The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2021-05-06T01:34:15Z Now GFA World -- Launches Its First-Ever Mission in Africa 2021-05-06T01:34:15Z now-gfa-world-launches-its-first-ever-mission-in-africa TOOWOOMBA, Qld -- One of the largest mission agencies in the world is launching compassion projects in Africa (http://www.gfaau.org/africa) for the first time -- a huge boost for humanitarian efforts in the world’s poorest continent.   GFA World (www.gfaau.org),expects to begin work in multiple African nations this year.   “Africa is where the tears never dry,” said GFA World founder K.P. Yohannan, announcing the launch of compassion projects in Rwanda, a mountainous nation in east-central Africa still recovering from the war and genocide that left 800,000 dead and ripped the country apart in the 1990s.   “Everything we do focuses on bringing real hope and the love of God to those who’ve lost all hope,” said Yohannan, author of the best-selling book Revolution in World Missions, with more than four million copies in print.   To begin with, GFA World’s efforts -- supported by the Rwandan Government, church leaders and their congregations -- will help children living in slum neighbourhoods in the nation’s capital, Kigali, where most people survive on less than two dollars a day.   “We appreciate the open door we've been given to start saving lives and serving the poor in Rwanda," said Yohannan.   Africa ‘Compassion Surge’ The organisation plans a surge of compassion and healthcare projects across Africa, including deploying Sisters of Compassion workers -- trained Bible women who serve widows, orphans and those living in leprosy colonies.   “We’re looking at the whole continent, and one of our goals is to help tens of thousands of children (in Africa),” said Yohannan. The organisation already provides educational opportunities for thousands of children through its child sponsorship programs across Asia.   “About half of Africa’s population is under the age of 15, and the average life expectancy is 50,” he said. “This fact makes the desperate urgency to share the hope and love of God with millions while we have time still to do it. They are waiting -- they are dying.”   As GFA World expands into Africa, the mission agency also plans to introduce its trademark “Jesus Wells” -- bringing clean water to villages and undeveloped communities where children and families drink contaminated water straight from filthy ponds.   Caring For Millions In Need Started by mission pioneer Yohannan in 1979, GFA World quickly grew into one of the biggest faith-based humanitarian organisations in the world, helping millions of the world’s extreme poor by equipping local churches to care for those in desperate need.   In Africa, GFA World plans to train indigenous workers in Rwanda and other countries to serve their own people, following its highly effective Asia model.   With their grasp of the local culture and languages, the organisation’s national workers have helped transform life for those in more than 12,000 parishes and communities across Asia in nations, such as Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India.   While slums are often associated with Asian megacities -- featured in movies such as Slumdog Millionaire -- African countries have the highest percentage of slum dwellers. More than nine out of every 10 people in South Sudan, Central African Republic and Sudan live in slums.   “We aim to be servants to everyone, showing them God’s Love through our lifestyle,” said Yohannan. “Jesus told his disciples to change the world -- and as we expand into Africa, that’s our calling too. We want to bring hope and healing as His hands and feet to the whole world.”   “After all is said and done, the only real answer to the chaos in this world is Jesus Christ. Our focus remains even sharper today -- to share the Good News by all means and establish the church, which is the agent of change for time and eternity.”   ###   GFA World (www.gfaau.org) is a leading faith-based global mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across the world, and sharing the love of God. In GFA World’s latest yearly report, this included thousands of community development projects that benefit downtrodden families and their children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and teaching providing hope and encouragement available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. In the years ahead, GFA World expects to launch programs in numerous African nations, starting with compassion projects in Rwanda. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news.     PHOTO CUTLINE: GFA WORLD LAUNCHES IN AFRICA: GFA World (www.gfaau.org), is launching compassion projects in Africa (http://www.gfaau.org/africa) for the first time -- a huge boost for humanitarian efforts in the world’s poorest continent. (Jeremy Bishop/Unsplash) GFA World -- Spotlights ‘Other Vaccine Shot The World’s Waiting For’ 2021-04-22T05:40:24Z gfa-world-spotlights-other-vaccine-shot-the-world-s-waiting-for TOOWOOMBA, Qld -- Millions around the world are still waiting to get a life-saving vaccine -- and it’s not the COVID-19 shot.   Human trials of a new malaria vaccine are underway, with promising initial results, according to a new report by humanitarian agency GFA World (www.gfaau.org) that coincides with World Malaria Day, April 25, an annual event.    The quest to develop an effective malaria vaccine -- a shot that could save millions of lives -- has proved difficult and is still ongoing.   “Malaria is one of the most rampant child-killers in the world today,” said K.P. Yohannan, founder of Australia-based GFA World. “For countless millions across Africa, Asia and other parts of the world, an effective vaccine against malaria would be like a dream.”   COVID ‘Stalls Malaria Fight’ But with the world laser-focused on the global COVID-19 pandemic, efforts to wipe out malaria have stalled, the report says.   Lockdowns and other restrictions have essentially halted malaria-fighting efforts in dozens of countries, leading to fears of a sharp increase in malaria deaths in 2021 -- likely a death toll of hundreds of thousands in sub-Saharan Africa.   Malaria -- an often-fatal sickness spread by infected mosquitoes -- claims nearly half a million lives around the world every year, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, and is “humanity’s most deadly infectious disease,” according to GFA World’s report.   A new experimental vaccine developed using mosquito spit has shown promise in early studies, says the just-released report, Malaria Makes Comeback Amid A Pandemic [http://www.gfaau.org/press/malaria-report].   