Elsewhere, New Tribes Mission is reporting a sad development in the ministry in Mexico. At a recent community meeting, the missionaries were voted out of the Caborachi community. The complaints were unfounded; the real issue was the Gospel and the simplicity of Christ’s life in the believers. New Tribes’ missionaries will be allowed to stay until June. Pray for the team and the believers, that they will continue to stand firm in the face of this persecution.
The crisis in Mozambique headlines today’s news as more than one-million people have been effected by flooding of historic proportions. And, it’s not over as another cyclone is bearing down on the country. International Aid of Spring Lake, Michigan is getting involved. Agency spokesman Jerry Kitchel. “International Aid is going to be entering at the point where we can begin to provide medical supplies and emergency items. We will do that working in partnership with existing missions that are actually in the country in addition to sending shipments. So it will be on the two prong approach that we’ll respond.” Kitchel says this is an open door for sharing their faith. “By being there to help people in this hour of desperation we’re able to not only meet them at that physical level, but at the same time to be able to minister to them at the emotional and spiritual level. And, so it’s really a holistic approach.” To help with this desperate situation call 1-800-251-2502.
Meanwhile, another major outbreak of ethnic and religious violence in Nigeria continues to cause devastation among the people. As a result, Reuters is reporting that the states have been ordered by the government this week to stop pursuing the implementation of the strict Islamic Sharia law. Legislators, ministers and governors have been sent to their home regions to explain the agreement. The violence began when Christians began demonstrating against Sharia and revenge attacks followed.
Satellite technology will be the tool used to get Christian radio programming into Muslim North Africa. Media Director for Arab World Ministries Jim Giesler says while they’ve used Christian radio for 30 years to share the Gospel, satellite delivery is a first for them. “We’re working on setting up a team in Gibraltar in partnership with HCJB and the team’s goal is to start off with about six hours a day and maybe in a year or two get a big enough staff to do a whole 24 hour live program.” Giesler says the radio programming will be beamed to satellite television receivers. He says up to 300-million people will be able to hear the Gospel. “They have been very little missionary efforts. The governments don’t allow missionaries to preach openly, so it’s an area that really is unreached. We hope that this will allow us to get a very strong witness so people can really understand Christianity.” 250-thousand dollars is needed before they can go on the air in September.
We continue our broadcast with a look at a continuing rumor circulating via e-mail that has created confusion and unnecessary concern for a West African missionary. Mark Kelly, with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board says on April 20th, 1999, Mike Hutchinson was involved in a car accident that killed a 16-year old boy. Kelly says: “Mission supporters are e-mailing prayer concerns to other intercessors, and in the process, spreading a rumor that Mike Hutchinson, who was a Southern Baptist missionary in West Africa, is about to be tried for murder and in danger of being hanged. Like a lot of rumors, this one contains a kernel of truth, but the majority of facts in it just aren’t true.” Kelly adds that these rumors can be detrimental because: “It’s wasting a lot of time, a lot of energy, a lot of prayer concern is being generated that just really could be better directed toward real, urgent needs that are current.”
Headlining today’s news, reports are now indicating that more than one-million people have been displaced because of historic flooding in Mozambique. Baptist World Aid’s Paul Montecute says this is the worst flooding ever recorded in that country. “We talk about double whammies, well this is almost a triple whammy because they had the floods first of all, then the cyclone came in and because the cyclone went in land into Zimbabwe the water has now gone to the rivers, which of course now flows back through Mozambique. So, the flooding is going to continue before it begins to go down.” Montecute says BWA will be providing water purification supplies and malaria medication. He says this could open doors to the Gospel. “When you care for people in Christ’s name there of course is a response. The important this at the moment is to try and get as much help as we can to these people as quick as we possibly can. Helping local Christians to help people in their own community is, I think, where Christians come to the floor because they can really express the love of Christ in what they’re doing.”
Meanwhile, increasing tensions in Kosovo isn’t stopping one mission agency from reaching out to these predominately Muslim people. Greater Europe Mission’s Maria Waldsmidt says they have two projects. One is reaching the Kosovar refugees in Germany the other is taking place in northern Kosovo. “There’s a couple hundred thousand of Kosovars that have been in Germany for quite a long time and will be returning to Kosovo this summer. And so, our goal is that they would hear Christ here. We have a crusade this month focusing on that. And the other part is we’ve started a series of projects in Northern Kosovo. It combines humanitarian aid with the goal of a church plant.” That aid is in the form of housing construction. Waldsmidt says people need to pray for peace in the region. “We have a couple of American churches that are planning on coming this summer and Americans coming to work with us (and Germans). And, of course, they’re hesitant to come if the situation is uncertain. It creates a lot of the fear on the people themselves. They’ve gone through so much.”
At least 11 international aid organizations are withdrawing from southern Sudan following a rebel ultimatum over assistance to the war-ravaged region. The pullout interrupts a majority of the aid operations and comes at a time when food is scarce prior to the major planting season. Voice of the Martyrs’ Todd Nettleton says they are still reviewing the situation. “It seems to be that they want control over what aid is going in and where its going…so, we are still trying to figure out exactly what this is going to mean to our work in Sudan. I think it’s premature to say one way or the other. It could mean that we don’t work there or it could be just a small bump in the road.” Nettleton says the ministry is committed to helping persecuted Christians in the area, but: “If, by following all of these guidelines that the rebels want to set down, we’re unable to help persecuted Christians, then how can we help the church and help the Christians there, and if we can’t, what do we need to do differently?”
Elsewhere, medical missionaries are branching out to reach isolated villages in northern Thailand for Christ. Southern Baptist volunteer teams of American doctors and dentists are traveling to the unreached countryside to mix evangelism with their medical work. After treating the people during the day, the team holds worship services that shares the Gospel with the people in the villages. The outreach has been a success because the teams met physical and spiritual needs.
Next, the field of medical missions is ‘booming’-that is to say, it would be, if there were enough missions doctors available. According to Dr. Ken Jones, a 20-year veteran on the field, the need for workers outweighs the numbers available. Jones says medical missions is critical in many places in order to begin ministry. And that is where the problem lies. “I think one of the big problems is getting missionary doctors is getting increasingly difficult. In this country, many people, when they finish medical school, have large debts and it seems once they get established, it’s just very hard because I think, of the advances here and the slow advances overseas to get people willing to go there.” Jones says fortunately, the field is changing because of: “I think short term missions has been a great help. I know several young people that went out during their medical school or nursing training, saw the filed, and did go back as career missionaries.” Jones is staying at D&D Missionary Homes in Florida until he is dispatched as needed