The View from the Firehouse
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Tuesday, January 18, 2005Prayers for January 18, 2005
From The Voice of the Martyrs
The Voice of the Martyrs Visit: Persecution.com
AZERBAIJAN (Forum 18 News)
After Forum 18 News Service reported on the case, authorities have finally given a birth certificate to 18-month-old Luka Eyvazov. They had refused to register him because his parents gave him a Christian name. Unusually, the authorities also apologized to Luka's parents "for making us wait and suffer for so long." Without a birth certificate, Luka was not able to go to school, get treatment in a hospital, or travel abroad. Officials would not comment on whether they will register the birth of any other child with a Christian name.
Give thanks to God that Luka will now have the privileges of any other citizen of Azerbaijan! Praise God for changing the hearts of the officials who approved Luka's birth certificate! Pray for their salvation. Pray this will be the last time Christians will have to face refusals when they register a child with a Christian name.
Pray for EGYPT
EGYPT (Compass Direct)
This week the Egyptian Christian director of a home for troubled Coptic girls goes on trial in Cairo, on charges of holding a 16-year-old Coptic girl against her will and without her parents' permission, and also of trying to rape her. Shafik Saleh Shafik, 57, claims the false charges against him are an attempt to close down his recovery ministry among Coptic girls who are being enticed to leave their Christian families and convert to Islam. The accusation came from a Coptic girl whose parish priest had brought her to the safe house after she tried to run away with a Muslim boy. The privately funded facility is a shelter for Coptic Christian girls who are enticed by Muslim boys to leave home and become Muslims. When the girls arrive, they know almost nothing about their faith; but after six months or more of Christian training, the girls are visibly transformed. When they return to their families, they enroll in higher studies, get married or even prepare to work in the church.
Pray God will reveal the truth concerning the charges brought against Shafik. Pray the Lord will protect the girls in the safe house and allow that ministry to continue. Pray God will strengthen the girl who brought the false charges to stand up against the Muslims who are intimidating her.
Pray for PAKISTAN
PAKISTAN (VOM Canada)
According to a January 6th report from CLAAS (Center for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement), Anwar Masih was acquitted on December 17th. In November 2003, Masih, a Christian laborer, was arrested and charged with blasphemy after a heated discussion with an acquaintance, Ahmad Naseer, who had converted to Islam. When Ahmad told other neighbors about the discussion, they gathered a mob and attacked Masih's home, pelting it with stones. When police arrived, they arrested Masih, ignoring the attack on his home. The acquittal came after his lawyer argued that the evidence against him was strictly hearsay.
Give thanks and praise to God for this answer to prayer! Pray for the acquittal of other Christians facing charges under Pakistan's blasphemy laws. Pray Anwar Masih will be free to tell the Good News of salvation though the blood of Jesus.
Pray for NIGERIA
NIGERIA (Compass Direct)
More violence broke out in the Central Nigerian state of Plateau on December 29th, when Muslim militants attacked a village, killing Christian community leader Davou Bulle and critically injuring his wife and son. Assailants shot Bulle in the chest as he and his family were returning from their farm. The attack came just weeks after the federal government lifted a six-month state of emergency imposed on the state. Police arrested eight suspects in the attack, all Muslims. Three years of religious violence in Plateau have left more than 10,000 people dead, the majority of them Christians.
Pray Jesus will touch Bulle's wife and son, healing them quickly and completely and comforting them in their grief. Pray the Muslim attackers will be brought to trial and receive just punishment. Pray for all Muslims in Nigeria who do not know the true and loving God.
Pray for VIETNAM
VIETNAM (Compass Direct)
On February 2nd, the People's Supreme Court in Ho Chi Minh City will hear the appeals of the Rev. Nguyen Hong Quang and evangelist Pham Ngoc Thach of the Mennonite Church. Quang and Thach received three-year and two-year sentences, respectively-the longest sentences among six Mennonite workers sentenced on November 12th for charges of "resisting persons doing official duty." The stated objective of police raids on the Quang home and Mennonite church was to put an end to all "illegal religious activity." In another case an appeal was denied Miss Le Thi Hong Lien, a children's teacher, whose one-year sentence ends June 30th. The torture and abuse that Lien, 21, suffered while imprisoned has led to a complete mental and physical breakdown to the extent that she is reportedly unfit to stand trial.
Pray the Supreme Court will reverse the lower court decision regarding Quang and Thach. Pray publicity regarding the abuse of Lien, including possible use of mind-destroying drugs, will lead to her release. Pray the Holy Spirit will move in power to bring the prison authorities to repentance.
Sunday, January 16, 2005Emory's story
This is the story of how my daughter came into my life.
