This Christmas, are you looking for an idea for giving a MEANINGFUL GIFT?
We just returned from a visit to Guinea. Wow! It is extremely difficult to be an Pastor in Guinea, as in most countries of West Africa! Guinea is so poverty-stricken. Shortages of electricity and water (there is water, but it is not at all exploited), absolutely TERRIBLE roads! Dangerous! A lack of any effective means of transportation. Communication by phone, very poor! Internet? Leaves much left to be desired, to say the least. No postal system! Imagine?
Praise International exists to support, encourage and facilitate the ministries of national pastors in Poverty-Stricken Countries, such as Guinea.
We have two ideas for a meaningful gift this Christmas:
- A Guinea Pastor would CHERISH having a good Study Bible with Commentary.
2. Sponsor a Guinea Pastor for $35/month.
Village Pastors in West Africa typically have NO SALARY. Imagine? How many in America would work for no salary? They have gardens, maybe chickens, maybe a goat. But this is not enough. They need money to send their children to school! Imagine a pastor in America whose children can’t go to school? Praise International seeks people who would be willing to sponsor a pastor? A fruitful evangelical church, lead by a dynamic devout Man of God, will impact their community for good and for God and for God’s Glory.
Please send your give by PayPal or by mail to: Praise International, P.O. Box 927, Caldwell, ID 83606.
Joseph Oulai is our Praise Representative in Cote d’Ivoire. He is a devout man of God, an ordained minister, committed to faithfully serving the Lord in evangelism, church-planting and church growth. And he’s an excellent husband and father.
It breaks my heart that their fourth child, Anne Victoire, has an arm that functions at only 40 percent. Especially when THIS CAN BE FIXED. But it is expensive. They had hoped it would correct itself with time, but it hasn’t. In order to give Anne full use of her arm, they will need about $2000 for the corrective treatment. Please consider giving the Oulai’s a very special Christmas gift this Christmas. A gift that will give this beautiful daughter the use of both arms for the rest of her life. Wouldn’t that be wonderful!
Please send gifts to: Praise International, P.O. Box 927, Caldwell, ID or send it via PayPal at: email@example.com
Dick Shaw, Praise Chairman of the Board, and I just returned from a two-week ministry trip in Africa. We traveled from Conakry, Guinea to Bamako, Mali to experience the culture, to see how people live in these two countries, and most importantly, to meet as many evangelical pastors as possible and to support and encourage them. We can heartily say that we accomplished those goals.
We were profoundly touched by the great difficulties faced by these folks, as they live and work a world of extreme poverty. They seemed so humble, calmly accepting their way of life, experiencing without complaint the pains and hardships of day-to-day life. From our American perspective, spoiled by relatively extravagant comfort, even though we spent only a few days immersed in this culture, our temperament and coping skills were put to the test to the max! I’m terrible at timed-test. I’m not sure if I did well on this test. But I learned so much! God taught me so much!
These dear people live like this every single day! We went to Guinea and Mali in order to understand what pastors in Africa are up against, to verify that Praise International is indeed helping, and to inquire as to how we can do a better job. Wow! Do we ever understand things better now!
One of the very interesting things we learned about is the great significance that they attach to the kola nut. Yes, the kola nut. The kola tree is native to Guinea and a couple other countries in West Africa that have tropical rain forests. This caffeine-containing seed is used for drinks and for cooking. Yes, the original recipe for Coca-cola contained extracts from the Kola nut. It is also used as medicine. The chewing the nut (or ingesting it in some form or another) is known to improve a person’s digestive system, to increase the heart rate and to stimulate the blood circulation.
However, the kola nut has a much deeper significance. It is actually called, the nut of life. This nut is much more than a nut. In Guinea, the most life-changing events include a cultural, spiritual and ceremonial use of the nut of life. A man gives of a certain amount of kola nuts to the parents of the girl he wants to marry, somewhat like a dowry. At the birth of their baby, there is some sort of ceremony, which involves, I believe, the baby’s umbilical cord being wrapped permanently around a cola nut. The nut is also used at the christening of the child. It is used at the ceremonial signing of certain important documents. It is also used to honor an important person or to reward someone for accomplishments. There is also a kola nut ritual at the funeral.
