Peace Child – PNG: A story that impacted world missions

Papua New Guinea: A story that impacted world missions

Hidden among tribal cultures, there are practices or understandings which could be called ‘redemptive analogies’. These can be used to illustrate the meaning of the gospel, contextualizing the incarnation of Jesus.

This missionary principle is best illustrated in Don Richardson’s classic book Peace Child (1974). This great missions story, demonstrating the power of the gospel in a primitive tribal culture in Papua New Guinea, had a strong impact on many people around the world.

In 1962, Don, his wife Carol, and their 7-month-old son went to Dutch New Guinea to minister to the Sawis, a group of cannibalistic headhunters. Don immersed himself in learning the complex language, and began working to teach them about salvation in Jesus. But the cultural barriers made this seemingly impossible, especially because of the value the culture placed on treachery and deception.

As he learned the language and lived with the people, he became more aware of the gulf that separated his Christian worldview from the worldview of the Sawi. In their eyes, Judas, not Jesus, was the hero of the Gospels, Jesus was just the dupe to be laughed at. Eventually Richardson discovered what he referred to as a ‘redemptive analogy’ that pointed to the Incarnate Christ far more clearly than any biblical passage alone could have done. What he discovered was the Sawi concept of the Peace Child.

During this time, the village Don and Carol were living in was attacked by an enemy tribe. Weeks of fighting ensued, and the Richardsons were considering leaving. Motivated to stop the fighting, the chief of Don’s tribe paid the price of peace: in a ceremony, the chief took his own infant son and placed him in the arms of his adversary. The child would live with the enemy tribe for the rest of his life; as long as he lived, there was peace between the tribes.

Don wrote: “If a man would actually give his own son to his enemies, that man could be trusted!” Through this analogy of Jesus being the ultimate peace child who will never die, Don was able to reach the Sawi with the truth of the gospel. Eventually the New Testament was published in their language, and many villagers placed their trust in Christ.

Seven years ago Don Richardson, then 77, and his three sons returned to the Sawi tribe in West Papua, Indonesia. They found the Sawi still faithfully following Christ. We published about this in JNI 839. This reunion was captured on film and it’s exciting and moving to see. While they were there 250 people were baptized.

See 15-minute film Never the Same – their return 50 years later.

Don’s follow-up book ‘Eternity in Their Hearts’ documented how the concept of a supreme God has existed for centuries in hundreds of cultures around the world. This book soon became required reading in seminaries and Bible colleges. Christians worldwide were inspired afresh by the notion that God has “prepared the gospel for the world and the world for the gospel.”

In December 2018 Don Richardson passed away at age 83.

Source: Randy Alcorn, Mission Frontiers, Peace Child Legacy

FREE PDF Mission Books on the Main Page

GENERAL BLOGS INDEX

BLOGS INDEX 1: REVIVALS (BRIEFER THAN REVIVALS INDEX)

BLOGS INDEX 2: MISSION (INTERNATIONAL STORIES)

BLOGS INDEX 3: MIRACLES (SUPERNATURAL EVENTS)

BLOGS INDEX 4: DEVOTIONAL (INCLUDING TESTIMONIES)

BLOGS INDEX 5: CHURCH (CHRISTIANITY IN ACTION)

BLOGS INDEX 6: CHAPTERS (BLOGS FROM BOOKS)

BLOGS INDEX 7: IMAGES (PHOTOS AND ALBUMS)

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Bible Story Pictures & Models

Bible Story

Pictures & Models

Children’s Picture & Model Book to colour

Bible Story Pictures & Models – PDF
Best view: double page scrolling

Bible Story Pictures & Models – Word Document

More free PDF Books on the Main Page

Download these PDF and Word versions freely and use them freely.

“Your kingdom come”

 

Amazon Links:

Paperback – Small Edition (6×9″) – $7

Paperback – Large Edition (8×11″ A4) – $7

eBook – Small Edition (6×9″) – $5

eBook – Large Edition (8×11″ A4) – $5

Contents

Introductions

58 Pictures & Models

Songs

Notes

Appendix

 

Introduction

Bible Story Pictures & Models is a colouring book with pictures and models for children and parents or teachers to enjoy.

You can download the PDF and/or Word versions of these models and pictures and reproduce them with a printer or photocopier. These models are freely available in PDF and Word documents here, ready for you to use. You can print a page on stout paper or cardboard to use personally or in a class. If you have small children they can colour a picture or you can cut out the models for them to colour.

I received them freely and I make them freely available for you on my Renewal Journal website, along with my other books. This book, of course, is available in paperback. It makes a useful gift for children to colour.

The Bible verses in large print give clues to the stories and are useful as memory verses. This book gives you a year of weekly stories and activities.

You can, of course, adapt or improve these pictures and models yourself if you wish. They can give you creative ideas to use at home or in Sunday School or Children’s Church or Religious Education in school.

Parents can enjoy time with their children and their children’s friends. Teachers can enjoy time with their classes using these materials. You don’t have to use the sequence in this book. Pick your own sequence, for example at Christmas and Easter.

When I was a young boy, my mother and Sunday School teachers gave me these models.  They copied the models onto coloured cardboard using tracing paper and carbon paper. So I enjoyed countless hours making or colouring or playing with these models and pictures. I learned and was fascinated by the stories that these pictures and models illustrated for me.

My mother gave me copies of copies of these pages and I, in turn, copied them when, about 16, I began teaching children in Sunday School. I don’t think I ever saw the original drawings. So these pictures are copies of copies of copies! In this book, I have kept a lot of the story titles my mother used and also the original printing by hand in some of the pictures and models.

May the Good News of God’s great love spread far and wide.  Be blessed.

More free PDF Books on the Main Page

GENERAL BLOGS INDEX

BLOGS INDEX 1: REVIVALS (BRIEFER THAN REVIVALS INDEX)

BLOGS INDEX 2: MISSION (INTERNATIONAL STORIES)

BLOGS INDEX 3: MIRACLES (SUPERNATURAL EVENTS)

BLOGS INDEX 4: DEVOTIONAL (INCLUDING TESTIMONIES)

BLOGS INDEX 5: CHURCH (CHRISTIANITY IN ACTION)

BLOGS INDEX 6: CHAPTERS (BLOGS FROM BOOKS)

BLOGS INDEX 7: IMAGES (PHOTOS AND ALBUMS)

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Angels protected pioneer missionaries in Tibet

Angels protected pioneer missionaries in Tibet

We sometimes forget that angels are active on earth as well as in heaven, as with Abraham, Jacob, Daniel and more. Angels helped Jesus many times (eg after wilderness temptation and in Gethsemane), and appeared to women at the empty tomb, and helped Peter in prison.

By Mark Ellis –

When Russell Morse and his wife Gertrude first went into “the closed land” of Tibet in the 1920s, they travelled on pack animals and sedan chairs with their two young sons from Kunming to Batang, on the Sino-Tibetan frontier.

