Turkish Christians in Paris

It is Friday again and Marna and I are looking forward to meet up with our Turkish Bible study group. Karam* and Ismael* has been a real source of blessing for us lately. They made Jesus the Lord and Master of their lives last year but, they are already so passionate about him that they started with their own Bible study group.

And now, late on a Friday night, in a living room heated by a wooden stove, here in one of the suburbs of Paris, I look with awe and wonder at the 12 Turkish believers gathered into the small living room. I am playing the guitar as I am leading them in worship, they stand with hands raised high, eyes closed, some of them have tears running down their cheeks…and they praise God…passionately.

Looking at them in that moment, I know God is alive and at work, these Turkish believers are living proof of how God is bringing many Muslims into a living relationship with Jesus – and the increase of converts in Western nations. Pray for leaders to be raised up in the 6 different Turkish Christian groups that I oversee all over France.

Pray:

  • There is an increase of such testimonies in Europe. Pray for the protection of these new believers. Many of them are not just been thrown out of their families, but they also live in a foreign nation without few friends.
  • One major problem with these new converts is to find them and to slot them into churches.
  • An even bigger problem is for mature leaders to lead these new churches. Please pray for Spirit filled leaders that will be able to disciple new converts.

Source: M5- Pray for the Middle East 2016, http://us4.campaign-archive1.com/

Abduction of Local Pastor

A local pastor, who is well-known among the Christian community in Malaysia has been reported to be abducted  by a group of masked men on 13Feb 2017. Up to now there has been no news from his captors, no demand for ransom, no contact with his wife and family.

Koh has been involved in a lot of church charity and community work with a NGO group called Harapan Komuniti, which he founded more than 10 years ago. Harapan Komuniti holds free tuition classes for children and English lessons for adults. He was a dedicated pastor who worked among the poor and needy, often sacrificially. In 2011 after his NGO was accused by the state Islamic Religious Department (Jais) for proselytising Muslims following a raid on a thanksgiving and fund-raising dinner at the Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC).

Ps Koh’s family is anxious of his safety without word of his whereabouts.  His wife and son have been interviewerd extensively by the police. They are shocked, saddened and traumatised by the events of the past 2 weeks with no news of Ps Koh’s whereabouts and what has happened to him. The police up to now have been unable to trace the whereabouts of Pastor Koh or question any suspects involved in this abduction. His wife has issued a tearful plea on the internet news for his safe return. This is a new trajectory in our nation; such an incident involving a pastor has never happened before in our land.

Source –  http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017; http://skylinesib.com/blog-2/2017/2/18/missing-a-pastor

Prayer points :

 

  • Pray for the safety and wellbeing of Ps Koh – may his abductors be compelled to release him unharmed and for his safe return to his family.
  • Pray for the family of Ps Koh – that the protection and peace of Christ will permeate in their minds and hearts during these anxious and uncertain days.
  • Pray for the police to extend all resources and urgency to locate the abductors and secure the safe release of Ps Koh.
  • Pray for the security of this nation particularly Ps Raymond Koh and his family, and others that may be affected.

John 14:27

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid”

Meeting Jesus in a Tent.

One afternoon Daniel walked into a white tent in a refugee camp in Jordan, with a family of eight people inside. “Hi I’m Daniel and I’m here to tell you about Jesus,” he announced.

He wasn’t quite prepared for their reaction.

“The family freaked out, they looked at each other and almost turned white. The father was excited, yelling.”

What’s going on? Daniel wondered.

The interpreter explained that the night before Daniel’s visit, the whole family was sitting in their tent having tea together. To their surprise a man in white opened the door to their tent and stood at the entrance.

The man was glowing, and spoke to them, saying: “Hello, My name is Jesus and I am sending a man tomorrow named Daniel to tell you more about me.” Then he disappeared.

So, when Daniel arrived at their doorway and told them his name, they were completely undone. They asked him to tell them more about Jesus and he explained the Gospel to them. The whole family then responded and accepted Christ Jesus as Lord and Saviour.

