Tuesday, December 31, 2019

In the News ... "2019 was a big year for Abilene's faithful"

• Abilene spiritual life year-in-review

By Loretta Fulton, Reporter
Abilene Reporter-News

ABILENE, TEXAS - From the archives of the Abilene Reporter-News, a review of faith- and value-based stories that made headlines across the Big Country in 2019 ...

Read the rest of this ARN report ...

Partners Blog: “With resilience and grace: T’Kaw Paw’s story”

Steve and Oddny Gumaer started Partners Relief and Development in response to the needs of refugees and displaced people from Burma, and now in the Middle East, as well. Their mission is to demonstrate, through holistic action, God’s love to children and communities made vulnerable by war in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and other conflict zones.

PR&D Photo
“With resilience and grace: T’Kaw Paw’s story”

When she speaks to me, T’Kaw Paw’s voice exudes a patient, quiet strength. She has been through much in her 23 years; despite loss and adversity, her eyes still rise as she smiles. T’Kaw Paw dreams of attending New York University and working for her people in government ...

Read the rest of this post ...




Partners Relief and Development is a registered charity in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States. "We’re a small, grassroots nonprofit passionate about making a big impact in communities affected by conflict and oppression, demonstrating God’s love to children and giving them the opportunity to live free, full lives." For more information aboput Partners, visit their website at partners.ngo/

In the News ... "New hope dawns with 2020"

OA Photo by Mark Rogers
• Ministers say New Year offers fresh opportunities to serve others

By Bob Campbell, Reporter
Odessa American


ODESSA, TEXAS - 2020 has to be better than 2019 with the Aug. 31 mass shooting that killed seven and wounded 25 and Odessa clergymen are confident that it will be.

Ministers Greg Morris, Doug Doyle, Sam Smith and Mike Atkins say the New Year will indeed be a new beginning because God promises in his New Covenant to renew the world on a daily basis for the faithful. “My resolution is to be a benefit to my church, the community and all that comprises our community,” said the Rev. Morris, pastor of Bethany Christian Church ...

Read the rest of this OA report ...

C.S. Lewis Daily - Today's Reading

Presented by Bible Gateway
Today's Reading

The thing you long for summons you away from the self. Even the desire for the thing lives only if you abandon it. This is the ultimate law—the seed dies to live, the bread must be cast upon the waters, he that loses his soul will save it. But the life of the seed, the finding of the bread, the recovery of the soul, are as real as the preliminary sacrifice. Hence it is truly said of heaven ‘in heaven there is no ownership. If any there took upon him to call anything his own, he would straightway be thrust out into hell and become an evil spirit.’ But it is also said ‘To him that overcometh I will give a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it’ [Revelation 2:17]. What can be more a man’s own than this new name which even in eternity remains a secret between God and him? And what shall we take this secrecy to mean? Surely, that each of the redeemed shall forever know and praise some one aspect of the Divine beauty better than any other creature can. Why else were individuals created, but that God, loving all infinitely, should love each differently? And this difference, so far from impairing, floods with meaning the love of all blessed creatures for one another, the communion of the saints. If all experienced God in the same way and returned Him an identical worship, the song of the Church triumphant would have no symphony, it would be like an orchestra in which all the instruments played the same note.

From The Problem of Pain
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: December 31, 2019

PRESBYTERIANS PRAY - Nearly all (90%) of Presbyterians pray at least several times a week and nearly half (42%) read the Bible on their own at least several times a week. Middle-aged and older Presbyterians engage in these spiritual disciplines more frequently than younger Presbyterians do ...

CLICK HERE to read more.

Monday, December 30, 2019

From @chinaaid : "Human rights lawyer arrested"

The ChinaAid 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.

ChinaAid Photo
Human rights lawyer arrested
Distributed by ChinaAid, December 2019 ...

NANNING, GUANGXI – Chinese authorities formalized the arrest of a Guangxi-based human rights lawyer on Wednesday.

