A mission agency strengthens the church while it helps in the tsunami areas.

By January 20, 2005

Asia (MNN)–Many of the areas hardest hit by the tsunami were countries known to be pursuing anti-conversion legislation.

Even as aid pours in from Christians around the world, there is concern the issues may prove a challenge to continued work in some areas.

In Sri Lanka, talk of an anti-conversion bill may be tabled until things settle down. However, there is word that the Buddhist monks behind the bill have not given up their attempt to get the bill passed. Portions of it were struck down as unconstitutional, since it created a ‘state’ religion, which goes against the country’s secular declaration.

In Indonesia, the largest Muslim nation has welcomed aid to a point. The government is currently restricting many agencies from getting more supplies in, referring to rebels threatening security in the ravaged hotspot areas.

And in India, even as Christian agencies are welcomed, and the general populace are accepting of the help, there are whisperings that militants will not long tolerate their presence. This is especially true in areas under the influence of states that adopted anti-conversion laws.

Global Advance Ministries’ David Shibley says that’s why it is especially important for believers to be involved in relief to help re-shape attitudes toward Christians in these areas. “Global Advance is privileged to work with a couple of Christian relief organizations that are providing ongoing relief in that area. We’ve also been able to contact an organization that is working directly in Sumatra even with some ties to the very few Christians who are in the government.”

Shibley says it’s important for their teams to support and train church leaders. “I believe this is going to be a very important year for the advance of the Gospel around the world. I am confident that many, many people are going to see what Christians have done and are doing in response to this disaster and that it is going to turn their hearts toward the Lord.”

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