Please Pray For Pastor Tomaza in Cuba

Pastor Tomaza Victoria Ayala Zellero and her family were evicted from their home on the 22nd May 2009.
 
She is part of the Apostolic Movement and pastors an Apostolic Church in Central Elia, Las Tunas province, Cuba.
 
They were originally told that the house, which also served as their Church, would be confiscated in July 2008, despite the fact that Tomaza and her husband, Jorge, had lived there for almost 30 years and were the legal owners.
 
When they were evicted the authorities gave them documents prohibiting Tomaza from holding any religious services and the police chief threatened to imprison her for ‘dangerousness’.
 
Finally, the authorities also forcibly closed their carpentry shop, leaving the family homeless and depriving them of an income.
 
Please pray for Tomaza and her family, that God gives them the strength to endure all the hardships from which they are presently suffering.
 
I know that they would welcome all your letters and support to show that many people are thinking of them – and praying for them.
 
Tomaza’s address is:-
 
Pastor Tomaza Victoria Ayala Zellero
Iglesia Apostolica
Cooperative Agricultural Leningrado
Victoria de las Tunas
Cuba
With many peaceful blessings
Geoffrey
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Girl Brings Scandal To Village

Hansini steeled herself against the pain of another blow. Soon her body would turn all shades of black and blue, but her attacker wouldn’t be satisfied. He wasn’t simply angry like the others. This man was desperate. At 17 years old, Hansini had shamed the entire village by her actions, but everyone blamed him. Now he was determined to see his reputation restored—no matter the cost.

 

Hansini’s village wasn’t much to look at. The people were poor and most struggled for daily survival.

Still, they had some things to their credit: They were faithful to their traditional deities, and though their lifestyles wouldn’t suggest it, they belonged to highly distinguished clans.

Between working as daily wage labourers and scraping together meals, the people still managed to look down on the lower castes. As if their status weren’t bad enough, many in the lower castes had deserted the traditional religion and begun following Jesus, making them even more disgraceful.

Although most villagers wanted nothing to do with the low caste people, however, there were a few who had given up their reputation to join the Jesus-followers. To her family’s dismay, Hansini was one of them.

From the beginning, Hansini’s parents, Badal and Deepti, strictly opposed her new faith, but their stance did little to calm the rest of the village. The teenager had brought scandal to their doors and something needed to be done.

Old friends became hostile to the family, who received no end of scolding from neighbours and extended relatives.

“You have let your children run so free that you cannot even make them obey you,” the village elders told them.

It didn’t matter that their son and younger daughter still behaved respectably, or that Badal and Deepti worked hard every day. Their own beliefs were of no consequence because Hansini’s actions had overshadowed them all.

The villagers were disgusted when the lower castes began following Jesus and meeting as a fellowship.

One day, Badal couldn’t bear the humiliation any longer. Hammered by the scorn of his neighbours, the man snapped, and he beat Hansini with all the fury and shame he felt. But even as the dark bruises began to show, Hansini stood firm with a determination no one understood.

When her brother and sister begged her to come back to their religion, she just told them more about Jesus and asked them to join her instead.

The neighbours were disgusted, and the family could only wait helplessly for Hansini to relent and clear the family name. After three years passed, though, it seemed she never would.

Despite the village’s protests, Hansini refused to give up her faith in Christ.

One day, Hansini came home with a surprise from her church’s Christmas gift distribution program. It didn’t make sense that the poor, lowly believers could give such a nice gift, but the gleam of the new sewing machine was undeniable. Hansini didn’t waste any time in putting it to use.

She began sewing and selling mosquito nets, and Badal and Deepti watched in amazement as their wayward daughter started earning a significant income. Rather than using it for her personal gain, she took care of her family’s bills.

“Jesus Christ is the giver of all good gifts,” Hansini explained to her parents, “and it is because of the love and grace of Christ that our family is able to overcome all our financial struggles.”

As they looked at what they’d received from the daughter and the God they rejected, Badal and Deepti realized how wrong they had been. Together, they decided that if Jesus could love them while they rejected Him, then they would serve Him no matter what the neighbours said.

