Tunisia (MNN) -- Tunisia was the spark of what became the 'Arab Spring.' Sadly, while the revolution may have begun with great hope, two years later, change has been so slow that Tunisians are fed up. Late last month, protestors took to the streets and demanded the Islamist government step down. Todd Nettleton, a spokesman... Read more
Thailand (MNN) -- Do you want to live longer? Brush your teeth! Studies show that oral health is directly linked to your overall wellbeing. That's why Partners Relief and Development brought a team of dental hygienists to one of their project zones in Thailand. They taught migrant workers from Burma how to brush their teeth... Read more
USA (MNN) -- Nearly 30% of Vets treated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. An updated video called "Bible on the Battlefield," produced by Faith Comes by Hearing, is a helpful resource for our military. Men and women in uniform are finding the comfort and hope of Christ through the... Read more
Guatemala (MNN) -- There's an encouraging trend developing among lay pastors in Guatemala. Dan Smith of Paradise Bound Ministries says, "About 25 to 30% of these pastors...are looking to do more. They're looking to reach out to other villages." Paradise Bound works with the Timothy Leadership Institute to train 60 lay pastors in Guatemala. They're... Read more
Sudan (MNN) -- Sudan is calm, at least for now, following weeks of violent protests. It was reportedly the worst unrest in the country for years. 700 people have been arrested, and dozens of protestors were injured when national security forces stepped in. Jed Hamoud of Kids Alive International says the riots put children they... Read more
(Image courtesy Kids Alive)
Sudan (MNN) -- Sudan is calm, at least for now, following weeks of violent protests. It was reportedly the worst unrest in the country for years.
Riots began when Sudan's government lifted fuel subsidies on September 23, a move that nearly doubled the price of gasoline. Demonstrators quickly took to the streets in protest, and unrest spread throughout Sudan, reaching the capital city of Khartoum in record time.
Some 700 people have been arrested so far, and dozens of protestors were injured when national security forces stepped in. The death toll stands at 34, according to Sudan's government, but rights groups and a few diplomats have said over 100 were killed.
Jed Hamoud of Kids Alive International says the riots put children they care for at high-risk.
"Our biggest concern is that the rioters [and] demonstrators do not intrude on the property and put the children at harm," says Hamoud."Our top priority is really the safety of our children and the safety of our staff, in situations like this."
Tight security has largely shut down protests in the capital city of Khartoum, where the Kids Alive Boys' Home is located.
"What they will lead to, in terms of the overall country's stability, is very unpredictable," Hamoud says.
An estimated 10% of Sudan's children are orphans; many of them live on the streets or in refugee camps. Hamoud says the boys' backgrounds play into how they respond during times of crisis.
"Their abandonment sometimes plays into their fears and insecurity. And when we provide them with love and care and attention…we're living the message of the Gospel," he states.
"Our hope is that they come to see Christ through this ministry and they, too, will then change and turn their life to Christ."
Pray for this transformation to take place.
Kids Alive fulfills the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of children through Christ-centered care, education, and ministries, helping children become faithful followers of Jesus and pillars of their community.
To learn more about the work of Kids Alive in Sudan, click here.
"We're there to shelter them, to give them protection, to give them safety, and to minister to them," says Hamoud.
Would you take a moment to pray for them?
"We covet your prayers in terms of...the protection and safety for the children...for the staff there," Hamoud says. "Pray that the schools will stay open so we can continue to send our kids to school."
Tunisian flag, coat of arms. (File images courtesy Wikipedia)
Tunisia (MNN) -- Tunisia is known as "the motherland of the Arab Spring."
Sadly, while the revolution may have begun in January 2011 with great hope, change has been so slow that Tunisians are fed up.
The Islamist-led Ennahda clearly won the first free elections in the fall of 2011, but the hope of stability didn't follow. Right after elections, the ruling parties promised a new draft constitution within a year. It's been two.
Meanwhile, this summer's assassination of a key opposition leader served as the catalyst for new protests after months of frustration. To underscore the lack of confidence in the constitutional assembly, 50 deputies resigned in the wake of the murder.
