PODCAST: 17 Egyptian Coptic Christians missing in Libya (WHR 11.03.21)

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

According to Christian Headlines, According to the U.S.-based persecution watchdog group International Christian Concern (ICC), at least 17 Egyptian Coptic Christians have gone missing in Libya since September 30. Some friends and family members of the missing Christians, who were living in the Egyptian neighborhood of Tripoli, say they were detained by the authorities. Still, others say they were kidnapped by an armed group because of their faith. “Even now, there [is] no confirmed news,” a lawyer of one of the missing Christians said. “(My friend) Emad Nasr and the other Copts traveled to Libya three months ago. They headed to the United Arab Emirates and then to Libya because there are no direct airlines to Libya.” “The Copts had visas for Libya (labor visas), but they failed to get work opportunities, and the costs of renewing the visas are high,” he added. “So the police of Libya detained them from September 30 until now.” According to The Christian Post, the lawyer also expressed concerns that the missing Christians could meet a similar fate to the 21 Coptic Christians who were beheaded by ISIS in 2015.

According to Mission Network News, In his book, The Journey Home, the late Dr. Bill Bright wrote, “Set goals so big that unless God helps you, you will be a miserable failure.” That’s the kind of spiritual legacy Dr. Bright left when he saw a bold dream come to fruition – the production of the “JESUS” film. Dr. Bright went to be with the Lord in 2003. Jesus Film Project celebrated his legacy last Tuesday, October 19th, on what would have been Dr. Bright’s 100th birthday. Josh Newell, executive director of Jesus Film Project, writes of Dr. Bright, “He lived and breathed the Great Commission, sharing the Gospel at every opportunity. He motivated and equipped others to do the same, including me.” Josh Newell, executive director of Jesus Film Project, writes of Dr. Bright, “He lived and breathed the Great Commission, sharing the gospel at every opportunity. He motivated and equipped others to do the same, including me.”

According to Mission Network News, Noticed any shortages recently? The global supply chain has been wracked by COVID-19 and its aftereffects. Things are taking longer to ship and cost more, especially overseas. Jason Woolford says Mission Cry is spending more on shipping containers to transport Bibles and Christian books. “Where that’s affecting us as a ministry is containers are about 30 to 50 percent more than what we were paying for them before. And normally I would have been able to order a container and have it here within the same week. As of right now, we’re out a month.” China produces the majority of the world’s shipping containers, which is creating a bottleneck. Woolford says, “If we send the container, whenever that container comes back, it leaves with something. Say it’s going to Kenya. It’ll leave Kenya and go to India, but those containers are always filled with something. It keeps the supply chain going. But China paid for those containers to come back empty from all of those places.”

According to Mission Network News, Today kicks off a four-day training conference for pastors serving remote communities in Kenya. Shepherding a rural church is challenging work. “Many of these pastors work in really difficult situations. They’re very remote; they’re isolated,” Kenya Hope’s Joy Mueller says. “The pastors are very poorly supported by their churches financially; [they receive] less than $200 a month, so many have dairy farms or livestock to supplement [their income].” Training and networking opportunities are plentiful in the West, but that’s not the case in rural Kenya. Developing an event and curriculum that meets everyone’s unique needs is a complex yet worthy endeavor. “These pastors come from a wide range of denominations, educational backgrounds; some speak English, and others don’t. Some have very little training, and others have gone to Bible school,” Mueller says. “We try to make this [widely-applicable], but the main thrust is to equip these pastors to present and teach the Word of God.”

According to Mission Network News, Last month, Indonesian police arrested two clergymen, one Muslim and one Christian, on blasphemy charges. Bruce Allen with FMI says Indonesia tries to treat all nationally recognized religions equally. “The national government is trying to keep balance and harmony between people who speak 720 plus languages and who live on 6000 different islands.” The Muslim cleric who spoke out against Christianity apologized for his words and was released. However, the Christian, a popular apologist on YouTube, was treated very differently. On his first night in prison, four men brutally attacked him for several hours. Allen says, “Now, he was not necessarily speaking ill of the Prophet Muhammad, or ripping pages out of a Quran and burning it or anything that we traditionally think of with blasphemy charges. But many Muslims were upset because this man, Muhammad Kece, began changing the way he would use the standard Muslim greeting. Instead of saying the name Muhammad, in that greeting, he would insert the word, Jesus, instead.” “So in essence, he was saying, ‘Peace be upon you and the Lord Jesus’s mercy and blessings.’” One of Kece’s attackers holds a high-ranking government office. Allen says, “Christians are looking at this and saying, ‘You’re not protecting the rights of Christians.’”

According to Mission Network News, If you’re over 30 years old, you probably remember what life was like before the internet, smartphones, and social media. Communicating and obtaining information, generally speaking, happened at a slower pace. With today’s technology, you can post, watch, or create anything your heart desires, at any time of day, as long as you have WiFi. Digital media offers an opportunity most Christians miss. “It allows you to bring the Gospel, the hope of Jesus, to the ends of the earth,” Doug Hutchcraft of Ron Hutchcraft Ministries says. “The enemy has been using technology. He has put sin at the fingertips of every person; he is where people are hanging out and offering what he would like them to turn to,” Hutchcraft continues. “How exciting is it that we can be hanging out in the public square as well, drawing people to Jesus through these amazing technologies?” You don’t have to be under the age of 30 to take advantage of these opportunities. “If it’s in your heart to do it, then see what platform you’re excited about, what the Lord draws you to, and just learn how to use it,” Hutchcraft suggests. “Don’t allow the fact that you don’t know how to use it (technology and platforms) intimidate you; most of them are simpler than you think.”

According to Mission Network News, A brutal authoritarian regime rules Chechnya, a small enclave located in the Northern Caucasus region of Russia. Dictator Ramzan Kadyrov uses local Sufi Islam as a means to keep his power. Sufism is a form of Islamic mysticism that emphasizes personal introspection and closeness with God. It has often been practiced more as a style of worship than a sect. Chechens have traditionally seen Sufism as part of their ethnic identity. However, Kadyrov’s regime uses this identity to persecute those of different religions and maintain control within the region. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom released a report this week, detailing the abuses of religious freedom in Chechnya. Todd Nettleton with The Voice of the Martyrs USA says, “Other brands of Islam, other theologies within Islam, are actually persecuted in Chechnya. They’re distrusted. And Christians are treated this way as well. That’s what they face: being seen as outsiders, being seen as rejecting or betraying their Chechen ethnic identity by not following Sufi Islam.” Ask God to encourage Christians in Chechnya. Pray entire families would come to Christ together. Nettleton says, “Because that alleviates that family pressure. Then you’re not left facing that family pressure to renounce Christ.”

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.