Soles for souls: the story of Emmanuel Ntibonera

Eight-year-old Emmanuel Ntibonera was just sitting down to dinner when the rebel takeover of his town in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) broke out. The next day, the whole family (nine children) fled — walking miles barefoot.

Eventually, he made it to a refugee camp in Kenya, from where he immigrated to America nine years later in 2009 with his family, who are Christians (the dad is a pastor).

“Remember where you came from,” God impressed on the heart of the young man who studied hard and eventually graduated from Liberty University. In 2015, he visited his native country and was appalled to see conditions had not improved. He never owned shoes during his childhood in the DRC, and he observed the same thing on his return trip.

“I’m seeing kids with no shoes (getting) infections and parasites,” he says on a Liberty convocation video. “God had blessed me. I have more than 10 pairs of shoes in my home. I can literally bring these here and saves lives. The parasites can only be prevented by appropriate footwear.

“I looked at myself and I felt guilty.”

And so began a shoe drive that became the Ntibonera foundation, in Greensboro, NC. He started doing concerts, at which the entry ticket was at least one pair of shoes. His home became a shoe storage. It soon became so full they had to look for a warehouse.

“In my room, the only place I had was to lay my head. Everywhere else was full of shoes,” he remembers. “I had 10,000 pairs of shoes in my house.”

Eventually, Emmanuel recruited the support of university staff to stage a campus-wide shoe drive to ship containers full of shoes to the DRC. Eventually, basketball legend Steph Curry lent his name to support the cause.

“God has been unfolding things. God was doing all these amazing things,” he says. On the scheduled day, Liberty University students all brought shoes to convocation, filling the stage with piles and piles of shoes. Liberty University paid for Emmanuel’s flight with 20,000 shoes.

After his dad preached, they began distributing shoes with 100 volunteers in 2017. Read the rest: Where to give to charity for Christmas.

Wannabe terrorist turned to Jesus

The reason why so many Saudis fill the ranks and leadership of terrorist organizations today is because teachers and preachers in Saudi Arabia praised the “holy war” of Muslims against non-Muslims in Afghanistan in the 1980s, says a convert to Christianity.

“A whole generation was brought up this way and taught to think this way,” says Nasser al’Qahtan. “Sadly the world is reaping the fruit for what we were taught when we were young.”

Nasser, who was born and raised on the eastern coast of Saudi Arabia, longed to die for Allah by waging jihad, and thus improving his chances of making it into Paradise. But along the way he converted to Christ and now exposes the diabolical beginnings of today’s world upheaval.

Nasser’s parents were opposed to the idea of their 12-year-old going to Pakistan for training and being smuggled into Afghanistan to fight the Russians, but many of his older friends did join jihad.

“God had other plans for me,” he says on a Your Living Manna video.

In the summer of 1990, Nasser plotted to run away and join jihad, but Iraq’s Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. At the time, he was actually in the United States with his mother visiting relatives and the ensuing world chaos prevented him from leaving “this evil nation” of America.

Nasser hunkered down for the long haul, playing the role of the religious police with his younger siblings to make sure they still prayed and read the Koran. He didn’t want them to come under Satanic influences in America. Eventually, he worried about himself and eyed with suspicion the Americans around him.

“What was I going to do? I was surrounded by infidels. You either make a war against them or you try to bring them into Islam another way,” he says. “I thought Allah brought me here to evangelize them.”

Nasser’s English was very good and he thought his Islamic apologetics weren’t bad either.

“I began to tell everybody about Islam, my fellow students, my teachers, my neighbors, everybody I came into contact with,” he says. “I started to see some fruit. I started to see regular American people abandoning their prior beliefs and becoming Muslims. Some of them grew up in the church and they renounced Jesus. I thought I was fantastic.”

As he learned about American culture, he eventually perceived that born-again Christians were different than the rest of Americans (who he wrongly assumed to all be Christians), and he began to target them because he figured it would be easy for them to switch since they already lived clean lives.

One of those loving and clean-living Christians was a woman with whom Nasser fell in love.

“That was my undoing,” he admits.

Only after marrying Daisy did he begin to correct her beliefs about Jesus. She should no longer idolize Jesus, who was nothing more than just another of Allah’s prophets, he said. Mohammad was the main guy.

The pressure he put on her grew in time and caused great strain on their marriage, and even some Christian friends counseled her to divorce for being “unequally yoked,” a mistake she had made while being a nominal Christian.

But Daisy, pressured to evaluate her childhood faith, wound up affirming her relationship with Christ. Encouraged by an aunt who had been a missionary for decades in Brazil, she not only prayed for her husband but mobilized thousands of Christians in mega churches in North Texas to pray.

Those prayers began to take effect. Outwardly, her husband appeared secure in his beliefs, but inwardly he was struggling. He knew his sins were too great and the mountain of good works and prayers needed to offset them too much. He began to ponder again the easiest and most and most assured path to Paradise — jihad.

Finally, his wife ventured to invite him to church, which, out of curiosity, he accepted. His consciousness of his sin was so great that he concluded, “If I’m going to go to Hell, I might as well find out what they do in church.”

“I thought it was the most Satanic thing I had ever seen,” he says. “But I was so drawn to keep coming back by the love I felt there. Eventually he broke down and asked God for the truth.

“Immediately I had a vision. Everything before me was wiped away and I was transported to this rocky hill, looking down at this man who was so brutally beaten to the point of being unrecognizable,” he says. “He was being nailed to a cross. I knew this was Jesus.

“I watched as the cross was lifted up and He’s hanging there bleeding and struggling for breath. I’m looking Him in the eyes. He’s looking at me and through me. He sees all of my junk, the hidden things in my life. I feel this wave of shame.

“But he’s not looking at me with disgust, which is what I expected. He’s looking at me with this fierce love. As He’s fighting for every breath on the cross, He’s fighting with every breath for me.”

The darkness from all humanity was put on Him on the cross.

“The darkness wasn’t overcoming Him. He was overcoming it.”

Then Jesus said, “It is finished.”

“The reason I did this is that you and all the people that were meant to be my children were snatched away from Me, and you sold yourselves to other powers. To buy you back, this was the cost. This was the price that I paid for you Nasser.”

The vision disappeared. Nasser hadn’t heard the sermon. Read the rest: Saudi terrorist turned to Jesus.

When ‘you can’t pray the gay away’

A convinced atheist, Rachel Gilson thought Yale University would be the perfect opportunity to “dive in” to same-sex attraction as a freshman, but after reading “Mere Christianity” her thoughts changed.

“I had sort of heard of Jesus before in my life, of course, but I always thought of him kind of as a lame cartoon character,” Rachel says on a 700 Club interview. “But instead I started to realize: ‘No, Jesus is alive and powerful and interesting and loving and he’s offering me something that I can’t get anywhere else.’”

Her 2004 conversion to Christianity led to a re-orientation, not of her sexual “orientation,” but of her entire life. Today, she still struggles with same-sex attraction, but she submits her feelings to God no differently than anyone who feels attraction outside of marriage.

“It’s been a big part of my journey to figure out, who owns me?” says Rachel, who has written a book Born Again This Way about her testimony. “Or is it my desires, or is it Jesus Christ?”

There’s a growing tendency among homosexuals to revise Biblical doctrine to assume God accepts homosexuality as a valid expression of sexuality, Rachel says. This movement represents a pushback against the unaccepting Christian church.

“They’ve seen a church be unfriendly or unwelcoming to LGBT people. Sometimes they’ve, seen Christians respond to gay and lesbian people in ways that don’t look like Jesus would have acted towards outsiders,” Rachel says. “They basically do an overcorrection. They say, ‘Well that type of exclusion doesn’t look like love, so maybe we got the words wrong.’”

Rachel grew up in a small conservative town. Because her parents never went to church, she couldn’t figure out God.

“I didn’t grow up in a household that went to church or read the Bible,” she remembers. “As I started thinking about you know, where did all this come from? What are the big ideas of the world? I just didn’t see Christianity as a valid source of the answers.”

She had just broken up with a girlfriend when she carted off to Yale College. “I thought being at college is gonna be a great place for me to actually live out” same sex attraction, she says. “But before I had a chance to really dive in there, that was when I met the Lord. I think He saved me from going too far down that path.”

Coming to Christ for Rachel, really, was no different than anyone lost in their sin.

“No matter what our orientation is, we all need the grace and the truth of Jesus Christ,” she says. “If we have just the grace without the truth, it’s, all fuzzy, but it doesn’t produce any change. But if we only have the truth without the grace, we end up crushed.” Read the rest: You can’t pray the gay away.

Career-ending injury brought Inky Johnson his dream life

The dream from age 7 was coming true. Inky Johnson was in his junior year in college with all the paperwork signed for the NFL draft. He was among the top 30 and was guaranteed to make millions doing what he loved.

All he had to do was play 10 more games and his future would be set, but when he went to make a regular tackle against an Air Force player in 2006 — a tackle “I could make with my eyes closed” — the cornerback ruptured his subclavian artery and could not get up.

“I never thought about a career-ending injury,” Inky says in an Above Inspiration video. “I woke up from that surgery and the thing I placed my identity in was now gone.”

His right arm was paralyzed. Every day he lives with pain. But he rose above the crushed spirit and now delivers motivational speeches, encouraging people to serve Jesus and trust Him with their destiny.

Inquoris Johnson was raised in a 14-member household crammed in a two-bedroom home on Atlanta’s poor and violent side. His mom pulled double shifts to put food on the table, and Inky says he wanted to pull the whole family out of poverty.

Every day was dedicated to training to fulfill the dream. He drilled, worked out and practiced. His family attended church, and he asked God to bless his dream.

When he joined the Volunteers at the University of Tennessee, he became their starting cornerback and was on the trajectory to success; the commitment and effort was paying off.

Then he woke up on the fateful day and followed his usual routine: run two miles to the fire station and two miles back to warm up. Throw the football at the ceiling to practice catches at all angles by surprise. Visualize himself performing to perfection.

“Two minutes left in the game, and I go to make a tackle – that I can make with my eyes closed And I hit this guy and as soon as I hit him, I knew it was a problem, but I didn’t think it would be this type of problem. When I hit him every breath from my body left, my body goes completely limp. I fall to the ground.”

Inky blacked out. His teammates came over to him and told him to get up. “Let’s rock man,” they said. Read the rest: When bad things happen to good people: Inky Johnson’s career-ending injury.

Only fear and condemnation is what she felt in Islam

“I knew that I was extremely hated by Allah,” Aisha from Jordan says.

Born of an American mother into a conservative Muslim family, Aisha had racked up a lot of sins: first she questioned Allah, Mohammad, the Koran and salvation.

Then she came to America with her mother looking for better opportunities and got an abortion.

“I was feeling so much fear and hopelessness,” she says on a StrongTower27 video.

Even though her family was entrenched in Islam, her dad was an alcoholic who kicked her and spat on her. “He called me names that no father should ever call his daughter,” she says.

Other than his besetting sin, he tried to keep the traditions of Islam religiously.

Aisha found no love in her family or in her religion.

“I felt like I could never keep up or measure up to what was expected,” she says. “And my family wasn’t too keen on my asking questions.”

Mom was mortified by the downward slide of the family. She even feared for her own life. So she asked her husband to move the family to America where her kids could learn English and have better job prospects.

He agreed, and they moved in 2000, while he stayed in Jordan. His alcoholism only worsened.

Longing for love, Aisha got a boyfriend in high school and got pregnant at age 17. Lying on the bathroom floor with the positive pregnancy test, she cried. She couldn’t tell her dad; he would kill her out of Islam’s call for “honor killing.”

“He would have murdered me, literally,” she says.

Aisha couldn’t tell her Mom; she would tell her Dad.

Feeling like she had no options, she made the terrible choice to kill her baby.

“That was very hard for me because I always valued life,” she says. “I always daydreamed about what it would be like to hold my baby one day. To have gone through that was very devastating for me. I struggled with shame, embarrassment, depression, anxiety and self-worth.”

Her attempt to fill the void with things of the world left her empty.

“I was going down a dangerous and dark and downward spiral,” she admits. “I knew that my sins were deep and unforgivable in Islam. I knew that I was so extremely hated by Allah.”

In her quest for forgiveness and hope, she actually opened the only “holy book” she knew and read Surah 4:168-169: Those who disbelieve and commit wrong Allah will never forgive them, nor will he guide them to a path. Except the path of Hell.

“I remember reading that and feeling so much fear and hopelessness,” she says.

“Allah, I don’t know who you are. I don’t know if you even exist,” she prayed. “I’ve been praying to you for 27 years, and I’ve never felt your presence.”

She wept bitterly. In the depths of despair, her mind began to consider suicide.

“If there’s no form of forgiveness for me in Islam, what’s the point of me living?” she reasoned.

Then something happened that was totally unexpected.

“As I was crying I heard an audible voice,” she remembers. “I heard the name, ‘Jesus.’”

With tears streaming down her face, she looked up to Heaven and raised her hands.

“Jesus, I don’t know who you are, but if you are who they say you are, please reveal yourself to me because I can’t go on living life like this anymore,” she prayed. Read the rest: Freed from the wrath of Allah

Alexander Pagani was utterly abandoned by his parents

Without motive, Alexander Pagani stabbed two 17-year-old inmates at Rikers Island Prison Complex. Just to make a statement.

“If I was going to be evil, I would become very evil,” he says on a 700 Club video.

That landed him in solitary confinement for one year. That’s where God started dealing with him.

From his earliest childhood in The Bronx, New York City, Alexander felt complete abandonment by his parents, who were lost in the drug culture.

“I felt completely rejected and totally embraced that sense of orphan or abandonment,” he says. “I just lived for myself like it’s just me and I’m gonna, do whatever I have to do to survive.”

To survive he joined a gang. By 11, he was getting arrested. By 14, he spent a year in juvenile imprisonment. By 16, he was doing time for robbery, burglary and kidnapping.

While waiting his trial in the infamous Rikers prison, he stabbed two 17-year-olds.

“I stabbed them for no reason, honestly, just to make a statement,” Alexander admits.

The subsequent solitary confinement began breaking him down. His Grandmother was a Christian who reached out to him. So was his Aunt Vilma, and she worked in Rikers as a youth counselor and would talk to him whenever she could. A Christian guard took interest in him and began ministering to him.

He made up his mind that he didn’t want to go to Hell.

At his hearing, Alexander heard a voice. It wasn’t his lawyers. It wasn’t the judge’s. It wasn’t the bailiff’s. He marvelled at whose it might be.

“They’re going to give you nine years, you are to take it.”

Immediately, his eyes fixed on “God” in the phrase “In God We Trust” on the wall behind the judge. “The word God shot like rays of light,” he says.

If he pled guilty, the judge explained, he would lower the sentence from 21 years to nine. Alexander blurted out and admitted his guilt even before his lawyer could say anything. “I knew God was talking to me,” he says.

Returned to his cell, he wrote his aunt.

“When I wrote the words ‘because I want to go to Heaven,’ Jesus Christ came in my cell, and he whispered in my ear, ‘Follow me.’ Read the rest: abandoned and rejected, Alexander Pagani took refuge in violence, until Jesus saved him in prisonhttp://godreports.com/2020/11/son-of-drug-addicts-began-life-of-crime-at-11-years-old/

In Islam, Faridi bloodied himself to appease the deity. In Christianity, Christ bloodied himself to save Faridi.

To make their soldiers fearless, Mohamad Faridi’s Iranian superiors made them sleep in empty graves.

Since a boy, Mohamad was fervent Muslim, praying 10 times a day, way more than the regimented five times. But nothing could ease his fear of death and his apprehension that he might be judged unworthy of being admitted into Paradise beyond the grave.

“I was in a lot of despair, a lot of depression, and I was hopeless. The only hope I had was to die, so I contemplated suicide,” he says on a Your Living Manna video “But I was afraid because if as a Muslim you commit suicide you end up in hell.

“I was living in hell in this world.”

The Tehran-born boy was taught to never question Islam.

“I went to my mom and ask her, ‘Mom, does this god, the god of Islam, speak Farsi (the language of the Iranians)? Can I speak to him in Farsi?’ My mom said, ‘You do not want to be tormented by Allah. You do not want to be tortured by Allah. A good Muslim only surrenders, only submits.’

