Mosul Christians forced out, robbed
Iraq (MNN) -- Picture this. You're a Christian. An official knocks on your door and tells you that since you're a Christian you have to:convert to Islam, pay a tax, or leave your city. If you don't, you'll be killed. While you're wrestling with that decision, you hear reports that suggest these people only want you dead.
That's exactly what's happening in Mosul, Iraq.
Dr. David Curry condemns the removal of
Christians from Mosul, Iraq.
Dr. David Curry, President and CEO of Open Doors USA,
has condemned the latest action of Islamic State militants who ordered all Christians in the Iraqi city of Mosul to leave the city over the weekend or face execution.
"The persecution and treatment of Christians in Mosul is unprecedented in modern times," he says. "This latest forced exodus of Christians further shows why Western governments and the people in the West need to cry out in support for religious freedom in the Middle East and elsewhere. If this does not move us concerning the near extinction of Christianity in the Middle East, it’s likely nothing else can."
Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, Director of Interfaith Affairs at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, adds: "Too many of us thought that forced conversions and expulsions of entire religious communities were part of a distant, medieval past. There was little that we could do to stop this horrible episode.
"It is not too late to realize that many others--Christians today, but certainly Jews, Baha'i, Hindus, Muslims, and others--are mortally endangered by a potent religious fanaticism that threatens tens of millions, and which still can be resisted."
According to Open Doors, the Islamic State gave Christians an ultimatum over the weekend: (1) stay and convert to Islam, (2) pay Islamic tax (which is too much for most families to pay), or (3) leave Mosul taking nothing but their clothes. Christians who stayed would be executed.
Most Christians have left Mosul now. At the checkpoints of ISIS, Christians had to leave everything behind (cars, gold, money, mobile phones). The only possessions they could keep were their clothes. They had to walk to safer places, mostly in northern Iraq, while traveling in blistering heat.
A World Watch Monitor source in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan region, said a Christian family in Mosul reported by phone that explosions were heard during the night last Thursday in Mosul. On Friday, as the family attempted to pass through a Mosul checkpoint, ISIS agents forced them out of their car and confiscated their belongings and put them in a separate vehicle. Then the militants drove them several minutes down the road, and ultimately forced them out to continue their journey on foot, according to the source.
Open Doors reports that some churches, many in partnership with Open Doors, have been helping the Mosul refugees. One Open Doors field worker said: "The exodus has stopped. There are no more Christians in Mosul anymore. We now need to pray that they might return one day."
Earlier last week, the Islamic State marked houses belonging to members of minority communities, including Christians, with the phrase "property of the Islamic State," including inhabited houses.
While you may not think you can make a difference, you can. Support the Open Doors emergency fund. "We're trying to raise $1.5 million just for the immediate surge to help these refugees. There [are] 3,000 Christian families from Mosul who are on the run."
Iraq is ranked No. 4 on the Open Doors 2014 World Watch List of the worst persecutors of Christians. For more information on the list, go to www.WorldWatchList.us
For almost 60 years Open Doors has worked in the world's most oppressive and restrictive countries, strengthening Christians to stand strong in the face of persecution and equipping them to shine Christ's light in these places. Open Doors empowers persecuted Christians in the areas of Bible and gospel development, women and children's advancement, and Christian community restoration. Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world and are oppressed in at least 60 countries. To partner with Open Doors USA, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535), or go to www.OpenDoorsUSA.org
Forgotten Missionaries International: reaching the Muslim world for Christ
Students at Grace Bible College & Theological Seminary in Bangladesh take one of their daily exams.
(Image, caption courtesy FMI)
Asia (MNN) -- What do the people of Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Pakistan have in common?
"95% or more are Muslim, and most of those have never heard the Gospel," shares Bruce Allen* of Forgotten Missionaries International (FMI).
Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Pakistan hold a combined population of 580 million people. That means one of every 12 people in the world lives in one of these three countries. Furthermore, two-thirds of the world's Muslims live in 10 countries: Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Algeria, and Morocco.
Simply put, ministries operating in Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Pakistan have a significant opportunity to reach the Muslim world for Christ.
Enter: Forgotten Missionaries International.
Forgotten Missionaries International (FMI)
FMI exists to support indigenous pastors in Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Pakistan who are telling unreached people groups about Christ and planting churches in these communities. They empower national missionaries instead of sending missionaries from Western nations.