And as word spread of Hansini’s success, the neighbours had plenty to say.

The sewing machine Hansini received from her church allowed her to support her whole family.

After three years of hostility, the villagers weren’t about to ignore this new development. With their objective in sight, they closed in on the girl who had defied them, and they asked her one simple question:

Would Hansini teach their children to sew, too?

The young woman happily agreed.

Today, Hansini teaches classes six days a week, borrowing a second sewing machine from a fellow believer, and hopes to share the love of Jesus with her students.

In the meantime, the villagers have stopped their hostile actions and some are even coming to church, eager to learn more about the longsuffering love of Christ. After seeing it clearly demonstrated through Hansini, it’s not so shameful anymore.

For more information about Gospel for Asia please go to:-

http://www.gfauk.org

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

 

 

‘The Source You Have Given to Us Is Never Finished’ – Gospel for Asia

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Families all over South Asia didn’t receive perfume or ties last Christmas. Instead, they received gifts that changed their lives.

Nothing Temporary Here
Pranjal had no way of providing medical treatment for his ailing wife, Sukthi. A witch doctor told them she should have surgery to fix her decaying rib, but the cost of the operation was more than Pranjal could afford.

As a day labourer, Pranjal barely made enough to feed his family. In desperation, he went to the local Gospel for Asia-supported church and asked for financial help. But Pranjal received something even better than money. Instead of the church giving him money that could only temporarily fix what would be a prolonged problem, they gave him a cycle rickshaw so he could earn an income, provide for his family and get the medical treatments his wife needed.

'The Source You Have Given to Us Is Never Finished'

Pranjal was given a new cycle rickshaw. Now he can earn enough money to provide for his wife and four children.

The local GFA-supported pastor also began visiting the family and prayed for Sukthi’s healing.

A few months after receiving the gift, Pranjal took his wife to the hospital for a check up. Miraculously, the doctors told them regular medicine could help cure Sukthi’s sickness and no surgery was needed.

Pranjal and his wife knew it was the Lord Jesus working in their lives.

“If I had received financial help then that money would have been gone within a few days,” Pranjal said. “But the source you have given to us is never finished. It still helps us exist. Now I am earning a good amount through the cycle rickshaw by carrying passengers. I am taking my wife also for treatment in my vehicle, and I’m able to buy medicines for my wife. I am happy with the help provided to me by the church.”

New Carpenter in Town
Surviving was tough for Mahir and his family. He was scarcely able to provide for his family’s needs because he wasn’t able to find a job. However, GFA-supported pastors in the area took notice of his great need.

They invited Mahir and his family to attend their Christmas gift distribution program, and to Mahir’s surprise, he was gifted with carpentry tools.

Even though Mahir had no experience or knowledge in carpentry work, he began doing small repair jobs in his village. Slowly, his carpentry skills developed to the point where he was able to build furniture and even houses. Now, through this gift, Mahir is able to earn 1,500-2,000 rupees ($30-$40 US) a month, which is enough for him to take care of his family.

“It is good to have such programs in our region for needy and poor people that will uplift their living standards,” Mahir shared. “May God bless those who provided me with these carpentry tools.”

'The Source You Have Given to Us Is Never Finished'

Pranjal was given a new cycle rickshaw. Now he can earn enough money to provide for his wife and four children.

Satisfying Their Thirst
Shikar and his family were constantly getting sick from the water sources in their village.

“There was hardly a week or month in which we did not have to visit a doctor and spend our hard-earned income on medicine,” Shikar explained. “My family and I were often exposed to waterborne diseases because we had no choice but to use dirty and contaminated water from open wells for cooking and drinking.”

Shikar and his family suffered with stomach problems, jaundice, typhoid and diarrhea. And because necessity compelled them to use ponds, rivers and contaminated well water for bathing, they also suffered from skin infections.

The doctors told them they needed to use a water filter, but Shikar couldn’t afford to buy one. Fortunately, GFA-supported pastors provided for this need by giving Shikar a BioSand water filter from the Gospel for Asia Christmas Gift Catalogue. Now he, his family and even other people in his village don’t have to worry about getting sick.

