“Why, God?” Helen Roseveare asked after being brutally beaten and raped by Congo rebels for five months while she served as a missionary doctor in 1964.
Can you thank me for trusting you with this experience even if I never tell you why? was the answer she received.
It was a strange answer.
But also, God gave her a striking revelation about surviving a dungeon of torture.
“It’s external! You’re sinned against. It’s not your sin. It can’t touch your spirit,” she explained on a 100 Huntley Street video. “It’s only your body. But it can’t get into my mind or soul.”
Helen has used her captivity to encourage others who feel powerless to defend themselves against unimaginable acts of evil.
Helen Roseveare became one of the first females to graduate as a medical doctor from Newnham College, Cambridge in 1945. She became a Christian because of the testimony of some of the girls in her school and almost immediately set off to the mission field in the “Heart of Darkness.”
She tended to patients, built hospitals and trained Africans in medical science indefatigably. While serving the population she was taken captive in the Congo during the tumultuous 1960s along with other foreigners. As was always the case, she turned into the leader, even in captivity.
“When the awful moments came in the rebellion you almost felt, no, this has gone too far. I can’t accept it. It seemed that the price was too high to pay,” she says. “And then God seemed to say, Change the question from ‘Is it worth it?’ to ‘Is He worthy?’”
During her captivity, she helped aid medically 80 Greek Cypriots, workers abducted by the rebels. Especially one lady was in pain, seven months pregnant, so Mama Luca — as she was known — was called upon to attend to her.
With rebel guards on either side of her, she stepped among the cowering Cypriots until she found the needy lady. She didn’t speak Greek, so she went through the languages she knew one by one to ask if she was hurt: English, French, Swahili, Lingala.
Finally, she found someone who could translate into Greek and eventually led not only the lady but the whole prison hall of captives in a sinner’s prayer. As the only area doctor, she had attended to the Cypriots for years but had made no headway in evangelizing them.
But suffering brought a new openness to the Gospel.
“When I eventually left the house, they’re all looking up and smiling and they want to shake my hands,” she remembers. “It was wonderful. God, you are marvelous.”
As was their custom, the rebels subjected Mama Luca to a mock trial. The people in the area were orchestrated to participate in the judgement of “colonial, imperial crimes” committed by foreigners. Under the threat to the rebels’ guns, the locals had to join their voice in a chorus of condemnation, calling for the death sentence.
Responding to the beating of the drums, 800 locals came to her trial. You didn’t dare ignore the calls of the rebels because only they had guns. At a certain signal, they all shouted, as was the custom in these roughshod trials: “She’s a liar! She’s a liar!”
Then they would shout “Mateco! Mateco!” which meant “Crucify her! Crucify her!”
“You knew you would die. You didn’t know how,” Mama Luca recalls. “There came the moment in the trial scene when they must have been given the sign. Suddenly these 800 men suddenly, instead of seeing me as the hated white foreigner, they saw me as their doctor and they rushed forward.
“They pushed the rebel soldiers out of the way and they took me in their arms. In that wonderful moment the black-white barrier had gone and they said, “She’s ours.” They used a word in Kibbutu, which really meant, “She’s blood of our blood and bone of our bone.” The rift between dark skin and pale skin was driven away and we were reunited as one.”
“God used so many things that He’s working out his own wonderful purposes,” she says. “Many, many came to the Lord through those days of suffering. The walls of division were broken down, and the kingdom was expanded.”
Helen had refused to read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs assigned by her missionary field director. “I said if God ever asks me to be burned at the stake, I’ll say yes, but I won’t be singing,” she remembers. “I just couldn’t take it all.”
But then she and her missionary cohorts were indeed taken out to be executed by firing squad. Contrary to what she had anticipated, she found herself singing.
“We were singing every song and chorus we could think of with the name of Jesus,” she says.
“We were singing in English, French, Swahili, anything, so the last word that these rebel soldiers would hear before they shot us was the name of Jesus.
“We weren’t singing to impress our captors. Something else was very real in that moment when you thought you were about to die, and that was the presence of Jesus. Jesus was there. He was so wonderfully there and it was a privilege. It was just this wonderful certain knowledge. I was going to go to be with Jesus, and really at that minute nothing else counted.”
Ultimately, Helen was spared. She was released by her captors and returned to England to recover for more than a year.
In 1965, she returned to the Congo to help with rebuilding the nation and to continue as a missionary, where she continued to see miracles.
One miracle has gone viral: the story of the rubber hot water bottle.
A baby was born prematurely in the middle of the night. The mother had died in delivery.
They needed a hot water bottle to sustain its life. Dr. Helen knew the grim reality: their last bottles were deteriorated; the chances of this baby’s survival were realistically nil.
But she told her group of orphan girls to pray.
“I told the children of this tiny baby and asked them to pray for the nurses that they would stay awake all night to keep that baby warm,” she remembers. “One little 10-year-old girl, Ruth, prayed in the usual blunt way of our African children, ‘Please, God, send us a hot water bottle. My God, it’ll be no good tomorrow! Send it this afternoon. If it comes tomorrow, the baby would be dead.’”
Dr. Helen didn’t know if she should encourage such futile hopes in the orphan. “I was sort of swallowing hard.”
Ruth continued unabashedly, “While You’re about it, God, would You send a dolly for the little two-year-old sister, so she should know that Jesus really loves her.”
No parcel had ever come to Dr. Helen in that region for four years.
