Articles

(The Late) Rev. Dr. Myles Munroe, President, Bahamas Faith Ministries International "IPMI is a vital and strategic contributor to this generation's responsibility for impacting the world with the Kingdom of God through the ministry of prayer. It is the highest order of spiritual work on earth."

Rev. Dr. Mac Pier, President, New York City Leadership Training Center

“I am excited about the work of Intercessory Prayer Ministry International(IPMI) and its efforts to connect leaders for strategic intercession.  IPMI has done a tremendous job of stimulating prayer in congregations in New York City.  I have participated in the past two Annual Pastors and Leaders Prayer Symposiums and they have been a powerful spiritual experience.”

 Mrs.  Geneive Brown Metzger, Former Consul General of Jamaica, New York

"I am pleased to, once again, join with Intercessory Prayer Ministry International (IPMI) and to pledge my support for the upcoming Day of Prayer and Fasting for Jamaica on Monday, August 2, 2010. These are indeed very challenging times for our nation as we continue to grapple with the diverse and critical issues for which we must seek Divine intervention. It is therefore heartening to know that IMPI continues to lead the way in mobilizing the Jamaican Diaspora in this fashion. Prayer is certainly an imperative and must be the first ammunition in the arsenal in our war against crime, economic adversity, and social decay. Indeed, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.”

Sir Patrick Allen, Governor  General of Jamaica

"For the past seven (7) years, the Intercessory Prayer Ministry International has organized a day of prayer and fasting as they seek Divine aid and intervention in the affairs of Jamaica and the world. Coming together in this fashion speaks to the strength of the Christian community and the relevance and strength that prayer and fasting still have in this contemporary society...I am encouraged by your willingness to share and openly discuss actions, experiences and challenges. Working together across borders in this way to address the most pressing issues facing our society is the hallmark of prosperity."

Rev. Richard Brockway, Former Senior Pastor, Hempstead Assembly of God Church, New York

"I am grateful for the encouragement and support that IPMI, through programs like the School of Prayer, has brought to the continued growth and renewal of our church. Several years ago after concluding the IPMI Twenty-one Days of Prayer and Fasting, we decided to add the Thursday morning prayer meeting which has benefited our congregation as well as those in our community. We are grateful to IPMI for coming along side us in the task of training leaders for the harvest. It has been our privilege to see the work of the Holy Spirit in our midst. To God be the Glory!"

Rev. Dr. H. Dennis Campbell, Former Senior Pastor, Rehoboth Open Bible Church, New York City

 

"Rehoboth Open Bible Church has hosted the annual School of Prayer for a number of years. The school is such an important part of our ministry that it is now a fixture on the calendar. We now speak of it as “our” school, with “guest presenters” from IPMI. It is a joy to have presenters who have spent time in the study coming to a biblical understanding of the matter of prayer. They come schooled with good stuff with which to educate us. It is also a joy to know that these people have also given themselves to the manner and practice of prayer, so they come as fervent practitioners of prayer, leading the school in prayer, with the heart, in spirit, and in truth. The school helps the church as individuals grow in their understanding and practice of prayer and as they apply it to the church's prayer ministry."

 Rev. Esther Ilnisky, Founder, and President of the Esther Network International, Florida. 

Involvement in the IPMI Global Prayer Teleconference holds a high priority in my life and ministry. If you truly believe in the power of prayer to change our world, please join us for this strategic one hour of effectual,  fervent global intercession…for such a (critical) time as this.”.

Rev. Torrian Scott, Senior Pastor, Harvest International Church, California.

“IPMI is a wonderful intercessory prayer ministry that is impacting the lives of MILLIONS throughout the world through this amazing selfless, focused, and POWERFUL monthly time of prayer. I’m honored to be a part of the Monthly Global Prayer Teleconference, which is  COMMITTED to love, reach, and intercede for the Nations!” …..
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"Rebellion" literally means "departure," "falling away," or "abandonment," will occur. In the last days, many within the professing church will depart from Biblical truth.
 
Both Jesus and Paul paint a dismal picture of the condition of much of the visible church-morally, spiritually and doctrinally-as the present age closes. In particular, Paul stresses that the churches will be invaded by godless elements in the last days.
The "rebellion" within the Church will have two dimensions. 
 
(1stTheological apostasy is the departure from and rejection of a part or all of the original teachings of Jesus and the apostles. False leaders will offer "salvation" and cheap grace and ignore Jesus' demand for repentance, separation from immorality and loyalty to God and His standards
.
False gospels centering on human desires and goals of self-interest will become popular. 
(2ndMoral apostasy is the severing of one's saving relationship with Jesus and returning to sin and immorality. Apostates may proclaim right doctrine and New Testament yet abandon God's moral standards. Many churches will tolerate almost anything for the sake of numbers, money, success, and honor. The gospel of the cross with its call to suffer, to radically renounce sin, to sacrifice for God's kingdom and to deny oneself will become rare.
 
Both the history of the church and the predicted apostasy of the last days warn all believers not to take for granted continual progress of God's kingdom through all ages until the end. At some point in time in the history of the church, rebellion against God and His Word will reach astounding proportions. The day of the Lord will bring God's wrath on those who reject His truth.
The ultimate triumph of God's kingdom and His righteousness in the world, therefore, depends not on the gradual increase of the professing Church's success, but on the final intervention of God when He breaks into the world with righteous judgment. (Read the book of Jude)
 
Life Application
The Book of Jude is only one chapter long and a call to "Remain Faithful".   That is the most important call today. God's call for the Church to remain faithful is because the deceiver is busy already.
 
Praise/Prayer
Dear Father, thank you for pouring out the Holy Spirit upon all who are hungry for divine guidance. What a challenging time this is, Father. I know that You know the future, but I need to be led by the Holy Spirit at this time because I don't know what the future holds. I know what the Bible says, and it troubles me. Come, Holy Spirit, and guide me daily. Amen!
 
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The United Nations reports armed men killed dozens of civilians and displaced thousands during increasingly violent and frequent attacks last month in the Diffa region in southeastern Niger. The Diffa region, which borders Nigeria and Chad, is home to more than 200,000 internally displaced people and refugees victimized by the Boko Haram insurgency in northeastern Nigeria.

U.N. officials say the spike in violence and displacement is related to increased activity by Boko Haram or Boko Haram-affiliated armed groups in the Lake Chad Basin. They report 88 civilians were killed last month alone, compared to a total of 107 civilian deaths during all of 2018.

The spokesman for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Jens Laerke told VOA the dramatic jump in the number of attacks and civilian deaths seems to indicate a shift in tactics by these armed groups. He said very vulnerable civilians appear to be deliberately targeted.

“So, it is not only armed men fighting armed men. It is also armed men fighting civilians, families, women, and children. So, that is, of course, very disturbing. Some of those who have been targeted in these attacks in March were already displaced people and some were already refugees,” Laerke said.

The United Nations reported 21 attacks carried out in March forced nearly 18,500 people to flee their homes. It said they have joined the already heavily populated settlements of internally displaced people and refugees in the urban center of Diffa and surrounding areas.

Despite the increased violence in the region, Laerke said there will be no break in the U.N.’s humanitarian operations. He said aid workers will continue to assist the desperate people.

He said a recent assessment mission shows people are in critical need of water and sanitation, shelter, food and household items. He said the needs are there and the will to help is there. Unfortunately, he noted the money needed to provide this aid is not there.

He said the International community has contributed less than three percent of the U.N.’s $383 million appeal for humanitarian operations in Niger this year.

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Welcome to the April  2019 Global Prayer Agenda featuring major concerns affecting the nations of our world, and the growth of Christ's church universally for the advancement of world evangelism and the establishment of God's Kingdom.  This agenda was specially prepared for use during the Monthly Global Prayer Teleconference sessions by a few members of the team of leaders facilitating these monthly global prayer calls.  The agenda is structured into three main categories for the convenience of our users.  As you join us in prayer about these various issues, during this month, we trust that you will find the experience spiritually rewarding.  We also extend a special invitation to join us for our next Monthly Global Prayer Teleconference.  

