As persecution increases, so does the distribution of Scripture

biblia 7

If you live in the West you might think the Church is in decline, but more printed Bibles were distributed by United Bible Societies last year than ever before. 32.1 million Bibles were distributed across the world in 2011 – an increase of 11.2% over 2010.

Total Scripture distribution, 2009-2011

It is the first time that the number of Bibles distributed by Bible Societies has exceeded 30 million in a single year. And these figures do not include Bibles in other formats, such as audio or digital, which are rapidly growing in importance and will soon become the main channels for Bible distribution.

The biggest growth was seen in Africa and the Americas, where 3.6 million more Bibles were distributed last year than in 2010. Bible distribution in Europe and the Middle East rose by a modest 2.7%, but fell by 4.2% in Asia Pacific.

The majority of the Bibles we distributed were in the world’s major international languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swahili.

biblia 6Report from Christian Today. Photo credit www.unitedbiblesocieties.org

The United Bible Society has reported a sharp increase in the number of Christian Scriptures distributed in some of the countries where believers suffer the highest levels of persecution. Statistics suggest that Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world and Baroness Warsi made headlines recently when she warned that Christianity could be wiped out in the Middle East.

However, recent figures released from Bible Societies around the world indicate that more Christian Scriptures were distributed than ever before in 2012. Global Scripture distribution rose from just over 381 million in 2011 to more than 405 million in 2012; an increase of 6%. Of the 405 million distributed, 32.1 million were whole Bibles, which matched 2011’s record-breaking year of Bible distribution.

Surprisingly, the highest increase was in Syria, which is facing huge humanitarian crises as a result of ongoing conflict across the country. Despite this, over eight times more Scriptures were distributed by the Bible Society, through a network of church volunteers, in 2012 than 2011; 163,000 in total last year. „Christians in Syria are under enormous pressure and are in great need of encouragement,” said Mike Bassous, General Secretary of the Lebanon Bible Society, which oversees Bible Society work in Syria. „Staff in Syria are working hard to produce enough Scriptures to meet these needs.”

There has been a similar substantial increase in the distribution of Scripture in Iraq, which borders Syria to the east. Although only 330,000 Christians remain in Iraq, following a mass exodus of believers as a result of increasing persecution, more than 66,000 items of Scripture were distributed in 2012, a 57% increase on the previous year.

Similar reports are coming from countries such as Egypt, India, Laos and Nigeria, which, along with Syria and Iraq, and among those suffering some of the highest levels of persecution according to Open Doors.

United Bible Societies Director General Michael Perreau says that he is greatly encouraged by the continued growth in demand for Scriptures, particularly in countries where Christians are under increasing pressure. „With rising persecution of Christians in certain parts of the world, and increasing secularisation in others, it is encouraging and heartwarming to see that God’s Word is more sought after and cherished than ever before,” he observes. He noted that there has also been „a huge boost” in digital access to Scripture, which is particularly helpful in countries where it is dangerous to read printed Christian literature.

Mr Perreau asked that Christians around the world would pray for the protection and blessing of those who undertake the dangerous task of distributing Scriptures in persecuted countries, and for everyone who encounters God’s Holy Word.

Reclame

Creștinii Uciși in Sadad, Syria (noi detalii si video) – Individual Stories of Persecution: The UNSPEAKABLE crimes committed against the Christians of Sadad, Syria (News Report Video)

Funeral family of 6 executed Sadad SyriaFuneral – Family of 6 executed in Sadad – The bodies of six family members were found in a well in Sadad: Matanios El Sheikh, 85, his wife, Habsah, 75, their daughter, Njala, 45, their grandsons Ranim, 18, and Fadi, 16, and the boys’ paternal grandmother, Mariam, 90. The city of Sadad lies between Damascus and Homs and is mentioned in the books of Numbers and Ezekiel in the Bible.

Inmormântarea familiei creștină- toti cei 6 membri ai familiei au fost impușcati in cap in Sadad. Vezi numele lor si vârsta sub poză. Orașul Sadad, unde a fost savârșit masacrul este așezat intre Damasc și Homs și este mentionat in Biblie in cartile Ezekiel si Numeri.