Several times as Dick Shaw and I traveled to visit pastors, driving for miles on muddy, bumpy roads surrounded on both sides by thick jungle, we entered a tiny village full of round thatch-roofed huts and were invited into the dwelling where the pastor and his large family live. The small room is crowded with people such as church leaders, village councilmen, and maybe a village chief. We sit in a circle on hand-made wooden benches. Then there is a beautiful traditional welcome ceremony. One person in the circle has a small container with some kola nuts in it. This is past from person to person, each person taking his turn at expressing well-chosen words of welcome to us, their honored guests. When the cup of kola nuts was handed to us, we had the opportunity to thank them for their beautiful and meaningful welcome. And of course, this was one of our opportunities to honor the pastor and his family for the sacrificial work they are doing for the Lord.
For a couple of interesting reads, I suggest two articles.
Nepal Criminalizes Christian Conversion and Evangelism
President approves new sanctions targeting non-Hindus and foreign missionaries.
October 25, 2017 10:28 AM-Christianity Today
Last week, Nepal enacted a law to curb evangelism by criminalizing religious conversion, joining neighboring countries like India and Pakistan, where the region’s small-but-growing Christian minority faces government threats to their faith.
The “Nepali government [has] taken a regressive step as this law severely restricts our freedom of expression and our freedom of religion or belief,” said Tanka Subedi, chair of the national Religious Liberty Forum, to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW). The pastor is 1 of an estimated 375,000 Christians living in the former Hindu kingdom.
The criminal code bill, which the parliament approved in August and President Bidhya Devi Bhandari signed last Monday, establishes further constitutional protections for Hinduism (which 80% of the population practices) by restricting religious conversion and “hurting of religious sentiment,” or blasphemy.
According to a Nepali Christian site, a section of the new law reads:
No one should involve or encourage in conversion of religion.
No one should convert a person from one religion to another religion or profess them own religion and belief with similar intention by using or not using any means of attraction and by disturbing religion or belief of any ethnic groups or community that being practiced since ancient times.
If found guilty; there will be punishment of five years of imprisonment and penalty of fifty thousand rupees [approximately $770 USD]. If foreigners are found guilty; they will have to be deported within seven days after completing the imprisonment in third clause.
The amended criminal sanctions come a decade after the longtime Hindu monarchy declared itself a secular state, and two years after it adopted a new constitution.
Article 26 of the constitution stated that, “No one shall attempt to change or convert someone from one religion to another, or disturb/jeopardize the religion of others, and such acts/activities shall be punishable by law.”
At the time, CT reported how religious freedom advocates worried that this line in particular could be used as “groundwork for future restrictions and discrimination.” The fears of Elijah Brown, chief of staff at the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative, and others have come true.
Last year, courts dropped charges against Christians accused of evangelizing to students in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Kathmandu, but the case was enough to raise concerns over the “forcible conversion” law.
CSW founder Mervyn Thomas noted that anti-conversion laws tend to target religious minorities and worsen religious tensions. He stated in a press release:
We urge the Nepali government to repeal this unjust law and amend Article 26 (3) of the constitution as they both curtail the right to freedom of religion or belief and undermine Nepal’s commitments under international law, a contradiction made even more striking as Nepal assumes its seat on the Human Rights Council.
Some Christian commentators on the criminal code bill initially declared it a worse threat to minority faiths than living under the officially Hindu state in the years before. The bill proposed “five years of imprisonment and a penalty of 50,000 rupees for anyone found guilty of converting a person from one religion to another.”
A Catholic human rights activist in Nepal wrote last year:
If the bill is passed, it’s feared that it will result in a situation worse than Pakistan’s blasphemy law — a type of bill that can be misinterpreted and misused by anyone wanting to make a false accusation against anyone else.
More locally, this bill would mean Nepal would revert to a worse state of affairs than the previous Panchayat System (1960-1990), which resulted in minority religious groups being persecuted by the state.
As CT previously reported, Christians were banned from living in Nepal prior to 1960. Over the following decades, “Christianity grew by 10 to 20 percent annually, especially among Dalits at the bottom of Hindu society, making Nepal one of Asia’s most stunning church growth stories.”