The vaccine -- a possible breakthrough in the hunt for an effective malaria shot -- has triggered a “strong immune response” in volunteers during trials so far, producing “only minor side effects,” the report says.   Until an effective vaccine comes out, the main weapon in the fight against malaria is the insecticide-treated mosquito net.   Recent studies suggest insecticide-treated nets may be no longer as effective in some parts of the world where a new breed of “super mosquito” has built up resistance.   But they’re still “critical” to curbing the spread of malaria globally, says GFA World.   ‘Such A Kind Of Love’ “Over the past decade, we’ve distributed more than 1.3 million nets -- costing just $12 each, and they’ve proved to be lifesavers,” said Yohannan, whose faith-based organisation also stages free medical camps. “It’s one way of being the hands and feet of Christ -- and showing God’s love -- to those who suffer the most in our world.”   Father-of-three Baharupa, couldn’t believe it when GFA World gave away mosquito nets in his malaria-prone village. “Who (would) give us mosquito nets without (asking for) money?” he said. “I’ve never seen such a kind of love.”   ###   GFA World www.gfaau.org is a leading faith-based global mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across the world, and sharing the love of God. In GFA World’s latest yearly report, this included thousands of community development projects that benefit downtrodden families and their children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and teaching providing hope and encouragement available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. In the years ahead, GFA World expects to launch programs in numerous African nations, starting with compassion projects in Rwanda. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news.     PHOTO CUTLINE: THE ‘OTHER VACCINE SHOT THE WORLD’S WAITING FOR’: Human trials of a new malaria vaccine are underway, with promising initial results, according to a new report [http://www.gfaau.org/press/malaria-report] by humanitarian agency GFA World www.gfaau.org that coincides with World Malaria Day, April 25.   Myanmar Massacre: GFA World Calls For Prayer Amid Military Coup 2021-04-07T01:55:52Z myanmar-massacre-gfa-world-calls-for-prayer-amid-military-coup TOOWOOMBA, Qld -- One of Asia’s largest humanitarian agencies is calling on Christians to pray for Myanmar’s suffering people in the throes of the South Asia nation’s bloody military coup.   In the past few days, at least 114 people -- including children -- were killed across the country as protests continue against the military takeover, according to CNN. It brings the death toll so far to more than 400 since the coup began and the military seized control Feb. 1.   “As with any crisis, it’s the innocent that suffer the most,” said K.P. Yohannan, founder of GFA World. “At GFA World, we’re asking people everywhere to join us in praying for peace, justice and God’s protection over the people of Myanmar during the current turmoil.”   Yohannan also urged people to pray for the release of the leaders and protesters who’ve been detained by the military.   “Nowhere in Myanmar is safe right now,” he said. “Every single night is spent with fear, and dawn seems so hard to reach. The people are restless,  and they’re exhausted physically and mentally. Many businesses have been burned down.”   World leaders have condemned the coup and the military’s violence against the protesters. Hundreds have been arrested and detained, including members of parliament, doctors, and government officials.   “Myanmar’s people need our prayers and support more now than ever,” said Yohannan, whose Australian-based organisation helps millions of children and families across Asia through its child-sponsorship program and clean water “Jesus Wells.”   ###   GFA World is a leading faith-based global mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across the world, especially in Asia and Africa, and sharing the love of God. In GFA World’s latest yearly report, this included thousands of community development projects that benefit downtrodden families and their children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and teaching providing hope and encouragement available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry.     PHOTO CUTLINE: MYANMAR MASSACRE, GFA WORLD CALLS FOR PRAYER: Australia-based GFA World -- one of the largest humanitarian agencies in Asia -- is calling on Christians to pray for Myanmar’s suffering people in the throes of the South Asia nation’s bloody military coup.   Water ‘Biggest Crisis No One Is Talking About’ Says GFA World Report 2021-03-22T07:29:11Z water-biggest-crisis-no-one-is-talking-about-says-gfa-world-report TOOWOOMBA, Qld -- The world is on the brink of a devastating water crisis that could be “much more worrying” than the COVID-19 pandemic, says a disturbing new report coinciding with World Water Day, March 22.   Citing global forecasts, the report -- published by leading faith-based humanitarian agency GFA World www.gfaau.org -- suggests the toxic mix of poverty, hunger and lack of safe drinking water around the world could be “potentially much more worrying than the virus spreading.”   “Two-thirds of the world’s people could face water shortages by 2025,” said K.P. Yohannan, founder of GFA World that has currently clean water projects across Asia. It’s been described as ‘the biggest crisis no one is talking about’.   Several megacities are on the verge of “running out of drinking water,” says the report, titled Water Stress: The Unspoken Global Crisis, as World Water Day -- an annual awareness event -- spotlights the rising global threat.   According to BBC News, cities such as Mexico City, Mexico; Beijing, China; São Paulo, Brazil; Cairo, Egypt; Cape Town, South Africa; and even London, England, already have massive stress on their water supplies and could run out of drinking water in a few years.   Global agencies UNICEF and the World Health Organisation (WHO) place Mexico and nine African and Asian countries in the “top 10” nations with the “worst drinking water.” In the African country of Uganda, 40 percent of the population has to trek 30 minutes or more to find safe drinking water, says the report.   Two Billion Drink From ‘Faeces-Contaminated’ Sources While Australia faces increasingly acute long-term water shortages with lower rainfall, this country also rates in the top 5% of all countries in providing safe, clean and sanitary drinking water from public water sources. Around the world, some 785 million people don’t have basic water service, the report says. A staggering two billion people -- mostly in Africa and Asia -- get their drinking water from faeces-contaminated ponds and watering holes, leading to often-fatal diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera and dysentery.   