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U.S. religious group says 17 Christian missionaries abducted in Haiti

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Puerto Rico — A group of 17 U.S. missionaries, including children, were kidnapped by a gang in Haiti on Saturday, according to a voice message sent to various religious missions by an organization with direct knowledge of the incident.

The missionaries were on their way home from building an orphanage, according to a message from Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries.

“This is a special prayer alert,” the one-minute message said. “Pray that the gang members would come to repentance.”

The message states that the mission’s field director is working with the U.S. Embassy, and that the field director’s family and one other unidentified man stayed at the ministry’s base while everyone else visiting the orphanage was abducted.

A U.S. State Department spokesperson said that 16 of the missionaries were U.S. citizens, and that the kidnapping occurred in greater Port-au-Prince, the country’s capital.

“We have been in regular contact with senior Haitian authorities and will continue to work with them and interagency partners,” the spokesperson said.

The group is composed of five men, seven women and five children, Christian Aid Ministries said Sunday. One of the missionaries is a Canadian citizen, the group said.

“Join us in praying for those who are being held hostage, the kidnappers, and the families, friends, and churches of those affected. Pray for those who are seeking God’s direction and making decisions regarding this matter,” the group said in a statement.

The 400 Mawozo gang kidnapped the group — which also included some elderly people — in Ganthier, a commune that lies east of the capital of Port-au-Prince, Haitian police inspector Frantz Champagne told The Associated Press.

The gang was also blamed for kidnapping five priests and two nuns earlier this year in Haiti.

The gang, whose name roughly translates to 400 “inexperienced men,” controls the Croix-des-Bouquets area that includes Ganthier, where they carry out kidnappings and carjackings and extort business owners, according to authorities.

Haiti is once again struggling with a spike in gang-related kidnappings that had diminished after President Jovenel Moïse was fatally shot at his private residence on July 7, and following a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck southwest Haiti in August and killed more than 2,200 people.

Gangs have demanded ransoms ranging from a couple hundred dollars to more than $1 million, according to authorities.

Last month, a deacon was killed in front of a church in the capital of Port-au-Prince and his wife kidnapped, one of dozens of people who have been abducted in recent months.

“My dear I’m going to tell you sincerely in regards to security we can not talk about this. On the security point, I can say [it has] been zero,” Eugenio Gué, a Port-au-Prince resident, said Sunday.

Charles Pierre, a motor taxi driver in the city, said the kidnappings are having widespread effects on the local economy.

“People do not go out in the streets. We can not find people to transport,” he said, saying it makes it hard to fulfill responsibilities to family.

At least 328 kidnapping victims were reported to Haiti’s National Police in the first eight months of 2021, compared with a total of 234 for all of 2020, according to a report issued last month the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti known as BINUH.

Gangs have been accused of kidnapping schoolchildren, doctors, police officers, busloads of passengers and others as they grow more powerful.

“Political turmoil, the surge in gang violence, deteriorating socioeconomic conditions – including food insecurity and malnutrition – all contribute to the worsening of the humanitarian situation,” BINUH said in its report. “An overstretched and under-resourced police force alone cannot address the security ills of Haiti.”

On Friday, the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to extend the U.N. political mission in Haiti.

The kidnapping of the missionaries comes just days after high-level U.S. officials visited Haiti and promised more resources for Haiti’s National Police, including another $15 million to help reduce gang violence, which this year has displaced thousands of Haitians who now live in temporary shelters in increasingly unhygienic conditions.

Among those who met with Haiti’s police chief was Uzra Zeya, U.S. under secretary of state for civilian security, democracy, and human rights.

“Dismantling violent gangs is vital to Haitian stability and citizen security,” she recently tweeted.

