In this issue of the newsletter
New: The Coronavirus interferes with Nigeria mission and orphanage support
New: Donations to non-profit organizations plunging with coronavirus fears
Update: Surprises from Religious Freedom Coalition supporters’ poll
New: On Capitol Hill – The new International Committee on Nigeria (ICON)
The Coronavirus affects Nigeria mission
Mission postponed: I and my wife Nancy were scheduled to leave for a mission trip to Nigeria on March 20th and return on the 31st. The mission would have included many stops in Benue State plus a visit to our supported orphanage in Plateau State.
President Trump announced on March 11th that he was using his emergency powers to stop all flights to and from Europe for 30 days.
I had my doubts about the mission even before President Trump made his announcement. I was concerned that Nancy and I would be placed in quarantine someplace because someone who was ill was on the same flight or in the same hotel as we were. Our flights to Abuja, Nigeria would have taken us through Cincinnati, Ohio and Paris, France.
Our return from Nigeria to Washington, DC would have been through Paris, France and Atlanta, Georgia. The flights all had Delta flight numbers, but those to and from Paris to Abuja, Nigeria were being operated by Air France.
A lot of our good people who love the Lord in Nigeria had done a lot of work in preparation for our arrival and work in Nigeria.
Invited by governor: The invitation we used to obtain our visas did not come from a Nigerian ministry, but rather from the governor of Benue State.
Governor Samuel Ortom is a Nigerian philanthropist and businessman who loves the Lord. He decided to run for governor because he believed the Lord wanted him to serve his people in that capacity.
Christian King: Some of our mission centered around King James Ayatse of the Tiv tribe. A former professor, he was chosen as king of the Tiv Tribe, the largest in Nigeria. He was coronated and sworn in on the Bible rather than recognizing the traditional gods of the tribe.
Several arrangements, including prayer meetings, had also been made for our visits to some Christian IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camps.
September mission: Tentatively I have started the planning to move the mission to the last week of September. Prayerfully, the misery of the coronavirus will be over by then.
The Coronavirus, fear and market insanity
Fear is contagious: Fear is more contagious than any virus could ever be, and the media has really fed the fear factor for the coronavirus.
I am by no means playing down the deadly Covid-19 coronavirus. It is a killer. Depending on the reporting nation, it appears that on average 3.4 percent of every 100 who catch the coronavirus die. Those are not good odds.
Adding to the problem, the Center for Disease Control allowed the virus to spread in the United States out of an act of pure stupidity. The CDC refused to allow testing of those with coronavirus symptoms unless they had visited certain areas of China. And what about those who were exposed at airports, restaurants and stores? People actually died of the coronavirus in the United States before the CDC diagnosed a single case.
The headlines of seven dead in Seattle the first week of March emptied out stores and brought commerce to a standstill in that city. Shops and restaurants emptied out.
When the CDC actually began to test those with symptoms who had not been to China, the numbers exploded. As President Trump pointed out in his announcement most of those coronavirus cases came from Europe. But the CDC did not test anyone coming from Europe with the symptoms of the coronavirus. Why?
Elitism: The problem at every level of the federal, state and local governments is elitism. All the bureaucrats think they are far smarter and superior to those they serve, and as a result they come to very intellectually stupid conclusions. Romans 1:22 describes the government , business and academic elites well: “ Professing to be wise, they became fools.” (KJV)
Stock market reactions were bizarre even for that fantasy world. The DOW was down over 1,000 one day, back up over a 1,000 the next and then back down again. The White House and the Federal Reserve announced the coronavirus would be fought with interest rate cuts.
WHAT? An interest rate cut to fight a killer virus … NO … an interest rate hike to save the stock market from the coronavirus fear factor. The Federal Reserve also doubled down on overnight loans to help banks cover cash shortfall. The markets crashed anyway.
The bank liquidity problem predated the coronavirus. The bank bailout has been going on since last September. The Federal Reserve printed half a trillion dollars to save banks with over the last six months. Does that make sense? Most of that money went to cover hedge fund losses. The market plunge now require more Federal Reserve’s money printing to cover losses.
Where does the money go? Remember Boeing Aircraft and the 737 Max problem of two crashes that grounded the planes worldwide? Over a period of six years (2013-2019) Boeing paid out $17 billion in dividends and bought back $43 billion of its own stock to drive up the stock price. That $60 billion came to 140% of profit for those years.
Most of the stock buybacks were paid for with borrowed money. The CEO received tens of millions of dollars for raising Boeing stock value! When he was finally forced out because of the 737 Max crashes he was given $18 million to leave.
Other companies that have never made a profit had shares trading at hundreds of dollars.
