THE BUZZ

AUSTRALIA
Collective Shout
coralieKoorong Blackburn’s Coralie Casey, regarded by many as a valuable employee, colleague and friend, leaves her busy Store Manager/ Relationship Development Manager dual role next month to join Collective Shout, a not-for-profit organisation that campaigns against the objectification of women and sexualisation of girls in popular culture.

A grassroots campaigns movement, Collective Shout mobilises and equips individuals and groups to target corporations, advertisers, marketers and media which objectify women and sexualise girls to sell products and services. It names, shames and exposes corporations, advertisers, marketers and media engaging in practices which are offensive and harmful, especially to women and girls, but also to men and boys.

Collective Shout is for anyone concerned about the increasing pornification of culture and the way its messages have become entrenched in mainstream society, presenting distorted and dishonest ideas about women and girls, sexuality and relationships. Last December it was instrumental in influencing stores to withdraw X-rated games or to question their advertising/sales policies.

For a number of years Coralie has been a volunteer of the movement; totally passionate about its cause her knowledge of the ‘big picture workings’ and organisational skills and encouraging ability will add value to Collective Shout’ vision.

Ed. Note: Unfortunately unhappy opponents of Collective Shout have violently hacked contributing writer’s Twitter and Facebook sites in an effort to degrade and demoralise them – and the organisation itself. We regard Coralie as a good friend and encourage readers’ prayers for her and Collective Shout.
Link: http://www.collectiveshout.org/

HIGHTON (Vic)/MYANMAR
Living Waters current MILS project

‘Living Waters Development has been invited to Kayah State Eastern Myanmar,’ advises Allan Toole, LWD director. ‘This group of six villages/rural plots containing 300 + households/1.500 persons have experienced 50-60 years of being “locked in” due to the repressive regime of the Myanmar military.’

Allan TooleAllan (left) adds, ‘These people had been forced to do slave labour for huge military and infrastructure projects with many dying because of harsh treatments in years past. But now, due to new reforms, the central government has been able to take the upper political hand. The only other organised public institution has been the Myanmar Church, consisting of a few major denominations and monasteries. The isolation has been so uncoordinated that most of the participants we met had never sat with a foreigner before – it would have invoked a disciplinary penalty if they did.’

Process
LWD’s practice is to not have an over-the-top personal presence within the village as this damages long-term leader formation and real project ownership.

Six key main facilitators (from one area) were selected recently by internal networks to host Allan Toole and his small team’s visit. Three days were allocated for introductions to the community. Two of these days also included ‘workshop activity’ to ascertain levels of competency and possible working ability with this group – in conjunction with the GraceWorks model which is now used in other parts of Myanmar.

‘In five short visits, and determining the right partners, we have been able to set up a ‘Micro Income Load Scheme’ of $3000 which it assisting 40 participants,’ says Allan. ‘Already the group has received $400 back in revolving funds.’

Project February 2015
Living Waters logoAllan Toole adds, ‘We will see LWD import 200 Bio sand filtration units. These are not unknown to the Burmese – they were made in concrete for a number of years but are now produced in modern clean lightweight plastic. 50 of these units will go to Eastern Myanmar, Kayah State, 50 to the Myanmar Baptist convention development department and the other 100 are for other applying NGOs (Non-Government Organisations). Together with special local sand they will filter home use water resulting in 98% purity.’

An elder of Barrabool Hills Baptist Church, Highton, Geelong, Allan delightedly acknowledges that these have been funded by the church’s Christmas gifts program.

‘The water units are due to arrive on February 14 – the result of many hours of organising, he points out. ‘In years gone by this would be impossible. Even now we have to ship them from the USA via Singapore and then up to Myanmar due to remaining embargos,’ he points out.

These filters, pictured below, clean most contaminated water sources up to 98% and will be dispersed via the micro loan system in most places. LWD and other NGOs will subsidise, but not give these away, under the MILS program.

Living Waters 1

Living Waters 2Living Wateers 3

 

 

 

 

Recommended animated link on how they work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hb0xf3mRbJM / Further info – Allan Toole: 041 370 1140.

