China Intensifies Crackdown on Christian Churches

The Chinese government continues its crackdown on Christians and Christian churches, reportedly announcing that it is intensifying its campaign against Christianity.
The Christian Post reports that under Chinese President Xi Jinping, Christians in China have experienced the worst persecution in 20 years. Particularly in the last couple years, Xi’s government has made a concerted effort to make it clear that religious activity will be closely monitored.
Some reports even state that last year, in 2014, Chinese Christians experienced the worst persecution they have experienced in a generation.
As earlier reported, China has been in the midst of a campaign to take down the large red crosses that grace the tops of many Chinese churches. In addition to the cross campaign, the Chinese government has demolished around 1,700 churches and imprisoned prominent Christians and their advocates.
Prominent Christian lawyer Zhang Kai was accused of being a threat to China’s “national security” and imprisoned for aiding Christians in the battle to keep crosses on churches.
Zhongguo Mingzu Bao, the Chinese Communist Party’s official paper, has announced that this crackdown on Christians will continue and even intensify. According to the paper, President Xi wants to have more control over churches and religious activities. 

Despite the persecution and religious freedom restrictions, however, the church in China is seeing rapid growth, with an estimated 10,000 people being converted daily.

New Music: “My Son” – Okey Sokay

Sometimes in life we go through difficulties, challenges and are tossed to and fro by the debilitating winds of life and it looks like all hope is lost, we sometimes find ourselves asking as we go through this trials and tribulations if God still cares about us?

This question is what Okey Sokay tries to answer in his new single “My Son”, Okey sings about the undying love God has for us, that his promise and plans to give us peace and prosperity in the midst of all we go through stills stands true today as it was to the Israelites in their sojourn to the promised land.

It’s our sincere hope that this song will encourage, uplift, and offer you succor as you go through your daily lives.

Listen, share and Support by buying the track on iTunes and all other digital outlets.


5 Things Christians Should Know about Hillary Clinton’s Faith

As she embarks, again, on a presidential campaign, one facet of Hillary Clinton, 67, is unchanged across her decades as a lawyer, first lady, senator and secretary of state: She was, is and likely always will be a social-justice-focused Methodist.
1) She was shaped by a saying popular among Methodists:  “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can,” says Paul Kengor in his book “God and Hillary Clinton.”
As a girl, she was part of the guild that cleaned the altar at First United Methodist Church in Park Ridge, Ill. As a teen, she visited inner-city Chicago churches with the youth pastor, Don Jones, her spiritual mentor until his death in 2009.  During her husband’s presidency, the first family worshipped at Washington’s Foundry United Methodist Church, and Time magazine described her membership in a bipartisan women’s prayer group organized by evangelicals.
2) Clinton’s been known to carry a Bible in her purse but, she told the 2007 CNN Faith Forum, “advertising” her faith “doesn’t come naturally to me.” Every vote Clinton made as a senator from New York, she said, was “a moral responsibility.” When asked at the forum why she thought God allows suffering, Clinton demurred on theology, then swiftly turned her answer to activism: “The existence of suffering calls us to action.”
In a 1993 speech at the University of Texas, Clinton declared: “We need a new politics of meaning. … We have to summon up what we believe is morally and ethically and spiritually correct and do the best we can with God’s guidance.”  A month later, she was pictured as a saint in a Sunday New York Times Magazine exploration of that “politics of meaning” phrase.
3) Prayer matters. Clinton joked at the Faith Forum that sometimes her plea is, “Oh, Lord, why can’t you help me lose weight?” But her daily habit, she said, is praying, “for discernment, for wisdom, for strength, for courage … ”
What she calls “grace notes” matter, too. She described them to adviser Burns Strider as “a gift that is undeserved but bestowed by the everyday joys, beauties, kindnesses, pleasures of life that can strike a deep chord of connection between us and the divine and between us and the mundane.”
4) God politics gets tough. In 2008, Clinton battered then-Sen. Barack Obama for saying economically hard-pressed Americans were bitter and “cling to guns or religion.” At the CNN Compassion Forum, Clinton said the Democratic Party “has been viewed as a party that didn’t understand the values and way of life of so many Americans. … It’s important that we make clear that we believe people are people of faith because it is part of their whole being. It is what gives them meaning in life.”
5) Last April, Clinton told the annual United Methodist Women Assembly that their shared faith has guided her to be “an advocate for children and families, for women and men around the world who are oppressed and persecuted, denied their human rights and human dignity.”


