Monthly Archives: January 2014

Imam points the way to Christ

Photo source

An Algerian worker writes:

Today, God is on the move by His powerful Holy Spirit in Algeria. In a town where a dear missionary lady worked many years ago, many have come to faith and the power of God’s word is known in the whole area. One day, a sick young lady went to see an Imam to help her to get better. Often, the Imam practiced sorcery on sick people. But this time he gave her a booklet. “Read it and you’ll be healed” he said to her. She was shocked to see it was a Christian gospel! She went back to him angrily to complain. But instead, he firmly told her to read if she wanted to be healed! She tried to read it but she did not understand. She went to the Church nearby to get the answers for her questions. The believers there explained to her the love of God and the power of Jesus’ Name and His Word. They laid hands on and prayed for her. She was healed and gave her life to Jesus. Praise God that His Word will not return to Him void!

  • Let us pray for this lady and her new walk with Jesus.
  • May she be strengthened in her faith today, and may she share her experience with many others.
  • Ask that through this lady, many others will be healed and receive Jesus into their lives.
  • Pray for more stories like this one.
  • Ask God for demonstrations of his power to heal and deliver.
  • Pray also for the Imam. May the Lord continue to reveal Himself and cause Imams to seek for the Truth.

As Tunisia marks revolution, clashes continue

via Tunisia Live

While Tunisia commemorated the third anniversary of its revolution Tuesday, there were scattered clashes and attempts to attack government and political party buildings in parts of the country. While unrest in Kasserine and Kef districts last week appeared motivated by higher vehicle taxes, the cause of more recent incidents is less clear and has been characterized by the government as simply the work of criminals or delinquents. Some on the ground attribute the incidents to difficult economic conditions. In the coastal city of Sousse, a popular tourist destination, a group blocked off a road leading to the Carrefour shopping mall, radio station Mosaique FM reported. The group burned tires and attempted to loot the headquarters of the municipal government and police used tear gas to disperse the participants, according to the same A group of individuals also raided the headquarters of Ennahdha party in Menzel Jemil, near the northern city of Bizerte, according to Mosaique. Mohamed Ali Aroui, spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior, denied any clashes with police officers and accused the groups of theft and violence.

“These individuals raided the impound lot. We already arrested six of them in Menzel Jemil district,” he told Tunisia Live. Similarly, further clashes erupted in Cite Ettadhamen between a group of individuals and police. A road there was blocked by tires, Mosaique FM reported. This suburb to the northwest of Tunis has seen numerous such incidents this year, including an incident last May that left one dead. That dispute occurred as authorities prevented the now-banned Ansar al-Sharia organization from meeting on community’s public square. “The clashes are strongly linked to the intolerable economic situation that strongly affects the lives of young people,” Mohamed Zmender, director of credit at Enda Inter-Arabe Institution, told Tunisia Live. Enda is a microfinance association that has long had a presence in Cite Ettadhamen

“Since the times of Bourguiba and Ben Ali, Tunisians got used to a system of charity, and young men were not encouraged to start their own projects,” Zmender said. His organization works with about 3,000 clients in the Cite Ettadhamen district, he said. According to Zmender, there are about three thousand clients in Hay Ettadhamon district, with Enda providing them loans and financial guidance. Hedi Triki, a journalist in the area, told Tunisia Live that those involved in yesterday’s incident in Cite Ettadhamen “raised no political slogans.” “There were about thirty individuals involved in the riots. They are unemployed young men who seized the opportunity of the demonstrations to steal and raid buildings and shops,” Triki said.

Disputed Territory of Western Sahara

Its been a long standing political issue. The nation of Morocco literally walked in from the north, settled down, and took over, including the land of Western Sahara in its own borders. Now so much time has passed. The southern part of Morocco, or the land of Western Sahara, is a mixed population of Moroccans and Saharawis, both of whom consider it to be their homeland. Saharawi refugees live in camps in Morocco, Mauritania and Algeria, trying to continue to draw international attention to this disputed land claim and their decades long homelessness.

How is the church fairing in this situation? Praise God that many Saharawis living in the refugee camps have heard the Good News of Jesus. Ask that those who believe would be emboldened, find each other and start worshipping in groups. We need to pray that they are able to share with those living outside of the refugee camps. May the Good News travel by land, air, mobile and internet. Outside of the refugee camps, we know that there are those who are believers, they just haven\’t had the courage to come out and make it known.