During their first night of the journey they planned to stay in a temple at Leh, “but found that three very suspicious-looking men had already moved in,” according to Gertrude Morse’s account in her faith-building book, The Dogs May Bark: But the Caravan Moves On.

“It was feared they might be spies for a band of robbers,” she noted. Therefore, they shifted their plans and stayed the night at a headman’s house in Tea Tree Mountain Village.

Robbers were known to occupy their route, so the next morning, Russell sent two men ahead to check their path in an area where robbers usually ambushed and robbed people.

On the second night they camped near Drubalong, and slept very soundly in their three-in-one tent. Their Tibetan companions, however, did not sleep so well and got up several times that night to check for signs of any prowling thieves.

After she woke up, Gertrude asked one of the men, “Did you see any robbers?”

“There certainly were robbers around, but they did not bother us,” was his reply.

“How did that happen? Did some of our Tibetan friends stand guard?” she wondered.

“No, but a very excellent watchman helped me through the night,” he said, with a wry smile.

“Do you know who it was,” Gertrude asked.

“No I don’t. In the morning he was gone.”

On their return journey, a few local residents from the area quietly approached the Morse’s helpers and questioned them.

“Who were the guards around your camp when you went through here before?” they asked.

“We had no guards except ourselves,” was the reply.

“But we saw them! They were very big and tall, all dressed in white. The bandits had planned to attack and rob your party, but when they saw those big guards they were frightened, and didn’t dare bother you.”

When Gertrude and Russell heard this remarkable account, it further confirmed God’s care and provision for them as pioneering missionaries.

Gertrude thought of Hebrews 1:14: “…God’s ministering spirits (angels) sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.”

To get a copy of Gertrude’s book, The Dogs May Bark, go here

Answered Prayer

Answered Prayer

See also:  24/7 Worship and Prayer

Jesus said a lot about prayer and prayed constantly himself. Some examples:

‘Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who seeks finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? 10 Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!  (Matthew 7:7-11)

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.  (John 15:7-8)

Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax-collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax-collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.” 13 But the tax-collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” 14 I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.  (Luke 18:10-14)

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
(Matthew 6:9-13)

Links to Prayer Blogs

God answers prayer, but not always in the way we hope or expect or pray. We pray in faith, including “Your will be done.”

Books with revival reports

 

a-gods-surprises-all


God’s Surprises – Blog

God’s Surprises – PDF

READ SAMPLE

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Flashpoints of Revival
Flashpoints of Revival – Blog

Flashpoints of Revival – PDF

READ SAMPLE

Details on Revivals Index

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Community and Ecological TransformationSouth Pacific Revivals – Blog

South Pacific Revivals – PDF

READ SAMPLE

Updated version includes 21st-century reports

 

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A Great Revival Stories All1Great Revival Stories – Blog

Great Revival Stories – PDF

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Best revival stories from the Renewal Journals

 

Blogs on answered prayer

 X-ray shows brain tumour healed after prayer

nepalNepal: deaf-mute boy healed by Jesus

Alec-Rex-350x251Adelaide man’s near-death miracle

woman Muslim woman returns from the dead to tell about Jesus

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AIDS God saves and heals including HIV

DimuthMiracle Baby

1
Dreams Amid Persecution

He woke to find a blanket on him – there had been none in the cell

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I

Imam hated Christians

until Jesus raised him from the dead

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Sol IsSolomon Islands:

Hostile tribe’s chief died and met Jesus

by Dick Eastman

Ch 2: Mountains of Mystery

 
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More Miracle Blogs

Mama Luka

“Before they call I will answer”
Helen Roseveare in Africa
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4Modern Day Daniel

Baby China: Life-changing Miracle

duststormGod protects new believers

 

Healing Blogs

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cfan1He woke up totally healed

in Ghana

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Some examples of Answered Prayer

A pastor asked me to give him examples of prayer being answered that I had seen, so that request developed into this summary. Prayers get answered in many ways, not always immediately, but sometimes it is immediate. We need to trust God.

For 80 years I have loved it when we pray at home, personally or together. One night I was saying goodnight to a grandson, about 10 years old, who had a migraine headache. The Christian doctor had prescribed tablets to deal with it. I put my head on his head and prayed for him, led to say, “Infirmity get out in Jesus’ name.” I felt something happen. His migraines stopped and he has not needed the medication since.

Christian Heritage College Class

A student we prayed for one morning in our class went to her doctor that afternoon for a final check before having a growth removed from her womb. That afternoon her doctor could find no trace of the growth after checking with three ultrasound machines, so he cancelled the scheduled operation.

“My class at college laid hands on me and prayed for me,” she explained to her doctor. “I believe God healed me, and that’s why you can’t find the growth anymore.”

“I don’t know if God healed you,” he responded. “But I do know that you don’t need an operation.”

Home Group

We often pray specifically for one another in home groups and see many prayers answered.

We prayed for a young lady who found it difficult to keep a job because she worked slowly. She then got a job as a helper in an old people’s nursing home. The matron kept her employed, even though she was slow, because she chatted a lot with the old people while caring for them and cleaning their room. They appreciated the extra time she spent with them.

*****

A woman in our group had pain in her lower back. A nurse in our group was led to put her had on the lady’s back and simply pray, “L4 be healed, in Jesus’ name.” The pain left her Lumba 4 vertebrae area.

*****

Hilary Mackerras (now in Glory) played piano in our home group when we were led to move it to Trinity College chapel where I taught. It became an interdenominational renewal fellowship at that time with anointed worship blessing many. My Renewal Journal began there and continues still – www.renewaljournal.com

 

Some overseas examples from my book, God’s Surprises:

a-gods-surprises-all
God’s Surprises – Blog

God’s Surprises – PDF

READ SAMPLE

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Africa

“Can I take some bread home?” asked a tattooed young man at our communion service in the slums of Nairobi in Kenya, East Africa. God’s Spirit had prompted me to buy a few loaves of bread, bottles of drink, and plastic glasses for the congregation. We shared real drink and bread together among 30 people in their corrugated iron shed where I was the guest preacher.  We prayed, as usual, a blessing on the bread and juice.

“It’s your bread,” I answered. “You decide.” He quickly shoved a handful of bread into his pocket. Then most of the others did the same. Two weeks later, Frank, the young pastor, emailed me: “I’ve visited the slum homes of those people and they are still eating that bread. It’s still fresh.” Apparently God multiplied it.

Frank and his wife Linda then offered free bread and drink each Saturday for hungry, skinny slum people, usually catering for about 50 people. Sometimes many more turned up and they always had plenty. Apparently God kept multiplying it as needed.

*****

A young pastor in Ghana in West Africa invited me to hold meetings there. So I arrived with three others from Brisbane during our college break in July, forgetting it was monsoon time in Ghana. We flew into a deluge of rain on a Monday. Our hosts planned night meetings in the market from Tuesday, with morning teaching in a local church.

