Incorruptible Riches | Maldive Islanders | 30-Hour Famine | Hurricane Mitch | Ramadan Prayer Guides | Web Evangelism Guide | Y2K | Egyptian Inquisition | Bible in Modern Turkish | India | Churches in Kosovo | Bible in Bosnia

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The Reveille Shofar

in this issue 01 December 1998, Vol. 2 No. 6

Charitable Giving: It's More Than a Tax Break
feature

beggar photo

Regarding current politics and popular morality, Francis Schaeffer warned back in 1976 that it really is "the economy stupid."

Gradually that which had become the basic thought-form of modern people became the almost totally accepted viewpoint, an almost monolithic consensus. And as it came to the majority of people through art, music, drama, theology, and the mass media, values died. . . . the majority of people adopted two impoverished values: personal peace and affluence.

Glenn Stanton, a social research analyst for public policy at Focus on the Family, in an interview for the program Affluenza by Seattle public TV station KCTS, warns that the resulting materialism is tearing at the roots of the family and our country.

Stanton says that families should be sustained by what T. S. Eliot called "the permanent things" love, truth, compassion, virtue, and beauty.

Instead, our quest for happiness by acquisition has led us into a codependent relationship with a market place that is hostile to these values. We demand more and more things from the market to make us happy, and the market demands more and more consumption from us to sustain itself. As in the story of the dysfunctional twins Esau and Jacob, our birthright is on the line for a pot of gourmet soup.

Even the church is caught in this vicious spiral. Other parts of the world are being forcibly "liberated" through economic collapse and natural disasters. But God has provided ways to resist. If we use them, He may sustain our prosperity, and we may rediscover "the permanent things."

The lesson in the Veggie Tales video "Madame Blueberry" is, "Being greedy makes you grumpy, but a thankful heart is a happy heart!"

Well, a thankful heart is also a generous heart because the opposite of greed is generosity. Paul rejoiced over financial aid not because of what he himself received but because of what the Philippians got from God through it (Philippians 4:17).

Jesus said that exchanging possessions for charity would bring incorruptible riches (Luke 12:33-34). Paul wrote, "We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" (2Corinthians 4:18).

photo How much will you give away this year? Will you be "rich towards God" or will you be like the barn-building fool who thought that happiness was found in material abundance? Are you contributing enough to your account in heaven to make it a desirable destination? Will you join the counterculture or will you be another cold-hearted consumer?

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Maldive Islanders Are All Shook Up
people profile
WEF's religious liberty e-mail conference

Photo Although it desires the money of tourists visiting its tropical paradise, the Maldivian government is committed to protecting its homogeneously Muslim people from the religious ideas of outsiders. This past May authorities expelled expatriate Christians and by the end of June had imprisoned all known local believers.

The Maldive Islands are located in the Indian Ocean, about 500 miles southwest of India. About 200 of the 2000 coral islands are inhabited by some 300,000 people speaking a variety of the Sri Lankan Sinhalese language called Divehi.

For hundreds of years Maldivians have been totally isolated from the Gospel. It is constitutionally illegal for citizens to adhere to anything other than the government's strict interpretation of Islam.

Until recently, there were no Scriptures and no congregations using the Maldivian language.

map Beginning about 1985, Christians from many nations began arriving in the Maldives to work in various professions. They learned the language and culture, built close friendships, and communicated the gospel in understandable ways.

Despite intense community pressure, a few Maldivians began following Christ and studying the Bible together.

In March 1998, the Far East Broadcasting Association began broadcasting the gospel in Divehi from the nearby Seychelle islands. The government, which has had complete control of all Divehi radio, was alarmed.

Shortly thereafter the police obtained Scripture portions that could only have been translated by a native.

With presidential elections approaching, the government cracked down. Suspected foreigners were arrested and interrogated. Their homes were raided. Personal effects were confiscated. Nearly two dozen were expelled.

Many nationals have been sent to prison. The young mother, Aneesa Hussein is in solitary confinement. She and others are frequently interrogated and beaten. They are not to be released until they renounce faith in Jesus.

Some of those captured were betrayed by the fourteen year-old son of a believer. Though once interested in Jesus, the boy is now regarded as a national hero for turning in his family and friends.

Some public sympathy lies with the believers. Many relatives are disenchanted with the government's cruelty.

In the past, such persecutions have been hidden. This time the news spread internationally and returned to be spread among the natives. The mystery of Jesus has become a matter of everyday conversation.

What You Can Do . . .

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World Vision Orchestrates 30-Hour Famine
agency profile

30-Hour Famine The 30 Hour Famine sponsored by World Vision changes lives both here and around the world.

The Famine takes participants beyond a single act of caring. It promotes a lifestyle of Christian compassion and a living faith that responds boldly to a needy world with deeds reflecting the love of Jesus.

Group members take pledges and then fast for 30 hours to experience briefly the world's hunger problem and raise money for World Vision. In 1997 just under 80% of the money raised went to help those in need.

Through helping people in need, World Vision seeks to spread the good news about the kingdom of God. World Vision has over 4,400 projects impacting more than 60 million people in over 100 countries.