My wife Zena and I have identical twin sons who were 2 years old when we started trying for our third child. It had been about three years since we started consciously trying to get pregnant when my wife found out that she was 9 wks along in September of 2003. We were both ecstatic about the news.
We started coming up with names for the new baby, while wondering if it would be a boy or a girl. You know the normal things that couples do when they find out when they are expecting. Then one week from when Zena found out she was carrying she started having these horrible excruciating pains in here lower abdomen. Zena went into the emergency room to find out what was wrong but at that time the doctor could not find the problem until two days later when she found that my wife’s blood level dropped by half. It was determined then that my wife was experiencing a ruptured tubal pregnancy. When it was all said and done, Zena has lost 2 and ½ pints of blood and under went a blood transfusion and major surgery where one of her tubes was removed.
We both were crushed by the lost. Here we were preparing for having another little one around and now our plans were smashed. Yet at that point we did not know that all was not lost but instead God had another plan for us.
At about the same time that Zena was pregnant so was her cousin. This was something we did not find out until about 5 months after our loss of the baby. But I am getting ahead of myself.
Shortly after Zena recovered from the surgery and was released from the hospital, our Church, which has a real heart for adoption, held a special service focusing on adoption. Our Church has at least five families that have adopted children, both internationally and locally. So Zena and I decided to go and I will be honest I had never really thought much about adoption before attending the service. It was a nice service where we were able to hear the stories of all these people who had adopted children and also from those who are adopted children.
So back to the story about Zena’s cousin, Zena was talking to another cousin about their pregnant cousin and how she was looking for a family to adopt her unborn baby. Zena and I talked it over and agreed that we would be able to provide a loving home for this baby. This is how Emory Rose Disney became a part of our family. Here are a couple of neat facts about the whole situation, Emory was almost aborted because her birth father urged her birth mother to do it fortunately and thankfully, Zena’s cousin had a change of heart about the abortion at the clinic. Emory was also born within a month of when our baby would have been born. It makes you believe that maybe God had it planned out all along.
Here is what I have learned from this experience, first off the sad fact is that it is easier to abort a baby than it is to adopt one. The second is that if possible, I think an open adoption is the best way to go.
This whole process has got me thinking, that we as Christians are always condemning abortion and with good reason but how better would it be if we kicked it up a notch and started adopting these unwanted children. I heard on a radio program awhile back that if only 10% of the population would adopt a child there would be no need for orphanages. What a message that would send the world, think about it just 10%. I’ve often heard the story of the Romans taking unwanted children to the garbage dump, while the Christians would come and take these young children and raise them as their own. Well times have changed but we as Christians need to let the world know that we are here once again to take care of the unwanted children.
So for what it is worth, here is my challenge to all Christians, it is to pray about whether adoption is God’s will for you.
Saturday, January 15, 2005Conversation that took place at my house this evening
Let me set the scene for you. My wife and two boys are watching figure skating (I was working so there wasn’t something more manly on like, oh, I don’t know maybe say NASCAR). This is the conversation that took place:
Dale (My son): Mommy how come your not skinny like those skaters?
To me this is heart warming and reassuring. I am beginning to see that the hard work of raising kids to be Christians is starting to pay off and has not been wasted
Friday, January 14, 20059-11 sites
I was surfing around and found these 9-11 memorial sites and thought I'd share them with you:
Blood of Heroes
Let's not forget what happened that day.
Tuesday, January 11, 2005Prayers for January 11, 2005
From The Voice of the Martyrs
The Voice of the Martyrs Visit: Persecution.com
CHINA (Christian Monitor)
Underground Catholic Bishop Jia Zhi Guo was arrested again on January 5th. According to the Cardinal Kung Foundation, Bishop Jia was arrested by three members of the Religious Affairs Bureau from a church in Hebei province. The bishop, who was arrested four times in 2004, has spent almost 20 years in prison for his faith. He has almost 100 orphans under his care.
Pray God will protect the bishop and comfort him with His presence. Pray the Lord will also protect the orphans and provide for their needs. Pray the Name of Jesus will bring down the atheistic strongholds in China.
Pray for ERITREA
ERITREA (Christian Monitor and Compass Direct)
Police in the Eritrea's capital, Asmara, arrested 60 members of the Rema Charismatic Church as they were celebrating the New Year at the home of their church leaders. The pastor and his wife were detained, as well as 23 men and 35 women, at least five of whom were minors. Although the pastor's wife was released January 4th, the other women are being held in solitary confinement in a military camp where detainees are routinely held in metal shipping containers. The ban against religious worship, even in homes, by any group other than Muslims and the Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran churches, is strictly enforced. The government frequently flaunts its own laws that forbid detaining citizens without charges or trial for more than 30 days. Many Christians have been held much longer than that.
