This is Whyte House Report podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.
According to Mission Network News, On July 6, Dr. Werner Burklin, founder of China Partner, passed away. When China opened its doors to foreign visitors in 1980, Werner immediately began planning a trip. Back in China, he had a chance to revisit some of the cities and regions where his parents conducted their work. According to his son Erik, the current President of China Partner, “That ignited a new love and a new desire to maybe do something more back in China – his birth country, he always called it.” Initially, his plan was to preach in China. However, restrictions enforced by the Chinese government made most public preaching illegal. Plus, the more he connected with local believers, the more he realized there was a different need; the Church in China needed leaders. In 1989, Werner Burklin founded China Partner. He ran the organization for 21 years, and in 2010, he stepped down as President, at which point the organization’s board asked his son Erik to take his place. Erik’s father “did not want to do anything illegal in China. He always said, ‘We’re a foreign organization, we’re their guests. We’re not there to run anything, to control anything… We’re always there to serve the Church in China.’ Even though Werner is now with Jesus, his legacy persists. China Partner continues to pursue Christlike compassion, equip locals for effective ministry, and live out the love of Jesus within the Chinese Church.
According to Mission Network News, Kenya considers 2020 to be a “lost” school year. But pregnant teenage girls in the country stand to lose much more than that. Underage pregnancy has been a problem in Kenya for a long time, but COVID-19 has inflated the numbers. In Kenya, girls under 18 cannot legally consent to sexual activity, so most of these pregnancies came from sexual assault. However, all of the consequences will fall on the girls themselves. Michael says, “Ninety-eight percent of the girls that get pregnant while they’re still teenagers will not return and finish their education. It’s going to put them at it at a huge disadvantage, that’s going to then domino effect into longer-term consequences. They will be more dependent upon marriages that may not be healthy.” Prevailing cultural attitudes in Kenya make it much more difficult for girls to take care of themselves. “In Kenya,” Michael says, “and this is the case in many third-world and developing countries, there is a very high level of shame associated with women’s health.” These attitudes clash with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the God who Himself took on human flesh and bone. In His death and resurrection, He gives human bodies, male and female, the highest level of honor and dignity. Michael says it’s important for teen Christians in Kenya to have fellowship with the Church. Unfortunately, churches in Kenya haven’t been able to meet during COVID-19, and they don’t have the same internet technology available for online counsel and services. Michael asks Christians to pray that churches would be able to gather in Kenya and help take care of these teenagers. Pray also that through Christians’ care for women’s health, many would be drawn to the love of Jesus.
According to Mission Network News, Have you ever wanted to go on a missions trip, but lacked the time and the funds? e3 partners now provides virtual trips through various digital platforms. “God gave us the vision for this in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic,” Jeff Johnston, e3’s marketing communications manager, says. “As we’ve gone about developing it, we’ve come to realize that this isn’t a temporary solution. This is another avenue through which the Gospel can reach the nations.” These virtual trips provide an opportunity for people to work with the team that is abroad and receive training from the U.S.-based team – all online. The goal of these trips is to provide evangelism training to both the U.S. team and the group abroad. “As the team [abroad] is going out and sharing the Gospel with people, the US team is encouraged to go into their own neighborhoods, knock on doors, pray for people, and share the Gospel with people. So you’re kind of getting to mirror each other’s actions and then getting to come together and talk about how God is using these efforts to further His kingdom,” he says.
