In lieu of this week's normal Project Story, we are excited to share with you a new video!
Two IDES staff members were recently blessed to spend time with several mission partners in India. This video shares the story of how YOUR generosity is transforming lives in Jesus' name. Thank you so much for taking the time to watch - please continue to pray for those who are suffering, and for those who are serving!
According to Pioneer Bible Translators, "160 million people in nearly 1,800 languages are Bibleless." In other words, 2.3% of human beings in the world do not have access to God's Word in their own "heart-language."
This huge number does not include those also without access to biblical commentaries and educational resources. If it did include them, the number would be astronomically higher. This is humbling when considering that most of us have unlimited access to free bibles, commentaries and educational resources in our pockets on mobile devices.
He is a 35-year-old man who lives in a poorer village in Myanmar that IDES serves in regularly. Myo is married and has three children. For the majority of his adult life, he has struggled with an addiction to alcohol and tobacco.
Myo's addictions were taking a serious toll on his marriage and his health, and he and his wife were contemplating separation. But, this was not the end of his story.
Acts 4:12 says, “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” This is a powerful, definitive statement about Jesus. It doesn’t allow much wiggle room. IDES works with partners who are presenting this to people, many of whom mistakenly think they are saved by some other name- Mohammed, Buddha, Krishna or any other name. And they believe this fervently. They are as strong in their beliefs as you or I are in ours.
Several years ago, over 600,000 people fled rural Afghanistan due to civil war and the soviet occupation of the country and settled in Pakistan.
In recent months, the political relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan has been deteriorating. As violence caused by the Taliban continues to impact the most vulnerable communities, the shifting accusations of blame for the existence of the terrorist group only worsens the situation.
On Easter weekend in Lahore, Pakistan, a suicide bomb worn by a local Taliban-affiliated man went off in the middle of a crowd of Christian brothers and sisters who were celebrating together in a park.
Over 75 people were killed. More than 300 men, women, and children sustained injuries, many of which now require ongoing treatment and maintenance. The majority of Christian families in Pakistan, which make up only 2% of the country's population, are extremely poor. Although the country has improved its poverty rates tremendously in the last decade, there are still thousands of families who are very poor, Christian, Muslim, and otherwise. These families, especially those affected by the attack, cannot afford long-term medical care.
Here's where you enter the story.
In the most impoverished and/or rural areas of developing countries, the local church (if there is one) is often relied upon by the surrounding community to fulfill many different roles.
Of course, the church building (or shaded tree, or secluded hut) is the main place of worship and teaching. But in some villages, the church is also the primary meeting place for general public gatherings. In others, the church is the first source of basic assistance when food or water is scarce. In rural India, the church often functions as the doctor's office by providing basic medical care and first aid for free to poor families who have no access to modern healthcare systems.
The most beautiful aspect of a local church's multifaceted role in its respective community is this: every act of service or provision is another opportunity to share the love and knowledge of Jesus Christ.
"He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
'Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!'"
- Psalm 46:9-10
South Sudan is the world's newest nation.
It was officially established as a country in 2011 independent of Sudan after decades of civil war. Ever since gaining independence, it has been suffering through vicious and violent inner turmoil. Some say the conflict is caused by fighting over abundant oil fields. Some say it is caused by competition over livestock. Most say that it is caused by political power struggle paired with deep-rooted ethnic differences.
No matter the cause, the current violence and often-failed peace treaties have forced more than a million people in the region to flee their home villages in search of safety. Unfortunately for these internally displaced families, the warring army factions have also closed off the borders with neighboring countries to which the families may flee. This makes transporting of any international aid supplies into South Sudan extremely difficult, and it makes fleeing the country from inside nearly impossible.
"While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him." - Luke 5:12-13
Contrary to popular belief, leprosy still exists.
According to the World Health Organization, leprosy is "a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae, an acid-fast, rod-shaped bacillus. The disease mainly affects the skin, the peripheral nerves, mucosa of the upper respiratory tract, and the eyes."
"He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt." - Deuteronomy 10:18-19
There are some long-term crises in the world that go unreported by the news in the U.S.
There are families suffering from myriad natural and man-made causes who are largely ignored by the media. Here at IDES, we want their story to be told. It is ultimately our mission to meet their physical needs and open the door to meet their spiritual needs with the love of Jesus Christ.
One of the most under-reported situations in the world right now is the Myanmar Refugee Crisis. Thousands of families are currently living in extremely impoverished conditions with little access to food and clean water due to being forced out of their homes by warring Army and rebel groups. The violence has continued in the country for several decades now.