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The Reveille Shofar

in this issue 01 February 1999, Vol. 3 No. 1

A Pioneer Reflects on His Travels to Bosnia
feature by Jeff Warner

Missionaries, like military people, spend a lot of time in airport terminals impersonal, look-alike places that erase time and space full of scurrying people with their private lives.

Pioneers photo On December 1, 1998, I was stunned by the thought, "I've been here before. In this very room." I was in a large, circular departure lounge of Detroit International Airport, en route to Zenica, Bosnia, by way of Vienna and Zagreb by plane, train, and car.

It was exactly seven years ago, December 1, 1991. The room was packed with Japanese tourists returning to Tokyo. I had arrived from Providence, Rhode Island, and was on my way to do a missions survey in Bosnia. War had begun in the Balkans, but had not yet touched Bosnia.

I was to be part of a six man team. Had I known then what I know now, I might not have gone. Only one otherman joined me. We were both novices at European travel.

We felt so alone on that wild train ride to Zagreb through the tunnel between Austria and Yugoslavia with six boxes of humanitarian aid. Soldiers were checking passports at the border and we had problems on arrival. After tidy Austria, the poverty and confusion in Zagreb was palpable even in the middle of the night.

On that bitter December evening, God met me. He strengthened me with a sense of destiny for the road ahead.

Today is December 2, 1998. I just had supper in Zagreb with Zlatko. It is seven years to the day since our first meeting. Some things never change. The passport checks were still a problem, and December in Croatia is still bitterly cold.

But there are differences. Zlatko's daughters still laugh a lot but not at my attempts to speak their language. In seven years friends have died, children have been born, and churches have been planted.

In Zenica, over 50 people are expected for our Christmas Day service/party. Last year, we distributed over 3,700 Christmas packages from Samaritan's Purse. This year we are distributing over 6,600. We will be distributing into January, taking time to give them out personally with church members involved in each distribution.

Waiting in terminals, planes and trains seems to erase time and space. Prayer really does. Pray for Bosnia and for God's work there.

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The Spirit of Christmas Lives in Missions
feature by A. Joseph Wheat

Taylor sketch Hudson Taylor was the man who pioneered Christian missions into the interior of China. This was over a century ago when there were no telephones.

God was not the only one sending Hudson Taylor to China. His godly mother was also sending him. In his autobiography, Hudson Taylor records their last moments together.

"My beloved, now sainted mother, had come to see me off from Liverpool. Never shall I forget that day, nor how she went with me into the little cabin that was to be my home for nearly six long months. With a mother's loving hand she smoothed the little bed. She sat by my side, and joined me in the last hymn that we should sing together before the long parting. We knelt down and she prayed the last mother's prayer I was to hear before starting for China. Then notice was given that we must separate, and we had to say good-bye . . . never expecting to meet on earth again.

"For my sake she restrained her feelings as much as possible. We parted; and she went on shore, giving me her blessing. I stood alone on deck and she followed the ship as we moved toward the dock gates.

"As we passed through the gates and the separation really began, I shall never forget the cry of anguish that wrung from my mother's heart. It went through me like a knife. I never knew so fully, until then, what 'God so loved the world that he sent his only son' meant."

After that touching story about him and his mother, Hudson Taylor remarked in the very next sentence, "Oh, how it must grieve the heart of God when he sees His children indifferent!" sailing ship

Christmas is about a leaving love. Love doesn't sit and wait for the world to come to it. Love moves towards others. It is initiating and sacrificing.

The Father who sent Jesus is still sending. Jesus said, "As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."

God calls his people to love, minister, give, and sacrifice. He calls them to move out of comfort zones and into ministry zones. God is still sending, the question is are you leaving?

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Refugees Are a Surmountable Challenge
people profile
by Justin Long

Wld Relief Photo In our world more than 14 million refugees have abandoned their homes and taken up temporary residence in another nation, typically one nearby. The reasons for their movement are varied, but conflict, economic decline or environmental degradation are the main causes.

Refugee movements change often. For example, large numbers of Afghani refugees have been residing in Iran, but Iran is now attempting to repatriate them to their home country. Likewise, ethnic Albanians living in Kosovo have recently abandoned fighting in the area and become refugees in Albania itself. Thus any statistics dealing with refugees are necessarily dependent on the time frame.

Ministry to refugees is an important call for the church. To begin with, the church is commissioned to aid those in need and refugees certainly qualify. Many are sick, most lack shelter, food, clothing and other essentials of life, and all are homeless and victimized. Secondly, from a strategic viewpoint, it is often far easier to minister to refugees in more open nations than in their homelands, which are fraught with restrictions and conflict.

