Mary - Cameroon
Cameroon prayer points:
Translation work is continuing in the troubled NW and SW Regions, although often interrupted by fighting or other upheavals. Pray for those in positions of power in the government and the military, that they will seek the way of wisdom and peace. Pray for Christians in the country that they will be faithful in prayer and in ministering to those in need.
Translation consultant Ginny Bradley has sent an update recently: ‘I am still relocated in Yaoundé and don’t see any signs of the way opening to go back to Ndu (NW Region) where I used to live. During the last two weeks, the Misaje Language Cluster exegete was able to come with his wife to Yaoundé, and we worked through the Pastoral Epistles. He left me three more books to check and hopes to get back to Yaoundé in September so we can do final checks on some other books. Thank the Lord that this cluster of six translation teams can continue to meet in their center in Misaje. Keep praying for them; incidents of shooting or burning go on around them or their families, and you can imagine that it makes it hard to concentrate at the translation desk when your ear is always open for the first sign of trouble. The children are affected too. I have been told by parents that, when they take their children out of a situation where they hear guns all the time, the children do not want to go back. And any sound of a gun or helicopter flying overhead sends them running to hide inside the house. Pray for them.’
We also have a further update from the SIL team (Bruce and Kathy) on the Iceve Translation Project in Akwaya, SW Region. They too remain relocated in the capital, Yaoundé. They write: ‘Pastor Napoleon, the Project Coordinator, for reasons beyond his control, couldn’t travel to Nigeria as previously planned. So preparation has not gone ahead for the Iceve team’s participation in the July and November Luke workshops there. Pray that a new date can be scheduled and all will fall into place regarding the Iceves’ part in these workshops.’ Kathy has been experiencing stomach pain and fatigue for some weeks and has been waiting for a test for Celiac Disease. Pray that she would soon have an accurate diagnosis and relief from pain.
Caleb - USA
As mentioned last month, my work within AF is changing with the focus moving more towards Mexico, Miranda and Peru rather than focusing on America.
God has been moving me into new areas to experience what it is like to view football in the professional arena which has given AF the opportunity to share the gospel in these countries. The challenge is how to get the relevant resources to them.
During my trip to Mexico, there were concerns regarding the safe guarding of the children who would wander the streets and hide in bushes. The community there are so poor they get bought a crate of water a week. However, they do not have an understanding of the cost of the water and would use it for their animals. The local church had to set up a system for the community to pay for the water so they could better understand its value which results in them becoming healthier. The community have been against the involvement of the church.
AF was brought in to support the church in the local area to share the gospel through a football programme. This has also had health benefits for the children, whereby they would play football and then be encouraged to attend the local church, where they are given the opportunity of being checked out medically.
The presence of AF has been beneficial in allowing the children to be children and to enjoy playing football. There are some safe guarding concerns for the children with regard to possible sexual abuse/neglect. Because of this, some of the children do not like any physical contact or being touched by anyone.
Please continue to pray for me, as I work out how best to deal with the safe guarding of these children and also how to teach them about Jesus. Please also pray that I would know God’s direction for AF with all the changes that are taking place.
Here is some of the latest news from Barnabas. Please visit their website for more indepth news from around the world: www.barnabasfund.org
Pakistan - Aasia Bibi and family safely resettled in Canada, and police free Pakistani Christian held for eight months on "blasphemy" charges. God has answered the prayers of many who prayed faithfully over the years for Aasia Bibi. Barnabas Fund was overjoyed on 8 May to share the news that Aasia, who was acquitted of "blasphemy" charges by the Supreme Court on 31 October 2018, had left Pakistan and safely resettled with her family in Canada. We had been aware of this news for some time, but at the request of Pakistani Christian leaders we did not publicise it for her safety and to avoid the possibility of violence on the streets of Pakistan. Stringent secrecy was maintained over Aasia’s whereabouts after her release from prison under government protection on 7 November 2018. The Christian mother-of-five was flown to an undisclosed place of safety in Islamabad. The Islamist Tehreek-e-Labaik party in Pakistan had threatened to incite national disorder if Aasia was released. Widespread street protests had erupted after her acquittal, with hard-line Islamists calling for her execution. Thankfully, prayers for peace have been answered and there have been no reports of street violence on Aasia’s release. In early May, we received news of another wonderful answer to prayer from Pakistan. Police declared Christian Farhan Aziz, 25, innocent of "blasphemy" and released him after eight months in custody. However, it may never be safe for Farhan to return home because of the threat from the local Muslim community. Farhan, from Muslim Town, Gujranwala was arrested on 2 August 2018 and falsely accused of sending "blasphemous" text messages, which he denied. He was charged under 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code, which carries a mandatory death sentence. CLAAS (Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement) said, "It is sad that Farhan has spent months in police custody for a crime he never committed, but good news that he is free now. But many victims of the blasphemy law spend years in prison and there is no hope for them." Praise God that Aasia Bibi and her family have resettled safely in Canada. Pray that the LORD will restore the years that the locusts have taken from this family (Joel 2:25) enabling them now to live peacefully, undisturbed and secure in their new home (Isaiah 32:18). Give thanks to God that there has been no disorder on the streets of Pakistan and no attacks on Christians since Aasia’s release. Praise God also for Farhan’s release from custody. Pray for a safe place for him to live and work. Pray that other victims of the "blasphemy" law who remain in prison will be strengthened by these answered prayers as they wait on the Lord for their deliverance.
