EDITOR’S NOTE: BP Ledger carries items for reader information each week from various Southern Baptist-related entities, and news releases of interest from other sources. The items are published as received. BP Ledger will not appear June 18 during the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting. It will resume June 25.
Today’s BP Ledger includes items from:
Oklahoma Baptist Messenger
Compass Direct News
International Mission Board
Northwest Baptist Church in Oklahoma City ministers to state champion Knights, coach
By Bob Nigh
OKLAHOMA CITY (Baptist Messenger) — Two years ago, Daniel De Souza resigned his job as soccer coach at a community college in Bristol, England, crossed over the “pond” and took over the reins as soccer coach at Northwest Classen High School, a school that hadn’t won a state championship in any sport for 26 years.
A native of Ghana, De Souza brought years of “futbol” experience with him — he had played semi-pro soccer in both Europe and Africa before a knee injury cut his career short. At Northwest High, he inherited an inner-city program facing an uphill battle on several fronts.
Most pressing was lack of good nutrition for the players, some of whom came to school hungry and went home after practice the same way, having had little to eat all day. Add to that the dehydration resulting from constant running during practice, and the players found themselves physically drained most days.
Providentially, God provided De Souza with an answer to his players’ nutritional woes by feeding him breakfast as the 2010-11 school year began. He attended Northwest Baptist Church’s annual Teacher Appreciation Breakfast, and he met Allen Marks, NWBC’s director of community outreach that morning. Marks told the coach to let him know if the church could do anything for him and his team.
That sincere offer of assistance led to De Souza revealing the team’s nutritional woes to Marks, who conferred with Senior Pastor Ben Brammer, and the church’s congregants soon had basically adopted the soccer team.
“The church provided nutritional energy bars and electrolyte replacement drinks for the players, along with fresh fruit such as bananas, oranges and apples,” De Souza said. “The players’ performance began to improve almost immediately.”
The Knights posted a 17-2 record during the 2011 season and were ranked as high as 22nd in the country, De Souza said. Still, the Class 5A state title, which was claimed by Tulsa Cascia Hall, eluded them.
Soon after the season ended, the church hosted a banquet for the high school soccer team, which saw nine seniors graduate. As De Souza took a look at his returning roster, he knew the 2012 season would be difficult, with nine starters having to be replaced. But, he saw other challenges as well.
“The challenges from a soccer standpoint were, first, the fact that we lost so many quality players from the year before. We lost nine seniors, who were all starters,” De Souza said.
“Another challenge was bringing in the new players who were not starters — seven of them — and helping them realize they were no longer bench players. And, I didn’t know how many of my players were going to have to be working after school to help out their families.
“We also had a lot of injuries during the season, so that made it quite difficult.
“Now, the part where Northwest Baptist came in and made a huge impact on our team is that the church provided us with a lot of support. And when I say a lot of support, I mean they provided us with sports drinks and energy bars, and fresh fruit. It was a constant flow of that from the church. They also provided some pre-game meals.
“The bananas were very important for the potassium and electrolytes they provide to the players, who run as much as eight to 10 miles — usually at a sprint — during a game. They have to have the electrolytes or they face serious damage to their health.”
This season, the Knights started slowly as injuries mounted and the players adjusted to their new roles. But, with their nutrition woes solved, thanks to the church, the coach was free to focus on crystallizing the team into a unified force that eventually reached the pinnacle when they posted a 3-2, double-overtime victory over Cascia Hall on May 12 to claim the school’s first state title since the Knights’ boys basketball team won it all 27 years ago in 1985.
But, it didn’t come easy, De Souza said.
Another challenge he faced this year was, simply put, the make-up of the team itself.
“I had players from all over the world,” the coach explained. “One kid who was a Burmese refugee. Refugees from the Sudan, Eritrea and the Congo and others from Mexico and Guatemala.
“At the beginning of the season, each of them held on to their cultural background very strongly. The challenge for me was how to bring all of those different people together into one unit. How to put all of the factions together to work together for one goal, one dream.
“It was a special year, I have to tell you. I’m not sure how we did it. I think sometimes, you lead by example. That’s very, very important. You don’t only say things, but you show it. That’s what you see in Northwest Baptist. They recognized a need we had and took care of it. The church has been phenomenal.”
De Souza said his players also inspired him by their efforts this season.
“The players were very dedicated and, sometimes, I had to tell them to go home when they stayed so long working out after school,” he said.
That work ethic has paid off for several of them.
