During the mid-morning hours on May 26, south of Cairo, Egypt, two buses carrying Coptic Christians were attacked by suspected ISIS militants. They were headed to a monastery for worship and prayer, in celebration of the Egyptian festival of Miriam. The masked gunmen opened fire using automatic weapons killing at least 28 innocent worshippers, many of whom were children.
This was the most recent in a series of horrific terrorist attacks on Egyptian Christians, and Jihadists threaten even more attacks in the future. These faithful Believers have shown undaunted courage and commitment to the Lord in the midst of unimaginable persecution. After the attack, friends and family members of the victims were heard in the hospitals chanting that they would willingly sacrifice their lives for their faith.
Do we have that same passion for what we believe? What an incredible example they are to us as they continue to worship and serve the Lord even as their lives are threatened daily.
Our Egyptian team was ministering at that same location, sharing the love of Christ with “background” Christians and Muslims. These buses were attacked right outside the compound. This is a reminder of the dangers our teams face every day.
As a result of our team’s outreach, around 1500 people were able to hear the Gospel. We’re still getting reports back on how many responded. Thank you for continuing to lift up these brothers and sisters in prayer as they face oppression most of us will never experience or even be able to comprehend. This is part of our Global Church Planting Initiative in action.
The overwhelming response most of us have to what’s happening in the Middle East is, “I’m just thankful it’s there and not here, and besides, this crisis is too huge; anything I do won’t matter!” While this is, at first glance, a normal response, the fact is, we as Christians have seven reasons to care:
Disturbing facts: There are 3.4 million displaced Iraqis (refugees) and 6 million displaced Syrians within their own borders, and this crisis isn’t going anywhere. This doesn’t take into account refugees scattered world-wide. Although estimates vary on exact numbers, this humanitarian crisis presents Believers with unprecedented opportunities. So, why and how exactly, SHOULD we as the Body of Christ care?
- Christ reminds us that how we treat others in crisis matters, “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ ” Matt. 25:40
- We are to “…do to others what you would have them do to you…” Matt. 7:12. How would you want the world at large to respond to you and your family as refugees?
- Our actions influence non-believers as they see our faith in action or not in action; “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” I Peter 2:12
- Christ is our example; he went out of his way to heal the helpless, sick, and abandoned of society. He didn’t find them repulsive or a bother.
- While we can’t help all the refugees in this enormous crisis, what we know to do and can do, we should do as unto the Lord. Col. 3:17
- We, the Church, should set the better example by caring the most, helping the most; more than the secular relief sector. Working with the local, national Church to distribute aid to refugees strengthens the national Church’s position within their local community. When our teams give out relief, the Gospel is shared. Refugees have time on their hands and are willing to listen to the one who is helping their family with more than words.
- Beyond relief aid, there are sustainable helps (English classes, job training, small business opportunities, etc.) that are helping more and more refugees to get OUT of the refugee status, back to work and back home. Indigenous Ministries is focused on both: relief aid and long term solutions.
We cannot out-give God; trust Him to meet needs as you pray for and help the refugees through the national Church. Our teams visit refugee camps and give out food and supplies as we are able to send resources. Donate online. Thank you on behalf of those who can’t say it to you.
With growing restrictions on Christians in India, our ministry’s Children’s Home is no longer able to receive foreign funds. While not all child sponsoring entities in India have received this restriction, several well known international organizations such as Compassion International have. In a heart-breaking decision, Indigenous Ministries has notified our faithful child sponsors that we are unable to continue to sponsor the children in our Children’s Home. We’ve given our sponsors the option to transfer their sponsorship to IM’s other fields: The Philippines or Egypt.
Our national staff managing the Children’s Home has vowed to keep the home open through local support, and we continue to pray for the Lord’s direction, protection and provision, as this is a challenging transition. At the core of our ministry is the word “Indigenous,” meaning, that this ministry is centered around those rooted in their own country; and at this time the Lord seems to have directed that this ministry moved into the nationals’ hands quicker than we had originally planned.
India’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) strengthened its position in this year’s February and March elections. No friend to Christians, the BJP party seems to be pushing ahead toward a “Hindu-only” India. World Watch Monitor March 22, 2017’s online article stated, “Perhaps no change within the BJP party; observers, however expect that the results will embolden the party to even more vigorously pursue its Hindu nationalist agenda, increasing the pressure on minority groups. …The BJP-led government could be in position to introduce laws to enact an “anti-conversion law” (already proposed) at the national level. Currently five states already have an anti-conversion law in place: Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.” The largest democracy in the world, India touts religious freedom; her tricolor flag echoes that foundational declaration: green stands for Islam, white for Christianity and saffron for Hinduism.
What is our response? Watchful prayer. Pray for the Church in India and the Believers who have the ability to speak into this intrusion into religious freedom through the proper governmental channels. No matter what happens, God is in control.
Support Grace Bible College: Indigenous Ministries continues to train national young people through our Grace Bible College (IM has full government permission to continue to support GBC) to minister to Indians with the Gospel. Pray for and give generously to keep this school moving ahead.
Email sponsorships@IndigenousMinistries.org with questions, or to find out how to sponsor a GBC student.
Grace Bible College is preparing for the start of the 2017-2018 school year the first week of July, and although the faculty, staff and student body are very excited, we’re concerned that the library and classroom building is not completed. We’re asking the Lord for the resources needed to wrap this up.
GBC library fund still needed: $25,200
This amount will complete the building including the finishing details (fans, lights, etc.) and purchase the library shelves and student desk/chair sets (see below).
As you donate online please select the “GBC Building Fund.” Thank you in advance for your generous gifts which will prepare GBC to receive students in just a few short weeks!
We urgently need your help to make this happen. We trust the Lord for His provision through the prayers and gifts of our ministry partners.