Barnabas, Mission Partners of Castle Street, Missions

Barnabas Fund – March 15th – Update 2

Aid to Syrian Christians 3 days after disaster

Barnabas Fund, 15 February 2023 (excerpts)

Barnabas has delivered food, blankets and other aid to Christian survivors of the devastating Turkey-Syria earthquake.

The distribution of 1,500 food gift boxes containing rice, lentils, chickpeas, bulgar wheat, noodles, beans and salt to families in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo began on 9 February, just three days after the quake.  We also gave out several hundred pairs of new shoes.

The next consignment, containing 1,200 food parcels, 1,000 blankets, 250 health kits and 200 coats, is already being distributed in northern Syria to help Christians who lost everything when the 7.8 magnitude quake struck in the early hours of 6 February.

We are also about to distribute blankets and heaters to Christian survivors in Turkey.

“Thank you for being there,” said Angela, a Christian in Aleppo, in a video message to Barnabas supporters. Her family home was severely damaged by the earthquake.

“The Public Safety Committee has evacuated the whole building because many cracks had hit our building,” she explained.  “We are staying in a room in a hospital.”

“God bless you all,” she added.  “Please continue your prayers for our beloved Syrian brothers and sisters and those who lost their families and loved ones.”

Jacksons, Mission Partners of Castle Street, Missions

Jacksons – March 15th – Update 2 (excerpts)

Fraser is grappling to extract usable data from Mukhanyo Theological College’s current system to transfer it to a new library catalogue.  Pray for a workable way forward with their librarian, maybe having to persuade him to re-catalogue parts of their library from scratch!)

A man in Maximum with a very long sentence cares not if he’s released.  He met Jesus in prison and nothing matters as much as his being changed from the man he was outside and far more imprisoned than he is now.

A Medium A Bible study regular was transferred to a different prison several months ago and when he returned was not the same as when he left.  Pray for his physical, emotional and mental healing. 

Dawn recently led Bible studies at Drakenstein Maximum and Medium A on forgiveness.  The rightness of the subject was underlined when a man in Medium A said that the recent session reinforced what was said at their church service on Sunday.  The men have much that needs to be forgiven.  Several have experienced (and acted on) Holy Spirit-induced sleepless nights about those they need to apologise to, seeking to forgive others and understand why it is hard for victims to forgive them. 

Pray for conversation guided by the Holy Spirit at the upcoming Elders’ meeting of our Wellington church when possible sources of disruption will be discussed. 

Thank you for your prayers for Ruth’s health.  Pray she’ll continue to regain her strength and avoid new viruses.   

The government waiver for renewing our visas expires at the end of March.  Pray for either a positive answer or a further, but not last moment, extension.

Blythswood, Mission Partners of Castle Street, Missions

Blythswood – March 7th 2023 – Update

Daniel Centre

Balazs has been completing his 6-monthly report for Christian Aid on handling the winterisation money for the Ukraine.  He leaves for a week in Kenya on Friday 10th, having arranged to meet the Hungarian ambassador to Kenya in Nairobi to discuss the future of Hungarian aid to the Christian school there and its efforts to be accredited.

Julien and Cipri are doing well in their apartment, Damian continues with his rental delivery scooter.   Two of the lads have been sent out of the Daniel Centre because of drug abuse and a third is on a warning.  7 places are currently filled, with one vacancy, and 6 of the 7 lads in residence have work.  The 7th, recently sacked by his supermarket, is actively pursuing other work. 

Work at the depot continues and only the tarring of the yard remains to complete.

The Daniel Centre team – Danny, Louisa and Agnes – are all doing well.

Talita Kum

Adi had a very successful day trip to Hungary with a group of children and the elderly, and another very successful skiing trip for 18 children in early March.

As I spoke to Balazs, Adi was on his way to meet the owners of the land adjacent to Talita Kum to see if it could be purchased by Blythswood for use as a sports area for the Talita Kum children.

