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June 29, 2009

Sincere, Selfless Love Changes Lives

Filed under: Changing Lives — TimMc @ 3:43 am

“Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart.”
– 1 Peter 1:22

What does it mean to love others with a sincere love as Peter describes in the above verse? What does this kind of love look like? How do we show it?

Ward Brehm, a philanthropist, told us that he used to describe himself as a successful businessman who went to church on occasion. So one day, Ward’s pastor invited him to join him on a mission trip to Africa. And after some deliberation, Ward decided to go. That trip would change his life for eternity. Ward told of a specific day on the journey that he had been fasting, but had brought some power bars along with him. Deep into Africa’s wild, the group stopped and he went into a small tent to rest for a bit.

While he was in the tent, an African boy who looked to be about 10 years old came into the tent. The boy was playing around a bit and looking curiously through Ward’s belongings. As the young boy left the tent, he managed to take one of Ward’s power bars with him.

Ward said he thought in that moment how much kids are alike wherever you go. But that was only until he walked out of the tent and saw the little boy breaking off bits of that power bar and feeding it to his three-year-old sister who had a distended stomach and a dying body.

Witnessing that selfless act of the young boy loving his sister more than himself, Ward Brehm came to understand sincere love. And his life was changed for eternity.

You see, sincere, selfless love changes lives. And this is the amazing love that Jesus Christ wants to show others through your life. Ask Jesus to help you rise to this higher purpose: To love others with a sincere love. And it will change your life for eternity.

SINCERE, SELFLESS LOVE CHANGES LIVES.

*Written by Dr. Jack Graham and republished with permission. To read more about Dr. Graham and his ministry, we encourage you to please visit the website for Powerpoint Ministries.

powerpoint-ministries

Ghana, a Country Profile & Prayer Guide

Filed under: Country Profiles and Prayer Guides,Ghana — TimMc @ 2:17 am

ghana

With over 100 ethnic groups residing in this beautiful country, Ghana is truly a melting pot of African cultures. Traces of the country’s rich history can be seen everywhere, especially along its palm lined beaches and lagoons. Ghana boasts 42 European forts and castles, UNESCO World Heritage Monuments, including Elmina and Cape Coast Castles—poignant reminders of the Ghana’s importance as an unfortunate way station for African slaves.

Ghana has a rich natural heritage too. It has a narrow grassy plain that stretches inland from the coast, widening in the east, while the south and west are covered by dense rainforests which are being developed into nature parks, such as the national park at Kakum. In spite of Ghana’s national parks and game reserves being relatively small compared to other African countries, species of antelope, monkeys, lions, and elephants can be seen here. Birds and butterflies are particularly numerous in Ghana’s forests.

A few interesting facts about Ghana:

  • There are 72 known languages spoken in the country. The official language is English and there is a 70% (very high) literacy rate.
  • There are 8 languages with full versions of the Bible available, 20 with the New Testament, and 26 other versions that are “works in progress.”
  • Ghana is a secular state with religious freedom.
  • There are approximately 26 million people living in Ghana. The capital, Accra has a population of 2,250,000. Other main cities: Kumasi 992,000, Sekondi-Takoradi 400,000 and Tamale 270,000.
  • Ghana contains Africa’s largest man-made lake, Lake Volta which covers 238,000 sq. kilometers.
  • Its main exports are cocoa, gold and timber. Early government overspending, mismanagement, and corruption reduced this once-prosperous land to poverty, thereby greatly reducing living standards. Since 1984 there has been a slow, but steady improvement through greater government discipline.

