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“We glorify God for answered prayer—The remaining 12 missionaries abducted in Haiti have been released

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Haitian kidnappers released the remaining 12 missionaries who were abducted two months ago, the U.S. missionary group and Haitian officials said Thursday, ending a long hostage drama that brought to light an epidemic of kidnappings in Haiti by powerful criminal gangs.

“We glorify God for answered prayer—the remaining 12 hostages are FREE!,” the Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries said in a statement posted on its website. “All 17 of our loved ones are now safe.”

The hostages—16 Americans and one Canadian, including five children—were abducted in October by a gang known as the 400 Mawozo, or 400 country bumpkins. At the time of the kidnapping, the children ranged in age from eight months to 15 years old. Five of the hostages were released in recent weeks, the missionary group said.

The gang had demanded a ransom of $1 million per person, Haitian officials have said. The alleged gang leader said in a video posted on YouTube that he was willing to kill the hostages if his demands weren’t met. It was unclear if any ransom was paid. Haitian analysts said they didn’t think the gang would have released hostages without payment.

Frantz Elbé, the head of the Haitian national police, confirmed the hostages had been freed but declined to provide additional details. The Federal Bureau of Investigation didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The U.S. Embassy in Haiti declined to comment. The Biden administration had sent FBI agents to Haiti to help secure the release of the hostages.

“We welcome reports that they are free and getting the care that they need after their ordeal,” said deputy White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. President Biden has received daily updates since the missionaries were abducted, she said.

Local residents found the 12 hostages alone early Thursday morning near Morne à Cabrit, some 13 miles north of Titanyen, where the mission’s headquarters are located, a senior Haitian police officer said. The missionaries were abducted in mid-October.

The residents found the hostages in good condition and immediately alerted police. The senior police official said he didn’t know whether any ransom had been paid. Seven men, four women and a teenager made up the group freed Thursday, the senior police official said.

The release ends an international political headache for the Biden administration and is welcome news for Haiti, one of the world’s poorest nations. The country has been undergoing one of the worst political and economic crises in its history since the assassination of its president, Jovenel Moïse, in July. The investigation into Mr. Moïse’s killing appears to have stalled.

Nearly 200 criminal gangs control more than half the nation’s territory. Gangs have kidnapped hundreds of Haitians, sparing neither poor nor rich and terrifying the nation since the assassination.

At least 41 U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents have been kidnapped for ransom in Haiti this year, according to Brian Nichols, the top State Department official for the Western Hemisphere.

In the case of the missionaries, a ransom was likely paid, said Gédéon Jean, the head of the Center for Analysis and Research in Human Rights, a Port-au-Prince-based organization that tracks kidnappings. He said that in every case since 1973 in which an American has been kidnapped, a ransom is believed to have been paid.

“They would not release them without payment,” said Pierre Esperance, the director of the Haitian National Human Rights Defense Network, an advocacy group.

Mr. Jean said the possible failing health of the hostages from hardships they faced in captivity may also have played a role in their release. “The 400 Mawozo know they can’t afford for a single American hostage to die,” he said. “They know that if they cross that line, the U.S. reaction will be fierce.”

The 400 Mawozo gang operates in an 8-square-mile zone with plenty of places to stash captives, said Alexander Galvez, Dominican-Haitian journalist and radio talk show host who was kidnapped by the gang in late November and held for nine days. He described the details of his captivity in an interview last week on Dominican TV station Telemicro just after his release.

The kidnappers use military rank among themselves and operate like a military unit, he said, adding that they boast sophisticated communications equipment and weaponry.

“They have everything. Luxury cars, a lot of space and money,” Mr. Galvez said in the television interview.

Mr. Galvez said he was abducted by eight armed kidnappers, four of whom were in a car with diplomatic plates. He said his feet and hands were bound during captivity. He was allowed to bathe once a day, and fed twice a day, spaghetti in the morning and rice at night.

Kidnappers telephoned his family and demanded one million Haitian gourdes, or about $10,000, for his release. The family eventually paid an undisclosed sum.

Mr. Jean said at least 803 people have been abducted in Haiti this year through the end of October, including 54 foreigners. A person who works to resolve kidnapping cases in Haiti said about 20 people a day are currently being abducted. If there are no arrests in the kidnappings of the missionaries, abductions—especially those targeting foreigners—are likely to increase further, analysts said.

Aside from kidnappings for ransom, criminal gangs exert their strength in other ways.

