in this issue 02 August 1999, Vol. 3 No. 4
- People Profile
- Agency Profile
- Resource Reviews
- News and Needs
- Web Site Review
God is Perfecting His Global PeopleWe are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses. (Hebrews 12:1)
by Bruce Sidebotham
Seventy percent of all the Christians who have ever lived were born after 1900 and seventy percent of those are alive today. While the church may appear stagnant in most of Western civilization, it is exploding in parts of the world where it has never been. The power that raised Jesus from the dead is still turning the world upside down. Here are some testimonies.
Jesus Appears in Indonesia
Metis had just moved to Jakarta for high school and college. He was from rural Sumatra where he had grown up living in the mosque. Within a few weeks, Metis met two bold Christians who challenged him with some Bible verses. He was mad at them and put them out of his mind. Gradually his life went into confusion, and he delved heavily into drugs. One night he slit his wrists. Looking up from the pooling blood, he saw Jesus with an expression of sadness and his hand extended. He opened the dorm door, and a passing friend rushed him to the hospital. After recovering, Metis began visiting every church he could. One Sunday he got into ten services. Metis is one of many transformed Muslims who have seen the resurrected Christ.
Tantrums Thwart Justice in Indonesia
Either of her own free will or under pressure from her family, a young convert from Islam in Padang, Indonesia named Qairiyah Eniswan (alias Defi) went back into Islam. Her uncle is accusing Salmon Melianus Ongirwalu, the head of a Christian household that provided for her, of raping her. He is accusing the Christians who nurtured her in the Christian faith of kidnapping her and forcing her to convert to Christianity. There is no evidence for the charges. But this young girl is related to some powerful leaders in the Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI), who are using their connections to create a destabilizing situation.
After the Indonesian general election, distortions began running in the local newspapers. One observer on site reports, "I am totally flabbergasted at the reporting of rumors, the outright lies and the naming of individuals with addresses! It's as if they are trying to give license to rioters to head down with rocks and knives."
Salmon was put in jail for "protective custody" on 12 June 1999. One of the local pastors named Yanwardi A. Koto wrote a letter to the editor of one of the newspapers answering the false accusations. Since his letter was published he has been receiving death threats, and he is being charged as an accomplice.
All of the Christians and churches in Padang are under intense pressure from fear and intimidation. The pastor (Robert) of the Chinese church which runs the Christian school where the Defi was enrolled was interrogated for over seven hours. Other Christian leaders have been through difficult interrogations. Two bombs were discovered in the most prominent church building in the city. Mobs have threatened to burn down the home where Salmon's family is staying.
Blasphemy Laws in Pakistan Test Faith
"I do not have any bowls for Christians," Ahmed said to Rasheed and Saleem. "If you want to buy ice cream from me, you must bring your own bowls." Later Ahmed told the police that Rasheed and Saleem had spoken derisively of Mohammed.
On 2 June 1999, the Pakistani brothers were put in the Sialkot Central Jail in Sabu Mohaal, Punjab to await trial on blasphemy charges which carry a mandatory death sentence. Rasheed, 32, is married with five children. Saleem, 28, has a wife and three children. Both of their families have fled their homes in fear of extremist retaliation.
God Uses Expatriate Teacher in China
Dave (not his real name) teaches in a Muslim Chinese neighborhood where bombings and terrorist slayings keep the police alert and interested in foreigners. His phone is tapped, he gets frequent visits from police, his friends are regularly interrogated, and informants attend his classes.
Last Easter, in an attempt to keep him from sharing the gospel in class in his usual manner, the school assigned Dave to teach on the topic of American wedding ceremonies. "God was all over the lecture hall that day," Dave says. In spite of the scrutiny, he has managed to distribute 500 Gospels of Luke and books of Acts and Genesis in the local language.
Filipino Gets Jailed for Preaching
The Muttawa (religious police) burst in on Romeo Macabuhay on the night of 24 May. The stock clerk is 46 and has been working in Saudi Arabia for 19 years.
While awaiting his day in court, Romeo is being held in Section Two of Al-Malaz Prison among Pakistani, Indian, and Arab nationals who are Muslims rather than in Section Four where most Filipinos are held.
The evidence against him is a photograph of him apparently preaching from a Christian pulpit. Romeo sent word to his wife and two children in the Philippines. "Don't worry about me. I am in God's hands. Just keep on praying, especially when my hearing comes."
International Outcry Releases Pastor
(Voice of the Martyrs)
Filipino pastor Wally was sentenced to hang on Christmas day. Contacts in the Saudi government told his wife his only hope was an appeal from the president of the Philippines.
