A Chronicle of Renewal and Revival

Archive for April, 2016

Iran – fastest growing evangelical population

IRAN HAS FASTEST GROWING EVANGELICAL POPULATION IN THE WORLD

Every day, SAT-7 receives more than 2,000 messages from Iran on Telegram.

Iran

Iran is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for Christians. Almost all of the Farsi-speaking churches have been closed and house churches are raided routinely, with their leaders and members arrested.

Evangelism is against the law and may even be punished by death. But despite Iran’s best efforts to stifle believers, God is at work and the church in Iran is growing rapidly! Iran has the fastest-growing evangelical population in the world, according to Operation World. Iran’s hardline approach, and violence perpetrated in the name of Islam throughout the Middle East, has caused Muslims to search for truth elsewhere. But with such a crackdown by the government against Christian worship and witness, how is the Iranian Church growing so quickly?  Despite the dangers, Iranian Christians are sharing their faith.

SAT-7’s broadcasts (Christian Satellite Television) of Christian programs into Iranian homes have been one tool God is using. One Muslim woman found healing from one of SAT-7’s programs.

“My husband and I are both from very religious families,” she wrote. “I was doing all the required activities until I was diagnosed with leukaemia. A Christian friend told me to repeat, ‘If God is for me, who can be against me?’ I didn’t really understand it but I kept repeating it because I thought I was going to die.”

“One evening, I watched a film on SAT-7 called ‘God is Love,’ and there was a prayer at the end, which spoke to my heart. I knelt down and prayed the prayer. The leukaemia has gone and I feel very good now. Every day, SAT-7 receives reports from people telling them they have given their heart to Christ after watching a program on the television channel.

In addition to the programs, SAT-7 provides 24/7 support for viewers, who often have nowhere else to turn. Viewers want to know more about Jesus. Some want to pray with a Christian. Others want to share their testimony and have contact with fellow believers. SAT-7 is now using a new secure messaging app called Telegram and is  posting program clips, the Bible and Christian books for people to watch and read.

Every day, SAT-7 receives more than 2,000 messages from Iran on Telegram and there have been over 60,000 Bible views. “Anyone with a satellite dish can turn on SAT-7, hear the Word of God in their language and join a global fellowship of Christians within the privacy of their own homes.”

About SAT-7

SAT-7 The Ministry: Christian Satellite Television Transforming Lives with Hope in Jesus Christ.  Since 1996, SAT-7 has been working to illuminate countries in the Middle East and North Africa with God’s love.

The ministry currently has five channels (SAT-7 ARABIC, SAT-7 KIDS, SAT-7 PARS, SAT-7 PLUS and SAT-7 TÜRK.) Each channel holds to a similar ethos – show viewers God’s love, give local churches in the region a satellite TV platform to educate and encourage their communities.

SAT-7 programs are designed to combat misconceptions about the Christian Faith in the region, work inter-denominationally and foster bridges of understanding with the much larger non-Christian majority without compromising the truth of God’s Word.

The Vision: To see a growing Church in the Middle East and North Africa, confident in Christian faith and witness, serving the community and contributing to the good of society and culture.

The Mission: To provide the churches and Christians of the Middle East and North Africa an opportunity to witness to Jesus Christ through inspirational, informative and educational television services.

The Mission and Vision were developed by the ministry’s Partners (individuals, Churches and ministries located around the world) and its International Board of Directors, the majority of whom are local Christian leaders living in the Middle East or North Africa. This International Board is the owner of the ministry and sets its core policy and goals.

SAT-7 has ministry offices and studios in Cyprus, Lebanon, Turkey and Egypt. It also has fundraising offices in Europe, the UK, Canada and the USA. SAT-7 has more than 100 local staff working in its offices in the Middle East.