 

Category One

Prayer for North and South America, the Caribbean and Europe

Scripture: SCRIPTURE VERSE: Psalm 108:1-6 (PARAPHRASED)

Oh God, our hearts are steadfast; we will sing and give praise, even with our glory. Awake lute and harp! We will awaken the dawn. We will praise You, O Lord, among the peoples, and we will sing praises to You among the nations. For Your mercy is great above the heavens, and Your truth reaches to the clouds. BE EXALTED, O God, above the heavens, and Your glory above all the earth; that Your beloved (people) may be delivered. Save with Your right hand, and hear us.

 

Prayer for Revival in the United States of America

Some Important Facts on the State of the church and spiritual needs of the nation

  • Based on the current rates of retention and evangelism, it's estimated that 42 million young people could leave the church by 2050. That is over one million young people walking away from the church each year.
  • If, however, we can revert to Gen X rates of retention and evangelism, that number can be reduced to only 20 million.
  • Every year, about 4,000 churches are planted in the US and every year about 3,700 churches close.  Based on population growth rate we need to triple church planting in the next five years.  By 2050 it is estimated that the US will need to 416, 000 new churches. (Source: www.thegreatopportunit,org)
  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US; 47,173 Americans committed suicide in 2017, but there were an estimated 1,4000,000 suicide attempts in the year. In 2015 suicide and self-inflicted injuries cost the Federal Government $69 billion. But the sad news is that the suicide rate is trending upwards, an indication of the high level of hopelessness permeating every sector of American culture.

Needs of Pastors across America

  • At any given time, 75% of pastors in America want to quit. (Church Resource Ministries – 1998)
  • More than 2000 pastors are leaving the ministry each month. (Marble Retreat Center 2001)  (Source: www.Standaloneministry.org)

These needs underscore the dire need for spiritual revival in the church in America.

Pray

  1. For all pastors facing all types of moral failure that continue to undermine the credible witness of the church as salt and light of this nation, to turn to the Lord in prayer and repentance to help to facilitate revival in the church for the spiritual healing and transformation of the nation so urgently needed at this time.  
  2. For a revival in the church across America resulting in the growth of the church, through the additions of millions of new converts, particularly millennials and establishment of thousands of new churches.
  3. Pray against the rising suicide rate facing America. Pray for those individuals and organizations working towards finding solutions to this growing crisis in America.     

 

Prayer for US Government: Solution to Major Immigration Challenges

As for American policy, an immigration website notes that “The United States has been the top destination for international migrants since at least 1960, with one-fifth of the world's migrants living there as of 2017. Despite its long history of immigration, the United States has oscillated between perceiving immigration as a valuable resource and as a major challenge.”

According to Wikipedia, “In absolute numbers, the United States has a larger immigrant population than any other country, with 47 million immigrants as of 2015. This represents 19.1% of the 244 million international migrants worldwide, and 14.4% of the U.S. population.”

Against this background of a vibrant and dynamic history of immigration in America, let us pray regarding the current challenges facing the US immigration system, now considered broken and in urgent need of reforms.

PRAY

  1. For the President and Congress to work together on reforming US immigration laws to address the growing problem of illegal immigration. Pray for solutions that are just and fair in keeping with Biblical standards.
  2. For a solution to the crisis caused by the thousands of migrants from South America amassed at the US/Mexico border seeking asylum in the US.  

 

Prayer for Children and Youth

CP  (Christian Post) CURRENT PAGE: LIVING | FRIDAY, MARCH 22, 2019

Most Protestant pastors see school as 'negative influence' on spiritual formation.

A majority of Protestant pastors and half of the Catholic priests believe school is a negative influence on a child’s spiritual development, according to a new report by the Barna Group…

… Respondents were asked to rank certain entities regarding whether they had a positive or negative influence on a child's spiritual development. The categories were “parents/family,” “church,” “school,” “peers/friends,” “Christian community,” and “culture/society.”

According to their findings released Tuesday, 65 percent of Protestant respondents and 50 percent of Catholic respondents viewed school as a negative influence on a child's spiritual development…

… While school ranked high on the negative influence side, culture/society was ranked the worst, with 94 percent of surveyed Protestant pastors and 92 percent of surveyed Catholic priests saying that culture/society had a negative influence on a child's spiritual development…

… “Church and family life are important in the spiritual formation of young adults, but our research reinforces that schools play an important role too,” said Pennings.

“Church leaders, parents, and educators must understand the positive influence of Christian schooling on spiritual formation and work together to ensure that these schooling options are genuinely available for as many families as possible.”…

… In research released in January 2018, Cardus found that Generation X and millennial-aged adults who attended evangelical Protestant schools were more likely to read the Bible, attend worship, and pray than their peers who attended public schools.

 

Michael Foust | ChristianHeadlines.com Contributor | Friday, March 22, 2019

Christians are far more likely to say their mothers had a bigger influence on their faith than did their fathers, according to a new Barna study that examines the roles that moms and dads play in the development of children.

The study found that 68 percent of U.S. Christians who grew up with someone who influenced their faith say their mother’s faith impacted them. That was followed by the father (46 percent) and a grandparent (37 percent)…

… Christian teens are more likely to say their mother: “encourages me to go to church,” “talks with me about God’s forgiveness” and “teaches me about the Bible,” the research shows. Christian teens also are more likely to go to their mother than their father for encouragement, advice, and sympathy. Fathers edge ahead only in three categories: when teens need money, when they need logistical help, and when they want a parent to play sports.  

PRAY

  1. Father, we repent for what we have allowed the educational system in our country to become. Not only have we allowed You and prayer to be taken out of our schools but we have allowed the teaching of our God-centered history to be effectively erased.
  2. We repent of turning a deaf ear and blind eye to the brainwashing of our children and for desiring/declaring “other” material things to be more important/necessary (to spend money on) than investing in sound, scriptural education for our children.
  3. We repent of not running for school boards and for not showing up to protest ungodly sex education programs.
  4. We pray you would revolutionize the educational system in our nation to agree with your Word. We pray for income to afford private, Christian schools, more homeschoolers, and more children desiring/recognizing truth.
  5. We ask you, Lord, to turn the hearts of fathers to their children. We pray fathers will walk and talk with their children about the Lord and the ways of the Kingdom when they rise up, when they walk in the way and when they lie down. May children desire and receive a closer walk with both their Heavenly and natural fathers.
  6. We ask, Father, that you would provide safe, Godly male companionship and mentors for children without fathers.

 

South America and The Caribbean

Guatemala-Belize border dispute vote delayed?

Last year Guatemalans voted by 96 percent to take Belize to court over their border dispute (though only 23 percent of those eligible voted). Guatemala claims at least half, and potentially all, of Belize’s territory. According to Guatemala’s “Special Agreement” with Belize’s Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington in 2008, Belizeans would then vote on whether to agree to go to court. Specifically, the Special Agreement asks the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to decide “any legal claims of Guatemala against Belize.” If both Guatemalan and Belizean voters agree, the ICJ will make the “final” determination of their border.

Belize has planned its referendum vote for April 10th. Its UDP government believes it has a solid case, based on an 1859 border treaty with Guatemala, to confirm that border once and for all. At first, the opposition PUP leaders also promoted a “yes” vote. After all, neither the Spanish nor the Guatemala government has ever crossed the border to exercise authority in Belize since the British colonial forebears settled there in the 17th century. And Belize gained UN recognition after it gained independence in 1981, But the concern is growing that the failure to fulfill one article of the 1859 border treaty—the building of a road from Guatemala through Belize to the Caribbean Sea—may prove to weaken Belize’s case. So now, as April 10th approaches, the PUP leaders themselves have decided to take Belize’s government to court—to delay or stop the vote.

The PUP claimants contend that UDP Foreign Minister Elrington never had the authority to make a “Special Agreement” with Guatemala to submit Belize’s fate to 15 foreign judges. They point out that the Belize Constitution requires a two-thirds vote by the House of Representatives to change Belize’s borders.

The case before the Belize Supreme Court

However, opposition PUP Senator Lisa Shoman—in a move unusual for Belize—has crossed party lines to the UDP’s “Yes” position. In fact, she has agreed to represent the UDP government’s case on April 1st at the Belize Supreme Court. Shoman argues that legally, it’s too late to stop the April 10th referendum vote. Opponents could have done so before the Governor-General issued the writ of the referendum in February. But they failed.

