Historic Christian networking in Burundi
As Burundians await the results of this week’s controversial parliamentary election, a Faith2Share partner in the country tells us "every prayer you do for Burundi really makes an impact." There has, he writes, been a great unity of believers as 12 para-church organisations have come together to work on Christian Initiatives for Peace - a project seeking to empower the Church of Burundi to be salt and light in the world. Much lobbying and advocacy is going on through radio and TV; workshops with church leaders and meetings with young political leaders. "Please pray that the dialogue between the government, the opposition and civil society will restart and be fruitful - the ruling party has boycotted dialogue so far; for safety during the election period; for peace in the hearts of many Burundians who are very scared and for those who are starving within and without the country," he says. For another mission worker's view on the situation, visit Simon Guillebaud's blog, here.
Prayer for Darjeeling landslide disaster
Faith2Share has received an urgent prayer request from one of our partners in Mirik (pictured) as landslides triggered by heavy rains have killed at least 38 people in India's Darjeeling region. Rescuers have been digging through debris looking for survivors after landslides struck homes in Mirik, Kalimpong and Darjeeling towns in West Bengal state, according to officials. Our partner writes: "Due to heavy rainfall from past few days the entire Darjeeling is suffering from natural calamities. The roads are blocked, no lights and people are totally cut off from the transportation and communication.There was a major accident last night when the land slide swept away one entire village at Mirik.There is a huge casualties of life in this area." Many people are still being unearthed from the mud and local hospitals are full of those injured. "It's time to pray and extend our hand together to help the victims of natural disaster," he adds.
Leaders condemn triple terror attacks
World leaders of different faiths and nationalities have condemned the triple attacks in Tunisia, France and Kuwait on 26 June. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said (pictured left): “Let us together mourn for the victims, weep with the bereaved, support the injured and pray for them all to the God who in Jesus Christ went to the Cross and died rather than bearing a sword.” World Council of Churches acting general secretary Georges Lemopoulos said: “I grieve with those who have lost loved ones, and those who have been injured as a result of these appalling acts, which have marred the month of Ramadan, sacred to Muslims everywhere.” Dr Shuja Shafi, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: “We are shocked by the sickening violence taking place across the world. If the attackers claim to be doing this in Islam’s name, they are misguided.”
Christian responses to Ramadan
Now it's the middle of the month of Ramadan one billion Muslims across the world are presently fasting and seeking God. "This is therefore a time for us to pray that God will, indeed, reveal himself to them," according to NZCMS's communications manager Jon Slack. In his latest blog on the NZCMS (a Faith2Share member) website, Jon refers to an article by Jerry Rankin who used to serve in a large Muslim nation. Writing in Christianity Today, Jerry says: "During Ramadan, we found our Muslim friends were more open to talking about spiritual things. We would ask them about their practice, why they were fasting, and what they hoped to gain by it. It was surprising to them when we shared our own practice of fasting from time to time to seek God. We do not fast to get something from God but out of a desire for God himself that exceeds our desire for food. Wonderfully, God does meet our needs and answer our prayers, but we should not fast presuming by our piety we are obligating God to do something for us." (Photo credit: Ramadan.co.uk)
Three Filipino missionaries contest being asked to leave Pakistan
A petition was filed in the Islamabad High Court against the interior ministry’s order to three Filipino missionaries, including principals of Islamabad’s two convent schools, to leave Pakistan. According to media reports, the three missionaries were ordered on 16 June by the interior ministry to leave the country in 15 days. The three are Ms Miraflor Aclan Bahan, principal of Islamabad Convent Schools' F-8 branch; Delia Coyoca Rubio, principal of H-8 branch, and Elizabeth Umail Siguenza, a finance officer at H-8 branch. A letter from the ministry stated that since the three were issued visas for missionary work, they could not take up paid employment. A copy of the letter, seen by Dawn News, states that “as the current position of the following Philippines missionary workers involve employment and constitutes change in category of visa, hence it had been decided to cancel their visa”. However, in May 2014, the directorate general of immigration and passport of the interior ministry had extended the visas of these three missionaries for a period of two years.The petition is being looked at by the ministry's legal team.
Mission from Kenya, to Madagascar
One of the first Kenyan missionaries to work in Madagascar, Rev Victor Osoro, visited Faith2Share’s offices on Thursday (pictured left). Rev Victor, of Church Army Africa, works in the south of Madagascar in the Diocese of Toliara where he oversees nine churches among the Mahafaly people as well as serving as evangelism officer within the Diocese. He’s been serving in Madagascar for the last 7 years and says he has a heart for Malagasy people and reaching them with the Gospel. He grew up in Nairobi and calls Kibera his home. After training as an evangelist with Church Army Africa, Victor worked for several years in Kibera among the most vulnerable people in Kenya. Then he felt called to go to Madagascar - a country of 21 million people where only 21 per cent are Christian. We pray for Victor, his wife and baby daughter, as they lead one of the churches in Betioky, where they now live.
Save migrants' lives – treat them well
Saving the lives of those in jeopardy at sea or in transit, regardless of their origin and status, is a moral and legal duty for the international community, according to the World Council of Churches. It says it is deeply concerned for migrants in many regions, especially those “driven to undertake journeys of desperate risk and danger”. Meeting in Armenia from 7 to 12 June, the WCC executive committee noted there are fatal consequences from this kind of situation – including “the deaths of unprecedented numbers of migrants and refugees seeking to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe, and of Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants on the Andaman Sea.” WCC says it urges all states to provide for generous, safe and accessible procedures for the legal migration of people, calls on all governments to fulfil their moral and legal duty to save lives and to refrain from any actions that might further endanger them. More here.
Suffering continues after Nepal earthquake
Faith2Share's partners in Nepal continue to be deeply involved in helping the thousands of people left injured and homeless after two deadly earthquakes in April and May struck the country. In a recent update, Ram Prasad Shrestha, of National Mission Commission of Nepal (NMCN), writes: "There are still thousands of families sleeping on the street and open space due to fear and being homeless. Human traffickers are coming to the tents and enticing young girls with the attractive job in India...” He says nature is completely against them as heavy rains are hampering the relief work. “Due to the dead bodies of human and animal are started decaying under the rubbles. Lack of safe drinking water, people is getting sick and there is warning of a possible epidemic outbreak,” Ram Prasad adds. NMCN has so far distributed food for 900 families and 250 tents.
Never a better time for ‘Kairos’ in Africa
A training course called Kairos run by Global Outreach International Ministry has broken new ground after a successful version of it was organised at a diocesan level in collaboration with Church Army Africa and held in Embu Diocese, Kenya. Faith2Share’s Africa coordinator Timothy Mazimpaka, of Church Army Africa, (pictured left) took part in the training that brought together 35 delegates – drawn from clergy, lay readers, mission workers and evangelists. Timothy said; “My take on the course is that Kairos (from the Greek word meaning the appointed/opportune time) refreshes, sharpens and challenges the church to embrace Missions as the core business of the church; with a particular emphasis on global frontier missions. And the appointed time is NOW.”
Pray on World Refugee Sunday
Join Christians around the world on World Refugee Sunday this Sunday (14 June) and next (21 June) – and pray for refugees and internally displaced people. There are at least 51 million people in that category around the world - with many more unaccounted for. No-one in our world best represents the widow, orphan and alien that believers are called to look after than this group of people. That's the message from Refugee Highway Partnership, who has organised the event in cooperation with the World Evangelical Alliance. Click here for more information on how to join in - including many free resources for individuals and churches.