SAT-7
PO Box 2770
Easton , MD
United States – 21601
Phone – 410-770-9804

usa@sat7.org
www.sat7usa.org

Source: God Reports

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CHINESE TURNING TO CHRISTIANITY

CHINESE TURNING TO CHRISTIANITY EN MASSE

More people worship in China on a typical Sunday than attend all the churches in Europe combined.

China house churchThe message coming out of China is not about the slowing economy, nor about the tensions in the South China Sea — it is “Jesus Saves”.

It’s a theme echoed in Australia, where Chinese people are packing into our universities, tourism sites, property auctions and churches. In south Beijing on any Thursday night, a rock band leads 300 young worshippers at Zhushikou Protestant church, with lead singer Gao Liang, a convert of 3 years, prominently sporting a WWJD badge — What Would Jesus Do? A couple of kilometres away, another large and youthful congregation of about 600 was at mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, where Catholic churches have stood since 1605, and which also maintains a daily Latin mass. Large screens communicate the service to the overflow outside.

Liu Qiaojing, a 35-year-old teacher worshipping with her husband, Sun Yanqing, and their two-year-old son Yibo, said ever more young people were joining the church: “They love the atmosphere, the feeling of love, the warm-hearted people.”

Wang Libo, a 45-year-old businessman said: “Our broader society is in a quandary.” So the church is filling with those, especially in their 20s and 30s, “who come to seek truth and genuineness, to think, and to find belief”.

An estimated 100 million people in China have already become Christians — more than the 84 million in the ruling Communist Party. As a result, more people worship in China on a typical Sunday than attend all the churches in Europe combined. So Easter Day was a very big event in China, even though the authorities haven’t declared it as a formal holiday.

Easter saw unprecedented numbers attending both officially recognised Protestant and Catholic churches as well as underground “house churches” — although there is also constant traffic between these strands of Christianity.

In Australia, the Anglican Church, which has historically been viewed as largely an Anglo preserve, provides a particularly strong example of how rapidly Chinese people are changing core institutions, and how the latter are adapting. The Primate of the Australian church, Melbourne Archbishop Philip Freier, said: “Over the past 15 years, we have ordained 17 people for Anglican ministry in Melbourne who are Chinese by birth or background. “We have experienced a very positive response to our ministry amongst people newly arrived from China.”

The archdiocese ran a ministry conference in 2014 on the theme of the church in the Asian century, “where we celebrated the freshness of approach that all of our Asian congregations, including Chinese, are bringing to the church”. Last year, the Anglican cathedral, St Paul’s, introduced a weekly service in Mandarin, led by two Chinese priests. The official prayer book used in Australian Anglican worship has been translated into Chinese. Andreas Loewe, the dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, said: “The face of Anglicanism in Melbourne is changing. In 10 years, the number of congregations in our diocese where a language other than English predominates has almost ¬doubled, from 23 to 40 today.

“If you walk through the cathedral on any given day, you will witness an incredible cultural diversity among the people visiting and praying here. Our Chinese ministry at the heart of Melbourne is a visible sign of our commitment to serving the people who live, work, and now worship in this great culturally diverse city.” Many Chinese worshippers in Australia became drawn to the church only after they arrived, having no previous religious adherence or knowledge at all. Back home, the Christian surge within China has happened even though Communist Party members — the national elite — remain banned from all religious adherence, and proselytising by religious groups is illegal except within officially prescribed religious venues, whether temples, churches or mosques.

ConferencePraise

Source: Compiled by Australian Prayer Network from media reports, April 11, 2016.

CHINA GRIPPED BY SPIRITUAL REVIVAL AS HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS TURN TO FAITH

Forty-one years after China’s Cultural Revolution snuffed out all forms of religious expression, hundreds of millions of Chinese people are flocking to religions like Christianity. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ian Johnson believes what’s transpiring in China is nothing short of “one of the world’s great spiritual revivals” and says the world better take note because the impact of this “spiritual transformation” could have significant global implications. “People in China are looking for new moral guideposts, some sort of moral compass to organize society,” said Johnson, author of The Souls of China: “So they are turning to religion as a source of values to help reorganize society.” Johnson spent six years researching the “values and faiths of today’s China.” He says the fastest-growing drivers of this “religious revolution” are unregistered churches or so-called “house” or “underground” churches.