There is a huge need for workers in this far-southern region of Morocco to specifically focus on the Saharawi people. Those already there face many challenges. Many are in need of financial support. Others have business challenges. For others false accusations have been leveled against them. Pray that the Lord would bestow on the workers the blessings of Abraham. Genesis 24:1 says \”God blessed Abraham in everyway.\” May they succeed, prosper, be healthy, have wisdom and authority.

Last year a group of visitors had eight days of sweet prayer in one of the cities. There was a genuine sense of the presence of God. We can honestly say that God\’s name was there and some of the locals recognized it. There were clear answers to prayer and much joy. Ask that another such time would come about to be a blessing to Western Sahara, to the workers there, and to see God\’s Kingdom grow in this nation.

North Africa in 2013

It may be late, but better late than never.

Egypt!

We added Egypt to our prayer list this year. The church there has experienced unprecedented trial and persecution, but has at the same time demonstrated incredible tenacity as well as a proper understanding of who God is.

\”Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold\”
—2 Cor. 3:12

In 2014 let\’s pray:

  • PRAISE GOD for the church in Egypt! Pray that God will continue to pour out on them His love, grace, mercy, compassion, forgiveness, healing, and hope. May they lead the way towards reconciliation in Egypt.
  • PRAY that God would remove any fear, and fill it with love, power and a sound mind.
  • PRAY that the church in Egypt will grow in their desire to share their faith across all groups of people in Egypt. May God truly revive Egypt in these days.
  • PRAY for continued boldness in the Church there.

Mauritania

Freedom from Slavery is the main prayer point for this vast desert Nation. And not slavery to sin or any other western euphemism for slavery that really fails to adequately describe turning humans to object. Pray for freedom in this country. I had the privilege several years back of meeting a man who described himself as the only Mauritanian Christian in Mauritania. However, following Mauritania on the Twitter machine seems to demonstrate a people waking up to injustice.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
—2 Cor. 3:17

In 2014 let\’s pray Ezekiel 37:1-10:

  • PRAY that God would stir up greater faith in our hearts, that we would TRUST God that He is sovereign and that He CAN bring the dry bones to life – nothing is impossible with Him. (verse 3)
  • PRAY that those here who are dry and cut off from the Lord would indeed “Hear the Word of the Lord” – that is the first and ESSENTIAL step. Without that they cannot come back to life. (verse 4)
  • PRAY that neither we nor they would mistake outward structures (meetings… activities) [tendons, flesh] for true Spiritual life that only comes from the breath of God inside of them by His Spirit. (verse 8).
  • CRY OUT for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, that He would come and fill these dry bones with His breath, that they might live for the Lord’s glory and proclaim His resurrection! (verses 9-10)

Libya

Is still an unsettled and violent place long after the death of Gaddafi. Evidenced by the murder of an American school teacher, stories of an out-of-control militia, and most everything that comes through twitter. Though that seems to be a long standing heritage given how the oldest hymn of the U.S. Armed forces specifically references the battle of the barbary coast in 1805.

”Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.”
—Matt. 5:9

In 2014 let\’s pray:

  • For peace in this perpetually violent nation.
  • For wisdom and righteousness for the nation’s leadership, for corruption to fall. Ask for integrity, goodness, mercy and compassion to increase.
  • For a new generation of young people with a voice for the future. Pray that God would give these young people a hunger for holiness, truth and freedom.

Algeria

Algeria is a country that from our reports has shown a lot of growth in the church over the last year. Algeria has generally had a thriving church (by North African standards at least), but we recently reported the formation of a National Missions Committee, way cool!

I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.
—Rev. 3:8

In 2014 let\’s pray:

  • For GOOD LEADERS for the nation and good shepherds for the church.
  • For freedom of religion.

Tunisia

We posted earlier in the year ’burdens are increasing for everyone in Tunisia.‘

There are economic burdens; everything is more expensive, yet salaries are identical . Emotional burdens; the hope of change that the revolution had lit is dying off and some areas of the country are exposed to fear and insecurity with terrorists and lawlessness increasing. Social burdens; what women and men should wear? What is haram? Halal? Or simply not proper? Things like swimming, going to weddings in mixed company. Spiritual burdens; rules, rules and rules, hadith and traditions and this and that from preacher X or Y or Z, generally from the Gulf.

Jesus’ harshness on the pharisees was understandable: They are making life harder for the common folks and don’t bring them closer to God.

‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.’
—Matt. 11:28

In 2014 let\’s pray:

  • FOR people to turn to Christ and to recognize the lightness of HIS yoke.
  • FOR continued energy in the work there.
  • FOR the growth of the church there.

