Zprávy HCJB 23.11.2003 - 29.11.2003


Muslims went on an anti-Christian rampage in Egypt Friday, Nov. 7, burning and looting homes in Al-Ayat, 30 miles to the south of Cairo. Their only complaint was that local Christians wanted to convert a small building they own into a church. Just after 8 p.m. Muslims converged on the Christian quarter of Girza, a village near Al-Ayat. They burned down four homes belonging to Christian families while looting and destroying six more. They also razed eight shops and torched the fields of eight additional families. Eleven Christians were injured, including an 18-month-old baby; five persons were admitted to hospital. Police did not arrive on the scene until most of the damage had been done. The melee began shortly after the end of the Muslims' Friday-evening prayers. Then there was a power outage, initially only in the Christian area, but then it spread to the entire village. That's when the mob of more than 5,000 Muslims descended, armed with sticks and containers full of either gasoline or paraffin. Among the buildings destroyed in the frenzy was the one the Christians had planned to turn into a church -- even the foundation was damaged. In addition to standard building permits, Egyptian law requires presidential approval to build a new church. This comes from a 19th-century Ottoman regulation called the Hamayouni Decree. It's a slow bureaucratic process, often taking years, and may not end in success. To repair, renovate or expand a church, permission is needed from local governors. (Barnabas Fund)


Acknowledging a common calling in Scripture ministry, International Bible Society (IBS) and the Bible League (TBL) have joined forces to more effectively take the Word of God to the world. Dean Merrill, IBS vice president of international publishing, and Rev. Joseph Owens, TBL's executive director for Africa, recently signed a distribution agreement that allows TBL to use IBS Scripture translations in its ministries in Africa and South Asia. Through the agreement, TBL has access to 24 different IBS African language translations and 15 translations for South Asia. The agreement is the first of its kind for TBL and will primarily impact its ministries in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa. "The agreement with IBS means more Bible-less people in Africa and India will receive Bibles and New Testaments," Owens said. "It will also increase our efficiency by reducing the cost of printing Scriptures." For IBS, the alliance will aid efforts to "get IBS translations into more hands more quickly," Merrill said. "We are pleased when ministries such as TBL commit to use our Scriptures in meaningful, effective outreach." TBL's first order from IBS is for the recently translated Luo New Testament for Kenya which IBS will launch in early 2004. TBL, located in suburban Chicago and founded in 1938, is one of the world's largest evangelical, nondenominational Scripture placement agencies. It partners with local churches worldwide to train and equip Christians in using the Bible to make disciples and establish new churches. (International Bible Society)


Protests in the Republic of Georgia that resulted in a new government could have a positive impact on mission outreach, says Bob Hoskins from a ministry called Book of Hope. A "velvet revaluation" forced the resignation of President Edward Shevardnadze, allowing Nina Burdzhanadze to take power. Elections are planned within 45 days. Hoskins says the ministry's work in the country hasn't been easy. "There have been some radical elements in Georgia within the Orthodox Church that have strongly opposed us. And the appeals we've made to the government to help us in that situation have gone unanswered. Perhaps the new government will be more sympathetic to what we would call a more democratic approach." More than 100,000 copies of the Book of Hope have been distributed, with 100,000 more on the way. Although optimistic, Hoskins still has concerns. "When you've got these various factions, there's always a possibility of civil war that would make it very difficult for us. But if the new leaders keep their promises and truly establish democratic policy, eliminate the corruption, then I'm hopeful." (Mission Network News)

* HCJB World Radio works with a local partner ministry to produce Christian programs in the Georgian language and broadcast them to the region each week. HCJB World Radio also worked with Hosanna and local partners to produce the dramatized New Testament in Georgian through a project called Faith Comes by Hearing.


Nearly a month after three suspects were jailed for severely injuring a Turkish Christian distributing "missionary propaganda," a court in northwestern Turkey has ordered one of the attackers released. Metin Yildiran, president of the local chapter of the right-wing Nationalist Movement Party, was released by a panel of judges at the Orhangazi Criminal Court of First Instance on Tuesday, Nov. 18. Newspaper reports said social pressure on the court resulted in the release, and that 1,000 "ultra-nationalist" youths crowded around the Orhangazi courthouse during the hearing. Yakup Cindilli, 32, was hospitalized after the Oct. 23 attack in which he sustained heavy blows on his head and face. He went into a coma during his second day at Bursa State Hospital where he remains in intensive car, "stabilized" but still unconscious. The next hearing on the case is set for Dec. 17. From a Muslim family, Cindilli had reportedly become a Christian during the past two years through his interactions with Alo Dua, a prayer hotline ministry staffed by local Turkish Christians. (Compass)

* Staff members from the HCJB World Radio Engineering Center in Elkhart, Ind., installed a 2-kw transmitter with local partner Radio Shema in Ankara, Turkey, in early 2003. This was a joint project with Words of Hope.