 “These groups have become surprisingly well-organized, meeting very openly and often counting hundreds of congregants,” Johnson wrote in an article. “They’ve helped the number of Protestants soar from about one million when the communists took power to at least 60 million today.” Over the past 15 years, CBN News has also documented this unprecedented revival. From the countryside to the big cities, we’ve highlighted how a new generation of Believers is changing the face of Chinese Christianity. “Any casual visitor to the country can tell you that the number of churches, mosques, and temples has soared in recent years, and that many of them are full,” Johnson wrote. “While problems abound, the space for religious expression has grown rapidly, and Chinese Believers eagerly grab it as they search for new ideas and values to underpin a society that long ago discarded traditional morality.”

 Church leaders that CBN News spoke with say prayer has played a key role in sparking the Christian revival. For example, in one corner of northeast China, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, thousands of Christians have been meeting for an unprecedented prayer movement. What started as a small gathering several years ago has turned into a nationwide prayer initiative uniting hundreds of Chinese churches. In some cases, this revival is even touching China’s state-controlled churches known as Three-Self Church. “Now there’s big revivals happening in the Three-Self Churches,” Dr. Zhao Xiao told CBN News from his offices on the outskirts of China’s capital city. Zhao is one of China’s foremost experts on Christianity. A former Communist Party member and atheist, Zhao converted after reading the Bible.

“If you go to Haidian Church, you’ll find yourself in a more than 100-metre line trying to get inside and worship. In Shenzhen, there are usually an average of 500 people being baptized each Sunday!” he shared. Decades ago, the Chinese government had a law that said that young men and women below the age of 18 could not attend Three-Self Churches. Zhao says those rules have been loosened in recent years. “There’s an increasing proportion of them in churches now, more young male Believers, professionals, mainstream celebrities, especially in the big cities, that are attending the church unlike the past when it was mainly the elderly who attended.” While the government remains deeply suspicious of China’s religious revival, Johnson says it hasn’t stopped people from exploring matters of faith.

Source: CBN News
Australian Prayer Network, May 15, 2017

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Hallelujah !

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Hallelujah !

The world’s largest digital Hallelujah Chorus.

Released this Easter on YouTube

Watch in full screen

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All the words – lyrics – of The Messiah with their Bible references and other recording samples are on Handel’s Messiah: entire oratorio with complete Bible verse lyrics.

In July 1741 Charles Jennens sent Handel a new libretto for an oratorio. In a letter dated 10 July to a friend, Jennens wrote: I hope he will lay out his whole Genius & Skill upon it, that the Composition may excell all his former Compositions, as the Subject excells every other subject. The Subject is Messiah.

That libretto is the lyrics of Messiah, all from Scripture.

General Blogs Index

Blogs Index 1: Revivals (briefer than Revivals Index)

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Blogs Index 3: Devotional (including Testimonies)

Blogs Index 4: Chapters (Blogs from Books)

Blogs Index 5: Images (photos from Books)

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Ebola area miracles – 100% saved – Look what God is doing!

Look what God is doing!

Eastman       lwgcover

by Dick Eastman

Edited from Chapter 3:

People of the Trees

100% of the 6,000 in a Pygmy tribe close to the area where the Ebola virus began now follow Christ 5 years after the young chief’s conversion.

Dick Eastman, International President of Every Home for Christ (EHC) – formerly Christian Literature Crusade – describes his visit to this area even though he was warned not to go. Catholic nuns and nurses who cared for the first known Ebola victims there also died from the highly contagious virus. The EHC team had round-the-clock prayer warriors praying for them the whole trip.  They arrived 3 years after the pioneering Bantu Africans began sharing good news there and 4,000 had become Christians.  Two years later all 6,000 of that tribe professed Christ.