Pray God will give the 59 detainees strength to endure, reassuring them that He is always with them. Ask the Lord to show mercy to President Afworki, his government and the police of Eritrea, giving them a desire to repent and receive Jesus' love and forgiveness.
Pray for INDIA
INDIA (Christian Missions Charitable Trust)
Christian Missions Charitable Trust, a mission organization in southern India, reports that the RSS militant group is asking people not to give any help to Christians. There are six families camping in the church compound and the local people have told them they have to feed their own families and cannot receive any help.
Pray the believers will remain faithful. Pray the Lord will provide for their needs. Pray God will move in the hearts of the RSS leaders to give them compassion for all the suffering people.
Pray for KAZAKHSTAN
KAZAKHSTAN (Forum 18 News)
A northern Kazakh local authority has closed a Baptist-run orphanage, although local people say it was one of the best in town. In spite of this, officials claimed that conditions in the orphanage were "atrocious," also stating, falsely, that the Kazakh religion law bars orphanages from operating without state registration. The founder of the Baptist orphanage told Forum 18 that other local orphanages do not have state registration either, and he believes the real reason for the closure is the increasing severity of Kazakh state policy against religious believers. Only 10 children are left in the orphanage under the formal guardianship of the orphanage director that was settled before the closure. The others, who cried as they left, had to be sent to children's homes.
Pray the children who were sent away will know the comforting presence of Jesus with them. Pray God will reveal the truth concerning the conditions in the orphanage and the real reasons for its closure. Pray the Lord will move in power to convict the local authorities of their false accusations and bring them to Christ.
1 Indonesia Life Packs
Wednesday, January 05, 2005Prayers for January 4, 2005
Prayers for January 4, 2005
From The Voice of the Martyrs
The Voice of the Martyrs Visit: Persecution.com
Global Report for 2004 (Religion Today)
* IRAQ: Bombings, killings and harassment of Christians by Muslim fundamentalists resulted in the exodus of thousands of Christians to Syria and Jordan.
* NIGERIA: Muslim fundamentalists increased their attacks. At least 1,500 Christians were killed, and over 9,000 Christian children lost their parents.
* ERITREA: Hundreds of believers were arrested, subjected to interrogation and tortured. Over 200 Christians remain in prison.
* VIETNAM: A new restrictive religious law targeting Christians went into effect November 15th. Mennonite Pastor Nguyen Hong Quang and five other leaders were given prison sentences for meeting with other Christians. All were reportedly beaten while in police custody.
* CHINA: There has been a concerted effort to clamp down on unregistered house churches, especially in rural areas. Hundreds of church leaders have been arrested, including Pastor Zhang, one of China's best-known and most respected house-church leaders.
* TURKEY: Soner Onder was released from prison after standing firm for over 12 years after he was falsely charged.
* INDONESIA: Pastor Rinaldy Damanik was released from prison before his sentence expired.
* SAUDI ARABIA: Indian national Brian O'Connor was released from prison.
To read a complete article concerning the 2004 Global Report, click here.
Pray Jesus will comfort those suffering with His presence. Pray those who do not know the forgiving love of God through the blood of His Son will long for it. Give thanks to God for those who were released from prison after remaining faithful to Him.
Pray for CHINA
CHINA (The Australian)
On Christmas Eve, police in Beijing canceled a gathering of Christian activists. Hua Huiqi said he and others planned to have a party Friday night at a restaurant to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Two Christians were not allowed to leave their homes, and the restaurant owner was forced not to rent the place out, so the activity was canceled. Christmas is increasingly being celebrated as a major holiday in China as businesses try to capitalize on the commercial aspects of the holiday while many people also seek spiritual guidance to help them cope with a rapidly changing society. The government, however, maintains tight control over churches, banning proselytizing, despite recently passing a new regulation on religion protecting the right to worship.
Pray God will protect Christians who continue to meet secretly to worship and study His Word. Pray those seeking spiritual guidance will find the Savior. Pray government officials will abide by their regulations and allow everyone to worship freely.
Pray for TATARSTAN
TATARSTAN (Charisma News)
Rafis Nabiullin, the pastor of a small church in this mostly Muslim country, was recently threatened by a security official. He was told to halt the church's activity and leave the town of Aznakayevo, Forum 18 News Service reported. He was also threatened in the summer of 2003 for allegedly inviting children to services without the permission of their parents. He said Protestant churches often cannot rent public buildings or show evangelistic films.
Pray God will strengthen the faith of these believers. Pray this controversy will cause Muslims to inquire about Jesus. Pray the Lord will soften the hearts of the authorities to allow this little fellowship to continue meeting.
2004 Global Report