The first thing you're asking is, "What is SQUOZEN?" Well if you freeze something, it's frozen, so if you squeeze something, it's squozen! And my brain is definitely squozen! I live a busy life, wearing many hats, and I enjoy every one. This blog will contain miscellanous comments about my life as a husband, father, pastor, politician and hopefully generally nice guy! Anyhow, I hope you find something useful or at least entertaining in that which overflows from my "Over-Squozen Brain."
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Another update on the Persecuted Church
I received an email from the brother in Nepal that I wrote to you about previously. I had sent him a link to the two blog entries and let him know that there were MANY people praying for him and for the persecuted church in those areas. He is VERY appreciative. However, he requested that I remove his name and any identifying information from the blog as that could pose a higher security risk for him. So I've gone back to the past two posts and removed his name and other information that could be used to identify him. It's ok to talk about these things among ourselves, but the Internet is accessible around the world and I definitely don't want to jeopardize them. So I'm calling him "Pastor T" in the posts.
Please continue to pray for them. If you'd like a higher quality version of the bookmark on the left, just let me know and I'll get one to you (with their full names). Thank you for your interest, your concern and your prayers.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Update on Persecution
I've been asked by several people if I've heard any updates from Pastor T who I wrote about in my last blog entry. Below is an email I just received from him:
Dear Respected Pastor Nathan Martin,How are you? Thank you very much for your email to me. We are praying for you and for your ministries. Thank you very much for your kind prayer and great encouragements to us in this situation. We are still getting persecutions from the Hindu Defence Army people. Want to make only Hindu Religious Kingdom. But God is with us. They could not do nothing. We are still safe from the evil persons and evil one. You are so great man of God in this earth who loves us in the Lord. Yes, He is living God with us who protect every on of us.Yes, we are trying to live carefully in the Lord. Every church members are careful in this situation. The government security force people (policemen) visit us during the church service times and other times also. And ask us to be careful and wise for protections. But sometimes we inform them and ask them to come our church. The police office is near by our church. The asked us if any persons comes and trying us to threaten. Any one of have to go to police station to inform about them.Last week, some one called to pastor of Jawa Jiwan Church informing to Pastor during the praise and worship service time on Saturday Service that there is a bomb in your church. He informed to his church congragation, then most of them ran away from the hall. Police came and check there but nothing there in hall. Later policemen caught the man who informed about the bomb to the Pastor of Nawa Jiwan Church. Like this some people are trying to frightening and disturbing to the Christians of Nepal. Policemen care most of churches during the services times of Kathmandu.I will keep writing all the informations of situations of Nepal. Thank you very brother! You may pray for us continue in the Lord.Yours Faithfully,T [named removed to preserve identity]Kathmandu, Nepal
As you can tell, the difficulties continue and the strain is very great. After writing my last blog entry I was very impressed to share this story with our church. I had also received an email from my friend Babar in Pakistan with very similar concerns. These two emails had a profound impact on me. No longer was persecution some far away concept happening to some nameless faces. These were my friends. I had eaten supper in Pastor T's house. I had held Babar's baby in my arms. And the persecution was real.
As a result, I shared a message this past Sunday entitled "Remember My Chains" - based on Paul's admonition to the Colossian Christians in Col 4:18 and based on the words of Hebrews 13:3 "Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body." We are called upon to remember those who are persecuted for the cause of Christ because we are all part of the same body.
For those who may not have seen it, you can view the sermon on our website until next Sunday, when it will be replaced with the current week's sermon. Just go to http://christianchallenge.org/live/index.html and look for the "View Sermon Archives" section at the bottom of the page. Here's a list of the videos I used in the sermon:
- The Battle is Real: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_uLJT7n9vM
- Orissa: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQlzOoXEXQ4
- We Are One: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkBkO1DG_iA
- Thank you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NV8t917nNIk
- Extraordinary: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6g5S3aZffBs
There are so many other good videos put out by Open Doors and Voice of the Martyrs. I would recommend some time checking out their Youtube channels:
- Open Doors: http://www.youtube.com/user/OpenDoorsUSA
- Voice of the Martyrs: http://www.youtube.com/user/VoiceOfTheMartyrsUSA
We had several guests in service with us this weekend and one of them shared how the message impacted her on her blog at: http://createdtopraise.wordpress.com/2009/08/23/persecuted/ - She really captured the essence of the message. (Thanks for sharing that, Becky.)
At the end of the service we gave out a bookmark with pictures of Pastor T & family and Babar & family as a reminder to "remember their chains" and to pray for the persecuted church. On the back of each bookmark was taped a small piece of chain that I suggested each one put on their keychain as a daily reminder to pray for the persecuted church. If you'd like one of the bookmarks, send me an email. I'm not going to put my email address on here but my name is Nathan and I'm at ChristianChallenge.org - does that help you figure it out? :)
Anyhow, thanks for the inquiries about Pastor T and Babar. I'll keep the blog posted with updates as I get them. Keep praying!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Pray for the Believers in Nepal
Dear blog friends,
Today I received an email from a pastor in Kathmandu, Nepal, who I met in 2007 when I traveled with Patrick Calhoun to establish Christians Sharing Christ film teams in the Philippines, Nepal, Pakistan and India. I blogged about the trip back in 2007, starting with this entry: Off to Asia! (July 1, 1007). I posted about my visit with the pastor here and shared part of his testimony on that blog post.
Today I received an email from my pastor friend requesting prayer for the persecuted Christians of Nepal. He outlines some of the struggles they're having and shares that the persecution is real. I'm asking that you read his letter prayerfully and pray as the Lord directs. Please excuse his English as that is his second language. However, I think he heart comes through loud and clear. Thank you for reading. And praying.
Dear Respected Pastor Nathan in the Lord,
Warm Greetings in the name of Lord!
