PODCAST: Prayers and aid needed for India after back-to-back cyclones and coronavirus surge (WHR 06.06.21)

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According to Mission Network News, Hope is scarce in India following back-to-back cyclones and a COVID-19 surge. The storms left tens of thousands homeless and sent humanitarian needs skyrocketing, and while COVID-19 cases are finally starting to decrease, Bibles For The World’s John Pudaite says the latest wave left a mark on the Body of Christ. “The loss of leadership [in] the Body of Christ is tremendous. It’s going to take five to 10 years, maybe 15 years, just to replace these people.” Many believers got sick while serving people in need. No one else could or would help, so leaders took a calculated risk. “These pastors and other frontline workers for the Gospel contracted it while they were out ministering to people who had been infected with the virus,” Pudaite says. Bibles For The World trains Christian leaders at a small evangelical seminary in northeast India. “A lot of readers may be supporting different seminaries in India and different work in India. This is a time [we need to] really push toward leadership training and development,” Pudaite says. “Pray for those seminaries in India and continue to support them.”

According to Charisma News, In a press statement released on May 29 through its Twitter account, the Atheists in Kenya Society announced the resignation of Secretary Seth Mahiga. The reason? He found Jesus. The statement regarding Mahiga says, “This evening, regretfully, the Secretary of Atheists in Kenya Society Mr. Seth Mahiga, informed me that he has made the decisions to resign from this position as Secretary of the Society.” Mahiga made the bold choice to leave the organization because he was “no longer interested in promoting atheism in Kenya.” The statement continues, “We wish Seth all the best in his new found relationship with Jesus Christ. We thank him for having served the society with dedication over the last one and a half years.” Following the announcement, the society shared to its Facebook page a 30-second video clip of Mahiga sharing his testimony of accepting Jesus in front of a church and announcing his resignation. “I had been going through some difficulties in life, and then I decided to resign as the secretary. I’m so happy to be here,” Mahiga said to the congregation.

According to Mission Network News, Funerals help families grieve and honor loved ones who pass on. In Bangladesh, tradition outlaws some believers from the burial process. “Sometimes, we have to take the body to [a] different city far from there and ask somebody to bury them in their personal backyard, or something like that,” Pastor William* explains. Pastor William works with FARMS International and a church network in Bangladesh. People from majority religions turn to Christ, he says, but that doesn’t mean their body will rest with fellow believers when they die. Bangladesh allocates cemetery land by religion, and the separation is austere. “The traditional Christian cemetery [doesn’t] allow Muslim-background believers or Hindu-background believers to bury the body in the graveyard because they [fear] persecution.” Ask the Lord to strengthen believers from Muslim and Hindu backgrounds so they will not turn away from Christ. Pray Pastor William’s church network can build a graveyard for believers from different backgrounds.

According to Christianity Today, The Pakistani Christian woman who replaced Asia Bibi in her prison cell on death row, Shaguftah Kausar, has—after a dozen delays since April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic—been acquitted from the death penalty by the Lahore high court. The mother of four, along with her disabled husband, Shafqat Emmanuel, was arrested for blasphemy in 2013 and sentenced to death in 2014. Despite both being illiterate, the Catholic couple, surnamed Masih*, were convicted of sending blasphemous texts—in English—to Islamic clerics. The couple appealed against their death penalty in 2016, but the appeal was continuously delayed—leaving them languishing in jail for years—because blasphemy cases are so controversial and sensitive in Pakistan. When the then-EU Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Jan Figel, visited Pakistan to discuss Asia Bibi’s case in December 2017, he told officials that the renewal of the nation’s export privileges to Europe depended on her release. It was only after Bibi’s acquittal in October 2018 (and final freedom in spring 2019), that her lawyer Saif ul Malook—in the glare of international media attention—said his next case would be that of Shaguftah. This was the first time many people heard of the married couple’s separate cases.

According to Mission Network News, Peru faces a divisive presidential election, scheduled for June 6. Everything has become politicized. The Shining Path terrorist group, once a powerful communist army in Peru, murdered 16 people last week. They left behind pamphlets warning people not to vote in the election. Meanwhile, the country has the highest COVID-19 death rate per capita in the world according to recent statistics. Brian Dennett of AMG International says, “On the right, you have Keiko Fujimori. And she herself spent, I think, around 18 months in prison for corruption. On the left, you have a teacher’s union organizer, Pedro Castillo, really with no political experience. With COVID-19 surging, inequality, hunger, and poverty rates growing, many are leaning towards the left and his appeal to the poor.” Political leaders come and go, but Jesus reigns forever. Ask God to give Peruvian Christians wisdom and love during a difficult and confusing election cycle.

According to Charisma News, “Remember, God said, ‘I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.’ I wish for each of you all the very best life has to offer, and always every day God’s love, God’s grace and God’s mercy.” These were the words Wilberforce University President Elfred Anthony Pinkard spoke over the graduating classes of 2020 and 2021 at their commencement. Immediately following this proclamation of blessing, the students received news that caused them to erupt in cheers and celebration. President Pinkard announced their student debt to the school would be forgiven in full. “Because you have shown that you are capable of doing work under difficult circumstances, because you represent the best of your generation, we wish to give you a fresh start,” said Pinkard. “So therefore the Wilberforce University board of trustees has authorized me to forgive any debt. “Your accounts have been cleared and you don’t owe Wilberforce anything. Congratulations,” Pinkard concluded. The historically Black university affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal Church said the 166 new alumnus would be forgiven of more than $375,000 in debt owed to the school. The university clarified in a statement Memorial Day that the students’ debt to outside sources, such as state and federal student loans, would not be included in the forgiveness clearance.

According to Mission Network News, Language and culture go hand-in-hand. Deaf believers tell DOOR International they learn best at a Deaf-led church – where all communication takes place in sign language, and a Deaf pastor leads the service. Through its 2-by-2 program, DOOR trains and equips Deaf Christians to spread the Gospel and plant Deaf-led churches. There are typically three different types of Deaf churches: interpreted services, Deaf churches operating within a hearing church, and independent Deaf churches. The most common approach to Deaf ministry, Myers says, is placing interpreters in front of the church to communicate the pastor’s sermon. While this approach is neither good nor bad, it can produce unintended consequences — such as serious errors into the theology by not having the right person interpreting. Rather than use interpreters, some hearing churches allow Deaf believers to hold their own services in a separate part of the building. More about that here. The third type of Deaf churches operates independently, completely separate from any hearing community. Worshipping God in this context provides Deaf believers with another new opportunity – leadership. “Many Deaf people have never even seen a Deaf leader before. It’s one of the reasons that we really, really push for Deaf reaching other Deaf people with the Gospel,” Myers says. When Deaf believers see another Deaf person in leadership, he adds, “they can picture themselves someday in that position; thinking, ‘wow, if God can use that Deaf leader in this way, God could use me in that way, too.’” Pray God will raise up the next generation of Deaf leaders.

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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 you.

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