Yet PUP claimant Cordel Hyde says the stakes are too great to stand on technicalities. “If we go and lose, we would be crying, weeping. There would be gnashing of teeth. But we cannot do anything about it.” Other opponents have warned that Belizeans have nothing to gain by going to court.  On the contrary, Belizeans have everything to lose. Guatemalans could conceivably take over their homes, businesses, farms, even graveyards. Thus it is hard to find a single Belizean who is willing to come under Guatemalan authority. Even Guatemalans who have come to live here say they want Belize to remain Belize.

The position of prayer

Many Belizeans have called for the churches to weigh in on the referendum. Accordingly, the Anglicans and Methodists in the Belize Council of Churches recently released a statement advocating a yes vote. But the National Evangelical Association of Belize has taken into consideration the highly partisan and divisive nature of the debate. Instead of choosing a yes position or a no position, NEAB has taken a position of prayer. That God Himself will enforce His precept, “Do not move the ancient boundary which your fathers have set” (Prov. 22:28). NEAB is calling all churches join in times of corporate prayer in all the districts of Belize as the referendum approaches.

Source: THE SPECIAL AGREEMENT (COMPROMISE) CHALLENGED IN COURT.

Pray

Pray for God to:

  1. Bring the churches together to seek God’s heart for Belize and Guatemala, and to hear and decree His solutions.
  2. Confirm where the ancient boundary has been set. Help Belize and Guatemala to settle their dispute once and for all.
  3. Show the two countries how to engage in the right relationships. Make clear His plans to prosper both of them and not to harm either of them, as good and respectful neighbors.
  4. For Venezuela, to show how to avoid further suffering and violence, to heal all its brokenness, and to empower the authorities He has assigned to do so. 

 

Revival across Europe

  1. One hundred thousand babies aborted in Germany last year

AUTHOR: Evangelical Focus BERLIN | 01 MARCH 2019
http://evangelicalfocus.com/europe/4255/One_hundred_thousand_babies_aborted_in_Germany_last_year

The official figure of the government is 100,986 abortions in 2018. Criminal or medical indications were the cause of only 4% of the abortions.

Germany aborted more than one hundred thousand babies, official figures confirmed. According to the statistics of the State-Federal Agency, 100,986 abortions were practiced in the country between January and December 2018.

Seven in ten women were between 18 and 34 years old when they aborted, and almost two in ten were aged 35 to 39. Only 3% of the abortions were practiced in cases of women aged 18 or less.

Criminal or medical indications were the cause of only 4% of the abortions, the official data collected by the German news agency Idea say.

The total figures show a decrease of 0.2% compared to 2017 when 101,209 abortions were practiced. But less children were aborted in 2016 (98,721), 2015 (99,237) and 2014 (99,715).

Every year, Christians in Germany join other social groups for the March For Life in Berlin. “Welcoming every child, supporting every woman” was one of the messages of last year’s pro-life demonstration.

The last figures of the United Kingdom say that 197,533 babies were aborted in 2017, a 10-year high. In Spain, the official figure of abortions that year was 94,123.

PRAY

  • That God will awaken His people to the value He places on the life of unborn and enable Christians to be at the forefront of efforts to defend and protect them from wanton destruction.

 

EEA issues paper on “how to respond to the LGBT rights agenda”

AUTHOR: Evangelical Focus |07 MARCH 2019
http://evangelicalfocus.com/lifetech/4275/evangelicals_europe_EEA_issues_a_paper_to_to_reflect_on_how_to_respond_to_the_LGBT_rights_agenda

The European Evangelical Alliance (EEA) has recently published a new paper “to help Evangelical leaders to reflect on how to respond to the LGBT rights agenda in public life”. The authors of the “LGBT+ Rights – Responding to a changing world” guide “pray that it will renew people’s confidence in continuing to promote a Good News approach to issues of sexuality and family”.

THEOLOGY, QUESTIONS AND EEA POLITICAL STANCE ON LGBT ISSUES

The paper came out after a “collaborative discussion, writing and approval by EEA staff. “It includes brief theological reflections on sexuality” and “it gives questions for evangelicals to reflect on how they might speak and act, being Christ’s ambassadors on these sensitive issues”. The document also highlights the EEA’s conclusions on its political stance on LGBT rights.

“CHRISTIANS ARE CALLED TO PROCLAIM GOD GOOD GIFT OF FAMILY”

According to the EEA, “across Europe, public attitudes on sex and family life have been changing dramatically for at least the last 50 years”. “In the West especially, nations have strayed far from a biblical understanding of sex and family [...] People, especially children, are being hurt”, the paper states.

That is why “Bible-believing Christians are called to proclaim God’s good gift of family, based on monogamous heterosexual marriage as the basic and crucial relational unit in society”, it adds. The EEA clearly points out that “moving away from God’s pattern for family life is not an option for evangelical Christians”.

COMMUNICATING THE TRUTH

It believes that “the church’s calling is to present the case concerning God’s desire for family life to fellow sinners with grace, rather than in judgment”. “There is a place for warning, especially when society as a whole is leaving a creation-based ethic.

FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE

The paper recalls that “unfortunately, there have been cases where Christians’ freedom of conscience has not been protected and they have lost their jobs”. “Human Rights law protects freedom of thought, conscience, religion and of expression “. Therefore, “profoundly held views should be respected and covered by the law, and ways must be found to accommodate the rights of all”

 

PRAY

  • That the Lord will greatly reward the European Evangelical Alliance and grant them success in their efforts to help Christians fearlessly and uncompromisingly live out their Biblically held convictions on marriage and sexuality;
  • That the Lord will enable His people to be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves” when faced with issues in their workplaces, schools, and communities, that seek to undermine God’s standards for marriage and the family;
  • That the Lord will cause His people to see eye to eye and to be united in their stance against every attempt to force them to give in to the pressure to accept the values being promoted in the LGBT agenda.

 

Category 2

 Israel, the Middle East, and Africa

 Scripture: Ps. 10:12-18 NIV and Introduction 

Israel

The US State Department is offering to shell out up to $1 million each on up to two projects that combat the rise of anti-Semitism in countries in Europe and Central Asia, an announcement said this week. The State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor has issued a tender this week for proposals for such projects to be carried out in member countries of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

The bureau “will support one or more projects to counter anti-Semitism by increasing documentation and reporting on hate crimes, promoting greater societal inclusion and increasing public awareness of ways to combat hateful and discriminatory expression targeting Jews. (Times of Israel, March 28, 2019)

https://www.timesofisrael.com/us-state-department-offers-to-fund-programs-abroad-against-rise-of-anti-semitism/

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration says it will update U.S. government maps to reflect President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights. In a Wednesday email responding to questions from VOA Persian, a State Department spokesperson said the map changes would be "consistent" with a March 25 proclamation signed by Trump, saying the U.S. "recognizes that the Golan Heights are part of the State of Israel." (Michael Lipin and Nike Ching, VOA News, March 27, 2019)

https://www.voanews.com/a/us-to-redraw-maps-to-show-golan-heights-as-israeli-territory/4851059.html

Three more countries will be joining the rush to establish embassies in the eternal capital of Israel, Jerusalem.

Juan Orlando Hernández, the president of Honduras, announced on Sunday at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference in Washington D.C. that his country will be opening an embassy in Jerusalem “immediately.”

Cape Verde, or Cabo Verde, is a Portuguese-speaking nation on a volcanic archipelago off the northwest coast of Africa. Jews first moved there in the wake of the Inquisition at the end of the 15th Century and another wave arrived in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries from Morocco and Gibraltar. There are currently no practicing Jews in Cape Verde.