The father had been a part of the Free Syrian Army and had known bloodshed. He was a devout Muslim, but now,  this man and his family are planting underground churches in Jordan and are seeing a harvest for the Gospel among Muslims.

  • Give thanks for this family and many others who are meeting Jesus in refugee camps, and finding hope and healing through His Gospel
  • Give thanks for the many Christian workers serving amongst refugees across the Middle East.
  • Pray for protection for these workers, and that they will continue to be a channel of God’s love and grace to the people around them.
  • Pray for safety and protection for the many Muslim Background believers in refugee camps. Pray for opportunities to meet with other believers grow in their faith, and for many more people to come to faith in Jesus through their testimony.

Colossians 1 vs 6: “In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world – just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.”

Source: Tyler Connell, Ekballo Project, http://us4.campaign-archive2.com/

Vietnamese Child’s Feet Healed Through Prayer

Two young Vietnamese parents are rejoicing after their crippled 2-year-old daughter miraculously began walking after being prayed for by local missionaries.

According to a report from Christian Aid Mission (CAM), the couple, from Vietnam’s Central Highlands, were on their way to a children’s hospital in Ho Chi Minh City to see if doctors could help their 2-year-old daughter to walk. Born with bent feet, Mai could not even stand, and their local doctors had been unable to help her.

While on their way to the hospital, the couple decided to stop at the home office of an indigenous ministry in southern Vietnam’s principal city. There, several locally trained pastors prayed for Mai, and something amazing happened.

One of the pastors reported: “The next day, while the husband, his wife and their daughter were at a children’s hospital waiting for their appointment, for the first time in Mai’s life she was able to walk about one meter with the help of her parents. They were so happy that God had begun to heal their daughter that they cancelled the appointment, took Mai back to the head office and asked us to continue to pray for her.”

The next morning, Mai was able to walk from one end of the bed to the other, supporting herself with one hand on a wall. Her parents asked the pastors attending the training session to pray for her one more time before they returned home and, two days later, they informed their pastor that Mai was 70 percent healed.

“Not long after that, Mai was able to stand, walk and run like a normal child,” the pastor said. “Hallelujah! This is a great miracle, that God healed a girl with a birth defect in her feet.”

CAM reported that news of the healing has helped to strengthen and grow the church in the south-eastern part of the province – a region once resistant to the Gospel.

According to another report, a paralysed Vietnamese woman was healed of her illness after a group of Christian missionaries prayed over her, prompting her to embrace Christianity. Her husband also converted and became a dedicated preacher ,who led to the establishment of 60 new churches in Vietnam.

  • Give thanks for the miraculous healing of this little girl’s feet, and for the testimony that this is to her local community. Pray that many will come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour through the testimony of this family.
  • Give thanks for the encouragement of these healing testimonies to the Church in Vietnam. Pray for courage and freedom for believers to continue to meet together and to encourage one another in their faith.
  • Pray for Christians in Vietnam, who face persecution and oppression from the Government. Pray for those who are in prison because of their faiht, that they too will be encouraged and have opportunities to share their life giving faith with fellow prisoners and guards.
  • Pray for the Holy Spirit to move in this nation, for many to come to know the Truth of the life giving Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Psalm 105 vs 5: “Remember the wonderful works he has done, his miracles, and the judgements he uttered,”

Source: http://www.gospelherald.com/articles

SAT-7 Launches New Programmes for Children in Refugee Camps.

According to Christian Broadcasting Network, Christian television ministry SAT-7 is set to launch educational programmes in refugee camps in the Middle East, as part of its bid to reach the most vulnerable people with the Gospel of Christ.

SAT-7 broadcasts its programmes in 25 Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East, and are now planning to launch a new programme, SAT-7 ACADEMY, which consists of educational programmes to be broadcast in refugee camps.

They have been gearing up for the project for two years now, as SAt-7 said: “We’re just announcing it now and have been preparing for about two years. It is another channel, it is in the Arabic language, it is aimed at that lost generation … of children, whether they’re in camps or wherever they are, who have been out of school maybe four, five, six years already.”