"We find the guys who are trained, who are passionate about God's Word, and want to reach their own countrymen with the Gospel," explains Allen.
"Pioneer evangelists have gone in, done the evangelism and the outreach; [the men] we're partnering with are literally the 'forgotten' missionaries."
With financial support from FMI, pastors are able to stay in ministry. This support is especially important during the early years of church planting, when congregations are often too small and too poor to support their pastor.
"Rather than have them get discouraged in those years, our partners here in the U.S. say, 'We will support you financially so that you don't leave the ministry in order to feed your family,'" Allen says.
See how you can support a pastor and his family.
Throughout the Muslim world, Ramadan is a significant holiday. It's also a great opportunity for indigenous believers to teach Muslims about Jesus.
Muslim workers pause for a few minutes along an alleyway in the afternoon to offer their ritual prayers.
(Image, caption courtesy FMI)
"It's a time of heightened awareness…because the Muslims at this time are praying about connecting with God and trying to 'revitalize' any sense of spirituality," explains Allen.
"Muslims are more open to spiritual conversations, especially if relationships have already been built."
As the last week of Ramadan begins, pray that missionary pastors will have a chance to introduce Muslims to Christ.
Iraq crisis: Christians need your help
Seal of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.
(Image courtesy Wikipedia)
Iraq (MNN) -- The Iraq crisis and Islamic State (formerly ISIS) terrorists have reached a new low.
"For the first time in the history of Iraq, Mosul is now empty of Christians," Patriarch Louis Sako told the Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency.
Before the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, Mosul boasted a Christian population of approximately 60,000. A majority of believers had left by June 2014, but the Remnant was driven out by the Islamic State this weekend.
On Saturday, the following update was posted on the 8thirty8 Facebook page:
"The Remaining Christians in Mosul, Iraq (Ancient Ninevah) left today under threat of death from the 'Islamic State' terrorists. An Iraqi pastor just called and said that each Christian family departed with the clothes on their back. Their houses were spray painted with signs: 'This House is Now Property of the Islamic State.'
"This announcement was then made over Mosque loudspeakers: 'Today is the day you must choose to convert, pay the jizah tax, or die.'
"Mothers were not allowed to take diapers or formula. Everything was left behind. They headed for Kurdish controlled areas like the city of Erbil."
IS terrorists issued the same ultimatum in Syria
earlier this year, and it was threatened in Egypt
by the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013.
Middle East/Central Asia ministry is looking for ways to send help to the displaced Iraqi families. Click here
to support their efforts financially.
Middle East governments are very strict when it comes to sending in funds, making it extremely difficult to support ministry partners in this region. Will you stand with E3 in prayer?
Pray for the Lord's blessing upon resources and aid being sent to Iraqi families. Pray that governments will not hinder the supplies and that they will reach believers quickly. Pray that the Iraq crisis will serve to underscore the eternal hope Christ offers.
For the latest Iraq crisis updates, follow 8thirty8 on Facebook.
A path we all must walk
For some people, the cemetery is a place of sadness.
For others, it's a place of hope.
(Photo by New Tribes Mission)
Mexico (NTM/MNN) -- There aren't many who relish the thought of death. It marks the beginning of something we've never really known before, and the end of what we've always known.
New Tribes Mission
works with a tribe in Mexico, the Nahuatl people. They are translating the Bible into their language and constructing a literacy program to teach the people how to read.
The following story about the Nahuatl by NTM's Ian Fallis is a story that all of us can relate to. It is also a story that can inspire followers of Christ to make a difference in the world around them.
Dark is the path that leads past the little Nahuatl village to the cemetery. “It’s a path we all must walk,” said the father of a little boy crushed to death under a truck when a jack slipped. He shrugged, and walked on.
A shadowy path
Word of the boy's death reached missionaries Peter and Liesl Hypki on a Saturday. They also heard why it happened: magia negra, the villagers said without a hint of doubt: black magic. Two days later, the boy's coffin was at the head of the procession ambling down the shadowy path.
The moment the coffin began to be lowered into the grave, his father turned his back on the boy and faced east. His family followed his example, and then the whole crowd turned away. They had to: the Nahuatl people believe that if you do not, the deceased person will take your soul.
