Zprávy HCJB 6.8.2006 - 12.8.2006

   Asi 30 osob - úředníků, muslimských mládežnických aktivistů a fundamentalistických muslimů - přerušilo v neděli 16. července probíhající bohoslužby v baptistickém sboru Batu Zaman na západní Jávě v Indonézii. Požadovali uzavření sboru. Trvali na tom, že v převážně muslimské oblasti nesmí být žádný kostel a chtěli vidět povolení ke konání bohoslužeb. Jde o poslední baštu církve v okrsku Ciparay, která ještě vytrvává po řadě uzavření kostelů v Bandungu, hlavním městě západní Jávy. Pastor Mathias vysvětluje, že sbor se pokouší získat povolení od zahájení činnosti v roce 1998, ale místní úředníci „se obávají rozpoutat společenský neklid.“ Dodal. že sbor obdržel ústní svolení k činnosti a získal si uznání různými společenskými rozvojovými projekty jako kurzy šití, výuka práce s počítačem a podporou 50 chudých žáků bez ohledu na náboženské vyznání. „Později to ale začalo vypadat, jakoby místní obyvatelé byli proti nám popichováni,“ řekl Mathias.
   Příslušníci vyšších indických kast často brání čerpat vodu z vesnických studní a vodních cisteren tzv. nedotknutelným (Dalitům), kterých je v Indii asi 300 milionů. Misionáři Gospel for Asia (GFA) mají úspěchy při vrtání nových studní, které jsou pak přístupné každému, „bez ohledu na vyznání a společenské postavení,“ říká prezident GFA K.P.Yohannan. Věří, že voda staví lidi na stejnou úroveň. „Jeden náš místní misionář v Radžastánu řekl, že ‘Ježíšova studnice’ v jeho působišti sbližuje všechny lidi, i ty, kteří jsou jinak nepřátelští,“ uvádí Yohannan. „Je to jakoby studnice bořily neviditelné bariéry.“ GFA má v 10 zemích Asie asi 16 000 domorodých misionářů. (Evangelical News).

About 30 officers, Muslim youth activists and fundamentalist Muslims disrupted worship services at Batu Zaman Baptist church in West Java, Indonesia, Sunday, July 16, demanding the church close down. They insisted that no church should be seen in a Muslim-dominated area and demanded to see the church’s permit allowing worship services. This is the "last church standing" in the Ciparay sub-district following a series of church closures in Bandung, the provincial capital of West Java. Mathias, the church’s pastor, explained that the church has attempted to obtain proper permits since opening in 1998, but local officials "were afraid to trigger social unrest." He added that the church received verbal consent to operate and earned acceptance by providing various community development projects such as sewing and electronics training and offering 50 scholarships to needy students regardless of faith. "But lately it seems like the locals were provoked against us," Mathias said. (Evangelical News/Open Doors)

* HCJB World Radio has worked with local partners to establish more than 14 local Christian radio stations across Indonesia since 2004. Broadcasts from HCJB World Radio-Australia’s shortwave station in Kununurra also encourage listeners nationwide. In addition, HCJB World Radio has helped with relief efforts since the Dec. 26, 2004, earthquake/tsunami and subsequent quakes that devastated parts of Indonesia.


The high court in India’s Rajasthan state extended the interim bail of Emmanuel Mission International (EMI) founder M.A. Thomas along with his son, EMI President Samuel Thomas. The bail was extended until Nov. 30 on two cases involving the alleged distribution of a controversial book called Haqeekat which is supposedly derogatory to Hindu gods. Anticipatory bail was granted to the two men in a third case against them based on charges that EMI’s orphanage illegally confined children. In contrast, EMI attorney Mohammad Akram asserts that officials with the social welfare department were not taking proper care of the children. "Last week several boys and girls fell sick, but the officials merely gave them painkillers without sending them to a doctor or hospital for proper check-up," he said. "Even the water tank that stores drinking water has not been washed for a long time which is one of the reasons why children are falling sick." (Compass Direct)