“From that moment on, I just put my blinders on.”

Mohamad memorized entire chapters of the Koran, washed himself religiously, prayed ritually and fasted during the 30 days of Ramadan.

But the question nagged him: Would he ever be good enough to merit Paradise?

Allah, according to the depiction, weighed your good actions against your bad actions on judgement day. Nobody ever knew for certain who would get into eternal glory and who would be cast into torment.

The Shia sect of Islam practiced in Iran also has the ritual of self-flagellation with chains containing barbs and knives. By drawing blood in penance, they hope to curry the favor of the imams in Paradise so that they may pray for their souls, Mohamad says.

“Someone recites a eulogy and provokes the crowd to beat themselves, weep and cry,” he explains. “That’s how we’re gaining points and how we punish ourselves that maybe one of these Imams would intercede for us at the day of judgement. We beat ourselves so much that we bruise and bleed with chains on our backs.”

At age 19, he joined the Revolutionary Army to fight in the decade-long war against Iraq. The nation’s imams said that it was jihad, or holy war, which meant that if anyone died in it, he would be taken straight to Paradise.

His uncle and brother were part of the mass deaths of Iranians, but Mohamad was spared.

Back from the war, he resumed his rituals of desperately trying to appease Allah. During one 10-day stretch of self-flagellation, he beat himself so badly through nine days that he could not rise from his bed on the tenth to carry on.

“I was so broken and I was so bruised that I could not get out and go beat myself more on the tenth day,” he recounts. “I was ashamed of myself. I said this is the least asked of me and I cannot fulfill that.”

Light finally broke into the darkness. Mohamad rekindled a childhood friendship with a friend named Rasul. He noticed Rasul was uncommonly light-hearted.

“What is going on with you? What is happening to you?” asked Mohamad.

Rasul responded that he became a Christian.

“That was the first time I was hearing about Christianity without bad-mouthing it or without saying that it is corrupted,” Mohamad remembers.

“God loved his creation,” Rasul said. For two hours, he elucidated the free gift of grace through faith in Christ and his death on the cross.

Mohamad raised every objection he had heard at home or in the mosque.

Rasul tired of two hours of arguing, so he said he needed to go.

“The last thing I’m gonna tell you is Jesus was beaten, he was bruised, he was crucified, his blood was shed for your sin so that you can have everlasting life,” Rasul said.

Then he quoted to him John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

The concept of Jesus being beaten and bloodied instead of Mohamad beating and bloodying himself left him astounded. It was an utter contradiction of everything he knew from Islam.

It resonated deep within him, and Mohamad decided at the end to accept Jesus as his Savior and Lord.

“When I opened my eyes from that prayer, everything in the world got a new color, everything that was a shade of gray and black got colors,” the young man recounts with wonder. “For the first time in my life, I felt peace in my life.” Read the rest: He was bruised and beaten for our sins, Muslim discovers salvation without works in Christianity.

Freed from stress, inferiority complex

Coming from a poor family with a mother who was totally illiterate, Parameswari Arun struggled with an inferiority complex, comparing herself to other students in terms of talent, intellect or family background. Frequently, she cried herself to sleep.

She worried about her studies and whether she would ever attain an advanced degree. “Will I get a job? Will I be able to look after myself or my poor parents?” Parameswari says on a Your Living Manna video. “So many fears came and crowded my mind and put me down every night.”

Perplexed and distraught, the native of Pannaipuram village in Tamilnadu District of India spied two fellow college girls next door in the dorms who didn’t appear to be staggering under the crush of stress.

“They always used to look confident, joyful enjoying their life,” Parameswari says. “They were good girls in terms of their character and that caused me to have a type of curiosity, to go and find out how come.”

Still, she was shy.

“One day after attending my physics class, I was rebuked by my teacher,” she says. “I ran to my room to sit and cry alone, but my room was locked.”

So she went to her neighbors’ room. While there, she spied a Bible. She had never seen a Bible before.

“There was one word written underlined by red ink. God is love. That word came and pierced my heart saying that there is someone to love me and to take care of me,” she says. “But I couldn’t understand the full meaning when I was pondering over it.”

Parameswari asked her. “What do you mean by God is love?”

“God loves everyone in the world and He came in the form of his Son Jesus Christ to carry the punishment because of his love,” the friend responded. “He doesn’t want to see anyone going to hell because of the punishment of the sins that we do on earth. So he died on the cross and took away every punishment and curse and everything on him and freed every human being. Whoever believes in His name can enter into eternal life”

The friend explained that Christ’s blood covered everyone’s sins.

Parameswari, who was studying the biological and chemical sciences, couldn’t grasp this idea.

“The body contains a maximum six liters of blood,” she argued. “How can it wash the sins of the whole world?”

Parameswari rushed out of the room, rejecting the notion.

Notwithstanding, she continued to contemplate the Bible.

Borrowing the mysterious book, she read further.

“That book told me who I am, who is my Creator. The book told me that I am born to live. The book told me I will be on top, never at the bottom. The book told me that I’m chosen by God. The book told me that I am the beloved of the Lord. The book told me that I’m a child with talent given by God.

“The book told me that I am the aroma of my Creator. The book told me that I am the ambassador for God. The book called me as a holy child. The book called me as a holy citizen. Read the rest: Relief from stress, Indian student finds peace in God.

Only deaf church in West Africa led by deaf missionaries

As a deaf missionary in Africa, Elizabeth Smith blows people’s minds — especially the Muslims who interact with her in the nation of The Gambia.

“When we speak to many hearing Muslims, they become curious when we praise God for making us deaf. They normally are very sympathetic because they believe we are full of sin and that’s why God made us deaf,” she wrote in an email interview with God Reports.

“It’s fun sometimes to see what God does in people’s lives when they see things from a different perspective,” based on a conception of Islam that’s very different from Christianity, Elizabeth notes. Prolific hymnist Fanny Crosby thanked God she was blind; apparently, she felt the loss of one sense sharpened her hearing and musicality.

Both deaf, Elizabeth, 34, and her husband, Josiah, 36, are establishing a church for the deaf. It’s only one of its kind not only in The Gambia but for many of the neighboring West African nations. Their missionary adventure started in February of 2017.

Their church, on the outskirts of the capital city of Banjul is a place of refuge for Gambians who need love and acceptance. “We get a lot of curious visitors in the church. Some have questions of who God is,” she says. “Some just feel welcomed, regardless if they are Muslim or not.”

For Elizabeth and Josiah, not hearing is not an insurmountable barrier to be missionaries. It presents challenges that simply belong to a long list facing anyone adjusting to a new country and culture.

“Living abroad is not for everyone. It stretches you, and takes you apart in ways you never imagined,” she says. “Being deaf definitely presents a lot of challenges. There are times when we need to communicate and many cannot read or write English.”

She tries not to voice words in English and mostly uses writing on paper or hand gestures. By and large, people are open to this sort of communication, though many are illiterate. The couple uses the illustrated Action Bible to show biblical stories and truths.

“But our main focus is the deaf community,” she says.

Elizabeth and Josiah were both raised in Arizona, but they didn’t meet in Arizona. They met Washington DC, where both worked for Youth With a Mission, and married in 2015. (From 2011-13, Elizabeth was an independent missionary with the Baptist Ministry at Gallaudet University, an institution of higher learning specially geared for deaf students.)

Soon, they felt God call them to Africa. They didn’t know where and sought in the Lord in prayer. Elizabeth got a vision of a machete shape and felt moved to look at a map of Africa. Lo and behold, the sliver-nation of The Gambia, which hugs the same named river, came into focus.

Josiah volunteered teaching gym classes at a local deaf school, while Elizabeth volunteered teaching English. A former British colony, The Gambia adopted English as its official language, but many speak only tribal languages such as Wolof or Mandinka.

Just as English differs from another language, so does sign language differ from country to country. There is no universal sign language. The American version is called American Sign Language. So Elizabeth and Josiah are gaining fluency in the Gambian sign language. Read the rest: only deaf church in West Africa led by deaf missionaries.

Dying of AIDS, man comes back to Christ because of a family’s love

On the very night Jerry Arterburn accepted Jesus at a church camp, the 5-year-old was also molested by the pastor’s son.

“When that molestation occurred, it ignited something in him that he didn’t think other guys had to struggle with,” his brother Stephen says on a Pure Passion Media video. “It produced an uneasiness with relationships with women.”

Jerry died of AIDS on June 13, 1988, at a time when the epidemic was raging largely unchecked and medical science was trying to figure out how to tame it.

“When my brother and I moved to Laguna (Beach, California) at the same time, there was another person who moved to Laguna. He was identified as Patient 0,” Stephen says. “This was a flight attendant who flew around the world and slept with about 2,000 different people. He infected so many people in that town that the AIDS virus was extremely virulent in there. I watched business after business close because there was such a high per capita gay population there. They were dying right and left.”

Before Jerry’s death, Stephen began to formulate the best way to encourage his brother to come back to Christ.

“I loved him. But I knew that what he was doing was wrong,” he says. “I wasn’t trying to convince him that he was wrong. I just tried to find a way to have a relationship with him that I could love him with.”

There were three Arterburn boys who grew up with a mom who bitterly hid her father’s suicide and a dad who was “redneck, disconnected,” Stephen says. All three sons went prodigal from their otherwise “strong Christian household” in Texas.

Stephen — who now is an author, a radio host and the founder of New Life Ministries — thought he was the worst rebel of the lot because he forced his girlfriend (attending Bible college) to get an abortion.

Jerry, who loved design and became an architect, didn’t immediately show how he was getting off course.

Stephen describes his brother as “the moral one” who owned up to his mistake, while Stephen was actually the immoral one who had slept with many young women.

“I hadn’t slept with a man. I killed my own baby,” Stephen confesses.

Jerry was about to get married, but it was called off. Both had frequent fights. Still, no one really knew why the wedding was called off.

When Jerry, at age 26, was appointed to a city planning post in Easley, South Carolina, he met a man who took him to a gay bar. He had never had sex before, but that night, “my brother felt like he was at home,” Stephen says.

“He felt total acceptance, freedom — all this stuff that he had never known: all of this love, affection, connection,” Stephen says.

From then on, it was relationship after relationship. When Jerry and Stephen both, by chance, moved to Laguna Beach, they started reconnecting. Sometimes in their talks they would debate. One topic that came up was whether homosexuality was right or wrong.

Stephen, who had come back to the Lord by now, stuck to his guns — until he realized the reason why his brother was arguing the aberrant position. His brother was gay.

As soon as Stephen found out, the arguments were over. A new phase in their relationship started, one of reaching out to Jerry with love and acceptance, though not approval of his sin.

“I was able to develop a close relationship with him, and then he got sick. I’m so glad I did because he needed me. I’m so glad he felt safe with me, that I could be there with him when he needed a lot of help — just getting up and going to the bathroom. He lost 100 pounds. It was horrible. He looked like something out of a concentration camp.”

Devastated by the news that not only their son was gay but also had AIDS, the “redneck ” father visited Jerry in the hospital and said, “You’re coming home with us. We’re going to help you through this.”

The Southern Baptist Church of his parents, instead of ostracizing Jerry, were loving and inclusive. (The Southern Baptists were conservative on social acceptance at a time when much of America was unmoved by the AIDS crisis.)

“We loved him when he was (younger). We’re going to love him through this,” a deacon said, according to Stephen. “Here’s what we’re going to do: We’re going to go over to his house and we’re going to lay hands on him and pray for him to be healed… Whatever his insurance doesn’t cover for his treatment of AIDS, this church is going to pay for. Whenever his brothers want to come in and see him, we’ll pay their air fare.” Read the rest: How to treat LBGTQ family members if you’re Christian

Daniel Chand traded punching for preaching

Daniel Chand loved to fight. As a boxer in Greenwich, England, he was a champion in the ring. On weekends at the pub he liked to raise hell and often found himself in drunken beer brawls.

But then he got arrested for really hurting someone and faced eight years in jail.

“I remember being outside the court room and I prayed to God to give me one more chance,” Daniel told the UK News Shopper. “The next thing I knew, the trial collapsed.”

Chand still loves to fight. But he has traded punching for preaching.

An earnest international evangelist, he has joined the ranks of a new generation of street preachers in London who have traded hellfire and brimstone for more tempered reasoning relying on apologetics.

And he loves praying for the sick — right there on the street or in the store.

“I remember walking up to a Muslim man who was limping and thinking that he might respond negatively to me because he was a different religion. I told him Jesus wanted to heal his leg. And he just looked at me.

“Then I prayed for him, and it was the most amazing thing I have ever seen. He was running up and down the DVD section.” Read the rest: Daniel Chand London street preacher.

Madame Giorgio in Atlanta breaks free from the chains and comes to Jesus

As a madame in Atlanta, Pamela Hillman had a mansion and drove a Hummer.

“I always had a lot of money,” Pamela says on a CBN video. “It was a very big business.”

Pamela was a small town girl, whose mom was a free-spirited Playboy bunny and whose Dad was an abusive alcoholic.

Trouble started for her when she was 5 years old and begged her dad to be able to keep a stray puppy she brought home.

“If you come upstairs with me, you can have him,” her dad told her.

When she ascended the stairs, she was violated. “Something happened that day. It planted a seed that I could get what I want by going upstairs.”

The horrific happenings altered Pamela’s life forever. She went from a happy-go-lucky girl with dreams of growing up to becoming a PTSD-warped automaton whose emotions were guided by the sordid underbelly of American sin.

She DID tell mom what dad had done to her, and mom got him kicked out, but other members of the family picked up where dad left off. The curse had spread.

At age nine, Pamela found marijuana lying around the house and discovered she could be free from her room, from restrictions, from pain — all by smoking.

“When I discovered pot, I just went somewhere else,” she says. “I felt free from being trapped in that bedroom.”

Soon she was progressing through harder drugs and found cocaine.

But sex was her major coping mechanism in the quixotic quest for love. She was married and divorced three times before she turned 20. Prostitution, drugs and being in and out of jail became a way of life.

The men who consort with strippers and prostitutes while using and abusing them, denigrate and antagonize them. They would echo to her the dehumanizing words from her own self-condemnation.

“I was a whore. I was a slut. I was never going to amount to anything.”

Now she’s happily married.

The never-ebbing undercurrent of her life was shame. “That was all that I knew. Filth.”

Fortunately for Pamela, not every influence in her life was bad. If her mom and dad contributed to her downfall, her grandmother was a voice of reason and Christian love.

A friend of her grandmother prophesied over Pamela when she was young. “This one here is special. She’s going to do great things for God.”

Many times those words of hope would come back to Pamela. They especially reverberated powerfully when Pamela, at age 26, decided to kill herself. With enough cocaine in the needle to end her life, Pamela heard those words again as she held the syringe, ready to jam it into her arm.

“God, if you’re real, help me, rescue me,” she cried out. “I need you.”

The voice spoke. “You don’t belong here. You’re going to do great things for God.”

“In that moment, I heard my grandmother’s voice,” Pamela remembers. “I heard so many of her prayers.”

Instead of committing suicide, she committed her life to Christ. She got off drugs, abstained from extra-marital sex and went to church for two years.

But Pamela had one slip-up, one moment of weakness in which she fell into sin again. She was overcome with grief, shame and hopelessness. She thought there was no recourse but to dive headlong into full-blown sin.

“I relapsed because I couldn’t deal with that shame and guilt,” she says. “I was unworthy to be in His presence, to be a child of God.” Read the rest: God saved the madame.

Miss America Asya Branch leaned on Jesus when Dad was imprisoned

Not everything was beautiful in the new Miss America’s early life.

When Asya Branch was 10, her father was arrested at home for involvement with an armed robbery. Little Asya watched terrified from the car as her dad was hauled away.

“That day our lives changed forever,” Asya told the New York Daily News. “We had a beautiful home and a great life. When they found out that my father was in prison, people looked at us differently. That was a critical stage in my life and it ended up changing me. I felt this overwhelming shame.”

Three things ensued. Asya and her family lost their farm home as the bank foreclosed. She felt alone and abandoned. And she grew closer to Jesus.

