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Archive for the ‘Mission’ Category

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Between 1998 and 2007, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was ravaged by violent conflicts as tribal warlords and invading rebel armies fought over the country’s rich mineral resources needed by international corporations for the manufacturing of electronic products in cellphones, computers, and cars.

Over six million people died from these conflicts and from malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia, and malnutrition brought on by war conditions. Even today there are still some 1.5 million Congolese who have been displaced or are in refugee camps.

The Evangelical Church—co-pastored by Rev. James Byensi who oversees more than 1,400 churches in Central Africa—is at the forefront of efforts to rebuild communities, resolve conflicts, reconcile enemies, train pastors, teachers, and Christian leaders, and teach good governance to business owners and political leaders, especially in fighting corruption and injustice.

In July—thanks to God and generous friends who donated money on my behalf—I’ll be part of a mission team that will travel to the DRC to work with the Evangelical Church to help individuals develop small businesses through training and micro financing, and by providing a variety of local leaders with advanced training in healthcare, nutrition, and K-12 education.

My role will be to use my background in teaching and curriculum development to train and encourage high-school teachers trying to rebuild their school system shattered by civil war. Many of them are not much older than the disinterested pupils they are trying to teach, and some of the teachers and pupils were once forced by warlords to become child soldiers during the war.

Please keep us in your prayers as we join the Evangelical Church to bring about reconciliation and rebuild the communities of Bunia and Butembo in the DRC.

And please click  the following link to view my photo essay on the Congo.

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Sometimes our minds go numb or blank when faced with staggering statistics. For example, according to UNICEF, there are over 150 million destitute and exploited children in South Asia, some as young as four years old, who are forced to work in the most deplorable and inhuman conditions.

Does that information concern or affect you?

Probably not, especially if you live in relative comfort and safety and have no personal reference to India or other South Asian countries through which to filter that information.

Imagine, then, that you’re so poor and destitute that you’re forced to hand over—or sell into slavery—your young son or daughter to beg, labor in a hazardous sweat shop, factory, pickpocket ring, or to be used and abused by sex traffickers.

Still can’t imagine that scenario?

Then let’s journey to Calcutta through the eyes and camera lens of Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman who spent over two years there making the Oscar-winning documentary about children living in the slum brothels of that city.

Get to know eight of these children through the love and compassion of Zana, a British photographer and filmmaker who taught them the art of photography and tried to inspire in them hope for a better future beyond the brothels.

Capture their excitement as they learn to use their cameras to see beyond the grime and poverty of their environment and to experience the joy at seeing their photographs displayed in galleries in New York and Amsterdam.

But agonize with them as you see the forces of evil that would try to keep them from getting out of the slums and the brothels, even forces such as their own mothers who want the girls to join them in prostitution.

I encourage you to take the time to watch this documentary, Born into Brothels, (rated R) and meet these boys and girls—Kochi, Shanti, Avijit, Suchitra, Manik, Gour, Puja, and Tapasi.

*****

If you watched the stories of these eight children to the end, I hope that you are moved enough to want to do something about the plight of children like them. While we cannot make an impact on the 150 million children in crisis as a whole, we can begin to change individual lives—one at a time.

That’s why I’d like to introduce you to GFA Bridge of Hope, the children’s outreach ministry of Gospel for Asia International. This ministry is improving the lives of South Asia’s poorest children through education, physical assistance, and the Good News of Jesus.

Gospel for Asia International has been able to rescue over 60,000 children from a life of bondage and enroll them in more than 480 GFA Bridge of Hope Centers throughout South Asia. Their goal is to minister to at least 500,000 children within a few short years.

Here’s how you can help:

1. Log on to the GFA Bridge of Hope website at http://nolongeraslumdog.org, and learn how this ministry is transforming the lives of children, their families, and their communities. View the various video clips that tell the stories of some of the children, and while you are on the website, order your free copy of No Longer a Slumdog: Bringing Hope to Children in Crisis, the book that features incredible stories of children who are finding new lives and transformation through the ministry of GFA Bridge of Hope.Screen Shot 2013-06-10 at 10.47.43 AM

You can also log on to the Gospel for Asia website at http://www.gfa.org and get a more comprehensive view and scope of this multifaceted ministry. Explore the pages, links, photos, and videos, and get to know K.P. Yohannan, the founder of the ministry, and the amazing work that he and thousands of his national missionaries are doing throughout South Asia.

2. As you view these two websites, please pray and consider whether God is leading you to support this ministry among the children of South Asia.

Help by sponsoring a child:

You can sponsor a child by giving $35 a month for that child to attend a Bridge of Hope Center where he or she will get everything needed for a better future—education, school supplies, a daily meal, medical checkups, and Christian nurturing. 100% of your sponsorship is sent to the field to support the child that you choose.

I hope that you will join me in supporting through our sponsorship this dynamic ministry of Gospel for Asia, especially GFA Bridge of Hope and its redeeming work with children in crisis.

Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me . . . Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.“ –Jesus, Matthew 18:5; 19:14

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