“To me, it’s the saddest part,” Peter said. “The imagery is stark.”
A path we walk with hope
It also reminds Peter of another Son who died: of Christ, rejected, dying to conquer death and bring us eternal, abundant life, and to give us hope.
This is why Peter, Liesl, and their co-workers, Rachel Chapman and Katie Moore, are there: to share this hope. In order to share God's message clearly, they must understand how the Nahuatl people think. This is the grid through which the people will understand everything that is said about God.
The walk to the cemetery is indeed a path we all must walk. But, Peter added, "For those who know Christ, it is a path we walk with hope.”
(Photo courtesy of NTM)
You can help Peter and Liesl share with the Nahuatl people the truth and security that exists in a relationship with Christ. Support Peter and Liesl by clicking here
, or NTM translation efforts here
Pray for the spiritual blindness to be lifted from this village.
Why are the seven deadly sins deadly? A television drama to answer
Turkey (MNN) -- Think about the last time you turned on your TV. What do you remember?
(Photo courtesy of SAT-7 TURK)
A new television drama series of SAT-7
TURK, a Christian satellite television ministry to the Middle East and North Africa, addresses the dangers that lurk within the content you're viewing.
Start with commercials. It's no secret people trying to sell you something have to make you desire it, out of need or want. But how often is that desire created out of the pre-existing desires of fallen human nature? Do they ever use any of the seven deadly sins--lust, envy, greed, sloth, wrath, pride, or gluttony--to draw you in?
If you think this is a ridiculous question, consider what the commercials are partitioning.
Your favorite TV show, for instance. At any point, does the show use one of the seven deadly sins to get your attention, drag the plot along, and entertain you? Maybe not your
show, but you see how many programs are advertised using these themes.
The fact is, all too often these and other sins are used as entertainment value. They are glorified, commercialized, and underrated.
What's the problem?
Have you ever thought about why
the seven deadly sins are called "deadly?" They seem pretty harmless, after all.
That's just it. These sins don't come with the bright orange warning label like murder, robbery, and alcoholism do. They're easy to reason with, easy to hide, and easy to fall into without noticing before they've significantly impacted your life. The consequences permeate many areas of your life without you being able to put a name from their cause.
SAT-7 is doing something about it
SAT-7 TURK is getting ready to release Seven,
a drama series that addresses the implications of sin, re-sensitizing it's viewers to the seriousness and offensiveness of sin. It also serves as a platform for discussion between viewers, regardless of their religion.
*A SAT-7 TURK worker says, "It's an excellent medium for bringing up opportunity [to] further the discussion and [get] responses from people."
The audience participates in an honest, yet meaningful, conversation through a collection of texts, Facebook posts, Twitter, etc.
"That's one of the great advantages of television in Turkey," says the TURK worker: "It's popular. And people are quite open about speaking about their beliefs and their understanding about things, so that's not a problem as long as it's done, obviously, with respect in a way that doesn't attack peoples' belief."
SAT-7 TURK seeks to present discussions for the breadth and depth of the Christian life by covering many different topics.
is just one of many examples of how they present these themes, and a good one, too: "It's a format that uses television really well. And because we're a television ministry, we think it's important to develop good drama, as I mentioned, that's written by people who understand their faith well and their culture well. I think it's a great way to communicate with our audience regarding the Christian faith," the worker says.
SAT-7 is a way to connect, comfort, and guide believers wherever they are around the world.
As the TURK worker explains, "The Church in Turkey really benefits from this. The Church in Turkey is very small. Many Christians are living in isolated situations where it's difficult to meet with other believers.
"Television ministry really is a key, strategic way of helping the Church."
Your support will reach all the way to the Middle East!
You can help support this programming financially here.
The TURK worker says that the main way you can help is by talking to God.
"As we broadcast day-by-day different programs and try to reflect Christian life in all its fullness, pray that those programs would be helpful to all of the different churches in Turkey, in all of the different aspects in their life and their witness."
You can also pray for SAT-7 TURK's application for a Turkish broadcast license to be accepted. It will allow SAT-7 TURK to broadcast on the best satellite for a Turkish audience. Pray also for the Turkish people to look to God for guidance amid the turmoil and unrest taking place all around them in the Middle East.
*Unidentified for security reasons