“That afternoon the parcel came,” she said. “t was the first parcel from home. Despite the fact I live on the Equator, somebody packing that parcel had been prompted by God to put in a hot water bottle. And a child from my bible class at home had put in a dolly for the little girl.
“That parcel had been on the way five months to get to us!”
Within a year, over 100,000 people followed her discipleship messages and more than 100 started following Christ. For many it became a stabilizing force during the pandemic.
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Leia Eisenhower developed an Instagram and Telegram discipleship ministry, reaching over 100,000 people with the gospel.
Eisenhower (47) grew up in Brazil where her father served as a church planter. At the age of 14 God called her to ministry and for several years she served as a missionary with the Assemblies of God in Brazil, before moving to the USA where she joined the Civil Air Patrol as a lieutenant and became a U.S. Missions chaplain. In this role she oversees nine squadrons of over 2,400 people.
When in March 2020 the Civil Air Patrol had to shut down all facilities, Eisenhower began planning an online training based on a book she wrote in 2019 called ‘My Neighbors: The Theology of Relationships.’ The book uses the parable of the Good Samaritan to discuss relationships. She chose Instagram’s platform for its worldwide reach and accessibility of communication through direct messages.
“I started to record a Bible class in different languages, and every night I would get on Instagram and do a live midnight prayer. The discipleship part grew so fast that I had to delegate taks to other people,” she says. Within a year, over 100,000 people followed her discipleship messages and more than 100 started following Christ. For many it became a stabilizing force during the pandemic.
Eisenhower says the process of discipleship through her ministry comes first through direct messages on Instagram and then through an online Saturday morning class on emotional intelligence and counseling. Eisenhower then invites class participants to her Telegram group, where they receive a link to a YouTube course on discipleship. She assigned team members to take calls from people around the world who need prayer. They can be redirected to 18 countries through Instagram, WhatsApp and Telegram for prayer and discipleship.
As the community grows, Eisenhower hopes to make the structure of the online church official, with prayer teams and partners, members and donors. “I’m trying to get us fully recognized to be a church,” she says. “People will have more connection having the church in the palm of their hands.”
After 46 years of life in North Korea, I came to China unprepared for life there. I met a South Korean man and heard about God from him. He gave me a Bible and I read the Bible. And when I returned to North Korea, I took a copy of the Bible and kept it hidden and read it. One day, I was caught in possession of my Bible. Soon I was sentenced to a labor correction prison.
In prison, I was held in solitary confinement after being tortured and investigated again and again for possession of the Bible. There was no light there, and it (the cell) was soaked with a terrible odor, like the smell of a dead body.
One day I was singing the song, “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, and those who believe in Jesus will not perish, but will have eternal life.” Then I cried out, “God, if there is God, please save me.”
As a result of continued interrogation, I had become very thin and only skin was left on my bones. Due to malnutrition, my anus did not contract and the stool went down. Prison officials did not want another dead body, so they released me.
After being in prison for 15 years, the world I had known no longer existed. I received only cold looks from people that I knew. I had no choice but to leave my hometown to go to China and try to find a job there. But at that time, no one in China would employ an illegal North Korean migrant. I was at my wits’ end.
But in the early winter of November 2015, I met a missionary. He took me to his home. On August 7th, 2016, God told me while I was studying, Go and make disciples of all nations, baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and teach them all that I command you to keep. I will always be with you. That very day I was baptized in the Holy Spirit. I confessed my sins to God and accepted Jesus as my Savior with all of my heart.
As I learned the word of God, the words came alive, Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you and your house will be saved, and it rang in my heart. I grabbed this word, prayed, and started digging into the verses of the Bible.
God further showed me, You are a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people who is his possession, that you may proclaim the beautiful virtues of the one who called you out of darkness and brought you into his marvelous light. He made it clear to me who I am as a servant of Jesus Christ.
It is a dream that a sinner like me has grown up as a servant of God who can convey God’s Word and love. I must confess that what I have become today is God’s grace and love. As a servant of God, I am writing this, asking for the help of the Holy Spirit at this moment. On September 30th, 2017, God called me to go back home and share the Gospel. After two years of studying God’s Word, I was ordained and called to be sent as a missionary to North Korea.
As a servant of God and a person appointed as a missionary to evangelize North Korea, I proclaim the word of the Lord who is the life, truth, and path. I then committed: As a person, I will live a life as a servant like Jesus Christ who lived with meekness, humility, service, and obedience.
With the joy of giving thanks and greetings to the countless servants and missionaries of the Lord who have been working for God’s work to bring all the souls of North Korea so they will be back in the Lord. Our God is a great God. I confess that I cannot hide my true gratitude and tears of gratitude for the love you have given to me.
Leaving for the evangelization of the motherland,
The blessed servant of the Lord
*name changed for security reasons
The preceding letter was received by Cornerstone Ministries International before Covid shut down the border between China and North Korea. This brother has not been heard from since he went into North Korea. Pray for the Lord’s protection as he pours out his life for the sake of the Gospel. For more information about Cornerstone’s work in North Korea, go here
Before he escaped across the Yalu River into China, Park Chin-Mae was a border guard, tasked with keeping North Korea’s citizens locked inside their own country and keeping contraband — especially Bibles — out of the country.
“They know the Bible is the enemy,” Chin-Mae said of his fellow border guards.
