The December 2002 Pneuma Informer
In this issue:
What's New at www.PneumaFoundation.org
Also, be sure to check out the "What's New" section on the Pneuma Foundation homepage. New articles and other features are being added regularly.
- In Depth Resources added on Dec. 2, 2002. Articles, book reviews, and other resources by Pentecostal/charismatic scholars and thinkers.
- Guest Article: "The Place of Children in Adult Worship" by Janice Leonard. Added November 19.
- New article on Biblical Womanhood: "Being Good to Your Husband" A pastor's wife writes about intentionally being the kind of wife God wants you to be. Added December 6, 2002.
- Testimony of God at Work Today: "Like a Baby: To Be Born Again" From the heartache of abortion and the depths of despair a young woman finds new life in Jesus the Messiah. Added December 26, 2002.
- Lessons from History: "The Siege of Calais" A timeless lesson about mercy and intercession from the 14th Century. Added December 26, 2002.
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Reports from Around the World
Zimbabwe: prayer for the building company
"A building company in Zimbabwe wanted to build a bridge over a river for a new road to a platinum mine, but was so delayed by mysterious accidents and strange events that they decided to call on the local village chief," reports prayer leader Langton Gatsi. The chief, also an animist priest, decided that the local spirits, obviously annoyed, needed to be pacified by particular rituals. The accidents continued after the rituals, though. Finally, the company turned to pastor Gatsi, asking for help. He agreed, but first visited the village chief who had performed the rituals, warning him that only Jesus Christ, the almighty God, could pacify the spirits, and that his village would no longer be safe if he continued to contact demonic powers. The chief recognized the truth of Gatsi's words, fell to his knees and decided to follow Jesus Christ, along with his whole village. Since then, four more villages have joined the chief and opened themselves to the Gospel.
Source: Langton Gatsi, Zimbabwe by way of Friday Fax 2002 Issue 44
North Korea: Sharing Jesus means expecting martyrdom
A man who escaped oppression and famine in North Korea has returned to his homeland -- and almost certain death -- to share the gospel with others held in spiritual bondage in the world's most atheistic country.
"My prayer is that I do not get executed on the spot, but sent to a concentration camp. At least I can witness there," Cho said before he set out on foot to return to North Korea from China, to which he fled two years ago.
Despite giving himself only a "one percent chance of survival," Cho said he had to go back because "in North Korea it is virtually impossible to hear about Jesus Christ. We are utterly cocooned."
As many as 3 million people are believed to have died of starvation in the last few years in North Korea, where despite the denial of religion, leader Kim Il Sung has godlike status. It is considered a crime to sit on a newspaper containing the leader's photograph. Meanwhile, Christians are worked to death in Nazi-style death camps, where they are forbidden to look up at the sky. Yet the underground church is estimated to be anywhere between 10,000- and 500,000-strong.
"It never occurred to me that North Korea was not the best of all possible worlds," said Cho, who in 10 years' army service was given home leave only twice. Moving to a new posting in 2000, he was shocked to discover the extent of the famine.
"Everywhere people were lying by the road, sick or dead," he said. "Blackouts were common. There were confirmed cases of parents eating their grandparents to stay alive." Following orders, Cho shot several civilians climbing on trains while searching for food.
Returning home to attend his mother's funeral, he was shocked to learn his wife and child had starved to death two years previously, but he had never been told because of an administrative oversight.
Then at his mother's funeral, he heard his father whisper: "May she rest in the bosom of Jesus." Cho said later his parents had never told him they were Christians because "they knew I would be tricked into betraying them."
When Cho found out that authorities were investigating his father, he fled into neighboring China, as one of thousands of North Koreans who have escaped over the border. Taken in by police, he escaped from a truck driving him back to North Korea, but was injured in the process.
Cho was helped by Christians, whom he first thought "would kill me. That's what I was told Christians did." But they nursed him back to health, and Cho gave his life to Christ through their witness. He was trained in an underground house church and decided to go back voluntarily to North Korea.
Cho said that he hoped he might be "the uncut rock," referring to the Bible passage in Daniel which describes how God takes a small rock and destroys a huge statue.
"The idolatrous kingdom of North Korea will fall," he said. "God will send a rock to smash its feet, and I will play my part. Who knows? Perhaps the time of smashing has already come."
Source: Charisma News Service 12/9/2002. Used with permission.