This edited excerpt is from Chapter 3: People of the Trees (pages 37-51).

It would take eleven days travelling by canoe up the mighty Zaire River (also known as the Congo) before the two Every Home for Christ pioneer missionaries (Bantu Africans) from Kinshasa (Zaire) would reach their destination deep in the equatorial rainforest.  From the Zaire River they would travel several days more against the strong current up the smaller Momboyo River.  From the Momboyo they would journey still deeper into the forest on small tributaries, until they reached the heart of the rainforest rarely seen by outsiders.  It was a dangerous journey few ever made.

The Power of a Prayer Shield

Despite what I knew was the harassment of the enemy, my colleague and I soon found ourselves in Kinshasa, Zaire, loading our small tents and other supplies – including 100 pounds of salt for the Pygmies – into a small Mission Aviation Fellowship plane.

Thankfully we had found a courageous MAF pilot willing to take us to a rugged landing strip an an encampment called Boteka, located along the Momboyo River.  It would serve as the launching pad for our trip still deeper into the forest … to our final destination, the village of Bosuka, where hundreds of Pygmies were turning to Jesus.

The MAF flight took us only three hours.  As if to heighten my concern, we were flying straight into huge, billowing clouds with raindrops ripping against the windshield and lightning dancing just beyond our wingtips. Yet the plane flew steady as an arrow. I was amazed how the Lord guided our MAF pilot straight through the weather with hardly a bump.  Not a moment of our entire journey, day or night, lacked at least a few people praying as part of our special prayer shield.

The Last Tree on Earth

The plane landed safely on a patch of grass in Boteka, which I soon learned had been a Belgian Catholic mission since the early 1950s. (Zaire was known then as the Belgian Congo.) I also discovered that the Every Home Crusade ministry had already seen significant results in the region around Boteka. In fact, many of the Pygmies and Bantu people (taller Africans) who stood cheering along the small grass landing strip when we arrived were converts of EHC’s systematic every home evangelism ministry in the Boteka area.

At daybreak the next day, just before 6 a.m., we climbed into our borrowed 40-foot canoe to begin what would be a 14-hour journey against the strong current of the snake-like Momboyo River. We would not arrive at our destination, an encampment called Imbonga, until eight o’clock that night. We faced an additional 32-kilometer (20 mile) trek even deeper into the rainforest the following day.

The Momboyo was one of hundreds, if not thousands, of rivers that flow throughout the several rainforests of central Africa. As I looked at a map, I noticed, not too far north, the name of another river I recognized – the Ebola. Being reminded of that name made me a little uneasy.

The Catholics of Imbonga had the only vehicle within hundreds of kilometers – an old, beat-up Land Rover. Then we learned that the narrow road – not much more than a twelve-foot-wide jungle clearing – included 222 separate log bridges. Each bridge consisted of little more than 10 or 20 thick logs.

Along the 32-kilometer journey from Imbonga to the Pygmy settlement of Bosuka, we saw numerous Bantu villages – not uncommon in the area. Pygmy villages, on the other hand, were highly unusual, since Pygmies tend to be nomadic, seldom settling down to live in conventional huts or dwellings.

None of the initial progress reports from our workers had indicated how many homes were being reached even though this statistic appears on every report coming to our central office from the field. But our area director had been reporting only the numbers of conversions (and subsequent baptisms) among the Pygmies. So we asked him for updated reports that included the number of actual homes being reached.

He wrote again suggesting we still did not understand. The Pygmies do not live in homes, houses or even huts in the trees. They just live and sleep in the trees, sometimes on the thick leaves, sometimes under them and sometimes in temporary thatched shelters assembled hastily when a tribe moves to a new area for hunting. Occasionally they even tie themselves into a tree, he wrote, so they will not fall asleep (quite literally) from a high tree and injure themselves.

