PODCAST: Dozens Dead After Typhoon Vamco in the Philippines (Whyte House Report 12.1.20)

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According to Assist News Service, Dozens of people were left dead last week as tsunami-like waves covered villages in mountains of mud as the result of Typhoon Vamco in The Philippines. Missionary journalists Bill and Ivy Bray of CIS NEWS frequently report from The Philippines for Assist News, and are currently raising funds for Typhoon Vamco child victims in The Philippines. Bill Bray of CIS Missions of Charlottesville, Virginia, told ANS, “In a bizarre twist of events, thousands of young children, used to going barefoot, are facing infections and disease from puncture wounds suffered by walking barefoot in the flood waters. “Many areas are still covered with several feet of dangerous mud and debris in Nangka, Marikina City. Government crews and volunteers say it will take weeks to complete the cleanup efforts.” CIS Missions of Charlottesville, Virginia, is sending emergency aid to victims. CIS is handling US donations and will be forwarding funds to PARTNERS International Ministries in The Philippines. Already, emergency funds have been sent to protect 200 children endangered by deadly infections carried by the flood of mud in Nangka, Marikina City.

According to Christian Post, The Gospel has advanced powerfully in 2020, Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association President Franklin Graham told The Christian Post. In 2019, 1.3 million people gave their lives to Christ, Graham said. In 2020, 1.7 million people did. “I try to shy away from the questions on numbers. God’s the one who gives the increase. It’s not Franklin Graham and it’s not the institution,” he said. The pandemic meant that Graham had to cancel evangelistic crusades and concentrate on using new ways to spread the Gospel. Situations might change but the call to preach the Gospel faithfully always remains, Graham emphasized. “I think there’s nothing normal about 2020. We’ve never gone through a pandemic in my lifetime. The world has never been locked down before,” he said. “It’s God who touches people’s hearts and opens up people’s eyes. The pandemic hasn’t stopped it. If anything, it’s advanced it.” For the first time, the BGEA operated a 24/7 Gospel call hotline and bought ads on television. In a 60-second ad spot, Graham can engage viewers, ask them about the condition of their souls and pray a quick prayer. The glory for the Gospel’s spread this year goes to God, Graham said. “The people’s hearts have been softened a little bit. People who have not listened before are listening now. For evangelism, it may be one of the better years we’ve had,” he said. People haven’t changed their attitudes toward the Gospel, the evangelist noted. Instead, it’s their attitude toward the rest of life that changed as people fear the pandemic and feel near to death. People have reacted in panic toward the coronavirus and their fear leaves them yearning for a message of hope. “I think they’re willing to listen to the Gospel. People are scared and afraid. When you give them the hope we have in Jesus Christ, they’re eager to accept that. When the world turns upside down is when they’re eager to listen,” Graham said.

According to Assist News Service, A young Christian teacher in northeastern Egypt is facing charges of insulting Islam after he posted comments on Facebook, according to local reports. Morning Star News reports Youssef Hany of Ismailia, a city on the Suez Canal 78 miles northeast of Cairo, posted the comments earlier this month in reply to a Muslim who had expressed her opposition to criticisms of Islam by the president of France and other French citizens. Hany was reportedly arrested on Nov. 11, as was a Muslim woman identified only by her Facebook name, Sandosa, for their comments on social media. The next day they were reportedly charged under Article 98(f) of Egypt’s penal code, which outlaws insulting a “heavenly religion,” namely Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Hany and the Muslim woman could face up to five years in prison and a fine of 500 to 1,000 Egyptian pounds (about $30 to $60) under a law that calls for a minimum of six months of prison. They were released on bail on Nov. 14, one of the attorneys volunteering to represent them told news outlet Al-Monitor. The attorney, Makarios Lahzy, told Al-Monitor that the charges they are facing are unconstitutional. Egypt’s “blasphemy” law against insulting religion has come under fire for violating the country’s constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression and religious freedom. Used almost exclusively against criticisms of Islam, the law is rarely invoked against frequent, public anti-Christian comments. Advocacy group Copts-United pointed out and decried a social media post calling for Hany and others to be killed. “He must be killed,” reads a screenshot of the post. “Someone volunteer, people, we will not continue to debate with a few absent-minded minorities…We will squash them…”

According to to Mission Network News, If you’re reading this in the U.S., you probably have big plans tonight for Thanksgiving dinner. Thanksgiving Day is an annual national holiday in the United States, one “particularly rich in legend and symbolism.” Thanksgiving Day commemorates a 1621 feast shared by early colonists and the Native Americans who helped them survive. Today, however, most people focus on family and fellowship instead of the holiday’s origin. “This country’s original people are, as Billy Graham said in 1975, its ‘forgotten people’,” Brad Hutchcraft says. Hutchcraft serves with On Eagles Wings, a division of Ron Hutchcraft Ministries. “Now’s a great time, even as you’re sitting around the Thanksgiving table diving into the turkey, to remember that Native American brothers and sisters brought hope to us in the first place, and we can help them bring hope to their people.” Even though it’s largely commercialized, a holiday like Thanksgiving can stir painful reminders for the Native community. “We have been able to sit down to a great Thanksgiving feast with some of our Native brothers and sisters and have a great time. They celebrate the day, but there is a lot around it that still can bring hurt,” Hutchcraft says. For Christians, social activism is not the primary purpose of learning about and acknowledging historic injustice. The main point is Jesus and the Gospel. Native history is full of pain that Christ offers to heal. “Native Americans don’t need an army of white folks sweeping in to save them. They brought hope to us at the first Thanksgiving, and now they need us to partner with them in bringing hope to their people,” Hutchcraft says.