Not to be outdone, Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă made a similar announcement at AIPAC on the same day. Romania is perceived as a strong ally of Israel in the European Union.  In April, the Romanian government approved a resolution to move the embassy, which had Dăncilă’s support, but President Klaus Iohannis, who has final say in the matter, blocked the initiative. In January she visited Israel and discussed the embassy move with Prime Minister Netanyahu. When she returned to her country opposition head, and chairman of the National Liberal Party Ludovic Orban filed a complaint against Dăncilă at a special tribunal, charging the premier with treason. (Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz, March 24, 2019)

https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/125148/romania-honduras-cabo-verde-moving-embassies-to-jerusalem/

Pray

  1. Thank God for the open support that President Trump and the US government has shown for Israel. Also, thank God for President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
  2. Thank God that Honduras, Cape Verde, and Romania have decided to move their embassies to Jerusalem.
  3. Pray that the US State Department’s plans to combat anti-Semitism in Europe and Central Asia will succeed.
  4. Pray for the Church and Christian ministries in Israel to more effectively reach Israel with the gospel.

 

Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe

BEIRA, MOZAMBIQUE — Aid agencies in central Mozambique are recovering more bodies in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai. The powerful storm two weeks ago devastated parts of the country, along with large areas in neighboring Malawi and Zimbabwe, leaving at least 783 people dead.

Aid agencies in the port city are scaling up their operations to feed the hungry and treat the sick. But aid agencies are also finding more bodies, says Mozambique's Land and Environment Minister Celso Correia. “In terms of the number who lost their lives, we increased to 493,” noting the number of dead in Mozambique alone. “Our main concern now is to avoid [a larger] outbreak of cholera. We will be vaccinating 800,000 people.” In Beira, 139 cases of cholera have been reported so far. (Mohammed Yusuf, VOA News, March 29, 2019)

https://www.voanews.com/a/mozambique-cholera-cases-jump-from-5-to-139-in-a-day/4853344.html

President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe told his country during a service at the Methodist Church in Mabelreign, Harare on Sunday that the death toll was rising and could reach 200. Mnangagwa declared two days of mourning for the victims and told his countrymen that it is in times like these people should look to God. "As people, we do not know anything. We only get to know something after it would have occurred, but God knows everything, even things to come in future. Job lost all his children and wealth, but he never turned away from God,” he said. (Leonardo Blair, Christian Post Reporter, March 25, 2019)

https://www.christianpost.com/world/after-devastating-cyclone-mozambique-zimbabwe-and-malawi-look-to-god.html

GENEVA — The U.N. children’s fund reports nearly half of the 1.7 million people affected by Cyclone Idai in southern Africa are children. The official number of deaths across the region has now risen to over 700. Thousands of people are still trapped by the flood waters, many huddled on rooftops and in trees waiting to be rescued.

The U.N. children’s fund reports the situation for hundreds of thousands of children caught up in this monumental storm is particularly dire. It says many do not have adequate shelter and are in urgent need of food and safe drinking water. UNICEF spokesman, Christophe Boulierac says children are particularly susceptible to infectious diseases. “Without safe and effective water, sanitation and hygiene services, children are at high risk of preventable diseases including diarrhea, typhoid and cholera, and also increasingly vulnerable to malnutrition,” he said. (      Lisa Schlein, VOA News, March 24, 2019)

https://www.voanews.com/a/nearly-half-of-cyclone-idai-s-victims-are-children/4845773.html

Pray

  1. Thank God that the President of Zimbabwe has sought to publicly honor the Lord amid this devastation and loss of lives. Pray that God will give wisdom to government officials to lead the nations of Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe through this crisis.
  2. Pray for God to comfort and heal the families of those who have lost their loved ones through this disaster.
  3. Pray for speedy mobilization of resources, by local authorities, Governments and aid agencies toward food, medicine, shelter, clothing’s and infrastructure that has been destroyed by the flooding and cyclone winds.
  4. Pray for the outpouring of the spirit of compassion to manifest through donations and infrastructure support to enable affected communities to rebuild their lives.
  5. Pray for the children who have been impacted in many ways by this disaster. Also pray against the spread of diseases such as cholera, diarrhea, etc.
  6. Pray that the Church and ministries such as Iris Global will demonstrate God’s love and share the gospel to those impacted by the disaster.

Mali

According to an article in the East African by AFP, more than 130 people were killed in an attack on Fulani village in Mali. The survivors accused the Dogon hunters of carrying out the deadly raids.  A security source told AFP the victims were shot or hacked to death with machetes. It is believed that these attacks are fueled by conflicts over grazing land and water resources. The presence of jihadist groups in the areas has contributed to Islamic terrorist activities. (AFP, March 24, 2019)

https://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/news/africa/More-than-130-killed-in-Mali-massacre-as-UN-visits/4552902-5039518-5ek50m/index.html

Pray

  1. Pray that justice will be brought to the perpetrators of the heinous killing of 130 people.
  2. Pray for God to comfort the families of those who lost their lives.
  3. Pray that the local communities and the government of Mali will find a lasting solution to deadly conflicts and that these communities will learn to value human life.
  4. Pray for the total eradication of the Islamic terror groups including jihadist operating in Mali
  5. Pray for the strengthening and growth of the Church in Mali.

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

A global humanitarian aid group reports 58 new cases of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo last week -- the highest weekly number this year. The International Rescue Committee says the real number may be higher. "With mistrust and security issues, cases are likely to be going unreported," the IRC said Sunday.

The IRC says the number of confirmed and suspected Ebola cases since the latest DRC outbreak began in August exceeds 1,000 and says it could last as long as another year. The agency says seven months into the outbreak, the number of cases should be going down, not up. (VOA News, March 25, 2019)

https://www.voanews.com/a/ebola-treatment-in-drc/4846567.html

Six people, including a nine-year-old child and three women, have been killed by suspected Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan Muslim rebel group, when the predominantly Christian village of Kalau near Beni in the North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo came under attack by the militia fighting to institute an Islamic government in the country. The four-hour attack, which lasted from 7 pm to 11 pm, also displace about 500 people, according to witness accounts.

Sources said the Allied Democratic Forces, pretending to be government security agents, stormed the village and by the time they got into the center of the village, some youths who noticed that they were rebels, raised the alarm prompting the ADF to shoot indiscriminately at anything that moved. A nurse in the Nyankunde hospital in Beni said the rebels then headed to the house of the village head. They shot and killed the guard dogs and two other villagers running from the sound of the gunfire. (Hassan John 20th March 2019)

https://globalchristiannews.org/article/six-christians-killed-in-dr-congo/

Pray

  1. Pray that the Ebola outbreak would cease, and the disease completely eradicated in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  2. Pray that those responsible for the murders of the six persons in Kalau would be brought to justice. Also, pray that God would comfort and heal the loved ones of the six persons who were murdered.
  3. Pray for the dissolution of all the Muslim extremist groups in the DRC.
  4. Pray for the protection, strengthening, and growth of the Church in the DRC.

 

Category 3

Prayer for Movement Day Global Cities, the Persecuted Church and Other Critical Concerns of Asia

Scripture   -   Psalms 29: 1 - 11

PRAY 

Movement Day Expressions

  1. Pray for strategic and impactful conversations as Rev. Ebony Small speaks to city leaders who want to begin their journey with Movement Day.
  2. Pray for God’s grace, provision and strength to fall on the Movement Day Africa team as their next gathering will be held on April 10th.
  3. Pray for our Movement Day Expression leaders as they work with churches, non-profits and marketplace leaders in their cities to forge unity for Movement Day!
  1. Pray for our Global Hub Leaders, as they cultivate relationships within their respective regions to advance unity within the body of Christ
  2. Pray that God would strengthen the Movement Day expressions team as we plan for Movement Day Global Cities 2020.
  3. Pray for the Movement Day expressions team as we have strategic conversations to build out the framework for Movement Day Global Cities 2020.

  

The Global Persecution of Christians

Open Doors Lists Top 10 Persecutors of Christians Worldwide

Over 215 million believers are persecuted with intimidation, prison, and even death for their faith in Jesus Christ across the world, Open Doors USA says in a report, listing the top 10 persecutors of Christians.

Half of the top 10 human rights offenders toward Christians are Islamist terror groups, including the Islamic State terror group, also known as IS, ISIS, ISIL or Daesh. The brutal and targeted attacks from ISIS have driven many Christians to flee countries like Iraq, where Christianity has had a presence for nearly 2,000 years, the report says. "Ten years ago, there were nearly 1 million Christians living in Iraq, with a large majority of the population living in Mosul. Today, ISIS has been driven out of Iraq and Syria for the most part, but now they are spreading to Southeast Asia. Abū Bakr al-Baghdadi is the current leader of ISIS in western Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Afghanistan," it notes.  While Islamic State was listed as No. 1, the list is not comprehensive or in particular order, the ministry notes.