The fast will be coordinated nationally in 1998 from 26 to 27 February, but it can actually be done anytime.

famine basic load To facilitate a life-changing experience, World Vision provides a starter kit complete with helpful materials like a Leader's Guide, an exciting video, educational materials, a poster, a Bible study guide and receipt books for every participant.

For more information contact the 30 Hour Famine at . . .

1-800-7-FAMINE

or visit . . .

www.30hourfamine.org

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Hurricane Mitch Challenges You Through Relief Organizations
opportunity

map On Sunday, 1 Nov, a pastor wrote from Honduras:

It is a national disaster. I can't even begin to express the tragedy. . . . The raging rivers broke down major bridges and unified to make just one big ocean that covers miles and miles. . . . As far as the eye can see it is just water. . . . It came with such force, hundreds drowned and thousands are homeless. The mosquitos and flies have begun to multiply. . . there are hundreds of bodies and thousands of dead animals. . . . There is no end to the suffering and agony. The streets are full of garbage and desperate people. . . . Children are screaming because they can't find mom or dad.

Hurricane Mitch was one of history's most devastating storms. Dozens of relief agencies are awestruck with the overwhelming destruction.

Christian Commission for Development photo Thousands have died. Without food, drinking water, and shelter, millions more are struggling to survive.

Below is a list of organizations accepting contributions for relief efforts in the affected countries. Tell them that Operation Reveille sent you.

Agencies for Hurricane Mitch Relief

Organization Phone Internet
Medical Assistance
Program International
1-800-225-8550 -
Mercy Corps
International
1-800-852-2100 www.mercycorps.org
Catholic
Relief Services
1-800-736-3467 www.catholicrelief.org
Oxfam
America
1-800-776-9326 www.reliefnet.org/rnet/stoxfam.html
Salvation Army
World Service
1-800-725-2769 www.salvationarmy.org
United Methodist
Committee on Relief
1-800-554-8583 gbgm-umc.org/umcor-hotline
World
Vision
1-888-511-6565 www.worldvision.org
Southern Baptist Conv.
Int'l Mission Board
1-804-353-0151 -
Brother's Brother
Foundation
1-412-321-3160 www.brothersbrother.org
World
Relief
1-800-535-5433 www.wr.org
Baptist
World Aid
1-703-790-8980 www.bwanet.org
American
Red Cross
1-800-HELP-NOW www.redcross.org
CARE 1-800-521-CARE www.care.org
Doctors
of the World
1-212-226-9890 www.doctorsoftheworld.org
Food
for the Hungry
1-800-248-6437 www.fh.org
Save
the Children
1-800-243-5075 www.oneworld.org/scf
Partners
of the Americas
1-802-656-1404
1-715-346-4702
-
Doctors
Without Borders
1-888-392-0392 www.dwb.org
Samaritan's
Purse
1-800-739-9500 www.samaritan.org
Central American
Mission
1-214-327-8206 -
Nat'l Council of Churches
Church World Services
1-800-297-1516 www.churchworldservice.org
Lutheran
World Relief
1-800-LWR-LWR2 www.lwr.org/mtcfact.html

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Booklet Supports Muslim Prayer Focus This Christmas Season
resource review

prayer guide Prayer Guides for adults and children are available in 27 languages supporting the seventh annual call to prayer for the Muslim world coinciding with the month of Ramadan beginning 20 December 1998.

For cost and order information contact . . .

World Christian News & Books World Christian News and Books
P.O. Box 26479
Colorado Springs, CO 80936
e-mail: wxn@xc.org
INTERNET: WWW.YWAM.ORG/PRAYER/30DAYS

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Web Evangelism Gude
Is Your Coach To Worldwide Evangelism

web site review

WWW.BRIGADA.ORG/TODAY/ARTICLES/WEB-EVANGELISM.HTML

Find out how to reach the whole world right from your home with this "how-to" guide on using the Internet for evangelism.

The guide covers: learning more about the Internet, how web evangelism differs from the printed page, principles of writing pages and testimonies, doing pages in other languages, using search engines, and witnessing in news groups and chat rooms. It also hosts links to many helpful sites.

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A Look Around the World Gives Perspective on the Y2K Bug
news and needs
Used with permission from www.religiontoday.com, September '98 archive

third world photo Jim Jacobson, president of Christian Freedom International, is concerned about American Christians.

He has seen dreadful persecution in Sudan and Burma, but back home in Texas and Michigan, Christians seem to care more about the Y2K computer bug than about suffering brothers and sisters.

"I'm frankly floored by it," Jacobson remarked in an interview. "When you are around persecuted Christians, then you see people whine and get nervous about this . . . I have very little empathy about it."

Some churches are "becoming like a militia, stockpiling food and adopting a bunker mentality," Jacobson said. "One congregation ousted its pastor because he was "not diehard enough" about preparing for Y2K. Another church nearly split over the issue.

"Incredible," Jacobson said. "There are so many current needs Sudan, China, Burma, for example where people are doing nothing to help our brothers and sisters, and yet are hoarding for some theoretical event."

