MOTHER’S DAY IS QUICKLY APPROACHING. What better gift can you give than to sponsor a child for the mom(s) in your life?
Please help us meet our goal of 250 children sponsored for Mother’s Day!
What does this mother want most for Mother’s Day?
Hope for Her Child
In South Asia, Dalits are considered the lowest class of people. They face intense persecution and hatred. Dalit mothers watch as their children:
- Become beggars or daily wage laborers.
- Grow up without any hope for an education.
- Receive beatings from their employers.
- Live without adequate food or proper clothing.
A Mother’s Desperate Longing
Gayana was only 20 when her husband died, leaving her and their young son, Vikranta, alone in the world. Gayana despaired as she wondered how she would provide for Vikranta. She was no longer welcome at her in-laws home, and her elderly parents were unable to support her. Having nowhere else to go, Gayana moved in with one of her sisters. She was so distressed over her situation that she stopped eating and sank into a deep depression. Then a neighbor told her about a nearby Gospel for Asia Bridge of Hope center, a place that offered help to poor children. Gayana visited the center and shared her desperate story with the director. To Gayana’s great joy and relief, Vikranta was enrolled in Bridge of Hope immediately.
Bridge of Hope Has the Answer
Bridge of Hope provided Vikranta with everything he needed to attend and thrive at school. Although Gayana found work as a daily wage laborer, she earns only about a dollar a day. Without Bridge of Hope, she would never have been able to provide her son with the education he’s receiving. Gayana is happy and grateful that her son has been given a chance — a chance that many Asian mothers only dream of their children having.
Thousands Ready to Receive Joy
20,000 children are still waiting to enroll in a Bridge of Hope center. All they’re waiting for is a sponsor. All they are waiting for is you. For just $35 a month, you can provide a mother with the hope she’s longing for. Her child will receive:
- A daily nutritious meal.
- The message of Jesus’ love.
- A quality education.
- A better life than she had.
To find out how you can sponsor a child today, visit www.gfa.org/bridge.
This Mother’s Day, sponsor a child in your mother’s honor, and bring hope to mothers who have no hope. Visit www.gfa.org/bridge to find out more.
RAJI OPENED HER EYES WITH DISAPPOINTMENT as the dark reality set in: Somehow she had survived her latest suicide attempt — and her family would never forgive her for it.
She had made many attempts on her life before. Like a cat with nine lives, though, Raji always managed to raise her mutilated body from the grave. With this latest failure, her family would only despise her more, but what could she do when even death wouldn’t take her?
Girl Grows Up in Poverty
Danger had followed Raji since childhood. Her father, Ednit, had a nice job in the military, but when he came home every night, he and Raji’s mother would drink and fight.
Listening to the drunken arguments, Raji and her five siblings could be happy only for the fact that when Ednit screamed at their mother, he wasn’t screaming at them. The alcohol was costly, however, and soon the family fell into desperate poverty.
After the sixth grade, Raji dropped out of school to support her family and found work at construction sites. After each day of toil, she came home to her father’s abuse, and as the years went by she could only dream of escape.
Marriage was the most likely route: Her new husband might be kind and her in-laws loving.
But when the time came to arrange a marriage, Raji’s father had none of these things in mind. Soon she was forced to marry a man who was anything but her savior.
Marriage Leads to Greater Oppression
It was as if Ednit had sought for his daughter the worst version of himself.
Like Ednit, Aadesh drank often and his physical abuse was even more brutal. He tormented Raji for no apparent reason, and his family did nothing to stop him because they hated Raji just as much. It soon became clear that the new bride had stepped from misery into torture.
Then one day, she made a decision. Without thinking twice, she doused herself in gasoline and set herself on fire.
Like many desperate young women who light themselves on fire, Raji hoped her death would be instantaneous, but she quickly discovered the horrible truth.
As the flames ripped across her body, Raji couldn’t help screaming in pain. Her terrified neighbors ran to her house and put out the fire, but devastating damage was already done. The woman writhing on the ground was disfigured beyond recognition. And her in-laws’ hatred for her only intensified.
Hated by Family after Failed Suicide Attempt
After the fire, Raji’s life was even worse than the one she’d tried to escape.