An American English teacher at an Istanbul university has filed a 40.5-billion Turkish lira (US$27,500) slander case against a Turkish newspaper for publishing a series of false charges against him. Hans Chabra, 40, was accused by the right-wing Halka ve Olaylara Tercuman newspaper of doing "missionary" work this past summer while employed by the state as a teacher of preparatory English at Istanbul's Marmara University. The tabloid demanded that Chabra be fired from his job and deported from Turkey because of his involvement in evangelistic activities. The teacher, originally from Seattle, Wash., has worked in Turkey for the past 11 years. Chabra was detained briefly by Eskisehir police on July 9 when a local shopkeeper complained that he was offering Christian books to passersby. However, when Chabra was questioned by the university's law professor, who read over the Eskisehir police report as well as Chabra's statement, he was told he had not broken any laws. "The law professor even said that missionary activity was not a crime!" Chabra said. (Compass)


Capitalizing on the impact of its recent visit with the Council of Churches in Cuba, an international U.S. publisher is preparing to send 150,000 picture Bibles to more than 30,000 Sunday school classes throughout the country. Pastors and seminary students will also receive 12 books from Warren Wiersbe's, "Be Series," one of Cook Communications International's most popular collections of Bible studies. Cook President David Mehlis said, "While we provide resources to countries unable to produce their own Christian materials and to people at risk, the heart of our ministry is to enable the church in each culture to produce its own biblical material as well as to train its people for church leadership. In every country in the world in which we partner, this is our eventual goal. Cuba, with its rich literary history and growing church, provides unique opportunities in the coming decade." (Assist News Service)

© Copyright 2003 - HCJB World Radio - Colorado Springs, CO USA - btc@hcjb.org


The evening of Tuesday, Nov. 18, a crowd of Muslims tried to enter a girls' school in the town of Kazaure in Nigeria's Jigawa state where a pupil had allegedly "blasphemed" against Islam. When they were prevented from doing so by police, they rampaged through the town, torching 13 churches, 40 businesses and many Christian homes. Muslim shops were also looted as the mob grew further out of control. The crowd had gathered outside the school because they were unhappy with what they considered to be the lack of action against the pupil. They attempted to gain entry in order to enforce their own punishment. When police shot a 17-year-old protester in the neck while trying to protect the school, the crowd turned on local Christians and their property. Two weeks earlier the 12-year-old Christian student reportedly responded to taunts from Muslim classmates by insulting the prophet Mohammed. In other recent incidents, three students were killed in early November when Muslims stormed a private party in northeastern Nigeria's Maiduguri University where they suspected of holding a beauty pageant. Another campus incident occurred at Ahmadu Bello University in the northern state of Kaduna on Sept. 23 when a female Christian student who had been engaged in a religious argument was attacked and critically injured. (Barnabas Fund)

* HCJB World Radio, together with partners In Touch Ministries, SIM and the Evangelical Church of West Africa, began airing weekly half-hour programs to Nigeria in the Igbo language in 2000. In 2003, weekly broadcasts were added in two additional languages: Yoruba and Hausa.


Life in Iraq is becoming increasingly difficult for the estimated 700,000 Christians. Believers in Mosul in northern Iraq are facing serious acts of intimidation and violence, reported Zenit. It is believed that at least some of the violence comes from militant Wahabi Muslims, a strict Islamic sect centered in Saudi Arabia. On Nov. 11 a bomb made up of a cluster of hand grenades, was found in front of a Catholic school in Mosul. It was defused before it could explode, but the school was forced to close for more than a week. Also last week, the residence of the Syro-Antiochian bishop was shot at with an assault rifle. Again, no injuries were reported. Threats also have been posted on a website proclaiming, "The veil should be worn and the honorable teachings of Islam that have come to us from ages past must be adhered to. We are Iraqis and Muslims; we will not tolerate sin. If this announcement is not complied with we shall either inflict some unbearable punishment, kill offenders, kidnap them or destroy them in their homes with fire or by bombing." It is unknown whether there is any connection between these threats/ attacks and the increasing violence against the occupying forces in Iraq, but these were clearly directed specifically against Iraqi Christians. (Voice of the Martyrs/Barnabas Fund)