“Can we hold the night rallies in the church?” I suggested.  “Oh, no,” they said. “Only church people go there. Meetings in the market attract the crowds.”

“What about the rain?” I asked.  “God sent you, so he’ll do something,” they responded, full of faith. We prayed together.

We drove for over an hour in the pouring rain from Accra, the capital, to the town of Suhum in the hills for our first meeting on Tuesday night. The heavy rain had flooded the power station there so the whole town was in darkness. We prayed earnestly, asking God to take over.

Within 15 minutes the rain stopped, the town lit up with power, and we began. Those excited Africans sang and danced for over two hours, attracting hundreds to the service. All that week we had clear skies and large crowds. Church teams prayed for hundreds of people. Many were saved. Many were healed. One man testified, “I came to this meeting blind, but while you were singing I found I could see.”

Heavy monsoon rains began again the day after our meetings ended, so heavy we saw it reported on international TV the next week.

Nepal

A friend of mine worked with the United Nations in Nepal. He loved to help and support pastors and leaders there. We visited him many times and I spoke at pastors and leaders meetings in Kathmandu, in West Nepal and in East Nepal. Some of those pastors walked for two or three days across the high ranges just to attend.

Their churches are saturated in prayer. I prayed in their “Power House”, the upstairs prayer rooms of their church in Kathmandu. Those small upper rooms, open 24 hours a day, had many people going there to fast and pray, sometimes for many days.

We saw God’s Spirit move beautifully and powerfully in those meetings. Many were filled with the Spirit and healed. I heard a young man from one of their church bands praying eloquently in beautiful English – but he cannot speak English. They pray for one another with strong faith, expecting God to save, heal, deliver and anoint them. He does.

India

Our team visited Grace Bible College in New Delhi founded by Dr Paul Pilai. Paul had stayed in our home in Brisbane when he visited Australia. He was converted after a young Christian girl prayed for his healing while he was very ill in hospital and he recovered miraculously.

He told us how his students and teams started new churches in villages and towns. They often faced angry opposition. One fanatical group burned their meeting tent and attacked them, hitting them with clubs, trying to kill them. They broke Paul’s arm and burned the tent. Suddenly handsome Indian men surrounded Paul’s team and miraculously moved them away to a safe place nearby.  The team could see their burning tent in the distance. Those angels told Paul that God would send him back there. A few years later they were invited back and started a church there in a home.

Grace Bible College, the largest in India with around 600 students, trains people to evangelize and plant churches, especially among unreached peoples. Their graduates often face persecution and some have been martyrs. What a humbling privilege it was to pray with the staff there and speak to the crowded hall full of such committed students.

The Philippines

I taught on revival at a seminary in Manilla in the sweltering heat of the Philippines. An assignment I gave my M.Th. students was to report on revival and miracles. One Baptist pastor, who was also a police inspector, reported that a church he visited sent groups of young people to sing and speak at hospitals and nursing homes.

One of those teams held monthly meetings in a mental hospital. The staff said that their patients may not understand much, but those patients did enjoy the singing. About 40 came to the first meeting. The team offered to pray for anyone who would like prayer. They prayed personally for 27 people. The next month when the team returned, all those 27 had been discharged and sent home.

China

I visited China with a student from college. His parents worked there. The woman pastor-evangelist of a house church invited us to her church in a high-rise unit. The young man who met us at the gate could speak English. He feared that the security guard might ask awkward questions, but as we walked in around 7 pm, the guard had his back to us, talking to someone else.  When we left after midnight, the guard was gone, probably sleeping.

Around 30 people sat on the floor and sang softly in worship. We spoke and then found that no one would leave until we had prayed for them personally. That took a while! They were happy to slip away one-by-one, just as they had come. Most were new Christians who believed because a Christian prayed for their healing. They believed in prayer and miracles just as in the Book of The Acts. Their simple, strong faith and humility moved and challenged me deeply. One man we prayed for later that night also became the leader of another house church. They keep praying, and God keeps moving on them.

Australia

We visited Elcho Island in the north where revival broke out and spread through Aboriginal communities all across northern Australia. We drove the 50k on dirt tracks to the north end of the island where a small community of 30 people prayed together every morning and evening. They prayed for revival. We joined them.

They had seen revival begin after aborigines on Elcho Island prayed desperately for revival amid increasing crime, drink and drugs. The night their pastor, Djiniyini Gondarra, returned from a holiday they met of Bible Study and prayer in his home. God’s Spirit fell on them as they united for the closing prayer. That prayer and ministry went all night. People were filled with the Spirit, discovered many spiritual gifts, and saw healings and reconciliations. Everywhere their teams went they saw God moving on the people in local revivals.

South Pacific Islands

Many revival movements swept the South Pacific islands. I was blessed to see some.

Solomon Islands

God poured out his Spirit on children and youth in the Western Solomon Islands from Easter 2003. They loved to sing and pray daily in the church after school. God gave them visions, revelations, words of knowledge about hidden sins and bad relationships and many other spiritual gifts such as healings and speaking and singing what God revealed.

*****

We saw God touch around 1,000 youths at a National Christian Youth Convention in 2006. One night at the convention they responded, running to the front of the open-air meeting. For half-an-hour their worship team sang “He is Lord” while we prayed for them. They fell like dominoes. Many testified to healings, visions and revelations. One young man returned to his village that night and found his mother ill, so laid hands on her and prayed for her. She was healed. His brother then asked for prayer and he too was healed. The young man had never done that before.

A whole group from the Kariki Islands, further west, saw revival in their islands on their return. God moved powerfully in every meeting they held and in personal prayers.

*****

The church leaders in one village on Simbo Island told me how their prayer teams of about 20 people always pray for the sick. The medical clinic on that island has no entries for anyone from that village, except for babies born, since they started praying like that.

*****

Vanuatu

I visited Vanuatu often from 2002 and saw many prayers answered and many revival movements. Here are just a few examples.

God’s Spirit fell on the Law School of the University of the South Pacific just after Easter 2002. The Law School is in Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu. Many law students were dramatically saved and transformed at their open-air rally. Those committed students went on missions to other South Pacific nations and to Australia with me. We saw large numbers saved, healed and filled with the Spirit.

*****

At a church service in Port Vila, the capital, a nurse told how she had been on duty when parents brought in their young daughter who had been badly hit in a car accident, and showed no signs of life – the heart monitor registered zero.  Leah was in the dispensary giving out medicines when she heard about the girl and she suddenly felt unusual boldness, so went to the girl and prayed for her, commanding her to live, in Jesus’ name.  She prayed for almost an hour, and after an hour the monitor started beeping and the girl recovered.

