Cuba stands at a pivotal point in history. Our partner, the Baptist Convention of Cuba recognizes that local churches are being planted but not established. They have introduced the church-based training program of lay-leaders to ensure enough spiritual leadership is established to safeguard the future of the church by providing strong leaders who will shepherd these new believers with solid Biblical teaching. The missionary training program is the most strategic contribution that Canadians can make to the Church in Cuba at this time and you helped towards this last month!
“We thank God for the instruments He uses to bless His Work in these times. Partners International has been truly efficient in its cooperation for sustaining some of our pastors and missionaries who work sowing the Word of God in difficult places of our country. At present, we have 19 workers that are sustained and so 19 churches that have been served, although the number of communities benefiting from the hard work of these men and women surpasses this figure up to 259, including meeting houses and missions. We have had up to now 4 churches planted, 303 leaders trained, 2803 people evangelized, of which 97 have become Christians and 24 have been baptized.” - BCEC
Of the 19 workers, Ricardo is one that is sacrificially serving the people of Cuba and expanding God’s kingdom through sharing the love of God with those he meets. He shares,
“God goes on blessing our ministry. In the last years He has helped us to have 20 meeting houses or church houses, we continue praying for new homes to be open to the gospel preaching. In recent days I received a wonderful surprise: it is very encouraging what happened. A family of nonbelievers was ready to celebrate a worship service in their house, that day, about 20 believers and nonbelievers gathered, after the sermon, all the family members accepted the Lord, 4 adults and 3 children. Since then, the house has served as a meeting house for the Lord. Praise the Lord!”
A huge thank you for helping Cuba this month! Please continue to pray for the work here!
Population: 200.4 million (2013)
Main Language: Portuguese
Religions: 65% Catholic, 22% evangelical Christian, 2% Spiritist
DID YOU KNOW: Brazil was named after the brazilwood tree, and is the only country to be named after a tree.
CONPLEI (Consejo Nacional de Pastores y Lideres Evangelicos)
Translated “The National Board of Indigenous Pastors and Leaders of Brazil”
Partner since 2009
CONPLEI is groundbreaking in that is completely indigenous made up of hundreds of tribal missionaries who travel deep into the Amazonian river systems to share the gospel and develop ‘authentically indigenous churches’ among the remote and unreached tribes along the river.
Traveling by themselves with only a motorized canoe they set off for weeks at a time to show God's love to them. CONPLEI is involved in recruiting new missionaries, theological training, holistic care of individuals and communities, and increasing sustainability and capacity of the mission. They also exist to represent indigenous evangelical churches on relevant issues with civil society and public authorities, in addition to safeguarding, defending and claiming indigenous rights.
Brother Henrique is the current director of CONPLEI and one of the original founders of the ministry. A well respected and revolutionary leader in the field, he pushes the current boundaries of ministry in Brazil. Born and raised in the southern regions of Brazil, Brother Henrique came to know the Lord as a boy and felt called to share the word of God with others around him. He then started sharing the gospel with tribal people who had never even heard of Jesus. With a family of four and a large team of missionaries, Brother Henrique continues to change lives each day.
“I am from a town in the Southern region of Brazil. I came to know the Lord when I was 9 years old. A few years later, I felt God calling me to ministry and I went to the Biblical Institute to prepare myself. Upon completing my studies we worked as pastors of 2 churches. We came to understand that our ministry was to train and support indigenous leaders. I was married to my wife in 1986. We met at the seminary and have two beautiful children. We have been serving in ministry for 23 years. Throughout these years, we have clearly seen the power of God on so many levels.” - Henrique
PLEASE PRAY FOR:
Population: 11.2 million
Religions: Roman Catholic
DID YOU KNOW: Cuba has one of the highest literacy rates in the world at 99.8%
Baptist Convention of Eastern Cuba
Partner since 1995
Baptist Convention of Eastern Cuba (BCEC) works in a complex political and religious environment and the church is seeing many accept the rich promise of new life in Jesus. BCEC is working to develop the church, raise up and train missionaries and leaders, and provide holistic care and development of poor and vulnerable individuals and communities.