INDONESIA
Church lost 41 members in AirAsia tragedy

Mark Ellis

ASSIST’s Mark Ellis reports: While Indonesia is primarily Muslim; most of those aboard ill-fated Air Asia Flight 8501 were Christians of Chinese ethnicity.

Tragically, one Surabaya church – Mawar Sharon Church (below) – lost 41 members in the crash, according to CBS News.

Philip Mantofa's churchOn Wednesday, about 100 of their relatives gathered for a prayer service in a large room at the Surabaya airport where Pastor Philip Mantofa urged the group to trust in God and hold tightly to their faith, despite the senselessness of the accident and the agony they are enduring.

‘Some things do not make sense to us, but God is bigger than all this,’ Pastor Mantofa said. ‘Our God is not evil … help us, God, to move forward even though we are surrounded by darkness.’

Under Pastor Mantofa’s leadership, the church has grown to 30,000. He is also the assistant head of his denomination, which has a network of 70 local churches. Before they parted, family members stood together, raised their hands and their voices, singing ‘I surrender all. I surrender all. I surrender all to God our Saviour. I surrender all.’

ALBANY, OREGON
Pastor Mantofa’s declaration

Breaking Christian News http://www.breakingchristiannews.com carried this story by  Jessilyn Justice, Charisma News http://www.charismanews.com:

Philip MantofaPhilip Mantofa (left)has stated, ‘My faith in Jesus hasn’t changed, for it was never circumstantial in the first place. Christ is my Lord in all the seasons of my life, whether joyous or sad. When my faith hits rock bottom, then my bottom is the Rock. Then, my faith gets even stronger than ever! Faith is the only thing I have. Though I can’t quite make sense of it all, my faith in God has not been shaken. God is not evil, and surely this accident is not his fault. Could he not have prevented this? Of course, he could! But if he hasn’t, he is greater than my thoughts.’

He added, ‘God has not promised us a smooth life in this imperfect world; but he has promised to be with us through it all. Here in Indonesia, Jesus isn’t only to live for; he is to die for! I will follow him no matter what, and others will follow me as I follow Christ. Finally, as his love is unconditional to us, so our faith should be unconditional to him. The Lord gives, the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord!’

When asked, ‘What has the Holy Spirit taught you in this time?’ Pastor Mantofa responded, ‘That no one is exempt from suffering. That crash, it could have been me in it or anybody. Nobody is special, not even Christians or preachers – only Jesus is! We are only loved. The only thing that is certain in this life is our salvation. ‘

MOMBASA, KENYA
Christian shot dead outside church, pastor threatened

Michael IrelandMichael Ireland, Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service writes: Morning Star News (http://morningstarnews.org ) reports that police in Kenya’s coastal area are searching for a gunman who shot a Christian dead at the gate leading to a church worship site on Sunday January 11.

MSM’s East Africa correspondent says one of two men following 25-year-old George Muriki as he arrived with two church members at the gate leading to Maximum Revival Ministries church shot him three times in the back, apparently after mistaking him for the church pastor, the pastor said.

‘Two other church members, who happened to be ladies, were pushed aside and one of the attackers said, “This is the church pastor,” and there and then the attackers fired three times right at the back of George, who died at the spot,’ said the pastor, whose name is being withheld for his security.

The pastor based his account on what the two traumatised women who witnessed the shooting told him, he said. Sources said Muriki tended to dress similarly to the way the pastor did.

Morning Star News said the assailants fled as the two Christian women ran into the Mvita Primary School compound where the church regularly met in the Majengo area of Mombasa, on Mombasa Island.

‘My life is in danger – I know I was the target, but God protected,’ the pastor said. ‘Someone has been following me for the last one month. At one point this man made an appointment to meet me.’

The pastor had arranged to meet with the suspicious figure, who identified himself only as Mohammed. The pastor saw him on arrival at the designated site for the meeting, he said, adding, ‘He was already there; he saw me but declined to meet me. I reported this to the police but they haven’t taken any action.’

The pastor said his wife and other church members are living in terror, and his family has moved to another person’s home to avoid a possible assault: ‘The school hall also is not safe. We have to move to another location; otherwise we are going to lose many members who are now afraid to come to church.’

