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All the Rats You Can Eat [May 2010 eMagazine]


Ca Bik and his wife have six children to feed: The rats ate their crops, so they eat the rats.

I don’t think I could eat rats. But thousands of people
are eating rats in Chin State, Myanmar. There is nothing else for them to eat
due to a strange phenomenon that occurs every forty-eight years. My lead
article in this month’s magazine tells the full story. The Myanmar government
is doing nothing to help starving people in Chin State.

We’ve distributed tons of rice in Chin State, to
believers and unbelievers. Hearts have been softened towards the gospel, and
our spiritual family members are offering many thanks to our Father. But the
situation is still critical. If you help Heaven’s Family with one thing
this month, please help us to purchase more rice by giving to our Food Fund.

Some of our rice-distributing partners in Myanmar have
also been distributing New Testaments to people who have never seen one, like
the tattoo-faced lady in the photo below. So hungry people are not only
receiving rice, but also the Bread of Life.

Thank you for giving us the privilege to serve you as
you serve “the least of these” around the world. Your faith is shining! —
David

All The Rats You Can Eat by David Servant
The Food Fund at Work in Myanmar


Rats for dinner: A mother cooks for her two children

Ca
Biak and Iang Thluai owned
ten cows. But they’ve gradually had to sell their cows—plus most anything
else they own of any value—in order to survive. For the past two years,
rats have eaten all their corn crops, leaving them with nothing. It happens
every forty-eight years in Chin State, Myanmar, when the bamboo plants flower
and drop their fruit. For the next few years, rats proliferate to an
extraordinary degree. Farmers wake up in the mornings to find their fields
stripped bare by hungry rats.

So
it happened to Ca Bik and Ian Thluai. They are making
the best of their challenge, however, trapping and eating rats to survive. And
with gifts to the Food Fund, Heaven’s Family has come to their aid, and
to the aid of thousands of Christian and non-Christian families suffering the
same plight. So far, we’ve distributed over thirty tons of rice to remote
villages in Chin State, many of which can only be reached by rivers and footpaths.

When Heaven’s Family representatives brought rice to Ca Bik and Iang Thluai, they were amazed
that Christians in other parts of the world had heard of the famine and cared
enough to help them. They thanked God with tears and invited our representatives
to stay for lunch. One of them later wrote to us: “When we gave them rice, they
prepare a wonderful meal with rat meat.”


A tattoo-faced woman receiving a New Testament, and a woman in Chin State receiving rice from an HF representative

Another
one of our representatives, John Siam, used some of his allotted rice to join
forces with a Heaven’s Family-sponsored national missionary named Isaac Ha
Tam. Isaac has been reaching out to remote villages in Chin State where the
gospel has never been heard. John and Isaac took rice to places where the women
smoke pipes and have full-face tattoos, and where village chiefs sometimes have
as many as five wives. They hoped to soften hearts through hungry stomachs.
Their strategy worked, and over one-thousand people
heard the gospel. John wrote, “They are both very hungry for physical food and
spiritual food.” He also gave Bibles to those who responded, made possible by
gifts to the Bibles for Believers Fund.

One
other note of interest, but of lesser importance: One of our rice-distributing
representatives commented in his report how the women in one remote region were
wearing very short skirts. He sent us the photo below so we could see for
ourselves. Scroll down and prepare for the shock! — David

The Bigger Picture: The chief of Mualzawl Village, a man named Pu Thanmawia, recently wrote to us from Chin State:
“Between late 2008 and late 2009 all the people of Mualzawl suffered a great loss caused by a huge number of rats. Consequently, most
of us have sold out our properties and belongings. Since rats ate up and
ruined all the crops of the fields, the desperate lack of harvest, and
thus of food, has driven people from every family to go deep into the
forests in search of any edible food. So far, more than ten people among
kids and the elderly already died of diarrhea, caused by the poor quality
of food and drink. At present, at least fifty people are sick. The whole
village daily cry out to the Lord our God with tears now and then.” We
pray that we can continue helping our suffering family in Chin State, Myanmar.