'The Source You Have Given to Us Is Never Finished'

This BioSand water filter helped keep Shikar and other villagers safe from waterborne diseases.

“Since the time the water filter was installed, no one has suffered from any waterborne diseases, and we are spared from unnecessary medical expenses,” Shikar shared. “Through these BioSand water filters, not only our physical thirst has been quenched, but also our inner thirst for the love of the Lord and for one another was met very strongly.”

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Please Pray For Egyptian Christians

Elections began yesterday

Christians in Egypt are asking for prayer for the nation’s parliamentary elections, a process that will begin tomorrow, 17 October, and last for some weeks. It is due to be Egypt’s final transition from military rule.

The years since the Arab Spring in 2011 have not been easy for Christians in Egypt. One believer, Yusuf*, says: “For reasons unknown to us, God allowed the Muslim Brotherhood and all their affiliated Islamic radical groups to take over the country… For Christians and moderate Muslims, fear of the state was replaced with fear of radical Muslims.”

Although stability in Egypt has been restored considerably since the early days of the Arab Spring, there are concerns that extremists may wish to disrupt the elections. Please join our Egyptian brothers and sisters in prayer for their nation.

Please Pray:

  • For a peaceful election process, and that any planned attacks would be thwarted
  • That those in small villages and towns will not be prevented from voting by extremists – this has been a problem in previous elections
  • For the small number of Christians who are standing in the elections, that God would be glorified through them
  • For a parliament to be elected that will be a true reflection of Egyptian society.

Pressure refines Egyptian church

The increased pressure on Christians in recent years has caused many to leave. Yusuf says: “The accelerating pressure on the church and individual Christians was hard for many Christians to take and this resulted in a significant wave of emigration of Christians.”

This pressure continues, as demonstrated by the raid on the offices of SAT-7, the Arabic Christian TV channel, on 10 October.

However, Yusuf believes God has used the situation in Egypt for good. “While many left what seemed a sinking ship, others came together. The increasing pressure on the church ignited a spirit of prayer and unity among Christians from different denominations.”

Your support changing lives

Thanks to the prayers and support of brothers and sisters like you, Open Doors works through local partners to provide vocational training, literacy programmes, discipleship training and Bible distribution, amongst other projects. Sonia took part in an Open Doors-sponsored literacy programme, and now she teaches others: “I can help others become empowered to change their lives as I did,” she says.

Many thanks for your continued prayers

Lisa Pearce
CEO Open Doors UK and Ireland

http://www.opendoorsuk.org

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Tin Sheets Help Teen Go To Church

Sunlight filtered through a hole in the ceiling onto the back of a teenaged boy who had too many chores to do. The boy, Digvastra, longed to be at church, joining the saints for Sunday worship, but his father had given him a long list of chores to complete by sunset.

Digvastra’s father, Hemendu, had decided he could stamp out his son’s new faith by preventing him from going to church.

Tin Sheets Help Teen Go to Church

Hemendu gave his son a long list of chores each Sunday to stop him from going to church, hoping to snuff out the flame of faith growing in Digvastra’s heart.

Son’s New Faith Provokes Father’s Anger—and Eventual Curiosity

When Digvastra had put his trust in Jesus and had started going to the local church meetings, Hemendu became furious. He chided Digvastra, telling him not to go out on Sunday mornings, but Digvastra would sneak out. Then Hemendu decided to start giving Digvastra a long list of chores each Sunday morning to stop his son from attending church. Digvastra, still a teenager, honoured his father by doing as he was told.

Chandira and Yahvi, two Gospel for Asia-supported women missionaries who had shared Christ’s love with Digvastra, befriended Digvastra’s family and had opportunities to tell Hemendu about Jesus. Gradually, Hemendu’s heart grew curious about the new faith, but he was not yet willing to risk the scorn his neighbours and relatives would heap on him for believing in Jesus.

Hemendu gave his son a long list of chores each Sunday to stop him from going to church, hoping to snuff out the flame of faith growing in Digvastra’s heart.

