Ugandan evangelist murdered following debate with Muslims

October 30, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-world

ugandaUganda, October 29, 2015: A Christian evangelist was found dead in eastern Uganda after an interfaith debate with Islamic scholars last month.

The mutilated body of Samson Nfunyeku, 59, was discovered close to his home in Kalampete village in the Kibuku District of eastern Uganda in the early hours of 23 September. He had been travelling home from a debate with Muslim scholars held the previous evening.

The theological debate was the latest in a series which had been held at the Tirinyi Trading Centre, and ended in a heated argument. This was not the first debate to end badly. A local former sheikh (Islamic teacher) who converted to Christianity said that Nfunyeku had been warned four months earlier that holding such debates was not good for Muslims. The injuries suggest he was strangled and local Islamists are suspected of carrying out the killing.

A senior church leader, Gauma Samuel said at Nfunyeku’s funeral, “we are going to miss the courage and passion seen in the life of Samson, who was out to win Muslims for Christ”.

About 85% of Uganda’s population is Christian, with the Muslim population amounting to 12%, however Islamic communities often occur in clusters where extremists present a threat to Christians. Freedom of conscience and freedom to worship are constitutional rights in Uganda, but those who convert to Christianity from Islam are often rejected by their families and frequently suffer persecution in the form of destruction of personal property, beatings and discriminatory treatment. Some converts have been murdered by angry family or community members.

The murder of Samson Nfunyeku comes after the severe beating of four Christian converts from Islam, in Uganda’s capital Kampala in September.

– barnabas team

Tension in India due to provocation of minorities: Moody’s

October 30, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

violenceChennai: October 30, 2015: The belligerent provocation of various Indian minorities has raised ethnic tensions, says Moody’s Analytics in a report that warned of “a possible increase in violence”.

In a report titled `India Outlook: Searching for Potential’, Moody’s Analytics, a division of Moody’s Corporation, said: “Along with a possible increase in violence, the government will face stiffer opposition in the upper house as debate turns away from economic policy.”

Moody’s Analytics, a top economic policy research and analysis institution, said the politics need to improve and the government’s reform agenda needs attention to achieve long-term growth.

While the government met with obstructionist opposition in the upper house with regard to crucial reform measures, the ruling party also hasn’t helped itself with controversial comments by its members, Moody’s Analytics said.

The Indian economy is likely to grow at 7.6 percent this year and in 2016 while closing of negative output growth is going to be difficult due to external headwinds and the government failing to deliver on reforms, it added.

“Overall, it’s unclear whether India can deliver the promised reforms and hit its growth potential. Undoubtedly, numerous political outcomes will dictate the extent of success.”

According to the report, the Indian economy is expected to grow around 7.3 percent year-on-year in September quarter which is below the expected potential of around nine or 10 percent.

Expecting the gross domestic product (GDP) to grow at 7.6 percent this year and 2016, Moody’s Analytics said key economic reforms like goods and service tax, revamped labour laws and land acquisition bill would improve India’s productivity.

According to the report, low interest rates will help the economy in the short term and the financial market sentiment has faded. Further rate cuts in 2015 are unlikely, but there is room for more next year.

The Indian stock market and the foreign inflows are down while the strong external headwinds-slowdown in global growth are hurting Indian exporters.

Moody’s Analytics expects Indian exports continue to fall in 2016 while the newfound stability in India’s current account balance could come under renewed stress if global growth slows more.

“So far, lower oil prices have buttressed the trade balance. But a rebound in prices if oil supply re-balances could see the trade balance deteriorate,” the report adds.

According to Moody’s Analytics, indications are there on foreign investors turning less optimistic about India’s economic prospects.

“Net financial flows into equity were around $16 billion in 2014. However, they are unlikely to reach those highs this year. The same can be said about financial flows into India’s debt market,” the report said.

A move towards full capital account liberalisation is inevitable in India and this may happen in the next two to four years.

