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TALK IS CHEAP


ChiefJoseph6

“Good words will not give my people good health and stop them from dying. Good words will not get my people a home where they can live in peace and take care of themselves. I am tired of talk that comes to nothing. It makes my heart sick when I remember all the good words and broken promises.”

– Chief Joseph, Nez Perce



“I am tired of fighting,” he said. “Our chiefs are killed. Looking Glass is dead. Toohoolhoolzote is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say, ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’ He who led the young men [Olikut] is dead. It is cold, and we have no blankets. The little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are—perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children, and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs! I am tired. My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.”


ChiefJoseph4





FROM PRAISE TO SLAVERY TO PRAISE

NADISH was just like any other nine-year-old boy who didn’t take his schoolwork seriously. After his father died from cancer, Nadish was enrolled in a Bridge of Hope center in India, being loved by the staff there and given an education. One day, however, his mother scolded him for not devoting enough effort to school.

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Nadish Sabharwal, before his abduction, in his official Bridge of Hope profile photo from 2007.

Not sure what else to do, Nadish ran away from home and found himself living in a large city railway station in India. There he met an elderly man who befriended him and took Nadish to his home village.

Forced into slavery, Nadish spent the next two years living as a prisoner and cleaning up animal waste all day. Every day after finishing his work, Nadish was locked in a room near the animals he cleaned up after and was given very little food to eat.

His mother grieved deeply.

She had already lost her husband to cancer, and now she had also lost one of her sons. Praise God that the Bridge of Hope center prayed diligently for little Nadish.

Nadish found hope in possible escape.

And then two years after Nadish was captured, a new boy was placed in the same room, and the landlord forgot to lock the door. Thirteen days after Nadish’s 12th birthday, he and his roommate escaped. Running to the nearest police station, the boys testified against their captor.

Back home and healing.

Nadish is now back home with his family, and participating in Bridge of Hope again. Please pray for Nadish. He is struggling mentally as a result of his lengthy captivity and ill treatment. Pray that he will be able to concentrate on his studies and catch up from what he missed.

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Nadish and his mother Gopika, just a few days after his escape.


There are many more like Nadish

In India alone there are reports of 45,000 children missing each year.¹  This is a sad reality that children throughout South Asia face every day.

They go missing for many reasons.

Some are abducted by strangers and placed into forced labor, like Nadish. Others are trafficked and exploited in the sex trade. Still others are sold to families to work as domestic help. Some 44 million orphans and runaways are living on the streets, not aware of the danger that awaits them.²

India is not the only place

  • India has close to 13 million children younger than 15 in its workforce — more than any other country in the world. Some estimate the real number is closer to 100 million.3 That’s five times the population of the state of New York.
  • In Thailand, almost 1 out of every 10 children between the ages 10 and 14 are working rather than going to school.4
  • In Bangladesh, an estimated 27 percent of children ages 10-14 are working in a variety of hazardous occupations.5
  • In Sri Lanka, one of the most physically punishing forms of child labor is the fishing industry, which keeps the children in slave-like conditions and far from the public eye.6
  • UNICEF estimates that 4,500 children from Bangladesh are trafficked to Pakistan each year. Thousands more are sent to India and the Middle East.


How can we stop this?

Gospel for Asia is working among South Asia’s most endangered children. Click HERE to help an abandoned child. Go HERE if you’d like to sponsor a child in the Bridge of Hope Program.


Delhi Street Children’s Home

You can give toward rescuing children on the streets, teaching them about Jesus and His love and reuniting them with their families.

You can give toward rescuing children on the streets, teaching them about Jesus and His love and reuniting them with their families.


Bridge of Hope

You can sponsor a child in Asia and provide an education, the love of Christ, clean clothes, food and medical care.

You can sponsor a child in Asia and provide an education, the love of Christ, clean clothes, food and medical care.

