Category Archives: International

Harbaugh finds gratification helping others in Peru

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By Tonya Whitaker
Inside the Pew

During the 2011 NFL season, San Francisco 49er fans saw miraculously how first-year head coach Jim Harbaugh turned an off track 49er team into a squad that was one step away from representing the NFC in Super Bowl XLVI.

But, on-the-field successes cannot compare to the work one can do in His name. According to the Catholic News Agency (CNA), the former NFL quarterback was one of a several volunteers who traveled to Piura, Peru, on an eight-day mission trip to assist Most Blessed Sacrament Parish. The parish’s outreach, according to CNA, a women’s shelter, an orphanage, a drug rehabilitation center, a hospice facility and, most recently, tuition-free Catholic school for kindergarten through 11th graders.

According to Harbaugh, the Catholic school was opened in 2011, and has approximately 600 students in attendance.

“Every desk was full,” he said. “Three years ago when we came down here, the school was just an idea.”

The coach told news agency reporters volunteers helped build 20 homes and packaged and delivered rice and beans to supplement meals to 1,400 families.

Harbaugh, who recently completed his third trip to the impoverished town, said he learned about the trip through acquaintances at his parish in Menlo Park, Calif.

“It’s incredible the amount of work they do and they joy that they do it with,” the 48-year-old coach told the news agency.

An aspect of the trip that brought the reigning NFL Coach of the Year pride is the steady growth of the parish, headed by Father Joe Uhen since 1993. Harbaugh noted the abundance of individuals who participate in Mass.

“I’ve always been struck by the attendance and the joy they have for Mass,” Harbaugh said. “You can only describe that as the fruit of the Holy Spirit.”

Outreach to the residents of Piura doesn’t end with the trip. According to the report, Harbaugh said the Santisimo Sacramento helps American families and those in Peru connect through an “adoption.” The program – which Harbaugh is a participant – allows American families to supply scholarships, food, and basic housing items to needy Peruvian families.

Harbaugh said the mission trips are gratifying and allows him to put grow as a believer.

“The doors that God will open for you by the people you meet or by the circumstances you’re in (allow) your character to be shaped and your spirit to grow,” he said. “Those kinds of doors are opened for (me) here.

Wallenda prayed non-stop in walk over Niagara Falls

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By Mark Ellis
ASSIST News Service

NEW YORK (ANS) — Swirling winds and heavy mists from the falls below completely soaked famous aerialist Nik Wallenda as he gingerly balanced on a steel cable 200 feet above the raging torrent.

“I prayed non-stop,” says Wallenda, 33, a born-again Christian. “The Bible says to pray without ceasing and I’m always praying,” he told ABC’s Good Morning America on June 18.

Wallenda made history Friday night when he became the first man to walk over Niagara Falls on a tightrope in a 25-minute spectacle televised live on ABC News.

Before he began the audacious attempt, he fasted for eight hours. Then his wife, Erindera, and three children joined hands in a small circle and prayed along the riverside before he set out, just after 10 p.m. The mist was so thick it obscured him from the Canadian side for the first 10 minutes.

Wallenda wore a waterproof outfit and leather shoes specially designed by his mother. Powerful TV lights focused on him the entire journey, as 10 million people around the world followed the event on television.

The acrobat had a two-way radio and a small earpiece, and was able to communicate with his father. His microphone allowed TV viewers to hear him praising God throughout the journey as he traversed the cable from New York to Canada.

“My God, it’s incredible, it’s breathtaking,” Wallenda said when he first started over the horseshoe-shaped falls.

“Oh Lord, you’re my Savior, you’re my King,” he exclaimed, as he balanced over the most dangerous part of the falls.

“You’re my Jesus, my Counselor. You’re my Wisdom. I praise you Jesus. Thank you Jesus. Thank you Lord. I praise you my Father.”

At one critical moment, his forearm began to cramp and his hand went numb.

Wallenda made history Friday night when he became the first man to walk over Niagara Falls on a tightrope in a 25-minute spectacle televised live on ABC News.

