A Rescue Operation

At Christ For The Nations we strongly believe that caring for orphans is a God-given priority that must be intentionally focused upon. Started by Freda Lindsay, the Orphanage Support program assists orphaned children in different countries. Most of these children have experienced terrible afflictions – neglect, abuse, slavery and the horrors of war.

The humanitarian ministry of Pastor Vasyl Dekhtyarenko, a longtime friend of CFN, helps children who have been orphaned by the recent war in Ukraine. Since 2014, the ministry has been serving refugees and the families of the fallen soldiers. Currently, they are helping 32 families, including 27 orphans. They provide them with food, clothes, vitamins, Christian literature, free legal consultation and professional counseling.

They do their best to care for “the least of these,” but the resources are very limited in the country torn by war, governmental corruption and economic upheavals. Currently there are 183 orphans on their waiting list who need help.

Pastor Vasyl says, “We want to be a touch of joy for these little ones during their toughest season. Many of the children we minister to have asked me if they would see their daddies soon. In nearly 30 years of ministry, this is one of the hardest questions I’ve ever had to answer.”

Unfortunately, orphaned and abandoned children can be found in every country, but in Pakistan, they are especially at risk. Taliban organizations target these children in order to train them to become suicide bombers.

CFNI alumni Solomon and Tina Manzoor got to “kidnap” several such children from the terrorists. The ministry of this brave couple is nothing less than a rescue operation. They say, “Our vision is to raise a new generation in Pakistan that is strong in the Lord. The children at Manzoor Orphan House go to a school run by the Salvation Army, they have daily devotions, and attend church meetings and Christian summer camps. Our staff members serve as a family to them, but we think it is imperative to lay a solid foundation of knowing God as their ever-present Father.”

Manzoor Orphan House, built with the help of CFNI’s partners, currently accommodates 40 children. As the number of children continues to increase, the orphanage desperately needs to expand. By the grace of God, the ministry was able to purchase a property and lay the foundation for an eight-story building that will house 200 children. Solomon and Tina believe that the Lord, who started this good work, will help them complete this project.

You can make a difference in the lives of the orphaned children in Ukraine and Pakistan. You donation to the CFN Orphanage Support program will help more children encounter the love of the Heavenly Father. We invite you to be a part of this rescue operation. When you invest in these children, you sow into the future of their countries.

Donate to the CFN Orphanage Support program today: cfni.org/orphans.

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Permission To Dream

(the story of Lazarus Razaily)

by Maria Erokhina

This is the story of a man who decided to choose the important over the convenient and the calling of God over the plans of people.

Big Dreams, Big Challenges

Lazarus was born into an orthodox Hindu family that was deeply involved in witchcraft and suffered grinding poverty. At a certain point, his father became very ill and was dying. A Christian neighbor told his wife about Jesus the Healer and prayed for her husband. At that time, Lazarus’ parents didn’t know anything about Christianity, but they agreed to receive the Lord in hopes that it would make the father well. A miracle happened indeed – his health was restored.

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The joy of sharing food and Jesus with the people of Nepal

After their salvation, the life of the family started to improve. Nevertheless, severe need compelled the parents to send their children to the orphanage. Fortunately, it was a Christian orphanage, where the children heard about Jesus on a daily basis.

From a very young age Lazarus wanted to become a musician. He had many other dreams, too, but the economic situation in the country and other challenges were steadily choking those dreams to death. Despair was growing in his heart.

In 2001, Lazarus got connected with a group of people who were passionate about the Lord and found the place where he belonged. He testifies that his real experience of salvation happened at that time. Although the circumstances around him didn’t change, hope started to rise in his heart.

A Step of Faith Leads to Breakthrough

Lazarus was serving with a ministry that provided food for homeless children on the dirty street of Kathmandu when he found two boys who “were different from the others.” Lazarus and his brother adopted these children while they themselves struggled financially. “Right after these kids came home, God abundantly blessed us; His favor opened many doors. Our life was changed after that,” says Lazarus. Now these boys have become young men who study at university.

