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Ukraine In Crisis

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Ukraine (MNN) — I have been watching with dismay the situation in Ukraine. The ouster of the government, now the Russian troops that have invaded Crimea, and now an illegal referendum vote, have left the region in chaos. This is Ukraine in crisis.

(Image courtesy Sergey Rakhuba via Facebook)

(Image courtesy Sergey Rakhuba via Facebook)

It reminds me a little of the Cold War days when the Soviet Union would do things that were only in their interests, not the interests of the people. This situation, though, could have serious repercussions for the world both politically and spiritually. How?

Let’s talk about the political side first. Ukraine is wrestling with a new government that has basically divided the country. The pro-Ukrainian side appears to outnumber the pro-Russia side. Unfortunately that divide could  cause the country to lose a portion of a treasured region, Crimea. This pro-Russian mindset may be the spark of sussession. Ukraine is mobilizing troops to try and defend its sovereignty, but they don’t stand a chance.

That leads to other questions. If Ukraine attempts to defend itself, will it ask for help from the United States and he European Union? If those nations respond, will China get involved? If the United States assists Ukraine, what will that mean for the future of USA/Russian relations?

If the United States and the EU are asked to help and they don’t, what kind of message are we sending to the rest of the world? Is it a sign of weakness? Is is a sign of disinterest? Will Ukraine ultimately fall into Russian hands, creating another Soviet-like state? If the U.S. doesn’t respond, will this be the end of U.S. Influence in the region? Will Russia continue it’s invasion into Ukraine, eventually taking over the entire country?

On the spiritual side, the crisis in Ukraine is creating an uncertainty that this generation in Ukraine hasn’t seen before. Openness to the Gospel has never been better. Russia has a similar openness, which I witnessed while I was in Russia this past week.

Will the strained relations between Russia and the U.S. prevent American Christians from being able to go to Russia to help people understand the Gospel? Will short-term mission trips to socially needy parts of the country end?

These are all questions that have no answers, yet. Because there are so many questions we MUST pray. Don’t just pray for the country, pray specifically for the following:
1. Pray that Russia will leave Crimea and that peace would be restored to a sovereign nation.
2. Pray the newly appointed Ukrainian government will be given wisdom from God to be able to handle this difficult situation.
3. Pray that God would use this uncertainty to help Christians share the certainty that can only come though the Gospel.
4. Pray that the EU and the USA would be used by God to help the situation end it peace.
5. Pray each nation’s leadership would be given divine inspiration on what they should do.
6. Pray that God would use this crisis to lead entire cities and communities to Christ.
7. Pray that planned ministries would be allowed to move forward despite the uncertainty.
While these are the requests of men, pray that these requests are also the desires of our Might And Holy God.

Mission Network News will continue to cover the unfolding situation in Ukraine, including the Crimean Penninsula.

The new Mission Network News Website

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It has been long in coming. Mission Network News, after more than a year, has a new website. It hasn’t come with out a little pain. We’re still dealing with some of it, but we’re excited about what will be able to do through it. I wanted to take some time to tell you what’s new about this website.

First, the design is totally different. 2005 was the last time we redesigned our website. This website is more appealing to the eye, but it will also allow us to provide you with breaking news easily. Also, each story gives you an opportunity to interact. You can leave comments and share each story on your favorite social media outlet. Also, in each story we can use all kinds of media to tell the story including photos, video and audio.

Another update is the Mission Network News daily and weekly email news and prayer updates. The last time this service was updated was in 2005. The backbone of the service had roots to 1997 technology. It’s amazing that it served us as long as it did without any issues. The new service will allow us to be more effective in the way we not only send our email, but how we recruit new subscribers.

The new website hasn’t come without challenges. We completely renamed everything on our website, so Google is going to take some time catching up to our file system. You can help us. If you have a Google+ account, when you post links to your page, you’ll encourage Google to re-index our website, which will help us in search engine referrals.

No website is perfect. But, we believe with you help we can make it a missions website that will motivate ordinary people like you and me to tell an extraordinary message of Jesus Christ.

 

Greg and Team to Russia

By | missions, MNN, news, orphans, special reports, travel | 5 Comments

Russia (MNN) — You’ll never know what it means for you to love a child. That statement is reverberating around in my head. I have been on many short-term mission trips. Most of them have centered around helping orphaned children. I’ve always wondered what difference it made — until now.

On June 30, 2013 I will be traveling with Orphan Outreach to document a story that’s come full-circle. It’s the story of a woman who discovered a little boy with incredible needs and simply loved him.

Greg with Svyeta

Greg with Svyeta

I don’t want to spoil the surprise because the video that we’ll be producing will give you the details of the story. But, the conclusion is that because of this woman’s love and affection for this boy, now, as a young man he understands that God is the one who orchestrated it.

The bottom line is this young man had a disability that most of his caregivers said he wouldn’t survive. It caused incredible deformity. Yet, this woman’s relentless care for him made it possible for him to get the medical attention he needed to lead a normal life (his words). Even though it took years.

Understanding that she did something special for him, he made it his purpose in his young adult life to find her and thank her for what she did for him. One year ago, he found her. This week we’ll be reuniting these two. We’ll catch it all on video so you can see it first hand.

While I’d love to give you all of the specifics, I would like them to play out naturally. As they do, I’ll pass the information along to you through this blog.

It’s all happening in the city of St. Petersburg, Russia. A city full of history. It’s also home to orphaned children who can no longer be adopted by American families. Their futures are bleak.

The second part of our coverage will focus on what happens to orphaned children when they age out of the orphanages. Who do they look to for guidance. Who helps them understand how to budget, buy groceries, pay bills, take care of their apartment, and help them make important personal decisions? Also, what role does the local church play in all this?