Ministry to refugees can take many forms: donations of food, clothing, and shelter; arrangement of medical care; vocational skills training; friendship evangelism; and provision of pastoral care for converts to Christianity among refugee camps, to name just a few.

Many governments that are usually restrictive of Christianity will often permit Christians to help care for refugees, since the government itself is often overwhelmed with their needs.

One can gather information about helping refugees by checking with the U.S. Embassies to the nations concerned or by checking with the embassies of those nations to the United States. Additionally, checking with large relief organizations like World Vision and World Relief or your own denomination's relief arm, will provide excellent leads.

Fourteen million refugees sounds like a huge number but in reality it's a very small one. There's no reason why the worldwide church with its hundreds of millions shouldn't be able to care for every one of them. With your help, the church can.

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World Relief Logo World Relief Ministers to Refugees
agency profile
by Shelley Smith

Sure, I'd love to tell you about World Relief and refugees!

World Relief is the relief & development and refugee assistance arm of the National Association of Evangelicals. We equip churches to be involved in ministry to the poor and suffering in the name of Christ.

Here in the States, our primary ministry is among newly arriving refugees. We have offices in twenty-three cities throughout the USA, and we have a contract with the State Department to help them resettle.

We help them with things like housing, employment, language and cultural adjustment. As you can imagine, their transition into American life is quite challenging.

We firmly believe that God brings them here and calls us to minister not only to their physical needs, but also to their spiritual needs.

We meet refugees from all over the world (Somalia, Ethiopia, Vietnam, the former Soviet Union, etc.) and share the love of Jesus Christ with them.

This year the majority are from Bosnia, and we have welcomed some from Kosovo. These are Croatian Serbs that relocated to Kosovo during the war. Since the recent fighting, these refugees have been forced to flee again.

They are not accepted anywhere in the former Yugoslavia because their blood is far from "pure." They are coming to us, and we have a chance to shower them with the love and mercy of God.

For information contact. . .

World Relief - Atlanta
964 N. Indian Creek Dr. Ste. A-1
Clarkston, GA 30021
1-(494) 294-4352
www.worldrelief.org

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"Friends of Bosnia" to Gather in Washingon D.C.
opportunity

hotel photo "When it comes to future hope and peace for Kosovo and Bosnia & Herzegovina, this event has the capacity to bring together some of the most informed church and government leaders ever!" That's what one church leader has said about the Friends of Bosnia Conference slated in Washington, D.C. for April 9-10, 1999.

Organizers hope the event can . . .

The event has already attracted many key leaders in current Bosnian humanitarian outreaches and church planting agencies.

Registration is set for the incredibly low price of $69 per person, which includes notebooks, program, facilities charges, a healthy refreshment break on the evening of the 9th, a wonderful continental buffet breakfast/program the following morning, as well as a NY Strip Steak luncheon banquet later that day, April 10th.

The Conference will take place at the stately and elegant Wyndham Bristol Hotel, just 6 blocks down Pennsylvania Ave. from the White House. Although normal room rates at this property would be well above $140 during the highly popular springtime in DC (the peak of all tourist season weeks), the Bristol has caught the vision of this conference and has agreed to an unheard rate of $89/room (plus DC's 12% taxes).

Planners have launched an online email conference to facilitate pre-event communication. To join, just send a message to . . .

subscribe-fobih-input@xc.org.
FoBiH stands for "Friends of Bosnia & Herzegovina."

To find out more or register for the Washington, D.C. event contact Doug Lucas of Team Expansion at douglucas@xc.org or call 1-800-447-0800.

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LordOverAll Breakfast Briefing Series Commences
opportunity

Operation LordOverAll

Operation Reveille believes that professional exposure to regions of poverty and conflict results in heightened levels of opportunity and responsibility.

The Operation LordOverAll breakfast briefing series, beginning in Colorado Springs on 24 April 1999, is designed to mobilize the defenders of national interests to advance Christ's global kingdom interests as well.

William T. Waldrop, minister at large for Officer's Christian Fellowship, will be speaking on situation and mission aspects of the challenge at the first briefing. Subsequent breakfasts will include speakers and workshops covering execution and a variety of practical service & support and command & control issues. The series will help participants take practical steps towards projecting the Gospel into areas where it has never been before from the platform of their profession.

For registration information contact Operation Reveille.

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The Peoples of Vietnam Profiles Exotic Cultures
resource review

book cover Asian Minorities Outreach has just finished writing a new prayer book, called The Peoples of Vietnam.