The elites who run the businesses and the bureaucracies are worried now and will do anything to keep the markets flying high. Their wealth is based on a fantasy bubble that something like the coronavirus could pop. The elites were so fearful they pretended there was no problem until the problem was too big to hide.
What happens next? That is a wild card. Funding for all non-profits is dropping because of the fear factor.
Our ministry and coronavirus specific issues: The coronavirus has hit Iraq in the area that our Diapers for Refugees program is active. The outbreak has also hit Bethlehem. Schools and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem were closed.
Will the virus die down before the Christmas for Refugees programs begin? That is unknown. So far our workers in Iraq and Bethlehem have not fallen ill, but they need our prayer.
Our main contact in Bethlehem told us of the outbreak weeks before it was in the news.
Bethlehem, Diaper Program and the Coronavirus
New Diaper Program: The coronavirus was introduced to the Bethlehem area by Christians on a pilgrimage from South Korea. No infections were reported until more than two weeks
after they left.
Some areas of the Church of the Nativity are small, such as the Grotto of the Nativity. Often areas of the church are very crowded, with virtually no fresh air.
My wife and I have been there many times and in 2017 came across a large group of Korean Christian pilgrims who were singing beautiful hymns in one of the chapel areas.
This year the Korean Christian pilgrims who were infected before leaving Korea also ate at the breakfast buffets this Middle Eastern area of the world is well known for. That is an example of the complexity of a virus spreading.
The situation in the West Bank comes just as we had begun a diaper program at a nursing home for very elderly Christians who are in need of constant medical aid. A local charity provides the beds and medical care, but families must bring in adult diapers which are very expensive there. There is no state program there such as Medicare. The elderly are on their own.
The adult diaper program will be a small start for us, as there are only 30 residents of the nursing home. Almost half do not have family members who can afford the diapers and must depend on occasional gifts. We would assure them a monthly supply.
Please be in prayer for those in the nursing home there. Many of those who died of the coronavirus in Washington State were from just one nursing home.
For now all we can do is pray that funds will be available to wire to those carrying out our programs and that sanity will return to the American financial system somehow.
Results of the Supporter’s Poll
Nigeria tops list: In this year’s poll of supporters, instead of asking which programs we should continue with I asked supporters to rate their importance from one to five.
The total number of points was then added up for each of our five major programs — plus a sixth option to “trust God” to guide us in funding programs.
Caring for orphaned Christian children in Nigeria received the most points overall.
Many supporters wrote out comments on the reply sheet and some sent me detailed letters. One letter pleaded to find more orphanages and homeless Christian children in Nigeria to help, telling me that the Lord had ordered in Matthew 19:14 not to stop the children from coming to Him.
Many of the same supporters who told me to move the ministry further forward in helping the orphaned Christian children of Nigeria also wanted me to move forward with a petition campaign asking President Trump to put sanctions on Nigeria’s Muslim president to stop the bloodshed of Christians there. The petition program would specifically ask President Trump to stop Nigerian oil sales until the murders of Christians stop.
Continued work on Capitol Hill was number two in the supporter poll but the Diapers for Refugees program was so close it was almost a tie. As replies to the poll came in, sometimes the Diaper program was second and sometimes third. As of the date of this newsletter, work on Capitol Hill was second and the Diaper program third.
Although the petition campaign came in fourth it is actually a part of our work in Washington, DC. Whether I am delivering petitions or having letters or cards sent directly to Congress or to the President, this kind of work gives me and our ministry extra clout on Capitol Hill. The petitions and post cards open up more offices to me to promote the truth about the attacks on Christianity and on social conservatism in general.
I was really surprised that Christmas for Refugees was fifth among the individual programs … BUT … overall the poll was very tight with only a five percent margin between the top and bottom slots.
There was a sixth result: The results above were for the five individually listed programs. But the absolute highest number of points went to “Trust God” to guide use of funds. By a margin of over 20% the most assigned points went to: “Please trust God to guide you” in the use of support.
Summary: 1. Trust God 2. Nigeria aid 3. Capitol Hill 4. Diapers 5. Petition program 6. Christmas for Refugees
Looking at this, please keep in mind that there was just 5% difference between Nigeria aid and the Christmas for Refugees program. It was very, very close, with most supporters responding by rating programs either as 3,4, or 5.
Work in Washington continues
International Committee on Nigeria: On March 11th, I participated in the International Committee on Nigeria (ICON) press conference at the National Press Club to discuss Nigeria’s horrific genocide. Participants included Johnnie Moore of the Commission on International Religious Freedom and Stephen Enada, Director of the International Committee on Nigeria.
The press conference was to call attention to the ‘Silent Slaughter’ campaign to raise awareness of the growing number of murders, abductions and displacement of millions of Christians, chiefly women and children. As the campaign grows, I will keep you informed.
William J. Murray, President