Before he began the audacious attempt, he fasted for eight hours. Then his wife, Erindera, and three children joined hands in a small circle and prayed along the riverside before he set out, just after 10:00 p.m. The mist was so thick it obscured him from the Canadian side for the first 10 minutes.

Wallenda wore a waterproof outfit and leather shoes specially designed by his mother. Powerful TV lights focused on him the entire journey, as 10 million people around the world followed the event on television.

The acrobat had a two-way radio and a small earpiece, and was able to communicate with his father. His microphone allowed TV viewers to hear him praising God throughout the journey as he traversed the cable from New York to Canada.

“My God, it’s incredible, it’s breathtaking,” Wallenda said when he first started over the horseshoe-shaped falls.

“Oh Lord, you’re my Savior, you’re my King,” he exclaimed, as he balanced over the most dangerous part of the falls.

“You’re my Jesus, my Counselor. You’re my Wisdom. I praise you Jesus. Thank you Jesus. Thank you Lord. I praise you my Father.”

At one critical moment, his forearm began to cramp and his hand went numb.

“When I’m walking a wire like that, the balancing pole is almost 40 pounds,” he told GMA. “It takes a lot of forearm work and my forearm started to cramp worse than it ever has before.”

But his training, extraordinary focus and fervent prayers made the difference.  “It went away, so I was good to go.”

The acrobat’s astonishing feat adds to the legend of the renowned Wallenda family, famous for thrilling audiences and the subject of a 1978 TV movie, “The Great Wallendas.” Nik is a seventh-generation circus performer within the famous family.

He grew up in a “Bible-believing, God-fearing family,” which he says provides stability and peace.

His faith is a vital component of his daily life. “It’s the most important part of my life,” he says. “I believe in a thing called unmerited favor. It’s undeserved, but God’s involvement in my life has gotten me to where I am in my career.”

Suicide bombing hits another church in Jos, Nigeria

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By Dan Wooding, who was born in Nigeria
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

JOS, NIGERIA (ANS) — Compass Direct News (CDN) is reporting that an Islamic extremist ran a car full of explosives at a Pentecostal church in this Plateau state city Sunday, killing at least two Christians and injuring more than 40 others, military and police officials said.

CDN said that in Borno state also Sunday, gunmen reportedly killed at least two Christians during church worship.

“The Boko Haram Islamic sect reportedly took responsibility for both assaults,” said the CDN story. “The attack in Jos on Christ’s Chosen Church of God was the second suicide bombing of a church in two Sundays and the third church bombing in Jos in six months.

“The explosion, which hit after a service had ended and church leaders and some children remained in the building, collapsed the roof of the sanctuary, witnesses said.”

CDN went on to say that the death toll was expected to increase as injuries were severe. It marked the second consecutive Sunday that an extremist from the Boko Haram Islamist sect has been able to get through check-points to bomb a church, and reports followed of rioting by aggrieved youths that left further casualties.

Esther Solomon, a 31-year-old university student whose family’s house sits directly opposite the church building, told Compass that a pastor, church elders and some children remained in the sanctuary at the time moment the bomb was detonated. She said she was in her family living room at the time.

“The impacts of the explosion forcefully opened the front door of our house and threw me into one of the bedrooms,” Solomon said. “I just found myself in the bedroom, and when I rushed out, I found out that a suicide bomber had crashed into the church across the road.”

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With orality, faith comes by hearing

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By Jerry Wiles
Special to ASSIST News Service

HOUSTON – The Word of God has great power to transform lives. Romans 10:17 says, “… faith comes by hearing, and

hearing by the Word of God.” So often we think of the Word of God as the Bible. And, it’s true that the Bible is God’s Word written. However, throughout the Bible, when reference is made to the Word of God or the Word of the Lord, in most cases it’s not referring to a written document. The written Word of God, when mentioned in the Bible, is usually referred to as “the Scriptures.”

