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NEW LIFE DECEMBER 2010 • Issue 202 40p

HELPING THE HOMELESS DURING THE FESTIVE SEASON

GOOD NEWS STORIES

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SINGING STAR SUBO ON THE THING SHE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT

SPECIAL ISSUE: MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL OUR READERS

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FAMILY STAYS STRONG OVER CHRISTMAS EXCLUSIVE by James Hastings

A FAMILY will cling to their faith this Christmas to keep their strength after losing their teenage son in an horrific attack.

Ji m my M izen had just celebrated his 16th birthday when he bled to death after having his throat cut while shopping in a bakery. And while it will be the t h i rd Ch r ist mas w it hout him, the pain of losing his son won’t be any less for his dad, Barry. However, he and ● Continued on Page 3

STRONG FAITH... Christians Barry and Margaret Mizen. Above, Jimmy

FAITH HELPS US TO COPE

Christmas will be different for me... EXCLUSIVE by Matthew Murray

A GOSPEL singer who was paralysed and confined to a wheelchair for more than 20 years has talked about her miraculous healing. Delia Knox was involved in a car crash on Christmas Day, 1987, and had been unable to walk since. But after visiting a Christian healing meeting and being prayed for by an evangelist, Delia is now walking, dancing and preparing ● Continued on Page 2


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• Issue 202

Christmas is different this year... ● Continued from Page One for her first Ch ristmas in more than two decades standing on her own feet. She said: “Christmas for me has normally been a time where I had to really focus and worship the Lord and rejoice because it brought back bad memories of the anniversary of the car wreck. “This Christmas will be much different though! Jesus has healed me and I’m ready to celebrate and worship him with everything I have.” After visiting the Bay of the Holy Spirit Revival in Mobile, Alabama, and being prayed for by Yorkshireborn preacher, Nathan Morris, Delia’s story has travelled throughout the world. A YouTube clip of the miracle happening has been viewed more than 200,000 times, and she was recently shown on national American TV walking up a flight of stairs in stilettos. Delia added: “This has turned my world upside down. What I thought was normal is no more normal. I do things differently. I can stand in my kitchen and walk around my house. I got on a plane the other day and I could see into the overhead cabin.” Delia described the moment the miracle took place, saying she felt great faith come upon her as she was being prayed for. “To be honest I’ve stayed away from healing meetings. I’ve been pulled, plopped and dropped. But evangelist Nathan Morris called my husband forward and I had no idea what was going on. “Then all of a sudden I felt a voice which I knew was the Holy Spirit saying to me, ‘Get up’, and I felt feeling in my legs and then faith came on me to walk!”

Give your neighbours a

Going chug-chug in a tuk-tuk to raise cash... A YOU T H worke r h as t ravel led from Joh n O’Groats to Lands End – in a tuk-tuk. Mark Pugh, who heads Serious4God, the youth department of the Elim Pe ntecosta l C hu rc h , spent five days completing the 1,000-mile trek. He said: “Apart from the tuk-tuk only having three wheels, open sides (natural air conditioning) and an engine just under the driver’s seat (which often got quite hot) it had a number of features which just took a bit of getting used to. “The accelerator is on the handlebars, just like a motorbi ke, a nd you have two foot pedals – the one on the left being your clutch (gears located

TRY A TUK... Mark Pugh is greeted by Sarah Whittleston as he stops off at a church in the tuk-tuk

reports M a r k v i s i te d E l i m churches on the journey and posted reports on Facebook a nd Tw itter. Despite the challenge of driving the tuk-tuk He hopes the trip will raise £20,000 towards the work of Serious4God.

christmAs dAy mArKs lAd’s rescUe from AbAndonment

A speciAl time for boy who wAs hidden AwAy CHRISTMAS is extra special for He Xiao.

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That’s because it was seven years ago to the day that he was taken into the care of International China Concern (ICC). The Christian charity was set up to provide care and love to some of China’s abandoned and disabled children. He Xiao was born in the summer of 2001. For the first two years of his life he was hidden away with the other children on the fifth f loor of a state-run welfare centre in China.

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between your legs, which I’ll say no more about), and the one on your right being the brake. “For car drivers, the furthest right pedal is the accelerator and when you approach a hazard the instinct is to take your foot off that pedal – in the case of the tuk-tuk this is the very pedal you need to be pressing – it took a while to get used to it!”

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In November 2003 a team of volunteers from ICC were allowed access to the area. Jean Newman, a volunteer for ICC, said: “At that time, He Xiao’s condition was very poor.

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He had pneumonia, severe malnutrition, rickets and anaemia. He was dehydrated, his skin was in very poor condition, and his feet and hands showed the first stages of frostbite. “His movements were slow and flat and he did not smile or cry. Later, when blood tests were taken from him, he did not respond. It seemed as if he had given up. “He was a very sick baby who we didn’t think would survive.”

Archbishop in rallying non-stop worship plea to youth workers is a real marathon

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LABELLED WITH LOVE... He Xiao, who was rescued

On Christmas Eve 2003, the ICC team desperately prayed that the govern ment would release He Xiao into their care. Less than 24 hours later their prayers were answered. Jean said: “He arrived on Christmas Day and was the most amazing and wonderful present to the ICC staff and volunteers.” Jea n has sponsored h i m since that day. “It’s been my privilege to see him grow into a cheeky, mischievous, normal little boy, and I have visited twice since then,” she said. “I have seen how his life has been transformed. He has definitely touched my life in a way I had never expected!” Find out more about sponsorship or going to China to serve on a team at www.chinaconcern.org

YOUTH workers were urged to win millions to Christ at a conference. Christian charity Youth for Christ held its annual Commissioning Day in Cove nt r y, h ig h l ig ht i ng t he i r v ision to reach a m i l l ion young people every month by 2020. The Archbishop of York, D r Joh n Se nta mu , w a s a special guest and preached a message about the river of God, taken from Ezekiel

chapter 47 in the Bible. He said: “Look where the river of life comes from – the place of crucifixion, the place of sacrifice. For us, that is Calvary. Where does it go? Out into the desert. And where it goes what does it do? “It gives life and it makes us into fishermen, we fish for people and see the fruit of the Spirit overflowing. Youth for Christ is standing on the threshold of a transformation of this nation.”

THE new Bishop of Portsmouth led a 24-hour worship marathon. The Rt Rev Christopher Foster was one of dozens of worship leaders from across the region who took part in a 24 Hours Of Worship event at Portsmouth Cathedral. Churchgoers worshipped God in a different style each hour, ticking off Advent, Christmas, Lent, Palm Sunday, Easter and Pentecost throughout the night and the following day. The event embraced a huge variety of worship styles.


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Nativity all set to take to streets REACHING OUT

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THE streets of Cardiff will come alive this Christmas with a nativity play being held in the city. Starting on December 1, Cardiff will play host to ‘Christmas The Story’. The production is the brainchild of Sally Humble Jackson, who decided to arrange the play after a survey showed a lack of knowledge of the nativity story in the 18–24 age range. She said: “We think it’s important that the nativity story is restored to our collective consciousness, and that a new generation does not grow up in ignorance – in the interests of social cohesion, if nothing else.”

eNtertAINers English and Welsh-language versions of the play will be performed inside Tabernacle Church on the Hayes, in the heart of the city-centre shopping area, with market stalls and street entertainers adding to the fun outside. More than 180 volunteers will perform the 20-minute play on a rolling rota basis until December 18.

