Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Invitation to Prayer from Faces of Children ... Tomorrow

Faces of Children is an ecumenical prayer ministry under the auspices of First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas. Their mission is to initiate ministries of prayer for children in churches, communities, and neighborhoods. In doing so, they seek to provide an opportunity for people of God to join together, learn about children and their needs throughout the world, and celebrate Christ's love (especially as it relates to children).

Invitation to Prayer ... Tomorrow

Hi Friends,

Thank you for joining me in prayer for the children of the world. If you can, we'd love to have you pray together with us this Wednesday at 11:30 a.m., in the gym conference room at First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas. The church is not currently offering lunch service. If you'd like to have lunch together, please bring a sack lunch and we can eat together.

Also, Faces of Children is now on Facebook! I invite you to like our page so that you can see regular stories, prayer needs, and updates from partner ministries.

All the best,

Carrie



Dear Intercessors,

Last year we hosted the Heart Gallery, a collection of portraits of children in Texas foster care who are legally free for adoption. For 3 months the portraits hung in our church, and we each walked past them... taking in their faces, remembering their names, praying for families to step forward and claim them. I memorized their faces and their first names and tucked them into my heart, but I'm realizing only now that perhaps I didn't really see them.

Fast forward 6 months ... Every week in our church, high school students from across the street come over and file through a line and get 4 pieces of pizza, a cookie and a soda for 4 bucks. Last fall I helped serve pizza, and I tried to smile and say hello to each student that came through the line. Most came in clusters of their friends -- the football players and the artists and the girls trading makeup tips and the students with backpacks full of books. Most had managed to carve out some niche for themselves; some place they felt as though they might belong. So when the young woman came bouncing through the line, clearly by herself and disconnected from the other students, she stuck out to me. I paused a little longer and asked her name. "Kristi," she said, clutching a teddy bear to her chest. * For some reason, the memory of her standing there - smiling widely and holding that teddy bear - stuck with me.


Last week I opened a message from a local acquaintance who was asking others to pray with her for three foster children in our area waiting for adoptive families. Some of them have been waiting for more than 8 years, she wrote. I shook my head sadly and looked through the list of names: Simon, John, and Kristi. As soon as I read the name Kristi, my mind flashed back to last fall... the young woman smiling in the midst of the pizza-eating throng, innocently standing there clutching a teddy bear as her peers swirled around, most of them so focused on how to appear "cool" they wouldn't be caught dead with a teddy bear at school. There are thousands of people named Kristi, but her unmistakable bright smile came to mind. And I clicked on "Kristi" in the email.

A page opened, and I saw her staring back at me. The picture was several years outdated, and she no longer looks quite the same. Her hair is shorter now, and her face is older... 8 years is almost forever in the life of a child, after all. But as I saw the picture in the email, I realized that not only was this Kristi-who-wants-to-be-adopted the same as Kristi-who-eats-pizza-and-holds-teddy-bears, but she was also the child behind one of the faces that hung in our church for several months. I walked by her picture daily for months, and yet I didn't really see her. I didn't realize the first time I met her in the pizza line that I already knew something of her. In spite of the fact that her face hung on the walls of our church, she remained to me a "faceless foster child."

I'm grateful Kristi has found a safe place in our church. What started as weekly pizza lunches has turned into something more. She comes over every morning to get a soda and visit with our church receptionist before school starts, and in this budding relationship Kristi has found support, tenderness, and encouragement. But it is not lost on me that one of these children whose portraits hung on our church walls as we prayerfully asked what we can do to care for orphans is now walking around our building every weekday. I know God wanted me to put together all of these pieces last week. He wanted me to see the complete picture... that the portrait and the pizza girl and the child still longing for a family of her own and the girl who likes our soda fountain are all the same person. And He answered that prayerful questions about what we can do to care for orphans with a flesh and blood person walking around in our midst.

I still don't know what this means for me personally or for our church family, but I know God wanted us to see. My hurt hearts from the fact that it took me so long to really notice. But I see now. And I hope as you read this little story, you will open your heart to what God really wants you to see. It may be a child like Kristi. It may be something else entirely. But I truly believe He's asking us - inviting us - to really see.

This week, I'd like to invite you to pray for Kristi and the other children who wait for adoptive families, especially those who will soon be "emancipated." That's the official term used when a child ages out of the foster system and becomes a legal adult. Sadly, these children frequently do not have the social support networks and structures in place to succeed and often fall victim to trafficking or a life repeating the same cycles of poverty, abuse, and addiction that led them to be placed in state custody as children.

Take this story our church benevolence counselor shared this week:

I am currently assisting a different Midland High student, who, at 18, was simply abandoned by the system. She is working at a restaurant, trying to go to school, living in a motel-which consumes all of her income-getting off work at 2 AM, walking to her motel, then getting up about 6 AM to get ready to catch the EZ Rider to go to school. Her second semester grades have plummeted. Prior to being ousted-at-18, she was an excellent student. However, the foster care system did not prepare her for life on her own. She didn't know that she had an obligation to file her income taxes. So, she didn't. I'm helping her with that, too.

As we pray for children like Kristi, may God lead us to truly see, know, love, and serve them.

"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends." John 15:13

Praying with you,

Carrie

Carrie J. McKean
Faces of Children Director
First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas
(432) 684-7821 x153

* Name changed to protect her privacy.


If you have prayer requests about children, those who care for them, those who have authority over them, or those who harm them (the really hard prayers to say sometimes), please send them to info@facesofchildren.net

In the News ... “Midland College honor society holding 'Suitcase Drive'"

• Effort to benefit High Sky Children's Ranch

Terry Gilmour, Professor of Government, Phi Theta Kappa Advisor
Midland College

MIDLAND, TEXAS - We have an awesome opportunity to help children of our community in a very tangible way! For our Phi Theta Kappa College Project, we have elected to host a suitcase drive benefiting the children of High Sky Children's Ranch.

