Saturday, April 12, 2008
Thursday, April 10, 2008
It was the biggest passenger ship ever built at the time at 882 feet long and 92 feet wide. Its hull had a capacity of more than four and a half million cubic feet. The Titanic is generally remembered as a luxury liner, but only 325 of the 2,224 people on board were traveling in first class. Many of the passengers were European immigrants hoping to start new lives in America.
On the fifth night of the ship's voyage, the weather was clear and windless. There was no moon. It had been an especially warm winter and many icebergs had broken off from glaciers farther north, so the lookout men had been told to keep an eye out for them. At about 11:40, one of the lookouts, Frederick Fleet, saw a huge dark object floating in the water in front of the ship. He yelled, "Iceberg right ahead," and rang an alarm bell. Many of the passengers awake that night later said that they felt a slight bump.
The sinking of the Titanic was one of the worst maritime disasters in history, and it has been a great inspiration to artists of all kinds. More than 500 songs were written about the disaster, most famously "It Was Sad When That Great Ship Went Down" by Pop Stoneman, with the lines, "Oh they threw the lifeboats out o'er the dark and stormy sea / The band struck up with 'Nearer My God to Thee' / Children wept and cried as the water rushed through the side / It was sad when that great ship went down." The disaster has also been the subject of more than a hundred books and at least a dozen movies.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Church Dissolved for Having a Sunday School - Forum 18 News Service
On March 24, a United Methodist congregation in Smolensk, Russia, was dissolved by the regional court in response to a suit filed by the Regional Public Prosecutor's Office protesting the church having a Sunday school program. According to Forum 18 News, the court agreed with the Regional Organized Crime Police's assertion that the Smolensk United Methodist Church was breaking the law by conducting "educational activity in a Sunday school without a corresponding license." While the court's decision to dissolve the church means loss of legal status rather than a complete ban, it does bar the Methodists from maintaining or developing any form of public profile as an organization. Pray that the religious rights of this church will be recognized and restored. Pray that the congregation will rejoice in the opportunity to grow in Christ likeness through the opposition they face. James 1:2-4
House Church Leaders Detained; Female Leaders Remain in Jail - China Aid Association
On March 29, seven house church leaders were arrested in Qu county, Sichuan province, during a house church praise and worship service. According to China Aid Association (CAA), "Seven believers were taken by a group who claimed to be from the local religious affairs bureau, community administration and national security. Two believers were released after interrogation, one was released the following day and three female house church leaders remain in the detention center. " Meanwhile, on March 30, nine female house church leaders and four children were arrested by police officials after a Sunday school service in Sichuan province. CAA reported, "All the children and two elderly believers were released after interrogations, but seven female house church leaders are still in the detention center, and one is missing." According to copies of the criminal detention notice issued to the family members of some of those arrested, the house church leaders were being "suspected of using [an] evil cult to obstruct the enforcement of the law." These arrests are the latest in the Chinese communist government’s crackdown on Christians prior to the Olympics this summer. The Voice of the Martyrs stands with believers in China despite the government’s attempt to harass and intimidate them. VOM encourages you to pray for these arrested believers and their families. Ask God to comfort and encourage them. Also, pray their testimonies will draw nonbelievers into fellowship with Him. Deuteronomy 33: 26-27
New Testament Distribution by Gideons Stopped by Hindu Radicals - VOM Sources
On April 6, Hindu extremists stopped a Gideon International New Testament distribution in Bhubaneswar in Orissa State. According to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts, "New Testaments were being given to college students that were leaving the Examination Center at the Central School. These students had just completed their medical school entrance examinations. Realizing the New Testaments were being given openly to the students, local Hindus demanded the group stop the distribution." VOM contacts added, "When the members of Gideons ignored these requests, more Hindus began to intervene. After distributing 390 New Testaments, the mob became irate and began to manhandle the Gideons, demanding they leave. They were forced to pack up the New Testaments and leave immediately. As they were packing up, the mob was able to take 10 New Testaments and set fire to them in the street. A few members of Gideons sustained minor injuries." Please pray the students that have received the New Testaments would put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Also, pray for those injured in this attack and for God's Word to go forth without disturbance in this area of India. Isaiah 54:14
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
I would break down our 6 days there in the following manner: part 1 was the time we spent with the house of prayer that is growing in La Paz, another part of our trip was ministering at the weekend retreat (Friday through Sunday), and the last part was about the street children ministry.
We had a number of occasions to meet with the house of prayer leaders. It is an effort coming out of a large independent church called Kairos. The director of the house of prayer is a young woman who went through a season at the IHOP in KC, her name is Diana. Their prayer room is very comfortable and is open during daylight hours. They have been working patiently to develop staff and people with various degrees of commitment to the vision of night and day prayer in La Paz, and presently have 10 interns that are being trained and potentially could be full- or part-time house of prayer staff. It is a solid beginning but in an early phase of growth. We quickly grew in appreciation for these interns as they were so hungry for God and so loving towards others! We had several sessions with them in the prayer room and taught them at other times as well.
The second part of the trip was the weekend retreat. It was a much bigger event than we had anticipated, with over 200 people participating in the retreat. We had meals and our meetings in a large covered area, which was several hours north of La Paz in the thick Bolivian jungle. Kirk Bennett taught a number of sessions over the weekend, and God was with our small ministry team to come alongside the retreat leadership. We had a number of significant prophetic words, but also ministered healing and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. There were many things that God did, we were part of a catalytic time for many as the Lord moved in great grace. For example, I had a word of knowledge while on the plane ride down about generational curses. I had no idea what the application might be, but after one of the teaching sessions during the retreat a couple came directly up to me requesting prayer. It was striking to me how they "zeroed in on me" and had understanding that I was to pray for them. It turned out the woman had been struggling with depression for a year, though having no history of it beforehand. After a brief interview (the husband spoke english well) we went off to a private area and the Lord ministered powerfully to her after confirming the problem was this generational curse. I spoke with them a couple of times afterwards and she was glowing with the peace of God!
The final part of our trip concerned a ministry team that has a remarkable story of God's love working through His Church in La Paz. We met a woman named Claudia, whose life was intersected by God while a college student nearly 20 years ago. While in university, she became friends with a group of street children were surviving in a hollow area beneath a large statue near her campus. Long story short, her compassion and care for these children had multiplied tremendously. Claudia has recruited a number of people and they are working together to minister to these youth. Presently they have 7 locations where they are housing, feeding and where they provide training in areas such as sewing and cooking. The number of children they have taken in is over 600. The number of street children they are ministering to is over 8000! Yes, thats the right number: 8000! In our time with Claudia it was clear to us that God would have us help and work with them. The details remain to be worked out, but that much can be safely said.
The closing part of my report is to alert you that I would like to take my family down to La Paz for a month later this year. This would be to gain a better idea of how to assist them in building one or more prayer rooms for the children and teach them in worship and prayer. We have a strong sense of the partnership between ZHOP and these Bolivian ministries gaining more depth and the fruitfulness that comes about by worship, prayer and fasting. Your prayer for my family and the Zadok House of Prayer in general are greatly appreciated during this time. If we walk this out with joyful integrity, I believe the Lord is looking to raise up His house of prayer there that is flowing in gratefulness to Jesus... praying for the nations to know God's Son even as they increase in lovesickness for His return!
Please feel free to contact me with any comments or questions you might have. We love you, thank you for remembering us in prayer for God's will to be done.
Greg Burnett and family