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Maranatha highlights current issues calling for prayer and action

A Call to Pray and Act on Behalf of North Korean Defectors, including a 4 year old child –

13th November 2017

FACTS

  • On 4th November Chinese police arrested 10 North Korean defectors, who were staying in a house in Shenyang, Liaoning Province. The 10 include a mother and her 4 year old son. They are now being held in Shenyang Police Station Detention Centre, from where the Chinese authorities plan to re-patriate them to North Korea.
  • The South Korean Embassy in Shenyang has requested that the 10 North Koreans are not re-patriated on humanitarian grounds, but are permitted to complete their journey to South Korea where they will be received. A BBC report on this situation can be read here.
  • If these defectors were to be re-patriated they would certainly face severe punishment in the form of imprisonment with a high possibility of torture and even death.
  • The UN Human Rights Council published the report of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) in 2014. The opening paragraph of the conclusion states: “Systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations have been and are being committed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, its institutions and officials. In many instances, the violations of human rights found by the commission constitute crimes against humanity…. The gravity, scale and nature of these violations reveal a State that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world.” The report can be found here.

PRAY

  • For the 10 defectors to know the Lord’s presence and protection, especially for the 4 year old child. Most of them are Christians.
  • For the Lord’s authority to be manifest in this situation and that His will be done.
  • For the Chinese authorities to heed the pleas of the International Community and review their policy on repatriation of North Korean defectors.
  • For world leaders to be convicted to take the recommended action of the UN enquiry report on North Korea.
  • For all other defectors, for the North Korean people in general and especially Christians in North Korea to receive justice and freedom from oppression as is their human right.

ACT

  • Write to your MP and urge them to take action to secure the freedom of the 10 defectors currently held in China. Also urge them to pay heed to the recommendations of the UN report of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
  • Write to China’s Ambassador to the UK, H.E. Liu Xiaoming, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, 49-51 Portland Place, London W1B 1JL. Respectfully express your concern about the situation and ask the Ambassador to make representation to his government for the release of the detainees on the grounds of human rights. You might also cite the fact that China is a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention, which asserts that “a refugee should not be returned to a country where they face serious threats to their life or freedom.”
  • Circulate this information to your church leaders and members and urge them to pray and act also.


The Mindfulness Stronghold

There is now a concerted, aggressive and well-funded campaign to promote the Buddhist technique of Mindfulness within every sphere of our national life, including healthcare, education, government, the workplace, business and sport.

Its promotion within schools, without the informed consent of parents, is of particular concern.

Mindfulness espouses a world view that is profoundly at odds with the life and teachings of Jesus.

Whereas Jesus embraced our humanity and shared our suffering, mindfulness seeks to deny this reality.

Mindfulness promotes ‘awareness of self’ as a means to detach oneself from any form of suffering or difficulty. There is no place for the concept of sin, but rather an avoidance of responsibility for ones own actions.

KEY CONCERNS

  • Government – Aggressive lobbying of MPs and Peers has led to the creation of a Mindfulness All-Party Parliamentary Group (MAPPG), with the stated aim of “…..influencing party manifestos”.
  • Children – Mindfulness is being added to the PSHE curriculum and home practice is being encouraged. Detachment from difficulty, including in relationships, fails to equip children to resolve issues or conflicts.
  • Health – There is growing evidence of the technique triggering panic attacks, disturbing emotions, memories of past trauma and even long-term psychosis.
  • Work – Employers are being encouraged to adopt the technique as a means to increase productivity, whilst avoiding responsibility for working conditions.
  • Finance – Mindfulness is big business. The ‘Headspace’ app alone is worth £25 million.

