Mary - Cameroon
Several translation consultants are praising God that the checking of Genesis, Exodus, Luke and Romans has been successfully completed in various languages of the Far North Region in recent weeks. They are grateful for God’s protection of the translation teams and their families, and for the sustained stamina and diligence granted to all involved in the intensive work. Yet much remains to be done: there are book introductions to be written, consistency checks to be done for spelling, punctuation, and tone marks, decisions to be made regarding what maps and illustrations to be included, along with many other final details. Pray for perseverance, good health and wisdom for the teams as they work diligently to accomplish these tiring and often tedious tasks.
In March, the Oroko New Testament (South West Region) was dedicated in a church in Yaoundé (Cameroon’s capital), owing to the continuing troubles in the home area. Pray that ways can be found to distribute the New Testament to Oroko communities despite the difficulties in travel and communication. May its message speak peace and courage to many hearts in these times of upheaval.
Praise God that the Benga Community in Equatorial Guinea has enough speakers lined up to record the LUKE film in Benga. Pray that all the final details, travel, logistics, scheduling, etc. for the recording will work out and that the recording team from Campus Crusade for Christ in Cameroon be able to travel there. They will need to get visas for Equatorial Guinea and that can be difficult for Cameroonians to do.
Caleb - USA
It was great to be able to visit CEFC for two weeks and to share what God has done and His vision for the future.
Work within Ambassadors is changing; rather than concentrating on America my focus is now moving more towards Mexico, Miranda (which is a state in Venezuela) and Peru.
God has been moving me into new areas to experience what it is like to view football in the professional arena. God has given me a realisation that I am in the right area to be serving Him through football and witnessing to these young people. AF teams have been playing against professional teams of other countries, and this has given them the opportunity to share the gospel in these countries. Next year will have its challenges, as I will do more overseas in spreading the gospel, and the challenge is how to resource this work.
The trip to Miranda went well. The church there has a million members, but they were struggling to connect to the community due to the history of their genocide. Ambassadors have been there and made contact between the community and the church. The number of children with whom they have contact is 250,000 and AF has been able to provide bibles in their own language.
The trip to Mexico was problematic inasmuch as the football equipment and other resources were stolen by immigration, so they never arrived at their destination. Sadly, this situation will be a continuing issue when we have similar events in different countries in the future.
God has been working in these countries through Ambassadors as we share His gospel directly with the children. Please pray that He will continue to give us an open door in this respect.
Here are the latest prayer points from the Barnabas website www.barbabasfund.org
China - Chinese pastor arrested for protesting as church cross demolished, replaced with flagpole. Pastor Li Juncai and three members of his congregation were arrested by police in China as they protested against the forced removal of a cross from the roof of their church in Xinxiang, Henan province on 20 February. The pastor was charged with "disrupting public service" after he challenged the arrival of police-escorted demolition crews at Zhongxin Church, an unofficial "house church" with a congregation of 700 Christians. One of the four detained, a pregnant woman, was later released on bail. Eyewitnesses said around ten Christians, mainly women and elderly people, were beaten and taken away when they stood at a gate to block the access of two cranes. One said, "Police took away congregants … and beat those who resisted. Also, some Christians were dragged away." Officials forced open the locked gate and police prevented Christians from entering the site as the cranes removed the cross. After the cross had been taken down the demolition team installed a flagpole to display China’s national flag. On 14 September 2018 some 1,000 government agents, including police, raided Zhongxin Church and took away items from the building. More than 4,000 crosses have reportedly been removed from churches in Henan since the middle of last year. The removal programme is taking place as part of a government crackdown on official "three-self" churches and unofficial congregations, known as "house churches", in a country where there are thought to be at least 150 million Christians. On 10 February 2019 authorities tore down a cross from Chengdong Christian Church, despite the protests of members of the congregation at the church, which was officially registered in 2007.
Nigeria - Over 300 Nigerian Christians slain in merciless killing spree by Fulani militants since February. Nearly 300 people were killed in at least seven predominantly Christian villages across Kaduna State, Nigeria, in February and March 2019; brutal rapes and maiming with machetes were also reported. In a dawn attack on Karamai on 14 February, 41 died when some 300 gunmen engulfed the village, chanting "Allahu Akbar!" as they fired their guns and ransacked homes. Almost all the dead were women and children, apart from a few elderly and blind men who were unable to flee. A further nine were reportedly killed in Nandu Gbok, also in Kaduna State on 16 March and 30 houses destroyed. In Kajuru district in February and March, the bodies of about 73 women, some pregnant, and 101 children ranging from babies on their mothers’ backs up to 10-year-olds, were interred in a mass-grave. Witnesses said most of the men in the villages fled when the raid started in the early morning in Dogon Noma and Karamai. Others were thought to be assisting in neighbouring villages that had been attacked in the preceding days. During Nigeria’s recent election President Buhari, who was re-elected, campaigned on the promise to "bring permanent peace and solution" to the north east and other regions of "insurgency", specifically mentioning Plateau, Benue and Kaduna States. Church leaders in Nigeria have also repeatedly called on the President, who is himself a Fulani Muslim, to take decisive action against the scourge of attacks by Fulani herdsmen on Christian farming communities. Attacks by armed Fulani herdsman are a constant threat for the predominantly Christian population of Nigeria’s Middle Belt. In the last two years, Fulani militants have murdered more than 6,000, according to church estimates. They also destroy church buildings and homes in their attacks which deliberately target Christian communities. Since 2001 at least 500 church buildings have been razed in Plateau State alone.
