We begin today’s newscast looking at recent election results in Bosnia-Herzegovina that could spell good news for mission work in the war-torn country. While nationalism still remains a prominent factor in politics, Bosnians and Croats are seeing more unity. Greater Europe Mission’s Richard Beckham says that is vital in meeting physical and spiritual needs. “When that is taking place along within a living witness, where relationships are established and in these relationships the Gospel is shared in a clear way, that is having a dramatic impact.” During the post-election days, given the dichotomy of nationalism and democracy, Beckham believes the church is also at a crossroads. “I’ve seen the church reach out to meet real human needs in acts of Christian compassion and love. It’s having a powerful impact. I think we need to learn how to combine demonstrating the love of Christ as we’re telling them about the love of Christ.”
Elsewhere, in a relative period of quiet before the storm, it appears the Islamic Sudanese government is gathering itself for a massive assault. In a recent speech, the country’s president broke off peace talks saying he had nothing to talk about except through the language of the gun. Evangelical Free Church Mission’s Jim Snyder says: “We have just recently received a report in a response to the needs that they’ve been having. They continue to have problems with famine. There is still this drape of anxiety knowing that their future is terribly uncertain.” Snyder adds that prayer is one way to encourage the believers, although: “It’s very important that we not overlook the fact that the church in Sudan is growing right now. It’s not because of what men are doing, but because the Spirit of God is using this as an opportunity to draw people to Himself. Pray for God to continue to move in the lives of these people to make an impression on the people in the north who are so far removed from Christianity.”
Celebration 2000 with Luis Palau, is a monthlong campaign in North Dakota and western Minnesota. Jose Zayas is one of seven evangelists who will proclaim the Gospel in 14 towns and cities. He likens their approach to this campaign to a soccer match. “It really is a team sport-in this case, to get the ball downfield is going to take everyone. So, in that respect, Luis Palau is the one whose the team leader for ‘Celebration 2000’. We’re trusting that the whole state will hear the voice of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the month of April.” Zayas adds that the meetings at Easter are no coincidence. “I think that the Easter season is a great time to do evangelism. People are awake to spiritual things-it may only happen twice a year, Easter and Christmas, so we’re making the most of the natural calendar while people are open to listen to the message.” Zayas asks that people pray for the team. He says right after ‘Celebration 2000’, they are headed to Shanghai, China for the next series of meetings.
Meanwhile, the Society of International Ministries-USA, reports success in a massive evangelistic effort to Nigeria. Teams recently took the “JESUS” film to cities and rural areas in Nigeria. After a canvassing blitz of farms near one village, over 1,000 people came each evening for three days to hear traditional music and view the film. SIMNOW, the ministry’s newsletter, reports that 49 people accepted Christ as Savior and are being discipled in local churches.
Topping today’s news, despite claims of election fraud, Georgia’s president-elect Eduard Shevardnadze is making promises to clean up his government. His brand of politics may actually help evangelism in the former Soviet state, so says The Institute for Bible Translation’s Kurt Gustafson. “Georgia needs the Western influence into its business environment in order to be able to survive. And I’m sure that he will want to promote that. And so, I think that as far as Christian work in Georgia, there should not be any obstacles to that evangelical work.” Gustafson says the Shevardnadze victory should ensure the current situation won’t change. IBT is currently working to translate the Scriptures into the Georgian language by the end of the year. The Orthodox Church has also asked IBT to supply a half million Childrens’ Bibles for the people. Gustafson says they will need over one million dollars to meet that request.
Evangelist Sammy Tippit is preparing for another series of evangelistic meetings in two key cities of Brazil, beginning next week. He explains the significance of their visit. “Our goal has been to go to every capitol city [in Brazil] with the Gospel. Brazil is wide open for the Gospel-there is a tremendous growth that is taking place among evangelical Christians; God is moving and churches are being birthed.” Tippit says what’s really exciting for their ministry is to see the end results that come about through much prayer. “Pray for revival to sweep across the churches. These very far regions of Brazil, have been neglected, and people haven’t really gone there because they’re so hard to get to, pray that people would come to Christ-and I just believe that we could see a great move of God.” The crusades begin April 18th and end May 2nd. Please pray for their work. Throughout May and June, Tippit will be preaching in Congo and Armenia.
Next, ministries on the frontiers of evangelism are bringing the Gospel to dark corners of the world. Despite tremendous obstacles, Christians are making an impact in some of the world’s most spiritually and geographically challenging areas in the Himalayan region. Words of Hope’s Lee DeYoung says their radio broadcasts are reaching the people in these predominately Buddhist areas. “It’s very encouraging to see a program that was already attracting a good deal of response over FEBA radio by shortwave, actually greatly increasing the evident listener response.” DeYoung says while their ministry in the Tibetan area grows, they do practice caution. “Words of Hope has not directly encountered much overt trouble in that part of the world. Those who are involved in the program production are being more cautious in these days, there have been in the past year a number of instances of opposition from political groups that have religious affiliations.”