Christianity in Iran is growing

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Iran’s government continues to be one of the most brutal regimes in the world today, but God continues to move! Christianity in Iran is growing through underground church networks at a faster rate than one might expect. As we know, media portrays only what they want us to see and rarely the inside facts. I am inspired to tell you a story about how God is moving in amazing ways within the country of Iran.

Online news articles (links below) began sparking my curiosity so I began searching for how we could get involved. That’s when I found an organization called Heart 4Iran! Heart 4Iran was birthed in 2014 to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Farsi speaking peoples of Iran and beyond. H4I brings new believers from the point of interest to a position of influence, engages the unreached to complete the Great Commission, and inspires partnership with the story of God’s love for the Iranian people. They currently work with over 100 partners to reach Christians in Iran. In 2018, they sent 1,980 printed Bibles into Iran through in-country partners and their call center has had over 700 daily engagements with viewers of their satellite TV network, Mohabat TV.

I was able to chat with Jessica from Heart 4Iran about their ideas, plans and a bit of their beginnings. She expressed so many amazing testimonies about what’s happening in Iran. They have the unique honor of providing resources and connections to people in these underground churches. It just blessed my heart! Here’s a quick testimony from their Call Center.

TESTIMONY – Fatemeh was a long-time isolated convert and had never dared to tell anyone she was a Christian, for fear of persecution. Her only connection to Christianity was with our satellite television network and 24-hour call center. After watching MyKelisa’s “Sermon on the Mount” series, she was convicted as to why she never went public with the wonderful work that Jesus did in her life. She then called the counselors and received regular prayer and guidance. Shortly after, she was arrested for communicating with us through social media. After she spent two weeks in jail, her faith was deeply strengthened. When her day in court came, the judge asked if she was a Christian. To her surprise, she proclaimed her faith in Jesus. The first time I proudly proclaimed my faith was in a court room of all places!”, she told us later. She bravely professed God’s works and later on told us that it was “the Holy Spirit that gave me the courage to do so.”

This summer, Heart 4Iran is embarking on a faith-filled initiative called the 2019 Summer Awakening! By August 31st, they are purposing to raise $750,000. These funds will allow them to intensify their efforts in making the Gospel more accessible to the people of Iran by:

  1. Increasing the number of secret, underground house churches in key cities inside Iran, to further the Gospel and discipleship for believers.
  2. Adding to the number of people manning their call center, allowing thousands more the opportunity to ask questions and receive answers about Jesus and the Christian faith.
  3. Ramping up the distribution of Bibles in Farsi (their language) so that more and more people will come to know God’s Word and follow Christ.

THIS MONTH… your contributions will go to supporting these initiatives in Iran! Please click on the links below to find out more and to read about what God is doing. In the midst of darkness and pain, God is still moving and healing and showing Himself strong. Please pray for Christians that face such hard conditions that they would be protected and they would continue to find strength in their Faith. Pray for God’s love and hope to continue to penetrate these areas and for the hearts of people to find peace in His goodness!

FIND OUT MORE AT: www.heart4iran.com

 

MORE AMAZING STORIES OF WHAT GOD IS DOING IN IRAN!

July 3 – MENA region returning to spiritual roots, claims ministry leader

July 9 – The church in Iran influencing the region for Christ!

June 28 – Tens of Thousands of Iranian Muslims Are Turning To Jesus through Watching Christian Satellite TV

June 27 While US and Iran Go Head-to-Head, Iranians Are Turning Their Hearts to Christ like Never Before

June 20God Is at Work in the Hardest Hearts

June 18The real story in Iran isn’t political, it’s spiritual

Heart 4Iran Dropbox Articles

 

Thank you for all your prayers as we continue to bless others…. JUST BECAUSE WE CAN! 🙂

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Each month, Be a Blessing looks for opportunities to bring opportunity! We strive to be a part of what God is doing across the world through established faith-based non-profits. We partner with His vision to transform hearts with the Gospel of Christ. Each donation brings hope and love to hurting people and encourages organizations as they serve others.

