually, the native tongue may not be used at all.

By providing written accounts of God’s Word, Wycliffe USA offers a formalized account of indigenous language that can be preserved.

Keener says, “And what happens when we’re working on Bible translation is we’ll tend to focus on developing things around the language to make it more useful in different aspects of life where perhaps people haven’t used it who are multilingual…

“And so what happens over time is people start to understand that ‘Hey my language is good for more than just talking around the house. Now I can understand God’s word in my language. I can pray. I can sing. Maybe my language is more valuable than I thought. ”

The Gift of Languages

Not only does this bring the Gospel to and help develop those languages, but it also confirms the value of diversity in the Kingdom of God.

(Photo courtesy of Dottie Day on Flickr https://bit.ly/2UMSCbK)

“We want to also highlight the fact that by doing that in some of these minority small indigenous languages, we’re also able to help people understand the real value that is in their language. And many times, we see cultures say, ‘If I can communicate with God in my language than my language must be okay and I should pass it on to my children.’”

Languages are one of the unique tools God has given to record history and understand the world. A variety of tongues provides a richer understanding of humanity, history and the world.

Get Involved

Help Wycliffe bring God’s Word to new indigenous languages. Visit Wycliffe.org for more information.

 

 

Header photo courtesy of moyerphotos via Flickr.

TWR broadcasts hope amid Venezuela unrest

Venezuela (MNN) — State forces fire tear gas at protestors and the U.S. promises military action if needed in Venezuela. These are among the latest developments following an attempted military coup earlier this week.

On Tuesday, opposition leader Juan Guaidó called upon military forces to oust President Maduro. A few officials responded but most stood by Maduro, leading him to declare victory over the attempted coup. At press time, thousands of Guaidó’s supporters gathered in the capital city to show their support of his mission.

Change is constant as the situation unfolds, and so is TWR’s presence. The ministry boosted its radio signal in Bonaire to make sure messages of hope can reach Venezuela. Speaking to MNN on the heels of the coup attempt, TWR’s Steve Shantz said, “We plan on going on the air [Wednesday] and just speaking to our listeners, speaking to the people in Venezuela.

“[We’re] not trying to get involved, not trying to sway people either way, but trying to bring them words of encouragement.”

Venezuela: a nation of unending problems

How did things get so bad in Venezuela? It’s a complex situation that’s been unraveling for months, but here’s a basic summary from BBC News.

Essentially, the economy fell apart. People couldn’t get essentials like food and medicine, so they left in droves. Maduro and Guaidó have been fighting for control since January, and tensions came to a head this week.

As they walk alongside Venezuelan church leaders, TWR staff see challenges first-hand.

(Logo courtesy of TWR)

“People are suffering. And, there is genuine, genuine, hurt and struggle going on in people’s lives right now,” Shantz says. “The situation in Venezuela definitely needs to change, and the Christian leaders really need wisdom [in] responding to that at this time.

“Please pray for a peaceful change in the way the country is run at this time because the situation is untenable.”

What now?

Things are changing rapidly on the ground and it’s difficult to predict what will happen next. Shantz says, “If there is a transition of power or if the existing regime decides to take the needs of the country to heart, we want that to be a peaceful process.

“Our response is going to be one of trying to encourage the people of Venezuela.”

Please keep Venezuela, its people, and TWR in your prayers. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for breaking news and updates.

“These are just normal people like us; people with families and jobs that are trying to make ends meet,” says Shantz. “Keep those people in mind and think of them with compassion, and uphold them in prayer – that their situation would be able to improve.”

 

 

Header image is a stock photo obtained via Pixabay.

Cyclone Kenneth batters previously-hit Mozambique

Mozambique (MNN) – Cyclone Kenneth has left northeast Mozambique devastated. The cyclone came on the heels of Cyclone Idai, which hit the central area of Mozambique last month, and struck recovering Mozambique on April 25. Winds from the storm reached 140mph. Entire villages have been flattened, leaving people without shelter and exposed to their environment. The death toll has already reached 38 people and is expected to climb.

Second Cyclone Hits Mozambique

In this life-threatening situation, the only way aid is deliverable to isolated and island communities is by air. That’s where Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), operating as Ambassador Aviation in Mozambique, is helping.

When word reached MAF that another cyclone was aiming for Mozambique, the organization dispatched a disaster response (DR) team to assist their Mozambique program. MAF began conducting assessment flights on Saturday, April 27, just two days after Kenneth hit.

Northeast Mozambique, Cyclone Kenneth (Photo courtesy of Mission Aviation Fellowship)

“Right after the storm passed we went up to Pemba and we did aerial assessment footage just to help people see the scale and the scope of the damage. And what was different about this cyclone, it was almost like a tornado. There’s a very tight band of damage, but it’s substantial damage probably 20 to 30 villages just pretty much flattened,” says John Woodberry, MAF’s Global Disaster Response Manager.