Of the eight soccer team seniors who graduated this year, seven are going to college next fall on full athletic scholarships. Four will attend Southwestern Christian University in Bethany; two are headed to Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa and one will go to Oklahoma City University.
“That’s a life-changing opportunity for them,” De Souza said. “It goes back to the fact that when you have a group of people with varied backgrounds and they can put their differences aside and work together for a common goal, that’s very inspirational and touching.
“The true American story here is the fact that people need to see each other as one in God, no matter what our differences are. That we are able to put those differences aside and help each other and to come together as one and when we are able to do that, we are able to achieve anything we put our minds to.”
Part of that story has been Northwest Baptist’s investment in the young soccer players and their veteran coach. Their ministry has affected a total of 45 players, including 22 on the NWC varsity this season and 23 on the junior varsity, some of whom will step up next year and try to bring home the Knights’ 16th overall state championship and second in-a-row in soccer.
The ministry not only has affected the soccer team, but other students have been impacted as well.
“I had other students come up and ask if there were any more bananas or other fruit left at the end of the day,” De Souza revealed. “There are a lot of hungry students here who also have been helped.
“NWBC has been a really great source of change for us,” De Souza concluded. “I like what this church is doing; I like what this church is about; that they put God first. They don’t just talk about it. Seeing what God has done in my life and how God has blessed me, I accepted Christ and decided to get baptized. I felt a need to be a part of this church.”
Bob Nigh is managing editor of the Baptist Messenger (www.baptistmessenger.com), newsjournal of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.
Iranian Authorities Shut Church in Tehran
Revolutionary Guard closes doors amid crackdown on recognized churches.
ISTANBUL (Compass Direct News) — Authorities in Iran last week ordered the closure of a church in the capital, Tehran, amid a government campaign to crack down on the few recognized churches offering Farsi-speaking services, according to a human rights group.
The order came from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard’s Intelligence branch on Tuesday (June 5). The Revolutionary Guard, also known as Sepah, is known for its military aggression.
“Unfortunately, it is now official — the church in Janat-Abad [district] was ordered to shut down,” said Monsour Borji, an Iranian Christian and advocacy officer for rights initiative Article 18. “If no reverse decision is made, this Sunday [June 10] no meeting will be held.”
Article 18 is a London-based initiative of the United Council of Iranian Churches (Hamgaam), which seeks to defend and promote religious freedoms in Iran. Hamgaam is composed of Iranian Christian churches in Europe.
The church in Tehran’s northwestern district of Janat-Abad belongs to the Assemblies of God (AOG) Church in Iran. Originally it was located in Karaj, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) west of Tehran, but authorities ordered it to shut down some years ago, Borji told Compass.
Church leaders had negotiated with authorities to use property they acquired in Janat-Abad in order to serve their Assyrian background Christian members who lived in west Tehran. Over time, however, the number of Iranians from Farsi-speaking Muslim families attending the church increased, drawing the attention of authorities.
More than 70 Christians gather every Sunday for the Farsi-speaking service in Janat-Abad. Undoubtedly the order to close the church in the suburb of Tehran was handed down verbally, Borji said.
“Due to an increasing number of Farsi-speaking believers – mostly MBBs [Muslim Background Believers] – it has become a cause of concern for the authorities and they now ordered it to shut down,” he said.
Last month the leadership of the AOG Central Church of Tehran, after 20 years of pressure from authorities to provide a list of church members, asked its members to volunteer their names and national ID numbers. The government move was aimed at limiting attendance by converts from Islam to Christianity, as well as to better monitor its members, sources said. Almost all members of the church’s two Sunday services come from Muslim families. Both services are held in Farsi.
Borji said that some members did submit their information last month, and already authorities have used it to put pressure on Christians, alarming those who have not given their details.
“Some have submitted, but not all, especially since some members experienced problems at work and university after submitting their details,” Borji said.
One university student who attended the church was barred from taking a final exam and another member was fired from work, Borji said.
When members of the AOG Central Church of Tehran initially heard the news, some believed they were faced with the ethical dilemma of whether they would be denying Christ by declining to reveal themselves in this way.
In February, Emmanuel Protestant Church and St. Peter’s Evangelical Church were ordered to shut down their Friday services. These two churches were the last two official churches offering Farsi-language services on Fridays in Tehran.
“If this aggressive campaign to eliminate evangelical Christianity is not stopped, it is a matter of time before all Farsi-speaking churches are forced to shut down,” Borji said.
Apart from the church in Janat-Abad, only three churches remain in Tehran offering Farsi-language services: the AOG Central Church of Tehran, Emmanuel Protestant Church and St. Peter’s Evangelical Church. Though Emmanuel Protestant Church and St. Peter’s Evangelical Church shut down Friday services, they have continued to offer Sunday services in Farsi.
Last month authorities arrested one of the elders of Immanuel Church in Tehran, Mehrdad Sajadi, and his wife, Forough Dashtiani, according to Mohabat News.
Mohabat and other news sources report a crackdown against Christians in recent months. In a report earlier this month, Middle East Concern (MEC) reported that the “Government’s campaign of intimidation against Christians and churches continues,” and noted that authorities are targeting both house churches as well as the “small remaining number of officially recognized Protestant churches.”
As an Islamic republic, Iran views Christians and especially Christian converts as enemies of the state and pawns of the West out to undermine the government. Authorities associate Christianity with some ethnic minorities in Iran – that is, Armenians and Assyrians – and do not tolerate the notion of a Farsi-speaking Church.
Converts to Christianity from Islam resort to meeting together in secret at their homes and have formed an underground church made up of house groups. There is no data available on how many Iranians have left Islam for Christianity.
On behalf of London-based Hamgaam, Borji asked the international community to speak up against the persecution of Christians in Iran.
“[We are] asking for the support and solidarity of all Iranians and the international community to put an end to these oppressive policies that are aiming to strangle the church,” Borji said.
More than 20 believers remain in prison in Iran, because of their Christian faith, according to the MEC report. Five of those are held in Tehran, five in Shiraz, three in Kermanshah and at least two in Isfahan. Five others in Isfahan were confirmed released in early May, including Hekmat Salimi, lay leader of St Luke’s Anglican Church.
Noorallah Qabitizade, in the southwestern city of Ahwaz, and Farshid Fathi, in Tehran’s Evin Prison, have been detained since December 2010.
Yousef Nadarkhani, of the Church of Iran, has been in prison since October 2009 and is still under the death sentence. Behnam Irani, also a member of the Church of Iran, has been in prison in Karaj since May 2011 and is in poor health.
Reported by Compass Direct News, www.compassdirect.org, a news service based in Santa Ana, Calif., focusing on Christians worldwide who are persecuted for their faith. Used by permission
Hardin-Simmons University Biology Class Locates Rare Plant in Big Thicket
SARATOGA, Texas (Hardin-Simmons University)–It’s one of the rarest plants in the world, and students participating in HSU’s May Term class called Field Ecology of the Big Thicket went in search of it, and found it.
The federally listed endangered plant called Texas Trailing Phlox (Phlox nivallis subs. Texensis) occurs in only three counties in southeast Texas and nowhere else in the world, says Dr. Rick Hammer, assistant professor of biology. “This plant was once more widespread in the forests of Texas and Louisiana but is imperiled today due to habitat destruction and natural fire suppression,” says Hammer.
The Phlox treasure hunt was one of the highlights of the six-day class study trip to the Big Thicket National Preserve, located just north of Beaumont, Texas. The purpose of the upper-level biology class was to experience and explore in person some of the 10 distinct ecosystems and plant communities of the Big Thicket, which has some of the richest biodiversity in North America.
The class travelled to Saratoga, Texas, about 35 miles north of Beaumont, and stayed at the Big Thicket Field Research Station operated by the National Park Service. The field station has dorms, a large classroom, lab facilities, and kitchen facilities for cooking meals.
The preserve consists of nine land units and six water corridors encompassing more than 105,684 acres. Big Thicket was the first preserve in the National Park System established by President Gerald Ford, and protects an area of rich biological diversity.
Natural processes have influenced the region over the millennium. The last Ice Age brought a character change on the natural systems with the cold environment encouraging species to move from separate ecological systems into a close neighborhood, says Hammer. Today, species from the Gulf Coastal Plains, Eastern Forests, and Central Plains share space with species indicative of swamps and bayous. Bald Cypress swamps are a short distance from upland pine savannahs and sand hills.
“Students hiked with a National Parks Service ranger from the Big Thicket National Preserve to gather data on soil type, soil pH, soil water infiltration rate, and forest canopy cover for several forest plant communities, including a magnolia-beech-pine slope forest, a baygall, a cypress slough, and a floodplain habitat,” says Hammer. Students also attended a special presentation about black bear restoration and conservation in the Big Thicket.