The attorney, Qin Yongpei, was placed in custody more than a month ago and accused of “inciting subversion of state power.” The Chinese government often uses this charge to frame individuals who stand up for others’ rights ...

More on this story from ChinaAid ...


In the News ... "Safe house looks to reopen next year"

Courtesy Photo
• Will be run by First Response Ministries

By Aurora Sain, Reporter
Fort Stockton Pioneer

FORT STOCKTON, TEXAS - The Lilah Smith Safe House closed their doors in March, but after fundraising and receiving grants they are hoping to reopen by February.

First Response Ministries, the organization that will operate the safe house, received grants from the Permian Basin Area Foundation, FMH Foundation and Tegna Foundation ...

Read the rest of this FSP report ...

C.S. Lewis Daily - Today's Reading

Presented by Bible Gateway
Today's Reading

On Silence

We may find a violence in some of the traditional imagery which tends to obscure the changelessness of God, the peace, which nearly all who approach Him have reported—the “still, small voice.” And it is here, I think, that the pre-Christian imagery is least suggestive. Yet even here, there is a danger lest the half conscious picture of some huge thing at rest—a clear, still ocean, a dome of “white radiance”—should smuggle in ideas of inertia or vacuity. The stillness in which the mystics approach Him is intent and alert—at the opposite pole from sleep or reverie. They are becoming like Him. Silences in the physical world occur in empty places: but the ultimate Peace is silent through very density of life. Saying is swallowed up in being. There is no movement because His action (which is Himself) is timeless.

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: December 30, 2019

EXCELLENCE IN THEOLOGICAL EDUCATION AWARD RECIPIENTS - Two outstanding leaders in theological education will be honored at the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) 224th General Assembly in Baltimore in June 2020 ...

CLICK HERE to read more.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

In the News ... "Odessa Church News - New Year Edition"


• Today and in the days ahead, in Odessa-area houses of worship

Staff Report
Odessa American


ODESSA, TEXAS - Coming events include worship services, classes, Bible studies, community outreach, fundraisers, mission opportunities and more ...

Read the rest of this OA report ...

C.S. Lewis Daily - Today's Reading

Presented by Bible Gateway
Today's Reading

Let us suppose we possess parts of a novel or a symphony. Someone now brings us a newly discovered piece of manuscript and says, ‘This is the missing part of the work. This is the chapter on which the whole plot of the novel really turned. This is the main theme of the symphony’. Our business would be to see whether the new passage, if admitted to the central place which the discoverer claimed for it, did actually illuminate all the parts we had already seen and ‘pull them together’. Nor should we be likely to go very far wrong. The new passage, if spurious, however attractive it looked at the first glance, would become harder and harder to reconcile with the rest of the work the longer we considered the matter. But if it were genuine then at every fresh hearing of the music or every fresh reading of the book, we should find it settling down, making itself more at home and eliciting significance from all sorts of details in the whole work which we had hitherto neglected. Even though the new central chapter or main theme contained great difficulties in itself, we should still think it genuine provided that it continually removed difficulties elsewhere. Something like this we must do with the doctrine of the Incarnation. Here, instead of a symphony or a novel, we have the whole mass of our knowledge. The credibility will depend on the extent to which the doctrine, if accepted, can illuminate and integrate that whole mass. It is much less important that the doctrine itself should be fully comprehensible. We believe that the sun is in the sky at midday in summer not because we can clearly see the sun (in fact, we cannot) but because we can see everything else.

From Miracles
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.

Photo Courtesy of Princeton Theological Seminary

Today in the Mission Yearbook: December 29, 2019

KATIE CANNON SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS - Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries has announced the 2019 recipients of the Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon Scholarship ...

CLICK HERE to read more.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

In the News ... "Odessa Salvation Army notices more people use their services in the holiday season"


"During this time of the year we really notice an increase in the demand for a lot of the services that we provide"

By Rachel Ripp, Reporter
KWES-TV

ODESSA, TEXAS - The Christmas season isn't all sparkles and presents for everyone. It is actually the time people need help most.