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Lazarus, Sajana and their daughters, Avani and Subani

In 2008, Lazarus married Sajana and they began to overcome life’s challenges together. His ministry was growing quickly. He was invited to lead worship in many different places and served in the leadership of several churches. Still, he felt that there was more to life. He always wanted to become a worship pastor and start a worship school that would equip worship leaders. He was surfing the internet, looking for a school where he could get trained for that vision, and came across Christ For The Nations Institute. He applied to CFNI and was granted an international scholarship that enabled him to attend.

A Year of Change

At CFNI, God blew on the cooling ambers of Lazarus’ dreams. He felt that God gave him the permission to dream big. God also told him, “If I am with you, it doesn’t matter where you are – in the USA, Canada or Nepal – I will take care of you.”

During his one year at the school, Lazarus found direction for his life. Among many other wonderful things that happened, he received a prophetic word that he would be a church planter in Nepal.

In Dallas, he got connected and served with a Nepali Church that offered Lazarus the opportunity to become a pastor and promised to help bring his family to the USA.

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Ministry outreach to a Nepali village

“The dream of every person in Nepal is move to America and break free from devastating poverty and endless hopelessness,” admits Lazarus. Although staying in America (and leading a church!) was a great opportunity, he knew that God wanted him to go back to his homeland. He had to make a difficult decision.

“I knew that I was coming back to a life of struggle. I had nothing, I was going empty-handed. I had to start from scratch with no support,” he says. In the midst of the storm brewing inside of Lazarus’ mind, God assured him, “Trust Me and I’ll show you the next step. I will open doors for you.”

He decided to follow the Lord’s call, taking the road of hardship rather than convenience.

A New Start

When Lazarus came back to Nepal, he found three families that were in a critical condition. The children had lost their fathers and their mothers were struggling to make the ends meet. Lazarus used the money that the Nepali American church gave him and sent all nine children to school. This act of kindness gave each of them a start in life.

The joy that Lazarus shared with these families was his own, too. He even prayed, “If this is what You want me to do in life, I’ll be the happiest person.” When people heard about what he’d done, they started sending their support, and now they are collectively providing for 35 unprivileged children.

Despite the delight of seeing these children taking steps toward a good future, some of Lazarus’ expectations blew up in his face. The church in Kathmandu that he had served with before coming to CFNI refused to receive him back as a leader. His desperate attempts to be heard by the church leadership and serve under their authority were not successful. It was a challenging time for him.

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Alleviating the suffering of the 2015 earthquake victims

At that time, Lazarus opened his journal and found the prophetic word he had received at CFNI: “You will be a church planter in Nepal.” He got encouraged. “This is why my church is not allowing me to serve with them! I am supposed to plant new churches!” he thought. He went to tell his pastor about this vision. In spite of the perplexity of the situation, the pastor prayed over him and released him with a blessing.

Lazarus’ family, including his parents, supported him. They began to meet on a daily basis, praying, fasting, studying the Bible and seeking the Lord. “From the very beginning, our vision has been to be a church that is worshipping, Spirit-filled and grounded in the Word,” says Lazarus. After six months, God started adding new people to their congregation, Levites Church, and many were saved, healed and delivered.

In March 2014, Levites Church moved from Lazarus’ house to a bigger building. They also planted a daughter church in the neighboring town of Makwanpur and played an active role in alleviating the suffering of the 2015 earthquake victims.

Igniting the Heart of Worship

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Bringing God’s presence to the uttermost parts of the world

For two years, Lazarus diligently served the people God entrusted him with. He wanted to be a faithful steward of that most valuable treasure, but the dream of igniting the heart of worship in Nepal was still burning in his heart. In 2016, God said to him, “You’ve been faithful with what I’ve entrusted you, now I want to respect your desire. Do what you have in your heart.”