Church do for single parents REACHING OUT

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A CHURCH in Wigan is reaching out to single parents this Christmas. Purposed Life Church will be holding a party on December 18 for single mums and dads in the area. Pastor Helen Wood said: “The vision is to give these single parents a lovely, luxury day where they will be served with a meal and be able to put their feet up. “We’ll be there to help with the children so that they can have a minute and talk to other parents. “There’ll be presents not just for the children but for the parents too.”

Bid to smash carols record A WORLD record attempt for the most carol singers is to take place at Southampton’s St Mary’s Stadium on December 17. City Missioner Chris Davis will be running the service, and any profits are to be donated to the Southampton Passion, a scheme to hold an Easter passion play in the city next year. The current record for carol singing is held by Bob Jones University in South Carolina, which had a group of 7,514 participants in 2004.

Pastor in plea over traditions A LIVERPOOL pastor is calling for churches to return to tradition at Christmas. Pastor Dave Latham of Liverpool City Church said: “Our culture, over hundreds of years has programmed society to attend church by a process of special, holy days. This is where we get our word ‘holiday’ from. “Christmas, Harvest, and Easter Sunday are all ideal opportunities to hold guest services.”

Issue 202 • NEW LIFE 3 NEW LIFE

DROP-IN CENTRE’S DOORS WILL BE OPEN

CHRISTMAS CHEER foR THE HoMELESS A CHRISTIAN homeless charity in Manchester will be taking the good news of Jesus onto the streets this Christmas.

Husband and wife team, Peter and Beryl Green, have been feeding the homeless in Manchester for the last 20 years, and they have no intention of stopping. Peter, 64, said: “During the winter of 1996, 37 people died on the st reets bet ween November a nd February from flu, hypothermia and pneumonia.”

FINDING HOPE... One of The Beacon’s visitors. Inset, Peter and Beryl Green

struggle “Homeless people struggle to get medical attention. They can’t register with a doctor because they have no fixed address. They have to go to A&E where they often get treated appallingly.” After years of going onto the streets with a flask and sandwiches, Peter and Beryl founded Barnabus in 2005. They bought some units and a bus and, in 2000, they opened their drop-in centre called The Beacon, which includes a medical centre

for homeless people. Peter said: “We give out Christmas presents from the beginning of December. “Prior to us having our drop-in centre, Beryl and I would go out at Christmas and take whatever we could carry. Christmas is a hard t i me for the homeless because they’re on their own. We always give the message of hope and we give love. We’re not in a position where

Family leans on faith over festive time

Faith is the gift of life... BRITAIN’S Got Talent star Susan Boyle has credited her Christian faith as the rock in her rise to fame. Susan, who released her second album, ‘The Gift’ last month, says she prays every day. The Scots singing sensation insists it is her faith that helped her come to terms with her mother’s death and cope with worldwide fame. “My faith is the backbone of my life and I couldn’t do without it,” she explains. “After mum died it didn’t fully register until maybe six months later. But I have my faith, which is the backbone of who I am.” Susan, 50, used to sing in the choir of her local church in Blackburn, West Lothian, before being catapulted into the worldwide spotlight after performing on Britain’s Got Talent. And while she admits she has wanted to be a singer for half her life, Susan, was happy to leave her future in God’s hands. Asked if she prayed to be an international singing star, Susan laughed: “No-one prays for that. It comes. It was my strong faith that led to this happening. As I said, I can’t do anything without it.” Starved of oxygen at birth and with learning difficulties as a result, Susan was slow at school and constantly bullied. But even as a child, she would turn to God to help her cope with the bullies or teachers who regularly gave her the ‘belt’ or strap in school. “God is our light,” she says. “I have always felt very close to him.” For someone who has climbed several mountains in the past two years, Susan says her faith is summed up by one of her favourite hymns, Up to the Mountain.

we can provide a home for people, so we try and love them. We have a carol service at Christmas and we try and be there for people.” Seven days a week, staff and volunteers serve up a full cooked breakfast to as many as 45 people and an evening meal to as many as 80. Barnabus also works with allotment and sports projects, as well as

agencies that run classes in Maths, English, basic cookery and art. However, Peter would like to do more. Providing warm food and medical treatment are essentials, but ultimately, he’d like Barnabus to be in a position to put homeless people back into permanent accommodation and provide them with the help, support and life skills needed to keep them away from the streets. He said: “The Bible says that there will always be poor people. But we should at least do what we can to end the cycle of homelessness for those people who have been familiar faces for many years. “It’s all well and good to put these people in a flat, but unless they have more than only those four walls to look at, then their lives are still going to be desperate and lonely. They need to learn simple things, like how to pay their bills and look after themselves.” Having outgrown their building, The Beacon is now up for sale and the organisation is hoping to relocate to a bigger building in 2011 where they can continue their work. ● For more information, visit www. barnabus-manchester.org.uk

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FINDING HER VOICE... Susan Boyle says her faith has been her backbone

the rest of the family say that they would not cope without their faith in Jesus. He said: “Our faith was never just for Sundays or Christmas. When Jimmy died, my faith gave me strength and still does every day. Yes, it can be difficult at Christmas or birthdays, but I pray and read the Bible every day. I talk to God all the time. “I have never had the urge to go and do to that boy what he did to my son, and I thank God for that.” Jimmy was in the bakery with older brother Harry, when another teenager they knew, Jake Fahri, 19, goaded them into starting a fight. Fahri threw a glass dish at Jimmy, described as a gentle giant, which severed an artery in his neck and he died in his brother’s arms. “Ji m my wou ld h ave bee n 18 now,” Barry added. “You read about violence and young people but you never think it will come to your family, your children. “During those dark times, our faith was our rock. Whenever I read the Bible, it was like God comforting me, reaching out to me. Sometimes it was like he was shouting at me. We never felt alone.” Barry and Margaret, who have seven sons, including Jimmy, and two daughters, are members of their local church. They have set up the Jimmy Mizen Foundation with the aim of helping young people up to the age of 24 to play a positive role within their communities.


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4 NEW LIFE • Issue 202

ACTOR ASKS FOR HELP TO GIVE CHRISTMAS GIFTS

NARNIA STAR’S PLEA FOR HAITI CHILDREN MAJOR PLEA... Georgie Henley

HOMELESS... children in Haiti helped by Samaritan’s Purse

A HOLLYWOOD star is getting behind a Christian charity’s appeal to send Christmas gifts to children hit by the devastating earthquake in Haiti. The Chronicles of Narnia actress, Georgie Henley, who plays Lucy in the new film, The Voyage Of T he Daw n Treader, is encouraging fans to take part in a shoebox appeal as part of a special video clip featured on the Operation Christmas Child website. Over 15,000 youngsters affected by the devastating earthquake in January will be sent a shoebox full of gifts from children in the UK as part of Operation Christmas

WORLD NEWS ROUND-UP

Healings at big crusade NIGERIA – An evangelist has reported an “outpouring of healings” during a five-day crusade in Nigeria, West Africa. A merican Dan iel Kolenda, an evangelist with Christ for all Nations, said a woman who had been crippled by a spinal cord injury rushed on to the platform with her crutches raised above her head after being healed during the service. He also said a young man who was unable to use the right side of his body for 11 years was miraculously healed. Kolenda said: “During the prayer for the sick, he suddenly felt something come out of his head and realised that he had full and perfect use of his arms and legs. “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.”