Actually, the Word of God was around in oral form long before it was ever in written form. So, when we think of the importance of hearing the Word of God, orality often takes on a whole new meaning for many.

Throughout history most people have come to faith in Jesus by hearing the Word of God and the stories of Jesus.

What we are learning in our orality training experiences is that people come alive with new excitement and enthusiasm as they hear, retell and discuss the stories of Jesus.

Storytelling and orality methods seem to level the playing field, so that everyone can participate in God’s redemptive activity. We find that, regardless of socio-economic or educational levels, almost everyone can learn and retell stories.

In many countries, women and children are not involved in church life. However, in the orality training workshops, they become fully engaged and excited to learn and retell the stories and participate in the discussions. Children as young as age six have learned and told the stories.

In the countries where Living Water International works, it’s estimated that 80% or more are oral learners, by necessity or by preference.

In the Orality Movement people are discovering that almost anyone can share their faith, about any time and any place. When people are equipped with appropriate oral communication skills, they just go with what’s in their heads and hearts, that can be reproduced in other people’s heads and hearts.

Everywhere we conduct our orality training, we emphasize that it’s not intended to take the place of any other methods or strategies that are effective and producing the desired results. Orality is intended to be an addition to one’s mission/ministry resource toolbox. However, in so many places, pastors and church/mission leaders, after experiencing the training and observing the results, tell us that oral methods are more effective than anything else they have been using.

One pastor in Africa said, “This (orality training) is just what we need. This will bring revival to our country.” Another pastor in Central America realized that with orality methods, he can equip, train and mobilize story telling evangelists at every level, with all those in his congregation.

Orality is, in part, just getting back to how Jesus lived, related, lead, communicated and made disciples. There is a great need to recognize that it is the reproducing life of Jesus Christ in and through each of His children, His followers. That makes sharing Him and advancing His Kingdom an exciting adventure. That realization should put joy, passion and motivation in each of us to want others to have a relationship with the Most High God.

Many of those who have attended Living Water’s orality training workshops go away, not only with new skills, but new passion, joy and desire to be contagious and share His life and stories with others.

In a recent conversation about orality with a lady who is a mission trip leader in Central America, I asked her what had been the highlight of leading mission trips. She said, “The last 20 minutes that have changed my life and the way I’ll do missions from now on.”

To gain a broader perspective of what orality really is, just consider all the ways that people have learned and communicated for thousands of years. Consider all the methods that do not depend on print-based media or written instructions. Many people, when hearing about orality, still think that it refers just to those who can’t read or write.

The depth and breadth of orality is amazing and includes a wide variety of expressions. In addition to the many different streams of storying, there is the use of drama, song, dance, poems, proverbs and parables to name a few. There are also the many technological resources such as radio, TV, the internet, cell phones, recording devices and other audio and visual resources and strategies.

God is willing and able to give each of us His wisdom and discernment, if we only ask and trust Him.

A pathologist puts divine healing under the microscope

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By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

NAIROBI, KENYA – Fidel Cholo Fernandez, a pathologist from the city of Zamboanga in the Philippines, and now based in

Penang, Malaysia, spends his days studying diseases under the microscope, but he also is a believer in divine healing.

Dr. Fidel Fernandez, along with his wife Leticia, was one of 500 doctors, scientists and medical professionals from 37 countries who came to the Kenyan capital of Nairobi for the ninth International Christian Medical Conference held May 25-26, to explore whether miracles still happen today and, if they do, to provide medical data to prove them.

The doctor made it clear that he also believed in divine healing and then during a previous conference made a presentation with data that was flashed on the two large screens in the conference hall.

He told the story of a Korean Christian called Deacon Han who had been diagnosed with early gastric cancer following an endoscopic study on September 2002.

“Deacon Han received an endoscopy test once again on December, 2002, but a biopsy was not performed at that time because the lesion had not improved,” said Dr. Fernandez. “He was told that he should undergo an operation for gastric cancer, he didn’t because he had a belief in God.”