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ടോറോന്റോയിൽ PCIC പ്രമോഷണൽ മീറ്റിംഗ് ജൂൺ 1 ന്

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ടോറോന്റോ : പെന്തക്കോസ്തൽ ഫെല്ലോഷിപ്പ് ഓഫ് ഇൻഡോ കനേഡിയൻസ് കോൺഫെറൻസിന്റെ പ്രഥമ പ്രമോഷണൽ മീറ്റിംഗ് ജൂൺ 1 (ശനിയാഴ്ച്ച ) 6:30 PM ന് International Revival Church ( IRC) 4150 Chesswood Dr , Toronto യിൽവച്ച് നടത്തപ്പെടുന്നു . Pr. Finny George ( Professor of Bethel Bible College, Punalur) മുഖ്യ സന്ദേശം നൽകും .
Sources:gospelmirror

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Teen Denied Diploma Because He Mentioned Jesus in Graduation Speech

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A high school senior in Campbell, Kentucky was denied his diploma because he went off-script during a commencement address and mentioned the name of Jesus Christ.

Campbell County High School graduate Micah Price broke from his pre-approved address to give honor and glory to his “Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

“He is the light, He is the way, the truth and the life,” Price said. “Class, everyone in the audience today, I’m here to tell you if you don’t have any of those things in your life, you can’t seem to find the answer, my Lord and Savior is your answer. He will give you the truth, the way and the life.”

Price said in a post, which you can watch [here], that he stands by his decision and that he will accept whatever punishment the school decides to levy.

“If anyone is in the wrong, it’s me. I went against school policy, school rules,” he said. “I deserve to get punished.”

“All speakers were told that going off their submitted speech, or any unplanned choices at graduation, may have repercussions as they would at any school function,” Superintendent Shelli Wilson said in a statement to Local 12.
Sources:BREAKING CHRISTIAN NEWS

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Hope on Capitol Hill: ‘There Are a Great Number’ in Congress ‘Who Want to Bring Honor to God’

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I stood in awe at what a wonderful opportunity the Reverend Billy Graham statue unveiling event proved to be in terms of sharing the Gospel message. This month, within the walls of the elegant Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol, a prominent and faithful preacher was remembered and honored. Several speakers took the time to preach the good news, calling for those listening to put their faith in Jesus, “the Lord of lords and the King of kings,” as Senate Chaplain Barry Black proclaimed.

Looking at the world around us, especially when surrounded by contentious politics, it can feel utterly overwhelming and chaotic. Division appears to be the norm, and hope for a better society or government often feels scarce. But two weeks ago, I was struck with the beauty of hearing the Gospel proclaimed not once, not twice, but at least three or four times in the heart of our nation. It gave me hope. It was encouraging to listen as members of Congress, the Speaker of the House, and other authoritative figures represent Christ boldly. Who knows what seeds were planted? Perhaps their boldness will inspire other influential figures to be bold as well.

However, the question that lingered in my mind following the event was: How many faithful Believers do we have in our government? The short answer is that I don’t know exactly. But clearly, there are more than meets the eye. It would also seem there’s far more being done within the walls of the Capitol to edify, encourage, and equip Believers in government to stand firm.

A few weeks ago, I attended a lecture through Faith & Law (FL). If you’re unfamiliar, FL met for the first time on Capitol Hill in 1983 with pastor and theologian Dr. R.C. Sproul as their guest speaker. Other prominent FL speakers include Carl F.H. Henry, Os Guinness, and Nancy Pearcey. According to their website, FL’s “mission is to encourage and equip Christian policymakers to more fully understand the Biblical worldview and its implication in their calling to the public square.” The FL event I attended featured Ligonier Ministries’ CEO Chris Larson and Chairman Robert Godfrey to discuss the current challenges Christians face in society.

“Christians, along with a lot of other people in our society, are confused these days,” Godfrey said. “Things have changed a lot” in recent years, and “the source of our confusion,” Godfrey added, “is that a major shift has occurred in western history” in that we have dramatically shifted away from Christendom—the state of having a Christian-majority. That was Godfrey’s argument, but it’s not unique to him. A variety of scholars and experts refer to our day as a post-Christian society. But, as Godfrey emphasized, Christianity is not the same as Christendom. And so, to say we have moved away from Christendom in no ways means Christianity is of the past.