MAF reports the assessment team determined the cyclone “created a narrow band of destruction”, and described the damage as horrific. This team witnessed firsthand decimated villages and areas with significant damage “on the islands of Ibo and Matemo, the mainland coastal area directly west of Matemo, and the area of Mucojo farther north.”

Heavy rains following Cyclone Kenneth temporarily paused some relief operations. MAF had assessment flights and relief flights planned for Sunday, which were postponed. Then on Monday, the organization sent a relief flight to deliver tarps which did “reach the island of Ibo”.

MAF Delivering Aid

MAF is focusing on delivering aid to the islands just off of Mozambique’s coast. Woodberry says most villages on the coast are accessible by vehicle. Still, each day is different.

Northeast Mozambique, Cyclone Kenneth (Photo courtesy of Mission Aviation Fellowship)

“It’s a dynamic situation with still some of the lingering weather. We’re paying attention because a lot of the rain can cause flooding. So, areas that we think now you can get to by road focusing on islands and areas that are really a challenge for agencies to support, there might be new areas that are super isolated. And so, we’re focusing on where can we be best used to bring the greatest impact and help because DRs is all about speed and saving lives,” Woodberry says.

MAF hopes to fly a medical team to islands along with food and shelter soon. Currently, the organization is focusing on the needs of those isolated. One of the most immediate needs is shelter.

People have no structures for protection, food stocks are gone, and medical care is urgent. MAF is working with organizations like World Food Program and the Mozambique government to deliver these urgent needs.

“We’re working with partners that are involved in that type of work. The challenge is a lot of people are still very involved down south because of Cyclone Idai down in the Beira area. And so, [the] capacity to do two cyclones in a month in the same country is stretching a lot of agencies. So, people are doing what they can,” Woodberry says.

Would you Pray?

If you would, please pray for those suffering in Mozambique. Pray for organizations like MAF to have access to hard-to-reach areas to deliver relief aid and transport medical teams. Pray that those serving the Mozambicans suffering from Cyclone Kenneth would truly be the hands and feet of Jesus. And please, pray that despite the changing situation, aid and God’s hope and love would still reach those in need.

 

 

Header photo of Northeast Mozambique, Cyclone Kenneth. Photo and caption courtesy of Mission Aviation Fellowship.

Application of religious policies remains ‘fluid’ in Nepal

Nepal (MNN) – In recent years, persecution of Christians in Nepal has risen considerably in certain areas of the Hindu-majority nation.

Fluid Religiousness in Nepal

On Open Doors USA’s World Watchlist, a list of the top 50 countries where Christian persecution takes place, Nepal was not previously on the list until 2018. In 2018, it shot up to 25th. In 2019, it still remains on the list but has dropped down to the 32nd spot.

Bibles For The World’s (BFTW) John Pudaite calls the religious situation in Nepal “fluid”.

In 2015, the Nepal constitution was rewritten. Technically, it declares that people have freedom of religion. Nevertheless, some authorities in certain areas of Nepal have understood and acted out the constitution and laws differently than in other areas, creating fluidity in the nation’s religious situation.

“You will see support or at least cooperation from government authorities from certain areas of the country, and then in other areas of the country, you’ll hear reports of persecution and oppression of the Christians, and it has really come down to who are the local people and how vigilant or how adamant they are about trying to keep Nepal as a Hindu nation,” Pudaite says.

“We’ve seen things rise up again and again, attempts to really squelch the growth of Christianity in Nepal, but I think it’s starting to reach a critical mass.”

Pudaite says at a recent gathering of Christian leaders, a non-believer who was a representative of the Nepali government said the number of believers in Nepal has grown to ten percent of the nation’s population.

When BFTW began working in Nepal about 12 years ago, Pudaite says the population of believers in Nepal was only about two percent. Hearing how the population of believers has grown in the last decade was an encouragement to the team.

“It just thrilled us to know how God has been working there and that He’s let us have a little piece of this to be a part of what He’s doing there as we see so many Nepalis coming to the Lord.”

India’s Role in Religious Pressures in Nepal

Much of the growth, Pudaite says, has hinged on how bold Christians have been in sharing their faith with their local communities and how adamant they are towards India’s pressures.

“India’s big brother and at any time, if India wants to close the borders, they could pretty much cripple that country. Everything comes in from India. All of their cooking gas, all of their gasoline, diesel, so much of their building materials. All of the things that that country needs for progress and development comes from India.”

