Praise and Prayer

Pray: For Beleaguered Church in Gaza—In the wake of the Israeli pull-out from the Gaza Strip, the Gaza Baptist Church—the only evangelical church in Gaza—is hurting. Now that the Jews are gone—including Messianic Jews—Christians fear a "turf war" between Hamas and the PLO. In addition, the church is threatened by Muslim fundamentalists. Prayers are asked for the safety of Arab Christians, and especially for Pastor Hanna Massad and his family; for the ministries that Open Doors supports, including the Gaza Baptist Church, the Bible bookstore in Gaza, as well as the only public library, where Christian literature is readily available; and for the ongoing outreach to Palestinians living in refugee camps.

Letter from Carl Moeller on behalf of Open Doors.

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Praise: Ex-Online Porn Developer Now Ministers Via Her Christian Web Site—A former developer of a pornographic Web site now ministers through the Internet to people who have been hurt through broken relationships. In 1995, Michele Washam lived in Delaware and designed what may have been one of the first "ladies only" adult pornographic Websites, Just4Ladies.com, Baptist Press reported. The former porn site is now a Christian Web site. Washam once had about 7,000–7,500 paid members on her pornographic Web site. About 1,200 of those have since signed onto her free Christian site, which has grown from 12 members to about 57,000. "Little by little I introduce them to God and gently guide them through the gospel."

Charisma News Service via Religion Today Summaries

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Praise: Once-Tortured Believer Now an Advocate for Christians in Crisis'—A Filipino pastor and evangelist who was tortured and scheduled for public hanging in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, now leads an organization that supports persecuted Christians worldwide. Wally Magdangal had just two days left to live when he was spared a Christmas Day, 1992, execution because of the intervention of international human-rights groups, the U.S. Congress, and the White House. His crime, according to the Saudi Arabian muttawa'in, or Islamic religious police, was blasphemy. It was a trumped-up charge based on his agreement with a Christian magazine article that predicted the ultimate fall of Islam, he said. He noted that the real reason he was imprisoned was because the underground church he'd led for 10 years in a sprawling Riyadh villa had become one of the largest in Saudi Arabia, with between 300 and 700 people attending each service. Magdangal was imprisoned and tortured for several months.

Charisma News Service via Religion Today Summaries

Praise: Exodus International Celebrating 30 Years of Freedom'—The "ex-gay" ministry's membership director says the continued growth is a testament to the power of Christ, and friends and family, to help those struggling to change. Randy Thomas says the people at the Exodus Freedom Conference held recently were equipped with the tools to overcome homosexuality—whether for themselves, a family member, loved one, or friend. "They come here with a lot of questions—and we have answers that [we hope] they will see bring liberation not only to their sexuality but to their souls," notes Thomas. Thomas says the difference in the method is the biblical answer for freedom from any sin: the power of Jesus Christ. He says Jesus has made that power available through Exodus International for 30 years, since the group was formed following a first such multi-ministry conference in 1975. The Freedom Conference addressed a modern topic of strong need with a Youth Day, providing an emphasis on the many pro-homosexual messages now directed at young people, and equipping them also with ways to overcome. The conference also addressed issues surrounding biblical sexuality and sexual addictions.

Agape Press via Religion Today Summaries

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