The second persecutor of Christians listed is the al-Qaeda terror group,

The far-right Hindu nationalist movement" seeks to wipe out any religious expression, including Christianity, that falls outside of the Hindu faith, the report says. It mentions the Hindu nationalist association Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, or RSS, which "has created a culture war and made it very dangerous and difficult for many Christians living in the region who are often forced out of villages, beaten and arrested for believing in Jesus." The governing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party in India is seen as the political wing of the RSS.

Fifth on the list is the al-Shabaab terror group, which is "in many ways the Eastern African version of al-Qaeda." "Al-Shabaab has terrorized the country of Somalia for the past decade and is recently focusing its attacks on the neighboring country of Kenya. In 2015, a Kenya college campus faced an attack where Christian students were specifically targeted, killing 148 in total. Any place al-Shabaab controls operate under Sharia law, which includes the slaughtering of anyone who identifies as Christian."

Another top persecutor is the Boko Haram terror group in Nigeria, "whose belief is that any sort of Western influence is heresy, especially Christianity." "Boko Haram has conducted raids, bombings, and assassinations against any target it deems Western, especially churches and schools. They have taken out contracts on influential Christian leaders and are also at war with the Nigerian government," says the ministry.

Next on the list are Muslim Fulani herdsmen in northeastern Nigeria, who have been accused of aligning with Boko Haram.

The 2017 Global Terrorism Index described the herdsmen, who attack Christians regularly in southern Adamawa, as terrorists in 2014. According to the index, the Fulani are responsible for as many as 60,000 deaths since 2001. Nigerian Christian leaders have warned that if the current rate of massacres continues, with hundreds of believers being killed each month, Africa's most populous nation is on the brink of decimating its Christian population by 2043.

Open Doors further identified as a top persecutor radical Islam, which continues to spread, "aiming to bring many parts of the world under Sharia Law." "The movement, which often results in Islamic militancy and persecution of Christians," is expanding in Asia, including the Philippines, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and in African countries like Egypt, Nigeria, and Somalia.

Also making a list are drug cartels in Colombia and Mexico. "On top of the danger that these groups bring to ordinary citizens, Christians are specifically targeted," the report says. "A soul won for Jesus is a soul lost for them," it quotes a pastor from Colombia as saying. "They know that too." "For this reason, Christian evangelists are particularly targeted. Drug cartel leaders know that they are the greatest threat to their way of life."

Rounding out the top 10 on the Open Doors list is "the ultimate enemy," or Satan.  "It's easy to read this list and feel hopeless in the face of so much evil. However, in Ephesians 6 we're told our war isn't a physical war, it's a spiritual one. Behind all of the atrocities listed above is Satan, who prowls this world like a roaring lion," the ministry explains. "We are also told that God's kingdom is forcefully advancing and that in the end, Satan is overthrown and all things are made new."

Open Doors said it published the list because "Jesus commanded us, directly, to pray for our enemies." "Pray that God would stop their actions, change their hearts and shine the brilliant light of the gospel onto their path." (Source: Christian Post - June 2018)

PRAY

  1. For the over 200 million Christians worldwide suffering persecution with intimidation, prison, and even death for their faith in Jesus Christ across the world to experience the blessings of the Kingdom promised by Christ to those who suffer persecution for righteousness;   
  2. For the leaders of ISIS, al-Qaeda terror group, Boko Haram and other terrorist organizations involved in the wide-scale persecution of Christians in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Pray Pray that God would stop their actions, change their hearts and shine the brilliant light of the gospel onto their path." 

 

Pakistan

CHRISTIANS IN PAKISTAN LIVE WITH OPEN DISCRIMINATION AND CONSTANT THREAT OF MOB ATTACKS

Under Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws, Christians continue to live in daily fear they will be accused of blasphemy—which can carry a death sentence. The most well-known example of these laws is the case of Asia Bibi. After sitting on death row for more than ten years, the Christian wife and mother were acquitted of blasphemy charges in October however her life is still in grave danger from radical Islamists that have gained increasing political power in the world’s sixth-largest country. For that reason, the new ruling government must maintain good diplomatic relationships with some radical groups. Christians are largely regarded as second-class citizens, and conversion to Christianity from Islam carries a great deal of risk. An estimated 700 girls and women abducted each year are often raped and then forcefully married to Muslim men in the community, usually resulting in forced conversions. While traditional, historical churches have relative freedom for worship, they are heavily monitored and have regularly been targeted for bomb attacks (for example, the Quetta attack in December 2017 on Bethel Memorial Methodist Church). In Pakistan, all Christians suffer from institutionalized discrimination. Occupations seen as low, dirty and derogatory are officially reserved for Christians. Many Christians are very poor, and some are victims of bonded labor. On the other hand, many Christians belong to Pakistan’s middle class; however, this does not save them from being marginalized or persecuted. (Source: https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/stories/11-christians-killed-every-day-for-their-decision-to-follow-jesus/?fbclid=IwAR0haIo03fM289vd_MQXIOwTU7fqggbn1T5tzdrv_13g4OxSFXiDwyJjpOQ )

PRAY

  1. For the growth of the church and the spread of the Christian witness across Pakistan despite intense persecution.
  1. For God’s protection of Christian girls and women at risk of being abducted, raped and forced to marry Muslim men in Pakistan resulting in forced conversions.
  2. For the Government of Pakistan to pass laws protecting the rights of women.

 

North Korea

In North Korea, Christianity is the No. 1 Enemy of the State

For three generations, everything in this isolated country has focused on idolizing the leading Kim family. Christians are seen as hostile elements in society that must be eradicated. There was hope that new diplomatic efforts in 2018—including the 2018 Winter Olympics—would mean a lessening of pressure and violence against Christians. But so far that has not been the case. In fact, reports indicate that local authorities are increasing incentives for anyone who exposes a Christian in their community. If Christians are discovered, not only are they deported to labor camps or even killed on the spot, their families to the fourth generation share their fate as well. Communal worship is non-existent. Daring to meet other Christians for worship is a risky feat that must be done in utmost secrecy. Yet Open Doors estimates the number of Christians in North Korea to be 300,000 strong—believers who are defying the unjust regime and following Jesus. (Source: https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/stories/11-christians-killed-every-day-for-their-decision-to-follow jesus/?fbclid=IwAR0haIo03fM289vd_MQXIOwTU7fqggbn1T5tzdrv_13g4OxSFXiDwyJjpOQ)

PRAY

  1. For the Lord to respond to the desperate cries of the persecuted Church in North Korea, including the approximately 50,000 fellow believers serving long, harsh prisons terms in concentration camps.
  2. For the continued growth of the church in North Korea and the spread of the Christian influence  despite increased persecution
  3. For the ongoing South Korean and US-led peace settlement negotiation with North Korea  to result in the advancement of religious freedom in North Korea.

 

China

China on course to become 'world's most Christian nation' within 15 years

Officially, the People's Republic of China is an atheist country, but that is changing fast as many of its 1.3 billion citizens seek meaning and spiritual comfort that neither communism nor capitalism seems to have supplied. Christian congregations, in particular, had skyrocketed since churches began reopening when Chairman Mao's death in 1976 signaled the end of the Cultural Revolution. Less than four decades later, some believe China is now poised to become not just the world's number one economy but also its most numerous Christian nation.

China's Protestant community, which had just one million members in 1949, has already overtaken those of countries more commonly associated with an evangelical boom. In 2010 there were more than 58 million Protestants in China compared to 40 million in Brazil and 36 million in South Africa, according to the Pew Research Centre's Forum on Religion and Public Life.