(Photo courtesy of Bibles For The World via Facebook)

The future for the landlocked nation of Nepal is unclear right now as India is in the middle of elections.

There are five phases to the elections, which began on April 11th and will go through May. The outcome of the votes will be announced on May 23.

“If the Hindu nationalist party, the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) stays in power in India, then they will certainly continue to put pressure on Nepal,” Pudaite says.

“But that’s why Christians in India are rallying prayer and in other ways to really get the vote out and try to vote this Hindu nationalist party out of power.”

Pudaite says the Body of Christ is coming together both in India and in Nepal because they’ve seen persecution of believers, not to mention places of worship being destroyed, under the rule of BJP.

Give strength to believers in Nepal and India by praying that the Lord will give them boldness and instate a great leader to India that will be for believers and not against them.

 

 

Header photo courtesy of Bibles For The World via Facebook.

How to ‘Love Muslims’ during Ramadan

International (MNN) — Ramadan kicks off on Sunday. It’s a holy month of fasting observed each year by many of the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims.

Islam is the world’s second-largest religion and Chris Ruge — director of our sister ministry Prayercast — tells us it would take an act of God to shake the foundations of Islam. That’s exactly what he and the Prayercast team are praying for as they prepare to launch the ‘Love Muslims’ campaign on May 5, the day Ramadan begins.

“I’m asking God to do immeasurably more than any one of us can ask or imagine.”

Join the prayer movement here.

‘Love Muslims’ movement begins

As explained here, the ‘Love Muslims’ project began four-and-a-half years ago and resulted in the production of more than 130 videos.

“We worked with experts around the world in trying to identify different ways to pray most strategically that hearts would be changed across the Muslim world.”

(Screenshot)

Beginning Sunday, “We’re going to be releasing a brand new video every day so that we’re all praying together during those 30 days,” Ruge explains.

“Each video includes a prayer…by an MBB: a Muslim-background believer. Somebody who used to be a follower of Islam who is now a follower of Jesus Christ.”

As described on its website, “Prayercast exists to activate victorious, world-changing prayer and worship through mass media and the arts to advance the gospel to the masses.” The ‘Love Muslims’ project is an extension of that mission, providing resources the Church can use to partner with God in His Great Commission.

There are endless ways to use the video resources, Ruge continues.

“Most people like to watch videos, take all the information in, and then use that as a prompt to begin praying after the video’s over,” he says. Others use Prayercast videos as part of Sunday School lessons, or during conference sessions.

Click here for more ideas.

Next steps

If you have a heart for the Muslim world, click here to sign up for daily ‘Love Muslims’ prayer emails.

“Our goal is that the Church around the world will rally together in prayer – strategic and fervent prayer – using these videos in an ongoing basis.”

Ask the Lord to move mightily through the ‘Love Muslims’ campaign. Pray Muslims seeking God’s face during this time will meet the only true Lord: Jesus Christ.

 

 

Header and story images courtesy of Prayercast.

USCIRF Report reveals concerns for religious freedom in China and Russia

International (MNN) – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is a bi-partisan commission that evaluates levels of religious freedom across the globe. One of the functions of the independent USCIRF is to inform the United States President, Congress, and Secretary of State on issues regarding international religious freedom. Read more about the function of the list here.

The USCIRF Report

On Monday, USCIRF released its 20th Annual Report. Upon the release, Mission Network News met up with Dr. David Curry of Open Doors USA to discuss the list. Per Curry, there were no surprises on the list, but there are a couple of countries which should have Christians on alert.

“Whenever the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom comes out with their report, it’s always a subset of some of the larger issues going on, meaning there are other places where Christians are being persecuted. But it has highlighted a couple of key areas,” Curry explains.

“What the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom does, in my view, is give you a handful of the places where they think religious freedom is crossing over into the political best interests of the United States.”

Russia Designated as CPC

(Photo by Nikolay Vorobyev on Unsplash)

On the 2019 report, Russia is recommended as a Tier 1 Country of Particular Concern (CPC). A country can be designated as a Tier 1 CPC “for engaging in or tolerating ‘systematic, ongoing, egregious violations’” regarding religious freedom. CPCs designated as Tier 2s only meet one or two of these defined violations, but never all three.

Russia’s classification on the list is attributed to the government’s actions against “nontraditional” religious minorities through fines, detentions, and criminal charges under the mask of fighting extremism in the country (This information found on page 80 of the USCIRF 20th Annual Report). Curry believes part of Russia’s designation is because the U.S. is sending a political message that it does not like what Russia is doing and is concerned for “religious freedom and what it means…for that region.”

