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The Curse of the Bamboo Flower, May 2009

bamboo causes starvation
A young mother facing famine in Kuwa Village, Myanmar, beams as her basket is filled with rice from Heaven’s Family. Kuwa Village consists of twenty families, most of whom are Christians.

You’ve probably heard
the statistics. At least 850 million people on our planet are
malnourished. Every day, 25,000 people die from hunger and
hunger-related causes. Of those, 18,000 are children. There is,
however, enough food produced on our planet to feed everyone.

The hungry remain hungry
because of distribution problems, natural disasters,
government policies, civil unrest, inequitable trade policies,
lack of knowledge and greed. I would add to that list one final reason:
Not enough of us who eat every day care about those who don’t.

I’m happy that Christ’s
true followers do care, because Jesus lives in them, and He cares. We know that
He is one day going to say to everyone one of two things: “I was
hungry and you fed Me” or, “I was hungry and you did not feed
Me.”

Heaven’s Family has a growing ministry to provide food for hungry
followers of Jesus, and for hungry non-believers who are listening to the
gospel. Over just the past few months, we’ve provided food for family members
in Peru, North Korea, Myanmar, Pakistan, Panama, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Eritrea and
Rwanda. A report of that ministry follows. You are making it
possible. Thanks so much. — David

The Curse of the Bamboo Flower
The
Food Fund at Work Around the World

bamboo flower famine
Three siblings from the Khumi Tribe facing famine in Myanmar. They live in Shimading Village, a primitive community of 64 families, who are now all recipients of rice from Heaven’s Family.

It sounds almost
stranger than fiction, but it is true. Most species of bamboo plants flower and
bear fruit just once every 60 to 120 years. After the bamboo plants
drop their fruit, they die.

In Mizoram State in
India and bordering Chin State in Myanmar, much of the bamboo forests flower
and bear fruit, like clockwork, every 48 years. Bamboo flowers, however, are an
ominous sign for the people who live in those regions, because on the following
year, the rodent population explodes. This is bad news for the Mizo and Chin populations, over half of
which are farmers. Rats invade their fields in hordes. A farmer’s crops
can disappear overnight. The elderly begin to go hungry. Local economies
collapse. People resort to eating the rats to survive. During the last bamboo
famine in northeast India in the late 1950s, the Times of India reported that 15,000 people perished.

The bamboo plants in
Chin State began flowering in 2007. The subsequent rat-induced famine started
last year and is expected to continue into 2011. The Chin people, an ethnic
minority consisting mostly of professing Christians, receive no relief
from their Buddhist government. God, however, has not forgotten them. Using
gifts to the Food Fund, we’ve sent
relief to Christians there. Our partners are also sharing food with unbelievers
and preaching the gospel.

Heaven’s Family’s Food Fund is not only feeding poor believers in Myanmar, but elsewhere in the world,
serving the “least of these” among our spiritual family. Chuck King
has personally taken thousands of dollars with him from the Food Fund on his recent ministry trips to provide
food in Myanmar, Pakistan, Panama, Kenya and Rwanda. That money has purchased
literally tons of rice, beans and flour for poor believers, distributed under
Chuck’s supervision.

When Chuck arrived in
Kibwezi, a very poor village in eastern Kenya in February, he learned that nine
children had just died from eating a dead dog that they’d discovered. While in
Kibwezi, Chuck preached the gospel, trained believers how to build biosand
water filters, and distributed over a ton of food to poor families. Thanks for making
all this blessing possible.

food distribution
(1) A ton of beans, potatoes, and rice ready for distribution in Rwanda. (2) Unloading four tons of rice for distribution to famine-stricken Christians in Myanmar. (3) Two-and-a-half tons of rice, beans and flour being distributed to eighty-five poor families and widows in Pakistan.

The Bigger Picture: 100% of all contributions to the Food Fund are used to purchase food in developing nations for very poor believers, or
secondly, for very poor non-believers who are listening to the gospel.

Learn how you can help

Secret Letters from China
The
Bibles for Believers Fund at Work in China

letters from china
Some recent hand-written letters from China, full of thanks for Bibles received (photo colorized)

While it is true that
significant quantities of Bibles are being legally printed inside China today,
because so many Chinese people are interested in Jesus, supplies do not meet
demand and distribution is not universal. So Heaven’s Family partners with an indigenous ministry in a
bordering nation that smuggles Bibles and gospel tracts to underground churches
in China.

Just a few months ago,
two representatives from that ministry were attending a large meeting of over a
thousand underground church leaders in China’s Yunnan Province. Police arrived
intending to make arrests, but nobody fled as there were so many believers and
so few police. One of the leaders jokingly told them, “Just go back to the
jail and prepare rooms for us and then we’ll come over together.” The
police replied, “We don’t have enough room for all of you.” They left
and didn’t return!

We recently received a
number of letters of thanks written by underground Chinese pastors who have
been receiving and distributing the Bibles. Below are short excerpts from three
of those letters. Contributions to the Bibles for
Believers Fund have resulted in answers to the prayers of believers
without Bibles in China. Thanks so much.

