China (MNN) -- Editor's Note: As we enter this holiday season, Thanksgiving and Christmas, we want to share some impact stories of how you, as listeners and readers, have impact on Kingdom building around the world. In this case, it's Bibles For China.
The ministry offers thanks on behalf of the thousands of rural Chinese Christians that have received a Bible because of your prayers and donations. Please pray for the upcoming January team as preparations are made for them to verify the distribution of more Bibles.
What follows is their story of joy in places both expected and unexpected:
(Photo courtesy Bibles For China)
"God is at work in China! Since our very first trip, Bibles for China has been seeking ways for us to minister directly with the partners the Lord has given us in China. In May of this year, two teams were assembled to travel to China in order to witness the distribution of thousands of Bibles in rural China. It was evident that God's blessing and leadership was with the three couples and three other individuals as they shared the joy of meeting and loving the Chinese people.
Through a series of circumstances, they were privileged to meet a lovely young lady we will call 'Annie,' who served as their translator during part of the trip. She was extremely knowledgeable and helpful to the group, and spent hours helping one of the young ladies who needed assistance in making arrangements for extending her Visa for her summer internship in China. The group left China with a warm heart toward Annie but had no indication that she had any knowledge of the Christian faith.
In July, the Chairman of the Board and the President of Bibles for China spent time in China with a Partner and hired Annie as their translator. Again, they found her to be a delightful Chinese lady who had been well-trained to assist foreigners to get around in China. Their means of transportation was a 'slow' train (70 mph) as opposed to an express train (200 mph). What a blessing this was as they had ample time to get acquainted with Annie and with the Partner who had arranged for the distribution of Bibles in the area that had been selected for them to serve.The plan of Salvation was shared with Annie, but her response seemed rather neutral. This was not surprising, considering that a large portion of the population of China does not even believe there is a God, let alone understand the sacrifice that His Son made for our sins.
(Photo courtesy Bibles For China)
As a part of the first Bible distribution of the trip, the President was asked to share. He expressed appreciation to all who helped carry out the passion of serving these rural Chinese Christians with Bibles and how the team's hearts and lives had been touched and enriched by getting to be with them for this celebration. As he shared, he was overcome with the emotion of gratitude for all those who had provided Bibles for these precious Christians. Annie showed similar emotion as she translated his words. After the team loaded back into the van, Annie was asked what her thoughts were, and she replied, 'I was shocked! I never knew there were churches like this in China.' The team complimented her on her fantastic job of translating even to the point of expressing emotion in the proper places. Her response was, "'hat was not a translating issue. I was overcome, and I felt the touch of God during that time.'
That day, Annie began a journey of faith that is continuing to grow and develop. She went to her room that night and started reading her Bible. If you were given a book to read that you were unfamiliar with, where would you begin? At the beginning, of course!
Although the stories of creation and the Garden of Eden in book of Genesis were interesting, it did not energize her spiritually, so the next morning she was advised to begin with the New Testament. The next few days with her included the beginning of a discipling process. Stay tuned for updates on the way God is working in her life. Her contribution to the Lord and the Kingdom will only be known in eternity."
(Photo courtesy Bibles For China)
Gratitude comes full circle
(Photo courtesy For Haiti with Love)
Haiti (FHWL/MNN) -- Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks, to the abundance that is already present.
On this Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. we look at another impact story that describes this perfectly. This time, it comes from For Haiti With Love
FHWL founder Eva DeHart says a Texan man called them last month after hearing an MNN newscast about their need for burn cream. He's a regular MNN listener who responds to stories by praying and giving.
After their initial conversation, DeHart ran the man's credit card number for the amount he specified. It didn't go through, so she called him. He wanted to make a donation but decided to go about it a more traditional route: traditional, for him, that is. "He went for his recorder, and he recorded the name and the address and promised to send his check." That's when DeHart realized this donor was visually impaired. She was humbled even more by his generosity and amazed by God's hand in the whole situation. "We have a blind man in Texas, calling Florida, to reach out and help burned people in Haiti as an outreach of his own personal ministry."
