|Zprávy HCJB 20.8.2006 - 26.8.2006|
|NOVÝ ZÁKON V AMERICKÉ ZNAKOVÉ ŘEČI DOKONČEN|
|Deaf Missions (misie hluchých) oznámila zpřístupnění Nového Zákona v americké znakové řeči (ASL) pro příruční přehrávače - iPods a další videopřehrávače pro format MPEG-4. Překladatelé, odborníci a specialisté ASL na projektu pracovali od roku 1981 a umožnili tak hluchoněmým využívat vizuální technologii, která v době zahájení projektu neexistovala, leda v představách tvůrců. Překlad lze od Deaf Missions získat ve formátu DVD nebo VHS. (Christian Newswire)|
|V UZBEKISTÁNU NAVRŽENO ZAVEDENÍ POKUT A VĚZENÍ ZA SVĚDECTVÍ VÍRY|
|Stahující se smyčku náboženského pronásledování v Uzbekistánu ve Střední Asii posiluje i návrh Státního výboru pro náboženské záležitosti na velké pokuty a tresty vězení pro všechny, kdo svědčí o své víře mimo modlitebny. Poprvé by to byla pokuta ve výši 200- až 600násobku minimální měsíční mzdy. Při opakovaném přestupku pak vězení od tří do 8 let jak pro svědčícího, tak pro vedoucího jeho sboru. Návrh byl přednesen na schůzi náboženských představitelů a Státního výboru pro náboženské náležitosti v pátek 4. srpna v hlavním městě Taškentu. Náboženští představitelé se bojí návrhu otevřené oponovat v obavách z pronásledování vlastních sborů. Problémem je i zrušení uzbecko-arkanskaské rozvojové agentury Winrock International za nepovolenou publikační činnost. (Forum 18 News Service/WorldWide Religious News)|
|2 AUSTRALSKÝM KAZATELŮM HROZÍ VĚZENÍ ZA PODNĚCOVÁNÍ ‘STRACHU A NENÁVISTI’|
|Dva evangelikální kazatelé působící v Austrálii půjdou do vězení za hanění muslimů, pokud jejich nynější odvolání bude zamítnuto. Pakistánský pastor Daniel Scot a organizátor shromáždění Danny Nalliah z Catch the Fire Ministries byli před 20 měsíci obviněni z ‘podněcování nenávisti, opovrhování, případně hnusu a posměchu’ k muslimům, a to podle nově přijatého zákona o rasové a náboženské snášenlivosti. V souvislosti s útoky 11. září byli tehdy místní křesťané pozváni na seminář o islámu. Muslimové tam poslali své pozorovatele a později podali žalobu, že seminář podněcoval ‘strach a nenávist‘ k muslimům. Pastor a organizátor semináře byli skutečně v prosinci 2004 odsouzeni a v červnu 2005 jim bylo nařízeno, aby se omluvili. Pastoři si slavnostně slíbili, že nařízení soudu budou ignorovat, a že raději půjdou do vězení. (Religion Today)|
|ÚŘADY UVĚZNILY PŘEDNÍHO ČÍNSKÉHO KŘESŤANSKÉHO OBRÁNCE LIDSKÝCH PRÁV|
|Přední čínský obhájce lidských práv Gao Ži Šeng byl o půlnoci 15. srpna zadržen v domě své sestry v provicii Šan Dong. Místo jeho vazby není dosud známo a jeho manželka a dvě malé děti jsou v domácím vězení. V domě rodiny zůstávají rovněž úředníci Národní Bezpečnosti, aby mohli sledovat veškerou komunikaci a kontakty. Návštěvníkům pokoušejícím se o kontakt s rodinou dveře otevírá úředník Bezpečnosti za přihlížení tajných policistů. Gao nebyl v minulosti ušetřen výhrůžek a vražedných pokusů. Jeho advokátní kancelář byla od 1. ledna 2005 na rok úředně uzavřena, když čínským úřadům napsal otevřený dopis vyjadřující obavy o lidská práva. Letos v lednu ho málem přejel vůz jedoucí nepovolenou rychlostí se zakrytou poznávací značkou. Dřívější studentský aktivista z Tain An Men, Wang Dan, o Gao řekl, že je „Hrdinou Číny roku 2005“ a že „Gao je důležitým hlasem proti případům zneužívání moci a násilí na zranitelných členech společnosti.“ (China Aid Association/Assist News Service)|
|ZE SPOLUPRÁCE VZNIKL DOSTUPNÝ INVALIDNÍ VOZÍK PRO NEJCHUDŠÍ TOHOTO SVĚTA|