ROMANIAN:

In acest video, jurnaliștii sirieni raportează din orașul Sadad, după masacrul din 21 Octombrie. Sadad este un oras unde majoritatea locuitorilor sunt creștini.  Intr-una din case, toti cei 6 membri ai familiei au fost legați si impușcați in cap, iar apoi aruncați in fântâna din curtea domiciliului. O alta femeie a ales și ea sa nu fugă din Sadad, deși putea sa plece cu cei doi fii ai ei. Motivul de a  rămâne in Sadad? Avea o soacră handicapată și astfel au rămas și  cei doi părinți ai femeii cu ea. Toți 4 au fost omorâti și aruncati in fântâna. In total, 45 de civili au fost martirizați, inclusiv femei, copii și bărbați.

Stirea: Masacru asupra creștinilor din Sadad- 21 octombrie 2013 a fost o zi neagră pentru creștinii din Sadad (Siria). Orașul a fost asediat de islamiști, care au ucis orbește zeci de creștini, aruncându-i apoi în gropi comune. Arhiepiscopul ortodox sirian Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh a calificat atacul drept „cel mai grav și cel mai mare masacru al creștinilor din Siria, din ultimii doi ani și jumătate.”

Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh, care slujește ca mitropolit de Homs și Hama relata pentru presă că numai pe 21 octombrie, la Sadad, „peste 45 de civili nevinovați, printre care copii și femei, au fost martirizați fără niciun motiv, mulți fiind apoi aruncați în gropi comune.”

Orașul Sadad, o așezare mică situată la circa 100 de kilometri de Damasc, a fost timp de o săptămână scena unor lupte de o cruzime fără precedent. „Timp de o săptămână, 1.500 de familii, cu copii şi persoane în vârstă, au fost luate ostatice şi folosite ca scuturi umane. Aproximativ 2.500 de familii au reuşit să fugă din Sadad, în prezent fiind refugiaţi la Damasc, Homs, Fayrouza, Zaydal, Maskane şi Al- Fhayle,” relata arhiepiscopul sirian, pentru theorthodoxchurch.info. Orașul cu circa 15.000 de locuitori a fost aproape complet distrus. Jafurile nu au ocolit nici măcar bisericile, școlile sau clădirile publice. Inclusiv spitalul local a fost o țintă a atacatorilor.

Declarația arhiepiscopului continuă tulburător bilanțul: „3.000 de oameni au fost luați ostatici iar noi am strigat pentru ajutor și nimeni nu ne-a auzit, cu excepția minorităților care ne-au ajutat și care au fost solidare. Unde este conștiința creștină? Unde este conștiința Siriană? Unde este conștiința umană? Unde sunt frații noștri, mitropoliții, preoții și prietenii? Unde?! Unde? Și niciun răspuns… Cu câteva excepții. Am un nod un gât și inima îmi arde pentru toate câte s-au petrecut în eparhia mea și bieții oameni care au căutat refugiu, plecând apoi cu mâinile goale… Unde vor merge de acolo, nu știu…. Rugați-vă pentru noi!”

Procentul creștinilor din Siria a scăzut în prezent la 10%, pe fondul persecuțiilor intense la care sunt supuși. Citeste mai mult aici – Semnele Timpului

ENGLISH:

Syrian News Report, closed-captioned in English. Some disturbing bits from the video:

-a family of 6 members, Sadad city in the countryside of Homs, terrorists carried out against them the ugliest methods of killing. After tying their hands and gagging their mouths, they shot them in the head. Then, they threw their bodies in an old well, beside the house to hide their hatred for humanity and for life.

-one martyred woman was (would have been) able to flee with her two sons, but she refused to leave her old handicapped mother in law, and her own parents, they were not able to go to a secure place. Man to reporter: After a couple of days of ‘the attack’, we found traces of blood on the well. We were shocked. They were killed and dropped into the well and covered with dirt. With the help of civil defense, we were able to remove the dirt thrown over them (their bodies), we were shocked to find (uncover) this big massacre. They threw over them stuff, to cover their ugly crime.

-reporter: words fail to describe…

-a woman to the reporter: ‘An ugly massacre before the eyes of the whole (of) humanity. Where is the humanity in (of) the world? Does (the) humanity of the world accept this crime?

-warning, please use discretion: In the first minute, there is some graphic footage of a dead body being pulled out of one well.

45 Syrian Christians massacred

The „most serious and biggest massacre of Christians in Syria” in which 45 people were killed and 1,500 families held hostage has been reported by the Syrian Orthodox Metropolitan of Homs and Hama.