250 flock to visit concert

Child – the UK’s largest annual shoebox appeal. The Christmas appeal is being organised by Samaritan’s Purse, a global relief and development charity that has orchestrated a massive response to the disaster in Haiti. So far they have provided more than 10,000 temporary shelters for families in Port-au-Prince, treated over 10,300 patients at clinics in Cite Soleil, and feed about 30,000 people each day. Simon Barrington, Executive Director of Samaritan’s Purse UK, said: “Haiti has been a big part of our response to Jesus’ call to feed the hungry and clothe the naked this year. “Because of the generosity of so many churches and churchgoers here in the UK, we have been able

not just to meet the immediate needs of Haitians, but also to help them get back on their feet and look to a future filled with hope.” The charity is calling on people in the UK to get behind the drive to provide 15,000 shoeboxes for children in Haiti. High street outlets Shoezone and The Entertainer are also encouraging their customers to send shoeboxes to Haiti along with 13 other destinations. Last year, more than 400,000 ch i ld ren a nd adu lts w rapped, packed and sent nearly 1.2 million shoeboxes to children across Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Simon said: “It’s our 20th year of sending shoeboxes to children in need overseas, and what better

way to celebrate than to send gifts to children in Haiti at Christmas. These children need our prayers and they certainly deserve our generosity at this special time of year.” Since 1990, when the project first started in Wrexham, North Wales, and saw 3,000 boxes sent to children in Romania, Operation Christmas Child has grown to become the largest children’s Christmas appeal, with over 81 million shoeboxes already having been given out to children across the world. “Please consider making a box for a needy child this Christmas,” said Georgie. “It’s easy, and it’s fun.” ● To get i nvolved, v isit w w w. operationchristmaschild.org.uk

USA – More than 250 people became Christians at a rock concert in California in October. More t ha n 11,000 people attended the Rock of Ages festival in Calistoga and were treated to artists Audio Adrenaline, Phil Joel, Christafari and Michael Tait with the Newsboys. Festival coordinator, Ray Centanni said, “The focus of the day was our guest speaker, Miles McPhereson, pastor of The Rock Church in San Diego. He gave a very direct, clear message of the gospel at the main stage with a compelling response from hundreds. “We want to make Christ Jesus more popu la r tha n w i ne i n the Sonoma and Napa Valleys, as well as in the Greater Bay Area!”

Christians on the rise

MIDDLE EAST – Christians ministering to Muslims in the Middle East have reported a rise in the numbers converting to Christianity. One missionary described the baptisi ng of 200 ex-Musl i ms as “mind boggling”. Brenda Ajamian, a former missionary to the Middle East said: “God is at work among Muslims.” She added: “People are so fed up with the kinds of lives they lead. They’re turning to Christ even in spite of the very real possibility of persecution, imprisonment or death.”

Arrest drama fails Leaders in South Africa get a to stop evanglist helping hand from youngsters Video game THE arrest of a terrorist on the same plane as his team didn’t stop evangelist Andrew Palau from bringing the gospel to 82,000 Ugandans at his Kampala Festival. Security was a particular concern during the build up to and throughout the Festival itself, and was heightened when, the weekend before the festival, Dutch military police boarded Palua’s KLM flight bound for Uganda and arrested a Somali man on suspicion of terrorism. Despite this, Palau took to the stage each night of the two-day festival and told his audience how Jesus had rescued him from alcohol, drugs and promiscuity. “God loves Uganda. He wants you to know you can experience true freedom,” he said.

AS thousands of inf luential Christian leaders met in South Africa to discuss the issues of the day, they were spurred on by the prayers of children from across three continents. C h r ist ia n c h a r it y Viva – which works with children who are at risk – organised the gathering of “hand print prayers”, where the children drew around their own hands and wrote either a prayer for the leaders or a prayer for themselves. They were presented to leaders at the Lausanne Congress, which brought together more than 4,000 Christian leaders

One of the handprint prayers produced by the children

from around the world for a week of discussions on some of the most pressing issues facing the Church today. Seve n-yea r- old Tom as i n Colombia wrote: “Dear Jesus, I thank you for all these leaders who help the children who don’t have anything to eat or a roof to sleep under.” Patrick McDonald,

Chief Executive of Viva said: “The decisions made by leaders at this congress will shape the way the Church relates to the world in years to come. We need to go out into that world and be the hands and feet of Jesus, particularly to those who are most vulnerable – most often that’s children. “It’s so amazing and humbling to know that even as we spe nd t i me g rappl i ng w it h the issues that are faced in reality by millions of children every day, we have the powerful prayers of those very children behind us.”

orders rush

USA – A Christian video game manufacturer in the USA has reported a surge in Christmas holiday orders. Left Beh i nd Games CEO Troy Ly ndon says they have received 37,174 orders from America’s top four leading Christian store chains in 503 locations. He said it was evidence people that are searching for Christian games. He added: “The depth of these new orders increases our projected fiscal year revenue by $401,095.”


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Issue 202 •

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Donors give Church leaders spreading HOPE in city £500k in just four months A NEW online giving facility has seen more than £500,000 donated by Christians in the first four months since its launch. The new facility, provided by Stewardship, a tax-efficient clearing-house for charitable donations, opened its doors to a small number of existing account members in a low-key launch in July. The average donation made so far is over £250, more than double the figure given on average by Stewardship’s account members. The early success has caused Stewardship to accelerate login invitations to the rest of its giving community and open the doors to new members.

TRUST Mike O’Neill, CEO of Stewardship said: “People clearly trust us with their giving. This is more than just an online donation facility though. This is the most significant giving development in the UK for the Christian community.” In order to make online donations, visitors to the Stewardship website will need to open a charitable giving account which works a bit like a bank account. They can then credit their accounts online by credit/debit card, and make donation requests to Stewardship, who subsequently make grants. Grants can be made to more than 17,000 registered recipients including secular charities as well as churches, ministries and Christian workers around the world. In the last 12 months Stewardship handled donations totalling more than £45million.

Teaching aid goes mobile

THE PAIS Project, a ministry that reaches hundreds of thousands of students in schools around the world, is to develop a solution for distributing teaching resources via mobile devices. The move will allow users to conveniently search through relevant, quality teaching outlines and training videos. Pais say their target is to resource 100,000 schools workers worldwide. A selection of content will be available free of charge, with users being able to purchase additional resource downloads. Users will also receive weekly inspirational tips from Pais on how to reach their school communities and create mission-minded students.

Funnyman to hit the road

COMEDY evangelist Mark Ritchie is having a busy autumn with his one man shows, and is expecting to have a fruitful time in December as he packs in seven nights of his tour, Are You Feeling Christmassy Yet? Mark (right) said: “I am excited about completely un-churched people coming to hear my show, and I believe God is going to really use these events for his glory.” For tour dates visit www.73rdtrust. com

MORE than 50 church leaders and hundreds of worshippers gathered at the HOPE Nottingham launch event to share their vision for united social action in the city. Roy Crowne, Director of HOPE Together, and Steve Clifford, Director General of the Evangelical Alliance, commissioned Nigel Adams as Director of HOPE Nottingham, and affirmed the whole team at the launch. Nigel said: “Celebrating the success of what we have already achieved together as HOPE

and looking forward to a new phase of working across denominations, was hugely encouraging. “The success we had in 2008 [Through the national Hope08 social action campaign] got us imagining how much more we could serve people in need and bring people to Christ if we truly worked together throughout the borough. “There is so much more to do, but we could see transformation in Nottingham.” “Small stalls offering prayer at summer festi-

vals have developed into Healing on the Streets. Through HOPE, the healing teams now minister every Saturday in the centre of Beeston, and there are plans to develop in other parts of the city.” Roy Crowne added: “Meeting with Nottingham leaders has been such a privilege. “This group of people are really getting to the essence of what God is asking them to do on their patch – to share his message through words and actions.”