|World Vision ve spolupráci s kalifornskou Free Wheelchair Mission (FWM – „misie kolečkové křeslo zdarma“) hledí pomoci nejchudším invalidům. Typický kolečkový invalidní vozík, tak důležitý pro svět více než 100 milionů chudých invalidů, kteří se často jen plazí po zemi nebo jsou přenášeni, stojí stovky dolarů. Díky partnerství nyní mohou být formou darů poskytovány vozíky v ceně kolem jen 14 dolarů. Pronásledován vzpomínkou, při které se mu vrací obraz marocké ženy plazící se špinavou cestou, konstruktér a zakladatel FWM Don Shoendorfer navrhl levné kolečkové křeslo, při jehož stavbě se využívají díly běžných venkovních plastových židlí, pneumatiky z horského kola a několik dalších odlehčených dílů, takže invalida je pohyblivý s nízkými náklady. Společný projekt by měl umožnit pohyblivost nejméně 16 tisícům lidí na celém světě. FWM dává křesla a částečně hradí poštovné a World Vision zajišťuje distribuci křesel při své činnosti ve světě.|
|VŠECHNY ZPRÁVY V ANGLIČTINĚ|
| BELARUS OFFICIALS DISRUPT CHURCH FAMILY CAMPING TRIP
Officials in northwestern Belarus recently disrupted a church family camping excursion, claiming it violated health and safety rules. The camp was not an official church event and was set up on grounds belonging to a church member. As a result, the approximately 60 parents, children and friends did not believe the gathering required any special permits. Officials declared the event on Tuesday, Aug. 8, "in violation of health and safety norms." The following morning, about 10 soldiers loaded the participants and equipment onto a bus "like criminals," forcing them to return approximately 48 miles to the capital city of Minsk under police escort. Participant Andrei Frolikhin said conditions on the bus showed that authorities didn’t have the group’s wellbeing in mind. "There were far too few seats for passengers and no luggage compartment on the bus provided by the authorities for the deportation," he said. While admitting a few minor safety concerns such as the lack of a registered fire extinguisher, the group has yet to receive any official reason for the disruption. All participants attend churches belonging to the Belarusian Full Gospel Association. (Forum 18 News Service)
2 PASTORS BEATEN AT BUS STATION BY HINDU MILITANTS IN INDIA
Two pastors in northwestern India’s Rajasthan state were brutally beaten for more than an hour at a local bus station Thursday, July 13. The human rights organization International Christian Concern (ICC) recently learned that pastors Kunjuman Mathai and Suresh Bhuria were robbed and beaten with iron rods and stones by three well-known men who are linked to other anti-Christian activities in the area. The three men threatened the pastors with death if they reported the incident to police. Mathai had visible injuries on various parts of his body, including congealing blood in his eyes. He mailed a complaint to the police but is unsure if it ever arrived. Rajasthan state is regarded as one of the most dangerous for Christians. It is ruled by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which recently passed an anti-conversion law. Area Hindu groups have pledged to cleanse the state of all Christian believers. (Evangelical News)
* Radio programs in 17 languages air to India from HCJB World Radio-Australia’s shortwave station in Kununurra. The programs are produced at the ministry’s studios in New Delhi, India.