Tin Sheets Help Teen Go to Church

Two women missionaries, Chandira and Yahvi, shared with Hemendu about Christ. He became curious, but he still wasn’t ready to believe in Jesus.

Prayer Answered Through Practical Gift

Digvastra kept praying to God to speak to his father, and Chandira and Yahvi prayed about a way to bless Digvastra’s family and show Christ’s love to them. The two missionaries felt the Lord was leading them to give the family a gift in their next Christmas gift distribution, but there was one problem: They didn’t know what to give them.

Then, one day, Digvastra shared a prayer request with Yahvi and Chandira. He explained that the roof of his family’s house had a hole and needed a major repair. Digvastra knew his family desperately needed financial provision to fix the leaky roof.

Amazed by and grateful for God’s clear direction, Yahvi and Chandira knew what to do. They put in a request to their leaders, and when the day of the Christmas gift distribution came, they were able to give Digvastra some tin roofing sheets!

Two women missionaries, Chandira and Yahvi, shared with Hemendu about Christ. He became curious, but he still wasn’t ready to believe in Jesus.

Tin Sheets Help Teen Go to Church

Digvastra asked Chandira and Yahvi to pray that his family’s roof would get repaired. Soon, the young man received tin roof sheets through the Christmas gift distribution program!

Gift Overwhelms Son and Father Alike

Overcome by God’s love and goodness, Digvastra could find no words to express his gratitude for the gift that his family had desperately needed.

That night, Digvastra told his father, “The Lord has been helping us in so many ways and has not only known our needs but has provided us with our needs. How can you still harden your heart? … The Lord is good to us. He has changed my life.”

“God is good to us, and I know that, but it is hard for me. … I need time,” Hemendu replied.

Even though Hemendu still wasn’t ready to put his trust in Jesus, the gift—a gift that would protect his family from inclement weather for years—impacted him. He was grateful to God for knowing his family’s needs and using the Church to meet those needs. Hemendu’s attitude toward Jesus and His followers completely changed. Instead of opposing his son’s faith, Hemendu became supportive. Digvastra can now spend his Sunday mornings worshipping with the local congregation instead of doing chores.

“I am thankful to you for teaching and showing the right path to my son,” Hemendu told Yahvi and Chandira one day. “I can see that his life is transformed, and I am happy as a father to know that my son has chosen the right thing.”

For more information about Gospel for Asia please go to:-

http://www.gfauk.org/

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Asia Bibbi To Appeal Death Sentence

Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi has been allowed to take her appeal against her death penalty for blasphemy to Pakistan’s Supreme Court in the capital, Islamabad, following a hearing on Wednesday 22 July. Until the Supreme Court reaches its final decision, Asia cannot be executed.

In a statement, the Chairman of the National Council of Churches in Pakistan said: “This order of the Supreme Court has paved the way for her possible complete acquittal.” However, a lawyer who wished to remain anonymous told us: “I think Asia is more at risk than ever. This has paved the way equally to rile up the extremists and create an urgency to destroy her and raise the profile of their cause: the removal of minorities from Pakistan and Afghanistan.”

Please Pray with me:

  • For comfort and strength for Asia, her husband Ashiq Masih and their five children
  • For wisdom and protection for Asia’s legal team

For justice for Asia, and for a change to Pakistan’s blasphemy laws so that they can no longer be abused to persecute minorities.

Amen

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Sixty Years of Serving the Persecuted Church

Open Doors is 60 today! Birthdays mean presents – and our free Secret Church pack contains a great film about our origins.

The Cost tells how, on 15 July, 1955, a young man travelled to Communist Warsaw to began a lifetime of support for persecuted Christians. ‘Brother Andrew’, as he became known, later smuggled Bibles into Communist Europe and founded Open Doors.

The Cost tells his story, and also how Open Doors is helping persecuted Christians today. You can watch The Cost now – then share it with your Secret Church!

This is an absolutely wonderful film – I commend it to all of you. This film will change your life – forever!

To view The Cost just go to:-

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey