We turn next to the Middle East, where having failed to achieve a breakthrough in peace talks with Syria, the Israeli government has lifted restrictions on Jewish settlement building in the Syrian-claimed Golan Heights. Christians For Israel’s Willem (VIL-uhm) Glashouwer explains the significance of this move. “To continue building there is, as far as I’m concerned, fully within the Biblical rights that Israel has. There has never so much peace in that area since Israel is on the Golan. Before that, Syria occupied the Golan and started shooting into Israel.” Glashouwer adds that the Exobus Project has been largely isolated from the talks. However, he says there is still a need. “People should pray-that’s the motor of our work. Pray that the doors will still be open. Pray for the young Christian volunteers who are driving these buses who speak to the hearts of the Jewish people.”
A huge evangelistic crusade in South Korea is just days away and organizers are asking people to pray for the event. Manmin World Mission’s Johnny Kim says the evangelism extravaganza begins May 8th. He says because of satellite television and the internet, thousands and maybe millions, will hear the Gospel. “More than 10 countries, the people will get together to participate in this special revival meeting including Pakistan, Mainland China, Taiwan, Japan, Indonesia, Philippines, Mongolia even from (the) United States of America.” The meetings feature Doctor Lee Jay Rock, pastor of the Manmin Joongang (joong-AHNG) Church in Seoul. Kim says they’ll be using orchestra, Korean dancing and other cultural events to lead people to Christ. “Through (these) kinds of cultural events we’d like to open the hearts of the people, especially first comers and unbelievers so that they can easily except the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Elsewhere, Uganda’s Parliament wants closer scrutiny of religious sects and more restrictions on non-governmental organizations. In response to this, Baptist World Alliance reports that more than 80 pastors met recently to discuss the tragedy and to denounce the actions of a deadly cult. The pastors threatened to sue the government for harassment and infringement of their rights, fearing a return to the days of dictator Idi Amin when the churches were closed. Please pray for believers in Uganda.
We begin today’s newscast looking at recent election results in Bosnia-Herzegovina that could spell good news for mission work in the war-torn country. While nationalism still remains a prominent factor in politics, Bosnians and Croats are seeing more unity. Greater Europe Mission’s Richard Beckham says that is vital in meeting physical and spiritual needs. “When that is taking place along within a living witness, where relationships are established and in these relationships the Gospel is shared in a clear way, that is having a dramatic impact.” During the post-election days, given the dichotomy of nationalism and democracy, Beckham believes the church is also at a crossroads. “I’ve seen the church reach out to meet real human needs in acts of Christian compassion and love. It’s having a powerful impact. I think we need to learn how to combine demonstrating the love of Christ as we’re telling them about the love of Christ.”
Elsewhere, in a relative period of quiet before the storm, it appears the Islamic Sudanese government is gathering itself for a massive assault. In a recent speech, the country’s president broke off peace talks saying he had nothing to talk about except through the language of the gun. Evangelical Free Church Mission’s Jim Snyder says: “We have just recently received a report in a response to the needs that they’ve been having. They continue to have problems with famine. There is still this drape of anxiety knowing that their future is terribly uncertain.” Snyder adds that prayer is one way to encourage the believers, although: “It’s very important that we not overlook the fact that the church in Sudan is growing right now. It’s not because of what men are doing, but because the Spirit of God is using this as an opportunity to draw people to Himself. Pray for God to continue to move in the lives of these people to make an impression on the people in the north who are so far removed from Christianity.”
Celebration 2000 with Luis Palau, is a monthlong campaign in North Dakota and western Minnesota. Jose Zayas is one of seven evangelists who will proclaim the Gospel in 14 towns and cities. He likens their approach to this campaign to a soccer match. “It really is a team sport-in this case, to get the ball downfield is going to take everyone. So, in that respect, Luis Palau is the one whose the team leader for ‘Celebration 2000’. We’re trusting that the whole state will hear the voice of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the month of April.” Zayas adds that the meetings at Easter are no coincidence. “I think that the Easter season is a great time to do evangelism. People are awake to spiritual things-it may only happen twice a year, Easter and Christmas, so we’re making the most of the natural calendar while people are open to listen to the message.” Zayas asks that people pray for the team. He says right after ‘Celebration 2000’, they are headed to Shanghai, China for the next series of meetings.