Learn how you can help

A Newfangled Bible by Emily
The Bibles for Believers Fund at Work in Haiti


Heaven’s Family’s primary partner in Haiti, Preval Meritil, holding the most unusual Bible he’d ever seen

Because
of contributions to Heaven’s Family‘s Bibles for Believers Fund, we’ve
been blessed to help smuggle Bibles into closed countries like China, Laos and
Syria. We’ve also helped to provide tribal-language Bibles to poor believers in
Vietnam and Myanmar. And because of new technologies, we’ve helped smuggle
Bibles on electronic MP5 players into North Korea.

Last
month, however, I was involved in distributing some of the most unusual Bibles
I’ve ever seen. They talk by themselves. They can talk so loudly that up to three-hundred people can hear them at one time. They can
talk in more than four-hundred different languages.
They are, of course, electronic, but they have no moving parts. They are
digital. They are powered by the sun using a solar panel to
charge an internal battery. The internal battery can
also be charged by turning an attached hand-crank. Or, they can be
powered by plugging them into an electrical outlet. They are called Proclaimers.

We
took four Proclaimers with us to Haiti in March. Each
was programmed with a dramatized version of the entire New Testament in Creole,
Haiti’s most common language. And they were well-received in the resettlement camp outside Port-au-Prince where Heaven’s Family has been helping hundreds of believers who lost everything they owned during
the January earthquake—including their Bibles.


Pastors in the Dominican Republic and Haiti holding Spanish and Creole Proclaimers

Proclaimers are being distributed
around the world to serve the more than one-billion illiterate people on our
planet, as well as the close to 160 million people who are visually impaired.

Perhaps
the best thing about the Proclaimers is that, unlike
many modern preachers, they only speak the Truth!

The Bigger Picture: As
with all the I Was Hungry family of funds, 100% of every contribution to
the Bibles for Believers Fund is used for its restricted purpose of providing
Bibles to poor Christians around the world. The need is immense, and it is
difficult for those of us who own many Bibles to imagine that millions of
Christians are too poor to ever hope of owning their own Bibles. Thank you for
helping us to be an answer to their prayers.

Learn how you can help

An Islamic Fortress Falls by David Warnock
The Muslim-Background Believers Fund at Work in India


For their protection, we can’t publish the actual photos
of Kareef and Bashshar

To
say that Kareef Kashar was a devoted disciple of Islam would be an understatement. He studied Islam
for ten years in four different languages, earning himself a very prestigious
position as the leader, or Mullana, of a community
mosque in northern India. There, for thirteen years, he had been faithfully
making disciples of Muhammad. By every outward indication, Kareef had built around himself an impenetrable fortress of Islamic belief. God,
however, knows how to reach the unreachable.

Unbeknownst
to Kareef, an old friend named Bashshar,
who was at one time his most devoted student, had turned to Christ. Bashshar would still occasionally attend Kareef’s mosque to go “fishing for men.” One day, Mullana Kareef confronted Bashshar about his infrequent visits and apparent lack of
heart toward religious matters. Courageously, Bashshar shared how God had touched his heart and how he was now following Christ. “If
you want,” Bashshar said to Mullana Kareef, “I will give you some books that opened my
eyes.” To Bashshar’s surprise, Mullana Kareef wanted to see the books, so he gave him one
booklet about Jesus written from a Muslim’s perspective. This opened the door
for other books.

Weeks
of conversations between Bashshar and Kareef turned into months, and then years, as the friends
discussed the Bible and the Qur’an—and Jesus and Muhammad. Ever so
slowly, cracks began to appear in the walls of Kareef’s personal Islamic fortress. He began to comprehend that Jesus was the only One
who could forgive sins. Finally, in the fall of 2009, Mullana Kareef professed his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ
and was baptized. His wife and three children also believed.

Kareef discreetly told a few
members of his mosque about his decision to follow Christ and his baptism. As
expected, he was immediately stripped of his position, and the stunning news
quickly spread. The Muslim community began to threaten him with violence, and Kareef and his family were forced to relocate to preserve
their lives. Bashshar, the “apostate” who had
“poisoned” Kareef, was also targeted, and both men
have since faced many threats and false accusations. Yet both have stood firm
in their faith and are enjoying the true peace and joy that comes with knowing
Christ.

