A Chronicle of Renewal and Revival

Archive for January, 2018

Egypt – opening to the Gospel amid persecution

Egypt: How an Islam-tired nation steadily opens up to the Gospel

More often than elsewhere in the Middle East young people in Egypt turn their backs on Islam. Despite the original conservative opposition, they become atheists or Christians.

This observation comes from Dutch Christian and Middle East correspondent Mounir Samuel in a long article (Google Translate version) in secular magazine ‘De Groene Amsterdammer’.

Egypt is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to decline or to convert as a Muslim. A Muslim who openly expresses his faith doubt or desire to convert to another religion can expect a lot of social and political repercussions. Dismissal, rejection by the family, loss of friendship, threats by fundamentalists, arrest, torture, imprisonment or murder by family members or other relatives are the rule rather than the exception.

But there is a growing undercurrent, Samuel observes: the country is Islam-tired. The dominant presence of Islam in every aspect of life, the hypocrisy of clergy and politicians and the rise of salafists and jihadists have made many young Muslims think. They are massively searching for the true essence of religion, which leads roughly to two outcomes: they become more religious than their parents have ever been, or the opposite.

‘The peaceful response of Christians to terror has evoked public sympathy and admiration.’

There is a rising interest in Christianity. The terror waves against Christians in the summer of 2013 and the spring of 2017 have made many young Egyptians think. Not only did the media pay ample attention to the precarious position of the Christian minority in Egypt for the first time; the peaceful response of the leaders also evoked great amazement and public sympathy. A video clip in which Christians sing a message of peace and love in a burnt cathedral went all over the world and forced the Egyptian government to set up a support fund for the reconstruction of churches. Speeches from Christian women who publicly forgave the murderers of their husbands and children, elicited admiration in many talk shows.

New bookstores are popping up in Cairo. There’s a growing interest in Bibles and Christian literature.

The number of Egyptian churches is growing steadily. “Western analysts who predicted the end of Christianity in the Middle East were wrong,” says Reverend Andrea Zaki Stephanous, president of the Protestant churches of Egypt and head of all evangelical churches in the Arab world. “The church in Egypt, whether it is Orthodox, Catholic or Protestant, is one of the strongest in the world. She has had oppression since her inception and has always survived. It’s a true ‘miracle on the Nile’.” With an estimated 15 million Christians, Egypt is the Arab country with the largest Christian minority.

‘After every bomb attack, the churches are fuller. It’s a true miracle on the Nile.’

“The different churches in Egypt have excellent mutual relationships,” Zaki says. “We try to speak to the government, the media and society with one voice. In 2013, when the Muslim Brotherhood came to power, we established an Egyptian Council of Churches, uniting the leaders of all churches in the country. We work together in the field of church building legislation, anti-discrimination, government consultation and crisis consultation. We have grown and opened many new churches in recent years. In the past month alone, I have confirmed at least ten new pastors in various local churches.”

The old Christian saying that ‘the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church’, certainly seems to be true for Egypt. “After every bomb attack, the churches are fuller. Have you seen the images from last year?” Zaki asks. “Twelve thousand people came together for a public worship service directly behind Tahrir Square. The streets were full. The same applies to the Easter service, directly after the attacks on Palm Sunday. People had to stand because there was no more space in the banks.” Christians have been revived in their faith, and many Muslims convert to Christianity.

Source: Mounir Samuel

ANALYSIS – An article that also gives background to the situation of Christians in Egypt, and the growing openness to the Gospel among Muslims, is Wafif Wahba’s ‘Witnessing to the Gospel through Forgiveness – A living example from the persecuted Christians in Egypt’, published by the Lausanne Movement.

Egypt: The power of prayer

When Greg Kernaghan, a writer for OM International, travelled through Egypt several years ago, he discovered how prayer is transforming lives and communities.

He met Fatima, a great-grandmother who can recall a life spent in tents. Illiterate, she has heard the dramatised Bible on tape and seen mighty answers to Christians’ prayers for her family in Jesus’ name. She confided that she knows several Muslim locals who also follow Jesus.

