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The Power of Scripture Shines in Iraq

The pope’s historic visit to Iraq in March presented massive security challenges, with all military and civil security forces taking stringent measures. Soldiers at checkpoints were instructed to seize the cargo of any transport vehicle, and before one major papal event they confiscated local missionaries’ carload of 1,000 Bibles. “The strange thing is that we met several people while walking in the streets carrying the same Bibles that we distribute, and when we asked them, they said that they got them from the checkpoint,” a ministry leader said.

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Victims of Violence in Iraq Find Healing in Christ

A 30-year-old Kurdish woman was one of 6,000 Yazidis seized when ISIS militants invaded Iraq in 2014. Yazidi religion being especially despised by Muslim extremists, over the next three years she was sold to fighters of different factions who raped her and her daughters. When she was freed, her parents did not recognize her.

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Families Fight to Survive in War-Ravaged Syria

Islamic State (ISIS) militants along with other jihadist groups have continued to unleash sporadic assaults in Syria, and more are expected as terrorists escape Kurdish forces trying to confront a Turkish offensive.

In a country engulfed in military carnage for eight years, native missionaries try to calm orphaned children by having them count the seconds between the sound of artillery firing and impact.

When Christian workers in one city met a family who had fled ISIS atrocities in another, they were shocked at how deeply traumatized the displaced Muslims were.

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When the Call of Allah Leads to God’s Son

An influential Shia Muslim leader in a Middle Eastern country heard Allah telling him to go to a majority-Sunni Muslim country to convert Sunnis to Shia Islam – or so he thought.

Zain was well suited to Allah’s call: Soon he had converted a number of Sunni Muslims to Shia Islam.

Somehow, God broke through to him – and his Shia converts. The native missionary who baptized them is still wondering how it all happened.

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War-Scarred Muslims Find Life in Christ

Muslims are still feeling the effects of the Islamic State’s occupation of Mosul from June 2014 to December 2017 after the terrorists killed thousands of civilians, and government forces killed thousands more – civilians fleeing ISIS who were suspected of belonging to the group. Families on both sides of the war who lost their men in the fighting are struggling.

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Secular Jewish Refugees Discover the Living God

A Jewish refugee couple from Russia was not interested in hearing more about Christ after they attended an evangelistic event in Israel, but they did accept an invitation to participate in a marriage seminar. A native ministry based in Israel offered the seminar as part of its effort to meet needs in the community.

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No Baptism Is Routine in Muslim Country

For a government official of a Muslim country to leave Islam was unthinkable. But he decided to secretly put his faith in Christ. Living near a port city, his position had earned him great status and wealth. He had the faith to attend worship services at an established church pastored by the native missionary who led him to Christ, but he didn’t risk baptism.

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Urgent Need to Seize Huge Opportunity

Suppose the Lord found plenty of workers to go into the harvest – and then, before they could bring in anywhere near the full number of the redeemed, they left. That’s the problem a native ministry leader is facing, just as a huge opportunity to bring the gospel to Muslims in Syria has opened up.

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A Muslim’s First-Hand Education in Islam

A staunch Muslim in Iraq who hated Christians had a very personal reason for wanting to learn more about Islam. Mahmod Mohammed* was happy to see the arrival of ISIS in northern Iraq in June 2014. Three months later, ISIS militants seized his home and turned it into a weapons storage site. When he tried to resist, they beat him and took his wife. He never saw her again. Because the militants had a Koranic rationale for everything they did, Mahmod resolved to learn more about Islam.

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Bravery and Sacrifice in the Face of Death

Abdel, a young man in a Middle Eastern country, knew something was wrong when his mother showed up at his apartment with a checkbook in one hand and a burial cloth in the other. It had deeply wounded her when Abdel told her he had left Islam to become a Christian. He knew that embracing Christ would mean being shunned by his family.