Despite the legal threats in recent years, Nepal has seen its Christian population triple over the past decade or so due to conversions. Popular folk singer Raju Pariyar joined the faith and was baptized in 2015. But Christians still make up just 1.4 percent of the 29 million residents.
The US State Department flagged anti-conversion and blasphemy laws as one of its biggest concerns for religious freedom globally, stating in 2012 that “such laws often violate freedoms of religion and expression and often are applied in a discriminatory manner.”
The World Watch Monitor of May 27, 2017 reports that a Pastor was among the 37 killed in Central African Republic. Read this article and PRAY. Pray for all the families of those killed. Pray for the evangelical church. Pray for those who did this.
Paul and Geoffry Zidoro, the nephew and younger brother of Rev. Nicolas Guérékoyamé-Gbangou, were killed in Alindao earlier this month.
Pastor Dioni and Josephine Yake (pronounced, yeah – kay) have a contagious joy! Their joy is full and running over. One can’t help but smile, when this radiant couple smiles at him. Talented, joyful, dedicated ministers of the Lord, spreading the communicable joy of the gospel. Dioni (pronounced like, Johnnie) and Josephine deeply understand just how GOOD the Good News is! It is SO good that it would be a shame not to share it! When is shows like this, on-lookers are like, “what in the world!?” It’s a joy like no other! It’s because of the complete and amazing salvation Jesus gives that we have a JOY that is “indescribable and glorious!!!” Read 1 Peter 1:7-9.
They live and serve the Lord in Ivory Coast, in a region in the southwest part of Ivory Coast, a region called Man. Yes, the name of the region is Man. And man needs the Lord! (pun intended) All the men, women and children of Man need to experience this JOY.
Please pray for Pastor Dioni and Josephine as they faithfully announce the extremely good news of over-flowing joy!
JOY! JOY! JOY!
It’s yours for the asking. Contact me.
Please pray more fervently than ever for Russian pastors and missionaries. Have you heard about the new law that Russia put into effect last summer? It prohibits any evangelism outside of the church. This is including Christians meeting in house churches, of which there are hundreds. Harold Zimmerman, his 2007 study of the world house church movement, states that there were over 800 house churches in Russia.
Zimmerman, H. (2007). Case study (Russia): The house church movement of Mother Russia. In R. Zdero (Ed.), Nexus: The world house church movement reader (pp. 338-340). Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library.
Joel Griffith, with Slavic Gospel Association, said that this law has very wide-spread ramifications. According to an article written by Eekoff Zilstra in the January issue of Gleanings (Christianity Today), there have been at least 32 pastors/church leaders arrested and prosecuted since last summer, of which 18 were convicted of breaking the law and incarcerated.
Praise International supports national Russia pastors in Russia. They have express a serious concern about how the government will enforce the law among their churches. Please pray for Russian pastors, church leaders and missionaries. Thank you.
Below are a few of the Russian pastors whom we have sponsored. If you would like to sponsor a pastor through Praise International, please contact us.
The European Roma Rights Center (ERRC) reported that in Romania, being a Gypsy is the worst social stigma. Generally speaking, Romanian strongly look down upon the Romani people. Mădălin Voicu, a popular Musician and Politician in Romania, himself of Romani descent, said of his own people:
“Our gypsies are stupid. They could at least be crafty but they aren’t. They are just primitives and they manage to irritate the entire society which is already watching them closely […] They run through the country and Europe barefoot, slimy and dirty, wearing clothes which are more likely to disgust you than make you feel sorry for them […] Begging, soliciting and being disorganized will never bring them any advantages.”
If this Romani pronounces these strong words about his own people, do you think the average Romanian thinks any better of them? The Romani people make up the biggest minority in Romania. It seems like that are the outcasts of society. They are not allowed live in the same vicinity as Romanians, so they have their own villages, their own gypsy guettos.
But, at the risk of sounding trite, I’ll say, THE GYPSIES NEED THE LORD. I praise God there are men and women of God who accept the call to preach the gospel among the Romani people. Of course, ninety-nine percent of the time, these are Romani pastors feeling drawn to evangelize their own people. But there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s natural.
[I do know of one case where a Romanian man felt called to preach the good news in a Romani village and to start a Romani church. I say, hats off to this brave, compassionate man! I visited this devout pastor’s home several years ago. He was very sick at that time and I had the privilege of praying over him.]