But once he fled to South Korea, Chin-Mae began attending Christian services at a resettlement center. He was tasked with laying out Bibles before the service began. As he did so, he realized he was safely holding in his hands the same book that could have gotten him killed on the other side of the border.
He started to read the Bible and soon found himself drawn to follow the Christ he had encountered in its pages. “I didn’t just read it like any other book; I read it and I took every word of the Bible into my heart,” he said.
Chin-Mae is safely out of North Korea, but many followers of Christ are still trapped and suffering inside the secretive nation. And it’s not only North Korea where our Christian brothers and sisters suffer. Believers face persecution in more than 70 other nations.
For more than 50 years, The Voice of the Martyrs has helped Christians persecuted for their witness around the world. VOM founder Richard Wurmbrand said of this work, “Our duty is to give a piece of bread to the wives and families of persecuted and jailed believers.”
That need still exists today. When Christians’ homes and churches are burned, or pastors and evangelists are beaten, imprisoned or killed, families are often left without financial support. VOM responds by helping persecuted Christians with living expenses, children’s educational needs, relocation within their nation, vocational training and other forms of assistance.
In 1921 David and Svea Flood went with their two-year-old son from Sweden to the heart of Africa, to what was then called the Belgian Congo. This missionary couple met up with the Ericksons, another young Scandinavian couple, and the four of them sought God for direction. In those days of much devotion and sacrifice, they felt led of the Lord to set out from the main mission station to take the gospel to the village of N’dolera, a remote area.
This was a huge step of faith.
There, they were rebuffed by the chief, who would not let them enter his town for fear of alienating the local gods. The two couples opted to build their own mud huts half a mile up the slope.
They prayed for a spiritual breakthrough, but there was none. Their only contact with the villagers was a young boy, who was allowed to sell them chickens and eggs twice a week.
Svea Flood—a tiny woman only four feet, eight inches tall—decided that if this was the only African she could talk to, she would try to lead the boy to Jesus. And she succeeded!
Meanwhile, malaria struck one member of the little missionary band after another. In time, the Ericksons decided they had had enough suffering and left to return to the central mission station.
David and Svea Flood remained near N’dolera to carry on alone.
Then, Svea found herself pregnant in the middle of the primitive wilderness. When the time came for her to give birth, the village chief softened enough to allow a midwife to help her. A little girl was born, whom they named Aina. The delivery was exhausting. Svea Flood was already weak from bouts of malaria so the birthing process was a heavy blow to her stamina. She died only 17 days after Aina was born.
Something snapped Inside David Flood at that moment. He dug a crude grave, buried his 27-year-old wife, and then went back down the mountain with his children to the mission station.
Giving baby Aina to the Ericksons, he snarled, “I’m going back to Sweden. I’ve lost my wife, and I obviously can’t take care of this baby. God has ruined my life!”
With that, he headed for the port, rejecting not only his calling, but God Himself.
Within eight months, both the Ericksons were stricken with a mysterious malady and died within days of each other. Baby Aina was then turned over to another American missionary family who changed her Swedish name to “Aggie”. Eventually they took her back to the United States at age three.
This family loved Aggie. Afraid that if they tried to return to Africa some legal obstacle might separate her from them, they decided to stay in their home country and switch from missionary work to pastoral ministry. That is how Aggie grew up in South Dakota.
As a young woman, she attended North Central Bible College in Minneapolis. There she met and married Dewey Hurst.
Years passed. The Hursts enjoyed a fruitful ministry. Aggie gave birth first to a daughter, then a son. In time, her husband became president of a Christian college in the Seattle area, and Aggie was intrigued to find so much Scandinavian heritage there.
One day she found a Swedish religious magazine in their mailbox. She had no idea who had sent it, and of course she couldn’t read the words, but as she turned the pages, a photo suddenly stopped her cold.
There, in a primitive setting, was a grave with a white cross—and on the cross were the words SVEA FLOOD.
Aggie got in her car and drove straight to a college faculty member whom she knew could translate the article.
“What does this article say?”
The teacher shared a summary of the story.
“It is about missionaries who went to N’dolera, Africa, long ago. A baby was born. The young mother died. One little African boy was led to Jesus before that. After the whites had all left, the boy all grown up finally persuaded the chief to let him build a school in the village. He gradually won all his students to Christ and the children led their parents to Him. Even the chief became a follower of Jesus! Today there are six hundred believers in that village, all because of the sacrifice of David and Svea Flood.”
Aggie was elated!
For the Hursts’ 25th wedding anniversary, the college presented them with the gift of a vacation to Sweden.
Aggie sought out her birth father.
David Flood was an old man now. He had remarried, fathered four more children, and generally dissipated his life with alcohol. He had recently suffered a stroke. Still bitter, he had one rule in his family: “Never mention the name of God! God took everything from me!”
After an emotional reunion with her half-brothers and half-sister, Aggie brought up the subject of her longing to see her father. They hesitated….
“You can talk to him, but he’s very ill now. You need to know that whenever he hears the name of God, he flies into a rage.”
Aggie walked into the squalid apartment, which had liquor bottles strewn everywhere, and slowly approached her 73-year-old father lying in a rumpled bed.
“Papa,” she said tentatively.
He turned and began to cry.
“I never meant to give you away!”
“It’s all right, Papa,” she replied, taking him gently in her arms.
“God took good care of me.”
Her father instantly stiffened and his tears stopped.
“God forgot all of us. Our lives have been like this because of Him.”
