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Story number 1 for 4 Feb 1999

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We begin today in Sierra Leone where Christian workers have suffered due to the fighting that has continued in the area. Christian Reformed Church World Missions’ Paul Kortenhoven says a new rebel offensive has unleashed a wave of violence that has swept up some of their workers. “Unfortunately, one of our own, a Sierra Leonian employee, of our mission called CES, Christian Extension Services, was killed by gunfire by the rebels on the 23rd. We had another staff member, our senior accountant, a man in his sixties, who was attacked by a machete, trying to kill him as well, but he survived. In the last month, it’s been a horrendous scene in Freetown.” CRWM has tried unsuccessfully to get supplies into Sierra Leone. When asked what else Christians could do to help, Kortenhoven said… “I think that they should be reminded to just pray for a cease fire and pray for peace-but also remember the thousands of Christians in the country who are trying to survive on bare minimums.”

Story number 2 for 4 Feb 1999

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Next, a food shortage in Tanzania is causing problems for the people. Grace Ministry International’s Sam Vinton, Junior says last season’s harvest was destroyed by too much rain…but things look better this year. “Hopefully, in the next four or five months, when the next crop comes in, they’ll be able to do well because we understand that the rains are not as bad this time of the year as they were last year. Because of the hunger, people are going out in gangs, attacking other people by stealing what they have. This hunger business has turned some of the people into actual bandits.” Vinton says oddly, the famine has led to evangelism. “It has given us opportunities where our missionaries have been able to go into some of the villages and especially where we have pastors, and try to help them out-it has opened up the possibilities, I think, of people listening to us more because they see that the church and the mission are concerned about their physical needs.”

Story number 3 for 4 Feb 1999

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Death threats have become more commonplace in Indonesia during the last several months of chaos. However, The Mustard Seed’s Gary Parker says that doesn’t mean they’re taken lightly. “We take them seriously. These are Indonesians threatening Indonesians. We know, last year for example, we had three attempted attacks on our main campus in South Kalimantan…so, these are very real threats that they receive.” Parker asks that other believers pray and find a way to get involved. He expects that the crisis will strengthen the testimony of the church in Indonesia. “Indonesian Christians have always been people who’ve demonstrated their love by the way that they help their neighbors, in spite of all the difficulties. I’m sure that that is going to continue.” The recent violence adds to the mounting lawlessness sweeping the area which is grappling with the country’s worst economic and political crisis in thirty years.

Story number 4 for 4 Feb 1999

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Meanwhile, a radical Hindu group known as the R-S-S is calling for legislation that would essentially end Christian missionary work in India. Over the weekend R-S-S national secretary H-V Seshadri (suh-SHAH-dree) called for the special legislation saying the increasing number of Hindus converting to Christianity has to stop. Seshadri says legislation needs to be in place to control conversions by Christian missionaries. However, he justified reconversions calling it a homecoming for the Hindus from other religions. The proposed legislation doesn’t have much support.

Story number 4 for 4 Feb 1999

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Meanwhile, a radical Hindu group known as the R-S-S is calling for legislation that would essentially end Christian missionary work in India. Over the weekend R-S-S national secretary H-V Seshadri (suh-SHAH-dree) called for the special legislation saying the increasing number of Hindus converting to Christianity has to stop. Seshadri says legislation needs to be in place to control conversions by Christian missionaries. However, he justified reconversions calling it a homecoming for the Hindus from other religions. The proposed legislation doesn’t have much support.

Story number 1 for 3 Feb 1999

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We begin today in Sierra Leone where evangelistic ministry to children is being hampered by continued fighting. Christian Reformed Church World Mission’s Paul Kortenhoven says thousands of children have been kidnapped, indoctrinated and pressed into fighting. That puts them on the path to murder. (KORTENHOVEN: 11) The worst of the killers and butchers are always the younger. And so you literally have 12, 13 year-old mass murderers running around. Our staff member was killed by a teen age soldier last week. (BROOKS: 04) CRWM has also had workers attacked. Kortenhoven says efforts to turn those teens around have been hindered. (KORTENHOVEN:21) A group called Children Affected by War, our group and a group called The Christian Health Association of Sierra Leone, the Mennonites, all of us are involved in trauma counseling and reconciliation, but because of security right now we’re unable to be on the ground and our staff can’t either. There are mechanisms to help, but the fighting has got to stop before we can really do something.

Story number 2 for 3 Feb 1999

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(BROOKS:13) Next, the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan opens what promises to be a volatile and violent season of political campaigning that culminates with the election of a president in Indonesia. We asked The Mustard Seed’s Gary Parker how this might effect evangelistic work. (PARKER:20) Pray particularly for the Indonesian election, because that is going to be a crucial election that will determine the kind of country Indonesia becomes. If the radicals take over, there will be violence for three to five years at least. If the moderates manage to retain control, then Indonesia may be able to recover and get back on a path for development. (BROOKS:04) Parker says the unrest brewing has also made some areas more dangerous than others for Christians. (PARKER:18) Two weeks ago, our director for South and Central Kalimantan, told me that he had been visited by an extremist from another religion who had suggested to him that his school and church might be burned down and he probably would be killed if he didn’t stop his Christian witnessing.

Story number 3 for 3 Feb 1999

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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is sharing Christ’s love through aiding earthquake victims in Colombia. The group is working with Lutheran World Relief and area churches to purchase and distribute food for those in need. Additional funds are being used for the most critical needs including shelter, medicines, transportation and clean-up material. Relief organizations continue to find it a challenge due to the poor conditions of area roads.

Story number 4 for 3 Feb 1999

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Throughout Africa, thousands of Christians are still without a Bible in their own language. Many are forced to rely on their memories after hearing the Gospel on the radio or through an evangelist. That situation has many mission groups actively working toward remedying the problem. SIM’s Mitch Mittower is in Benin, West Africa with a team of Bible translators. He says their work is involved and sometimes long in coming. “Nowadays, if everything can fall in place, we’re saying seven years-the language is pretty simple to break down and get into written form…and then from there, to be able to get all the phrases matched up.” Mittower says it is at this point where the process gets complex. “If someone has never heard of snow, you have to find an equivalent for it. In Benin, they would use something as white as cotton or something like that…but the process of just checking and re-checking is what takes the most amount of time.”

Story number 1 for 2 Feb 1999

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(BROOKS:12) We begin today in Colombia where looting and violence over relief has marked the days following an earthquake in Armenia. However, International Aid’s Fred Vandenbrand says they are confident their relief shipment will be fairly distributed because…
(VANDENBRAND:16)…we always contract with a partnership down there…and The Christian Mission Alliance is the one where airlifted items are going to go to. We never ship until we know that the shipment will be in the hands of a reliable source…and usually it’s a church or a church agency…(BROOKS:05)…which often leads to a chance to evangelize as well. Vandenbrand says the relief shipments began Monday. (VANDENBRAND:18) We’re sending an air shipment to Armenia and that’s going to be about 25-thousand dollars worth of medical supplies…and then right on the heels of that one, we’re sending a 40-foot sea container with approximately 90-thousand dollars worth, again, mostly medical supplies.