Organisations like GFA World and World Vision have made clean water a top priority. GFA World drills about 4,000 new community wells -- called “Jesus Wells” -- every year, providing safe drinking water for entire villages. Over the past two decades, the organisation has drilled more than 30,000 wells and distributed more than 58,000 home kits, called BioSand filters, that remove 98 percent of water impurities.   “Our goal is to bring people life-giving clean water,” Yohannan says, “and also to show people that we care about their most vital needs, such as water, because God loves them and values them.”    “Everyone in Australia should have access to safe, clean drinking water.” Ensuring essential infrastructure, the Australian Government Initiative “Water Quality Australia” reports that it’s National Water Quality Management Strategy (NWQMS) is underpinned by a collaborative approach that serves to reduce duplication and facilitates consistent water quality management across states and territories. This results in the NWQMS providing the best-available science to support decision making while incorporating flexibility to tailor information to local conditions and issues. The NWQMS contains tools and information to support water quality management, including a Water Quality Management Framework for assessing and managing water quality issue​s. The framework uses guidelines and other resources under the NWQMS to provide the information needed to manage water quality and achieve water that is fit for purpose. ###   GFA World  www.gfaau.org is a leading faith-based mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions, especially to those who have yet to hear about the love of God. In GFA World’s latest yearly report, this included thousands of community development projects that benefit downtrodden families and their children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news.   COVID Stay-At-Home ‘Doesn’t Compare to Leprosy Isolation’ Says GFA World 2021-02-17T07:30:42Z covid-stay-at-home-doesn-t-compare-to-leprosy-isolation-says-gfa-world TOOWOOMBA, Qld -- With new COVID social restrictions in force in many countries, a just-released report reveals the loneliness and despair of people living with another “disease of isolation” -- leprosy.   Sixty percent of disabled leprosy patients surveyed in Bangladesh said life was “totally meaningless,” says the report by missions agency GFA World, www.gfaau.org, who recently marked World Leprosy Day.   Being confined to home for extended periods due to pandemic restrictions might be uncomfortable, but “it doesn’t compare to being isolated for the rest of one’s life in a leprosy colony,” says the report, http://www.gfaau.org/press/leprosy-ministry.   “Right now, many of us are having a difficult time in isolation due to the pandemic,” said GFA World founder K.P. Yohannan. “But what a privilege we have to take our eyes off ourselves and become the hands and feet of Jesus, helping to bring hope and God’s love to someone who’s forgotten and who believes their life is meaningless.”   In the report, GFA World highlights the remarkable work of local teams visiting leprosy colonies in Asia -- where the disease is most prevalent -- and bringing hope and healing to those forgotten by the outside world.   Leprosy ‘Not To Be Feared’ Teams of local women -- known as Sisters of Compassion -- visit leprosy colonies in South Asia, bringing food and encouragement to people living with disabilities and disfigurements caused by advanced leprosy. Their willingness to befriend people with leprosy -- including many shunned by family and friends -- shows others in the wider community that those living with the disease are not to be feared or isolated.   In fact, the disease -- dreaded for centuries -- is nowhere near as contagious as most people imagine. Around 95 percent of the global population is immune to leprosy, and it’s curable with antibiotics if detected early. There are hopes that a vaccine -- currently in clinical trials -- will bring an end to leprosy and its devastating impact on tens of thousands of lives every year.   For many, though, like Mungeli Das -- who contracted leprosy as a girl more than 50 years ago and didn’t receive treatment in time -- there’s little hope of a cure. Disabled and living in a leprosy colony, she clings to the help and hope that GFA World’s Sisters of Compassion bring her. The “sisters” follow the example of Jesus who, according to the gospels, touched and healed those with leprosy.   “Before the sisters came there was no one to help trim our hair, cut our nails or help us clean our houses and encourage us,” she said. “The sisters (clean) our wounds and they make us happy and encourage (us) all the time.”   Battling ‘False Stereotypes’ World Leprosy Day -- an annual awareness event held on the last Sunday in January -- aims to combat stigma and leprosy myths, including the negative and false stereotypes that further isolate people with leprosy.   Media reports comparing coronavirus lockdown restrictions to “living in a leper colony” fuel stigma and “dehumanize” people with leprosy, according to GFA World. Because of its wide use in a negative sense, the term “leper” feeds prejudice, the agency says.   Leprosy is not confined to Asia and other parts of the developing world. Every year, around 200 new cases are reported in the U.S. -- mostly international travelers -- and, until fairly recently, there were leprosy colonies in Hawaii and Louisiana, says the report.   ###   GFA World, www.gfaau.org is a leading faith-based mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across Asia, especially to those who have yet to hear about the love of God. In GFA’s latest yearly report, this included more than 70,000 sponsored children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news.     PHOTO CUTLINE: COVID STAY-AT-HOME ‘DOESN’T COMPARE TO LEPROSY ISOLATION’: With new COVID social restrictions in force in many countries, a just-released report (http://www.gfaau.org/press/leprosy-ministry) reveals the loneliness and despair of people living with another “disease of isolation” -- leprosy. The report marked World Leprosy Day late last month.   GFA World Calls for Prayer for ‘Unity, Holiness, End to Pandemic’ During ‘Great’ Lent 2021-02-15T06:46:16Z gfa-world-calls-for-prayer-for-unity-holiness-end-to-pandemic-during-great-lent TOOWOOMBA, Qld -- One of the largest humanitarian agencies in the world has invited Christians to join a new movement during Great Lent to pray and fast for “unity and holiness” in Australia, and an end to the pandemic and other global crises.   