How are you? We pray for you and hope that you are fine in the Lord. We have not communicated each other. We would like to communicate continue with you and share some news and situations of Nepal and Nepali Christians. We are glad in the Lord and protect us from evil ones. God is with us and living and walking in the Lord by the Holy Spirit. We pray and hope that God is with us and protecting us from the evil ones and from evil persons of Nepal. Please pray for us we are in risky situations now again.
Present Situations of Nepal:-
Satan is using the Hindu people strongly now in Nepal:- Nepal is full with the temple of hindu gods and goddesses in every house and places of Nepal. Christians are only 3% in Nepal. Hindu are 90% in Nepal. Most of Hindu people want Nepal as Hindu Nation. We Christians are facing going to attacks again in Nepal. We are living and serving the Lord in risky situations here again now. Christians in Nepal are facing worrying times amid threats against them by Hindu extremists who recently carried out a bomb attack on a church. There are many many Hindu people are against the Christianity now. They have some religious toreros groups as Shiva Sena (armies of Shiv god), Nepal Defense Army (NDA), a Hindu fundamentalist group and World Hindu Association etc. All Hindu people support to them and their activities in Nepal. They have already targeted to attack the Churches and want to attack again to Christians with bombs and guns in Church. They have already threatened to many pastors and leaders in Kathmandu and other places time to time on phones and by mails. Also they came to churches during the church service time with big group people to many churches in and gave warning papers and asked the churches to stop church activities in Nepal and live the country. They asked the big money as millions rupees from each church if the Christians want to run the churches in Nepal. Some pastors are already hidden underground to be protected from them as I heard. Some leaders of churches are already regined from their leader’s positions of church with fear of attack. I think this situation came to be filtering times in the Lord. Any how Satan is working strongly in Nepal now. He is using the Hindu people to do that. We can see that most of Hindu are not kind, no compassion, no love at Christians. They are increasing their cruelness in their hearts against the Christianity. They love Hindu cultures and the Christian people.
Last time there were three people died and 13 others were injured when an improvised explosive device detonated at a catholic church in Dhobighat in Lalitpur district. Responsibility for the attack was claimed by the Nepal Defense Army (NDA), a Hindu fundamentalist group. Worryingly, the NDA issued new threats, saying it was planning to explode ten further bombs at the homes of Nepali Christians. In a statement, the group said the action was in response ‘to the open rape of Hindu culture through open religious conversion’.
The NDA has pointed the finger at Christian aid groups and given `unholy elements’ until tomorrow to leave Nepal. Ominously the statement goes on: `if this warning is ignored they will have to bear a punishment beyond human imagination.’
We have political and religious freedom in Nepal. This came at a critical time for Nepal which is currently working on a new constitution that will shape the outlook of the nation and importantly the position of Christians within it. The political groups are still fighting for the power and for chair of Nepal. There are still dangerous situations in Nepal. The Nepal Communist Party (UML) is leading the government of Nepal. But they are weaker than the Maoists Party. They are trying to do well but lot of opposites people in parliament. The Maoists Leaders want to run government of Nepal themselves.
Rainy Season, flood and landslide and cholera disease in Nepal. We are rainy season in Nepal. Everyday is raining here. It is happy to rain in Nepal but now we can see and hear there are flood and landslide everywhere. People are loosing their life in flood and landslide now. Also people are losing their lives, lands, house, animals and crops too. We can not hear good news in Nepal. People are suffering and facing many critical situations. Also we can see and hear that there are spreading the cholera disease in west of Nepal and other places. We can see all these suffering are here because of people are sinning against the God. I have remembered one verse from The Bible: Rom. 8:22 “Fro we know that the whole creation groaned and travailed in pain together until now.”
Pastor! Please pray for us for protection and please request to pray for all of your church brothers and sisters. We are living in end of times in this world. Our Lord Jesus is coming soon. We have to suffer and be patience in the Lord. We have to be faithful until death. I would like to request all of you please remember us in your daily prayer. We need your kind prayer support and encouragements in the Lord.
Thank you very much for your kind prayer support to us. God is with us. We trust and live in Him. He is the almighty God. He will take cares all of us. God bless you richly in this matter. I am waiting to hear from you.
Pastor T [name removed to protect identity]
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Half My Life!
You can read the story of how we got married on my of my websites at: http://www.GuardHerHeart.com/HowWeGotMarried.shtml. Yes, it's a crazy story, one I probably wouldn't believe if someone told me it happened to them. But that is what happened 22 years ago today!
Lori left a comfortable life in the United States to join me as a missionary to Mexico. We lived in a tiny one-room (not one-BEDroom, one ROOM) apartment and she was a real trooper! (We did eventually move to something bigger!) Over the next 3 1/2 years we helped establish and oversee churches in the state of Oaxaca and later helped plant a large congregation in the city of Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz with Joel and Angel Dyke. Lori learned Spanish the hard way - going to the market, sitting through church services, conversing with neighbors. She jumped in with both feet and truly made us a home in the heat of those southern jungles, an oasis of love on foreign land.
As I think back over the last 22 years of our life together, there have been a lot of changes, a lot of laughter, a few tears and a lot of growth. We have grown in our love and respect for one another. We have learned to give each other space and be gracious with each others' flaws and shortcomings. (She's had to be more gracious than me!
Both of us are 44 now, which means we've now been married for half of our lives. In looking back, I have to admire that young lady who left a life of ease and comfort to join me in the unknown world of missions and life in general. It's been quite an adventure! And she has loved me, believed in me, encouraged me ... every step of the way. Thank you, Lori, for spending half your life with me. I look forward to spending the rest of our lives together. I love you!
I love serving Jesus with YOU, Lori Marie Chapman Martin!