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.
Topping today’s news Haitian officials have shelved April 9th parliamentary elections, jeopardizing millions of dollars in aid. However, Joe Richter of Farms International says much of that aid never reaches those in need. He says that’s why they’re working there. “Farms is targeting very poor families from the central plateau and the northern coast of Haiti with income generation projects, either in agriculture or small businesses. These are people that generally would not benefit much by a government program.” Ritcher says proximity to programs and corruption restricts those benefits. He says their programs have been successful. “One of our programs reported to us that the extra tithing that came in from the program is used now for youth outreaches and youth conferences, and this wasn’t possible previously.” Richter says it costs 300-dollars to establish families in agriculture, which also empowers the church in evangelism.
Turning next to Uganda, the cult disaster is still playing itself out as authorities continue to find bodies hidden in mass graves. The horror plaguing the survivors has left a way for the true Gospel to heal, according to David Shibley of Global Advance. “Obviously, there’s a lot of confusion, certainly a lot of pain as a result of this terrible massacre. And yet, many are looking to God, but they’re looking for proper answers, some are now confused, wondering how a supposed man of God could lead so many into error.” Global Advance is holding two Frontline Shepherd’s Conference’s next month in Uganda. Shibley says for Christian leaders, this is a critical time for training…and prayer. “Most of the pastors of Uganda are good and godly men. But they need encouragement and they also need help in basic Christian doctrine so that they can keep their people free from the effects of synchrotism, of a diluting of the Gospel with error.”
Evangelism Explosion International is in the fledgling stages of a project in Mongolia. E-E’s Buddy Gaines says they are excited about the project’s potential. “We work through pastors of local churches, not outside local churches. We’ve been there before, several different times, but this is the first time that we’ve selected a pastor, trained him and the E-E work will begin in his local church before it spreads throughout Mongolia.” Gaines says their goal is to train and equip as many Christians as possible in Mongolia, but there are things that need to happen first. “Our long-range goal is not only to translate the materials, which is beginning now, to field test and use the materials, and probably, summer of next year the local church will have enough E-E trainers to be trainers for a full-fledged clinic for Mongolian pastors.”
Meanwhile, theological education is greatly needed in China. According to China Partner’s Erik Burklin over the last 20 years the evangelical church in China has seen phenomenal growth. Some say, because of the unprecedented growth, the Chinese church will out number the church in the United States. However lack of trained leaders and resources is causing an increase in cult activity, and materialism in the church. Burklin is asking peole to pray that God will help meet these incredible needs.
We begin today in Taiwan where tensions are still riding high after the people elected a pro-independence president. China has long threatened to invade if the Island declared independence. Far East Broadcasting Company has offices in Taiwan. Chinese Ministries Director Peter Chou says they’re concerned, but not making any rash decisions. “I’m saying wait and see because we really don’t know where it turns to. Too excited is not a way to handle the situation. We need to be cool. And, we are observing the situation very carefully what’s the move and deciphering every meeting. But, we can not commit ourselves to either way.” Chou says radio ministry from Taiwan will continue, despite various changes in strategy. However, people need to pray. “Because, this area is such a volatile area and such an unstable area as far as broadcasting is concerned. The situation or opportunity that we can do Gospel work is always under the shadow of one day China will no be open again. It will be closed. And, if that happened the radio ministry is more important.”