France: "If the people don't go to church, we'll take the church to them"
"Many French people would never visit a church service, or even watch the Jesus Film in a cinema," says Sam Catoe, an American missionary in Paris. He decided to distribute leaflets offering to lend the Jesus Film to people in his neighborhood, thus establishing a personal contact. He was more than surprised to receive a mountain of requests. French-speaking volunteers delivered the films, and every person who reacted positively to the film was asked whether they would be willing to organize a meeting of people in their block who had also seen the film. Almost everyone was willing, so nineteen house groups were quickly started, a number which has now grown to sixty. The participants are most moved by what the Bible says about Jesus. "Very few of them have ever visited a church," says Catoe.
Source: Friday Fax 2002 Issue 45
Saudi Arabia: Muslims find Messiah
Although Saudi Arabia works hard to keep the Bible from crossing its physical and electronic borders, some in the staunchly Muslim kingdom are coming to know Christ. Foreign believers working in the country have encountered some Muslims who want to know more about Jesus after having dreams about Him.
Among them is a zealous Muslim who grew up afraid to even touch a Bible because of his opposition to Christianity. In desperation he prayed to Jesus for help when facing some serious problems, and saw an answer to his situation within days. When Jesus appeared to him in a dream a second time, "right then, I started wanting to read the Bible," he recalled. "After one year of reading the Bible in an honest way, I found my way to the Lord Jesus Christ, and I found out how very much God loves me."
However, resident expatriates say such conversions do not number in the "hundreds" often claimed. "I think it's the same wishful rumors getting recycled every year or so," a long-term resident was quoted as saying.
Saudi Arabia leads the world roster for unbending regulations designed to keep its Muslim population untainted by Christian influences. Customs officers comb suitcases, confiscating everything from cross emblems to Christmas cards.
More than 2,000 Internet suites are blocked by Saudi authorities, most of them because of their sexual or religious content. "Jesus" is a featured word in the country's sophisticated surveillance system, which monitors all telephone and e-mail messages in and out of the kingdom.
Although almost a million of the country's 7 million foreign workers are Christians, they are forbidden by law to gather for public worship. Private worship is supposed to be permitted, but it is widely known that the religious police offer a standing bounty of 50,000 riyals - five years' salary - to anyone who exposes a house church.
Western expatriate believers are usually treated well when they fall foul of the authorities, but other expatriate believers are severely mistreated. However, they, rather than the Westerners, have been at the forefront of what God has been doing in the kingdom.
"Who would have ever thought of sending unconverted, nominal Catholic Filipinos to take jobs by the hundreds of thousands in Saudi Arabia, getting them converted to a vibrant, living faith in Christ right there in the kingdom, and then releasing them to witness?" asked one Western Christian.
At a meeting of 120 Filipinos who were leading house fellowships in Saudi Arabia - with a total membership of 10,000 -- only three acknowledged that they had known Christ personally before entering the country. "[They] just had the Scriptures, that's all," said the Western observer. "The first time they read through the book of Acts, they just assumed the same things would happen to them - they would be beaten, people might suffer and die, but there would be miracles, and it would be infectious."
One former university professor who taught in Saudi for several years said that despite the government crackdown on Christianity, many Muslims were keen to hear more. "My students asked me questions almost daily about Jesus and Christianity," he said. "Sure, they were scared to talk about this with me in front of anyone else, but they were astonished to meet a devout non-Muslim."
Source: Charisma News Service 12/11/2002. Used with permission.
New Informer Format Available
Beginning with the December 2002 issue, the Pneuma Informer
is now available in HTML and non-HTML format. If you can receive pictures in the body of your email than you can receive HTML formatted email. HTML email may contain italics and bold print as well as any special colors, pictures, links to websites, email addresses, or sizes. Those that cannot receive anything but plain text may now request this when they sign up or any time thereafter. Just write to Member Services
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Resources You Can Use
Tentmaking: Missionary Occupations
Free Tentmaking journal download: GO World
, the journal of tentmaking published by Global Opportunities is now available as a free .pdf download. As of November, the subscription-only hardcopy circulation is 5900 and growing. Each issue contains tentmaker stories, articles on tentmaking and missions, a country profile, and is sure to stimulate your missions thinking. http://www.globalopps.org
Looking for fresh ideas for your drama ministry? Visit www.christianmusicals.com
for great ideas and inexpensive productions your church can put on. Currently there are 5 original Christian musicals available on Performance/vocals CDs from this New Zealand company.