An execution date of Saturday, Aug. 12, has been set for three Christian men who have been convicted of involvement in the long-running Christian-Muslim conflict centered near Poso in eastern Indonesia. While the three men have admitted their involvement in the conflict, large numbers of Muslims also participated without any charges directed at that side of the religious fence. International Christian Concern (ICC) found that between 1998 and 2003 entire Christian villages were attacked with government munitions and burned using government fuel trucks. Muslims both initiated and led attacks at the local levels, including the June 19, 2000, incident where more than 200 men, women and children were massacred in one church alone. "There are so many Muslims in the Poso area with blood on their hands that the governor of Central Sulawesi, where Poso is located, recently conveyed to the community that in order to attain peace it was necessary to implement a ‘general amnesty’ for those implicated in the Poso case," said ICC President Jeff King. Approximately 10,000 Christians were killed and 1,000 churches burned down across Indonesia from 1998 to 2003 without any Muslims being charged. (Christian Newswire)


Iranian Christian Issa Motamedi Mojdehi has been jailed for abandoning Islam while officially being charged with drug trafficking. Secret police officials told Motamedi Mojdehi, 31, that he will remain in jail, facing possible execution unless he renounces Christianity and returns to Islam. Mojdehi converted to Christianity seven years ago and came to the attention of authorities when he and his wife, Parvah, chose the Bible name Micah for their son, culturally separating him from Islam. One officer warned Mojdehi that it might take "several executions" before Iranians understand the consequences of apostasy under Islamic law. Widespread drug use lends credibility to the false drug charges in Iran which has the highest drug addiction rate in the world. The jailed Christian and his wife attend a local house church known as the Rasht Free Evangelical Church. In addition to their infant son, they have an 8-year-old daughter named Martha. (Compass Direct)


The state education system in the Eastern European nation of Belarus continues teaching anti-religious, and in particular, anti-Protestant ideas. One 2005 textbook includes Christians of the Full Gospel Pentecostals in the text section called "other neo-cults" alongside Satanists and members of Aum Shinrikyo who were responsible for the 1995 attacks on the Japanese subways. Another Belarusian language text includes six pages on the dangers of "sects," including Baptists who have "ignored state obligations such as the registration of marriages and births" and "been characterized by fanaticism and hostility to dissenters." On Nov. 10, 2004, the leaders of the major Baptist, Seventh-day Adventist, Pentecostal and charismatic unions in Belarus wrote to leading state representatives in protest at the curriculum’s "false information about Protestant communities," demanding its withdrawal from schools. As a result of the texts, Protestants have seen new resistance among young people who have been exposed to these negative images of religion. (Forum 18 News Service)


Reports of severe persecution of Christians in western Ethiopia are trickling to the outside world by local sources who often deliver news by foot to Voice of the Martyrs Canada. Reports of subsistence crop destruction, the razing of homes and the forced use of a Christian woman’s land to construct a mosque as part of a ‘mosque every 2 km’ plan have emerged in the last three months. Most shocking is the incident on July 5 when ex-Muslim Shek Hamed Adem was severely beaten and hanged on a cross. The crowd yelled, "Jesus was hanged on a cross and beaten, and as His follower you also deserve the same punishment!" Team members from Voice of the Martyrs believe the persecution is the result of continued church growth. (Mission Network News)

* Staff members at HCJB World Radio-Australia’s studios record Oromo language programs that air to 28 million speakers in Ethiopia and Kenya via FEBA Radio’s shortwave facilities.


Saudi Arabia’s defense minister, Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, said in a recent press conference that the Muslim nation will not allow churches to be built on its land, the birthplace of Islam. The sultan said foreigners are allowed to worship freely in their homes, but the construction of church buildings "would affect Islam and all Muslims." The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has previously complained about Saudi Arabia’s absence from lists of countries that severely limit religious freedom, saying religious liberty "does not exist" in Saudi Arabia. The sultan came down squarely on the side of Islam saying, "This country was the launch pad for the prophecy and the message, and nothing can contradict this, even if we lose our necks." His comments were published by Saudi newspapers and confirmed by several journalists who attended the press conference. (International Christian Concern/Pakistan Christian Post)


Religious Affairs Bureau officials in China’s Shanxi province have prohibited U.S. Pastor Dennis Balcombe from preaching at a church affiliated with the state-sanctioned Three-Self Patriotic Movement in Pinglu, later forcing the regular pastor to leave as well. Balcombe is an active missionary in Asia and contributed to the 1980s revival in Henan province. Sun Tianfang, head of the Pinglu Religious Affairs Bureau, attempted to force the church’s pastor, Hu Qinghua, to cancel the invitation. When Hu refused, it prompted surprise visits and harassment from Sun early in July. Eventually the church elders were compelled to cancel Balcombe’s appearance, but stood together in support of Hu who was placed under house arrest within the church. Religious officials eventually forced a meeting on July 25 to "discuss" Hu’s leaving the church. Elders and other church members again supported the pastor, outlining his many achievements. Religious Affairs Bureau officials listed several violations against Hu and forced him to leave the church. (China Aid Association)