The Bigger Picture: Mullanas coming
to Christ are rare indeed, however our co-laborers in northern India have seen
it happen more than a dozen times. David Warnock, Director of Heaven’s
Family
‘s Muslim-Background Believers Fund, recently spent three weeks in
northern India and Pakistan visiting and assisting effective ministers of the
gospel who are turning the hearts of hundreds of Muslims to Christ each year.
Two of them were Kareef and Bashshar (although their names have been changed in this article for security purposes).
Opportunities abound to reach Muslims around the world and assist persecuted
converts. 100% of all gifts to the Muslim-Background Believers Fund are used to
that end.

Learn how you can help

Faces from a Hidden Holocaust by David Servant
The Christian Refugees Fund at Work in the D.R. Congo


Banyere Bushashire, Wabo Chantal, Machozi Pendeza, Bahati Aline, Magdalene Netsuba, Milka Shamamba, and Ndatoola Nabahoko, standing in front of one of their one-room houses.

Many people have have heard of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, when
800 thousand people were slaughtered during three months of brutal ethnic
cleansing. Most, however, don’t know that the Rwandan genocide fueled two major
wars in the neighboring nation of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The second
war, which began in 1998, involved seven foreign armies, and it directly or
indirectly resulted in the deaths of five-and-a-half million people. That makes
it the world’s deadliest conflict since World War II, yet it
has been largely ignored by the rest of the world, a hidden holocaust that is
not over yet.

I
have to confess that statistics such as those I’ve just mentioned rarely affect
me like they should. It is only when I meet the actual people who are lost
within those statistics, look into their faces, and hear their individual
stories, that my heart breaks. And that is what happened when my wife, Becky,
and I were in eastern D.R. Congo in February.

In
the city of Goma, we met with many refugees who are
being served by our Congolese partners and listened to their stories. In one
place we met with seven women who live with their children in tiny one-room
shacks. All were displaced when their villages were attacked
by members of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).
All of them love the Lord. Here are just a few of their stories:

Banyere Bushashire’s village was
attacked in 2007, and she and her three children escaped into the jungle to
hide. They eventually made it to Goma after U.N.
Peacekeeping Forces temporarily opened an escape corridor for fleeing refugees.
For one year, Banyere didn’t know if her husband, who
was away from home during the attack, was dead or alive. She now knows that he
survived, but it is too dangerous for him to join them in Goma because he would have to travel through rebel-held regions. So they have not
seen each other for about three years.


Banyere Bushashire, Ndatoola Nabahoko, Bhati Aline

Ndatoola Nabahoko’s husband was
kidnapped two years ago by the FDLR and Ndatoola was raped by rebel soldiers. She and her four children
subsequently fled from their home village in Masisi into the jungle, through which they journeyed seven days without food until
they reached Goma. Ndatoola’s husband escaped captivity after six months, but he is still in hiding in the
jungle. He cannot travel to Goma because he, too,
would have to pass through dangerous rebel-held regions. Ndatoola’s only hope of being reunited with her husband is if the U.N. Forces can again
open a corridor for safe passage.

Bhati Aline was eighteen when she fled from her village to Goma alone, separated from her parents, in early 2008. She later learned that her
parents are still alive but in hiding, and they are unable to join her in Goma for the same reasons as Banyere’s and Ndatoola’s husbands.

With the help of our trusted Congolese partner, pastor
Simeon Muhunga, Heaven’s Family has opened a
micro-bank in Goma to specifically help Christian
refugees start small businesses. A loan of just a few hundred dollars is often
all that is needed to start a business that can sustain a family. Gifts to the
Christian Refugees Fund have made this possible.

The Bigger Picture: According
to U.N., there were 11.4 million refugees and 26 million others displaced
within their own nations by conflict or persecution at the end of 2007. Heaven’s
Family
‘s Christian Refugees Fund has come to the aid of Christians who have
been forced to flee from their homes due to war in Sri Lanka, India, Kenya, and
the D.R. Congo.