“My father’s incarceration played an enormous role in my life and helped me develop characteristics I never imagined. It taught me responsibility at a young age and to count my blessings,” Asya said on Mississippi Pageant. “But most of all, it strengthened my personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”

Asya was born the sixth of eight siblings to her parents, living in Booneville, Mississippi at the time. Before stepping into a wayward life, her dad was a retired military veteran. Her mom was a teacher’s assistant. She was a gregarious kid who spent her days entertaining family members. If no one was around, she would bury herself in a book.

Asked what one book she would take to a deserted island, she answered unequivocally: “My Bible, not only for the quality reading but for inspiration and guidance in the circumstances in which I would find myself.”

A self-described “daddy’s girl,” Aysa said there was no one to help her through the trying times of losing her dad to the prison system. Her father, she says, had tried to help a drifter by taking him in. But that young man had committed an armed robbery, and for trying to help a needy soul, her daddy paid a high price.

“There were no resources nor advocates available for me,” she says. “People don’t recognize the hardships I have faced in my life because I have learned to be strong through my circumstance, keep a smile on my face and lean upon the Lord.” (Asya is advocating for prison reform and even spoke to President Trump about it.)

“I struggled with my self-worth and closed myself off, praying for answers about why this happened,” she wrote in Guideposts. “Maybe God is teaching me to be independent and grateful, I thought.”

In desperation and loneliness one night, she cried out to Jesus and renewed her relationship. Read the rest: Asya Branch Miss America Christian

Limbless Nick Vujicic wonder if he would ever marry

Nick Vujicic assumed he might live life alone. He has no legs and no arms.

“I definitely had doubts that I would ever get married, that I would ever meet anyone who would ever love me and spend the rest of their life with me because I’m Prince Charming — with a couple bits and pieces missing,” Nick says.

Today, the Australian-born Christian motivational speaker is happily married to his Cinderella.

“We have gotten a lot of interesting reactions from people while we were dating, holding hands and walking side by side,” says Nick, now 34. “People would come up and cry and say, ‘Now I believe in love again.’”

Kanae Miyahara is a Mexican-Japanese who saw the Australian evangelist at a small speaking engagement in Texas. Nick’s appearance on the stage makes a sensation. Sometimes, he is carried in. Sometimes, he scuffles along the ground and hops up steps to a table, upon which he stands. He has a mere stub for a foot only.

With a mixture of self-deprecating humor, optimistic Bible preaching and non-stop enthusiasm the born-again evangelist leads sinners to Christ and Christians to a better attitude.

As he spoke in 2010 at the iconic Adriatica Bell Tower in McKinney, Nick spotted the exotic beauty in the audience and felt his heart throb. Would she — could she — feel the same?

Through friends, he arranged to talk with her and, playing it cool, managed to exchange emails.

Kanae was disillusioned with her prior dating experiences.

“Because I have dated other guys, I always went for the physical and I got tired of that,” she says on YouTube. “When I met Nick I was looking for other things, I found all those things in him. I was like wow, he’s not just boyfriend material, he could be my husband.”

So when she met Nick, she wasn’t necessarily looking for physical attributes — at least not arms and legs.

“The moment I saw his smile and his eyes, I thought to myself, oh my gosh, he’s so handsome. He’s my Prince charming. He may not be perfect on the exterior but he’s a perfect match for me.”

Nick was born to Serbian immigrants in Australia with tetra-amelia syndrome, a rare disorder characterized by the absence of arms and legs. When the nurse showed Dušanka and Borislav Vujičić their baby, the couple went outside the hospital to vomit.

Eventually, they accepted Nick as he was. They brought him home and raised him to love God and never make excuses but to learn to do everything by himself, as much as possible. Hence, he went to school, played ball and made friends like everyone else.

“My parents always taught me we have a choice to either be angry for what we don’t have or to be grateful for what we do have,” he says. “The power of choice. I had to decide for myself, especially in the early years in school when a lot of kids would come up to me and tease me.

“The world is a hurting place. The world needs hope. The world needs love,” he says. “Without hope, we feel like, why are we here?”

Nick graduated from Griffith University at the age of 21 with a Bachelor of Commerce degree, with a double major in accounting and financial planning.

In 2005, Vujicic founded Life Without Limbs, an international non-profit organization and ministry. In 2007, he founded the motivational speaking company Attitude is Altitude. He has preached for mega church pastor Greg Laurie and around the world to more than 4 million people. In 2008, he moved to California.

Nick doesn’t let anything hold him back. He swims, cooks, skydives and surfs.

The night he met Kanae was “electric,” Nick says. “When she stood by me it just felt right.”

Nick proposed on a yacht in Santa Barbara. He even put the ring on her finger — with his mouth. She wasn’t expecting it, and he began by kissing her hand. With great dexterity, he managed to slip on the gold band. Read the rest: Nick Vujicic wife

Model romanced by sly prince

When accosted by a stranger in New York City, Keisha Omilana politely declined to give out her phone number, but as she was about to board a train to head for a modeling audition, her women’s intuition took over.

“You know what? You’re not dating anybody,” she told herself. “And he was cute!”

Because of the risky decision to give a total stranger her number, Keisha today is a Nigerian princess – royalty!

That’s because the guy requesting her number was Prince Adekunle “Kunle” Adebayo Omilana from the Arugbabuwo ruling house in Nigeria.

But she didn’t know that until AFTER she said yes when he took a knee.

They dated for two years, and then he sprung the question. When she accepted, he explained that he was African royalty, with lots and lots of money.

Today, the Omilanas are strong Christians, and they’re using their money to finance church planting in Africa. Prince Adekunle is managing partner and chief executive officer of Wonderful Media, a European Christian television network which on Facebook identifies itself: “He is Life, His name is Wonderful and life is Wonderful.”

Nigerian royalty — like European royalty — exercises a symbolic role with little real power, but the Omilanas leverage a good example and preaching to the conscience of the nation to cement Christianity in Africa’s most populous nation and largest economy.

That’s significant because Nigeria stands to become a new center of gravity for worldwide Christianity. Nigeria has already begun sending missionaries into Europe in what many see as a paradigm shift for missions.

In the next 20 years, Nigeria is poised to become the fourth most populous country in the world — surpassing Russia. They’re on track to having the largest evangelical population in the world. Soon the majority of Christians worldwide are going to be non-white.

With 400,000 Nigerian immigrants in the U.S. with an average income level above white Americans, Nigeria can join hands with mission leaders on an equal footing to chart the future spread of the Gospel worldwide.

Don’t be surprised if the Omilanas sit on that board.

Keisha was born in Inglewood, a small city in the middle of the vast Los Angeles metropolis. Her birth town was awash with poverty and overrun with gang violence, but Keisha grew up safe and sound.

She moved to Chicago to study fashion but switched from designer to model. At first she timidly embarked on the career with Ford Models. But her striking beauty opened doors. She represented Pantene, L’Oreal, CoverGirl, Revlon, and Maybelline.

Keisha became the first African-American woman to be featured in three consecutive Pantene commercials, earning the moniker “The Pantene Girl”.

She appeared in the movie Zoolander and the television shows 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live.

Keisha was lost in New York City while looking for another audition when Prince Kunle discovered her.

He was in a meeting at the W Hotel when he saw her in a phone booth, trying to get the directions straight from her agent. Prince Kunle excused himself from the table and went out to see her. He waited 45 minutes for her to get off the phone, at which time he approached her.

“You are the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen in my entire life,” he told her. “Would you do me the honor of having your number?” Read the rest: Christianity in Nigeria: Prince promotes Christianity with his wife Keisha

Earthquake Kelley’s Schools of Deliverance

Curtis “Earthquake” Kelley was formerly a high-ranking witch, so he brings a wealth of counter-intelligence to Christianity — and what he finds is that most Christians are abysmally ignorant of their enemy’s strategy.

“Since I was in that dark stuff, God told me to bring that information to the table,” says the seventh-born heir to a dark legacy of priestly power in Haitian voodoo.

Today, Curtis, 64, uses his honorary doctoral degree to teach Christians the mechanics of deliverance from demonic oppression, from physical sickness to entanglements with sin. He travels internationally and gives classes over Zoom — “not just a whole lot of hollering and hooping. We need an understanding of God’s word for knowing how to fight these hobgoblins.“

Call it Deliverance 101.

Twenty years ago, Curtis taught Deliverance at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Today, he is pursuing a goal of launching Schools of Deliverance in every major U.S. city.

“The enemy doesn’t want the body of Christ to be educated about what he does and who he moves,” Curtis told God Reports. “Deliverance is not a 40-yard dash. It’s an 880 run. It may take a little while to get around the track and learn these things. A lot of people give up because of their lack of knowledge. The church is not taught how to fight.”

Born to a Haitian immigrant family in New York, Curtis was heir to the family’s legacy in witchcraft because he was seventh born. He learned casting spells, astral projection, séance pronouncements and client manipulation, but when he saw demons coming in and out of his floor — and especially after a drug-induced dip in Hell — Curtis decided he wanted out.

He grudgingly attended church, and on the third day of revival in December of 1971 the evangelist called him out: “Young man, God wants to save you. God says, ‘I love you. I want to save you,’” Curtis remembers. “I didn’t want nothing to do with the church because I thought they were weak. But when I heard God loved me, I went up to the altar.”

Among the things he’s done through the intervening years, Curtis got into boxing. He was a good bare-knuckle fight club brawler and caught the eye of promoter Don King, who fronted him as a super heavy weight boxer along with Mike Tyson, who was heavyweight category, Curtis says.

He met with some success — in the shadow of Tyson — but a head-on car collision in 1986 abruptly ended his foray in the sport.

Curtis got into ministry. He was holding a drug-rehab program at a Los Angeles church in the early 1990s when a well-dressed participant — husband and wife — caught his eyes.

“You don’t look like you have any problems with drugs,” Curtis approached him at an opportune moment.

“Oh no,” the man responded. “We’re here for our son. Our son is strung out real bad.”

With the knowledge he gained, that man helped his son break free from drugs. Today, that son is a successful engineer, Curtis says.

It turns out, the man was a professor at USC and spoke to the Dean to get Curtis in to teaching a class — Deliverance and Demonology — for one semester. There were always 5 or 6 kids out of the 50-student class who hung out after class wanting to know more. Read the rest: Earthquake Kelley’s Schools of Deliverance.

Banana cream pie, key to meeting wife

Frank Mesa put the gun in his mouth many times. Sometimes, he pointed it to his temple. But he could never pull the trigger.

“I hated life. I hated people. I was just bitter,” Frank says. “I used to argue a lot with my parents. I told my mom, ‘I hope you die.’ Two weeks later she became real ill and went to the hospital and within a week, she passed away.”

Frank, then 23, blamed himself. He had been taking care of both his parents, who were ill. He grew up in Apple Valley, California.

The family moved away from the gang violence in L.A. in 1978 at the time his dad retired. An only child, Frank was mischievous.

“As a kid, I remember being bullied a lot, getting picked on,” he recalls. “I was jumped by a number of older kids. They stole my brand new bike. This is where I started hating people.”

As he grew up, he fell in with the Heavy Metal crowd during middle school, groups like Ozzy Osbourne and Def Leopard.

“One of my favorite songs was from Pat Bennetar. It was ‘Hell is for Children,’” Frank says. “It was an addiction. It helped me to forget about issues, stress, peer pressure. I just wanted to be accepted.”

The first time he inhaled second-hand marijuana smoke, it gave him hallucinations for three days, so he stuck with alcohol.

“Almost every weekend, I would look for parties that I wasn’t invited to,” he says. “We would just get blasted. I would show up to work intoxicated.”

Naturally, his parents scolded him for this behavior. He argued over this. “This is my own life,” he responded. “My mother didn’t approve of anything I was doing. I brought home a girlfriend so she could meet her. My mom just called her a whore straight out.

“I got into an argument with her, and I said, ‘I hope you die,’” he remembers. “Before the month was over, she had passed away.”

After his mom fell into the coma and passed, Frank felt bad for what he had said. He could never apologize. He wondered what would become of himself.

“Is this life? Is that all there is?” he asked.

Frank had never been a church person. A few months later, somebody knocked on his door and explained the gospel to him.

“I had all kinds of questions about God at the time,” he says.

The church was full, and Frank picked a spot in the back row. When worship started lively praise, he freaked out. Read about how Frank Mesa met and married his wife because of banana cream pie.

First Deny. the war dog. Now Thomas Locke own faces death.

Thomas Locke, the Texas attorney who adopts retired military dogs, needs to be rescued himself.

The Christian Harley rider who can be seen with a cigar in his mouth and his wife on the back of the bike announced in August he’s battling cancer.

“I’m not scared at all, not even a little bit, not even nervous,” he says, shirt off showing a still-chiseled frame at 59 in a video uploaded to his Facebook account. “I have strong faith, so death has never scared me. It doesn’t even annoy me.”

The military veteran went viral on TikTok in May of this year when he had to put down his constant companion, Deny, a military dog that had been classified as “unadoptable” after eight years of hard service sniffing out bombs in Kuwait. Thomas found him for Christmas 2018 in the 21-acre ranch of Mission K9 which tries to finds homes for military assets.

The bond between man and dog challenged the notion of mere earthly affection. Often, Thomas would sleep with the German shepherd, who followed at his heals everywhere around the house. But when his back legs stopped working, Deny had to be put down, and Thomas carried out the painful task Texas style: after a last meal of brisket and sausage.

“I’m ready to turn in my man card,” Thomas said, holding back tears, as he fed Deny from a plate. “This wasn’t supposed to be a cry fest.”

This time, Thomas is NOT crying.

“Cancer affects babies, children and women. It’s a coward disease. I say ‘F you, cancer.’ I’m glad you came and picked on somebody your own size because I’m ready for you.” Read the rest: Animal rescue needs to be rescued.

‘From hoe to housewife’: How God helped one women break out of the strip club and get into financial services

Theirs was a marriage made in Heav…

Well, maybe not.

Theirs was a marriage made in a strip club.

The first time Kris-Lynn saw Justin Williams, he was wending his way through the crowd at After Hours in Tampa, FL, offering molly, X, weed and cocaine. She saw he was popular and handsome.

The next night, they were consuming drugs together, and from that moment on, they were inseparable.

But the fast life of money, drugs, pimps and stripping eventually slowed down. It had to. After all, she was a wayward pastor’s kid whom the Good Shepherd went seeking.

And Justin got let off a 15-year prison sentence with just one year of house arrest. When the miracle of the lighter sentence occurred, he told Kris-Lynn her days of dancing were over.

Kris-Lynn was a bright child, good with the books. Being raised as a pastor’s child in Florida didn’t mean she knew God. She went to all the retreats, heard about Moses and Daniel and constantly attended church, as was expected.

But when she saw church members doing ungodly things, she secretly wondered if there was any authenticity behind the religion.

“I didn’t like the things that I saw in the church that I knew weren’t God. Sometimes humans can pervert who He is,” she says. “I had a tainted view of what Christianity was.”

When she returned pregnant to her hometown from high school in Gainesville, she faced harsh rejection from the Christians who ought to have had compassion. She was kicked out of homes and wound up on the floor of a local Salvation Army in 2006.

“I was church hurt,” she remembers. “Wow, the people in the church are turning me away when I’m pregnant? If this is the Lord, then I want nothing to do with it.”

Actually, she wanted more than just to disassociate herself from the church. She wanted to disassociate herself from her emotional pain.

“I never wanted to feel like that again,” she says. “So I determined in my mind not to feel anything at all. And to get money.”

Dancing in the clubs was a quick way to make big bucks. And it provided her with access to drugs to numb the internal pain.

Then she saw Justin and was smitten in 2013. She plied her trade, he, his. Together they lived the high life of hustlers. Read the rest: From hoe to a housewife: How Christ helped one woman break out of the strip club and get into financial advising.

Gay stripper found God, doesn’t let same-sex attraction define him

Egged on by friends in middle school, Samuel Perez felt same-sex attraction but he had been raised in a strict Christian household.

“Oh my gosh! I don’t want to go to hell!” he thought, after he “came out” to his mom, and she warned him. “I didn’t know what I was feeling, I didn’t know how to control it. I didn’t want to like men, I just did.”