Ricardo is a national worker for BCEC and is passionate about planting churches and reaching the lost for Christ. He has been and continues to be involved in multiple church plants.
“I began visiting the church with my parents when I was 7 years old. The Lord was dealing with us as I remember that we grew in fear and respect for God. In 1977 I was sent into the military service and although I was not a Christian yet, I felt God’s support. In 1980, I went back home and began to feel the need of giving an account to God, and in June the same year, I accepted Christ in my heart. I was baptised in July 1981 and a few days later, I started to lead the youth department of my church and to participate in the different activities. I was the president of the youth for 3 years and later, as a district delegate for 5 years up to getting into the missionary life.
One day, I felt the need to help my pastor in missionary work. The Lord answered me and a sister from a neighbouring Church told me about their need of someone to work with them. I prayed to the Lord asking for strength to travel a great distance up the mountains. A cell group was established and after a few months, the First Baptist Church was planted and we came to be members of it.”
Thank you for your support and prayers last month! In the month of December, you helped Brother M as he works with families to get out of debt and live a more fulfilled and sustainable life. Brother M’s identity is hidden for his safety because he risks his life each day to share the love of Jesus with others in his community.
In Pakistan, a Hindu tribal community called the “Marwari” are extremely poor, landless and illiterate. As a result, Marwari families and communities are exploited, trapped in poverty and rarely have access to education.
Leena and her husband are members of the Marwari tribal community and have eight children. In the past, her husband borrowed money from their landlord to meet their family’s emergency needs. However, the interest from the loan compounded quickly and soon the family found themselves falling deeper and deeper into long-term debt that they could not get out of. Brother M helped Leena’s family through small loans to help them start a business while teaching them basic saving skills. Leena and her husband were able to generate income from this money and pay off their loan to the landlord and have some savings left over. Unfortunately, Leena’s husband has passed away, but she is so thankful to God for the help that her family has received from the workers like Brother M. She says, “We are thankful to God and we are now in a much better position financially”
Population: 201.9 million
Language: Punjabi, Urdu, English
Religions: 96.4% Muslim, 3.6% Christian and Hindu
DID YOU KNOW: More than 50% of the World’s Soccer balls are made in Pakistan!
Partner since 2007
ChrisFon works among the Pashtun people of Northern Pakistan. The rugged mountain region has been a notoriously hostile place and deeply suspicious of outsiders. With constant tension, corruption and natural disasters many not only live in poverty but in danger of being exploited and persecuted harshly for their beliefs. ChrisFon focuses their projects to those most vulnerable including women, children, Muslim converts and bonded labourers (a form of slavery where people work for extremely low wages to pay off generational debts) in brick kilns and agriculture.
Ministry among the people of Northern Pakistan relies on relationships built on a foundation of honesty and practical need. Through evangelism and a variety of programs offered to the communities, such as:
Brother M is a national worker at ChrisFon who is sharing the love of God through community development. His heart is deeply burdened for the lost and the broken. He runs poverty alleviation programs that create opportunities to share God’s love to unreached peoples, and cares for persecuted believers.
“I come from a very poor family. My parents were illiterate working-class people. All through my youth Christians helped us. Because of this, I am indebted to God and also burdened to serve less privileged people… I am thankful to the many foreign missionaries that came here and put up schools and hospitals... It motivates me to do as much Christian work as possible. That’s what keeps me going…The church at large is failing to engage the real needs of the lost in Pakistan. I have tried to be as close to the church as possible and help its leadership realize there are many things that need the attention of the church. This includes the courage to protect, disciple and engage persecuted [believers] and provide holistic care of people outside the church system. It includes providing justice and help for the countless number of poor and oppressed. In time, God enabled me to start ChrisFon to meet all these needs. Today, it is possible that ChrisFon gives care to more persecuted believers than any other network in Pakistan.“
Last month you have helped the ministry of Leor and the Bangladesh Baptist Church Fellowship (BBCF)!