Students also worked on several projects at the Roy Larsen Sandylands Preserve, owned and operated by the Texas Nature Conservancy. Activities included a field survey for quail and a fire ecology talk by preserve manager, Bob Boensch. Students participated in a forest tree plot survey to record data on several species of trees including loblolly pine, long leaf pine, and white oak.
Dale Kruse, a plant biologist from Texas A&M University, who conducts research in the Big Thicket, taught a moss workshop at the field station for the students. On Friday, June 1, 2012, students returned to the Sandylands Preserve to hike the Floodplain Trail along Village Creek. Hammer says, “We found a spot where we could hike down to a sandbar on the creek for a freshwater mussel survey. Native freshwater mussels are in decline due to stream and habitat degradation. The class found seven species of mussels.”
Before departing for Abilene, students canoed a 2.5 mile stretch of Village Creek, described as “one of the finest paddle trips in Texas.”
Hammer says, “When you visit the Big Thicket, don’t look for grand vistas here. You have to look closely, all around you, where you will find a unique assemblage of species, including many that are endangered or threatened.”
Hammer and HSU the Biology Department are very appreciative of the opportunity to use the research station facilities provided and operated by the Big Thicket Association and the National Park Service.
Bluefield College Brings Mission Field to Students
BLUEFIELD, Va. (Bluefield College)–Bluefield College is well known for its student mission trips abroad. But when students aren’t able to travel overseas to experience missions firsthand, the school simply brings the mission field to them through its Missionary-in-Residence Program.
Designed to “bridge the gap between those currently giving their lives to mission work and those who aspire to work alongside them,” BC’s Missionary-in-Residence (MIR) Program provides a much-needed, well-deserved furlough for missionaries from the International Mission Board (IMB), while at the same time increasing the understanding among the campus community of the need to be involved in mission work.
“We bring the mission experience to every aspect of our campus life so that students don’t have to travel abroad to learn about mission work,” said Campus Minister David Taylor. “It also helps our students realize how fortunate and how blessed they are, compared to other parts of the world.”
In fact, IMB missionaries Henry and Tasha Clary just completed a full academic year on the BC campus, sharing their experiences as missionaries in Uruguay for three years and in Costa Rica for one year. During their 10 months on furlough in Bluefield, the Clarys did their best to impress upon the minds of students that mission work is “a calling to share Christ with people in another culture” and “a journey that teaches you to lean on the Holy Spirit.”
“We are called to be servants of the Lord in a foreign land — we do whatever,” said Henry. “Missionaries must be flexible, meaning completely at the will of the Lord. You need more than plan A and B; you need plan C, D, and E.”
The Clarys also shared with the BC community that while they fully expected to witness, serve, teach and help the people of Uruguay, they discovered early on that God was using the people of Uruguay to teach them a few lessons in grace and humility.
“I learned how weak and frail we can be,” said Tasha. “I also learned to rely on the Lord and to become more merciful and forgiving toward other people in my response.”
Henry’s initial call to Uruguay was as a church planter, which means starting small house churches. This, he said, enabled him to “get into Uruguayan culture and language” and “get to know the people on an intimate level through worship and Bible study.”
He led two house groups, teaching and discipling, before transitioning out of church planting into cell ministry with a Baptist church in the upper to middle class section of town — the hardest to reach, according to Henry. Now, his work also involves serving as a seminary connector, linking pastors and teachers in the United States to seminaries in Uruguay and Argentina all for the purpose of helping the seminaries “become strong evangelical and theological places where people want to go for training.”
With a teacher certification, Tasha teaches and volunteers at a bilingual private school in Uruguay. She also leads youth Bible studies for a local village church. In all they do, the Clarys said they have learned to appreciate the slower rhythm of life in Uruguay, one in which “the present is way more important than the future.”
In addition to sharing with the BC family the lessons learned from serving in Uruguay, the Clarys hosted mission fellowship gatherings, taught Christian studies classes, and led Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) sessions. During their encounters with BC students, the Clarys said they learned much about the students’ passion to serve.
“Many students at Bluefield College have a heart for missions,” said Tasha. “They have all these questions, and are hungry for answers and information.”
With their furlough ended and their time with BC complete, the Clarys and their children Hugh (17), Mark (11), and Elise (10), will return to Uruguay in June. They will be located in Montevideo, Uruguay, where Henry will be advocating and teaching for two seminaries. Though they both are eager to return to the mission field, they said they have enjoyed and will miss Bluefield.
“We really liked the environment here,” said Henry. “It was neat and homey, like a small town. Since not all the students were believers, we could be ourselves — missionaries.”