Specific ways to pray for the country of Ghana:

  • For years, Christianity has had a large following in the more developed south. Over 64% of Ghanaians call themselves Christian, but only 40% have any link with a church and only 12% attend a church regularly. African traditional worldviews and practices have gone hand-in-hand with the claim of being Christian. The deadness and formality of many older churches have stimulated rapid growth of the African Independent Churches, which offer excitement, involvement and miracles, but not always salvation by faith. The number of these denominations may be in the thousands! Pray that the true gospel may shine into the hearts of those who call themselves Christian but who are not born from above. Pray that a decisive break may be made from all fetishism and occult bondages, and true liberty in Jesus be found.
  • Over five million Muslims and followers of traditional religions still need to be reached.
  • Plant new churches for northern peoples in the East and West Upper regions, the Northern region, and for northerners in the South. This goal has yet to be attained, but at least eight churches and agencies are actively and vigorously planting and multiplying churches in each of these regions.
  • Develop and foster active, witnessing churches in villages, towns, urban centers and ethnic communities.
  • Mature Christian leaders are in short supply in this time of rapid growth, economic stress, and doctrinal confusion. There are two diploma-awarding schools – Christian Service College (CSC) in Kumasi started by WEC and Maranatha Bible College (SIM). Trinity College awards degrees predominantly for mainline churches. There are over 30 other accredited denominational and inter-denominational Bible schools as well as a range of TEE and lay training programs run by different denominations and agencies.
  • The vision for missions by the Ghanaian church has grown, with agencies and workers increasing in numbers. Gradually the reluctance of more sophisticated southern Christians to go to the ‘backward’ north is being overcome.
  • Young people are in the forefront of the move of the Spirit. Praise God for the impact of SU on the secondary schools; GHAFES(IFES), Navigators and CCCI on the universities and colleges; and CEF with a number of workers among young children. Pray that the influence of converted young people may be decisive in church, mission, and national affairs. May many hear God’s call into full-time service. Very few churches have an effective program for young people or children. Youth under 15 comprise only 30% of the church-going population, but 45% of the total population.
  • Missionary personnel to serve as Bible teachers, translators, media experts, and pioneer evangelists are still needed. A key area for prayer is that there might be healthy, helpful partnerships between indigenous church leaders and missionaries. Pray for missions serving the Lord in this land; the largest organizations being SIL, SIM, IMB-SBC, WEC.
  • The less evangelized peoples of Ghana have generally never been so receptive as now. Ghanaian and expatriate workers are needed for the reaping. Of the more than 35 peoples of the north, only one is even nominally Christian. In the remaining people groups, less than 2% are Christian of any variety. Churches have often been small, weak, and largely illiterate with many leaders having basic training only. (Continue reading…)

June 28, 2009

Sierra Leone, a Country Profile & Prayer Guide

sierra-leone

With a civil war that ended in 2002, Sierra Leone is rebuilding its infrastructure to attract the former tourists that came here from Europe to enjoy the unspoiled rainforests, refreshing waterfalls, and secluded white sand beaches. Currently, visitors pretty much have the sand and surf outside the capital pretty much to themselves. After a day in the sun, Freetown, the capital city, offers everything you need for an enjoyable evening out. While the visual reminders of the civil war are fading, the lingering effects are still evident. Many parts of the city have no rubbish collection and power still remains unreliable. While the surroundings of the city compensate for some of the chaos, you will soon realize that the effects of the tragic civil war are deep. Even though Freetown is filthy in places, you will find yourself loving the city.

Travel into the interior provinces remains adventurous at best. Roads are often in appalling shape and facilities are usually very basic. However, with the vibrant culture and welcoming people, the rewards are well worth the uncomfortable traveling conditions. Life is starting to return to normal and Sierra Leone is becoming one of West Africa’s safest destinations.

A few interesting facts about Sierra Leone:

  • The current population is estimated to be 6 million.
  • Freetown has a population of 1.175 million
  • 70% of the population is Muslim and 12% claim to be Christian
  • The country is rich in natural resources – diamonds, gold, titanium, iron ore, etc. In the late 80’s and early 1990’s, the country fell into a state of anarchy because of corruption and the gross mismanagement of these resources, causing the economy to collapse.
  • There are two distinct seasons in Sierra Leone. November to April is the dry season and the best holiday weather. May to October is the wet (rainy) season. There is also the “harmattan period” of during the months of December to February when very dry winds arrive from the Sahara.

