Mary - Cameroon
It’s a moment of great fulfilment and expectation when the long work of Scripture translation into a local language gives way to its presentation to the community, by whatever channel. One such medium is the Luke Film. A recent report from South Region reads: "Praise God that about 700 people came for the showing of the Kwasio language Luke Film in the central town of Lolodorf and that there was a good number sold on DVD and SD cards. The Inter-Church Committee would like to have further showings in churches, public settings and villages. Pray for open doors and that the film will touch and transform lives."
The audio route is also welcomed. Technicians from the ‘Faith Comes By Hearing’ agency will record the New Testament in Yemba (West Region) in July. Yemba is among the larger language groups with its speakers numbering around 300,000. Pray that all the dates, plans and preparations would work out well for good recording sessions. Pray too that the further processing required for its use by church and community ‘Listening Groups’ would move ahead promptly and smoothly.
Oral Bible Storytelling is yet another effective medium. A two-week Oral Bible Storytelling workshop organised by CABTAL has just ended in Bamenda (North West Region). Six CABTAL and SIL staff members worked with teams from six language groups to prepare stories for narration. Pray that the communities they serve (in the currently troubled NW and SW Regions) would be greatly encouraged as the Bible speaks to them through these narrations. Some have lost their homes in the crisis, others are frightened and displaced.
An Oral Bible Storying workshop has also just taken place in a northern city. We praise God that nine language teams took part (from the Far North and North Regions), preparing four stories each. Pray for the Scriptures to speak with power here too, where the effects of Boko Haram activity are still felt.
Our church’s two-week Tent Mission in June was a stirring time. In particular, many Christians testified to being challenged concerning their walk and witness. During the Children’s Bible Club nine children came to the Lord. We praise God for His Spirit’s working in these ways – may the ground gained be held and the advance continue! We’re thankful too for the favourable weather granted for the tent outreach. Thank you for praying!
Caleb - USA
We are thankful to God who has shown his blessings towards Ambassadors where we have had the opportunity to start a women’s team in Cleveland and the opportunity to provide a place for elite players to develop and to use our platform for ministry.
As you know, in January 2018 we took a team to Lima, Peru to support and enhance the ministry there. Please continue to pray for the work that took place there, that God’s ministry will continue to be enriched and developed.
Please also remember Mexico in your prayers and the trip that took place on 25-30 May. Pray that it would have been productive in providing support to the Mexican office not only through sharing the gospel within the clubs, camps, schools and community programmes, but also with the 250 people with whom they worked on a weekly basis, the women’s ministry that took place through the club, and the contacts they made during the women’s games.
Prayer focus update for July. More information can be found at www.barbabasfund.org
Iran - Christian political prisoners lose right to choose their own lawyer. Prisoners accused of political offences in Iran, including Christians, will no longer be able to choose their own lawyers. Instead, they will be represented in court by lawyers from a government-vetted list, a number of whom are notorious prosecutors, including a judge who has handed down hundreds of death sentences. Iranian Christians from Muslim backgrounds are frequently detained under political charges and accused of crimes such as threatening state security. Such false allegations are used to punish and intimidate Christian converts. Although Iran does not have an independent judiciary, Christians accused of political charges have in the past been able to choose their own lawyers, who have occasionally been able to secure release on bail for accused believers. Pray for the reversal of the changes to legal representation for Christians. Ask that the Lord who decrees justice (Psalm 7:6) will bring an end to Iran’s corrupt judiciary. Give thanks that non-Christian Iranian human rights lawyers are bravely protesting against the changes.
Nepal - Violent wave of church attacks. In a spate of violent attacks, four Nepali churches were targeted in May 2018. Attackers set fire to a church in eastern Nepal on 10 May, while a church in western Nepal was targeted on the same evening. Two days later, a church in Dhangadhi, in the west of the country, was bombed by an explosive device thrown into the building through a window. No Christians were reported injured. Local police insisted that the bombing was the work of Maoist groups, while church leaders suspect the attack was perpetrated by Hindu extremists. A few weeks before the bombing, a threat against churches had been published by Hindus in a local newspaper. The same night, a church in Kanchanpur in the far east of Nepal was set alight. No one was harmed, but church furniture and other items were destroyed in the blaze. Elements of the Hindu majority continue to campaign for Nepal to return to being a Hindu Kingdom, as it was before 2008, when the country officially became a secular republic. Ask for protection for Christians in Nepal and praise God that, to date, no believes have been hurt in the attacks on churches. Pray for a change of heart for Hindu extremists, that instead of seeing Nepal’s Christian minority – officially 1.5% of the population, but thought by church leaders to be closer to 5% – as a threat, they will accept them as true Nepalis.
Bangladesh - Mob burn down house church after pastor’s son falsely implicated in murder case. Pastor Albert Badol’s house in Gouripur, northern Bangladesh, was burned down by a Muslim mob on 1 June, after his 22-year-old son was falsely implicated in a local murder. After police arrested the pastor’s son, a mob of local Muslims set fire to the pastor’s house and attempted to kill him. Although he managed to escape, his house was burned to the ground. The pastor’s wife and the wife of another of his sons were threatened but not harmed by the mob. The house also functioned as a meeting place for a 35-strong local congregation who do not have a church building. Christians make up 1% of the population in Muslim-majority Bangladesh. The country’s constitution gives religious minorities the right to practise and share their faith, but Islam is the state religion. Lift up Pastor Albert Badol’s family, especially his son, who is in prison facing a false murder charge. Seek the Lord that justice will prevail and pray that he will stand firm and see the deliverance of the Lord (Exodus 14:13). Give thanks for Pastor Albert’s faith in the midst of trial: in a telephone call with Barnabas contacts he asked for prayer, but said that when the situation was more favourable he planned to build a church on the land his house was on "to witness to God’s grace and extend His Kingdom".