So the doctor said that Deacon Han had traveled from his home town to the Manmin Central Church in Seoul where he received prayer for his sickness from Dr. Jaerock Lee, the senior pastor.

“From that moment, he gained weight and was sure that he was healed,” said Fernandez. “Finally, he confirmed his healing two months later by another endoscopic test at the local internal medicine clinic, when no vestige of the gastric cancer was found.

“After a year, an endoscopy and biopsy test was done to him by the doctor who diagnosed his original case and finally the doctor gave his report that the patient didn’t have the symptom of gastric cancer.”

It was a miracle, pronounced Dr. Fernandez.

So, in an interview, I asked this charming doctor if he had ever experienced a personal miracle in his own life.

“Well,” he said, “the best example would be my son who was born with a congenital disease. Before he was born, the doctors told me that he could only live possibly for one year. We were pushed against the wall and my wife Leticia, who is a nurse, and myself, just relied on prayer and he’s now in his mid-20s so that’s a great miracle for me.”

I then asked Leticia why she had come to the “Spirituality and Medicine” gathering.

“I have worked with the World Christian Doctors Network (WCDN) since 2005 and I’ve become active in the organization and have even invited doctors and other medical workers to attend the conference,” she said. “I am finding that there are a lot of doctors who believe in miracles, but some others are still skeptics.”

At the end of the conference, it was announced that the 10th World Christian Doctors Network International Conference will take place in Mexico City, Mexico, next year at a date yet to be announced.

Egyptian families alarmed by abduction of Christian girls

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By Aidan Clay of International Christian Concern
Special to ASSIST News Service

EGYPT – “We don’t know if our daughter is still alive,” Magda told ICC during a recent visit to Egypt. “We haven’t seen or

heard from her in five years. Her kidnapper called us and said she was dead and buried.”

Mary disappeared in June 2007, but to her mother, Magda, it feels like only yesterday that she was sleeping peacefully in her own bed under the loving care of her parents. For those who lose a child, as Magda had, the pain never goes away.

“There were no warning signs. There was nothing we could do, but the guilt doesn’t go away. If only we could have known [what would happen],” Magda explained while fighting back tears.

The abduction took place on an ordinary Thursday evening. After school, Mary went out with friends for pizza and a movie. While sipping cocoa at a restaurant, Mary began to feel dizzy and sick. “You go ahead and go home,” said Nahla, a Muslim girl. “The rest of us want to go to the cinema.” Nahla was new to Mary’s group of friends; they had only known her a few weeks.

Mary left the group to catch a bus home alone. This was the last time her friends would see her. No one knows what happened next, but Mary was gone.

Mary’s friends and parents believe Nahla had something to do with it; perhaps she was an accomplice to Mary’s abductors who put drugs in Mary’s drink. Although this suspicion has yet to be confirmed, after Mary’s disappearance, Nahla was nowhere to be found.

Mary’s parents stayed up throughout the night waiting anxiously for their daughter’s return. Mary’s father filed a report at the police station the next morning. He stayed at the station the entire day, determined to see that an investigation was being carried out. Late that afternoon, the police told him they had found his daughter.

Mary was escorted along with several other women into the station by four men in Islamic dress with long beards. The men were Salafis, a group that follows the strict doctrine of Wahhabi Islam from Saudi Arabia. Mary was covered head to toe in a burka. “[My husband] recognized her by her shoes,” Magda told ICC.

Two armed policemen stood by, watching the father’s every move. When he called Mary by name, a Muslim man hit her in the face. There was no answer.

Then he tried to grab his daughter, but she was quickly taken away by the police. The father yelled after her while struggling desperately to free himself from the grip of the police officers who were holding him down. It was no use. Mary was forced in the back of a van and driven away.

“I went back to the police station that night with my son,” Magda said. “They cursed us and humiliated us. They treated us very badly.”

The parents soon began receiving threatening e-mails and phone calls. “Become a Muslim and we’ll spare your life,” one caller said. “Pay a £6,000 ransom or your daughter is dead,” said another. One caller told Magda that Mary had been killed and buried.