(Image of burn cream courtesy Wikipedia)
Here's why the burn clinic is crucial to For Haiti With Love's ministry: in July, the staff performed 1,022 services to the most vulnerable. Of those, 492 were a result of burn accidents. And of the burns, 30 were 3 years of age or younger.
DeHart explains that accidents involving hot oil, burning coals, or open flame are common in Cap Haitien: fingers of children too hungry to let the food cool before they start eating, children reaching or touching things when mamma turns her back for just a moment--putting innocent little hands in boiling water, being under a spilled pan of boiling food or water. All of these are accidents that without proper treatment would leave patients dead or scarred for life. But believers gave money for the burn cream, bandages, and tape to keep the burns clean while they heal.
(Photo courtesy For Haiti With Love)
In a land where there are no home medicine cabinets, the burn clinic sees a lot more than burns. 150 of the patients came in with cuts: those treatments vary from cleaning, triple antibiotic cream and a band aid, to cleaning and stitches. But through donor generosity, God has provided a safe place for them to come and receive the care they need, all in the name of Christ.
It's just a reminder that even with our own challenges, God can touch hearts to reach beyond ourselves to the needs of others.
Kingdom Expansion: Part Three
(Screenshot taken from BSFB.org)
Bangladesh (MNN) -- We've been talking about God's Kingdom expansion in Bangladesh. Today we'll continue that discussion to learn about how the Living Water Center will impact student outreach on college campuses.
Peter Mazumder grew up in a Christian home but accepted Christ later in life. He soon began working for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
He says when he arrived to do ministry in Bangladesh in 1986, there were nine chapters of InterVarsity on campuses in Bangladesh. He spent many days of the month traveling to different cities where universities were located.
He says, "By the grace of God now, 76 chapters are functioning, with 1500 students are having regular weekly Bible Studies."
Kingdom Expansion: InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
Sharing the Gospel looks a bit different than it does in the United States. Nobody has been able to see that better than Mazumder. Asian Access is partnering with InterVarsity to fulfill a need that has burdened his heart.
Mazumder explains, "Bangladesh is a Muslim country, but we are free to propagate the Gospel all over the country. So as a Muslim country, we are not able to sit in the University Campuses, but we call this 'friendship evangelism.'"
This is a different way of engaging the student population, by having discussions about Jesus with friends and peers rather than having a presence as an organization on campus.
"Through that dialogue we share the Gospel, and it's really going well. We reach them one-by-one like students reaching the students through friendship evangelism," Mazumder says.
The Living Water Center will serve many purposes (read more here). One of these will be to provide a place for leadership or ministry training for students and a place for them to hold InterVarsity meetings.
Mazumder continues, "This Living Water Center will be for the students' training and all different kinds of conferences for InterVarsity. At the same time, it will be available for different churches."
Churches will also be able to meet here for Bible school and discipleship training.
You can give to Asian Access
, who is partnering with InterVarsity, to help this project to completion.
InterVarsity works internationally to train students to engage their peers with the message of Jesus and to become effective leaders beyond college.
Pray that the Living Water Center would be a great resource to expand God's Kingdom in Bangladesh.
Bhutanese pastor waits
(Photo Courtesy Open Doors USA)
Bhutan (ODM) -- Editor’s Note: This story was written by Open Doors USA about the appeal trial of a Bhutanese pastor.
Bhutanese pastor Tandin Wangyal presented his 25-minute defense against the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) before the Samtse Court on October 20, 2014. He is accused of violating Section 105 of the Bhutan's Communications, Information, and Media Act of 2006 (presenting a film to the public without permission) and Section 70 of the Civil Society Organizations Act (illegally soliciting public funds).
"Most honorable judge, our supreme Scripture, the Bible, clearly says in 1 Timothy 2:2 that we are to pray for our rulers, kings, and authorities," said Tandin. "Every Christian in Bhutan, regardless of social background, upholds you in prayer.