Australia-based GFA World, www.gfaau.org described this year’s holy season of Lent -- beginning on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 17 -- as “the most important in a generation.”   “With the ongoing pandemic, other global crises and so much divisiveness in our world right now, it’s never been more important for Christians to make a concerted effort to pray and fast for unity and holiness,” said Bishop Danny Punnose, a GFA vice president. “This Lenten season is the most important in a generation.”   Great Lent is the church season prior to Easter, focusing on fasting, repentance, and charity. Many Christians who observe Lent refrain from eating certain foods such as meat for a period of time, using the cash savings to help others in need. Others voluntarily give up an activity they enjoy, and instead use the time to pray and seek the Lord.   Offering a daily devotional for Lent 2021, GFA World is inviting Christians of all denominations to participate in daily prayer and fasting for “unity and holiness” as well as for those who are suffering around the world -- including millions impacted by the pandemic, extreme poverty, starvation, sex trafficking, forced labour and other injustices.   “Our world desperately needs God’s intervention, healing and grace,” said Punnose, whose organisation works to alleviate extreme poverty and share God’s love in villages and slums around the world.   Prayer: Turns Mourning To Joy “The Lenten season is a purposeful opportunity in which we seek God and ask him to give us his heart for the suffering people of the world,” Punnose said. “As many of us face challenges that seem overwhelming, let’s remember God is able to bring dry bones to life and turn mourning into joy. Let’s turn to him and earnestly pray and fast.”   Lent is also an opportunity for people to help make the world a better place, Punnose said.   “Lent is a time when we can choose to make a simple sacrifice to embrace a cause that is close to the heart of God,” he said. “Tangible actions and conscious choices we make during the season of Lent should bring us closer to God and our neighbour, help us to become more like Jesus, and provide us with real opportunity to be Christ’s hands to those who need to know he loves them.”   One Billion Adherents According to estimates, more than a billion Christians around the world will likely observe Lent, which is growing in popularity in evangelical circles.   “Many Christians are rediscovering the richness of the Lenten tradition, and are growing closer to Jesus through self-denial, sacrificial giving, fasting, and times of fervent prayer,” Punnose said. “Knowing that we have the hope that the world is dying for, shouldn’t we offer it?”   GFA World has produced a booklet titled The Seasons of Lent: Stepping Stones to Spiritual Renewal and Growth, written by GFA World founder K.P. Yohannan, best-selling author of Revolution in World Missions and Never Give Up. The booklet -- a practical guide to observing Lent -- is available free at http://www.gfaau.org/press/Lent21.   ###   GFA World, www.gfaau.org is a leading faith-based mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions, especially to those who have yet to hear about the love of God. In GFA’s latest yearly report, this included more than 70,000 sponsored children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news.     PHOTO CUTLINE: ‘GREAT’ LENT SEASON ‘MOST IMPORTANT IN A GENERATION’: Calling for Christians to pray and fast for “unity and holiness,” mission agency GFA World, www.gfaau.org described this year’s holy season of Lent -- beginning on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 17 -- as “the most important in a generation.” The organisation has launched a Lenten daily devotional, available at http://www.gfaau.org/press/Lent21. COVID-19 ‘Feeds Slave Trade, Sexual Exploitation’ Says GFA World 2020-12-18T06:20:54Z covid-19-feeds-slave-trade-sexual-exploitation-says-gfa-world TOOWOOMBA, Qld -- COVID-19 is feeding the “growing evil” of human trafficking, pulling more of the world’s children into slavery and sexual exploitation, a new report reveals.   The pandemic has “cemented human trafficking as the third biggest illicit trade on the planet, behind illegal arms sales and drugs,” says the report by Australia based humanitarian agency GFA World, www.gfaau.org.    “The global pandemic has only heightened the desperation of those at risk and deepened the cunning of the traffickers,” says the report, (https://www.gfaau.org/press/human-trafficking/), citing worsening poverty and hunger as key drivers of the $150 billion a year global slave trade.   “The horrific exploitation of children and young adults for sex and forced labour is the most vile crime,” said GFA World founder K.P. Yohannan. “We must act now to cut off this growing evil.”   Travel and border restrictions -- intended to slow the spread of the virus -- have driven traffickers underground and made victims more difficult to identify, the report says. Of the estimated 20-30 million slaves in the world today, four out of every five are women or girls.   A Wider Net The surge in online activity due to lockdowns is giving traffickers a wider net to entrap potential victims, including children. Police in Canada warn that “chatter in dark web forums” shows predators view the pandemic as an opportunity to lure children into the sex industry.   In some parts of Asia, traffickers enlist or coerce parents and other relatives to sell their children to “placement agencies” -- fronts for domestic slavery.   Predators are even “masquerading as helpers” to find new victims. “Forced prostitution and chosen sex work are going to acquire a new momentum in the post-COVID-19 world,” the report says.   Interpol, the international police agency, says the pandemic “has not blunted the determination of organised crime groups to prey on the vulnerable.”   Traffickers are taking even greater risks, too often resulting in the tragic deaths of their victims. In March, 64 African migrants suffocated in a shipping container; in May, 39 Vietnamese migrants were found dead in a refrigerated truck in England; and in June, a former official in Arkansas pleaded guilty to smuggling women into the U.S. to put their babies up for adoption.   In Europe’s lucrative soccer industry, it’s estimated there are 15,000 trafficking victims every year.   