Doing Good Revives You

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We spend our days caught in a time warp. Our buzzer goes off every morning and we’re off to the races trying to accomplish everything on our list. Attempting to keep it all together so none of the balls we are juggling fall out of line. We tend to be over-stressed and exhausted with no spare time to enrich our hearts and encourage our souls… let alone think about someone else!

God knew this human tendency. What’s even cooler is that God created us to be revived and encouraged by the act of serving others!! The common phrase ‘it’s better to give than to receive’ is based on scripture (Acts 20:35) and is actually backed up by scientific research. Reaching outside your world for someone else’s sake reduces stress, improves your emotional well-bring, and brings many physical benefits. Your mood changes, your self-esteem goes up and you just feel happier. God intended for this to be the case. He wanted us to be in-tune with other people because He is a God of relationship both toward Him and towards others. He didn’t intend for us to go through life’s hills and valleys by ourselves.

Benefits of doing good include:

Helping others feels good – it promotes positive physiological changes in the brain associated with happiness, it improves social support, leads to a more physically active lifestyle, and distracts us from our own problems.

Reduces isolation – People facing activities, such as volunteering, helps reduce loneliness and isolation.

Provides a new perspective – It allows us to see our own blessings as we stop focusing on what we feel we are missing and the stress it causes.

It’s contagious! – Acts of kindness have the potential to make our world a happier place.

Relieves stress – Positive emotions reduce stress, boosts our immune system, and keeps us relational minded.

Rids us of negativity – Kindness can help decrease feelings of anger and hostility, which can stabilize our overall health.

Help us live longer – Studies of older people show that those who give support to others live longer than those who don’t.

Benefits of helping others can last long after the act itself by providing a ‘kindness bank’ of memories that can be drawn upon in the future. You can help others by volunteering, mentoring, serving at your church, helping your neighbor, or getting involved with a good cause. It can be private, public, at work, at home, at the shopping mall, or at the drive through. Offering to get a co-worker a cup of coffee or bringing in breakfast can heighten your brain sensors and provide the start to a great day! This month we want to encourage all of us to intentionally think about ways we can reach out, big or small, to impact the people God has put around us.

As an organization, we’re going to get involved with a local community outreach by supplying them with Trapper Keepers for their backpack blessings. These bags will go to children of all ages who need a little bit of extra help getting the supplies they need to start another school year.

Thank you for all your prayers as we continue to bless others…. JUST BECAUSE WE CAN! 🙂

BLESS SOMEONE TODAY

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Each month, Be a Blessing looks for opportunities to bring opportunity! We strive to be a part of what God is doing across the world through established faith-based non-profits. We partner with His vision to transform hearts with the Gospel of Christ. Each donation brings hope and love to hurting people and encourages organizations as they serve others.

Life Dominating Behaviors – His Oaks Ministry

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Behaviors are a difficult thing to change at any age. Our behaviors come from instinct, environment, experience, culture, biology, etc and have the ability to control our lives in positive or negative ways. Life dominating behaviors such as depression, addiction, anxiety, PTSD, mental illness, along with life circumstances keep many people from living a healthy and productive life and often times are a path to prison. They wear us out, break us down and make life feel hopeless which leads to more addiction. However, vicious cycles of life can be broken off through an encounter with Christ!

This June, we are partnering to break off life-dominating behaviors!

His Oaks Ministry was birthed in 2011, with a vision and passion to reach men who are stuck in these cycles and need help finding their way out. Serving men 18-35 years old, this transition home and unique program provides the help men need to rebuild their lives, restore relationships with God and families, while entering back into society.

Most of the men who enter this program come into it beaten down by sin and life in general. This Christ-centered, residential, discipleship environment gives men an opportunity to break free from the strongholds that have sabotaged their life. They enter His Oaks dead in sin but wake up to a relationship with a living Savior while discovering their identity in Jesus. Joy and hope fill their lives and dominating behaviors are crushed under the cross.