The societal turning point Godfrey emphasized was the legalization of same-sex marriage. Interestingly, he wasn’t arguing that the legalization marked the degradation of Christendom, but rather, that the public reaction did. Christendom served as a way of “establishing Christianity in law in some sense,” Godfrey said, and in many ways, it was a “unifying factor of civilization.” But in 2015, when the Obergefell decision legalized same-sex marriage, we saw that unity slip farther away. As Godfrey noted, a serious, vehement, and organized effort to overturn that decision did not seem to occur. Were there many against it? Surely.

But it stands to reason many lawmakers, such as former President Barrack Obama, who once claimed to oppose homosexual marriage, now champion the ideology. The same is true as we investigate society. Today, the push for LGBT ideology feels inescapable—and with pride month just around the corner, it will soon make that cultural domination painfully blatant. This sweeping secularism seems most obvious in the Pride mayhem, but it’s also seen in the rampant push for killing the unborn, the increased justification (and perhaps encouragement) of crime, and the list continues.

So, what’s there to glean from these observations? Well, according to Godfrey, the most important takeaway from this breakdown of moral impact on society, at least for Christians, is to recognize God’s sovereignty over all things. This is the first step towards garnering peace in a world of confusion and calamity. Regardless of the current cultural climate, we serve a God who’s in control of all. Hebrews 13:8 says our Lord “is the same yesterday and today and forever.” So, really, there’s no failure in store for the one with faith, because our God is a God of victory, and He’s secured His kingdom from now into eternity. “I will build My Church,” Jesus proclaimed, “and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).

But the second step in securing peace during a time of frustration would be to pay attention to how the Lord is working in government. In my short time in DC, I’ve seen groups such as Faith & Law, the Word on the Hill, and others faithfully raise up Gospel truth within our Capitol. There are also plenty of congressional members who carry the armor of God into their political battles, and they need our prayers and support. In a conversation with Representative Michael Guest (R-MS), I got a glimpse into what it means to be a Christian lawmaker.

“You know,” Guest said, “I think we’re all challenged at certain times in life, whether you serve in a public capacity or whether you have a job in the private sector.” But a particular challenge Guest highlighted is how much time he must spend away from his family. Community is crucial, especially for the Believer, and it’s taxing to be away from home so frequently. The congressman explained how he’ll often be traveling Monday through Friday for four to five weeks in a row, with little time for his family on the weekends. In this regard, Guest makes sure to have a strong Christian community in his personal life, as they’re what “keep us grounded and … on track,” he told The Washington Stand.

Reflecting on when he first came to Congress, he emphasized, “it was important … for me to find fellow Believers.” And by God’s grace, he did. Guest shared there are multiple ways in which the word of God is alive and active on the Hill. “There’s a group of Believers … that meet every Wednesday morning when we’re in session, and we spend time in God’s word and time in prayer.”

He continued, “[W]e have the prayer caucus that meets between votes,” which he noted provides “the opportunity to be with those Believers and to pray about the things that we’re going to be doing that week in Congress.” And in addition to praying about their work, Guest said the prayer caucus also serves “to bring forward individual prayer requests of people in our district who may be suffering from some sort of bad diagnosis, or [may have just] lost loved ones.” Ultimately, “[T]here are a number of ways in which members can be plugged in with other members of similar faith and belief. And I think in this environment, it is so important to find those fellow Believers you can associate with.”

When it comes to having faith and being in government, Guest urged that both in words and in action, Christians are called to be a witness to the light of the Gospel. “Being able to share your faith and being able to talk about the things that God has done in your life is important,” he said, “but I [think], as a Believer, people are watching how we act. Do we act as the world acts, or do we act different? Do people see something different about us than they do non-Believers?”

Guest concluded, “I think it’s important for people to know that there are a great number of Believers here on Capitol Hill. … [P]eople who want to bring honor and glory to God” and “see our nation turn from our sinful ways and want to see God continue to bless this land that we’ve been so proud to call home for so long. … God is not done with America,” he insisted. “We have great days ahead, and … there are men and women of faith in Washington, DC and in our state capitals and in our local government who God will use to continue to see that we prosper.” S
Sources:BREAKING CHRISTIAN NEWS

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