He turned his face back to the wall.
Aggie stroked his face and then continued, undaunted.
“Papa, I’ve got a marvelous story to tell you!”
“You didn’t go to Africa in vain. Mama didn’t die in vain. The little boy you won to the Lord grew up to win that whole village to Jesus! The one seed you planted in his heart kept growing and growing! Today there are 600 people serving the Lord because you were faithful to the call of God in your life!”
“Papa, Jesus loves you. He has never hated you or abandoned us.”
The old father turned back to look into his daughter’s eyes. His body relaxed.
He slowly began to talk.
And by the end of the afternoon, he had come back to the God he had resented for so many years. Over the next few days, father and daughter enjoyed warm moments together. A few weeks after Aggie and her husband returned to America, David Flood died.
And a few years later….
Aggie and her husband were attending an evangelism conference in London, England, when a report was given from Zaire (the former Belgian Congo).
The superintendent of the national church, representing some 110,000 baptized believers, spoke eloquently of the Gospel’s spread in his nation.
Aggie could not help going to ask him afterward if he had ever heard of David and Svea Flood.
“Yes, madam,” the man replied in French, his words being translated into English.
“Svea Flood led me to Jesus Christ! I was the boy who brought food to your parents before you were born. In fact, to this day, your mother’s grave and her memory are honored by all of us.”
He embraced Aggie for a long time, sobbing.
“You must come to Zaire! Your mother is the most famous and honored person in our history.”
When Aggie and her husband went to N’dolera, they were welcomed by cheering throngs of villagers. Aggie even met the man who had been hired by her father to carry her down the mountain in a hammock-cradle.
Then the pastor escorted Aggie to see her mother’s tomb with a white cross bearing her name. She knelt in the soil to pray and give thanks to God.
Later that day, in the church, the boy turned pastor read….
“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” John 12:24
“Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.” Psalm 126:5.
On Tuesday 20 April 2021, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison gave an address to Christian Leaders at the Australian Christian Churches conference on the Gold Coast. This is not the first time Mr Morrison has spoken about his faith, nor did he say anything particularly controversial, but that has not stopped a storm of news and social media coverage about the place of faith in politics.
Following is a transcript of what he had to say (after his initial greetings):
“I do want to share something with you tonight, a few things that are on my heart. I need you help… Jenny sends her best by the way, thank you for your prayers for Jen, particularly most recently. She’s amazing. I’m just thrilled the rest of the country is getting to work out what I’ve known for a very, very long time. She’s a great blessing, you know, she’s got an amazing heart, the way she’s used the opportunity God has given us for such a time as this. The way that she has been able to reach out to people and just be a blessing to them and a comfort to them. Her heart is just as big as it comes and God is using her, I think, in great ways, in political ways. I didn’t come to talk about politics tonight … the opportunities that have come her way. Leila and Danny Abdallah, I don’t know if you know Leila and Danny? They lost their three children, when they were run over at Oatlands and Jenny has forged an amazing friendship with her and that family, and the other families that are affected, and that’s an amazing faith that forgives and they’ve been a blessing to this country.
But, I do need your help. My father-in-law was an amazing Christian. There wasn’t a day that went past when Roy wasn’t in complete wonder about how God saved him. He grew up in Bondi when it was a lot tougher than it was today, and he had a bit of a rough time growing up. He was a bit of a loner and God reached him through a great church where he was and he just lived the rest of his life saying “I can’t believe how great God is” and he would just give thanks every single day. And, when I was younger – because I started going out with Jenny when I was 16 – I would sit and we’d have discussions, Roy and I. Even back then I was interested in things political and so was Roy. We would talk about government and talk about all this and he’d get veryfrustrated with me because I wouldn’t answer all the questions. And I said, “you know Roy, you know, I can’t fix the world. I can’t save the world. We both believe in someone who can”. And that’s why I’ve come here for your help tonight because what you do, and what you bring to the life of faith of our country is what it needs, in my view.
Rabbi Jonathon Sacks, you may know of him, he was the chief rabbi in a synagogue in London. If you haven’t read any of Rabbi Sacks’ work, I strongly encourage you do. He wrote a book just before he died called Morality. Now, it wasn’t about what you might think or I think, most people who are outside of faith communities would think when you say “morality“. And he said this about it, he said: “You lose your morality and you’re in danger of losing your freedom.” He said “Our rights used to be how we were protected from the state and now, it’s what we expect of it.” He said “What we once expected from family and community, now we can track this to the state and to the market.”
And he channelled someone else, famous economist Friedrich Hayek: “Freedom has never worked without deeply ingrained moral beliefs.” He was talking about community, and you can’t replace community with governments, with the market, with other institutions, you can’t. You can’t replace the family, you can’t replace marriage, you can’t replace the things that are so personal and ingrained and come out of us as individuals with systems of power or systems of capital. These are important things but they can’t replace community.
At every church people say to me, “what church do you go to?”… I say “Horizon Church, used to be known as Shirelive Church”. You know other churches, there are Baptist churches, there are Brethren churches, I’ve always been at a community church. That’s where I want to be, and a church that believes in community and creates community. And the essence of community is each individual understanding that they’re valued, that they’re unique. That they can respect one another. That they can contribute to one another.