EXTRA CELEBRATIONS FOR RESCUED MEN THIS CHRISTMAS

miners see the light stuck underground! TWENTY-two of the 33 miners who spent 69 days in a Chilean mine have a special reason to celebrate Christmas this year. That’s because it will be the first time they will be enjoying Christmas as Christians. Jose Henriquez – the 24th miner to be rescued – revealed that twothirds of the miners who went to work on August 5 this year weren’t followers of Jesus. But by the time their ordeal half-a-mile underground ended on October 11, the group of 22 had joined their workmates and committed their lives to Christ. Henriquez told the story when he joined international evangelist Luis Palau on stage at the Santiago Festival in October. Speaking to tens of thousands of people who had gone to the Plaza Italia to hear Palau, the story clearly made an impact on those in attendance, helping lead thousands in public commitments to Jesus Christ. Henriquez reported that during the nightmare, 22 of the 33 miners prayed to surrender to Jesus Christ. He commented in a private gathering with Palau: “I do hope they will follow through and walk with Christ for life.” In a previous interview Henriquez said: “We were singing to the Lord, we were doing what pleases the Lord. So everyone accepted him, many of them reconciled themselves with the Lord, some of them made promises to him.” During their time underground, Mr Henriquez asked for 33 Bibles to be sent down to the miners in a small capsule. And he told The

LIGHT FANTASTIC... Jose Henriquez, who became known as The Pastor, is taken from the mine Times that they took part in Bible studies twice a day. Speaking about the moment when the miners were discovered by a probe, Mr Henriquez said: “Any man is only a mere instrument in the hands of God. The resources of faith, this is what moves mountains. Only the Lord could guide that drill to us.” Alfredo Cooper, chaplain to Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, said: “They all say this, ‘We were not 33, we were 34 because Jesus Christ was with us down there.’” Henriquez’s story continued to go out on Saturday, October 30, when the evangelist Palau spoke to

the crowd while wearing the shirt that Henriquez was wearing when rescued which said: “Thank you Lord.” He used it as an illustration for his own evangelistic message, sharing the hope we all have in Jesus Christ.

speeches During his time in Chile, the evangelist, who was accompanied by his son Andrew, also spent 30 minutes with President Sebastian Piñera. They discussed several topics during their meeting, including the importance of public officials

recognising God in their statements and speeches. Palau pointed out the promise made by God in the Bible: “Those who honour me I will honour.” The preacher also shared the biblical story of the prodigal son with President Piñera – a picture similar to that of the president welcoming the miners one by one during their rescue operation. “I don’t believe it’s sacrilegious,” said Palau. “To say that during that operation you were a picture of God the Father welcoming those who repent and believe in Jesus Christ, whom he welcomes one by one.”

Preacher: addicts need Jesus Graham daughter speaking date A PREACHER has said that drug addicts and offenders can’t find a way out by trying harder.
 The Rev Dr John Scott said: “People can’t change by good intention. It takes a strength that they don’t have. We’ve had a number of uplifting cases of criminals whose lives have been totally changed because they found a source of strength greater than any other – belief in Jesus Christ.
” Dr Scott, who is the chief executive of the Daylight Christian Prison

Trust, will be giving two talks to drug addicts and ex-offenders in Brighton. “We talk tough when we speak to addicts,” he said. “We know that when you’re a habitual addict it takes courage to make the move. “But addicts know in their hearts the addiction doesn’t give them any real, lasting pleasure. Lasting cha nge comes th rough t u r n i ng to Jesus Christ, drawing upon his strength to change and living with hope for the future.”

ANNE Graham-Lotz, the daughter of famed evangelist Billy Graham is to speak at Premier Media Group’s Woman to Woman (W2W) conference next year. The announcement came as more than 1,300 women from all over the UK gathered in London for this year’s W2W conference. Anne is one of only two women to make a list of the top most influential preachers of the past 50 years, The popularity of the conferences has attracted worldwide attention,

resulting in the award-winning and best-selling author agreeing to address the gathering in October 29 2011. Maria Toth, W2W host, said: “Billy Graham’s visit to the UK marked a key moment in our country’s religious history, inspiring many people to find a place for God in their lives, but now the baton for sharing that message has been passed on to his daughter. “We look forward to her providing spiritual inspiration.”


LOG ON NOW: www.newlife.co.uk

NEW LIFE • Issue 202 NEW LIFE

NEW LIFE www.newlife.co.uk

WORKING TOGeTheR TO BRING you The GOOd NeWS

tune in New Life works in partnership with UCB (United Christian Broadcasters) who are now broadcasting nationally on dAB radio. For great Christian music, discussion, chat, regular news bulletins and lots of fun, UCB is great, contemporary radio for the whole family. Listen on dAB radio across the UK or online at www.ucbmedia.co.uk

explore ChristiAnity We’re also working with Alpha, the course that allows people to explore the Christian faith in a relaxed setting over ten thoughtprovoking weekly sessions. The courses are free and are usually run in the evening, and include a meal or refreshments. To find a course near you, see www.alpha.org

Find A ChurCh We’re also working with Find a Church, who run a brilliant website listing the details of more than 42,000 UK Christian churches. Simply tap in your postcode for help to find a great church in your area.

the BiBle MAtters The Gideons are well known for their work distributing Bibles to schools, hospitals, hotels etc. If you want Jesus to make himself real in your life, and don’t have a Bible, The Gideons will be happy to provide you with a Testament completely free of charge.

The ABC of how you can become a Christian...

A Admit that you have done wrong that Jesus died so that you can B Believe be forgiven, and ask God to forgive you The Bible says, ‘All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23).

‘God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16); ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us’ (1 John 1:9).

C Commit yourself to living God’s way

Jesus said, ‘Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’ (John 8:12). Log on to www.lookingforgod.com for more help.

FREE

FOR EVERY READER DAILY INSPIRATIONAL BOOK call 0845 6040401 or log on to www.ucb.co.uk

Issue 202 •

NEW LIFE NEW LIFE

WOMAN’S VISION DURING NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE IN PREGNANCY LED HER TO CHRIST Celebrating Christmas doesn’t come naturally to Muslims, but increasing numbers are finding that the Jesus the Koran describes as simply a prophet is very much more than that. Becky Barlow spoke to one woman whose life was revolutionised by a vision of her Saviour

C

hRistmas was a Christian festival that must be ignored for Yasmin Rafiq.* her strict islamic beliefs taught her so. But, after an extraordinary experience while giving birth, Yasmin decided to become a Christian herself. That simple choice very nearly cost her everything – and put her life in danger. Yet, Yasmin says it’s the best decision she ever made. This year, she will celebrate Christmas like other believers: exchanging gifts, singing carols and joyously rejoicing and celebrating the birth of her Saviour, Jesus Christ. But how does a Muslim, with no Christian background or input to her life, become a follower of Jesus? Yasmin’s story is one of incredible courage in escaping an abusive husband and refusing to renounce her Christian faith... despite losing her family in the process.