Prof Yang, a leading expert on religion in China, believes that number will swell to around 160 million by 2025. That would likely put China ahead even of the United States, which had around 159 million Protestants in 2010 but whose congregations are in decline. By 2030, China's total Christian population, including Catholics, would exceed 247 million, placing it above Mexico, Brazil, and the United States as the largest Christian congregation in the world, he predicted. (Source: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/10776023/China-on-course-to-become-worlds-most-Christian-nation-within-15-years.html )

Pray

  1. Praise God for the tremendous growth of the Church across China, despite ongoing persecution and the various attempts of the Communist Government to stifle the growth of the church.
  2. Pray against all the various efforts of the Chinese Government to restrict the growth of house churches across China, including demolition of church buildings, removal of crosses and banning free access to Bibles. 
  3. For the growth of the church across China to facilitate the expansion of Christianity across Asia.

 

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2 THESSALONIANS 2:1-12 
 
This is undoubtedly one of the most difficult passages in the whole New Testament because it is using terms and thinking in pictures that were perfectly familiar to those to whom Paul was speaking but are utterly strange to us.
The general picture is this: Paul was telling the Thessalonians that they must give up their nervous, hysterical waiting for the Second Coming. He denied that he had ever said that the Day of the Lord had come. That was a misinterpretation of his words which must not be attributed to him. He told them that before the Day of the Lord could come much had still to happen.
 
First, there would come an age of rebellion against God; into this world, there had already a secret evil power that was working in the world and on men to bring this time of rebellion. Somewhere there was being kept one who was as much the incarnation of evil as Jesus was the incarnation of God. He was The Man of Sin, the Son of Perdition, The Lawless One. In time, the power that was restraining him would be removed from the scene; then this devil incarnate would come. When he came, he would gather his own people to him just as Jesus had gathered His. Those who had refused to accept Jesus were waiting to accept him. Then would come the last battle in which Jesus would utterly destroy The Lawless One; Jesus' people would be gathered to Him and the wicked people who had accepted the Lawless One as their master would be destroyed
 
Life Application
I trust that you have made your decision to follow Jesus and to take as many as possible with you. The Lawless One will do all he can to
deceive the followers of Jesus. Stand true to Jesus. It will be worth it.
 
Praise/Prayer
Hallelujah! Praise the Lord Almighty! 
Dear Father, I can't and don't want to hold back my celebration of praise for the cross Jesus went to for me and everyone else. I know that my Savior lives! Blessed be the name of the Lord! Amen!
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At this, the start of another year of ministry, we would like to take this opportunity to thank all our friends and partners for their prayers and financial support during 2018. While we know that God is our ultimate source, we are also aware that He often provides for his work through willing and yielded channels.  We therefore deeply appreciate everyone who chose to stand with us during the year. 

 

2018 Ministry Report

As we reflect on what we were able to achieve as a result of the wonderful support of our friends and partners, we are very pleased to share with you this brief ministry report for 2018. 

On May 19, IPMI hosted the Eleventh Annual Pastors’ and Leaders’ Prayer Symposium in New York City with guest speaker Dr. David Bryant, a leading scholar and expert on spiritual revival.  Seventy-five pastors and leaders from across the tristate attended the Symposium and received a free copy of Dr. Bryant’s latest book, Christ is Now, and other free resources to strengthen their prayer lives and facilitate prayer in their congregations.

We hosted the Twenty-second Annual Prayer Breakfast in New York City, with guest speaker Bishop Joseph Garlington on June 17.  Approximately two hundred believers of various denominations from across the tristate attended the Breakfast.  In addition to catalyzing spiritual revival among participating churches in the region, the Prayer Breakfast has facilitated a powerful time of prayer for the nations over the years.

IPMI collaborated with members of the clergy and the Jamaica Overseas Missions in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom to host the Fourteenth Annual Jamaica Diaspora Day of Prayer and Fasting (JDOP) on August 1.  Since its inception, thousands of Jamaican Christians from scores of congregations in these regions have participated in this annual day of fasting and prayer for spiritual renewal and transformation in their homeland.  The initiative has also helped to raise much-needed funds to assist two Jamaican charities that work with at-risk youth from the inner city communities on the island.           

The twenty-second Annual 21 Days Prayer and Fasting climaxed with the hosting of another powerful Global Prayer Summit on October 13 that attracted a group of local and international prayer leaders to New York City.  In addition to some great presentations from conference speakers, including Rev. Mary Glazier (Alaska); Bishop C. B. Peter Morgan (Jamaica); Dr. Joseph Campbell (Missouri), attendees had the opportunity to participate in a few powerful times of intercession for revival in the US and the various challenges facing nations around the world.

During 2018, IPMI was also busy promoting united prayer for revival for world evangelization and the healing and transformation of nations through the hosting of three monthly global prayer calls. Christians leaders from nine nations, including the US, facilitated these thirty-six global prayer calls.  IPMI also launched a new state of the art website and a special project to develop further the Schools of Prayer Program to enable IPMI to extend this great ministry resource on a much larger scale to churches locally and internationally.  The project will result in the development of a curriculum for the schools of prayer and the publication of a series of books on prayer over the next two and a half years, depending on the availability of funds.  This was, indeed, a wonderful year of ministry.   

Extending An Invitation to you to join us in 2019 

we are pleased to extend another invitation to you to join us for some great meetings, events, and ministry activities we have lined up during the year.  With your support, we are confident that IPMI will be able to accomplish even more in 2019 to facilitate the advancement of the Kingdom of God around the world, through the various programs and ministry activities that IPMI will pursue during the year. 

How can you support us during 2019? 

(i) Join us for some great opportunities to participate in a number of powerful prayer meetings and conferences during the year in support of revival for the evangelization healing and transformation of nations. click here to view our 2019 calendar.

(ii) Partner with us financially to enable us to do the following projects:

  • Completion of the schools of Prayer Project, resulting in the publication of a series of books and other training material.  The first book is expected to be completed during 2019 from the school of prayer project
  • Further development of IPMI’s website to include IPMI TV, a new innovation utilizing the latest video technology for live streaming and for viewing ministry videos online on demand.  This new innovation will greatly enhance our capacity to better serve our partners and further facilitate the expansion of the ministry of IPMI around the world in support of revival for the evangelization, healing, and transformation of nations.

To help us meet these costs we are seeking to raise an additional $10,000 during the year.

If you are an IPMI partner, please consider donating an additional amount beyond your regular contributions to help us fund these projects.  If you are not a partner, we invite you to prayerfully consider becoming one today to help support IPMI on a regular basis or just make a one-time donation to help us fund the 2019 ministry budget.  

We look forward to your support during 2019.  

 

Take Action Now:

View the 2019 Events' Calendar and Register for Upcoming Events

Sign-up now to become an IPMI Partner

Make a one-time donation to IPMI 

 

 

 

 

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The final declaration of victory on the Islamic State (IS) in Syria has sparked renewed hopes for Syrians whose family members were kidnapped by IS, with thousands asking the U.S.-backed forces to disclose the whereabouts of their loved ones.

The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) last week announced the complete removal of IS from its last stronghold of Baghuz in eastern Syria and the rescue of thousands of civilians used as human shields by the jihadists. Still, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR), about 20,000 Syrians kidnapped by IS are missing.

“We have to know what happened to our loved ones,” said Ensaf Nasser, who has desperately searched for her husband since his abduction by IS in August 2014.

“The fate of my husband and thousands of detainees kidnapped by IS must be looked into now by the coalition and the SDF before evidences are lost,” she told VOA.

Local journalist

Nasser’s husband, Foad Ahmed el-Mohamed, was a local journalist taking pictures of wounded civilians at Aisha Hospital in Deir el-Zour city when IS militants broke in and took him away.

The extremists told Nasser that her husband was considered an infidel because he supported a secular and democratic state instead of a caliphate. He was also accused of breaking their strict Sunni codes by marrying Nasser, who was a follower of Syria’s Druze sect and naming his son after the Argentinian Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara.

“When the battle to capture Raqqa started, we all had high hopes to learn something about him. During the final battle to capture Baghuz, we also hoped that we would find or learn some news as thousands were getting out. But till now we haven’t heard anything,” Nasser said, adding that the recapture of IS's last territory ended in a crushing disappointment for her that her husband may still be alive.

The U.S.-backed battle to seize northeastern Syria from the grip of IS lasted five years. Over the years, the Islamist group lost large swaths of Syria it had once governed, including its defeat in its self-proclaimed capital, Raqqa, in October of 2017.

