Meanwhile, chronological teaching of the Bible is having an incredible impact on people in at least one village in Papua New Guinea. New Tribes Mission officials began the initiative more than five months ago among the Malaumandan (muhl-ah-MAHN-duhn) people. Just a few days ago they began teaching the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Missionaries say after the two hour presentation many came to Christ. Officials say of the local population of comprehendible age, 50-percent have turned to Christ.
We begin today in India’s Orissa State, where devastation from a monster storm has left more than one-million people homeless and has taken hundreds of lives. Food for the Hungry’s Asia director Dwight Vogt (vote). “This particular cyclone is the strongest of the century. The flooding has washed away large areas. fields have been wiped out. Crops have been leveled. All of those types of things appear to have been destroyed in large areas.” Food for the Hungry is gearing up to help those effected by the storm. They’re supplying resources to the church in India to help those in need. Vogt says it’s being done this way to help the church become more effective in evangelism. “And to many, it’s just a demonstration of love. It’s being a Christian and being up front and helping. And, at a time when the church is under scrutiny and under persecution in India. I suspect this is a very important and wonderful way to get involved in people’s lives. And, we’re just pleased that we can help make this possible.” To help in this emergency call 1-800-2-hunger.
Next, according to Religion Today an arrest has been made in the murder of missionary Graham Staines. Staines, along with his two sons, was killed in January after a mob set their car on fire. The suspect, Andha Naik, is believed to be an associate of the accused ringleader of the mob that attacked the Staines family. The killing in Orissa state has been linked to Hindu radicals. They accused missionaries of trying to win converts by offering inducements, a charge the missionaries deny.
Mission groups in the United States are having a difficult time replacing missionaries ending work in the field. Missionary data indicates as five people return from the field through retirement or other reasons, only one takes their place. Action International’s Marvin Graves explains why. “My experience has been that it’s hard to find those who want to commit to a lifetime, or a career, like some of us who started out in the 50’s. We never thought of just short term. We made commitments for life. Many of the folks these days they think more of short term.” Graves says Action has many needs. “We’re needing missionaries in all the fields we’re working in. We have requests from our missionaries for many more workers for just about every job description you can think of. We’re just needing over 170 missionaries at this time.” The United States is quickly falling from the top missionary sending countries in the world.
Meanwhile, Shelter Now International reports that 85 homes for the refugees are ready in time for the Balkans winter and the additional supplies continue. However, roofing materials are slow in coming and additional money to purchase wood, or donations of lumber for building the rest of the homes is still needed. SNI hopes to begin building homes in Kosovo as well as continue sharing the hope of Christ with the refugees.
The people of the Balkan region will be on the receiving end of a project that will help introduce them to Christ. World Hope’s Joel Samy says they’re spearheading an effort release the booklet, God Cares About Your Cares. He says the indigenous church has requested… “Two-million copies of the God Cares About Your Cares booklet, which is a clear presentation of the Gospel message with an invitation at the end and a prayer where individuals can pray to ask God into their lives. This is truly an unprecedented endeavor.” Samy says they’re in the process of raising money to assure the Gospel is presented to all who are willing to hear. “We’re looking at a cost of 100-thousand dollars to print two-million copies. And, that comes out to five-cents, five American cents, a nickel a copy.”
Next, an evangelical mission group is helping the local economy, while supporting pastors financially in the Philippines. Action International’s Marvin Graves says while the church is growing there, the need for full-time pastors is great. “Many church planters work in poverty conditions where few financial resources exist to support their work. So, unfortunately too many pastors leave the ministry to support their families. So, the Lord has provided some land with some buildings on it, some equipment so that we can make hand-made paper.” Graves says they’re using the revenue to support pastors. “Many of these pastors have had to go into part time employment because they don’t have enough money. Each month, many of them are receiving 30 to 50 dollars a month only that they’re receiving. So, they’re not able to spend full-time in the ministry.” This project, which is also adding employment to the community, could end that practice.
We begin today in the breakaway republic of Chechnya, which has been the target of international attention recently. Terry Madison of Open Doors says they are concerned for the Christians who have been caught in the country during the bombings. “There’s at least 40 believers who were left behind that we were unable to help get out before this more recent fighting started. But, that is the body of Christ there. And, it has been, for 45 years, our purpose to strengthen Christians where they are. Not that they will flee or leave, but they will stay where they are planted and be the authentic representative of Christ.” Madison says in spite of the dark times, evangelism is bringing hope and light. “People search and reach out for a God whose name they may not know, and when they find Christians who have a balance and a purpose and a focus in life, it’s very attractive. And so, in some of these satellite states where former Soviet pressures have been released and now there’s different kind of Islamic pressures, the Christians are standing tall.”
Meanwhile, church leaders in Argentina say a prayer effort is responsible for seeing many come to Christ. According to the Southern Baptist International Mission Board, because of a hunger for souls, Christian leaders launched a series of prayer walks focusing on the Patagonia region. In two weeks, churches and mission groups saw 261 people come to Christ in this rural area. In addition, workers also recorded numerous rededications, requests for baptism and commitments to mission service.
We begin today in Jordan where the people are looking to King Hussein’s successor to become a pivotal force for peace in the Middle East. Words of Hope’s Lee DeYoung says Hussein’s legacy was striking and hopeful. “Just the fact that you do have people who otherwise would seem to be very opposite and, in many ways, enemies, says a lot for his influence. Perhaps by focusing on what has made him such a noted figure, we can always pray that the Prince of Peace will touch people’s hearts in some new way.” DeYoung says the changes in store could lead to peace, both physically and spiritually. “Initially, one would think that his [King Hussein’s] departure from the scene may create quite a void and make things more difficult in the future. But, it’s all in the Lord’s hands, perhaps the mutually shared grief might be used by the Holy Spirit to bring about the kind of dialogue that King Hussein was a champion for.” In the meantime, Words of Hope continues broadcasting the peace of the Gospel over the Middle East.