Zprávy HCJB 9.4.2007

 26 amerických turistů vyslýcháno kvůli „obracení na víru“ v indických brlozích.
   Policie v Hyderabádu v Indii vyslechla 26 amerických turistů, kteří město navštívili ve čtvrtek 5. dubna, protože obyvatelé místních brlohů si stěžovali, že cizinci se snaží obracet je na víru, když je předtím obdarovali dárky jako čokoládou nebo sladkostmi. Policie prohlásila, že 26 z 53 zahraničních návštěvníků přicestovalo na turistická víza pod vedením učitelky z Kalifornie, která kontaktovala svou přítelkyni z nevládní organizace v Hyderabádu. Tato přítelkyně vybrala místního člověka jako doprovod při cestě městem. „Návštěvníci přilákali ohromný zástup dětí a nabízeli, že se pomodlí za lepší život obyvatel brlohů,“ řekl asistent policejního komisaře v Hyderabádu. „Nebylo to před místním chrámem. Nelze říci, že by šlo o obracení na víru. Údajně nepřístojná činnost se děla mimo chrám, takže o přestupek nejde.“ Turisté údajně patří ke skupině Youth Wing Mission a do brlohu se dostali auty poskytnutými Bethel Gospel Church, přičemž byli provázeni třemi kazateli jako tlumočníky. Zdroj: WorldWide Religious News, Times of India
 Všechny zprávy v angličtině.

Sources: Anglican Church of Canada, Presbyterian Church USA, BBC News, Associated Press
Since an earthquake measuring 8.1 followed by a tsunami struck the northern coast of the Solomon Islands the morning of Monday, April 2, relief and cleanup efforts have started rolling. As reports from isolated villages trickle in, the death toll has approached 40. An estimated 7,000 are left homeless.

Red Cross officials are focusing on disease prevention by digging pit toilets and providing clean water to prevent disease outbreaks in camps in the hills where many survivors have remained since the tsunami destroyed their homes so quickly after the quake that alarm systems did not go off. Aftershocks, some as high as 6 on the Richter scale, have been shaking the island since the initial quake, leaving inhabitants fearful of returning to low-lying areas.

Much of the aid is arriving from the partnership relief group called Action by Churches Together (ACT) which has mobilized partner members’ churches nearest the Solomon Islands. ACT members from New Zealand and Australia are rushing emergency supplies and workers to the stricken areas.

“This is what is so wonderful and effective about being part of a larger network of responders,” said Susan Ryan, coordinator of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) which is an ACT member. “Together we are able to respond much more quickly and appropriately anywhere in the world.”

U.N. disaster coordinator Paul Muller, who arrived on scene on Saturday, April 7, said the U.N. was reviewing all available data to determine which islands and villages had still not been reached by international aid teams that have been delivering food, tarpaulins and other supplies since the local airstrip reopened on Thursday. “Given the fact that you have a fairly early response by the international community and by the national community, it looks fairly good,” Muller told reporters.

Officials say that more than 2,500 tarps and 1.2 tons of rice have been distributed to the camps around Gizo and some of the surrounding islands, although a lack of transport has delayed deliveries to some of the region’s more remote islands.

Residents of the Solomon Islands are predominantly Christian, and at least five churches of various denominations dot the hillsides around Gizo, the largest affected city. Despite fears of further aftershocks, more than 100 villagers left their hillside camps to celebrate an Easter service at St. Luke’s Anglican Church on the outskirts of Gizo.

They prayed and sang traditional hymns in a concrete church decorated with tropical flowers and palm leaves. Rev. John Pihavaka urged congregants to remain calm and share their remaining food and other provisions with those in greater need. A Roman Catholic Church was knocked down by the quake, but devotees gathered in the garden for their own Easter ceremony.

* On the invitation of a local radio partner, HCJB Global Hands in Ecuador is working to organize a relief team to help victims in the affected area of Solomon Islands. HCJB Global Voice worked with Pacific Partners and Rhema Family Church in 2004 to help put Gud Nius Redio on the air in Honiara in 2004.