Throughout her painful recovery, her family demonstrated no sympathy or remorse at the way they had treated her.
They felt justified in their animosity.
Isolated from any form of love, Raji grew more desperate. Between her family’s scorn and her self-doubt, she heard a rough voice whisper in her ear, “Commit suicide and finish yourself.”
She tried to obey the voice once, twice — as many times as she could. Whether by the neighbors or bad planning, she was always thwarted as completely as on the day of the fire.
With each failed attempt on her life, her situation became more hopeless, as if she’d been condemned to live forever. And as long as she lived, Raji was certain, misery would follow.
But one day, one of Raji’s neighbors showed her a strategy she hadn’t tried before.
Finally, a Friend
The neighbor told Raji about Jesus, who loved everyone so greatly that He died for their sins. Raji could see for herself in a film the local pastor was going to show in the village.
The pastor explained even more that night about Jesus, and as Raji watched the movie, she could see the goodness of this Man.
As she watched the crucifixion, she realized how deeply Jesus loved her. And after a lifetime of pain, she was eager to embrace Him.
Soon after Raji chose to follow Christ, she began attending prayer meetings and Bible studies. To her surprise, Aadesh not only encouraged her — he went with her, and listened with an open heart!
With a new joy that seemed incomprehensible, Raji began sharing the Good News with her sister-in-law. Within a week, she, too, decided to follow Jesus. Suddenly, Raji’s worst enemies had become dear friends.
Now the trio regularly attends church together, Raji’s home is filled with harmony, and the life she used to dread has become a sweet gift.
“My burden is rolled away,” she says, “and I feel peace in my heart.”
You can bring peace to lives of turmoil by showing them Jesus’ love on film.
DO YOU KNOW ANYONE WITH HANSEN’S DISEASE? I don’t either.
Hansen’s disease — also known as leprosy — is one of the world’s oldest maladies. Leprosy is a bacterial disease that attacks the nervous system, particularly the nerves of the hands, feet and face. As the body absorbs cartilage into its system, victims of the disease slowly lose their fingers, toes and even limbs. While leprosy has been eradicated in the west, it is still active and greatly feared across Asia because of the disfigurement it can cause, the social stigma it carries, and because it can be transmitted through close contact with a patient.
There are tens of thousands of people suffering from leprosy in more than 1,000 leper colonies throughout South Asia. The social stigma is devastating, perhaps even worse than the disease itself. However, leprosy can be totally cured without permanent damage if medical help is sought immediately. Unfortunately, in remote places and among the poor, diagnosis and treatment often come too late. And sadly, only those among the cured who have no visible deformity will be able to integrate back into society. All others will have to live in leper colonies — alone or with their families — for the rest of their lives.
In the midst of this hopelessness, the light of Jesus Christ is breaking through, bringing hope to those who have been brushed aside by society. Please pray for Gospel for Asia’s leprosy ministry, that many suffering from this terrible disease would embrace the Savior, who is reaching out to them in love. GFA-supported missionaries in the leper colonies show Christ’s love by cleaning wounds and changing bandages, by giving medical care, by making special shoes to protect the people’s feet, by helping with household chores, by providing food, but most importantly by telling the people of and showing Christ’s love for them.
Recently a group of students traveled to Asia and visited a leprosy colony. Click the photo below to watch and share Ashley’s powerful story (but HD seems to short it out).
Here are some web resources:
Thank you for sharing the plight of these unseen, yet precious people!
“Long, blue, spiky-edged shadows crept out across the snow-fields, while a rosy glow, at first scarce discernible, gradually deepened and suffused every mountain-top, flushing the glaciers and the harsh crags above them. This was the alpenglow, to me the most impressive of all the terrestrial manifestations of God. At the touch of this divine light, the mountains seemed to kindle to a rapt, religious consciousness, and stood hushed like devout worshippers waiting to be blessed.”
– John Muir
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,900 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 7 years to get that many views.