High Sky Children's Ranch is dedicated to healing abused children and promoting family wholeness within the foster care system ...

 • read the rest of this Midland College report

C.S. Lewis Daily - Today's Reading

Presented by Bible Gateway
Today's Reading

The real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind.

We can only do it for moments at first. But from those moments the new sort of life will be spreading through our system: because now we are letting Him work at the right part of us. It is the difference between paint, which is merely laid on the surface, and a dye or stain which soaks right through. He never talked vague, idealistic gas. When He said, ‘Be perfect,’ He meant it. He meant that we must go in for the full treatment. It is hard; but the sort of compromise we are all hankering after is harder—in fact, it is impossible. It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.

From Mere Chistianity
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook


The Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is a daily devotional with 365 inspiring mission stories that come from next door and all across the globe. It inspires thousands of Presbyterians daily as they uphold the mission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in intercessory prayer.


Today in the Mission Yearbook: April 25, 2017

SIERRA LEONE and LIBERIA - The air is thick and humid on a typical day in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Driving along the streets of this seaside community, you’ll mostly find young people peddling their wares to the motorists as the temperatures hover in the mid-90s. They’re selling everything from fruit drinks and bananas to bicycle tires and shoes. Women balance trays of neatly stacked fruits, nuts and eggs as they make their way along the sidewalks dotted with small businesses. Everyone is seeking to make a living, side-by-side every day. ...

CLICK HERE to read more.

Monday, April 24, 2017

From @chinaaid : "Christians detained for 15 days for attending Bible study"

The China Aid Association is a non-profit Christian organization - based in Midland, Texas - with a mission to uncover and reveal the truth about religious persecution in China, focusing especially on the unofficial church. They do this, they explain in their website, by exposing the abuses, encouraging the abused and equipping the saints to advance the kingdom of God throughout China.

Christians detained for 15 days for attending Bible study
Distributed by ChinaAid, April, 2017 ...
CAA Photo

LANGZHONG, SICHUAN, CHINA – More than 20 police officers from China’s southwestern Sichuan Province recently detained 15 Christians for attending a Bible study ...

more on this story from China Aid



Invitation to Prayer from Faces of Children ... Wednesday

Faces of Children is an ecumenical prayer ministry under the auspices of First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas. Their mission is to initiate ministries of prayer for children in churches, communities, and neighborhoods. In doing so, they seek to provide an opportunity for people of God to join together, learn about children and their needs throughout the world, and celebrate Christ's love (especially as it relates to children).

Invitation to Prayer ... Wednesday

Hi Friends,

Thank you for joining me in prayer for the children of the world. If you can, we'd love to have you pray together with us this Wednesday at 11:30 a.m., in the gym conference room at First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas. The church is not currently offering lunch service. If you'd like to have lunch together, please bring a sack lunch and we can eat together.

Also, Faces of Children is now on Facebook! I invite you to like our page so that you can see regular stories, prayer needs, and updates from partner ministries.

All the best,

Carrie



Dear Intercessors,

Last year we hosted the Heart Gallery, a collection of portraits of children in Texas foster care who are legally free for adoption. For 3 months the portraits hung in our church, and we each walked past them... taking in their faces, remembering their names, praying for families to step forward and claim them. I memorized their faces and their first names and tucked them into my heart, but I'm realizing only now that perhaps I didn't really see them.

Fast forward 6 months ... Every week in our church, high school students from across the street come over and file through a line and get 4 pieces of pizza, a cookie and a soda for 4 bucks. Last fall I helped serve pizza, and I tried to smile and say hello to each student that came through the line. Most came in clusters of their friends -- the football players and the artists and the girls trading makeup tips and the students with backpacks full of books. Most had managed to carve out some niche for themselves; some place they felt as though they might belong. So when the young woman came bouncing through the line, clearly by herself and disconnected from the other students, she stuck out to me. I paused a little longer and asked her name. "Kristi," she said, clutching a teddy bear to her chest. * For some reason, the memory of her standing there - smiling widely and holding that teddy bear - stuck with me.


Last week I opened a message from a local acquaintance who was asking others to pray with her for three foster children in our area waiting for adoptive families. Some of them have been waiting for more than 8 years, she wrote. I shook my head sadly and looked through the list of names: Simon, John, and Kristi. As soon as I read the name Kristi, my mind flashed back to last fall... the young woman smiling in the midst of the pizza-eating throng, innocently standing there clutching a teddy bear as her peers swirled around, most of them so focused on how to appear "cool" they wouldn't be caught dead with a teddy bear at school. There are thousands of people named Kristi, but her unmistakable bright smile came to mind. And I clicked on "Kristi" in the email.

A page opened, and I saw her staring back at me. The picture was several years outdated, and she no longer looks quite the same. Her hair is shorter now, and her face is older... 8 years is almost forever in the life of a child, after all. But as I saw the picture in the email, I realized that not only was this Kristi-who-wants-to-be-adopted the same as Kristi-who-eats-pizza-and-holds-teddy-bears, but she was also the child behind one of the faces that hung in our church for several months. I walked by her picture daily for months, and yet I didn't really see her. I didn't realize the first time I met her in the pizza line that I already knew something of her. In spite of the fact that her face hung on the walls of our church, she remained to me a "faceless foster child."

