Zprávy HCJB 4.6.2004

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   LAOTIAN AUTHORITIES JAIL 12 CHRISTIANS FOR REFUSING TO DENY FAITH Twelve Laotian Christian believers have been imprisoned in recent weeks for refusing to give up their faith in Christ, reported World Help. Three believers were recently forced to appear before police authorities in the Phin district of Laos and arrested. Nine others were also imprisoned in the past five weeks. In each case, the police gave these Christian leaders and church members the opportunity to deny their faith in order to avoid prison, but none complied. Authorities at the Phin District Prison were so upset at the believers for refusing to give up their faith in Christ that they forced many of them into around-the-clock hard labor with only a single meal per day. Others have had their hands and feet bound in wooden stocks -- the treatment received by the country's most hardened criminals. Family members who were allowed to visit their relatives in prison reported these abuses to a ministry partner who asked to remain unnamed for security reasons. (Mission Network News) 4 COMPASSION-SPONSORED CHILDREN IN HAITI DIE IN FLOODING Compassion International reported that four of its sponsored children in Haiti drowned in flooding that ripped through the country and neighboring Dominican Republic in late May. They were among more than 2,000 people who died in the flooding; tens of thousands of others are homeless. Earlier this week World Vision announced that 35 of its sponsored children also died in the disaster. Compassion has 13 projects in Haiti, considered the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Compassion spokesman Ephraim Lindor says the ministry has expanded its assistance program in Haiti to help the victims. "We are collecting information to know exactly how many families have been affected. We want to know how many gardens were lost and how many animals have been wiped way by the flood so we can address those needs through a program called the Family Disaster Program." Lindor says the flooding could have been much worse if it hadn't been for God's intervention. "When we look at the situation we are very lucky that only four of our sponsored children died." (Mission Network News) CRISIS DEEPENS IN WESTERN SUDAN AS CHURCHES ARE DESTROYED Seventh-day Adventist churches in the Abu Garajil and Juruf districts of the Darfur region of western Sudan have been destroyed during the escalating humanitarian and security crisis unfolding there, church leaders say. "Our members have been displaced. They are without food, clothing or shelter to sleep under," said William Kabi Oliver, a pastor and district leader for the denomination in the area. Paul Yithak, secretary for the Adventist Church's regional headquarters in northern Sudan, said the situation in Darfur has been tragically excluded from peace talks aimed at ending two decades of civil war that has left an estimated 2 million people dead. "This is an extremely difficult and tragic situation for our people," said Adventist pastor Peter Roennfeldt said. "Of course we are saddened to hear of the destruction of these church buildings -- however, we are even more concerned about the injury and death suffered by the people." (Adventist Press Service) WORLD VISION CONTINUES WORK IN NEPAL DESPITE POLITICAL UNREST World Vision's work in Nepal continues despite growing political unrest there. In the past two months, supporters of five political parties have held violent demonstrations in Kathmandu, the capital, and other major cities. The protesters want King Gyanendra to relinquish his executive powers and install a multi-party government or reinstate parliament. Meanwhile, Maoist rebels not affiliated with the opposition parties have taken advantage of the unrest and intensified their hostility against the government. Their goal is to see a secular Nepalese republic under communist rule. The fighting, which began in 1996, has claimed nearly 10,000 lives. World Vision works in the remote Nepalese districts of Jumla, Kalikot and Jajarkot -- all of which have experienced fierce fighting between Maoist insurgents and the government army. The organization provides much-needed healthcare and food assistance to these impoverished regions. "Though frequent closures have become a nuisance for travel to remote project areas," says Trihadi Saptoadi, World Vision's national director. "Our work is ongoing during these difficult times." World Vision's other projects in Nepal include sponsorship, HIV/AIDS education, environmental awareness projects and school construction. (World Vision) ARGENTINA'S WICHI TRIBE TURNS TO CHRIST VIA INDIGENOUS MINISTRY After 10 years of evangelism by an indigenous church-planting ministry, 35 percent of the 10,000 Wichi aborigines living in Argentina have become Christians. During a service held by the ministry, nearly 1,000 members of the poverty-stricken tribe worshiped in an open courtyard illuminated by only one light bulb. When the offering plate was passed, the aborigines, lacking money, gave a "love gift" consisting of broomsticks, pans, crafts and other household items. A group of 24 aborigines, including a woman with a brain tumor and other diseases, asked one of the native missionaries for shelter. Then he took them into his home and began to teach the gospel of Christ and pray for the woman -- who was miraculously healed. As a result, the entire group put their faith in Christ. "I want you to know that we continue to expand the work to reach aborigine brothers from other ethnic groups," reported the missionary. "I believe that the Lord called me to preach to my people that have not yet had the opportunity to know the Lord." (Missions Insider) * ALAS, HCJB World Radio's Latin American satellite radio network, provides Christian Spanish programming to more than 100 outlets in 18 countries. These include radio outlets in three cities of Argentina: Buenos Aires, Córdoba and Jujuy. BLACK PASTORS JOIN PRO-FAMILY GROUPS TO DEFEND BIBLICAL MARRIAGE Pro-family activists were joined by several black pastors during a press conference Wednesday, June 2, in Washington, D.C., expressing support for a biblical view of marriage. Pro-family leaders said their presence sent a strong message that traditional marriage defenders will not let homosexual activists hijack the civil rights movement for their cause. Among the speakers at Tuesday's Capitol Hill press conference were Gary Bauer of the Campaign for Working Families, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, and Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation. Several African American pastors spoke out as well, saying they represent a coalition of black churches dedicated to preserving marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Gary Bauer pointed to polls showing that African Americans "overwhelmingly reject same-sex marriage." He noted that there have been attempts by radical activists to hijack the civil rights movement in order to promote same-sex marriage, but expressed doubt that this attempt will succeed. (Religion Today/Agape Press)

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