Source: Baptist Press
Baptist volunteers from across the U.S. who are rebuilding flooded homes in New Orleans as part of Operation NOAH (New Orleans Area Homes) set a monthly record of involvement in March. College and high school students on spring break were a large part of the 5,000-plus volunteers who “produced the equivalent of more than $500,000 worth of work” in March according to NOAH construction manager Steve Gahagan. NOAH volunteers hung more than 1,500 sheets of sheetrock in March and worked on a record number of roofing, electrical and plumbing rough-in jobs. “It was an incredibly productive month,” Gahagan said. Travis Scruggs, known as the “disaster pastor” of First Baptist Church in New Orleans, said the 1,600 volunteers in their charge were 10 times the number of volunteers in February. Volunteers gutted homes, mowed and cleaned yards, parks and street medians around the city. Scruggs said that although the month meant long hours of work, “many lives were changed.” Freddie Arnold, a church planter and association missionary with the Baptist Association of Greater New Orleans, added, “We are so appreciative of the tremendous numbers of young people, both high school and college, who have spent their spring breaks gutting homes, mowing, rebuilding homes and building relationships.”


INDIA Sources: WorldWide Religious News, Times of India
Police in Hyderabad, India, questioned 26 American tourists on a visit to the city on Thursday, April 5, when slum dwellers complained that the foreigners were trying to convert them after luring them with gifts such as chocolates and sweets. Police said 26 of the 53 visiting foreigners came to India on tourist visas led by a schoolteacher from California who had contacted her friend who works with a non-governmental organization in Hyderabad. The friend, in turn, assigned a local person to take the entourage on a tour of the city. “The visitors hugged children and offered prayers for the wellbeing of the slum dwellers,” said B. Sumathi, the assistant police commissioner in Hyderabad. “This they did in front of a temple in the slum. It could not be established that the visitors were engaged in conversion activity. Also, the alleged offensive activity took place outside the temple which again is not an offence.” The tourists reportedly belong to a group called Youth Wing Mission and went to the slum in vehicles provided by Bethel Gospel Church accompanied by three pastors who served as translators.


Sources: UPI, Religion Today, WorldWide Religious News
A U.S. study says people with HIV who have strong religious ties are less likely to spread the virus that causes AIDS. The RAND Corporation study says HIV-positive people who say religion is an important part of their lives are likely to have fewer sexual partners and engage in less high-risk sexual behavior. “Moral beliefs may indicate an underlying altruism and a desire to make sure no one else is infected with HIV,” behavioral scientist David Kanouse said in a press release. “Promoting these feelings could then be used as a component of HIV prevention programs.” Lead author Frank H. Galvan, a professor with the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, says the study suggests that there’s a role for religious institutions to play in the fight against the spread of HIV. “They have these core belief systems that do have a positive impact on the lives of people who are HIV-positive and who are sexually active,” said Galvan. “Religiosity is an untapped resource in the whole struggle against HIV and AIDS, and should be looked at more thoroughly.”


Sources: Christian Newswire, Assist News Service

Evangelist Luis Palau brought his “great music and good news” festival to more than 400,000 people in Monterrey, Mexico, March 18-24. The weeklong celebration of faith began with a motorcade and ended with a two-day music fest at the city’s famed Parque Fundidora. Attendance estimates were 150,000 for Friday and 210,000 for Saturday with another 40,000 children and families attending a separate children’s festival. The campaign was one of the most extensive in Palau’s more than 40 years of ministry. Multiple outreaches included a leadership congress that drew 1,800 leaders from 110 ministries in 22 nations, a women’s event, a luncheon for business and civil leaders and a prison outreach. A medical initiative with more than 700 medical service technicians featured cancer screenings, vision exams and dental work. In addition, 10,000 meals were delivered to some of the most impoverished neighborhoods in Monterrey. Extensive coverage by local and national media provided an opportunity to extend the gospel message. International satellite coverage linked the event to a dozen nations in Latin America and beyond. The festival resulted in 15,741 registered decisions and rededications to Christ. Palau’s next festival is set for Nashville, Tenn., May 19-20.

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