Email and Computer Security
Concerned about the security of your email and email application? Three email solutions you should consider: www.pgp.com www.mozilla.org www.hushmail.com
Also see the Security Watch online department from PC Magazine. www.pcmag.com/securitywatch
Here are some basic steps to use to increase your internet and computer security:
- Run an antivirus program & keep it up to date (AVG is available for free personal and non-profit use http://www.grisoft.com)
- Run Windows Update (if you are using a Windows Operating System)
- Run a firewall (hardware or at least software. ZoneAlarm is a free-version software firewall for personal and non-profit use http://www.zonelabs.com)
- Use non-obvious passwords (try mixing in numbers and punctuation)
- Back up your files regularly
- Enable the security features you already have
- Know your programs
Special thanks to Brigada Today for much of this resource information. www.brigada.org
Thoughts to Ponder
"Only when a man tries to live the divine life can the divine Christ manifest Himself to him. Therefore, the true way for you to find Christ is not to go groping in a thousand books. It is not for you to try evidences about a thousand things that people have believed of Him, but it is for you to undertake so great a life, so devoted a life, so pure a life, so serviceable a life, that you cannot do it except by Christ, and then see whether Christ helps you. See then whether there comes to you the certainty that you are a child of God, and the manifestation of the child of God becomes the most credible, the most certain thing to you in all of history."
— Phillip Brooks
"Christianity is no new philosophy; it is a new life which grows out of a new relationship with God which involves our whole being."
— Alan P. F. Sell
"The human heart was made for passion. It was created for relationship. It was designed to experience the fullness of God."
— S. J. Hill (quoted in 850 words of RELEVANT
Comments from Readers and Web Visitors
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"Hi, there! I came across your website, and found it very uplifting and inspiring, as well as intellectually thought-provoking. I am a graduate from a Pentecostal Bible college, currently involved in teaching and music ministry at an Assemblies of God church. Anyway, I noticed that you were looking for help with book reviews of books in your library, as well as other publications that the editorial committee comes across from time to time. I am very much interested in helping out in this area. Please let me know what would be the next step in this process. Thank you, and God bless you richly!"
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— Robert, pastor in Uganda
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Excerpts from the Pneuma Review
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- Pastor Enoch in Togo writes that they are in need of a sponsor for their orphanage. Please pray for this need of helping satisfy the needs of those who cannot help themselves.
- Four native missionaries were recently attacked on their way to a village in Tamil Nadu, India for an evangelistic gathering. According to Gospel for Asia (GFA), a group threatened to cut off the head of one of the believers identified only as Sam if he ever returned to the village. Two of the missionaries -- who were planning to conduct an open-air meeting and pass out gospel tracts -- sustained severe internal injuries.
"Please pray for them to heal quickly and to find their encouragement in the Lord," GFA officials said in an e-mail to supporters. "And pray for Brother Sam, who is a Gospel for Asia correspondent. As he travels to Tamil Nadu to collect stories and pictures for publication, he will most likely have to pass through that village again."
Meanwhile, an angry crowd recently harassed a native missionary serving in the state of Himachal Pradesh. The believer identified only as Brother was distributing tracts in a village where the gospel had never gone before, when the group argued with him about what he was doing. They also warned him not to come back, GFA said.
Elsewhere, a GFA Bible school student was recently attacked for conducting his weekly Sunday school for 25 children and distributing tracts. According to GFA officials, the believer identified only as Naran was harassed by a group of eight young men in Karnataka state for trying to convert them to Christianity.
"This incident has mentally affected our dear brother," GFA officials said. "Whenever he gains normalcy, he utters the words, 'Jesus is Lord.' Kindly uphold him in prayer."
Source: Charisma News Service 12/4/02. Used with permission.
- A friend of the ministry, Dominic N., has asked for prayer regarding a need for bibles for new Christians being saved in the nation of India. He reports that these new believers are hungry for God's Word and he wants to seem them have Bibles.
- The ministry Communaute des Eglises Pentecotistes des Enfants de Dieu dans le Monde in Rwanda, Africa has written asking for agreement in prayer regarding 4 primary ministry efforts they are involved in: preaching of the good news of Jesus, helping orphans and widows, starting schools and providing education for those that have none, and helping AIDS victims.
- Pastor Abraham Emmanuel has written from Sri Lanka requesting prayer on behalf of many people who were injured and lost property during a recent cyclone that tore through the area in Colombo where he ministers. The property where Pastor Abraham's church meets also was severely damaged. Please pray for these brothers and sisters in need that God will open wide the door for them to share Jesus with those around them and for His miraculous provision in their time of need.
- Pastor Akyiano in the Caribbean has asked for prayer regarding a need for Greek and Hebrew Bibles and study aides for the ministry school where he teaches.
Please send us your prayer requests and praise reports. We have a great God who always meets our needs.
If you would like more information about how you may help in meeting these needs, please send an E-mail to Member Services.