Solid biblical foundations and the authority of the scriptures is used to teach Godly living. Residents participate in Bible studies and training sessions throughout the week, as well as work duties around the house, in various community/neighbor services, and eventually in their own jobs. By living, studying, and working together in an atmosphere of Christian love and understanding, each man is given the opportunity to walk in victory!

Checkout their ministry to learn more! www.hisoaks.com

His Oaks is fully funded by the faithfulness of God and the charitable giving of others. Most men who enter this life-saving program are unable to fund their own stay. It’s because of your generosity that we will be able to come alongside them to help continue their amazing work with the men God brings!! Thank you for all your prayers as we continue to help others.

BLESS SOMEONE TODAY… just because you can! 🙂

 

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Each month, Be a Blessing looks for opportunities to bring opportunity! We strive to be a part of what God is doing across the world through established faith-based non-profits. We partner with His vision to transform hearts with the Gospel of Christ. Each donation brings hope and love to hurting people and encourages organizations as they serve others.

Golan Ministries – a Migrant Aid Effort

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It’s human nature to survive and refugee crisis’ are happening all over the globe. Migrants that come from southern countries toward the U.S. border are nothing new. The sheer numbers as of late are looking for a new life. That has brought emergency humanitarian need and a lot of opinions. As the government and organizations try to handle the influx, it’s imperative that we do not forget that these individuals and families are loved by God. If I was in their shoes, I would probably be doing the same for a chance at life.

Jesus walked in the midst of turmoil to bring love and peace and then called us to do the same.

In the meantime, I believe we should be the hands and feet of Christ to bring the hurting to God’s love and salvation. Pastor Navarro from the West Brownsville Baptist Church in Brownsville, TX and his congregation are doing just that.

Golan Ministries, a branch of West Brownsville Baptist Church, was formed last April. The Mexican Consulate in Brownsville, TX contacted Pastor Navarro for assistance with the summer 2018 border crisis. They converted half their church into a respite center for asylum-seeking immigrants. They serve Guatemalans, Salvadorans, Hondurans, Nicaraguans, Cubans and Venezuelans. Golan Ministries provides monthly financial assistance to their church plant in Chiapas, Mexico, where migrants have been flocking for help. In addition, they distribute goods at a local immigration center and travel across the border with backpacks of supplies to Matamoros. Golan Ministries just received the opportunity to manage a 40-bed Brownsville shelter, no longer subsidized by the city. The shelter will temporarily house migrants as they enter the U.S. from Matamoros to apply for political asylum.

Setting aside political complications, Golan Ministries’ mission is to extend love, dignity, respect and compassion to all asylum seekers and refugees.

 

Pastor Navarro and Golan Ministries certainly have their hands full! THIS MONTH we have the privilege to extend our support to partner with Brownsville and I can’t be more excited! It’s been on my heart for months to find a ministry on the front lines helping migrants physically and spiritually. The biggest needs are for practical items such as: clothing, toothbrushes, sanitary supplies, towels, Tracfone’s, activities for kids, serving utensils/plates, hair brushes, diapers, Spanish Bibles, etc. We get to purchase items from their wish list on Amazon to help fill these continual needs as people keep coming.

Check out this News clip: RESPITE CARE CENTER in BROWNSVILLE

Join us for just $5 a MONTH … you’ll be blessed all year-round!

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Each month, Be a Blessing looks for opportunities to bring opportunity! We strive to be a part of what God is doing across the globe. Supporting and encouraging faith-based non-profits and participating in their visions to transform hearts with the Gospel of Christ. Each donation brings hope and love to hurting people.

Feeding the Forgotten, leper communities

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You might think Leprosy, an age-old disease, has been cured. However, over 100 countries, including the USA, still report cases each year. Although a treatment exists, many people do not have access to such life saving measures and the disease continues. Often exiled to separate communities, they live in a poverty state without hope.

ENTER… APRILS’ BLESSING! Our blessing this month has opened their heart and compassion to leper villages in India, along with other programs in over 16 nations. They won over my heart just by reading their website and Facebook page. The door opened after the 2004 tsunami in southeast Asia. As a result, God began to pave the way to touch far more lives than they could have ever imagined!