ASIA PRAYER REQUESTS, INTERNATIONAL MISSION BOARD
SOUTH ASIA (International Mission Board)–Brief items reported by South Asia News (http://www.go2southasia.org) in June include:
BANGLADESH. “Let me let you in on a secret,” the surgeon said with a sly smile as he leaned towards Milla*. “The men, they will die for the children but not for their wives.” He then walked out of the room to prep for an operation on Owen and Milla’s* 11-year-old daughter. Is this supposed to be comforting to them as he goes to operate on their female child? Is it the fact that she is a child and not yet someone’s wife that makes her value remain a little longer? In this country where women are undervalued, many daily face issues such as female infanticide, dowry demands, rape, stalking, physical abuse, child labor, trafficking and prostitution. Women are most often the ones committing suicide. They are victims of poverty and a system that sets them up as weak and replaceable. Pray for the women of Bangladesh to feel God’s love for them and to know how precious they are in His sight. Pray that God’s words from Isaiah 61 will become their testimony. Pray that He will give them “a crown of beauty instead of ashes and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” *pseudonyms http://southasianpeoples.imb.org/
BHUTAN. Pray for believers who are seeking to take the message across barriers to other ethnic Bhutanese peoples. Ask God to lead Bhutanese believers across the paths of men and women of peace (Luke 10:1-8) whom He has prepared. Pray that these households will open doors of opportunities for spreading the Gospel into far-reaching corners of the country. http://southasianpeoples.imb.org/
DIASPORA. Rejoice with a cross-cultural worker who writes, “Our lives are moving at fast forward right now. We had a tremendous meeting on Easter night. We had several different South Asian groups join us for a time of worship and fellowship. R shared with the group from creation to Christ. There was definitely a stirring in the hearts of several. Since that meeting, we have baptized another South Asian and have seen a young woman come to faith. Pray as we work with four different South Asian groups. None have formed into a church yet, but they are moving forward. Pray that the Lord will give us enough time in our day and make us flexible to the needs that come up.” http://southasianpeoples.imb.org/
INDIA. Ray*, a Deccani Muslim from the Shaikh community, came to Christ and was baptized some four years ago. He is a taxi driver. His brothers are known for their rough behavior in a local gang. Ray had worked a double shift in order to come to a Bible study in December 2011 and thoroughly enjoyed his time. He now meets with a young pastor who is discipling him. Ray’s faith is growing, though slowly. He’s kept his faith in Jesus quiet these past few years, even from his wife, but in April 2012, Ray revealed that he had openly discussed Jesus with her! She, too, has accepted the message of salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus, and Ray wants to baptize her. Please pray that Ray and his wife will steadfastly continue studying God’s Word, and that both he and his wife will have a readiness to obey what the Lord shows them. Ask God to open up the hearts and lives of their extended family and friends so that they, too, may share the salvation that Ray and his wife now have. *pseudonym http://southasianpeoples.imb.org/
MALDIVES. “For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing” (2 Corinthians 2:15). In a country that prides itself in being 100% Islamic, please claim this verse for followers of Jesus in Maldives. Ask that their attitudes, words, actions and lives will be an aroma that is God-pleasing among those who are being saved and those who are perishing without Jesus all around them. http://southasianpeoples.imb.org/
NEPAL. A cross-cultural worker writes, “Nepal’s population is estimated to be 30,207,000. Right now, it seems that everywhere we look, there are babies – many are just on our street alone. This makes me think of the God-sized task of reaching the Nepali people with the Truth. One statistic states that 2.9 percent are professing Christians. That leaves 29,330,997 who are not. Many have never even heard the name of Jesus. Pray that those who are believers will take ownership of the task of reaching their own people. Pray that mass repentance will take place, and that whole villages and/or districts will make Jesus Lord of their lives.” http://southasianpeoples.imb.org/
PAKISTAN. Second Thessalonians 1:3 (NIV) says, “We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.” Thank you so much for your prayers! God is moving in miraculous ways. As a result of a 15-year-old boy being delivered from an evil spirit, approximately 20 people from the majority people group in that village have come to believe! They are growing in knowledge and faith and want to be baptized. Praise His name! Plans are in the works to make the baptisms happen, so pray that they will happen with no problems or trouble from the majority community. If persecution does happen, ask that the new believers will persevere and be the stronger for it. Also please pray 2 Thessalonians 1:3 for these new believers, asking that their faith will grow more and more and their love for one another will increase. Thank you for your prayers. http://southasianpeoples.imb.org/