Jacobson finds it disturbing. "When I go to third world places they laugh about it. They have nothing no electricity, no running water. There is nothing but people fighting for their lives. You tell them, '[many] Christians in the United States are scared to death about a computer problem,' and they don't know whether to laugh or cry."

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Remote Egyptian Christians Face an Inquisition
news and needs
sources: Compass Direct and Prison Fellowship Ministries

One of the most horrific instances of religious persecution the modern world has seen happened recently in Egypt one of the largest recipients of U.S. foreign aid.

During a month long investigation into the August murders of two Coptic Christian men, at least 1000 Christian villagers were arrested and harshly interrogated. "Every day they would arrest more people, take them away, torture them and then release them. . . . They were taking 50 to 60 people a day for more than three weeks," the superintending Bishop recounted.

The abuse occurred in El-Kosheh, a village with about 40,000 inhabitants located some 300 miles south of Cairo. Seventy percent of its residents are Coptic Christians.

It was a grisly example of a grave problem in the Middle East: the persecution of Christians by Arab governments including governments supported financially by the United States.

Coptic Orthodox Bishop Wissa and two priests who reported the incident first to government authorities and then to human rights groups are being charged with "using religion for the purpose of inciting strife and damaging national unity." The charge is punishable by death.

David Alton of Britain's House of Lords wrote to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on 13 October. He accused the Egyptian government of "trying to intimidate the Christian clergy" with criminal charges, instead of punishing "the police officers responsible for this grave abuse of human rights."

Egypt is scheduled to receive 2.5 billion dollars in aid from the United States this fiscal year. It's a good reason to register your concern to your government representatives.

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The Bible in Modern Turkish Nears Completion
news and needs

Istanbul photo

The United Bible Societies and the Translation Trust (a UK-based charity) aim to produce a new translation of the Bible in Turkish by the year 2000.

Soon Turkey's millions will be able to read a Bible that they can understand.

Funds and prayers are needed to cover production, publicity, and distribution.

To help, contact Turkish World Outreach at 1-970-434-1942.

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The Situation in India for Christians Is Heating Up
news and needs
Source: World Evangelical Fellowship, Religious Liberty Commission

Over the last decade there has been a resurgence of fundamentalist and nationalist Hinduism throughout India, accompanied by both anti-Christian and anti-Muslim sentiments and violence.

In March, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) mustered enough votes in the national elections to assemble a ruling coalition, led by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee..

Within two months of taking office, a resurgent Hindu India exploded two nuclear devices, shocking the world and provoking Pakistan to respond in kind.

In a fact finding trip, John Candelin, the International Director for the Religious Liberty Commission of the World Evangelical Fellowship found that, "The situation is getting worse everyday."

He found "direct violence against religious communities, priests, pastors, and nuns," and "attacks on evangelists and evangelistic work."

The campaign against Christians includes slander as well as violence. An article appearing in the popular Indian magazine Asia Age (6 Sep 98) accuses Christian missionaries of having links to the "drug mafia." It said, "They do not have a moral right to stay in India."

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Churches in the Balkans Unite Across Ethnic Boundaries
news and needs
Reprinted with permission from World Relief www.wr.org.

As atrocities committed by Serbian security forces against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo continue to mount, churches of both ethnicities are working together to aid victims on both sides of the conflict.

At a prayer gathering in Belgrade, believers discussed what it means practically to love one's neighbor when the media is constantly reminding them of past and current wounds or fears.

An elderly Serbian man warned the group not to let the media poison their minds but instead to ask themselves, "What would I do if I were an Albanian mother in Kosovo?" He challenged them to "not become angry at what the media says the other side may have done to us. Instead, remember the Good Samaritan and act concretely to help our neighbors who suffer."

Churches of Albanian and Serbian backgrounds, with help from World Relief, are working together to provide soap, shampoo, detergent and toothpaste to about 20,000 displaced people. They have provided ten metric tons of food to churches within Kosovo for distribution.

The churches are part of Bread of Life, a Belgrade-based Christian relief group, mobilizing evangelical churches in Yugoslavia to work together.

"In this area where so many have suffered because of divisive politics, we Christians must speak another language, not the political language . . . We must follow Christ's example and show equal compassion despite the political storms that divide," says Jasmina Tosic, Bread of Life's co-director.

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Scriptures Are Needed to Facilitate Reconciliation in Bosnia
news and needs
Reprinted with permission from PIONEERS.

There is no Bible translation suited for the two million Bosnian Muslims, so efforts are under way to establish a Bosnian Bible Society.

How can we hope for people to respond to the Gospel if they don't have His Word?

Recently a little girl named Aida sang folk songs and told about her life.

During the war, her five-year-old sister was hit by a grenade and killed. Her father lost both legs and one arm fighting in the war.

What will the next generation in Bosnia be like? Aida's story is not unique in this war scarred country.

The hope for the country of Bosnia is to be reconciled to their enemies and to be reconciled to each other and to God.

Pray that they may receive the Scriptures soon. To contribute to the Bible production project contact Pioneers at . . .

1-407-382-6000
www.PIONEERS.org,

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END
The Reveille Shofar
Volume 2, Number 6 - O1 December 1998

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