We cannot allow what we feel entitled to be to be more important than what we’re responsible for. This is very important stuff that Rabbi Sacks is talking about, because he gets it, that the essence of morality is not what others would think it is, about sexuality and all of these issues. Of course, these things relate to it, but it’s about the dignity and value of each and every human being and the responsibilities that they have one to another. Now, you cancel out one human being and you cancel community because community is just human beings who God loves, and, and is intended to connect us one to another. Morality is about focusing not on ‘you’, but on the person next to you. It’s about focusing, for me, on you, not me. That is the essence of community. You can’t pass a law for it. You can’t create a building for it. It is essentially what springs from each and every one of us. Community. It’s born of what he likes to call a covenant and a covenant as we read, particularly in the Old Testament – he tends to read the Old Testament a bit more often than you! He seems to understand it a lot better than many…
But he speaks about this in a way, it’s not a transaction because in a covenant there are responsibilities. Not just obligations, but responsibilities. There is relationship in covenant, which is what God sought with Israel, in covenant, deep relationship, it’s personal. It goes beyond. There’s the giving of oneself the respect, the dignity, the caring together. The sharing of interests, the sharing of lives. The pledging of faithfulness and achieving together what cannot be achieved alone. A covenant, more than a transaction. Family and marriage, God has created in the same way, to reflect that covenant that we can have. And so I need you to keep building community in this country. I need you to keep doing the things that you do which allows Australians, right here, wherever you may be. Brad [Bonhomme] does amazing work up in Papua New Guinea. I know how much he loves going up there and I’m sure there are many other teams that have blessed our Pacific family. But it’s so important to continue to reach out and let each and every Australian know that they are important. That they are valued, that they are significant. Because we believe they are created in the image of God and that in understanding that, they can go on a journey that I’m very confident you can take them on. And I’m relying on you to do that because that’s not my job, that’s yours.
There are some threats to this that I want to share with you. There is a fashion these days to not think of Australians as individuals, there is particularly, I think, amongst our young people, and I worry about this. It’s called “identity politics”. People think of themselves by the things they can describe and connect them with others. These are important things. One’s ancestry. One’s gender, where one’s from. If you’re from The Shire, well, that’s great, starting ahead of everybody else. As they say, “prayer in The Shire is a local call”. It’s Cronulla for those of you not familiar with what I’m referring to. But there is a tendency for people not to see themselves and value themselves in their own right as individuals. And to see themselves only defined by some group and they get lost in that group and you know when you do that you lose your humanity. And you lose your connection, I think, one to each other and you’re defined by your group, not by, I think, I believe who God has created you to be. And to understand that. And that’s a big thing going on in our community, in our society and it’s corrosive, it’s absolutely corrosive and, I think it’s undermining community and, I think it’s undermining the self-worth that Australians can have because if you‘re only defined by what pack you’re in or what group you’re in or what group you’ve been in or what box you’re put in, how others have defined you or sought to define you either to enlist you to their cause or whatever that might be. Australians need to understand that they themselves individually and personally are unique and wonderful. Because, you know, if you look at each other not as individuals but as warring tribes, you know, it’s easy to start disrespecting each other. It’s easy to start not understanding the person across from you, and this is important for politics for us too, that there is a beating heart over there, there is a unique individual with a unique set of issues and challenges and opportunities and possibilities and all of these sorts of things. And when you stop seeing that and just see someone as, well, they’re of that view and that group.
That’s why people start writing stupid things on Facebook and the internet, being disrespectful to one another and we all know how that is corroding and desensitising our country and our society, not just here but all around the world. I think it’s an evil thing. I think it’s a very evil thing and we’ve got to pray about it, we’ve got to call it out and we’ve got to raise up our spiritual weapons against this because it’s going to take our young people. It’s going to take their courage. It’s going to take their hope. It’s going to steal their hope. We’ve got to pray about that, we’ve got to pray against that because it is such a corrosive thing that we’re seeing take place. Yeah sure, social media has its virtues and its values and enables us to connect with people in ways we’ve never had before, terrific, terrific. But those weapons can also be used by the evil one and we need to call it out.
So, this is the help I need from you. I need your help to keep doing what you’re doing. I need your help to remind Australians how precious they are and how unique they are.
Can I finish with four verses? I just wanted to share this with you in closing. Things that I have learned while I’ve been Prime Minister and, indeed, long before that.
 The first one is 1 Chronicles 13:3. It’s about David. It talks about how in the time of Saul they didn’t inquire of the Lord. And it’s important for us to inquire of the Lord. And this is how David established and set up when he became King. That all other kings, Saul had not done that and we know that over the course of Israel’s history that those who didn’t inquire of the Lord, those who neglected the Lord, those who put what the Lord had put in their heart to one side, then their kingdoms went where they went and the people followed them where they went. And we all remember what happened when that occurred and this is a constant reminder to me just in my own personal walk and I’m encouraged by the people I’ve mentioned already tonight and many more. That is something I seem to do and a lot of people outside this place you will understand what I’m talking about, it’s not a political thing. Faith is very much an ingrained part of my life and I just seek His wisdom in the same way you do each and every day and it’s important we do that.
 The second one, I like this one, it’s Psalm 23:5, where he talks about preparing the banquet for you in the presence of your enemies. We’ve got to sit down with them at that banquet. I sit down at that banquet every single day. But that’s where we‘re called. He didn’t prepare a banquet for us in the presence of our greatest admirers and friends who would tell us wonderful and lovely things, as nice as that is. He said, “I have prepared this banquet for you in the presence of your enemies that I will be with you at that table”. It is a wonderful reminder to me each and every day.
