Death threat leads Michael Shank to cancel events

METROPOLIS, Ill. (BNC) — Michael J. Shank, author of the popular book Muscle and a Shovel, wrote Aug. 19 on his Facebook page that police recommended he cancel his speaking engagements while they investigate a credible death threat.

The text of his notice is published in full below.


You may or may not know that I received a death threat on Monday afternoon, August 17th. It was a credible threat which is now under police investigation. The police agencies we’re working with, along with my attorney, has recommended that I cancel all pending speaking engagements, due to the engagements being posted on our website and which are public information.

Brethren, I have no concern for myself, for I am ready to meet our Lord, as Paul said that for him to live is Christ and to die is gain! However, I also cannot allow pride, ego, or personal motives to put the lives of others in danger.

While I am saddened, we believe it to be wise to cancel our upcoming speaking events, which are:

  • 9/6: Judsonia, Arkansas
  • 9/20: Mars Hill, Arkansas
  • 10/4: Faith Villiage, Witchita Falls, TX
  • 10/18: Oppelo, Arkansas
  • 10/25: Southside, Grand Rapids, MI
  • 11/15: Sunrise, Parkersburg, WV
  • 11/29: Men’s Retreat, Buford, GA
  • 12/13: Wilberton, Wilburton, OK
  • 1/17/16: Sebring Parkway, Sebring, FL

You and I understand that the Adversary may have won this small battle, the Lord will not allow him to win the war.

Muscle and a Shovel continues to produce converts by the Hand and Grace of God! Over 32,000 conversions to Jesus Christ to date. When Shovels Break has helped over 2,000 souls be restored to the faith and the blood-bought church — glory to God!

Our sincere prayer is that you will continue to use and promote these two humble works so that the work might continue and that we might be sustained.

The entire Shank family prays for your love and understanding during this strange and trying time, and may the Lord continue to bless you and your works for Him there!

Randal and his wife Vicki have lived and worked in Brazil since Nov. 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren. He likes to read novels in his back-porch hammock. http://randal.us

New Nepali constitution may mean jail for evangelistic efforts

KATHMANDU, Nepal (BNC) — Lawmakers appear to be nearing completion of Nepal’s new constitution after seven years of wrangling. Protests and deaths have occurred in the past days because of proposed divisions of the country into six provinces.

But another provision in the constitution has observers worried. Attempts toward religious conversion are already illegal, but a new amendment would call for fines and imprisonment for anything considered evangelistic. Continue reading “New Nepali constitution may mean jail for evangelistic efforts”

Randal and his wife Vicki have lived and worked in Brazil since Nov. 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren. He likes to read novels in his back-porch hammock. http://randal.us

Will Christianity survive?

HOOVER, Ala. (BNC) by Chuck Webster — Some of the stuff going on in our country frightens me, and from looking at social media and some of my favorite blogs, I don’t think I’m alone.

The number of Christians in America is decreasing. There’s racial unrest in Baltimore (and everywhere, it seems). Nine justices in our nation’s capital are contemplating a verdict that may redefine marriage. Laws are being passed that make it illegal to act on your religious faith.

Scary times, indeed. Continue reading “Will Christianity survive?”

Randal and his wife Vicki have lived and worked in Brazil since Nov. 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren. He likes to read novels in his back-porch hammock. http://randal.us

Why should browser flap concern Christians? The end of free speech, perhaps?

firefox
Firefox browser logo

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (BNc) — Observers of American culture have identified in Mozilla CEO Brenden Eich’s sudden resignation signs of growing power on the part of homosexual activists.

Mozilla is the parent company of the popular Firefox browser.

After two weeks as the new CEO, Eich stepped down after homosexuals inside of Mozilla threatened revolt, because of a contribution he had made in 2008 to defeat a same-sex marriage law.

The move has been widely interpreted as a sign of heightened power and activism of same-sex marriage advocates that threatens, by their intolerance, freedom of speech for Americans. Continue reading “Why should browser flap concern Christians? The end of free speech, perhaps?”

Randal and his wife Vicki have lived and worked in Brazil since Nov. 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren. He likes to read novels in his back-porch hammock. http://randal.us

Preacher student hacked to death with machete for baptizing woman

Missionary Joseph Worndle
Missionary Joseph Worndle

PUERTO PLATA, Dominican Republic (BNc) — A young preacher was hacked to death for baptizing a young woman, missionary Joseph Worndle wrote yesterday.

Jonas was one of his best students at the preaching school. Continue reading “Preacher student hacked to death with machete for baptizing woman”

Randal and his wife Vicki have lived and worked in Brazil since Nov. 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren. He likes to read novels in his back-porch hammock. http://randal.us

Pray for Christians in difficult places

WORLD, Someplace (BNc) — Much is being done to the glory of God that cannot be reported.

We regularly receive information about wonderful examples of dedication and the spread of the gospel in places where it is illegal to be a Christian or where there is persecution. Continue reading “Pray for Christians in difficult places”

Roy Davison devotes himself to the gospel in Belgium, as well as being a part-time translator. He is the creator of the Old Paths websites (http://oldpaths.com).