It all started because the Cuban youngster didn’t fit in with boys. His friends were girls. When he finally got a masculine friend, he got excited and confused and started to think it was a romantic thing. Lesbian friends reinforced the confusion, urging him to plant his flag of gay identity.

“Am I gay?” he asked. “Do I like this boy? Is this who I really am?”

When he told his friend, he got rejected. This prompted him to fall into a dark depression

A war waged for his sexual identification, with his parents fighting for God’s way, and his friends pushing for the world’s. When he finally told his mom he didn’t want to “suppress” his same-sex attraction, she sent him to an ex-gay camp.

“This is such BS,” he thought at the camp. “These people are trying to not come to terms with themselves.”

The camp had no effect.

“The world was telling me to love myself, so i accepted I was gay and was always going to like men,” he says.

In high school, he was homeschooled. That only made things worse because he was cut off from all his friends. Lonely, he became addicted to his computer and cried every night.

“I used to go on virtual realities and pretend to be someone I wasn’t because I was so insecure with myself,” he remembers.

College was going to be his escape. He found his passion in acting and the arts and rekindled his love for music.

“I remember having this app where you could find men in your area and meet up with them,” he says. “I was addicted to the app. I was desperate for someone to love me”

Samuel met up with a guy and made him promise him that he wouldn’t leave if he gave himself to him. The man promised but left him the next day.

At this time, Samuel got really sick and was hospitalized and heartbroken. His depression worsened till he dropped out of acting school.

“For the first time I felt completely lost,” he says. “I had no aspirations, no relationships. I didn’t even know if I liked singing and acting anymore.”

Samuel found a new love, working out at the gym, and became a personal trainer.

Then he decided to finally move out of his parents’ place. “Mom and Dad, I’m moving to New York! ,” he told them one day. “So I moved to New York with their help, like the gracious loving parents they are, even though they knew it wasn’t the best thing for me. They knew I had to make it on my own.”

Samuel had no money and no friends, but he worked as a personal trainer. He started to train a drag queen, who encouraged him to gogo dance and entertain people.

During the day, he trained at the gym. At night he booked appointments left and right. Read the rest: Freedom from gay life.

Only a dagger could stop volleyball sensation Jenny Johnson Jordan

“You would have had to put a dagger in her heart to stop,” her coach said of Jenny Johnson Jordan, team captain of the under-manned UCLA volleyball squad that triumphed in semi-finals against Penn State in 1994.

With only nine healthy players, the team had to fight for every single victory in their second place finish nationally.

Jenny never left her faith on the bench.

“The culture is trying to say, ‘Hey, you leave your faith over there and now you can come play your sport. Pick it up when you’re done. We don’t want to see it,’” Jenny says. “I was like, ‘How can you be super competitive and fiery (which I was) and also honor the Lord. I learned very quickly that me and my fire and desire to win and to honor the Lord came when I would do it the right way. “

That zeal led Jenny and her team to a national championship and two runner-ups in 1992 and 1994. She won All-Tournament Team honors in 1994.

Later, she won the silver medal at the 1999 Beach Volleyball World Championships in Marseille with her partner.

The daughter of 1960 decathlete gold-medal winner Rafer Johnson, Jenny grew up in the world of sports. Naturally, she wanted to join a highly competitive college program, so she went to UCLA.

“When I made it to the collegiate level I was just learning how to own my faith and what it means to have God in my sport, that they’re not separate things because that’s how I saw it,” she told Gospel Light Society.

Even in the locker room, she says, you’re pressured to listen to certain pump-up music. “These are places we can take stands as believers, which I know is not always comfortable or easy,” she says. “But it’s important.”

She had one coach at UCLA who was a Christian and encouraged her to keep up her Christian testimony. As she accepted the challenge, she got even better at volleyball and became the team captain.

Upon graduation, she transitioned to beach volleyball, where she made an even bigger name for herself. Read the rest: Christian volleyball star Jenny Johnson Jordan brings Jesus to the sport.

Behind the issue of the cake: will freedom of religion be preserved?

Being the Left’s cause célèbre for persecuting Christians is no piece of cake.

Just ask Jack Phillips. The Colorado baker politely declined to decorate a cake for a homosexual wedding because of his Christian convictions. He offered to sell the gay couple anything else in his store.

Instead of going down the street to another baker, that couple sued in 2012. The State of Colorado joined with fines and punishments. The Left, which sees the cake as a symbol of the continued fight for Civil Rights since the 1960s, made the targeting of a simple baker a high priority for the national spotlight.

Ultimately, Jack’s legal case made its way to the Supreme Court in 2018, where the justices found that the State of Colorado violated the neutrality laws with an overt hostility towards religion. Disappointingly, they came up short on clearing up the emerging conflict between civil liberties versus free religious exercise.

Behind the matter of the cake lurks bigger questions: Will churches eventually be forced to marry homosexual couples? Will they be obligated to ordain LBGT as clergy? Will passages of the Bible be removed or changed? Will the State take over the church?

Most importantly, can Americans depend on the First Amendment’s protection of freedom of religion and prohibition against government involvement in issues of faith?

The 2020 presidential election figures in. Whoever occupies will appoint countless federal judges and Supreme Court judges that will likely settle those unsettling questions.

Jack is back — in the news and in court.

This time a transgender woman, Autumn Scardina, is suing because Phillips declined to design a cake celebrating Autumn’s transition from man to woman.

What’s obvious was voiced by Kristen Waggoner, senior vice president of Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian legal group defending Phillips. The suit is perpetrating “harassment… because he won’t create custom cakes that express messages or celebrate events in conflict with his conscience.”

“This attorney’s relentless pursuit of Jack was an obvious attempt to punish him for his views, banish him from the marketplace and financially ruin him and his shop,” Warner said to NBC.

“Colorado just seemed to be looking for opportunities to punish me for my faith,” Phillips said. Read the rest: Colorado cakemaker Jack Phillips persecuted by the Left.

Facts girl as WH press secretary: Kayleigh McEnany sweetly savage

Kayleigh McEnany, who looks like she should be hanging on the arm of a PGA golfer sipping a Mimosa, is President Trump’s cudgel for the press.

Behind her beauty lies a fine mind, which the born-again Christian puts to use handling the hostile anti-Trump press. She’s been described as a bulldog with a smile.

As White House press secretary, she regularly chastises a press corps that was cozy with Obama but aggressively antagonistic toward President Trump.

Once a reporter asked if she would take back a statement from her time working at Fox News, that President Trump would prevent Covid-19 from arriving on America’s shores. It was designed to humiliate her, since there was no real answer, but the quick-witted McEnany unloaded with both barrels.

“Does Vox want to take back that they proclaim that the coronavirus would not be a deadly pandemic? Does the Washington Post want to take back that they told Americans to get a grip the flu is bigger than the coronavirus? Does the Washington Post likewise want to take back that our brains are causing us to exaggerate the threat of the coronavirus?”

She rattled off a complete list of media hypocrisy.

“Does the New York Times want to take back that fear of the virus may be spreading faster than the virus itself? Does NPR want to take back that the flu was a much bigger threat than the coronavirus? And finally, once again, the Washington Post? Would they like to take back that the government should not respond aggressively to the coronavirus? I’ll leave you with those questions and maybe you’ll have some answers in a few days.”

Ouch! What a zinger!

The elites who constantly tell Americans what to think were stung. She was the perfect press secretary for Trump, a president who lives up to his self-description as a counter-puncher.

She didn’t get mad. She sweetly smiled. The media giants were aghast with her barbs.

If they were looking forward to chewing up Trump’s fourth press secretary, they found out fast it was going to be Goliath against David.

McEnany thinks God gave her the position.

“I believe God put me in this place for a purpose and for a reason like he does with each and every life,” McEnany told CBN News. “We’re all here for a reason.”

Raised in Tampa Bay, Florida, McEnany found Jesus when she was young. Two days after her 11th birthday, she watched with horror as Rachel Joy Scott was gunned down at Columbine High School because of her faith in Jesus. Asked by the perpetrators of the 1999 massacre if Rachel believed in God, she responded yes and was shot.

“Thank you, Rachel, for making the faith my parents taught me real in my own life,” McEnany tweeted years later. “It has always been my hope that you would greet me one day at Heaven’s pearly gates.”

Her father was a prosperous roofer, and she was a precocious student. She graduated with an international politics degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Washington, D.C. before studying at Oxford.

After a 3-year stint producing the Mike Huckabee Show, McEnany started at Miami Law School. She was in the top 1% of the class, so she decided to transfer to Harvard Law School, where she graduated in 2016.

She prepares her presentations like a consummate researcher. After she worked briefly as a commentator for CNN, Van Jones noted, “There’s very few people in either party who can accomplish what Kayleigh has accomplished in such a short time. People keep taking her lightly, and they keep regretting it.”

Almost 32, McEnany was appointed Trump’s press secretary.

The national press is supposed to ask tough questions of politicians and try to filter through any lies or corruption. But since most reporters are progressive, they extend grace to liberal presidents and sharpen their knives whenever there’s a conservative president.

With Trump, the adversarial relationship has reached levels not seen since Richard Nixon was president. In 2018, the Media Research Center found that 92% of news reports about Trump were negative.

Welcome to the hurricane.

To be press secretary is to be a defender of the president. McEnany caught everyone off guard. “McEnany’s mission: Stand by, defend, punch back for Trump,” the Detroit News’ headlined. Read the rest: Kayleigh McEnany Christian.

Black senator lectures Trump on racism and supports conservative causes

He backed posting the Ten Commandments outside the Charleston City Council before it was declared unconstitutional. He is anti-abortion and opposed to same-sex marriage. He belongs to a large evangelical church in Charleston, formerly serving on its board.

So how did Tim Scott, a black Republican Senator from South Carolina, find himself sitting across the desk of Donald Trump, lecturing the president about racism in America?

His improbable ascent in the political world has God’s fingerprints all over it, because at a fractious time in American life, he’s become a leading conservative voice on racism, straddling the divide between Democrats and Republicans.

By all accounts, his unique position is a tightrope walk.

Senator Scott knew he would be called a sell-out if he remained mum. But he risked incurring the wrath of his president and party if he spoke out.

“When you’re criticizing the president of the United States, talking about the compromising of moral authority, it can strike a nerve with someone who is not typically a person who listens well in those instances,” he told the Washington Post.

But Trump listened intently, nodding his head and focusing without distraction. At the end, Trump asked what he could do to help people who might have been offended, and Scott presented him with the idea of setting up Opportunity Zones to facilitate investments in poor neighborhoods. It was incorporated in the Republican tax overhaul of 2017.

“Am I trying to make up for comments made by the president? Definitely not,” Scott says. “What I am trying to do is make the country stronger, and I can do that by working with the president.”

Tim Scott — a strong Christian whose conservative values were formed in a Chick-fil-A — has managed to fill the at-times contradictory roles of ally and agitator with aplomb.

He’s helped pull down Confederate flags and championed police reform legislation as part of the GOP response to George Floyd’s death. (Democrats had criticized his police reform legislation as being “token,” a not-so-veiled racially-charged term that implies skin color must dictate voting patterns. Scott took the floor and with tears in his eyes and recounted how police brutality is real and under-reported. Ultimately, his bill didn’t pass.)

Scott is a monolithic figure in the Blexit movement, which encourages blacks to actually read the Democratic Party platform and see it if lines up with their values. (Blexit, which stands for “black exit” from the Democratic Party, is a term adapted from Brexit).

Scott grew up in North Charleston and struggled academically. “When you fail both English and Spanish, they don’t call you bilingual,” he quips. “They call you bi-ignorant.”

His mother was single and worked 16-hour days as a nursing assistant to provide for her three boys. His grandfather became an inspiration for him; the man maintained his dignity through the 40s and 50s when people abused him with the N-word regularly. Grandpa was illiterate but pretended to read the newspaper in front of young Scott to inspire him to study.

Scott loved football and excelled as a high school running back. He hung out at the local Chick-fil-A where the franchise owner took him under wing and became something of a mentor for him. John Moniz was a Christian who encouraged Scott to pursue football and talked extensively about conservative politics.

The love for football ended in a partial scholarship to Presbyterian College. The conservative politics ended in a campaign for the Charleston County Council, which Scott won in a landslide with 80 percent of the vote.

After a stint in the South Carolina legislature, he launched his long-shot candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives and trounced Strom Thurmond’s son in the primary. He managed to dodge the controversy that fellow black freshman Allen West courted, put his head down and worked on many issues besides race.

For his quiet and effective work, he won the approval of both the Tea Party and the Republican Party, which the Tea Partiers despised.

When Jim DeMint stepped down from the senate in 2013, then-Gov. Nikki Haley tapped Scott to fill the seat.

Scott’s appointment was historic. He was the first African American senator from South Carolina since Reconstruction.

Nevertheless, the New York Times chose to celebrate the feat by race-baiting. Political analyst Adoph Reed in an op-ed said his appointment “obscures the fact that modern Black Republicans have been more tokens than signs of progress.” Read the rest: Sen. Tim Scott Christian conservative sensitive to racism.

From drugs pusher to Jesus pusher, this man charts his path out of the Democratic Party

Vincent Dorsett was Blexit before there was Blexit.

Blexit is a shortened version of “Black exit” as in from the Democratic Party because blacks tend to be more socially conservative than whites but continue to vote Democrat despite the radical positions on abortion up to nine months and transgender surgery at eight years old.

Blexit is a knockoff from Brexit, a shortened form of “Britain exit” from the European Union. Blexit is being led by Candace Owens, who recently married one of the movers and shakers of Brexit.

Blexit is a movement that started in 2018 and accounts in part for a recent surge in black voters turning to Trump. A HarrisX-Hill poll found in August that Trump’s approval rating among blacks shot up to 60%, a fact that could swing the election in his favor.

This is all good news to Dorsett, who himself was raised in a family 100% Democrat. He left the Democratic Party sometime after he got saved.

Dorsett, now 68, became a drug pusher in New York. He was the kind that never used drugs himself, a trick he learned from a girl in high school who, taking advantage of her own attractiveness and his loneliness, swooped in to corrupt him.

He made lots of money selling drugs, but noticed that other pushers caught the eye of authorities when they bought fancy cars and eventually wound up in jail. Savvier, he used taxicabs and dressed formally.

Dorsett’s operation grew to impressive levels. He even had cops on his payroll.

But he didn’t like the person he had become. All through high school, he had wanted to be a Treasury Dept. agent and bust traffickers. But now he was one.

“I really didn’t like what I did for a living even though I was very successful,” he says.

He thought he would leave behind the old life with a change of scene, so he moved to Tucson, Arizona.

“I thought my problem was New York. I thought if I left New York City, I would change. I was a drug pusher. I was running away from me,” he remembers. “But when I came to Tucson, I found out the same Vincent was here with me. I found that the drugs were even cheaper here and I could become a very powerful person here very quickly. I started to do that.”

He purchased drugs and recruited pushers for the street, but two days before the illicit business launch, he got distracted. He was with his girlfriend when he heard a man yelling at a Christian on the street.

“He was saying the blood of Jesus was a lie.” Dorsett remembers. “He said the blood of Jesus was the same as anybody else’s.”

His curiosity piqued, Dorsett — who had worn on his gold chains a Muslim crescent, a Catholic crucifix and a star of David without knowing what any of them meant — sidled up to the angry man and asked for an explanation.

They set an appointment for later that afternoon at Dorsett’s house.

The man never showed up.

The next day, Dorsett spotted him on the local basketball court and approached him to ask why he had left him hanging.

“You were the guy who said the blood of Jesus was a lie,” he said to the confronted and mystified man.

It turned out to be a case of mistaken identity because the man invited him to a Bible study. “He looked at me like I was insane,” Dorsett says.

The man distanced himself from his unbelieving lookalike.

“The blood of Jesus has set me free,” he said.

At the study, Dorsett wondered secretly at the evident joy of the other guys, so when the leader asked openly if someone wanted to experience that same joy — as if he read his thoughts — his hand shot up. It was 1974.

Upon accepting Jesus into his heart with a prayer of salvation, Dorsett felt nothing.