Network official Rex Rogers explained that Christian missionaries care about literacy because they want people to be able to read the Bible on their own. He added that literacy and education can also help lead people to more productive lives.

While literacy is currently among the major goals of SAT-7, the network said its ultimate mission is to bring Christ’s salvation to other people. In light of this plan, Roger is asking all Christians to pray that their upcoming educational program will succeed.

  • Give thanks for the work of SAT-7 across the Middle East, and for this new initiative to reach out to children in refugee camps.
  • Pray for the programmes as they go to air, that they will be well received and serve to help and encourage this lost generation of children.
  • Pray that, through the programmes and other SAT-7 initiatives, many children and families will come to know the hope and healing love and grace of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 19 vs 14: “Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’”

Source: http://www.christiandaily.com/article, http://www.persecution.org

 

Pray for Indonesian Elections

According to unofficial counts, the Christian governor of Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, is heading for a tough run-off against a Muslim opponent, following a divisive election campaign marred by religious intolerance and racial bigotry.

Yesterday, 15th February, more than 13,000 polling stations opened across Jakarta to accommodate the 7.1 million people eligible to vote, in one of dozens of elections taking place across the Muslim-majority country.

Early vote tallies by private pollsters showed incumbent Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, whose campaign was hurt by blasphemy charges, holding a narrow lead over Anies Rasyid Baswedan, a former education minister, who has has courted the votes of conservative Muslims despite his past reputation as a liberal Muslim reformer.

A candidate needs to get more than 50 percent of the votes in the first round to win outright.

Officials are expected to announce the final results in about two weeks, while a second round will be held in April if needed.

Ahok, an ethnic Chinese Christian, has been dogged by a blasphemy case following comments he made about the Quran that were deemed insulting to Islam and Muslims.

After two massive protests by conservative Muslims, he was charged and is now on trial for blasphemy, though he remains free to contest the elections.

Al Jazeera’s Step Vaessen, reporting from a polling station in Jakarta, said: “It has been a polarising election here for the highest office in Indonesia’s capital. With religion playing an unprecedented role, many fear that the outcome has not only been determined by the quality of the candidate but also by his beliefs.”

  • Pray for Indonesia, for a peaceful outcome to the elections, and for a peaceful run-up to the second round of polling, should that be needed.
  • Pray for reconciliation between Indonesia’s Christian and Muslim communities, as tensions have increased over the last few months.
  • Pray for the Indonesian Government as it seeks to resolve the religious tensions in the country. Pray that it will not bow to fundamentalist calls for Sharia law to be implemented.
  • Pray for Christians in Indonesia, for courage to continue to meet together and to share their faith, and for protection over Churches and Christian communities at this time.

1 Timothy 2 vs 1 – 2: “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings should be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity

Source: http://www.aljazeera.com/news

Humanitarian Crisis Looming in Syria.

WIth the cease fire in Syria barely holidng, a senior UN official working there has warned of a “looming humanitarian catastrophe” in four besieged towns, and called on all players in the conflict to allow safe passage for life-saving aid to some 60,000 trapped civilians.

Ali al-Zaatari, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Syria, warned of dire conditions in Zabadani, Madaya, Fua and Kefraya; towns besieged by government troops and the Lebanese armed group, Hezbollah.

In a statement released late on Monday, Zaatari said: “Sixty-thousand innocent people are trapped there in a cycle of daily violence and deprivation, where malnutrition and lack of proper medical care prevail. The situation is a looming humanitarian catastrophe. The principle of free access to people in need must be implemented now and without repeated requests.”

Zaatari added that the situation was complicated by the “tit-for-tat arrangement” between the towns, whereby no aid can be provided to Madaya and Zabadani without similar access to Fua and Kefraya, and vice versa.

This linkage “makes humanitarian access prone to painstaking negotiations that are not based on humanitarian principles”, he said.

“This has prevented medical cases from receiving proper treatment and evacuation. People are in need, and they cannot wait any longer. We need to act now.”