Curry says in some of Russia’s provinces, there have been Muslim extremists attacks on Christian churches. There are also questions regarding some of the nation’s laws from the last few years which give significant control to the state to restrict evangelical churches. However, these laws are unevenly implemented. Learn more about these laws here and here.

World Watch List vs. USCIRF Report

Russia is also ranked #41 on the Open Doors’ World Watch List* (WWL). The WWL is a report based on research into countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. The WWL works at a “grassroots level marketing key data” and determines precise factors that contribute to the ranking of countries. For this reason, Curry says the WWL is “the lead indicator for the USCIRF report”. Open Doors also shares its WWL data with the U.S. State Department.

“[The USCIRF report is] not giving you every place that Christians are being persecuted. They’re just telling you what, where that persecution, quote ‘is cross reference with their political interest’…But certainly, the Open Doors list is more comprehensive,” Curry notes.

China Designated as CPC

The USCIRF Annual Report also includes China, which is recommended as a Tier 1 CPC. The nation was previously designated in November 2018, but Curry says the reasons China was designated a Tier 1 CPC might take some catching up for the average U.S. citizen. China is also ranked #27 on the WWL.

(Photo by Theodor Lundqvist on Unsplash)

For a period of time, China was expanding religious freedom so Christians and other religious groups could practice their faith – provided it did not overtly conflict with the Communist Party agenda. But according to Curry, in the last five years, persecution against Christianity and other religions has increased in the country. Furthermore, China has an added layer of technical sophistication which gives them control of how people “live and experience life”.

“This technical sophistication allows them to use facial recognition, keep master lists of people who are going to church, who call themselves Christians, and then begin to give social scoring to people who are considered less than ideal citizens if they’re committed followers of Jesus. You can see where that’s headed, in a worst-case scenario,” Curry explains.

Curry recalls an incident in Beijing from last September when a church refused to add cameras to their pulpit. The purpose of the cameras was to use facial recognition to discover who is attending. Curry also says individuals under 18-years-old are no longer allowed to attend church.

“It’s just it’s stunning the levels to which China is now going to, to persecute and to hold down the expression of Christian faith,” Curry says.

China: Additional Challenges

To add fuel to the political fire, Christianity is seen as a “Western” religion. In 2019, the U.S. and China have gone back and forth in trade wars. For the U.S., this means religious issues go on the backburner., though it is a forefront issue.

“For Christians in the United States, we need to continue to pray, care, and show concern for what’s happening to brothers and sisters in China. This is a very severe problem. And there are [a] great many Christians whose faith, the practice of their faith, the freedom of that is at risk,” Curry emphasizes.

Responding to the USCIRF Report

Still, the question remains, how can Christians respond? The first step—education. Curry encourages Christians to learn the facts of what is happening in both China and Russia. Start by reading the USCIRF Annual Report and familiarizing one’s self with the WWL. Also, stay up-to-date with the pressures Christians are facing globally at the Open Doors website.

(Photo by twinsfisch on Unsplash)

“When you find out what’s happening to individual people, these stories come alive. I mentioned a church in Beijing, Zion Church, their pastor is in prison in solitary confinement. His story, his courage I think inspires us all in our faith. And then to be people of prayer for our brothers and sisters, because Jesus asked us to do that. Pray for those in prison for the name of Jesus,” Curry says.

Pray for the religious freedom of expression for Christ-followers in China and Russia. Pray for the religious liberties in the countries listed on the USCIRF Annual Report and the WWL. Ask God to encourage and strengthen Christians living in these countries and that His Word and Gospel would penetrate the culture despite the religious restrictions.

Find more ways to come alongside the churches in these countries here.

 

*Open Doors USA’s World Watch List (WWL) is a ranking of the 50 top countries where it is most difficult to live as a Christian. Find the WWL here.

 

 

Header photo by James Coleman on Unsplash.

Will President Buhari’s second term bring change for Christians in Nigeria?

Nigeria (MNN) – Nigeria’s election has come to an end. President Muhammadu Buhari, who has served as the country’s leader since 2015, will serve a second four-year term.

Under President Buhari, the nation has fought against the terrorist group, Boko Haram, and religious-related attacks in certain areas. In northern areas of Nigeria, in particular, Christians have faced many attacks and been targeted because of their faith.

Religious Attacks in Nigeria

On March 18, 2019, PREMIUM TIMES reports that Boko Haram militants attacked Michika, a Christian-majority town in northern Nigeria. Nigerian soldiers responded. However, before troops arrived, many people from Michika were forced to flee and others were killed.

Morning Star News also reports the attack of Christians in the Kaduna state by Fulani herdsmen on March 16. They said about 10 people were killed, including children, and 30 houses were burned.