HINDU EXTREMISTS ATTACK ORPHANAGE, INJURE DIRECTOR
More than 50 Hindu militants raided the House of Hope orphanage in central India’s Chattisgarh state the night of Saturday, Aug. 5, in an attempt to force it to close. The mob, armed with clubs and bamboo sticks, beat the 35-year-old director named Suresh, threatening to kill him if he continues to work at the orphanage. The group also questioned and threatened several of the children. Suresh is receiving treatment for his injuries. Meanwhile, efforts to lodge a formal police complaint have failed. (Voice of the Martyrs)
NORTH KOREA ALLOWS FIRST RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH
The first Russian Orthodox Church in North Korea opened with an inaugural mass in the capital city of Pyongyang Sunday, Aug. 13. Vice Premier Kwak Pom Gi and other government officials attended the service. Ho Il Jin, chairman of the Korean Orthodox Church Committee, said the North Korean government will "successfully manage and operate the church," explaining that the church will boost relations between North Korea and Russia. Speculation remains that this is the only motivation for allowing the church to operate under the oppressive communist regime of Kim Jong Il that severely restricts religious practices. The U.S. State Department has listed North Korea as one of the world’s worst violators of religious freedoms, and many North Korean defectors to China have been persecuted for their beliefs. Two state-sanctioned Protestant churches operate in Pyongyang. (WorldWide Religious News)
AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE VISUAL NEW TESTAMENT COMPLETED
Deaf Missions has announced a complete New Testament now available in American Sign Language (ASL) for handheld devices such as iPods or other MPEG-4 format media players. Translators, scholars and ASL specialists have been working on the project since 1981, allowing this visual language to be available to deaf people by using technology that was only imagined when the project first started. The translation is available from Deaf Missions in a data format as well as on DVD and VHS. (Christian Newswire)
© Copyright 2006 - HCJB World Radio - Colorado Springs, CO USA
|VŠECHNY ZPRÁVY V ANGLIČTINĚ|
| YWAM PRAYER GUIDE FOCUSES ON MUSLIMS DURING RAMADAN
Coinciding with Islam’s holy month of Ramadan, Youth with a Mission (YWAM) is helping Christians focus prayer on the Islamic world with its 30-day "Muslim Prayer Focus" event. The 15th annual campaign will again include a 52-page prayer booklet with daily readings and prayer points for each day of Ramadan which is Sept. 24-Oct. 23 this year. Christians are urged to learn about, pray for and reach out to their Muslim neighbors both across the street and around the world. The prayer guide is designed to be both useful and educational, helping Christians in a post-9/11 world to avoid generalizations, fear and anger toward Muslims. "This 30-day prayer emphasis has been a remarkable global effort to focus Christians on prayer for the spiritual needs of Muslims," said Operation World author Patrick Johnstone. "Is it surprising, then, during the last 15 years there has been a corresponding rise in the number of Muslims turning to Christ?" (Mission Network News)
* HCJB World Radio reaches across North Africa, the Middle East and Europe with Christian Arabic programming aired via shortwave, satellite and local stations. The mission’s Arabic satellite network airs programs direct-to-home 24 hours a day. This region has the world’s highest concentration of personal satellite dishes.
UPDATE: CHRISTIAN CHINESE JOURNALIST RELEASED, LOSES JOB
Chinese journalist Zan Aizong, 37, who reported on the demolition of an unregistered house church in Hangzhou, China, Saturday, July 29, was released from custody Aug. 17. Zan, however, lost his job as a journalist and Zhejiang province bureau chief for China Ocean News. He was arrested on Friday, Aug. 11, for "spreading rumors and disturbing social order." Two days before his arrest, Zan received notice from his employer that he was "no longer suitable for the job." Chinese writer Yu Jie said the journalist had recently become a Christian and was baptized little more than a month ago in a Hangzhou house church. In a recent telephone interview Zan said, "As a journalist, I report the truth; as a Christian, I spread God’s love." (Compass Direct)
UZBEKISTAN PROPOSES FINES, JAIL FOR SHARING RELIGIOUS BELIEFS
In a tightening web of religious oppression in the Central Asian nation of Uzbekistan, the state Religious Affairs Committee proposed massive fines and jail sentences for those who share their religious beliefs outside places of worship. A first offense would draw a fine between 200 and 600 times the minimum monthly salary. A second offense would be met with jail sentences of three to eight years for both the offender and the leader of their religious community. The proposal was presented at a meeting between religious leaders and the Religious Affairs Committee on Friday, Aug. 4, in the capital city of Tashkent. Religious leaders are fearful of openly opposing the proposals due to the likelihood of reprisals against their congregations by authorities. Additional religious crackdowns include the shutdown of the Arkansas-based development agency, Winrock International, for unlicensed publishing activity. (Forum 18 News Service/WorldWide Religious News)
* HCJB World Radio airs 2.5 hours of Uzbek programs per week from an AM station outside the country. More than 15 million people speak this language.