Learn how you can help

Birth Quake by David Servant
The Disaster Relief Fund at Work in Chile


Miqeas Veintos and James Jones welcome Angelica Fernandez into the family

Chilean mother Angelica Fernandez could only visit her
three children secretly. She knew that her violent and estranged husband was
serious about his threat to kill her if she contacted any of them. So for eight
years—after she barely escaped his abuse and moved fifteen miles
away—all of her brief meetings with her son and daughters were
clandestine. They suffered silently without their mother, doing their best to
hide the shame of being sexually abused by their own father, trapped by poverty
and injustice. When Angelica learned three years ago that her youngest
daughter, age fifteen, was pregnant, a victim of her father’s incest, it broke
her heart. She sought solace in a local church, only to be asked to leave
because she wore trousers to the service.

When the earth violently shook Chile for six minutes in
the early morning of February 27, 2010, Angelica’s unfinished little
house—that she had been constructing with her earnings as a domestic
maid—crumbled. That was of no real concern, however, as Angelica could
only think of her children (and grandchild) living with their father in the
coastal town of Coronel. When she learned of the devastating tsunami that
struck Chile’s coast two hours later, she feared the worst. Gathering some
relief supplies, she headed for Coronel. Due to fallen bridges, blocked
roadways, and tsunami flooding, she was not able to reach her destination for
eight long days.

Coronel
looked like a war zone. Landmarks were gone. Rubble and dead bodies were
everywhere. The house where her children and ex-husband had lived was gone,
washed away by the force of the tsunami.

Her
search was hopeless.

In
deep despair, Angelica inwardly vowed that she would never return to Coronel.
She decided, however, to visit the town cemetery where her mother was buried,
to pay her respects one final time. As she searched for her mother’s tombstone
among the mounds of rubble, she noticed a human hand protruding through a crack
in the wall of the cemetery’s stone mausoleum. She notified some relief workers
who had also just reached Coronel, and together, they cleared the mud and
debris that blocked the mausoleum’s door. Gaining entrance, they found that
twenty-five people had been trapped inside the mausoleum for eight days. All
were covered with mud, dehydrated and weak, but conscious and alive. Angelica
discovered that the hand she had seen protruding from the mausoleum belonged to
her son. He was hurt, but he was alive.

More
amazingly, among the twenty-five people lying in the mud and debris were
Angelica’s two daughters, clinging to each other, struggling for life. When
Angelica recognized them, she fainted.

One
week later, I heard Angelica give her testimony before 1,300 people at Grace
and Peace Church in her hometown of Valdivia. The Christian couple who employed her as a maid had invited her to church, and
she had given her life to the Lord. Our team met the next day with Angelica in
her employers’ home. She told us that the body of her ex-husband had not been
found, and more tragically, the same was true of her granddaughter. But
Angelica knew that her granddaughter’s life was just beginning in heaven, as her’s was just beginning in Christ. I could not resist
giving her pastor $2,000 from our Disaster Relief Fund to assist her in the
reconstruction of her damaged home—along with an addition that would
accommodate her three children.


Ana Maria Herrara and three of her four children, Paulina, Maria and Nicolas, were on the twelfth floor of the apartment building(at right) when it toppled. They cried out to God during the earthquake’s initial tremors and He saved them. The building was newly completed, and only nineteen of the apartments were occupied, yet twenty tenants died. The Herrara family all escaped unharmed.

The Bigger Picture: Because
of gifts to our Disaster Relief Fund, Heaven’s Family has provided
assistance to about thirty Christian families and individuals who were severely
affected by Chile’s February earthquake. And we continue to serve our spiritual
family in Haiti who are still suffering due to January’s earthquake in
Port-au-Prince. Thank you for caring and sharing, making this ministry of mercy
possible.

Learn how you can help

Q: My
wife and I have started involving our children in our stewardship decisions,
having family discussions before we make contributions to the ministries we
support. As we talked about a contribution to Heaven’s Family, my son
felt that we should give to the General Fund since you know the needs better
than we do. What are your thoughts on this? Read Answer…

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Parting Shot:
The Secret to Attracting Cute Girls


Jackton Wekesa, of Covenant Kids Home in Kenya (one of our fifty sponsored orphanages around the world), knows the secret is in the clothes a man wears…