THIS CHRISTMAS SEASON, let’s concentrate on ways to foster Peace and Harmony in the Spirit of Jesus. Musalaha is an incredible organization that works every day to bring Israelis and Palestinians together – physically, in the desert – where they discover that there is one God over all, and He created them all. Watch this video, then go to: http://www.musalaha.org/ to learn how you can help. Also, Bethlehem Bible College (where Dr. Munayer is on staff) is a light in Bethlehem for all people – you can learn more about their life-changing ministry at: http://www.bethlehembiblecollege.edu/
May God bless you and your family, and bring peace into your lives where you need it most.
THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER is this Sunday, Nov. 4 (or whatever day works for your church, fellowship or group), and believers around the world will be praying for our brothers and sisters in restricted countries who are in chains. Please join millions of “free” Christians as we pray together for millions of our persecuted, suffering and shackled brethren who depend on us to stand with them and intercede for them.
Gospel for Asia’s ministries and missionaries encompass much of the world where persecution takes place, and many GFA ministers suffer daily for their faith and their witness. Watch the video below to get a better idea of the scope and reality of the suffering that so many endure today:
Every day we hear reports of brothers and sisters in Christ being persecuted for their faith. They are stripped of their rights. Their neighbors threaten them with violence and death. Their homes are razed. Their families beat them. And their governments want to slaughter them.
They are our brothers and sisters around the world, boldly believing and proclaiming Christ in places where the penalty for doing so is often death.
Jesus promised His followers that the world would hate and persecute them. Many Gospel for Asia-supported missionaries have come to know the harsh reality of Jesus’ words.
Beatings, death threats and imprisonment are a few of the things they encounter on a daily basis. But despite great hostility, they continue to press onward as they proclaim the Good News of Christ to the unsaved souls of Asia. They are not willing for any man to perish without hearing the name of Jesus, even if that means that they might physically perish.
Don’t Let Them Stand Alone
On November 4, churches across the nation are joining in their suffering by lifting up the persecuted in unified prayer. Share this video with your friends, family and congregation and let them see how their prayers can strengthen Christians as they stand firm in their faith in the one true God.
Follow these links to learn more about the persecuted, and how you can help:
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven.”
Millions of South Asian women are illiterate. More than half the women in Bangladesh cannot read at all. In India alone, there are an estimated 242 million women who are unable to read—that’s about half the adult women in the country.
Teaching women to read and write opens doors of opportunity and gives them the joy of being able to study God’s Word for themselves. These women are eager to learn; they just need a teacher and a few simple materials.
By Learning to Read – They Stand Firm
But now, through Gospel for Asia’s Women’s Literacy Program, the written world is opening up for the first time. Women learn by reading the Bible, which is the foundational text for the classes, so they gain a knowledge of Scripture even before they’ve completed the course.
Pastors’ wives and women missionaries serve as teachers, so students have the opportunity to grow spiritually under their mentors. The ability to read and understand for themselves also gives these women the confidence to refuse unfair contracts, whether they’re from loan officers or abusive employers.
Many women in GFA-supported churches struggle because they cannot read God’s Word. Help them know the Lord more by giving to Gospel for Asia’s Women’s Literacy Program.
More than one in three women in Asia are illiterate—and the statistic holds true for women in Gospel for Asia-supported churches. Their inability to read leaves them vulnerable to those wanting to take advantage of their ignorance, and without reading the Bible, it’s a challenge to deepen their knowledge of their Savior.
YOU Can Make a Difference!
Illiterate women in Asia face great difficulties. They fail to keep their children safe because they can’t read warning labels. Debt piles up because they can’t understand the bad contracts they sign. They’re cheated in the marketplace because they can’t do basic math. Even if they want to read, there is no way to learn.
With your help, women in Asia can learn to read and will be equipped to tackle life’s hurdles. Click on the link below to find out how you can change someone’s life forever.
FOR MANY IN ASIA – AND AROUND THE WORLD – SAFE, CLEAN WATER IS HARD TO COME BY. Confined to stagnant ponds, filthy rivers and rusty wells, people struggle daily with water-borne illnesses. They don’t know much about hygiene, and they have no idea what’s causing their premature deaths. We can help them!
• 2.2 million people in developing countries, most of them children, die every year from diseases associated with inadequate sanitation, poor hygiene and a lack of safe drinking water.
• Half of the world’s hospital beds are filled with people suffering from water-related illnesses.