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June 30, 2022
A Syrian widow with several children had endured affliction before and after arriving as a refugee in Jordan. Islamic State (ISIS) invaders in Syria had seized her oldest son and, fearing they might take her other children, she and her husband had fled in 2013. Some of her children were able to help her husband in odd jobs he might find on the streets – until he was diagnosed with cancer.
June 23, 2022
A series of murders of children and young women prompted a three-day prayer event in a town in western Kenya. Church members and community leaders were praying for safety when a young man burst in and confessed to raping and killing six young women. The local missionaries and other leaders prayed for deliverance and salvation as the man’s anguished cries drew more people to the meeting tent – including some bent on lynching him and burning his body.
June 16, 2022
Accompanied by police and soldiers, a district official in Laos told Christians in a tribal village that those who refused to renounce Christ would be imprisoned. He was angry that they had refused to heed a prior warning to quit worshiping Christ. “Christianity is a western religion – it cannot be practiced in our country,” he told them. “I will give you one more chance to renounce Christ. If anyone still wants to believe in God, then just raise your hand.”
June 9, 2022
A shaman in Indonesia had quit his life as a robber and drug seller five years ago, but he still had no peace. Deeply troubled, he invited a worker and others from the ministry to his house to talk with him and his family about Christ. When the local missionaries showed up, they found 40 people at the house.
June 2, 2022
A young man in Iraq, Sami, and his father were descended from multiple generations of historic Christians, but during occupation by Islamist militants they had been forcibly converted to Islam. Such converts have trouble showing loyalty to a new caliphate, often refusing to join the fight to establish and expand it. Both men were subjected to torture; Sami told native missionaries in Europe that his father died trying to save him from the militants.
May 26, 2022
Amid conditions that seem to grow more apocalyptic every day, local missionaries in Latin America need either super-human stamina or otherworldly faith. A worker in Bolivia needed true grit to continue reaching out to a young man whose drunken rages had driven his family away. “Every time Pablo got drunk, he went home and hit his wife and children,” the leader of the native ministry said.
May 19, 2022
Local missionaries in Europe are counseling and praying with refugees from Ukraine traumatized by the invasion of their homeland. Besides needing food and other aid, many refugees have suffered the shocks of bombing and artillery fire since Russia invaded in late February. “Pray for their mothers and grandmothers who suffer because they have lost their loved ones, or have their children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters or fathers in the war,” the leader of a local ministry said.
May 12, 2022
Like most refugees from Afghanistan, Gayana lived in a broken, drafty apartment with no means to keep out the winter cold. To keep herself and her small daughter warm, she had taken the last Bibles and other free Christian literature from a stand outside a church in the Middle East with the intention of burning them in her potbelly stove. “My house was cold, and my little girl was cold,” she said. “In the evening, I took the wood and tore off the Bible pages and threw them into the stove, and they started to burn.”
May 5, 2022
Kamal had been raised to become a mosque leader in such a strict Islamic home that his religiosity alienated even other Muslims. But since seeing an online ad stating, “God loves you,” he had been reading the Bible on the internet. The university student was in crisis.
April 28, 2022
Two Christian women told a visiting leader of a native ministry in Vietnam that when they lay in bed at night, they suffered deep dread as they felt the devil’s power – a sensation of cold going from their feet to their heads, cold sweats and uncontrollable shaking. In a country where some tribal people walk on burning coals to demonstrate the power of supernatural evil, the women were desperate for deliverance from demonic attacks. “Please pray for us,” one of the women said. “We don’t know what this is.”
April 21, 2022
In the five years that local missionaries provided aid to Syrian refugees, Zainab often asked why Christians would bother to help Muslims. In his discussions with them in a Middle Eastern country, the Muslim recently insisted the Bible was corrupted by changes over the centuries – but then he had a dream that both excited and horrified him. Having experienced Christ’s love from the local workers, Zainab was eager to tell the ministry leader about the dream.
April 14, 2022
In war-ravaged Burma (Myanmar), violence and the pandemic complicate local ministry efforts at a time when they are most needed. A worker recently told a ministry leader that local missionaries and their families had to flee their homes. “He told me that he was one of three pastors who fled with their families to the forest and stayed at a cave, trying to run to a village where they could stay temporarily,” the leader said. “His son, who was 19 years old, was killed by the terrorists.”
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