This report from our director ended with the usual African humour: “Brother Dick, we have now launched EHC’s very first Every Tree Crusade.” Then he modified our long-standing goal, which speaks of reaching “the last home on earth with the Gospel,” by printing in large letters on his report: “WE WILL NOT STOP UNTIL WE REACH THE LAST TREE ON EARTH WITH THE GOSPEL!”

The settlement called Bosuka meant “the end of the world” in their Pygmy dialect, for not much lies beyond Bosuka but dense forest. Indeed, the very village of Bosuka did not even exist until relatively recently. But here I was, standing among these usually nomadic “people of the trees” and seeing with my own eyes that they had formed a village with a church at its centre. It was a Christian phenomenon, I was told, and had resulted in thousands of Pygmies in the area giving their lives to Christ.

Half an Arm’s Length

The work had gone slowly at first. The two EHC workers, who had come to this part of the forest 14 months earlier – not for a visit but to live – were a married couple, both Bantu.

But as far back as anyone can remember, the smaller Pygmies have feared the larger Bantu. They learned to trade with them for precious commodities not available in the deep forest, commodities like salt and metal (the latter to make tools and weapons), but for generations the Bantu had slaughtered the Pygmies and driven them deeper into the forest.

Pygmies are the world’s shortest people. Because they are unable to process the hormones needed for normal growth, adults reach an average height of only four feet six inches. Pygmies feel they are second-class human beings – like monkeys, perhaps, or a category of human just above the animals. Their very name derives from the Greek word pygme, which means “half an arm’s length.”

The Pygmy sense of inferiority made it difficult at first for the Bantu workers to make even an initial presentation of the Gospel. So they had to be unusually creative. They would go to a clearning, for example, where they knew Pygmies could see them, and leave a quantity of salt on an old stump or mound in the clearing. Then they would retreat into the shadows of the forest but stand near the edge so the Pygmies could see they were still there. Soon the Pygmies would come, ever so slowly because they wanted the salt so desperately. Then they would snatch up the precious substance, leave monkey meat or fish in its place and rush off into the forest.

The Christians would come a third day, but this time they would wait only a few paces from the salt. Now it would take even more time for the Pygmies to cultivate the courage to come. But because salt is priceless to a Pygmy, a brave adult (usually a young warrior) would soon step into the clearing and move toward the salt. As he did, the Bantu Christians would walk very slowly toward the salt, trying to send a signal that they meant no harm.

Eventually at least one of the Pygmies, sometimes more, would muster enough courage to approach the believers waiting nearby with the salt. In this moment – through interpreters, if necessary – the Christian workers would begin to tell them they had come in a spirit of love with Good News for their people. The Pygmy listeners almost never looked into the eyes of the speaker, reflecting their conviction that they were less than human.

These first close encounters usually lasted only a few minutes, but they were crucial for building trust that might later lead to longer meetings. Still, in these first moments of contact, the Christians sought to share the gospel message as quickly as possible. They never knew if they would get another opportunity.

Sometimes it took two or three encounters before there was an indication the message was being understood. When it was, it was clear something was happening in the heart of the recipient. The pattern was almost always the same. The Pygmy would agree to say the sinner’s prayer, still not looking into the eyes of the believer. Then he or she would begin to weep, sometimes uncontrollably. Then, just as suddenly, as one worker described the process to me, “The Pygmy will lift his head boldly, look you straight in the eye and laugh with joy. We know then that something has really happened. The Pygmy has just met Jesus.”

A Cornelius Conversion

When our team had finally arrived at Bosuka, we discovered that a groundswell of conversions had taken place over an amazingly short time. Our last report some six months earlier had indicated that as many as 1,200 Pygmies in the Bosuka area had received Christ. But because of a lack of radio transmitters in this village, or any other communications from this deep in the forest, we did not know this number had grown significantly. There were now 4,000 converts from a tribe of little more than 6,000. Two thirds of the tribe had come to Jesus! (Two years later  a report would indicate all 6,000 had now professed Christ!)