Then there was Khalid, a serious man who worked for the secret police. Yet others in his family had become friends with new Christian neighbours. When they experienced a problem, their religious leaders had no solutions or answers but, when the Christians prayed, they were solved instantly. To counteract the perceived shame to his family’s religion, Khalid attempted to drive the Christians from his neighbourhood through fear. However, this backfired and word of the Gospel and God’s interventions spread rapidly throughout the community.

Source: Greg Kernaghan

Copyright © 2018 Stichting Joel Ministries

The book of Acts today! Joel News International offers a weekly high-quality selection of the most inspiring stories on the advance of God’s Kingdom in six continents. This e-zine inspires thousands of active Christians in over 120 nations.

Sign up for yourself at www.joelnews.org

Contact:

Editorial office: info@joelnews.org 
Administrator: service@joelnews.org

Stichting Joel Ministries Leliendaal 12 Ede GLD, 6715 KG Netherlands, The Netherlands

 

Pinnacle Pocket Revival, North Queensland, Australia

Pinnacle Pocket Revival
*
Greetings again for the New Year!
.
I asked my colleague Melissa Haigh, Events Coordinator for the National Day of Prayer & Fasting, to share some stories about the power of prayer on video.
.
Melissa chose to share the amazing story of the Pinnacle Pocket Revival, which occurred primarily among the Aboriginal people and the Kanakas in a remote part of the Atherton Tablelands, North Queensland in the 1930’s. Interestingly the Pinnacle Pocket Revival had a direct connection to the 1904 Welsh Revival.

Pinnacle Pocket Revival - Melissa Haigh
Pinnacle Pocket Revival – Melissa Haigh

My wife and I have personally met and worked with many of those Christian leaders who were saved either during that revival period at Pinnacle Pocket, or were saved in the years that followed. Many of those Aboriginal Christian leaders saw thousands come to Christ, many churches were planted and many extraordinary miracles occurred under their ministry.

I can personally vouch for the effect of this amazing revival that occurred in Pinnacle Pocket because I worked closely with Indigenous Ps Peter Morgan who came to Christ directly as a result of the Pinnacle Pocket Revival. See John Blackett’s in-depth video to get the full story. Peter Morgan was the leader of the Jezariah Band and a father in the faith to both Melissa and myself.

Aboriginal Elder and Leader Ps Peter Morgan was deeply touched through the heritage of the Pinnacle Pocket Revival. Peter Morgan preached the gospel all over Australia and even in Parliament House. He saw many signs and wonders as he preached the good news of Christ’s love and prayed for people. In his ministry, mainly in remote aboriginal communities in northern Australia, he saw six people raised from the dead.

You should not be surprised to hear this because Jesus raised several people from the dead as did Paul the Apostle (Acts 20: 7-12). Jesus said in John 14:12, “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father”.

My wife and I and our musical family have ministered several times at Pinnacle Pocket with Aboriginal Ps Eddie Turpin who is the still the pastor at this amazing but small influential church. You can see a photo of Ps Eddie Turpin in the above video.
.
The purpose of telling the Pinnacle Pocket Revival story is not to live in the past, but to affirm the future and the truth of Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ the same Yesterday and forever”. The man of God prayed in Habakkuk 3:2, “I have heard all about you, LORD. I am filled with awe by your amazing works. In this time of our deep need, help us again as you did in years gone by. And in your anger, remember your mercy”.

Pinnacle Pocket mao
Pinnacale Pocket, near Malanda
.
So we invite you to contact your friends and encourage them to register to hold a National Day of Prayer and Fasting Combined Church Prayer Event between 10AM – 4PM on Saturday 10 February 2018 in their region.

