A builder has been found for the new storage centre and the parking lot and the work was due to begin on Monday 15th June.
The training sessions for 13 successful candidates for the Kenya project are now complete and the party is ready to set off from Budapest with the blessing of the Hungarian government on June 28th for a month.
There is no update on and therefore little hope for EU funding for the running of TK3 and TK4 projects within the existing TK2 building. Adi still hopes to get a kindergarten up and running. With school exam time now upon them, things are currently much quieter in TK1 and TK2.
Persecuted Christians and Croatian scholarships
Barnabas Fund, 14 June 2021 (excerpts)
Croatia has been inundated with 5500 applications for scholarships set aside for young, persecuted Christians from developing countries in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
The government has earmarked about £172,000 to enable young persons persecuted for their Christian faith to pursue undergraduate and graduate university studies in Croatia.
The aim is that they will acquire knowledge and then return to their own countries better equipped to contribute to shaping their communities along democratic and tolerant lines.
The initiative was the result of an amendment to the state budget submitted by independent MP Marijana Petir that was accepted in November 2020.
The proposal was opposed by some NGOs, who claimed that humanitarian aid should not be given on a discriminatory basis.
In response to this criticism of help being allocated exclusively to Christian students, Petir responded that “unfortunately, they are the most persecuted religious group in the world”.
In places where impoverished Christians are too poor to access tertiary education, many are offered scholarships by Islamic sources to study for free in Muslim-majority countries or at Islamic institutions; this results in many conversions to Islam.
In Maximum this morning Howard stood before the class to express his thanks for the application study Bible he’d been given. He was in tears as he explained that four years of reading an unannotated Bible hadn’t brought him to the depth of understanding that a couple of weeks of using his study Bible had. An (ex) gangster does not shed tears in public easily. From a donation to use for “the spiritual encouragement” of the prisoners, Dawn has been able to buy more study Bibles. It’s not a good idea to splash cash around so pray for local Christian intermediaries who will identify specific needs that can be supplied.
In Medium, Theswin (another ex gangster) talked about his pregnant 16 year old daughter. She has no job and they are worried about how they will be able to buy things the baby needs. Theswin said he could easily call his old drug-dealer buddies and they would provide everything but he won’t because Jesus has changed his life.
Pray for Hersel, a committed follower of Jesus while in the juvenile section. He left the prison gang but, when moved to the adult section and asked by gang members, “Who were you?” he was afraid and has ended up returning to the gang.
Fraser has been contacted by Mukhanyo Theological College in South Africa to ask him to help them install a new library system. Give thanks for this new contact.
Tesfay Hadera, the principal of a Theological College in Ethiopia had attended the NetAct workshops in Stellenbosch and was then incarcerated by the Ethiopian government in troubled Tigray. He has just been released. Please keep him in your prayers.
Cipri’s health is not good, compounded by high blood pressure, but also by a good measure of drama. Ioan has lost his job, comes home drunk and aggressive and is likely to have his probation ended next month.
The demolition work on the depot has now been completed and all the rubble has been removed. The building of the new storage centre and the parking lot can be started.
The Blythswood property at the airport has been sold and they are waiting for the third and final tranche of the payment.
The 13 successful candidates for the Kenya project have an online training session this coming weekend and an in-person training in Hungary the following weekend. They now are challenged to raise €500 each in addition to the Hungarian government’s funding of their travel and living expenses in Kenya.
Though EU funding was not approved for a separate TK3 and TK4 building, it is hoped there will be funding for the running of these projects within the existing TK2 building. The issue now is whether a kindergarten in that same building can access sufficient funds to run for the first three years before it becomes eligible for local government funding.
Christian villagers terrorised in Pakistan
Barnabas Fund, 20 May 2021
At least 8 Christians were left with fractured bones after the small Christian community of a village in the Punjab, Pakistan, was terrorised by a Muslim mob of around 200 people.
The incident has now been reported to the police and a case has been registered against 66 people who are accused. Church leaders and elders from the Muslim community have worked together to restore peace to the area.
The incident began on 14 May when a Muslim man, named Khalil, accused Mangta and two other Christians cleaning the entrance of the village church of throwing dust at him.
After this altercation Khalil and five other men returned to attack the Christian men with weapons, leaving all three with injuries.
The following day (15 May) the 200-strong mob launched an attack on Christian homes.
“They were armed with glass bottles, stones, axes, batons and bricks,” said Mangta. “Others used stairs to climb to our roofs and started breaking our furniture. We pleaded to spare the women but the attack continued for half an hour.”
A woman who was among the victims reported, “They broke the locks, grabbed our hair and pulled us out one by one. Young girls were assaulted and left with torn clothes.”