Earlier this month, the predominantly Kurdish SDF officially announced March 23 the defeat of the “caliphate” after weeks of fierce battles for the small town of Baghuz in far eastern Syria.

“We have freed 5 million people in Syria’s north and east from the grip of terrorism, we salvaged 52,000 square kilometers of land and removed the danger of terrorism over humanity,” the SDF said in its official victory proclamation.

Ideology

As their mission enters the next stage, the SDF vowed to continue fighting the IS ideology and reconstruct damage caused by the war.

In the key city of Raqqa, the SDF said its focus for the post-IS period has been to bring normality back to daily life, not only by removing thousands of explosives left behind by the jihadists but also by helping Syrians find their missing family members. The group is asking families of the missing to register with the Public Relations Committee and Tribes Council in Raqqa Civil Council to investigate the fate of their loved ones.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights in a new report Thursday said that in Raqqa alone nearly 4,247 people are still missing nearly 18 months after IS's removal.

SNHR asked for international support in disclosing the fate of the missing Syrians, especially as local officials continue to find dozens of people buried in mass graves across the region.

“The Central Tracing Agency, run by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), should begin to assist in the search for thousands of missing persons in Syria, try to identify their fate, and provide expertise and logistical support to the Syrian community and local organizations in this field, particularly in northeastern Syria, after the defeat of ISIS,” SNHR chairman Abdul Ghany said in a statement.

“It is possible that the contribution of international actors in this field can help Syrian society to determine the fate of tens of thousands of disappeared people,” he added.

Syrians who are in search of their missing family members say they are provided with little information when reaching out to officials from SDF and the U.S.-led coalition. Many hope their loved ones could be in refugee camps under the SDF control or IS prisons that were captured recently.

Amer Mattar, whose brother Mohammed-Noor Mattar has been missing in Raqqa since August 2013, said he was turned down by local officials when he requested to know about the fate of his 22-year-old brother.

“We have been waiting as prisons and detention centers are captured,” Mattar told VOA. “But we are learning that they are all going empty, and with IS-controlled territory shrinking, our questions on what happened to the missing are growing.”

Mohammed-Noor Mattar, 22, a media activist from Raqqa showing a victory sign while handcuffed during a campaign against oppression. After he was kidnapped by the Islamic State in 2013, his family never heard anything of his fate.Mohammed-Noor Mattar, 22, a media activist from Raqqa showing a victory sign while handcuffed during a campaign against oppression. After he was kidnapped by the Islamic State in 2013, his family never heard anything of his fate.
Mohammed-Noor Mattar, 22, a media activist from Raqqa showing a victory sign while handcuffed during a campaign against oppression. After he was kidnapped by the Islamic State in 2013, his family never heard anything of his fate.

Challenges

Local officials say they are taking the plight of missing Syrians and their families seriously, but the process of identifying the victims can be challenging, especially as the SDF and the coalition try to expose IS fighters who are hiding among civilians in refugee camps. They are expecting to know more during their investigations with captured IS fighters.

"There is a large number of civilians evacuated from Baghuz, and they were all moved to al-Hol camp for security check and will be released to their families,” said Osama al-Khalaf, a spokesperson for Raqqa Civil Council, speaking of a major refugee camp in northeastern Deir el-Zour, where thousands of civilians and IS family members are kept.

“We are gathering information from witnesses to identify who has been killed among the detainees under IS,” said al-Khalaf, adding the results of their interrogations with IS fighters is kept confidential for security reasons.

According to Syrian organizations and activists, IS used to evacuate and relocate detainees from its prisons before losing an area.

They say the group kept thousands of prisoners underground and used them as human shields to prevent coalition airstrikes.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a U.K.-based war monitor, said on Thursday the U.S.-led coalition is continuing to look for undiscovered underground tunnels and trenches in Baghuz in search of hiding IS fighters and kidnapped civilians.

 

 

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The United States is warning that crushing the Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate will not be enough to deal the terror group an enduring defeat – a message Washington delivered even as it pulls the majority of U.S. forces from Syria.

U.S.-back forces declared victory over the IS caliphate Saturday, liberating the northeastern Syrian town of Baghuz after unleashing a series of airstrikes against several hundred fighters who refused to surrender.

Since then, the Syrian Democratic Forces have been involved in clearing operations, carefully sifting through what is left of the terror group’s encampments for explosives and booby traps, as well as searching a complex network of caves and tunnels that were used to hide thousands of fighters and their families until the town’s fall.

Yet despite the optimism expressed by numerous coalition officials, the U.S. special representative for Syria cautioned a lasting victory is not yet within sight.

“This is not the end of the fight against ISIS,” U.S. envoy for Syria James Jeffrey told reporters Monday, using an acronym for the terror group. “That will go on, but it will be a different kind of fight.”

"They're reconstituting in small groups, operating in the shadows as a low-level insurgency," he said, adding that the full impact has yet to be felt in Syria, where the group’s remaining forces “are in shock from having lost this terrain.”

Jeffrey, as well as other coalition officials, estimate Islamic State still boasts an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 fighters spread across Syria and Iraq, though he cautioned such estimates are “not worth the paper they’re printed on.”

U.S. officials had previously estimated IS had, at its height, up to about 34,000 fighters. But Jeffrey said Monday that number could have been as high as 100,000.

Other senior U.S. and coalition officials have also admitted their ability to estimate the size of the radical Islamic group's fighting forces has been limited, predicting most recently hundreds of fighters were left to defend Baghuz when, in reality, thousands were killed or had surrendered.

“We have been consistently wrong, as have our SDF partners, on how big this is,” a senior defense official said.

Region Remains Fertile Ground for IS

So too, there are concerns that the region remains a fertile ground for Islamic State, which has learned to play upon local grievances as well as anyone.

“The political conditions haven’t changed really dramatically from the 2009 perspective,” said Craig Whiteside, a senior associate with the Center on Irregular Warfare at the Naval War College. “In some cases, they’ve actually gotten worse.”

Potentially making IS more dangerous, according to Whiteside, is that the group has successfully carried out an insurgency before and, at least in the past, has been patient enough to see it succeed.

“They don’t have timelines in their strategic documents. They just have an understanding that they’ll do it until it works,” he said.

At the same time, officials and analysts warn Islamic State has been preparing for this new insurgency for more than a year, starting before the fall of Mosul, its capital in Iraq, in June 2017.

But at least in Syria, U.S.-backed forces will be taking on the new fight without the same level of support.

"Armed forces are being withdrawn," Jeffrey said Monday, explaining some of the 2,000 U.S. troops that had been stationed in Syria have already been pulled out – in line with the plan announced by President Donald Trump in December.

Residual Forces

U.S. officials have said the residual force, likely about 200 troops, will be stationed in northeast Syria and at al-Tanf, a U.S. garrison in southern Syria that is seen as key to stopping smugglers supporting IS as well as limiting Iran’s influence in the region.

There have been talks between the United States and its coalition partners to set up a force of about 1,500 troops to help the Syrian Democratic Forces continue clearing operations and other stabilization efforts.

U.S. officials have characterized the talks as positive. Only the plan has met with some criticism from allies, like France, which complained last week that many questions about the size, make-up, and mission of the proposed force remain unanswered.

Jeffrey on Monday pushed back against those concerns, saying the United States was getting a “pretty good response” to its request for allies to “up their contribution.”

He also rejected a call by Kurdish authorities to set up an international tribunal to prosecute foreign fighters who joined Islamic State but who have not been taken back by their own countries.

“We’re not looking at that right now,” Jeffrey said, insisting the U.S. focus remains on making sure foreign fighters are sent back to their countries of origin.

“If they put the effort in, they could do it," he said.

The SDF is holding an estimated 7,000 IS fighters. More than 1,000 are thought to be from countries other than Iraq and Syria.

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1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 
 
 
We shall not fully understand the New Testament pictures of the Second Coming unless we remember that they have an Old Testament background. In the Old Testament, the conception of the Day of the Lord is very common; all the pictures and apparatus that belonged to the Day of the Lord have been attached to the Second Coming. To the Jew, all time was divided into two ages. There was the present age that was wholly and incurably bad. There was the age to come that would be the golden age of God. In between, there was the Day of the Lord that would be a terrible day. It would be a day in which one world was shattered and another was born.
Many of the most terrible pictures in the Old Testament are of the Day of the Lord (Isaiah 22:5; 13:9; Zephaniah 1:14-16; Amos 5:18). Its main characteristics were as follows: 
 
(1st) It would come suddenly and unexpectedly.
 