But they gave him a little booklet that he read at home in his recliner. When he saw that his sins were forgiven and he was made a new creation, he experienced something supernatural.

“It felt like somebody poured something all over me,” he said. Then the joy came in waves. “I started laughing so hard that I fell out of the recliner I was sitting in.”

When his girlfriend came over, he was still on the floor. She started to hug him, but he took her arms off of him.

“We can’t do that anymore,” he said.

“Why?” she asked. It was strange because Dorsett was very much given to sexual sin, he says. Read the rest: Why are Christians conservative?

Why, why, why do some Christians vote pro choice?

On the threshold of another presidential election, many believers have wondered: How can a Christian vote for a pro-abortion candidate?

You don’t have to be a Christian to realize that abortion is murder. You don’t have to be a biologist or an ethicist to see the hypocrisy in laws that punish criminals for killing a baby in the womb while assaulting a mom on the streets but at the same time allowing mothers to abort.

Christians have tended to support the pro-life movement in huge numbers. For many, it’s a decisive factor for marking their ballot.

After all, the Bible says, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you,” and “You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb,” verses which establish the fact that a separate human life starts in the womb at conception, not at birth.

To be sure, there are many sins that politicians and political parties commit, sweep under the carpet, cover up, and even promote. But by any measure, the sin of abortion outclasses them all. Drunkenness is a personal decision, but if you drive drunk and kill someone, you should be punished. Drinking should not be outlawed, abortion should.

So how do God lovers vote with a clear conscious for a party platform that promises to amplify, protect and fund access to abortion? A review of websites and articles online reveals the following reasons:

Other issues supersede abortion. These are Christians who feel other issues outweigh the importance of abortion. Billy Graham’s granddaughter, Jerushah Duford, accuses Trump of misogyny and poor treatment of refugees. She has signed on to the “Pro-life Evangelicals for Biden” effort.

Others overlook their qualms about abortion access law because they worry about losing the Affordable Health Care Act, and so on.

The no effect reasoning. These Christians argue that voting for the pro-life candidate has NOT made a discernible impact in the number of abortions. So what’s the point? They think the fight against abortion should be carried out at the local level, trying to persuade individual mothers to choose adoption. Never mind that Democrats right now are voicing full-blown panic that the current Supreme Court nominee might be the tilting vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The Bible spin. A number of websites actually perform exegesis on scriptures to attempt to show that life starts at birth — or at least cast doubt on the traditional understanding. But it is impossible to determine if these articles are written by actual Christians or pro-choice advocates.

The compassion reasoning. There are Christians who feel sorry for unwed mothers and believe bringing the child to term will foreclose future options. Or they feel sorry for a baby born in poverty or abusive circumstances.

The separation of church and state. The Founding Fathers didn’t want Europe’s bloody religious wars, so they established a wall of separation between church and state. Liberals have extended the concept to get prayer out of school and politics out of the church. Christians sometimes excuse their vote for abortion by saying it’s not right for them to impose their morality on others.

The guilty conscience reason. It turns out that Christians get abortions, sometimes to hide their shame. Of course, there is forgiveness, but it’s hard to be militant in opposing abortion with a guilty conscience. But how can a follower of Jesus turn a blind eye to the slaughter of over 60 million babies since 1973 in the U.S.?

America is roughly divided 50-50 on abortion. Polls are notoriously unreliable because the language of questions can slant responses. According to NPR, 40% of voters see abortion as “very important.” Read the rest: Why do some Christians vote pro choice?

Obama helped Muslim Nigerian president get elected. Now Muslims are free to slaughter Christians.

As Nigeria’s president continues to turn a blind eye on the horrors of his fellow Fulani Muslims, Fulani herdsmen are waging a war on Christians to take possession of their lands.

A smattering of attacks in August, as reported by Morning Star News, demonstrate the unrelenting slaughter.

A 48-year-old father of nine was gunned down as he confronted the killers, attempting to buy time for his wife and three little ones to escape on Aug. 17 in Kajuru County.

“Bulus Joseph was murdered gruesomely on his farm at Sabon Gida Idon, along the Kaduna-Kachia road, by armed Fulani militia,” says Luka Binniyat of the Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU). “He stood up to the killers so that his wife and three children could escape, which they did. But he paid the price with his life, as he was sub-humanly butchered by the cold-blooded murderers.”

The next day, a 16-year-old girl, Takama Paul, was killed in the southern Kaduna state, along with 30-yeaer-old Kefas Malachy Bobai, a father of three.

Barnabus Fund documented 171 deaths in the space of a little over three weeks, a staggering death toll that Nigerian Christian leaders qualified as a “pernicious genocide” before the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

A recent attack on a Christian wedding left 21 believers dead, prompting one Christian Nigerian to say “it is as if the lives of Christians no longer matter.”

Not all of the Fulani herdsman have stylized themselves after the infamous Boko Haram and other Islamic terrorists who believe killing “infidels” fulfills Allah’s will in the world, but those who have traded a life of peaceful herding for wielding weapons are creating such havoc that more than 50,000 Christians have fled their 109 villages as refugees in southern Kaduna state, Morning Star reports.

“Indigenous rural, Christian communities of southern Kaduna have been sacked by rampaging armed Fulani militia and displaced to various communities and Internally Displaced Persons camps,” SOKAPU’s Binnayat said. “These villages are now under the full occupation of Fulani, some for over a year.”

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, who is Fulani just like the killers, has “done virtually nothing to address the behavior of his fellow tribesmen in the Middle Belt and in the south of the country.” says a report prepared by United Kingdom’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom or Belief (APPG). He has characterized the pogrom as a matter of dispute over resources between farmers and shepherds and rules out any religious factor.

“Since the government and its apologists are claiming the killings have no religious undertones, why are the terrorists and herdsmen targeting the predominantly Christian communities and Christian leaders?” wrote The Christian Association of Nigeria, International Centre for Investigative Reporting, in January of this year, as reported on Coptic Christian.

Buhari’s 2015 presidential campaign was assisted by then-U.S. President Obama.

“What Obama, John Kerry and Hilary Clinton did to Nigeria by funding and supporting Buhari in the 2015 presidential election and helping Boko Haram in 2014/2015 was sheer wickedness and the blood of all those killed by the Buhari administration, his Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram over the last 5 years are on their hands,” wrote Femi Fani-Kayode, Nigeria’s former Minister of Culture and Tourism, on Facebook of Feb. 12, 2020. Read the rest: Slaughter of Christians in Nigeria while president turns blind eye on fellow Muslim tribesmen.

Out of foster care, into Jesus

It really bothered Stephany that she couldn’t understand — or even hear — the lyrics of Christian music played by her aunt and uncle.

“I was a lost child. I wore tons of makeup to try to fit on. I got into lots of fights. I was really depressed. I tried killing myself several times while I was in middle school and in my freshman year. I felt very unloved,” she says. “I didn’t have the Holy Spirit. The way Christians sang was like another language to me then.”

Because her parents got into drugs and alcohol, she was physically abused and neglected and fell into the foster care system.

“I was very angry at the world. I hated people because of my upbringing. I didn’t understand how God could have let this happen to my siblings and myself. I was just angry at God and I didn’t even know God. I hated God.”

Stephany and her siblings would sleep on floors of just about any friend’s house. One couple was very nice and even offered to adopt.

Mom was incensed by the idea that someone wanted to take her kids from her. So when Stephany returned, mom started beating her viciously. “My mom wasn’t well,” says Stephany, who had just finished her freshman year of high school.

In response, she ran away and hid in another friend’s house.

Her uncle and aunt took her to Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, CA. They played Christian music, which Stephany found incomprehensible.

“When my aunt and uncle played Christian music, I couldn’t understand the words,” she says. “That really bothered me because I didn’t understand.”

When they sent her to youth group, she thought the other girls were strange.

“Ew!” she squealed to her aunt. “Nobody wants to be around Christian girls. Don’t ever send me with those crazy Christians again.”

She projected a tough exterior, but inside she longed for a love she never felt.

“I felt so lost, so abandoned. But at the time I felt God pull on my heart,” Stephany says. “All I wanted was to feel that freedom. But I didn’t feel like I was good enough. How can God love me, not even my mother loves me?”

One day her aunt shared the complete story of the gospel with her. Still, the message of God’s love didn’t penetrate.

“The more she shared the gospel with me, the more I felt saddened because I didn’t understand God’s love,” she remembers. “All I felt was that I was doomed because of how awful I was and how I was abandoned.”

Finally at a Greg Laurie Harvest Crusade in Angels Stadium, she relented and descended to the baseball field to receive Jesus.

“That moment that I stepped out into the grass, because my heart longed for him, I felt his presence surround me,” Stephany says. “I prayed and cried. From there I felt like I was really open to the Lord. I asked God for forgiveness, and I asked him to love me.”

She surrendered her life to Jesus and was born again.

A few nights later, her aunt “caught” her listening to music late at night on headphones. She asked what Stephany was listening to.

With tears in her eyes, Stephany said: “I can hear what they’re saying!” It was Christian music. Read the rest: Jesus foster care

Black cops under fire from BLM, says African American Christian police chief

Police-bashing with the rant of “systemic racism” is only hurting the black community, according to an African American police chief on the East Coast, who asked that his name not be used for fear of being fired.

“When you say policing is systemically racist, you are hurting the poorest communities because the police pull back and then violent crime rises,” he says.

“That’s what we’re seeing happening in New York, Chicago, Austin and across the county. Poor people die, the disadvantaged people who live in these communities,” he adds. “They did a recent survey and blacks in these neighborhoods want more police, not less. It’s whites from middle neighborhoods who make up about half of Black Lives Matter that want to defund police.”

Black cops are taking a lot of heat from Black Lives Matter, the organization with Marxist leadership that maintains they are fighting for racial equality. They’re portrayed by BLM as sellouts worthy of double reviling. He’s not sympathetic to BLM, which appears to support Marxism and promote African-style witchcraft.

“Am I on the side of Marxist anarchists? No,” he says. “I’m on the side of law and order and Christianity.”

Growing up in a middle class home in New England, he became a Christian after attending a Vacation Bible School as a pre-teen.

In 7th grade, he was first introduced to an environmental police officer at his school’s career day. He was impressed the game warden was armed.

“That got the wheels turning,” he says

About a year later, he joined a branch of the Boy Scouts called Law Enforcement Explorers and realized that he wanted a career in the police department.

He also liked being a school safety monitor. Among other things, he gathered up stray 5th graders after recess when they were skating on the frozen pond across the street from the school and forgot to go back to class.

“The first badge I carried was a school safety patrol in the fifth grade,” he says. “It was great opportunity to serving and protecting in the fifth graders”

Then in the seventh grade, his teacher sent a classroom “hoodlum” to the principal’s office and picked the future cop to escort him. It was his first taste of taking a suspect in.

“The bug was bitten. I knew that was going to be my career,” he says. As a teenager, he worked in the small town police department going on ride-alongs and working dispatch. “It was exciting, helping people,” he says. “It was what I was interested in.” Read the rest: Black cops under fire from Black Lives Matter.http://godreports.com/2020/09/black-cops-taking-heat-from-black-lives-matter-poor-communities-suffer/

Ok, Biden.

Politicians in America sound off sanctimoniously about needing to “stick with science” in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, but Israeli scientists prove how difficult it is to find consensus in the best ways to limit the deadly pestilence.

After initial success handling the pandemic, in July Israel saw a resurgence of Covid-19. On September 13th, Israel’s government approved a severe, three-week lockdown that will limit people’s travel, shut down malls, restaurants, hotels, fitness clubs, and swimming pools. It will also limit indoor gatherings to 10 people.

Epidemiologist Dr. Hagai Levine of the Israeli Association of Public Health has stated that complete lockdowns are an extreme measure that should be reserved as “a last resort for very unusual situations of very contagious and deadly diseases. This is not the situation with Covid,” he told The Jewish Voice.

He labeled the shutdown of work and social activities as “medieval” in its approach and not necessary for controlling Covid-19.

“At the beginning, we didn’t know enough about how the virus spread and even then, public-health professionals thought the response should be more proportional to the specific risk,” Levine said. “Now we know much more about the virus. The risk of transmission in open air is very low. It therefore does not make any sense, from efficiency or a public-health point of view, to force people to stay at home. What we need to do is proportional measures to reduce transmission so we will get slowly to a reduction of the disease.”

Simple mask-wearing, hand washing and social distancing should be enough to keep the pandemic in check. Everyone has a role in limiting transmission, he says.

“You explain that gathering in closed spaces is risky and in open spaces much less risky,” he said. “You give solutions for people to be educated in how they socialize, work and consume entertainment. We need to get people to understand how important it is to avoid any unnecessary contact. If we don’t have this internal motivation, nothing will work.”

Dr. Levine’s views fell on deaf ears, however, considering the government’s current course of action.

By contrast, Yaneer Bar-Yam of the New England Complex Systems Institute fully endorses lockdowns, in line with the current directives.

Baruch Barzel,

“If you fought a fire in your house and got it down to a small fire and then walked away, the fire will grow again,” he told The Jewish Voice. For the past 15 years, Bar-Yam has used mathematical tools to help governments and organizations deal with epidemics like Ebola. He cites air travel for the rise of worldwide contagion.

His End Coronavirus coalition aims to aid community-based solutions for policymakers, businesses and individuals.

Israel imposed rigorous limitations near the outbreak of Covid and saw a dramatic decrease in spread, Bar-Yam observed. But when things got better and Israel loosened restrictions, the disease flared up again.

“This is not a natural disease that circulates in the population,” he said. “It is driven by a simple dynamic. It grows exponentially in a normally behaving population until the population takes clear actions such as social distancing from people who might be sick and isolating people who are sick as determined by symptoms or testing.”

He says authorities face three scenarios: “Either you relax restrictions and infections will continue to grow; keep the current situation [of limiting gatherings and mandating mask-wearing], where you’ll have a constant but high number of nearly 2,000 new cases per day; or choose stronger actions and the number of cases per day will decline.”

“The shortest amount of time requires the strongest action. Within four to six weeks, anyplace in the world can be at zero transmission. It will take longer the more lax you are,” he says. “The way to do all the things everyone wants to do, and the way to save lives, prevent disease and make the economy recover, all result from getting transmission to zero.”

For his part, Dov Shvarts, a professor at Ben-Gurion University, advocates partial lockdowns: nighttime curfews, weekend lockdowns and voluntary quarantine for people over 67 and people with underlying medical conditions that make them high-risk. People can still work and study, but on weekends they should stay home, he told The Jewish Voice. Read the rest: Scientists disagree on how to contain covid.

Robert Woodson brings Christianity to anti-racism: “1776 Unites”

By casting blacks as perpetual victims historically, the loudest racial activists in America right now are hurting — not helping — African Americans, according to Christian civil rights leader Robert Woodson.

To counter the New York Times’ 1619 Project, which provides the premises for rioting and violence against police, Woodson launched 1776 Unites, a collection of scholars to affirm traditional American values of hard-work, honesty and self-determination.

The 1619 Project’s arguments represent “the most diabolical, self-destructive ideas that I’ve ever heard. And what they’re doing is rewriting American history and unfortunately, they are using the suffering and struggle of black America as a bludgeon to beat America and define America as a criminal organization,” Woodson told Fox News.

“And it’s lethal,” he added. “The message that they are saying is all white Americans are oppressors and all black Americans are victims.”

The message of the 1619 Project — named after the supposed date the first slaves arrived in America — is to “exempt the black community from any kind of personal responsibility,” Woodson says.

Recently, a Black Lives Matter protester in Chicago justified looting on television news because the stores have insurance. And hard left firebrand Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a congresswoman from New York’s 14th district, said widespread robbery in the Big Apple during protests was just people who “need to shoplift some bread.”

Protests erupted nationwide after May 25th this year when a white cop was filmed kneeling on the neck of an already hand-cuffed and subject black suspect in Minneapolis. Sadly, many of those protests degenerated into arson and vandalism that rose to $2B in damage by one estimate.

Bringing organization to the spontaneous outpouring of rage is Black Lives Matter, a movement started by the L.A. chapter seven years ago. Because the secular media has lionized BLM, many Christians have been drawn into support the good fight despite the group’s foundations on Marxism and African witchcraft. Read the rest: 1776 Unites a positive alternative to Black Lives Matter.