It happened during the week following 21 October in the ancient Christian town of Sadad, which lies about 100 miles north-east of Damascus, after it was invaded by anti-Assad Islamist militias and before the Syrian army retook the town. Archbishop Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh said: „Forty-five innocent civilians were martyred for no reason, and among them several women and children, and many were thrown into mass graves.” Thirty more civilians were wounded and 10 are still missing. Around 1,500 families were held as hostages and human shields against the incoming government forces, and 2,500 others fled the town at gunpoint with only the clothes they were wearing.
The archbishop, who conducted the funeral services last week amid grief and outrage, lamented that the outside world has done little to help suffering Syrians. „We have shouted ‘help us’ to the world but no one has listened to us. Where is the Christian conscience? Where is human consciousness? Where are my brothers?”

Church sources told the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) that civilians unable to escape – including the elderly, disabled, women and children – were subjected to torture such as strangulation.

The bodies of six family members were found in a well in Sadad: Matanios El Sheikh, 85, his wife, Habsah, 75, their daughter, Njala, 45, their grandsons Ranim, 18, and Fadi, 16, and the boys’ paternal grandmother, Mariam, 90. The Damascus-based Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregory III said to ACN: „How can somebody do such inhumane and bestial things to an elderly couple and their family?” He added: „I do not understand why the world does not raise its voice against such acts of brutality.”

Sadad lies between Damascus and Homs and is mentioned in the books of Numbers and Ezekiel in the Bible. Most of its population of 15,000 people are Syriac Orthodox and it is home to 14 churches, a monastery, temples, historic landmarks and archaeological sites.

Most of these have been destroyed and looted, especially the Syriac Orthodox Church of St Theodore which the Wahhabi terrorists from al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra (Nusra Front) used as a base.

The archbishop said houses have been looted „and schools, government buildings, municipal buildings have been destroyed, along with the post office, the hospital and the clinic”.

Early yesterday morning in Damascus the Holy See’s nunciature was hit by mortar fire, causing slight structural damage to its roof. Archbishop Mario Zenario, the papal nuncio, confirmed that the 6.35 a.m. blast did not cause any injuries. It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the attack or if the building had been specifically targeted. The Syrian Government, the UN and many other nations pledged their solidarity with the Pope’s envoy.

Source http://www.thetablet.co.uk/

Trinity Symposia Livestream November 13 – The Un(der)told Story: The Muslim Brotherhood’s Jihad Against the Coptic Church

Open to the public. Livestream here.

WHEN
November 13
7:00 – 8:30 P.M.
Respondent: Maher Matiewh

WHERE
Hinkson Hall

Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
2065 Half Day Road, Deerfield, IL 60015
Get driving directions here:
http://www.campusexplorer.com/colleges

(Photo credit Trinity Evangelical Divinity School Facebook Page)

Our political emissaries and Western media generally have presented the recent unrest in Egypt as a military coup that threatens to undo democracy. This narrative, however, stands on a false presentation of the Muslim Brotherhood.

In this lecture, foreign policy expert and long time Egyptian resident Raymond Stock will offer the untold story: The Muslim Brotherhood is a fanatical group born in Egypt in 1928, which is dedicated to subjugating all Christians, killing all Jews and conquering the earth for Islam. Radical Islamists have been “cleansing” Christians from most of the Middle East for the past decade, and this has intensified, in scale and force, in Egypt since the July removal of President Mohamed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood leader. The group and its Salafi allies are waging jihad against the Copts, the world’s oldest Christian community. Learn more about how this has happened and how Christians can respond.

Iran – Four Christians Sentenced To 80 Lashes For Drinking Communion Wine – 4 barbati au primit 80 de bice pentru vinul baut la cina (impartasanie)

Photo credit http://www.malaysiandigest.com

ROMANIAN:

Cei patru barbati Bărbații au fost arestați într-o casă de rugăciune în luna decembrie a anului trecut și au fost acuzați pentru consum de alcool, ceea ce violează legea islamică. Bărbații și-au primit pedeapsa (sentinta) pe 6 octombrie, în contextul în care Organizația Națiunilor Unite tocmai a criticat republica islamică pentru sistemul de persecuție al non-musulmanilor, într-un raport despre drepturile omului.

Regimul Iranian a făcut o prioritate din oprirea răspândirii creștinismului, care este o amenințare la adresa majorității șiiților ultra-ortodocși din Iran. În ciuda declarațiilor de pace profesate de noul președinte ale Iranului, care consideră despre sine că este un moderat, „raportul ne amintește de adevărata natură a regimului iranian unde abuzul asupra drepturilor omului continuă,” a declarat senatorul american Mark Kirk, pentru Fox News.