Praise International is very honored to sponsor several Romani pastors who are preaching the good news and starting churching among the Romani people. Decebal and Nicoleta is one of those pastoral couples.
My wife and I had the pleasure of being a guests in their home. It was a wonderful experience to drive up this rugged dirty road and to visit the mountainous village of Ciuta, situated in the foothills of the Transylvanian Alps. The village Main Street was a narrow, bumpy dirt road. Many people came out of their humble abodes to see our car. It was very rare to see cars up in their village. Plenty of horse-drawn wagons.
Pastor Decebal took us to the end of “main street” and there on the right were two churches, a small old Church and next it was a much bigger Church building under construction. These are the churches pictured below. God is using Decebal and Nicoleta to reach the Romani people of Ciuta village. I thank God for giving them a burden to reach their own people for the Lord. Pray that God give them lots of perseverance and compassion and strength, that God anoint this ministry so that all the people in the village might be saved!
An excellent high school prof and a Taekwondo Blackbelt instructor, Pastor Alexandru has a perfect platform for sharing the gospel. Whatever he does for the Lord, he does it “with class.” Because of the quality of his work, God has given him favor with the school principal, which is of key importance.
Alexandru is member of a very large and highly respected Christian Taekwondo association. Several of the blackbelt instructors are national champions, some are world-class champions. There is one fundamental difference between this Taekwondo club and the others: instead of teaching students the zen philosophy, which is typically taught along with all of the martial arts, these trainers teach Christian principles. In fact, all the blackbelt instructors in this club are trained and certified to use the Bible studies of Kay Arthor’s Precepts Ministries International. Through this creative strategy, many of the Taekwondo students come to know Jesus as their personal Savior.
Many (if not all) of these blackbelt Taekwondo instructors, like Alexandru Curbet, are pastors who are evangelizing and starting new churches. This strategy has proven itself to be effective. They also use the Precepts teaching materials in their churches to train Church members, youth and even the children.
Another method that Alexandru and Valentina use for reaching more people with the gospel is through English classes. Valentina is an excellent English teacher. Besides being a mother to two beautiful children, she also teaches English privately throughout the year. In the summer, they organize English camps.
Praise International is proud to sponsor Pastor Alexandru and Valentina Curbet. Please pray for them, their family, their outreach to people in the community and the discipleship training of the members of their Church. Thank you.
Pastor Andrei needs a new sponsor as soon as possible.
Would you consider sponsoring him?
Pray for People in the Caribbeans. Hurricane Matthew is hittinig Jamaica, the Bahamas, Cuba, Haiti, I’m not sure about the Dominican Republic, etc. Haiti is being hit the hardest this time. We have many dear friends in Haiti. Our ministry has support many Haitian pastors and other ministries.
We just got back from Cuba. There were four of us: my wife and I, Ron, a friend and member of our church and Paula, a Cuban lady, living in Miami, who came as our guide and translator. We were there to visit pastors who are supported by our ministry, Praise International. It was a wonderful visit. We saw so many pastors and wonderful Cuban people.
So as I think about this hurricane, I’m thinking particularly of all the people whom we met while we were there. In fact, the storm is brushing the same location where we were. The pastors who we support live in this region and all the folks in their churches. Of course, all the Cubans in that region need our prayers at this time. Most of Paula’s family live in this region.
Thank you for praying for the people of the Caribbean islands.
Praise International P.O. Box 927 Caldwell ID 83606 (208) 608-3965
www.praiseinternational.us – firstname.lastname@example.org – email@example.com
God has given Pastor Seergiu Filat an incredible talent. He is a world class Taekwondo champion! He is taking advantage of this God-given ability to touch the most people possible with the good news of Jesus-Christ.
Please pray Moldovans, Pastor Sergiu and Rodica Filat and their their kids, that they would MUCH FRUIT.
Praise International has sponsored several Romani pastors who work primarily in a ministry to Romani population. One of those Romani pastors is Bebe and Nela Prică. They live in a region north of Bucharest. It is very difficult work as you might guess. Pray for the Prică’s and for our other Praise pastors who are evangelizing and starting churches in Roma villages in Romania.