AMERICAN BIBLE SOCIETY PARTNERS WITH BAND TO PROMOTE BIBLE READING
The American Bible Society (ABS) and the Christian band, Salvador (Savior), have partnered together to promote Bible reading among Hispanics. The band has invited audiences at its 200 concerts this year to attend in-depth Bible readings and receive free Spanish-language Scripture booklets featuring biblical excerpts and study guides produced by ABS. The national advocacy campaign, "La Biblia Es Mi Guía" (The Bible Is My Guide), will use prominent Latin American figures to reach cities such as New York, Miami and Los Angles with free Bible reading materials and web outreach. "Partnering with Salvador allows us to use their music ministry to entice young and old to turn to the Bible for guidance," said Rev. Emilio Reyes, vice president for Hispanic/Latino Ministries at ABS. (Religion Today)
SCRIPTURE DISTRIBUTORS TURN TO SHORT-TERM TEAMS FOR HELP
Facing the challenge of getting Bibles from the presses and into the hands of those who need it is an enduing problem made more difficult by war, natural disasters and increasing expenses. Karen Hawkins of Bible Pathway Ministries says the outreach is turning to short-term mission teams to help distribute Scriptures. "Forty-one countries are now closed to us as far as mailbags, and only airmail can go in. Most ministries, like us, cannot pay four times the cost to get a Bible to someone. But, people carrying them in and having that personal touch -- that’s really great." Bible Pathway, a systematic reading schedule that allows the Bible to be read through in one year in only 15 minutes a day, is available in 11 languages on the web. Bible Pathway Ministries is offering free CDs with the readings to anyone willing to distribute them. Hawkins will provide the resources to "anybody who wants them . . . no royalties, no copyright . . . just get them into people’s hands." (Mission Network News)
© Copyright 2006 - HCJB World Radio - Colorado Springs, CO USA
|VŠECHNY ZPRÁVY V ANGLIČTINĚ|
| MAF GATHERS GLOBAL MISSIONS TO DISCUSS STRATEGY OF 5-YEAR STUDY
Key leaders from international missions organizations around the world will gather at the new headquarters of Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) in Nampa, Idaho, Oct. 18-19, to determine how to effectively use the results of MAF’s landmark global missions study called "Operation ACCESS!". The five-year study outlines the groups of people around the world that have significant transportation, communication and technology barriers that prevent or impede their access to the gospel. "The conference will be a ‘working meeting’ of key decision-makers from missions organizations, denominations and Christian non-governmental organizations from around the world," said Dave Bochman, MAF’s chief operating officer and conference organizer. "MAF’s aim to partner with other organizations to use the study data to overcome barriers and reach the lost," he added. "But we also want to facilitate other organizations working together and the development of collaborative strategies." Operation ACCESS promises to shape global mission strategy for the next 20 years. (Mission Aviation Fellowship)
ISRAEL NAZARENES HAVE CLOSE CALL WITH MISSILE DURING SUNDAY SERVICE
A Nazarene church in Haifa, Israel, experienced a fearful moment during services on Sunday, Aug. 6, as an exploding Hezbollah missile landed just 400 yards from the church. People began to cry and scream, and one person fainted as the blast shook the building. Worshipers rushed home to see if their families and friends were safe. Two of the three deaths recorded that night resulted from the nearby explosion, although none were church members. The congregation had decided to meet despite the fighting because the previous week’s service had been a great encouragement to all. The church continues to help distribute food, toiletries and medical supplies in the tumultuous region. (Evangelical News)
2 AUSTRALIAN PASTORS FACE JAIL TIME FOR INCITING ‘FEAR AND HATRED’
Two evangelical pastors in Australia could face jail sentences for vilifying Muslims if a current appeal fails. Pakistani Pastor Daniel Scot and event organizer Danny Nalliah of Catch the Fire Ministries were convicted 20 months ago of inciting "hatred against, serious contempt for, or revulsion or severe ridicule of" Muslims under Australia’s newly implemented Racial and Religious Tolerance Act. In the aftermath of 9/11, Christians in the region were invited to attend a seminar to learn more about Islam. A regional Islamic organization covertly sent members to monitor the event and later filed a complaint that the seminar incited "fear and hatred" toward Muslims. They were convicted in December of 2004 and ordered to apologize in June 2005. The pastors vowed to ignore the court directives, saying they would rather go to jail. (Religion Today)
* HCJB World Radio-Australia operates a shortwave station in Kununurra, reaching across the Asia Pacific region with programs in 20 languages. Studios at the office in Melbourne are used to record programs in English and Oromo, a language spoken in Ethiopia.