Local aid agencies, like the Salvation Army of Odessa, see more people using their services around this time of year ...

 • Read/watch the rest of this KWES report ...

In the News ... "Abilene Church News"

• Join-in for next year's days of prayer

Nathaniel Ellsworth, Reporter
Abilene Reporter-News

ABILENE, TEXAS - Churches are being sought to commit to a day of prayer one day a month in 2020.

A local organization, 1-Kingdom, is partnering with a the national sponsor, America Prays, to cloak the nation in prayer 24/7.

More local churches are needed to join the effort by Dec. 31. To sign up or for more information, send email to contact@1-Kingdom.org.

• Also ahead for Abilene ...


In the News ... "San Angelo Faith Briefs"


• Here's what's going on at church near you

By Matthew McDaniel, Reporter
San Angelo Standard Times


SAN ANGELO, TEXAS - From the Standard-Times, news of special events and programs from Concho Valley houses of faith ...

Read the rest of this SAST report

In the News ... "Missing home at the holidays: Cuban, Central American migrants recall, recreate traditions"

EPT Photo by Bianna Sanchez
• Far from home, migrants contemplate plans for Christmas in Juarez

By Lauren Villagran, Reporter
El Paso Times


JUÁREZ, MEXICO - Of all the Cuban traditions Rosi Guilarte left behind in her months-long journey to seek asylum in the U.S., fire-roasting a pig is the one she misses the most.

She daydreamed out loud on the shelter patio with a hot cup of café con leche, about the caldosa stew of yucca root, white boniato sweet potato and vegetables cooked over an open fire. And the precious time cooking, spent with family and friends.

Miguel Gonzalez, the Presbyterian minister of the Pasos de Fe shelter where Guilarte and 15 other Cuban migrants have been staying, was coming around to the idea of the whole pig and a fire pit.

He wasn't sold on the idea of a slaughter on the patio ...

Read/watch the rest of this EPT report ...

C.S. Lewis Daily - Today's Reading

Presented by Bible Gateway
Today's Reading

On Self-Understanding

Be sure that the ins and outs of your individuality are no mystery to Him; and one day they will no longer be a mystery to you.

From The Problem of Pain
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.

Photo Courtesy of Neal Carter

Today in the Mission Yearbook: December 28, 2019

GUITARS AND MUSIC - Sixteen-year-old Brandon Earley and his pastor, the Rev. Dr. Neal Carter, chose an unconventional route this past summer to grow closer while discussing Scripture, theology and anything else that came to mind during long hours spent on a hobby they now share ...

CLICK HERE to read more.

Friday, December 27, 2019

FBR Report: "Amidst a Climate of Fear, Shan Rangers Provide Relief in Shan State"

The Free Burma Rangers (FBR) is a multi-ethnic humanitarian service movement. They bring help, hope and love to people in the war zones of Burma (Myanmar) and the Middle East. Groups send teams to be trained, supplied and sent into the areas under attack to provide emergency assistance and human rights documentation. Together with other groups, the teams work to serve people in need.




"Amidst a Climate of Fear, Shan Rangers Provide Relief in Shan State"

23 November 2019
Shan State, Burma

Villagers in northern Shan State’s Hsipaw Township fear the sight of soldiers, Burma Army or Ethnic Armed Organization (EAO), as conflict rages. In September, Rangers traveled incognito as civilians during their mission to reduce tension in villages where people fear uniforms. The Shan Rangers are members of Shan EAOs, yet as Rangers their mission changes to providing emotional and spiritual encouragement, material, and life support to the oppressed in the conflict areas ...

CLICK HERE to read/watch the rest of this FBR Report ...

CLICK HERE to learn how YOU can get involved in FBR and its mission ...

Thank you and God bless you,

Dave Eubank and the Free Burma Rangers

“LOVE EACH OTHER.
UNITE AND WORK FOR FREEDOM, JUSTICE, AND PEACE.
FORGIVE AND DON’T HATE EACH OTHER.
PRAY WITH FAITH, ACT WITH COURAGE, NEVER SURRENDER.”