After murder and hurricane destruction, she found hope in a hug

Cassenda Nelson often spent the day crying in her truck because she didn’t want to be reminded of the brutal murder of her mom and aunt in her home.

In August 2017, Cassa’s mother, Frances Nelson, and her aunt, Mamie Childs, were murdered in an alleged domestic violence dispute.

“My mom and my aunt were murdered in front of my children at her home,” Cassa reports. “My mom was someone I could go and talk to about anything. It felt like something was ripped out of me. How do you bounce back from being in that place of so much despair?”

Life became unbearable.

“I lost all hope. I didn’t want to get up in the morning. I didn’t want to see sunlight,” Cassa recounts on a Billy Graham video. “My plan was to take a whole bunch of pills to commit suicide.”

Then barely over a year later on Oct. 9, 2018, Hurricane Michael swept through her town with blockbuster Category 5 ferocity and tore up houses, knocked over trees and left the town a shambles.

Cassa’s home was also damaged.

“I’m standing here at the door watching this storm, and I’m saying, ‘Oh my God. When am I going to get a break?’” Cassa remembers. “I lost the most important people that would have been right here with me.” Read the rest: Hope in a hug for Cassenda Nelson

George W. Bush struggled with alcoholism

George W. Bush will be remembered as the president who declared war on terror after the Twin Towers were blown up by Osama bin Laden’s airline-hijacking henchmen.

But a new PBS documentary reveals the early years in which the future 43rd president drank excessively and could only conquer alcoholism by turning to God, according to People magazine.

“He transitioned from a church-goer to a Christ-follower,” Bush’s childhood friend Charlie Younger says in American Experience. “He wanted to emulate the tenets and teachings of Jesus Christ, and he made a definite transformation there.”

It may seem difficult to believe that before ascending to the presidency, his life before age 40 was rocky.

After six years in the Texas Air National Guard and the U.S. Air Force Reserve, Bush leveraged his family’s influence and finances to launch Arbusto Energy in 1977, an oil and gas exploration firm.

But he felt immense pressure to make “a big strike” and began to stagger under repeated failures, which stood in contrast to his father, who became vice-president of the United States under Ronald Reagan in 1981.

“I’m all name and no money,” Bush said at the time, according to the New York Times. Hit by a fall in oil prices, Bush sold his energy exploration company to Harken Energy in 1986.

“I think his friends and family, when he was nearly 40 years old, were worried about what he was going to do with his life,” Michael Gerson, Bush’s former chief speechwriter, said. “He drank too much and he had very little direction.”

On his 40th birthday, the crisis came to a head.

“He woke up hung-over. He had overdone it the night before and he didn’t feel good. I think Laura (his wife) told him that he could’ve behaved better,” Younger says. “He just said, ‘I don’t need this in my life. It’s robbing me of my energy. It’s taking too much of my time.’”

At the suggestions of friends, Bush began to attend a community Bible study, a weekly session similar to a “scriptural boot camp.” He’d reportedly met with preacher Billy Graham during the previous year, who encouraged him to deepen his relationship with God. Read the rest: George W. Bush saved from alcohol.

I support black lives and oppose police brutality, but BLM is led by practitioners of witchcraft

As Black Lives Matter organizer Melina Abdullah called out the names of blacks killed by police, she summoned the spirits of the dead by pouring out a drink offering on the hot pavement at a June march in Los Angeles.

“Our power comes not only from the people who are here but from the spirits that we cannot see,” said Abdullah, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. “When we say their name, we invoke their presence.”

In the 1960s, the top leaders of the Civil Rights movement were Christians. Today, the leaders pushing progress in race relations are of a completely different stripe: They are Marxists, queer and practitioners of hoodoo.

As the evangelical church weighs its response to racism and police brutality, it must filter through how to support a movement whose values are diametrically opposed to the Bible’s. Normally, when you get into politics you have to overlook a certain amount of unsavory facts to support candidates who represent the majority of your opinions. But just how much can Christians, who are sympathetic to reforming institutional sin, avert their eyes from these glaring faults?

“We speak their names. You kind of invoke that spirit, and then their spirits actually become present with you,” said Abdullah, a professor at California State University LA, as quoted by Christian News. “We summon those spirits that are still with us. We summon those people whose bodies have been stolen, but whose souls are still here,” Abdullah said. “We call on Wakiesha Wilson. We call on George Jackson … Eric Garner …”

Abdullah and her close associate Patrisse Cullors preside over a nationally influential BLM chapter of 500 supporters.

“This is a movement led and envisioned and directed by Black women,” she said. “Many of us are queer, we’re moms, and we really started this work because we wanted to see our children survive. We’re laying the groundwork and foundation for a new world, not just for our descendants but for right now.”

“The movement for Black lives infuses a syncretic blend of African and indigenous cultures’ spiritual practices and beliefs, embracing ancestor worship; Ifa-based ritual such as chanting, dancing, and summoning deities; and healing practices such as acupuncture, reiki, therapeutic massage, and plant medicine in much of its work, including protest,” Cullors told the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs.

Cullors identified herself as queer and Marxist.

BLM holds up the notable goals of social equality and justice amid a disturbing string of incidents of police excessive force. It started seven years ago when black man Trayvon Martin was killed when he tussled with George Zimmerman. It grew to 40 chapters nationwide in major cities through successive incidents of police use of force they felt was excessive: Mike Brown, Eric Garner and now Breonna Taylor.

But it was the tragic death of George Floyd, upon whose neck an officer knelt for nine minutes on his neck as he pleaded “I can’t breathe,” that galvanized national and international protests that were massive. Politicians, companies, professional sports leagues joined wholesale. Even churches got involved since the mission to bring righteousness to our nation can also be seen to include eradicating the sin of racism.

But have many people taken a close look at the foundational tenets under-girding the movement? Is it acceptable to lend our name and prestige to support the backing philosophies of Marxism (essentially atheist and opposed to the Christian church), LBGTQ and demonic religious practices?

“I wasn’t raised with honoring ancestors. As I got older and started to feel like I was missing something, ancestral worship became really important,” Cullors said on Religion News. “At its core, BLM is a spiritual movement.”

Surely, the church will yearn for Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. who invoked God’s help in peaceful protest and exhorted the nation to live up to its Christian foundational ideals.

“The different things that have become common, like ‘say her name,’ she says they are summoning the spirits of the dead to empower them to do this justice work,” said Abraham Hamilton III, general counsel to the American Family Association. “People are running around saying, ‘say her name,” but the founders of this organization say they’re summoning their spirits of the dead in the tradition of the Yoruba religion.

“I don’t want to misconstrue the Yoruba religion with the ethnicity or the language, but the religious component of it includes an over-arching pagan deity, then under that a mid level of pagan gods and goddesses called egun, and underneath them their are ancestors that they believe are gods,” says Hamilton, who himself is black. “The Lord warned the Israelites not to participate in these practices of these people. Among the things they were prohibited is summoning dead people.

“There are churches, large denominations that are demanding people support this organization and participate in these mantras and not really realizing what they are doing,” he adds. “As a Bible-believing Christian, I do not need a Marxist, anti-man, anti-Christ, ancestral worship purveyor to teach me how to love my neighbor.” Read the rest: Black Lives Matter and its demonic practices and beliefs.

Church after Covid: many will not return

By the time your church re-opens following the Covid crisis, as many as one in five members won’t return, according to one analyst.

Church dynamics expert Thom Rainer told Baptist Press that the recent global pandemic is revealing the true colors of church members.

That means a church of 200 will be a church of 160 after restrictions lift.

Many churches went online when health officials banned large gatherings as hot points for contagion. They resorted to Zoom Bible studies and live-streaming their worship services on YouTube, Instagram, FaceBook and the like.

While online has the advantage of convenience (no drive to church, and if you want you can wear your jammies), it lacks the human touch of a handshake, hug or affirmation that is also an important part of the service.

While introverts probably liked avoiding the social demands, there are others who may also find it easier to drop out.

Rainer describes several categories of believers who will probably not return to church:

The declining-attendance Christian: If their faithfulness to regular services was already waning, Covid only hastened their demise. Now completely overtaken by inertia, they won’t likely return Sunday mornings unless some drastic jumpstart revives them.

The loosely-connected member: The person who didn’t want to get involved in a small group and develop lasting bonds of friendship and was only a Sunday apparition is likely to continue their stay-at-home habits.

Conversely, the person who has strong friendships developed in community will want to be with his or her friends and will show up as soon as the doors open.

The just-another-activity Christian: The soccer mom whose calendar is chock full of commitments might find the relief from Sunday morning obligations a welcome change.

The critical attendee: The person who was constantly carping, finding fault, and complaining will probably not be returning to services. Read the rest: Church after Covid.

He went to a Billy Graham crusade to kill the man of God

George Palmer and his boys, armed with concealed zip guns, didn’t go to the Billy Graham crusade to hear him preach. They went to kill him.

Palmer had hated God ever since he lost his father to a heart attack at age seven.

“I was just so angry with God,” he testifies on a Billy Graham Evangelistic Association video on YouTube.

George Palmer’s father died in Western Australia after planting 100 cherry trees. He had a heart attack and was rushed to the hospital, but doctors couldn’t save him.

“I’ll never forget when I was told that my dad had died, I just couldn’t handle that,” George remembers. “I remember going up to the top paddock, and I screamed at God.

“I hate you. I hate you with all my heart. I will never love.”

The anger grew in his heart. He was a troublemaker in school and in the neighborhood. People knew him by his bad reputation and this reinforced his growing bitterness.

“I was always told I would amount to nothing. If you tell a person that continually, that’s what you believe, that you’re worthless, you’re useless.”

In his youth, he led a violent gang that harmed many others and clashed with rivals. “I had a vile temper,” he says.

One day, after beating their rivals in a street fight, George and his nine associates captured the rival gang leader and, subduing him, drove a car over his hand backwards and forwards, crushing every bone in his hand.

“It’s all I ever thought of, hurting people,” he says.

They planned to attend the crusade in Melbourne, determined to kill the internationally famous evangelist.

That’s when he and his boys heard that Billy Graham was coming in 1959 to preach across Australia. They hated Christianity and God.

“Billy Graham stood for something I detested,” George says. “It was something that drove me day by day.”

“I made up 10 zip guns, so each member had one of those,” he says. “I said to the guys, ‘Come on. We’re going on the green. We spaced ourselves so that we could see each other around where Billy Graham was preaching.

“We decided that…during the appeal, we would kill Billy Graham.”

They clutched their zip guns — homemade guns — and eyed each other as the message prolonged. The appeal would inevitably come, a chance for people to leave their seats in the stadium and come to the front and accept Jesus. Read the rest: http://godreports.com/2020/09/gang-members-attended-graham-crusade-with-guns-planned-to-kill-famed-evangelist/He tried to kill Billy Graham but he wound up getting saved.

Valedictorian Christian rapper aims for academia, urban mission

Ki’Shon Furlow was always conflicted. n the one hand, he graduated a 4.0 GPA valedictorian from high school. At the same time, however, he tried to traffic drugs to support his mom and five siblings in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Ironically and fortunately, it was the drug supplier who dissuaded him.

“You’re graduating high school. You’re an idiot. You have all these things going for you. You have a good family,” the dealer told him, according to Genius Lyrics. “Go to school, and be a good kid.”

Ki’Shon — whose latest releases are under the name YourWelcome Shon with Curb Records — is glad he, like so many in marginalized neighborhoods in America, ultimately chose Christ instead of falling into the dangerous life of risking death or jail.

Am. “God got the plan now.”

Simmering in the background of Christian Hip Hop for a few years, Ki’Shon came to a boil at the forefront with a cosign from Derek Minor in 2018. “One of my favorite artists right now,” Minor tweeted, according to Rapzilla.

He’s committed to getting out of the ‘hood with “clean money.” His play-on-words “Summa Hood Laude” celebrates the words that rescued him from selling drugs — ironically words from a drug supplier!

His “Lord+Taylor” still reaches back into the past as it portrays a romantic story of a bad boy changing for a good girl. It’s a hypnotizing ballad with clever lyrics. Behind the fairy tale lies an implicit call to kids from the ghetto to believe in God, believe in themselves, believe in doing good actions and believe in the chance to make it out through legitimate work.

“Ima about to make her fall for a gangster. She’s got my heart on lockup. You make me want to change up. I don’t wanna be a player no more. You don’t need nobody else, Ima get it right. Girl, you got me praying on my knees to the Father.” Read the rest: YourWelcome Shon Christian rapper

Pastor with LBGT parents re-calibrates church’s message to increasingly worldly world

caleb katlenbachThe ugliest thing Caleb Kaltenbach saw through a childhood of being taken to gay pride marches and wild parties was…. Christians holding up signs saying “God hates you.”

“I don’t want to have anything to do with that,” he said at the time. But Caleb came to Christ in high school, became a pastor afterwards and started a church that doesn’t compromise on truth while still extending love to those with “messy” lives.

His incredible journey from Christian-hater to loving Christian is more than just one man’s testimony. It is a shining light on the path for the church re-calibrating its message, as the world grows more worldly, to wooing sinners instead of saying “Woe!” to sinners.

When Caleb was only two years old, both his mom and dad divorced and “came out of the closet at the same time,” he says on an Outreach video. “My whole life I was raised by two lesbians and a gay man.”

caleb katlenbach and wifeHis dad was professor of philosophy, law and rhetoric at the University of Missouri, Columbia, while his mom was a professor of English at the University of Missouri in Kansas City.

“My whole life I was raised in the gay and lesbian community,” he says. “My parents didn’t want to get baby sitters, so they basically took me to parties when I was 4, 6, 7 years old. I went to camp outs, clubs and gay pride parades.

“I hated Christians,” he remembers. “I didn’t want to have anything to do with Christians.”

At the end of a gay pride parade, he was met by Christians with placards that said “God hates you” and “Turn or burn.”

They were spraying water and urine on everybody.

Caleb, who was a young and impressionable 9 years old, turned to Mom and asked why they were doing this.

CTz9RlFUsAACsqX“Well, Caleb, they’re Christians,” she replied. “And Christians hate gay people. Christians don’t like people who are different from them.”

“I don’t want to have anything to do with that,” he replied.

His next memory was when he was a teen, accompanying Mom to her parties. His custom was to find a room to play video games, Duck Hunt or Kung Fu (in the days of primitive video games — Atari, etc).

Louis, a well-built 30-year-old, befriended him at these parties.

Years later at the doctor, Caleb saw Louis, who had was emaciated and had strange markings on his forehead. Caleb asked what was wrong.

“Caleb, I have AIDS, and I’m getting read to die,” Louis responded.

Visiting him “a shell of the man he used to be” in the hospital just days before Louis died, Caleb witnessed a “horrifying sight.” As Louis shivered uncontrollably cold under nine blankets, his family watched unfeelingly from across the room.

“Plastered against the wall with their big ol’ KJV bibles out and looking like they expected a firing squad to come at them” was the compassionless immediate family. When he asked for water, they made sure to give him some without touching him.

“Why are they acting like that?” he asked his mom.

“Well, Caleb, they’re Christians,” she responded. “And Christians hate gay people. Christians don’t like people who are different from them.”

“I don’t want to have anything to do with that,” Caleb said again. Read the rest: Pastor with LBGT parents re-calibrates church’s message to increasingly worldly world.

Trump Surgeon General, a man of faith and science

jerome adams racismDr. Jerome Adams grew up poor in rural Maryland on a family farm. Government assistance sustained the family.

Recently, his mother had a major stroke. His brother struggles with substance abuse. His grandparents — all four — died prematurely of chronic disease.

Today, Dr. Adams is the U.S. Surgeon General.

“I’m a Christian and I believe God doesn’t put you where you’ll be comfortable,” he told the Richmond Free Press. “He puts you where he needs you to be.”

jerome adams jesusAn uncomfortable childhood prepared him for an “uncomfortable” tenure as surgeon general — and not just because of the pay cut from previously working as an anesthesiologist. Dr. Adams has been criticized for initially recommending against using masks. He’s been bashed for working with a president that some see as insensitive to people of color. He pushes back against the incessant carping.

