AUSTRALIAN  PRAYER  NETWORK  NEWSLETTER – INTERNATIONAL NEWS 18th NOVEMBER 2013

  • PRAYER FOR THE PHILIPPINES
  • MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD BANNED IN EGYPT – IS IT GOOD NEWS FOR CHRISTIANS?
  • SYRIAN CHRISTIANS TURNING TO RUSSIA FOR PROTECTION
  • TEXAX GOVERNOR BELIEVES HE WILL SEE LEGAL ABORTION ABOLISHED IN HIS LIFETIME
  • FBI BREAKS UP TRAFFICKING RING IN TEXAS
  • EGYPTIANS TURNING TO CHRIST DESPITE VIOLENCE
  • GALLUP POLL SAYS MARRIAGE BOOSTS AMERICA’S ECONOMY
     

PRAYER FOR THE PHILIPPINES

We have received these prayer concerns for the Philippines from one of the Christian leaders there. Please join with us in praying for this catastrophic situation which has left hundreds of thousands of people in desperate situations in many parts of the Philippines.

“Thank you for your messages, prayers and concern for our current situation in the Philippines.  As you know, a super typhoon named Haiyan ravaged the provinces in the central part of our archipelago.  These cities are a plane ride away from Manila, so those of us who live in the capital city are safe. Before the typhoon struck, Christians were praying that the Lord would change the typhoon’s course.  As it was however, fierce winds and tsunami-like waves totally whipped these provinces, killing an estimated 10,000 helpless victims.  Warnings  and preparations for evacuation and relief work were no match for the winds and rain. Many cities now look like no man’s land. 

But our Lord is sovereign over all; He never fails us and we believe that as a nation, this is an opportunity to show our spirit of unity, deep faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and demonstrate our selfless giving.  We have not seen in our history such a generous outpouring of aid and supplies from within the country (through the private sector), and from countries around the world, (some of them erstwhile ‘enemies’ of the Philippines). Everywhere, we see people wanting to help out and give their support. Please pray with us through the weeks and months ahead of relief, rescue and rehabilitation work, on behalf of the millions of Filipinos who are helpless victims of this tragedy.  

These are our specific prayer requests:

1. Pray that our Lord will give an extraordinary amount of wisdom, steadfast spirit, keen insight, quickness to respond and political will among our national, regional and local government officials in mapping out and implementing a sustained plan of action for relief, rescue and rehabilitation.  Pray that the Lord will give them the mind of Joseph who knew how to direct the people when the seven years of famine struck Egypt. Such was his wisdom that no one lacked.  Pray that the millions of aid will be wisely distributed and allocated. 

2. Pray for our Compassion Philippines Rapid Response Team to be able to carry out relief assistance and to provide comfort, prayers and support to our afflicted children, their families and local churches.  Pray for the safety and health of the Rapid Response Team as they are in Cebu and Leyte for a few days to carry out the relief work.

3. Pray that Satan, the Enemy will be ‘padlocked’ so that unscrupulous people/thieves/robbers will not be able to carry out looting, robberies, or resort to killing; pray that no corrupt officials will be able to lay their hands on any of the relief money or goods for their own selfish motives.

4. Pray that the Lord will give our Filipino brothers and sisters an unwavering faith in the Lord that they will receive timely help in terms of food, water, medicines and a safe place to sleep for the weeks and months ahead.

5. Pray that the US military personnel sent to help will be able to quickly train Filipino local officials so that all (and not only a few) affected towns and provinces will receive timely relief help.  Pray that the aircraft sent to airlift goods and supplies will be safe and will help bring food especially to those towns where people have not eaten a single item of food since the Typhoon.

6. Pray for miracles of healing to those who are ill, and for millions  of Filipinos in central Philippines to come to know Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour through the mighty work of the Holy Spirit.  Pray that the body of Christ in the Philippines, represented by the thousands of local churches will be a source of sustained blessing to the typhoon victims, in word and deed.

7. Pray that as we see the rehab work successfully accomplished, we will be able to declare, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen”. (Ephesians 3: 20,21.)

Source: International Prayer Council

 

MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD BANNED IN EGYPT – IS IT GOOD NEWS FOR CHRISTIANS?

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is reeling from the stunning reversal of power it has experienced this (northern) summer.  An Egyptian court has issued a ruling that could provide a reprieve for one of those minorities: Christians. Todd Nettleton, spokesman with the Voice of the Martyrs USA, says, “They’ve banned the Muslim Brotherhood. They’ve said it’s not acceptable as a Non-Government Organization. Its activities are banned. Nettleton goes on to say, “As the court ruling becomes reality and the Muslim Brotherhood is closed down, that’s a hopeful sign for the Church and for Christians in Egypt.