Alireza Miryousefi, purtător de cuvânt al misiunii iraniene la ONU nu a comentat asupra acestui raport, dar guvernul a acuzat că nu este obiectiv. Conform agenției de presă a statului, Press TV, raportul nu a ținut seama de sistemul legal și cultura islamică și consideră „orice din Vest ca standard internațional pentru întreaga lume”, citează Fox News.

IN ENGLISH:

FOUR Christians in Iran will get 80 lashes each for drinking wine during a communion service and possessing a satellite antenna.

The charges come as a United Nations report criticised the Islamic republic for persecuting non-Muslims.

Behzad Taalipasand, Mehdi Reza Omidi (Youhan), Mehdi Dadkhah (Danial) and Amir Hatemi (Youhanna) were arrested during in a house church in December. Taalipasand and Omidi were detained during the Iranian government’s crackdown on house churches according to the Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

The men were sentenced on October 6 and given their verdict on October 20 with ten days to appeal the sentence after breaking the theocracy’s laws.

Mervyn Thomas, Chief Executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), said: ‘The sentences handed down to these members of the Church of Iran effectively criminalise the Christian sacrament of sharing in the Lord’s Supper and constitute an unacceptable infringement on the right to practice faith freely and peaceably.

‘We urge the Iranian authorities to ensure that the nation’s legal practices and procedures do not contradict its international obligation under the International Convent on Civil and Political Rights to guarantee the full enjoyment of freedom of religion or belief by all of its religious communities.’

The death penalty is among the punishments for those who convert from Islam to Christianity.

Ahmed Shaheed, UN special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, said that it is common practice for Christians to be punished for violating theocratic laws, despite promises from president Hasan Rouhani’s to scale back the harsh treatment.

In the UN report he wrote: ‘At least 20 Christians were in custody in July 2013. In addition, violations of the rights of Christians, particularly those belonging to evangelical Protestant groups, many of whom are converts, who proselytize to and serve Iranian Christians of Muslim background, continue to be reported.’

In response to the report, the Iranian government criticised Dr Shaheed’s findings.

According to the country’s state-controlled Press TV, an official from the UN mission said Dr Shaheed ‘has not paid sufficient notice to Iran’s legal system and Islamic culture and considers whatever he sees in the West as an international standard for the entire world’.

The Iranian government has cracked down on religious freedom in a bid to stop the increase of Christianity, seeing it as a threat to the country’s majority ultra-orthodox Shiite Islamic religion.

An estimated 370,000 Christians live in Iran according to the latest report from the US State Department.

The UN reported continued: ‘[Iran’s] authorities continue to compel licensed Protestant churches to restrict Persian-speaking and Muslim-born Iranians from participating in services, and raids and forced closures of house churches are ongoing.

‘More than 300 Christians have been arrested since 2010, and dozens of church leaders and active community members have reportedly been convicted of national security crimes in connection with church activities, such as organizing prayer groups, proselytizing and attending Christian seminars abroad.’

According to Foxnews.com, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), chairman and founder of the Iran Dissident Awareness Program, said: ‘Despite the recent Iranian charm offensive, Dr Shaheed’s report reminds us of the true nature of the Iranian regime where the abuse of human rights continue.’

– Alex Ward / Daily Mail UK
http://www.dailymail.co.uk cu traducere prin http://semneletimpului.ro

Related articles / Citeste mai multe detalii aici (in L. Engleza):

Forbidden Peace: Can a Palestinian forgive an Israeli?

An Israeli soldier buys from Palestinian child...

What would make a Palestinian man, who hated Jews with a passion, embrace a former Israeli soldier as his brother? Why would an Israeli woman, whose son was brutally attacked, look at his assailants with forgiveness in her eyes?

How is it possible that in one of the world’s most volatile regions, a small group of Israeli and Palestinian children play together, unaware that they should be enemies?

VIDEOS by ekai92

JERUSALEM, the movie, finally coming to an Imax theatre near some of you September – November 2013 + London Jan. 2014

JERUSALEM TRAILER

Below, you can find out if the movie is playing in your city.