India’s 300 million Dalit people, often referred to as "untouchables," are often prevented from using village wells and water tanks by upper-caste people who deny them access. Gospel for Asia (GFA) missionaries are successfully drilling wells that are open to everyone at churches across India. Called "Jesus wells," they provide water to everyone "regardless of religion or social class," says GFA President K.P. Yohannan. He believes water is a great equalizer. "One of our native missionaries in Rajasthan commented that the ‘Jesus well’ in his community is bringing all of the people, even those who were unfriendly, together," Yohannan said. "It’s as if the wells are breaking down invisible barriers." GFA has more than 16,000 native missionaries in 10 Asian nations. (Evangelical News)


All but two of the nearly 100 outlets affiliated with New Life Radio (NLR), a Russian satellite network operated by Christian Radio for Russia with HCJB World Radio as the principal partner, have been forced to go off the air temporarily.

"NLR had to move to another satellite to distribute its programs," said Mark Irwin, director of HCJB World Radio’s Russia/Commonwealth of Independent States subregion. "This is due to the fact that the satellite distribution slots on the satellite we were using were all bought up by the Russian government."

At the end of July NLR learned that it would have to move from one satellite (Eutelsat W4) —the main satellite that carries entertainment programs in Russia—to another satellite (Intelsat 904) "in just a matter of days," Irwin explained. He added that going back to the Eutelsat satellite may still be an option, "but the costs appear to be prohibitive."

At present only two affiliates are broadcasting NLR programs—an FM station in Volgodonsk, Russia (operated by Volgodonsk Baptist Church), and KICY in Nome, Alaska. Local technicians in Volgodonsk made the necessary changes immediately while KICY never went off the air since it downloads the programs via high-speed Internet.

Most of NLR’s outlets are off the air until changes can be made to their satellite dishes. Each unit needs to be repositioned and new reception equipment installed in order to pick up the signal from Intelsat.

"These dishes are scattered all across Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic states and parts of Europe," Irwin added. "The problem is getting to these sites. It could take up to a year before they’re all changed. This means curtailing a lot of effective ministry."

The biggest impact could be on the downlinks that have been installed in Russian prisons, he said. "NLR has been used to preach Christ across Russia and Eastern Europe and was making an especially big impact as a ministry tool in dozens of local prisons. The prison ministry could come to a halt temporarily."

Other outlets are in remote areas of Siberia—in tiny drug rehabilitation centers, at distant military sites or faraway churches and Bible schools. "Making all the necessary changes is a mammoth task, and our staff is very busy," he explained. "And for some of the more remote sites, the outlets may actually be outside the footprint of the new satellite. We don’t know yet."

Irwin said moving to the new satellite could also result in a "90-percent reduction in listenership" for certain subscribers who pick up the programs on their personal direct-to-home satellite dishes.

"If somebody is receiving a big satellite television package and New Life Radio is on that package, as was the case, and then NLR goes to a totally different satellite, the listener will have to make a choice, ‘Will I give up my television package so I can follow NLR to a different satellite?’"

He added that this is a "really sensitive time in Russia" with current events straining relations between Moscow and Washington, D.C., and countries in Europe. "Political events and developments between Russia and Western governments sometimes affect ministry in Russia," Irwin said.

Since 1931 HCJB World Radio’s passion has been to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Through the practical tools of media and healthcare, the mission is equipping the voices and hands of the growing church. By working with local believers around the globe, ministries have been established in more than 300 communities in more than 100 countries as partners focus on blessings their communities.

Together with these partners, HCJB World Radio broadcasts the gospel in more than 120 languages and dialects. Thousands of healthcare patients are also meeting Jesus. Believers are being trained as missionaries, pastors, broadcasters and healthcare providers. HCJB World Radio’s desire is to integrate discipleship with practical tools to equip the growing church around the world and see lives transformed. (HCJB World Radio)


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