“A freer capital account will give Indian companies greater access to overseas markets, lower borrowing costs, and facilitate credit growth – a key ingredient to increasing investment,” Moody’s Analytics said.

– ians

Is it possible to be happy in difficult times ?

October 30, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-miscellaneous

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.
Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”
Philippians 4:6 (NLT)

1. Don’t worry about anything.

Worrying doesn’t change anything. It’s stewing without doing.
There’s no such thing as born worriers; worry is a learned response.

worrying

You learned it from your parents. You learned it from your peers.

You learned it from experience. That’s good news.

The fact that worry is learned means it can also be unlearned.

Jesus says, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries.

Today’s trouble is enough for today” (Matthew 6:34, NLT).

2. Pray about everything.

Use the time you’ve spent worrying for praying.
If you prayed as much as you worried, you’d have a whole lot less to worry about.

Prayer
Some people think God only cares about religious things,
such as how many people I invite to church or my tithing.

Is God interested in car payments?
Yes. He’s interested in every detail of your life.
That means you can take any problem you face to God.

3. Thank God in all things.

Whenever you pray, you should always pray with thanksgiving.
The healthiest human emotion is not love, but gratitude.

It actually increases your immunities;
it makes you more resistant to stress and less susceptible to illness.

Thank You God
People who are grateful are happy.
But people who are ungrateful are miserable because nothing makes them happy.

They’re never satisfied; it’s never good enough.

So if you cultivate the attitude of gratitude, of being thankful in everything,
it reduces stress in your life.

4. Think about the right things.

If you want to reduce the level of stress in your life,
you must change the way you think.

The way you think determines how you feel,
and the way you feel determines how you act.

So if you want to change your life, you need to change what you’re thinking about.

Think about the right things
This involves a deliberate, conscious choice where you change the channels.
You choose to think about the right things: focus on the positive and on God’s Word. Why?
Because the root cause of stress is the way you choose to think.

When we no longer worry, when we pray about everything,
when we give thanks, when we focus on the right things, the apostle Paul tells us the result is,

“The peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7, NLT).

What a guarantee! He is guaranteeing peace of mind ?

– fwd: v c mathews

Tribal leaders vow to resist displacement

October 30, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Jesuit Conference of South Asia's indigenous peoples' ministryBhopal, October 28, 2015: Hundreds of tribal leaders in India have resolved to resist attempts by the government and big businesses to take over ancestral lands and forests — part of a move by Catholic groups to organize the often marginalized community in the face of rampant development.

More than 500 delegates from across India gathered in Jharkhand state, eastern India, to discuss the loss of vital land, forest and water resources.

Organizers of the Oct. 24-26 summit — the Jesuit Conference of South Asia’s indigenous peoples’ ministry — say India’s tribal people have for centuries been exploited for their natural resources. Increasing industrialization has worsened the problem in recent years.

“The life, livelihood and culture of the indigenous people have been under serious threat on account of industrialization in the country,” said Father Joseph Marianus Kujur, head of the Jesuits’ Ranchi province.

Father Kujur, who is an indigenous person, said industrialization has forced many indigenous people from their traditional homes and pushed them toward lives in migrant labor, mining and construction.

India is home to an estimated 104 million indigenous people, belonging to hundreds of separate tribes spread across the country. The majority of Indian Christians in northern and eastern India, particularly in Jharkhand, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh states, come from tribal communities.

Father Kujur said industrialization has displaced more than 60 million people throughout the country in the past six decades. He estimated that people from indigenous communities make up 40 percent of these displaced people.

“Since independence, the plight of the tribal people has been going from bad to worse, with successive governments enforcing laws that are meant to harass and take over their resources, rather than making laws for their protection,” he said.

The situation prompted Jesuits in India to create a special ministry for indigenous people in 1984.

Displacement

Tribal leaders during the Jesuit-led summit recalled that the Indian Constitution has provisions to give indigenous communities administrative control of specific areas, but this has not been fully implemented.