“Our issues as people of color 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 color.”

jerome and lacey adamsJerome Adams was born in Orange, New Jersey, but his family moved to St. Mary’s County, Maryland. Though his family farmed, young Jerome was drawn to the sciences and attended the University of Maryland in Baltimore on a full scholarship where he earned dual bachelor’s degrees in biochemistry and biopsychology.

He continued his studies at Indiana University’s School of Medicine where he focused on internal medicine and completed his residency in anesthesiology. In 2000, he earned a master’s degree in public health from UC Berkeley.

After that the former farm kid worked in private practice at Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie, Indiana while teaching as an assistant professor of anesthesiology at Indiana University.

Mike Pence, who was then governor of Indiana, tapped the talented doctor for Indiana state health commissioner in 2014.

“I grew up in a rural, mostly white Southern community. I benefited from WIC, reduced lunch and other government assistance,” he told the NAACP in March. “I know what it’s like growing up poor, black and with minimal access to health care, and I’m personally experiencing the lifelong impacts that stem from that.” Read the rest: Dr. Jerome Adams Christian

Fear of God clothing brand founder really does fear God

jerry lorenzo ChristianJerry Lorenzo was supposed to give his $100 sneakers to 100 influencers around the nation to promote the brand in October 2016, but instead he decided hand them out to the homeless on Skid Row in Los Angeles.

“I work in Downtown LA and we pass the homeless people sleeping in tents and sleeping bags as we come into work every day,” Jerry says on Fast Company. “We were in a position to give and were ignoring these people that are around us. I just told my staff, ‘We’re going to pack up all these shoes and clothing and give it to people who need it.’ If I’m in a position to give, how dare I give it to someone that doesn’t need it?”

Jerry’s charity that day totaled more than $10,000. But Jerry is a born-again Christian and understands that high-end fashion and fame are ephemeral; only what’s done for Jesus is eternal.

“I’m a Christian, and I love God with all my heart,” he says.

jerry lorenzo shoes skid row homelessHis brand — Fear of God, which he says is cool, not corny, because it counters a lot of dark, empty religious symbolism in fashion — produces street luxury garments that have caught the eye of Kanye West, Rihanna, Kendall Jenner, Justin Bieber and Travis Scott. His Desert Storm-inspired tennies sold for $1,100.

“The idea for my brand came one day when I was reading a devotion that talked about clouds and darkness around the Kingdom of God. It talked about the layers to Him. For the first time in my mind, God was really cool. He was a dark image in my mind, not in a demonic way, just dark in terms of the layers and depth to him — the kind of figure that is beyond our understanding.

“When you’re at peace with God, there’s a fear of God that’s a reverence. On the flip side, when you don’t know God, there’s a literal fear. I wanted my brand’s name to play on these two different meanings. If people dig deeper with this brand, they can find truth.”

Jerry_LorenzoJerry Lorenzo came to Los Angeles to finish grad school. Being out from under his parents’ covering, he embarked on a journey of self-discovery, ditched his Christian upbringing and sampled the party life in Hollywood. He made lots of friends and supplemented his own income by staging his own parties. At the time, there were either black/ hip hop scenes or white/techno. Jerry fused the two and created his own space.

“It was through the night life that I really began to understand the power of my own influence here in Los Angeles,” he says on a “Now with Natalie” video on the Hillsong YouTube channel. “I had the ability to get people out of their homes five nights a week. I had the ability to influence fashion trends. I saw that I would wear something and people would start to dress like me.”

After eight years in the party scene, he realized he could launch a successful fashion brand.

“I enjoyed the partying. It was fun,” Jerry admits. “Yes, I had my own battles with my convictions, but we are as much human as we are spirit. But as my faith started to grow, I realized that I was not only in the wrong circles but that I was the creator of this platform. I was bringing the alcohol sponsor and the women. It was a heavy realization.

“Being from a Christian home, you think you know what’s right and what’s wrong,” he says. “I thought I was doing a good job juggling the two. But it got to the point where God said, ‘That’s enough. I have something for you to do and you either do this or you live this other life.’”

His party scene was THE place to be seen in L.A. and have significance.

“But as I grew in Christ and grew spiritually, I realized how insignificant this platform was that we had made,” Jerry admits. “I was fearful that my personal significance would be tied up with something as empty to that.”

He was coming to the end of himself, squandering his resources in his own plan to the exclusion of God.

“I just fell on my face and realized that I can’t do anything without God and that He is the source of anything good and positive in my life,” he says. “If I needed anything, it was to seek Him and not promote myself. Once the blinders were off and I saw if for what it was, I knew that wasn’t the place for me.” Read the rest:Jerry Lorenzo Fear of God clothing Christian.

With so much division in America, this urban missionary bridges the divide

Civil RighteousnessJonathan Tremain “JT” Thomas is a chaos chaser.

He showed up in Ferguson, Missouri after Michael Brown’s death at the hands of police in 2014 to fight for equal treatment for people of color — but also to help quell the rising violence of protests that were being hijacked by non-local agitators.

This year, he showed in Minneapolis after George Floyd died when a white police officer kneeled on his neck. He participated in prayer, counseling and services on the very street corner where Floyd lost his life.

“In church circles, there’s been this desire for awakening,” JT says on Slate. “Oh my goodness, it looks like awakening has come to America in the form of chaos.”

Jt Thomas in MinneapolisThis is JT’s full-time job, and his organization, the pun-derived nonprofit “Civil Righteousness” — has been part of the healing balm applied to a nation convulsed by months of protests, vandalism, riots, looting and anarchy. Christian race-relations expert Dante Stewart calls them “the next generation of the racial reconciliation movement.”

He likes to talk to hot-headed young activists, to white conservative evangelicals and angry black liberal progressives in their 50s and 60s and get them thinking outside of their bubbles. “Jesus came for all,” he says. “There are serious issues in policing that need to be addressed, but also the police officers are human.”

With Methodist circuit-rider great grandparents and a grandmother who was sister of soul legend/ civil rights activist Nina Simone, JT says he’s had a confluence of influences to uniquely prepare him for his current ministry.

Raised in a predominately black Baptist church in North Carolina, he launched on the path to become a missionary in college but zeroed in on urban needs in America. He worked in Tennessee and Indiana but struggled to raise support, so he started a video production company and accepted a teaching pastorate in a nondenominational church in St. Louis.

JonathanTremaineThomasThen Ferguson erupted in unrest that quickly spread across the nation. In a dream vision, JT saw himself type an email titled “Meet me in Ferguson” and took it to mean that he should travel there in the name of the Lord.

He joined prayer groups and observed mounting street protests. He confirmed that agitators from St. Louis were the ones stoking the flames of outrage and sparking violence. After two months of trying to inject God into the equation, he moved his family and set up permanent residence in Ferguson.

When white supremacist Dylann Roof killed nine black Christians at church in Charleston, South Carolina, JT unobtrusively introduced himself on the scene to conduct prayer services and distributed food to the homeless.

After James Alex Fields Jr. slammed his car into Heather Heyer, killing her, and injured 19 others at a white supremacist rally in Virginia in 2017, JT conducted trainings for local churches on “how to be peacemakers and mediators.”

By then, Civil Righteousness had grown into a network of like-minded Christians who are ready to mobilize like a SWAT team. “We live a lifestyle of readiness,” JT says.

Naturally, they deployed to Minneapolis.

The protests sparked by George Floyd have been different than any previous. They have become more widespread and more supported by politicians and media. They also have been more dominated by Marxists and Antifa. Leaders of BLM have openly declared the Marxist alignment. Antifas engaged in organized anti-police mobilizations, ambushing cops and using lasers to blind them. Read the rest: Civil Righteousness brings Jesus to race riots.

Standing up to Superior Court, local pastor challenges church lockdown order

robmccoySticking to the First Amendment and an unwavering belief that church is “essential,” easy-going and gentle-spirited Rob McCoy is turning into a political firebrand by defying a Superior Court temporary restraining order to shut down his indoor services this Sunday.

“We’re going to worship the Lord,” McCoy says on a video on Godspeak, Calvary Chapel’s YouTube channel. “Our community desperately needs this. It’s critical to us. We are essential. This means the world to us.”

Pointing out that not one person from his church has gotten Covid, McCoy encouraged congregants and visitors to continue attending, even under the threat of receiving a misdemeanor citation under Judge Matthew Guasco’s Friday order.

Rob McCoy indoor services“I will be at the 9 a.m service,” says one congregant. “I will take a bullet for the team.”

Newbury Park’s Godspeak Calvary Church has been holding indoor services since May 31, a fact that Ventura County officials were aware of. But all of a sudden, the county board had an emergency meeting behind closed doors to halt those services, voting 3-2 to sue Godspeak in court.

In siding with the county, Judge Guasco stated that First Amendment rights are paramount but health concerns and the jeopardy of the entire county due to outbreak risk bore greater weight. He said on a scale of 1 -10, the danger was a 10, the Ventura County Star reported.

“There is no exercise of a right unless people are alive to exercise it,” the judge said.

Disputing such a bleak assessment of health risk, McCoy says just 80 residents of the county have died from Covid, 0.01% of the population — “tragic” but hardly deserving of such “Draconian” restrictions.

The cost of the cure has been a devastating and irreversible toll on the community, McCoy says. Of restaurants, 65% aren’t surviving. Family businesses are hobbled. Children are shuttered out of school and cut off from human interaction, causing psychological damage. People in recovery form substance abuse have been cut off from support networks and many have relapsed. Suicide rates have sky-rocketed.

The church is supposed to provide spiritual guidance, consolation, encouragement and strengthening to people who need help, but liberal politicians have largely discredited such public services, following alarmist sentiment fanned by the mainstream media.

While churches are shut down, marijuana dispensaries, liquor stores and abortion clinics remain open under many states’ and counties’ rules that leave many Christians scratching their heads and doubting their governing authorities’ priorities. Read the rest: pastors refuse to shut down, Rob McCoy at Godspeak Calvary Chapel

‘Ghost mode’ for street hood turned pastor/rapper

Thirteen-year-old Markell Taylor wanted to be just like his stepdad, who was a pimp, a rapper, a womanizer and a drunk.

“I idolized him,” Markell says. “People thought he was cool. My own father was not in the picture and my mom was in and out of prison. He was the one male figure in my life. He had money, so he would buy expensive cars and expensive clothes. He would buy them for me. You’re a little kid and you’re getting hooked up. I thought he had something going on.”

In response to this role modeling, Markell became a runner for a drug dealer. He dropped out of school. He used methamphetamines and he took advantage of girls. “I had all these insecurities because I was hurting and lonely and I didn’t know why I wasn’t worth it for my real dad to stick around,” he said. “But I put on a mask of confidence to get in girls’ pants.”

From middle school onward, Markell was the life of the party. He had the drugs, so he got it started.

But while he was admired for his swagger and brazenness, his future began to dim. He variously lived with his stepdad in Wendover, Nevada, his grandmother in Las Vegas — and homeless shelters. He was arrested for domestic violence against his mother and police were investigating crimes he had participated in.

“I was out of control,” he recalls. “One time I told my mom I was going to kill the guy who sold me some bad drugs. I wasn’t really going to do it, but I acted like it. She tried to take me to the police, but I jumped out of the car while she was driving.”

At age 14, his mom and stepdad wanted to escape their reputation at Wendover and move to Salt Lake City to get a fresh start in life. Markell didn’t last one day there without his arrest.

Again it was a case of domestic violence. He hit his mom with a pillow, he says, and she freaked out and called the cops. When the police handcuffed him, they asked if there was a gun. Markell stood up to show them his arm, but the police thought he was going to attempt a fight, so they tackled him again.

The cops hauled him off to jail.

“As soon as I got into the back of the patrol car, I started crying like a little baby,” Markell says. “Up until then, I had pretty much gotten away with everything I did.” Read the rest of Markell Taylor, street hood pastor rap artist.

Raised in a crack house, rescued by God

sana cotton healed from abuseSana Cotten was only four years old when police raided her home.

“We literally lived in a crack house. My mother was addicted to drugs, and she was in and out of incarceration. There was a lot of people that were around, trying to help her raise me coming up, so I really didn’t have much of a relationship with her. To this day, I still do not even know who my birth father is.”

After the police raid, a malnourished and abused Sana, along with her twin, was placed in foster care and eventually adopted by Christians.

“I was always taught about God. I was always told that we needed to go to church. I was always told that there was a Higher Power, someone that we were striving to be like. But I never really had a relationship with Christ for myself.”

Sana Cotton inner healing in ChristStill, the wounds from her early childhood took a toll as she grew up. At 18, she got involved with an older man for affection and got pregnant.

“I was still trying to find out who I was, and I was still trying to find someone that was going to love me. I was trying to still kind of heal and trying to find a way to get the love from a man, really, that I was lacking from my birth mother and my birth father.”

After two years, the couple separated. At one point Sana got into a fight with her ex and lost control.

“He brought a young woman with him,” Sana says. “Although we were not together anymore, something in me just kind of snapped. And I remember when the altercation was over, I found myself in the bathroom, looking at myself in the mirror, tears running down my face, and I remember thinking, ‘There has to be more than this.’”

She realized her life was careening out of control.

“Before I went to sleep that night, I literally got down on my knees for the first time in years, and I just cried out to God and I asked God to really show me someone who was going to love me the way I deserved to be loved.” Read the rest of Sana Cotten, raised in a crack house, rescued by God.

He didn’t bother with ‘unknowables’ like God… until he turned 50

Paul ErnstPaul Ernst was a natural tinkerer who based his outlook on life on the material world that could be seen, quantified and studied.

“I liked knowing how things worked,” Paul says in a CBN video. “I wanted to drill down to the basis of something where it was, you know, like taking apart an alarm clock or later a motorcycle or a car engine.”

Attracted to sciences, he graduated from college with a degree in chemistry. He didn’t bother much with the notion of God because if he existed, he couldn’t be documented by scientific means.

“Even though I might think about where the universe came from, ‘Where there’s a God,’ ‘Is there life after death?’ I pushed those into unknowables.

Paul and Mary Ersnt“The picture I had of Christians is that since they weren’t in science, they were in another realm that was unknowable, and some of it actually looked kind of silly to me and I just wasn’t interested in that.”

He stayed the course of scientific atheism through his 40s, but when he turned 50, a nagging sense of his mortality began to irritate him.

“I had a fear of dying,” Paul says. “I didn’t want to go into oblivion or even, or worse yet, into some kind of judgment.”

A friend, Tom Anderson, composed a paper called “A Lawyer Gives a Defense of the Divinity of Christ.” After reading it, Paul realized it made a lot of sense.

“I knew if this is true, this changes everything. This is huge. So I could immediately tell that this was something big that needed to be pursued,” he says. “But the bigger part of the picture is this individual had a roadmap for connecting the dots to where I, for the first time, saw the possibility of knowing whether it was true or not. And I thought ‘I’m not going to live forever; maybe I’d better look into these things and settle them.’” Read the rest: skeptical intellectual, at 50, decided to study more thoroughly the God he had dismissed as ‘unknowable’ when he was younger.

A pastor who’s a politician? Rob McCoy flouted Calvary Chapel. Then he defied the governor of California

Rob McCoy and familyFor 20 years, Rob McCoy preached in his pulpit and never faced persecution, but when he ventured into politics, he got death threats, received hate mail and was stalked by menacing figures.

“I got beat up,” says McCoy, former mayor of Thousand Oaks in California. “It was the hardest thing I ever did.”

A pastor who’s a politician???

“I want to dispel the myth that Christians don’t belong in politics,” says McCoy, 55, who is at the center of a national maelstrom by holding services in violation of California’s rules closing churches.

Rob McCoy, political firebrand, man of compassion“You don’t have the right to shut down churches and let Marxists run amok in our cities,” McCoy said in the Citizens Journal.

McCoy was referring to recent massive protests and riots of Black Lives Matter and Antifa where vandalism and looting were widespread and hundreds of thousands of bodies huddled together on the street with basically no social distancing nor face masks mandated to stop the spread of Covid. The same liberal politicians who encourage the protests and made no mention of the dangers of Covid are the ones closing churches in California, New York, Chicago and Minnesota.