With this attack, a total of 130 Christians have killed by Fulani herdsmen in Kajuru County in Kaduna state between February 10, 2019 and March 16, 2019 .

“When the Fulani come into a village and attack, they specifically ask which houses do the Christians live in? Where does the Church meet?” Voice of the Martyrs’ Todd Nettleton says.

“Those houses are targeted, and sometimes, the Muslim house right between two Christian houses is left completely alone, and the two Christians’ houses are burned to the ground. This is Christians being targeted and attacked. It’s not sort of random violence.”

There is ongoing pressure and attacks of believers in Nigeria.

“The sad news is it’s become so common that we don’t even notice if another Church was attacked in Nigeria. It’s not newsworthy because it happens all the time.”

Last year, President Donald Trump addressed the persecution of Christians in Nigeria with President Buhari and encouraged Nigeria to take action and “to protect innocent civilians of all faiths including Muslims and including Christians.”

President Trump acknowledged President’s Buhari fight against terrorist groups but pointed out the conflict between the Fulani herdsmen and Christians must stop.

Will change happen in Nigeria?

Now in his second term, will President Buhari bring any change for persecuted believers in Nigeria?

“Our expectations are it’s going to be more of the same there. There’s going to be attacks. The government will say things about how they’re going to respond and how they’re going to get control of the situation. But, one of the stories that we hear consistently in these attacks in northern Nigeria is that some of the attackers had military uniform. Some of the attackers had military weapons,” Nettleton says.

“So, it’s hard to imagine that in his second term, there will be some dramatic shift in how Christians and churches are being protected in northern Nigeria that we haven’t seen over the last four years.”

(Photo courtesy of Voice of the Martyrs via Facebook)

Nettleton encourages believers to not ignore the news of persecution of believers in the field.

“We can’t grow numb. We can’t just say it was another attack in Nigeria, and then go on into our week as if nothing happened. These are our family members. These are our brothers and sisters, and they are laying down their lives to go to Church on Sunday, to follow Christ, even just to be a Christian.”

Pray for change in Nigeria. Pray President Buhari will use his second term to address religious persecution taking place in his country.

Also, praise the Lord as many Muslims in Nigeria are putting their faith in Him.

“Thousands of Fulani are now following Jesus Christ. So there is a good side to this story. Let’s not grow weary in paying attention to it or in praying for our brothers and sisters there.”

 

 

Header photo courtesy of Voice of the Martyrs via Facebook.

Christian radio: it’s something to celebrate in Uganda

Uganda (MNN) – In places like the U.S., God’s Word is only a swipe or click away. Believers can access God’s Word instantly online or through a mobile phone app. It’s a completely different story in Uganda.

Christian resources are hard to come by — even for pastors. AMG International’s Bill Passons reports that 85% of pastors have no formal training or access to essentials like Bible commentaries. Many pastors in remote regions lack complete copies of Scripture.

Nearly two decades ago, AMG’s national leader Reuben Musiime decided to do something about it. He began a radio ministry to help Ugandan Christians better understand and follow what the Bible teaches.

“The radio broadcast serves several different needs there,” Passons says. “For one, it’s a constant and weekly opportunity to preach truth.”

Broadcasting truth

(Photo courtesy of AMG International)

Today, AMG’s radio broadcast reaches approximately 12 million listeners every Sunday morning. Listeners hear the broadcast spoken in a local language, Lunyankole. This makes engaging with God’s Word in the language they use on a daily basis easy and accessible.

The broadcast functions as a way to introduce listeners to God’s Word. It also serves other functions by providing time to answer listener questions about the Bible and theology.

Listener questions give the broadcast time to dive deeper into the Bible and biblical teaching tools to understand God’s Word in a new way.

Passons explains that for some in Uganda, this radio ministry is a way to correct misguided beliefs about what the Bible says.

He says, “[This is] a way to not just correct untruth out there, but also to relieve someone’s fears because truth does set people free.”

The broadcast also connects listeners throughout Uganda as it provides updates on various ministry projects.

Passons says, “It serves as a way to share what God’s doing in Uganda… it gives us an opportunity to praise God and…encourage people with what God is doing.”

Next Steps

(Photo courtesy of AMG International via Facebook.)

For those curious about the church, Passons says the broadcast provides a space for them to engage with God’s Word.

“For some people it actually serves… as a way that they can be fed on a regular basis. It has been a huge blessing and we continue to pray that God will continue to use and it will bear much fruit.”

If you want to get involved and help support this ministry, AMG has several ways you can help. First, by supporting AMG in their Media Evangelism, you are also supporting Uganda’s radio ministry.

Click here to donate to AMG and help listeners hear God’s Word.

