Zprávy HCJB 14.3.2003


Bakhtier Tuichiev, pastor of Full Gospel Pentecostal Church in Andijan, Uzbekistan, was summoned to the regional internal affairs administration Jan. 10 and warned that if the church did not halt its activities before being registered, then "serious trouble" was in store for him. The next day Major Sumanov, deputy head of the city department of internal affairs, came to a church service and asked why the church was operating without registration. The church has been trying to register for more than a year -- so far in vain. "Of course, I have submitted the registration documents, but I am sure we will be refused," Tuichiev said. As of mid-March the church still had not been registered. Last September a group of journalists claiming to be from the BBC and CNN interviewed Tuichiev, but now he suspects they were security police. "The journalists were not at all interested in church issues," he said. "They constantly asked me what my attitude was to the president of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov. They were simply collecting incriminating material against me." Tuichiev later called the two news organizations, and both said that none of their employees had been sent to visit him. "It seems to me that the campaign against the church has entered a new phase. The interest shown in me by the internal affairs administration is no coincidence, and if we do not halt our activity, then serious trouble is in store for us." Tuichiev added that he is under National Security Service surveillance. (Forum 18 News Service)

* HCJB World Radio airs weekly Uzbek broadcasts to Uzbekistan via shortwave. An estimated 15 million Uzbek-speaking people are within range of the broadcasts. Uzbek is also one of four languages that HCJB World Radio airs to Afghanistan from an AM station outside the country.


A 300-strong unregistered Baptist community is searching for a new place to worship after being informed that they can no longer rent premises at a public library near Moscow's Tretyakov Gallery -- the place they have met for the past six years. In January the library's administration unexpectedly informed the Baptists that they could no longer use the premises and returned an advance rental payment. Pastor Aleksei Kalyashin said that "pressure from above" was the only explanation given for the termination of the congregation's verbal rental agreement, about which the library's administrator would not elaborate. A city official has confirmed that only "legal entities" can rent public facilities for religious services. (Forum 18 News Service)


Staff members from Operation Mobilization recently handed out 8,640 New Testaments during a single evening on the streets of Istanbul, Turkey, despite opposition from authorities and local people. "Traffic police, industrial police and security officers showed up, all surprised that we had official permission," said an OM spokesman. "Then journalists arrived, interviewing passersby and trying to make them complain that New Testaments were being distributed in an Islamic nation. One traffic policeman, who himself took a New Testament, said, 'Islam has done nothing for us.' Two young Muslims with long beards started shouting, 'These people are trying to infiltrate our nation!' We were soon surrounded by a large crowd, and we could give away more New Testaments than before! Some people also tried to trap us. When a 10-year-old boy came and asked for a New Testament, our staff politely refused. In Turkey it's a serious crime to try to convert youths under 18 years old. The boy's father, who showed up soon later, shook his fist at us and began shouting, 'Go to hell!'" Despite the difficulties, people appeared grateful to receive the New Testaments. "Many people started to read as they walked away, and many asked where they could go to a Christian church. One young woman told us, 'Two years ago Jesus told me in a dream that he had chosen me. I have a New Testament, and read it. I was very excited to see you on the street. How can I become a Christian? How can we stay in contact? I would like to go to a Christian church." (Friday Fax)


Religious leaders in Kenya are planning to perform a cleansing ceremony at a building in the capital where secret torture chambers were discovered last month. Leaders of the Roman Catholic, Anglican and Presbyterian churches said they needed to spiritually purge Nyayo House, a 24-story building in Nairobi's city center, of the acts of cruelty practiced under its roof in the 1980s and 1990s. Hundreds of people, including university students and lecturers, artists, politicians and journalists, are believed to have been interrogated and tortured in 12 tiny cells in the basement of the building. They were considered a threat to the government of Daniel arap Moi who was president of Kenya for a quarter of a century until leaving office in December. "We shall be disintegrating the evil spirits that were responsible for the torturing of the people," said Rev. Peter Machira of St. Mark's Anglican Church in Nairobi. "We believe that the torturers were possessed. We want to do this so that the chambers can be used for another useful purpose." The new government opened the building to the public last month, and torture survivors have been visiting the little cells, tearfully reliving their torments. Although they describe frightening scenes reminiscent of accounts of the Gulag in the former Soviet Union, some survivors say they have forgiven those responsible for the torture. The building now houses the Nairobi Provincial Administration. (Episcopal News Service)

* HCJB World Radio has worked with radio partners to install radio ministries in four cities of Kenya: Nairobi, Athi River, Mombasa and Tinderet. Staff members from the HCJB World Radio Engineering Center in Elkhart, Ind., also recently visited Kisumu to survey the situation for a potential radio partner.


Talks between U.S. and North Korean officials will not resume until the communist regime agrees to eliminate all its nuclear weapons programs. As tensions increase, World Bible Translation Center's Roger Massey says it's becoming a race against time for their workers. The center is in its final stages of readying an easy-to-read Korean New Testament. "As soon as that is typeset and printed, we expect that to move across the country, and eventually even up into North Korea. We have had some contact with some North Korean Christians who are eager to see it as well." Massey expects the New Testaments to be ready for distribution by this summer. "Pray that the underground church would be able to distribute these New Testaments into places where they're needed the most, and that they will fuel the work of God that is already going on there," he said. "Most of all, pray that God would protect this whole endeavor -- to get it printed and into the country." (Mission Network News)


The U.S. Senate passed a bill banning partial birth abortions the morning of Thursday, March 13, by a 64-33 vote. House passage is anticipated this spring, and President George W. Bush has said he will sign the bill into law. Supporters say the bill outlaws a barbaric procedure that is tantamount to infanticide -- a baby is partially delivered, stabbed in the head, and then born dead. Opponents say the bill is a "sneaky move" to clamp a wider ban on other types of abortions, and they and plan to challenge the bill once it becomes law. Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, said his group will now work to ensure passage of a partial birth abortion ban in the House of Representatives. He predicted that the measure would end up before the U.S. Supreme Court. In that case, Sekulow said, "We will work aggressively to defend this law in court -- a law that is not only necessary, but eminently constitutional as well." In a statement, Bush called partial-birth abortion an "abhorrent procedure that offends human dignity." He commended the Senate for passing the bill, calling the action an "important step toward building a culture of life in America." (Religion Today)

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