Tag Archives: Arizona

Pastor prayed and fasted for neighborhood, one ‘hooligan’ responded

Nigeria missionariesBy Lortoume Hang’andu —

Bitwell grew up in Lusaka, the red-soiled capital of Zambia. Along with his friends, the fatherless teenager assaulted people to fund his drinking habit. They also engaged in hooliganism at the local soccer stadium and fought rival fans.

His mother, a Christian, tried in vain to control her son.

Then a pastor moved in across the street and fasted for seven days for the neighborhood. The Spirit moved on Bitwell’s heart. At 24, he was tired of endless crime and alcohol, so he began attending church.

“I wasn’t really converted,” he says. “I just went to church.”

Then Bitwell got struck with Cupid’s arrows. He saw Mary walking to the store and struck up a conversation with her. Mary was a more serious Christian and refused his advances. He persisted, and Mary laid down an ultimatum: Either he go to church seriously or give up hopes for her.

Bitwell still drank, but he worked hard to hide it from Mary. The first time he went to Mary’s church, he was hung-over. Three years later, they were married.

Back to AfricaSeeking a better life, Bitwell and his wife applied for and were granted a tourist visa to visit a friend in Chandler, Arizona. Bitwell flew to the U.S. three months before his wife.

He was on a layover in New York on 9/11 when the Twin Tower terrorists struck and he was grounded at the airport. Eventually, Bitwell took a Greyhound bus to Chandler to join his friend, a zealous believer at the Door Church.

Bitwell accepted an invitation to attend church. He never heard preaching like that before. After hearing moving sermon after fiery sermon, he decided he needed to get serious about God. With his wife at his side, he gave his life to God and was born again.

Pastor Joe Campbell became a father figure to Bitwell and Mary. He gave them a car and was constantly checking up on them. They matured in the Lord and participated in ministry for four years.

One day, Pastor Campbell called them into his office. Would they go back to Africa to pioneer a church? They belonged to a group of churches that focuses on church planting.

It was no light matter. They had overstayed their visa and were “illegal.” If they left the country, under current rules they would not be granted a visa to America for at least 12 years.

“God called me to go,” Bitwell says. “When I was in America, God provided for me. So I thought that if I went to Africa, God would still provide for me.”

Jesus says to count the cost. For every Bitwell, there are hundreds of illegal immigrants who get saved, called, and decide not to return to their home countries. The American Dream often holds greater sway than the dream of ministry. Don’t miss the surprise ending of pastor returns to Africa.

Tammy (Lortoumi) is Pastor Mike Ashcraft’s student at the Lighthouse Christian Academy in Los Angeles.

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Only a year? Whistle blowers wonder why ‘lone wolf’ jihadist let off easy

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Derrick Thompson, aka Abu Talib Al-Amriki

A Phoenix man inspired by ISIS to convert to Islam and carry out a lone wolf attack was sentenced to one year in prison and four months probation — a sentence so light that anti-terrorist groups were left scratching their heads.

“Only a year? What do they think this man will do in a year? Become a loyal, stable, productive citizen?” wrote Jihad Watch. “It is much more likely that, once his jihadist sentiments are reinforced in prison, as they will be, he will come out more determined to kill in the name of Allah than he ever was.”

Part of the problem is the nature of the accusations, which lacked traction under U.S. law and could only be prosecuted under Arizona’s tougher anti-terrorism law.

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The fellow Phoenix residents who attempted to shoot up a cartoon exhibit in Garland, Texas.

Derrick Raymond Thompson, 31, who calls himself Abu Talib Al-Amriki, posted pro-ISIS comments online and tried to buy a semi-automatic gun. Investigators found no concrete plans to carry out the “lone wolf” attack, though it was speculated based on his Google searches that he wanted to carry out a shooting at a Catholic midnight mass on Christmas.

““We need to get down with this ISIS sh*t,” Thompson wrote on his Google+ account, which he titled “Talib Thompson.” Among the hundreds of jihadist-related Google searches police uncovered via warrant, Thompson looked up “midnight mass,” “martyrdom vs. suicide” and “Fatwa on killing civilians.”

In response to a YouTube video discussing a terrorist attack in Garland, Texas, Thompson uploaded a comment: “Islamic State is officially in America. The war has begun.”

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The assault on Garland didn’t go well for the attackers.

In the Garland attack, fellow Phoenix residents Elton Simpson and Nadir Hamid Soofi drove to Texas to attack participants in an exhibition of cartoons about the Prophet Mohammad, but they were killed by a Garland police officer as soon as they arrived and opened fire. Muslims believe artistic renditions of Mohammad are acutely offensive due to his prohibition about making images.

The Muslim population in Arizona has grown to 120,000 in recent years and is projected to represent 35 percent of the state’s population by 2030, the Phoenix New Times reported.

Prosecutors called Thompson an “avowed jihadist” in court documents prior to his arrest in December of 2016. Despite being prohibited to buy or own a gun because of a previous felony conviction, Thompson approached a seller on BackPage.com in January 2015 in an attempt to acquire a firearm, a deal that fell through because Thompson was out of town on the day of the sale and the seller transacted with another buyer. Read the rest of Muslim terrorists from Phoenix.

Gates of hell

The first white explorer to observe the stunning beauty of the Grand Canyon scowled. “It looks like the gates of Hell,” said Lt. John Christmas Ives. “Ours has been the first, and will doubtless be the last, party of whites to visit this profitless locality.”
Boy was he wrong! Today millions each year marvel at the jaw-dropping cathedral gorges that grace the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. Five miles wide, one mile deep, and over 250 miles long, this spectacular geological showcase is now catalogued as one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
There is spectacular beauty  in your ministry that others fail to observe. There is pricelessness that others don’t appreciate. Don’t fear it others get it wrong. Enjoy what God has given you and continue to exploit the natural resources that you have for His benefit.
If others frown just because you don’t run after the god of money, don’t listen to them! Continue laboring happily and enjoy the pristine grandeur of His service! Pay no attention to what others fail to see.