Emergency Interceptors Faith-based humanitarian groups like GFA World and International Justice Mission are on the frontlines in the fight against slavery -- with GFA World’s indigenous workers acting as “emergency interceptors” in city slums and remote villages where millions are easy prey for predators.   “Through vocational training for women, protecting girls by providing safe water access, and our Bridge of Hope children’s program, we’re saving tens of thousands from falling victim to traffickers,” said Yohannan, author of Never Give Up. “This is how we confront the evil of human trafficking head-on, and show people the love of God.”   ###   GFA World, www.gfaau.org is a leading faith-based mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across Asia, especially to those who have yet to hear about the love of God. In GFA’s latest yearly report, this included more than 70,000 sponsored children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news. COVID-19 Hunger ‘Worse Than Disease’ Says GFA World Leader 2020-11-12T06:25:39Z covid-19-hunger-worse-than-disease-says-gfa-world-leader TOOWOOMBA, Qld -- The leader of a major faith-based humanitarian agency has warned that a new COVID-19 surge could cause catastrophic starvation in poor nations.   Widespread hunger across Asia caused by the pandemic is proving to be “worse than the disease itself,” said K.P. Yohannan, president of GFA World, www.gfaau.org.   Yohannan’s warning comes as some countries face a “second wave” of COVID-19 infections, increasing fears of mass starvation as people are unable to go to work.   “For hundreds of millions living in Asia, the threat of starvation is more dangerous than the disease,” he said. “According to the U.N., virus-linked hunger is leading to the deaths of 10,000 more children every month.”   Starving ‘Before Their Eyes’ The missions leader and author of Never Give Up said many parents in Asia are watching their children “starving to death before their eyes.”   Massive numbers of day labourers -- the poorest of the poor -- are especially vulnerable, along with the legions of children who beg on the streets of Asia’s megacities.   “Many, surprisingly, do not fear the virus; they fear the hunger that will come,” said Yohannan, whose Australian-based organisation has helped feed nearly 200,000 people since the pandemic began.   160 Million Could ‘Plunge Deeper Into Poverty’ A resurgence of COVID-19 “could push (up to) 160 million people deeper into poverty and hunger,” he said. “As followers of Jesus we need to think deeply about what we can do to help.”   “It’s so easy for us to get caught up in COVID-19 anxiety and overlook the problems that existed before the pandemic,” Yohannan said. “But these problems -- such as starvation and homelessness -- have only become greater.”   Across Asia -- the world’s most populated continent, home to six out of every 10 people on earth -- GFA World workers are handing out rice, cooking oil and other food items to help stave off hunger for thousands.   “This is sometimes the only food they’ll get in three days,” Yohannan said. “When people see they’re not alone, that there are others willing to give so that they may live, it gives them hope and shows them that God really cares about them.”   GFA World asked for prayer for its workers and for “those who are facing this crisis, as we seek to do all we can to help.”   ###   GFA World, www.gfaau.org is a leading faith-based mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions, especially to those who have yet to hear about the love of God. In GFA World’s latest yearly report, this included more than 70,000 sponsored children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news. Church Needs ‘Love, Not War’ Say Francis Chan, K.P. Yohannan, Hank Hanegraaff 2020-11-09T05:24:43Z church-needs-love-not-war-say-francis-chan-k-p-yohannan-hank-hanegraaff QUEENSLAND, Qld -- Three of the best-known and most influential Christian leaders in the western church are calling for an end to bickering and bitter conflict in the church -- warning that it’s tearing apart the “family of God.”   Francis Chan, best-selling author and former California megachurch pastor, cited a surge in blogs attacking fellow believers online, as well as acrimonious church splits over non-essential differences.   “It looks like this family is in shambles, and who would want to join (it)?” he said.   Urging believers to “get back to love,” Chan -- author of Crazy Love -- said segments of the church in America are “at war” and “screaming at each other” instead of seeking to be “in one accord,” like the early church in the Book of Acts.   Taking part in a new roundtable video discussion -- Why Is There So Much Division in the Body of Christ?: And What Can We Do About It? -- Chan, GFA World founder and Never Give Up author K.P. Yohannan, and ‘Bible Answer Man’ Hank Hanegraaff agreed fighting within the church flies in the face of Christ’s prayer in John 17 for his followers to “be one, even as (I and the Father) are one.”   Click here to watch the roundtable discussion.   Yohannan, who launched Australian-based GFA World, www.gfaau.org four decades ago, drew attention for his groundbreaking book Revolution in World Missions that shook up the traditional Western approach to overseas missions. Some have accused him of being too critical and judgmental of the Western church.   Love: ‘Greatest Doctrine’ “My place in life is no more to even think (judgmentally) towards other people,” Yohannan said. “Love is the greatest of all doctrines. When that is violated, we become (like the) Pharisees.”   Hanegraaff -- author of Truth Matters, Life Matters More and a well-known radio show host, stirred up a hornets’ nest when he converted to Eastern Orthodox Christianity three years ago -- said: “It can boil down to… in essentials, unity; non-essentials, liberty; and in all things, charity.”   In the wake of stinging criticism aimed at him, Hanegraaff said he’s learning humility. “I’m often labeled the ‘Bible Answer Man’… but I am not the authority.”   The three leaders have been heavily criticised online and in other venues for challenging the status quo of modern Christianity, which Chan says focuses too much on “charismatic personalities” and “popularity contests.”   As a result, Chan says, some in evangelical circles have branded them “heretics.” “Many lovers of Christ, that are part of his true church, are misunderstood,” said Chan. “All of us know in part and see in a mirror dimly. How do we become ‘perfectly one’?”   ###   GFA World, www.gfaau.org is a leading faith-based mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions, especially to those who have yet to hear about the love of God. In GFA World’s latest yearly report, this included more than 70,000 sponsored children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news. 375 Million Children in ‘Crushing Poverty’ Says GFA World 2020-10-19T06:59:11Z 375-million-children-in-crushing-poverty-says-gfa-world QUEENSLAND, Qld -- Around 375 million children worldwide -- including nearly one-in-six children in Australia. -- live in crushing poverty, says a new report coinciding with the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, Oct. 17.    The staggering global number – more than the entire populations of Australia, the U.S. and New Zealand combined -- is revealed in a special report by leading mission agency GFA World www.gfaau.org as the U.N. marks its annual awareness day, aimed at stirring action to fight poverty.   The report -- Fighting Global Poverty With Ideas -- says education and ideas, along with teaching values such as compassion and integrity, can help catapult the next generation out of the jaws of poverty.   “The ability to eradicate extreme poverty is here,” said GFA World founder Dr. K.P. Yohannan. “Ideas and values together can transform the world.”   A Global Scourge Grinding poverty is most often associated with developing nations in Africa and Asia, but it’s a scourge in wealthy, developed countries, too.   According to the UNSW and ACOSS 2020 Report (povertyandinequality.acoss.org.au/poverty/), nearly one-in-six children in Australia lives in poverty. The federal poverty line for a family of four is around $49,920 a year, with many living in a ‘poverty gap’ beneath that in deep poverty.   And, the group says, approx. 17% of Australians with a disability lives in poverty.   Globally, millions of widows -- and millions more living with the disease leprosy -- are shunned by their families and neighbours, plunged into extreme poverty and struggling to survive as outcasts in their own communities. They’re seen as cursed, and excluded from the mainstream of life and business.   ‘Don’t Deserve Anything Better’ “In Asia -- the world’s most populated continent -- people are often kept in deep poverty by superstitions, prejudices, and the belief that their lives are not important and they don’t deserve anything better,” said Yohannan, author of Never Give Up: The Story of a Broken Man Impacting a Generation.   Children like six-year-old Bir, who scavenges plastic bags for his parents, are led to believe they’re as worthless as the trash they sort through.   “When GFA World’s Bridge of Hope centre opened in his village, Bir and his friends discovered they were created for a higher purpose, and that God loves them,” Yohannan said. “This knowledge sets kids free and completely transforms their lives.”   Bridge of Hope not only provides spiritual hope and academic tutoring for more than 70,000 children living in poverty in Asia, but also models Christian values such as honesty, kindness, and good work ethics -- character traits that can eventually lead to better employment, spark entrepreneurial ideas, and break the generational cycle of poverty.   “It’s critical that this generation does not give up, that it’s empowered to break free from the stranglehold of poverty,” Yohannan said. “Otherwise, countless millions of children will be doomed to a life of misery in the world’s gutters and slums. They deserve so much better than that.”   ###   GFA World, www.gfaau.org is a leading faith-based mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across Asia, especially to those who have yet to hear about the love of God. In GFA’s latest yearly report, this included more than 70,000 sponsored children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news 650 Million Child Brides Worldwide Says GFA World 2020-10-15T07:16:11Z 650-million-child-brides-worldwide-says-gfa-world TOOWOOMBA, Qld -- Girls face greater exploitation than ever, with 650 million child brides in the world today, a shocking new report reveals.   As women’s rights take centre stage in Australia and many parts of the world, the reality for millions of girls worldwide is sexual exploitation and forced marriage before the age of 13.   The horrific treatment of girls -- including sex trafficking, sex-selective abortions, and denial of education -- is exposed in a special report titled Rewriting the Tragedies of Girlhood, released by GFA World www.gfaau.org to coincide with the U.N. International Day of the Girl, Oct. 11.   In 2014, the kidnapping of 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria by Boko Haram terrorists grabbed the headlines, but rampant abuse of girls across Africa and Asia continues largely under the radar: In Bangladesh, a survey of 375 sex workers revealed nearly half of them were child brides, married as young as 11, and trafficked into prostitution In China, sex-selective abortions resulted in a national shortage of women, fueling demand for child brides and sex workers North Korean girls who escape across the border to China are forced to stay “invisible” and often end up in brothels and the cybersex trade Girls in Asia as young as nine are forced to perform sex acts in front of webcams, live-streamed to a pay-to-view global audience “Globally, millions of girls – more than 25 times that of the entire Australian population, in fact -- are trapped in a web of exploitation,” said GFA World founder Dr. K.P. Yohannan. “Girls living in areas of political instability, conflict, or oppression are especially vulnerable to forced marriage and sex slavery.”   In China, girls are trafficked from neighbouring countries, lured by the promise of jobs. Victims are forced to cohabit with men who don’t speak their language, keep them locked in tiny rooms, and rape them at will. Often, girls are beaten and drugged.   UNICEF -- the U.N. children’s agency that stages the annual International Day of the Girl every October to raise awareness -- estimates there are 650 million child brides globally, including women who married in childhood. Girls are often forced to marry early because their parents don’t want them, placing a far higher value on boys.   ‘You Should Have Been A Boy’ One of four sisters, Ruth was treated cruelly by her father who flew into a rage when she was born. “You should have been a boy,” he later told her. When Ruth decided to go to Bible college, she knelt at her father’s feet to get his blessing. Instead, he kicked her in the face.   “While Ruth was at college, her father’s heart softened and he came to know the love of Jesus,” said Yohannan. “When she traveled home and stepped off the bus, her father ran to hug her. Change happens when people see every single girl is precious because she’s created by God in his image.”   