I'm grateful Kristi has found a safe place in our church. What started as weekly pizza lunches has turned into something more. She comes over every morning to get a soda and visit with our church receptionist before school starts, and in this budding relationship Kristi has found support, tenderness, and encouragement. But it is not lost on me that one of these children whose portraits hung on our church walls as we prayerfully asked what we can do to care for orphans is now walking around our building every weekday. I know God wanted me to put together all of these pieces last week. He wanted me to see the complete picture... that the portrait and the pizza girl and the child still longing for a family of her own and the girl who likes our soda fountain are all the same person. And He answered that prayerful questions about what we can do to care for orphans with a flesh and blood person walking around in our midst.

I still don't know what this means for me personally or for our church family, but I know God wanted us to see. My hurt hearts from the fact that it took me so long to really notice. But I see now. And I hope as you read this little story, you will open your heart to what God really wants you to see. It may be a child like Kristi. It may be something else entirely. But I truly believe He's asking us - inviting us - to really see.

This week, I'd like to invite you to pray for Kristi and the other children who wait for adoptive families, especially those who will soon be "emancipated." That's the official term used when a child ages out of the foster system and becomes a legal adult. Sadly, these children frequently do not have the social support networks and structures in place to succeed and often fall victim to trafficking or a life repeating the same cycles of poverty, abuse, and addiction that led them to be placed in state custody as children.

Take this story our church benevolence counselor shared this week:

I am currently assisting a different Midland High student, who, at 18, was simply abandoned by the system. She is working at a restaurant, trying to go to school, living in a motel-which consumes all of her income-getting off work at 2 AM, walking to her motel, then getting up about 6 AM to get ready to catch the EZ Rider to go to school. Her second semester grades have plummeted. Prior to being ousted-at-18, she was an excellent student. However, the foster care system did not prepare her for life on her own. She didn't know that she had an obligation to file her income taxes. So, she didn't. I'm helping her with that, too.

As we pray for children like Kristi, may God lead us to truly see, know, love, and serve them.

"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends." John 15:13

Praying with you,

Carrie

Carrie J. McKean
Faces of Children Director
First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas
(432) 684-7821 x153

* Name changed to protect her privacy.


If you have prayer requests about children, those who care for them, those who have authority over them, or those who harm them (the really hard prayers to say sometimes), please send them to info@facesofchildren.net

In the News ... "McWilliams overcomes double tragedies"

OA Photo by Mark Sterkel
• FBC pastor, here since 2004, pursued accounting career until joining clergy

By Bob Campbell, Reporter
Odessa American


ODESSA, TEXAS - The Rev. Byron Van McWilliams went through tough times on his way to the ministry.

The 54-year-old native East Texan lost his father to a heart attack when he was 6 and his older brother to a tractor accident at 15. “People began to talk about father being in Heaven, so I started thinking about what Heaven was at a young age and came to Christ myself soon after,” he said ...

read the rest of this OA report ...

C.S. Lewis Daily - Today's Reading

Presented by Bible Gateway
Today's Reading

On Heaven

Tirian had thought—or he would have thought if he had time to think at all—that they were inside a little thatched stable, about twelve feet long and six feet wide. In reality they stood on grass, the deep blue sky was overhead, and the air which blew gently on their faces was that of a day in early summer. Not far away from them rose a grove of trees, thickly leaved, but under every leaf there peeped out the gold or faint yellow or purple or glowing red of fruits such as no one has seen in our world. The fruit made Tirian feel that it must be autumn but there was something in the feel of the air that told him it could not be later than June. They all moved towards the trees.

Everyone raised his hand to pick the fruit he best liked the look of, and then everyone paused for a second. This fruit was so beautiful that each felt “It can’t be meant for me . . . surely we’re not allowed to pluck it.”

“It’s all right,” said Peter. “I know what we’re all thinking. But I’m sure, quite sure, we needn’t. I’ve a feeling we’ve got to the country where everything is allowed.”

“Here goes, then!” said Eustace. And they all began to eat.

What was the fruit like? Unfortunately no one can describe a taste. All I can say is that, compared with those fruits, the freshest grapefruit you’ve ever eaten was dull, and the juiciest orange was dry, and the most melting pear was hard and woody, and the sweetest wild strawberry was sour. And there were no seeds or stones, and no wasps. If you had once eaten that fruit, all the nicest things in this world would taste like medicines after it. But I can’t describe it. You can’t find out what it is like unless you can get to that country and taste it for yourself.

From The Last Battle
Compiled in Words to Live By

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook


The Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is a daily devotional with 365 inspiring mission stories that come from next door and all across the globe. It inspires thousands of Presbyterians daily as they uphold the mission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in intercessory prayer.


Today in the Mission Yearbook: April 24, 2017

MINUTE FOR MISSION: ARMENIAN GENOCIDE REMEMBRANCE DAY - The men were taken first, then the women and children were brutalized. Witnesses saw the Euphrates run red with blood, and women plunged into the river to escape the terrors of the desert march. Armenian villages throughout the Ottoman territories of 1915 were emptied in a systematic campaign to demean and destroy innocent victims. Although modern-day Turkey actively denies this genocide, historians have gathered undisputable evidence of at least a million Armenians killed and a million more dispersed from their ancient homeland ...

CLICK HERE to read more.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook


The Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is a daily devotional with 365 inspiring mission stories that come from next door and all across the globe. It inspires thousands of Presbyterians daily as they uphold the mission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in intercessory prayer.


Today in the Mission Yearbook: April 23, 2017

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO - As Presbyterian World Mission celebrates its 180th anniversary this year, it’s worth noting that well over 200 years ago Presbyterian Women were organizing around mission, both domestically and internationally. In fact, these “hidden figures” first put a missionary in the domestic field in 1824 ...