Massive protests ensued throughout Tunisia. Leaders were obviously watching the unrest in fellow Arab Spring countries, Egypt and Libya. They did the unexpected, says Todd Nettleton, a spokesman for the Voice of the Martyrs USA: they stepped down. "We don't think of Islamist parties relinquishing power once they have it. They clearly have been watching what happened in Egypt. They clearly don't want that to happen there."
Within three weeks, Tunisia is supposed to have a new transitional government. Within a month, there should be new elections. The constitutional convention is supposed to be working again soon. However, Nettleton notes that it's possible a new election won't bring about big change. "I think it shows that they feel pretty confident that they can win an election if they're voluntarily stepping down and pointing toward a full-scale election in Tunisia."
Some of the tension is coming from the desire to remain a largely-secular country, being governed by an Islamist party in a place where Islam is the state religion. For minority groups like Christians, there is a lot riding on the vote, Nettleton adds. "One of the things that we'll be watching through this political process is if there is a change in posture on religious freedom, because an Islamist government would say that a person who leaves Islam to follow Christianity is an apostate and they should to be put on trial and potentially even executed."
Although repercussions for Muslim-Background Believers have, at times, been severe, "There IS a church in Tunisia. There are Muslim converts there, but it is dangerous thing to be. They are targeted. Oftentimes, the first line of persecution is family members."
The state of flux keeps believers on edge. They, too, are watching what has happened to the body of Christ in Egypt, Syria, and Libya. Nettleton says, "We need to pray for encouragement. We need to pray that they'll continue to be bold witnesses for Christ in spite of the risk, in spite of the danger that they face.... Pray for their protection."
Pray for opportunities to reach out to the people of Tunisia with the gospel. Pray, too, that the Spirit of God will break down the barriers that have been built up against the gospel in Tunisia.
The use of the BibleSticks for military is having a huge, positive impact!
USA (MNN) -- You would think that returning to his or her home country, a war veteran
would feel at peace. But the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that
haunt our beloved soldiers show otherwise.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that PTSD
affects almost 31% of Vietnam veterans, as many as 10% of Gulf War (Desert
Storm) veterans, 11% of Afghanistan veterans, and 20% of Iraqi war veterans.
PTSD is a very real, and at times, a dangerous disorder.
Some effects include becoming emotionally numb, flashbacks to war when a sound
triggers a memory, strong aggression, and trouble falling asleep or staying
Knowing the major stresses of war that are put on our
military, Faith Comes By Hearing has provided more than 350,000 Military BibleSticks to
brave men and women. These BibleSticks contain a dramatized recording of the
New Testament and select Psalms. This ministry helps them cope with the
stresses of the military life, including multiple deployments and the post-war
effects when they return home.
Two years ago, Faith Comes by Hearing also produced a half-hour video, “Bible
on the Battlefield,” to illustrate the need for the device containing God's Word. Today, FCBH is
releasing an updated version of the video that is hosted by Ryan Dobson and
features former Navy SEAL, Chad Williams, and Vietnam veteran, Raul Ries. With
these two military men being featured on the updated version, their stories
show first-hand that the BibleSticks do
make a difference in the lives of our military personnel who struggle with
trying to cope with the everyday horrors of war.
Williams says, "I support making this spiritual resource
available to our troops. I understand the tremendous pressure they face and
what a difference this can make in helping them deal with it." Ries agrees: "Whether in combat, training, or deployment, our servicemen and women have
to deal with extraordinary stress, and the Word of God is much needed for
With the comfort of God’s Word all throughout
the BibleSticks that are being sent out to our military, there is hope that
they can overcome their darkest fears and find hope. Pray that the
funding to meet the ongoing demand for BibleSticks is met as Christian radio
and TV campaigns get the message of Christ out.
You can also help by supporting FCBH to help military personnel come to
know Christ. For more information on the BibleSticks or the updated "Bible on
the Battlefield" video, click here to visit the Faith Comes By Hearing page.