In the News ... "Salvation Army accepting donations through the end of the year"

KMID/KPEJ Photo
• Money that’s raised is very pivotal for the organization

By Yoselin Person, Reporter
KMID-TV/KPEV-TV


ODESSA, TEXAS - The red kettles may be over, but Salvation Army of Odessa continues to accept donations.

The Salvation Army depends on those red kettles and every dollar and cent raised to help those in need ...

Read/watch the rest of this KMID/KPEJ report ... 


From @FWMission ... Friday Story: Fall 2019 Newsletter - “A Paradise Beyond Reach”

Founded in 2001, Free Wheelchair Mission is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to providing wheelchairs for the impoverished disabled in developing nations. Headquartered in Irvine, California, FWM works around the world in partnership with a vast network of humanitarian, faith-based and government organizations, sending wheelchairs to hundreds of thousands of disabled people, providing not only the gift of mobility, but of dignity, independence, and hope.



Friday Story: Fall 2019 Newsletter - “A Paradise Beyond Reach

With its fertile, green highlands, sweeping volcanic peaks, and shimmering blue lakes, Guatemala has been described as one of the most beautiful places in the world. “The most magnificent spectacle we ever saw,” wrote 19th century travel writer, John L. Stephens, of Guatemala’s famed Lake Atitlán—a breathtaking scene some have likened to the Garden of Eden.

However, not everyone in Guatemala has the luxury of enjoying its natural wonder ...

Read the rest of this story ...

In the News ... "Local Salvation Army's 'Angel Tree' distribution "

BSH Photo by Amanda Duforat
• One of the programs benefiting from local Red Kettle campaign

By Amanda Duforat, Reporter
Big Spring Herald


BIG SPRING, TEXAS - The Salvation Army had the Angel Tree distribution Saturday morning ...

Read the rest of this BSH report ...

In the News ... "John-Mark Echols continues his mission of helping the homeless"

MRT Photo by Jacy Lewis
• Nonprofit The Field’s Edge gains momentum on the way to building a tiny-home community

By Caitlin Randle,, Reporter
Midland Reporter-Telegram

MIDLAND, TEXAS - I was first introduced to John-Mark Echols and his wife, Briana, when a trailer for the documentary “Finding Home in Boomtown” -- which they are the subjects of -- was shown at Midland’s first Ted Talk in April. I decided to do a feature on them and their nonprofit, The Field's Edge, and interviewed them the following month.

They came across as genuine and determined in their mission to construct a village of 100 tiny houses for Midland’s homeless population. I found it inspiring and I wondered -- as others might have -- if it would come to fruition ...

 • Read the rest of this MRT report ...

C.S. Lewis Daily - Today's Reading

Presented by Bible Gateway
Today's Reading

TO MARY WILLIS SHELBURNE: On the need to take care of oneself and not of things.

8 January 1963

I don’t mind betting that the things which ‘had to be done’ in your room didn’t really have to be done at all. Very few things really do. After one bad night with my heart—not so bad as yours, for it was only suffocation, not pain—my doctor strictly rationed me on stairs, and I have obeyed him. Of course it is hideously inconvenient: but that can be put up with and must. What worse than inconvenience would have resulted if you had left those ‘things’ undone? Do take more care of yourself and less of ‘things’!

Still snow-bound.

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

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: December 27, 2019

MENTAL HEALTH SUMMIT - When Laura Mitchell receives a nudge from God, she sees it through.

“Sunrise of Hope,” a one-day mental health summit hosted by La Jolla Presbyterian Church in California this past spring, was one of those nudges ...

CLICK HERE to read more.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

In the News ... "Christmas sermon offers message of hope and love"

KOSA Photo
“Whether religious or not, today is the day to think about what life would be like if ..."

By Shane Battis, Reporter
KOSA-TV


MIDLAND, TEXAS - While many families spent their Christmas morning unwrapping presents around their trees, a handful of church congregations met to begin their day with prayer. ...