Burkina Faso - Sixteen Christians killed in three attacks in Burkina Faso by Islamist gunmen on motorcycles. In a two-week period, Christians in northern Burkina Faso have suffered three murderous attacks at the hands of Islamist gunmen, which killed 16 Christians. In each of the attacks the gunmen arrived riding motorcycles or mopeds. In the first attack, on 28 April in the town of Silgadji, twelve armed Islamists herded together the pastor, one of his sons, his brother-in-law, a primary school teacher and two other members of his congregation and demanded they deny their Christian faith and convert to Islam. When they refused, they were taken one-by-one behind a building where they were shot. The pastor, who leaves a widow and six children, had experienced a vision and felt in "imminent danger". But he told relatives he preferred to "die for his faith rather than leave the village where he has served for nearly 40 years." On 12 May, a gang of between 20 to 30 terrorists stormed into a Sunday church service in Dablo where they rounded up the pastor and five church leaders and shot them in cold blood. The terrorists then set fire to the church, burning its pews, the pulpit and the cross, before torching a shop in the town and looting a health centre. "These terrorist groups are now attacking religion with the macabre aim of dividing us," said a government statement. The mayor of Dablo said, "There is an atmosphere of panic in the town. People are holed up in their homes." Islamist militant gunmen launched a third murderous attack on Christians on 13 May, shooting and killing four people who were in prominent positions in a church parade in Zimtenga. Many Christians are now afraid to go to church. "Pray for us to keep the faith because we know we may die very shortly one day," said a Christian mother who lives in a village close to the first attack. Intercede for our brothers and sisters in Burkina Faso who have been the target of brutal terror attacks, asking that the LORD will uphold them with His righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10). May the 16 martyrdoms encourage others to stand firm, keep the faith and commit themselves more fully to walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. Pray that the Christians will have peace as they trust in the Lord and be able to help others not to fear and panic. Pray especially for the families of those killed that the Lord will wipe every tear from their eyes (Revelation 21:4) and provide for all their needs. Pray against the advance of Islamic extremism coming from Mali, asking the Lord to cause the terrorists to repent of their thoughts and actions.
Egypt - Police order closure of church building in Egypt. About 1,500 Christian families in Mit-Nama, north of Cairo, Egypt were ordered by police on 23 April to stop holding services in a building they have been using as a church, amid reports of local Muslims being stirred up to attack it because it was not licensed for worship. They had only recently bought the building and the closure left them with no other place to worship in the lead up to Easter Sunday on 28 April (when Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter). Previous attempts by Christians to build a church on land they bought in 2001 had to be halted twice, once in 2001 and again in 2007, because of Muslim extremist attacks on workers at the site. The Christians remain sceptical about police assurances that construction of the new church would be allowed to go ahead provided they agree to leave their present building. Egyptian President al-Sisi’s government has continued the process of legalising all churches and church-affiliated buildings, approving 894 applications since the process began in 2017. Progress is slow and 2,836 out of the 3,730 churches that originally applied for approval are still waiting for licences. Some church buildings were granted legal status before the new law was introduced in September 2016. Lift up the Church in Egypt in your prayers, asking for them to wait patiently on the LORD and not to fret when attempts to delay and prevent churches being licensed appear to succeed (Psalm 37:7). May believers take heart in the words of their Saviour, "I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it." (Matthew 16:18). Pray for the mighty hand of the Lord to bring action to the frustrated building construction and licensing procedures.
