USA (MNN) -- Islam's influence in the United States is growing. According to U.S. census numbers, today there are more Muslims, more mosques, and according to one expert, more tolerance.
Why is Islam growing in the U.S.? According to the Pew Research Center, 39% of all adult Muslims living in America are immigrants, having arrived in the United States since 1990. That growth is changing the face of the U.S.
According to a New York School District, Muslim students now account for about 10% of the total number of students there. Some school districts are even changing their calendars to observe Muslim holidays. Dearborn, Michigan schools actually reschedule athletic events around Ramadan, when it falls during the school year.
President and founder of the Crescent Project Fouad Masri says this should be a wake-up call for Christians. That's why the Crescent Project is offering the Oasis Conference beginning Thursday, October 31 in the Dallas, Texas area.
However, knowing that not everyone can go to the conference to learn how to reach out to Muslims, Masri has written a book to help you. "The book Ambassadors to Muslims is designed to help Christians build bridges with the Muslim friends, contacts, and acquaintances. It explains the situation in the Muslim world."
Masri says, "The first five chapters are specifically about Islam and Muslims. I think it would be great for Christians to read this so they understand where Muslims are coming from. The other part of the book is to help you take the initiative and share the Gospel."
Ambassadors to Muslims is basically a "how to" book. Masri says, "It has something called Bridges 101. Basically, it tells you how to begin a conversation, how to end it, and what to focus on. And, it includes key tools on how to use the Word of God in a way to explain the Gospel."
If you can attend the conference, click here to find out more about the conference and how you can register.
If you can't attend and would like to get a copy of Masri's book, Ambassadors To Muslims, click here.
Who would benefit from the book and the conference? Masri says, "People who are in the medical profession, or computers, or sales and marketing, or in the business arena because they may be rubbing shoulders with Muslim engineers, Muslim doctors, Muslim nurses, and Muslim co-workers, also people who are in Christian work."
Pray that God will provide you with opportunities to tell Muslims about Jesus the Savior of the world.
"Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon" (Isaiah 58:10).
Zimbabwe (MNN) -- What if you were in a situation where the ones you loved didn’t have enough food to survive? What if you did everything you could to provide them with food, but it still wasn’t enough?
For Mudzi communities in eastern Zimbabwe, where Global Aid Network (GAiN) shares the love and hope of Christ, the "what if's" are reality. The entire nation faces a food shortage, and things are worse in regions already hard-hit by last year's severe drought.
Some of us have heard the phrase, "I’m dying of hunger!" -- meaning we’re hungry and want to eat food. Kids in Mudzi literally ARE dying of hunger.
GAiN is sending out a distress call, hoping you might help.
The U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Office of Food for Peace (FFP) has provided $10 million to the U.N. World Food Program. $1.8 million of that is for the people of Zimbabwe.
But it's not enough.
Through GAiN's Food Program, you can make a difference with just ten cents a meal. Every gift given opens doors for demonstrating the love of Christ in word and deed.
Click here to help GAiN fight the hunger crisis in Zimbabwe.
Pray that believers come together to help those in need. Pray that partners will be able to make a difference in the lives of the hungry.
Debalal spent his last moments of life praying for the health of the man who fatally slit his throat. [In the cover image, Pastor Tuhinsurra and believers gather at the funeral for Debalal.] (Both images courtesy Gospel for Asia)
Nepal (MNN) -- A 36-year-old believer spent his last moments on earth praying for the man who would later kill him.
Debalal, an elder of a Gospel for Asia-supported Believers Church in Nepal, was recently called to the home of Kumar Sardar to pray for his healing. Sardar’s wife said her husband had been crying out with acute pain in his body.
As Debalal closed his eyes and began praying for Sardar's healing, he didn't see or hear the 29-year-old leave the room.
"Something sent him over the edge, and while our brother was praying for him, [Sardar] went to the other room and got a huge knife...and slit [Debalal's] throat," recounts GFA's Danny Punnose. "And, he actually just died, right there."
Read GFA's original report here.
Debalal lives approximately 30 minutes away and would often visit Sardar to offer comfort and to intercede on his behalf. Sardar had been ill for some months and was improving gradually as Debalal prayed for him.
"We really don't know exactly why things like this happen, or why exactly this incident happened," says Punnose. "We don't know if [Sardar] was just really stressed, if he was sick, if he wasn't mentally all there."
Police didn't hesitate to take Sardar into their custody, and Punnose says a trial will likely be held in the coming days. Pray that Kumar Sardar would repent and come to know the saving and redemptive love of the Savior, Jesus Christ.
"If the police don't come and take him into custody, the rest of the villagers will probably beat him to death," explains Punnose. There's a possibility villagers could turn their anger upon Sardar's family instead.
"This family…will be completely shamed and ostracized because of this."
Pray for their protection. Pray that the "why?" questions will cause Sardar's family to turn to Christ.
Pray also for Debalal's family. He left behind a wife and two young boys, ages 9 and 15. GFA is helping them through the Persecution Fund. You can send a gift here. The local church is stepping in, too.
"They'll also be taking care of her and helping her, so she won't be abandoned or ostracized," Punnose says.
While the reason for this attack remains unknown, it doesn't look like it will trigger widespread persecution.
"This is an isolated incident where this man snapped or went over the edge and killed our brother," Punnose states.
It isn't like the attacks in Orissa, where radicals went hunting for Christ-followers. Nonetheless, this Christ-follower was killed "in the line of duty."
"Persecution is a very real thing. Opposition, persecution, martyrdom [are] for real; it's not just something that happens once in a while. It happens all the time," says Punnose.
"In some of these places, persecution comes along with your commitment to follow Christ."