Our overarching goal on this National Day of Prayer and Fasting is for Revival and Transformation for our nation and for the church. We desperately need to see our nation raised from the dead! Colossians 2:13 says, “You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins”. The reviving of our souls from death comes through Christs death on the cross.”
The theme this year is found in 1 Corinthians 2:2, ‘Jesus Christ and Him Crucified’. Our aim for this day is to glorify JESUS and promote evangelism.
We pray that our friends and family members will find Jesus and that there will be a breakthrough for the Gospel and that millions will find Christ.
Please find the executive one page NDOPF summary here and posters to promote the  National Day of Prayer and Fasting here:
The deadline to register for a combined church event in your area will close at midnight Monday 22 January 2018. You can participate in the following ways.
  • Help by coordinating a regional combined church celebration for the National Day of Prayer & Fasting in your area but be quick as registration deadline expires midnight Monday 22 January 2018.
We would greatly appreciate your help to distribute this invitation to be part of the National Day of Prayer & Fasting and the amazing story of the Pinnacle Pocket Revival on to other prayer leaders and churches in your region and beyond.
Warwick Marsh
National Day of Prayer & Fasting
PO Box 378
Unanderra NSW, 2526
Melissa’s mobile: 0439 352 465
Warwick’s mobile: 0418 225 212
 

 FREE SUBSCRIPTION: for new Blogs & free offers

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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 FROM BOOKS)

BACK TO MAIN PAGE

 

Uganda Mission Trip, by Joshua Foo

Thank you so much for your financial and/or prayer support for my trip to Uganda. My expectations for the trip were exceeded far and above, and God did more within and through me than I could ever imagine. Without your support in prayer and intercession I doubt that it would have had so large an impact on my life. If I needed further confirmation that God is calling me to missions in developing nations, I certainly received it through this trip.

Highlights

There are too many highlights to count, but I will share a few of my favourite stories.

The first was an open-air crusade in the slum of Namatala, where I was asked spontaneously to preach. I spoke on the story of Lazarus, and Jesus being the Resurrection and the Life. Afterwards, our team collectively prayed for at least 100+ people, with many receiving Christ, people being healed and delivered, and children being connected to the Bible Clubs that JENGA runs.

A second highlight was meeting my sponsor child and his family, and getting to know him over several days. It was a blessing to see the fruits of JENGA’s ministry in his life – he is an orphan living with extended family, became a Christian (after being raised as a Muslim) through a JENGA Bible Club at the local church, and has become a hard-working and thriving student.

My third highlight is not ministry related, but rather the extended periods of time I was able to spend with God. This was one of the things I was looking forward to the most: living for 6 weeks without first world distractions, and being able to prepare myself spiritually for a season of hectic ministry in 2018. I was able to spend heaps of time in the Word, took up the underrated discipline of memorising chapters of the Bible (Romans 8, John 15, Isaiah 53, Matthew 5), and managed to read 22 books. This was one of the most valuable parts of my experience.

Challenges

After having to leave Schoolies early to fly to Uganda, I did feel a bit of FOMO [fear of missing out] early in the trip. Towards the end, my mind switched to mission mode in Australia, as I started to envision all of God’s plans for ministry this year aligning with mine.

The major challenge for me was existing within a team environment with people at various stages of Christian maturity. God taught me the importance of speaking and acting in grace and love, particularly over less important theological issues.

Changes

This trip was so fruitful in terms of the transformation that God made within me. I now have a clearer picture of my calling (South-East Asia/Pacific Islands) and how I could use my gifts serving long-term.

I have a clearer understanding of God’s voice, and am more confident in speaking prophetically into people’s lives, Christians and non-Christians. This came unexpectedly, but was mainly due to the many opportunities to do so at JENGA, out on the streets, during ministry times, and within our team.

My relationship with Christ has become so much stronger, through my dependence on His grace, provision, and plan for my life. I feel more equipped in my understanding of theology, evangelism, and leadership.

Again, I cannot emphasise how grateful I am for your support. It seems like 6 weeks is hardly enough time to make any lasting impact in any place, but God has shown He can do anything. This letter even seems excessive for such a short trip. But it has had an eternal impact on me. I’m hoping and praying that God will continue to send me to the ends of the Earth.

Love, Josh

1 Josh

Joshua Foo on Facebook – more photos

 

Missionary died thinking he was a failure: now there are thriving churches

Missionary died thinking he was a failure; 84 years later thriving churches found hidden in the jungle

But in 2010, a team led by Eric Ramsey with Tom Cox World Ministries made a shocking and sensational discovery. They found a network of reproducing churches hidden like glittering diamonds in the dense jungle across the Kwilu River from Vanga, where Dr. Leslie was stationed.

