On January 6th, Mission Network News originally reported a deadly attack on Coptic Christians in Egypt. The latest news in this case is that Egypt’s chief prosecutor has now charged 136 people in connection with that lethal three-day riot between Muslims and Christians. Investigators do not believe the El-Kusheh riots were religiously motivated. The report was the government’s first on the riots. Those arrested face charges of incitement, murder, attempted murder, robbery and damage to property.
Meanwhile, Mozambique returns to the news today with word of receding waters, and more assistance to the hardest-hit regions. World Relief has embarked on their next phase of assistance, after having accounted for all 50 of its staff who were originally reported missing. Although most of their local staff have lost their homes, the group is in the process of a tool and seed distribution for the farmers who lost their crops. Please continue to pray for the believers involved in this effort.
Our top story today unfolds in Ethiopia where relief organizations are calling for a broad international response to a three-year drought that threatens millions of people with famine. Nearly 8-million lives hang in the balance but Christians are mobilizing to help. International Aid’s Sonny Enriquez. “It’s gone from bad to worse, and there’s no relief in sight yet. Interestingly enough, the ones that have been responding to them are Ethiopian communities overseas. Now, the urban churches in Ethiopia are also helping out. But this is not enough; we’ve got to help them. We’ll be focusing on two things: one is food, because that’s an immediate need, and then, secondly, medicines.” Enriquez says they will have a team on the ground before the end of the month. He issued this plea: “If people could give cash, so we can use this to buy essential commodities and ship them there. If they’re so moved to call us here at International Aid, our number is: 1-800-251-2502.”
Meanwhile, an evangelical group is praying that scripture will give children in the Republic of Georgia hope they’ve never experienced before. The poor economic conditions have left many people nervous about their future. Book of Hope’s John Young wants to distribute Books of Hope in the schools beginning next year. “Obviously we believe that God’s word is going to make a difference in their life and change their lives and give them hope. There’s a lot of different things going on with in the country. It’s a proud country and it’s trying to change and bring democratic reform. We believe that the Book of Hope brought to their students can help their students in so many different ways and help the country.” Young says prayer is needed. “Pray for the political system there that God would give us favor and that we wouldn’t be seen as a threat, but we would be seen as an opportunity to really help their kids in directions of life and knowing God.”
Persecution of Christians is on the increase in India. That’s the word from the President of the India Evangelical Mission, G-V Mathai. Mathai says the Hindu government is putting some restrictions on their work. “Open air meetings, now they are prohibiting that one. Hindu fanatics come and stone them and say, get out of here and in some places they have said if you stand here and preach we will set you on fire. The baptism in public places is prohibited.” Despite the restrictions, thousands of people are coming to Christ. Mathai says that comes with persecution. “The more persecution and more restrictions are laying on, in every place there is a public meeting, there are more crowds. More people are trusting the Lord Jesus Christ. As history repeats, where ever the persecution increased the Lord has drawn many people unto himself.”
And finally, Luis Palau is asking Christians around the world to pray that God would touch the hearts of people in Sheffield, England. Palau is in the midst of evangelistic meetings in an area of England that is suffering economically. He says while there are challenges, they have seen God at work. “We’ve already had close to 1,000 people make a commitment to Christ, so we’re very excited. England is a tough land. Very protestant, although there’s many Catholics too, but a tough land. It’s very typical of Europe only a little softer than continental Europe.” Because Sheffield is economically depressed, Palau is asking people to pray that hearts will be filled with hope. “They’ve got a mentality that nothing happens here. Nothing can happen. Nothing will happen. A great majority of the people feel that God has abandoned us. So, my message is one of hope, always the Gospel of course.” The special meetings will continue through Saturday.
We begin today’s newscast in Ethiopia with a story that could have worldwide implications. According to Food for the Hungry’s Dave Evans, many could die as famine is affecting millions of people. He describes the need. “10-million people needing a total of 1.3 million metric tons of food. And, to put it into perspective that is about the same amount that was required in 1984 and 1985 if you’ll recall the famous famine in Ethiopia back then where 1 million people lost their lives.” Evans says they’re not expecting normal rains June through September and more could die as a result. He says they’re working through local churches to help. “The goal of our relief operation is to partner with churches. Demonstrate their commitment to the Gospel and to Jesus Christ through, primarily reaching out to meet physical needs and where possible sharing the love of Christ verbally with people. “If you’d like to help in this massive relief effort call 1-800-2-HUNGER.
Meanwhile, a clash between NATO peacekeeping troops and Serb civilians in Kosovo has many mission groups on edge. World Hope’s Joel Samy says tensions are increasing. “As the snow thaws and the ice thaws over here. The tensions begin to escalate. So, there’s going to be problem in the days to come. NATO is experiencing that and has even given warning to various American workers and also as Christian workers in this community here. We are certainly taking great precautions in the work in this region.” Samy says Muslim activity is on the increase and prayer for evangelism is needed. “We’re hearing various reports of the Jesus Film being shown. We’re in the process of having God Cares about you Cares booklets for the distribution to Kosovar Albanians. So those types of endeavors are certainly going to make a difference.”
Cult investigators say the tragedy in Uganda happened because of unmet needs. Experts say the people who flock to such movements are responding to a spiritual poverty, often not aware of what they are searching for, or of the dangers. In this case, the search resulted in mass murder. It is because of this that Evangelical Baptist Missions is working to get a team ready. EBM’s Paul Jackson. “The actual input that EBM has in Uganda right now, needs to be launched…yet. I’ve been following the news regarding the crises that we’re talking about in Uganda…and, as much as is in my power, I’m able to not only pray, and touch base with certain personnel trying to gear up a team in helping these people.” Jackson says the scars left by the cult will run deep, but they are looking ahead to the healing. He says there are people ready with: “The truth of the word of God, the abilities, and the talents and gifts to counsel these type of people, or to help physically support–not only pray, but mobilize them in a global ministry impact.”
Next, Ramabai Mukti Mission is preparing for a one-day conference in the United States, April 29th. Attendees will better learn about sharing Christ in the 21rst century, short-term missions in India and the continuing ministry plans for Mukti Mission. The group is committed to making Jesus Christ known in India, often dangerous work. Recently, the mission has been growing and reaching needy villages and people groups. Some of their work includes an orphanage, schools, and a rescue home for women.