I

t was while giving birth to her third child during a near death experience that Yasmin saw a vision of Jesus Christ. And it transformed her life. She said: “I knew that I’d met the Prince of Peace. I knew that it was Jesus that I’d seen, and that he certainly wasn’t what I’d been brought up to believe – just a prophet in the Koran. He is the King of Kings. When you meet God, you just know.” Yasmin’s story begins at the tender age of ten when her family moved to England from Pakistan. As a young girl in a foreign country, she found it hard to fit in. “I never really felt that I was wanted,” she explained. “I always felt rejected by my dad. He was not a very nice father – he would beat me so I never knew a father’s love. I was always searching for approval and grew up with a lot of rejection.” In a bid to escape the violence at the hands of her father, Yasmin ran away from home. “To get away from the beatings, at the age of 16, I ran away with a young man that I didn’t even know,” she said. “My actions brought shame and dishonour on the family.” Desperate to please her parents, Yasmin agreed to marry the man that she hardly knew – a decision that would lead her into a repeat of the cycle of violence she had tried to escape. She said: “Every girl dreams of a big wedding, but I got married in my old clothes in a house. The local Imam from the mosque came. “Quickly, my husband became very abusive. I thought that God hated me because I was not a good Muslim wife or daughter. My husband wouldn’t let me have any friends. I was a prisoner in my own home.” Yasmin’s only escape was in the Mills and Boons books she would secretly read while her children were at school. “I got lost in the romance and

I never used to celebrate Christmas... but I know Jesus now

SUCCESSFUL... rather than allow anger eat him up, Robert Hicks found hope and love after reading the Bible

The Prince of Peace

ThE Bibl e desc ribe s Jesu s as the Prince of Peac e, and says that, as far as possible Christians should live at peace with ever yone. But Jes us also war ned his followers: “Do you think I cam e to brin g pea ce on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other… mother against daughter and daughter against mother.” (See Luke’s Gospel 12:51)

dreamed that one day my knight in shining armour was going to come and whisk me away,” she remembered. “I never thought that I was loved by God. I thought he’d put me on this earth to punish me. No matter how good I tried to be, or how much I prayed or read the Koran I never felt close to Allah or had a relationship with him. “A few times I felt like ending my own life.”

PEACE By the age of 29, Yasmin was pregnant with her third child and when she went into hospital to give birth, something happened that changed her life forever. “I met God,” she said. “Just as I was about to give birth, I had this experience that I was being lifted out of my body. “The next thing I knew, I was transported to another room. It was so bright and peaceful, and just white. I’d never had peace in my life but I experienced such peace at that moment. Then

I saw this figure and as I drew nearer to him, I had to hide my face from the brightness of his face. “He was wearing a purple robe and as I got closer, I saw his hand go up as if to say, ‘Go back.’ “When he did that, I came back into my body and my son was born.” Unknown to Yasmin, she had haemorrhaged and hospital staff had thought that she was going to die. Oblivious to this, Yasmin couldn’t stop thinking about what she had seen. “I knew that something amazing had happened,” she said. “I was really ill but I wasn’t scared of man any more.”

B

ut once out of hospital, Yasmin faced the horrendous revelation that her husband was having an affair, and she tried desperately to save her marriage. “He wanted me to put up with it because that’s what good Muslim women do,” she remembered. Desperate to save her marriage, she turned to her husband’s relatives. “I

It’s the most amazing gift ThIS Christmas, as we celebrate the birth of Christ more than 2,000 years ago, Yasmin’s story demonstrates just how life-changing faith in Jesus is, and how a relationship with him is worth it, whatever the cost. She says: “The grace of God and the love of the holy Spirit have been literally amazing. his love really is the same yesterday, today and forever. “You either believe in his Word or you don’t. God is real, Jesus is real and you can have a living relationship with him. he was nailed to the cross for me and for you so that we can have a real life in him. That totally blows me away.” really valued my marriage so I went to his relatives to ask for help to save my marriage. They told me that I wasn’t making him happy.” Yasmin’s husband left her and she used her newfound freedom to start an evening college course, where she met a Christian lady who used to be a Hindu. This was to be the beginning of a double life that when discovered, led to her being disowned by her family. “I realised that I needed to get to know this man, Jesus,” she explained. “I met this lady and she took me to

church. I had to bribe my children not to tell their grandma. I thought that if I pretended to be a Muslim on the outside but believed in Jesus in my heart it would be OK. “I did that for five years so as not to hurt my mum. One day I was listening to a song by Roberta Flack, Torn Between Two Lovers. The lyrics talked about loving them both being breaking all the rules and I realised that I needed to make a commitment to Jesus. “So in 1991, I made a commitment and I was baptised on Valentine’s Day,

1993.” But if life had been tough before, Yasmin’s decision was to have devastating repercussions. “The next day I went to tell my family, and my life shattered,” she said. “They threatened me, and my ex-husband threatened to kill me. The police were involved, and the next thing I knew I was in hiding in a refuge. My daughter left because she didn’t want to live with a Christian mother, and my own mother had a nervous breakdown

mEEting “I thought, ‘Where are you Lord?’ It should have been the happiest time in my life, and I was in hiding. But two of the women I was in the refuge with ended up becoming Christians after I shared with them, so God used that time.” Weeks later, Yasmin went to a family meeting called by her aunt where things got even worse. She was given an ultimatum – choose between her faith and her family. She said: “My auntie

Picture posed by model

6

started to offer me things to deny that Jesus was the Son of God. She offered to buy me a house, all her gold jewellery and even offered to give me back my inheritance of land worth a million pounds that I’d lost when I first told them I was becoming a Christian. “She said that I should just believe that Jesus was a prophet. Then she told me that seven generations of my family would go to hell because of my decision.

W

hen that didn’t work, she said, ‘It’s your mother or Jesus.’ I just crumbled. I thought that my heart was going to break. I was a very new Christian and didn’t know many Scriptures, but I prayed, ‘Lord, I need your help.’ “Then very clearly this Scripture came to me: ‘Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. Pick up your cross and follow me.’ I looked at my mum and my auntie and my family and said, ‘I’m sorry. I cannot deny Jesus.’ ‘Today we’re

going to have a funeral for you because you’re dead,’ she told me.” The con f rontat ion e nded w it h Yasmin being thrown out onto the street, disowned by those she loved the most. She said: “I went back to the flat that my church had given me, and I couldn’t stop crying. That night I had a dream that I was sitting at Jesus’ feet and he said, ‘Yasmin my child, I give you my peace.’ And in my sleep I was healed.”

FREEDOm Yasmin packed up her belongings and started a new life in the south of the country where she now works with her local church, building bridges into the community and sharing the freedom she has found in Christ. * Name has been changed to protect identity. However, “Yasmin” is willing to speak at church events and can be contacted by e-mail via becky.barlow@ newlife.co.uk

7


LOG ON NOW: www.newlife.co.uk

NEW LIFE • Issue 202 NEW LIFE

NEW LIFE www.newlife.co.uk

WORKING TOGeTheR TO BRING you The GOOd NeWS

tune in New Life works in partnership with UCB (United Christian Broadcasters) who are now broadcasting nationally on dAB radio. For great Christian music, discussion, chat, regular news bulletins and lots of fun, UCB is great, contemporary radio for the whole family. Listen on dAB radio across the UK or online at www.ucbmedia.co.uk

explore ChristiAnity We’re also working with Alpha, the course that allows people to explore the Christian faith in a relaxed setting over ten thoughtprovoking weekly sessions. The courses are free and are usually run in the evening, and include a meal or refreshments. To find a course near you, see www.alpha.org

Find A ChurCh We’re also working with Find a Church, who run a brilliant website listing the details of more than 42,000 UK Christian churches. Simply tap in your postcode for help to find a great church in your area.

the BiBle MAtters The Gideons are well known for their work distributing Bibles to schools, hospitals, hotels etc. If you want Jesus to make himself real in your life, and don’t have a Bible, The Gideons will be happy to provide you with a Testament completely free of charge.

The ABC of how you can become a Christian...

A Admit that you have done wrong that Jesus died so that you can B Believe be forgiven, and ask God to forgive you The Bible says, ‘All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23).

‘God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16); ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us’ (1 John 1:9).

C Commit yourself to living God’s way

Jesus said, ‘Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’ (John 8:12). Log on to www.lookingforgod.com for more help.