*****

A young man from Brisbane who joined me on many mission trips, prayed for a heathen chief’s son’s leg which was immediately healed. So I asked the lad if we could go to his village to pray for people. He checked with his dad and for the first time ever a mission team was invited to come to that ‘custom’ heathen village. Everyone that young man prayed for in that village reported that the pain left

Our revival team, on Pentecost Island, including the two of us from Australia, trekked for a week into mountain villages.  We literally obeyed Luke 10 – most going with no extra shirt, no sandals, and no money.  The trek began with a five-hour climb across the island from the western shore to a village on ridges by the sea on the eastern side.  We prayed for people many times in each meeting.  At one point I spat on the dirt floor, making mud to show what Jesus did once.  The wife of the President of the Churches of Christ, then jumped up asking for prayer for her eyes, using the mud.  Later she testified that the Lord told her to do that, and then she found she could read her small pocket Bible without glasses.  So she read to us all.  Meetings continued like that each night.

*****

I heard the sound of angels singing about 3 am in a remote village.  It sounded as though the village church was packed.  The harmonies in high descant declared “For You are great and You do wondrous things.  You are God alone” and then harmonies, without words until words again for worship “I will praise You O Lord my God with all my heart, and I will glorify Your name forevermore” with long, long harmonies on “forevermore”.  Just worship.  Pure, awesome and majestic.  The team stayed two extra days there – everyone received prayer, and many people surrendered to the Lord both morning and night.  Everyone repented, including us, as the Spirit moved on us all.

*****

Fiji

I was part of two teams from Kenmore Baptist Church (now Riverlife) in Fiji with Ric & Ann Benson, and Jesse and Cooky Padayache. Many were saved and healed. Jesse prayed with a sick man in the hospital, and then everyone in the ward asked for prayer. They were all discharged within a week.

I prayed for many people there then and also in other visits. At one revival meeting, everyone I prayed for said their pain had gone. Two partially blind boys told their parents that after prayer they could see clearly.

If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).

 

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X-rays show brain tumour healed after prayer

X-rays show brain tumour healed after prayer

Doctors’ X-rays confirm divine healing of Cookie Padayachee’s brain tumour through prayer.

 

October 1989 X-ray – 1.5cm bone density cancer tumour surrounded by inflamed tissue.

September 1991 (straight after prayer healing) – tumour and inflamed brain cells completely gone.

 

Her husband Jesse prayed for her.  He has seen many others healed through prayer also.

 

“We have to check this out because it is impossible.  I have never seen anything like this before,” the doctor stammered.

 

With amazement and disbelief the Radiologist proclaimed that this was indeed a miracle.  “I am a man of science, I don’t believe in God but I have to admit that there is definitely Someone up there taking care for you.”

 

Cookie PadayacheCookie Padayache

Facebook: Cooky Padayache – https://www.facebook.com/cooky.padayachee

Facebook Photo: Evangelist Jesse and wife Cooky:

Added to Blogs Index 3: Miracles

GENERAL BLOGS INDEX

BLOGS INDEX 1: REVIVALS (BRIEFER THAN REVIVALS INDEX)

BLOGS INDEX 2: MISSION (INTERNATIONAL STORIES)

BLOGS INDEX 3: MIRACLES (SUPERNATURAL EVENTS)

BLOGS INDEX 4: DEVOTIONAL (INCLUDING TESTIMONIES)

BLOGS INDEX 5: CHURCH (CHRISTIANITY IN ACTION)

BLOGS INDEX 6: CHAPTERS (BLOGS FROM BOOKS)

BLOGS INDEX 7: IMAGES (PHOTOS AND ALBUMS)

BACK TO MAIN PAGE

 

Uganda: How a Bible app is growing churches in a refugee camp

Uganda: How a Bible app is growing churches in a refugee camp

A pastor who fled the civil war in South Sudan has been equipped to establish new church plants, thanks to a mobile phone app.

Rev. Alex Sokiri and his wife Harriet fled an armed raid on their town in Kajo Keji in South Sudan in July 2016, forcing them to leave all their possessions behind. They travelled on foot to the Morobi Refugee Camp in Northern Uganda where they, and others from their church and community, struggled to adapt to life in the camp that has now been their home for the past two years.

“In the camp life was very hard,” Harriet said. “Some people came to us wanting to commit suicide because they had left everything. They had no food, no shelter. They were completely traumatised and discouraged.” Alex drew together other pastors from across the camp and together they established small church plants to help people gather into supportive communities. “There were many mental health issues,” he said. “We encouraged the people with the Word of God and restored their hope.”

Alex and Harriet use the eVitabu mobile app, which means ‘books’ in Swahili. This app contains a wide range of theological resources and Bible versions. Having fled without possessions, Alex has found the loss of his theological library challenging. However, the eVitabu app developed by the African Pastors Fellowship (APF), which is loaded on to a solar-powered tablet, is enabling him to teach, prepare sermons, and inspire and equip fellow pastors in the camp.

Watch this video about Alex and Harriet Sokiri’s ministry in the refugee camp
“The app helped us with ideas for counselling, farming, youth ministry, peace-building and church planting. It brought many changes in our life and the life in the refugee camp. For instance: we read how we can form communities and do outreach. So we formed two sports clubs in the refugee camp bringing all the young people together. The youth are traumatised and often involved in criminal activities.” Currently, around 100 young people attend the sports programs. Harriet has reached out to women and created a small market garden.

Source: Alex and Harriet Sokiri, APF

Joel News International – #1122 | April 15, 2019

GENERAL BLOGS INDEX

BLOGS INDEX 1: REVIVALS (BRIEFER THAN REVIVALS INDEX)

BLOGS INDEX 2: MISSION (INTERNATIONAL STORIES)

BLOGS INDEX 3: DEVOTIONAL (INCLUDING TESTIMONIES)

BLOGS INDEX 4: CHAPTERS (BLOGS FROM BOOKS)

BLOGS INDEX 5: CHURCH (CHRISTIANITY IN ACTION)

BLOGS INDEX 6: CHAPTERS (BLOGS FROM BOOKS)

BLOGS INDEX 7: IMAGES (PHOTOS FROM BOOKS)

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Crucified and Risen


Crucified and Risen
The Easter Story

Crucified & Risen – PDF

Amazon and Kindle Link – Paperbacks and eBook

READ SAMPLE

Here is a summary of the events on one Jewish Day – from sunset to the next sunset.

It was the day the Passover lamb was killed.  Jesus chose to die on that day, fulfilling the Passover and the prophecies about the Messiah/Christ – God’s Anointed One.

This Blog has selections from the book Crucified and Risen: The Easter Story.

Use these resources any way you wish to share the Good News of Easter – He is risen indeed.

From the Introduction

The Easter Story

Tension rose. The radical young prophet from the rural hills of the village of Nazareth in the north was famous. Many believed he was the long awaited Messiah, the Christ.  That ancient title Messiah (Hebrew) or Christ (Greek) meant God’s Anointed One. People believed their Messiah would free them from the tyranny of Rome and establish his eternal kingdom.