On the contrary, various governments have instead enforced colonial-era laws that allow authorities to seize land at will.

“The very existence of the indigenous people depends on forests and land,” said Sanjay Bosu Mallick of the Jharkhand-based Save the Forest Movement.

Jesuit Father Alex Ekka said the summit is meant to create a “new awakening” among indigenous people to protect livelihoods and culture.

Displacement, said the priest from an indigenous community, will harm education, culture, language and other traditions. With such pressures, indigenous communities risk “losing everything, including their identity.”

– ucan

Thousands demand release of abducted former Salesian student

October 30, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Jude Rangku T SangmaTura, October 30, 2015: Thousands joined a silent procession on Thursday in Meghalaya to protest the abduction of a Catholic official, who had refused extortion demands from an underground militant group in the northeastern Indian state.

A day earlier, the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) claimed responsibility for kidnapping Jude Rangku T Sangma, the Block Development Officer (BDO) of the militancy-affected Chokpot region in South Garo Hills district.

The silent procession in Baghmara was headed by officers and civil society organizations. The Garo Students Union (GSU), Mindikgre unit of East Garo Hills, The All Garo Hills Tegite Mahari Association, The Mothers’ Union, Tura, appeal for unconditional and safe release of the abducted BDO.

Sangma, former student of a Salesian school and the 2010 batch of the Meghalaya Civil Service in 2010, has been serving the Chokpot block for the past two years.

The member of Araimile parish of Tura diocese had received several threats and extortion demand from GNLA area commander Hedio Ch Momin (Karak), local newspapers reported. The police had offered Sangma security cover but he refused saying it would impede his work.

The militant group abducted him on Tuesday while he was on his way to Tura.

The GNLA area commander said on October 28 that Sangma was kidnapped after the officer blamed politicians and the militant outfit for the non-implementation of projects.

Sangma had left Chokpot block office around 4:30 pm en route Tura and had stopped over at a funeral of a relative in Deku Deganggre village, 25 km from Chokpot town.

He reportedly drove his government allotted green Mahindra Armada jeep in the absence of his driver.

The kidnapping is learnt to have taken place after the young officer had paid his respects at the funeral home and was proceeding toward Tura.

Police came to know of the officer’s disappearance only by around 7 pm.

A press release from Hedio alleged that Sangma had told the state chief minister who visited Tura on October 23 that the militant outfit had taken 400 million rupees sanctioned for repairing roads in the block.”Till date we have not taken any money from the block or the BDO,” the press release asserted.

Further, the outfit alleged that the officer also blamed a state minister when questioned about non-utilization of funds under rural development schemes.

Hedio stated that the officer was in their custody in a camp where he would be questioned for his statements and allegations.

The outfit noted that as many as 248 villages in Tura were part of the rural development scheme known as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee Scheme (MGNREGS). The scheme had some 200 million rupees to be given to poor villagers who undertook menial work for 60 days in a year. However, the officer alleged that a minister had taken the entire amount for a by-election.

Hedio also said Sangma would be questioned about 11.51 million rupees sanctioned for another project.

The sensational allegations pointed to the amount of political influence exhorted by local legislators on blocks, administrative units in a state. However, the Meghalaya Times that reported the abduction said it could not verify the allegations from independent sources.

Most who have worked with the BDO have sworn by his integrity and dedication, the newspaper reported.

Meanwhile police have stepped up their efforts to rescue the kidnapped official, said Lakador Syiem Superintendent of Police (SP) of the district.

“Though the terrain is difficult we will not spare any effort to seek his release. We are hopeful of a breakthrough soon,” the police official said.

This is the third instance of a BDO in Garo Hills getting abducted by militants and the second by the banned GNLA.

In 2012, P.K. Boro, the BDO of Dadenggre block in West Garo Hills was kidnapped from the block office in broad daylight by GNLA militants. He was released only on the eve of Christmas, the same year, after 34 days of captivity.

