This is Whyte House Report podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.
According to Mission Network News, Bibles For The World helped host an evangelistic event near Karachi in southern Pakistan. Around 52,000 people attended during one of the rallies. Thousands more attended each night. Millions watched online or on television from Pakistan, India, and other surrounding countries. Most of the attendees were Muslims or Hindus. John Pudaite says, “Really, it was a series of events over about a week period. This came together with some very strong local partners, as well as some international partners.” Pudaite says it took lots of Christians pulling together as the body of Christ. “Our role as Bibles For The World was to provide the scripture support throughout the event, whether it be in medical clinics, visits to orphanages and schools, to jails and prisons, or women’s outreach events.” This work culminated in the large rally events. Pudaite says thousands of people began following Jesus. BFTW gave out copies of the New Testament and the Gospel of John to the new Christians and to those who were curious. Praise God for these new Christians. Ask Him to strengthen them, as they may face difficulty in the days ahead.
According to Mission Network News, On the morning of February 2, a vehicle in Kenya ran over an explosive device planted by terrorist group Al-Shabab. All four occupants were killed. The attack took place not far from Somalia, which has been a hotbed for Islamic extremism since the 1980s. Al-Shabab itself was established in 2006. This is one of ten attacks on Kenyan soil since the year began. Nehemiah with FMI says, “The incident occurred just two days after a 14-seater vehicle, traveling in Mandera County from a place called Arabia, ran over an improvised land mine, killing 13 people and injuring scores of others now admitted in the Mandera hospital.” Nehemiah says many attacks target Christians who are traveling across the country for work. “We know of buses being stopped and Christian pulled out and killed while Muslims are let go. FMI partners serve in this Muslim-majority area, the northeast counties of Kenya, where Al-Shabab is very active in terrorism. This is an opportunity for the listeners to pray for FMI partners who are sharing the Word of God in these terrible and difficult conditions.” Al-Shabab wants to unite large areas of East Africa under one Islamic government, eliminating all other religions. Pray the story of Jesus will change many hearts and bring peace.
According to Mission Network News, In Pakistan, over 15,000 brick kilns play a significant part in the economy, producing about 45 million bricks per year. But many of the 3 million workers have been trapped there by debt bondage, a form of forced labor. “It truly is modern-day slavery in every sense of the word,” says Greg Kelley with World Mission. “We met people that had been born in these brick kilns that have been there 40 years, members of second and even third-generation families. [Their] slavery was initiated by a debt of maybe as little as $100 of a medical bill that they couldn’t pay. The slave owners pay that debt; then they own these people.” These people have to live in shacks near the kilns. If they do not make their brick quotas, they are assaulted or starved. Sometimes, the owners even kidnap the daughters of the kiln workers, selling them into the sex trade. Kelley says World Mission paid one day’s wages to some of the kilns so the slaves could take a day off. “It was like a Christmas celebration because they didn’t have to work. … we were able to gather these people together at these different brick kilns we visited and [share] the Gospel. I would say 90% of these slaves were coming to receive Jesus.”
According to Mission Network News, Sunday will mark the five-year anniversary of Pastor Raymond Koh’s kidnapping. This Malaysian pastor ran a ministry helping people with HIV/AIDS, recovering addicts, single mothers, and children. But on February 13, 2017, three vehicles forced him off the road and mysterious attackers dragged him out of his car. Todd Nettleton with The Voice of the Martyrs USA says, “There is footage of him being taken. It is a military-style precision operation that took less than 40 seconds. He disappeared. There’s been no sign of him since then. His car has never been located. It’s like he fell off the face of the earth. We’re waiting still for the Malaysian government to hold someone accountable for that.” “The reports and studies have suggested that it was the intelligence police that was involved.” The Malaysian government formed a task force in 2020 to investigate the disappearance. But since then, the group has not released any information about the kidnapping. Pray for Pastor Koh’s family, who wonder if he is still alive. Ask God to comfort them. Pray also for God to work among the Malay people. Nettleton says, “Even though the government doesn’t want ethnic Malays to hear the Gospel and to come to faith in Christ, God is certainly more powerful than the Malaysian government.”
According to Mission Network News, Supply chain problems continue globally, but Scripture booklets shipments make it through to distributors in Haiti. World Missionary Press shipped more than three million Scripture booklets and Kreyol New Testaments to Gospel workers in Haiti last year. “Literature in Haiti is extremely expensive, so our New Testaments and our free Scripture booklets are just wonderful [assets to have],” WMP’s Helen Williams says. “[Despite] all that seems to be going wrong in Haiti, they are still getting their supplies in. God is still moving and working.” One partner wrote in recently to tell Williams: “To say 2021 was a difficult year is an understatement. That [year] began with the entire country of Haiti in a state of unrest, [and] things only got worse. We had a presidential assassination, multiple kidnappings, fuel shortages, out-of-control gang activity, two earthquakes, and a hurricane. Yet, through it all, God still reigns.” Another partner combines humanitarian work with evangelism: repairing roads, installing wells, and introducing entire villages to Jesus. “The Haitians have a phrase: ‘water is life.’ When they put in these wells and [hand out] booklets, it’s a physical picture of what God is doing – [it’s] life-giving water, and He’s changing lives [through the Gospel],” Williams says. World Missionary Press hopes to send its next container to Cap-Haïtien before March 1.
According to Mission Network News, Kees van der Knijff always had an interest in theology. Growing up in the Netherlands, he felt the call to minister to the global Church. At first, van der Knijff studied econometrics, which is the mathematical side of economics. But he eventually left that line of study to attend a seminary in Amsterdam. There, he obtained a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology. In the spring of 2021, he and his family moved to Lebanon, where he began teaching at the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary. He says, “I’ve been teaching a course on providence and prayer, the relationship between God’s plans, God’s care for creation, and our influence when we pray. That has been a joy to do. In the future, I will be mainly teaching systematic theology and historical theology.” Right now, van der Knijff spends a lot of his time learning Arabic. He intends to stay in the country, despite the financial crisis and unstable political situation. “Prayer for Lebanon and for the people who are suffering is much needed. For the region, I would say in almost all the countries where students from ABTS live, the church is in a difficult situation. It takes great courage and great wisdom to be a pastor and to be a church in those circumstances.”
According to Mission Network News, The Chinese Communist Party continues to severely limit media in the country, targeting everything from music to video games to religious content. But that isn’t going to stop Chinese people from using media, and it certainly won’t stop Christians from proclaiming Jesus. Kurt Rovenstine with Bibles for China uses the illustration of a sandbox on the beach. For years, the government in China turned away as people left the sandbox to play on the beach. Now, they have begun herding people back into the more restrictive sandbox. “As Americans outside of China, we look at the beach and say, ‘Look at all of the things we can’t do because we’re stuck in this little sandbox.’ But the church in China is saying, ‘Hey, there’s a lot in the sandbox we can do.’” China’s people don’t always follow the rules when it comes to the internet. In fact, China has often been a hotspot for pirated media. Aside from digital loopholes, Rovenstine believes printed Bibles and other books have a future in China’s churches. That plays into Bibles for China’s plans for 2022. Rovenstine says, “We are looking at a spring distribution that’s in the process of being planned. We will print those Bibles, or have them printed with a partner outside of China. It’s the same Bible, just not printed within China. A late spring distribution is what we have on the calendar. We will print about 50,000.” Ask God to give creativity to the Chinese Church.
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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.