(2nd) It would involve a cosmic upheaval in which the universe was shaken to its very foundations.
 
 (3rd) It would be a time of judgment.
 
Naturally, men were anxious to know when that day would come. Jesus himself had bluntly said that no man knew when that day or hour would be, that even he did not know and only God knew. But that did not stop people from speculating about it.
To these speculations, Paul has two things to say.
 
(1st) He repeats that the coming of the day will be sudden. It will come like a thief in the night. But he also insists that that is no reason why a person should be caught 'unaware'. It is only the person who lives in the dark and whose deeds are evil who will be caught unprepared.
 
(2ndThe believer lives in the light; no matter when that day comes if he is watchful, it will find him ready. Waking or sleeping, the Christian is living already with Jesus and is, therefore, always prepared. The person who has lived his life with Jesus is never unprepared to enter His presence.
 
Life Application
We know that Jesus is coming, so be ready all the time. Be sure to invite someone to be ready to go with you.
 
Praise/Prayer
Praise God! I may not know just when the sound will take place, but I will always be listening. If it happens in the night when I am sleeping,
I know He will awaken me at that moment. Hallelujah! Amen!
 
 
 
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Her name is Chuva, which in Portuguese means rain. For four days that was all she saw as she clung to her rooftop in the cyclone's aftermath and prayed to be saved.

Maria Chuva clasped her 5-year-old daughter, Amiel, to her tightly as she recounted the panic of opening her front door to water that came up to her neck and scrambling with her family to the roof.

Now, after elbowing her way onto a rescue boat for a bewildering journey with her two girls to the inundated port city of Beira, she paused in the din of a displacement camp to reflect on losing everything but her children — and the splintered families now around her. The orphans are especially hard for her to bear.

"It hurts me so bad," she said.

An estimated 900,000 children have been orphaned or separated from their families, made homeless or otherwise affected by Cyclone Idai, half of the 1.8 million people impacted overall, according to Mozambican government figures.
The children crowd displacement camps, sleeping rough on plastic tarps on bare brick floors, or on the wooden benches of crowded schools.

They slide down wooden banisters, teeter on rain-slickened tile stairs near open cooking fires on the concrete floor. They play checkers with bottle caps. They squat around a metal pot as big as themselves, scraping its sides with their bare hands for the last remaining kernels of rice.

No one yet knows how many are orphaned, just as no one knows how many people in the cyclone-hit countries of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi are dead or missing.
Families were separated in the chaos. Many children lost a mother or father, or both.

"We are concerned about children who were orphaned by the cyclone or became separated from their parents in the chaos that followed," said Henrietta Fore, executive director of the U.N. organization for children, UNICEF.

Initial assessments in Beira indicate that more than 2,600 classrooms have been destroyed and 39 health centers impacted. At least 11,000 houses have been totally destroyed.

"This will have serious consequences on children's education, access to health services, and mental well-being," Fore said.
"The situation will get worse before it gets better," Fore added, warning of diseases like cholera, malaria and diarrhea "which can turn this disaster into a major catastrophe."

In a bare gymnasium in the Samora Machel secondary school in Beira, at least 12 children are orphans, said Juta Joao Sithole, who represents the nearly 350 people from the town of Buzi who shelter there.

He said the orphans are very young: 4, 5, 7-years old.

He feels for them keenly. His own two children, ages 9 and 7, are still at home in Buzi after he was plucked from a rooftop after three days without water and food and flown to Beira. With communications completely down, he has no way of reaching them, of knowing how they are.

When the orphaned children approach with questions, Sithole uses tough love and deflection: Eat this. Sleep here. Go play.
"When they ask about their parents, I tell them, `Please keep quiet,"' he said. He tells them stories and jokes instead.
It is too difficult to talk about death. "Children are children," he said. "They don't know anything. I treat them like my own."

For more than a week after the cyclone, a 7-year-old girl waited with her older sister at the school, injured and bewildered by her mother's absence. Finally, her mother appeared at the school. By then the small girl was so traumatized she couldn't say her name.

She sat alone on the concrete floor the next morning, crying, snot running down her lip, even though her mother had only stepped away. Sithole hoisted her up by one arm and tried to question her. She balances on one leg and only sniffled, her eyes swollen.

"Her health is not good," Sithole said and helped her sit again.
Many other Mozambican children now know hunger and homelessness, and the growing risk of disease.

In the Agostinho Neto primary school in Beira, 270 children displaced by the cyclone now live in classrooms, all of them thought to have at least one guardian. They play beneath the remains of a collapsed roof, its beams now hung with drying clothes.

"It's sad. It hurts me to see families sleeping 10 people together, separated by desks," said Saoundina Tempe, a manager there with Mozambique's disaster management agency. "Newborns, pregnant women. Their lives are in jeopardy because of disease, being together in the same place."

For some children who survived the storm, a patch of sidewalk in downtown Beira is now home.

Marta Ben is surrounded by them. The 30-year-old mother of five clutched a baby to her hip, barefoot, a cooking pot bubbling nearby.

When the cyclone hit their neighborhood of shacks near the sea and peeled their roofs away, she and other young mothers gathered what children they could and fled.

"We lost some of them," she said.

On Friday she and the children marked a week on the sidewalk. They now beg to get by.

"If people give," she said simply, "we receive."Initial assessments in Beira indicate that more than 2,600 classrooms have been destroyed and 39 health centers impacted. At least 11,000 houses have been totally destroyed.

"This will have serious consequences on children's education, access to health services, and mental well-being," Fore said.
"The situation will get worse before it gets better," Fore added, warning of diseases like cholera, malaria and diarrhea "which can turn this disaster into a major catastrophe."

In a bare gymnasium in the Samora Machel secondary school in Beira, at least 12 children are orphans, said Juta Joao Sithole, who represents the nearly 350 people from the town of Buzi who shelter there.

He said the orphans are very young: 4, 5, 7-years old.

He feels for them keenly. His own two children, ages 9 and 7, are still at home in Buzi after he was plucked from a rooftop after three days without water and food and flown to Beira. With communications completely down, he has no way of reaching them, of knowing how they are.

When the orphaned children approach with questions, Sithole uses tough love and deflection: Eat this. Sleep here. Go play.
"When they ask about their parents, I tell them, `Please keep quiet,"' he said. He tells them stories and jokes instead.
It is too difficult to talk about death. "Children are children," he said. "They don't know anything. I treat them like my own."

For more than a week after the cyclone, a 7-year-old girl waited with her older sister at the school, injured and bewildered by her mother's absence. Finally, her mother appeared at the school. By then the small girl was so traumatized she couldn't say her name.

She sat alone on the concrete floor the next morning, crying, snot running down her lip, even though her mother had only stepped away. Sithole hoisted her up by one arm and tried to question her. She balances on one leg and only sniffled, her eyes swollen.

"Her health is not good," Sithole said and helped her sit again.
Many other Mozambican children now know hunger and homelessness, and the growing risk of disease.

In the Agostinho Neto primary school in Beira, 270 children displaced by the cyclone now live in classrooms, all of them thought to have at least one guardian. They play beneath the remains of a collapsed roof, its beams now hung with drying clothes.

"It's sad. It hurts me to see families sleeping 10 people together, separated by desks," said Saoundina Tempe, a manager there with Mozambique's disaster management agency. "Newborns, pregnant women. Their lives are in jeopardy because of disease, being together in the same place."

For some children who survived the storm, a patch of sidewalk in downtown Beira is now home.

Marta Ben is surrounded by them. The 30-year-old mother of five clutched a baby to her hip, barefoot, a cooking pot bubbling nearby.

When the cyclone hit their neighborhood of shacks near the sea and peeled their roofs away, she and other young mothers gathered what children they could and fled.

"We lost some of them," she said.

On Friday she and the children marked a week on the sidewalk. They now beg to get by.

"If people give," she said simply, "we receive."

 

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