Vietnam's greatest asset is her precious people. In addition to the more than 60 million ethnic Vietnamese, a rich array of more than 50 tribal groups is scattered throughout the length of the country. The Peoples of Vietnam examines the unique cultures of the tribal groups, and presents them to caring Christians around the world.

This118-page prayer guide contains 54 two-page profiles on each group. Each profile includes a photo, cultural information, historical background, stories, and a section on past and present missions work. A spread of superb color photographs in the middle and on the front and back gives the work special appeal.

The Peoples of Vietnam costs $10 from. . .

Asian Minorities Outreach
P.O. Box 132232
Tyler, TX 75713
phone: (903) 835-7779
e-mail: amo@xc.org

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Praying Along the Silk Road Profiles Central Asia
resource review

book cover Central Asia is one of the last areas of the world where most people have never heard the gospel even once.

The Frontier Mission Center has recently produced a 52 page prayer guide focusing on the Turkic and Persian language groups along the ancient Silk Road. Highlights include profiles on countries, peoples and issues, a full color map, numerous people pictures, and a resource section providing links to training, reading, and research materials.

Praying Along the Silk Road costs $5 from. . .

World Christian News

Colorado Springs, CO 80936
phone:1-888-WCN-NEWS
e-mail: wcn@xc.org

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Feel the Pulse of World Missions with WorldPulse
web site review

logo

www.wheaton.edu/bgc/emis/pulsepg.htm

Visit this site to feel the pulse of missions in the world.

This semi-monthly periodical offers independent coverage of global evangelistic outreach and a look at trends that shape world missions which are often missed in the mainstream media.

Selected articles and a variety of services are available online.

World Pulse contains:

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Jubilee Campaign Helps Chemical Weapons Victims
news and needs

photo It starts as a simple headache. Then the victim gets a runny nose and cough, much like a common cold. But these symptoms are only the beginning. Exposure to Sarin gas eventually causes difficulty in breathing. Extreme gastrointestinal pain, diarrhea, and profuse sweating soon follow. The victim eventually suffocates to death.

Anthrax, Plague, VX Gas, Cyanide Gas, Botulinal Toxin these are the nondiscriminating tools of a vicious killer.

"This is real. This is serious," says Richard Butler, the Chief Inspector for the United Nations. He knows about those who are struggling for their lives.

Just a decade ago, five thousand people died in the northern Iraqi town of Halabja. The dead were found locked in silent embraces. Mothers were found cradling their babies. Fathers were found trying to shield their children.

Jubilee Campaign is helping the hundreds who have survived this experiment at extermination. These chemical attack victims suffer from various respiratory and neurological disorders. Some are blind. Others have cancer. Miscarriages and birth defects are common.

Jubilee Campaign is helping children like Amira, who was born with a grotesquely deformed face because she was exposed to chemical gases before she was born. It is helping incapacitated adults like 23-year-old Nizar who can hardly walk because his nervous system is ruined. He has lost control of his muscles and can't even go to the toilet on his own.

logo You can help by praying for and supporting Jubilee Campaign.

9689-C Main Street
Fairfax, VA 22031
(703) 503-0791

 

 

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A Family's Loving Touch Begins a Healing in Bosnia
news and needs
by Pieter Heres

Heres photo My wife, Dawn, and I, together with our two boys, recently returned from ministering in Bosnia.

We served in a trauma center for Muslim kids. Most lost their fathers during the war and subsist now with the help of humanitarian aid.

At the trauma center our hearts fell in love with a little boy named Aldin.

During the war, Aldin's father was loaded onto a bus with other Muslim men and never seen again. Serbian soldiers took 5-year-old Aldin and his mother to a concentration camp.

Aldin "shut down" emotionally. Too traumatized to speak, eat or sleep, he lapsed into a hellish period of fear, nightmares and bed wetting.

When we met him, our heart's prayer was for little Aldin to feel Jesus' arms around him. Never did we think that our 5-year-old Jordan would become the answer to that prayer. Each time Aldin and Jordan would play there would be smiles . . . then laughter . . . and finally hugs.

Our hearts went out to this dear little boy and, as a result, his heart began to heal.

Now that we're home, our family wants to see more Bosnian children healed and brought into the Kingdom of God.

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Filipinos Are Taking the Gospel to Saudi Arabia
news and needs
by Andy Smith

map

Nations prize Filipino workers. They love to hire these diligent, relational people. Their fluency in English makes them especially valuable. Recently, an official from Saudi Arabia visited Manila. Among other things, he asked the Philippine government to send his country one million new laborers.