CLICK HERE to read more.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

In the News ... "'Lady in Blue Day' Mass set for May 21"

Courtesy Photo
• Known for her evangelization of the Jumanos

Staff Report
Odessa American


SAN ANGELO, TEXAS - The 9th annual Sor María de Jesús de Ágreda/Lady in Blue celebration will be observed at 6:30 p.m. May 21, at the Christ the King Retreat Center in San Angelo. Bishop Michael J. Sis will celebrate Mass in the retreat center chapel ...

read the rest of this OA report ...

C.S. Lewis Daily - Today's Reading

Presented by Bible Gateway
Today's Reading

TO MRS. JOHNSON: On the good the dead do by dying well and by comforting us (in the Holy Spirit) afterward; and on how heaven and earth are better than we can imagine.

7 August 1956

Would you believe it!—I had recently felt anxious as to how you were getting on and in praying for you (as of course I do for all who correspond with me on religious matters) I had added a prayer that I might soon hear some good news of you. And also at once your letter . . . arrived.

All you tell me is good and very good. Your mother-in-law has done good to the whole circle by the way she died. And where she has gone I don’t doubt she will do you more still. For I believe that what was true of Our Lord Himself (‘It is expedient for you that I go, for then the Comforter will come to you’ [John 16:7]) is true in its degree (of course, an infinitesimal degree in comparison, but still true) of all His followers. I think they do something for us by dying and shortly after they have died which they couldn’t do before—and sometimes one can almost feel it happening. (You are right by the way: there is a lot to be said for dying—and being born—at home.)

No, I don’t wish I knew Heaven was like the picture in my Great Divorce, because, if we knew that, we should know it was no better. The good things even of this world are far too good ever to be reached by imagination. Even the common orange, you know: no one could have imagined it before he tasted it. How much less Heaven.

From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis
Compiled in Yours, Jack

Friday, April 21, 2017

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook


The Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is a daily devotional with 365 inspiring mission stories that come from next door and all across the globe. It inspires thousands of Presbyterians daily as they uphold the mission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in intercessory prayer.

Today in the Mission Yearbook: April 21, 2017

"HIDDEN FIGURES" - As Presbyterian World Mission celebrates its 180th anniversary this year, it’s worth noting that well over 200 years ago Presbyterian Women were organizing around mission, both domestically and internationally. In fact, these “hidden figures” first put a missionary in the domestic field in 1824 ...

CLICK HERE to read more.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

In the News ... "Losing weight a spiritual issue"

• Ministers say religious discipline often applicable to health concerns

By Bob Campbell, Reporter
Odessa American


ODESSA, TEXAS - Everything people do has a spiritual aspect, ministers say, including weight control.

The Revs. Steven Adair, Terry Easley, Russell Nebhut and Jackie Brem say there’s nothing easy about losing weight and keeping it off, but asking God for resolve is a good way to start ...

read the rest of this OA report ...

C.S. Lewis Daily - Today's Reading

Presented by Bible Gateway
Today's Reading

On God

It is always shocking to meet life where we thought we were alone. “Look out!” we cry, “it’s alive.” And therefore this is the very point at which so many draw back—I would have done so myself if I could—and proceed no further with Christianity. An “impersonal God”—well and good. A subjective God of beauty, truth and goodness, inside our own heads—better still. A formless life- force surging through us, a vast power which we can tap—best of all. But God Himself, alive, pulling at the other end of the cord, perhaps approaching at an infinite speed, the hunter, king, husband—that is quite another matter. There comes a moment when the children who have been playing at burglars hush suddenly: was that a real footstep in the hall? There comes a moment when people who have been dabbling in religion (“Man’s search for God”!) suddenly draw back. Supposing we really found Him? We never meant it to come to that! Worse still, supposing He had found us!

From Miracles
Compiled in Words to Live By

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook


The Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is a daily devotional with 365 inspiring mission stories that come from next door and all across the globe. It inspires thousands of Presbyterians daily as they uphold the mission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in intercessory prayer.

Today in the Mission Yearbook: April 19, 2017


ZAMBIA - At Chasefu Theological College in Zambia, future pastors learn to tend the soil as well as nurture Christian faith.

“Chasefu’s introducing sustainable agriculture courses that will help seminary students better care for their families when they become pastors,” says Charles Johnson, a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) mission co-worker who teaches the agriculture classes. He added that they will also be able to teach communities techniques to boost crop yields and reduce hunger ...

CLICK HERE to read more.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Invitation to Prayer from Faces of Children ... TODAY

Faces of Children is an ecumenical prayer ministry under the auspices of First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas. Their mission is to initiate ministries of prayer for children in churches, communities, and neighborhoods. In doing so, they seek to provide an opportunity for people of God to join together, learn about children and their needs throughout the world, and celebrate Christ's love (especially as it relates to children).

Invitation to Prayer ... TODAY

Hi Friends,

Thank you for joining me in prayer for the children of the world. If you can, we'd love to have you pray together with us this Wednesday - TODAY - at 11:30 a.m., in the gym conference room at First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas. The church is not currently offering lunch service. If you'd like to have lunch together, please bring a sack lunch and we can eat together.

Also, Faces of Children is now on Facebook! I invite you to like our page so that you can see regular stories, prayer needs, and updates from partner ministries.

All the best,

Carrie



Dear Intercessors,

It's been a few weeks since the story first broke, but the first-hand accounts of witnesses and survivors of the chemical attacks in Syria still seem fresh in my mind. I didn't watch the videos showing the aftermath, but even the still images won't leave me... As I tuck my little girls into bed, I think of little bodies wrapped in white cloth. When I see the picture of my brother-in-law holding his new son, I think about the picture of the grief-stricken Syrian father, clutching the lifeless bodies of his twin babies to his chest.

