PODCAST: Billy Graham Rapid Response Team Respond to Deadly Indiana Shooting (Whyte House Report 4.18.21)

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

According to Charisma News, Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (BG-RRT) chaplains are responding to last night’s deadly shooting in Indianapolis, Indiana, where a gunman killed eight people and wounded several others. Police officers arriving to the FedEx warehouse called it “a very chaotic scene, with victims and witnesses running everywhere.” News reports say the gunman took his own life afterward. The Rapid Response Team’s Mobile Ministry Center is also en route, which will offer a quiet place for residents to talk with chaplains. “As we learned of another senseless act of violence that took so many lives, our hearts are broken for all of those who lost friends, family members and co-workers,” said Josh Holland, BG-RRT’s assistant director. “We are sending our team of crisis-trained chaplains to provide a ministry of presence, offering hope and comfort to those who are grieving and hurting.” The BG-RRT is also ministering in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, after civil unrest broke out last weekend. In addition, chaplains are deployed to Newman, Georgia, following deadly overnight tornadoes in late March.

According to Mission Network News, Gujarat becomes the third Indian state in three months to pass anti-conversion legislation. Uttar Pradesh led the way in February with its Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Bill 2021, and Madhya Pradesh followed in March. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rules all three states. Greg Musselman with Voice of the Martyrs Canada says Gujarat’s new law expands the scope of illegal religious activity. Previously, the law banned forced religious conversions. Now, simply using the “wrong” words could get believers in trouble. “If a Christian is out telling the good news of Jesus and that when you die you spend eternity in heaven, well that could be considered allurement to divine blessing,” Musselman describes as an example. It’s a worrisome development. “This is sending shockwaves through the Christian community in Gujarat. If you’re found guilty, you could be imprisoned up to 10 years and fined the equivalent [of] about 500,000 rupees ($6,706),” Musselman continues. As long as the BJP is in charge, there’s little hope of change.

According to Christian Post, Lebanon, known as a haven for Christianity in the Middle East, is on the brink of financial collapse and teeters on the edge of failed-state status if its path is not quickly reversed, an expert roundtable hosted by a leading Middle Eastern Christians advocacy group warned. “Lebanon is moving rapidly towards total state failure. Full collapse would take weeks to unfold but decades to repair,” former U.S. Ambassador Ed Gabriel, the president of the American Task Force on Lebanon, said during a media roundtable hosted by In Defense of Christians last Friday. Richard Ghazal, a senior advisor for IDC, a nonpartisan Washington-based grassroots human rights organization, said Lebanon will not remain “the final remaining bastion of Christianity in the Middle East” if immediate action does not take place to reverse the country’s downfall. The explosion in Lebanon’s capital city of Beirut on Aug. 4 led to over 200 deaths, thousands of injuries and the destruction of over 300,000 homes. The explosion worsened Lebanon’s financial and humanitarian crisis as the country with nearly a 40% Christian population was already in a state of decline.

According to Mission Network News, Galen with Global Disciples says, “We’ve seen it in many places where the lockdown allowed people to focus on their neighborhoods and provide a powerful witness of hope, and the kind of joy that has [transformed] many of their lives.” One believer in Ethiopia used Global Disciples’ training resources to disciple five women from a Muslim background. More about Global Disciples’ approach here. “While it’s not traditional in Islam for women to provide leadership, these women were willing to step forward,” Galen says. “They started small house fellowships and within three months, those small house fellowships had multiplied into hundreds. Now, they are a significant network of house churches all across the region.” In South Asia, lockdowns gave believers opportunities to share the hope and joy that comes only from Christ. Global Disciples partners with a large Christian church in a metropolitan area. “When the [COVID-19] restrictions came, they decided to multiply their church into 97 small house fellowships and committed to meet twice a week,” Galen say

According to Assist News Service, One of the largest mission agencies in the world is launching compassion projects in Africa for the first time — a huge boost for humanitarian efforts in the world’s poorest continent, according to a press release from GFA World, formerly known as Gospel for Asia. The organization expects to begin work in multiple African nations this year. “Africa is where the tears never dry,” said GFA World founder K.P. Yohannan, announcing the launch of compassion projects in Rwanda, a mountainous nation in east-central Africa still recovering from the war and genocide that left 800,000 dead and ripped the country apart in the 1990s. “Everything we do focuses on bringing real hope and the love of God to those who’ve lost all hope,” said Yohannan, author of the best-selling book Revolution in World Missions, with more than four million copies in print. “We appreciate the open door we’ve been given to start saving lives and serving the poor in Rwanda,” said Yohannan.

According to Mission Network News, According to the latest global report, children make up two-thirds of Africa’s human trafficking victims: Trafficking flows out of Sub-Saharan Africa have a global dimension, with victims detected in Western and Southern Europe, in North Africa and in the Middle East. Victims from Sub-Saharan countries are also detected in North America and East Asia. “Education is freedom for so many,” TeachBeyond’s Tammy Peters says. Throughout Africa, TeachBeyond focuses on communities with little or no access to education. “We have a program called Open Schools Worldwide which trains volunteers, local Africans, with the curriculum. [This curriculum] brings children up to grade three of literacy and grade three of numeracy,” Peters explains. Christ is the center of every lesson. “So many of our educational methods are grounded in who Jesus is,” Peters notes. “We are promoting Christian education that transforms the heart and minds of leaders and children.”

According to Charisma News, Countless people across Texas are still suffering from the effects of the deep freeze that hit seven weeks ago: damaged roofs, burst water pipes, homes burned down due to temporary heat sources and more. Already struggling because of COVID shutdowns, many families cannot repair the damage. State Farm reported burst pipe claims rose from 79 in 2020 to over 29,000 this year. Widow and longtime Texan Vickie Guillory says, “I’m one of countless who experienced considerable damage to my home from broken pipes. It was overwhelming. The compassionate assistance extended to me by Somebody Cares gave me peace and helped get me back into my home! I’m thankful to Christ for the care He has shown me and so many others through Somebody Cares.” Doug Stringer, president of SCA/I, says, “Our ability to continue helping comes from the strength of our network of ministry partners and supporters—we can help far more people together than we can separately! But the needs are great and resources are stretched thin. Donations of any amount are greatly appreciated as we seek to be a tangible expression of God’s love to those in need.”

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.