PODCAST: COVID-19 Cases Surging in India (Whyte House Report 5.2.21)

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

According to Mission Network News, New COVID-19 infections are declining in the United States, but they’re picking up everywhere else. Globally, there have been nearly as many new cases in the past week as the first five months of the pandemic. India holds most of the caseload. “The spike in India is very, very real. We’ve seen over a million new cases in the last three days; more than 2 million in the last week, and the death rate has climbed incredibly high,” Bibles For The World’s John Pudaite says. “The hospitals are way beyond overflowing. You’ve got three people in a bed, people lined up on the ground outside of hospitals hoping to get a bed; there’s no capacity,” he continues. “It is a very, very serious situation for the country, and especially for the body of Christ in India.” In a nation filled with rampant Hindu nationalism, Bibles For The World trains Christian leaders at Bible colleges. BFTW Seed Sowers’ Seminars train leaders to evangelize and equip new believers for church planting efforts in under-reached regions. “There are over 125 significant church leaders that have passed due to COVID, or are in critical condition in ICU right now. This is going to create a tremendous vacuum in the body of Christ,” Pudaite says. “We don’t have that many leaders across the country as a whole. We’re going to be facing some tough challenges in the years ahead.” Not only will the Body of Christ mourn individuals killed by the virus, but Pudaite says it also needs to fill the void left behind. Ask the Lord to comfort believers’ families. Pray God will raise a new generation of leaders Bibles For The World can train. “This is going to be a need for the next five, 10, 15 years – just to replace those leaders we have lost,” Pudaite says.

According to Premier Christian News, One person was killed, another injured and four women kidnapped, after heavily armed men, of Fulani ethnicity, attacked a church service in Chikun Local Government Area in southern Kaduna state. According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide’s sources, Zacharia Dogon Yaro, a community extension health worker at the Kaduna State Ministry of Health, was killed in Sunday’s attack at Haske Baptist Church in Manini village. The gunmen also abducted Charity Musa, Rose Zacharia, Alheri Bala and Liatu Zakka, a widow whose husband was murdered in an earlier attack. Kaduna is increasingly becoming the epicentre of kidnapping and banditry activity in Nigeria. Despite being the headquarters of 11 military installations, Kaduna state has become an epicentre of kidnapping, with levels of insecurity almost matching those in the north east, according to CSW. A CSW source said: “The kidnappers are expanding their activities, particularly in the rural areas. We are like prisoners. We can hardly step out of the city. Once you’re on the road your heart is in your mouth until you reach your destination.” Two days earlier, the bodies of three students who had been seized by armed men of Fulani origin during a 20 April attack on Greenfield University, a private institution situated close to the Kaduna-Abuja highway in Chikun LGA, were found in Kwanan Bature village, close to the university.

According to Mission Network News, Thrown in jail for removing a sticker? That’s the situation for two Christian nurses in Pakistan. This happened in Pakistan’s third largest city, Faisalabad. Their supervisors told the nurses to remove stickers from a cabinet. Nehemiah from Forgotten Missionaries International says one of the stickers had a verse from the Quran. “She just removed the sticker. And these Quranic verses, Pakistanis don’t know how to read Arabic. So even when Pakistani Muslims recite Quran, they had no idea what they are reciting, because that is Arabic.” The next day, hospital staff found out about the sticker. One of the men flew into a rage, and tried to murder one of the nurses with a knife. Nehemiah says, “But miraculously, she was saved. And then people started beating them, torturing them. Police came, and they rescued these two Christian nurses. Later, on the pressure of media and public and hospital staff, police had to register blasphemy cases against them.” Nehemiah says the hospital supervisors organized the plot, knowing the nurses couldn’t read the sticker.

According to Assist News Service, After more than three decades of work, the Bible in the Asturian language, spoken by around 200,000 people in northern Spain, is a reality. Daniel Hofkamp , Evangelical Focus, reports the first translation of the Bible into the Asturian language was published last March and it was presented April 21st at the Royal Institute of Asturian Studies. Evangelical Focus reports the event had a limited in-person audience due to restrictions, and was broadcast on the Spanish Bible Society’s YouTube channel. Authorities participated in the presentation of the Bible, including the regional Minister of Culture, Language policy and Tourism, Berta Piñán, who spoke about the cultural significance of the Asturian version; the former director of the Spanish Bible Society and coordinator of the project, José Luis Andavert; the coordinator of translations of the Bible Society, Ricardo Moraleja; and the consultant and linguistic and literary reviewer of the project, Ramón d’Andrés. According to Ricardo Moraleja, the project has been “arduous” but “gratifying.” “Of all the projects I have had the privilege of working on, perhaps the Bible in Asturian is one of the most complicated,” he told Spanish news website Protestante Digital.

According to Mission Network News, A pastor in Laos has been released after spending a year in prison. He was convicted of “creating disorder” after holding church services without permission. Christians in this Southeast Asian country often experience persecution at the hands of their neighbors or the communist government. Joe Handley of Asian Access says, “This particular pastor happens to be a part of a network that is actually in the sanctioned church. In Laos, there is a sanctioned, government-based church. And then there’s an underground church. Of course, the underground church is much larger, and usually is the one that gets more pressure, because they’re not endorsed by the government. It’s just a very unwieldy situation. And even the sanctioned churches get cracked down on in the country.” But persecution can sometimes have a positive effect. A church leader said this to Handley: “If any of us do something that they think is out of line, or they want to come down on us, they oftentimes will put us in jail or beat us up. And what happens is everyone in the community is curious. Why would they do such a mean thing to this nice person? And so it actually leads to more people coming to Christ.”

According to Charisma News, Bob and Stephanie Caudle are giving back to members of the U.S. military stationed in Anchorage, Alaska, through faith-infused outreach, fellowship and hospitality. The heart of the couple’s ministry is meeting urgent needs of young U.S. service members at Fort Elmendorf-Richardson. The Caudles are directors of the Homestead, a Cadence International hospitality house offering military men, women and families a place to connect, find family-like support and grow in their faith. The Caudles say their move from health insurance to Samaritan Ministries healthcare sharing is one of the reasons they can focus on this important work. The financial savings they experienced through Samaritan Ministries helps the Caudles continue to pursue their ministry. They open their home as a place for people to gather, a place to hold Bible studies and an opportunity to conduct one-on-one mentorship. “We try to bring people who are hurting into a Christ-centered community,” Bob says. The Caudles’ life-on-life approach to ministry is not limited to Bible study and showing the beauty of God’s creation. The Caudles help the young men and women through the responsibilities that are often new to those living on their own for the first time: filing taxes, buying a new car and changing the oil. If Bob is in the middle of a building project at the house, he’ll invite some of them over to teach them things like drywalling and plumbing. These practical activities also present opportunities to share Jesus with them.

According to Mission Network News, The Russian Constitutional Court ruled the country needs stricter laws to deal with domestic abuse. The court says existing laws do not protect the victims or sufficiently punish attackers. Russian women suffer greatly from domestic abuse. Eric Mock of the Slavic Gospel Association suggests a male-dominated society that disrespects and devalues women may be a factor. “In this environment, women often put up with abuse, alcoholism, drug use, and domestic violence. They are far too common. Why do we know this? Great number of orphans that are in the orphanages we work with all tell of parents injuring one another, and most often of abusive fathers. It is a terrible blight on society.” It remains to be seen if this ruling will have any impact on Russia’s laws, or help women significantly. But Mock says the local Church is making a difference. “Pray that the churches are able to intervene. Pray that those stuck in the endless cycles of domestic violence will ask for help, and let people know of the need. And pray the church will rightly respond. How you respond is so critical.”

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.