Previously, the BDO of Selsella, Dr. D. Roy was kidnapped by ANVC militants from Selsella region.

– matters india

Fears mount in Vietnam as religion law nears debate

October 30, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

VietnamVietnam, October 28, 2015: With Vietnam’s parliament set to debate a controversial new law on religion in the coming weeks, spiritual leaders in Ho Chi Minh City are anxious the law will undermine religious growth and be used to justify harsh crackdowns.

The fifth version of the draft Law on Belief and Religion is set to be heard at the latest session of the National Assembly, which began in late October and runs through November. While the government has defended the bill as necessary to national security, Christian groups and others have warned that the law is a thinly veiled way to monitor and control religious movement.

“To the outside world, Vietnam allows freedom to follow any religion, but it’s not true. The government wants to toughen the law — it’s like tightening the noose,” Le Quang Hien, a Hoa Hao Buddhist leader in Ho Chi Minh City and member of the Interfaith Council of Vietnam, told ucanews.com in an interview earlier this month.

In a report printed Oct. 5 in the Vietnam “Law and Legal Forum Magazine,” a state media publication, Nguyen Khac Huy of the Government Committee for Religious Affairs said the law was meant to “concretize” the constitutional right to religious freedom.

“At the same time, it seeks to strengthen discipline and responsibility in belief and religious activities of religious organizations and competent state agencies,” he wrote.

The limitations on religious freedom, he wrote, will come “in cases of necessity for the reasons of national defense, national security, public order, social ethics, and community well-being.”

Those limitations have raised concern among religious leaders and laypeople. While churches, pagodas and mosques have flourished in recent years, the government still keeps a heavy hand on religious activity, particularly that which is viewed as evangelical.

‘Night and day’

In the highlands, ethnic minority Christians are routinely harassed and detained and their churches destroyed by local officials. Catholic activists who speak out on repressive government policy have been handed stiff prison sentences, while those from splinter sects or who attempt to preach religions not officially recognized by the government have been brutally attacked.

“We don’t have much hope about the new law,” said a senior Jesuit official, who — like many of those interviewed — asked not to be named for fear of angering the government.

Several Protestant pastors said they believed the law was meant to curb growth of the “house church” movement, which has ballooned in the past decade. While such churches are licensed and recognized by the government, Protestant leaders have reported difficulty in evangelizing and getting permission for new churches.

“I heard it will be official in 2016 and that it will make things more difficult than now. I heard from my colleagues that it’s going to be very difficult to build a new house church in a different place,” said the pastor of a mid-sized house church near downtown Ho Chi Minh City.

“According to the laws, there is freedom of religion but the government wants to take control… it’s not only [the situation] in Vietnam but other communist countries. Communists are godless, they don’t believe in God. Communists and religion are like day and night,” he added.

Chief among the concerns over the new law are articles that require registration of festivals, activities and movement — restrictions that echo China’s harsh and highly criticized restrictions.

“After 2016, the government won’t approve any more openings of a new house church. Say if you want to open a new house church, you have to buy the land and the local government won’t approve the land sale,” predicted a pastor’s wife, who helps run a small house church on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City.

“It’s going to have a strong effect on religion,” echoed her husband. But, he added, “the fact is, the more they want to control Christianity, the more powerful it will become. I still believe that.”

Catholic officials have publicly raised concerns about the draft law. In August, Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, the Vatican’s nonresident representative to Vietnam, called the proposed law “a step backward.”

He said the local church was hoping to have a chance to provide feedback on the draft law.

– ucan

Michael brown: The church has sold its soul to be relevant

October 30, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-lead

The Church has sold its soul to be relevantU.S, October 28, 2015: The LGBT agenda will not outlast Christian witness, according to Michael Brown, founder and president of FIRE School of Ministry, who believes “the gay revolution has within itself the seeds of self-destruction.”