Local church minister, Khalid Mukhtar, said, “The weakness on the part of the administration encourages such attacks on religious minorities. The culprits are usually let off scot-free. Religion is used to settle personal scores.”
NetAct want to translate their recently published book on African Public Theology into Portuguese and French. Please pray for funding. Fraser had a good meeting this afternoon with the editor of the NetACT journal. Pray that he would be more ready to include Fraser in the editorial process. Pray that NetACT partner colleges would realise the benefits NetAct offers and would use them.
Pray for wisdom as NetAct want to start a conversation about Chinese neo-colonialism in Africa and beyond without being accused of political motives or inciting threats against partner colleges across Africa.
Dawn’s self-discipline in not launching back into activity too soon after her illness seems to be paying dividends.
Edwin, a regular at Bible study in Drakenstein will be released on parole shortly. He sees his time in prison as God’s answer to his prayer, regretting the relationships affected and broken by his behaviour and incarceration. His priority is now to be a good father and grandfather in a way that honours God.
The ex-gang leader Theswin’s 16 year old daughter Luzaandrie is 8-9 months pregnant. Pray that she and the baby will escape the cycle of depravity and addiction to find new life and hope in Christ and that Theswin will have wisdom and patience in his relationship with her.
South Africa has increased lockdown levels this week in fear of a third wave of Covid.
Cipri may now need a pacemaker for his heart. Ioan has found work pushing trolleys at a local supermarket.
The Centre has an ongoing task of monitoring and assessing their performance with the young residents and most of the load falls on their resident social worker Danny. It is unlikely that the other social worker Zencu, currently on maternity leave will return to work any time soon.
The demolition work on the depot has run into a major problem in getting asbestos removed.
A lot of Balazs’ time 15 is currently taken up by answering questions from the successful candidates for the Kenya project. They trust that the Hungarian government will provide funding for the Kenyans graduating from the high school they support to proceed to university.
Schools have re-opened in Jimboliya so Talita Kum can return to its original afternoon programme. Adi is currently working on a project to start kindergarten work in the extra space available in the TK2 building.
Terrorists kill four Christian farmers in Indonesia
Barnabas Fund, 17 May 2021
Islamist terrorists from the East Indonesia Mujahideen have killed four Christian farmers in Central Sulawesi province where they were working in a coffee plantation on 11 May and were attacked by five men wielding swords.
According to a police spokesman for Central Sulawesi, the attack was reported by a fifth farmer who escaped. Farmers from the village had informed police that wounds to their necks were noticed on two of the victims. There were unconfirmed reports that one had been beheaded.
The farmers recognised one of the perpetrators as being a member of East Indonesia Mujahideen. University of Indonesia intelligence analyst Stanislaus Riyanta said that East Indonesia Mujahideen comprises ten members. The Mujahideen leader Ali Kalora, who has affirmed allegiance to Islamic State, is being hunted by police.
“They are increasingly pressed because they are hunted by the task force team, police and military personnel, so they killed the local people,” Riyanta explained.
The group is thought to have been set up in 2012. East Indonesia Mujahideen’s operations are confined largely to Central Sulawesi province.
Home to the world’s largest Muslim population, Indonesia has seen a rise in hard-line Islamic ideology in recent years.
Fraser is now in his new office but can’t work late as he usual (until 6pm) as the building’s alarm is faulty. The NetACT AGM was successful but he would love partner colleges to make more use of NetAct support.
Dawn finally got her new visa, granted until the expiry of her current passport in September 2022.
Zebulun Church wants to start “investing in the youth” by offering music lessons on Saturdays. Pray that youngsters will be led to God as well as music-making.
Edwin and Marius should be released soon, aware of how they intend to behave outside prison and how their desire to serve and live lives pleasing to God, will be greatly tested by the temptations and stresses of life outside. Pray that the men will learn from our current lessons on anger and take to heart and practise how to deal with it.
James leaves Glasgow this week having finished his degree in English literature. Dawn’s parents are helping him move and providing a bed until his Masters course begins. Ruth is continuing her degree course in Glasgow.
André and Gaby are working well, Cipri is still having his ups-and-downs. New resident Damian is working now and in good form, having acquired a puppy for himself – a mixed blessing for the other residents.
All of the residents have had their first vaccination, and most of them their second. Alex the ex-night-watchman is settling to his new administration responsibility.
The demolition work on the depot has been frustrated by the fact that no landfill sites in the area meet EU specifications and the rubble cannot be removed for the time being.
The Hungarian government’s Volunteer League have now selected the 15 final candidates for 2 training sessions for the Kenya project.
There is no update at the moment on Adi’s situation with the future of Talita Kum.