“Look at me. I’m dying inside,” Mary’s father told BBC. “Jesus Christ gave me my daughter. He gave her to me, not to them.”

Two months later, several police officers showed up at the parents’ house. “They demanded that we sign documents that said Mary had changed her religion to Islam,” Magda said. The parents refused. Months later, however, they learned that a birth certificate had been forged stating that Mary was now a Muslim.

Still, the family would not give up. They hired a renowned Christian lawyer who demanded to see Mary. Agreeing to meet at a neutral location – Mary’s former university – Magda saw her daughter one last time. There she sat, fully covered on the sofa in the dean’s office. “My dear, are you OK?” Magda asked. There was no response. “Mary, can you hear me?”

Mary seemingly did not understand or was not coherent enough to respond. “She is a Muslim now. What right do you have to see her?” questioned the security officers, who were growing increasingly angry during the meeting. The meeting lasted ten minutes, but not a sound was uttered from Mary’s lips.

Magda’s lawyer regrettably said there was nothing more he could do. “There was no case, he said, because Mary’s birth certificate had been forged and she is Muslim now,” explained Magda.

On a dreary February afternoon, the parents sat in a Cairo office, trying to understand a world where Mary did not exist. “We don’t even know if she’s still alive,” Magda told ICC.

Abductions of Christian girls are nothing new in Egypt. Records exist of cases that were filed as early as the 1970s. However, kidnappings have increased significantly since Egypt’s revolution last year. It is often the police – the very people that are trusted to uphold the law – who are responsible.

“I have proof there are corrupt police officers,” said Coptic lawyer Karam Gabriel, who had worked months to find 15-year-old Nabila Sedky, a Christian girl who was abducted in Cairo on April 5, 2011. “I gave the investigators tips where to look, information we got through three months of hard work, and instead they were [investigating] at a Coptic [Christian] with an alibi.”

Mary is only one among hundreds of Christian girls who have been abducted, forced to convert to Islam, and forced into marriage in Egypt. These incidents are often accompanied by acts of violence, including rape, beatings, and other forms of physical and mental abuse.

When Magda looks at the bed where Mary once slept, tears cloud her eyes. She says a silent prayer for her daughter and continues on with her day, believing that someday God will reunite them.

Aidan Clay is the Middle East Regional Manager for International Christian Concern (ICC), a Washington, DC-based human rights organization that exists to support persecuted Christians worldwide by providing awareness, advocacy, and assistance ( Aidan is a graduate from Biola University in Southern California. Prior to joining ICC, Aidan worked with Samaritan’s Purse in South Sudan and has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East, Africa and Europe. He and his wife currently live in Nairobi, Kenya. For more information, contact Aidan Clay at 

Wooding bases ‘Dagger’ on personal experiences

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By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service

LAKE FOREST, Calif. – Dan Wooding’s career must rate as one of the most unusual in journalism. For he has gone from being a London correspondent for the National Enquirer and a staffer on the Sunday People and the Sunday Mirror, two of Britain’s raciest tabloids, to an undercover reporter and campaigner for persecuted Christians in the restricted countries of the world.

And now international journalist, Dan Wooding, 71, founder of the ASSIST News Service (, has put his many years of exciting and often dangerous travel to good use in Red Dagger, his 44th book — and his first novel.

The fast-moving book, much of which is based on his many years of traveling to some of the world’s hot-spots, features a Palestinian terrorist who belongs to the Red Dagger terror group from Gaza, a place that Wooding has visited several times, an Irish double agent, and a drunken American journalist who moves to London and spends too much time in a pub called “The White Hart” which had been nicknamed “The Stab in the Back” because that is where tabloid journalist gathered to verbally stab each other in the back.

Wooding knows all about this journalists’ pub as it was there that he recommitted his life to Christ back in the late 1970s and went to Uganda to write “Uganda Holocaust” with Irish-Canadian, Ray Barnett, who later founded the African Children’s Choir.

