Zprávy HCJB 9.6.2004

   IRAQI CHRISTIANS BEGIN FLEEING COUNTRY AS VIOLENCE INCREASES At least 14 Iraqis and one American soldier were killed in two car bomb explosions that rocked separate cities Tuesday, June 8, adding to anxiety among the country's minority Christians, many of whom are reportedly fleeing the troubled nation. Church officials claimed that Iraqi Christians "are voting with their feet" by leaving amid fears that the country will become an undemocratic Islamic state under the new government. Rev. Ken Joseph Jr. explained that the June 30 deadline for transfer of power to a temporary government will be accompanied by a temporary constitution that reads, "Islam is the official religion of the state." He added that the failures of the Christian community to receive a position on the executive council and only one ministry post -- the Ministry of Emigration -- in the 36-member cabinet are more reasons why Christians are leaving Iraq. In addition, Christians object that a Muslim imam preached a sermon and said a prayer at the ceremony while leaders from Iraq's centuries-old Christian community were not invited, Christian World News television reported. More than 2.5 million Assyrian Christians live in Iraq. (Assist News Service) ERITREAN AUTHORITIES ARREST YET ANOTHER EVANGELICAL PASTOR Pastor Tesfatsion Hagos of the Rema Evangelical Church in Eritrea is the latest church leader to be arrested in the country. He was incarcerated on Thursday, May 27. More than 400 Eritrean evangelicals of minority denominations are now imprisoned for their faith. These include teenagers, children and the elderly. Prison conditions have been described as "appalling," and believers face torture with the aim of forcing them to renounce their faith. Amnesty International reports that many Christian prisoners are incarcerated in metal shipping containers brought in from the ports to hold the overflow of prisoners. There are also "secret prisons" -- mostly overcrowded, unhygienic underground cells. One form of torture is known as the "Jesus Christ." The victim is stripped to the waist and stood on a block with hands tied to a tree branch. The block is removed, leaving the victim suspended just slightly above the ground in a crucifix-like posture. Beatings are inflicted on the bare back. The Eritrean government has warned leaders of the evangelical minority not to report on their suffering. However, word of atrocities continues to leak out. (Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin/Compass) 'G8 PRAYER INITIATIVE' FOCUSES ON WORLD LEADERS AT SUMMIT Pastors, ministry leaders and intercessors are standing in the gap for a gathering of leaders from eight of the world's most powerful nations that started Tuesday, June 8, in Georgia. About 20,000 police and federal agents have been assigned to patrol the streets, beaches and waters off Sea Island, Ga., to provide heightened security for the Group of Eight (G8) summit that runs through Thursday. President George W. Bush and the leaders of Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy, Canada and Russia are taking part in the event. Meanwhile, the U.S. Strategic Prayer Network and the Institute for Global Affairs, a Christian organization based in the U.K. and Canada, have organized the "G8 Prayer Initiative" consisting of unified prayer and worship groups from across the state. Organizers said dozens of prayer networks have been organized involving tens of thousands of intercessors mobilized to pray specifically for the attending G8 leaders, the decisions they will make and for peace throughout the world. "God is calling His church to take her place within a global arena," said Jacquie Tyre, coordinator of the Georgia Strategic Prayer Network. During the G8 summit, believers and church leaders from around the world will attend worship and prayer summits running simultaneously in Atlanta, Brunswick, the county seat for Sea Island and Savannah. (Religion Today/Charisma News Service) ISLAM MAKES GAINS IN SIERRA LEONE AFTER 14 YEARS OF CIVIL WAR Fourteen years of civil war in Sierra Leone has left the country in shambles and forced many Christians to leave the country. With the limited number of Christian organizations helping to rebuild the country, it's opened the doors to Islam. "The U.N. deployed 17,500 peacekeepers, mostly from Pakistan, Bangladesh and India," says Bryon Morgan of Christian Resources International (CRI). "This was a good thing, but everywhere the U.N. forces were deployed, mosques were built -- 9,000 altogether." CRI is countering this trent by providing resources to the local church. "There are no Christian printing presses in or around Sierra Leone," Morgan adds. "So the church has no printed material to teach or train with, and the pastors have no curriculum or Bible study aids." (Mission Network News) MINISTRY OPPORTUNITIES TO ABOUND AT OLYMPIC GAMES IN ATHENS With the opening ceremonies of the 28th World Olympics in Greece just two months away, many evangelical ministries are preparing to use the event as a springboard for the gospel. Men for Missions, for example, is finalizing details on a major project to take place at the Games, says spokesman Warren Hardig. "We have an evangelism team leaving this Thursday for Athens. While it's illegal to proselytize in Greece, we're going over to do what we can." Men for Missions a part of a consortium looking ahead at to future of ministry after the Games end. "We're working with other ministries in Athens before, during and after the Olympic Games," he says. " One of the things that we will be doing is handing out bottles of water. On each of the bottles there's a tract, and they can receive a free Bible. There will also be people there to talk to them about spiritual things." (Mission Network News) * HCJB World Radio has worked in partnership with Hellenic Mission Union International to establish a radio studio in Athens, Greece. MISSIONS SYMPOSIUM AIMS TO HELP DEVELOP NATIVE AMERICAN LEADERS The North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies will bring together leaders of mission organizations, theological institutions and North America's indigenous leaders. The third Missiological Symposium will be at the Salvation Army's Crestmont College in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., Sept. 23-25. This year's theme is, "Education: Credentials, Competence, Learning for Understanding." The symposium is designed to address topics of concern in Native North American ministry, mission and theology related to evangelism, discipleship and leadership development. Terry LeBlanc says the institute desires to create a "training approach to theology and biblical study that comports more clearly with native learning styles and world-views, and develops theological partnerships with the other cultural communities of Christian faith." (Assist News Service)

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