Giving girls the opportunity to pursue education is key in the battle against exploitation and child marriage -- with GFA World’s Bridge of Hope program providing schooling and safety for tens of thousands of at-risk girls in Asia.   When 13-year-old Krupa realised she was being roped into a childhood marriage, she alerted workers at the Bridge of Hope centre she attended. Within minutes, “they arrived at our house like angels” and intervened to stop the ceremony, she said. Today, Krupa has achieved her goal of becoming a teacher -- and married of her own choice when she was 20.   GFA World’s full special report is at https://gfaau.org/special-report/child-marriage-child-trafficking-girl-problems/.   ###   GFA World, www.gfaau.org is a leading faith-based mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across Asia, especially to those who have yet to hear about the love of God. In GFA’s latest yearly report, this included more than 70,000 sponsored children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news. Millions of Widows in ‘Crisis of Survival’ Says GFA World 2020-09-21T06:02:51Z millions-of-widows-in-crisis-of-survival-says-gfa-world TOOWOOMBA, Qld -- One of the world’s biggest poverty-alleviating organisations spotlights the huge “uphill battle” facing many of the world’s 258 million widows in a just-released report.   Treatment of widows is often startlingly unfair and cruel, catapulting them into a crisis of survival, says the new global report by Australia-based GFA World, www.gfaau.org.   Titled Widows Often Face Uphill Battle (https://www.gfaau.org/special-report/widows-worldwide-face-tragedy-discrimination/), it examines the different struggles faced by widows in the U.S, Africa, and Asia.   Those struggles include battles over widows’ benefits in America, being stripped of homes and possessions in Africa, and the practice of shunning and shaming in Asia.   “In some Asian cultures, when a woman’s husband dies, she’s often stripped of her dignity, her worth, and her human rights,” said Dr. K.P. Yohannan, founder of GFA World, www.gfaau.org. “Many widows are deprived of their home, their property, and their possessions, leaving them destitute.”   In parts of Asia, many young widows face sexual harassment and abuse, often turning to begging or prostitution to survive.   Widows in some cultures are viewed with suspicion and disgust -- sometimes even branded as witches or blamed for their husband’s death and shut out of community life.   ‘Excluded and Invisible’ “Cultural shame and prejudice often render widows excluded and invisible,” said Yohannan, whose faith-based organisation supports 40 local Sisters of Compassion teams helping widows across Asia. GFA World’s support includes vocational training for widows and giving them opportunity to take part in income-generating activities, such as sewing.   These GFA World teams of visiting women provide emotional and spiritual support, praying with widows in their homes and showing them they’re not alone.   Asia, the world’s biggest continent, has an estimated 57 million widows – roughly equivalent to more than double the population of Australia. “On the surface, this seems like an overwhelming uphill battle,” said Yohannan, “but every time a widow receives help and encouragement, we rejoice.”   Supporting the grassroots efforts of local churches in cities and rural villages, GFA World aims to “show the love of God” to outcast widows who’ve known only rejection.   “The Apostle James told us in his epistle that true religion is to care for orphans and widows in their distress,” Yohannan said. “The challenge facing the church around the world today is to not just read the Bible, but to do what is written in it.”   ###   GFA World www.gfaau.org is a leading faith-based mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across Asia, especially to those who have yet to hear about the love of God. In GFA’s latest yearly report, this included more than 70,000 sponsored children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news. GFA World Extends COVID-19 Hunger Relief to Americans 2020-09-01T06:27:35Z gfa-world-extends-covid-19-hunger-relief-to-americans TOOWOOMBA, QLD -- One of the world’s biggest poverty-alleviating organisations has started distributing food to families impacted by COVID-19 on its own doorstep in Texas.   GFA World, www.gfaau.org -- known for clean water projects and disaster relief in Asia’s poorest nations -- is helping distribute food to hundreds of families living near its international headquarters in Texas, one of America’s coronavirus hotspots.    GFA World is teaming up with non-profit group Body of Life to carry out food giveaways at its campus in Wills Point, 80 kilometres east of Dallas.   At the most recent drive-thru event, volunteers -- including the city’s mayor -- handed out more than 1,200 USDA “Farmer to Families” food boxes containing fresh produce and other food items to local families, many left jobless by business closures.   “When families come in, their heads are down,” said Louie Alexander, a spokesperson for Body of Life. “But by the time they leave, there are smiles on their faces.”   The organisations plan to stage local food distributions every month for the foreseeable future. They’ve also handed out food packages at local apartment complexes.   Many Texans are teetering on the edge of hunger, struggling with job layoffs and reduced work hours as the coronavirus continues to cripple the economy.   According to Feeding Texas, the state’s biggest hunger relief network, one in every seven Texans is “food insecure” -- or doesn’t have enough to eat. That number could increase rapidly due to COVID-19. Nationwide, nearly half of America’s families are at risk of going hungry because of the coronavirus, says hunger relief organisation No Kid Hungry.   ‘Hunger Is No Respecter of Countries’ “COVID-19 has shown us that hunger is no respecter of countries,” said Bishop Danny Yohannan, vice president of GFA World, recognised for its feeding programs and community aid projects across Asia.   “With so many going hungry, it’s a privilege for us to help our neighbours in Texas as an expression of God’s love during this critical time in our nation when many are losing hope because of the pandemic,” Yohannan said.   Locals have been impressed by the compassion of GFA World -- one of the largest faith-based organisations in the world -- to help those in need right in its own backyard.   “It’s an absolute blessing,” said Wills Point Mayor Mark Turner. “The need exceeds city limits and county lines. So many across Texas and America are dealing with hunger.”   “It’s very important to help everyone, to keep strong,” said a Wills Point resident, whose husband lost his job because of the pandemic.   