PODCAST: Child Marriages Rise Globally Due to COVID-19 (Whyte House Report 12.20.20)

This is Whyte House Report podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.

According to Mission Network News, With COVID-19 creating economic pressure and school closures all around the world, the number of child marriages has surged. Maggie of World Concern recognizes that while legislation has led to progress, such as the bill recently passed by the Philippine Senate, in many cases it isn’t enough. “All over the world, one in five girls will be married before their 18th birthday. Unfortunately, one of the things we see is even though countries have laws against early marriage [many] also have exceptions,” she explains. “A legal framework is not enough. Many countries make allowances for early marriages, even within the context of legislation against it.” With this in mind, World Concern is working to combat child marriage. World Concern provides scholarships to girls in three high-risk countries, allowing them to stay in school. Additionally, World Concern works with families to raise awareness of the importance of education and to provide poverty alleviation. Finally, providing girls with vital skills, such as communication, can make a huge difference.

According to Charisma News, Christmas is taking on greater meaning in Tanzania. Through a five-city evangelistic crusade, Christ for all Nations has spread the Gospel through Operation Decapolis. In November, CfaN held ministry campaigns in five cities over two weeks. Crew traveled to Arusha, Kahama, Singida, Shinyanga and Tabora to set up sound systems, market the services and welcome locals. Each campaign lasted seven days. The grassroots approach worked. More than 350,000 people attended the multi-city initiative, and 53,153 of them declared a first-time salvation experience. The new Christians shared their contact information, so a local church can follow up and help them begin a meaningful, lifelong walk with Jesus Christ. Many people also reported experiencing miracles, including physical healings, spiritual deliverance, restored relationships and freedom from sin and addiction.

According to Mission Network News, The government of South Korea has officially banned the practice of launching balloons into North Korea. The resolution passed only after opposing politicians tried to stop the process with a filibuster. It’s the first law of its kind; South Korean activists often take advantage of favorable winds to get leaflets or even money across the border. Christians have often used balloon launching to get the Gospel into North Korea, but recently South Korean authorities have been stopping them. Foley sees this new law as an admission that no previous laws banned balloon launches. Foley even faces charges for his past balloon launches. “As a person who’s being prosecuted, I want people to understand I’m not worried. I believe that there’s much more going on here than legislative power. I think God’s hand is at work, I know God’s hand is at work. And that’s why I have a deep peace about this.Today, the most important thing that we can do is not to protest a new balloon law. Instead, it’s to continue to get the Gospel into North Korea.”

According to Assist News Service, In October, Iran Alive received amazing news: they reached 10,000 salvations through their broadcast ministry since May! To honor this joyous occasion, the ministry’s Hormoz Shariat put on his nicest clothes: “my best suit, white shirt, and red bowtie, and we celebrated on our live church broadcast. In the almost 20 years of our broadcast ministry to Iran we have never seen such a rate of conversion!” Shariat told Assist News in a ministry update. Shariat said it is apparent that Iranians are desperate to hear the Gospel. “They are depressed, and suffering under governmental control. They are looking for spirituality outside of Islam. But, we noticed an even more radical shift in the early months of 2020. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, most Iranians were confined to their homes, so our viewership increased exponentially.” Shariat continued: “When we realized this, we declared May to be our month of evangelism, and dedicated the entire month to special broadcasts about this topic. Suddenly, salvations increased 10-20 times what they were before. We have been consistently getting 400-500 declared salvations per week since this month of evangelism!”

According to to Mission Network News, Boko Haram is still on killing sprees in northern Nigeria, although it’s often overshadowed by other headlines. Christians often find themselves in the crosshairs. In the midst of horrific persecution, Nigerian Christians are urgently asking for more Bibles. Mission Cry recently sent shipments of free Bibles and Christian books to believers in Nigeria. Rev. Jason Woolford, President of Mission Cry, says they heard from a man who received one of their containers. This man has been through a husband and father’s nightmare. “Boko Haram came in and killed his wife and his two daughters, burned villagers, cut off body parts. The pictures that we have from our guy on the ground are just horrific. They’re things that you can’t unsee. He’s asking, ‘Could you please send the Word of God? We need the Word of God.’” Including Nigeria, Mission Cry has shipped 24 sea containers packed with free Bibles and Christian books to 1.2 million people around the world this year.

According to International Christian Concern, International Christian Concern has learned that the Lahore High Court has acquitted Imran Ghafur Masih, a Christian sentenced to life in prison under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. According to Imran’s family, they have moved into hiding following the acquittal due to potential threats from extremists. On Dec. 15, the Lahore High Court acquitted Imran after he spent more than 10 years in prison for allegedly committing blasphemy. The development came as a shock to Imran’s family. “It is a day of resurrection for us,” Naveed Masih, Imran’s brother, told ICC. “God has heard our cry, and we are very thankful to Him. It’s a Christmas gift for us.” ICC’s Regional Manager for South Asia, William Stark, said, “We here at International Christian Concern are happy to see Imran Masih finally acquitted and released after more than 10 years in prison. It is great to see such a prolonged blasphemy case justly resolved at the high court level in Pakistan. However, we remain deeply concerned for the safety of Imran and his family. Extremists in Pakistan are known to target individuals accused of religious crimes, like blasphemy, even after they have been acquitted. The abuse of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws must be curbed and false allegations must be rooted out and punished. Too often these laws have been a tool in the hands of extremists seeking to stir up religiously motivated violence against minorities. Without reform, religious minorities will continue to face false blasphemy accusations and the violence that often accompanies these accusations.”

According to Assist News Service, French Connect London, a French-speaking church in London, along with the Christian association Plus Que Sportifs, recently organised “The Goal,” an online charity gala, to raise funds for Open Doors and Holistic Sports France, organisations which help persecuted Christians. Evangelical Focus Newsletter reports all the money collected will be used to support schooling assistance and football school projects in North Cameroon, the Maghreb and Mali, areas severely devastated after the Boko Haram massacres in the Sahel. According to the Newsletter, the gala took place online on November 22, but included an auction of several jerseys and shoes of well-known football, handball and basketball players, which was open until December 6 and raised 12.040Euros. The Chelsea FC striker Olivier Giroud gave several items, including the jersey of his 100th game for the French team, an autographed shirt for the 2020 FA Cup final against Arsenal, and two pairs of shoes, worn and also signed by the French player. According to the Giroud, “We who are in a certain comfort must think of those who are suffering enormously, that is why I am supporting the NGO Open Doors and Holistic Sports for their magnificent work on the ground. Thanks to my notoriety, I can be a voice for the voiceless. The persecution of Christians through the actions presented at this gala gave me shivers. I was overwhelmed by the testimonies. 260 million persecuted Christians in the world is unacceptable, we must talk about it,” Giroud pointed out.

You can read these stories and more at Whytehousereport.com

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.