If protesters aren’t required to stay home due to Covid, why are church members? The current slew of governing leaders have deemed church “non-essential,” while marijuana dispensaries, liquor stores and the like are doing a thriving business.

Rob McCoy pastor of Calvary Chapel Thousand OaksThe U.S. Supreme Court just handed down July 24th a discouraging 5-4 ruling for Nevada churches that have been facing suffocating restrictions while casinos are relatively free to return to business.

“The Constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion,” wrote Justice Samuel Alito in the dissenting opinion. “It says nothing about the freedom to play craps or blackjack, to feed tokens into a slot machine or to engage in any other game of chance. A public health emergency does not give governors and other public officials carte blanche to disregard the Constitution for as long as the medical problem persists.”

The son of a Navy captain, Rob McCoy grew up in Coronado, California, doing all things associated with water: swimming, surfing, scuba and water polo.

An English teacher in public high school invited him to a home Bible study, where he heard about Jesus for the first time, but it was a swim coach who led him to the Lord.

On a swim scholarship, McCoy attended California State University at Fresno where he got a bachelor’s degree in history in 1987. It was during college that he and his roommate co-committed to following Christ more diligently.

Rob McCoy pastor politicianHe was engaged to someone else when he met his wife. Because his girlfriend got pregnant, his college group pastor suggested they expedite marriage. This brought a crisis with his parents because the girl was Hispanic.

“You give birth to that child, and I’ll kick you out of this house,” his father told him.

Kicked out and trying to pick up the pieces of his life, McCoy went to a Christian concert with his fiancé at Hume Lake.

On the way back from the concert, something shocking happened. His fiancé took off the engagement ring and confessed she’d slept with the campus pastor, a married man. McCoy waited until birth to do a paternity test, which confirmed it was the pastor’s child.

All throughout McCoy’s ups and downs “in the midst my sin and God’s grace,” Mederies (she goes by Michelle) Fowler remained a friend to him and encouraged him to do the right thing, McCoy says. After the engagement was officially called off, he grew closer to Michelle and the two eventually married.

Rob-McCoyIn an unusual coincidence, Michelle’s grandmother — also married to a Navy man, Admiral Richard Fowler — had hosted the baby shower and donated the crib towards little Rob McCoy years earlier. His parents were pleased with Michelle.

Today, McCoy calls these high and lows his higher education in the “school of hard knocks.” The couple has four natural born children — Molly, Kelly, Daniel and Michael — and one adopted daughter, Natasha.

Nowadays, McCoy is a a conservative Republican opposed to abortion, but when he was in high school and his then-girlfriend warned him she’d missed her period, he urged abortion as the quick and easy means to elude responsibility.

As the days passed, however, it turned out his girlfriend wasn’t pregnant after all. When McCoy was married in 1990 to Michelle, his wife miscarried and he wept over the dead baby. (The miscarriage almost killed his wife due to hemorrhaging, he adds.)

The loss of his first child provided a time for for reflection.

What’s the difference between the child that you wanted to get rid of and the one now that you are weeping over? God impressed on his heart.

“The difference was convenience,” McCoy surmises grimly. “I didn’t want to get beat up by her dad. The child was just a commodity. It was all about me.”

By contrast, the miscarried child filled his heart with love. “It was at that moment that I loved somebody more than myself. I came face to face with ‘What is responsibility? What is life?’” he says. “I was just empty and cold until I came to Christ.”

If once he treasured only himself, McCoy now values people. He’s always hosted people in his house, missionaries, refugees and even the wayward sons of well-known U.S. congressmen. All receive the love of Christ and the chance for discipleship. Right now, he’s hosting Colombians.

During college he got to know and admired the Calvary Chapel movement, so he joined the Redlands church where Don McClure was pastor. Eventually he followed McClure to San Jose to help with the work there and was ordained. In 2001, he was offered the pastorate the Thousand Oaks Calvary Chapel, one the oldest but was declining in numbers, he says. Today they have 1,400 in attendance.

He was riding on a wave or revival. Calvary Chapel was founded by Chuck Smith in 1968 on a simple principle: teach the whole Word to young people disaffected by the turbulence of the 1960s – and be led by the Spirit.

“Chuck decided to be apolitical because all these kids were disillusioned with politics, and began teaching the Bible. The nation was in turmoil with all these kids checked out of the church and had gone after Eastern religions and gone after every kind of drug imaginable,” McCoy said at Liberty.

“It was an amazing move of God upon the state of California. But we were apolitical.”

In fact, staying out of politics was practically a major tenet of their doctrine.

So how, then, did McCoy break with his church’s doctrine and “sully” himself in “dirty politics.”

Two things happened. One was a couple of key people encouraged him to impact society through politics because of his grip on history. They were on a trip to Israel.

The second was the deterioration of conditions in California. “With 10,000% growth in Calvary Chapels and being apolitical, what was the result?” he asked.

The gospel is supposed to transform culture. How have we impacted the State of California being apolitical? he wondered.

California had slipped from 5th largest GDP to 6th or 7th. It aborted more babies than there are people in Canada. It led the drive for no-fault divorce that decimated homes in America. It was a leader in anti-family values and in poverty levels, in taxes and in debt, he says.

McCoy launched his foray into politics with an unsuccessful bid for the California assembly. The state’s Republican party poured $1 million into his opponent’s campaign in the primary because they didn’t want an old white man, McCoy says. He still won.

The Republicans endorsed him but only on the condition he let an outsider wunderkind run his campaign. The guy was a brilliant kid from UC Berkeley but wasn’t saved. No matter. Within days, McCoy’s supporters had evangelized him and turned him into a believer.

He almost won the seat, but the Democrats flooded the obscure assembly seat with $6 million in funding, and he lost by 4,000 votes.

It was a bruising defeat. He discovered politics is dirty and his opponents were vicious. He had worked tirelessly and had suffered threats, hate mail and intimidation tactics. “I never suffered the kind of persecution the Bible talks about until I went into politics,” he says.

He was exhausted. But then somebody suggested he run for the seat on the Thousand Oaks City council that his opponent vacated to run against him for Assembly. He reluctantly relented. After 150 coffees and 650 volunteers canvassing neighborhoods, he won by a mere 52 votes, he says.

Eventually, he became mayor.

It was McCoy who helped stop the Assembly bill that would have outlawed “conversion therapy” for minors that many feared would slash the throat of the church’s use of the Bible. McCoy simply invited the bill’s sponsor, California Assemblyman Evan Low, to visit his church and meet his diverse staff and listen to their concerns that the bill violated the First Amendment. Read the rest: Christians in politics, Rob McCoy defied Governor’s closure of churches.

Noted artist battled leukemia, saved marriage

vera kirkpatrick cancer“You have two weeks to live.”

Those were not the words that Hawaii-based artist Vera Kirkpatrick expected to hear after a routine blood test with her doctor. She worked out twice a day and kept herself in peak health.

All of sudden, she needed her husband, a man she had grown distant from in her self-sufficiency.

Looking back, Vera had grown up in an impoverished, fatherless home. “There were six kids. We had nothing,” Vera says in a CBN video. “So my whole idea was, ‘If I’m successful and I have finances then people won’t look at me as a poor orphan. They will see my success.’”

vera and john kirkpatrickCreating and selling in-vogue art pieces brought her fame and finances. She married, had three kids and moved to Hawaii where she and her husband, John, ran two art galleries. Vera had all the pieces of success.

But she felt John, who adored her, was too controlling, and she contemplated leaving him.

“I wanted to create my own rules, my own world,” she says. “John ended up putting me on a pedestal, and that was good for a while but then I got tired of that. I didn’t want to be molded and shaped. I’m the powerful person. Not ‘we’ but ‘me.’”

But the mulling of separation got cut short abruptly in 2009 when Vera, after skipping doctor’s checks for six years, finally went in for a physical and the doctor ran a standard blood test. He found leukemia.

“What’s Leukemia?” Vera asked when he broke the news. “Wait, is that a cancer?”

“Yes,” he responded. Then he delivered awful news: “What’s worse, I think you have about two weeks to live.”

Oncologist Anthony DeSalvo confirmed the grim prognosis.

vera kirkpatrick“Acute Leukemia, in the absence of urgent treatment, is rapidly fatal,” he says. “It is typically within weeks without treatment you will die.”

Vera turned to the God she knew only superficially.

“Okay God, I’m at a crossroads here. Are you real? Can I call on you?” she prayed frantically. “Are you able? All these stories and all these things were they for real my whole life? Are you mad at me? Will you even listen to me now?”

Her self-made world crumbled. She had achieved success all by herself, and she was proud of it. But with cancer circling, she realized her self-sufficiency was utterly meaningless.

“I’ve been doing everything on my own terms,” she mused.

“I reached out for a life saver and that was God,” Vera remembers. “I went back to my roots, because I wasn’t going to save myself. And you can put your trust in medicine, but the ultimate healing is going to have to be God.” Read the rest: Vera Kirkpatrick Christian artist.

She was becoming too Westernized, so her Muslim parents married her off back in Pakistan

Muslims in EnglandBorn in a strict Shia Muslim Pakistani family in South London, Rayeesa was becoming too westernized, too worldly, according to her family, because she wanted to… play tennis.

Yes, that’s right. She wanted to play tennis. Compete, to be more exact. And that was wholly inappropriate for a proper Muslim girl, she was told. So her parents sent her and her sister back to Pakistan and married them off to Muslim men.

“We loved tennis. And I wanted to enter competitions,” Rayeesa said in a CBN video. “They wouldn’t allow that because it was not respectable for a Muslim girl. My parents told me and my sister, ‘You are going to in Pakistan and we are going to find you suitable husbands.’ I had never ever thought that would happen to me. It actually made me feel completely alone.”

Shia muslims in EnglandOne night Rayeesa and her sister tried to escape. In their flight, they tried to enlist the assistance of some guards. But when the guards tried to get “overly friendly” with them, they resisted their advances. Giving up, the guards instead forced them to return home.

Rayeesa was married against her will in accordance with Muslim practices to an Indian man she didn’t even know.

The good news is that he didn’t really love her and only wanted to use her as a means to get to England himself. He sent Rayeesa to England with the plan that she would arrange his paperwork to immigrate later.

westernized muslimsShe never did.

Instead, she joined the police force.

In was on the force that she met a colleague with a deep and vibrant relationship with Christ. Rayeesa had read the Bible and the Koran but didn’t know which to believe. But her friend, Anna, had a recognizable glow missing from Rayeesa’s life.

“What’s so special about Jesus? Just tell me,” Rayeesa asked her one day. “Why do you love Jesus so much?”

Anna wore down Rayeesa’s skepticism.

“I thought that was the most crazy thing. She told me who God was. That was so different to what I had been taught,” Rayeesa recalls. “I was taught that Jesus was a prophet and He was like Mohammed. But hearing Anna’s explanation of how Jesus was actually God in human form coming and then giving his life and dying so that we could have a relationship with God.”

Rayeesa mulled the presentation. What if it is true? What if Jesus really is God? I am believing in Mohammed and Allah, but what if it is not the truth?

Rayeesa committed to the quest of unearthing the truth.

From that point onwards, she was determined to find the truth about God. Who is God? she wondered.

Finally, she got down on her knees and prayed: “Jesus if you are real, if you are who you say you are then I hear your voice that you are knocking on the door. I open my heart and I want you to come in.”

Then God answered her prayer in a remarkable way. “Suddenly the minute I said that it just felt like I was flooded with love. It was an instant feeling of being washed and accepted and I knew then that this Jesus is real,” she recounts. “Worry and fear and everything was just washed away by this love and I felt complete. Read the rest: Westernized Muslims in England.

Covid’s silver lining: sex workers freed in India

project rescue imageWhile Covid-19 has killed myriads, shut down economies and closed churches around the world, the deadly virus has liberated thousands of exploited sex workers in India, according to a report from Project Rescue.

“What Project Rescue hasn’t been able to do in 24 years of giving itself to rescuing and restoring the lives of thousands of women and their children, this virus has shut down the Red Light Districts in India,” says founder David Grant. “God has given us an opportunity to reach out to these women that we’ve never seen in all these years. In 50 years of being involved in missions, this is the greatest moment we have ever experienced.”

human trafficking indiaBecause of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s particularly drastic quarantine, there are no businesses open, no transit, and no industry. With the streets virtually deserted, brothels have no customers and human traffickers are simply releasing their prey rather than have to feed them without them generating any income, Grant says.

“This is the greatest miracle in Project Rescue’s entire history,” he adds.

Other nonprofits report a spike in human enslavement in other parts of the world, as governments repurpose resources usually dedicated to fight traffickers. Perhaps what Project Rescue is reporting is unique to India where stringent restrictions were put in place.

grants

David and Beth Grant

“In the middle of unimaginable crisis comes unprecedented opportunity,” says Rod Loy, director of strategic initiatives. “For the first time in our life time, sex trafficking is shut down. No one is visiting the Red Light District, customers are non-existent, demand is at an all time low. Traffickers are losing money.

“As a result, traffickers are giving women permission to leave and take their children with them,” Rod adds. “In the years of Project Rescue, this has only been a dream. It’s never happened. What the enemy intended for evil, God is using for good. These are the most exciting days in the history of Project Rescue.”

Many of the women who find themselves trapped in the brothel were either kidnapped or sold into the trade. In some cases, they are chained with actual shackles. But often those chains are financial. The women know no other way to make a living for themselves and their children, Rod says.

“We need to be ready to seize the moment of what He wants us to do in the middle of the storm,” Executive Director Beth Grant says.

Project Rescue is issuing a plea for financing to help released sex slaves return to their hometowns to find food. Project Rescue will feed and provide vocational training so that when Covid dies away the sex workers will have a practical alternative to make money other than the life they have lived for years.

The nonprofit deploys 422 international staff and 226 national staff to rescue and restore youth who have been coerced or enticed into a living they now feel trapped by, its website says.

Pastor Rajneesh of Jaipur reports 300 women and children rescued from such slavery, so the urgency to meet their need is great or “they’ll be forced to return the Red Light districts so they’re children won’t die,” Rod says. “The window of opportunity is short.” Read the rest: Sex workers freed in India due to Covid.

Out of trauma, out of fears

Demetrius FearsHer mother was scolding Demetrius Fears because the 4th grader was STARTING homework at 10:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Then just outside, gunfire erupted.

“Stop! No!” her Uncle Robert shouted, and then they heard a loud pop, pop, pop.

Robert staggered into the house with blood streaming down his face and body.

“When everything happened, I froze. I didn’t know what to do. Everything happened in slow motion,” says Dee, 22.

overcoming fearsDee’s grandma, Yvonne, wasn’t too strong in the Lord at that time. But the Holy Spirit kicked in and she began praying and prophesying that Uncle Robert would live. “She spoke life over him in the name of Jesus,” Dee says.

Their prayers were answered and Uncle Robert survived the shooting.

Dee is named after her father, who died from gunshots weeks before she was born.

After the incident, Dee decided to stay home as much as possible. Because she was always at home, everybody took advantage of her baby-sitting services. She loved babies.

In community college, Dee started attending church and also studied child development. At church, she developed a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and was born again.

“As I began to do what God wanted me to do and follow His plan for my life, I saw a lot of doors open for opportunities and to be in child ministry,” she says.

She got a job at Starbucks and then added a part-time position at a Christian infant care in Santa Monica.

As time went on, she wondered why she was even bothering with coffee, which she doesn’t like, and not working full-time with babies, which she loves. She offered to her boss, Anita, to go full-time at the Lighthouse Center for Infants.

“She started crying tears of joy,” Dee says. The Infant Care badly needed qualified workers. “She told me I was an answer to prayer.”

“Whoa,” Dee thought in response. “I never thought I could be somebody’s answer to prayer.”

Dee has gained new friendship and developed her classroom learning about child development in real life practice.

One day in church, a sister prophesied that she would overcome her insecurities, which stem from not having a father. During the initial stages of the Coronavirus lockdown, she began to feel unloved.

“I began feeling worthless, like I was useless in every way possible, like I wasn’t worth it, like nobody wants you here,” Dee remembers. “The thoughts were so loud that I began believing they were true.” Read the rest: overcoming trauma and fears.