A 34-year-old Muslim woman had been sick for 16 years and neither medical doctors nor witchdoctors could bring relief from her suffering.
“She always continued getting sick,” says Muhammad, a church planter with New Covenant Missions (NCM) in East Africa.
As her family’s money drained away visiting these practitioners, she got desperate. “No help was obtained for her from these medical institutes and witch doctors,” Muhammad notes.
As a last resort, she decided to visit a Christian church. “She came to our church and heard about the saving Lord and then we prayed for her, we laid hands on her and seven evil spirits came out of her with a force of great shouting and screaming,” Muhammad told NCM.
“Then we told her about the Savior Lord Jesus Christ and about Satan who is the enemy over our soul, and then we invited her if she was willing to receive this Lord Jesus Christ into her heart.”
Moved by the powerful encounter, the woman stood up and received Jesus in her heart and received forgiveness for her sins by calling on His name.
Even with the powerful deliverance and redemption, God was not done with her yet. “We prayed to the Lord Jesus to heal her sicknesses and bring about a complete healing to her body. She received not only the salvation of her soul and spirit, but she received a healing to her body!” Muhammad recounted.
When her family witnessed the powerful changes, her husband and two children received Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
Christians in Iran are regularly targeted and imprisoned for worshipping and praying in their own homes behind closed doors and windows. Despite ongoing targeted persecution, the mission group Elam Ministries recently revealed that more people in Iran are becoming Christians. Compared to roughly 500 known Christians in 1979 there are approximately 360,000.
In 2014 Christians and Muslims protested against Iran’s persecution of Christians.
Despite their efforts, millions of dollars has been spent on Islamic propaganda cracking down on finding newly converted Christians, and imprisoning them. Enforcement also resulted in permanently closing previously allowed public Farsi church services nationwide. Likewise, all Christian materials and books are prohibited and confiscated. Publishing and producing anything related to Christianity results in imprisonment, and more likely, death.
Amidst ongoing persecution, however, is a significant truth. More Iranians are becoming Christians. Elam Ministries recently told BosNewsLife that,
Church leaders believe that millions can be added to the church in the next few years — such is the spiritual hunger that exists and the disillusionment with the Islamic regime.
If we remain faithful to our calling, our conviction is that it is possible to see the nation transformed within our lifetime. Because Iran is a strategic gateway nation, the growing church in Iran will impact Muslim nations across the Islamic world.
One key member of the Elam team who is training Iranian believers for ministry, is Behrang Masoumi. He came to Christ after being invited to a Christmas party at a house church. When he arrived, he learned that one of his relatives had been going to that church for five years and was a Christian. He said, “I was shocked. I was even more shocked to discover that she had been secretly following Jesus for five years. And she had been praying for me all that time.”
As a result of a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, students are no longer permitted to read the Lord’s Prayer during morning announcements at a Louisiana high school. The prayer was presented voluntarily by students and came under scrutiny when an agnostic student raised the issue with her mother. Reactions to the decision have been mixed, but many local Christians have expressed their support for the student-led practice.
Students at a public high school in Louisiana are no longer reading The Lord’s Prayer over the loudspeaker each morning following a lawsuit filed by a woman who professes to be a Christian and her agnostic daughter.
Christy Cole and her 17-year-old daughter Kaylee recently told CNN that no one has presented the prayer at Lakeside Junior/High School in Minde since students returned from the holiday break. The Lord’s Prayer had customarily been read over the loudspeaker each morning during the daily announcements, along with the Pledge of Allegiance.
Students had asked their classmates to stand to their feet, but Cole declined to as she identifies as agnostic and doesn’t like messages about God appearing in various forms throughout the school day.
As previously reported, Cole’s mother professes to be a Christian, but still objects to Christianity being promoted in public schools and believes that “praying in public is a sin.” With the aid of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), she filed suit against the Webster Parish School District in December in an effort to put an end to what the legal challenge called “pervasive religious indoctrination.”
“Christy Cole believes her daughter and all students should be able to attend public school without exposure to government-sponsored religious practices and messages, and without harassment for their religious beliefs,” the complaint outlined.
“K.C. has felt and feels coerced, both directly and indirectly, to participate in religious activities and expression that did not and do not comport with her personal beliefs,” it stated. “She feels that she has been subjected to unwelcome indoctrination.”
During a recent London Bridges Jesus Film Mission Trip™, one mission team had a welcome encounter while praying about whom to approach with the good news.
The team leader shares:
Our team was enjoying the beauty of Hyde Park. While we walked, prayed and chatted about past mission trips, a team member asked me about my favorite people group. I mentioned a people living in a certain [closed] country on the Arab Peninsula. “Oh, maybe we’ll meet somebody from there,” the team member said. To which I insisted, “No, not here. I’ve never met anybody from [country] here.”
We turned a corner and saw a group of young Middle Eastern women, traditionally dressed, sitting on a park bench. Scooting over, they patted the seat, signaling us to sit. So our group joined theirs—squeezed onto the same park bench together.
We asked them where they were from, and I was surprised and delighted to be able to tell them I had visited their country. It was the very one I had just shared with the team! One of the women exclaimed, “You know my country! You come with us; you stay with us for the day!”
We quickly bonded and enjoyed great conversation with them until they eventually looked at their watches and indicated it was time to go. They were hungry and it was time to eat.
I knew, of course, that it was Ramadan—a special time of fasting. So I asked them if they were Muslim and they said they were. I told them I was a Christian but that I hadn’t been raised a Christian. They expressed surprise and indicated that they thought everyone in America was raised a Christian.
Then one of them asked, “How does a person become a Christian?”
Well, our team stood flabbergasted at this perfect opportunity to share the gospel. So I told them my story:
“I didn’t know either but I tried to be a good person. I always thought religions were like ice cream—different flavors but all involving praying, fasting, reading a holy book, and treating others as we want to be treated.
“But at the end of the day, my heart was still ‘black.’ Why would a God who created so much beauty [I gestured to the rose garden around us] accept me with my black heart?
“Well, I didn’t know what to do so I turned to a friend of mine who always talks about God as if He were a friend… not stern and scary. I asked him how his life was different after he accepted the Lord and became a Christian. That’s when he told me that God wanted to be my friend, too, and that I could know Him personally.”
At this point, I explained the gospel to the women. They were sincerely tracking with me through my personal story and about the good news. The entire conversation was the textbook setup. And then the time came to ask them if they would like to accept Jesus.
“We can’t,” they all said, expressing their religious affiliation without hesitation. I was shocked by how abruptly our “perfect opportunity” had become a dead end.
“We have to go,” they continued, and then they mentioned a church they enjoyed visiting, called Mary Magdalene.
Boom! I suddenly remembered I had a “Magdalena” DVD in my purse!
“Oh gosh,” I said, “It’s the weirdest thing… I have this DVD that’s about the person the church is named for and it’s in your language!”
The young women, pleasantly surprised, accepted the DVD; we exchanged email addresses, took pictures and promised each other we’d keep in touch. I knew I would be visiting their country in four months so I wanted to stay connected.
Four months later, I visited the Arab Peninsula and was able to visit with one of the women. I thought surely by now she’d want to become a Christian. This’ll be easy! But every attempt I made to start a spiritual conversation with her was stonewalled.
The night before my flight home, the young woman (along with her father and sister as chaperones) took me to one of the finest restaurants and still I could not get into one conversation about Jesus. I prayed, “Lord, You know I’m leaving tomorrow. Please give me a divine appointment to invite this woman to become a follower of Christ.”
We finished dinner and all of us went for a walk toward the beach. As we approached the sand, she and I kept walking but the others stopped as if God had put up a wall. When we reached the water, she confessed, “I love the water; I wish I could swim.”
I said, “Well, why can’t you?” “Because of this,” and she picked up a wad of her traditional dress.
“You’re not allowed to?” I asked. “No, I’m trapped—literally. My whole generation is trapped. We don’t believe any of this. It’s my parents’ generation. The religion…? All that, it’s theirs.”
I said, “Have you thought about our conversation from this summer?” (I was trembling.)
“I think about it every day,” she replied.
“I brought you a gift,” I said. “It’s a Bible in Arabic and English. Will you read it?”
“I have searched for one ever since we spoke!” And she grabbed the Bible and kissed it and then kissed me.
Looking outward toward the Gulf, we cried and she said, “I knew God brought you here for a reason.”
Since that evening, we have kept in touch. I plan to go back to that region and spend a few days with my new sister in Christ.
This experience was a great reminder that God is always at work… With the help of the Holy Spirit, we plant seeds and He brings them to fruition.
A new poll shows most Britons believe parents are best placed to decide when their children learn about sex. Dr David Landrum, of the Evangelical Alliance which commissioned the research, gave us his reaction.
SAN JOSE (Reuters) – Conservative evangelical Christian singer Fabricio Alvarado Munoz will face a center-left ruling party candidate in a runoff for Costa Rica’s presidency in April, after winning a first round on Sunday by sharply opposing gay marriage.
The 43-year-old Alvarado Munoz, the lone elected lawmaker for the evangelical National Restoration Party, shot to prominence as a candidate after denouncing a court ruling calling on Costa Rica to give civil marriage rights to same-sex couples.
“We propose the sovereignty of the family as the fundamental basis of society,” Alvarado Munoz told supporters blowing plastic horns after the results were announced.
“Costa Rica has sent a message to traditional parties – never again will they meddle with the family.”
With ruling-party contender Carlos Alvarado Quesada supporting gay marriage, the April 1 runoff looks set to effectively be a referendum on an issue that has polarized a country known for a laid back culture and its pristine nature.
The election could also be a taste of things to come in Latin America, where non-traditional candidates and outsiders are likely to make waves as around two-thirds of the region’s population chooses new governments this year.
Despite a history of progressive social policies, most Costa Ricans identify themselves as conservative, and evangelical Christianity has emerged as a religious and political force in recent years, reflecting similar changes across Latin America.
With results in from more than 80 percent of ballot boxes, Alvarado Munoz had 24.8 percent of the vote, while Alvarado Quesada had 21.6 percent. The two men are not related.
Under Costa Rica’s electoral rules a runoff vote takes place if no candidate reaches 40 percent support in the first round. The candidate with the third most votes, Antonio Alvarez Desanti, conceded on Sunday evening.
Fabricio Alvarado, presidential candidate of the National Restoration party (PRN), speaks to his supporters next to his wife Laura Moscoa during a rally after Costa Rica’s presidential election in San Jose, Costa Rica February 4, 2018. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate
Alvarado Munoz called last month’s ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights a violation of Costa Rica’s sovereignty and an affront to traditional values. He has threatened to pull Costa Rica out of the court, which is based in the capital, San Jose.
The coffee exporting country famed for its environmental stewardship has long offered a moderate two-party system and more stability than other countries in politically volatile Central America.
The shift in support towards issue-based politics and relative outsiders has been a shock for some of Costa Rica’s 3.3 million voters.
“I’ve been surprised by the growth of minority parties,” said voter Olman Gomez, 49, a computer network engineer. “It feels like you’re living in another country in terms of politics.”
A former labor minister under President Luis Guillermo Solis, British-educated Alvarado Quesada, 38, said on Sunday that he wanted to give Costa Rica the best education system in Latin America and reiterated his support for civil rights.
“The Costa Rica of the 21st century requires a government that knows how to move forward with vigor, love, happiness (and) the agenda of equality,” Quesada told jubilant supporters against a backdrop of loud rock music.
Solis, a former diplomat and history professor, won in a landslide four years ago but has seen his popularity fall as an investigation into an influence peddling scandal has unfolded.
He is barred by law from seeking a second consecutive term.
Reporting by Enrique Andres Pretel, Additional reporting by Alvaro Murillo; Writing by Christine Murray; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel, Rosalba O’Brien and Jacqueline Wong
Here are some pages from the book which can be purchased on www.Amazom.com/ or Kendle.comThere have been so many Missionaries that have done so much for the work of God in reaching the souls of mankind throughout the world. I want to share with you some of the Missionaries that I met while I was a Missionary in the UK. Many Missionaries pay a high price in order to obey God and their calling. Remember that a Pastor, Preacher, or even a Missionary is human just like you and I. Also many times their children suffer because of the parents calling. We should recognize that when one becomes a missionary it is a decision that they make but their children do not always have a choice. They must go where their parents take them and many times they become the often unrecognized missionary in the family. They suffer much for that calling of God placed upon their lives because of their parents. Many times I have had to listen to my children speak about persecution in the school by teachers or other children just because they were American or a Christian. I would like to dedicate this book to my children and thank them for all the work that they did to help Carol and I to be successful Missionaries. My heart reaches out to them for their suffering and pain because God called me to be just a Missionary. God bless each of you Mark Clifford Duke, Debra Ann Duke Dominguez, Susan Lorraine Duke Goodhall, and Rebecca Elizabeth Duke Schadt.
Baptism of Billy Graham
One Sunday night we arrived at the Conservative club Hall and found a family waiting for us to have service. It always is a thrill to have new people to attend a service. When I introduced myself to them, they told me that they were the Graham family. The man was Billy Graham and his wife and family. Later when I gave the altar call the whole family came forward and sought the Lord and after the end of the prayer at the altar, Billy asked me if he could come over and meet with me at my home. We agreed on a time and when they arrived, Billy had a note book full of questions that he wanted to speak to me about. Most of these involved Baptism in Jesus name and the gift of the Holy Ghost. He then spoke and asked me about our teaching on who Jesus Christ really was? I must have answered all his questions proper because before he left he asked me to baptize him and his family in Jesus name for the remission of their sins. On Saturday afternoon they came to our home and I was thrilled as I baptized each one of them in the name above all names.
Parents should be acutely aware of their children’s mobile phone use to avoid being arrested for sexting, a police force has said.
Kent Police said parents could be held responsible if phones registered in their names are found to have sent inappropriate sexual images.The police force issued the warning as they reminded children that taking and sharing explicit images of under 18-year-olds is illegal.
Detective Superintendent Susie Harper said: “If a child’s mobile phone contract is in his or her parent’s name, then the parent can be liable for what the phone is used for, and any indecent material that is saved or sent from it.”
She added that police could seize property, search homes and arrest people over the images – although the force later deleted the comment.
DS Harper said she was not trying to scare, but to “safeguard young people” and make sure parents knew of the dangers.
Young boy questioned
Kent Police also warned of social media sites where sexual images of children are shared with groups of people.
One so-called “bait out” group has already snared more than 40 Kent children in January alone.
In July, it emerged that a five-year-old boy and his parents had been questioned after he sent an intimate picture of himself to another child.
Earlier in 2017, a mother wrote about sexting’s damaging effecting on her teenage daughter.
Roz Carver told The Telegraph that she had assumed her 15-year-old daughter would be “too sensible” to get involved in sending sexually explicit images to friends.
But she was pressured into sending a semi-naked image of herself to a boy she liked, via the WhatsApp messaging service.
Since 2013, more than 4,000 children have been dealt with by the police over the issue.
CHICAGO — A Cook County judge has declined to issue a preliminary injunction in favor of a male high school student who identifies as a girl and wishes to use the girls’ locker room to change for gym class.
Judge Thomas Allen ruled that the Illinois Human Rights Act does not mandate “full and equal access” to school changing facilities as legislators removed that wording in 2010. He noted that the student’s contention that he was not allowed equal access “may be a correct statement, but I cannot ignore the plain language of [the law].”
“This is a balancing act of all balancing acts, but it’s not my role to establish social lines up or down,” Allen stated.
As previously reported, the 18-year-old, who goes by the name Nova Maday, says that he is unhappy with the outcome of talks with Township High School District 211 and asserts that that he has to use either the nurse’s office or a separate single-user locker room at Palatine High School to change his clothes.“I just want to be treated like every other girl in our school,” Maday said in a statement after filing suit on Thursday. “Even after the school district agreed to allow another transgender student to use the locker rooms in her school, they have resisted and made things harder for me. I just want to be able to get dressed for P.E. class without having to jump through a bunch of hoops.”
According to the Chicago Tribune, Maday sent an email to his teachers in his freshman year to advise that he identifies as a girl.
“Information about me. First, I’m transgender. In case you are not fully sure what I mean by that, I do not identify as male, like I was assigned at birth. Instead, I identify as female,” he wrote. “I would like to state that my chosen name is Nova, and I would ask that you call me by this in class …”
While teachers began calling Mayday by his preferred name and pronoun, he was advised that using the girl’s locker room would not be allowed.
His lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), asserts that because Mayday has had to change in a separate location, he has missed notes on the wall advising where students would be meeting for physical education that day.
“Isolating and singling out Nova from the other girls by forcing her to dress separately for P.E. and requiring her to at times wander the halls looking for where her class was being held were extremely upsetting experiences for Nova,” it reads.
The school district said that the lawsuit is misleading and does not correctly represent the accommodations that have been offered to Maday.
“The allegations in this lawsuit misrepresent the accommodations extended to this student and District 211’s approach to working with and supporting transgender students,” Superintendent Daniel Cates said in a statement after the legal challenge was first filed. “Every transgender student in District 211 who has requested use of the locker room of their identified gender has been offered such access, along with other supports within an individual support plan.”
According to the Chicago Tribune, he reiterated the sentiment on Thursday, stating that Allen’s ruling already reflects the “important balance” that the district had set to accommodate those who identify as “transgender,” while also “safeguarding student privacy.”
Maday expressed disappointment on Thursday that the court had declined to grant the preliminary injunction.
“I am disappointed with the decision today,” he said. “To me, this is a simple question: Am I going to be treated just like any other girl in my school? All I want is to be accepted by my school for who I am—a girl—and be able to take gym and use the locker room to change clothes like the other girls in my class.”