AMG also asks for prayers for the director of the radio program, Reuben Musiime, so that he may have wisdom as he addresses various biblical and theological topics.

Finally, pray that listeners hear and respond to God’s Word and the Gospel truth.

 

 

Header photo courtesy of AMG International.

Top 5 Mother’s Day gift ideas that may surprise your mom

As a son and a husband, I’ve learned that when it comes to Mother’s Day, treat it more like a birthday and all will go well.

My wife, Heidi, describes motherhood like this, “Moms do it all. We anticipate that the kids need new shoes. We’re awake at 3 a.m. when they have a fever. We come up with a creative way to get them to eat their vegetables again and again.”

But her favorite? “Nothing makes you prouder as a mom than watching your child help someone else,” she says.

So below are five Mother’s Day gift ideas — gifts that cover all the basics she gave to you. But most importantly, ones that show her you’ve learned her greatest lesson: empathy for others.

1. Reimburse her for all those sick days she powered through.

Moms are gentle steel. “Moms don’t get sick days. I’m here all week. Yep,” says Heidi. “There’s a rough side to motherhood, but it’s also empowering. I’ve had my kids barf on me. Arm wrestled an 8-month-old so I can suck out their nose so they can breathe for their nap. And I’ll tell you what makes it all worth it. Your 8-year-old brings you a rock that looks like a heart because he loves you. Those are good days.”

As for my own mom? She treated my (young) man cold like the true tragedy it was. She was a pro. I’d get my favorite breakfast of buttered strips of toast to dip in hot cocoa. Try it. It’s amazing. All the blankets and wrapped up on the couch with all the Super Nintendo screen time my eyeballs could handle. It’s good to have that one person in your life who spoils you.

But how can you ever repay a mom’s 5-star treatment? Give the gift of medicine to another in Mom’s name! She’ll think you’re extra smart (she always knew you were, but now there’s proof), because your donation will multiply five times to give other moms what they need to take care of their kids.

Give the gift of medicine.

2. Atone for all those times you wouldn’t eat your vegetables.

As a boy, I was not a bottomless-pit eater. I grazed. I picked. My grandma said I needed to eat or else I would blow away in the wind. I would ask my mom if my snack could please, please please count as dinner. But it wouldn’t get me out of eating whatever vegetables or meat were in front of me. I had to sit there until it was done. My mom, like yours, was trying to feed me the right kind of food.

If it were up to me, all I’d have eaten were single-serving French bread microwave pizzas and giant chocolate muffins from everyone’s favorite big box store.

Everyone has their “Mom made me eat this” story. But not everyone had the same solution.

Mine was the milk trick: all the milk I could drink. And I learned that three or so big glasses could do it. I would take a big swig and then swallow my food whole, python-style. Corn was easy. Steak was okay. Green beans took skill. My mom let me, because somehow, I never choked, and it meant I was getting the healthy food I needed. She’s kind like that. She let me solve the problem in my own way. She also taught me to put mayo on my broccoli, which I’ve learned grosses a lot of people out, but I don’t care. I think it’s delicious.

So this Mother’s Day, why not show her that you finally learned that eating healthy is the way to go by donating to improve child health and nutrition? Your gift will multiply three times to help provide things like nutrition education, malnutrition interventions, and more!

Give to child health and nutrition.

3. Give a shout-out to the mama bear in your life.

My mom never lifted a car off me in my childhood, but I only think that’s because she was never given the chance. My wife has never fought a mountain lion, but she has mentioned that all she’d need is a big stick. These women are always scanning, always thinking, always aware. Moms don’t have spidey-sense, Spider-Man has mom-sense. When something’s wrong, they know it.

But they also assuage fears in gentler ways. That reassurance that everything is okay as long as you’re with her. My 11-year-old son remembers a fierce windstorm two years ago. We live next to a greenbelt with tall trees that sway more than any of us are comfortable with. He was terrified one would fall on his room. I didn’t blame him. But it was Mom who came up with the solution: sleep in our room on the floor until the storm passes. Oh, and bring your little brother, too.

Now this story isn’t groundbreaking or even unique. But my son remembers it, and that’s what’s important. Every single day your mom was doing little things to keep you safe. And if the stories are all boring, that’s good! She kept you safe!

So in honor of the car-lifting, mountain lion-fighting woman in your life, why not protect even more children for her special day? Help give other kids the worry-free childhood she gave you by donating to child protection efforts. And right now, thanks to matching grants, your gift will get multiplied four times!

Give to child protection.