Yansi-crossing-river
After crossing the Kwilu River

In 1912, medical missionary Dr. William Leslie went to live and minister to tribal people in a remote corner of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After 17 years he returned to the U.S. a discouraged man – believing he failed to make an impact for Christ. He died nine years after his return.

1 Yansi-loading-Cessna
Loading Cessna Caravan

Based on his previous research, Ramsey thought the Yansi in this remote area might have some exposure to the name of Jesus, but no real understanding of who He is. They were unprepared for their remarkable find.With the help of a Mission Aviation Fellowship pilot, Ramsey and his team flew east from Kinshasa to Vanga, a two and a half hour flight in a Cessna Caravan. After they reached Vanga, they hiked a mile to the Kwilu River and used dugout canoes to cross the half-mile-wide expanse. Then they hiked with backpacks another 10 miles into the jungle before they reached the first village of the Yansi people.

“When we got in there, we found a network of reproducing churches throughout the jungle,” Ramsey reports. “Each village had its own gospel choir, although they wouldn’t call it that,” he notes. “They wrote their own songs and would have sing-offs from village to village.”

They found a church in each of the eight villages they visited scattered across 34 miles.

1 Yansi-stone-church
Yansi “cathedral”

Ramsey and his team even found a 1000-seat stone “cathedral” in one of the villages. He learned that this church got so crowded in the 1980s – with many walking miles to attend — that a church planting movement began in the surrounding villages.

“There is no Bible in the Yansi language,” Ramsey says. “They used a French Bible, so those who taught had to be fluent in French.”

Apparently, Dr. Leslie crossed the Kwilu River once a year from Vanga and spent a month traveling through the jungle, carried by servants in a sedan chair.

1 Yansi-people
Yansi men and boys

 

“He would teach the Bible, taught the tribal children how to read and write, talked about the importance of education, and told Bible stories,” Ramsey notes. Dr. Leslie started the first organized educational system in these villages, Ramsey learned.

It took some digging for Ramsey to uncover Leslie’s identity. “The tribal people only knew him by one name and I didn’t know if that was a first or last name. They knew he was a Baptist and he was based in that one city and they knew the years.”

When Ramsey returned home he did some additional investigation and discovered Dr. Leslie was affiliated with the American Baptist Missionary Union. The American Baptist Missionary Union was founded in 1814 by Adoniram Judson, who led a pioneering work in Burma.

1 Leslie-William-H-MD
Dr William Leslie

Born in Ontario, Canada, William H. Leslie followed his intended profession as a pharmacist until his conversion in 1888. He moved to the Chicago area, where God began to grip his heart with the desire to become a medical missionary.
Dr. Leslie initiated his Congo service in 1893 at Banza-Manteke. Two years later he developed a serious illness. A young missionary named Clara Hill took care of him until he recovered. Their budding friendship ripened into love and a marriage proposal. They were wed in 1896.in 1888. He moved to the Chicago area, where God began to grip his heart with the desire to become a medical missionary.

In 1905 William and Clara pioneered a work in Cuilo, Anglola, where they overcame a hurricane that struck the night before one of their children was born, and more mundane obstacles like charging buffaloes and armies of ants.

Seven years later they cleared enough of the leopard-infested jungle along the Kwilu River at Vanga for a new

mission station perched on a small plateau. Some of the villages surrounding Vanga were still practicing cannibalism at that time.

They spent 17 years at Vanga, but their service ended on a rocky note. “Dr. Leslie had a relational falling out with some of the tribal leaders and was asked not to come back,” Ramsey says. “They reconciled later; there were apologies and forgiveness, but it didn’t end like he hoped.”

“His goal was to spread Christianity. He felt like he was there for 17 years and he never really made a big impact, but the legacy he left is huge.”

1 Leslie_Vanga_Settlement_Africa

Land for the Vanga mission was first cleared in 1912

Source:  God Reports

Be encouraged.  You never know the full fruit of your prayers and service.