According to Assist News Service, Community leaders in a village in Hidalgo state are threatening to expel two Protestant families if they do not fully pay a fine levied against them because of their religious beliefs. Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports the two families belong to a group of Protestant families in La Mesa Limantitla, located in the Huasteca region of Hidalgo, who were pressured to sign an agreement renouncing their faith in January 2019. CSW said that while eight families signed the agreement, Nemesio Cruz Hernández, Eligio Santiago Hernández and their wives, Maria Francisca Martínez Hernández and Angelina Martínez Hernández, refused to do so. As a result, their access to water, drainage, government benefit programs and the community mill were blocked for over a year. The families were forced to sign an illegal agreement on January 15, 2020 in which they renounced their right to hold religious services in order to have their access to water and other essential services reinstated. The state authorities paid part of a fine of $57,700 Mexican pesos that was levied against each family as part of the agreement. However, after several follow-up meetings, including on August 22 and most recently on November 7, the families have been told that they face being cut off from essential services again or expelled from the community as they cannot afford to pay the rest of the fine. Nemesio Cruz Hernández told Christian Solidarity Worldwide: “[The community leaders] have called a meeting to decide on our future this Saturday, 14 November. We are afraid that not only will they suspend our access to services but that we will be expelled from the community.” Christian Solidarity Worldwide said the families had previously been threatened with forced displacement by community leaders in July 2019 if they did not make financial contributions to local Roman Catholic festivals and participate in other activities which conflicted with their religious beliefs.

According to Christian Post, Police in the Muslim-majority archipelago of Indonesia were searching for suspected terrorists Saturday after the throats of three Christians were slit, another was beheaded and a Salvation Army post and Christians’ homes were burned down on the island of Sulawesi, according to reports. About 10 people from a “terrorist” group carried out the killing on Friday morning in a hilly, remote village near the region of Sigi in Central Sulawesi province, Reuters reported, based on what national police spokesman Awi Setiyono said in a television interview. The suspected terrorists also set fire to a church and burned down the homes of six churchgoers after they attacked the Lewonu Lembantongoa Service Post of the Salvation Army, the U.S.-based persecution watchdog International Christian Concern reported. ICC said they saw a video showing a charred victim being pulled from a pile of ruins, with smoke still rising in the background. “The fowler position of the body suggests the agony and pain endured by the victim before death.” “ICC mourns the death of the Indonesian brothers and sisters who were brutally murdered by the alleged terrorist,” Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager for Southeast Asia, said. “We urge the Indonesian government to take necessary measures to hold him accountable and put him to justice. Such senseless act cannot be tolerated in the country that boasts ‘Pancasila,’ the state ideology which promotes religious harmony and tolerance.” The Salvation Army International confirmed the attack on Saturday, saying that their building along with six homes of members were burned. “WITH great sadness, The Salvation Army confirms that an attack upon the Lewono Lembantongoa Outpost, Indonesia, on Friday 27 November 2020 has claimed the lives of four members.” Members of The Salvation Army were called to observe a three-minute silence on Sunday and to pray for the grieving families and congregations, and for God’s peace.

According to Assist News Service, Twelve Bravo Supermarkets and one Key Food store in South Florida are collecting relief items on behalf of Food For The Poor to help families in Central America who were devastated by back-to-back Category 4 hurricanes this month. Food For The Poor – FFTP says that when they saw the damage from Hurricane Eta, Bravo Supermarkets owners and longtime FFTP donors Juan and Eliza Diaz knew they wanted to help. They were saddened to see the misery families are enduring only to be compounded by Hurricane Iota two weeks later. “Many of our clients and some of our workers are from those countries that have been affected by these devastating storms. So it’s close to home,” said Eliza Diaz. The Diazes and Bravo Supermarkets have partnered with Food For The Poor in the past as presenting sponsors for the charity’s Join The Pack food-packing events. The Diazes also traveled with Food For The Poor to Guatemala in 2018. And in 2019, their Join The Pack team raised funds to build two homes for families seeking safe shelter in Sansur, Guatemala. “We’re so grateful to donors Juan and Eliza Diaz and Bravo Supermarkets for opening their hearts to our brothers and sisters in Central America who desperately need our help,” said Food For The Poor EVP & Chief Marketing Officer Angel Aloma. “The items donated by shoppers will go a long way to help alleviate suffering as families recover from these catastrophic storms.” The collection drive will continue through Dec. 10 at the following store locations:

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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.”

Thanks so much for listening and may God bless you.