On the night he was arrested, one of the Muttawa said he was the most wanted man in the entire nation. He had been pastoring the largest flock in Riyad and had been praying with other believers in his home.
His second night in custody Wally was punched, slapped, and beaten with a cane on his back, hands, and the soles of his feet for more than three hours. During the ordeal he prayed for his tormenters. Later in his cell he praised God for allowing him to suffer on account of Christ, and he prayed for strength. That night Wally felt the Lord's presence and heard words of reassurance. When he awoke the next morning all of his bruises were gone!
An international outcry backed by the prayers of thousands led to Wally's release and deportation on Christmas Eve.
Pastor Is On The Lam in China
(The Persecuted Church Collection)
Caleb was arrested at a meeting last year along with several other Chinese Christians and Western missionaries. The others were released. Caleb's hands were cuffed behind his back and he was placed so that his forehead bore most of his weight against a wall for four days. A large blister formed on his head.
On the fourth day the guard confined him to a chair with one hand free so that he could eat and then went outside to make a phone call. Caleb worked himself free, ran through two doors, down six flights, and out the front door.
Caleb is one of at least 270 Christian leaders ministering in China who can't go home to his family because he is hiding from the authorities. Everyday 25,000 people are becoming Christians in China and the underground church is in the forefront of the movement.
Teenager Tried for Her Friend's Murder
(International Christian Concern)
In June 1997 the young Pakistani girl Raheela came to Christ through the influence of her 17-year-old friend, Saleema. Saleema and her pastor, Salim, were detained and beaten.
When Raheela's brother, Altaf, murdered her on 8 July 1997 for apostasy and for refusing to marry a Muslim man, Saleema was blamed and arrested again. In jail she was beaten, burned, raped, and received permanent and disfiguring injuries.
On 7 August 1997 Saleema was released on bail. In late April of this year the court acquitted Saleema. But Saleema's life and the lives of all those who have nurtured her are still in danger from Muslim extremists who won't accept the court's verdict. Pastor Salim and his family have already fled their homeland.
A Modern Cloud of Witnesses
What more can I write? You may have read of Graham Staines who directed the Leprosy Mission in Baripada, Orisa, India and was burned to death in January by a fundamentalist Hindu mob in his car with his two sons while they slept? I have no more space to write of Reul Janda and Arnel Bertran who were beheaded in Saudi Arabia in 1997 because of their witness to inmates at the Al-Malaz prison.
There isn't time to retell the famous stories of Gladys Aylward, William Carey, Adoniram Judson, Bruce Olsen, John Dekker, Jim Elliot, Don Richardson, Peter Hammond, Brother Andrew, Jim Bethea and countless others who through faith subdued savage cannibals, overcame exotic diseases, escaped the points of arrows, drove through barrages of artillery, passed through hostile check points, smuggled Bibles, and preached to guerrilla fighters.
Some are still in captivity. Others are being tortured and refuse to be released so that they may obtain a better resurrection. Many are facing jeers and flogging. Some will be shot, others will be mistreated, many will wander homeless seeking shelter in caves and holes in the ground.
These are all commended for their faith. They are sure of what they hope for and are convinced of what they cannot see. Together with this exponentially increasing cloud of witnesses we will be made perfect.
Therefore, let us put aside every distraction. Let us persevere in the work that God has given us. Let us live for Jesus who establishes and perfects our faith. And let us not lose heart.
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Christian Radio Ignites Messiah Legend in Hill Tribe
In Vietnam the government is trying to eradicate Christianity from among the Hmong tribal people. According to the Religious Liberty Commission of the World Evangelical Fellowship, they are afraid the exploding Hmong church will undermine Communist rule the way the church did in Poland, resulting in the eventual collapse of Soviet Communism in Europe.
An estimated 8 to 10 thousand Hmong believers have fled 800 miles from their ancestral lands in the north to more isolated regions in the central highlands. The government opposes this illegal migration and the clearing of forest to plant crops.
More than 650,000 Hmong live in eleven different provinces in the north of Vietnam. In China, the Hmong are one part of the 7.4 million strong Miao nationality. About 1.5 million of the Miao consider themselves Hmong. The Hmong are invariably located at the top of the highest mountains in the areas where they live. A Hmong proverb says, "Fish swim in water, birds fly in air, Hmong live on mountains."