 I was up in The Pilbara the other night, and Jenny, many many years ago got me this lovely little verse and she put it in a frame so I’d see it each morning, about being strong and courageous. Do not be discouraged, from Joshua 1:9. There was a young fellow who was up there, he worked in the mines. And he just came up to me because people were just saying “G’day” and we were talking, just came up and said, “Joshua 1:9”. Now, I said I’ve got that one, I’ve got that one.
And when you read, as we all do, the thing that keeps coming back to me over and over and over again, any of us in leadership understand that, is yes, He’s prepared that banquet and yes we inquire of the Lord, but you must be strong. You must be courageous and you must not be discouraged. What I like about that verse is He knows that we’ll be discouraged. He knows that those who will seek to hold us back would have us feel discouraged, so He knows it’s going to happen. It’s no surprise to Him that we may feel like that so He simply says “don’t be”… Be strong, be courageous, do not be discouraged.
 And this came home to me, importantly, during the last election campaign, in fact, and I was up on the Central Coast, and I was up there with Jenny. It was a pretty tough week actually. The last couple of weeks of the campaign and I was at Ken Duncan’s Gallery. And I hadn’t, I didn’t know we were going to go to Ken Duncan’s Gallery, we were speaking at a rally that day and we had to go and hold somewhere as we often do before we go over to the next event. And, I must admit, I was saying to myself “Lord, where are you? Where are you? I’d like a reminder, if that’s okay”. And so I didn’t know I was supposed to be at Ken’s Gallery. Ken’s a great Christian guy as you all know. And I walked into his gallery and there right in front of me was the biggest picture of a soaring eagle that I could imagine. Of course, the verse hit me that soaring on the wings of an eagle, run and do not grow weary, walk do not grow faint. [Isaiah 40:31] But the message I got that day was, “Scott, you’ve got to run to not grow weary. You’ve got to walk to not grow faint. You’ve got to spread your wings like an eagle to soar like an eagle”.
So, I hope those few things encourage you. They certainly encourage me and Jenny every day. We are very grateful for the amazing prayers and support that we get from Christians all around the country. It is an avalanche, the letters we get, the support we get, the books that are sent to me. I’ve got them all there, down in Canberra, it’s quite a library that’s building up. People send me verses, they tell me their stories, they share things with me. They share things with Jenny.
It’s a privilege, it is an absolute privilege. I’ve been in evacuation centres where people thought I was just giving someone a hug and I was praying. And putting my hands on people in various places, laying hands on them and praying in various situations. I was just in Kalbarri, where the cyclone just has gone through. In all these places, it’s been quite a time and God has, I believe, been using us to, in those moments, to be able to provide some relief and comfort and just some reassurance. And we’ll keep doing this for as long as that season is. That’s how we see it. We are called, all of us, for a time and for a season and God would have us use it wisely, and uh, for each day I get up and move ahead. There is just one little thing that’s in my head, ‘for such a time as this, for such a time as this’. God bless you, thank you very much.”
Jesus Film Project carries more than 30 short and feature-length films and has partnered with more than 1,500 ministries to see more than 500 million indicate decisions to follow Jesus. Many missions organizations have called the JESUS film “one of the greatest evangelistic success stories of all time.”
By Mark Ellis –
Taweb* is a terrorist who killed many people, including more than a dozen children. As time went by, however, he felt a growing uneasiness about his role in the killings.
“For most fighters, it’s nothing to them, all the killing,” Taweb told the JESUS Film Project. The lack of peace caused him to leave his band of fighters for a break. After he arrived in his home village, he learned about a visiting team showing the JESUS film privately, house-to-house.
He was intrigued that the film was in his mother tongue. He wasn’t planning to watch the film, but God intervened, and Tawab found himself at one of the private screenings.
“By accident, I watched the JESUS film. I had never heard of Jesus before. I had never heard the message of peace.”
As he watched the story about the life of Jesus taken from the Book of Luke, the power of the Word and the Spirit touched his heart and he became a follower of Jesus. “Taweb found himself transformed by the Holy Spirit as he heard the Word of God, the gospel. The ‘worst of the worst,’ a murderer of innocent children, was forgiven, at peace, clothed in the righteousness of Jesus,” according to the JESUS Film Project report.
After Taweb accepted Christ, he asked the ministry team if they would show the film in his home. When they did, his entire family became followers of Jesus.
“The next night 45 families in his village gathered to watch and they all became believers – about 450 people in all – in this highly resistant area,” the report stated.
In the next four months, 75 of his fellow militants laid down their weapons and became followers of Jesus. “Today, each one of them leads a home church and they are passionately and boldly reaching the people around them, mostly by using ‘JESUS.’”
