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Idols and Virus v. Gospel in Brazil

A half a century ago, a man who declared himself the son of God told Brazilian villagers that only those who believed in the large cross he was carrying would be rescued from an imminent, fiery apocalypse.

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Light Shines in Brazil’s Deep, Dark Jungles

The village chief and other key community leaders near a town on Brazil’s Amazon River told a native missionary to leave.

By the time other native missionaries visited the village months later, the leader of a ministry based in Brazil said, nearly every inhabitant was addicted to alcohol.

“The community was taken over by the power of darkness; the spirit of suicide took over the young and old,” he said.

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October 14, 2022
A university student in Turkey often saw the cross on a native ministry’s church building while walking with her boyfriend, and a few months ago – though she was from a strict Muslim family – she suggested they check it out. Her boyfriend of three years, Ahmet Korkmaz*, saw no point in doing so. “There’s nothing in this church,” he told his girlfriend, Beyza Yavuz*.
October 13, 2022
For 10 years a veteran of the Iraq-Iran war wondered how he could respond to Christ for having freed him from needing a wheelchair. Years after losing use of his legs, Mustafa Abbas* was watching a Christian progam on a satellite channel in 2011 when he followed the speaker’s encouragement to pray in Christ’s name for healing, he told ministry workers in his native Iraq. “I repeated those prayer words with all my heart and asked Christ to heal me, and I was healed,” he told the workers last year. “Christ healed me, and I am grateful to Him, and I know you are His followers – tell me how to return this favor to Him.”
October 10, 2022
The headman of a village in Laos summoned a local missionary to his office. “I heard that you are speaking to people in the village, and you are talking about Jesus, and now people told me that some of them are interested,” the headman told him. The local missionary, pastor of a house church, showed the headman a government booklet stating that Christianity was one of the officially accepted faiths in the country.
October 6, 2022
A Kurdish family recently fled from an oppressive government in Iran. After walking 37 nights in the mountains of Greece, the mother’s feet had swollen so much that they no longer in fit her shoes. She also had a skin infection, as did one of her children. “They had been walking at night and sleeping during the day, hiding in the mountains,” the leader of a ministry in Greece said. “They were told that if they got arrested, they would be pushed back into Turkey.”
January 27, 2022
Since a military coup plunged Burma (Myanmar) into chaos one year ago, the gospel has advanced even as violence and COVID-19 paralyzed the country. “COVID-19 killed 413 Christian ministers within four months, some of them close friends and relatives,” the leader said. “Among our missionaries, four caught COVID-19 and almost died, but they have been restored and have worked hard in soul-winning outreach.” One of the native missionaries nearly died in July, and since then he and his wife have planted a church, the leader said.
January 20, 2022
Leading Muslims to faith in Christ in Syria brings the discipleship challenge of helping them to withstand persecution, among other issues. Recently local missionaries stood with a woman whose husband and son were killed for refusing to deny Christ. “That is a hard thing,” the ministry leader said. “She says, ‘Every time I close my eyes, I see my husband and my son in front of me, how they killed them.’”
January 13, 2022
At a small nightclub in rural Peru, the blaring music was drowning out the message a local missionary was giving nearby at a three-day gospel event. Villagers asked the nightclub owner to turn the music off, and he grudgingly consented. He was further annoyed when the preacher and other Christians visited him the next day and invited him to attend that night’s evangelistic event.
January 6, 2022
A single mother in North Africa phoned native missionaries, telling them the pandemic had left her without stable income – one of hundreds of such calls of desperation that local ministries receive. “But her voice, mixed with tears and moans, said this was not her biggest problem,” the leader of the native ministry said. The leader learned the woman’s husband had abandoned her eight years ago, leaving her so destitute that four years ago she had sold one of her kidneys to pay basic living expenses.
December 30, 2021
Hala feared a dream about her feet bleeding meant she was going to fall ill. After several months as a refugee in a Middle Eastern country, the young woman from Syria had been learning about Christianity from a native missionary, and she called him after waking from the frightening dream. “When I woke up, I was afraid,” she said. “Was something bad going to happen to me?”
December 23, 2021
Arafa had been in charge of teaching Islam to women in an African country when a native missionary led the recently widowed woman to receive Christ. Her Muslim in-laws not only beat her but began a campaign in the courts to deprive her and her family of their legal property rights, the leader of a native ministry said. The relatives were especially furious as her conversion led to her nine children and four grandchildren becoming Christians.
December 16, 2021
“Because she was so desperate, she wanted to commit suicide by drinking insecticide,” a ministry leader said of a schoolteacher in Vietnam. She had a handsome young husband, was raising two young children and was in so much pain that she wanted to kill herself. “When holding the bottle of insecticide intending to drink it,” the leader said, “her two children were holding her and hugging her and crying.”
December 9, 2021
The pastor of a native ministry’s church in Kenya was returning home from a visit with troubled villagers in the dark of night when four young men stopped him. He was known as the one people went to when they had any problem, but the four robbers who stopped him saw him only as a lone target in the dark. “Four young men ambushed him and wanted to rob him, but after one recognized him, he stopped the other three,” the director said.