About the Movie: Through the unrivaled beauty and visceral nature of the IMAX® experience, JERUSALEM seeks to increase public understanding and appreciation for Jerusalem’s historical, spiritual, cultural and artistic uniqueness, as well as highlighting some of the intersections between Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Photos courtesy of Jerusalem the movie (via email announcement <info@jerusalemthemovie.com>)

Jerusalem the Movie 1

Jerusalem the Movie 2

David Platt will Host a Simulcast Seminar in Middle East: Follow Me – the Cost of Discipleship

via http://gospelherald.com map of Middle East via google maps

Platt DavidDavid Platt, pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Alabama and best-selling author, will host a free simulcast from the Middle East on the cost of discipleship. He released “Follow Me: A Call to Die, A Call to Live” in February, a book which portrays the all-consuming call of Christ for His disciples to follow Him (see Matthew 16:24-25).

Platt will be teaching from an undisclosed location in the Middle East, where sharing the Gospel often means risking persecution and even death in Muslim-dominated regions. He invites believers worldwide to gather together in homes or at church venues to study the cost of discipleship with him, something that he believes is often lost in a culture where Christianity is commonplace. “Scores of men, women, and children have been told that becoming a follower of Jesus simply involves believing certain truths or saying certain words. As a result, churches today are filled with people who believe they are Christians . . . but aren’t. We want to be disciples as long as doing so does not intrude on our lifestyles,” says the product description for his book. Platt also conductsSecret Church, where believers gather together by simulcast to learn fire-hydrant-style teaching for six hours in one evening, with the goal of becoming equipped to teach what they have learned to others.

In a video about the upcoming seminar, Platt said, “The more we think about what it means to follow Christ … the more we’re in tune with His word … His desires … the more we’re going to find ourselves going against the grain of culture in so many different ways … the more we’re following Christ, the more costly it will be … but the more rewarding it will be.” He quoted Galatians 2:20a, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ Who lives in me.”

Read the entire article here http://gospelherald.com

Darrell Bock – How to Build Relationships with Muslims and Life as a Woman in the Context of Islam

Middle-East-mapVIDEOS by dallasseminary

Dr. Darrell Bock and „Miriam” discuss life in the context of Islam, focusing on her spiritual journey from Islam to Christianity. Miriam’s voice is digitally rearranged in order to protect her identity.

Growing up in the Middle East

01:56 Miriam shares what it was like growing up in the Middle East
07:55 How Muslims view the days of the week
12:55 American stereotypes of Muslims
14:28 The kinds of Muslims around the world
16:30 Life in the United States vs. life in the Middle East
19:16 Contrasting religious Muslims and secular Muslims

How to Build Relationships with Muslims

00:12 Identity and religion in the Middle East
02:30 Different branches of Islam
04:32 Honesty and terrorism in Islam
11:05 Miriam’s spiritual journey from Islam to Christianity
16:39 Miriam’s ministry to Muslims in the United States
17:18 Advice on interacting with Muslim people

Life as a Woman in the Context of Islam

 

Living and ministering in the Middle East – Conversion and Persecution and Westerner’s most common misconceptions about Islam

Photo via thechristians.com

From DALLAS THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY – In the first video, Dr. Darrell Bock interviews Rev. Fikret Bocek and „Anna” about their experiences living and ministering in the Middle East, including their experiences with coming to Christ out of a Muslim context, religious persecution and cultural engagement. https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-table-podcast-audio/id586379713

All 3 VIDEOS by dallasseminary

Conversion and Persecution in a Muslim Setting

In this second video: Dr. Darrell Bock interviews Rev. Fikret Bocek and „Anna” about their experiences living and ministering in the Middle East, focusing on religious persecution, their personal conversions from Islam to Christianity, and features of Islamic faith to understand.

http://www.dts.edu/thetable/play/conv…

01:36 Rev. Bocek explains his ministry and how he came to Christ

11:28 Anna explains how she came to Christ in a mixed family
http://www.dts.edu/thetable/play/conv…

18:10 Comparing the Gnostic and Muslim views of Jesus’ crucifixion
http://www.dts.edu/thetable/play/conv…

19:34 Rev. Bocek describes his experience with religious persecution
http://www.dts.edu/thetable/play/conv…

27:62 Anna describes her experience with religious persecution

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/t…

Westerners’ Most Common Misconceptions about Islam

Dr. Darrell Bock interviews Rev. Fikret Bocek and „Anna” about their experiences living and ministering in an Islamic environment, address common misconceptions about Islam, and offer suggestions for cultural engagement with the Muslim world.
http://www.dts.edu/thetable/play/west…