MINISTRY CONTINUES DESPITE RENEWED VIOLENCE IN DEM. REP. OF CONGO
U.N. and European peacekeepers have evacuated foreign diplomats from the Democratic Republic of Congo following unrest related to the country’s recent indecisive presidential elections. Violence erupted between competing sides as neither candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote, requiring a runoff election. Grace Ministries International (GMI), which has ministries across the country, continues to operate despite the trickle-down effects of the violence in the capital city of Kinshasa. GMI’s Sam Vinton says Christians can have a profound impact during uncertain times. "We know the Lord is still in control," he says. "This is His world. And that can be a force of encouragement and courage." As they wait to see if civil war breaks out again, ministers of the gospel are faced with a difficult task. GMI is seeking additional funding to purchase motorcycles that will allow outreach and discipleship ministries to continue in the country despite poor road conditions. (Mission Network News)
* HCJB World Radio works with local partners in the Democratic Republic of Congo to broadcast the gospel on FM stations in Boma, Bukavu and Kinshasa. Programs go out in English, French, Kikongo Fioti, Lingala, Luba and Swahili. Weekly programs in the Songe and Kikongo San Salvador languages also air from local FM stations in the country.
CHRISTIAN SPANISH RADIO NETWORK SURPASSES 200-STATION MILESTONE
CVC-La Voz (The Voice), a Christian Spanish radio network, is celebrating the addition of affiliate stations in Chile, bringing the number of stations that carry the network’s programming to more than 200. CVC-La Voz is a Spanish-language programming service originating in Florida. Programs produced in its Miami Lakes studios are distributed via satellite to stations throughout Latin America and Spain as well as a growing number of stations in the U.S. A full range of programming including news, sports and music, all available 24 hours per day. The service includes a daily mini-program called "A Minute with Marcos" by popular singer Marcos Witt who grew up in Mexico as the child of missionaries. The addition of Chilean radio networks Conquista (Conquest) and Alas de Aguilas (Wings of Eagles) make CVC-La Voz programs available across South America. (Missionary Journalist)
© Copyright 2006 - HCJB World Radio - Colorado Springs, CO USA
|VŠECHNY ZPRÁVY V AGLIČTINĚ|
| AUTHORITIES ARREST TOP CHINESE CHRISTIAN HUMAN RIGHTS ATTORNEY
Top Chinese Christian human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng was arrested in his sister’s Shandong province home at noon Tuesday, Aug. 15. His whereabouts are still unknown, and his wife and two young children remain under house arrest. National Security Bureau officers have remained in the family’s apartment to monitor all communications and contact. Visitors trying to contact the family discovered the door was answered by a security officer while plainclothes police looked on. Gao is no stranger to threats and assassination attempts. His law firm was officially closed for a year beginning in November 2005 after writing an open letter to Chinese officials addressing serious human rights concerns. In January a speeding car with covered license plates nearly hit him. Gao was named "China’s hero of 2005" by former Tiananmen student activist Wang Dan who said, "Gao is an important voice against many of the excesses of abuse of power and violations of targeted and vulnerable members of society." (China Aid Association/Assist News Service)
1,000 COMPASSION-SPONSORED CHILDREN TO RECEIVE COLLEGE EDUCATION
About 1,000 students from poverty-stricken countries around the world will get the chance to attend college through a program run by Compassion International. The organization’s Leadership Development Program identifies young men and women previously assisted by Compassion who have shown the potential for Christian leadership. Then, with the help of sponsors, these future leaders are sent to universities in their own countries and given extensive Christian leadership training with the eventual goal of helping them to influence their churches, communities and nations. More than 300 colleges and universities in 14 countries are involved in the program. It was started in the Philippines in 1996 and has produced more than 350 graduates in the fields of education, law, medicine, accounting, nursing and engineering. "Who better to release children from poverty than those who have conquered it themselves?" said Program Director Mike Hinckfoot. (Evangelical News)
HEZBOLLAH, ISRAEL CEASEFIRE PROVIDES OPENING FOR RELIEF SUPPLIES