Through your help, we were able to provide a good environment through our children’s homes for the total growth of impoverished, lower cast, untouched, ethnic and tribal children. You helped to provide a safe and healthy environment for children like Tanay (story below) to grow and develop physically, mentally and spiritually. Additionally, the home provides assistance to help children at the homes receive excellent guidance in their schoolwork by tutors and as a result, they are performing well academically. The Bangladesh Baptist Church Fellowship is working to take care of and provide for these children, ensuring a brighter and stronger future for them with your help.
Tanay is a boy at one of BBCF’s four homes. His family are now Christians. As day labourers, his parents were not able to maintain and supply the minimum needs for their children. They were going through great difficulties as poverty struck the family. Tanay had no opportunity to go school when he was in the village. However, Tanay got the opportunity to come to the Home a few years ago through their local Pastor. After coming to the Home, a new and precious season began in his life. He was able to receive nutritious food, clothes, medical treatment and educational materials in a Christian environment. He also made many new friends. His favourite subject is English and Geography. He has learnt how to read and write, how to lead a disciplined life and how to help others. He loves to participate in Sunday school activities and songs. He says “I want to be a Gospel preacher and reveal the Light of Christ in the village areas because there are many tribes who do not know the Gospel yet”.
Thank you for your prayers and support last month for Bhim Lal and Good Friends of Nepal!
In the month of October, you helped people like Babu (story below) feel loved, valued, and accepted. You helped support the emotional, material, social and spiritual needs of individuals.
In rural villages of Nepal, when a wife’s husband dies, the wife is believed to be at fault and is labelled a 'Shreeman Tokuwa’ which means 'unlucky' and 'husband eater'. Unfortunately, it is common for both families to reject the widow leaving her destitute and vulnerable, as they believe it is a bad omen to have a widow living in your home. It is also thought that if they see a widow in the morning, they will have bad luck all day. People will not drink water or use objects touched by a widow believing she has made them unclean. Due to this harsh treatment and stigmatization widows become lost in despair and misery. Amidst this deeply entrenched social custom, Good Friends of Nepal (GFN) is working counter-culturally and supporting widows, with your help.
"We started the widow program by fasting once a month and donating the food money we saved to several widows we knew needed help….God said to care for the widows and orphans. So we give special care to widows."
- Bhim Lal, Good Friends of Nepal (GFN)
Babu has two grown sons. After her husband died she was blamed for his death, called a 'husband eater' and faced extreme rejection. Her family refused to take her in, as the responsibility to care for her had been given to the husband’s family when she married. A common phrase said by the bride's parents during the wedding ceremony is, 'whether you take care of her or kill her, she is now your responsibility'.
Babu struggled daily to take care of herself. When GFN met her, they invited her to join the Widows Care Program and provided her with some help each month. When Bhim Lal continued to come and visit Babu she exclaimed, "How have you had such care for us? Why are you doing this when my own people do not care for me?” Then she began to cry.
Bhim Lal hugged Babu and replied, "It is God's love that compels us. I was told you had a problem and this is a small gift that we can help with." Moved by his words she offered to pray for him, thanking the Lord for giving him the heart to help widows and orphans. This kindness returned by Babu then made Bhim Lal cry. The gratefulness and joy of Babu and other widows in the Widow Care Program motivate Bhim Lal and his team to do even more to stand with these women.
Population: 156 million
Religions: 89% Muslim , 10% Hindu, 1% Other (Buddhist, Christian, etc)
DID YOU KNOW:
Bangladesh has six - not four - separate seasons, which it calls grismo (summer), barsha (rainy), sharat (autumn), hemanto (cool), sheet (winter), and bashonto (spring).
A little about the Bangladesh Baptist Church Fellowship:
They have been a partner of ours since 2004
The Bangladesh Baptist Church Fellowship is a group of churches that maintain a passionate commitment to holistically serving the country’s tribal groups, Hindu communities and the majority population through humanitarian aid, community health programs, children’s homes, literacy programs, savings groups, and Bible training.