00:00 Anna explains her brothers’ faith journey

05:05 Missionaries martyred in eastern Turkey

11:12 Comparing Sunni and Shiite beliefs
http://www.dts.edu/thetable/play/west…

15:31 Westerners’ misconceptions about Islam
http://www.dts.edu/thetable/play/west…

22:27 Differences between Islamic doctrine, interpretations, and practice

28:15 Permissible lying in jihad

30:45 Advice on engaging Muslims in spiritual conversations
http://www.dts.edu/thetable/play/west…

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/t…

Stiri crestine 25 Mai 2013

alfaomega tv00:00 Razboiul imoptriva crestinilor in Nigeria se extinde si a depasit deja granitele Nigeriei in Mali si Lybia
03:40 Baik Kyung Sam, pastor a unei biserici in zona demilitarizata intre Nord si sud Koreea vorbeste despre crestinism pe peninsula koreeana.
06:45 Atentatul din Boston le aminteste evreilor de atacurile asupra lor de la cea de a 2-a intifada, incepand din 2000 pana in 2004, aproape 1000 de evrei au murit in atacuri si o alta 1000 au fost raniti.
10:20 Maratonul de a citi Biblia in pregatirea pentru Ziua Nationala de Rugaciune la Washington D.C.
11:40 Filmul Oamenii obisnuiti ai lui Angus Bacon
14:00 a 8-a Editie a Conferintei Rugaciune Pentru Israel organizat de studioul AlfaOmegaTV in colaborare cu Exploits ministry si Christians for Israel International in Timisoara.

VIDEO by alfaomegatv   May 25, 2013 http://alfaomega.tv/stiri

Christians are being driven out of Iraq

photo via www.examiner.com

Here is another country doing whatever it takes to achieve 100% Isalmic faith within its borders. Read, also, how Morocco is trying to achieve similar results here- Morocco considers death penalty for apostasy.

The story on Iraq is being reported from http://www.mnnonline.org:

iraqChrist followers in Iraq date back to the first century A.D., making it one of the oldest Christian communities in the world. But today, Christianity in Iraq is under serious threat. Similarly, the wetland marshes, once teeming with flora and fauna, were drained to desert over a decade ago.

What’s more, it seems this attitude is part of a growing trend. Open Doors minister-at-large Paul Estabrooks explains, „The Christians are being told, ‘We want a Muslim-only nation. We do not want any Christians here.’ This is similar to what is going on today in northern Sudan.”

As a result, Christians in Iraq continue to be targets of violent attacks. „When the Iraq war began, Muslim extremists in Baghdad targeted one whole community called Dara, where the Christians lived in Baghdad.” Estabrooks notes, „Today, just about every one of those Christian families has been driven out of the subdivision in which they lived.”

While the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003 may have been a victory for coalition forces, ongoing changes in leadership have been a disaster for Iraqi Christians. Estabrooks says, „As each attack against Christians occurs in recent weeks and days, there are more and more concerns that Christians will continue the exodus.”

Reports from Open Doors field workers indicate anti-Christian sentiment is only growing. „From a city like Mosul, armed men shot a Christian right in front of his home. Another one had a bomb thrown in his yard.” In 2003, there were more than one million Christians in Iraq. A decade later, only a third of this number remain.

The saddest part of this story, says Estabrooks, is the loss of history. Christians have been part of the fabric of Iraqi society since the beginning. During the 7th century, Islam took over and the Christians were hard-pressed, but they survived. That’s what makes this modern day „religicide” a travesty. „Even though they were second class citizens at the time, they were able to survive through the challenges and the pressure of that era (7th century Islam). Now, even these denominations are saying, ‘If more and more Christians keep leaving or get killed, then there will be no Church left in this country.'”

However, there are some church leaders who are not content to sit quietly while the violence decimates their homes. Louis Raphael Sako, the newly-elected Chaldean Catholic patriarch of Iraq and Syria, urges Christians to stay. „We must stay. This is our history. This is our cultural heritage. When we leave, everything will leave with us.” As he reads the field reports, Estabrooks echoes that sentiment. „There’s a sense in which the Salt and Light Christians [bring] must remain there. This is the appeal Christians are making to us for our prayers on their behalf.”

Does intercessory prayer make a difference? It must, says Estabrooks. „It is the only recourse we really have other than giving awareness to the international community of this kind of ‘religious cleansing’ that seems to be going on.”