Meet the Nobel-nominated Priest Who Rescues African Refugees from Mediterranean

A surge of migrant deaths in deadly voyages across the Mediterranean Sea has become a modern-day refugee crisis.
But the Rev. Mussie Zerai, a 40-year-old Roman Catholic priest from tiny Eritrea, north of Ethiopia, has moved to help migrants trapped in the North African deserts and rickety wooden boats drifting across the sea.
“It is my duty and moral obligation as a priest to help these people. For me it’s simple: Jesus said we must love one another as we love ourselves,” Zerai said in a telephone interview.
The little-known priest, now based in Rome and Switzerland, was among this year’s nominees for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize, along with Pope Francis. (The prize, announced Friday, was awarded to the National Dialogue Quartet, which helped build a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia.)
Zerai runs a center that receives calls from distressed migrants who have fled their countries in hopes of finding a better life in Europe. He relays refugees’ GPS coordinates to coast guard and naval authorities so they can launch rescue operations.
Most of the migrants are from Syria, the horn of Africa and sub-Saharan Africa and are fleeing political and social situations in their countries of origin. Eritreans, Ethiopians and Somalis make up most of their numbers. They usually attempt to cross to Italy through Libya, Egypt and Morocco.
“Many of them are fleeing war, religious, political and ethnic persecution. Then, there are dictatorships and poverty which are causing this exodus,” said Zerai.
In North Africa, some of the migrants are captured by traffickers who seek ransoms from their families. Those who cannot pay ransom are sold to those who harvest organs for illegal transplants.
In the Mediterranean, 3,000 migrants on the voyages have died this year so far, according to the International Organization for Migration. Observers say the number of deaths is expected to increase as the cold season approaches.
Zerai, who was born in Asmara, the Eritrean capital, says he found himself a refugee at the age of 17. From his experience as a migrant in Italy, Zerai started getting involved in campaigns for the human rights of refugees. His work strengthened when he was studying philosophy at the Pontifical Urban University from 2000-2003.
In 2003, he gave his mobile phone number to migrants after helping an Italian journalist interview refugees in prison in Libya, during the reign of the late dictator Moammar Gadhafi. From then on, migrants began spreading the word to call Zerai’s number for help.
Through Agenzia Habeshia, the charitable trust he set up in 2006 to campaign for refugee rights in North Africa and to help others in Italy get asylum,  Zerai has saved thousands of migrants.
When he receives the calls, the priest finds the GPS coordinates of the caller’s phone and then shares the location with the Italian and Maltese coast guard in the Mediterranean. Through his hotline, many have been saved.
In 2010, he was ordained a Catholic priest after studying theology for five years and then social morality at the Pontifical Urban University in Rome.
Yet, Zerai is concerned that the world’s response to the crisis has been inadequate and most times coming too late. He recalls the time in 2011 when he received an SOS from a boat with 72 migrants that had drifted out to sea. The people were without food, medicines or water.
“It took 15 days for rescue to arrive. By this time about 90 percent of the migrants had died,” said Zerai, calling it one of the lowest moments in his life. “I am still pursuing justice for these migrants, because I think it is NATO’s role to protect the migrants.”

He also is pushing for a “humanitarian corridor,” safe routes of passage for migrants so they can get visas in European countries. 
For him, African governments must make greater efforts to protect their children and grant more rights and freedoms.
“I think the migration will only end when there is more justice, less corruption and abuse of power that oppresses the masses for the benefit of few in power or the rich who buy the power,” he says.
Zerai said he was happy to have been nominated for the peace prize. “It is great reward for my service to refugees. Above all, it is a recognition of the seriousness of the situation of the refugees coming from sub-Saharan Africa,” he said.



Joan Paul gets endorsed as iRep Naija 234 Youth Ambassador; The brand  launches a new website and it also releases her version of the Nigerian National Anthem on October 1st 2015.

Audio & Video Prod/directing by Kbkjnr for iRep Naija Initiative & supported by Arkmuzik Int’l.

“I strongly believe that the second stanza of the Nigerian National Anthem is a prayer; hence i began my version, with it. Indeed we are a blessed people. Inspite of all the issues arising we are still one strong indivisible piece.” – Joan Paul



Oh God of creation, direct our noble cause
Guide our leader’s right
Help our youth the truth to know
In love and honesty to grow
And living just and true
Great lofty heights attain
To build a nation where peace and justice shall reign.

Arise, O compatriots, Nigeria’s call obey
To serve our fatherland
With love and strength and faith
The labour of our heroes past
Shall never be in vain
To serve with heart and might
One nation bound in freedom, peace and unity.