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Gospel Derails Planned Homicide in North Africa

Ahmed was so heavy-hearted and sullen you could see it on his face the moment you looked at him, according to the leader of the local ministry offering the program. What you couldn’t see was that, as he was receiving vocational training in North Africa, Ahmed was carrying a lethal weapon. During a time set aside for a spiritual message at the training, Ahmed heard preaching that led to him revealing why he was carrying the weapon.

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Killing Leads to Transformed Village in Africa

Muslim villagers in West Africa saw a local missionary as someone who could bring shame on their families by steering relatives away from Islam. Others found his teaching laughable. Laughing or scorning, the villagers took a dim view of Christians and Christianity in a country where Islamic extremist violence against churches was on the rise. The brutal murder of the worker marked a turning point in the community attitude toward Christians.

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Tears of Desperate Mother in North Africa Turn to Joy

A single mother in North Africa phoned native missionaries, telling them the pandemic had left her without stable income – one of hundreds of such calls of desperation that local ministries receive. “But her voice, mixed with tears and moans, said this was not her biggest problem,” the leader of the native ministry said. The leader learned the woman’s husband had abandoned her eight years ago, leaving her so destitute that four years ago she had sold one of her kidneys to pay basic living expenses.

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Widowed Christian in Africa Persecuted for Her Faith

Arafa had been in charge of teaching Islam to women in an African country when a native missionary led the recently widowed woman to receive Christ. Her Muslim in-laws not only beat her but began a campaign in the courts to deprive her and her family of their legal property rights, the leader of a native ministry said. The relatives were especially furious as her conversion led to her nine children and four grandchildren becoming Christians.

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Gospel Moves in Kenya in Spite of COVID-19

The pastor of a native ministry’s church in Kenya was returning home from a visit with troubled villagers in the dark of night when four young men stopped him. He was known as the one people went to when they had any problem, but the four robbers who stopped him saw him only as a lone target in the dark. “Four young men ambushed him and wanted to rob him, but after one recognized him, he stopped the other three,” the director said.

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Unforgotten Dream Puts African on New Path

After making a purchase at a local market stall in Africa, 15-year-old Abdoul had turned to leave when he realized he’d seen the shop owner in a dream two years before. He’d dreamt about him just after returning home from 10 years under the tutelage of a teacher of Islam. “That day when I saw the man in the boutique, I didn’t know what to say, and I returned to explain to him what I had experienced – that a Prophet had instructed me in a dream to come and see him,” he said.

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Gospel Stands Up to Fierce Foes in Africa

Islamic extremist groups are a growing danger in Africa, but often the greater threat to Christians comes from Muslim relatives. In one country, a young mother who left Islam for Christ fears she and her two children will be left destitute if her husband discovers her faith.

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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.”
April 7, 2022
Infection from COVID-19 is just one risk local missionaries in Latin America face as they serve the unreached and needy. While the pandemic has increased resistance as villagers fear workers from nearby areas could bring infection, spiritual warfare and persecution are prevalent and gunfire paralyzes some towns. “Armed conflicts in the towns are a problem for the mobility and security of our missionaries,” a ministry leader in Mexico said.
March 24, 2022
Emotionally shattered while recovering at a local ministry’s care center in southern Spain, Natasha prayed after losing the life she’d had in Ukraine’s second largest city. Leaving her husband behind to defend against the Russian invasion, she and her son had walked most of the nearly 700 miles from their home in Kharkiv to the border, and from there had made it to Spain. “When they left their city, they were only carrying what they were wearing and a backpack each, so during the journey many times they thought they were going to die of the cold,” the ministry leader said.
March 17, 2022
With unemployment at 55 percent, runaway inflation and more than 60 percent of the population in need of aid, many people in Lebanon are in despair. COVID-19 and a collapsed economy are driving some Muslims to join the Islamic State, but others are finding joy in Christ. “Joy filled the faces and the hearts of those who were getting baptized as they worshiped the Lord and presented their testimonies,” the leader of a native ministry said.
March 10, 2022
“Where are you going every Sunday – have you become a Christian?” a Muslim father in the Middle East asked his teenage son. The father had noticed him leaving the house each Sunday. The boy knew that his answer would lead to punishment and possible expulsion from his home. “I knew I couldn’t deny my heavenly Father – I was aware that if I denied my heavenly Father, I would lose eternal life with Him,” he said.
February 24, 2022
Living on the streets of a predominantly Muslim country in North Africa, at 18 Ahmed was already hardened from the beatings and insults he’d endured at the orphanage he’d just left. Considered nearly unemployable because he had no family background, he ate only what he stole from markets or received from charities. One night he was under the stairway of a building entrance, soaked from freezing rain and covered by cardboard, when local missionaries came upon him and asked if he needed anything. They didn’t realize they were interrupting his prayer.
February 17, 2022
Depressed since her marriage started to sour a few years ago, 32-year-old Ximena Flores suffered steady deterioration of her mental health, cementing her husband’s desire for separation. A schoolteacher with a 5-year-old daughter, Flores’ condition worsened when the COVID-19 pandemic forced her to teach online from home – where the sources of stress and conflict overlapped with work challenges. “Someone told me that there was another teacher who was a Christian and could help me,” Flores said. “She told me Jesus is the answer, and I said, ‘How?’”
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