When we
were desperately in need of Bibles, with many believing in God for a long time
without personal Bible but only extreme thirst, your giving provided timely
help….Our hearts were nourished just as dry land was poured by spring rain.
Hope that there will be more care and intercessions between us. I represent all
the brothers and sisters here to express our gratitude to you.

Peace
to you in Christ. For many times we wanted to write to you to greet and thank
you for sending our church many Bibles, tracts and spiritual books. By and
through your tracts many people believed in God, and the spiritual lives of our
brothers and sisters grew. More and more people believed in Christ. Glory to
the Father!….As a servant of God I serve Him with other underground brothers
and sister with one heart in Mang city, hoping you can keep giving us precious
Bibles, for they are necessary to us. Please pray earnestly for our work here.

chinese bibles
Not only are we providing Bibles for believers in China, but we’re teaching Chinese believers through Chinese content on our website. Last month 3,044 people visited ShepherdServe.org from inside China.

Many
underground brothers and sisters in China were in need of Bibles, and thank God
through your team we somehow received our most needed and desired Bibles you
sent us in a short time. Indeed we have received your Bibles many times.
May God reward and bless you. At our side many still do not have a Bible.
Please send us more.

The Bigger Picture: Our partner ministry currently has 20,000 Chinese
Bibles in storage, waiting to be smuggled into China. They only need funds to
transport them across the border and to house church networks inside China.
100% of all gifts to the Bibles for Believers Fund are
used to provide Bibles where there are shortages.

Learn how you can help

The $120 Dream House
The
Disaster Relief Fund at Work in Myanmar

myanmar housing
Widow Nai Thi Mai, with Khin Me Tai, an abandoned orphan whom she adopted, in front of their new home

With contributions to
the Disaster Relief Fund, Heaven’s
Family has continued to serve survivors of Cyclone Nargis that killed at
least 150,000 people in Myanmar’s Irrawaddy Delta last May. Many survivors lost
everything. Some survivors, however, had very little to lose even before the
cyclone struck. One of them was 75-year-old widow Nai Thi Mai.

Nai Thi Mai lost her
husband more than twenty years ago. Tragedy struck again five years later when
all three of her sons died on a journey to Thailand. Her circumstances forced
her into begging at age 60. She lived alone in a simple bamboo hut.

About ten years later,
some local Christians found her begging, had pity on her and took her in. She
learned about Jesus and experienced His love. She believed. And then His love
went to work in her. At age seventy-two Nai adopted a newborn baby girl
whose mother had died in childbirth and whose father had disappeared. She named
the baby Khin Me Tai, and she soon grew to love little Khin like her own
daughter.

Last May, Cyclone Nargis
bore down on Tetan Village where Nai Thi Mai was living. Although sixty people
in the village lost their lives, Nai and Khin survived and moved inland to a
squatter’s camp, sleeping each night on the ground under a tarp. One of our
Christian friends who serves in that camp got to know her and Khin and
requested funding from us to build them a house. It would only cost $120. We
supplied the need and recently received the photo above of Nai and Khin
standing in front of their new dream home. Thank you for making this blessing
possible.

thatch houses in myanmar
A few other new houses provided by HF for believers who are rebuilding their lives after Cyclone Nargis

The Bigger Picture: Heaven’s Family continues to provide funding for housing for
believers in Myanmar’s Irrawaddy Delta with contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund. We currently know of at
least two-hundred Christian families who are living under tarps as the rainy
season approaches. One family-size house costs about $180.

Learn how you can help

Another Iranian Revolution
The
Books for Pastors Fund at Work in Iran

Christian books in Iran
A joyful Iranian

Most of the news coming
to us these days from Iran is negative. But did you know that Iran has a rich
biblical history that goes back thousands of years? Iran was known as Persia
until 1935. Although the current leaders in Iran/Persia are calling for
Israel’s annihilation, it was a Persian king named Cyrus who showed great
kindness to the Jews in 537 B.C., releasing tens of thousands of them from
captivity and decreeing, “The Lord, the God of heaven…has appointed me
to build Him a house in Jerusalem” (Ezra 1:2). The prophet Isaiah foretold
Cyrus’ name and deeds 150 years before his birth (see Is. 44:28–45:6).

The prophet Daniel lived
and prophesied in Iran/Persia, and he served under kings Darius and Cyrus.
Because of God’s deliverance of Daniel in a lion’s den, King Darius, whose
empire stretched from Turkey to India, issued an incredible edict:

I make a
decree that in all the dominion of my kingdom men are to fear and tremble
before the God of Daniel; for He is the living God and enduring forever, and
His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed, and His dominion will be
forever (Dan. 6:26).

Ezra and Nehemiah also
lived in Persia, as did Esther, who was married to a Persian King
named Ahasuerus. Esther is
not a Jewish name, but a Persian name.

The “Magi from the
East” (Matt. 2:1) who visited baby Jesus were most likely from Persia. And
on the day of Pentecost, Parthians, Medes and Elamites (all Persian tribes)
were present, astounded to hear Galileans speaking in their native tongues
(Acts 2:9). They repented and believed in Jesus. Early on, Persia became a
strong center for Christianity. Missionaries were sent to China and India.
Eventually, however, the church declined under Islam.

