China Hindering Education of Christian Students (Whyte House Report 8.1.21)

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According to Mission Network News, What if going to college meant you had to stop going to church? That’s part of the latest persecution trend in China. Todd Nettleton, the spokesman for The Voice of the Martyrs USA, says Communist officials are targeting Christian kids. “I [spoke] earlier this week with one of my coworkers who has been involved in China for decades … he talked about how children are being used against their Christian parents, and that’s happening in several different ways,” Nettleton says. Officials ask younger children very specific questions about their parents’ church activity. Plus, authorities pressure Christian parents regarding their older children’s opportunities. “Children are being used, essentially, as spies against their parents. On the other end of the spectrum, parents who attend church are threatened with their children’s education,” he continues. Unfortunately, homeschooling is not an option. “The government is systematically trying to close off any other avenues to educate your children. They want them in the atheistic Communist Party schools,” Nettleton says. “A Christian family chose to homeschool their three children; the government is against that, too. They have raided their home; they have taken some of their materials; they’ve actually accused them of terrorism for homeschooling their children.”

According to Mission Network News, A Tent Schools International partner in Lebanon recently bought a truck to use as a mobile school for refugee students. But economic hardship in the country has made that a difficult process. Anne Hamming says, “Every time he needs to go to a government office, he’s had to work around closures. Because the government workers are striking. Their paychecks are now worth roughly five to ten percent what they were before this economic crisis.” Even when the truck gets registered, it might not be able to run. Hamming says, “We don’t even know if he’ll be able to secure gasoline to get to the refugee camps. Because people are waiting for hours for gas. There has been violence at some gas stations. It takes hours to secure something so basic.” During the crisis, Tent Schools has been providing food for refugee families in Jesus’ name. But even that has proven difficult. Hamming says, “People are living on bread, fruit, vegetables, and what cheeses they can find. Meat has become a rare luxury for everyone.” Pray many will experience Jesus’ love through this ministry. Learn how to support Tent Schools International’s work here.

According to Assist News Service, More than 1 in 10 pastors admitted to contemplating suicide in the past year according to the 2021 Pastoral Mental Health Report compiled by Faithlife, the makers of Logos Bible Software, and Church Communications, a 29,000-member community and Facebook group. The survey, which paints a sometimes dire picture of the role of the pastor, highlights the need for more support for those in church leadership. “In the past year, pastors have faced new and deepening difficulties – from the spread of COVID-19 and having to move online to stop the virus’ spread to increased social and political unrest,” said Faithlife Co-founder and CEO Bob Pritchett. “We knew it took a toll on pastors, but we weren’t sure how it would look. This survey gives us a greater understanding of both the needs of pastors and ways we can help them as they shepherd us.” With the majority of churches having less than 100 congregants, many pastors find themselves wearing numerous hats ranging anywhere from the role of the pastor and preacher to the administrator and tech team. Approximately 35% of pastors reported feeling burned out, with 40% of pastors aged 25 to 40 saying they agree or strongly agree to feeling constantly burned out. This is nearly double the rate at which pastors aged 60-plus reported feeling burned out (21%). While most pastors (55%) are fulfilled by the responsibility of giving spiritual and emotional support to their flock, many survey respondents noted how pastoral care is a mix of highs and lows, with 45% finding it draining.

According to Mission Network News, Pandemic uncertainty creates Gospel opportunities. World Missionary Press partners throughout Europe tell Helen Williams, “People are more open to talking about the future, or eternal things. Each of these ministries is finding more receptivity,” she says. “That is part of what we’ve seen from COVID in so many parts of the world. There is a fear and [a questioning:] What do we believe in? What can we hang on to? What can we hope in?” WMP prints Scripture booklets in dozens of languages and ships them in bulk to partners throughout Europe. “It doesn’t do us any good to just print material and put it into boxes. There needs to be those (partners) who are willing to help get it to the field, distributed to individuals,” Williams says. Distribution partners and churches play a critical role in “following up with individuals; counsel, give testimony, all of those things are important,” she adds. Some partners use the booklets in local ministry. Others use them to reach refugees with God’s Word. Whatever the approach, responses look the same – people are hungry for the hope of Christ.

According to Mission Network News, The Sammy Tippit Ministries Discipleship App has launched, putting Sammy Tippit’s daily devotions and other resources in easy access on your phone. The app features training for evangelism and leading small groups, and even content from historical Christian thinkers. Learn more about the app here. Now, Tippit says the app is being translated into 12 more languages. “Someone can go through it here in the United States, in English. And then in another country, they can [work with] someone going through the discipleship portion in that language in that country. Whether it’s Spanish, Portuguese, Hindi, Farsi, Arabic, Russian, Chinese, we’ll have that. All those will be out by the end of August.” Tippit hopes the app could be useful for students, especially as more people come to live in the U.S. from other countries. “There’s a Christian school that I spoke at recently, and they have 1000 international students on their campus. Well, if these students would go through the app in English they could, in their home country, bring people through it. And if they want to share Christ with them, they’ll learn how to do that.”

According to Assist News Service, Officials with Magen David Adom, Israel’s paramedic organization and Red Cross, say there is an urgent need to replace ambulances in Israel following May’s devastating terrorist rocket attacks and riots. MDA’s fleet of 1,200 ambulances — provided almost exclusively by donations, many from American Christians supportive of Israel — includes 60 vehicles equipped for off-road use, 50 of which are heavily armored for duty in high-risk areas, and 120 retrofitted to operate as Covid-19 transport units. Twelve were damaged during the attacks. And an additional 100 ambulances were taken off the streets this year, due to wear and tear. An MDA ambulance, officials say, will stay in service for an average of 10 years and can answer up to 10,000 calls. “If an ambulance isn’t available, or has to come from too far away, the outcome is unthinkable. Oftentimes, an ambulance’s response time is the difference between life and death,” said Catherine L. Reed, chief executive officer of American Friends of Magen David Adom (AFMDA). “MDA’s thousands of first-responders are almost all volunteers. And combined with the fact that almost every ambulance in the country was provided at some point by the generosity of others…with what’s happened this spring, it’s fair to say Israel needs its friends around the world to step up right now.”

According to Mission Network News, Christians have held to a set of beliefs about Jesus for thousands of years. It can sometimes be difficult to reconcile this ancient faith with rapidly changing society or technology. But Samuel of Redemptive Stories says the Middle Eastern Church’s embrace of new technologies like social media platforms should cause believers everywhere to rejoice. “Maybe sometimes we are afraid of it. At times, we look at it as a negative thing and at how it can negatively affect our lives. But on the flip side, there are so many positive outcomes of it. It’s just a neutral tool that can be used for God’s glory, and we’re seeing that happen in our part of the world in particular. If you look at certain stats, it would say that 1000’s have come to faith over the period of the pandemic, and in each one of these countries, through social media and internet. That is something to praise God for and rejoice over.” In some parts of the Middle East, Christians aren’t allowed to gather together very often. Samuel says social media has helped these communities continue to connect.

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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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