encouraging news

For several weeks, we have been praying for a little girl named Sarai. Until recently, she lived at Casa Shalom orphanage in Guatemala. A few weeks ago, her father removed her from the home and there has been much concern about her well being. Josh and Jessica Hanson work at the orphanage and recently blogged about some slightly encouraging news. Check it out on their blog: thehansonsinguatemala.blogspot.com.

Let me encourage you to keep believing and praying for things that may seem impossible. God has a way of working things out.

Why Samson?

The following is based on the Old Testament book in the Bible, Judges, chapters 13-16. It also connects with a teaching series at Maranatha Church, The Tough Guys of the Bible.

Samson, did you not recognize the value of the gift that God had given you from birth?
Samson, why could you not control your lust for women?
Why did you disrespect your wife so much that you would leave her and then return, presuming that she would be there, just waiting for you?
(On a side note: How did you catch 300 foxes?!)
Why were you so manipulated by the phrase, “you don’t love me”?
Why didn’t you learn from your mistakes? You kept repeating them! You kept falling for the same tricks!
Why did you stay with women who so obviously wanted to destroy you? Was the sex that great? Were you so insecure that the negative attention was better than no attention? Was your conquest of women more important than your conquest of God’s enemies?
Did you ever stop to wonder why God allowed you to remain so strong, when your life was so out of control? Did you not see this strength as a true gift to be treasured?
Samson, why did you squander such an awesome opportunity to do something so great for God?
Samson, think of what could have been. How much more could you have accomplished for God, how much longer could you have lived? How much greater could your life have been, if only you have remained separated unto God!

Why modern day “Samson”?

God is moving in Rio Bravo

For the last many months, we have been involved in a humanitarian effort to feed starving children. Our daughter Jessica and her husband, Josh serve as missionaries in Guatemala. They were informed of a community where, because of various issues, children were literally starving to death. Along with some other missionaries, they immediately started coordinating efforts to take in food to support the feeding program that had just begun, under the direction of a local pastor whose name is Freddie.

Jess and Josh began buying food in mass quantities and delivering it to the church where the children ate. Visiting teams from the US began to make this two hour trip from Guatemala City. 140 children have been eating breakfast every day, thanks to the efforts of these people. Letha and I have been there and seen, first-hand, what happens. It truly is an awe-inspiring thing.

Recently, a generous donor in the US gave enough money toward this effort that more hungry children can be fed. Beginning in just a few days, 100 additional kids will eat breakfast every day at the church! Please understand, these are not children who have other options. They could not just stay at home and eat if the program were not there. They would not eat at all. They are sick and malnourished. Many are emaciated.

I consider this entire project to be a miracle. Now 240 kids who would otherwise go hungry, are eating a good meal every day. God bless Jess and Josh for their efforts. God bless the teams that buy food and go there to serve. God bless Pastor Freddie. And God bless the generous donor who heard of the need and stepped up and gave. Most of all, God bless the kids of Rio Bravo!

He really does love them, I hope they can see and experience that through our efforts. If you want to get involved, contact Jessica and Josh at: TheHansonsinGuatemala@gmail.com

Are Christians Easily Cured of Their Christianity?

The following is a letter from a governor named Pliny to the Roman emperor on the growth of Christianity less than one hundred years after the crucifixion of Christ:
“I have never been present at any of the Christians’ trials, and I am unaware of the methods and limits used in our investigation and torture. Do we show any regard to age or gender? If a Christian repents of his religion, do we still punish him or pardon him?

Currently, I am proceeding thus—I question them as to their religion; if they state they are Christian, I repeat the questioning, adding the threat of capital punishment. If they still persist, I order them to be executed. I do not believe that their stubbornness should go unpunished.

I recently questioned a group of Christians who, after interrogation, denied their faith. From this event, I could see more than ever the importance of extracting the real truth, with the assistance of torture, from two female prisoners. But I was able to discover nothing except depraved and excessive superstition.
I therefore thought it wise to consult you before continuing with this matter. The matter is well worth referring to you, especially considering the numbers endangered. This contagious superstition is not confined to the cities only, but has also spread throughout the villages.

Nevertheless it still seems possible to cure it.”

(Source: The Voice of the Martyrs)

So, do you think you could be cured of your Christianity by a little persecution?

A story is recorded of the famous theologian Thomas Aquinas visiting the Renaissance Pope, Pope Innocent II. The Pope showed Thomas the abundance of funds in the church treasury, the works of art, the extravagant decorations and ornaments in the chapel. “You see, Thomas,” said the Pope, “the church can no longer say, ‘Silver and gold have I none.’ “(referring to the words of Peter and John in Acts 3:6 when healing the paralysed man) “True,” Thomas replied, “but neither can she now say, ‘In the name of Jesus Christ, Rise and walk.’ ” (which was the second part of Peter and John’s statement in Acts 3:6)