This world is full of too much sorrow. Too much despair. Too much hopelessness. I'm writing this note as we begin the Holy Week walk to the cross. We waved our palms and said 'hosanna' last Sunday, but now we are on the eve of a betrayal; on the eve of despair and hopelessness. And it seems fitting because this is the world we live in... teetering on the edge of despair and hopelessness with every headline. I'm grateful for the journey to the cross. I'm grateful it doesn't side-step the sorrow, the ache, the seeming defeat at the hands of a world awash in anger, hatred, and violence. We live in a day when leaders from all corners of the world beat drums of war and we pray they lead to paths of peace. In the midst of all the chaos and fear and uncertainty, I'm grateful we know the end of this story. He is risen! And the hope and promise those three words contain changes everything.

This week, I'd like to invite you to continue praying for the children of Syria ... just when it seems things can't get worse, it seems they do. As we pray for them, please also join me in praying for:

NIGERIA // Three years after Chibok, Boko Haram deploys children as suicide bombers
Three years after more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls were kidnapped from their dormitory by the terrorist group Boko Haram, another sinister threat to the region's children is growing dramatically - they are being made to kill themselves and others with bombs. A total of 27 children have died so far this year after detonating bombs strapped to their bodies that they were ordered to carry into markets, checkpoints and other public places. The number is almost the same as the total who died over the whole of last year, according to a new report by Unicef. Most of the time, girls are used for these attacks, though girls and boys walking alone - even very young ones - are now regarded with suspicion.
Learn more here ...
Pray for these children who fall victim to this terrorist group in such a horrific way. Pray for their families and communities as they grapple with attack-after-attack and try to find a way. Join me in asking God to protect other innocent children from being forced to end their lives and the lives of others.

AP Photo by Muhammad Sajjad
AFGHANISTAN // Polio vaccine programs resume even as distrust for foreign-run health teams remains high
After being denied access by the Taliban for 15 months, health workers this week resumed a vaccination campaign against polio in parts of Kunduz province in northern Afghanistan. The Taliban block on polio vaccinations left an estimated 170,000 children without inoculation, endangering a campaign that has almost eradicated the disease in Afghanistan. Days before the Taliban allowed vaccinators access, a 14-month-old girl in the Afghan province of Kunduz was found to have been paralysed by polio. Until it was blocked, leaving about 170,000 children in Kunduz province without inoculations, the scheme had almost eradicated the disabling viral disease in Afghanistan. But polio can spread quickly, with even a single case potentially enough to widen the disease's footprint. When the girl in Kunduz's Dasht-e-Archi district became the third child this year diagnosed with polio, Taliban commanders relented.
Learn more here ...
Please pray for these children who have been uprooted from stable, safe, and loving foster care homes and returned to government orphanages. Pray that the government recognizes that such broadly-applied regulations do not take into consideration the best interest of many children, especially medically fragile children. And pray for the directors and staff of these foster care programs who lost -- overnight -- children they've cared for and loved for many years. They are discouraged and uncertain what to do next.

STR/Reuters Photo
VIETNAM // Saving Hanoi's street children from abuse, hunger and self-destruction
As night falls in Hanoi, the crowds thronging around the Hoan Kiem Lake begin to dissipate. Do Duy Vi scans the crowds of teenagers hunting Pokémon on their phones, women dancing and street vendors hawking the last of their wares. "You learn to look for the signs," says Vi. "Sometimes they'll be dirty, or carrying bags of clothes. Sometimes you can tell from the way they sit." Vi is making his nightly search for destitute children sleeping on the streets of Vietnam's capital city. "They're seen as the lowest of the low. In Vietnamese they're called 'tre bui doi' - 'children of the dust'," he says. Vi, who's 29, is the chief outreach officer for Blue Dragon Children's Foundation, an Australian-founded NGO that has been working with street children in Vietnam since 2004. He has been in the job for seven years. "I used to live on the streets myself, when I was 14 and 15," he says.
Learn more here ...
Praise God that all around the world, in pockets and corners we've perhaps never heard of, there are people fighting for justice!

Praying with you,

Carrie
Carrie J. McKean
Faces of Children Director
First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas
(432) 684-7821 x153



If you have prayer requests about children, those who care for them, those who have authority over them, or those who harm them (the really hard prayers to say sometimes), please send them to info@facesofchildren.net

C.S. Lewis Daily - Today's Reading

Presented by Bible Gateway
Today's Reading

And now, for the first time, the Lion was quite silent. He was going to and fro among the animals. And every now and then he would go up to two of them (always two at a time) and touch their noses with his. He would touch two beavers among all the beavers, two leopards among all the leopards, one stag and one deer among all the deer, and leave the rest. . . . [T]he creatures whom he had touched came and stood in a wide circle around him. . . .

The Lion, whose eyes never blinked, stared at the animals as hard as if he was going to burn them up with his mere stare. And gradually a change came over them. The smaller ones—the rabbits, moles, and such-like— grew a good deal larger. The very big ones—you noticed it most with the elephants—grew a little smaller. Many animals sat up on their hind legs. Most put their heads on one side as if they were trying very hard to understand. The Lion opened his mouth, but no sound came from it; he was breathing out, a long, warm breath; it seemed to sway all the beasts as the wind sways a line of trees. Far overhead from beyond the veil of blue sky which hid them the stars sang again; a pure, cold, difficult music. Then there came a swift flash like fire (but it burnt nobody) either from the sky or from the Lion itself, and every drop of blood tingled in the children’s bodies, and the deepest, wildest voice they had ever heard was saying:

“Narnia, Narnia, Narnia, awake. Love. Think. Speak. Be walking trees. Be talking beasts. Be divine waters.”

