Next, a pastor’s conference in India left hundreds of church leaders full of hope and encouragement. Mission Network News’ Greg Yoder has been on assignment all week in Andhra Pradesh state in India. “Nearly one-thousand pastors are heading back to their villages today, excited about evangelism, and ready to encourage their church members to be missionaries. Sammy Tippit of God’s Love in Action completed the 5-day Andhra Pradesh pastor’s conference on revival and evangelism on Saturday. Pastor John Joseph of Hyderabad says because of what he learned, he’s going to be sharing the Gospel of Christ despite the persecution. I have been waiting at the feet of the Lord and praying and decided ‘why not?’ I go to those areas to comfort and encourage my own brethren in Christ…and again, to remind them to love our enemies, to win them–to pray and win them to the Lord. Church burnings, the beatings of pastors and the killing of an Australian missionary are just some of the atrocities brought against Christians in recent months by Hindu militants. Pastors say this conference came at a strategic time in their lives, giving them renewed vigor to lead people to Christ at any cost. Greg Yoder, Mission Network News, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, India.”
And, an evangelical mission team is wrapping up their visit to Indonesia this week, following the most recent World Council of Churches conference. It was there that Indonesian pastors gave grim reports of the continuing destruction of churches and violence in the country; a report that deeply concerned other church leaders. In response, they are sending a team that will be doing assessment work as well as offering pastoral help and general support to the locals. They’re expected to report on both how Indonesian churches are responding and how they’re being perceived. They will also be meeting with senior government ministers, including Indonesia’s President, Mr. B.J. Habibie.
Our top story today comes from Sierra Leone, where fighting in Freetown has disrupted life. Lutheran Bible Translators’ Jim Laesch (lash) says although the sporadic battles have destroyed many buildings and taken many lives, they are thanking God for His protection. “The eastern portion of the city had a lot of rebel activity and that’s where a lot of the fighting, burning and destruction has been. We’re thankful that those that work with us in translation and literacy programs, to date, are known to be safe.” Laesch says their work has been temporarily suspended, but not halted. He asks that believers continue to pray. “We’re thankful that our office has been spared so far from any kind of destruction or looting. We know of other churches and mission groups where things have been lost. People, for the most part, are all displaced. They’re without anything. We are mobilizing to give some help to our workers and partners in the country.”