Earlier this fall, a coalition of gangs called G9 blocked access to Haiti’s main fuel terminal, causing devastating shortages across the country. Hospitals and other institutions had to drastically cut back their operations, and the price of gasoline shot up to $25 a gallon. Jimmy Cherizier—a former police officer also known as Barbecue who heads G9—eventually lifted the blockade.

Earlier this month, the U.S. and Canadian governments urged their citizens to leave the country. Immigration experts say Haiti’s deteriorating economy and descent into violence will likely fuel increased migration to the U.S. Some 1,500 Haitians were detained at sea while heading to the U.S. in fiscal year 2021, which ended in September, more than three times the number during the previous year.

Mr. Biden has flatly ruled out any military intervention in Haiti, a country of more than 11 million people, but has ramped up financial and technical assistance to the embattled Caribbean country, senior Haitian officials say. Since Mr. Moïse’s assassination, the U.S. has funneled some $50 million to improve the training and capabilities of the national police.
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Woman Who Prayed While Dangling From Bridge in Semi Truck Credits Lord For Surviving Horrific Ordeal: ‘God Is Listening’

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Newly released dashcam footage of an accident that left a massive semitruck dangling from a bridge earlier this year is going viral — and for good reason.

The shocking footage of the Kentucky four-vehicle crash, which unfolded March 1 on the Clark Memorial Bridge in Louisville, Kentucky, is absolutely terrifying.

The accident allegedly took place after Trevor W. Branham, 33, lost control of his vehicle, crossed into the wrong lanes, hit another car, then struck the semitruck in question.

Sydney Thomas, 26, was reportedly driving the semitruck, which was sent off the bridge and dangling — an unimaginable scenario.

Fortunately, Thomas wasn’t injured in the astonishing event. She spoke out this week about what unfolded that day, how she believes God heard her prayers, and how she’s faring.

“Sometimes you pray, and I’m guilty of this: I pray, and I don’t think God is listening,” she told WHAS-TV. “But He was that day.”

Her dad, Marc Thomas, told the outlet he, too, believes the Lord was watching over her.

“It didn’t really hit me until I looked over to my right [while crossing the Kennedy Bridge] and I’d seen that equipment hanging into the air,” he said. “That [rescue] was nothing but God displaying himself to me.”

Sydney Thomas explained what led the truck to go off the bridge, noting the suspension on the vehicle went out and she lost total control — a shocking horror that left her dangling 100 feet over the Ohio River, as WHAS-TV noted.

“When I went through the railing, I was like, ‘Wow, this is a crazy way to die,’” she said, noting she really believed her life would come to an end.

Thomas hung for 40 minutes until firefighters were able to use a crane to lift someone down to reach her. She remained still the whole time, fearing movement would send the truck plummeting into the water.

Louisville firefighter Bryce Carden soon appeared at her window mid-air latched to a harness and hanging from the crane. He asked if he could pray with her – and the two proceeded to invoke the Lord.

“She was praying a lot,” Carden told WHAS-TV. “And I prayed with her.”

In the end, Thomas was rescued by the firefighter and lifted out of the truck.

Though she has no plans of traveling ever again on the Clark Memorial Bridge, she credited God for saving her, and pledged not to be overtaken by fear.

“God has me here for a reason and I have to fulfill my purpose in life,” she said. “And I can’t let something like that stop me from doing what I’m supposed to do for Him, because He brought me out of it.”

Thomas added, “He doesn’t want me to…live in fear the rest of my life.”

As for Branham, he was arrested in March and charged with four counts of wanton endangerment and one count of operating on a suspended license, WDRB-TV reported. His next court appearance is in June.

Please continue to pray for Thomas as she processes through the chaos of that day.
Sources:faithwire

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What Is the Biblical Definition of ‘Revival?’ Well-Known Pastor Steve Gaines Explains

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As impressive moves of faith unfold across America — from the beaches of northeastern Florida to the shorelines of Southern California — many are wondering if the country could be on the cusp of revival.

Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, and the former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, is the author of the forthcoming book, “Revival: When God Comes to Church,” in which he unpacks a biblical understanding of the word “revival” and what Christians ought to do to create an atmosphere for spiritual restoration.

The most succinct definition of “revival” Gaines has come across, he said during a recent appearance on CBN’s “Faith vs. Culture,” comes straight from the Old Testament: “When the glory of God fills the house of God.”