From then on, Lazarus’ worship and music ministry launched quickly. God started sending him musicians, musical instruments and other necessary equipment. Now his team of 15 dedicated people travels to different parts of Nepal and India, leading worship and teaching about worship. Lately, God has been opening some amazing opportunities for them to serve and glorify Him.

It’s About Him

“My life is given to me by God to praise Him, and all that I am doing is not about me, but about Him. It’s His business, and He is more concerned about it than I am,” says Lazarus. “God’s love is what keeps me moving forward. I get my inspiration, motivation, energy, anointing and resources from Him alone. Challenges will always be there, but we have to be more focused on God rather than the problems.”

Levites Ministry’s motto is simply “Nepal needs Jesus.”

Because of people with dedicated hearts like Lazarus, Nepal has hope. If would like to connect with Levites Ministry and be part of what God is doing in this part of the world, email Lazarus at lazrusraj@yahoo.com.

 

 

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For Freedom He Was Set Free

By Mike and Lori Westlund

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At 8 years old, Raj’s mother was forced into temple prostitution by her own mother.

Raj Mugalkhod was born on the streets of the red light district in Kamathipura, Mumbai, India. His mother, only a teenager when he was born, was a seventh-generation temple prostitute. She had been given to the goddess Yellamma, so she would never be allowed to marry a mortal. Even though she maintained a relationship with her four sons’ father for short periods of time, Raj’s mother had to continue her life as a temple prostitute and struggled to care for her four boys, as well as her four orphaned nieces.

While his mother was doing the best she could, like many children born into severe poverty, Raj had to fend for himself from a very young age. He often had to resort to begging when he could find no work. Hunger was a fact of life, as were serious illnesses including hepatitis, malaria and typhoid fever. Just to survive, he joined a gang, engaging in criminal behavior. This bothered his sensitive conscience, which then led him to alcohol addiction, and the cycle of misery continued.

Raj grew up in a brothel, and in this unsafe environment he was sexually abused many times from the age of eight. He also saw others abused and trafficked, and this caused him to despair. At the age of 16, he had seen enough and attempted to escape his miserable existence by taking poison. For seven days, he lay in a coma with the doctors giving his mother little hope of his survival. She was not one to give up easily, and she contacted a Christian pastor, who fasted and prayed for Raj’s life.

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Raj’s mother holding him as a baby.

While lying in a coma, Raj remembers being pulled down toward Hell by demons, only to have Jesus appear. Jesus reached out His hand and pulled Raj out of Hell. After that near death experience, Raj was never the same. For the next 20 years, he invested his life in full-time Christian service, rescuing the victims of human trafficking in the district where he grew up. He rescued over 100 women and girls, often using his own money to purchase their freedom.

In April 2009, Raj married a beautiful Christian woman named Mansi, and shortly after they became pregnant. At the time, Raj was involved with the production of a groundbreaking documentary on human trafficking, The Cage. As was customary in India, Mansi returned to her parent’s home for the delivery. Unfortunately, Raj only got to see Mansi and their new son Mark for one day, and then he had to return to work on the project. He was soon notified that Mansi had complications and caught a train to be with her. Tragically, Mansi passed away early the next morning, only 15 days after bringing Mark into the world.

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As a child, Raj lived in brothels, sleeping under the beds of young girls while they were forced to have sex.

Raj struggled with survivor’s guilt; he was devastated and temporarily lost the use of his legs, probably due to severe shock and grief. He had to take a break from work to recover both physically and emotionally while his mother, who had become a Christian after seeing Raj’s deliverance, graciously stepped up to care for his new son. At this point Raj had no interest in remarrying, but he threw himself into the work of rescuing victims of trafficking. Since he had very little formal education, God gave him a desire to study and prepare for the high school equivalency test. Even though he had to teach himself, he miraculously passed. He attended South Asia Bible School for a year, which also couldn’t have happened without Divine assistance.