Pray for the small community Debalal served as they grapple with his untimely death.
“Debalal was a faithful servant of our Lord Jesus Christ,” said Bishop Dr. Narayan Sharma, senior leader of GFA's work in Nepal. “He was diligent in the Lord’s ministry and helped bring many into the Kingdom of God.”
International (MNN) -- Do you know what orality is?
Orality is the fastest growing movement in evangelism today, and it’s changing the face of missions around the world. It is rapidly reproducing disciple-making and church planting movements among oral cultures in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
Oral learners are people who can’t, don’t, or won’t read, or prefer to learn and communicate in ways other than print-based media or written instruction. They communicate through methods such as storytelling, drama, songs, poetry, parables, proverbs, and other oral arts.
Now you might wonder, what makes orality the fastest-growing movement? According to the International Orality Network, more that 70% of the world’s population are oral learners. In order to reach and disciple oral learners, using traditional teaching methods won’t make the initial impact.
That's where Orality Training Workshops come in.
To insure that the message and methods are biblical, understandable, and reproducible, the Orality Training Workshops aren’t just about statistics or theories about oral cultures. It’s a time to learn and interact with stories of the Bible as an oral learner. In more than twenty countries since 2009, more than 24,000 people have gone through Orality Training Workshops.
As Living Water International partners with Orality Training Workshops, their mission is about more than just water. When they provide Water for Life in Jesus’ name, their hope is those who receive it would come to know the grace and power of the true Living Water that satisfies the deepest thirst.
That is why the Oral methods and Contextual Bible Storying are so important. Living Water International has close to 13,000 water projects in 23 different countries, and most of these nations have high populations of oral learners.
Living Water International conducts these workshops so they can make the greatest impact. Wherever they go, they want to give clean water and make disciples.
Jesus told us to go into all the world to make disciples, so as believers it is our obligation to know how to connect to all peoples.
Pray that the continuation of these workshops will keep on impacting people to go out and make disciples.
If you are interested in learning how to be an oral learning, the next Orality Training Workshop is this Saturday, October 26, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee. A workshop will also held on November 16 in Houston, Texas. For more information on time and place for these workshops, click here. Also check out the Orality video here.
(Photo courtesy Mark Schultz)
USA (MNN) -- Ephesians 6:10-18 is all
about the armor of God.
The passage is a reminder that
followers of Christ don't get a pass in spiritual warfare. When you name His name, you're in the battle. Paul, the writer of Ephesians, shares the
reality of this by using the imagery of war and the metaphor of a soldier and
his basic equipment.
Aside from armor to protect, a
solider needs a weapon for offense and defense when fighting an enemy. In Ephesians 6:17, Paul writes, "Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is
the Word of God."
Yet, there are many believers around
the world going into spiritual battle with the armor and a shield, but no
sword. To a former U.S. Marine like
Jason Woolford, that's not acceptable. "I can't imagine not having God's
Word to bring us through, to encourage us, to bless us, to know. That's
exactly what's happening to people around the world. They're giving their lives
to the Lord Jesus Christ, but the war rages against them and they don't even
have God's Word."
Woolford is the executive director of Christian
Resources International (CRI) which exists to evangelize the world by
distributing free Christian literature to spiritually-needy people.
How do they get those materials? People often have unused Bibles, reference
books, and teaching materials on their shelves. When they hear about CRI's purpose, they'll
think, "'You know what? I have some extra Bibles or Christian books on my
shelves,'" says Woolford. "They send them to us and then come along
and support us financially."
The ministry has a 12-country
footprint. Woolford says, "Just
for this year, we've given 6 million people the opportunity to read about the
only God that can heal them, that can encourage them through life's roughest
CRI packs donated Bibles and Christian literature in shipping containers and ships them
to partners around the world. Some supplies
wind up in lending libraries, while others go to "equipping pastors, evangelists, and missionaries." But this costs money. A single shipping
container can cost up to $10,900 to send. Sometimes, you just can't wait because of what's at stake. "We just recently sent three containers. Each
container has about $400,000 of free Bibles and Christian teaching tools in it,
and we send those by faith because people need them. They're not fully sponsored yet."
Getting the word out about CRI can be tricky. Although the ministry has been around for nearly
six decades, there are still a lot of
people who don't know who they are, what they do, or how used
Bibles and books can make a Kingdom difference.
Enter: Christian singer/songwriter
and 14-time Dove award nominee, Mark Schultz. He's gearing up for a 7:00 pm concert
on Saturday, October 26 in Highland, Michigan at Cornerstone Church.
Why was his help enlisted? Schultz is a high-profile musician who shares CRI's
vision. Woolford explains, "[He] has come alongside our ministry and is doing a concert with us to bring awareness to missions, to the mission of Christian
Resources International, CRI. He
believes in the importance of us sending God's Word around the world."
Schultz's own recent experiences with the album All Things
Possible were pointing him to rediscover what's at the heart of his faith
and ministry: the unconditional love of God...a love that makes all things new,
and well... possible. Helping others who
can't afford it to have access to this seems like it's a no-brainer. Woolford says they're hoping to connect with
concert goers who've never heard about their ministry before. "We're going to be able to tell approximately
a thousand people--a majority of those never hearing about our mission--about the ministry, and so you help create awareness to that."
Can't make it to Highland, Michigan this weekend? You
can still help. Ephesians 6:18 closes out the reminder about
armor with this: "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with
all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep
on praying for all the Lord's people." Or you can give Bibles, books, and bucks to equip others for what's to
Every part helps. As Schultz noted
in an interview with Family Christian Stores, "I found
when I join God in doing work He says is important to Him, He will use us to do
things we once saw as impossible."
Click here for ticket information.