Open Doors Australia is urging people to pray for Christians in Indonesia as they’re the targets of more violence in that Muslim country. According to ministry officials, last week, a mob of more than 400 people attacked the Doulos compound on the outskirts of Jakarta. Doulos operates a several ministries including a number of Bible schools and rehab centers. One student was killed and 13 wounded in the attack with leveled 80-percent of the compound. Police have made no arrests in the case, and some say they were a part of the violence.
While the war continues in the Russian Republic of Chechnya, missionary radio is providing a message of hope for all those involved. Far East Broadcasting Company’s Victor Akhterov says they’re targeting refugees, with the Gospel message. “We’re planning to distribute a small humanitarian package of food and a cassette with a Gospel message, not a strong one because as you understand that Chechens are Muslims and to preach the Gospel to them they see the war with Russia as a war between Muslims and Christians.” Akhterov says radio programs are also leading Russian citizens and soldiers to Christ by letting pastors talk about the issues of war. “Because everyone’s interested in that. We present the Christian point of view and people like it and people come to local churches and this is our ultimate purpose. We want people to join local churches not just to accept Christ.”
Topping the news today, a group of 30 radical Hindus have struck again in India, this time beating and attempting to kill Bible school students in Kerala state. G-V Mathai is with the India Evangelical Mission. He says students and staff at their Bible College met together for prayer this week when the attack occurred. “All of a sudden a group of people came in and cut off the electricity and they just started beating people. These people had some kind of club with nails in it. Somebody shouted and said, hey he is the principal of the college, kill him. So, somebody took a knife and stabbed him.” He survived the attack, and is hospitalized along with another teacher and student. Mathai says this is happening for one reason, people are converting to Christ. “These fanatic Hindus are so scared. They want to make it tough for all the Christian conversions. But, the Lord has been blessing the ministry and more people are coming to know Christ than any time in our country.”
Next, as despair grips parts of Eastern Europe, Christians are struggling to find material to help teach hope to the children. The answer to their needs came from New Hope International in the form of a four-year Sunday School curriculum. Hank Paulson says they asked themselves: “‘What part of society is most open to be reached?’ It is very much under 20 years of age. Very often parents, that come to the churches, that allow Christian workers into the public schools say ‘If they have any hope, any message for my children, please, let them come.'” Paulson adds they are hoping to train as many as 1500 national workers to help with the community ministry. “It’s a program that helps children develop and make Christ very much the center of their lives. It’s a commitment involved, but it’s also a lot more-it’s making followers of Jesus Christ that we are concerned about. So, we are saying ‘can we help in a strategic way to make a difference for these children?'”
Trans World Radio has just put up a fourth antenna tower on Bonaire, which will enable them to continue their work to Latin America. A new transmitter is soon to be dedicated furthering the reach of the Gospel into Cuba, the Amazon and elsewhere in South and Central America. At the same time, TWR is planning to move its Caribbean Gospel Network to South Florida, where the operations will link local Christian stations via satellite.
Meanwhile, Audio Scriptures International is using the holiday season as a time to further the cause of Christ in the United States. A-S-I’s Mark Hoekstra says the project is called Reach Out America. It’s a plan to get scripture on C-D into the hands of non-Christians this holiday. “Our objective for Christmas season was to invite American Christians to order a particular CD of the Portrait of Jesus, the greatest person who ever lived. And what we wanted people to do is look around in their neighborhood for outreach opportunities.” Hoekstra says they’re giving away this scripture CD. He says as people listen, they can’t help but come to Christ. “It gives a very clear compelling concise picture of Jesus, his ministry and the work that he did here and the purpose for his coming to earth and it also gives the Good News and the opportunity in scripture itself for people to make that decision.” A-S-I hopes to distribute 90-thousand CD’s this holiday.
We begin today’s newscast in Sudan where the country’s president has declared emergency rule as a power struggle reached a critical point this week. Words of Hope’s Lee DeYoung just returned from Sudan. He says as Christians in the south are maintaining peace the government is getting nervous. “Some Christian activities in Khartoum have been given some degree of freedom, as kind of a show case for the rest of the world, which recently have been experiencing greater persecution – greater restrictions, strictly because they’re afraid of that peace in the south is going to make it harder for them obtain their objectives.” DeYoung says that increased pressure isn’t effecting church growth. “The attacks against Christians in areas they do control have if anything not led to the reduction of Christian activity, but rather to an explosion of Church growth. When force is applied against the church it often actually leads to the opposite of the intent.”
Next, while the United States was handing over the Panama Canal, missionaries were renewing their fervor for the hearts of the Panamanian people. Missionary Mark Fuller with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board is working in small communities that have sprung up in the Canal Zone. Since 1982,100-thousand people have moved into this 10-mile area. Fuller is asking for prayer as the Canal Zone is a difficult place to minister. He says spiritual apathy, and economic depression are their biggest concerns.
“Change” is defined as an alteration, a shift or a transition from one thing to another. It is that description that has caused some Christian groups to focus their efforts on the church. The subtle movement frames Global Advance’s Dr. David Shibley’s thoughts on evangelism and the Great Commission in the 21rst century. “I think it’s very vital that we come into an important, respecting, honorable partnership with what some call the ‘third world churches’ because they are the ones that are really leading the charge in the fulfillment of the Great Commission.” Shibley thinks the American church will soon be learning about the risks involved with servanthood in the body of Christ. “I believe the Lord is going to allow us, in the American church, to become ready for this, even by tasting persecution, here in the United States as well so that we can really partner in the fellowship of Christ’s suffering with our brothers and sisters around the world.”
Elsewhere, the Flying Hospital is teaming up with Operation Blessing for a special medical missions trip to Pueblo, Mexico. Flying Hospital’s Kristin Vischer says the February trip is aimed at this area because: ” We are going to Pueblo, Mexico because it is one of the hardest hit Mexican states that just went through a recent earthquake and that earthquake caused floods. Because of a lot of infection and disease and things result in floods and stagnant water, we’re going to be going in there with a clinic.” Vischer says the people who visit the hospital during the clinics will also be exposed to the Gospel. “Our sponsor, Operation Blessing, will be having a counseling area in the clinic site where, as the people get treated, they’ll go through the counseling area. If they choose to, they can sit down with a counselor, and we’ll give them a free Bible. Also, World Reach is going to be doing some evangelistic activities.”