WATCH THIS! …. SUPER SWEET VIDEO of their full ministry! https://vimeo.com/287399689

 

“Although we are doing a lot of humanitarian targeting right now – our greater vision is long term. By long term, of course, we mean eternity. We want to connect with the Christians of Asia and bring them a sense of freedom and a greater understanding of who God is.”

HUMANITARIAN RELIEF  –  TRAINING INDIGENOUS LEADERS  –  SHARING THE HOPE OF CHRIST

Their ministries across multiple Asian Nations include: Disaster Relief, Children’s Homes, Evangelism, Building Homes / Emergency Shelter, Sanitation Projects, Feeding Programs, Rice Distribution for Lepers, Bible School Ministry, Drilling Water Wells, Leadership Training and Development, Pre-schools and Education Initiatives, Church Planting.

We will purchase bags of rice this month to be distributed between 5 leprosy villages! This food is more than just food, it represents hope to the lives of those that society wants to forget. We thank them for their obedience to what God has called them to do, for their obvious love of people, and for their passion to change the world around them!

Please note: Due to security concerns, they have asked us to be careful in presenting their organization. I’ve included an awesome video but I did not want to make too much mention of their information on social media. So… check out the quick video!

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Each month, Be a Blessing looks for opportunities to bring opportunity! Striving to be a part of what God is doing across the globe through established faith-based non-profits. Participating in Gods’ vision to transform hearts with the Gospel of Christ. Each donation brings hope and love to hurting people and encourages organizations as they serve others.

Join us for just $5 a MONTH … and you’ll be blessed all year-round!

Medical Kits in Haiti

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American’s have had much ado over the years regarding healthcare and medical ‘goods and bads’, so to speak. We have this opinion, that opinion, this statistic and that one. But, the reality is …. we HAVE medical care and there are certain regulations that prevent the turning away of patients in dire circumstances… not so in Haiti.

Haiti is a world without clinics and hospitals in every town… a world without medicine, without prenatal care, without pediatric medicine, or assistance for the elderly.  Children and adults die daily from fully preventable or treatable diseases like malaria, cholera, and tuberculosis.

DID YOU KNOW:

  • Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere.
  • Most Haitian people survive on $1 a day.
  • Haiti is the size of Maryland, but has double the population.
  • Haiti is less than 2 hours from Miami.
  • Poverty and devastation doesn’t prevent the people from praising God.

In the mountainous village of Montrouis, Haiti, there is no running water or electricity in homes. Water is retrieved from rivers with buckets and used for cooking, bathing, washing clothes, and drinking. Homes are made of cardboard, tar paper, and pieces of tin or plastic patched together. Medical care is a luxury but this month’s blessing, Life Connection Mission, does a great job at providing care both in clinics, as well as on the road through mobile medical units. Over the years they have provided care from basic clinic assistance to surgeries and life-saving procedures. The mobile medical trips are where we come in! We will be providing 33 medical kits for use in the field throughout the rural areas of the village. Giving much needed supplies as LCM volunteers head out to serve the people that are unable to reach the Montrouis clinic.

We’re so honored to be able to sow this little seed into an organization that has done so much, beyond just medical care, for the people of Haiti. May God continue to bless the hearts of those who serve in this ministry!

Check out their site for more information or to get involved: www.lifeconnectionmission.org

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Every month, Be a Blessing looks for opportunities to bring opportunities! Striving to be a part of what God is doing across the globe through established faith-based non-profits and participating in His vision to transform hearts! Each gift brings hope and love to hurting people and encourages organizations as they serve others.

Homelessness in America

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Have you ever imagined yourself walking through a period of homelessness? Everything you own packed into your car or in the backpack you’re wearing. No where to wash your face, no table or couch to eat your dinner, no way to bathe your kids. How do you tell your kids that you have to move around every day because we can’t afford a place to live? Maybe some of you have been or are homeless.