According to the statement, the UN’s last humanitarian access to the four towns was in November last year, and earlier this month, the UN also reported that it had only been able to deliver aid to 40,000 people in besieged and hard-to-reach areas in January, despite requesting access to more than 900,000 people.

That made January the worst month for humanitarian deliveries in nearly a year, with approval received for just one of 21 humanitarian convoys proposed by the UN, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent.

According to Siege Watch, a monitoring group that tracks besieged communities, more than one million Syrians live under siege in the Damascus region, Idlib province, Homs and Deir Az Zor.

  • Pray for Syria, as the war conflict continues and many people are living in dire conditions.
  • Pray for the lifting of the sieges around these four towns and provinces, and for humanitarian food and medical aid to be allowed to be delivered to all those who need it.
  • Pray for those involved in the fighting, that both sides will act with compassion on behalf of the people and not use them as pawns in a fight for power.
  • Pray for Christians in these areas and across Syria, that they will reach out to their neighbours with love, compassion and grace, and be channels of God’s healing and hope to the people of this war damaged nation.

Psalm 107 vs 35 – 36: “He turns a desert into pools of water, a parched land into springs of water. And there he lets the hungry live, and they establish a town to live in;

Source: http://www.aljazeera.com/news

 

Call to Protect Child Soldiers.

Sunday, 12th February, marked Red Hand Day, also known as the International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers, and the charity World Vision used the day to urge the UK government to make protection for the world’s 250,000 child soldiers a priority.

According to UN reports, 59 armed groups and armies from at least 14 countries recruit, kill, injure, rape or abduct children, with an estimated 250,000 children currently active in global conflicts.

Positively, the UK Mission to the UN in New York projected that over 115,000 children have been freed from armed groups since 2000.

Erica Hall, Senior Policy Adviser at World Vision UK, praised the UK government’s recognition of the problem, but said that more needed to be done.

‘Without political will and coordination across Whitehall and the various corridors of power across the world, thousands of child soldiers, some as young as seven, will continue to be abused, tortured, raped and die in armed conflicts around the world.’

World Vision shared the story of Malaika (name changed), a former child soldier in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Malaika lost her mother while she was young, and at age 7 was kidnapped by Mai-Mai rebels. She was ‘married’ to a rebel who violated and abused her, making her his slave. Other young men would abuse her too.

Another child, Francis, was one of tens of thousands of children in the DRC to be targeted as a child soldier. He was recruited at age 13, and by the time he was 14 he had killed four children and one adult. He was able to escape a few months later.

World Vision used the Red Hand Day to  highlight the plight of children such as Malaika and Francis, as well as those caught up in conflicts in Myanmar.

  • Give thanks for the work of organisation such as World Vision, highlighting the plight of child soldiers across the world and urging governments to be work towards their release and rehabilitation.
  • Pray for the children caught up as child soldiers and slaves in Africa and Myanmar, and the many being used and abused by ISIL. Pray for their release, and that through the love and compassion of Christian NGO’s, they will come to know the healing love and grace of Jesus Christ.
  • Pray for governments across the world to see the importance of working on behalf of these children, to not only secure their release, but to prevent their being taken in the first place.

Psalm 82 vs 4: “Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.’”

Source: http://www.christiantoday.com/article

Imprisoned Believers in Middle East Released After Jailer Dreams of Jesus

Two pastors and two new believers in the Middle East who were sent to prison for their faith received favour from a jail officer who had had dreams of Jesus.

The two pastors were reportedly giving Bible lessons to the two new believers when police barged into their room and beat them all before taking them into custody. The pastors were working with Bibles for Mideast, a ministry that operates in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

The two pastors and the new believers were charged with “blasphemy of the prophet” and “misguiding Muslims into a false religion.” They were found guilty in a sharia court.

They were sent to prison, where they were again brutally beaten for two days and given just one piece of a local bread each day. The experience was agonizing.

One of the pastors said that, even though they were tortured and facing a death sentence, they found comfort in remembering what Jesus went through and they began to confess, “The blood of Jesus is our victory!”

Bibles for Mideast sent out an urgent call for prayer and fasting for the protection and release of the four Christians, with whom they had had no contact since their arrest.