Specific ways to pray for the country of Sierra Leone:

  • Sierra Leone is infamous for the barbaric maiming of innocent victims as an instrument for terror and control during the civil war. Thousands of men, women, and children had limbs cruelly amputated. Over 100,000 were slain. Countless numbers of girls and women were raped. Thousands of children were kidnapped, drugged, and forced to kill their own relatives. Nearly the entire population has had the experience of being a refugee. Pray that all the instigators who, for greed, unleashed such terror would be brought to justice and even to repentance and faith in Christ.
  • A battle rages between democracy and dementia. Pray for the continued restoration of government and that this government might be honest, accountable to the people, and establish a lasting peace. Pray that committed Christians will be a vital part of the new leadership. (Continue reading…)

June 16, 2009

Indigenous Churches, Orphan Outreach, and People Like You

Filed under: Orphan Care — admin @ 3:38 am

The following is a great example of an excellent model for ministering to orphans throughout the world. World Orphans is an organization that has put together a method of ministering to orphans that is all encompassing. Their goal is to involve the local community, indigenous churches, and people like you and me to engage in opportunities to care for and minister to orphans throughout the entire world.

Here’s what World Orphans says about its own ministry:

“WORLD ORPHANS is committed to rescuing millions of ORPHANED AND ABANDONED CHILDREN, the strengthening of thousands of INDIGENOUS CHURCHES, and the impacting of hundreds of COMMUNITIES with the Gospel of Jesus Christ…through the COST-EFFECTIVE empowerment of CHURCH-BASED orphan prevention, rescue, care and transition programs in the LEAST REACHED AREAS of the world.”


This chart outlines many of the processes that World Orphans uses to compassionately engage in effective ministry that not only changes the lives of the orphans, but impacts local communities and churches too.

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We hope that you will be able to use it and learn from it. It is also a great tool in order to be able to effectively pray for World Orphans and their ministry.

June 15, 2009

Prayer Requests for Purposeful Africa

Filed under: Prayer Requests,Video — admin @ 3:37 am

This is recent video of Rhonda Sand, founder of Purposeful Africa, sharing prayer requests. We hope that you will watch this and engage in prayer with us as we ask God to provide for our organization and the ability to put together our journey to West Africa in 2010.

June 8, 2009

Guinea, a Brief Country Profile & Prayer Guide

guinea

Guinea’s primary attraction to tourists is the yet to be disturbed countryside. The landscape varies from mountains to plains and from savannah to forest. At 94,919 square miles, Guinea is roughly the size of the United Kingdom, slightly smaller than the state of Oregon, and has 200 miles of coastline. The countries bordering Guinea include Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, and Sierra Leone. The country is divided into four main regions: the Basse-Cote lowlands in the west along the coast, populated mainly by the Susu ethnic group; the cooler, mountainous Fouta Djalon that run roughly north-south through the middle of the country, populated by Peuls, the Sahelian Haute-Guinea to the northeast, populated by Malinkes, and the forested jungle regions in the southeast, with several ethnic groups. Guinea’s mountains are the source for the Niger, the Gambia, and Senegal Rivers, as well as the numerous rivers flowing to the sea on the west side of the range in Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast.

The capital, Conakry, is located on the island of Tumbo and connected to the Kaloum Peninsula by a 984 foot long pier. The city is well laid out with its alleys shaded by mangrove and coconut palm trees. Guinea has a strong music tradition and Conakry, in particular, is a dynamic center for music. The singing of the Kindia people is especially renowned.