From The Magician's Nephew
Compiled in A Year with Aslan

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook


The Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is a daily devotional with 365 inspiring mission stories that come from next door and all across the globe. It inspires thousands of Presbyterians daily as they uphold the mission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in intercessory prayer.


Today in the Mission Yearbook: April 19, 2017

EQUATORIAL GUINEA. AFRICA - As the plates were being cleared after dinner, we remained seated in the living room of the senator who was hosting us for the night. We were at his home in eastern Equatorial Guinea after having visited several congregations of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Equatorial Guinea and the first of three community health centers built by the church’s Women’s Association with gracious assistance from a Presbyterian Women Thank Offering ...

CLICK HERE to read more.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Invitation to Prayer from Faces of Children ... TOMORROW

Faces of Children is an ecumenical prayer ministry under the auspices of First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas. Their mission is to initiate ministries of prayer for children in churches, communities, and neighborhoods. In doing so, they seek to provide an opportunity for people of God to join together, learn about children and their needs throughout the world, and celebrate Christ's love (especially as it relates to children).

Invitation to Prayer ... Tomorrow

Hi Friends,

Thank you for joining me in prayer for the children of the world. If you can, we'd love to have you pray together with us this Wednesday at 11:30 a.m., in the gym conference room at First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas. The church is not currently offering lunch service. If you'd like to have lunch together, please bring a sack lunch and we can eat together.

Also, Faces of Children is now on Facebook! I invite you to like our page so that you can see regular stories, prayer needs, and updates from partner ministries.

All the best,

Carrie



Dear Intercessors,

It's been a few weeks since the story first broke, but the first-hand accounts of witnesses and survivors of the chemical attacks in Syria still seem fresh in my mind. I didn't watch the videos showing the aftermath, but even the still images won't leave me... As I tuck my little girls into bed, I think of little bodies wrapped in white cloth. When I see the picture of my brother-in-law holding his new son, I think about the picture of the grief-stricken Syrian father, clutching the lifeless bodies of his twin babies to his chest.

This world is full of too much sorrow. Too much despair. Too much hopelessness. I'm writing this note as we begin the Holy Week walk to the cross. We waved our palms and said 'hosanna' last Sunday, but now we are on the eve of a betrayal; on the eve of despair and hopelessness. And it seems fitting because this is the world we live in... teetering on the edge of despair and hopelessness with every headline. I'm grateful for the journey to the cross. I'm grateful it doesn't side-step the sorrow, the ache, the seeming defeat at the hands of a world awash in anger, hatred, and violence. We live in a day when leaders from all corners of the world beat drums of war and we pray they lead to paths of peace. In the midst of all the chaos and fear and uncertainty, I'm grateful we know the end of this story. He is risen! And the hope and promise those three words contain changes everything.

This week, I'd like to invite you to continue praying for the children of Syria ... just when it seems things can't get worse, it seems they do. As we pray for them, please also join me in praying for:

NIGERIA // Three years after Chibok, Boko Haram deploys children as suicide bombers
Three years after more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls were kidnapped from their dormitory by the terrorist group Boko Haram, another sinister threat to the region's children is growing dramatically - they are being made to kill themselves and others with bombs. A total of 27 children have died so far this year after detonating bombs strapped to their bodies that they were ordered to carry into markets, checkpoints and other public places. The number is almost the same as the total who died over the whole of last year, according to a new report by Unicef. Most of the time, girls are used for these attacks, though girls and boys walking alone - even very young ones - are now regarded with suspicion.
Learn more here ...
Pray for these children who fall victim to this terrorist group in such a horrific way. Pray for their families and communities as they grapple with attack-after-attack and try to find a way. Join me in asking God to protect other innocent children from being forced to end their lives and the lives of others.

AP Photo by Muhammad Sajjad
AFGHANISTAN // Polio vaccine programs resume even as distrust for foreign-run health teams remains high
After being denied access by the Taliban for 15 months, health workers this week resumed a vaccination campaign against polio in parts of Kunduz province in northern Afghanistan. The Taliban block on polio vaccinations left an estimated 170,000 children without inoculation, endangering a campaign that has almost eradicated the disease in Afghanistan. Days before the Taliban allowed vaccinators access, a 14-month-old girl in the Afghan province of Kunduz was found to have been paralysed by polio. Until it was blocked, leaving about 170,000 children in Kunduz province without inoculations, the scheme had almost eradicated the disabling viral disease in Afghanistan. But polio can spread quickly, with even a single case potentially enough to widen the disease's footprint. When the girl in Kunduz's Dasht-e-Archi district became the third child this year diagnosed with polio, Taliban commanders relented.
Learn more here ...
Please pray for these children who have been uprooted from stable, safe, and loving foster care homes and returned to government orphanages. Pray that the government recognizes that such broadly-applied regulations do not take into consideration the best interest of many children, especially medically fragile children. And pray for the directors and staff of these foster care programs who lost -- overnight -- children they've cared for and loved for many years. They are discouraged and uncertain what to do next.

STR/Reuters Photo
VIETNAM // Saving Hanoi's street children from abuse, hunger and self-destruction
As night falls in Hanoi, the crowds thronging around the Hoan Kiem Lake begin to dissipate. Do Duy Vi scans the crowds of teenagers hunting Pokémon on their phones, women dancing and street vendors hawking the last of their wares. "You learn to look for the signs," says Vi. "Sometimes they'll be dirty, or carrying bags of clothes. Sometimes you can tell from the way they sit." Vi is making his nightly search for destitute children sleeping on the streets of Vietnam's capital city. "They're seen as the lowest of the low. In Vietnamese they're called 'tre bui doi' - 'children of the dust'," he says. Vi, who's 29, is the chief outreach officer for Blue Dragon Children's Foundation, an Australian-founded NGO that has been working with street children in Vietnam since 2004. He has been in the job for seven years. "I used to live on the streets myself, when I was 14 and 15," he says.
Learn more here ...
Praise God that all around the world, in pockets and corners we've perhaps never heard of, there are people fighting for justice!