Each one of the characters finally finds redemption in their twisted lives, but not before much mayhem has been committed and the world had stood on the edge of complete disaster.

“Red Dagger is the result of more than 20 years of loving work,” Wooding told me. “It began when a colleague told me that I should put together a novel that incorporated all the years of personal experiences I have had since I first entered journalism with The Christian in London back in 1968.”

This, said Wooding, has included the time he was arrested and locked up in a cell in Lagos, Nigeria. Also when he and a colleague were in a hotel in San Salvador, El Salvador, when a car bomb exploded in the parking lot and badly damaged the hotel and, finally when he and his wife Norma were held up by terrorists in Bethlehem and were going to be shot by them. That was until a quick-thinking Arab taxi driver saved their lives by explaining they were visitors from the USA.

“Although none of these experiences are used in the book as they occurred, they helped me to imagine many of the scenes included in the book,” said Wooding. “Also, my travels to Gaza were great background to writing up the many scenes there.”

Red Dagger has already received interest from movie producers and praise from various celebrities who have read it.

They include veteran American entertainer, Pat Boone, who said, “Dan Wooding’s latest book, Red Dagger, is a gripping novel about terror, betrayal and redemption. Much of it is set in Gaza, but also features a Northern Ireland terrorist and an American journalist who, after moving to London, finds himself spending too much time in a bar called ‘The Stab in the Back’ with other drunken hacks. The conclusion of the book has a most dramatic twist that held my attention right to the very end. I enthusiastically endorse Red Dagger, which is written by one of the world’s most traveled journalists.”

Rock keyboard legend, Rick Wakeman, about whom Wooding penned his biography called “Rick Wakeman – the Caped Crusader” – foreword by Elton John – wrote, “Terrorism is a dangerous subject both in reality and in fiction. To bring Christianity in as a major part of the plot is potentially even more dangerous, but Dan Wooding portrays all his characters as both very real and very believable in this novel that literally sets off at a tremendous pace from the very first page. I found myself thinking very visually whilst reading it and that’s the secret of any good novel.”

So if you want to enter the dark and dangerous world of international terrorism and be inspired with its conclusion, this is the book for you, or even for a friend who loves good novels.

To purchase a copy of “Red Dagger” (Tanswell Books), go to:;jsessionid=89997AD165003FF2695A468AB262C07D
It is also available as an e-Book file download.

You can also get it at

If you live in the USA and would like an autographed copy of the book, just send a check for $20 (which includes postage) made out to Dan Wooding, and mail it to Dan Wooding, PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609. For overseas orders, please add a further $3 USD. Also, please put in the memo section of the check, “For Red Dagger.”

MLB pitcher Clayton Kershaw expands challenge for 2012

Published by:

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

LOS ANGELES – For Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher and defending Cy Young Award recipient and Regal author Clayton Kershaw every strikeout in 2012 matters — for his team on the field and also for children at risk on two continents.

Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw kicks off the second year of Kershaw's Challenge.

According to a news release, Kershaw and his wife, Ellen, have announced that for the second consecutive year they will donate $100 each time he strikes out an opposing batter as the centerpiece of what they call Kershaw’s Challenge: Striking Out to Serve. During the 2012 season, which begins today with Kershaw on the mound for the Dodgers in San Diego, the funds will go to four diverse non-profit causes, including one in Southern California, one in the Kershaw’s home state of Texas, a national movement called “I Am Second,” and the work with orphans in Africa that started it all.

Kershaw’s Challenge: Strike Out to Serve (, which has just been re-launched, began in 2011. For each of the league-leading 248 batters the Dodger ace struck out last season, he and his wife, Ellen, gave $100 to help build a new children’s home in Zambia, teaming up with Arise Africa ( Kershaw also donated a portion of the monetary prizes he received for baseball honors and added direct contributions from others to bring the total amount raised to $202,000.

