We begin today in Mozambique as two days of sunshine is allowing flood relief to get into the country. International Aid’s Sonny Enriquez is there, surveying the needs. He says Malaria is becoming an incredible problem so they’re raising money to help. “This is the biggest need there is, casting its big shadow in the village camps. When the floods started the was an initial report of 300 cases of malaria in just one camp. Today, after a few weeks it has jumped up to 4,905.” Enriquez says this is near epidemic proportions. He says cholera is also a problem. Enriquez says the church is responding. “Christian witness is very, very active here. The churches are very much involved. And, in fact, it’s enhancing the unity and the solidarity of the churches. The go beyond denominational boundaries and just reaching out together to those who are in need.” Call 800-251-2520 to help.
Meanwhile, The Christian and Missionary Alliance is reporting an attack on Todd and Debbie Adams and their three young children in West Africa. Three armed men in a marketplace hijacked their vehicle last Thursday. The thieves drove off with Todd trying to rescue two of the children, who were eventually pushed out of the car. Thankfully, there were no serious injuries. Todd says while they were separated: “My wife was able to express the reason that we are here in West Africa is to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We were able share that we believe that God is faithful and while we don’t understand His plans and His purposes at times, He’s the source of our strength and of our joy.” Adams asks that people pray not only for their continued work, but also for their healing. “There’s a theological knowledge that God is there, and He is caring for our needs. We see that and we recognize that, but our emotions are pretty raw, and it’s difficult to bring those in line with what we know are the truths of God’s character.”
The government of Turkmenistan has refused the application for the Bible Society to provide a legal means for local churches to obtain needed Scriptures. New restrictions were implemented to disqualify the group from legally filing. This is the only country of the former Soviet Union which has not allowed for the development of a Bible bookstore or the Bible Society. Police are continuing to raid Christian churches and homes seizing Bibles, hymnbooks and other Scriptural material.
Next, Christians are being urged to pray for North Korea. According to IDEA News, a Korean pastor is accusing the Communist government of committing genocide of its own people. Nearly 100-thousand people are said to be in concentration camps without food. The pastor who wishes to remain anonymous says anyone caught with a Bible is dealt with as a South Korean spy and shot immediately. According to secret service records, 400 Christians were executed last year.
Topping today’s news, groups sending aid into the flood-ravaged Mozambique are asking for help to increase their shipments. The aim is to ensure that those who’ve lost homes and farmland can survive the immediate crisis until the next harvest. Operation Blessing’s Dick Kohl explains how they are rising to the challenge. “We’ve located a donation of cough medicine that we are sending over-we also know that they need food, so we’re putting in the same container with the cough medicine, about 70-thousand meals. We’ve also put together a package of medicines, one for cholera and one for malaria.” Kohl explains the phenomenon that occurs during tragedy. “The people in Mozambique are just like us, and if they are low, they’ve lost their homes, they’ve lost loved ones, they are sick, this is the time in their life when they would be receptive to hearing the Gospel message. A disaster like this gives us a wonderful opportunity to reach out and share the message of Christ’s love.” Kohl says right now their most desperate needs are cash and prayer.
Next, hundreds of people came to Christ in Ethiopia as evangelistic meetings were held along the Sudanese border. Evangelist Sammy Tippit says as many as 100-thousand people heard the Gospel and more than 65-hundred people came to Christ. Tippit says many of them were Sudanese. “There were 2,000 people from that border region who came for the sole propose of coming to the evangelistic meetings. Many of them came to know Christ. The exciting thing about that is these people spill back over into Sudan where you can not have evangelistic meetings and they can take the Gospel that they’ve heard and received back into Sudan.” Camera crews taped the meetings and Tippit says they hope to translate it into different languages. “So, we are going to lay this down and then we’re going to provide to the believers the video of the crusades so that they can have videos all in these villages all throughout this whole region. We’ll be able to impact all of Africa.” Tippit’s raising 31-thousand dollars for that effort.
Twleve Chinese Christian leaders were in the United States recently to talk about ways the church in the west can help the church in China. Erik Burklin of China Partners says the symposium saw a new openness from members of the China Christian council. “In the past we’ve always felt like it was a closed door, or at least there was careful scrutiny of who could go to China and do work over there. At this symposium is was very evident that the China Christian Council is more and more trying to open its doors to the west to seek help from their western counter parts.” Burklin says evangelism is successful in China, but they need assistance in discipleship and leadership training. “There is, on the average now, one ordained pastor for every 10,000 Christians and that’s just those that they can count with in the registered church. So, you can see there’s this huge need right now for training emerging Christian leaders and pastors.”
Elsewhere, the Turkmen secret police have just deported a Baptist couple and “Compass Direct” reports that other leading members of the Baptist church are being forced to leave as well. After being held in prison for over a month, Anatoli Belyayev (ah-na-toh-lee bel-ya-ev) and his family were forcibly placed on a flight to Russia. A Baptist source in Moscow feels that many of the non-native church community will likely be deported from Turkmenistan, where other religious activity is illegal.
We begin today’s newscast with a look at Sharia law in Nigeria and its impact on the church there. President of Open Doors USA Terry Madison says the number of states in that African country that favors Islamic law concerns him. “The northern half of Nigeria is predominately Muslim. The southern half is predominately Christian. Sharia law has been introduced in a number of the northern Muslim states, but in those northern states there are minority Christian communities and it is in this context that some of the violence has taken place.” Madison says his prayer is that Muslims and Christians can live together without violence. Open Doors is holding seminars to help. “These seminars present ways in which you can love your Muslim neighbor and how you can live an authentic Christian life in front of them and with them and be a good neighbor. You should always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have. But, do this with gentleness and respect.”
Next, Nigeria’s worst cycle of ethnic and religious violence in 30 years continues to flare up in pockets of the country. The decision to introduce Sharia law provoked bloody clashes between Christians and Moslems, and set up reprisal attacks. To douse the tension, country officials urged a suspension of the controversial measures. What all this means to ministry, Book of Hope’s John Young explains. “We’ve gotten government approval for distribution there in Nigeria-I know that they’ve had a difficult time, but I think right now is a real turning point in their history. There’s a lot of hope and they’re really looking forward to the future, especially with the ministries and the missionaries that we’re working with in Nigeria.” Young says they are optimistic about reconciliation. “I think that what was in the past, hopefully will stay in the past. We are in the process of doing a book for Nigeria and are planning on sending about a half million copies of the book to the folks that are on the field there. We’ve got full government approval to do it.”