One of the special converts – and one of the very first ones – was Lendongo Botshemba, the 30-year-old chief of the tribe, who greeted us graciously on our arrival. His conversion, our director of the region told me, had been like that of Cornelius in Acts 10.

The young chief had grown up worshipping the snakes and trees of the dense rainforest along the Momboyo River, just as his parents Bokimba and Bolanza had before him.

But the miracle of the Gospel was now transforming those parts of the rainforest. Lendongo’s entire family had been converted affecting some 40 persons in all. And churches were being planted to help nurture and sustain these new believers. Lendongo was responsible for the formation of at least 18 additional Christian villages in the region, each one established around a church.

In a neighbouring part of the equatorial rainforest, where we had heard that 32 churches had been planted by EHC workers 36 months earlier, we now learned that an astounding 300 additional fellowships of new believers had been born. In still another rainforest area (in Cameroon, West Africa) 5,000 more Pygmies were converted and baptized. Several hundred additional churches were formed as a result.

The “Every Tree Crusade” launched in the rainforest had been responsible for more than 15,000 Pygmy conversions – in just 36 months!  And as our journey to the people of the trees ended, and our large canoe headed back down the Momboyo River, I could not get a verse from Isaiah out of my mind: “The earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9)

Look what God is doing – and rejoice!

See Dick Eastman interviewed about this book

Offer of free book – and you can donate

See also: God’s Visitation, by Dick Eastman

 

GENERAL BLOGS INDEX 

BLOGS INDEX 1: REVIVALS (BRIEFER THAN REVIVALS INDEX)

BLOGS INDEX 2: MISSION (INTERNATIONAL STORIES)

BLOGS INDEX 3: DEVOTIONAL (INCLUDING TESTIMONIES)

BLOGS INDEX 4: CHAPTERS (BLOGS FROM BOOKS)

BLOGS INDEX 5: IMAGES (PHOTOS FROM BOOKS)

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NRL on Easter Monday

NRL Easter Monday

Easter Monday & the National Rugby League, NRL, Australia – some quotes from the Daily Telegraph about the impromptu post-match prayer group:

Semi Radradra, they say, moved first.

Grabbing rival, Kevin Naiqama. After that, Jordan Rankin.

A further five players from Parramatta and Wests Tigers then converging as — with tattooed arms thrown around the closest jersey, regardless of colour -— they formed an impromptu circle in the middle of ANZ Stadium.

And, sure, around them fulltime formalities continued as usual.

Players shaking hands, speaking with Fox Sports, even wondering aloud if Northies was open Easter Mondays?

But inside the group, heads bowed. Eyes closed.

Then, they prayed.

“Completely spontaneous, too,’’ Eels chaplain George Dansey will say later.

“And from my understanding, the first time a prayer group like that has ever happened in the NRL.”

So brothers and sisters, can I get an Amen?

For Jesus Christ, he’s alive in the NRL.

And, no, you may not like it.

Or even agree.

Unsold on some Magic Sky Daddy with his bagful of miracles.

Yet undoubtedly, He is risen.

Existing not only inside that Easter Monday huddle, but in the dozens of Christian gatherings — from intimate bible study groups to arriving at Hillsong Conferences en masse — now taking place right across the NRL.

More than a few extra black crosses on wrist tape, this revolution is Jarryd Hayne taking on the NFL. Will Hopoate resting Sundays.

And an NRL Christians group so popular … well, Wallabies Israel Folau and Will ­Skelton want in.

“Yeah, they’re attending church with us,’’ Eels forward Tim Mannah explains. “Joining guys from almost every Sydney club.

“And to see the way players are expressing their faith now … it’s completely different to even five years ago.”

Indeed, at Parramatta, a dozen players now pray before games. Afterwards, too.