FREE

FOR EVERY READER DAILY INSPIRATIONAL BOOK call 0845 6040401 or log on to www.ucb.co.uk

Issue 202 •

NEW LIFE NEW LIFE

WOMAN’S VISION DURING NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE IN PREGNANCY LED HER TO CHRIST Celebrating Christmas doesn’t come naturally to Muslims, but increasing numbers are finding that the Jesus the Koran describes as simply a prophet is very much more than that. Becky Barlow spoke to one woman whose life was revolutionised by a vision of her Saviour

C

hRistmas was a Christian festival that must be ignored for Yasmin Rafiq.* her strict islamic beliefs taught her so. But, after an extraordinary experience while giving birth, Yasmin decided to become a Christian herself. That simple choice very nearly cost her everything – and put her life in danger. Yet, Yasmin says it’s the best decision she ever made. This year, she will celebrate Christmas like other believers: exchanging gifts, singing carols and joyously rejoicing and celebrating the birth of her Saviour, Jesus Christ. But how does a Muslim, with no Christian background or input to her life, become a follower of Jesus? Yasmin’s story is one of incredible courage in escaping an abusive husband and refusing to renounce her Christian faith... despite losing her family in the process.

I

t was while giving birth to her third child during a near death experience that Yasmin saw a vision of Jesus Christ. And it transformed her life. She said: “I knew that I’d met the Prince of Peace. I knew that it was Jesus that I’d seen, and that he certainly wasn’t what I’d been brought up to believe – just a prophet in the Koran. He is the King of Kings. When you meet God, you just know.” Yasmin’s story begins at the tender age of ten when her family moved to England from Pakistan. As a young girl in a foreign country, she found it hard to fit in. “I never really felt that I was wanted,” she explained. “I always felt rejected by my dad. He was not a very nice father – he would beat me so I never knew a father’s love. I was always searching for approval and grew up with a lot of rejection.” In a bid to escape the violence at the hands of her father, Yasmin ran away from home. “To get away from the beatings, at the age of 16, I ran away with a young man that I didn’t even know,” she said. “My actions brought shame and dishonour on the family.” Desperate to please her parents, Yasmin agreed to marry the man that she hardly knew – a decision that would lead her into a repeat of the cycle of violence she had tried to escape. She said: “Every girl dreams of a big wedding, but I got married in my old clothes in a house. The local Imam from the mosque came. “Quickly, my husband became very abusive. I thought that God hated me because I was not a good Muslim wife or daughter. My husband wouldn’t let me have any friends. I was a prisoner in my own home.” Yasmin’s only escape was in the Mills and Boons books she would secretly read while her children were at school. “I got lost in the romance and

I never used to celebrate Christmas... but I know Jesus now

SUCCESSFUL... rather than allow anger eat him up, Robert Hicks found hope and love after reading the Bible

The Prince of Peace

ThE Bibl e desc ribe s Jesu s as the Prince of Peac e, and says that, as far as possible Christians should live at peace with ever yone. But Jes us also war ned his followers: “Do you think I cam e to brin g pea ce on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other… mother against daughter and daughter against mother.” (See Luke’s Gospel 12:51)

dreamed that one day my knight in shining armour was going to come and whisk me away,” she remembered. “I never thought that I was loved by God. I thought he’d put me on this earth to punish me. No matter how good I tried to be, or how much I prayed or read the Koran I never felt close to Allah or had a relationship with him. “A few times I felt like ending my own life.”

PEACE By the age of 29, Yasmin was pregnant with her third child and when she went into hospital to give birth, something happened that changed her life forever. “I met God,” she said. “Just as I was about to give birth, I had this experience that I was being lifted out of my body. “The next thing I knew, I was transported to another room. It was so bright and peaceful, and just white. I’d never had peace in my life but I experienced such peace at that moment. Then

I saw this figure and as I drew nearer to him, I had to hide my face from the brightness of his face. “He was wearing a purple robe and as I got closer, I saw his hand go up as if to say, ‘Go back.’ “When he did that, I came back into my body and my son was born.” Unknown to Yasmin, she had haemorrhaged and hospital staff had thought that she was going to die. Oblivious to this, Yasmin couldn’t stop thinking about what she had seen. “I knew that something amazing had happened,” she said. “I was really ill but I wasn’t scared of man any more.”

B

ut once out of hospital, Yasmin faced the horrendous revelation that her husband was having an affair, and she tried desperately to save her marriage. “He wanted me to put up with it because that’s what good Muslim women do,” she remembered. Desperate to save her marriage, she turned to her husband’s relatives. “I

It’s the most amazing gift ThIS Christmas, as we celebrate the birth of Christ more than 2,000 years ago, Yasmin’s story demonstrates just how life-changing faith in Jesus is, and how a relationship with him is worth it, whatever the cost. She says: “The grace of God and the love of the holy Spirit have been literally amazing. his love really is the same yesterday, today and forever. “You either believe in his Word or you don’t. God is real, Jesus is real and you can have a living relationship with him. he was nailed to the cross for me and for you so that we can have a real life in him. That totally blows me away.” really valued my marriage so I went to his relatives to ask for help to save my marriage. They told me that I wasn’t making him happy.” Yasmin’s husband left her and she used her newfound freedom to start an evening college course, where she met a Christian lady who used to be a Hindu. This was to be the beginning of a double life that when discovered, led to her being disowned by her family. “I realised that I needed to get to know this man, Jesus,” she explained. “I met this lady and she took me to

church. I had to bribe my children not to tell their grandma. I thought that if I pretended to be a Muslim on the outside but believed in Jesus in my heart it would be OK. “I did that for five years so as not to hurt my mum. One day I was listening to a song by Roberta Flack, Torn Between Two Lovers. The lyrics talked about loving them both being breaking all the rules and I realised that I needed to make a commitment to Jesus. “So in 1991, I made a commitment and I was baptised on Valentine’s Day,

1993.” But if life had been tough before, Yasmin’s decision was to have devastating repercussions. “The next day I went to tell my family, and my life shattered,” she said. “They threatened me, and my ex-husband threatened to kill me. The police were involved, and the next thing I knew I was in hiding in a refuge. My daughter left because she didn’t want to live with a Christian mother, and my own mother had a nervous breakdown

mEEting “I thought, ‘Where are you Lord?’ It should have been the happiest time in my life, and I was in hiding. But two of the women I was in the refuge with ended up becoming Christians after I shared with them, so God used that time.” Weeks later, Yasmin went to a family meeting called by her aunt where things got even worse. She was given an ultimatum – choose between her faith and her family. She said: “My auntie

Picture posed by model

6

started to offer me things to deny that Jesus was the Son of God. She offered to buy me a house, all her gold jewellery and even offered to give me back my inheritance of land worth a million pounds that I’d lost when I first told them I was becoming a Christian. “She said that I should just believe that Jesus was a prophet. Then she told me that seven generations of my family would go to hell because of my decision.

W

hen that didn’t work, she said, ‘It’s your mother or Jesus.’ I just crumbled. I thought that my heart was going to break. I was a very new Christian and didn’t know many Scriptures, but I prayed, ‘Lord, I need your help.’ “Then very clearly this Scripture came to me: ‘Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. Pick up your cross and follow me.’ I looked at my mum and my auntie and my family and said, ‘I’m sorry. I cannot deny Jesus.’ ‘Today we’re

going to have a funeral for you because you’re dead,’ she told me.” The con f rontat ion e nded w it h Yasmin being thrown out onto the street, disowned by those she loved the most. She said: “I went back to the flat that my church had given me, and I couldn’t stop crying. That night I had a dream that I was sitting at Jesus’ feet and he said, ‘Yasmin my child, I give you my peace.’ And in my sleep I was healed.”