Morocco

Morocco seems to have stayed the most stable country in North Africa through out the revolutions and upheavals of the last 2 years. There was a great upheaval and many workers in the country were expelled a few years ago, but despite that there is still a church to speak of and an active work in that country.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
—Psalm. 91:9-11

In 2014 let\’s pray:
– FOR people to clamour to God.
– FOR jobs for believers that they might expand their sphere of influence.

After Banning Takfir, Assembly Vote to Approve Constitution

See more at Tunisia Live

After a contentious Sunday session, Tunisia’s National Constituent Assembly (NCA) today resumed article by article voting on the new constitution. The assembly has been tasked with approving the entire 146-article document by January 13. Monday’s plenary session was supposed to be scheduled for the selection of the membership of the board of elections. However, the NCA committee tasked with submitting a final list of nominees to an NCA plenary session has not reached consensus, deputy Karima Souid tweeted. The NCA started the vote on the Rights and Liberties Chapter of the constitution by adopting nine articles during today’s morning session. Among these are Article 21, which states that “life is sacred.” This article, however, maintains the legality of the the death penalty in “extreme cases regulated by law.” Proposed amendments to abolish this punishment were rejected. Though the death penalty has always existed in Tunisian law, the last execution dates back to 1991. Other articles approved today ban torture (Article 22), guarantee the right to privacy and personal data protection (Article 23), and the right to a fair trial (Article 26) On Sunday, however, the constituent assembly did not achieve much progress on approving the constitution. The day’s plenary session was disrupted by death threats allegedly received by Popular Front opposition member Mongi Rahoui. Rahoui reported receiving death threats following the declarations by Ennahdha deputy Habib Ellouze, in which he referred to him as an “enemy of Islam.” In response to Rahoui’s declaration, the opposition proposed an amendment to Article 6 banning “takfir” (accusations of apostasy) to Article 6, which guarantees freedom of conscience and religion. The amendment, which also bans “incitement to violence,” was approved by 131 votes in the 217-seat assembly. Under Article 6, the state acts as the “guarantor of the neutrality of places of worship” and “protector of the Sacred.” Amira Yahyaoui, president of NCA monitoring organization Al-Bawsala, criticized the amendment and described it as “draconian” in a post on Twitter. NCA deputies “from the Islamist camp till the so-called democratic one have today voted against freedom of expression,” she said on Sunday. The NCA kicked off voting on the constitution last Friday by adopting the preamble. On Saturday, a total of 15 articles were adopted including the first two defining Tunisia as a Republic and a “civil state governed by the supremacy of Law” and establishing Islam as the state religion. Proposed amendments to make the Quran and Sunnah (teachings of the Prophet Mohammed) main sources of legislation were rejected.

The privileges and abundance of Father God’s House

The parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15 is definitely the most vivid and detailed description of how Father God loves and views his children, and wants them to share everything He owns. We all know the story of how this rebellious son prematurely claims his inheritance, left the security of his fathers house, and actually squandered his resources until he was ‘down and out’ and literally ‘starving to death’ or ‘perishing with hunger’. Doing life his OWN way! When he realized his situation, he acted immediately by returning to his family. The main aspect here is not that he realized his dire situation, but how his father reacted!

The scriptures say that while he was still a long way from home, his father saw him. This illustrates that his father was looking and hoping for him to return. There are MANY rooms He wants to fill! (John 14:2; 1 Tim. 1:4) When he saw him, the father was ‘filled with compassion for him, ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him’. Just as the psalmist record in Ps 36:5-9:

Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. O LORD, you preserve both man and beast. How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light (NIV)

The father, not only welcomes his son back, but restores him to what he was destined for: to be a son of the house, with authority and not a slave! Ephesians 1: 4-5 records that ‘he chose us in him before the creation of the world’ and ‘predestined us in love as sons.’ The moment you are saved and come to Jesus, you immediately become part of Father’s house with position and privileges. Just like Joseph in Genesis 41 when his position changed within a few hours from being a prisoner to being in the ‘Prime Minister’ of the most powerful country in the known world that time.

The ‘lost’ son was immediately dressed in the ‘best robe’ to cover the rags and distinguish him from the rest. A ring was put on his finger, endorsing his authority in the father’s house. Sandals were brought for his feet, because slaves went barefoot and he is no more a slave of somebody else, but a son and heir of the family.
His homecoming was also celebrated by killing the fattened calf, only kept for special occasions and important visitors, for a feast. A feast with the best food, music and dancing, a real party!