• In the past 10 years, diarrhea has killed more children than all the people lost to armed conflict since World War II.
Wait, that bears repeating …
• In the past 10 years, diarrhea has killed more children than all the people lost to armed conflict since World War II!
• Despite the size of the problem, we have made little progress against it. There were only 181 million fewer people living without safe drinking water in rural settings in 2004 (899 million) vs. 1990 (1.08 billion)*1.
• Fifty percent of people on earth lack adequate sanitation. Another way to look at it: Nearly half of the world’s population fails to receive the level of water services available 2,000 years ago to the citizens of ancient Rome!
• Water-related illnesses are the leading cause of human sickness and death on the planet.
STATISTICS, STATISTICS, STATISTICS and more statistics! If you haven’t allowed these facts to touch you and move you, then these statistics are useless numbers, pointless facts and a futile attempt to grab your heart to the point where you experience a visceral reaction, and respond.
How should we respond to this overwhelming need? What can we realistically do that will help make a difference in people’s lives?
For starters, you can go HERE to learn more about the issue and see just how easy it is to personally help solve the problem. This is a HUGE issue, however, and it needs many solutions. There is no one way to fix it, and it will take many people many years to turn the tide.
We in the west rarely think about the clean water that we enjoy so freely. It hardly ever hits us that we are very, very privileged to be able to turn on the tap and drink what comes out, or stand under a warm stream of fresh water in our shower for 20-30 minutes, or flush our toilets an extra time or two (just to make sure), or grab our garden hose whenever we want and wash the car(s), or water the lawn or flowers or bird bath.
This reminds me of a trip I took to Haiti in 1986 with a group of guys, where we worked up in a mountain village to help build an addition to a schoolhouse. There was no water available for showers or bathing, except for a scarce amount to wash our faces at night. We were doing hard labor in 90-100 degree temps, so you know we were sweaty and stinky. It got to the point where we finally just fit in with our Haitian friends, because we didn’t smell like soap or deodorant anymore. We smelled like, well … us! One of my friends (you know who you are, Chuck) was really moved by the lack of water, and what the local people suffered as a result. He vowed he would never again take clean, fresh, hot water for granted, and I’ll bet a day doesn’t go by that he doesn’t thank God for his water.
There may be no way to truly understand the suffering of people with little clean water, without going to some of these places and experiencing it for ourselves. But how many of us can do that? Very few, I imagine. What we can do, though, is educate our minds and hope that some of that education sinks down into our hearts, where God can then use it. Then we can get involved with initiatives like Gospel for Asia’s Jesus Wells and http://blueplanetnetwork.org/. We can at least do that, can’t we?
This article is not meant as a guilt trip, but merely a reminder that we who have plenty DO have a responsibility to care for those who have very little. The least we can do is send money to an organization like Gospel for Asia, who then sends 100% of your gift to work in the field. I don’t believe you can get a better return on what God has blessed you with. Now it’s up to you.
“But if any one has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?”
I John 3:17
“Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hate. It is a power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness.”
– Corrie ten Boom
Jesus was oppressed, persecuted and betrayed by the religious leaders of his day – those who said they represented the very God who stood in front of them. Corrie ten Boom was imprisoned, tortured and nearly starved to death by an evil empire ruled by a hate-filled despot. What’s the difference?
Who is more difficult to forgive:
• Those who have served God alongside of you for many years who then disrespect, betray and shun you? These would be fellow Christians who have been your spiritual leaders, your friends, people who you’ve shared meals with, traveled together, taught together and even looked up to. Pastors, family members, band mates and mentors.
• Evil people who you’d expect to act this way? Dictators, thieves, criminals and money-hungry bankers, mortgage lenders and politicians.
Does God allow us room to withhold forgiveness from those who have been our closest friends and spiritual leaders? Jesus certainly didn’t wait to forgive those who betrayed Him. He hung on that cross and asked the Father to forgive them, to refrain from judging them. Does He understand the depth of betrayal we feel from those who name His name? Of course He does. Jesus was also persecuted, tortured and put to death by an evil empire – those who did not name the name of God – and it didn’t make any difference to Him. He extended forgiveness to all.
I’ve talked to many people who’ve left churches for a variety of reasons – many of which are legitimate and understandable – who feel judged, shunned, “unfriended” and betrayed. In almost every case, they’ve found it very difficult to forgive and forget, to move away from the deeply held hurts and wounds, and to get a sense of freedom from the pain they feel.
I also know a lot of people who have been victims of crime, or treated unfairly by those who are not Christians, those who don’t necessarily follow the Golden Rule. Mostly, I’ve heard that it’s easier for them to move on from these violations, and to forgive those who have wronged them.
It seems that it’s a matter of expectations.
We expect fellow believers to walk in love. We expect pastors and Christian leaders to treat us fairly and to remain humble. We expect pastors to be faithful to their wives and families, and to resist pornography, adultery and other sinful behavior. We expect our brothers and sisters in the Lord to defend us when we are wronged, and to love us when we differ in theology or when we resist the latest wind of doctrine blowing through the Church.
On the other hand, we really don’t expect evil people to act righteously. When they steal from us or harm us in any way, we’re not surprised. Forgiveness seems easier to give because we fear for their souls, and we want them to know the Lord. We love them quickly because we desire for them to sense the love of God and come to Him. We can even see God’s hand in allowing their actions, because it gives us an opportunity to love the evildoer and shed God’s love into their hearts.
But judgement, mistreatment and arrogance from another Christian – especially a pastor? Boy, does that wound go deep! I’ve spent time with that wound, and can speak from painful experience. And I’m not alone. It’s very difficult to “forgive and forget” when we’ve been hurt by another Christian, and only the love of God, working in our hearts and minds, can free us and help us to extend that kind of forgiveness.
When we finally reach that precious milestone, though, it’s freedom. No longer are our minds bombarded with thoughts of “righteous anger.” No longer are we held captive by resentment. No longer do we hold God accountable for the actions of a few weak people. No longer can the devil use other people’s sin against us.
When we forgive – no matter what the offense has been, or who has carried it out – we’re free.
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36
Compassion is a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.
COMPASSION SHOULD ALWAYS DRIVE US TO DO SOMETHING, because God’s love can’t flow through us unless we ACT. How do you spread God’s compassion on a daily basis? First, we have to assume that the people in our lives are there because God has placed them there. And He has placed us with them. We don’t need to look far afield for a “ministry” or for opportunities to love others. Let’s face it – there are people in need in ALL of our lives, whether they’re family members, co-workers, students or friends. I believe that these are the ones to whom God has called us first.
Farther away – all over the world – there is tremendous need, but how do we meet that need? How can I possibly minister to someone who has been left homeless because a flood washed away her village? How can I put clothes on the back of a young man who’s all alone in a refugee camp? How can I feed starving children in a famine-ravaged country? How can I reach across the miles, through impenetrable barriers, over mountains and valleys and political walls?
How can I?
How CAN’T I?
God has provided many ways, and here’s just one. Remember that 100% of your gift to Gospel for Asia goes to the field, which means that you CAN cross all barriers – you just might have to do it through someone else. Please read about GFA’s slum ministry, then pray how God’s compassion can best flow out from you.
Gospel for Asia’s Slum Ministry
Rapidly growing slums, with millions of people living in extreme poverty and struggling for survival, are a huge problem for South Asia’s major cities. Up to 25 percent of the population of these urban areas live in slums. Thousands arrive daily from rural areas in search of jobs and a better life, only to become trapped in desperation and hopelessness.
Open sewage, polluted water, lack of health care, illiteracy, superstition and diseases such as tuberculosis and AIDS are just some of the threats all around them. Every day is a new battle to somehow find a job — or keep the one they have — as laborer, porter, sweeper or house servant. If that’s not possible, they must resort to begging, scavenging or prostitution to be able to eat. If they get too sick or too old to work, there is no social agency to help them survive. No wonder many slum dwellers drown their fears and sorrows in alcohol.
But wherever the love of Christ is shared, people find new hope and a future in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Gospel for Asia’s ministry to the slums began in 1999, with outreach to four major Indian cities. Today, our missionary teams serve in thousands of slum neighborhoods, bringing hope in a two-fold manner — through the message of Jesus’ redemption and through living out His sacrificial love. They conduct free medical clinics and teach basic hygiene and preventive health measures. They provide literacy classes for adults, conduct tutoring classes for children and hold weekly Sunday schools. They have planted hundreds of churches, and thousands have heard the Gospel.
GFA also has a Bible college in Mumbai (Bombay) designed to train future missionaries for slum ministry all across the Indian Subcontinent. In addition to the study of God’s Word, classroom training consists of practical instruction in the various aspects of slum ministry. The obstacles are many, but our gracious heavenly Father has great plans for the poor: “Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom …?” (James 2:5).
Our slum ministry is different from other outreaches because we deal with masses of desperate people who have no means whatsoever to better their situation or escape their surroundings. It takes tremendous self-sacrifice and patience on the part of our native missionaries to work among them, win their trust and lead them to Jesus. It also entails meeting urgent and often unique needs.
It’s incredible to encounter believers from our slum fellowships.
It’s incredible to encounter believers from our slum fellowships. You can easily see by the sparkle in their eyes and the joy on their faces that Jesus has brought light and hope into their lives. And their testimonies tell of the love and power of God that set them free from bondage and sin, and even healed many from sickness. Most of all, through the Lord Jesus Christ, they are now part of the family of God and have become our brothers and sisters.
We want to continue taking Christ’s message of hope to millions who are outcasts of society and invite them to become sons and daughters of the living God.
Please prayerfully consider how God might use you to reach the millions of slum dwellers of Asia. Your prayers and gifts can transform thousands of lives, both now and for all eternity.
If you’d like to meet someone who lives out the compassion of Christ every day in the slums of India, go here: http://www.gfa.org/videos/real-life-hero/
I've been a Christian all my life, and a committed one since 1974. Raised by Godly, Roman Catholic parents and educated in parochial schools, I've always had a sense of God's love and always accepted that Jesus died for me, paying the price for my sins. I thank the IHM nuns and Jesuit priests for instilling that in me, even if by "forceful" means occasionally!
HERE'S A MESSAGE THAT BEARS REPEATING, IN CASE YOU MISSED IT THE FIRST TIME.
“What normally passes for Christianity is a religion that does not really require us to follow Christ.
“We can be a part of churchianity and still pursue unfettered materialism. We can be part of churchianity and not turn the other cheek, not help the poor, not be humble, not love our neighbor, brother and enemy, not die to self daily. Heck, we can even claim to be Christian and fight battles for the fallen kingdoms of this wicked world system and kill another human being.
“But as long as you join an organization, attend regularly and give them their expected proper membership dues, they will consider you to be a Christian.
“Some people have told me that they are praying that I come back to ‘the church.’ The fact is: I never left The Church. I’m an eternal life member. I left the building to follow Christ.”
~ Mike Hutchison
Please take a moment – look into the lives of these precious children. Then ask God how you can help.
This month’s mission is going to take us all on a journey to a place most of us would never want to go – the slums and Dalit villages of Asia. We are going to meet some children and hear their life stories. And it won’t cost you a cent.
Please order – then read – K.P. Yohannan’s FREE book No Longer a Slumdog. Go to www.gfa.org/book to order your free copy. You can also visit www.nolongeraslumdog to watch the video stories that accompany those in the book. These resources will take you into a world you may never have heard of, but one that is more real than these “slumdogs” would like. They live it every day.
Here’s a short excerpt from the story of a boy named Nadish, who was abducted and sold into forced labor:
“He would lock me in a small room with the animals. Days turned into weeks, and my stomach would growl. He never gave me enough to eat,” said Nadish. “Weeks turned into months, and my body would ache. The work was hard, and there was never enough time to rest. Months turned into years, and I began to think that this would never end.”
But through a miraculous event, Nadish found his way back into the loving embrace of his mother. Dr. K.P. Yohannan’s newest book, No Longer a Slumdog, unveils the true-life accounts of many of South Asia’s children, like Nadish. The message hits hard. He speaks of “winds of change” and a powerful move of God.
The children’s stories tell of going from a life of heartache and poverty to finding joy, laughter and a bright future. Despite the affliction these children face, Yohannan shows us there’s opportunity for change as many find new life in God‘s redeeming love.