According to the Open Doors 2013 World Watch List materials, there are only an estimated 330,000 to 350,000 Christians left in Iraq. There were more than 1.2 million Christians in the early 1990s. Many of the believers have fled to Jordan and Lebanon, or to the northern Kurdish region of Iraq. Iraq is ranked No. 4 on the list of the worst persecutors around the globe.

Despite the doom and gloom of this story, it does include a bright note. Dreams and visions of Christ are commonly reported throughout the Middle East and North Africa as the rise of Islam continues. Even as the reports of „religicide” pour in, there are people who are accepting Christ as Savior. Mentoring these new Christians falls on the shoulders of the few church leaders who are left.

The Open Doors ministry in Iraq is coming alongside this remnant and providing trauma counseling, biblical training for church leaders and Muslim-Background Believers, distribution of Bibles and Christian literature, community development projects, and working with Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs) in Kurdistan.

Remember the comparison we made at the beginning of this story? Recently, an Iraqi civil engineer came back to the wetlands and organized a careful breech of the dams that diverted the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates. Within months, the desert landscape was teeming with life, seeds sprouting from a dry land nearly abandoned to war.

So it is with the seeds of the Church in Iraq.

Muslim Europe: Opportunities for Evangelism

photo via Christianity.com

Dr. Darrell Bock at Dallas Theological Seminary

In Part 1 of this series, Dr. Bock and Dr. Ekholm discuss Dr. Ekholm’s work with refugees in Europe and the opportunities for ministering to Muslims in a Western, secular context.

http://www.dts.edu/thetable/play/musl…
00:00 Dr. Ekholm’s Ministry in Greece
9:05 European Concerns Regarding Open Borders, Immigrants and Refugees
13:57 Dr. Ekholm’s Ministry in the Middle East
18:59 What Draws Muslims to the Gospel?
http://www.dts.edu/thetable/play/musl…
22:11 Issues in Ministering to People From Islamic Backgrounds
http://www.dts.edu/thetable/play/musl…
27:09 Teaching New Believers How to Study the Bible
30:13 Is There a Particular Gospel that Draws Muslims the Most?
http://www.dts.edu/thetable/play/musl…

„We are committed to you as a brother in Christ and we’re not just doing this because this is our job.”

Pray for Christians as Morocco considers death penalty for apostasy

From Mission News Network and Voice of the Martyrs Canada

Morocco considers apostasy rules.

Morocco (MNN) – Morocco’s Islamic council is considering the death penalty for apostasy. Greg Mussleman is a spokesman for the Voice of the Martyrs Canada. He says the mask is off. „It surprises me in one sense, that it has come out, there, that the government is kind of pushing for it. The militants want to eradicate Christianity, or any other religion, and make it 100% Muslim.” Moroccan believers now meet in small groups for fear of persecution. Christians are concerned that if the edict passes, things will be harder for them than they already are. „What happens often is that the more pressure that is put on those pastors, Christians become even more determined in sharing their faith.” Anti-Christian sentiment is growing in the country. „Pray that the church would be strong, that they would see this as an attack against them, but to be reminded that the battle is not against flesh and blood, so it’s not against the government there or even the militant Muslims.”

Let’s teach our families & kids – Saeed Abedini’s Letter from Inside Iran’s Evin Prison

Matthew 5:11-12

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Saeed Abedini’s Letter from Inside Iran’s Evin Prison

Pastor Saeed writes a letter to his wife and supporters. Please share this moving letter from the dark and brutal Evin prison in Iran & sign the petition to #SaveSaeed: Here is his letter, dated February 18- read aloud.

OfficialACLJ

And A Letter from Saeed’s Wife

Naghmeh, Saeed’s wife, reads a letter she has written as she reflects on the time passed since Saeed was arrested in Iran. She asks us to use our voices to make his story heard. Please sign the petition at http://www.SaveSaeed.com, and do all you can to help us #SaveSaeed.

David Platt – What is worth losing everything for?

…I think about two families that we just sent out last month, one to the heart of the middle east, another to the heart of central Asia, both among extremely difficult to reach people groups and one of these husbands tells our church:

„Some of you think that we are being reckless. He’s sitting there with his wife and two young kids, going into the heart of the middle east. Some of you think we are being reckless.” He looked at our church and said, „I think we’re in far greater danger of being safe than reckless in our contemporary christianity.”

And I agree whole heartedly, we do not bow at the altar of safety in this world. We die to self, we die to sin. We risk our lives and this is what it means to follow Him. To follow Jesus is to hold loosely to the things of this world- comfort, careers, possessions, position, family, friends, safety, ourselves to cling tightly to the person of Christ and the mission of His kingdom.

