Sudan (MNN) -- African Union-brokered talks are set to resume tomorrow between Sudan and South Sudan. Leaders hope to end the tensions that have teetered Sudan and fledging South Sudan on war. Issues include the oil-rich border areas and ethnic conflicts. The talks will be held in Ethiopia.
Words of Hope broadcasts Christian programming into the region. The ministry's Vice President Lee DeYoung tells us top Sudanese leaders have been outright hostile in their rhetoric. "There are literally hundreds of thousands of Christians of South Sudanese origins who have lived their entire lives in north Sudan, particularly around Khartoum. For many years there was at least some kind of tolerance of those people, but intolerance is mounting."
The intolerance, says DeYoung, has gone even further. "There's talk about cleansing the north of the stain of Christianity. Some official statements refer to Southern Sudanese as insects, a plague that needs to be eradicated from Sudan."
Many have attempted to leave the north, says DeYoung, but they can't. "On one hand the government of Sudan says you must leave. And yet, when they try to leave, they say, 'you need to have papers from South Sudan in order to leave, which seems to be a real catch 22 because many of these people have never lived in South Sudan."
This political tug-o-war is causing major problems. DeYoung continues, "There are literally thousands of refugees trying to leave the north, but are unable to cross the border into the south because of the fact that there is armed conflict that's been escalating there, but also just seemingly bureaucratic opposition to their leaving at the same time they're being treated so badly."
While the political conflict has been heavy, so have the internal issues. "The cost of living has increased since the separation of South Sudan from Sudan. Once the independence became official the supply lines to the north were cut off."
That means fuel, food, and other necessities will be more expensive.
Despite this, Words of Hope will continue broadcasting into the region. DeYoung is asking you to pray that, "[the] cessation of tension and hostility and violence between South Sudan and Sudan. Prayers that the church would be successful -- and other Christian groups -- in providing the hope of the Gospel to help to ease tensions between the ethnic groups in South Sudan."
Supporting Words of Hope's broadcast in Sudan will help accomplish this. To do that, click here .
(Photo courtesy of Orphan's Heart)
Haiti (MNN) -- The devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010 reduced many buildings to rubble, including the Foundation Foyer des Enfants Demunies orphanage in Bon Repos.
Because of this, 54 orphans were displaced; most of these kids still live in tents or temporary foster homes.
But now, Orphan’s Heart has stepped in to follow the call of Christ to look after orphans. Construction of a new orphanage in Bon Repos is finally underway.
With the help of two mission teams, work on Phase One of the new orphanage building has come a long way.
A third team arrived last Saturday, May 26.
The completed orphanage should hold around 90 kids, but it is being built in phases to start housing orphans as soon as possible. This first phase should be able to take around 30 kids.
In this new orphanage, children will find the physical security of a roof over their heads, food, and clean facilities, but they will also be in a loving environment where they’ll hear about the Gospel.
Orphan’s Heart is working with Pastor Edmond Fenelon, the Bon Repos orphanage director, to coordinate construction of the building. Pastor Fenelon opens up his home to teams that come down to help.
Mission teams that already went to Haiti visited Pastor Fenelon’s church and interacted with other believers in the community. They also spent time with the orphan kids and visited nearby Port-Au-Prince.
More teams are scheduled to go, and additional volunteers are needed.
Ron Gunter, Vice President of International Childcare at Orphan’s Heart, asks, “Please pray for the children…and that more teams will come and donations will be made to care for them as God intends.”
To find out more about Orphan’s Heart’s short-term mission trips, click here.
Get Never Forsaken by Charles Billingsley when you help MNN with a fiscal year-end gift.
USA (MNN) -- We know that you're always looking for tools to help you refocus on Christ. Mission Network News has offered books, prayer guides, and other resources to help you do that. This month we're offering a CD of music that will point you to Christ.
The worship leader at Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, VA, Charles Billingsley, has produced a new project called, Never Forsaken. "This is my first project in eight years, with original studio material. We went back to the studio and actually did an artist project."
This is more than just another music project, though. Billingsley, the former lead singer of Newsong, says this project was borne out of his brokenness following a mission trip to Guatemala with his family. "I came back and started working on this project. And one thing I wanted to do was to open the eyes of the church and remind us all that we are here not for ourselves, but we're here to reach others for Him and to glorify Him through giving and helping others who don't have what we have."
One of the songs, Use Me, was written by Jennie Lee Riddle who wrote Revelation Song. "I think that song, more than anything, puts into context exactly what I'm talking about. You and I are called to do something with our lives, not just exist. I don't believe any Christian -- any child of God -- is called to just sit here and exist. We're called to change the world."
