Displaying items by tag: Christian
Tatjana Schoenmaker set a new record in the women’s 200-metre breaststroke, and she is using her success to point others to God. After breaking another record in the preliminary rounds for the 100-metre breaststroke, she ended up claiming the silver medal. In all her competitions in Tokyo, Tatjana has worn under her green South Africa swim cap another cap proclaiming her faith with a blue Jesus fish and the phrase ‘Soli Deo Gloria,’ meaning ‘Glory to God alone,’ printed on the side of it. She has used her platform to discuss her Christian faith before the Olympics began in an Instagram post, ‘Father God, may Your will be done, may Your peace fill us up, may we praise You no matter what the outcome, may we be empowered by Your strength to give our all and may we forever be in awe of Your goodness!’ she wrote. ‘Thank You for bringing us to this very moment.’
She was going to try out for the Olympics. Then in February Quanesha injured her femur. ‘Eleven weeks of frustration, limitations from physicians, doubt from others, and not being able to train was a big challenge. My coach definitely didn’t think I would be able to compete at the US trials for a spot on the Olympic team.’ But she would not be held down by negativity. ‘Being an Olympian is a promise God made to me before the trials or injuries. I held on to that promise through the good and bad. Being an Olympian is great, but it could never be as fulfilling as the joy of knowing how my faith was tested beyond measure and I held on to God’s promise with all the trust I had, and He never left my side.’ On 30 June Quanesha qualified for the Olympics.
Dr Jerome Adams grew up poor in rural Maryland on a family farm. Government assistance sustained the family. His mother recently had a major stroke. His brother struggles with substance abuse. All four grandparents died prematurely of chronic disease. An uncomfortable childhood prepared him for an ‘uncomfortable’ tenure as US surgeon general. He said, ‘I’m a Christian and I believe God doesn’t put you where you’ll be comfortable, He puts you where He needs you.’ He has been criticised for recommending the use of masks and for working with a president who some believe is ‘insensitive to people of colour’, saying, ‘Our issues as people of colour are too important to go four years without representation in the highest levels of government. I personally have faith that I am put where I am most needed. I spent my life fighting and will keep fighting for the poor, the disadvantaged, the people of colour.’
Christians in Beirut have responded with defiance amid reports that groups seeking to profit from the devastating explosion are trying to persuade them to sell up and leave. 300,000 families were displaced by the 4 August blast. Monsignor Toufic Bou-Hadir, who works with the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), described how people are opting to keep their damaged homes rather than accept offers to sell their properties. ACN is providing emergency aid for victims of the blast. He said, ‘There are people trying to profit from this catastrophe by buying land and homes from the Christians. Christians want to stay in their close Christian community. Old and young are staying in their homes, even ones that are damaged.’ Beirut’s Christian districts bore the brunt of the explosion, and church leaders are working with politicians to frustrate land-grabbers by passing legislation preventing the faithful from selling their homes.
El-Sayeh left his job teaching Islamic studies to school children in March 2019. Having watched Christian satellite TV, he wanted to know more about the truth of Islam and read more of the Bible to compare religions and pray. God touched his heart and guided him on his way to learn about Christ and Christianity. He read Christian books and was secretly baptised in April. Then he began to talk to his wife about the work of Christ in his life, to convince her to follow Jesus like him. But she told his wider family, who insulted and threatened him. Families of converted Christians believe they are honour-bound to kill them for the betrayal of everything the family and local community hold dear. El-Sayeh was forcefully electrocuted to death because he kept his faith till his last breath and refused to renounce it.
Jesus has all authority and power to forgive sins through his sacrifice on the cross and his resurrection for those who receive Him by faith. However Muslims reject this mercy and look for forgiveness and an allegiance to Allah by doing a Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. Muhammad said, ‘Whoever performs Hajj for the sake of Allah and does not utter any obscene speech or do any evil deed will go back (free of sin) as his mother bore him.’ All Muslims must perform the Hajj at least once in their lifetime if they are able; it is one of the five pillars of their faith. On 18 August, three million Muslims from all over the world will flock to Mecca to perform sacred acts and follow the steps of Muhammad, for three days. You are invited to join Christians globally to pray for the millions taking this spiritual journey.
Chad Robichaux, of the Mighty Oaks Foundation (a charity supporting those suffering from wartime trauma), was told he could not use the label 'Christian' to boost his advert on the Google-owned YouTube platform as it violated the site's advertising policy. When Mr Robichaux objected to their decision, YouTube said that targeting users based on their religion was in breach of their advertising policy, but adverts can include the term 'Christian' in them and still hope to reach a Christian audience. Mr Robichaux then accused the tech giant of religious discrimination, saying, ‘We ran the exact same ad with the keyword Muslim and it was approved but Christian was not. Additionally, we've run ads with the keyword Christian for years. This year alone we had 150,000 impressions on that word in our ads.’ He was told the discriminating policy was new. Google has yet to comment publicly on the matter.
Pakistani Christian mother Aasia Bibi has finally been freed from prison after spending over eight years on death row for allegedly committing ‘blasphemy’ against Islam, but she is not yet free. Government officials confirmed on 8 November that she had been flown to Islamabad under tight security due to radical Muslim death threats against her and her family following the news of her acquittal. While some reports stated that she had left the country, a foreign ministry spokesman said that this was not true. It is unclear what might happen to her, given that Imran Khan’s government has seemingly given way to the huge protests caused by her acquittal on 31 October, and made a deal with the party responsible for organising them. According to that agreement, Aasia would be re-tried by a new supreme court, not including the original three judges.
An eye surgeon from the Diocese of Peshawar, Khushbakht Peters, celebrates the work of the Christian hospital at Tank in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. She writes: ‘Tank is a city in the south of our province. The war against terrorism has been going on for a long time here; many people, both soldiers and civilians, have lost their lives. Yet even when things were at their worst, the dedicated staff at the Christian Hospital persisted in providing healthcare services. A few years ago, even the Taliban refused to attack the hospital, as this is where all their women and children go for treatment. For the past 150 years the hospital has been following the footsteps of the Good Samaritan, providing a healing touch for those in need. They have been helping the poorest of the poor, the underprivileged of society, giving them their only chance to better health. Following the living example of the hospital, let us be obedient to our calling to the Lord, and become a blessing for many.’
This winter cathedrals, churches, schools and community projects around the country are hosting choir concerts and carol services and raising their voices for the voiceless. There will be a huge number of amazing events, everything from sing-along spectaculars to classical choral concerts to bucket-bearing buskers, to help transform lives and communities. They will be raising money for the Church Urban Fund; a social action charity working in local communities throughout England to tackle injustice and poverty including modern slavery, the voiceless and powerless, in need of help and support. Gifts will aid work with asylum-seekers, homeless people, families facing food poverty and financial exclusion, and those feeling they are on the edge, isolated and lonely. Recruiting for and organising these events is going on now.