Lebanon’s Openess to Syrian Refugees

360px-2013-03-02_Gravestone_without_name_fallen_teddy_bear_symbolising_child_and_children_killed_by_war,_stone_with_painted_syrian_flagListen to what Nawaf Salam, Lebanon’s ambassador to the U.N., says about the situation in Syria. “Pressures are mounting, and the needs of the Syrian refugees may surpass Lebanon’s capabilities,” said the ambassador, “(Lebanon) will not close its border in front of refugees fleeing violence and destruction, and we will not stop delivering aid.” This warmed my heart as I read it. Bravo Lebanon!

Many other countries are closing their borders to Syrian Refugees. They are closing their borders for great reasons. They are not willing to risk the stability of their countries because of Syria’s problems. They aren’t being jerks; they have already accepted thousands of refugees but there is a limit to their welcoming.

According to an article by The Japan Times, Lebanon has 4 million people. By the end of this year there might be 1 million Syrian refugees. Talk about selfless love.

So often, as believers, we are willing to accept some refugees, we are willing to sacrifice a fair amount but eventually we close our borders. Jesus sacrificed everything. Everything. And He knew it was coming. Two thumbs up to Lebanon. Let’s be Lebanons in our lives. Let’s give until we surpasses our capabilities.

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To Loan or Not to Loan? Indonesian Peoples

Matthew quickly put down the phone with a look of concern on his face. He just had a conversation with his Indonesian ‘brother’, Dwyiki, in which the conversation suddenly turned to matters about money. Dwyiki had asked Matthew if it was possible to borrow money as an advance to his paycheck coming at the end of the month. Dwyiki needed to pay off a small phone bill and buy parts for the family car.

Matthew, a cross-cultural worker, was relatively new to Indonesia. He had only arrived six months beforehand, but was already conversant in the national language and had established a good network of friends. However, Dwyiki was more than a friend. Matthew’s first two months in Indonesia were spent in a home-stay with Dwyiki’s family, and they became as family to Matthew. They taught Matthew how to live and maneuver in his new surroundings. They called him their adopted son, and had made Matthew like part of the family. Matthew was greatly appreciative of this family, and felt strongly connected with them.

Dwyiki was close in age to Matthew, and they both enjoyed many of the same activities together. During Matthew’s home-stay Dwyiki would borrow the family truck and take Matthew on adventures up into the mountains. They both felt like brothers. Later, Matthew had moved into a city about one hour away to continue formal language study, but promised to stay connected with his family out in the village. Indeed, this family was a priority to Matthew, and he was praying for opportunities to go deeper in relationship with them.

Matthew felt mixed emotions of fear and endearment when Dwyiki asked to borrow money from him. Fear because he knew that this money could jeopardize their friendship if Dwyiki was unable to pay him back. Endearment because Matthew knew that this Indonesian tribe functioned as a highly collective society, and borrowing among friends and family was an accepted practice. The fact that Dwyiki trusted Matthew enough to ask this seemed to signify that there was a kindred bond between them, which was important to Matthew.

Matthew chose to consult with his two mentors, both having over a decade of experience in cross-cultural work with this tribe. One mentor strongly warned against loaning money noting that every time he had loaned it had soured his friendships. This tribe is known to have a problem with money management, and frequently entrap themselves in webs of debt. Another mentor acknowledged the risks, but looked at the situation as an opportunity to enter more deeply into the life of this family. “To refuse,” he said, “would be the same as saying you do not value the family or friendship.”

Matthew felt torn and unable to protect himself from the risks now placed upon him. He thought about the Sermon on the Mount and giving to those who ask. He also thought about the pain it would create if Dwyiki could not pay him back. The doorbell rang; it was Dwyiki wanting to pick up the money, what should Matthew do?

The Kazak of Kazakhstan

Kazak People Group    We will be changing the people groups page slightly. Instead of just listing facts about the people group  we will get a hold of stories from our friends of how God worked in that ethne. So we start with the Kazak people of Kazakhstan.

     My friend Jay (not his real name nor his picture) was exposed to the Gospel close to 30-40 times during the years of 2003-2005. He was open to the message, but refused to become a follower of Jesus for the first couple of years. Then one evening as we were sitting in an apartment after a Bible study, Jay asked me about the verse Matthew 6:33. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” Jay wanted to know what the “righteousness of God” was. We had explaned the Gospel to him several times, but I went ahead and explained it one more time about how we are made right with God not by our good works, but only by faith alone, grace alone and Christ alone. And Jay paused for a second and said that he wanted that righteousness and believed this message to be Truth! So, Jay became a follower of Jesus, and within the next week he began sharing the Gospel with other people in this city.. His first attempt to share the Gospel was with a taxi driver. The taxi driver pulled over to the side of the road and told Jay that he was a traitor to his nationality and his religion of Islam. The driver said that all such traitors should be done away with and removed from the country. There is a cost to following Jesus—and Jay knew that—but so far he is continuing to count the cost and consider it very much worth it. The past few years have had ups and downs in Jay’s walk with the Lord. He is finding that is truly is a “fight of faith”. Jay and I are hanging out tomorrow to just encourage one another in the faith and talk about the the importance of walking in the Spirit and daily fighting sin as we pursue personal holiness by the grace and mercy of God. Please pray for Jay and all the other believers of this country who are seeking to know Jesus and make Him known.

