THIES, Senegal (BP) -- Ahmad Faraj* was 16 when he overheard his parents plotting to kill him because of his Christian faith.
THIES, Senegal (BP) -- Moise Al-Jahani* clutches his green plastic bowl with dirt-crusted hands and shakes its contents side to side. Most street children, like this small boy, end many days with not much more than a few sugar cubes, a handful of beans and a handful of rice.
THIES, Senegal (BP) -- Jesús Guillén says he should've died a dozen times over, twice at the hands of his wife. "For 10 years, I was a very bad husband. I did everything wrong. It was a hell for her," Guillén, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Redención, a Hispanic church in Houston, Texas, says of his past. "I made her life so bad that she tried to kill herself three times and kill me twice."
NEW ALBANY, Ind. (BP) -- When Becky Dorman sees Ukraine in the news -- the violence, the bombs, the downed aircraft -- she thinks of Marina. Dorman, a member at Graceland Baptist Church in New Albany, Ind., met the young Ukrainian woman in 2009 when Dorman's mission team traveled to Ukraine. Marina was a translator for the team. "I continue to pray for her, especially for her safety," Dorman said. "Having never been to Ukraine before, she really took my heart." A number of churches in the United States have postponed or canceled their plans to do ministry in Ukraine this year because of the unrest. But Christian workers in that region of the world say there is still much that churches "back home" in the United States can do. Tim Johnson,* an IMB representative in Ukraine, said the U.S. church has a "great role" in reaching out to Ukraine during these difficult times by creating awareness, continuing to pray and being a part of outreach efforts. "Those are great ways for the church to continue to support our Ukrainian brothers and sisters," he said. "It's just hard when you know that there's church-planting efforts going on, there's desire to see new work take place, but at the same time there's that cloud of fear that hangs in the air," he said. "So we pray for that to dissipate and that we could have a chance to move forward with clear skies." Marina's home is in the Luhansk region, a section of eastern Ukraine torn by conflict between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian army. Her home couldn't have been farther away from war -- or from Dorman's radar -- a few years ago. "I remember hearing our pastor say from the pulpit that we needed to have a people group on our heart, and I remember thinking that I didn't even know what a people group was," Dorman, who serves as worship ministry administrative assistant at Graceland Baptist Church, said. Then Dorman's daughter, a junior in college, announced she was going to Ukraine to serve for a summer. Suddenly the needs in Ukraine came to life for Dorman. "I thought, 'You know what? I'll have Ukrainians in my heart," she said. She did. Since Dorman's initial trip to Ukraine in 2009 she has been twice more. The church partners with Joel*, a former worship pastor of Graceland Baptist. He is co-director of the church-planting program at Kiev Theological Seminary. He served 35 years as worship pastor at Graceland Baptist before he and his wife Mary Ellen* began work with the International Mission Board in Ukraine in 2003. Since then, he's partnered with Graceland Baptist to link them with the church planters he trains.
MOSUL, Iraq (BP) -- Sudden intense fighting in Iraq has prompted a "double crisis" in the region, with Iraqi refugees compounding the already heavy burden of the Syrian refugee crisis, said Don Alan,* a Christian leader in the region.
KIEV, Ukraine (BP) -- As Sasha gets his cap and gown ready, he remains uncertain about his country's future.
DONETSK, Ukraine (BP) -- In Tom Long's* city in eastern Ukraine, life is "fairly calm" -- except that people are carrying baseball bats and packing semi-automatic rifles.
CAIRO, Egypt (BP) -- When Egypt's government abruptly stepped down Feb. 24, the action made only small ripples in a nation now accustomed to major political upheaval. Army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who is now expected to run for president in the coming election, quietly resigned from power, and new prime minister Ibrahim Mehlib stepped in, reinstating Sisi as defense minister.
BANGUI, Central African Republic (BP) -- An escalating cycle of violence between Christians and Muslims in Central African Republic is raising questions for missionaries about the future of the church in the region. Retaliatory attacks between the two religious groups are wracking the western part of the nation with out-of-control bloodshed. According to BBC News, the republic is "a nation consumed by rage." "There's a lot of stress, a lot of tension," said Ron Pontier, who has served for 30 years as a mission pilot for a Christian organization in Central African Republic (CAR) and neighboring countries.