Hmong ancestry is intriguing. Some scholars suggest they originated in Persia and migrated to Siberia before being chased south in the 1700s by genocide and persecution. Hmong legend reports they once lived where days and nights lasted six months and the water was frozen. Hmong were killed during periods of persecution in China because they were easily singled out. A member of the Paris Society for Foreign Missions wrote in 1924 that the Hmong were "pale yellow in complexion, almost white, their hair often yellow or dark brown, sometimes even red or corn-silk blonde, and a few even have pale blue eyes."
Christian radio broadcasts to the mostly illiterate Hmong began over 45 years ago. During the Vietnam war Hmong were known in the press as montagnards, and were inexplicably friendly to U.S. troops. After 1975 many fled to Thailand because of their disloyalty to North Vietnam.
Little was known about the Hmong or their responsiveness to Christian broadcasts until the Hanoi newspaper, Nhan Danh, published an astounding article on 21 April 1991. Its author praised the half million Hmong of the northern provinces for their industriousness, bravery, patriotism, and contribution to socialism. But he went on to say that this progressive tribe was unstable, had low standards for culture, had poor political infrastructure, and was poorly propagandized.
The article cited the ancient Hmong legend that a savior would be sent from heaven by the king of kings to the earth to save all the people of the world. It went on to say, "Foreign radio stations which are broadcasting in the Hmong dialect convince people that God is in fact the real king of the Hmong people. These radio broadcasts call upon them to leave their household spirit and worship the heavenly spirit instead. This king worshipping movement started in Ha Tuyen province in September1989. Since then there has been a widespread trend toward claiming the name of the king and receiving the king. This is causing a lot of serious damage against the security of the country, and many Hmong are suffering. . . . We can conclude that this is the well-known scheme of the enemies, who take advantage of the particular traits of our tribal peoples to oppose the revolutionary regime today."
A report to the Far East Broadcasting Company (FEBC) in February 1997 from a reliable witness who spoke to a high Vietnamese official over minority affairs estimated the number of Hmong Christians in the Vietnamese highlands to be over 250,000 and growing.
Letters to FEBC report that the Hmong Christians in Vietnam have no pastors to lead them, but that they are very faithful and committed to Jesus Christ. They meet everyday for Bible study and prayer, and the format of their worship services follows the FEBC broadcasts. If asked who told you about Christ, a Hmong believer will point to his shortwave radio.
Pray for the Hmong people and for the radio ministry of FEBC. For more information contact:
Vietnamese Radio Ministry of FEBC
P.O. Box 1, La Mirada, CA 90637
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From Cheyenne Mountain . . .
Strategic Frontiers Targets Key PeoplesThe Strategic Frontiers ministry of Youth with a Mission (YWAM) based in Colorado Springs desires to start indigenous church planting and disciple making movements among strategic peoples in strategic places at strategic times.
Wars, revolutions, and natural disasters create windows of opportunity for the gospel in locations and among people who have traditionally been isolated from the gospel. In addition, some groups of people are sovereignly prepared and placed to shape the destiny of large regions and populations.
Strategic Frontiers has a two pronged approach focusing on 127 strategic unreached ethnic groups of people.
Strategic Frontiers is mobilizing front line teams to facilitate indigenous church growth and outreach movements in each of the 127 people groups, and they are mobilizing home front teams to partner with and support the teams on the front lines.
To train these home and front line teams for their strategic missions YWAM's Strategic Frontiers conducts training at the Star Ranch, Colorado Springs, facility in discipleship, cross-cultural missions, community development, intercession and spiritual warfare, worship and music ministries, and Bible.
For information contact. . .
fax: 1-(719) 527-2680
P.O. Box 25490
Colorado Springs, CO 80936
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Pioneers and EMI Offer Second Career and Short Term ChallengesBALI
Besides its appeal for "fun in the sun," this vacant position of running the Pioneers Guest House on Bali offers ministry opportunities to travelers and missionaries in this nation of nearly 200 million Muslims and 3.5 million Balinese Hindus.
For more information or to apply
contact Jim Britton at . . .
Masterplan and design a Christian school in Haiti. This team departing in early October still needs an architect and engineers for structure, water and wastewater.
Contact . . .Jlinquist@emi.org
Students and teachers risk their lives fording a river to get to the African Nazarene University of Nairobi in the rainy season. This school trains spiritual leaders throughout east Africa. To design a bridge, EMI needs a structural bridge engineer, a hydrologist, and a geotechnical engineer for two weeks in September.
Contact . . .Choffman@emiusa.org
Emmanuel Orphanage is growing. This EMI trip in September or October will be to design a high school for an orphan population that may reach 1000. An architect, structural engineer, and surveyor are needed.