According to CBN News, Christians in China say the latest wave of persecution against them is worse than what the church experienced during the height of Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Christians have suffered ongoing pressures under President Xi Jinping, but they say government oppression has intensified since the onset of the global Covid-19 pandemic earlier this year. July 22nd, 2020: A loud knock on the door could be heard at the home of a woman in China’s Xiamen city. She told the police outside they could not enter her home without a permit. Moments later, they destroyed the lock and entered anyway, breaking up what the government said was an illegal meeting. Four days later, on Sunday, July 26, government workers removed the cross from the roof of Small River Christian Church in Xinfeng county, Jiangxi province. These are just two recent examples—both incidents that occurred just days ago in the Chinese Communist Party’s crackdown on Christians and their churches. China Aid President Bob Fu said this wave of persecution actually began in 2015, but now the Chinese Communist Party has a new excuse for targeting Christians. “Now under this pretext of COVID-19 coronavirus, the Chinese Communist Party has intensified its persecution by banning all the church activities—even those worship services, prayer meetings in believers’ own homes with their own family members.” The government has also used this as an excuse to arrest Christians who called for online prayer meetings.
According to Mission Network News, Following a day of virtual meetings, West African leaders want decisive action in Mali. Members of the 15-country regional bloc ECOWAS called for a unity government yesterday and warned against opposition interference. They’ve also asked 31 current Malian officials to step down, Premium Times reports. Sangho oversees TWR’s work in West and Central Africa. He says they’re still broadcasting the hope of Christ to the region despite difficulties. Produced by local partners, TWR’s content includes “programs to reach Muslims and programs about reconciliation, about peace; not only in Mali but in the whole area of West Africa,” Sangho says. We are not involved in politics; our objective is to bring people to know the Lord.” Maybe you can’t directly influence West Africa’s decision-makers, but you know the God who can. Pray for peace and regional stability. Support TWR here to help Christ’s message of peace and reconciliation reach West Africa.
According to Mission Network News, Beirut Baptist School (BBS), a ministry of LSESD, is prayerfully planning for next year amid hardships caused by COVID-19 and the Lebanese economic downturn. The school was founded in the 1950s, so it has a long history and important legacy that endures today. Wissam Nasrallah of LSESD explains that BBS distinguishes itself by providing high-quality education coupled with a strong spiritual curriculum in a predominantly Muslim country. Schools worldwide have faced incredible challenges this year. However, Nasrallah says BBS and other schools in Lebanon encountered adversity even before the pandemic began. “Most schools in Lebanon have been hit prior to the pandemic by the Lebanese uprising that started in October, so a lot of schools are closing their doors,” he explains. “BBS, since it’s at the heart of Beirut, was directly impacted by all the events. We opened on Saturdays to make up for lost days, and this is when the school started working a lot on its online platform.” Because BBS invested in its online platform, the school easily connected with students online when shutdowns began. “When the pandemic hit and the government announced the general lockdown, BBS was ready to move online. Obviously, this had many challenges for students from grades one to six who need a lot of supervision, but it worked really well for students from grades seven to 12,” Nasrallah says.
According to Faithwire, Feeling the strain of a national coin shortage, one Chick-fil-A location in Lynchburg, Virginia, is offering patrons free food in exchange for rolls of coins. Any customer who brings in $10 in coins to exchange for $10 in paper bills gets free food vouchers as a thank-you. The offering comes after the U.S. Mint issued a statement last Thursday, urging Americans to “start spending their coins” after thousands of people have stopped using cash and establishments are refusing to accept coins and dollar bills amid the coronavirus pandemic. “Until coin circulation patterns return to normal, it may be more difficult for retailers and small businesses to accept cash payments,” the Mint said in a statement. “For millions of Americans, cash is the only form of payment and cash transactions rely on coins to make change.” As for production, the Mint said it has operated at “full production capacity” since mid-June, “minting almost 1.6 billion coins during the month of June.” Hoping to jumpstart the use of coins — an restock its own diminishing stash— a Lynchburg Chick-fil-A is handing out free food vouchers to any customer who brings in $10 in coins in exchange for $10 in paper bills. “We will thank you with a Chick-fil-A card toward a future purchase,” reads the post. “Any $10 combination of ROLLED coin denominations accepted. Limited time offer until need is met. Maximum 10 coupon cards per guest.”
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In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, today is a good day to get to know Him. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Thanks so much for listening and may God bless