Some people, like the Zealots, wanted to fight to free their nation. Roman soldiers savagely crucified these insurrectionists as a public demonstration of the futility of opposing their Empire. One disciple of the young prophet was Simon the Zealot.

Other people, such as the Jewish leaders, co-operated with their Roman overlords, hoping to keep the peace and prevent further invasion and destruction. One of the radical prophet’s disciples was Matthew, approved as a tax collector for Rome. People regarded tax collectors as traitors.

Other disciples of the popular prophet ran a successful fishing business in Galilee, owning many boats and employing many fishermen. They returned to their business after the traumatic and confusing events of their prophet’s arrest, torture and public execution.

This radical young prophet annoyed the Jewish leaders. He seemed to break so many of their strict religious laws and traditions. He welcomed all kinds of people and was widely known as a friend of prostitutes and traitors like tax collectors. He visited their homes. He welcomed sinners to join him in the homes of strict religious leaders who were shocked by that and very angry.

He survived many assassination attempts.  Two kings, father and son, wanted to kill him (Matthew 2:13; Luke 13:31).  People in his home village attempted to push him over a cliff (Luke 4:29).  People in Jerusalem tried to stone him more than once (John 8:59, 10:31).  Religious leaders often plotted to kill him (Matthew 12:14, 26:4; Mark 11:18; Luke 19:47).  At times, his own family thought he was crazy, and many Jewish leaders said he used demonic powers (Mark 3:21-22).

So, during his three years of public teaching and preaching, he stirred up opposition as well as a huge following of people wanting healing and miracles. Then during his final journey to Jerusalem for that momentous Passover, he warned his closest followers three times that he would be arrested, tortured and executed. They could not comprehend that, and Peter earned a harsh rebuke for disagreeing with Jesus. But Jesus clearly described what lay ahead, as in this explanation:

Then he took the twelve aside and said to them, ‘See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be handed over to the Gentiles; and he will be mocked and insulted and spat upon.  After they have flogged him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise again.’  But they understood nothing about all these things; in fact, what he said was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.  (Luke 18:31-34, see also Luke 9:22, 44-45)

The High Priest and the chief priests of the ruling Sanhedrin were determined to kill this dangerous, radical young man. Driven by jealousy of his popularity and the threat that his popularity may lead to a possible uprising and severe Roman retaliation (as did happen around 40 years later in 70AD), the religious leaders wanted him dead and his threat removed.

Eventually they did kill him.  But he chose the time and the place and the method (John 10:17-18).  He was publicly crucified on the day the Passover lambs were killed.  He fulfilled prophecies about the Messiah, but even his closest friends did not understand that, until later.  One of his disciples betrayed him.  Another fought to defend him, slicing off a high priest’s servant’s ear – which needed immediate repair. Then all his friends deserted him and fled.  By nine o’clock that morning their leader and friend, the Messiah, was savagely tortured and crucified.

Romans crucified their victims along the main road just outside a town or village.  They lopped trees and their victims carried the crossbar to the dreadful execution site where they were nailed to the crossbar and hoisted onto a tree trunk or stake.  Peter later wrote that Jesus bore our sins in His own body on the tree (1 Peter 2:24). The execution place just outside Jerusalem’s city wall was called the place of the skull, with graves nearby.  There are tombs and graves just outside that city wall even today.

Eye-witnesses saw and heard the horrendous spectacle. A few, like John, saw it from nearby. Spectators taunted the central victim: And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, ‘He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!’ The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, ‘If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!’ (Luke 23:35-37)

The three victims gasped out brief cries, one with angry accusations: One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, ‘Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’ (Luke 23:39)

Soldiers divided the victims’ clothes among themselves, gambling for some.  Eventually they smashed the legs of the two victims still alive so they died quickly, no longer able to push up from their spiked feet to gasp more breath. Religious leaders wanted them off the crosses before the Sabbath began at sunset.

The other victim was already dead so one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and blood and water flowed out.

The mystery deepened rapidly.  Matthew, the disciple who had been a despised tax collector for Rome, reported that the curtain of the temple was split from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split and tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life and came out of the tombs after the resurrection and went into the city and appeared to many people (Matthew 27:51-52).

That weekend the rumours began to spread.

Most people thought that the unbelievable rumours were impossible, and said so.  Loudly.

Only a few, very few at first, thought that it had really happened.  Even after a month some still doubted that it actually happened. (Matthew 28:16-17)

They saw the awful, brutal execution. Their leader had been severely flogged and tortured early one morning before his execution.  The conquering Romans made sure their victims suffered maximum agony and humiliation on thousands of crosses, suffering publicly and slowly in excruciating pain to their last agonized breath. That’s how we got our English words excruciate (ex-crux – out of the cross) and agony from the Greek word agon (struggle or contest).

Then, on the third day, he mysteriously appeared to many of his friends. That afternoon and evening he explained that the Scriptures said that the Messiah had to suffer:

Then he said to them, ‘Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared!  Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?’  Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

 Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.’  Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem (Luke 24:25-27, 44-47).

Crucified, as thousands were, their Messiah and King then appeared mysteriously for just over a month from the full moon at Passover until his ascension beyond the clouds. Even his name, Yeshua/Joseph/Jesus told that story. It means God saves.

The Greek word Ἰησοῦς (Iesous, Yeshua), translated mostly as Jesus, but also as Joshua, means God saves, or God is salvation. English translations of the Bible traditionally use ‘Jesus’ when the reference is to Joshua/Yeshua of Nazareth and commonly as ‘Joshua’ for anyone else with that name (see Luke 3:29;  Acts 7:45;  Hebrews 4:8).  So in English the name Jesus became unique for Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, the Saviour of the world.

These brutal and mysterious events transformed the lives of the people involved and changed the history of the world.

Eye-witnesses wrote their reports on parchments in the Greek language, now incorporated into the New Testament, the most translated and most read book in the world.  All or part of it is translated into over 3,000 languages and the whole Bible translated into over 670 languages.  I use the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) in this book with other translations added occasionally.

This story covers the most momentous events in history because it not only affected those involved but also changed the lives and eternal destiny of countless millions through history.

Events in this book are reproduced in more detail in my book The Lion of JudahThere I include extra passages, some from Paul’s letters and from various passages in the New Testament including The Revelation.

In this book, I reproduce Bible passages in italics. These passages, translated from the original eye-witness reports, tell the astounding story.

Matthew, Mark and John saw it personally.  Luke gathered his reports from eye-witnesses for his two books, the Gospel of Luke and The Acts of the Apostles.

