January Praise & Prayer

Praise: The churches of India are showing phenomenal growth, according to a mission leader from India. P. G. Vargis, founder and leader of Indian Evangelical Team (IET), told Christian Aid in November that India has 10 churches with 10,000 or more members and 30 churches with 3,000 or more members. As an example of the readiness of India’s people to accept Christ, he mentioned that Ezra Sargunam, bishop of the Evangelical Church of India (OMS), baptized 2231 people on a single day in 1999. An average of one church is planted every day through IET missionaries. When Christian Aid started assisting his work back in 1977, he had only about 60 workers. IET, which Vargis began shortly after he came to the Lord in 1971, today has 2088 missionaries and a total of 3250 churches.

Mission Insider

Praise: A pastor is leading an effort to reduce the killings in Oakland, Calif. Bob Jackson is the leader of Black Men First, a group of 200 African-American professionals who have started walking the streets, trying to connect with some of the local drug dealers. “I blame a lack of education and family structure,” Jackson told the Los Angles Times. “There are no men at home or in the city schools. These youths have no role models but rap video stars and drug dealers.” Will G. Blass Jr., a business consultant and former church sports coach, has joined the project. “We’ve got no choice but to go in and fight for these kids,” he said. “If you feel it from your heart and are honest in your approach, the kids will feel it, too.” Jackson has founded the Men of Valor Academy where 50 young men are housed and fed while they finish their education. “These boys have never been mentored or taught by anybody,” he said. “Most come from single-parent homes where their mothers talk about how they’re growing up to be just like their no-good fathers…they’re programmed to be bad.”

Religion Today via

HCJB World Radio

Praise: A new missions partnership could accelerate by 100 years the

translation of the Bible for the estimated 1 billion people who still do not have God’s Word in their own language. Under the partnership between the Southern Baptist International Mission Board (IMB) and Wycliffe International, the IMB will appoint missionaries to fill needs for translators, share more information about church planting and translation projects and coordinate strategies for taking the gospel to unreached people groups. About 3,000 language groups have no access to the good news of God’s love. At the current pace, translations for all of them could not be completed until 2150. With more manpower available for translations, the two agencies hope to meet Wycliffe’s goal of giving every language community some access to God’s Word by 2050.

Baptist Press

Praise: At a time of deepening poverty and despair, many in Haiti are turning with renewed fervor to Voodoo. Men for Missions’ Wayne King, however, is determined to fight the occult’s influence with the gospel. “We’re doing that through solar-powered radios that are fix-tuned to Christian radio station 4VEH. Our goal is to distribute 250,000 solar-powered radios to the people of a country where 70% of the people are illiterate. If they are going to hear the good news, it will have to be through the spoken word.”

Mission Network News via

HCJB World Radio

Pray: Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) confirmed in late October that the 14 students from Nasser University in Tripoli, Libya, who were arrested on Aug. 21 for converting to Christianity have been sentenced to death. This contradicts earlier unconfirmed reports that they had been executed. “Pray for efforts to pressure Libyan authorities to reconsider,” urged VOM. “Pray that God would minister to these students who were given the choice to reject Christ or face death, and have chosen Christ.” Even if the students are released, there is concern that they could be killed by their families for leaving Islam.

Voice of the Martyrs via MissionNet