The book of Acts talks about the early church and how they brought food, goods, and supplies together to help each other out. No one ‘went without’ it says. I believe Christ established the church to take care of the homeless and broken and to give a hand up out of love… not to pass judgement, not to critique ‘The why’ of someone being homeless, nor to stand by in silence. Compassion is what Christ modeled for us.

I wondered what the data might say regarding homelessness in America, so I did some searching and here’s a bit of what I found from www.endhomelessness.org.

January 2017 Homelessness

  • A majority of the homeless lived in some form of shelter or transitional housing
  • 34% lived in a place not meant for human habitation
  • 7% of all people experiencing homelessness were single individuals
  • 3% were people in families (adults and children)
  • 2% of people counted were veterans
  • 4% were unaccompanied children and young adults

The good thing is that since 2007, homelessness has decreased overall and across every sub-population nationally by 14.4%. However, between 2016 and 2017 the number of people experiencing homelessness has increased nationally by 7% percent. The largest increases in that time period (2016-2017) were among unaccompanied children and young adults (14.3%), individuals experiencing chronic homelessness (12.2%), and people experiencing unsheltered homelessness (9.4%).

This month we are supporting a super cool idea called ‘Connections Shelter that’s being coordinated by multiple churches. Since finding permanent building space can be tricky, these churches came together and established a system where by each facility rotates weeks of caring for the homeless population in their city. I had the privilege to volunteer this week at one of these churches and I was so impressed with their organization and flow of the evening. From volunteer scheduling, to food preparation, to their hospitality towards their guests; it was an honor to watch and do my small part with them.

Check out their site: www.connectionsmankato.org

Here’s the thing – these churches are from different denominations, their theology beliefs are different, they have different opinions about stuff but they found a way to brush that aside and focus on the needs of people. They provide beds, food, games, friendship, and safety to those who need it most. I can’t say enough about the amazing coordination and love they have exhibited together over the past few years. Hats off to you guys and Thank You for following the Lord’s direction to serve others!

 DONATE TODAY… BE BLESSED ALL YEAR LONG!

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Every month, Be a Blessing looks for opportunities to bring opportunities! We strive to be a part of what God is doing across the globe through established faith-based non-profits and to participate in His vision to transform hearts, so that they may know Him! Each gift brings hope and love to hurting people and encourages organizations as they serve others.

Serving Seniors

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They give more generously, donate the most volunteer time, have lived through some of the hardest economic times in the US, served their country unwaveringly, and contain enormous amounts of life wisdom. Our seniors are the heroes of our time and have paved the way for many of us to be where we are.

However, aging is not an easy road to walk and many times our seniors can eventually become the ‘forgotten ones’. Even in the best facilities, loneliness, anxiety and feelings of neglect are a primary cause of poor health among our older adults. No longer being able to choose what they want to eat, where they want to go, and many times what they want to do. This loss of freedom and independence can cause them to lose self-esteem, dignity, joy and love.

Jerry & Dorphia David

This months’ blessing devotes their time and energy giving back to our beloved seniors. Sharing the love and gospel of Christ to a segment of society who is nearing their time of departure. Matthew 20 illustrates that it’s never too late to know Christ and His plan of salvation, comfort and love.

Gentle Shepherd Ministries visits senior care facilities on a weekly basis where they provide one-on-one visits, church services, Bible studies, and grief support to those who struggle with despair, uselessness, or spiritual emptiness. They create a Christ-centered community and provide support, relationship and joy to many of them. The team of GSM reach 70 senior living communities, approximately 700 people a month, and has 70 volunteers ministering to the residents’ spiritual, emotional, and societal needs.

During the middle of last year, God had placed ‘seniors’ on my heart. I’m so pleased to bless this organization and be a part of what God is doing for our beloved elders.

Remember that one day; you will be a senior too 🙂 Lets’ show extra love and care!

God Bless your January, Sandy

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Every month, Be a Blessing looks for opportunities to bring opportunities! We become a part of what God is doing across the globe through established faith-based non-profits. We participate in His vision to transform hearts and bring them His love! Each gift brings hope to hurting people and encourages organizations as they serve others. We are blessed by blessing them!