“It remains to be seen how it is fully played out on the ground as the court ruling is put into practice.  The group is accused of exploiting religion for political gain and of “terrorism” in the days after President Morsi took office. The military ousted him following massive protests throughout the nation. The court’s latest action is part of a sweeping crackdown that has already put Muslim Brotherhood leadership and thousands of its supporters behind bars.  Predicting what comes next is hard. Every scenario plays out differently, depending on how unruly its participants become. In the meantime, Christians are deeply concerned as in none of the scenarios do they come out on top.”

“The Muslim Brotherhood has repeatedly attacked churches, Christian homes and businesses, encouraging the opinion that all Christians should either leave Egypt or convert to Islam,” Nettleton explains. Christians were blamed for Morsi’s downfall. An international human rights group documented dozens of burned churches and noted that most of the anti-Christian attacks were concentrated in southern Egypt. The potential of a volatile reaction is cause for dread among the battered remnant Church. Nettleton acknowledges,”This court ruling could  lead to churches and Christians being targeted as they say, ‘It’s your fault that the Muslim Brotherhood has been ruled illegal.'”

Egypt’s future is murky. No one knows how the future will pan out. “Voice of the Martyrs has very significant operations in Egypt to help the Church by providing Bibles, Scriptures and medical aid to those that need them” Nettleton says  What else can be done?  We will continue to raise awareness about the plight of Christ-followers living in Muslim nations like Egypt. Let them know they’re not forgotten, says Nettleton. “We need to pray that the Lord will protect them and look out for them and that they will respond in a Christ-like way to the persecution that they’re facing. That can be an incredible witness for Christ: the seeds for revival in a country.”

Source: Mission Network News

 

SYRIAN CHRISTIANS TURNING TO RUSSIA FOR PROTECTION

About 50,000 Syrian Christians want to apply for Russian citizenship. In a letter to the Russian Foreign Ministry, they said that they were not planning to flee Syria, but if threatened with physical elimination, they would pin their hopes on Russia as the guarantor of their survival. Analysts think that despite the difficulties their request may involve, it won’t go unheeded.  The letter reached Moscow through diplomatic channels. It says that the West-backed terrorists are prepared to go to any lengths to wipe Christians out of Syria. The authors of the letter have no intention of fleeing the “land on where Jesus walked” and promise to defend their “homeland, dignity and faith”.

They see Russia as the guarantor of “peace and stability”. They are not asking for money or humanitarian aid, but just hope to obtain Russian citizenship and be under the protection of Russia if they face the threat of being physically eliminated by terrorists. Stanislav Tarasov, Director of the Middle East-Caucasus research centre, told the Voice of Russia, “For them, it’s a laissez-passer. No one knows what will happen to Syria. Some forecasts suggest that, with or without Assad, Syria may become a confederation, or it may split into three or four parts and cease being single state. That’s why the Syrian Christians are trying to secure Russia’s support,” he said.

About 50,000 Syrians put their signatures to the letter including medics, engineers, lawyers and businessmen residing in the Kalamoun area near Damascus. The fact that so many people signed the letter throws weight behind it, but it does make things more complicated for Russia, said Sergei Sergeichev, a senior fellow at the Institute for Middle East Studies in Moscow.  “Not that it puts us in an awkward situation, but it sort of diverts the Russian Foreign Ministry’s efforts as the ministry is obliged to react to the letter”, says Sergeichev. “We cannot say ‘no’ to those people. But if we say ‘yes’ and then something happens, then we will have to evacuate huge numbers of Russian citizens.

And it doesn’t matter whether those are people solely with Russian citizenship or they have two passports – Russian and Syrian. If the president orders evacuation, they will have to be evacuated, which is a very complicated rescue operation.” Syria is not the only country where Christians do not feel safe. According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life research organization, Christians are persecuted and harassed in 130 countries. Today, Christians are the most persecuted religious community. Every hour, one Christian is killed in the world.  They are killed because of their faith.

Source: Breaking Christian News

 

TEXAX GOVERNOR BELIEVES HE WILL SEE LEGAL ABORTION ABOLISHED IN HIS LIFETIME

Texas Governor Rick Perry told a crowd of pro-life activists that he is “certain” we will one day see “a world without abortion.” His remarks came as he accepted a lifetime achievement award from Texas Right to Life. “Too many people in our country can’t remember a time when the state didn’t sanction abortion, when the state didn’t authorize the killing of a child,” he said at the group’s annual dinner in Houston. The retiring governor thanked his allies in the pro-life movement for helping him advance a “culture of life in Texas.” His legacy includes defunding abortion providers under state family planning programs, creating an entire alternate state women’s health program.