When Billingsley returned home from Guatemala, the secular song, Another Day in Paradise by Phil Collins, came to mind. "I decided I wanted to make a remake of that song. They were gracious enough to give us permission to do it. Now, it's one of the favorites in concert. We use a video with it. It's really cool."
You're probably wondering how you can get a copy of the project, right? The fiscal year for Mission Network News ends May 31, and we need your help to finish the year strong financially. With your gift of any amount, we're making the Charles Billingsley CD Never Forsaken available to you. Be as generous as you can. Your gift of $10, $20, $50, $100 or even $1,000 will help Mission Network News continue providing news that will encourage Christians to do something for God.
To get your copy, click on the link above, or click here. You can also watch this video and hear a sample of some of the songs.
These two boys received an education because of their community's support and FFH's ministry. (Photo courtesy of FFH)
Kenya (MNN) -- Can you imagine having to pick up and move four times a year? Every year?
For some, this is a reality in their immediate family. But for the people of Parkishon, a small rural community in Northern Kenya, it’s part of the culture.
The dry season in Kenya lasts from January to March and July to October. Every dry season period, the families of Parkishon pack up and go where the water is.
Unfortunately, this hurts the education for the kids in these families. Regular schooling with the constant moves is almost impossible.
Now, however, Food for the Hungry (FFH) recently released an update on their work with the community of Parkishon and how it’s been affecting the people.
When FFH entered the scene of Parkishon nine years ago, they partnered with churches, leaders, and families to better the community. Improvements included clean water, physical health, and equipping the local church to meet the people’s needs.
One other needed improvement was a strengthening of the local schools and increasing the community’s value of education.
According to FFH field colleagues in Parkishon, “God is indeed transforming the mindset of this community.”
It’s been a slow transformation, but FFH says they place great emphasis on education since poverty only continues through the generations without it. FFH sees education as one of poverty’s long-term solutions.
Because of FFH’s influence in Parkishon, the church community has been coming together now to raise money for their children’s school fees. Even in the face of drought and lack of resources, they appreciate the value of education enough to make the sacrifices for the next generation.
One case involved two young boys who were ready to re-enter high school and had excelled at the entrance exam. The church community came together and raised $625 for the boys’ education.
This was a big deal considering the average monthly income in a Parkishon household is $50. $625 represents just over a year’s wages for one household.
Pray that the Lord continues to transform this small Northern Kenyan community through the ministry of Food for the Hungry as they are the hands of feet of Christ.
(Photo courtesy of Orphan Outreach)
USA (MNN) – Say the word “underwear,” and you’re sure to get a few giggles.
But for Orphan Outreach, underwear is the main focus of an orphan ministry program!
And the spotlight is on this program today with their underwear roundup event called the "Undie 500" -- purposefully coinciding with the Indy 500.
According to Tiffany Taylor with Orphan Outreach, there are over 163 million orphans across the globe. “They all have so many needs,” says Taylor, “but one really basic need is the need for underwear and socks.”
Taylor explains, “Any of us who have children know how quickly kids outgrow their underwear and socks. Being able to provide new underwear and socks [is important]; it’s a hygiene issue, and it’s also just a practicality issue: it lets [orphans] know that they’re not forgotten.”
Just a six-pack of kid’s underwear can cost around $5. It’s easy to donate and definitely has a lasting impact.
Hundreds of volunteers go out year-round to pass out underwear and socks that were donated. Both the orphans and their caretakers are touched.
“Anytime you can meet those orphanage caregivers with something that they really need, they’re just so thankful that people really care about their children…The needs are so overwhelming, and they can be so overwhelmed themselves.”
In all of Orphan Outreach’s ministry trips, they bring aid in one hand and the Gospel message in the other.
According to Taylor, “Everything we do at Orphan Outreach is rooted in letting these children know that they are deeply loved by their Lord and helping them develop a personal relationship with Christ.”
Churches can get involved to run collections for this unique ministry! Just e-mail Orphan Outreach saying you want to join in the "Undie 500" ministry, and they’ll send you promotional posters and logos to help out.
“We have churches doing it through their youth program, through their Vacation Bible School program, and it just allows them to let kids also know what a difference they can make by donating underwear.”
A packing event will take place in early June as volunteers in Texas prepare to send teams all over the world with underwear for orphan kids.
Taylor sums it up well. “It’s a little funny: a pair of underwear! But it’s something that’s so needed.”