A few interesting facts about Guinea:

• The current population is estimated at 10,211,437.
• The highest point in Guinea is Mont Nimba at 5,748 feet high.
• Richly endowed with minerals, Guinea possesses over 25 billion metric tons of bauxite (up to one-half of the world’s reserves). In addition, Guinea’s mineral wealth includes more than 4 billion tons of high-grade iron ore, significant diamond and gold deposits, and large quantities of uranium. The country also has considerable growth potential in the agricultural and fishing sectors (this should be of particular interest to those who are interested in Business as Mission).
• The official language of Guinea is French. Other significant languages spoken are Pular (Fulfulde or Fulani), Maninka, Susu, Insula, Kissi, Kpelle, and Loma.
• Approximately 85 percent of the population is Muslim. 10 percent is Christian, and 5 percent holds traditional indigenous beliefs.

Specific ways to pray for the country of Guinea:

Praise God for complete religious freedom, a reaction to the Marxist-Muslim years of terror which has made Muslims more receptive to Christianity. The liberty is being progressively eroded though especially in major towns outside the forest region. (Continue reading…)

A Family of Six is Now Seven

Filed under: Orphan Care — admin @ 3:35 am

A couple of years ago, Jacob and Kelly Bonnema embarked on a trip to Ethiopia with Purposeful Africa to trace the whereabouts of the Ark of the Covenant along with Bob Cornuke of BASE Institute. The Bonnema’s have been blessed with four children of their own and little did they know that their time in Ethiopia would completely change their family and their lives forever. It was during this visit that this precious family of six became a family of seven. We praise God for the way He has moved in the Bonnema family. We are also thankful for the video they created to tell their story. We hope that you will enjoy watching this and pray that God will move in your heart to engage in some way to help in ministering among the growing orphan population throughout Africa.


June 2, 2009

Senegal, a Brief Country Profile & Prayer Guide

senegal

Senegal is located at Africa’s most western point between Guinea-Bissau and Mauritania, with another tiny country, The Gambia, almost entirely enclosed within it. Its name is said to have originated from the Wolof name for the dugout canoes used by fishermen. Today the brightly painted, specially designed pirogues are at the heart of one of Senegal’s main national sports, canoe racing, which takes place along various stretches of the coast. The dugouts are still used by fishermen who navigate the waters of the 250-mile long coastline in the age-old tradition that is the most common activity after farming.

Senegal’s modern capital city of Dakar is situated on the tip of the Cape Verde peninsula. It’s vibrant and full of local and international activity. Here you will find businessmen rubbing shoulders with tourists and traditionally dressed Senegalese amid the gleaming hotels, cafes, colorful open-air markets, and the medina (old quarter). Just two miles offshore lies Gorée, an island that was the most important slave depot in West Africa between the 16th and 19th centuries.

It’s possible to enjoy sunshine almost all year round on hundreds of miles of beautiful beaches, estuaries, mangrove swamps, savannah, and a semi-desert in the north. The Casamance region, a strip of land stretching from east to west across the country below The Gambia, boasts some of the most enjoyable beaches in West Africa. It is heavily visited by tourists due to its tropical splendor with lush forests, coconut palm groves, brilliant flame trees and bougainvillea, and warm waters brushing endlessly along the sandy beaches.

A few interesting facts about Senegal:
• The main industries include food processing, mining, cement, artificial fertilizer, chemicals, textiles, refining imported petroleum, and tourism. Exports include fish, chemicals, cotton, fabrics, groundnuts, and calcium phosphate, and the principal foreign market is India at 26.7 percent of exports (as of 1998). Other foreign markets include the US, Italy, and the UK.
• Over 11 million people call Senegal home. 70% live in rural areas while approximately 2.4 million people live in or near the capital of Dakar.
• The official language of Senegal is French, but nearly 44% of the population’s first language is Wolof.
• Senegal is a secular state with freedom of religion despite the large Muslim majority.

Specific ways to pray for the country of Senegal:

Praise God that Senegal allows freedom of religion. However, the task is great as 92% of the population adheres to Islam. It is the religion of almost all of the Wolof, Fulbe, and Mande peoples. Pray for new receptivity to the gospel message and the continued preservation of religious freedom. (Continue reading…)