As the ceasefire between Hezbollah and Israel continues to hold, World Vision hopes to use the opening to deliver $300,000 worth of relief supplies that arrived in Beirut on Aug. 13, one day before the ceasefire agreement. The 37 tons of relief supplies, including water purification units, collapsible water containers, hygiene kits, medicine, three trucks and a portable warehouse, will provide relief to about 45,000 war-weary civilians. Tony Matar, World Vision’s Lebanon operations director, hopes World Vision will "finally have the opportunity to step up our relief efforts in a very significant way throughout the country." Matar is targeting southern Lebanon, where the fighting was heaviest, for the first deliveries and plans on using passenger cars and SUVs to prevent convoys from becoming military targets. "An urgent priority is to assist many of the 100,000 people in southern Lebanon who have been increasingly isolated by conflict and well beyond our reach over the last three weeks," he said. (World Vision)
PASTOR, 3 CHURCH MEMBERS BEATEN, ARRESTED FOR ‘FORCED CONVERSION’
A pastor and three church members were beaten and later arrested on charges of "forced conversion" in central India’s Madhya Pradesh state Monday, Aug. 21. Pastor K.K. Jwala of Sheopur Bible Fellowship and three members identified only as Anup, Jijo and Raju Matthew were confronted by a group of around 15 people who punched and hit them with hockey sticks at about 10:30 a.m. after the church’s worship services. The group then dragged the Christians while still beating them to the nearby Sheopur police station where the officer in charge allegedly beat Jwala again. One anonymous source reported, "Pastor Jwala has a blue mark below his neck and a pain in his ear." The four accused were released at 8 p.m. Monday but are required to appear before the court on Aug. 30. Local Christians suspect that a local legislator from the Hindu Nationalist Party is responsible for filing the "forced conversion" complaint. (Compass Direct)
* ELIMINATION OF RIVER BLINDNESS IN ECUADOR MOVES CLOSER TO REALITY
HCJB World Radio’s medical team in Quito, Ecuador, is spearheading an effort that has eliminated blindness in a menacing tropical disease that has plagued residents of isolated riverside communities for hundreds of years. The international broadcast media and medical missions organization, working with Ecuador’s Ministry of Health, Christian Blind Mission and various international agencies, said elimination of the disease onchocerciasis -- river blindness -- in the country could soon become a reality.
River blindness is caused by a parasitic worm transmitted in the bite of blackflies that breed near swift-flowing rivers. The small, thread-like worms cause intense itching, skin discoloration, rashes and eye disease that can eventually result in blindness and even death.
"Now we are really closing the margins to be able to control and interrupt transmission (of river blindness)," said Dr. Mauricio Sauerbrey who heads the Onchocerciasis Elimination Program for the Americas, based in Guatemala, one of the other countries where the disease is endemic.
Sauerbrey said his agency next year will assist Venezuela, Brazil, Mexico, Guatemala and Ecuador in writing a document declaring the "ophthalmologic morbidity" of the disease. "That means there will be no more people going blind because of onchocerciasis in the Americas anymore," he said.
According to Sheila Leech, director of HCJB World Radio’s Healthcare Division in Latin America, some 24,000 Ecuadorians in the northern region of the country’s Esmeraldas province are living in 119 isolated communities along the Cayapas, Santiago and Onzole rivers where river blindness is present. They must receive treatment every six months. Those at risk include 10,000 Chachi Indians, 12,000 Afro-Ecuadorians and 2,000 people of Spanish heritage.
"The only way to reach these at-risk people is by wooden canoes, powered by outboard motors," said Leech. "While we’re there, we also take care of other medical needs. Healthcare is a way of showing God’s love to people."
"But we also preach, minister and model the gospel to them," she added. "This individual contact gives our staff opportunities to support pastors which results in solid church growth, especially among the black population."
In 2005 HCJB World Radio was awarded the José Manrique Izquieta Medal by then-Vice President Dr. Alfredo Palacios, now president of Ecuador, for its work with river blindness.
Dr. Ron Guderian, a former HCJB World Radio medical missionary and clinical pathologist, initiated the battle against river blindness in Ecuador despite being laughed at for his initial discovery in 1976.
"At that time, river blindness was thought to exist only in Africa," he said.
Merck & Co. developed a drug, Ivermectin (Mectizan), in 1987 that was capable of killing immature forms of the parasite in humans. Ecuador received its first donation of the drug in 1990.