FREEDOm Yasmin packed up her belongings and started a new life in the south of the country where she now works with her local church, building bridges into the community and sharing the freedom she has found in Christ. * Name has been changed to protect identity. However, “Yasmin” is willing to speak at church events and can be contacted by e-mail via becky.barlow@ newlife.co.uk

7


Issue 202

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WOMAN GIVES UP AFFLUENT LIFE TO HELP EGYPT’S POOR A WOMAN who gave up an affluent lifestyle to help the poor in Egypt is providing children with a Christmas dinner and gifts this year.

Maggie Gobran has spent the last 21 years working in the slums of Egypt’s biggest cities and at Christmas, her charity ‘Stephen’s Children’ does its best to put a smile on the face of the children she helps. A ffect ion ate ly k now n a s Mama Maggie, the 61-year-old mother-of-two is often compared to a modern-day Mother Teresa. She said: “It’s very, very difficult to see young children hungry. I went to visit one family and saw the mother boiling water to give the impression that there would be food, but every night these children went to bed crying with hunger. How can you bear it? Without the grace of God, we cannot bear it.” “During the Christmas period, we give money or sit with families to see their needs. They don’t have any food, so we get a chicken for the whole family. “Some of them will have been praying for food, so when we turn up with the chicken, they say that Jesus listens to their prayers. It’s very rare for them to have any animal protein. We give blankets, one pair of shoes and one pullover, to each family,

REACHING OUT... Maggie Gobran teaches some of Egypt’s poorest children which they share. For the first time ever, they have something new.” Wilfred Wong, Director of the UK branch of Stephen’s Children was moved by his visit, where he first saw the charity’s work in 1993 and has been supporting it ever since.He described one of a countless number of poor families who have been helped by Stephen’s Children. “Christmas was at hand, and all the family’s money had been spent on med ica l ex penses.

In spite of these cruel circumstances, they cheered up when a Stephen’s Children worker visited them and gave them a parcel of food. The mother thanked God saying, ‘My Lord, with your love you fed 5,000 people. I was sure that you would never forsake my family. Thank you Jesus Christ. We always feel safe and secure in your presence.’” With around eight million Egyptian Christians living in povert y, Magg ie’s work may seem like a drop in the ocean,

but she has told of ‘hundreds of thousands’ of people turning to Christ, despite living with suffering and persecution. W i l f r e d s a i d : “ L et ’s c ut through all the materialistic, non-Christian distractions regarding Christmas and focus on the essentials, which are to celebrate ou r Lord Jesus Christ’s coming into this world; to spread the gospel and help the needy. In this sense, for Christians every day ought to be Christmas.”

‘Give away the Christmas story’ Great opportunity METHODIST min isters are encouraging their congregations to give Christmas away this year. Leaders have produced a booklet that tells the Christmas story, in the hope that members will give it away to friends and family. Deacon Eunice Attwood, vice president of

the Methodist Conference said: “The birth of Christ is the greatest gift ever given to humankind and we want to celebrate Christmas by sharing that gift with others. “The booklet, ‘A Gift of Christmas’ is an inspiring and engaging resource for churches to use to help their communities engage with the spirit of Christmas.”

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A PASTOR is appealing for churchgoers to take advantage of Christmas after a survey revealed that 71 per cent of UK citizens describe themselves as a Christian. Duncan Clark from Coventry Elim, said: “Seventy per cent believe that there’s a God – that’s a great opportunity that the Church has at Christmas to explain who Jesus is.”

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Issue 202 • NEW LIFE 9

COMMENT Not all tinsel! BEHIND all the tinsel, tins of toffees and too much turkey, Christmas carries a real story. Despite the many people who will claim that they have no faith – although a story on this page quotes a study that says 71 per cent do believe in God – one thing is sure: without Jesus, there’s no Christmas. That’s right. You wouldn’t be enjoying festivities and a bit of time off work to kick back in these cold, dark days without Christ. And before anyone points out the relevance of a pagan festival at this time of year, let us ask this question: what image is emblazoned on cards each year? The picture of a baby lying in a ramshackle outhouse. A king, born into poverty. Across the UK, towns and cities put up nativity scenes to pay homage to the birth of Jesus. If people weren’t bothered, those scenes would have disappeared long ago in this allegedly increasingly secular country. But everywhere we go, among the ridiculous piles of gift ideas that will end up in the back of a cupboard for the rest of the year, there is a clear sign even in these days that December 25 is celebrated to mark the birth of Jesus. Not everyone knows the whole story. But to sum it up, Jesus, the son of God, came to earth in order to die so that we could live in peace and serve each other – just as the stories on our news pages convey. It’s why “Yasmin” on our centre pages now feels an immense sense of peace. And that is something that is available to everyone who commits their lives to following Jesus Christ. This Christmas we pray that you find the best gift ever given: eternal life only available through faith in Jesus Christ. Have a very peaceful Christmas.

BIBLE QUOTE OF THE MONTH

“She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.” Luke 2:7 Editor: Peter Wreford Advertising: Barry Wilson

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How Christ PRESENTER REVEALS ALL ABOUT HIS FAITH IN JESUS gave me the Kriss of life OLYMPIC gold medallist Kriss Akabusi thought Jesus was about as real as Father Christmas – until he came to know him! The star runner (pictured) said: “I had this niggling feeling that Christianity could be like Father Christmas and the tooth fairy – not real. But it didn’t give me any peace, and for a whole year after I asked questions, I read books, I did research. I came to the conclusion that this Jesus, whom some called the Christ, was a historical figure.” Then things changed for Kriss, who is now a dedicated Christian. He had what he describes as a vision, which convinced him Jesus was real. He added: “They all thought I was crazy, but I’ve been telling people ever since that I met Jesus. “I read the Bible every day because it is my way of understanding what God has to say about me as an individual and about men as a whole. “It is my way of understanding what God has to say about himself. I just love reading the Bible and trying to apply its teaching to my life.”

SKY’S SI ON A HIGH ABOUT CHRISTMAS SKY sports presenter Simon Thomas is one of TV’s best known action men.

ACTION MAN... Simon Thomas takes part in an athletics meeting during his time on Blue Peter

Simon, 38, has skydived with the RAF and climbed Europe’s highest mountain, Mont Blanc. The for me r Blue Pete r frontman has run the London ma rathon t w ice a nd even presented the Queen with her very own Blue Peter badge. But Simon says there is one event that gives him a real thrill – Christmas. “I love Christmas because it is when God became man,” he explains. “It is awesome to think how Jesus ca me i nto t he world as a helpless baby. “I love Christmas carols and taking time out from what is a very hectic time just to reflect on what it means to have Jesus in my life.” Simon was one of Sky’s top team reporting on the 2010 World Cup. He has also covered cricket and presents sports news shows. The Norwich City fan says one of the best things about his job is that it gives him the chance to meet his sporting heroes. “Sir Bobby Charlton has to be the sportsman I most respect. Although I wasn’t born when he was playing football I am still hugely impressed by the man.” Simon grew up in a Christian family and now runs the popular Alpha Course in his local church. “I have seen people desperate to get to know God and when they come to Alpha it all falls into place. It’s a great moment,” explains Simon. “The course is a very open and non-threatening. People ca n ask quest ions maybe they’ve never had the opportunity to ask before. There’s no pressure on anyone and that’s the appeal.”