After faithfully serving with Teen Challenge for many years, God put a vision in Raj’s heart to further his education at Christ For The Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas. CFNI gave Raj a Full-work Scholarship, enabling him to pursue this vision. The April before Raj embarked on this epic venture, he was advised by spiritual mentors, Samuel and Shalini Daniel, that he needed a wife for himself and a mother for Mark. Raj contacted Anita, his deceased wife’s sister, with a proposal of marriage. Anita had kept her faith secret because her parents were devout Hindus and blamed both Raj and his God for the death of their daughter. At the time, she had already been proposed to by a Google engineer who could offer her all the material things Raj could not. There was one very important thing he lacked: faith in Jesus Christ. After three days of praying and fasting, Anita accepted Raj’s proposal, and they were married one week later. Anita’s parents told her that she was no longer their daughter. She had to leave home with nothing but her faith in God and her new husband and son. (Anita is continuing to believe for her parents’ salvation and loves them dearly.)

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On the street of the red light district.

Seeing the call of God on his life, Raj’s friends rallied around his dream and gave him the money to travel to America to attend CFNI. The miracles of provision continued as soon as Raj and Anita arrived in America. When they arrived at the airport, they only had one dollar, and no one would let them use their cell phone or give them change for a dollar to call someone for a ride to CFNI. In desperation, Anita bowed her head and prayed to God for help. When she looked up, she saw a dark-skinned man walking up to her, and before she could ask him for change, he emptied out his wallet into her hands — $235! She looked down in amazement at all the money, and when she looked up, he was gone. To this day, the couple cannot explain this miracle, other than to say it was an angelic visitation. Anita and Raj kept the dollar bill they arrived with as a memorial of God’s faithfulness.

Raj and Anita have both paid a huge price to follow the path that God has set for their lives. Still, their heart burns to see the captives set free. They continue to see miracles as Raj finishes his second year of preparation at CFNI (after receiving another one year scholarship), gaining the training he needs to return and bring freedom to their home country of India.

 

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Why Should You Vote?

By Dennis Lindsay

In June, Ginger and I had the opportunity to attend a historic event. About 1,000 Christian leaders gathered in a closed-door, New York meeting, to have a conversation with Donald Trump concerning the future of our nation.

Flying there, June Hunt, the well-known teacher, author and radio commentator, was seated next to us. June is the Founder and CSO (Chief Servant Officer) of Hope For The Heart. Her two radio broadcasts air on approximately 900 radio outlets worldwide. Ginger told June she was constantly hearing Christians say, “I’m not going to vote.” Why? It’s because they believe that their personal, religious convictions won’t allow them to support either candidate. June’s reply was the next President will select two to five U.S. Supreme Court justices, and it would be a travesty for any Christian to refuse to vote.

The next morning we went to Times Square for the meeting. Franklin Graham opened the event with heartfelt prayer. Dr. Ben Carson, with great sincerity, spoke on behalf of Trump and how he had come to appreciate him. Carson said, “Our ship is going in the wrong direction. We must first stop the ship and turn it around; then we can move in the opposite direction. We cannot fix everything in any one moment. It will be a long journey, but with God’s power we can turn the ship around.” Former governor Mike Huckabee served as moderator and sat across from Trump who entertained questions from Dr. James Dobson, Tony Perkins, Kelly Shackelford, Dr. David Jeremiah, Cindy Jacobs, Jerry Falwell, Jr. and Sammy Rodriguez about religious freedom, Israel, potential Supreme Court nominees and abortion.

Other issues discussed were: defending the right to speak freely from the pulpit without the fear of losing one’s tax-exempt status, the Left’s war on Christians — political correctness, the Second Amendment, the Iran Nuclear Agreement and what type of judges Trump would appoint to the Supreme Court. It seemed obvious that he fully understands the importance of this issue. This is crucial because it doesn’t matter how many good laws are passed if the courts are going to strike them down. Trump continually pointed out that he would appoint judges who would defend religious liberty and be conservative.