In January 2012, the Kershaw’s traveled to Lusaka, Zambia, for the second consecutive off-season, walking the land where the new home is now under construction. To be called Hope’s Home, this orphanage will be a safe haven for about one dozen at-risk children.

“Our inspiration is a 12-year-old girl named Hope,” said Kershaw, a native of Highland Park. “She is an HIV orphan who stole our hearts. She desperately needs a place to call home.”

The Kershaws tell the story of their dream to serve others in Zambia (and baseball stories, too) in Arise, a book they co-authored and released in January 2012.

Seventy-percent of the 2012 Kershaw’s Challenge proceeds will go toward Arise Africa projects in Zambia, including furnishing the orphanage, purchasing adjacent farmland so the children can learn to grow crops, building a chicken coop, establishing a medical emergency fund and funding a child feeding program.

Why Zambia? As a high school student, Ellen Kershaw was moved by a segment on orphans in Africa featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show. In college, she decided to make a difference, and has now traveled to Zambia six times, joining forces with Arise Africa.

The Kershaws remain committed to Africa, but their desire strike out to serve goes further. Thirty percent of the proceeds from the 2012 challenge will go to three nonprofit organizations, each receiving 10 percent. The Kershaws will partner with the Peacock Foundation in Los Angeles (, Mercy Street in Dallas ( and I Am Second (

The Peacock Foundation uses rescued animals in a therapy program to bring healing to at-risk and traumatized children and their families throughout the greater Los Angeles area. Kershaws Challenge will help fund a Peacock Foundation program called Creature Comfort.

Mercy Street seeks to see transformation in a west Dallas, Texas, neighborhood, through mentoring, sports and community development. Kershaws Challenge will fund a youth baseball program for inner city kids with baseball equipment.

I Am Second is a nationwide grassroots and media campaign that empowers people in various walks of life to live for God and others. Clayton Kershaw’s I Am Second film went live online April 5.

Kershaw said the essence of Kershaw’s Challenge: Striking Out to Serve is that the better you do, the more you give, making whatever you do about something more.

“Baseball is more than just a passion of mine. It’s a platform to do more, to give back to our community, and to make a difference in the world.” In 2011, the Kershaws were thrilled when college, high school and little league baseball players joined The Challenge, donating 25 cents or $1 or more per batter they struck out or per hit they got. Non-athletes partnered, too, donating various amounts.

Christian leader beheaded as Islamists terrorize Mali

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By Charles Gardner
Special to ASSIST News Service

TIMBUKTU, MALI – A Christian leader has been beheaded and others are being threatened with similar treatment as Islamic militants run amok in Mali, West Africa.

Christians have fled the town of Timbuktu in the north of the country where harsh Sharia Law has already been imposed amid

For his safety, Tim Yattara and his family have fled their home country.

reports that churches in Gao, 200 miles to the east, have been completely destroyed.

The news comes in the wake of a military coup in the country, one of the effects of which is that sanctions applied from outside has cut off electricity supplies, further delaying reports of the latest upheavals along with desperate pleas for help.

Among those affected is British Bible college graduate Timothee (Tim) Yattara, who recently returned home to his home country in a bid to help spread the gospel in this remote – and now dangerous – part of Africa located on the edge of the Sahara.

Yattara has fled with his family to Bamako, the country’s main city some 400 miles away in the south-west, but without the money to rent a house.

“We have escaped in the wake of horrible death threats as the Islamists have a list of all the Christians in Timbuktu whom they intend to execute by beheading. As proof of their intentions, one leader has already been killed in this way and some churches in Gao have been demolished. Most Christians have already fled for safety, but Sharia Law has been imposed all over the north.

“As refugees in Bamako, life is very difficult for me and my family as we are in desperate need of finance, just to pay for shelter and safety,” he said.

Already suffering famine through drought, Mali is being terrorized by Al Qaida and associated rebels said to be claiming the northern part of the territory as their homeland.