Historic Christmas in Iraq

New Christians Excited about Historic Christmas in Iraq

December 21, 2017

One of the towns outside Mosul destroyed by Islamic State terrorists.
One of the towns outside Mosul destroyed by Islamic State terrorists.

Thanks to the Islamic State (ISIS), for the first time in the history of Qaraqosh, Iraq, an evangelical church this month will hold a Christmas service in the ancient city.

That Christmas service will be especially meaningful for a native of Qaraqosh named Stephen. When ISIS terrorists tore through Qaraqosh and other towns around Mosul in August 2014 – setting church buildings aflame, smashing icons and toppling crosses and bell towers, besides raping, torturing and killing residents – Stephen fled along with most of the city’s 50,000 residents.

There were hardly any Muslims in Qaraqosh, as nearly all its inhabitants identified with traditional churches, including Stephen. Many have not returned since Iraqi forces retook the city in October 2016 because they have nothing to return to. Houses, shops, office buildings and water and electric services were all destroyed.

In December 2016, a smattering of Catholics gathered at the charred and gutted Church of the Immaculate Reception, which ISIS militants had used for a firing range, for their first Christmas Mass in Qaraqosh since 2013. Their service symbolized the regaining of the remnants of their town and cathedral.

“I discipled him and prepared him for the ministry in this historic period in which the hand of God intervened for the beginning of an evangelical church in the city of Qaraqosh,” the ministry leader said.

Like many residents of Qaraqosh, Stephen, in his early 30s, had spent nearly three years in a camp for displaced people in Erbil, less than an hour east in northern Iraq’s autonomous region of Kurdistan. When he returned to Qaraqosh earlier this year, he met up with some other formerly displaced Iraqis.

Those displaced Iraqis had been reading the Bible for the first time at a tent camp in Erbil after receiving copies, along with relief aid, from fellow Iraqis working with an indigenous ministry.

Like Stephen, one of the displaced Iraqis, Nasim, had been born and raised in Qaraqosh as a Christian in name only. Nasim learned of eternal life made possible by faith in the sacrifice and resurrection Jesus Christ for the first time from the leader of the ministry working in Erbil. The leader studied and prayed with Nasim for two years.

“During those two years, I discipled him and prepared him for the ministry in this historic period in which the hand of God intervened for the beginning of an evangelical church in the city of Qaraqosh,” the ministry leader said.

Historic Christmas

Since returning to Qaraqosh, near the ruins of the ancient Assyrian cities of Nimrud (the biblical city of Calah, renamed in modern times after the biblical hunting hero Nimrod) and Nineveh, Nasim has been building a two-story house there.

He led a small band of new Christians in worship, the first evangelical church service in Qaraqosh, on Dec. 7. Two days later, Iraq announced it had retaken ISIS’s last chunk of territory.

“The ground floor of the house is incomplete, so only the walls were dedicated for the future church meetings,” Nasim said. “We had the first meeting of the church, and it was in that house.”

Displaced Iraqi women and children.
Displaced Iraqis who no longer have homes to return to still need relief aid.

At the service was a young woman named Lobna, who put her faith in Christ two years ago in the Erbil camp for displaced people. During the first hymn, with tears in her eyes, she gave thanks to God for answering her prayer of seeing an evangelical church in Qaraqosh.

Stephen visited the church service for the first time that day. After hearing the gospel for the first time, he put his faith in Christ as Lord and Savior.

“I have attended the church all my life, but I have never heard of following Christ in this way,” Stephen said. “I have never known that following Christ is a personal decision and not the spiritual inheritance of the fathers.”

He received a Bible for the first time in his life that day, and he is reading it daily. Stephen is excited to celebrate his first Christmas as a born-again believer – and the first since ISIS has been defeated in Iraq.

Ironically, there would have been no house church for him to set foot in had ISIS not terrorized Qaraqosh, as the resident who started the fellowship there, Nasim, would not have had to flee to a tent camp in Erbil, where he first heard the gospel.

Likewise, Nasim would not have encountered Christ as he did if Christian Aid Mission donors had not helped the ministry provide aid and Bibles in the tent camps. Please consider assisting indigenous missionaries to offer more aid and Bibles during the Christmas season, which in Iraq extends until Jan. 6.