We fast-forward to 1979
when the Ayatollah Khomenei returned from political exile amidst national unrest.
With popular support, he seized Iran’s secular government and imposed strict
Islamic law. As time progressed, however, Iranians grew less enthusiastic about
government-imposed Islam, particularly the 70% of the population who were
under age thirty. A silent rebellion began that continues to this
day against anything promoted by the government. We often hear in the
news how Iran hates the United States. A large percentage of Iranian young
people, however, actually love the United States and anything American,
resulting in an ever-increasing demand for Barbie dolls, Coca-Cola—and
Bibles. Discontent has been further fueled by the exposure of corrupt and
hypocritical Islamic leaders and the utter failure of the Islamic government to
deliver on its promises.

When Iran’s government
launched an aggressive persecution against the growing church in the
mid-90’s, martyrs were made, but it resulted in the birth of an exploding
nation-wide house church movement. Iranians by the millions are now watching Christian
programming using satellite dishes that have been illegally smuggled into the
country by corrupt members of the same government that banned them. Surveys
show that at least one million Iranians have become Christians in the past
decade. New believers are expected to be leading their own house churches
within two years and making disciples.

Heaven’s Family began working in Iran just last year. The
translation of our 500-page equipping manual, The Disciple-Making Minister, has begun in Farsi, Iran’s national language.
Please pray for many open doors in this 2,500-year-old nation that has such a
biblical heritage.

disciple making minister
Eighteen of the twenty-two current translations of The Disciple-Making Minister. Soon Farsi, Iran’s national language, will be included.

The Bigger Picture: To date, The Disciple-Making Minister has been translated into twenty-two languages,
with over 115,000 copies distributed or in distribution to pastors and
Christian leaders in many nations. Two-thousand copies have just arrived in the
East African nation of Burundi, translated into the national language of
Kirundi. The most recent translation is Portuguese, the national language of
Brazil. 100% of all gifts to the Books for Pastors
Fund
are used to translate, print and distribute TDMM to Christian
leaders around the world. You can order an English copy of The Disciple-Making Minister online.

Learn how you can help

Did You Know? When you say the word pajamas, you are speaking a Persian word!

Biak is Better
The
Critical Medical Needs Fund at Work

critical medical needs tumor myanmar
Biak, back home with her mother

If you are on our e-mail
list, you received an appeal in March regarding a four-year-old girl in Myanmar
who needed our help. Little Biak Hlei Par had recently arrived with her
mother and older sister at one of the orphanages that we help in Myanmar.
Biak’s mother was employed as the cook for thirty-eight children.

When she was two years
old, a tumor began growing on Biak’s face that eventually almost completely
covered her right eye. Being from a very remote village, she had never seen a
doctor, but our orphanage director sent us her photo. We sent Biak 500 miles to
the largest city in Myanmar where she was seen by a doctor and had her tumor
scanned. Thankfully, it had not grown into her brain. That is when we sent out
an appeal for financial help for Biak’s surgery and related medical expenses.

Because of an outpouring
of compassion, Biak did not need to wait for four weeks for her surgery at the
government hospital, but we were able to have her tumor immediately removed at
a high-quality medical clinic. The tumor had not entered her brain, and she can
now see well from her right eye. Her prognosis is very good.

Because we received more
than what was needed for Biak’s surgery and related expenses, we are able to
help with several other critical medical needs in Mexico, Tanzania and Rwanda.
A lot of thanks is rising up to God from the beneficiaries and their families.
Thanks so much for making these blessings possible.


Biak Hlei Par, age four, before our help

The Bigger Picture: We regularly receive request from members of our spiritual family around the world for help with critical medical needs. 100% of all gifts to the Critical Medical Needs Fund are sent overseas to meet those pressing needs.

Learn how you can help

A Recession-Proof “Mutual Fund”

With every trillion
dollars that disappear from stock market portfolios these days, Jesus’ words
about laying up treasures in heaven make more sense. If you are looking for a
recession-proof, inflation-proof investment, search no more. Every share of the
Heaven’s Family Mutual Fund is safely invested in heaven, and the returns are
out of this world!

The price per share is
only $45, which is diversified into all three divisions of Heaven’s
Family
. $20 of each share supports
one orphan or unwanted child. $15 is invested in the general fund of I Was
Hungry
, which provides further diversification by meeting pressing needs via
the restricted funds listed on the home page of IWasHungry.org. And $10 is
invested in the Books for Pastors Fund, so that three or more pastors in
developing nations receive a copy of The Disciple-Making Minister in their own language. To learn more or start
investing, visit HeavensFamily.org/mutual_fund.

The fine
print: Past performance is a sure guarantee of future results, since God never
changes and is always faithful. The Heaven’s Family Mutual Fund is not a real mutual fund in the
sense that investment companies use that phrase, which should be obvious to
everyone. It is, however, a great way to lay up treasure in heaven. Please
consult the Holy Spirit before deciding how much to invest.

Parting Shot
Gringo-Induced
Terror

peru crying
As I took her photo, this little Ecuadorean girl obviously recognized me from one of her nightmares! — David