Trump’s answer, regarding our concern about Israel, confirmed that he would be a strong supporter of Israel and mentioned that he never understood Jewish Americans who voted for Democrats, like President Obama, who don’t support Israel. It seemed obvious that Trump understands the threat to our country from the religion of Islam and the terrorists produced from its doctrines of hate, even though he has taken a lot of flack from the liberal media for criticizing that religion.

Trump also mentioned that he would take action against cancelling the tax-exempt status of churches if pastors were politically outspoken, which was put into law by President Lyndon Johnson . He also believes that churches should not be restricted from promoting and recommending Christian politicians for office for fear of losing their exemption status and donations from members of their congregation. He wants to give freedom to all pastors to promote individuals who have Christian values and whom they believe can make a godly difference. Other issues he spent time on were restoring and strengthening our military and dealing with illegal immigration.

I sensed tenderheartedness in Donald Trump’s answers. I along with some other Christian leaders haven’t been fans of his because of how he is portrayed by the media — brash, arrogant and sometimes rude, along with questionable investments, vulgar and hateful rhetoric, and biblical illiteracy. At this meeting he was pleasant, relaxed, joking a bit, thoughtful, caring and considerate. There seems to be a mellowed attitude toward receiving biblical values at a greater depth. As Dr. James Dobson mentioned, “I think that he’s open. He doesn’t know our language, and he refers a lot to religion instead of faith and belief.” Dobson’s interviewer responded, “I imagine Saul, when he became Paul, didn’t know the language, either.”

At the meeting’s end, both evangelicals and charismatics knelt side by side and petitioned our Heavenly Father for help in these challenging days for our nation’s future. We prayed for forgiveness, guidance, wisdom and strength to turn this country back to God. I believe it was a very special moment of united power in the spiritual realm. Jerry Falwell, Jr. stated, “If we all wait for the perfect candidate, who has the demeanor of our pastors and agrees with us on every issue, including our personal theological beliefs, then we may all sit at home on election day for the rest of our lives.”

At this event, I saw a reverent and patriotic heart deep within Trump’s 70 years of experience. He remembers when America was great, but now is willing to forget its heritage. Yes, he comes from the secular, marketplace world; yet, he seems to be searching for spiritual answers to his purpose in life. Around him now are some anointed men and women of God. After the meeting I heard Dr. James Dobson state, “Donald Trump has recently committed his life to our Lord.” Pray that in time the fruit of the Holy Spirit will become manifested in his life.

Remember, God gave us this unique, Christian freedom — we are first Christians, members of the Body of Christ, not members of a political party. This is not an endorsement of any political candidate. A responsible Christian should pray, examine character, check the voting record and positions of the candidate to see if they are voting Godly principles. We should not foolishly surrender our right to vote to the enemy. Voting is a priceless freedom and privilege, not only in our lifetime, but for the future of our children. So, go and VOTE!

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What Storyline Will You Be A Part Of?

By Will Ford

The week of July 4th was a very difficult one for our nation. Early in the week the shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile by police officers were streamed on TV and social media. Sterling’s 15-year-old, sobbing during a news conference was devastating. Seeing Castile’s 4-year-old, witnessing his death from the back seat of his car broke our hearts. Then came Thursday, when the roots of bitterness from these tragedies struck my hometown.

Friday, I attended a prayer vigil in my city, Dallas, Texas, where a sniper shot 12 Dallas police officers, killing five, during a peaceful protest Thursday night. This egregious retaliation was deplorable, disgusting and painful. This attack was the worst, affecting police officers since 9/11, and the worst in Dallas’ history. According to Dallas Police Chief David Brown, the gunman, before he died, said he wanted to kill white officers in retaliation for the two black men who were killed in Louisiana and Minnesota. This was so senseless, especially since these innocent officers had nothing to do with these events. The shooter judged and stereotyped all of the officers as bad cops because of the abusive actions of a few. Ironically, this is in part what the peaceful protesters were marching against: Judgments and stereotypes. The sad irony is two communities, police officers and African-Americans, both feel judged and stereotyped by the actions of a few. An enemy has done this.