Barnabas, Mission Partners of Castle Street, Missions

Barnabas Fund – March 1st – Update 1

Updates on the persecuted Church

Barnabas Fund, 22 February 2023 (excerpts)

  • Fifteen Christian families have been expelled from their home village in rural north-western Laos. The families were driven out after their conversion to Christianity and have been left with no place to stay.  The authorities have sought to negotiate with the village in order to allow the families to return to their homes, but so far with no success.  Pray for a resolution that will allow local and regional authorities to enforce a national law protecting the rights of Christians.

 The military authorities in Chin State, Myanmar, announced on 13 February that Christians in seven of the state’s nine townships must register their names seven days before attending church. It is not known if believers would face punishment for attending church without giving their names in advance.  Pray that this new requirement will not become a tool of further persecution.

  • Three worshippers were abducted by an armed gang after attending church in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Sunday 12 February just days after Antoine Noah, a church minister from Cameroon, was abducted. Pray for our brothers and sisters, asking that they will be kept safe from further harm and swiftly released.

Six Egyptian Christians were released on 17 February after being abducted and illegally detained in neighbouring Libya earlier in the month.  The six men were held at an unofficial detention centre, not controlled by the Libyan authorities.  Give thanks that the six have been able to return home in safety.

Jacksons, Mission Partners of Castle Street, Missions

Jacksons – March 1st – Update 1 (excerpts)

Fraser is continuing to make progress with the Mukhanyo college library catalogue.  Pray that his work will help in their training of Christian leaders.  

The NetACT journal might see its day-to-day running moved to a different organisation – less work for NetACT but also less control of the direction of the journal. 

In Drakenstein Medium B, 5 inmates attacked 4 warders with homemade knives.  Other warders retaliating with dogs and batons left a man dead.  Pray for all concerned to experience the change that only God can bring.

Dawn hears that the new head of Drakenstein Correctional Services is hostile towards the Restorative Justice process, pursuing her grudges spitefully and divisively.  May she be surprised by God’s power and overwhelmed by His love. 

Ruth in Glasgow has been confined to bed again and has had to miss a lot of days at work and college.  

Give thanks for an uplifting guitar group in Maximum.  I only take in Christian songs to play and it feels as if I’m singing light into the darkness.  Generous supporters have provided funds for more instruments.

Pray that Hope Prison Ministry leaders will have wisdom and a Christlike attitude.

We see clear signs of God at work in our church, but also some de-stabilising influences.

Blythswood, Mission Partners of Castle Street, Missions

Blythswood – February 15th 2023 Update

Daniel Centre

The Chief Executive Officers of Christian Aid and the UK Disaster Emergency Committee visited Odessa in the Eastern Ukraine at the beginning of February and were very positive in commending Blythswood’s role in administering the funds they had collected.  The Disaster Emergency Fund had had their best ever fund-raising campaign of over £400 million for the Ukraine but now have to move on to other disaster areas.

Balazs hopes to visit Kenya in mid-March where Blythswood sponsors a primary school.  The Kenyan government, however, have now moved towards the American system and given small schools for the poor almost impossible conditions to meet in order to be accredited.  This means that grades 7 and 8 pupils will have to move to public schools in order to continue their education.

Talita Kum

Adi (who runs the Talita Kum project for mainly Roma or gypsy children to give them a meal, games and help with their homework after school) is taking a group of the children and also elderly people for a day trip to Hungary and about 20 children on a skiing trip in early March.

Barnabas, Mission Partners of Castle Street, Missions

Barnabas Fund – February 15 – Update

Updates on the persecuted Church

Barnabas Fund, 15 February 2023 (excerpts)