Yes, as Christians we are ‘loved ones and sons and daughters of the living God’ (Rom. 8:14; 9:26; 2 Cor. 6:18) who receive the ‘full rights’ (Gal. 4:5)!! Wow!!! Jesus said that there is rejoicing in heaven over every sinner who repents or anyone returning to Father God’s house.

We are wearing the robes of righteousness, His signet ring and sandals to walk, prepared to spread the gospel of peace in the world. We are sent by Jesus, in HIS authority to make disciples of all nations, to baptize and teach them, to heal the sick, raise the dead, drive out demons, break down and plant, loose the chains of injustice, untie yokes, set the oppressed free, feed the hungry, clothe the naked and provide shelter for those in need. (Jer. 1:9, 10; Isa. 58: 6-7; Mat. 10:8; 28:19-20)
As Father God has sent Jesus, He is sending us his children, to represent, operate and function in his Name that is above every name in heaven and earth. ‘His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness…..’ (John 20:21; 2 Pet. 1:3)

Let us remember this commission and the authority He has given us every day in 2014!!

Workshop on advancing agricultural industries held in Tripoli

Tripoli, 1 January 2014:

The High Committee for the Advancement of Agricultural Industries organised a workshop in Tripoli yesterday attended by the Minister of Industry, Sulieman Latief.
The workshop’s main focus was to review the present status of the agricultural manufacturing sector as well as putting in place a strategy that would develop the sector.
The workshop also suggested that a national forum be held including all the possible stakeholders in this sector in order to come up with initiatives and proposals for progressing the sector as well as identifying the obstacles to its underdevelopment.
In his opening remarks, Minister of Industry, Sulieman Latief said that he hoped that this workshop would help in creating an industrial/manufacturing and economic centre in Libya which would through SME create job opportunities.
The workshop also stressed the need for the sector to “add value” to agricultural products and put in place policies for better cooperation between the private and public sector.
It also saw the food or agricultural industry as an important diversification of Libya’s economy away from the overwhelming dominance of the hydrocarbon sector.

Tunisia arrests 4 militants after fire-fight

By Associated Press 6:34 a.m.Jan. 2, 2014

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Tunisia says four militants have been arrested after late-night gunbattles between militants and security forces in the southern city that was the cradle for the Arab Spring revolutions.

Thursday\’s statement by the Interior Ministry said the arrests followed clashes in the impoverished city of Sidi Bouzid. Police also confiscated explosives, money, ammunition and an assault rifle.

Police say those arrested belonged to Ansar al-Shariah, a banned ultraconservative Islamist group linked to terrorist attacks and the September 2012 assault on the U.S. embassy in Tunis.

Tunisian media reported Monday that the group\’s leader, Seifallah Ben Hassine, had been arrested in Libya but there has been no official confirmation.

Tunisia overthrew its long-ruling dictator in January 2011 after nationwide protests that began in Sidi Bouzid.

 

Pray North Africa in 2013

The turning over of the calendar to mark a new year is as good a time as any to pause for reflection. I am now one member of a three person team and four months ago the question was Do we abandon Pray North Africa? Or do we try and make something of it?

For years Pray North Africa has floundered under (my) poor direction, (my) lack of investment, and most recently my very poor health (but I\’m better than ever now, thanks to diet and prayer). The point of all of this is that 2013 was a turning point for Pray North Africa, I really do desire North Africa for Christ, and I really do believe in prayer as a means to this goal, in lieu of these two facts we (then a team of two) decided to give the project a solid effort and then re-evaluate.

So what follows are some of the stats that we\’re using to determine the effectiveness of the project:

  • Our team grew 33% – we are now three people.
  • Our Twitter grew by 13 followers.
  • Our Facebook collected 52 new fans
  • Our website came into existence (that said, going from 0 to 8 unique visitors per week isn\’t much.
  • There are a couple of new subscribers to our newsletter.

All told, there is growth, I think some numbers that I should start collecting are retweets and Facebook shares, the effectiveness of Pray North Africa is best described by total time spent praying for Christ to be manifest in our target region. Retweets and Shares seem a reasonable proxy for measuring that goal.

That said, be it via our social media efforts or otherwise, in 2014 we will be praying for North Africa, would you join us? \’Like\’ us on Facebook, \’follow\’ us on Twitter, and share in the joys and pains of this volatile yet beautiful region!

Next week I\’ll try and get a post up of some of the most important prayer points we had in 2013.