Geoff, Fay, Phil & Danni
1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.
I can’t believe Easter has already come and gone! Thank you for all your prayers - each and every service held in the homes was special in its own way; praise God that the good news about our Saviour was proclaimed in every one of them. We are so grateful to be able to do this, and I know that our residents feel the same way too.
We have lost quite a few key members in our Bible study, one of whom left an encouraging story... This particular lady was always bright and bubbly but never ever wanted to discuss death. She asked me not to mention it in my pastoral visits. It was, of course, something we could not avoid though! In our Bible studies the subject came up on numerous occasions, but she would say to me "I don’t want to think about that as I don’t want to leave my family!". Over time we looked at the hope that is in Jesus, a hope stronger than death. Eventually she started to get more and more ill - finally not able to leave her bed at all. I visited her bedside one day to find her beaming! She looked at me and said "Im not afraid to die… I’ve seen Jesus! And I know now there is no better place to be!". From that time on every visit to her bed, she would be talking about heaven and how excited she was to see our Lord. She recently passed away, and I have such peace to know she is with Jesus right now.
Please pray for us on the Pastoral team. Pray that the Lord continues to sustain us, that if it is God’s will we may see many more lives like this changed through Christ’s grace. Pray for the ever-changing dynamics of our bible studies - some weeks we can have twelve residents, other weeks only three. Finally, please pray for our residents and those who have heard the gospel many times and yet still harden their hearts towards it.
In addition to the great work that takes place in the Mission Care homes, we have just re-launched our Mission Café in Bromley.
Community is at the very heart of Mission Cafe. Our comfortable space in the heart of Bromley provides a welcoming home for everyone including networking clubs, mum and baby groups, business societies and church groups. We are also proud to be dementia-friendly, ensuring our cafe environment offers a safe and supportive environment for those living with dementia and those who care for them.
Our Baristas have all received dementia training which means they understand how to help customers who may be living with dementia feel supported throughout their visit.
Mission Cafe, 8A The Mall, Bromley (Opposite Argos)
Monday-Friday - 8am-5pm
Saturday - 9am-5pm
Tim & Alison - UK
Tim has been able to keep work to a minimum while it has been half term: this has been a necessary blessing. Work should not be too bad for catching up on his return. A team member is in London for training, then will return home to continue his furlough time. Please pray for him during his training, that he will know how he will be able to use this on his return to the OM field.
It is Ramadan at the moment (finishing on 5th June). There is a celebration time of around 5 days, which gives great opportunity for visiting and hosting. Please pray for team mates who play a vital role during this time sharing the love of Jesus and His salvation.
Alison continues with homeschooling, housework, appointments, paperwork and various other things that come about with a household of 6. Please pray for strength, not just physically, but emotionally and most importantly God’s wisdom in the midst of it all.
Helen & Alastair - Ireland
We hosted the Coach-Mentoring Essentials Course at Lacken House from 20-24 May, which turned out to be a great week! All the planning and preparation came together! The three facilitators trained and guided the 17 attendees in how to come alongside people to mentor and coach them. It was exciting to have three local Pastors attend this training, alongside team members and OMers from other countries. Alisha enjoyed helping in the kitchen, being responsible for the baking all week!
Helen is now working on the preparations for an operations team coming from 8-15 June, mainly to work on re-roofing our chalets as well as other projects. And then we have an outreach happening from 10-18 July. It’s exciting to see Lacken House being used for training as well as other groups, to have the buzz of extra people around, especially as the team gets smaller.
Alastair has been working to a slightly lighter schedule and had his stress test on 29 May, and we await the results from that. He enjoyed being involved in the training in Belgium of the Senior Leaders on Finance and it brought back memories of his previous finance roles.
We have just sent out our recent Pipeline magazine along with our Release to Reach insert. Release to Reach is an initiative to raise funds to clear the €187,500 outstanding on Lacken House and release funds for other ministry. We are really thankful to you all at CEFC for your financial support of this project over the years.
Some of our team members will be attending Summer Fire, a large Christian conference, in Cork from 21-28 June. The team will be there to create awareness of missions with a desire to mobilise Irish Christians. We will also be there as a family, along with the Pastors from our church and their youngest daughter. The children are all looking forward to having a week of youth and kids meetings and seeing friends from around Ireland.