"We are not against our king, country, or people. Our Scripture says in Romans 13:1 that we are to submit under the given authority," he continued. "Bhutanese Christians abide by this. Your most honorable judge, I am ready to lay down my life for this nation."
The OAG gave a rebuttal to his defense on October 27.
In response to the charge under Section 105, Tandin countered that he did not present a movie in the gathering, but a music video of the song "Above All" to usher the people to worship.
The OAG asserted, however, that they have found a schedule in Tandin's hard disk revealing his plans to show three Christian movies in the days to follow. They say the attempt to show these films without permission is punishable by the Penal Code of Bhutan.
As for the funds he allegedly solicited from the public, Tandin explained that the money in question was not an unauthorized solicitation from the locals, but rather a gift given in confidence by a good friend whose name translates to "public" in Dzongkha. The OAG refrained from further comment on this and decided to leave it to the court.
For further clarification, the judge asked Tandin to produce documents proving that the activities he was facilitating are registered. To this, Tandin responded that no church in Bhutan has ever been granted legal status. "There were a couple of times when some Christian leaders tried to register, but nothing concrete has been achieved," said Tandin. "Recently, some leaders submitted registration documents to the Prime Minister. It was relayed to the Home Minister, but no concrete decision has been made, so I will not be able to produce these documents in court."
Tandin's final hearing was scheduled for November 6, 2014. It was his last chance to deliver his written rebuttal and oral argument before the judge. Tandin was to speak in the morning, while the Evidence Hearing was to be led by the prosecution in the afternoon.
The result was three years in prison.
He appealed, but that verdict has yet to be rendered.
Pray for Tandin and his family to remain steadfast in their faith in God.
Is pro-life message lost in the church?
USA (MNN) -- Political correctness is invading the church in the western culture. Some churches have abandoned their stand on homosexuality. Divorce and remarriage is becoming less of an issue with some churches. What about the pariah of our culture today: abortion?
Tom Lothamer talks about Life Matters Worldwide in this video on their Web site.
President of Life Matters Worldwide
Tom Lothamer says churches can't abandon the biblical pro-life message. God created man in His image, and Lothamer says that image
is the basis of our view of people. "Many, many times, sad to say, pastors don't fully understand the implications of what image
means, what that has to do with the Gospel, and what that has to do with how we treat each other" -- not just each other within the church, but every human being from conception to death.
Life Matters is talking with churches globally about their view of people. Valuing life is important in outreach, says Lothamer. "If we're in a culture that doesn't value life and it's no big deal because of convenience or because of other issues, then that has an impact on culture where we become a more of a culture of death than of life."
Most churches agree with their message, but some respond negatively. "Sometimes it's just silence; they just won't do it. Sometimes they might think, 'Wow, maybe I have someone in my church who's had an abortion.'"
That silence can cause other problems, especially with young people, says Lothamer. "It might be a young lady who's 14, 16, or 18 who becomes pregnant and she's never really heard about it in the church. She may say, 'Well, maybe I'll get an abortion.'"
While most evangelical churches are pro-life, many pastors haven't been trained. Life Matters can help your church integrate pro-life ministry. "We're in churches all the time and teaching about this. We have all kinds of materials--pastors' materials and education materials for lay people, from conception to natural death.
Life Matters also has a ministry called Living in Faith Together, or LIFT. Lothamer explains, "The LIFT ministry is to the elderly and those who are facing chronic or terminal illness, and how we the body can care for members of our congregation who are going through that."
Lothamer says the pro-life worldview needs to be a part of every church, which can have evangelistic impact. With crisis pregnancy and end of life support, churches can have great impact. "It says something to those people, and they're [asking], 'Why are you helping me like this?' It gives us opportunities to share why we're doing this. We can present Christ to them in a very loving and compassionate way; many are coming to Christ through these ministries."
Support Life Matters Worldwide financially to help more Christians understand the pro-life message. Or, click here
if you'd like additional information on how to implement pro-life ministry in your church.