GFA World is also helping to feed coronavirus-affected families in distress on the other side of the world, including migrant families in Asia forced out of work by COVID-19 and now on the edge of starvation.   “While we’ve been able to distribute food here in Texas, thousands of our parishes in Asia are distributing food to tens of thousands of families each month,” Yohannan said. “We are grateful to be God’s hands and feet all around the world.”   ###   GFA World, www.gfa.org is a leading faith-based mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across Asia, especially to those who have yet to hear about the love of God. In GFA’s latest yearly report, this included more than 70,000 sponsored children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news.   World Battles Against Deadly Mosquitoes, Says GFA World 2020-08-25T00:48:13Z world-battles-against-deadly-mosquitoes-says-gfa-world TOOWOOMBA, QLD — Mosquito bites will result in more than 700,000 deaths around the world this year — wiping out the equivalent of the entire population of the Gold Coast Queensland, says a new report for World Mosquito Day, Aug. 20. Malaria is the most common mosquito-borne disease, claiming more than 400,000 lives worldwide every year — mostly children under five, says the just-released report by mission agency GFA World, www.gfaau.org. The report — Winning the Ancient Conflict Between Man and Mosquito reveals the lethal impact of mosquitoes across Asia, where the aerial menace also spreads other diseases, such as dengue, yellow fever, Zika, West Nile virus, and Japanese encephalitis. “Without proper prevention or treatment, the consequences of a simple mosquito bite are very serious in many places around the world,” said GFA World founder Dr. K.P. Yohannan, whose mission organisation is on the ground across Asia in thousands of cities and villages. “Unfortunately, it’s a war that needs to be won and won and won — it rages on every day in places like Asia.” The World Health Organisation (WHO) says mosquitoes actually could be responsible for “several million deaths” every year. World Mosquito Day, observed annually on Aug. 20, commemorates the breakthrough discovery in 1897 that female mosquitoes transmit malaria between people. So far, there’s no vaccine for malaria. More than half the world’s population is at risk of contracting dengue — a raging fever that claims 40,000 lives every year. Annoying Bite Could Be Deadly “For most of us in the West, a mosquito bite is an itchy annoyance,” Yohannan said, “but for hundreds of thousands across Asia, it’s deadly.” Millions across the region can’t afford vaccines against mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile virus if available — or even basic preventive measures, such as insect repellent or window screens. Every year, GFA World and other organisations distribute thousands of free mosquito-repelling bed nets to impoverished families, students in hostels, and agricultural workers in endemic areas who are among the most at-risk of getting bitten at night. So far, GFA World has distributed more than 1.3 million nets across Asia, costing around $10 a piece. Nets are the most effective way to prevent potentially deadly bites when mosquitoes are most active at dusk and daybreak. “Our response is driven by the love of God,” said Yohannan, author of the new book Never Give Up. “Mosquito reduction efforts by organisations such as GFA World are one of the evidences that fulfil Christ’s imperative to ‘love your neighbour as yourself’.” GFA World, www.gfaau.org is a leading faith-based mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions, especially to those who have yet to hear about the love of God. In GFA’s latest yearly report, this included more than 70,000 sponsored children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news. Jade Mine Disaster Moves GFA World to Call for ‘Compassionate Prayer’ 2020-08-03T01:48:39Z jade-mine-disaster-moves-gfa-world-to-call-for-compassionate-prayer TOOWOOMBA, Qld -- One of the world’s leading mission agencies has called for “compassionate prayer” after more than 160 people were killed by a horrific mudslide at a jade mine in northern Myanmar earlier this month.   Several Christians living in a nearby village work at the jade mine, but fortunately no one from the local church was reported missing or dead, GFA World, www.gfaau.org said.   The pastor said several of his church members were late going to work and missed the landslide. Now he’s ministering to bereaved families, comforting them and praying for them, GFA World said.   According to news reports, a massive river of mud and rock triggered by heavy rains swept into the mining site, burying workers and people scavenging for precious stones. A state official described it as “like a tsunami.”   Graphic images showed rescue workers pulling bodies from the debris and laying them in rows under tarp.   ‘Compassionate Prayer’ “Our heartfelt prayers are with the families of all the workers who died in this terrible disaster as well as the injured,” said GFA World founder Dr. K.P. Yohannan. “The people of Myanmar are among the most kind-hearted and loving on the planet. Right now, we can lift them up to our Lord Jesus in compassionate prayer.”   The disaster -- which occurred on July 2 in the Hpakant area of Kachin state -- was captured on video, showing the mudslide pouring into the mining site.   On a typical day, hundreds of people gather at the site to sift through rubble looking for precious jade stones. Myanmar -- formerly known as Burma -- is the world’s biggest source of jade.   Right now, heavy monsoon rains are lashing parts of northeast India -- another area prone to disastrous flooding and potentially deadly landslides. Since May, catastrophic floods have killed more than 80 people in the region, and 2.5 million have been forced to flee their homes.   The deadly flooding comes as India faces a spike in COVID-19 cases. The South Asian nation -- the second most populous country in the world -- now has more than 1.1 million recorded COVID-19 cases, the third highest after the U.S. and Brazil.   GFA World provides emergency aid, clean water, education, vocational training, and spiritual support to millions of South Asia’s poorest and most vulnerable families.   ###   GFA World, www.gfaau.org is a leading faith-based mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across Asia, especially to those who have yet to hear about the love of God. In GFA World’s latest yearly report, this included more than 70,000 sponsored children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news.