Michael Ireland concludes with: ‘If you would like to help persecuted Christians, visit http://morningstarnews.org/resources/aid-agencies/ for a list of organisations that that can orient you on how to get involved.’

TEHRAN, IRAN
Yet another pastor imprisoned in notorious Evin prison

Michael Ireland also reports: Human rights experts are keen that issues of freedom of religion are not overlooked, according to World Watch Monitor (WWM).

In a recent report, WWM says this week, the UK Foreign Office has said that it’s raised its concern with the Iranian government over the arrest and detention – in Iran’s notorious Evin prison – of the former leader of the Assyrian Pentecostal Church in Tehran, as well as two others, whose whereabouts remain unknown.

Victor Beth TarmezWWM says the 60-year-old pastor Victor Beth Tarmez (left) and the two Christian converts who were his guests were arrested when Iranian state security agents raided Tarmez’s home during a Christmas celebration he was hosting on the evening of December 26; the gathering was considered to be ‘unauthorised and illegal.’

Mansour Borji, from the Article18 committee of the Hamgaam (‘taking steps together’ in Dari) Council of Iranian churches told WWM that Tarmez’ family is concerned for his health as he’s a diabetic. Borji also said details of the actual charge on which Tarmez is detained are still unclear. He said that Tarmez was forced to speak Farsi with his family on a very brief phone call from prison, instead of using their shared native language Assyrian, so that guards could monitor what was said.

The British Foreign Office has written: ‘The UK government is deeply concerned by the Iranian regime’s ongoing persecution of religious minorities – including Christians. … The UK and the international community expect Iran to live up to the right to freedom of religion and belief as set out in the Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.’

Pastor Tarmez has been repeatedly intimidated since 2009. An Assyrian pastor officially recognised by the Iranian government; until 2009, he also worked as General Superintendent in Shahr-Ara Assyrian Pentecostal Church.

The number of Assyrian Christians in the country is estimated at between 10,000 and 20,000. Open Doors spoke of an increased deteriorating situation for Christians in Iran. It says ‘According to the Iranian state, only Armenians and Assyrians can be Christian. Ethnic Persians are by definition Muslim, and, therefore, ethnic Persian Christians are considered apostates. This makes almost all Christian activity illegal, especially when it occurs in Persian (Farsi) languages — from evangelism to Bible training, to publishing scripture and Christian books, or preaching in Farsi.’

Link for Mike’s Monitorhttp://paper.li/Michael_ASSIST/1410485204

MOSUL, IRAQ
Islamic State (IS) planning to destroy ancient walls of Nineveh

Dan Wooding

 

Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST and ASSIST News Service recalls Jonah 3:3: ‘So Jonah arose, and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city, of three days’ journey.’

Militants from Islamic State (IS), also known as ISIS, have threatened to destroy the walls of the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh, reports an Assyrian website . According to residents of the Bab Nergal area of Mosul, Iraq, militants told them they would destroy the walls if the Iraqi army attacks.

In a story, Ahuva Balofsky wrote in www.breakingisraelnews.com, that the Christian Assyrian minority group has suffered greatly at the hands of ISIS invaders. They consider themselves the descendants of the once-great Empire, of which Nineveh was the capital.

Nineveh wall

Adad Gate, one of the fifteen gateways of ancient Nineveh (Photo: Redarch/Wiki Commons)
‘At one time, Nineveh was the largest city in the world, with a population of 150,000 in 700 BCE. Although the city itself is now in ruins, it is surrounded by a 7.5 mile brick rampart, most of which remains intact,’ she said.

‘ISIS (IS) has been aggressively wiping out the Christian presence in Mosul, where Assyrians are the only indigenous people. Among their acts of destruction and desecration have been the demolition of the Tomb of Jonah the Prophet and the black market sale of Christian artefacts. Adherents have been tortured and killed, with churches reportedly being used as torture chambers’ she added.

The Assyrian International News Agency reported that in the last month Islamic State has seized the content of the cultural museum in Mosul as well as destroyed Assyrian monuments in the city, which the group claims ‘distort Islam.’