Bowled over by minister

SOUTH African cricketing legend Jonty Rhodes was a “Christmas and Easter” Christian – until he found Christ! The fielding genius (pictured be low) wou ld go to t rad it iona l carol services, but one day realised his life wasn’t right with God. He sa id: “I was j u st a C h r i st m a s a nd E aste r C h r i stian. Those were the only times I’d go to church. One night, I caught the minister, Errol Jacoby, after the service and asked him for help. “He took me into the cry room [crèche] at the back of the church. I cried my heart out to the Lord and gave my life to him. “I feel I’ve grown up in my personality and become more giving since becoming a Christian. You realise that you don’t take the glory. God gives your life and your sporting career a sense of purpose.”

King’s love of King of kings Thank God I escaped car crash horror BOXING promoter Don King may have had his controversies, but he’s sure to know the real reason for the season. Speaking about Christmas, the businessman, who has promoted the likes of Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali in his glitzy career, speaks highly of Jesus Christ. Spea k i ng to a n American magazine a b o ut t he i m p or tance of Christmas, King (pictured right) said: “Just look up and ask Jesus Christ, the matchless Lamb, the Prince of Peace, the baby born at Christmas and you will find the answer!”

WEST HAM star Victor Obinna says God saved him from a horror car smash that could have ended his playing career. The talented Nigerian has become a key player for the London club, scoring against Sunderland in the Carling Cup recently. But Victor, 23, thanks God for keeping him from an early death – after he smashed into an overtaking car on a deadly hairpin bend. Victor, who was playing with Italian side Chievo at the time, said: “There was only one road in and out of the training ground back to town. I was approaching

a sharp bend, a hairpin bend, and not driving at all fast. On the opposite side of the road one car was trying to overtake another right on the corner. “He could not have seen me at all, the corner was too sharp. I just remember this car drifted over to my side of the road and there would have been a head-on collision and I would have been killed, no doubt.

swerve “All I had time to do was do my best to swerve out of the way. The moment flashed by, but it took me off the road and down into a

ditch. The car flipped. I closed my eyes. “I heard boom, boom. Then everything was still.” Victor’s car was a write-off, but he managed to kick open the door and scramble out. “I had a few knocks, my hands hurt. It could have been the end of my career, the end of my life. “I keep thanking God because I couldn’t have imagined what might have happened. I can’t even think about dying or even not playing football any more. “It was a miracle. I just had a few knocks. The pressure of football is nothing to what I have been through.”

When Simon joined Blue Peter in 1999, he hit the headlines because he was the son of a vicar. “I was presented as the vicar’s son so people knew about my Ch r ist ia n fa ith from the start,” he adds. “I was comfortable with that because I came to faith in Jesus at an early age. It’s never been something I’ve forced on anyone, nor has it been something I’ve tried to hide. “There are always opportunities to talk about God. I don’t force my faith on others. However, I’ll gladly talk about it if asked.” As a Christian working in the media, Simon has strong opi n ion s about c hu rc hes which prefer to disengage from the public arena. “I know some Christians don’t want anything to do with the media because they think it is out to get them.

CHALLeNGe “There are times when I think newspapers and television believe Christianity is fair game but they wouldn’t be so tough on other faiths, and that annoys me. “The on ly way we ca n change this is to be involved. I f Jesus were wa l k i ng on the earth today, he would be meeting with media people. He wou ld pra ise a nd challenge them at the same time.” Despite his hectic schedu le, wh ich often i nvolves weekend work, Simon makes sure he has time to attend church on Sundays and read his Bible. He his wife, Gemma, are preparing to start another A lph a cou rse a nd Si mon has some advice for anyone thinking of attending one at their local church. “Give it a go,” he says. “There’s nothing to lose and so much to gain.”

GIVING THANKS... Victor Obinna


NEW LIFE

SPORT No1 FOR GOOD NEWS IN WORLD SPORT

HAMMERS WINgER WINg WIN gER THANKS gOd ggOOd AAfTER fTER CRASH FULL STORY – PAGE 11

SKY SPORTS MAN ON WHY HE LOVES CHRISTMAS FULL STORY – PAGE 11

EX-‘BAD BOY’ REVEALS WHAT TURNED LIFE AROUND I’m in God’s

JORg NOT SINNINg ANY MORE

hands, says goalkeeper

TIPTON Town goalkeeper Matt Sargeant has given the “Hand of God” a whole new meaning. The goalkeeper’s fine form for the Baker-Joiner Football Alliance Division 1 side has earned him the plaudits of many fans this season. And the 21-year-old is still loved by followers – despite letting in six goals during last month’s FA Cup tie against league side Carlisle United. The 6ft 3in stopper didn’t let the result get him down because he has a strong faith in Jesus Christ. Sargeant, whose day job is in IT, said: “I TIP-TOP... Matt always pray be- Sargeant fore a game – I might pray to keep a clean sheet for example, but even if it doesn’t happen, I feel as if I’m in God’s hands. “Whether I have the worst game of my life and people get on my back, or get named man of the match in the best game I’ve ever played, I always feel God is in control. “I first started going to church around four years ago when I was 18. “I used to see my dad, Mervyn, coming back from church and he was so cheerful, so I just thought there was more to life than going out drinking and smoking. “People crave the latest clothes and material things in life and I’ve got an X-Box and a nice car. “But being brought up in a Christian family, I’ve seen things that have changed peoples’ lives. “When I have put my trust in God, things have happened.”

GOOD TURN... Jorghino in his days playing for Porto

WORLD Cup winner Jorginho has revealed how his life was turned around after he started to follow Jesus.

The Flamengo “bad boy” underwent a remarkable healing – and also became a player noted for his fair play after his decision. The former Brazil international, who played more than 60 times for his country, told how he turned to Christ on the day an injury threatened to end his career. He said: “The 1986 World Cup was getting closer, and that was the chance I had to show off my soccer skills. But it turned out that I must have kicked the ball the wrong way and all this pain came upon me. “I felt my body suddenly stop and I had to be taken off the field on a stretcher. I cried a lot. On that same night I made a decision to follow Jesus Christ.” And despite initial fears that Jorginho’s career could be over, he recovered almost immediately much to the surprise of physios and doctors. He added: “Jesus changed my life completely. My pain just disappeared – it has never since returned! I was able to continue

playing soccer, and I was sure I didn’t have to end my career before my time came. “In fact, I was just starting a long journey of victories and conquests, always trusting in Jesus Christ. I used to be a “bad boy” in Flamengo before that. The referees may have got tired of showing me the red card as the most violent of all Flamengo defenders. “But the peace I found for my spirit was so evident that it even changed the way I played soccer on the field. “As a result, some years later the FIFA association granted me the Fair Play award as the world’s most loyal soccer player – I had played in the German league for four seasons without ever receiving a single red card! “If you want to experience God’s turning point in your life also, then read John 8:31-36 in the Bible.” Defender Jorgino – full name Jorge de Amorim Campos Oliveira – played in his country for five clubs, and also spent six years in Germany with Bayern Munich. Additionally, he was part of the famous Brazilian team that won the 1994 World Cup. He said: “I thank

LocaL LocaL contact contact detaiLs: detaiLs:

God I had the opportunity to play for winning squads and I made it to the Olympic Games once and twice to the World Cup. I thank God that he allowed me to play for our national soccer team. I have preached God’s word everywhere I have been.” Jorginho is coach for Goiás Esporte Clube and was Brazil assistant manager from 2006–2010.

Published by New Life Publishing Company, PO Box 777, Nottingham NG11 6ZZ. Tel 0115 824 0777. Printed by Yorkshire Web, Barnsley. Tel 01226 734410. New Life Newspaper is printed on 100% recycled paper.


New Life December 2010 issue 202