No Longer a Slumdog inspires faith that a better tomorrow is truly possible. Order your FREE copy today, and allow God to take you into a world where pain, hunger, slavery and hopelessness abound. This is where Jesus walks every day, and brings hope to forgotten people.
“So far from it being irreverent to use silly metaphors on serious questions, it is one’s duty to use silly metaphors on serious questions. It is the test of one’s seriousness. It is the test of a responsible religion or theory whether it can take examples of pots and pans and boots and butter-tubs. It is a test of a good philosophy whether you can defend it grotesquely. It is the test of a good religion whether you can joke about it.”
– G.K. Chesterton, from “All Things Considered”
The War Prayer
It was a time of great exulting and excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the bunched firecrackers hissing and sputtering; on every hand and far down the receding and fading spread of roofs and balconies a fluttering wilderness of flags flashed in the sun; daily the young volunteers marched down the wide avenue gay and fine in their new uniforms, the proud fathers and mothers and sisters and sweethearts cheering them with voices choked with happy emotion as they swung by; nightly the packed mass meetings listened, panting, to patriot oratory which stirred the deepest depths of their hearts, and which they interrupted at briefest intervals with cyclones of applause, the tears running down their cheeks the while; in the churches the pastors preached devotion to flag and country, and invoked the God of Battles, beseeching His aid in our good cause in outpourings of fervid eloquence which moved every listener. It was indeed a glad and gracious time, and the half dozen rash spirits that ventured to disapprove of the war and cast doubt upon its righteousness straight way got such a stern and angry warning that for their personal safety’s sake they quickly shrank out of sight and offended no more in that way.
Sunday morning came – next day the battalions would leave for the front; the church was filled; the volunteers were there, their young faces alight with martial dreams – visions of the stern advance, the gathering momentum, the rushing charge, the flashing sabers, the flight of the foe, the tumult, the enveloping smoke, the fierce pursuit, the surrender! – then home from the war, bronzed heroes, welcomed, adored, submerged in golden seas of glory! With the volunteers sat their dear ones, proud, happy, and envied by the neighbors and friends who had no sons and brothers to send forth to the field of honor, there to win for the flag, or failing, die the noblest of noble deaths. The service proceeded; a war chapter from the Old Testament was read; the first prayer was said; it was followed by an organ burst that shook the building, and with one impulse the house rose, with glowing eyes and beating hearts, and poured out that tremendous invocation:
“God the all-terrible! Thou who ordainest, Thunder thy clarion and lightning thy sword!”
Then came the “long” prayer. None could remember the like of it for passionate pleading and moving and beautiful language. The burden of its supplication was, that an ever-merciful and benignant Father of us all would watch over our noble young soldiers, and aid, comfort, and encourage them in their patriotic work; bless them, shield them in the day of battle and the hour of peril, bear them in His mighty hand, make them strong and confident, invincible in the bloody onset; help them to crush the foe, grant to them and to their flag and country imperishable honor and glory.
An aged stranger entered and moved with slow and noiseless step up the main aisle, his eyes fixed upon the minister, his long body clothed in a robe that reached to his feet, his head bare, his white hair descending in a frothy cataract to his shoulders, his seamy face unnaturally pale, pale even to ghastliness. With all eyes following and wondering, he made his silent way; without pausing, he ascended to the preacher’s side and stood there, waiting. With shut lids the preacher, unconscious of his presence, continued his moving prayer, and at last finished it with the words, uttered in fervent appeal, “Bless our arms, grant us victory, O Lord our God, Father and Protector of our land and flag!”
The stranger touched his arm, motioned him to step aside – which the startled minister did – and took his place. During some moments he surveyed the spellbound audience with solemn eyes, in which burned an uncanny light; then in a deep voice he said:
“I come from the Throne – bearing a message from Almighty God!” The words smote the house with a shock; if the stranger perceived it he gave no attention. “He has heard the prayer of His servant your shepherd, and will grant it if such be your desire after I, His messenger, shall have explained to you its import – that is to say, its full import. For it is like unto many of the prayers of men, in that it asks for more than he who utters it is aware of – except he pause and think.