SRI LANKA. A recent volunteer to Sri Lanka writes, “All I have to say is that it was probably the best m trip I have been on in awhile. Not because everything went according to plan, but because we saw God move mightily. I have never seen such receptivity to the teaching lessons.” God did do-and is continuing to do-amazing things! Within one week of the training, a group of three leaders had already seen four families brought to the house church with an interest in following Jesus. One of those new families consists of 13 people. WOW! Also since the training, one of the lay leaders, Suvik*, has been confronted by monks and ordered to stop what he was doing. Later he and a minister from the church went to the temple to speak with the monks. After accusations from the monks of them scattering seeds everywhere in the village, Suvik* shared his testimony about how Jesus helped him when no one else could or would. The minister shared as well. Suvik* and the minister have decided to continue with what they are doing. Praise God that much was accomplished for His glory through the April team! Praise God for the boldness of Suvik*! Pray that these monks who have heard Truth will choose it over the lies they have been teaching. Pray that God will continue His awesome work in Napa*! *pseudonyms http://southasianpeoples.imb.org/
BANGALORE HOSPITAL. Pray for the selection of the new class of nursing students this month, both in the three-year certificate course and in the degree course. Pray for both those young women who gain admission and those who do not. Intercede for current students who will be taking examinations as the academic year closes. The new students have begun their studies in the Pastoral Care Department. Please intercede for their adjustment to the hospital environment. Pray that as they acquire ministry and counseling skills, they will be committed to sharing. Pray for all of those with teaching responsibilities. http://southasianpeoples.imb.org/
SOUTH ASIAN HINDU FESTIVALS. [June 21] Imagine gathering with millions of Hindus from all over the world at one temple to help pull three 45-foot chariots of three gods down the streets of a special Indian city. This day is a reality in the lives of Hindus who celebrate Rath Yatra. This festival is known by many other names, but this journey (or Yatra) is considered very pious, and will supposedly earn enough penance for ages. Even a glimpse of the dwarf form of the god is believed to ensure the release from the cycle of birth and death. Pray that these pilgrims will come to see that believing and confessing the name of Jesus Christ as Lord is the only way to ensure the release from death and ensure eternal life. http://southasianpeoples.imb.org/
SOUTH ASIAN PEOPLES. Please pray for harvest workers this month as they come together for worship, training and renewal. Please lift up the volunteers who will come to help lead in Bible teaching, praise music and childcare. Pray for their strength as they travel. Ask for the children of harvest workers to have good health and not pass around any sicknesses to each other during this time. May the harvest workers participating truly be rested and refreshed and have renewed intimacy in their relationship with Jesus. Pray for those organizing this time, asking for them to have clear direction regarding the details. http://southasianpeoples.imb.org/
SOUTH ASIAN UNENGAGED PEOPLES. Pray that the Koracha people will become “salt” to all of South India! Yes, these people often are salt sellers and are found in all of the four southern states of India: Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. With their occupations being agricultural laborers or salt sellers, the Koracha people do not have much status in their own society. However, when their lives are transformed by the message of Christ, they could make a difference like salt does in our food. The Koracha actually had their own special dialect in the past, but today they mainly speak Tamil. They are a Hindu people, but they eat meat, with the exception of beef (because the cow is considered sacred in Hinduism). Their women often make and sell baskets or do fortunetelling. Pray that these women will hear the real future of how Jesus is coming back to take His followers with Him to heaven, and ask that they will have this true message of hope to tell others! http://prayerthreads.imb.org/
SOUTH ASIAN UNENGAGED PEOPLES. The southern coast of Tamil Nadu and the northern coast of the island nation of Sri Lanka are where the Karaiyalan people make their homes. They are Indians by birth, but many have migrated to the northern shores of Sri Lanka where many other Tamil people reside. There are more than 120,000 Karaiyalan people, who are mainly fishermen who use nets for shore fishing. All of the Karaiyalan speak the Tamil language and practice Hinduism. They worship many Hindu gods, but also have other family deities they worship. Currently there are no known believers among the Karaiyalan, and there is no one engaging them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There are many Christian resources available in the Tamil language. Please ask God to allow these resources to get into the hands of the Karaiyalan people. Also pray for the Lord to soften the hearts of the Karaiyalan so that when they hear about God and His Son, Jesus, they will quickly believe and trust in Jesus for salvation. http://prayerthreads.imb.org/