Bangladesh is a densely populated country with over half of the population living below the poverty line. The country is plagued with frequent natural disasters including floods and cyclones, in addition to political unrest and religious tension. BBCF is providing much-needed physical, emotional and spiritual support through these programs for villagers across the region.
Brother Leor leads the Bangladesh Baptist Church Fellowship, who are meeting the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of people in communities across Bangladesh. Brother L was born into a Christian family and was raised in the church. However, he did not realize the importance and need of salvation until attending a youth camp in 1987. It was here that he realized his need for salvation and gave his life to Jesus Christ. After finishing school, Brother L began working as a youth minister and then as a pastor to disabled people. Brother L works with many leaders and ministries across Bangladesh, leading a team of 600 ministry workers, children’s workers, and medical staff who are committed to serving the needs of the people in Bangladesh.
Extremists are targeting, threatening and attacking Christians and Churches, as well as foreigners. Pray for the courage, stronger faith and safety. Also pray for those people, particularly the youth, who are motivated for the wrong cause.
Pray for the total protection of Pastors, leaders and workers. Many of them are risking their lives for the ministry.
Keep praying for Brother L for His wisdom and leading of the Holy Spirit, and the health and safety of his family.
Pray for peace and political stability in Bangladesh.
Pray for BBCF churches, ministry workers, Adopt a Village project, training and other ongoing activities.
Please pray for God’s provision for the successful achievement of their Strategic Plan Vision 20/20. Please pray for wisdom and guidance from the Holy Spirit.
Population: 27.8 million
Language: Nepali, there are approximately 123 other local languages and dialects
Religions: Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim
DID YOU KNOW:
Nepal has eight of the world's ten tallest mountains, including the highest: Mount Everest
Good Friends of Nepal
Partner since 1999
GFN serves remote, mountainous regions of the country of Nepal serving all people through holistic ministry. There is great need and growing poverty in the country and specifically these mountainous areas. People are also still recovering from the 2015 earthquake and need both physical support but also spiritual and emotional support which are provided through the local GFN workers in these areas.
Bhim Lal is a national worker and the director of Good Friends of Nepal. He has a heart for the people of Nepal. He is a gracious and humble leader in his community and has opened his door to those in need including orphans and those who are caste from society as outsiders. He expands his work through training others each year and sending them out to serve communities across Nepal that need love and support. Bhim and his wife, Kalpana are well respected and are committed to doing all that God has called them to do, bringing God’s love to the country of Nepal every day.
Bhim Lal’s Testimony
“I was born and brought up in a Buddhist family. It was at the age of 15 that I heard the Gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ for the first time from my Uncle. Later on, due to the persecution of the believers in my village, my uncle migrated to Gorkha district. However, he kept on visiting us from time to time and shared the love of God and his son Jesus Christ, who died for us. But we didn’t accept Christ till the death of my younger brother. At that time of sorrow and pain, only the Gospel became real to my family and me when my uncle comforted us from the Word of God. I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour and Lord.”
PLEASE PRAY: For workers like Bhim Lal and the entire GFN team. May they be encouraged and strengthened in the work they do. Pray that financial needs would be met. And please pray for the country of Nepal - that God’s light would spread across the country and that true healing would take place in communities in a great way.
Thank you for your prayers and support for the mobile medical unit in India through our partner, JKPS. Because of your help, more people were able to receive medical care that otherwise would not. The Mobile Medical Unit of JKPS has held 58 camps in the year 2016. 4,100 patients were treated up till now in different districts of West Bengal. These camps provide General Health, Oral and Eye check-ups to the poor and needy.
Snigdha (27), visited JKPS Medical Camp because she was suffering from asthma and fungal infection in her leg. She visited the medical camp for a checkup. She was not able to do her studies properly and found it hard to concentrate due to her health issues. One of our doctors checked her and gave her medicine for her breathing problems and an ointment for the fungal infection. She informed us after a month that she did not have breathing problems anymore after taking the medicines and also that the fungal infection has reduced drastically. She is very happy now and thanks JKPS for the Medical Camps being held in their area.