Contact . . .Morsillo@emiusa.org
Design a seminary on top of the world. Engineering Ministries International (EMI) still needs an architect, structural engineer, and an electrical engineer for this short job from 24 September to 3 October.
Contact . . .Cdrawdy@emiusa.org
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Thank you for considering this opportunity to support our ministry and get some of the most competitive phone rates available.
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FEBC Produces Mult Media Windows on AsiaA line of videos and radio dramas called Inside Asia Today and produced by the Far East Broadcasting Company (FEBC) conveys the spiritual and cultural climate of Russia, Cambodia, and Indonesia.
These compelling dramas and documentary videos will inspire Bible study groups, Sunday school classes, small groups, and missions conferences. They will equip Christians to move from general prayer to precise involvement and intercession for these nations.
Journey to Tomorrow
This radio drama follows the true story of Victor Akhterov and his family. Victor endured severe persecution under Soviet Communism. Today he is a broadcaster and assistant director of FEBC's Russian ministries.
And Now the Dawn
During one of history's most shocking eras, Samoeun Intal had only minutes to decide between escaping the "killing fields" to a safe country or staying in Cambodia during the killing spree by the Khmer Rouge. Little did she know that her decision would be critical for bringing good news and hope to her homeland. Get this radio drama to experience the amazing story of this woman's escape from despair into fulfilling her calling.
Breaking the Chains of Darkness
Rage in hurting Indonesians has led to violence, resulting in the destruction of churches and of a political dynasty.
Watch this video to witness this predominantly Muslim land of 200 million people wrecked by unstable economics and politics. This video shows you how Christian radio is leading thousands of Indonesians to peace and hope in Jesus Christ.
And Now a Great Light
Within a shattered land haunted by slaughter, a small studio offers truth and hope. That studio was built through the courage of a woman who risked her life during the era of the Khmer Rouge and returned to tell her countrymen about life in Jesus Christ. This video tells an amazing story.
Order your video or radio drama from HCJB by calling . . .
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Faces of the Unreached in Laos:Land-locked Laos has been the forgotten nation of Southeast Asia. It has been forgotten by politicians, explorers and missionaries alike.
Southeast Asia's Forgotten Neighbor
ISBN 974-85302-7-2; COST $15.00
Asian Minorities Outreach presents this new book to Christians worldwide to raise prayer, awareness, and outreach to the needy 138 ethnic groups of Laos. This is the first known book, secular or Christian, to profile all the peoples of Laos.
Of the 138 ethnic groups, 129 could be considered unreached by the Gospel (less than 5% Christian). Laos is one of the neediest, most ethnically diverse, and most strategic countries of the 10/40 window, but because of its Communist government and relatively small population few mission organizations consider it seriously.
Faces of the Unreached in Laos makes an excellent prayer guide or study tool. Maps, photographs, cultural and historical information are given for each people.
Asian Minorities Outreach
P.O. Box 901, Palestine, Texas 75802
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Mission to Unreached Peoples Forms a New MinstryYou could almost say God is their travel agent," wrote Brian Willoughby, staff writer for the Vancourver, WA Columbian. This dedicated team represents a newly formed relief ministry of Mission to Unreached Peoples called Matthew 25 Mercy Ministry.
news and needs
by Michael Camp.
On the ministry's first short term trip, in April, they went to Korce, southeast Albania to assist a local church in their outreach to refugees.
Cimi Baraku, the pastor of Emmanuel Mission Church, had become a refugee coordinator. He had organized his 120 member church as volunteers hosting refugees, serving as interpreters, cooking meals, and providing guidance for relief workers.
The Matthew 25 Mercy team came alongside their work. One morning two of the team unloaded relief supplies from a UN truck. On another day one of the members burned blankets drenched in human waste and full of lice. The team leader and his assistant purchased and delivered supplemental supplies of food, bringing fruits and vegetables to local families that were hosting refugees. A registered nurse on the team set up a makeshift health clinic in local homes. One on the team gave candy, barrettes and baubles to children with idle time and bad memories. Another played soccer, volleyball, and frisbee with teens on many occasions. The team spent a day distributing sports equipment donated by a church in Seattle.
Beyond the pressing physical needs, the team did the most exciting task of demonstrating and explaining Jesus' unconditional love. Opportunities abounded to explain the gospel, why the team was there, and to pray with refugees for spiritual and emotional healing.