We’re hoping to answer all those questions and develop a tool to encourage Christians in the United States to come along side churches in Russia so they can work together to help orphaned and foster care children in both nations.

Come by my blog all week along and I try to share my heart.

It’s Going To Be Busy

By | missions, MNN, news, persecution, special reports, urbana | No Comments

Fall is in full swing. You’re probably experienced it. If you live in the United States you’ve probably already had your homecoming weekends. The football games are underway. Your kids have already started their school and church activities and you feel more like a taxi cab driver than a parent. While you’re feeling the stresses in your household, we’re feeling the stresses at Mission Network News, too.

For us, the fall means a few things. It means getting ready for See You At the Poll, start planning for the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church Radio broadcast, and this year we’re getting ready to take the whole team to Urbana. While those events create stress, we’ve also added two new staff members, and we’re redesigning our website.

See You At the Pole is over, so that stress is gone. Now, we start focusing on IDOP. We have to find a speaker who will motivate. We have to find music that will be compelling and go with the subject of the persecuted church, which is never easy. Then we have to line up people to pray for areas of the world where there is persecution of Christians. Then we have to recruit radio stations. We have less than one month to do it.

Urbana is the world’s largest student mission conference. It takes place every three years. This year Urbana 12 is being held in St. Louis, Missouri. We’re taking our entire team there so we can bring coverage of the event. We’ll be providing daily coverage on our radio broadcast, but also providing long form programming that we hope many radio stations will air. So, my time will not only be getting the broadcast ready to air, but recruiting radio stations.

Our two new staff members you probably have already met. Katey Hearth replaces Elisa Talmage, who resigned in August. Kara Tucker is a part-time writer/producer. Katey is just about up-to-speed on her responsibilities. Now, she’s just fine tuning. Kara is just getting started and there will be a pretty significant learning curve for her. So, be praying for both ladies.

Next, our website is being redesigned. It has been forever since we have done this. We’re going with an entire new back-end design that is requiring a lot of time and effort. The actually look of the website is coming along nicely and I think you’ll like where we end up.

And finally, I am spending a little more time talking to donors and finding out who has a heart for missions so we can keep Mission Network News financially healthy. Overall, our revenue is off just a bit. With our current economy I shouldn’t be surprised, but it’s requiring a lot more of my attention these days. The good news about that is that I get to spend more time talking to donors and people like you who value and love what we do here.

So, when i look all everything we have to do between now and December 31 it’s overwhelming. But, it’s also exciting. It’s exciting because Mission Network News has the privilege of telling countless stories of God working supernaturally all over the world. Not only that, but we get to encourage people like you to get involved in it.

Thank you for being a part of what we do here. If you feel the Lord leading you to give financially to Mission Network News, click here.

Facebook and Twitter, make an impact

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While I’m 46 years old — almost 47 — I’m amazed at the number tools we have to not only proclaim Christ to a lost world — friends and family included — but encourage fellow Christians to do something more for Christ. That’s the focus of Mission Network News. We want to make sure average Christians KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that they CAN do something for Christ whether that be through praying for a specific prayer request over and over again, or by giving, or by going.

Today, there’s even MORE that you can do. Let me explain.

While some would consider me ‘old’ I have been a Facebook member since before it was open to the public — when it was still an educational network. So, I’ve seen this tool evolve. It has grown into something beyond what I ever thought it would be. While the world can see everything we do if we allow it, it can also read things they NEED to read.

The Gospel is one example of what they need to read. For Christians, it’s information that will help them make a difference in world who needs to hear (read) God’s Word.

What am I getting at? Because you’re reading this post, you’re already interested it serving Christ. I’d like you to take another step and begin sharing what you read from Mission Network News and sharing it on your Facebook page. Why?

This is not to promote Mission Network News. This is to promote the ministries that MNN is talking about on the radio and on our websites. As you do, we believe God will use the things you share to motivate others to get more involved in God’s work.

Can you imagine what we, as Christians, can do on social media websites? We could mobilize prayers efforts, form giving campaigns for various projects, and organize short-term mission teams to make an eternal difference in people’s lives.

How do you do this? Simple. When you see a Mission Network News story that touches your heart, hit the ‘share’ button under the story and make a comment. As you do, you’ll be encouraging those on your Facebook page to either pray, give or go. It’s that simple. If you’re on Twitter, sign up to follow us on Twitter. We’re @MNNteam. Just retweet our tweets. You could make a difference in places like the Middle East, Asia or Africa without leaving your home.

Thank you for what you’re doing to mobilize God’s people to do more for Him through social media.

Katey Hearth added to the MNN Team

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Katey Hearth joins MNN today!I am pleased to announce the hiring of Katey Hearth as the newest staff member of Mission Network News.

As you remember, about month ago Elisa Talmage submitted her resignation, desiring to go back to school full-time to get her masters.

That’s when MNN posted the position. We had dozens of candidates. We narrowed the field down to nine prospects. Interviewed those nine, then narrowed the field down again.

You may remember Katey. She was actually an intern here at Mission Network News when she was a student at Cornerstone University. Katey is now married and brings with her social marketing experience, writing experience, and a love and passion for God’s work around the world.

We’re thrilled to have Katey back and a part of the team full-time.

Katey’s job duties will include writing, researching, social media, producing and communicating with our ministry partners and friends.

Katey’s first day on the job is today.

Mission Network News is heard on more than 1,100 radio outlets in more than 30 countries providing news and information that encourages Christians to get out of the pew and do something for Christ. MNN is now in its 21st year of ministry.