He mentioned passing parental notification and consent laws, as well as restrictions requiring abortion providers to meet the same safety standards as other surgical centres-regulations the abortion lobby said may force it to close abortion facilities. “If the multi-billion-dollar abortion industry feels that cuts too deeply into their profit margins, that’s between them and their accountants,” he said. However, the most celebrated achievement of the past year came when Perry signed a Bill which prohibits abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy on the grounds of foetal pain, as well as imposing a variety of other more stringent regulations on abortion and abortion clinics.

The debate saw pro-abortion protesters shout down a legislative session at the conclusion of a 13-hour filibuster. “We saw pro-abortion forces seeking to thwart our efforts to save lives,” said Perry. “Through legislative tricks and pandemonium, they attempted to silence our voices, just as they silence the voices of the unborn.”  In response, Governor Perry called a special legislative session, which became the focal point of both sides of the abortion debate. “With great power and with great dignity, pro-life individuals wearing blue filled the hallways of the Capitol” in Austin, Perry said. “When they spoke, they spoke civilly. When they gathered, they gathered peacefully.”

Source: Intercessors for America

 

FBI BREAKS UP TRAFFICKING RING IN TEXAS

The FBI in Houston has busted an alleged sex trafficking ring which was operating out of several Houston bars and brothels. Suspects charged”premium prices” for sex with underage girls.  The girls were kept locked in a second-story room above a bar. According to investigators, clients were told which girls “had been used more and which ones were ‘fresh meat.'”  In 18 months, their traffickers earned more than a million dollars from selling them. Some of the survivors were as young as 14 years old. When news broke, the Love146 Texas team was in a school classroom less than four miles away providing prevention education to youth.

After hearing what happened, students reflected with their prevention educator, Carolina Fuentes, about the raid operations that happened in their neighbourhood. There was a sense of urgency in the questions they asked. Prevention education was more relevant than ever in their lives.  Love 146 provides prevention education in high schools, group homes and residential care facilities in Connecticut, Maryland and Texas. It works directly with children in classrooms and has been eagerly received by teachers and students.  Typically, we work with a classroom of high school students four times over the course of one month.

These sessions equip students to understand the realities of human trafficking, better protect themselves and their peers from risk, and get help. At the same time they are being challenged to rebel against those who groom them to be buyers and sellers of sex and rethink a culture where the word “pimp” is a compliment.  Love146 conducts more intensive prevention education sessions in group foster homes for girls, meeting with a group of girls ten times. These sessions provide information about sexual health, make girls aware of how pimps recruit, expose the link between substance abuse and exploitation and help girls see a path out.

Source: Love146

 

EGYPTIANS TURNING TO CHRIST DESPITE VIOLENCE

Since the Muslim Brotherhood took power in Egypt, Christians have been the targets of violence. Since the Islamist government was sacked, the situation has been improving for Christians but not yet to the level hoped for. According to one Mission Network News worker, “David,” the last few months have been crazy.  Many churches have been attacked and more than 80 burned. Many Christians have been killed.”  But while the violence has been difficult, David says there is good news: “Churches are united together. And the spirit of prayer is happening in all the churches. People are praying all the time.”  The response to the violence against burned churches has been remarkable.

Christians posted signs on their burnt-out churches that read: “You burned our church, but we love you.” It’s a great message of forgiveness,” David says. “As a result many Muslims discover Christianity, and come to know Jesus. For security reasons they need to meet secretly but they worship the Lord together, and they’re growing.”  Muslims who come to Christ are uniquely qualified to share the Gospel. “The easiest way to reach Muslims is through converted Muslims,” says David. He is excited about how God is working. “It’s always like this,” he says. “When there is pressure over the churches, the Holy Spirit is working and many people are coming to know Jesus as Saviour.”

Source: Religion Today

 

GALLUP POLL SAYS MARRIAGE BOOSTS AMERICA’S ECONOMY

Gallup has released a survey showing that married couples spend more than any other relationship demographic in America, and that benefits the economy. For the poll, Gallup asked over 130,000 Americans to state how much they had spent the previous day, not including routine bills and major purchases. “Married Americans report a daily spending average of $102, followed by $98 among those who are living in domestic partnerships, $74 by divorced Americans, $67 by those who are single and never married, and $62 by those who are widowed,” reported Gallup.

The poll found that those Americans who are married “spend more than the average American in part because they have higher-than-average incomes.” “Based on the spending habits of married Americans compared with their single counterparts who have never married, an increase in marriage could be expected to give a boost to the economy, if those marriages come from the ranks of those who are single/never married,” Gallup’s analysis concluded. The implications of the survey are significant in a country whose marriage rate is decreasing.  Pro-family activists of course argue that the benefit to the health of the nation goes much deeper than mere spending.

Source: Intercessors for America