 

Prayer

  • Pray for children to be rescued, reunited and accepted back into their families.
  • Pray for the physical needs of the children. Most do not get enough to eat, and the physical labor they are forced to do can cripple their bodies. Pray for the Lord to provide for them and protect them from harm.
  • Pray for the girls — and boys — forced to work in the sex trade. Ask the Lord to bring the brothel owners’ and customers’ misdeeds into the light and for the love of Jesus to permeate those dark places.
  • Pray for a radical attitude shift in South Asian society so citizens of these countries will demand an end to the exploitation of children.




Notes
1 National Human Rights Commission, http://nhrc.nic.in/
2 ChildLine India, www.childlineindia.org.in
3 ChildLine India, www.childlineindia.org.in
4 U.S. Department of Labor, International Labor Affairs report.
5 U.S. Department of Labor report.
6 U.S. Department of Labor, International Labor Affairs report.




Empower Women with the Ability to Read


The Facts

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.

More than 250 million women in Asia are illiterate

THERE’S MORE THAN ONE WAY

There’s more than one way to be a Christian.

Wait a minute, that sounds unscriptural, and if you believe everything I’ve been taught as an evangelical, you’d think so. But that’s simply not true.

I confess. I spent more than 35 years toiling away in Pentecostal circles, being a good boy, submitting to authority, leading ministries, teaching, sharing, being a real-live missionary overseas, giving and being a good example to all. In the process, my mind turned to mush, in a way. I often stopped thinking for myself, and mostly submitted my will, my dreams, my vision and my life to that of the pastor. The problem with losing myself like that, though, is that the life of the “club” often was more important than my children, my wife, my career and education, and just about everything else. I faithfully sacrificed for the local church.

And it still wasn’t enough.

Church leaders wanted me to attend more services, give more money, sit right up in front – “under the spout where the glory comes out,” anoint people in the prayer lines and pray and shout and hope people fell down – all at the command of the pastor – and it still wasn’t enough.

And yet I came to believe – I don’t really know how, other than saying it was Groupthink – that the way we did church was the best way, the purest way, the only way. No one else really did it right.

It was never preached or spoken like that, but a certain air infiltrated those churches as sure as I’m sitting here writing this, and permeated every soul there. An air of superiority. A sense of rightness. A spirit of certainty that their way was the best way to serve God.

One pastor said publicly (twice that I heard): “I preach a unique word. One that no one else preaches. And it needs to be on the radio, because people need to hear it.” That is a stunning revelation of one man’s ego, isn’t it?

Another preached vehemently against homosexuality, abortion and oral sex – from the pulpit and on his local TV show. Then he proceeded to carry on an adulterous affair for more than five years. He repented and received a slap on the wrist and some counseling, but he’s back in the pulpit today being praised as a man of God doing a vital work, leading sinners to Christ. And maybe he is. But when are we going to stop elevating men and feeding their egos? It only destroys them.

Another became complicit in a $300,000 scam, because he covered it up. Why? To protect a friend. Unfortunately, the people who were ripped off were his own congregants. And he told them from the pulpit to forgive the perpetrator and not to press charges – that restoration would be made. So they all did. And it never was. Oh yeah, the perp’s been involved in several schemes since then, is selling used cars to this day, and leading worship in a local church even though he never made restitution to those he fleeced. Why was he never held accountable? His pastor should have done that over 20 years ago, but he didn’t, and the beat goes on.

There’s got to be a better way!

I realize that these accounts are only my experiences, and limited to a very few churches. But from what I understand, the local church was never intended to be a place to elevate men, or to create a family business, or to heap blessings upon ourselves. The Early Church is the model we should follow – it was a place where believers learned about God’s love and took it to the world. They didn’t build monuments of stone or flesh, and didn’t count themselves as being better than others.