4. Because it’s time to actually get her something nice.

When you’re a kid and the Mother’s Day gift is homemade, then its value is directly inverse to how ugly it is. My middle child gave my wife a ladybug frame in preschool, but the real prize was the photo. He could not have had a more glowering face. It’s classic. It’s our favorite thing (well, mine maybe) she’s ever gotten. We will keep this photo forever. It’s on our bookshelf in our bedroom, and will never get packed away. We will show it to his first girlfriend. It will go in his wedding slideshow one day.

But that was when you were a kid. As an adult, you better get her something nice. And not only nice, but meaningful. For example, if it’s a gift card, you can’t just give it to her, you have to go with her to spend it on clothes or coffee or a meal. That card represents time with you.

Here’s an even better idea: Get her something she can wear and think of you, and think of how she raised you right … because these gifts literally helped other people! Take a look at the Grace Collection, designed by Patricia Heaton — a beautiful scarf, necklace, and bracelet — all handmade by artisans in India who are thriving through fair trade businesses. The pieces are beautiful, and your mom can brag about you anytime someone compliments her.

Shop the Grace Collection.

5. She never stopped looking out for you. So look out for another in her honor.

Moms never stop being moms. There is always a porch light on. A meal waiting. An unspoken worry. They never stop wanting to take care of you. When they’re sick. Or even near the end of life, a mom’s true nature shines through. “Everything moms do is for someone else in their life,” says my wife. “The last thirty minutes that my mom’s mom was alive, she wasn’t conscious, but she was doing something with her hands. It looked like she was measuring out food. She was baking. Cooking. She was taking care of people and doing what she loved to do.”

My dad, Joe, also has this sweet story about his mom after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. “We gathered kids one weekend in Chattaroy to say goodbye when we knew she had but a few weeks left and was still able to speak and be reasonably comfortable,” he writes. “We had a great time together, all of us, no tears, just a lot of fun remembering and storytelling. As I headed out the door for the airport after saying my goodbyes, I heard her say to Dad, ‘Be sure to write Joey a check for his airfare.’ The last words I heard her say in person, and she was still being a mom, making sure I was okay. That was Mom. She died at home on April 19, 1996, at the age of 87. … The Lord was indeed her light and her salvation.”

For Mother’s Day, remember your mom and how she never stops caring for you and loving you — no matter what you need — with a donation to the where most needed fund. Give in her name to help another with whatever is most pressing, a gift that lets someone know that they are loved no matter what.

Give where it’s needed most.

The post Top 5 Mother’s Day gift ideas that may surprise your mom appeared first on World Vision.

Fundamentals for Pastoral Ministry

There needs to be a shift from pastor as resident-expert to pastor as player-coach.

Last week we discussed the necessity of certain missionary fundamentals for kingdom disciples. Much like the basic skills of any sport, those committed to living and loving like Jesus must return to the fundamentals of faith-fueled prayer, intentional relationships, and Jesus centrality. Repeated daily, these habits are the baseline for the work of church planters, missionaries, pastors, and everyday disciple-makers. Any hope of sustained movement in North America depends on the cultivation of these fundamentals among all of God’s people.

Much has been written about the role of pastors and church leaders in propelling the church outward into God’s great mission. Paul’s instructions to the Ephesian church help clarify a central leadership fundamental for pastors that must coincide with the missionary fundamentals of the church that we mentioned last week. Paul provides a job description of sorts when he says that these leaders exist “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ” (Eph 4:12).

This equipping function is disorienting for many leaders who’ve been trained, or simply assumed, that the role of pastor amounted to being the resident expert on all things spiritual. In many cases these leaders have spent years thinking about refined theological ideas and engaging in intramural banter around these themes. Also, assuming the best about these leaders, many of them were elevated to a position of leadership because of deep convictions about God and His Word and consistent character derived from a vibrant intimacy with the Father.

There are expectations to this type of leader, of course. Some are unqualified, unprepared, or ungodly. Let’s leave …

Continue reading

Baptism in the Middle East, a bold declaration for Jesus

Middle East (MNN) – A couple of weeks ago, Samuel from Redemptive Stories had the opportunity to celebrate the baptisms of two Christ-followers in the Middle East. The men who were baptized have followed Christ for at least the last four years. In a blow-up pool in the yard of a friend who had been discipling them, these men counted the cost of following Christ and publicly declared their faith through baptism.

Boldness in Baptism

Samuel says the men took the opportunity to share their testimonies and their stories, and those present took the time to pray with them. Following the baptism, the group of friends shared in the Lord’s Supper and also in a time of community around a meal.

pixabay

“It was just so joyful to see their joy in their following in obedience in baptism, to tell their stories. One had lost his wife, because of his faith, his wife had divorced him. The other one, his wife had accepted him and his faith, but still, there were still struggles in that relationship with her. He just confessed that he just is begging for prayer for that,” Samuel says.