Only last week we were reporting that Timbuktu was surrounded by tents inhabited by impoverished people who have fled the countryside in the wake of the spreading famine, exacerbated by rising unemployment and massive inflation with many struggling to find food and work.

And with a government now overthrown by a coup, the security situation has been made even worse by rebels from Libya loyal to their former leader Col Gaddafi.

Tim knows nothing is impossible with God, however. As reported on ASSIST News last week, he was miraculously raised from the dead through the prayers of his family when he was a little boy. (See:

ChristianWorks for Children spells family business

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Editor’s note: From the Inside The Pew archives; run date July 20, 2009.

By Jennifer Paul
Inside The Pew

DALLAS – How important is the role of a Christ-centered family in the life of a child? One Dallas-based ministry believes it is essential.

“(Family) was the first institution created by God,” said Rob Pine, executive director of ChristianWorks for Children, a

These four children are from the village of Ateiku in the western region of Ghana. The two boys, who are brothers, were taken in by Ateiku’s preacher/missionary, Lawrence Orduru, after their parents were killed, saving their sons from a housefire. The older girl was taken in by Orduru after her mother was caught beating her daughter in public. The mother then abandoned the girl and told Orduru to take her. The youngest girl in the picture is Orduru’s daughter.

non-profit organization dedicated to assisting families in times of trouble. “The first relationship He created was marriage; the second relationship was the parent-child relationship. How can it not be important? It is the relationship upon which all other relationships have been built.”

Pine and his staff of licensed counselors and trained volunteers who regularly serve at ChristianWorks, passionately believe that a healthy, Christ-centered family is vital for the well being of all children, their parents, and the community as a whole.

ChristianWorks for Children has faithfully served Dallas and the surrounding area for 42 years. It began as a ministry of the churches of Christ in an attempt to provide pregnant women with maternity homes and adoption services. In the mid ‘90s, ChristianWorks expanded its program to include counseling services. This addition was “driven by a desire to help keep families together” and to “help parents help their children” by providing Christian guidance, Pine said. The ministry has grown significantly, and the counselors at ChristianWorks currently minister to families from all over the Metroplex.

In 2000, the need was noticed for a grief ministry for children.

“Everywhere we turned,” Pine said, “there was grief support for adults who were grieving the death of someone, but there wasn’t a children’s program anywhere in Dallas County.”

This prompted ChristianWorks to design Dallas GriefWorks for Kids. Beginning with only one child, GriefWorks currently serves 39 families.

The three ministries of ChristianWorks for Children (AdoptionWorks, CounselingWorks, and GriefWorks) were all established for the same purpose.

“We want children and families to know that God is there for them,” Pine said. “No matter what they are going through, no matter the circumstance, situation, or tragedy… and (we want them to know) that there are people who care.”

CounselingWorks offers professional counseling for individuals, couples, and families on a sliding scale based on family income. It also provides churches and organizations with the opportunity to join the church and corporation sponsorship program, which allows for members of those churches and organizations to receive counseling for $20 a session.

GriefWorks is a free program which offers help and support to children ages 5-18 who are suffering the loss of a loved one. Groups meet bi-weekly, and after enjoying a free meal provided by local volunteers, children split up into age groups to learn about and discuss a new aspect of grief each session.

Larry Barbar is director of CounselingWorks and GriefWorks.

The goal of AdoptionWorks is simple, Pine said.

“If there is a child who needs a family, our objective is to find that child a Christian family any way we can. That birth mom needs to know that God cares about her and cares about that baby,” Pine said. “That baby doesn’t have a voice, so somebody’s got to watch out for it and speak for it. And as a licensed adoption agency in the state of Texas, we are responsible for that child once the birth mother says, ‘yes.’”

But there is no doubt that the ministries of ChristianWorks are effective.

“What we do has long-reaching effects, into many generations, which change the face of eternity, change lives for eternity,” Pine said.

How to get involved: To take advantage of the services of ChristianWorks, join the church and corporation sponsorship program, call Kristina at (972) 960-9981 or visit