Radradra is also the spiritual leader of this new ritual, determined to ensure his fellow Christians are as thankful in victory as defeat.

For this new movement, it’s intent on ending stereotypes.

“Like Christian footballers being soft,’’ Dansey laughs. “I like to remind players that Jesus Christ, he was as brutal as anybody.”

While employed fulltime by Parramatta, Dansey isn’t simply responsible for the Eels, or running the new NRL Christians group, but helping facilitate dozens of Christian journeys through regular meetings with NRL players over coffee.

When Hayne, for example, returned from his Fijian World Cup experience eight years ago with a headful of questions, it was Dansey’s bible the pair opened at Genesis.

And when Hayne was dropped, then briefly cut, by the San Francisco 49ers, last October, it was Dansey who again led prayers inside the punt returner’s Santa Clara home.

Giving thanks just as he had seven years earlier, when sat by the hospital bedside of an anonymous leaguie named Steve Meredith.

And Meredith, you should know, is the greatest Roosters forward who never was. A gifted Australian Schoolboy who, by 2006, was set to make his first grade debut having already won premierships in Jersey Flegg and Premier League. A Test debut with Samoa, too.

League’s Next Big Thing for all 13 minutes before his knee snapped so badly, he never played first grade again.

“Yet Steve, he was so upbeat in hospital,’’ Dansey recalls. “Was praising God for having been blessed to play that one first grade game.

“It was the same when Haynsey got dropped after the Baltimore Ravens match. That week, he actually went deeper into the word of God.”

So too now, is the entire NRL. For while the relationship between faith and footy is nothing new — Father John Coote was both Roman Catholic priest and Kangaroo way back in 1969 — the presence of that inaugural prayer circle is proof of a new dawn.

Of a code now allowing Hayne to walk. Hopoate, to rest.

A place where players can meet, in club space, for bible study. …

Back in 2003, having won a grand final with Penrith, Galuvao dropped to his knees in solitary prayer. Yet today, he says, “clubs are buying in … embracing the need to spiritually prepare players”.

Mannah agrees, adding: “Once players were too worried to reveal themselves as Christians, worried about what people would say if you stuffed up.

“But then Haynsey comes along and, vocally, says ‘hey I’m not perfect . what I am is on a journey with God’. Other players have really responded to that.”

And as they do, the stereotypes fall.

Take Parramatta winger Radradra, gathering teammates to give thanks following their opening round loss to Brisbane. Or Manu Ma’u, shredding the myth of Christian softness the second he joined that Easter Monday seven.

Which doesn’t mean there will no longer be the narks.

For Christianity, as English novelist CS Lewis once noted, is of no importance if false. Infinite importance if true.

But moderately important … nup, no chance.

Which is again why Hopoate now sits out Sundays. And Hayne, earlier this week, jetted out of Sydney once more for that pilgrimage all helmets, and shoulder pads.

Elsewhere, Joseph Paulo leads prayer at Cronulla. Kane Evans, the Roosters.

While out Penrith way, players gather most days with retired winger Dave Simmons, whose congregation will grow even larger once his theology degree is complete.

“All of which is great,’’ Galuvao says. “I mean, Jarryd Hayne, I’ve known him since well before he was going to church. When he had all those troubles in Kings Cross and so on. And back then, he had no direction. No purpose.

“But in Christianity, he found it. Made himself a better person. How can that be a bad thing?”

GENERAL BLOGS INDEX 

BLOGS INDEX 1: REVIVALS (BRIEFER THAN REVIVALS INDEX)

BLOGS INDEX 2: MISSION (INTERNATIONAL STORIES)

BLOGS INDEX 3: DEVOTIONAL (INCLUDING TESTIMONIES)

BLOGS INDEX 4: CHAPTERS (BLOGS FROM BOOKS)

BLOGS INDEX 5: IMAGES (PHOTOS FROM BOOKS)

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