Related to further healing the race issue and a new justice movement, God gave me a dream about the dreamer, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In the dream, my friend, Lou Engle, and I were driving in a SUV to church, but we couldn’t get there without picking up Dr. King. As we pulled up to his house, Dr. King came out with a white duffle bag with black handles. He went to the curb and dumped out everything that was in the duffle bag. Once it was empty, surprisingly, he threw away the bag as well. Dr. King then walked over to our vehicle and opened the door to ride with us. In the dream, I thought his bag would make a nice souvenir, but when I went to retrieve it, Dr. King grabbed me and abruptly turned me around. Staring intently into my eyes with his hands on my shoulders, he said: “No! Do not go back and pick that up!” He then began to tell me what I needed to do to heal the race issue and contend for justice in America. I began weeping in the dream and woke up with tears streaming down my face.

While praying for the interpretation, emphasis was placed on the white duffle bag with black handles. Suddenly, I realized the black handles represented my race, African-American, and the white duffle bag represented my “white baggage.” The dream revealed how God wanted me, an African-American, to “handle” any unresolved race issues that have been carried for too long.

This was consistent with anyone who desired involvement with Dr. King’s organization in the 60s. No one could be a part of the movement if they had racial hatred or bitterness in their heart. The Lord was saying to me, “Empty yourself of any souvenir of unforgiveness, bitterness and resentment. Get rid of your ‘white baggage’ and ride in the new movement that will bring revival and justice to everyone in America.” None of us who are crying out for justice in this hour can get where we’re going without picking up the justice mantle of Dr. King, and we cannot get breakthrough without riding together! The question before all of us is this: “What color is my baggage?? If you are carrying racial baggage—get rid of it, so we can all ride together. We need each other! We cannot be thermometers, merely reacting to the temperature of our times. We must be thermostats who change our cultural climate.

While I’m all about us having a dialogue regarding race, etc., I want us to be very careful about not being divisive. The Bible says we are to be “diligent to maintain the unity of the spirit and the bond of peace.” Also, as horrific as they look, there is much we still don’t know regarding these recent police shootings. So yes, grieve, mourn, but don’t rush to judgment. Our own bias and empathy can betray the facts of these situations, and there is so much we don’t know regarding what happened before the recordings began. In all our getting, we need to get an understanding as each phase is rolled out. Finally, as I’ve said before, don’t take the bait of offense and start name-calling, bashing others, finger pointing, etc. Remember to be quick to listen and slow to speak. The truth is we need each other’s perspectives to heal our today, so together we can shape a better future for our tomorrow.

Our battle isn’t against flesh and blood, and satan is trying to create a narrative of racial division to destroy us. Nevertheless, there is a meta-narrative going on. It’s God’s storyline of healing and redemption that can turn this nation around. What storyline will you be a part of? The healing or the hurt? This is our shared moment in history. What storyline will we be a part of?

With that I say, stay hopeful. Most of this week, I’ve been waking up to write my thoughts in regard to tragedies, but one day, I believe we’ll awake to write stories of triumph. One day, we will wake up to write the story of God’s redemptive power in Orlando, Chicago, Baton Rouge, Minneapolis, Dallas and other cities. And we’re going to realize that we were the pen, the Holy Spirit was the ink, and God took us by His hand and wrote His storyline through us. Together, let’s let Him use our lives to turn a nation.

 

Will Ford is the Director of CFNI’s Third Year Marketplace Major. For more information, visit cfni.org or you can connect with him on Twitter @willford3.

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