Zprávy HCJB 17.6.2004

   V době, kdy většina misijních organizací hledá mezinárodní misionáře pro svou práci, Greater Europe Mission (GEM) potřebuje severoamerické pracovníky, aby pomohli s evangelizací v Evropě, která patří mezi nejméně oslovená místa na světě. „Pouze 1% populace v Evropě zná evangelium,“ říká mluvčí GEM Steve Hoffman. Ve skutečnosti jsou místa v Africe a v Asii, kde církev roste rychleji než v Evropě.“ Podle výsledků průzkumu GEM bude během příštích šesti let potřeba 500 pracovníků ze severní Ameriky na dlouhodobý úvazek – a to nejen kazatelů. „Misie se v poslední době mění. Dnes máme zkušené odborníky a profesionály, kteří jdou a dělí se o svou víru.,“ říká Hoffman. „Máme lidi, kteří jsou odborníky na evangelizaci mládeže. Jiní mají znalosti v technologických oborech. Dnes jsou nezbytné dovednosti a schopnosti mnohem více, než tomu bylo v minulosti.“ (Mission Network News)
   LAOTIAN CHRISTIANS FACE INCREASING PRESSURE TO RENOUNCE BELIEFS Reports are coming to light about Christians in Laos, especially members of ethnic minorities who have been forced to renounce their faith or face severe consequences. Officials detained 12 ethnic minority Christians in recent weeks for refusing to renounce their religious beliefs, the Paris-based Lao Movement for Human Rights reported. In March, district officials in Luang Prabang province ordered 35 Christian families to renounce their faith, Christian Freedom International reported. When they refused, officials moved in with their families and threatened to stay until they complied with the demand. Just a month earlier, officials in Attapeu province issued an ultimatum to local Christians to recant, leave the village or face death, reported Christian Solidarity Worldwide. Although the constitution of Laos guarantees religious freedom, central government officials have argued that the lack of specific regulations on religious matters means that the central government has limited capacity to enforce the constitutional guarantees. This allows local officials to interpret and implement the constitutional provision as they choose. (Forum 18 News) CHINESE BELIEVER COMPLETES SENTENCE FOR HOLDING 'ILLEGAL SERVICES' Chinese believer Xu "Philip" Guoxing has been released from prison after serving an 18-month sentence for holding illegal Christian gatherings in his home. This was his fourth imprisonment as he served a total of almost eight years for his faith. He is said to be "full of joy and physically well." Hundreds of Chinese believers remain incarcerated because of their faith. Among those is house church leader Xu Shuangfu whose whereabouts and condition are still unknown. Shuangfu was arrested in Haerbin, Heilongjiang province in April. Since then family members have not been able to visit him. The case against him is reportedly being handled as a "national security" case rather than a religious affairs matter. If Shuangfu is convicted of leading a so-called "evil cult" and sharing the gospel, he could potentially face the death penalty. (Voice of the Martyrs/Mission Network News) PENTECOSTAL PASTOR ESCAPES ISLAMIC CAPTORS IN PAKISTAN A Pentecostal preacher abducted by Muslim militants in southwestern Pakistan has escaped from his captors, reported Charisma News Service, quoting Reuters. Wilson Fazal, 41, who pastors a church in the Quetta disappeared May 16 after receiving threatening letters from an unknown group of Islamists who urged him to convert to Islam or face unspecified consequences. Fazal told police that he had been kidnapped and taken to the northwestern city of Peshawar (375 miles northeast of Quetta) when he managed to escape. Further details were not available. Fazal's son, Jerry, told Reuters that a handwritten letter delivered to their home in early May warned Wilson to stop preaching Christianity. A group called Mahaz-e-Jihad (Frontier of the Holy War) sent a letter stating, "Get ready, ready, ready, or else. . . ." Instead of signature, there was a hand-drawn rifle at the end of the letter. About 70,000 of Quetta's 1.5 million residents are Christians. For years they have lived in harmony with the Muslim population even though the city is also home to hard-line Islamic militants who are opposed to religious tolerance and the U.S.-led war against terrorism in neighboring Afghanistan. The kidnapping has underscored concern among human rights groups about growing pressure on Pakistan's Christian minority. Several Christians, including foreign missionary workers, have been killed in recent Islamic violence. (Assist News Service) BIBLE LEAGUE OPENS FIRST CENTRAL AMERICAN OFFICE IN NICARAGUA The first Bible League office in Central America officially opened in Managua, Nicaragua, Saturday, May 8. At the event, pastors from many evangelical Christian denominations were introduced to the ministry's "Project Philip." This method of evangelism and discipleship provides Scriptures and training through local churches where members learn to invite relatives, friends and neighbors to small-group Bible studies. Those who attend can earn their own copies of Bible simply by completing the studies. Nicaragua is one of the poorest nations in the southern hemisphere. Operation World indicates that nearly 70 percent of Nicaragua's 1 million evangelicals were jobless in the year 2000. The national economy suffers from massive public debt, and is hard hit by natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes. "We spoke with pastors and leaders who confirmed that there are many people who do not have a Bible because they cannot afford them," said the Bible League's associate director for Latin America ministries. "In this first year, we hope to become the leading provider in Nicaragua for evangelical churches and pastors looking for evangelism and discipleship programs." (Bible League) * 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. U.K. BELIEVERS BEGIN 40 DAYS OF PRAYER AHEAD OF LONDON CAMPAIGN Prayer warriors across the U.K. have joined forces in a 40-day "Storming London with Prayer" effort June 16-July 25. This is in advance of a massive evangelistic campaign set for London July 26-Aug. 7 called, "Soul in the City." The outreach is expected to draw 15,000 young people who will have an impact on the city in various practical ways, ranging from cleaning parks to serving the poor. More than 700 partner churches have joined in the project. (News Bytes/www.londonprayer.net) EUROPEAN OUTREACH SEEKS 500 NORTH AMERICAN MISSIONARIES At a time when many mission organizations are seeking national missionaries to do the work, Greater Europe Mission (GEM) needs more North American workers to help evangelize Europe, one of the least-reached places on earth. "Just 1 percent of the population of Europe is evangelical," says GEM spokesman Steve Hoffman. "In fact, there are places in Africa and Asia where the church is growing at a faster rate than the church in Europe." GEM research indicates a need for 500 long-term North American workers in the next six years -- and not just preachers. "The face of missions has changed a great deal in recent years. Today we've got business and professional people who are going over and are sharing their faith," Hoffman says. "We've got people who are skilled youth ministry leaders. We have others with technological backgrounds. The skills and abilities that are needed in missions today are much broader than they've been in the past." (Mission Network News)

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