“It was just a beautiful story of them counting the cost for Christ, knowing that it was going to be difficult knowing that it was going to be hard, but yet, knowing that Christ Himself is worth it.”

One of these men even took the risk to share about Christ with his extended family. As a result, two of his brothers have also come to faith in Jesus.

Trials in Faith

However, there is still danger looming over these men’s lives for their decision to follow Christ. For these men, choosing baptism is similar to publicly marking themselves for their faith. The men reside in a fundamental Islamic community. While their community is mostly Shiite and generally more accepting compared to other dogmatic branches of Islam, there still is not a lot of room to leave Islam for a different belief and still be accepted. In counting the cost, these men found the joy of Christ to be worth the potential challenges to follow.

“There is openness…I think that after what happened with ISIS, in their country, and in countries around it, what has happened is they’ve seen the failures of Islam, they’ve seen the systemic brokenness of Islam. And so, they’re asking questions, they’re asking deep theological questions which have created opportunities for the gospel to go forth,” Samuel says.

Will You Pray?

Currently, Redemptive Stories is encouraging and supporting these men who are faithfully serving Christ. Samuel says as the organization walks alongside these men encouraging them. They also offer training, leadership guidance, ideas for opportunities to share Christ, and prayer and financial support.pixabay

Will you join in prayer? Pray for these men who have boldly declared their faith in Christ. Pray the encouragement of Christians in the Middle East and North Africa, specifically those who have “Christian” stamped on their passport and have grown out of a heritage of Christianity.

“These are believing Christians who are faithfully working in these communities to share their faith with their Muslim neighbor. And so, pray for them. Pray that they would be faithful and fruitful,” Samuel says.

Discover more ways to pray for the region here.

 

 

Header photo by Ryan Loughlin on Unsplash

Marginalized women find hope in biblical accounts

International (MNN) – Taking examples of the stories of people from the Bible can be an encouraging reminder that you’re not alone. International Media Ministries (IMM) is incorporating stories of women from the Bible to reach marginalized women today to do just that.

“We’ve heard from broadcast partners that women’s issues are really important and they need more products that address women,” IMM’s Denise Godwin says.

“So, we’ve journeyed into several pieces, short spots, for the internet and then full dramas of the women of the Bible to communicate to marginalized, abused women that they are still precious in the eyes of God no matter what has happened in their lives.”

Their programs are featuring stories of women like Ruth, Rahab, Tamar, and Bathsheba, all of whom have relatable storylines and can address the struggles of women today.

Godwin says Ruth is essentially a refugee because she left her home country just as many women in this world have been forced to do in recent years.

“We have Rahab, who’s sort of dealing with civil war and collapse of her culture. We’ve got Tamar who’s almost in an honor killing with a family member, and Bathsheba, who’s in an abusive power situation, and these really resonate in the headlines today.”

Godwin says women who’ve read the scripts have asserted that these stories and dramas are exactly what they need.

Stories like these are acting as encouragements for women who may be in prison, trafficked, in an abusive marriage, have an illness, or be in other difficult circumstances that they cannot change, and it shares with them that they are never too far from God and they will always be valued by Him.

“They may not be able to change the paradigm, but they can see women from the Bible, from history, from their own land that stood strong anyway, and I think that reinforces their faith, gives them hope that they are not alone… but other women have walked that journey before them and that God was faithful no matter what.”

Stories that Challenge Faith

Godwin says one story of faith that has moved and challenged her is the story of Perpetua and Felicitas.

In short, Perpetua was a rich, noble woman who accepted Christ. Her family begged her to give up her faith so she and her family would not be persecuted. However, she and her slave girl, Felicitas, stood firm in their faith despite the persecution and death they faced.

“It’s such a reflection of Paul saying rich, and slave, and free, and poor all mixed together in the Kingdom of God, but for the Roman culture, that was a visual depiction that women could stand for their faith and have their own voice… a message that really resonates today in north Africa and other parts of the world where persecution is occurring.”

(Photo courtesy of International Media Ministries via Facebook)

Godwin says she has been challenged by this story and other stories that are from the Bible to ask herself, “do I only want comfort for my faith, or can I persevere when there are challenges?”

Stories like those of Perpetua and Felicitas, Ruth, Rahab, and others challenge women around the world to ask that same question.

IMM wants to use their programs to encourage women to persevere in their faith and lives and believe that God is with them in the best and worst of times.

IMM is currently developing more stories and needs your support physically, prayerfully, and financially.

Pray for the development of their stories and dramas, pray for God to provide volunteers, and finally, pray for the women who are watching the stories to be strengthened with the knowledge that God is with them.

Equip IMM with the financial resources they need to continue developing stories.