Unknown to them, God was already moving behind the scenes. On their third day in prison, the four Christians were visited by a high-ranking jail officer, who treated them well and ordered the jailer to untie their hands and give them good food. After that, he left and disappeared into his office.

The four Christian prisoners were baffled by the officer’s kind treatment.

“We thought, he came with a decision of finishing our life of this world. That’s why treating us like this,” one of the pastors said.

The officer came to their cell again in the evening and surprised them all when he asked them to pray for him. He related how he had had a dream about Jesus the previous week, when the Lord  appeared in glory and seated on a throne. Bright light surrounded Him, and millions of angels were in attendance. Jesus raised His nail-pierced hand and showed it to the jail officer.

The officer had the same dream again the following night, and the night after that. His dreams led him to want to know more about Jesus, so he read about Him on the Internet.

The next evening, he had another dream. Jesus appeared to him once more and told him, “My children are being tortured in your jail. I leave them before you. My children are the apple of my eyes.”

That was when he decided to visit the jail and see the four believers. He stayed there for three days, spending most of his time talking to them about Jesus. They shared the gospel to him and he received Jesus as his Lord and Saviour.

The jail officer wrote an order to release the four Christians which was initially rejected by the court, but finally granted on appeal.

The officer invited them to his “cottage” in the prison upon their release, where they were given good food. He then requested that he be baptised, along with the new believers.

The four believers are thankful to those who prayed for them. “We thank for those who were fasting and praying for us,” one of the pastors said. “Our Lord Jesus Christ is worthy to be praised. All glory and honour to Him forever and ever!”

  • Give thanks for the answers to prayer for these four believers, and for the jail officer’s encounter with Jesus and subsequent salvation.
  • Pray for these believers, and for the jail officer, for their protection in a country where it is illegal to be a Christian.
  • Pray for believers across the Middle East, for encouragement in their faith, opportunities to meet together without fear and access to God’s Word in their own languages.
  • Pray for a move of the Holy Spirit across this region, for many more to have life changing encounters with Jesus through dreams and vision, and that many will come to know Him as Lord and Saviour.

Joel 2 vs 28: “I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.”

Source: http://www.gospelherald.com/articles/

New Legislation in Pakistan will help Protect Minorities and Women

On February 6th, the Pakistani National Assembly passed a law amending some criminal laws. For the first time, sectarianism, mass lynching and forced conversions will be punished, and the explicit aim of the legislation is to improve the conditions of the country’s religious minorities.

Speaking to AsiaNews, some activists expressed their satisfaction with the legislation, which, still needs the final signature of the president to pass it into law.

According to Samuel Pyara, a Christian and president of Bright Future Society, “These measures were crucial to save our country. Mob justice has become a part of people’s mind-set. There was a great need to make it a punishable offence and we appreciate the government’s action.”

The bill’s statement of objectives and reasons says that “terrorism, sectarianism and extremism have gripped the entire country and these acts have become the order of the day.”

With respect to the persecution of religious minorities, inciting sectarian violence and ethnic hatred, and “deliberately using words to hurt the religious feelings of any person”, punishment “has been enhanced from a year-long imprisonment and unspecified fine to imprisonment, extendable to three years and not less than one year, and/or fine of Rs500,000” (US$ 4,770).

The new law also imposes a sentence of between 5 and 10 years and a fine of up to Rs1 million in the case of forced marriage of an underage girl or a non-Muslim woman.

Also, for the first time, lynching by ” organised group or a mob by taking the law in own hands” is also illegal.

  • Give thanks for this new legislation, a big step forward in protecting religious minorities and women in Pakistan.
  • Pray that the new legislation will be signed by the President without further delay or problems.
  • Pray for the implementation of the new legislation, for those who will be enforcing it to do so with justice, integrity and wisdom.
  • Pray for the Christian community in Pakistan, for protection from any backlash against this legislation, and for greater freedom to worship and meet together without fear.

Proverbs 31 vs 9: “Speak out, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

Source: http://www.asianews.it/news-en