Algeria - Three churches allowed to reopen after protest campaign. Three Algerian churches, which had been shut down by authorities, were allowed to reopen on 11 June 2018. Two churches in the north-western district of Oran had been closed in February after authorities claimed they did not have state approval, while a church in Ain Turk had been shut down since November 2017 over claims its bookshop had been used to "illegally print gospels and publications intended for evangelism". "This is a reopening without conditions. Praise the Lord," said a Barnabas contact. "We are grateful for your unwavering support in prayer." Algerian authorities have ramped up pressure on Christians in recent months, launching a committee to carry out "safety inspections" of churches, and initiate police searches and prosecutions for carrying Bibles or Christian materials. The number of Algerian Christians is estimated to be in the high tens of thousands. Christians are free to worship, but church buildings must have official recognition, which can be difficult to obtain. Thank the Lord that Algerian authorities have permitted the churches to reopen. Pray that this will not be a temporary measure, but will signal the end of the heightened pressure on Christians that began in November last year.
Nigeria - Fifteen Christians killed in Fulani attack. At least 15 Christians were killed in attacks by Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria’s Benue state in the first week of June. On 4 June, two people were killed at Mbawa near Yelwata. Eight Christians attending a memorial service were killed and several others wounded during a night strike on the village of Tse Ishav, near Guma, at 3am on 6 June, reportedly by the same armed men. The neighbouring district of Logo was attacked later the same day, leaving five people dead across three council wards and many more injured. Two villages, Tse Ngojov and Tse Nyanmkyuma were razed to the ground. Hundreds of Christians have already been killed in attacks this year, as nomadic Muslim Fulani herdsmen continue their campaign of violence against Christian farming communities. Call on the Lord of Hosts to defend the cause of Christians in Nigeria and bring rest to their land (Jeremiah 50:34). Pray that Nigerian Christians will respond to the violence with the forgiveness and love of Christ and that politicians will answer pleas from Christian leaders not to give in to Fulani violence by handing over tracts of agrarian land for grazing
Geoff, Fay & Danni
The month of June has been an encouraging one! I have seen God at work through both the Bible studies and one-to-one visits. Often in ministry, it can be quite some time (if ever!) that we get to see fruit growing in people, but God - in His mercy - gave me a glimpse. It has been a reminder that He IS at work – many times in spite of us! When the demands of ministry seem overwhelming, I am reminded to press on and be thankful for our calling.
One of the ladies at our homes, who has no church background and was always reluctant to attend Bible studies, suddenly came along to a study out of curiosity - and has not stopped coming since! She even encourages everyone else to come along now too! Please pray that God completes the work in her and that she comes to know Jesus personally. What a story that would be at the age of 92!
In the one-to-one visits, there have been some very encouraging chats too. One lady in particular really took me by surprise. She has dementia, and often does not respond to what we say and can often become quite anxious and distressed. On this particular day, we looked at the Bible together and talked about how we can share our worries and anxieties with God. She at the end prayed with me and was much calmer. We finished off our time together by singing a hymn to which the whole room then joined us in singing praises to God.
I hope these stories encourage as they have done for me – we need to keep praying! Pray that this becomes more than a glimpse into what God at Mission Care, but not only that – we want to see fruit in our homes, churches, workplaces, and all over the world! We may not often be able to see the fruit but let this not discourage us. Let’s keep pressing on and rejoice that our God is gracious, and that our names are written in the book of life, praying that many more names will be found there.
Hebrews 11:1-2 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Tim & Alison - UK
For Tim the training with Carina, the lady from Hong Kong, continues, but via email. As the summer holidays for the children start in the middle of July, Tim is trying to do as much work before then. Please pray that amazing amounts of work will be accomplished: to God be the glory!
Alison continues with home life and preparing for the summer. There is much happening with the children and this is keeping her very busy.
For both of us we keep looking to God as our strength and guide in all areas. At times life can seem overwhelming, which is when we have lean totally on Him, our author and finisher.
Helen & Alastair - Ireland
Alastair is now back in the office and his time has been extremely busy and challenging. OM Ireland is currently facing some financial challenges, which has built up over the past few months with lower financial support coming in for team members, as well as one off gifts, and high expenditure due to regular payments, as well as the repayments for the outstanding amount on Lacken House, and essential maintenance work. All team members are being asked to look at their financial support levels and to seek further funding especially for those who are under-supported. We sincerely thank you for your on-going prayer and financial support of the ministry at Lacken House.
The Schools Tour have had a hot time with this amazing weather! We thank God for continued opportunity to go into the primary schools and pray that the children and teachers will remember what they have heard about Jesus’ miracles. This is the last Creative Arts Team programme for now, as Junior, who heads up this ministry, and his wife Luci, and their family will be taking a year’s study leave. They will be going to Cliff College in the UK for Junior to do a Masters in Missions and Ministry focussing on Creative Arts. They have been a huge part of the Bus ministry, starting the puppet shows, etc since they joined us in 2003.
Our Impact outreach runs from 4-17 July. We have a smaller intake this year and the three teams will go to Cootehill, Letterkenny & North Clare. Our Immersion students are finishing up their time with us having been on their church placements for the past eight months. We thank God for Sage, Ko & Zac and the work they have been involved with at their churches.
This year we have our biggest representation in recent years of 150 Irish Teens and Leaders attending the youth conference TeenStreet in Germany (28 July-4 August). The OM Ireland office is also processing all the non-European English speakers. Alastair won’t be attending this year but a number of our staff will be going to oversee these groups.
Alisha feels that her state exams went well, and she will know the results in September. We are now all finished school for the next two months, and will be making the most of this great weather while it lasts!