God also prizes Filipino workers. He loves to send them out. Their fluency in praise makes them especially valuable to him.

Church leaders in the Philippines are commissioning thousands for cross-cultural missionary service. Some of these will fill the million or so openings in Saudi Arabia.

They will take a healthy work ethic and good interpersonal skills. They'll communicate clearly in English.

But above all, they will seek to serve the Lord.

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Filipino Christian Leaders Are Being Deported From Saudi Arabia
news and needs
Source: Compass Direct

The Saudi government is forcing local companies to fire and deport foreign Christians active in secret worship services within Saudi Arabia, charged a prominent Filipino pastor on November 10 in Manila.

Pastor Ed Lapiz said at least eight Filipino church leaders have been dismissed from their jobs and sent back to the Philippines since August.

He told Compass he was tracking information on 10 additional Filipino Christians, all leaders in house fellowships who are apparently "listed" for similar treatment in the next few weeks.

Under Saudi Arabia's strict interpretation of Islamic law, any religious worship other than observance of Islam is illegal, even among the more than 400,000 expatriates working in the country.

Pastor Lapiz called the growing number of quiet deportations "a new approach" by Saudi authorities, whose rash of heavy-handed arrests last summer generated considerable media coverage.

"The Ministry of Interior would like to avoid the blame for these latest deportations by forcing the employers to terminate them," he said.

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International Pressure Frees Persecuted Maldive Christians
news and needs
by Alex Buchan, Compass Direct

Imprisoned Christians in the predominately Muslim Maldives were all freed by mid November, according to a November 23 press release from Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW). Some 50 Christians had been arrested and jailed in June without warning, and while in jail were forced to perform Muslim worship rituals. But after public pressure by Christian NGOs that threatened the Maldives' tourist trade, most of the Christians were released in late August to house arrest. Now even those restrictions have been lifted.

Asked if public pressure had resulted in the release of the prisoners, Tina Lambert, CSW's Religious Liberty Director replied, "Probably the government of the Maldives released them because of the pressure. But on the other hand, the believers are still not that free to practice their faith in that society." She added, "These events have made the Maldivian believers more frightened than ever.

map Christians number a few hundred in a population of 260,000 that the government claims is 100 percent Muslim. The Constitution forbids changing religion. Throughout the public campaign calling for the release of the prisoners, Maldivian government leaders denied anyone was in jail for religious beliefs.

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Koreans Insert Bibles by Sea, Air, and Land
news and needs
Reprinted from the Bible League Report

There was no public observance of Christmas in North Korea. It didn't appear on the government-printed calendar. But Christians in South Korea fervently pray for openings to share God's Word across the border to their kinsmen. They also use creative tactics to reach unbelievers and to strengthen believers who must practice a very private faith.

insertion map They launch balloons printed with Scripture texts. They also cast plastic baggies filled with Scripture booklets into a bay near the border. And they transport Bibles over the border from China in the dark of night.

Bible League partners carry out their work with great discretion. Said one partner, "We have an unspoken arrangement. I get the Bibles in, and a few key people pass them to Christians who need them. But we can't even utter a word about it to one another."

The threat of persecution is very severe. Many North Korean people are waiting for their first copy of the Bible. North Korea remains one of the most oppressive countries in the world.

For Christians any Christmas celebration will occur secretly, possibly within small, underground house church meetings.

The Communist Party leadership has no room for God. In Pyongyang, Korean people still bow to bronze statues of former leader Kim II Sung, who died four years ago. Every citizen -- from government officials to workers in the fields -- wears a lapel pin bearing Sung's photo.

The desire for God's Word is great. Believers have no other source of encouragement in a land which has desperately blocked outside influence.

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CSI Redeems Slaves in the Sudan
news and needs

CSI photo Christian Solidarity International is working to counter the devastating slave trade in Sudan by buying freedom for many who've been seized.

Re-emergence of the slave trade is one of many ugly results of the ongoing civil war. It is being used to destabilize the South as part of the North's effort to Islamize the whole country.

Redeeming slaves means paying for them. It's an average of $100 per person.

Since 1995 CSI has traveled to Sudan fifteen times and redeemed 3000 slaves. The work is dangerous, but with international governments and leaders turning a blind eye to the trade, this is the only way to set the captives free and reunite fractured families.

What You Can Do

CSI logo Contact CSI to learn how you can help fight slavery in the Sudan.

1-888-313-4468
www.csi-int.ch
e-mail: csi-int@csi-int.ch

 

 

END
The Reveille Shofar
Volume 3, Number 1 - O1 February 1999

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