Iran - Elderly Christian convert from Islam endures ten days of interrogation in Iran. An elderly Iranian Christian woman endured ten days of intensive interrogation by intelligence officers and was forced to go to an Islamic religious leader to be "instructed" and "offered the opportunity to return to Islam". Ruhsari Kamberi, 65, was one of five women converts from Islam arrested from different church groups in Karaj, close to Tehran. The whereabouts of the others is not known. Three intelligence officers searched Ruhsari’s home early one morning before Christmas 2018, seizing mobile phones, Bibles and other Christian material before detaining her on charges of "acting against national security". A local source said, "Ruhsari was interrogated from morning until evening for ten consecutive days." The wife and mother was finally released when bail was paid. Ruhsari is extremely distressed and her friends requested that fellow Christians pray for her and the four other women arrested. Cry out to the Lord for Ruhsari asking that she will trust in the LORD with all her heart and lean not on her own understanding (Proverbs 3:5) when she is "instructed" by an Islamic religious leader. Pray that God will shield and protect the other four women delivering them safely home to their families. Ask that all five women converts will receive the justice God promises to bring about for His chosen ones, who cry out to Him day and night (Luke 18:7-8).
Geoff, Fay, Phil & Danni
"God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supplies." - Hudson Taylor
We are approaching a very busy season of Easter. We will be holding an Easter service in each of our homes, as well as a joint one with all of Mission Care. It’s very important that in the middle of the busyness we remember why we are doing this; we want to remember what our Lord Jesus did on the cross and what that means for us now - the hope for both this life and the next!
Please pray for our speakers at each of these services. Pray for our team and the Easter-themed Bible studies which we will be covering in the next few weeks. Pray for the conversations that we have with our residents and their families.
Before I finish, let me encourage you with a story of one of our residents who has Down’s syndrome. He didn’t have a religious upbringing, knowing very little about Jesus. He also has dementia. I had no idea how I would even begin to communicate the truth of the gospel to him. I decided to open a children’s story which takes you through the Bible (with a focus on the gospel message and Christ Himself). He was beaming all the way through! After, I asked him if he would like to pray and he shouted "yes!". We finished by singing ‘Jesus loves me this I know...’ - he joined in as much as he could. He was so full of joy to hear what we had just read. So much so that even the carers commented on his reaction.
The message about Jesus is impacting lives today - even through Down’s syndrome and Dementia! May this encourage you to keep telling that ‘Old, Old story’ like that famous hymn said, again and again.
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
The Easter holidays will soon to be upon us and it will be a challenge for Tim to have time to get to emails and reports. Please pray as he tries to juggle home life and work. The widows food distribution went well: with many being reached both practically and spiritually. Amazingly, Afghan refugees in Switzerland, gave financially, towards this project! The current Afghanistan leaders are looking at moving to another country and so new leaders are being looked for! One of the team is on furlough: please pray for his time. Not only in his reconnect with partners but also to receive the refreshment he needs.
For Alison, the school holidays mean continuously being busy: entertaining, home life and helping to move things forward in a positive way.
In the midst of all that is happening, at times, it can feel like you are ‘drowning’ wondering where God is in all that is going on, but still trying to have a personal relationship with the amazing Father that He is. Knowing that He is in control, wants the best for you and asks us to be obedient to Him: in some ways it can feel like a ‘tall order’ but in other ways it can feel liberating.
Helen & Alastair - Ireland
Thank you for praying for our St Patrick’s Challenge (13-20 March). We had a great week with 33 participants, who all got through immigration without any problems! They were all very enthusiastic and ready to serve their Irish placement churches in Athlone, Cootehill, Letterkenny, Longford and Newcastle West. It was a diverse group with ages ranging from 16-71 and it was encouraging to see them all throw themselves wholeheartedly into ministry. The teams all had opportunities to experience St Patrick’s Parades through handing out balloons with verses on, face painting, serving teas and coffees, and walking in the parade.
Alastair had the privilege of sharing at the church in Longford as they had special service to celebrate their first anniversary. Helen enjoyed working on a lot of the details and logistics for this event. It was great to see it all come together and to hear stories of God working through the teams. If you have Facebook, do check and like our OM Ireland page, as there is a photo album of St Patrick’s Challenge 2019 which will give you a taste of what happened.
We have had some encouragement regarding visas as our Korean family has been granted a 1 year extension to their visa, so they are now starting their 4th year with us. This was exciting for us as a team as we’ve had so many disappointments, but there are two others who are also applying for extensions, including Alastair’s PA, and we are uncertain as to how that will go.
Alisha & Hannah will be going on their youth missions trip to Moldova (13-20 April). They will travel to Chisinau to the OM Moldova base and then go to a village two hours away, that the OM team have been working in. They will do visits and practical work, afternoon kids programme and probably a youth meeting. They also have the opportunity to organise an Irish culture night. Pray for the team of 13 teens and 4 leaders, as for the teens it is their first missions trip overseas, and will experience a very different culture. The girls are both very much looking forward to their trip, all that they will experience and hope to do.