For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. (Romans 8:29)
If you want to know more about a personal relationship with God, go here
To learn more about the JESUS Film Project, go here
Renewal Journals – links to 20 Renewal Journals 4 books comprising the 20 Renewal Journals Amazon – free gift note available * I am enjoying these Journals a lot! Read about things that the Bible talks about, but they are happening in our day and age around the world. ~ Deborah Mares
The Queen’s Christmas and Easter Messages – Blog The Queen’sChristmas & Easter Messages – PDFQuotes from The Queen:To many of us our beliefs are of fundamental importance. For me the teachings of Christ and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to lead my life. I, like so many of you, have drawn great comfort in difficult times from Christ’s words and example. (2000)* Jesus Christ lived obscurely for most of his life, and never travelled far. He was maligned and rejected by many, though he had done no wrong. And yet, billions of people now follow his teaching and find in him the guiding light for their lives. I am one of them because Christ’s example helps me see the value of doing small things with great love, whoever does them and whatever they themselves believe. (2016) * We remember the birth of Jesus Christ, whose only sanctuary was a stable in Bethlehem. He knew rejection, hardship and persecution. And, yet, it is Jesus Christ’s generous love and example which has inspired me through good times and bad. (2017) * The Christmas story retains its appeal since it doesn’t provide theoretical explanations for the puzzles of life. Instead, it’s about the birth of a child, and the hope that birth 2,000 years ago brought to the world. Only a few people acknowledged Jesus when he was born; now billions follow him. I believe his message of peace on earth and goodwill to all is never out of date. It can be heeded by everyone. It’s needed as much as ever. (2018) *Of course, at the heart of the Christmas story lies the birth of a child, a seemingly small and insignificant step overlooked by many in Bethlehem. But in time, through his teaching and by his example, Jesus Christ would show the world how small steps, taken in faith and in hope, can overcome long-held differences and deep-seated divisions to bring harmony and understanding. (2019)The discovery of the risen Christ on the first Easter Day gave his followers new hope and fresh purpose, and we can all take heart from this. … May the living flame of the Easter hope be a steady guide as we face the future. (2020 Easter)Every year, we herald the coming of Christmas by turning on the lights. And light does more than create a festive mood. Light brings hope. For Christians, Jesus is “the light of the world” … The teachings of Christ have served as my inner light, as has the sense of purpose we can find in coming together to worship. … Let the light of Christmas, the spirit of selflessness, love, and above all hope, guide us in the times ahead. (2020 Christmas)Amazon link – The Queen’s Christmas and Easter Messages Gift Edition in Colour availableAmazon Reviews: ***** 1. ‘The Queen’s Christmas & Easter Messages’ is an appealing, highly unusual and very creative anthology. This book would be the perfect Christmas present.
***** 2. I haven’t seen anyone else draw the events of these years together in this way before. A fascinating read. 5 Stars.
***** 3. A new and innovative approach to the Christmas Story and its clear message of peace and goodwill to all. It is a rewarding experience to read it from cover to cover. ***** 4. The Queen Would Be Proud – 5 stars: What an amazing collection! This has so many wonderful Christmas messages and is a great addition to any family during the holiday season.
* 21st Century Revivals Chapter 7 inFlashpoints of Revival(2020 update)
Amazon & Kindle – Discovering ASLAN * This is a remarkable work and something quite unique that I’ve not come across before ~ Russ Burg * One of the most interesting devotionals ever! As a huge fan of all things Narnia, I am so grateful for this deeper aspect of the truths in C.S. Lewis’ stories. ~ Belinda S. * Best companion work I know of. … Either for a young person who is interested in exploring more, or as a resource on a pastor’s desk, it is an invaluable companion to the original series. ~ Amazon Customer * This is a great companion when you read, and is a stand-alone teaching on the depths of teaching that C.S. Lewis weaves into Aslan’s character. Definitely worth your time. ~ Steve Loopstra
The Lion of Judah – Blog six books combinedinto one book The Lion of Judah – PDF READ SAMPLE Amazon links * Looking for a great book to help you meditate on the wonder of Jesus in all his richness and grandeur and love? Geoff Waugh has helpfully and thoughtfully brought together wide-ranging biblical passages… Read this book prayerfully and you will not be the same! ~ John Olley. * This book is full of information, biblical information. I have learned so much from it … If you want to learn more from the Bible, this is the book to read. ~ A. Aldridge
Revival Fires – updated to 2020 – Blog Revival Fires – PDF READ SAMPLE Amazon edition * I know of no other book like this one that provides rapid-fire, easy-to-read, factual literary snapshots of virtually every well-known revival since Pentecost. As I read this book, I was thrilled to see how God has been so mightily at work in so many different times and places.I felt like I had grasped the overall picture of revival for the first time” ~ C Peter Wagner
Flashpointsof Revival – updated to 2020 – Blog Flashpoints of Revival – updated PDF READ SAMPLE * I know of no other book like this one that provides rapid-fire, easy-to-read, factual literary snapshots of virtually every well-known revival since Pentecost. As I read this book, I was thrilled to see how God has been so mightily at work in so many different times and places.I felt like I had grasped the overall picture of revival for the first time” ~ C Peter Wagner
* South Pacific Revivals gives some very illuminating information about numerous little-known revivals in the region… A surprising number of movements after 1950 are provided – including islands and places I had never before heard of! A number of remarkable personal testimonies are included, and photos are dotted throughout the book. Some useful appendices are included, such as ‘Characteristics of Revivals from Acts 2’ and ‘Examples of Repentance and Revival’. ~ Blue Yonder
DiscoveringAslan – Blog Discovering Aslan– PDF Devotional commentary about Jesus
The Lion of Judah from The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis * This is a remarkable work and something quite unique that I’ve not come across before ~ Russ Burg * One of the most interesting devotionals ever! As a huge fan of all things Narnia, I am so grateful for this deeper aspect of the truths in C.S. Lewis’ stories. ~ Belinda S. * Best companion work I know of. … Either for a young person who is interested in exploring more, or as a resource on a pastor’s desk, it is an invaluable companion to the original series. ~ Amazon Customer * This is a great companion when you read, and is a stand-alone teaching on the depths of teaching that C.S. Lewis weaves into Aslan’s character. Definitely worth your time. ~ Steve Loopstra
(7) The Lion of Judah – Blog The Lion of Judah– PDF 6 books in one volume READ SAMPLE * Looking for a great book to help you meditate on the wonder of Jesus in all his richness and grandeur and love? Geoff Waugh has helpfully and thoughtfully brought together wide-ranging biblical passages… Read this book prayerfully and you will not be the same! ~ John Olley.