Now, that may sound extreme to some, but, don’t forget who the ‘me’ is here. To leave behind, lay down and abandon everything in your life doesn’t make sense until you realize who Jesus is. But, when you realize who He is, when you realize who Christ the King is, leaving behind, laying down, abandoning everything in our lives is the only thing that makes sense. Right? This is Matthew 13:44- Jesus tells the story of a man walking in the field, stumbles upon a treasure that no one else knows is there. This guy knows, this treasure hidden in the field is worth more than everything I’ve got put together. So what does he do? He covers it back up. He goes and sells everything he has- the text says „with gladness, he sells everything he has.” People come up to him and say, „You’re crazy, what are you doing?” „Sell everything you have, I’m gonna buy that field over there.” „You’re gonna buy that field? You’r nuts”. He smiles, he’s doing this with gladness, he’s abandoning everything with gladness. Why? Why is he smiling? Because he knows he’s found something that is worth losing everything for.

Brothers and sisters, we have found evreything in this King, Someone who is worth losing everything for.

Join the Christians of Iraq in praying for unity of the Church – Week of Prayer Starts January 18

iraq

Mission News Network reporting:

Iraq (MNN) – Yesterday saw the deadliest violence in Iraq since late November. Despite the uptick, Open Doors USA says believers are coming together in Baghdad. Starting tomorrow, Christ-followers from 14 different denominations will gather for a Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

It’s modeled after Christ’s petition in John 17:20-21 – „that they all would be one.” Get your friends to join you in praying for the Church and Iraq and throughout the Middle East.

Read more on the Global Persecution Watch Page

Mai mult

Islamic group forbids tomatoes because when cut a certain way, they display a cross

from the Christian Post: Read it here in Romanian (Click pt. Limba Romana)


A Salafist group from Egypt appears to be trying to retract a post on Facebook that warned that eating tomatoes are „forbidden because they are Christian.”

However, the Muslim traditionalist group, calling themselves the Popular Egyptian Islamic Association, apparently still finds tomatoes offensive if they are cut in such a way that reveals the shape of a cross, according to the Now Lebanon website.

Along with a photo of a tomato cut in half to reveal what could be viewed as a cross, the group originally posted on Facebook: „Eating tomatoes is forbidden because they are Christian. [The tomato] praises the cross instead of Allah and says that Allah is three (a reference to the Trinity).

„[God help us]. I implore you to spread this photo because there is a sister from Palestine who saw the prophet of Allah [Mohammad] in a vision and he was crying, warning his nation against eating them [tomatoes]. If you don’t spread this [message], know that it is the devil who stopped you,” according to a translation by Now Lebanon.

More than 2,700 comments were left under the warning posted 10 days ago, perhaps prompting the association to give this response:

„We didn’t say you can’t eat tomatoes. We said don’t cut it in [such a way that reveals] the cross shape.”

Although many of the comments made on the Facebook post were not suitable for re-publishing, one blogger posting on his blog joked, „Warning! Your salad could be making you into an Infidel!”

There is an estimated 5-6 million Salafis in Egypt. The Salafis are generally considered to be more traditional than other Muslim sects. Last year, a group of hardline Muslims, including Salafis, were responsible for the burning of several Christian churches and businesses in Egypt that later resulted in hundreds of deaths during demonstrations against the destruction.

According to a German domestic intelligence report done in 2010, Salafism is the fastest growing Islamic movement in the world.

A writer for The Blaze categorized most news coming out of the Middle East as „intriguing, bizarre and unceasingly concerning,” but said the forbidden tomatoes story „actually crosses into a comical sphere.”

AlfaOmega reportaj din Israel si Samaria

Din sumarul editiei:

– Locuitorii Israelului s-au obisnuit cu starea de tensiune din tara
– Musulmanii care vand teren la evrei sunt pedepsiti cu moartea
– Israelul incearca sa rezolve problema apei potabile prin uzine de
desalinizare
– Evreii din Samaria construiesc viitorul prin locuri de joaca pentru copii
– Situatia crestinilor din Betleem si Cisiordania este imprevizibila
– Zacamant urias de petrol descoperit in Israel
– Descoperire arheologica in Israel: o baie publica veche de 1600 de ani

ultimele stiri: http://alfaomega.tv/stiri Published on May 14, 2012 by 

Stiri Crestine – Mapamond Crestin editia 408 – 12 mai 2012

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