Read/watch the rest of this KOSA report 


C.S. Lewis Daily - Today's Reading

Presented by Bible Gateway
Today's Reading

Menelaus sat still. He had the sense that some outrage was being done to him. One could not argue with these foreign devils. He had never been clever. If Odysseus had been here he would have known what to say. Meanwhile the musicians resumed their playing. The slaves, cat-footed, were moving about. They were moving the lights all into one place, over on the far side near a doorway, so that the rest of the large hall grew darker and darker and one looked painfully at the glare of the clustered candles. The music went on.

“Daughter of Leda, come forth,” said the old man.

And at once it came. Out of the darkness of the doorway.

From The Dark Tower

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.

Photo by Film 180, Michael Fitzer

Today in the Mission Yearbook: December 26, 2019

MISSION PROGRAM GRANTS - On behalf of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, during its latest grant cycle the Mission Development Resources Committee (MDRC) recently approved 19 Mission Program Grants to worshiping communities. ...

CLICK HERE to read more.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

In the News ... "Trinity students serve others for holiday season"

Courtesy Photo
• Service is one of the big values they push in chapel each week

By Brandi Addison, Reporter
Midland Reporter-Telegram

MIDLAND, TEXAS - All School Pajama Day has become a new holiday tradition for Trinity School. Volunteers walk from class to class, collecting donated pajamas, in their elf costumes, while the administrative office proudly wear their matching pajamas and students run around in their Frozen gowns and fleece pajama bottoms and slippers ...

But these volunteer efforts aren’t out of the norm. Trinity is a revolving door for service projects, fundraisers and clothing and toy drives, and this is only one of the projects that its students have participated in this holiday season...

 • Read the rest of this MRT report ...

From @chinaaid : "Bob Fu on persecution documentary"

The ChinaAid 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.

ChinaAid Photo
Bob Fu on persecution documentary
Distributed by ChinaAid, December 2019 ...

MIDLAND, TEXAS – ChinaAid President Bob Fu featured on a documentary on the persecuted church released this week.

The film, produced by Finnish TV group Hurttimurtti, follows the oppression of Christians around the world. Fu contributed his knowledge of persecution in China ...

More on this story from ChinaAid ...


In the News ... "'Lady of Agreda' musical set to debut in Houston March 12"

SAST Photo by Michelle Gaitan
• How the “Lady in Blue” musical came about

By Matthew McDaniel, Reporter
San Angelo Standard Times


SAN ANGELO, TEXAS - While the story of the “Lady in Blue” is famous throughout the Concho Valley, there are still some folks in Texas who’ve never heard of Sor Maria de Agreda.

But some of the top theatrical talent in the nation will be working to change that with the upcoming “Lady of Agreda” musical set to debut March 12 in Houston ...

Read the rest of this SAST report

C.S. Lewis Daily - Today's Reading

Presented by Bible Gateway
Today's Reading

Some people feel guilty about their anxieties and regard them as a defect of faith. I don’t agree at all. They are afflictions, not sins. Like all afflictions, they are, if we can so take them, our share in the Passion of Christ.

From Letters to Malcolm
Compiled in Preparing for Easter

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: December 25, 2019

NATIVITY OF THE LORD/CHRISTMAS DAY - An amazing photographer recently told me “A good photograph should raise more questions than it answers.” ...

... Let’s think outside the manger as we reflect on the birth of our Lord today ...

CLICK HERE to read more.

From Catholic Charities USA ... " Advent and Christmas Daily Reflections"


The Nativity of the Lord

It is finally here! After the preparations for our family and friends, cards, gift giving, and not to mention the often frenetic scurrying around to serve our clients ...

Read the rest of today's reflection ...



The mission of Catholic Charities is to provide service to people in need, to advocate for justice in social structures, and to call the entire church and other people of good will to do the same. Catholic Charities is a network of charities with headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. The organization serves millions of people a year, regardless of their religious, social, or economic backgrounds.