Paul wrote: For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  (1 Corinthians 1:18)

John penned the famous words: God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him will not perish but will have everlasting life.  (John 3:16)

SUMMARY OF EVENTS

The Last Supper

Preparation of the Passover – Mt 26:17-19   Mk 14:12-16   Lk 22:7-13
Washing the disciples’ feet – Jn 13:1-17
The breaking of bread – Mt 26:26   Mk 14:22   Lk 22:19
‘One of you shall betray me’ –  Mt 26:21   Mk 14:18   Lk 22:21    Jn 13:21
‘Is it I ?’ – Mt 26:22-25   Mk 14:19
Giving of the dipped bread – Jn 13:26-27
Departure of Judas Iscariot – Jn 13:30
Peter warned – Mt 26:34  Mk 14:30   Lk 22:34   Jn 13:38
Blessing the cup – Mt 26:27,28   Mk 14:23,24   Lk 22:17
The discourses after supper – Jn 14:1-16:33
Christ’s prayer for his apostles – Jn 17:1-17:26
The hymn – Mt 26:30   Mk 14:26

Gethsemane and Trials

The agony – Mt 26:37   Mk 14:33   Lk 22:39   Jn 18:1
The thrice-repeated prayer – Mt 26:39-44   Mk 14:36-39   Lk 22:42
Sweat and angel support – Lk 22:43,44
The sleep of the apostles – Mt 26:40-45   Mk 14:37-41   Lk 22:45,46
Betrayal by Judas – Mt 26:47-50   Mk 14:34,44   Lk 22:47   Jn 18:2-5
Peter smites Malchus – Mt 26:51   Mk 14:47   Lk 22:50   Jn 18:10
Jesus heals the ear of Malchus – Lk 22:51
Jesus forsaken by disciples – Mt 26:56   Mk 14:50
1) Trial with Annas – Jn 18:12,13
2) Trial with Caiaphas – Mt 26:57   Mk 14:53   Lk 22:54   Jn 18:15
Peter follows Jesus – Mt 26:58   Mk 14:54   Lk 22:55   Jn 18:15
The high priest’s adjuration – Mt 26:63   Mk 14:61
Jesus condemned, buffeted, mocked – Mt 26:66-67   Mk 14:64-65   Lk 22:63-65
Peter’s denial of Christ – Mt 26:69-75   Mk 14:66-72   Lk 22:54-62   Jn 18:17-27
3) Trial with Pilate – Mt 27:1,2   Mk 15:1   Lk 23:1-4   Jn 18:28
Repentance of Judas – Mt 27:3
Pilate comes out to the people – Jn 18:29-32
Pilate speaks to Jesus privately – Jn 18:33-38
4) Trial with  Herod – Lk 23:5-11
Jesus mocked, arrayed in purple – Lk 23:5-11
5) Trial with Pilate, scourged – Mt 27:26   Mk 15:15   Jn 19:1
Jesus crowned with thorns – Mt 27:29   Mk 15:17   Jn 19:2
‘Behold the man’ – Jn 19:5
Jesus accused formally – Mt 27:11   Mk 15:2   Lk 23:2
‘Behold your King’ – Jn 19:14
Pilate desires to release him – Mt 27:15   Mk 15:6   Lk 23:17   Jn 19:12
Pilate’s wife message – Mt 27:19
Pilate washes his hands – Mt 27:24
Pilate releases Barabbas – Mt 27:26
Pilate delivers Jesus to be crucified – Mt 27:26   Mk 15:15   Lk 23:25   Jn 19:16

Crucifixion

Simon of Cyrene carries the cross – Mt 27:32   Mk 15:21   Lk 23:26
They give Jesus vinegar and gall – Mt 27:34   Mk 15:23   Lk 23:36
They nail him to the cross – Mt 27:35   Mk 15:24,25   Lk 23:33   Jn 19:18
The superscription – Mt 27:37   Mk 15:26   Lk 23:38   Jn 19:19
1) Father, forgive them – Lk 23:34
His garments shared – Mt 27:35   Mk 15:24   Lk 23:34   Jn 19:23
Passers-by and the two thieves revile –  Mt 27:39-44   Mk 15:29-32   Lk 23:35
The penitent thief – Lk 23:40
2) Today you will be with me … Lk 23:43
3) Woman, behold your son. … Jn 19:26,27
Darkness over all the land – Mt 27:45   Mk 15:33   Lk 23:44,45
4) My God, my God, why … ?  [Psalm 22:1]   Mt 27:46   Mk 15:34
5) I thirst – Jn 19:28  [Psalm 22:15 ;  69:3, 21]
The vinegar – Mt 27:48   Mk 15:36   Jn 19:29
6) It is finished – Jn 19:30   [It is accomplished]
7) Father, into your hands …  [Psalm 31:5]   Lk 23:46
Rending of the temple veil – Mt 27:51  Mk 15:38  Lk 23:45
Graves opened, saints resurrected – Mt 27:52
Testimony of Centurion – Mt 27:54  Mk 15:39  Lk 23:47
Watching of the women – Mt 27:55  Mk 15:40  Lk 23:49
The piercing of his side – Jn 19:34
Taken down from the cross – Mt 27:57-60  Mk 15:46  Lk 23:53  Jn 19:38-42
Burial by Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus – Mt 27:57-60  Mk 15:46  Lk 23:53  Jn 19:38-42
A guard placed over the sealed stone – Mt 27:65-66

Resurrection

Women carry spices to the tomb – Mt 28:1   Mk 16:1,2   Lk 24:1
The angel had rolled away the stone – Mt 28:2
Women announce the resurrection – Mt 28:8   Lk 24:9,10   Jn 20:1,2
Peter and John run to the tomb – Lk 24:12   Jn 20:3
The women return to the tomb – Lk 24:1
The guards report to the chief priests – Mt 28:11-15
12 APPEARANCES OF CHRIST
1) To Mary Magdalene – Mk 16:9,10   Jn 20:11-18
2) To the women returning home – Mt 28:9-10
3) To two disciples going to Emmaus – Mk 16:12   Lk 24:13-35
4) To Peter – Lk 24:34  1 Co 15:5
5) To ten Apostles in the upper room –  Lk 24:33   Jn 20:19-23
6) To eleven Apostles in the upper room – Mk 16:14   Jn 20:26-29
7) To 500 at once – 1 Cor 15:6
8) To James – 1 Cor 15:6
9) To disciples at the sea of Tiberias – Jn 21:1-23
10) To eleven disciples on a mountain in Galilee – Mt 28:16-20
11) Eating together in Jerusalem – Acts 1:4-5
12) The Ascension from the Mount of Olives – Mk 16:19   Lk 24:50-51   Acts 1:6-9

Jesus explained these events on the afternoon of his Resurrection Sunday:

 Then he said to them, ‘Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared!  Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?’  Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.  …

Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you – that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.’  Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.  You are witnesses of these things. 

(Luke 24:25-27; 44-48 NRSV)

 

Easter Resources

I was told by a distinguished rabbi about the ceremony when the Children of Israel presented lambs to the priest. The lamb would be impaled on a horizontal and vertical pole. Its back would be flayed to ensure it was a spotless lamb. None of its bones would be broken, and the blood would be drained from the lamb.
Does that sound familiar? The lamb was roasted on two poles forming a cross. Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, was placed on a cross. His hands and feet were pierced, and none of His bones were broken. Jesus was crucified on the very day the Passover lambs were being offered up.
Dr Michael Evans (Jerusalem Prayer Team)

Books

PDF versions available here.