Praying with you,

Carrie
Carrie J. McKean
Faces of Children Director
First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas
(432) 684-7821 x153



If you have prayer requests about children, those who care for them, those who have authority over them, or those who harm them (the really hard prayers to say sometimes), please send them to info@facesofchildren.net

C.S. Lewis Daily - Today's Reading

Presented by Bible Gateway
Today's Reading

What man, in his natural condition, has not got, is Spiritual life—the higher and different sort of life that exists in God. We use the same word life for both: but if you thought that both must therefore be the same sort of thing, that would be like thinking that the ‘greatness’ of space and the ‘greatness’ of God were the same sort of greatness. In reality, the difference between Biological life and Spiritual life is so important that I am going to give them two distinct names. The Biological sort which comes to us through Nature, and which (like everything else in Nature) is always tending to run down and decay so that it can only be kept up by incessant subsidies from Nature in the form of air, water, food, etc., is Bios. The Spiritual life which is in God from all eternity, and which made the whole natural universe, is Zoe. Bios has, to be sure, a certain shadowy or symbolic resemblance to Zoe: but only the sort of resemblance there is between a photo and a place, or a statue and a man. A man who changed from having Bios to having Zoe would have gone through as big a change as a statue which changed from being a carved stone to being a real man.

And that is precisely what Christianity is about. This world is a great sculptor’s shop. We are the statues and there is a rumour going round the shop that some of us are some day going to come to life.

From Mere Christianity
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook


The Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is a daily devotional with 365 inspiring mission stories that come from next door and all across the globe. It inspires thousands of Presbyterians daily as they uphold the mission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in intercessory prayer.


Today in the Mission Yearbook: April 18, 2017

FELLOWSHIP COMMUNITY NATIONAL GATHERING - From Alex Absalom’s opening assertion that discipleship and mission are completely intertwined, to the Rev. Dr. M. Craig Barnes’s closing assurance that Jesus has given his disciples—then and now—the power to be his witnesses, the speakers on the opening day of The Fellowship Community National Gathering charged over 200 church leaders to more intentionally “live on mission” to make missional disciples ...

CLICK HERE to read more.

Monday, April 17, 2017

From @chinaaid : "Christian handed 10-month sentence for selling religious books"

The China Aid Association is a non-profit Christian organization - based in Midland, Texas - with a mission to uncover and reveal the truth about religious persecution in China, focusing especially on the unofficial church. They do this, they explain in their website, by exposing the abuses, encouraging the abused and equipping the saints to advance the kingdom of God throughout China.

Christian handed 10-month sentence for selling religious books
Distributed by ChinaAid, March, 2017 ...

GUANGZHOU, GUANGDONG, CHINA – A court in China’s southern Guangdong Province sentenced a Christian who had printed Christian literature to 10 months in prison and handed him a fine on Monday ...

more on this story from China Aid



Invitation to Prayer from Faces of Children ... Wednesday

Faces of Children is an ecumenical prayer ministry under the auspices of First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas. Their mission is to initiate ministries of prayer for children in churches, communities, and neighborhoods. In doing so, they seek to provide an opportunity for people of God to join together, learn about children and their needs throughout the world, and celebrate Christ's love (especially as it relates to children).

Invitation to Prayer ... Wednesday

Hi Friends,

Thank you for joining me in prayer for the children of the world. If you can, we'd love to have you pray together with us this Wednesday at 11:30 a.m., in the gym conference room at First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas. The church is not currently offering lunch service. If you'd like to have lunch together, please bring a sack lunch and we can eat together.

Also, Faces of Children is now on Facebook! I invite you to like our page so that you can see regular stories, prayer needs, and updates from partner ministries.

All the best,

Carrie



Dear Intercessors,

It's been a few weeks since the story first broke, but the first-hand accounts of witnesses and survivors of the chemical attacks in Syria still seem fresh in my mind. I didn't watch the videos showing the aftermath, but even the still images won't leave me... As I tuck my little girls into bed, I think of little bodies wrapped in white cloth. When I see the picture of my brother-in-law holding his new son, I think about the picture of the grief-stricken Syrian father, clutching the lifeless bodies of his twin babies to his chest.

This world is full of too much sorrow. Too much despair. Too much hopelessness. I'm writing this note as we begin the Holy Week walk to the cross. We waved our palms and said 'hosanna' last Sunday, but now we are on the eve of a betrayal; on the eve of despair and hopelessness. And it seems fitting because this is the world we live in... teetering on the edge of despair and hopelessness with every headline. I'm grateful for the journey to the cross. I'm grateful it doesn't side-step the sorrow, the ache, the seeming defeat at the hands of a world awash in anger, hatred, and violence. We live in a day when leaders from all corners of the world beat drums of war and we pray they lead to paths of peace. In the midst of all the chaos and fear and uncertainty, I'm grateful we know the end of this story. He is risen! And the hope and promise those three words contain changes everything.