After 15 years of continuous treatment in the Ecuadorian communities, the results have been impressive, said Guderian. There has been an obvious decrease in the number of parasites present in the skin and the total absence of the parasite in the eye. At the same time, the number of infected flies in these communities has been reduced 10-fold. (HCJB World Radio)
© Copyright 2006 - HCJB World Radio - Colorado Springs, CO USA
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| PARTNERSHIP PROVIDES AFFORDABLE WHEELCHAIRS TO WORLD’S POOR
Working in partnership with the California-based Free Wheelchair Mission (FWM), World Vision is setting its sights on helping the world’s poor who are disabled. A typical wheelchair, critical to the world’s more than 100 million disabled poor who often have to crawl on the ground or be carried, can cost hundreds of dollars. Now, thanks to this partnership, donors can provide a wheelchair to a needy adult or child for about $14. Haunted by memories of watching a Moroccan woman crawl across a dirt road 27 years ago, mechanical engineer and FWM founder Don Shoendorfer designed an inexpensive wheelchair using ordinary plastic patio chairs, inflatable mountain bike tires and a few other parts to make lightweight, durable mobility available at a low cost. The joint project hopes to give mobility to at least 16,000 people around the world. FWM is donating each wheelchair and a portion of the shipping costs while World Vision will distribute the chairs through its work overseas. (World Vision)
MARONITE CATHOLICS ATTACK, VANDALIZE BAPTIST CHURCH IN BEIRUT
Maronite Catholics attacked a new independent Baptist church near Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Aug. 2, breaking doors and windows, stealing computer and sound equipment, and beating men and groping several women. The assault began with 10 Maronite men beating Pastor Raymond Abou-Mekhael and another man as they retrieved items from a parked car. Ten others shortly joined in while police looked on and “even advised the attackers on what to steal and vandalize,” said Abou-Mekhael. The attack followed a long saga of conflict that arose due to public criticism from the local Maronite bishop whose main complaint was that the Baptists planned to “steal” Maronite parishioners from his flock. The congregation had agreed not to meet in the new building until an agreement could be made. They were inside the church during the attack in order to prepare to host war refugees from southern Lebanon. The Maronite Church is an Eastern Rite church in communion with Rome. Approximately 20 percent of the Lebanese population (half of Lebanon’s Christians) belongs to the denomination. (Compass Direct)
2 CHRISTIANS ARRESTED IN SOUTHERN LAOS TO STOP EVANGELISM WORK
Two Protestant Christians in southern Laos have been arrested to prevent them from pursuing their evangelization work. In a story published by AsiaNews, the Lao Human Rights Movement reported that the two men, A-Kouam, 60, and A-Vieng, 35, were arrested on Friday, Aug. 11, and are being held in the city of Depone in the southern province of Savannakhet. The movement cites “reliable sources” who said the arrest of the men “is meant to stop the spreading of the Christian religion, especially among religious minorities.” The Paris-based human rights group is highly critical of the communist regime and believes the anti-Christian repression comes at a time when more and more people are starting to question the party’s ideology. Christian organizations working in Laos report a growing number of Christian churches despite the persecution. (Assist News Service)
UPDATE: EXECUTION OF 3 CHRISTIANS IN INDONESIA ‘STAYED INDEFINITELY’
The execution of three ethnic Indonesian Christians has been “stayed indefinitely,” a spokesperson for International Christian Concern said on Wednesday, Aug. 23. The international civil rights organization, nevertheless, is continuing to urge Christians to contact the Indonesian embassies in Washington, Ottawa and London to press for “a wide-ranging investigation” into Christian-Muslim violence on eastern Indonesia’s Sulawesi Island six years ago “so that everyone who is guilty can be charged or amnestied.” Meanwhile, Indonesia’s Supreme Court has rejected a second appeal for a pardon of the three men, reported AsiaNews. A defense attorney for the men said he will challenge the court’s ruling by contending that it only has authority to make a recommendation to the country’s president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, regarding the appeal for a pardon. The three men, Fabianus Tibo, Marianus Riwu and Dominggus da Silva, were convicted in 2001 for inciting Christian-Muslim violence that led to the killing of some 1,000 people in the Poso port region. The execution of the three men by firing squad had been scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 12, but was delayed at the last moment. (Baptist Press)
* ECUADOR’S TUNGURAHUA VOLCANO: ASHFALL AND ANXIETY
As people sweep volcanic ash from rooftops, streets and even their crops following the violent eruption of the Tungurahua volcano Thursday, Aug. 17, a haze hangs over Ecuador’s central highland provinces.
Hues of gray, brown and white dominate landscapes that were once breathtaking patchworks of verdant green vegetables and yellow corn on the Andean hillsides. But beyond the region’s ash-affected appearance, there is an emotional tightness—a mental strain—as people anxiously await what Tungurahua will do next.