Speaking at the Southern Evangelical Seminary’s annual National Conference on Christian Apologetics at Calvary Church earlier this month, Brown said while many churches don’t want to address issues pertaining to LGBT culture and rights, he believes they “absolutely must be addressed.”

Calling for compassion for people who identify as LGBT, Brown advises Christians to “resist the gay activist agenda with courage,” but to do so with “hearts of compassion and backbones of steel,” which he says are not negotiable in the struggle for the culture and staying faithful to the Christian witness.

“Jesus hung out with the tax collectors and sinners, yes, but he didn’t teach them how to extort more money or sleep with more men,” declared Brown, who’s also the host of the nationally syndicated radio talk show “The Line of Fire.”

LGBT activists morphing from the bullied to bullies was a recurrent theme within Brown’s talk at the conference. He argued those tactics would backfire, and said that he has been on the receiving end of such attacks, being called a “Nazi” and receiving multiple death threats.

Brown called the resistance “intense” and argued the hatred is immense for speaking biblical and Christian truths about human sexuality.

“If you just speak that a child should have a mom and dad today you will be hated, vilified,” he asserted, while encouraging Christians to “practice not affirmational inclusion but transformational inclusion.”

Brown further argued that the moral chaos in culture and society is the reason that the LGBT Movement and agenda has flourished. He also pointed out that polyamory, couples living together, and the breakdown of gender distinctions is celebrated and uplifted in secualr culture.

Among the eight points Brown listed as essential to overcoming the LGBT agenda, include: “never compromising your principles,” “celebrating gender distinctions,” and “refusing to redefine marriage.”

God has “given us a clear Word when it comes to marriage, when it comes to family, when it comes to sexuality,” he added.

Quoting a gay atheist in Ireland who chided the capitulation of Christian churches over the definition of marriage, Brown said he argued: “Can’t these Christians see that the moral basis of their faith can’t be sought in the pollsters arithmetic?”

Brown exclaimed that much of the “Church has sold its soul to be relevant” and said we need to get back to the “Jesus principle that if you save your life you lose it, but if you lose your life for the Gospel you save it.

“If we hold to God’s principles and seek Him for revival, we will be the last one standing,” he added.

During the event, Brown, who’s also an author, explained that book publishers and marketing agencies refused to publish or promote his book, A Queer Thing Happened to America, which led him to form his own publishing agency for its 2011 release.

Brown said he marketed the publication as the “book the publishers were afraid to touch.” He added that he didn’t write the book to be offensive, and noted the word “queer,” which is in the title, has been mainstreamed.

“I don’t have any copies here because we sold out of the first edition of the book,” Brown said to applause. His latest book, which is based on his lecture at the conference, is titled Outlasting the Gay Agenda.

– christian post

Son for 50 pence

October 29, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-miscellaneous

50 pence in handSeveral years ago, a preacher from a distant town accepted a call from a Church in Leeds. Some weeks after his arrival, he had an appointment that made him to board a bus to another part of the town. When he sat down,  he discovered that the driver had mistakenly given him his balance in excess of 50 pence. As he considered what to do, he thought within him, ‘You’d  better give this money back. It would be wrong to keep it’.

Then another thought came, “Oh, forget it, it’s only 50p; who would worry about this little amount, afterall the bus company makes so much money on fares; they will never miss it. Accept it  as ‘a gift from God’ and keep quiet. “When he was getting down from the bus, he paused momentarily at the door, and then handed the 50p to the driver and said, ‘Take; the balance you gave me was over’. The driver, with a smile, replied, ‘Aren’t you the new  preacher in town?’  ‘Yes I am’ he replied.

‘Well, I have been thinking a lot lately about where to go to worship. I just wanted to see what you would do if I give you balance in excess. I’ll worship with you at the Church this Sabbath.

living gospelWhen the preacher stepped off the bus, he grabbed a nearby pole, looked up and said, ‘Oh God, I almost sold your  Son for 50 pence. Our lifestyles are the only Bible some people will ever read. This is just a subtle example of how much people watch us as Christians, and will put us to test! Always be on guard — and remember — You carry the name of Christ on your forehead and shoulders once you call yourself a Christian.