Matthew 25 Mercy Ministries is continuing its short term outreach to Kosovar refugees. The needs now are greater than ever.
To find out more or partner with this new ministry, contact the director, Gary Brewer.
Matthew 25 Mercy Ministries
Mission to Unreached Peoples
P.O. Box 30947
Seattle, WA 98103
phone: 1-(206) 781-3151
fax: 1-(206) 781-3182
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Wells of Life Director Reports from the Refugee Camps in Albania and MacedoniaThe women were crying as they crossed the border. I tried to imagine what they were feeling.
news and needs
by Don Aaker.
Responding to these cries and a sense that God wanted us to help, a group of 19 doctors, nurses and relief workers from Wells of Life and International Health Services left for Macedonia and Albania.
Our mission was to share the love of Christ and help alleviate some of the suffering in the resettlement camps.
We immediately encountered resistance from, some established secular organizations. Their self-proclaimed "ownership" of certain camps closed the door for our medical work there.
God opened up another door. Israel had set up an area for kids recreation. A banner there read, "Israel Loves Children." Several people on our team were gifted in child evangelism. They had brought puppets, balloons, and toys.
The Israelis were quick to say, "Come join us." Several of our team including Nazar, who was himself a Kurdish refugee, jumped at the opportunity.
For three days they loved on the kids. Nazar said, "When the kids would line up for different activities, we would briefly put our hand on each one of them and pray for them."
As time went on others on our team went into camps to share Christ and distribute Christian literature.
One day, outside a tent, Rick was sharing Jesus with a Kosovar Muslim family. The Holy Spirit had already prepared the father's heart through the Jesus video and the New Testament.
Forty-five minutes later tears flowed from both men as one prayed to receive Christ. Soon after, this new believer began sharing his faith with others gathered outside his makeshift home.
Meanwhile, the medical teams had found their niche. Dr. Bill Greiser, a Wells of Life board member and the team's medical director, began sending doctors and nurses into the villages on mobile medical clinics. Many of these villages were swollen to double their normal size with refugees.
Other team members worked in a clinic directed by a Macedonian Christian doctor. She was thrilled to have our assistance as her clinic was overwhelmed. They treated and prayed for the sick and openly shared about their hope in Jesus.
So far, in the clinic alone, ten Kosovar Albanians have come to faith in Christ. This is a great number when one considers that in Kosovo before the war there were only 158 known evangelical believers. 45 of these were Serb, 15 were Montenegrin, 23 were Gypsies, and 75 were Albanian.
Please pray for our new brothers and sisters. Pray that they will be nurtured as new believers. Pray for others who have received Bibles and heard the good news.
Some of this first team have now returned to their home countries and new team members have replaced them. Dr. Bill has stayed on as medical director.
Pray that the Lord will give wisdom, direction, and strength as they minister in the midst of great need.
Wells of Life
P.O. Box 968, Colo. Spgs. CO 80901
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Religious Liberty Commission Begins Its WorkA United States Commission that will investigate violations of religious freedom around the world is fully staffed, funded and ready to begin work.
news and needs
CURRENT NEWS SUMMARY for 24 May from ReligionToday.com.
Congress approved funding for the ten member Commission on International Freedom May 20th.
The commission was created as part of the International Religious Freedom Act, which Congress passed last year.
The commission will recommend a range of policy options to the administration depending on the severity of the persecution.
Its findings will be submitted to the Congress, the Secretary of State, and the President by May 1st each year.
"The commission will make a big difference in helping to identify and put an end to religious freedom violations around the world," Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) said.
An ambassador-at-large will head the Office on International Religious Freedom at the State Department. Robert Seiple, former president of World Vision, was sworn into that position on May 5th.
Commission members are Elliot Abrams, president of Ethics and Public Policy; Laila Al-Maryati, president of the Muslim Women's League; John Bolton of the American Enterprises Institute; Firuz Kazemzadeh, an official in the Bahai religion; Archbishop Theodore McCarrick of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Newark, N.J.; Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center; Nina Shea, director of the Center for Religious Freedom at Freedom House; Charles Smith, a judge on the Washington State Supreme Court; and Michael Young, dean of Georgetown University Law School.
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The Great Commission Handbook
web site review
GoYe.com presents a web version of the Great Commission Handbook.
It lists tons of mission organizations and the opportunities that they offer.
Go to this site to learn about and link to short term and long term opportunities as well as stateside missions training, seminars, and service.
This site also hosts a few articles and a chat room.
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The Reveille Shofar
Volume 3, Number 4 - O2 August 1999
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