Officers from the State Security Ministry in Turkmenistan recently closed down a Sunni mosque because one of its leaders refused to put a copy of the Ruhnama on the same stand as the Koran during Friday prayers. The Ruhnama (Book of the Soul), which officials have likened to the Koran or the Bible, is President Saparmurat Niyazov's book of spiritual writings and plays a significant role in his massive cult of personality. It is compulsory reading for schools and the wider public. All imams in large mosques are required to put the Ruhnama alongside the Koran during prayers and are required to incorporate prayers for Niyazov into regular prayers. Sources say that most imams reluctantly comply for fear of being punished or jailed. When the leader of the mosque refused to do this, declaring that it would contradict the teachings of Islam, he was taken in for days of questioning. Officers banned him from attending the mosque and from holding any position at any other mosque. They then closed down the mosque and put locks on the doors. The mosque was respected especially for its education work with children. Many mosques and churches have been closed by Turkmen authorities in the past five years. (Forum 18 News Service)


Cholera is a deadly disease that frequents dire situations, increasing the despair of warlike conditions. World Vision Malawi has established a core research team in an effort to stamp out cholera as a disease kills many children and the elderly every year in the country. The team plans to conduct its research in southern Malawi next week. The mobilization comes in response to news that a cholera epidemic had started with 77 cases and one death reported in the southern district of Machinga. The research means local World Vision staff members are going back to basics to find out all factors about cholera and what teams should do to combat the disease effectively. They will work with both government and non-governmental organizations. Through this effort, mission personnel hope to alleviate some of the physical suffering in the area, ultimately leading to witnessing opportunities. (Mission Network News)

* In partnership with African Bible College, HCJB World Radio helped plant a Christian radio station in Lilongwe, Malawi, in 1995. The station airs programs in Chichewa and English. Staff members from the HCJB World Radio Engineering Center in Elkhart, Ind., also installed FM transmitters at stations in two Malawian cities, Blantyre and Mzuzu, in 2000.


A British ministry called Walk Like Jesus Walked will launch an evangelistic training program in January called Urban Warriors in partnership with Yeovil Community Church in Somerset, U.K. Mark Bowness, director of Walk Like Jesus Walked, commented, "Urban Warriors is about equipping and releasing people into mission. Therefore, the course will be for youth workers, web designers, graphic designers, musicians, writers and community workers as we seek to see young people fulfill the calling that God has placed upon their lives." Urban Warriors is looking for 15 team members who will commit to training from January to July 2004. The church already runs a successful year-out program, but doors have opened for the teams to get into more schools, skate parks, nightclubs and people's homes. (Assist News Service)


The economy and rising healthcare costs are having an impact on missions outreach. Since missionary support is tied to those costs, support isn't cheap. Frank Severn of Send International says rising healthcare costs have forced many missionaries to seek additional support. "As we compare our healthcare costs with the market locally, we are still lower, but there is just no way to keep it down if we're going make sure our people can be adequately covered if they have to come back to North America for emergencies and those kinds of things. We've had to raise the healthcare part of our support across the board." Severn says donations have been down the last couple of years due to the down economy. That means some projects have been under funded, including a construction project at Kiev Theological Seminary, a scholarship fund for Bible students, and a mission to unreached people groups. Even if the economy rebounds, it will take time before missions giving improves, he says. "As I look back on 20 some years now of leadership in missions, giving in the Christian circles is up to two years behind the economy. So I think it will take awhile for giving to turn around." Severn says while funding is important, prayer is needed even more. (Mission Network News)

© Copyright 2003 - HCJB World Radio - Colorado Springs, CO USA - btc@hcjb.org


Eritrean police arrested and jailed another Protestant evangelical pastor on Nov. 23 in the town of Mendefera, taking him and seven of his church members off to prison. "The police are treating them like criminals," local sources reported. "They are in prison only because of their faith." A second new arrest of 10 young women from various Pentecostal churches has also been confirmed this week. The women are all incarcerated at Sawa, a military training camp. Earlier this month, two women were released from the Assab military prison. They had been jailed for the past 21 months. Fourteen other women soldiers, along with 63 men, are still being held at Assab where authorities have used torture, isolation and cruel threats to try to force them to retract their evangelical beliefs. According to lists compiled by local Protestants, at least 334 evangelical believers in prison for their religious beliefs in nine known locations across Eritrea. (Compass)


Police in Hyderabad, India, have effectively closed down a local church, reports Sam Vinton of Grace Ministries International. The believers have been without a place to worship since Nov. 10 after some Hindus complained that they didn't want a Christian group meeting in their neighborhood. "The police have given eviction orders to our church," he says. "They have not been able to find any place to rent because, again, the owners are Hindu or they ask for exorbitant prices. The Christians are pretty shaken up. This is the first time that they've ever had any kind of thing like this happen to them. They can sense a real persecution." In spite of the lack of a meeting place, the teams reported that 10 Hindus became believers this month. "The Lord keeps working in spite of this. It's difficult to sort all this out. All we do know is that the Christians sense very strongly that they are being marked as people to persecute." (Mission Network News)

* HCJB World Radio-Australia's new shortwave site Kununurra airs 6.5 hours of daily English programming across South Asia, including India. Two half-hour programs in Urdu, airing Monday through Saturday, went on the air in July, and plans are being made to launch Hindi programs. A radio training center for South Asia has been established in New Delhi. In partnership with FEBA Radio, HCJB World Radio also airs weekly Christian programs to eastern India via shortwave in three languages: Bhojpuri, Chattisgarhi and Mundari.