A Holy Week, Passover & Resurrection All1

A Holy_Week_Passover & Resurrection_Kindle

Holy Week, Christian Passover & Resurrection

The Death and Resurrection of Jesus

3 books in 1 volume

Holy Week, Christian Passover & Resurrection – PDF

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Paperback and eBook on Amazon –

CONTENTS of this book (& 3 books)

1 Holy Week

Holy Week – PDF
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 A Holy Week All

This summary follows the outline in Mark’s Gospel.

This is an approximation:

Palm Sunday – Day of Demonstration – Mark 11:1-11 (Zech 9:9) – Jesus enters Jerusalem

Monday – Day of Authority – Mark 11:12-19 – fig tree, temple cleansed

Tuesday – Day of Conflict – Mark 11:20 – 13:36 – debates with leaders

Wednesday – Day of Preparation – Mark 14:1-11 – anointed at Bethany

Thursday – Day of Farewell – Mark 14:12-42 – last supper

Good Friday – Day of Crucifixion – Mark 14:43 – 15:47 – trials and death

Saturday – Day of Sabbath – Mark 15:46-47 – tomb sealed

Easter Sunday – Day of Resurrection – Mark 16:1-18 – resurrection appearances

Easter Friday It is finished

It is finished  –  It is accomplished

2 Christian Passover

Christian Passover Service

A Retelling of the Last Supper

Christian Passover Service – PDF

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A Christian Passover All

  1. Lighting The Candles
  2. First Cup ‑ Cup Of Blessing
  3. Washing The Hands
  4. First Dipping ‑ Bitter Herb In Salt Water
  5. The Four Questions
  6. The Plagues
  7. Paschal Lamb, Unleavened Bread, Bitter Herb
  8. Second Cup ‑ Cup Of Thanksgiving
  9. Second Dipping ‑ The  Mixture (Charoseth)
  10. The Passover Meal
  11. Communion Instituted
  12. Third Cup ‑ Cup Of Redemption
  13. Fourth Cup ‑ Cup Of Praise
  14. The Great Praise ‑ Final Song
    This order of service for Passover is an attempt to be as true as possible to the historic one Jesus had with his disciples, with Christian explanations added.

Resurrection

RISEN: short version

Risen –_PDF

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A Risen All Short

Preface

A Mysterious Month

Resurrection Sunday

Forty Days

Photos from the longer version

Addendum: The Old City of Jerusalem

See also:  Risen! : longer version
Risen! –_
PDF

A Risen! All

Part 1: A Mysterious Month, gives the full eye-witness accounts of 12 resurrection appearances. The contents of RISEN – shorter version – now also included in this book,

Holy Week, Christian Passover & Resurrection.

Part 2: Our Month in Israel, gives my reflections on walking where Jesus walked, with photos of those locations. Not included in Holy Week, Christian Passover & Resurrection.

See also: Mysterious Month
Mysterious Month – 
PDF

0 A Mysterious Month All3

Expanded contents of RISEN! – the longer version

with more details and photos of Jerusalem in Part 2.

See also:

Blog:  Holy Week – the greatest week in history

Crucified and Risen: The Easter Story

Crucified & Risen – PDF

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Remember those in prison

Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering (Hebrews 13:3).

It was just before dawn on a cold winter morning on the farm. I had just shifted a line of irrigation pipes in a crop of potatoes. My bare feet were encased in congealed, cold, numbing mud. My last task before breakfast was to start the irrigation pump. When I tried to kick start the motorbike my foot slipped off the kick starter and my big toe struck the metal foot peg. I felt nothing at the time but when I arrived at the pump I looked down and noticed lots of blood oozing through the mud on my feet! On closer inspection, I discovered that I had a very deep gash under my big toe. It was a really nasty injury which was surprising! I had not even felt it because my foot was so numb from the cold.

It seems to me that just as I was oblivious to the serious damage done to my body, we can be unaware of the damage that is done daily to the body of Christ.

Every day followers of Jesus around the world are subjected to ridicule, persecution, abuse, torture, abduction and even death. In a recent statement, the International Society for Human Rights said that 80% of all religious freedom violations in the world are directed against Christians. Shockingly, it is estimated that every five minutes a follower of Jesus is put to death somewhere in the world simply because they have faith in Jesus. Some have gone as far as to say that the current levels of persecution against Christians are worse today than at any time in history!

As followers of Jesus, we are spiritually connected to all of the other followers of Jesus around the globe. The Bible describes this union as just like being part of a body (1Co 12:12).

Just as pain from an injury in one part of our physical bodies affects the rest of our body, so to the pain and suffering of one part of our spiritual body should affect the whole in some way. So why don’t we always feel their pain? Perhaps we do not feel the pain and suffering of our brothers and sisters around the world because we are numbed by complacency, indifference, apathy or just plain ignorance.

I did not know that there was a problem with my toe until I went looking and noticed some disturbing signs. There are a number of organizations that help us be aware of what is happening for many of our brothers and sisters around the world; organizations such as the Barnabas Fund, the Voice of the Martyrs, or The Open Doors.

When I found out that my foot was injured, I immediately took action to give aid to my injured member. The bible says that we should empathize with our suffering family to the point of actually considering ourselves to be in their shoes.

Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. (Hebrews 13:3).

The following websites can provide specific information about the scope and pain that the body that you and your church are a part of is experiencing worldwide and may assist in providing information as to how we can aid those parts of the body that are hurting.

Barnabas Fund www.barnabasfund.org
Voice of the Martyrs www.persecution.com.au
The Open Doors www.opendoors.org.au

If you have not already done so, I would encourage you to please make your churches aware of the plight of our brothers and sisters around the world and commit to praying regularly for them.

God do you good!

Rev Stewart Piper, Queensland Baptists

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This church lets the homeless sleep on the pews

Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” He then said: “Follow me.”

– Luke 9:58-59a

This church lets 225 homeless sleep on the pews

Lack of sleep is one of the most critical health issues for the homeless. An average of 225 homeless people seek safety and rest on the pews in the sanctuary of St. Boniface church in San Francisco every day, thanks to The Gubbio Project.

The Gubbio Project was co-founded in 2004 by community activists Shelly Roder and Father Louis Vitale as a non-denominational project of St. Boniface Neighborhood Center located in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood in response to the increasing numbers of homeless men and women in need of refuge from the streets.

“No questions are asked when our guests walk into the churches; in an effort to remove all barriers to entry, there are no sign-in sheets or intake forms. No one is ever turned away; all are welcomed, respected and treated with dignity,” the project’s website states.

