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Tech Helps Power Gospel amid Pandemic in Latin America

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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Gospel Creates Lives Peruvians Never Imagined

At a small nightclub in rural Peru, the blaring music was drowning out the message a local missionary was giving nearby at a three-day gospel event. Villagers asked the nightclub owner to turn the music off, and he grudgingly consented. He was further annoyed when the preacher and other Christians visited him the next day and invited him to attend that night’s evangelistic event.

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Idols and Virus v. Gospel in Brazil

A half a century ago, a man who declared himself the son of God told Brazilian villagers that only those who believed in the large cross he was carrying would be rescued from an imminent, fiery apocalypse.

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Light Shines in Brazil’s Deep, Dark Jungles

The village chief and other key community leaders near a town on Brazil’s Amazon River told a native missionary to leave.

By the time other native missionaries visited the village months later, the leader of a ministry based in Brazil said, nearly every inhabitant was addicted to alcohol.

“The community was taken over by the power of darkness; the spirit of suicide took over the young and old,” he said.

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Hitman in Peru Looks for Victim, Finds Local Missionary

A Sunday morning church service seemed as good a place as any for an armed stranger to begin looking for the man he had been hired to kill.

Inside the church building, he heard the preacher reading from the Bible about someone asking Jesus what the greatest commandment was.

It was the following, second greatest commandment, however, that caught the gunman’s attention: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

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Tribal Woman’s Dreams Present Daunting Evil

For an ethnic Mixtec woman like Donaji, nightmares were not just scary but predicted disaster in this world and the next.

The 40-year-old fruit-vendor in a remote village of western Mexico believed she was surrounded by gods of rain, trees, mountains, stones and forces in nature telling her she was doomed.

No amount of animal sacrifices could ward off the destruction of her soul that the dangers and deaths in her dreams portended.

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Shattered Lives in Peru and Ecuador Find Hope

He had lost the woman he had married 11 years before when she finally decided she had to get away from the violence erupting from his addictions to drugs and alcohol.

Enrique knew his life was in ruins, but the 35-year-old electrician in Peru felt helpless to repair it.

When a neighbor in his village brought him to a native missionary’s church, he seemed impervious to the gospel preaching but liked the worship atmosphere. He returned to the Sunday services for months.

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Doing Battle against Suicide and Witchcraft

Alberto, who had been raised to believe in God in Colombia, borrowed a motorcycle with the idea of ramming it into oncoming traffic to kill himself.

He had taken to carousing with new friends who led him to alcohol and drug addiction, but when he became seriously ill, they had abandoned him.

His choices had led him to the edge of a dangerous pit of despair.

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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 31, 2022
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.
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.
March 3, 2022
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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