As rockets rocked several high profile buildings, including the Oil Ministry in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad Friday, Nov. 21, evangelical relief agencies said they will stay despite ongoing violence that already saw a reduction of Red Cross and U.N. staff. The announcement came on a day that 8 rockets fired from donkey carts hit the Ministry and soon after six other rockets slammed into the Sheraton and Palestine hotels, where many foreign journalists and diplomats used to stay. An official of the evangelical relief organization Food for the Hungry said the recent combat activity will not stop their projects. "Food for the Hungry is known for going to the hard places. And, as long as we are assured that our staff or our partners will be safe we will continue to go to these places," said representative Tamara Dutch. "We have distributed food to families in both Baghdad and Mosul." Food for the Hungry and its partners have helped a little over 2000 families in the two cities. Baptist and other organizations have also made clear they will continue with relief efforts at a time when church leaders report a hunger for both the gospel of Christ and aid in the war torn nation. (Assist News Service)


A Christian ministry is helping bridge the gap between the rich and the poor in Nicaragua. Michigan-based Worldwide Christian Schools has received approval to build and operate a Christian school in Managua. The school will serve students in kindergarten through the 9th grade, and will target Nicaragua's growing middle class. Steven Geurink of Worldwide Christian Schools explains the school's mission of reaching the middle class, and its unique approach to that goal. "The school is more than just a Bible class every day. It looks at Christian education and the effect of the gospel in all areas of the curriculum," Geurink says, "and it looks to integrate the gospel of Christ in all areas of science, math, geography and so on." A ministry spokesman says the school's approach is "really quite a new concept" in the region's education system, but he believes it will be effective, especially in targeting a specific segment of society for impact through Christian education. The Managua school is a joint effort with the Timothy Project and Project Nehemiah. Nicaragua's National Christian Academy will oversee the school, which is expected be built next spring and open by late summer or early fall. (Religion Today/Agape Press)

* HCJB World Radio works with partner ministries in two cities of Nicaragua. Radio Capilla Sin Paredes (Radio Chapel Without Walls) in Managua receives programming from ALAS, the ministry's Latin American satellite radio network with more than 100 outlets in 18 countries. Staff members from the HCJB World Radio Engineering Center in Elkhart, Ind., also have provided technical help to a station in La Trinidad.


In China trouble is facing many Christians who want to reach out to children in that country. Johnny Li is with Open Doors with Brother Andrew. They have created a Children's Bible that is effectively introducing young people to Christ. However, Li says China's constitution makes this type of outreach difficult. "You can not preach, evangelize or baptize anyone who is under 18 years old. They know that if children know the Lord, that's dangerous for China. So our guys risk their lives." Li says the need for children's Bibles is great. "It's a beautiful children's Bible with about 150 stories. Up to now, Open Doors brought more than 1 million of these children's Bibles to China. But we still have a long way to go because China has 500 million children who are under 18 years old." (Mission Network News)


More than 20,000 college students, missionaries, and church and campus leaders will gather for Urbana 03, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's 20th Student Mission Convention. The event will be at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Dec. 27-31. Urbana Director Jim Tebbe says, "Students in the 21st century will be the greatest missionary force the world has ever seen. Urbana helps students find their place in God's global mission." The theme for this convention is "Your Kingdom Come, Your Will Be Done." "Missionaries don't advance God's Kingdom, they reveal it," Tebbe says. "Urbana will shed a lot of light on God's global mission." Dr. John Stott, author, theologian, and missionary from the U.K., will open the convention with a talk on radical discipleship. Each morning students will participate in small-group Bible studies and hear Bible teaching on the Gospel of Luke in the general sessions. In the evening they will be challenged with talks on lordship, evangelism, cross-cultural conversion and missions. During the afternoons, delegates can choose from 300 different in-depth topical seminars and interact with missionaries from more than 325 mission agencies, graduate schools and seminaries. (Assist News Service)

© Copyright 2003 - HCJB World Radio - Colorado Springs, CO USA - btc@hcjb.org


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