All the little people who’ve built these modern-day churches with their prayers and their sweat and their tears – and lots of their money – suffer every day from sickness, job loss, financial hardship and death. Are these same churches there to help them through the crises and tragedies in their lives? My experience has been that the church often turns the other way when needs arise, because “We don’t want to set a precedent. If we give to him, we’ll have to give to everybody.” I heard that excuse so many times in pastors’ meetings that I wanted to scream. And I should have.


Maybe I am now.



IMHO (In My Humble Opinion)


I AM BY BIRTH A TROLL – mostly a feared, misunderstood being, shunned and ignored by the greater part of society. In fact, if you would only listen to me, and just make an honest effort to get to know me, I think you would like me – maybe even love me.

My name is IMHO, and I know I’m considered by some to be ugly, repulsive and downright scary. But I’m really no different from you. Not if you open your ears and your heart and listen to me. You just have to get past the initial shock – the repulsive stuff – and see the real me.

My nature is to be honest, sometimes brutally so. Is that why you don’t like me? I tell the truth, at least as I see it. And I have no reason to lie, nothing to gain and nothing to lose. I think it’s because I’ve experienced so much misunderstanding, that I have a genuine desire to see the truth and tell it. I hate being misunderstood, and when I am, I’m compelled to say something.

The problem is, when I speak you don’t listen. Can’t you hear me? Or is it that you don’t want to hear me?

You walk past me as if I don’t exist, ignoring me, averting your gaze, staring straight ahead as if in a trance. All of you. Almost as if you’re marching in the military, locked in together, and oblivious to all that’s going on around you.

Don’t get me wrong, focus can be a good thing. But if your focus morphs into an unthinking, slave-like, submissive, turn-off-your-brain kind of capitulation to what everybody else is saying and believing, then you’ll never see me. You’ll never hear me. You’ll never know me.

Every time you approach me, you’ll get nervous and start to think, “Why did I come this way?” instead of “Oh, there’s IMHO. What does he have to say today?”

It’s because I’m ugly, right? Do I scare you? Do you think I’m going to hurt you? Are you afraid to talk with me?

Maybe that’s just your prejudice telling your head that stuff. “He’s ugly.” “He’s gonna hurt you!” “He has a knife behind that beard.” Or maybe it’s your friends telling you those things, because what I have to say goes counter to what you’re being told elsewhere. Is that it? Are you sticking with your friends against me?

And what about those of you who used to call me “friend”? What happened to you – to us? I think the pressure from your friends and your group got to you. They told you to ignore me. To stay away from me. To go down another street if you have to, just so you don’t run into me.

Isn’t that called “shunning”? That is so sad.

That’s probably why I’ve taken to living in a cave, away from you and from the stares and laughing. I’m safe in here, and I’ve actually grown to like it. But it’s lonely sometimes. And then there are the times I just have to blow about something that’s gotten under my skin. Especially when I see injustice, particularly practiced by people who preach passionately about “loving your neighbor,” or not looking down on others.

But then you look down on me.

Is it because I’m ugly? Or are you afraid of what I have to say? When my opinion differs from yours, why do you automatically reject me? It hurts. And it drives me into my cave.

But you know what? I’m still gonna speak, and I’m probably going to offend you, or your friends, or everybody for that matter!

All I ask is that you put away your preconceived ideas and your prejudices. Forget for a moment the dogma that controls you because it controls everybody you associate with, thereby creating a herd mentality – whether you’ll admit it or not – and you become part of the herd, rumbling across the landscape, ignoring everything in your path and causing more damage than you’ll ever know.

Next time I – or one of my brother or sister trolls – ventures out of a cave to say something, please suspend your hatred of what you consider ugly, and just listen! Try to understand the truth in what I’m saying, and see if it lines up with your core principles. If it does, then talk to me. Close your eyes if you must, but open your stuffed-up ears!

It’s just me. IMHO.



WILL YOU TAKE A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE?

Walk with the Persecuted



If you’re ready to get out of your spiritual chair and take a stroll into the unknown with millions of persecuted believers, go to: www.opendoorsusa.org or watch a special video here:

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