Indian Christians harrassed and threatened

by Timothy Arnold

Timothy Arnold with Indian ChristiansSINGAMPALLY, India (BNc) — I came to India a month ago to work with the Fred O’Neal School and Children Home in Rajahmundry, Andrha Pradesh. It has been a wonderful experience and I think my co-worker, Harry Anderson, would agree that it has been a fruitful mission.

I have seen the faith of people who have no social advantage to being Christian go against their culture, government, communities, and families to obey God’s Word. I have witnessed the baptism of a lady from a strong Hindu family and community say that, “If my soul leaves my body I will still be a Christian,” which means not denying the Savior even unto death. I have met men who are preaching the gospel in and out of season in villages where they and their families are threatened and harassed, but they continue to preach with very little resources and still produce fruit for God’s kingdom.

Of these villages Singampally stands out in my mind because of the faith of brother B. Koteswara Rao. Singampally is a medium-sized village just outside of Rajamundry with dirt streets and three huge Hindu temples. Continue reading “Indian Christians harrassed and threatened”

Randal and his wife Vicki have lived and worked in Brazil since Nov. 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren. He likes to read novels in his back-porch hammock. http://randal.us

Uzbekistan Christians under attack

Editor’s Note: This report was received from Vladimir and Muza Vakhrushev, missionaries to Russia.

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan (BNc) — In March of 2009, Russian authorities cracked down on a church in Smolinsk that was teaching the Bible to children.  We prayed fervently for that situation, and God heard our prayers and reversed that decision on appeal.

Now a similar problem, but potentially much more menacing, is facing one of the largest churches of Christ, with approximately 500 members!  This church is located in Tashkent, capital of Uzbekistan (formerly a part of the Soviet Union).  The church was established in 1999, and owns its own property. Continue reading “Uzbekistan Christians under attack”

Barbara has been involved in missions for over 25 years, both in the field and in publishing.

Family rejects new convert

by Greg Hamlin, Director, International Bible Institute of Siem Reap, Cambodia

We baptized another young lady today, Sopen. When she started coming to worship, her family objected then they locked her in her room to prevent her from coming. She still never missed. Finally, she climbed thru a window and left home. Continue reading “Family rejects new convert”

Randal and his wife Vicki have lived and worked in Brazil since Nov. 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren. He likes to read novels in his back-porch hammock. http://randal.us

New Christian slapped as first test of conversion

by Joseph McKinney, Jr.

JOAO PESSOA, Brazil (BNc) —
When Fernanda said that she wanted to be baptized, we held our breath because, in these nine months, we had come to know this young lady to be hard-headed, strong-willed, explosive, fiercely contentious.

She never measured her words or tone of voice when provoked by a co-worker or family member and was a constant source of conflict within the restaurant where she worked and as a visitor of the church meeting. Her rudeness had made her some bitter enemies within the restaurant.

joaopessoafernanda
Joey McKinney with Fernanda before her baptism.

So we hesitated, but she persisted in her desire, and she was baptized Jan. 18 for the remission of sins.

Fernanda’s mother was traveling that weekend and asked her to wait until she returned so she could be present for the event, but Fernanda told her that she was making this decision for Christ and not for her, and that she needed to start her new life now.

Fernanda was baptized early Sunday morning so the restaurant workers could be there and still get to work on time. Fernanda cried when she came out of the water, and the whole church hugged and welcomed this newborn baby into the family.

She quickly changed into her work clothes and went to the restaurant. There one of her co-workers came up to her and said, “So, you were baptized. Are you ready to receive the baptismal certificate?” She waited expectantly.

He held both of her hands in one hand and slapped her face with the other. He said that Jesus said she should turn the other cheek. She did, and he slapped her again.

When she didn’t react negatively, he said, “Ah, you only passed because your hair is still wet from the water of baptism, let’s see how you do in a week.”

Her reaction even surprised herself, because the old Fernanda would have torn into him like a she-bear defending her cub.

Although she passed her first test, this new life in Christ has been rough for her. Every Sunday she says that she didn’t do too well the previous week, with co-workers provoking until she lost it. It seems as if she can’t breathe harder without someone reminding her in front of the restaurant full of people that she is supposed to be a Christian now. She is working through a lot of bitterness and pride. We have even been criticized within the restaurant for baptizing people who aren’t prepared for the decision.

Was Fernanda prepared for this life commitment? Will she make it to the end? I don’t know, but I do know that she is in Christ and his Holy Spirit is in her, beginning the long, sometimes slow, process of transformation.

Please, please pray for Fernanda. I have told her, and it is true: if she continues faithful, Jesus will use her to bring her family, her co-workers, her hometown of Esperança to him. She will be proof to those whose main excuse is that they are not good enough. She will be a living testimony to the power of Jesus that works wonders within those who are unworthy.

Since its beginning in May, 2008, the congregation that meets at Irene’s house has produced three converts, three people from the Chinese restaurant who gave their lives to Christ. Fernanda was the most recent.

Randal and his wife Vicki have lived and worked in Brazil since Nov. 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren. He likes to read novels in his back-porch hammock. http://randal.us