* This book is full of information, biblical information. I have learned so much from it … If you want to learn more from the Bible, this is the book to read. ~ A. Aldridge
The 2021 Worldwide Good Friday Broadcast reached more than 200 million people. This two-hour event was broadcast in 186 countries, 24 territories, and translated into 39 languages. They heard from more than 1.3 million people who reached out since the Good Friday event, a sign Nick Hall said that we’re living through “the most exciting evangelistic opportunity of our lifetime.”
While many Americans are still living life in a not-so-normal way, evangelism efforts haven’t slowed down; they’re just happening in new ways. That is certainly the case with Pulse, which brands itself as a “millennial-led evangelism movement.” The ministry’s founder, evangelist Nick Hall, hosted Pulse’s second annual Worldwide Good Friday Broadcast, which reached more than 200 million people. This year’s two-hour event, live-streamed on CBN News’ YouTube channel, was broadcast from the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., where Hall said the Pulse vision is for the Good Friday service to become “an annual rallying cry for people to learn and talk about Jesus.” In total, the service was broadcast in 186 countries, 24 territories, and translated into 39 languages.
Pulse has heard from more than 1.3 million people who have reached out since the Good Friday event, a sign Hall said that we’re living through “the most exciting evangelistic opportunity of our lifetime.” “Truly, this is an Ephesians 3:20, ‘exceedingly, abundantly more,’ moment as we believe God is bringing in an unprecedented harvest during these trying days,” Hall said. “Our team is already working to build and translate our Move Closer app platform and digital response systems to keep up with what God is doing.” “Far from this being about Pulse,” he added, “this is about Jesus being lifted high through the global body of Christ, the church.” Move Closer is “a free app designed to help the next generation make disciples” and serves as a connection point for individual users, small groups, and churches, according to the Good Friday service.
Siberia: The light of Christ in the darkness of Winter
Elena is a field worker with Operation Mobilisation. In the year 2000 she moved to Arctic Russia to share the gospel with the Nenets people by translating the Bible in their language.
The Nenets are indigenous reindeer herders living in Northern Siberia, including the Yamal Peninsula. ‘Yamal’ means ‘The End of the Earth’. Out on the tundra, locals travel by snowmobile or reindeer sled. To reach particularly remote villages, it takes two to four hours by helicopter from Salekhard, the main city in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug (district). The Yamal Peninsula is home to more reindeer than people and winter lasts nine months. “It’s very cold; minus 40°C can be pleasant for a walk if there is no wind,” Elena jokes.
The Nenets minority group has a population of around 45,000 people. Half of them live in Russian-speaking villages, while the other half are nomadic reindeer herders who live on the tundra and speak the Nenets language. Translating the Bible has been a complicated process, but today four books of the New Testament are in print, while others are in progress. OM East also published and illustrated two Bible storybooks.
‘Then I understood the meaning of light’
“I moved to Arctic Russia during December, the darkest month,” Elena recalled. “One day when I was testing translations, the electricity suddenly cut out. We sat without light all day. It was dark! Then I understood the meaning of light.” For Elena this experience of the Arctic winter darkness is a picture of life without Jesus Christ. Her desire is for the Nenets to know Jesus as the light of the world.
“I want every Nenets child to have a Bible,” she says. Over the past years she has distributed thousands of Bible storybooks. Wherever she came, the children took more interest in these Bible storybooks than in the chocolate she brought.
Their nomadic lifestyle makes it difficult for the reindeer herders to carry a collection of Christian literature. “They don’t have extra things – just the minimum,” Elena explains. “They have one pot, one kettle, and they don’t need a freezer!” However, they do have mobile phones. Her solution is to develop publications into applications so they can be stored on mobile phones, also allowing individuals to listen to the text. OM East plans to help provide these resources digitally.
The Warmest Tent on Earth – Pitching in the Siberian Arctic Winter
About 16 years ago, Elena met Neko, a Nenets woman who invited her to visit two family members on the tundra. Elena tested a translation by reading some Scripture verses to their hosts. They reacted strongly by walking out, leaving her alone in the tent. Jesus’ teaching had touched a nerve. But Neko changed, and the next time they met she had decided to be baptised and insisted on giving Elena a tithe to print Mark’s Gospel.
Elena prays for a revival among the Nenets. Today there are around 200 known Nenets believers, representing a small percentage of the population. The indigenous people group believes in numerous gods. For many, the reindeer are their life, their source of food, clothes, transport and shelter. Elena longs for the Nenets to acknowledge their Creator as their true provider and life-giver.
Prayer focus – Give praise to God who is light. Give thanks that He speaks through His Word. Pray the Nenets will put their trust in Jesus and receive His salvation. Pray for wisdom as Elena helps make God’s truth available. Pray that believers grow strong in their faith.