Kids practice their new techniques. (Image courtesy Partners)
Thailand (MNN/PRD) -- Did you know flossing can increase your life expectancy?
Studies have shown that oral health is directly linked to overall general health and quality of life. That's why Partners Relief and Development was thrilled to receive a request for dental hygiene training from migrant workers living in the Chiang Mai community.
Shortly after receiving this request, they were blessed with a group of volunteers who had backgrounds in the dental field. These volunteers trained Partners' community leaders at SEED Migrant Centre about the importance of regular brushing, the realities of plaque, and other basic hygiene essentials.
Today, the community leaders hold training sessions and spread their knowledge of dental hygiene throughout multiple migrant worker communities in the Chiang Mai area.
A portion of Partners' healthcare ministry to the people of Burma includes the training and support of indigenous health workers. They help provide health infrastructure for struggling Shan communities in border areas near Thailand, as well as in the Karen state.
Caring for the physical needs of refugees often opens the door for Partners' staff and volunteer workers to share the hope they have in Christ.
The SEED Migrant Centre, mentioned above, focuses primarily on Shan communities living in Thailand. With the help of volunteers, it offers trainings and practical help in the areas of social, educational, and physical well-being.
According to an update on Partners' Facebook page, some students drive for an hour just to attend English classes offered by SEED. For other students, this is the first educational opportunity they've had, due to the high cost of education in the Shan state.
Want to learn more about Partners and their work in Burma? Click here to visit their Web site.
Lay pastors receive training at the Paradise Bound training center. (Image courtesy Paradise Bound)
Guatemala (MNN) -- There's an encouraging trend developing among lay pastors in Guatemala.
"About 25 to 30% of these pastors...are looking to do more. They're looking to reach out to other villages," says Dan Smith of Paradise Bound Ministries.
Paradise Bound works with the Timothy Leadership Training Institute to train 60 lay pastors from the rural regions of Guatemala. They're giving the biblical training these men need to lead a church but could never afford or access.
"They've never been to seminary, they've never been to any type of biblical institute before," Smith explains, "but yet they felt the calling and the need to start a church within their own village.
"When we say 'rural church,' we are certainly talking about very remote churches in Guatemala, in villages that very few people live in or can even get to."
Smith says pastors who work alongside Paradise Bound will travel to isolated villagers, pick up the leaders-in-training, and bring them to the ministry's training center three or four times a year. The Timothy Leadership Training Institute provides training material and teachers.
"They send down wonderful teachers to work with us, work with our facility, and give these pastors the training they need," says Smith.
In addition to some leaders' hearts for the isolated, the training makes them perfect missionaries.
"They already know the language, they know the culture, and now they'll be perfectly trained to be able to go out and either go back to their own village, or go out to another village," Smith explains. And, "it's not just that they're interested: they're already starting to do something about it."
Some lay pastors have already planted house churches of between 30 and 40 members.
"They've been gaining so much confidence in the abilities that they're learning…that more souls are coming to Him," Smith says. "We're just excited about where this is starting to go and what we see as God's work among us, and in these pastors."
The program's first set of lay pastors will complete their coursework in April 2014. Over the years, relationships have formed between pastors-in-training and Paradise Bound. Smith says the ministry recently came to a startling realization.
"Many of these lay pastors are farmers in their village," he explains. "They're trying to eke out an existence and yet be the shepherd of that church. They don't have the time to do both and to do it well."
As Paradise Bound searches for ways to help sustain new lay pastors once their training is complete, you can help them reach the finish line. Click here to support the training of lay pastors in Guatemala.
"None of these pastors have to pay for their training," says Smith. "We're doing this 100% free to them."
With your financial help, the Gospel can keep advancing in Guatemala through lay pastors. With your prayer support, more people can come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Sign up for daily prayer updates from Paradise Bound here.
"The first thing we always ask for is prayer," Smith states. "Continue to pray for souls coming to know Jesus Christ as their Savior."