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Instant Church, Instant Persecution

Instant Church, Instant Persecution

When Verne and Denny Johnson, missionaries in Ivory Coast, finished explaining the Gospel, they were amazed at the results. Hear them tell the story in this interview excerpt.

Listen to the full interview on VOM Radio here 

What if Ananias Said No?

What if Ananias Said No?

I have been reading the Book of Acts and read, again, the story of Saul’s conversation in Acts, chapter 9. I am always struck by how soon after Saul met Jesus that people were trying to kill him!

As I have been reading in Acts in recent days the Lord has really drawn my attention to the role that Ananias played in Saul’s conversion. We all remember the story; Saul is on the road to Damascus and he sees a blinding light and hears the voice of Jesus saying, “Why are you persecuting me?” Saul is struck blind and has to be lead into the city by his helpers. That is where Ananias comes in.

God tells Ananias to go to Saul and restore his sight. What does Ananias say? You can read the story in Acts, chapter 9, but basically he tells God, “That is a terrible idea. No, no, no, God! I know about Saul and he is a really bad guy. He has come here to arrest people in the church and now you want me to go see him?” The Lord tells Ananias, “Yes, I want you to go.”

So Ananias is obedient and he goes to see Saul and there are two things that struck me in a new way as I read the story this time. First, Ananias reached out and touched Saul and secondly, he called him Brother Saul, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus sent me to you.” Remember just four verses earlier Ananias was telling God what a terrible guy Saul was and yet now he obeys God, goes to Saul, reaches out to touch him and calls him brother, “Brother Saul.” Then Ananias sort of disappears from the story. We don’t know what happened to him, but we sure know what happened with Saul. He became Paul, the great missionary/evangelist and the author of so much of the New Testament.

How different is that story if Ananias says no to God?

Not too long ago one of our VOM staff was in the Middle East at a meeting of Syrian church leaders. They were talking about this very passage. Some of these believers minister in the city of Damascus. For them it is very easy to see Ananias’ side of the story. They talked about that very situation. What if a guy from Islamic State (IS) calls and says he wants to meet? What if a fighter from Al-Nusra Front comes in the door of your church? “I have had a vision of Jesus and I need to meet with you to learn more.” What would these Syrian Christians do? What would we do?

Our Syrian brothers and sisters talked about that. Would they go to meet with a sworn enemy of the Gospel? One-by-one they shared that it would be difficult, it would be scary, but that if they felt God calling them to go, they would go in spite of the risks. I am thankful for the example of Ananias who was willing to reach out and touch and call “Brother” someone who had been an enemy. And I am thankful for Syrian Christians who are willing to take that risk today. It is thrilling to know that God is reaching into the ranks of terrorists, even IS, and calling people to Himself.

We have had the incredible privilege to share some of those stories right here on The Voice of the Martyrs Radio. But those new believers, those Sauls, need an Ananias to help connect them to the truth and to a body of believers, and that is not an easy job. There is a lot of risk.

But it isn’t just former IS fighters that need an Ananias, it is people coming to Christ where you live, where I live; our neighbours, co-workers, students at our children’s school. I hope that you will pray with me that God will reach more Sauls among radical Muslim groups and also raise up more Ananiases to disciple and teach them. I hope we will pray that we can be an Ananias for someone who needs a friendly face and a welcoming smile as they choose to follow Jesus Christ.

These comments were a part of a VOM Radio episode.

Todd Nettleton works for VOM USA as media spokesperson.

LAOS: Two Christians Arrested for “Spreading the Faith”

LAOS: Two Christians Arrested for “Spreading the Faith”

Two Christians in central Laos have been detained on charges of “spreading the faith.”

Bountheung Phetsomphone, 43, and Neuy, 40, who are both married with three children each, are being held in jail in Khounkham in Khammouane province. They were arrested on 2 September during a lunch visit to a family in Nong-hang village. Five police agents raided the home, apparently after a tip-off from local officials.

Local sources say that police in Khounkham have been monitoring Christian activities closely for several years due to concerns over the church growth. Bountheung and Neuy are reported to have brought hundreds of people to Christ through their witness.

Christians make up just 2% of the population in this communist country.

Sources: AsiaNews, Release International

 Prayer Points

  • Please pray for the immediate release of Bountheung and Neuy. Pray His ministering Spirit would be with them both to give them the strength to persevere and stay faithful.
  • Praise God for their powerful witness and for the way He has worked through them to bring many to Christ.
  • Pray for local officials who oppose Christians in this area of central Laos. Pray that they too will be touched by the Holy Spirit in the same way that Saul was (Acts 9).

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LAOS: Pray for Shua, Beaten and Robbed

 

 

LAOS: Pray for Shua, Beaten and Robbed

LAOS: Pray for Shua, Beaten and Robbed

Since accepting Christ three years ago, ‘Shua,’ a poor Khmu Christian, has been beaten many times. Most recently, someone in his rural village poisoned his two pigs, his only property of value.

“All the people of his village hate him and the 20 other Christians in the village,” said a VOM partner. Despite his losses, Shua continues to share the Gospel.

Three months after losing his pigs, Shua reported that he had led six people to the Lord and four other believers had been baptised.

Shua’s village is an eight-hour journey from the main road, and it’s hard for him to fellowship with other believers. Although life in his village is difficult, Shua remains faithful to Christ.

Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA

Prayer Points
• Thank the Lord for Shua’s bold, evangelical spirit and his faithful desire to serve Him.
• Ask God to provide for his needs, including the opportunity to fellowship with other Christians.
• Ask the Lord to guide and strengthen the new converts in faith; pray for those in the area who currently oppose the Gospel.

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PAKISTAN: Pray for a Muslim Leader Studying the Bible

PAKISTAN: Pray for a Muslim Leader Studying the Bible

A VOM partner asks that we pray for a mosque leader in Pakistan who started a Bible study course two months ago. ‘Mohammed’ is a respected Muslim leader who teaches the Koran to children.

He told Christian workers that he feels no peace in his life and that he has many problems. The believers told Mohammed that he needs Jesus. They gave him Christian books and a copy of the ‘Jesus’ film.

Two days later, he told the Christian workers that he had shown the movie to his entire family and that they all enjoyed it.

Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA

Prayer Points

  • Pray for Mohammed and his family; ask the Holy Spirit to fully reveal the truth of the Gospel to them so they may experience its transforming power.
  • Pray the Lord will continue to grant further opportunities to the evangelistic team. Pray the Lord may bear much fruit through them. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out more workers in Pakistan (Matthew 9:38).
  • Pray that many Muslims in Pakistan who feel unsatisfied or disillusioned by Islam will come to find rest in Jesus.

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