Praise and Prayer

Praise: Ministry Rescues Forgotten' Children—An attorney is championing orphaned special-needs children in the Dominican Republic through the ministry of Project Child. In February, 2000, Frank Valladares and his wife, Lourdes, were on their honeymoon in Santo Domingo, where Valladares hoped to spend time scuba diving and enjoying the sights. Lourdes wanted to visit a local orphanage for special-needs children where she had traveled a year earlier. "The first time I walked into the orphanage, I thought I had walked into hell itself," Valladares told New Man magazine. The couple left Santo Domingo knowing that they had to respond to this travesty. The first step was the creation of Project Child (www.projectchild.org). With consent from the facility that they had visited, Valladares and Lourdes hired additional caregivers and a doctor to look after the children's medical concerns. In the last five years, Project Child has expanded to include 16 full-time caregivers. The organization is building its own facility known as Casa de Luz (House of Light) where phase one will accommodate 64-96 children.. "I never thought five years ago that I would be doing this," Valladares said. "But God showed me that I can make a difference. All of us can make a difference."

Charisma News Service
via Religion Today Summaries

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Praise/Pray: Christianity Spreading in Burmese Lahu Tribe Despite Poverty and Isolation—Though Southeast Asia's Lahu tribe has responded strongly to the Christian message, poverty and isolation make it difficult for Lahu believers to obtain missionary and discipleship training. Such training is one of the greatest needs of the tribe, according to Christian Aid's Lahu contacts. Isolated in China's southern mountains, the need for training is especially strong among Lahu believers there. Hundreds from Burma have been trained. Though the Burmese government's crackdown on ethnic minorities has driven thousands of Lahu across the border into Thailand, many remain. Most still live as they have for hundreds of years, in thatched homes on stilts. Though the Christian faith has spread among the tribe through the work of native missionaries, a majority still holds to ancient animistic beliefs.

Christian Aid Mission
via Religion Today Summaries

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Praise: Israelis Donate Sea of Galilee Land to Christian Leaders—In a move to foster tourism, the Israeli government recently donated 35 acres of land near the Sea of Galilee to a small group of Christian leaders invited to attend a series of meetings with the Ministry of Tourism. Describing the land as "priceless," National Association of Evangelicals President Ted Haggard told Charisma magazine that the offer was unexpected. Haggard added that the group isn't sure how it will respond, though the members discussed building a conference center and resort on the site. Haggard said the land is within eyesight of where most of Jesus' ministry occurred, including the spot where Jesus is believed to have delivered His Sermon on the Mount. He said the offer could present "an opportunity for what has happened in evangelicalism to be memorialized in Israel." It could also boost Israel's economy because tourism is the nation's leading income producer and Christians have continued to visit the area despite long-running and violent land disputes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The land offer is contingent upon the government approving of the delegation's use of the property. No timetable has been set for them to respond to the offer.

Charisma News Service
via Religion Today Summaries

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Pray: Chinese Pastor Tried for Printing 200,000 Bibles—The leader of an underground Chinese church appeared before a Beijing court July 8, accused of illegally printing more than 200,000 Bibles. Pastor Cai Zhuohua, along with his wife and two other church members, were charged with "illegal business practices," his lawyers said. The Protestant pastor already has been in detention for 10 months. Although Bibles are not illegal in China, only one firm is permitted by the state to print them. Cai's lawyer, Gao Zhisheng, said he is pessimistic about the verdict for his client and two other detainees. "It is impossible for them to be found innocent, but I have confidence to strive for lighter sentences," Gao told the French news agency AFP. "The books in no way were going to enter the market," he said. "They were to be given away free of charge to the church members. The court should not be used to oppress religion and religious freedoms, but the authorities are always using economics as a pretext to deal with religious and political issues."

WorldWide Religious News/BBC
via MissionNet

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