This is Whyte House Report podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.
According to Assist News Service, Another Bible translator in Cameroon has been murdered following an attack in his village, according to Wycliffe Bible Translators. The charity reports Pastor Christopher Tanjoh, who was a Bible translator and literacy teacher with the Moghamo Bible translation and literacy project, was killed on 7 August. Last year, two other men who worked with Bible translation projects in Cameroon died in similar incidents. The attack occurred in the village of Guzang, in the northwest of Cameroon, a region where there is a lot of civil strife. Christopher bled to death after being shot in the leg by unidentified gunmen. He leaves behind a wife and seven children. Keyeh Emmanuel, the General Director of CABTAL (Cameroon Association for Bible Translation and Literacy), says: ‘A number of people, including some key translators of the Moghamo Bible translation and literacy project, had relocated to Bamenda due to the ongoing socio-political crisis in the northwest and southwest regions. Since Christopher had a bigger family he decided to stay in the community to finish the New Testament in the Moghamo language, which is in its final stages. Christopher is gone but we pray that his last pastoral counsel to the fighters will contribute to bring lasting peace in the Moghamo area and to Cameroon.’ Keyeh continues: ‘We ask for prayers for Christopher’s widow and family as they face life without a father who was the breadwinner of his family. And also for the Moghamo team as they go through this challenging moment.’
According to The Kairos Company, With the school year underway in Los Angeles, the L.A. Dream Center has announced that on Tuesday, Aug. 18, they will resume their drive-thru food service to assist families who normally had school lunches to count on for their families. They first introduced this unique gift to the community back in March when the pandemic began. In addition to the meals provided on the Dream Center campus, the Dream Center is now pleased to announce the first-ever “Restart Learning Center,” mobile learning hubs strategically placed throughout Los Angeles to provide a place of safety, accountability and motivation with tutors on board. This is an entirely new form of assistance the Dream Center has embarked on, knowing that education will be particularly challenging for many families without resources and good structure to help their children as they attend school remotely. L.A. Dream Center co-founder Matthew Barnett has repeatedly reminded his staff and volunteers, “It’s no secret that the pandemic and the lock down in Los Angeles are crippling the poorest and most vulnerable among us. When this crisis began, I saw families in tears from overwhelming uncertainty and kids robbed of a normal childhood or adolescence. I saw the rug pulled from under so many in our community. But when life lands a punch, we counterpunch with a force of good. Families throughout Los Angeles need us right now, and providing meals and resources to ensure kids don’t fall behind scholastically are just two of the ways we’re responding to this crisis with every ounce of energy that we have. Right now, all of us at the Dream Center are united in enthusiasm for our latest mantra: ‘Meet the need. Support the comeback.'”
According to Christian Post, Three Christians were brutally beaten by Hindu extremists angered by the believers’ acceptance of what they called a “foreign faith” and “foreign God.” Pastor Ramnivas Kumar, who leads a church in Ranjitpur village, Bihar state, told Morning Star News that he and two other Christians were explaining the Gospel to two Hindu friends over tea at his house when they heard neighbors shouting outside the door. “They were hurling abuses at me, accusing me of accepting a foreign faith and following a foreign God,” Kumar told the outlet. When the pastor asked the Hindu extremists why they had intruded onto his property and were “hurling abuses” at him about his faith, they began beating him and the two other Christians who were at his house. Kumar, who has an artificial leg, was unable to sufficiently defend himself from the attacks. “They started beating us with steel rods and wooden sticks. Both the brothers received blows on their heads, and they were soon bleeding profusely,” the pastor said. “I was also hit and could not control the mob from striking the four guests who were visiting us.” When asked by police to explain their actions, the assailants “very tactfully flipped the matter and told the police that they were worried that four persons forced their way into Ramnivas Kumar’s house, and that they had come in time to rescue him from daylight robbery,” the pastor recalled. “The police listened to their version but did not pay heed to us. Our pleas fell on deaf ears,” he said. The officers told Kumar that his four guests were “outsiders, and they could be killed if they [had] entered someone’s house to commit robbery.” After that, they arrested his two Christian guests based on the false accounts of their Hindu attackers.
