CHRISTIANS IN NORTH IRAQ TOLD TO 'CONVERT TO ISLAM, OR FACE DEATH'
Iraq Appeal Update
In July, BBC News and other mainstream news media reported widely how hundreds of Christians fled the northern Iraqi city of Mosul after Isis (the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant) ordered them to turn to Islam or pay a protection tax in gold known in Islam as a Jizya. The ultimatum gave Christians a deadline to comply, or risk being killed.
One of the most senior Christian clerics in Iraq said militants had been seen tagging Christian houses with the letter 'N' for Nassarah, a term used for Christians in the Koran. Other religious minorities, in particular the Kurdish Yezidi people, have also been brutally targeted by Isis. During early August, people fled other towns in north Iraq into exposed rural and mountainous areas, causing a humanitarian emergency and action from the international community.
Isis, which also controls large parts of Syria, is seeking to establish a caliphate - an Islamic state led by a supreme religious and political leader.
You can read the BBC and other reports via the links below. (Links open in new window. WorldShare is not responsible for the content of external websites.)
Please pray urgently with us for the safety of Christians who fled or, by choice or otherwise, stayed to face this ultimatum. Pray that the light of Christ will overcome this present situation in a region where the Church has been present for centuries and still witnesses today.
TYPHOON HAIYAN Praising God for the help you gave following the 2013 Philippines typhoon.
SCHOOLS LINK: From Michel Roux Jr. and Gregg Wallace, to Glenda Jackson and David Cameron, 'Cookie Challenge' gets thumbs-up from some very well-known faces. And now, you can buy the Cookie Challenge Recipe Book online!
MYANMAR (BURMA) Pastor Pau (Word of Hope) has been elected to the position of General Secretary of the General Council of the Assemblies of God for Myanmar for 2014-2017. In a message to WorldShare, he said: 'Please pray for me to handle properly this position for the whole country for the Kingdom of God.'
Persecution of Christians
Dazed, but still alive - Peshawar, Pakistan, September 2013. Tragically, many people died, and WorldShare/Partners International ministry contacts were injured in this suicide bombing of a church.
Please pray for Christians in Pakistan and other lands where their lives are in danger, and act as follows:-
1) Support our Freedom Gift to help persecuted Christians around the world.
2) Read 'About Persecution' and the Spectator article 'The War on Christians' (both in PDF).
3) For Pakistan, you can assist our new project to help free people from modern-day slavery.
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SOUTH SUDAN CONFLICT
Recent serious civil conflict in the new country of South Sudan has affected our partner Africa Inland Church's projects in the region. Church-planting, education, health, water and micro-enterprise projects have all been put at risk. But thanks to your help, WorldShare was able to send relief for families affected by the unrest. AIC distributed food to 700 people in Juba with special attention made for widows, the wounded, orphans and the elderly. The situation is still unresolved so the lack of food, medicines and clean water remain a big challenge. Heavy fighting continued in Bor (Jonglei State) as 2014 began, with the UN warning of critically low levels of water, food and sanitation in this area. Click this link to watch a short video (YouTube) by our US sister organisation, Partners International, giving local pastors' perspective of the crisis.
NEW ROMA CHURCH OPENS IN BITOLA, MACEDONIA
The opening of the new Roma (Gypsy) church in Bitola (left) has been marked with a special ceremony. We give thanks to God for this new ministry. For another picture, see Window magazine issue 2013/3, page 8 (link opens e-brochure in new window).
Also in Macedonia, the new building for the first evangelical Bible college is now in use following the main construction phase, with some finishing work still needed. The strategic new Bible college/church facility is located in the city of Kumanovo, close to the country's northern border with Serbia. The project is the culmination of several years' development work involving our local partner, Macedonian Mission to the Balkans / Evangelical Church of Macedonia.
BAN KI-MOON VISITS HEAL AFRICA
The UN Secretary General visited the HEAL Hospital in Goma, D.R. Congo on 23rd May 2013. With a delegation including World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim, and his special envoy in the region Mrs Mary Robinson, he visited women victims of sexual violence who are in HEAL's care.
Mr Ban said of HEAL:
"I was deeply moved by the stories and suffering that we heard. Many women and girls at this hospital suffer from fistula after enduring brutal rapes. In pain, they are disabled and often shunned by society. First, I am angry that women and girls have to endure such barbarity here or anywhere. This must stop. Second, I am humbled at their courage to overcome their wounds. I thank the dedicated doctors and nurses helping here and elsewhere. Third, I am determined to do more to bring security and opportunity to these women and their communities."
Following his visit, Mr Ban used the example of HEAL Africa to encourage commitment to meeting Congo's need.
"I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1: 3 (NIV)
"Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened. But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect..." 1 Peter 3: 13-15 (NIV)
"If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like noonday.
The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Isaiah 58: 9-11 (NIV)