According to the news agency, Assyrians have a history in Iraq dating back to 4750 BCE, and in 2003 numbered some 1.5 million. Following the US war on Saddam Hussein, that number has dwindled to a mere 500,000. Some 200,000 were forced to flee their homes when ISIS invaded Mosul in July. Many are living now as refugees in the Dohuk and Arbel regions.

The UK Daily Mail reported that Iraqi Defence Minister Khaled al-Obeidi stressed the importance of Mosul when he vowed the country would retake areas captured by ISIS in Iraq’s northern provinces. ‘We will liberate it with the hard efforts of our armed forces, volunteers and with the aid of our allies,’ he said.

LAKE FOREST, CA
New ASSIST News format and free subscription

Jeremy ReynaldsJeremy Reynalds, ASSIST’s Senior Correspondent , advises good news…

Veteran international journalist, Dan Wooding, is offering media outlets, Christian leaders, and anyone else who wants ‘to keep up with world news and how it affects Christians,’ a free subscription to the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net), which has just been updated.

Dan Wooding (74) began this unique service, which carries news about the persecution of Christians around the world, missions, features on inspiring people and popular culture, more than 20 years ago. Its banner is: Your Global Link with the World and the team of talented writers stationed in some of the world’s hot-spots including India, Pakistan and Egypt. ANS brings subscribers up-to-date news and unique stories right into people’s in-boxes.

Many of these stories are carried widely around the world by the Christian media and have also been picked up by secular media including USA Today, the Washington Times, the Minneapolis Tribune-Star, the New York Post, the Orange County Register, the Fox News Channel, the Los Angeles Times, and the BBC.

Born in Nigeria of British missionary parents Dan moved with them to the UK when he was two years old. A journalist since 1968, he has worked as chief reporter for Billy Graham‘s London newspaper, The Christian, also as a senior reporter with two of the UK’s top-selling newspapers, the Sunday People and Sunday Mirror, and was a correspondent for the London Times.

He was also an interviewer for the BBC Radio 1 in London, and now has a weekly radio show in America called Front Page Radio which originates from the KWVE Radio Network (www.kwve.com) and a monthly Internet TV show called His Channel Live (www.hischannel.com), which is seen in 192 countries around the world.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

 

Dan Wooding has interviewed many world leaders including Archbishop Desmond Tutu (left)

What makes Dan Wooding and his team of writers unusual is the fact that none of them (including myself) get a salary for their work – they each raise their own support and look on themselves as ‘Media Missionaries.’

Rick Warren, senior pastor of Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, one of America’s largest churches, and author of The Purpose Driven Life, has provided an endorsement for Dan Wooding’s autobiography, From Tabloid to Truth, which is one of his 44 books. Warren said, ‘Dan Wooding has lived one of the most amazing and exciting lives you could ever imagine.’

I certainly agree with that, and you can be part of this excitement and challenge, if you so wish and care about what is going on in God’s world.

Even church prayer groups have signed up so they can pray for the many persecuted Christians that ANS regularly features. Their prayers are such an encouragement for people such as Asia Bibi, who is under sentence of death in Pakistan for standing up for Jesus, and Pastor Saeed Abedini, the Iranian-American Christian leader who is serving eight years for his faith in one of Iran’s worst prisons.

So if you would like a free subscription, just go to www.assistnews.net and scroll down until you can see the form where you sign up. By the way, your e-mail address will not be shared with anyone else and is only used to send you these ANS stories.

Also, please feel free to tell your friends and colleagues about this free offer. I promise you that you and your friends won’t be disappointed!

Dan Wooding‘However,’ adds Dan Wooding (left), ‘please bear in mind that this is a news service, so you will be receiving several stories each day, many of which you will not read anywhere else.’ See also Resources re From Tabloid to Truth.

Jeremy Reynalds has authored A Sheltered Life (See Resources). Link: http://www.ashelteredlife.net

Editorial note: Dan Wooding has been our friend for several decades. We appreciate his generosity in allowing us to use ASSIST articles and highly recommend his ASSIST News Service.

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