“The word ‘vive’ has to do with life; ‘re’ means to repeat or to have fresh life,” the pastor said. “So it means ‘to have new life’. That’s what it is. And revival is not for people who don’t know Christ. I like to say it this way: You can’t revive something that’s never been ‘vived.’ So if they’ve never been given life in Jesus Christ, they can’t be revived. That’s for Christians. So revival is specifically for the people of God.”

Gaines turned then toward a passage of Scripture he believes is often “totally misrepresented.”

In Revelation 3:20, the Apostle John wrote, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (NIV).

The verse, the pastor explained, isn’t addressing individual salvation, as it’s often used. Rather, the passage is referring to Jesus attempting to regain access to — or to revive — His collective church.

“He’s not knocking on the door of somebody’s heart,” Gaines said. “He’s knocking on the door of the church of Laodicea, and He’s trying to get back into His church! That’s an amazing picture: that Jesus — a lot of the time — we lock Him out of His own church. We’ve got our programs, we’ve got our stuff, we’ve got our denominations, we’ve got all this stuff that we rely on, and we’re not relying on the Lord.”

He added, “The greatest thing we can give anybody is the manifest presence of God. When they come [into the church], is God there? Is God really there in manifest presence, or is He outside knocking, trying to get into His own church? I just believe we ought to let Him have His church.”

The Memphis-based minister addressed what he believes are the main hindrances to revival, the traps that often keep God from engaging with His church.

“I tell everybody there are ‘isms’ that need to become ‘wasms,’” Gaines joked.

Traditionalism, he said, is when “tradition becomes more important than the Scripture,” formalism is when “you’re trying to make sure every little dot is dotted and every T is crossed and that you’ve got it down perfectly,” fanaticism is when “you start doing things that are not biblical” and “going beyond the Word of God,” liberalism is when “you don’t really believe everything that the Bible says, and that quenches the Holy Spirit,” and, finally, legalism is “adding to the Word of God.”

“I don’t know how many times, as a Baptist, I’ve heard, ‘This is the Baptist way,’” Gaines said. “Well, with all due respect, I’m a Baptist, but I’m a Christian first. And I don’t believe in the Baptist way if it’s not the Bible way. … I just believe that we need to make sure that we realize that we do have enemies that want to quench the Spirit of God.”

As believers’ relationships with the Lord are being restored from coast to coast, it’s critical believers have a biblical understanding of revival and are equipped to create an atmosphere for the Holy Spirit to move among His people.

To learn more about Gaines’ forthcoming book, “Revival: When God Comes to Church,” click here. Also, check out the full episode of “Faith vs. Culture” above for a health update from Gaines, who is currently undergoing cancer treatment after revealing his diagnosis in November 2023.
Sources:faithwire

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ടാബർനാക്കിൾ പെന്തക്കോസ്ത് സഭയുടെ (TPC) മൂന്നാമത് കോൺഫറൻസ് ജൂൺ 01, 02 തീയതികളിൽ നടക്കും

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സൗത്ത് വെയിൽസിലെ മലയാളി പെന്തക്കോസ്ത് കൂട്ടായ്മയായ ടാബർനാക്കിൾ പെന്തക്കോസ്ത് സഭയുടെ (TPC) മൂന്നാമത് വാർഷിക കോൺഫറൻസ് ജൂൺ 01, 02 (ശനി, ഞായർ) തീയതികളിൽ നടക്കും. ന്യൂപോർട്ട് പിൽ മില്ലേനിയം സെന്ററിൽ (Pill Millennium Center, Courtrybella Terrace, Newport) വച്ചു നടക്കുന്ന യോഗങ്ങളിൽ മുഖ്യ പ്രഭാഷകനായി അനുഗ്രഹിത കൺവൻഷൻ പ്രാസംഗകനും ഓക്ലഹോമയിലെ ഐ.പി.സി ഹെബ്രോൺ സഭയുടെ സീനിയർ ശുശ്രൂഷകനുമായ പാസ്റ്റർ ഷിബു തോമസ് ഓക്ലഹോമ ദൈവ വചനത്തിൽ നിന്ന് ശുശ്രുഷിക്കും.

ടാബർനാക്കിൾ പെന്തകോസ്ത് ചർച്ച് ക്വയർ അനുഗ്രഹീത ആരാധനയ്ക്ക് നേതൃത്വം നൽകുന്നു. റ്റി.പി.സിയുടെ സീനിയർ ശുശ്രൂഷകൻ പാസ്റ്റർ പ്രിൻസ് പ്രയ്‌സൺ യോഗങ്ങൾക്ക് നേതൃത്വം നൽകും.
Sources:christiansworldnews

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