Experts are warning that growing gas and magma pressures lie beneath Tungurahua’s relative calm after pyroclastic flows and tons of ash poured forth from the “Throat of Fire” volcano. The director of Ecuador’s Geophysics Institute, Hugo Yépez, said there’s no question that Tungurahua, 80 miles south of Quito, will erupt again. It will. The question is when.
Communities on the volcano’s western slope are on “orange alert” which means the eruption process is irreversible and could start within days or weeks. This is used only when studies forecast that the “pre-eruptive phase” has begun.
Despite its close proximity to Tungurahua, the city of Bańos, just five miles away from Tungurahua’s eastern slope, remains on “yellow alert,” warning of an eruption that could begin in weeks or months. Questioned by Quito’s El Comercio newspaper, Bańos Mayor Fausto Acosta said “the yellow alert continues because 93 percent of the city’s families live directly or indirectly from tourism.”
In the volcano’s most recent blast, thousands of people were displaced when communities were destroyed. At least five people were killed with dozens reported missing.
A British missionary nurse, Sheila Leech, director of HCJB World Radio’s Healthcare Division, perceives another potential threat if people in communities surrounding the volcano fail to get proper assistance in the near future. The whitish-gray or brownish views of today could become, for some Ecuadorians, a slow fade to black—the black of blindness.
The ubiquitous ash “is causing corneal irritation—corneal scarring—and it’s causing burns on the cornea that could lead to blindness,” said Leech.
In spite of massive cleanup efforts, the ash of Tungurahua still cloaks nearly every environment. Leech told of “the magnitude, the absolute, incredible extension of this ashfall.”
Comparing it to a mid-July Tungurahua eruption, she said, “Last time we went and we saw it (ashfall) in a more limited area. This time it’s on all the mountains, all around. Everywhere! And there was this brown haze—brown dust in the air. All the time.”
Ecuadorian President Alfredo Palacio declared a state of emergency for Tungurahua, Chimborazo and Bolivar provinces and said the government plans to release funds to aid disaster victims.
Visiting the town of Guano with a team from Hospital Vozandes-Quito, Leech received a seemingly impossible request from the municipal mayor. Several other communities are under his administration.
“Seńorita,” the mayor told her, “the most important thing that you could do for us is if you could find us 38,000 eye protection goggles.” As HCJB World Radio’s international healthcare coordinator, she can access funds to respond to emergencies.
In fact, in the last two years she’s deployed quick-response medical teams to disaster zones in Pakistan and Indonesia. But of the mayor’s request she said later, “There aren’t that many eye protection goggles in the country (of Ecuador)!”
Team members took supplies of eye drops, surgical facemasks, medicines and stores of food and 500 gallons of water on their Aug. 23 trip to Riobamba, a city now threatening fines for those who fail to clean up the ash on their property.
Team members also encouraged people, telling that donors worldwide made their trip to the ash-devastated area possible and that others shared in their pain and suffering. “And as they thanked us we told them, ‘Don’t thank us, thank God.’” Leech told of “wonderful opportunities to talk about the love of the Lord and to show them in practical ways.”
Hospital Vozandes-Quito Medical Director Diana Freire was vacationing with family members in her hometown of Riobamba when the blanket of ash dropped on the city. She and her father helped Leech’s team from Quito get connected with local authorities to see about providing future help from a mobile medical clinic.
Settlements such as Chilubu, Choglontuz and Pilitagua were wiped away when pyroclastic flows consisting of lava and other volcanic materials raced down Tungurahua’s flanks, destroying everything in their path. In Bilbao, about 80 percent of the adobe brick homes were destroyed. Ecuador’s government announced a building campaign to relocate families displaced by the eruption.
“One of the main needs in the communities is drinking water—any water at all,” Leech said, explaining that ash has contaminated springs, and pipes have burst in gravity-fed water systems as the earth shifted.
“Municipal authorities are getting out water tankers, but people don’t have anything to receive it in. So they need to be able to get some plastic containers, some storage facilities in the communities and in the refugee centers for storing water.”
Guano is known as “The City of Springs,” but resident Beatriz Cunalata told El Comercio, “The springs are full of ash. It’s dangerous to drink the water. We boil it, and on Monday we stored it in tanks. There’s no alternative.”
Leech added, “We have some requests for sending our medical brigades up there, and we’ll be looking at those requests and seeing how we can meet the requests of those communities.” (HCJB World Radio)
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