Day three of our investigation into the status of the church in Tibet is bring some sobering information. MNN’s Greg Yoder is traveling there with International Aid and files this report. “Peter, today we discovered just how difficult it is to do minnistry in this country steeped in Buddhism and is occupied and controled by China. International Aid’s Ralph Plumb explains the difficulty. “You have multiple challenges. The shear distance and remoteness of this country. The imposed Chinese restrictions on all levels of society and operation. And then a very, very small Christian presence in a dominate Buddhist presence all of which call for a great deal of prayer.” Plumb explains why this country is so important to International Aid. “The Tibetan people are one of 132 gateway people groups that still need to be reached with the Gospel. They call them gateway groups because they’re influential throughout other tribal areas.” Greg Yoder, Mission Network News, Tibet.”
Next, a harassed Turkmen pastor is due to go on trial today. Compass Direct says Pastor Rahim Tashov fears the case against him will center on the Sunday School program he provides for children in Turkmenistan. Believers are asked to pray over the increasing persecution being reported. Over the past few months children and their parents have been harassed by police, several members of the church have been fined and threatened, and the church has tried unsuccessfully to seek registration.
Due to the conditions facing believers in India, the agency we spoke with about our lead story on today’s broadcast has requested that they remain anonymous. They have also requested that Mission Network News not put the text of the story on our website. Thank you for your understanding.
Elsewhere, the International Bible Society is reporting that Nepal is more open than ever before to the Gospel. IBS’ PLN Murthy (murt-ee) says that he has heard the reports of persecution against Christians, but feels that much of the difficulty lies in understanding the people there. “People within the country can do evangelism very openly because every Nepali citizen has a fundamental right to exercise their own religion and also their free conscience. Nepali Christians can easily do the outreach projects, but the country has strict regulations about foreigners preaching the Gospel.” Murthy says while things are going well for their projects, they still need the support from the body of Christ. “The best way to pray is to ask God to anoint the Scriptures that are being distributed right now. There are over two million homes located on the Himalayan mountaintops and that’s where we are trying to present a New Testament to every home.”
Meanwhile, day one is over as Mission Network News looks into the status of the evangelical church in autonomous region of Tibet. Greg Yoder is traveling with International Aid and files this report. “The church in Tibet is barely alive in this country that watches religious workers very closely. Yesterday, International Aid’s President Ralph Plumb had preliminary discussions with a Christian agency located there. Plumb says they’ll assist the enterprise development outreach become more effective in reaching an unreached people group. “In particular the Kham Tibetans. We are told that there are only currently seven believers out of a total population of 2.5 million. We’ve been talking about very creative things like basketball clinics because people here are just wild about basketball and a visiting group of young men or women would have an instant opportunity for personal evangelism.” Tuberculosis is tops the list right now as 70-percent of the Tibetan people have it. He’s hoping I-A can help eradicate this disease, while sharing Christ’s love. Greg Yoder, Mission Network News, Tibet.”
We begin today’s newscast with a look at the effect of the Pope’s visit to India and what it means for evangelistic work there. Grace Ministries’ International’s Sam Vinton says judging from the noisy protests from radical Hindus, it means the work for evangelicals is cut out for them. “It could just intensify the push by the Hindus to make laws against conversion. That I could see as being a possibility [as the result of his visit]. Right now, we are just going to have to wait and see if it’s going to get any worse in our ministries there.” Vinton says the stront reaction to the papal visit may have been a reflection of a shift in attitudes. “They do look at all of us being westerners. They look at Christianity as coming from the west rather than something that came from the Middle East. I think it seems like everything is being eroded. As American Christians, it behooves us to count our blessings and see what kind of a blessing are we to our brothers and sisters who are suffering and being able to pray for them and to support them in any way possible.”
The Shalom Protestant Church of West Indonesia was recently vandalized and destroyed by fire. Voice of the Martyrs reports that hundreds of young men descended on the town last week and began destroying the church and its meeting building, threatening anyone who tried to stop them. Local authorities were unable to intervene and firefighters were not allowed to extinguish the fire. VOM reports this is the second major attack on the church in the last four years.
Next, an evangelical relief and development agency is stepping forward to help the leprosy victims in western China. Mission Network News’ Greg Yoder files this report from China. “International Aid is traveling through China to see how they can help indigenous ministries become more affective. One way is helping a Christian organization treat the Yi people who are suffering from Leprosy. I-A President Ralph Plumb. “We really feel that there a medicines that we can provide as well as experience in integrating rural health – barefoot doctor type of programs — with a Christian witness. It’s going to be a little trickier with the Chinese officials. This particular region is not accessible to westerners and so we’re going to have to work through Chinese partners at first.” Plumb says despite receiving death threats, this Christian worker needs more resources to assure more people hear about Christ. Reporting from Chengdu, China, Greg Yoder, Mission Network News.” Tomorrow Greg will take a look at ministry in Tibet.
Compass News Direct is reporting that Azerbaijani authorities have yet to enforce a deportation order concerning eight foreign Christians. The group was arrested for attending a worship service at one of Baku’s legally registered churches. Currently, the eight Christians from Norway, Finland, Korea, Iran, Colombia and Mexico remain in the capital city, despite lapsed deadlines. Although 80-percent of its population is Muslim, there are more than 22-hundred Azeri Christians who are active believers.
Meanwhile, the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention is asking that believers continue praying for missionaries in war-torn Burundi. IMB’s Mark Kelly explains why. “One of the church leaders was discovered missing November 2nd, and people are afraid he may have been imprisoned. At least three truckloads of men and male teenagers were taken away and they weren’t expected to be seen again. There’s just a lot of turmoil in the country. People are afraid that there’s much, much worse things on the horizon.” Kelly says people need to pray not only for the missionaries there, but also because: “The civil war situation there has gotten worse. Things in the country have gotten very difficult. Officials have told missionaries David and Cathy Brandon that they have to leave the country, and so, the Brandons are planning to leave Friday, November 12th.”