However, the Thomas More Society, which had represented a group known as Students and Parents for Privacy—a coalition that had been permitted to intervene in the case—said that the court was right to maintain the privacy of female students by upholding the law.
“Schools should never be forced to give male students unrestricted access to areas where girls are changing clothes. Claiming a female gender identity doesn’t change that,” remarked Chief Counsel Thomas Brejcha.
President Donald Trump’s cabinet has been a bit rocky lately, what with recent hirings and firings, but several of those who have stayed with the administration are people of faith.Of these cabinet members, some are supported or opposed by different faith groups; others have made public statements or taken actions regarding different faith groups.
Here is a list of four of Trump’s cabinet members and a description of their relationship to religion.
Photo courtesy: WhiteHouse.gov
1. JEFF SESSIONS
U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama was the first senator to endorse Trump. Now he’s the president-elect’s pick for U.S. attorney general.
Sessions previously was a prosecutor for the Justice Department. (He was denied a federal judgeship over testimony that he had made racist remarks.) He’s made clear he’s “not happy” about the direction the department has taken under President Obama’s administration, calling its refusal to defend a federal ban on same-sex marriage “shameful,” according to The New York Times.
Sessions attended Huntingdon College in Montgomery, affiliated with the United Methodist Church, and is active in his family’s church, Ashland Place United Methodist Church in Mobile, where he’s served as a lay leader, Sunday school teacher and chairman of its administrative board. He also has been selected as a delegate to the annual Alabama United Methodist Conference.
2. MIKE POMPEO
U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo, who was elected in 2010 as part of the Tea Party movement, is Trump’s choice for director of the CIA.
In Congress, the Kansas Republican has supported conservative Christians’ stance on abortion rights, voting to defund Planned Parenthood and telling The Associated Press he believed abortions only should be allowed to save the life of the mother.
He has drawn reproach from the Council on American-Islamic Relations for some of his comments about Muslims. Months after the Boston Marathon bombing, he said, “The silence of Muslim leaders has been deafening.” CAIR pointed out that a number of Muslim institutions had issued statements condemning the bombing and calling for prayer and humanitarian aid.
He also played a key role in a controversy that led a Wichita, Kan., mosque to cancel a speaking engagement by a man some considered a supporter of terrorism.
Pompeo; his wife, Susan; and their son, Nicholas, reportedly attend Eastminster Presbyterian Church, where he serves as a deacon and has taught the fifth-grade Sunday school class.
Photo courtesy: Flickr.com
3. BETSY DEVOS
Betsy DeVos, Trump’s pick for secretary of education, has many church-state separationists on the alert for her support of school vouchers — the use of public money to send children to private, often religious, schools. Vouchers are a darling of the evangelical Christian set and Vice President-elect Mike Pence.
Sen. Lamar Alexander, the Republican chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, has called her an “excellent choice” for the role. But Casey Brescia, communications director for the lobbying group Secular Coalition for America, writes that by selecting DeVos, “the incoming Trump Administration intentionally might have gone out of it’s way to choose a candidate that would reward the religious right for their unwavering loyalty during the campaign.”
4. NIKKI HALEY
Nikki Haley, the Republican governor of South Carolina, is being considered as ambassador to the United Nations.
Haley was born into a Sikh family that immigrated to South Carolina from India. She converted to Christianity after marrying Michael Haley in 1996. She now attends a Methodist church but occasionally visits Sikh temples with her parents.
In 2010, Haley updated a statement about her faith on her website, taking it from a general belief in God to a specific belief in Jesus. “My faith in Christ has a profound impact on my daily life and I look to Him for guidance with every decision I make,” the website said. “God has blessed my family in so many ways and my faith in the Lord gives me great strength on a daily basis. Being a Christian is not about words, but about living for Christ every day.”
5. MIKE PENCE
Mike Pence, as Donald Trump’s vice president, is also part of his cabinet.
Pence is well-known for his conservatisim and his strong Christian faith. In a recent interview, Pence even stated, “President Trump is a believer and so am I.”
“I have to tell you, the sweetest words the president and I ever hear, and we hear them a lot, are when people grab us by the hand and say, ‘We’re praying for you,'” he added.
Pence is an evangelical Christian, and has described himself as “a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order.”
Pence’s faith appears to deeply influence his politics, especially when it comes to pro-life issues. He spoke at the 2017 March for Life and introduced President Trump who spoke at the March for Life this year (2018).