  • Islamic State Mozambique announced the killing of 5 Christians in Cabo Delgado Province on 4 February.  The Islamists said that “the soldiers of the Caliphate … captured and slaughtered 5 Christians, praise be to God”. Pray for all those at risk of such violence in northern Mozambique, especially our brothers and sisters.
  • The Mexican Senate of the Republic (the upper house of Mexico’s parliament) has backed recognition of the Armenian Genocide in a vote held on 8 February.  France already recognises the Armenian Genocide. Between 1893 and 1923, 3.75 million Armenian, Assyrian, Greek and Syriac Christians perished in the Ottoman Empire in a policy of extermination of Christian minorities.  Give thanks for increased awareness of these events.
  • Sunita Munawar, 19, a young Pakistani Christian woman, is in hospital after a Muslim man, Kamran Allah Bux, threw acid on her while she was getting off a bus in Karachi on 1 February.  Bux admitted his crime, saying that he threw acid at Sunitra for rejecting his proposal that she convert to Islam and marry him.  Sunita’s family had earlier complained to police about Bux’s unwanted advances but had been ignored.  Pray that justice will be administered to act as a deterrent against harassment of Christian girls and women in Pakistan.
Jacksons, Mission Partners of Castle Street, Missions

Jacksons – February 15th 2023 – Update

Ashley is a former drug dealer and gangster who used to be a great recruiter for evil but is now a recruiter for Christ.  He works with Dawn in the prison ministry and also reaches out to those who live in his neighbourhood who still are chained to drugs and crime.  He makes a sustained impact on those to whom others would have difficulty getting through.  Please pray for his renewed relationship with his daughter and for his physical needs as he has no income apart from a small government allowance.  Pray that he would trust in God to supply what he needs and keep him speaking the truth to the lost and ex-inmates.

The postponing of Restorative Justice dates has already started.  Please pray that we will manage to run some RJs in the Boland area this year.

Fraser is setting up an action plan to assist Mukhanyo Theological College in South Africa to organise a new library catalogue.   The college is not part of NetACT but has multiple campuses and local learning centres across South Africa.  Anything that leads to better theological education helps increase understanding of the gospel in individuals and congregations.

Fraser has been working on some changes to the NetACT portal, to make things run more efficiently.  The changes should make it easier to keep the information in the portal current.  Pray that this would lead to more colleges throughout Africa using it in 2023.

Blythswood, Mission Partners of Castle Street, Missions

Blythswood – January 11th 2023 Update

Daniel Centre

Balazs and the Chief Executive Officers of Christian Aid and the UK Disaster Emergency Committee will visit the relief efforts in Odessa in the Eastern Ukraine for one night – visiting from Chisinau in Moldova with increased insurance because of the war.

Julien and Cipri’s departure has been further delayed until January 29th by plumbing problems in the apartment.  Damian’s rental delivery scooter and the bigger one requires a driving licence which he doesn’t have, so he is currently driving illegally. 

Two of the residents have had to leave because of drug use, including Danny who had been doing well at his studies but had put them on hold to earn money in a delivery service.

Government funding has increased fourfold for the Daniel Centre for 2023 and they expect to have 7 lads resident, including Robi who has asked to return.

Balazs has tentative plans in his new role to visit Kenya, Serbia, Burundi and possibly Mumbai with Blythswood Chief Executive James Campbell who is due to retire this year.

Talita Kum

Government funding has been doubled for Talita Kum for 2023 which should help with heating costs.  There have been no new developments on purchasing a portion of the empty ground behind TK2 for a sports field for the children.

Barnabas, Mission Partners of Castle Street, Missions

Barnabas Fund – No updates so far for January

Iraqi Christians were victims of IS war crimes

Barnabas Fund, 8 December 2022 (excerpts)

Iraqi Christians were victims of war crimes committed by Islamic State after the jihadists seized around a third of the country in 2014, investigators reported on 1 December.

The United Nations team said evidence collected in Iraq supports preliminary findings that Islamic State seized Christian-owned properties, looted and destroyed churches and subjected believers to sexual violence, forced conversions and enslavement.

The team has identified leading IS members who seized control in August 2014 of three predominantly Christian towns in the Nineveh plains.

Islamic State was officially declared defeated in Iraq in 2017 following a three-year reign of terror.

An estimated 75% of Iraq’s Christians (around 1.5 million in 1990) have left the country in the last 30 years because of anti-Christian hostility and violence.