While the church uses the front 1/3 of the sanctuary for church-goers to celebrate daily mass at 12:15 p.m., the Gubbio Project uses the back 2/3 of the sanctuary. “This sends a powerful message to our unhoused neighbors – they are in essence part of the community, not to be kicked out when those with homes come in to worship,” the non-profit organization says. “It also sends a message to those attending mass – the community includes the tired, the poor, those with mental health issues and those who are wet, cold and dirty.”

In addition to a place to rest, the church offers warm blankets, socks, hygiene kits, and massage services.

[More work for the cleaners – God bless them]

Source: The Gubbio Project

Click to play this video of The Gubbio Project

March 21, 2018

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Benin, West Africa: high school boy defeats voodoo attacks in Jesus’ name. Voodoo priests sent talking birds to take Christian down.

Benin: high school boy defeats voodoo attacks in Jesus’ name. Voodoo priests sent talking birds to take Christian down.

Nestor got introduced to the gospel even when there wasn’t a single Christian church in his village of 1,400 people. Twenty years later, two churches were planted in Houndjohoundji in 2018. “People were begging for a church to open.”

By Michael Ashcraft —

nestor-kouassi-christianity-vs-voodoo-334x500
Nestor Kouassi today in America.

Nestor Kouassi had seen the voodoo priests and witches do unutterable things: make statues move, bury people alive who later come out of the jungle, send bird spirits to kill enemies.

So when he accepted Jesus in 1997 and started what became a high-stakes spiritual battle with them in his town of Houndjohoundji, Benin, it was a fearful thing.

“A lot of people didn’t like it that we were calling with fire and praying all night,” Nestor says. “They threatened us that they would kill us. They made false accusations. Anything to get us in trouble.”

Nestor got introduced to the gospel even when there wasn’t a single Christian church in his village of 1,400 people. His nation, Benin, holds the dubious distinction of being the worldwide birthplace of voodoo. Even the name of his village was a satanic incantation.

People feared the voodoo lords, and Christianity couldn’t crack the town.

But then one Christian, a certain Mr. Lawson, when he came to visit his mom in town from time to time, would preach and share the gospel with anyone who wished to listen.

“We would mock him,” Nestor remembers. “People would insult him.”

Then his best friend, Cyrille, accepted Jesus to get cured of a nasty, prolonged stomach pain. Cyrille was a “rough man” who would steal and fight for nothing, so when Nestor saw an authentic change in him after two weeks, he became convinced.

“He completely changed,” he says. “I said, ‘If this guy can change, there must be a God. I want to get to know that God.’”

Houndjohoundji-350x232
Near Houdnjohoundji

But Cyrille didn’t remember the “sinner’s prayer.” So they just read the Bible together 4-5 hours a day. After one week, Nestor was born again.

“Something happened in my life, and I knew that I knew that I knew that I had met the man Jesus,” Nestor recalls. “It felt like a liquid fire going through my soul, and all of my fears of witchcraft and voodoo disappeared and the river flowed from the inside.”

The nearest church was seven miles away. When they couldn’t attend service there, they devoured the Bible together. After two weeks, they were inspired to share their faith.

“We could not hide it anymore. We took to the streets and wanted to share with people our new discovery: Jesus of Nazareth, woo!” he recounts, relishing the memory.

The power of Jesus began to be proclaimed and demonstrated with healing miracles in town, and the town chief and ruling class — all priests and witches of satanic magic — didn’t like the competition.

“Our preaching was met with hostility like you’ve never seen before,” Nestor says. “What made them furious is that we would pray for people and they would get healed. People would say, ‘If you’re sick, go to the Jesus guys.’”

Another friend, Valentin, converted and the three friends read the word and ministered in the streets together. But nobody else dared cross the powers of the town and join their group, even though they viewed them favorably.

The prayers of Nestor and his friends began to disrupt the voodoo power, he says. So the witches attacked them.

“They didn’t want real Christianity. It disturbed them,” Nestor says. “They wouldn’t be able to operate anymore. If we’re calling upon Jesus, there is a power struggle. The witches cannot operate when we are calling upon Jesus.”

The witches had a technique they called a “spiritual gun” and the victim target of their incantations would writhe in pain. But the gun didn’t work on Nestor and his buddies, he said.

The priests had a special “founder drum” that when they beat it and pronounced their incantations, lightning would strike the targeted victim even when there was no thunderstorm. Again, it didn’t work.

For six or seven years, the arm-wrestling match continued. Nestor was going to high school in the biggest town in the area nearby, Grand-popo. He would face off with the voodoo priests on weekends and vacations.

The voodoo festivals began to misfire. Things didn’t work. The supernatural tricks fizzled. The town was abuzz with the goings-on.

“People began to question the witches’ power,” he says. “They said, ‘These Jesus guys must have something.’ They were scared. They listened to us, they admired us, but joining us was a real problem.”

Tensions were rising and the threats were increasing. When the chief witch threatened Nestor’s mother with her son’s death, Nestor went to confront him. He found all the witches together in their afternoon gathering in the public place.

“They told us they would reduce us to nothing. I told them nothing would happen,” Nestor remembers.

“In this battle, you will definitely see Jesus,” he responded to their threats.

That night, Nestor did indeed confront demon spirits, but ultimately they could do him no harm.

“I saw the power of witchcraft. I was in my room at midnight. I closed my eyes. All of a sudden, I heard hundreds of birds flapping in the room. They were talking in human voices. They said, ‘Take him.’ I could feel people’s hands. They tried to lift me off my bed. But I became so heavy, they couldn’t. They tried and tried and they left,” Nestor says.

It was worse than Alfred Hitchcock’s famous horror movie, The Birds.

“I opened my eyes, got up, and said, ‘Whoa, what is going on? What is this?” Then they came back with the chief priest who said, ‘Who is this little boy that you can’t get him?’ The same birds flapping, the voices, they couldn’t take me,” he says.

“In the morning I felt like I was sick for weeks. I couldn’t eat. I went at 11:30 to my mom’s. On the way over, I met this witch. When he saw me, he was afraid. I just laughed.”

The next day at midnight, there was a great commotion in the village. The chief voodoo priest lost consciousness in his house.

Thirteen hours later, he was pronounced dead in the nearest hospital.

“That’s how the hostility finished,” Nestor says. “They called us ‘witches of Jesus.’ They said don’t try anything against them.”

Since those times, Nestor and his wife immigrated to America with student visas. Cyrille lives in Grand-popo and farms. Valentin is an accountant in a big company.

Twenty years later, two churches were planted in Houndjohoundji in 2018. “People were begging for a church to open.”

May God receive the glory for all He has done!

Michael Ashcraft was a missionary for 15 years during which he founded the Liceo Bilingue La Puerta Christian school in Guatemala. It was long enough for him to see firsthand enough witchcraft to believe his friend, Nestor, when he recounted his conflict with the voodoo lords.

Source: God Reports, March 19, 2019