According to Mission Network News, As the pandemic brings Bible translation efforts to a halt around the world, Wycliffe Associates is offering online workshops and supporting virtual collaboration wherever possible. Before projects can begin, translators need to be trained in Wycliffe Associates’ MAST program (Mobilized Assistance Supporting Translation), a collaborative, eight-step method that helps produce accurate translations more quickly. Paula Oestreich of Wycliffe Associates says these training workshops typically happen in person. However, with travel restrictions from the pandemic, that clearly isn’t an option. Instead, Wycliffe Associates has shifted to virtual workshops, which Oestreich says come with their own obstacles. “The biggest challenge by far would be the internet connection and adequate technology,” she says. “Can they stay on a website for the entire meeting and be able to have a functioning computer? Those are the two biggest issues that we have.” Wycliffe Associates provides laptops and pays internet fees for translators that need access, and Oestreich says Wycliffe Associates has increased their use of virtual MAST, or V-MAST, which allows translation teams to collaborate even if they can’t work in person.
According to Christian Post, Four Iranian converts to Christianity were sentenced earlier this month to several years in prison after they were arrested in February on accusations they acted “against national security” by participating in house church meetings and evangelizing. According to Article 18, a London-based nonprofit that promotes religious freedom and tolerance for Christians in Iran, the four accused received sentences between two and five years for “spreading Zionist Christianity.” Ramin Hassanpour was sentenced to five years, while Hadi Rahimi was sentenced to four years in prison. Sakine Behjati and Saeede Sajadpour both received two-year sentences. All four are said to be members of the Church of Iran, a nontrinitarian denomination, in Rasht, the capital city of Gilan Province. The four were charged in May. After being charged with the crimes, they spent about a week in Rasht’s Lakan Prison after they were unable to pay the $30,000 bail. Bail was eventually lowered and they were released. Human rights groups, including Christian Solidarity Worldwide, have called on the theocratic Iranian regime to release the four believers.
According to Mission Network News, One of COVID-19’s most widespread casualties so far has been the education of young people all over the world. Over 1 billion students were affected this year as schools shut down to avoid transmission of the virus. David Durance says TeachBeyond often has to deal with situations like the one in Northern Kenya, where teachers have been targeted for violence in order to disrupt education. But the pandemic has made everything worse. “I think at one point, during the spring of this year, all of our projects around the world [were] not able to deliver a face-to-face education.” How is TeachBeyond bringing back school? It’s complicated. Durance says the government response to the pandemic has been very different in different countries, so TeachBeyond has to be flexible. It’s so important that kids get back to regular education, Durance says. “These are critical years for these kids that won’t be gotten back. So how do we address that? There’s been a number of incredibly creative approaches. For example, in Africa where the internet’s not very good, lessons were delivered via WhatsApp, because there were no computers at home. In some of the more wealthy places where there’s great internet, we were able to deliver fantastic online schooling and do zoom calls every day.”
According to Charisma News, Trinity Broadcasting Network has announced it will no longer air Believer’s Voice of Victory, the daily program produced by Kenneth Copeland Ministries. “Instead, the network will replace it with programming by Steven Furtick, a megachurch pastor widely known for his appearances on PreachersNSneakers, an Instagram account that features influencer pastors and their expensive shoes,” according to Religion News Service. The change will be effective Oct. 2. The Texas-based Kenneth Copeland Ministries shared the news on its blog and Facebook page, encouraging viewers that “it’s easy to find us on one of our many other ways to watch.” Copeland issued a gracious response to the decision on the ministry’s blog, saying Kenneth Copeland Ministries “has been privileged and honored to partner with TBN in preaching the gospel to the world!” and expressing his gratitude for TBN founders Dr. Paul and Jan Crouch as well as for Matt and Laurie Crouch, who took Matt’s parents’ place after their deaths.
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In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, today is a good day to get to know Him. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
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