PODCAST: South Sudan Turns 10 (Whyte House Report 3.7.21)

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

According to Mission Network News, The world’s youngest nation turns ten this year. The South Sudanese know nothing but instability and war; more than 80-percent of the population lives in poverty. Thanks to local believers, thousands of villagers now have hope for tomorrow. Streams of Living Water teaches Christians throughout the Middle East and North Africa how to share their faith. After a recent workshop, believers started sharing the Good News of Jesus in villages around Juba. Gospel workers trained by Streams began their community outreach at the end of December. By the end of January, 16,802 people accepted Christ – including an entire company of soldiers! “In one village, 49 people were baptized in one day,” Wol says. He describes more in an email update: There was a couple about to divorce but, upon hearing the Gospel, they both gave their lives to Jesus and reconciled and started going to church together. Another woman decided to commit suicide by hanging herself, but on that very day, the Lord sent Gospel preachers, so she gave her life to the Lord.

According to Assist News Service, A group of 302 Ethiopian-Jewish immigrants were granted exemption from Israel’s airport closure and were permitted to land in Tel Aviv on a fully-chartered flight sponsored by the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem last week including a boy who needed life-saving surgery. Upon arrival, a 6-year-old Ethiopian boy named Benjamin was immediately transported to the Wolfson Medical Center in central Israel to undergo urgent life-saving heart treatment. Benjamin’s remarkable arrival in Israel was a collaborative effort by several government agencies including the Ministry of Health, the Jewish Agency, Keren Hayesod – United Israel Appeal, the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration and the Ministry of Interior. His surgery was coordinated by Save a Child’s Heart, an Israeli non-profit humanitarian organization that has continued to provide treatments to thousands of children worldwide despite the coronavirus pandemic. Benjamin is currently recovering at SACH’s Legacy Heritage Children’s home where he will receive ongoing medical assistance while his mother waits to board a flight to Israel to join him.

According to Mission Network News, You’ve heard about tents schools, but what about school in a truck? That’s a new project from Tent Schools International. Anne Hamming says the truck will be able to reach refugee kids anywhere in Lebanon. “Our partner in Lebanon has had a fair amount of success reaching out to Syrian refugees with schools in shipping containers that he has set up in or on the perimeter of different refugee camps. However, with time, we’ve learned that there is a problem with that system because the refugee camps can actually be disbanded with pretty short notice.” At different times, the truck will be used to train kids of different ages, including teaching trade skills to young adults. When the truck isn’t being used for school, it won’t sit idle. Hamming says, “It can be used to help meet any of several dire needs in Lebanon right now. Lebanon has been on lockdown. And they’ve only partially reopened, where only banks and grocery stores are open right now.” Tent Schools has finished funding for the project, and the truck school should be rolling around Lebanon by sometime this summer. If the project goes well, Hamming says they hope to replicate this format in other countries as well.

According to Assist News Service, More Christian prisoners of faith have been set free in Eritrea, according to Release International. The charity reports a further 21 women prisoners have been released, making 171 Christians freed since August last year. At the same time, Eritrean forces have been accused of attacking churches in neighbouring Ethiopia – killing more than 700 civilians in what has been described as a massacre. ‘Despite the prisoner releases in Eritrea, these horrific church attacks suggest it’s far too soon to suggest a change of heart towards Christianity,’ says Paul Robinson of Release International, which supports persecuted Christians worldwide. ‘The attacks on churches in Tigray are appalling, and Eritrea continues to hold many senior pastors who have been detained indefinitely – some for up to 17 years. Until all are set free and the killing of Christians stops it’s too soon to talk of lasting change. ‘Any such change would have to be proven by giving full freedom of religion to all Eritrea’s citizens.’

According to Mission Network News, Egypt will now allow Muslims to build Christian churches as paid laborers. Egyptian Muslims in the past have often seen this kind of work as taboo. The pronouncement allows Muslims to help build any of the 44 churches now under construction around Egypt. They can also join the work on 16 historic Coptic churches now being restored. Read more and see a map of the churches being built here. Tom Doyle of Uncharted Ministries says, “This is a big step. This is the government saying, ‘We are giving our okay for this.’ And that’s another good sign. So we are thankful for that. And we pray that there will be better relations between Muslims and Christians. Because we know as Muslims become exposed to the Gospel and see the joy of the Lord and believers, it’s attractive to them. They want to know more.” Doyle says this might be good news for the future of Christian-Muslim relations throughout the entire MENA region.

According to Assist News Service, A Christian cleric, Bulus Yikura, who was kidnapped by Boko Haram, has been freed. Mr Yikura was freed Wednesday evening by the terror group, security sources told PREMIUM TIMES. Our reporter saw Mr Yikura on the outskirts of Maiduguri as he was being conveyed to the office of the State Security Service in Borno, at about 6:15 p.m. Last week, Boko Haram circulated a video where Mr Yikura called on the government of Nigeria and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to save him. He said his abductors threatened to take his life at the end of the week. Going by the seven days ultimatum, Mr Yikura, a pastor with EYN church, had until today to be freed or killed. PREMIUM TIMES gathered from security sources that family members and the EYN church had been negotiating the release of the abducted pastor since last week. On Wednesday, when he was asked to speak about his freedom, Mr Yikura kept repeating, “I thank God, I thank God.”

According to Mission Network News, There are approximately 15 million people in New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles combined. Imagine if none of them had money to buy food. In fact, what if no one had eaten a complete meal in months? You can almost picture what it’s like in Yemen. Over 16 million Yemenis will require food aid to survive this year, the United Nations reports. Malnutrition reached its highest point ever for kids under five last year. The ongoing Yemen war continues to fuel what the United Nations calls the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. New frontlines ensure that needs will be even higher this year. Within these dark realities, Christ is shining His light into the hearts and lives of the Yemeni people. In 2020, one church network in Yemen announced and observed national days of prayer on March 18th and September 4th. These are the dates when an international partner and a Yemeni Christian were martyred for their witness, in 2012 and 2015 respectively. The church network in Yemen will again be fasting and praying on these dates in 2021, and they’re inviting the international Church to join them. Save the dates on your calendar.

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.