Evangelicals hope that providing physical necessities will open doors to share the Gospel with Chechen Muslims this Christmas. Baptist World Aid, the aid organization of Baptist World Alliance, is partnering with members of the Central Baptist Church in Tbilisi, Georgia. They’re helping refugees forced from their homes because of the war with Russia. Funds have been provided to ship food and clothes. Additionally, a container of new winter clothing is being sent in conjunction with Matthew 25 Ministries in the United States.
Next, while children around the world get ready to celebrate Christmas with their family, many children won’t have that opportunity. Bethany Christian Services’ Sharon LaNoue (la-new) says there a many older special needs children that will spend it alone. “In the United States there are over 110,000 children just waiting for families to be identified for them. And, these tend to be older children. Because the children have been through the abuse and neglect system many of them come with some emotional difficulties.” LaNoue says they’re looking specifically for Christian families to help. “Those are the families that by far do the best with adoption. And, they see it not only taking in a child to take care of their physical needs, but really to expose them to Christ and to show on a day-to-day basis what it is like to live as a Christian.”
We begin today in Venezuela where the death toll from mudslides and flash floods could be as high as 30,000. Officials believe the staggering numbers of the victims could make the disaster one of Latin America’s worst natural disasters of the 20th century. Trans World Radio’s Jim Munger describes the scene: “Estimates are that about 90-percent of the population was affected, houses destroyed, apartment buildings that had mud and water up to the third floor, and so forth-just massive destruction. There’s state of panic, of despair-and so Trans World Radio is trying to help to bring people back together to direct them to where they can find help.” Munger says it is in this crisis, that an avenue for ministry is clear. ” There are very few voices that are giving the Christian perspective on this and so,Trans World Radio is trying to provide a perspective that helps people understand ‘What’s God doing in all of this?’ Certainly, the most important thing is our prayers. In this kind of a situation, there are some people that are saying ‘Why?'”
Next, we continue our coverage of the devastation left behind by flooding and mudslides in Venezuela. The disaster has reportedly wiped out whole towns and left thousands dead. Latin America Mission’s Ken MacHarg tells us how the churches are responding: “LAM Missionary Charles Fuller has been taking food and water to towns where thousands are homeless, while churches are relocating people whose homes have been washed away. “Churches are cooperating now to help the people who are refugees in different stadiums here in the city, trying to provide childcare for children who are having to live day after day in these places. They are also doing counseling.” The Latin America Mission says it will immediately channel funds for Venezuelan relief to missionaries on the field. Long term care will involve counseling, relocation and evangelism. For Mission Network News, I’m Ken MacHarg.”
Those serving with New Tribes Missions have also been affected by the devastation in Venezuela. The Dyck family are representatives to the government and are in danger of losing their home. Most of the New Tribes missionaries are currently serving south of the flooding but have been inconvenienced by the cancellation of international flights as the airport is being used as a staging point for rescue operations.
Elsewhere, you might call his journey a full circle–Jaars Incorporated’s Nard Pugyao (POOHG-yow) first read a translation of the Scriptures in the Isnag language of his home village nearly four decades ago. He later returned to the Philippines to bring his tribe the New Testament and now, Jaars’ latest project. “We just got back a week and a half ago from the Philippines, to do the premier showing of the Luke video that was dubbed in my heart language of Isnag. And the exciting part is, it’s a ripple effect of what God has been doing among my people in the Philippines.” Pugyao says the video’s message speaks for itself. He shared this breakthrough moment: “One of my grade school friends said to me after watching this video, ‘Why would God allow such cruelty against His Son on my behalf? Why would He love me that much? But, this video shows me that He really does love me and this video is just encouraging me and it draws me closer to Jesus Christ.’ And I said, ‘Yes! That’s what this video is all about!’ ”
Topping the news today, Communists have claimed a majority in Russia’s Duma in elections over the weekend. However, it’s not all good news for the communists. Russian Ministries Peter Deyneka explains. “A good showing by two pro-government parties, handed a victory to Prime Minister Putin in what the Kremlin called a peaceful Revolution. Though the Communists are likely to remain the largest single parliamentary faction, for the first time the Communist party will be outnumbered by the representatives of a centrist and pro-reform or pro-Yeltsin parties.” According to Deyneka, this is good news for their work as they evangelize, plant churches, and train Christians. “It would appear from what has happened here in this election that the communists will be losing some of their power. And so, it would seem that mission work, evangelistic outreach will have more opportunity into the future.”
Next, Koreans world-wide will be able to see and hear the true story of Christmas via the Internet. Manmin World Mission of South Korea is planning to webcast a special Christmas Eve Service this week. M-W-M’s Johnny Kim says the service in Seoul will feature drama, music and God’s spoken word. “I believe it is the time of the digital revolution and a lot of people are getting accustomed to the internet system. So, a lot of people are using email and computer systems. So, through this kind of system we can reach a lot of people in the world especially Koreans and a lot of ethnic groups.” Kim is asking people to spread the word. “Pray for public relations. No matter what kind of great programming we may have unless people in the world know about what’s the use of the good programming? ” Not only can people hear it at www-dot-ManminTV.org, but the service will also be opened to local people.
For the first time in Mercy Ships history two of their vessels worked side-by-side in outreach in the Philippines. Ministry officials say the Island Mercy and the Caribbean Mercy collectively handled medical, eye and dental care, but they also sent out ministry teams out into the community. The evangelism teams ministered God’s love to the local people through dance, drama, testimonies and preaching. They did so in schools, prisons, churches and on the street.
Meanwhile, officials with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board are mobilizing Hispanic Christians for missions in the United States. That encouragement came from a meeting of Hispanic Baptist leaders recently in Rockville, Virginia. Officials say the Latino population in the U-S has grown 38-percent since 1990. By 2005, Hispanics are projected to make up one-quarter of the country’s population. Because the U-S is in a spiritual crisis, Hispanic leaders are being asked to rise up and use their cultural gifts in evangelism.