“God’s servant and yours has prayed his prayer. Has he paused and taken thought? Is it one prayer? No, it is two – one uttered, the other not. Both have reached the ear of Him Who heareth all supplications, the spoken and the unspoken. Ponder this – keep it in mind. If you would beseech a blessing upon yourself, beware! lest without intent you invoke a curse upon a neighbor at the same time. If you pray for the blessing of rain upon your crop which needs it, by that act you are possibly praying for a curse upon some neighbor’s crop which may not need rain and can be injured by it.
“You have heard your servant’s prayer – the uttered part of it. I am commissioned of God to put into words the other part of it – that part which the pastor – and also you in your hearts – fervently prayed silently. And ignorantly and unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard these words: ‘Grant us victory, O Lord our God!’ That is sufficient. The whole of the uttered prayer is compact into those pregnant words. Elaborations were not necessary. When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory – must follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God the Father fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!
“O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle – be Thou near them! With them – in spirit – we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with hurricanes of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it – for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.”
[After a pause.] “Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, speak! The messenger of the Most High waits.”
It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said.
Note: Twain wrote The War Prayer during the U.S. war on the Philippines. It was submitted for publication, but on March 22, 1905, Harper’s Bazaar rejected it as “not quite suited to a woman’s magazine.” Eight days later, Twain wrote to his friend Dan Beard, to whom he had read the story, “I don’t think the prayer will be published in my time. None but the dead are permitted to tell the truth.” Because he had an exclusive contract with Harper & Brothers, Mark Twain could not publish “The War Prayer” elsewhere, and it remained unpublished until after his death.
“With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.”
- Acts 4:33-35
Jesus Followers of the First Century had it right. They didn’t idolize or unduly elevate any of their leaders, nor did they look to anyone but the Holy Spirit to teach them the ways of God. Jesus left them a very clear model – teaching them to learn from His Spirit, and minister to those around them who were in need.
And all the needs of the Early Church were satisfied, because no one claimed to be the Leader – the Ruler – over the others.
Where we’ve seemed to go off track for well over a thousand years is in the area of elevating men and heaping praise upon them until they become haughty and arrogant. As a result, men fall. This is a story retold tens of thousands of times – a story that mimics Adam instead of Jesus, and one that brings shame upon the Church of Jesus Christ.
When will we learn? What will it take for us to return to the humility of our spiritual forefathers? They loved God with all their hearts, and loved each other to the point where they sold all they had and shared with one another so that there was no lack amongst the brethren.
Can we say that today? In these incredibly tough times, can we say that there’s no lack in the Church?
What an amazing witness it would be if church leaders unselfishly adhered to the model Jesus left us, and sacrificed for the people under their care instead of ruling over them. Rather than pulling down salaries in the $100,000 range while many of the people who are paying those salaries have lost their jobs and maybe even their homes, how about sharing with those in need?
Are church leaders worried that they’ll be setting a dangerous precedent that people would take advantage of? What would that be – emulating the actions of the Apostles? Jesus Christ Himself appointed these men to carry His message to the world, and they did so with stunning success. How did they do it?
“With great power … and great grace was upon them all.”
Is it any wonder why there’s very little power in the Church today?
April 2012 Mission: The Power of Literature
How much would you give to change someone’s eternal destiny?
It doesn’t cost much: Less than a penny will give someone a chance to hear about Jesus through a Gospel tract.
These small booklets are produced specifically for the cultures and languages of Asia. Thousands of people have chosen to follow Christ after coming face-to-face with the Gospel message in these tracts.
Each year, Gospel for Asia publishes more than 30 million pieces of Gospel literature, which are distributed by our missionaries, Bible college students and believers throughout Asia.
How many of us have been given Gospel tracts? In Asia one tract can reach literally dozens of people, as they are read and then passed on to others.
Below are some field stories illustrating the power of a Gospel tract. Please read and share them.
In many countries around the world, people just don’t have access to computers and the internet, television or even cell phones. These are the places where literature means the most. People are hungry for news – and always want to hear good news – so Gospel tracts reach hearts very easily. Your support of Gospel for Asia’s efforts changes lives. And remember that 100% of what you give goes to the field.