PRAY

  • For an awakening to the true nature of mindfulness and its consequences for the nation
  • For health and education professionals, and politicians, to recognise the dangers and look elsewhere for solutions
  • For children and vulnerable adults to be protected from attempts to promote the technique
  • For the church to enable all those at risk to discover the reality of Jesus as Healer and Prince of Peace

ACT

  • Our first step is to gather information – NOT campaign
  • Click ‘Mindfulness’ for our briefing paper on its nature and origins
  • Find out whether local schools are using the technique. If so, politely approach the Head Teacher and ask for a copy of any material they are using
  • Research the availability of Mindfulness in your area, including the NHS and other healthcare providers
  • If you feel called to join our ‘Strategy Group’ to pray, discern and plan our next steps please call Linda Corrigan in the Maranatha office
  • Click ‘Call To Action’ to download and print our full-length feature on Mindfulness


Refugee Crisis

The scale of the refugee crisis represents a huge challenge to us all. As we witness the appalling conditions endured by refugees, we remember that Jesus and his parents were also refugees, fleeing to Egypt to escape persecution. As Christians we are called to respond to all refugees and asylum seekers as human beings, loved by God; real people with names, histories, needs and desires just like us.
Who will be there for them when the news media turns its attention elsewhere? Ours must be a sustained commitment to show God’s love by supporting those in need, through prayer and action, over the long term.
In doing so, it is not for us to be concerned with the impact on our own standard of living or ability to flourish. Our political leaders are well placed to determine how national resources are best deployed. How we respond, however, can set an example to those in charge, and even help to shape the direction of policy.
We urge you to unite with members of your local church to pray and consider practical ways to help refugees. Below are some examples.
Christianity is united on this issue. Click ‘Church Responses‘ for details.
To find out more about how you can help click ‘Refugee Action‘.

Pray

  • For those without food, shelter, family or security – that they may find safety and provision
  • For our leaders and others in authority – that they may be filled with courage, wisdom and compassion

Act

  • By contacting your local council and MP to make them aware of church initiatives and to lobby for more action
  • By donating money, food, essentials, clothes, toys, etc.
  • By offering your time, skills and experience, such as help with English, DIY, shopping, transport, legal and health advice, advocacy, etc.
  • By offering shelter and accommodation
  • By forging connections with friends and community


‘You Meant Evil; God Meant It For Good’

We Proclaim A Kingdom That Cannot Be Shaken

Across the world we are seeing nations shaken by seemingly random events, horrific acts of violence, global crises and seismic political upheaval, bringing fear and instability on a scale not seen in our lifetime.

The majority decision of UK voters to leave the European Union surprised and saddened many across Europe. The debate and outcome exposed deep divisions at home – between young and old, rich and poor, skilled and unskilled, Scotland and England, urban and rural areas.

These are times of great turbulence and division, in which our challenge, as God’s people, is to navigate by faith rather than sight.

Now is also a moment of great opportunity for all who follow Jesus; a Kairos moment.

God is calling His people to stand firm in faith, hope and love, and in so doing to bear witness to a kingdom that cannot be shaken.

We are His chosen instruments; His living sacrifices here on earth.

By filling each day with His grace; giving hope, offering wisdom, sharing joy, bestowing peace and showing boundless love and compassion for all mankind – we become channels of God’s glory, bringing healing to a fragile and frightened world.

In so doing, the Lord will be our light, our sorrows will end and God’s righteous people will possess the earth (Isa 60).

In times of turmoil, we are not merely called to bear public witness but to join together in prayerful intensity, setting our minds not on things of the flesh but of the Spirit (Rom 8).

Through trust in God we can forgo all human temptation to try and ‘solve the problem’.

Ours is a battle in the spiritual realms, for which only God’s people are equipped.

Our prayers flow from humble worship of the King of all kings. He gives us authority, but only when we surrender to His will.

Pray

  • He calls us to pray, and to equip others in prayer.
  • We have produced a Prayer & Worship Guide to encourage your immersion in prayer for the nations. Click on the link to download your free copy.

Act

  • Commit to a daily pattern of prayer that works for you, whatever your situation. Your personal prayer commitment is truly significant, and gives encouragement to others.
  • Meet with others to pray. Share our Prayer Guide amongst your church congregation or prayer group.
  • Help affirm our oneness, as Christians, across all human divisions and boundaries, by looking for opportunities to pray with those of a different generation to you, and with people from other nations.