‘Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.’

– fwd: alred fernandes

Crucified for Christ in Syria

October 29, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

Crucified for ChristSyria, September 28, 2015: Christians in Syria are being killed in ISIS. They are being crucified in public. They are being terrorized. So far the charity, the Barnabas Fund, has liberated 158 Christians from Syria and found them a new home in Poland.

Its founder and international director Patrick Sookhdeo has recently returned from a visit to eastern Europe, where he was seeking refuge for the hundreds of thousands of Syrian Christians who continue to live under the tyranny of IS. According to Sookhdeo, Britain’s offer to take up to 20,000 Syrian refugees inadvertently discriminates against the Christian communities most victimised by the Islamic State butchers.  He said: “The British government has said it will take 20,000 refugees and we have said, ‘Will you not take some Christians?’ But we have had no reply.”
In areas controlled by the ISIS in Syria, Christians have been crucified, beheaded, raped and subjected to forced conversion. The report also says Christian children are also being sold as slaves. Sookhdeo said: “It is like going back 1,000 years seeing the barbarity that Christians are having to live under.

Crucifying these people is sending a message and they are using forms of killing which they believe have been sanctioned by Sharia law.”  More than 700,000 of Syria’s population of 1.1 million Christians have already been forced to leave as IS militants expanded into the northwest of the country.

There are now no more than 250,000 Christians living in Syria.

– the gospel truth

Maulana Azad Minorities Finance & Development Corporation comes up with loan schemes

October 29, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Minorities in IndiaMumbai, May 13, 2008: Now the lower income groups among the minorities need not worry about getting a loan for education or business as the Maulana Azad Minorities Financial Development Corporation (MAMFDC) has got huge funds for the purpose.

MAMFDC is a channelizing agency of National Minorities Development & Finance Corporation, a Government of India undertaking. It implements schemes of National Minorities Development & Finance Corporation in Maharashtra. MAMFDC has got Rs 40 crore besides a 100 crores corpus available for disbursement in various schemes for the needy. This was revealed by officials from MAMFDC at a workshop organized by the Bombay Catholic Sabha on 7th May, said a statement issued Sabha.

MAMFDC was constituted to meet the financial requirements and social uplift of financially backward classes amongst the minorities.

Amin Patel, Chairman of MAMFDC, pointed out that there was lack of awareness about these schemes. The beneficiaries among the Christian Community were minuscule. Even a large percentage of Central Scholarships were returned for lack of any takers. Loans amounting to Rs. 10 crore were distributed by the Corporation in the last five months, says Patel.

Speaking at the workshop, Janet D’Souza, state director of MAMFDC said that microfinance was available for Self Help Groups (SHG) and Mahila Mandals. Eight to ten women could come together, show a commitment of saving a small amount monthly in a bank, make a plan of starting a small cottage industry and then apply for the loan from MAMFDC. This informal loan scheme would benefit the poorest of the poor, says Janet.

Giving details of the loan schemes, Gaffar Shaikh, Managing Director of MAMFDC, said under Direct Loan Scheme, Rs. 5000 to Rs. 50,000 can be granted as loan wherein Self Contribution will be 5% of the amount sanctioned and interest rate will be 6%. The repayment period for that scheme will be five years. Other schemes include Term Loan Scheme, Seed Capital Loan Scheme, Educational Loan Scheme and Mahila Samrudhi Scheme.

The application forms are available at MAMFDC, 2nd flr., DD Bldg., Old Customs House, Shahid Bhagat Singh Rd., Mumbai 400023. Telephone Nos. are 022-22653080, 22633351, Fax 22672294. One can contact them through emails also: contact@mavm.in, shaikhg@hotmail.com.

– tcn

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