Are you informed?

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Right now in Syria, refugees are fleeing from civil war and an unstable government. They are flooding into surrounding countries and over 700,000 people have already fled the country. Over the past few weeks, as many as 5,000 people have fled every day. These numbers are overwhelming for neighboring countries. Making it difficult to adequately provide for and support the refugees. The Economist magazine writes how in “Lebanon there are no official camps, so people lodge with family’s. Conditions in camps in Jordan and Iraq are grim. Earlier this year rainstorms and even snowy blizzards turned some camps into quagmires. Children died of cold. Some tents went up in flames as refugees stoked fires inside to keep warm.” This is a current issue in Syria and the Middle East right now.

God has a heart for all people and desires to reflect His heart through those who follow Him. Phil 3:4-5 “Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.” Jesus said, “Whoever would be first among you must be slave to all, I did not come to be served but to serve and give my life as a ransom for many.” Just as God thought of us when sending His only son to die on our behalf, satisfying the punishment for our sin, so that we might be reconciled to back to God. So God also sends us to sacrifice ourselves for the sake of Christ. Get informed and start praying for the nations?

Pray for the restoration of the Syrian government and people. Ask God to reveal Himself to the refugees through comfort and peace. Pray that God would mightily provide and do miracles amongst the refugees. Pray for Christian humanitarian workers to boldly and courageously go into dire situations to give aid to those in need. Pray that the hope of Christ would be made known. Ask God to give believers in Syria and the surrounding countries boldness to share the hope of Christ with their families and friends.

Khalka of Mongola

KhalkaMongols

The Khalka Mongols are the largest people group with a population of 1,898,000. The Khalka believe they are the direct ancestors of Genghis Khan. Many of the Khalka are nomads living in herding camps. Some are settled farmers working on collective farms. As well, there are Khalka living who live in the city working in industry, mining, or transportation. Khalka Mongols love music, folk dances, chess, and sporting events. They are traditionally Shamanistic (belief in unseen world with gods, demons, and spirits). In the 1950’s most Mongols were introduced to Tibetan Buddhism and most converted at that time. By the 1900’s half of the men in Mongolia were serving as priests in Buddhist monasteries. As well in the 1930’s the Marxis ‘anti-religious’ movement caused nearly three quarters of the Khalka to become atheists or non-religious. Today many Mongols have turned back to the beliefs of their forefathers. Shamans are called upon to heal the sick or cast out evil spirits. A combination of Buddhism and Shamanism has survived.

Distance from the sea and poor roads have contributed to a poor economy. One third of the country lives in extreme poverty. Rape, murder, alcoholism, and violence are rampant in Mongolia’s urban areas today.

Prayer points:

  • Pray for unity among the believers in Mongolia.
  • Ask the Father to raise up and transform men to become strong leaders in Christ.
  • Beg God to open the hearts to the gospel of those in leadership positions in Mongolia.
  • Ask the Lord to reveal the emptiness of shamanism and Buddhism.
  • Pray that doors would be opened to Christian missionaries.
  • Pray for revelations through dreams and visions.
  • Ask God to wipe out alcoholism, violence, rape, murder, and divorce in the country.
  • Ask the Lord to raise up intercessors to stand in the gap for the Khalka Mongols.

Khumer of Central Cambodia

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The Khumar of Central Cambodia make up 13,000,000 of the population of Cambodia. In Cambodia there are around 11,000 villages that have not been reached. Cambodia has gone through much turmoil over the years. A civil war in the late 1970’s, they were bombed by the U.S in 1969, and in the early 70’s there were invasions from the Vietnamese. The civil war in the 70’s may have had the biggest effect on the people and still does to this day. Over 3 million died and there are still burred land mines throughout the country. The Central Khumer are mainly Buddhist with traces of some ethinic religions such as anscester worship and spirit worship. The Central Khumer remain a war-torn people in need of true inner peace. Prayer is the key to reaching them with the gospel.

Prayer Points
* Ask the Lord to call people who are willing to go to Cambodia and share Christ with the Central Khmer.
* Pray that God will grant wisdom and favor to any missions agencies that are currently working among the Central Khmer.
* Ask the Lord to begin revealing Himself to these precious people through dreams and visions.
* Pray that God will encourage and protect the Central Khmer who have accepted Jesus.
* Ask God to use these new converts to reach out and share the love of Christ with their own people.
* Ask God to call forth prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through intercession.
* Pray that strong local churches will be planted among the Central Khmer.