This week, I'd like to invite you to continue praying for the children of Syria ... just when it seems things can't get worse, it seems they do. As we pray for them, please also join me in praying for:

NIGERIA // Three years after Chibok, Boko Haram deploys children as suicide bombers
Three years after more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls were kidnapped from their dormitory by the terrorist group Boko Haram, another sinister threat to the region's children is growing dramatically - they are being made to kill themselves and others with bombs. A total of 27 children have died so far this year after detonating bombs strapped to their bodies that they were ordered to carry into markets, checkpoints and other public places. The number is almost the same as the total who died over the whole of last year, according to a new report by Unicef. Most of the time, girls are used for these attacks, though girls and boys walking alone - even very young ones - are now regarded with suspicion.
Learn more here ...
Pray for these children who fall victim to this terrorist group in such a horrific way. Pray for their families and communities as they grapple with attack-after-attack and try to find a way. Join me in asking God to protect other innocent children from being forced to end their lives and the lives of others.

AP Photo by Muhammad Sajjad
AFGHANISTAN // Polio vaccine programs resume even as distrust for foreign-run health teams remains high
After being denied access by the Taliban for 15 months, health workers this week resumed a vaccination campaign against polio in parts of Kunduz province in northern Afghanistan. The Taliban block on polio vaccinations left an estimated 170,000 children without inoculation, endangering a campaign that has almost eradicated the disease in Afghanistan. Days before the Taliban allowed vaccinators access, a 14-month-old girl in the Afghan province of Kunduz was found to have been paralysed by polio. Until it was blocked, leaving about 170,000 children in Kunduz province without inoculations, the scheme had almost eradicated the disabling viral disease in Afghanistan. But polio can spread quickly, with even a single case potentially enough to widen the disease's footprint. When the girl in Kunduz's Dasht-e-Archi district became the third child this year diagnosed with polio, Taliban commanders relented.
Learn more here ...
Please pray for these children who have been uprooted from stable, safe, and loving foster care homes and returned to government orphanages. Pray that the government recognizes that such broadly-applied regulations do not take into consideration the best interest of many children, especially medically fragile children. And pray for the directors and staff of these foster care programs who lost -- overnight -- children they've cared for and loved for many years. They are discouraged and uncertain what to do next.

STR/Reuters Photo
VIETNAM // Saving Hanoi's street children from abuse, hunger and self-destruction
As night falls in Hanoi, the crowds thronging around the Hoan Kiem Lake begin to dissipate. Do Duy Vi scans the crowds of teenagers hunting Pokémon on their phones, women dancing and street vendors hawking the last of their wares. "You learn to look for the signs," says Vi. "Sometimes they'll be dirty, or carrying bags of clothes. Sometimes you can tell from the way they sit." Vi is making his nightly search for destitute children sleeping on the streets of Vietnam's capital city. "They're seen as the lowest of the low. In Vietnamese they're called 'tre bui doi' - 'children of the dust'," he says. Vi, who's 29, is the chief outreach officer for Blue Dragon Children's Foundation, an Australian-founded NGO that has been working with street children in Vietnam since 2004. He has been in the job for seven years. "I used to live on the streets myself, when I was 14 and 15," he says.
Learn more here ...
Praise God that all around the world, in pockets and corners we've perhaps never heard of, there are people fighting for justice!

Praying with you,

Carrie
Carrie J. McKean
Faces of Children Director
First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas
(432) 684-7821 x153



If you have prayer requests about children, those who care for them, those who have authority over them, or those who harm them (the really hard prayers to say sometimes), please send them to info@facesofchildren.net

C.S. Lewis Daily - Today's Reading

Presented by Bible Gateway
Today's Reading

On Free Will

The sin, both of men and of angels, was rendered possible by the fact that God gave them free will: this surrendering a portion of His omnipotence (it is again a deathlike or descending movement) because He saw that from a world of free creatures, even though they fell, He could work out (and this is the re-ascent) a deeper happiness and a fuller splendour than any world of automata would admit.

From Miracles
Compiled in Words to Live By

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook


The Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is a daily devotional with 365 inspiring mission stories that come from next door and all across the globe. It inspires thousands of Presbyterians daily as they uphold the mission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in intercessory prayer.

Today in the Mission Yearbook: April 17, 2017

MINUTE FOR MISSION: INTERNATIONAL DAY OF FARMERS' STRUGGLESW - Small-scale farmers—women and men—feed us all. Their labor keeps us alive. They care for the soil, the seeds, the land and the waters. They make up nearly half of the people on the planet and produce more than 70 percent of the world’s food. Your first image may be of someone tilling the land with hand tools, an ox or a small tractor, but they are also farmworkers, pastoralists, small-scale livestock producers, fishers and indigenous producers in every country ...

CLICK HERE to read more.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

C.S. Lewis Daily - Today's Reading

Presented by Bible Gateway
Today's Reading

The earth trembled. The sweet air grew suddenly sweeter. A brightness flashed behind them. All turned. Tirian turned last because he was afraid. There stood his heart’s desire, huge and real, the golden Lion, Aslan himself, and already the others were kneeling in a circle round his forepaws and burying their hands and faces in his mane as he stooped his great head to touch them with his tongue. Then he fixed his eyes upon Tirian, and Tirian came near, trembling, and flung himself at the Lion’s feet, and the Lion kissed him and said, “Well done, last of the Kings of Narnia who stood firm at the darkest hour.”

From The Last Battle
Compiled in A Year with Aslan

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook


The Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is a daily devotional with 365 inspiring mission stories that come from next door and all across the globe. It inspires thousands of Presbyterians daily as they uphold the mission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in intercessory prayer.


Today in the Mission Yearbook: April 16, 2017

LIFE'S CLASSROOM: ONE GREAT HOUR OF SHARING / EASTER - Blessings to you on this Easter Sunday. As you celebrate Christ’s Resurrection, may you experience the hope of eternal life and lean into the promise of a world where God’s reign will be fully realized.

As heirs of Resurrection hope, Presbyterians are striving for a world that comes closer to God’s goal for humanity and all creation ...

CLICK HERE to read more.