Turks

Turks

There are Turkare predominantly nominally Sunni Muslim, believing in one god (Allah), and an eternal heaven and hell. However, they also have many ethnic beliefs and superstitions as well. Turkey is often considered half Europe and half Asia, but we still see very little Turkish believers. Here are some prayer points for these people who need to be reached:

* Ask the Lord to call people willing to go to the Turks of Aruba and share Christ with them.
* Ask God to give the Turk believers boldness to share the Gospel with their own people.
* Ask the Lord to save key leaders among the Turks who will boldly declare the Gospel.
* Pray that God will begin revealing Himself to the Turks through dreams and visions.
* Ask the Lord to raise up a strong local church among the Turks of Aruba.
* Pray that many Turks living abroad will be reached with the Gospel and will take it back to Turkey.

Dungan Of Central Asia

DunganThere are 106,000 people in the Dungan people group. We will focus on the 1,900 living in Uzbekistan. The Dungan in Uzbekistan are least reached and unengaged. 100% are Muslim. They come from China and are a mixture of Russian,Chinese, and Muslim cultures. They are a proud, hospitable, nationalistic, and conservative people. Although they have completely cut their ties from China they still consider themselves Hui-Zui meaning Chinese Muslim. The Hui-Zui are one of the largest unreached minority groups numbering over 10 million.

The Dungan are farmers; growing rice and vegetables. As well, many raise dairy cattle. They live in collective community farms called Kolkhoz. These include Dungan chairmen, doctors, and teachers. These communities are basically farm towns. Very few Dungan live in the city.

Prayer:

  • Pray that God gives creative strategies to win the younger Dungan generation who are open to change.
  • Ask the Lord to send laborers to the Dungan
  • Pray for Churches to be planted and scripture distributed.
  • Ask for God to save key leaders that will boldly share the gospel.
  • Pray for strong house churches to be raised up among the Dungan.
  • Pray for the completion of Bible translation in this peoples primary language.

Somalia

Somalia is a country which sits right at the horn of Africa. There are 21 people groups within the country and 17 remain unreached. Out of a population a little over 9,300,000 only .33 percent are Christian. 99.6 percent of the country is unreached. The main religion in Somalia is Islam. The president in this Country is President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed. There is extreme persecution in Somalia and Missionaries were expelled in the 1970′s. Christians are heavily persecuted or martyred for their faith. Because of that Christianity is slowly dissipating from this country.

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Prayer Points:
•Pray for God to defeat the plans of Al Qaeda, and other terrorist groups operating in Somalia. Pray that the demonic forces that are using these terrorist groups like puppets will be toppled, and that the people will be set free to worship the Lord. Pray that their leaders turn to Christianity. (1 Timothy 2:1–4)
•Pray for Somalia’s government to stabilize and become vigilant against combating terrorism.
•Pray that the influence of violent groups operating in neighboring countries will not spread to Somalia. (2 Timothy 2:24–26)
•Thank God that Somaliland in the northwest has been able to stabilize the region and restore order.
•As Christians immigrate out, Christianity is projected to slide from 2% of the population in mid-1995 to 0.7% of the population in 2025. Pray that Christianity will not be snuffed out of Somalia.
•Somalis are desperate for peace. Pray that peace would come and that God would be glorified in it.
•Although the majority of the population are Muslim, the greed and fighting between Islamic groups has contributed to the civil war. Some people are turning to more radical Islamic groups but many are totally disillusioned with Islam. Pray that they would find Jesus and find a real, dynamic and consistent faith.
•Pray for the protection and safety of those delivering vital food aid and medical care.
•The Somali church has been driven totally underground; some leaders have been named on a hit list for execution. Pray that God would protect them and that they would remain strong in their faith.

Pashtun

The Pashtun, or Pushtun, are a race of warriors who live primarily in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Pashtun are said to be elegant, colorfully attired, hospitable, considerate, fierce in hatred, and kind in friendship. Though very dedicated to their religious beliefs, they are also fond of pleasure. The majority of Pashtun are Sunni Muslims. Islam came to them as a great liberating and unifying force, freeing them from the cult of Brahminism and the harshness of Buddhism. For this reason, their underlying faith and steadfast devotion to Islam are very strong.

There are almost 50,000,000 million Pashtun people alive and .00% are going to heaven. They are 100% Islamic. If this doesn’t break your heart, pray that the Father will break it for these people.

 

Please make time to pray for these people:

  • For laborers will go and be a light in their world
  • Encouragement for Pashtun believers
  • That they would receive the gospel with joy
  • For the Father to reveal Himself through dreams and visions
  • Anything else God puts on your heart!
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