The Reveille Shofar

in this issue January/February 2000, Vol. 4 No. 1

God Has A Wonderful Plan For Your Assignment
by T. Lynn Sidebotham

Kaufelds with Saudi friends You've just been assigned to a service school. After duty with brutal hours, field training, deployments, high stress, and not much family time, this looks like a chance to kick back a bit, relax, and enjoy the family. But don't go to sleep. There are some unique ways to serve Christ during service school assignments. Allied nations may not be grabbing our sleeve to hear the gospel, but how about to train with our military?

Take Air Force Major Ed Lorenzini. He was sent to Air Command and Staff College in Montgomery. A guy named Muhammad, from Egypt, was in his section. Muhammad was usually pretty animated; in fact, he talked a lot. One day he didn't seem himself. He was quiet.

Ed asked him what was wrong. The salary Muhammad and his wife and two children were trying to live on wasn't cutting it. Maybe the Egyptian government got the COLA wrong. Anyway, they were hard up financially, and were forced to sell their car. A Muslim friend was to have arranged a good deal for Muhammad to buy another one, but the friend had only been showing off.

Ed and Elizabeth had just bought a van, and hadn't decided what to do with the now third car. Holding up the keys, Ed said, "Here, you can borrow my car." Muhammad was really surprised. "I mean it," Ed said. "Just drive me home first."

Muhammad was so excited he called his wife. Ed overheard him tell her how his Muslim friend wouldn't help but this Christian classmate did. Muhammad's family drove the car for about four months on Lorenzini's USAA insurance! The families spent some time together. Once, Muhammad even asked to hear more about Jesus and what he meant to Lorenzinis. When Muhammad went home to Egypt, Ed gave him an Arabic language Jesus video.

This relationship is one Muhammad will never forget.

Maybe Uncle Sam is sending you to graduate school. Students from countries inaccessible to missionaries are inundating our universities. Or maybe you'll be deployed to one of those "closed" countries.

Take Air Force Captain Keith Kaufeld. He and his wife Barb were attending the University of North Dakota. The International Center was having a Saudi night, and they went. The place was packed, so they were squeezed into a corner, and had to sit on the floor. Somehow it happened that Abdullah came up and started talking, and they became friends.

Abdullah was a bachelor, and needed lots of help with English, so Keith and Barb proofread his papers. Sometimes Abdullah cooked an Arabic meal for them. Six months later, Abdullah's friends, a married couple named Adel and Wafa, arrived to study. Keith and Barb met them at Abdullah's. The two couples really clicked, and began doing everything together; even traveling to Canada.

Two or three months later, Adel and Wafa returned to Saudi Arabia during a school break. Meanwhile, Keith was deployed to Saudi Arabia, to the same exact city Adel was from. In fact, Adel's village was only about five miles from the Air Force base.

Most of the Americans stayed on base. Not Keith. He was never on base except for work hours. Adel took him all over Saudi Arabia. They went camel-riding, experienced the desert, visited Bedouins, attended social functions, and smoked dried fruit with a water pipe in the men's clubs. Keith, whose job was in finance, met routinely with Saudi bankers who all knew him because of Adel. If he went to a strange city, one of Adel's relatives would be waiting for him, to take care of him. He never had to spend a dime.

How did religion fit into their relationship? Keith and Barb were only nominal Christians at the time, although from a Muslim's point of view, even thoroughly secular Americans are Christians. Once, Adel and Wafa tried to convert them to Islam, but when Barb said, "No way!" they let it drop.

After Keith came back to the US, Adel and Wafa watched as Keith and Barb grew into a deeper relationship with Christ. They observed Keith and Barb closely. For instance, they noticed that, even at the big parties, Keith and Barb did not drink. Finally, they told Keith and Barb that surely such good people were not going to hell, and this conviction was causing them to question their own beliefs. Barb says, "My heart desires to see them in heaven with me."

Keith regrets that during this time of opportunity he himself did not know Christ personally. Now he commits time to Operation Reveille in order to encourage military Christians not to miss God's expectations for them.

Service school. Graduate school. Deployment. God causes all things to work together for good to those who are called according to his purpose (Rom. 8:28). If you want to claim this promise while serving your country, then you must also be serving God's agenda.

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A Testimony and Plea for Help from China
people profile

At fifty million, Christians in China are still less than five percent of the population. Han Chinese compose ninety percent of China's 1.2 billion people. Most of these speak Mandarin or Mandarin related dialects. China's government divides her remaining hundred million people into fifty-five minority groups of various religious and linguistic affiliations.

Map of China Peoples

To help us understand the dynamics of conversion in China, here is a letter sent by e-mail to a contact in Singapore.

It's Suzie. I living in Shanghai, China, now. I wish my mail doesn't boring you. I have read your article from the web page while I try to search the Shanghai Christians (I mean underground, I don't want to attend official one from my direct feeling.) I am astonished. I have never heard such things, because I am not a Christian now. Our environments let us never know such ugly things (arrest Christians). Also, we have no chance to know it from newspaper or magazine.

When I had a chance for job training at Berlin. I knew a Christian from Malaysia. He let me knew who is Lord Jesus. At first, I feel so interesting and baffling why people will believe in God, and there is really a Jesus in your heart. Gradually, after I attending the church meeting at Berlin. I began to know more and more about Jesus. I love him, I think. And it is totally different from my former impression about Christian. And some of Christians at Berlin wish I could be baptized there. I hesitated that time (I am so regretted now.), because I knew the reality is so cruel, and also I daren't to tell them something else. I am a communist on half way! (that means the communism party accepted me one year before, and I should be a formal one after one year, now).

Then when I was at Berlin, I told them, if after going back to China, and I tell them I still believe in LORD JESUS, then I really believe, because the environment is different. Yes, I could believe him freely at Berlin because no pressure, but I don't know what will be after I am back.

Now, I came back Shanghai. How can I say. I feel I still believe in Lord Jesus. Still read Bible every day and pray to him everyday. Wish he can harden [strengthen?] my heart. But all the friends here told me, if I gave up the communism on half way, I will get a lot of problem. Yes, I can image, in fact, I am suffering now. Because our company's managers are all communist.

How should I DO? How I wish I can contact the Christians in Shanghai, and can get suggestions and strength from them! I am so alone here! Know Jesus too late? If one year ago, I know him, I didn't apply to be a communist, then everything will be ok. I can be a Christian, only not let my managers know it. It is enough. But now it is not.

And another thing hurt me. The Christian from Malaysia, my good friend (at least I look him as my best friend, and I also love him deeply till now), he also didn't want to tell me the address of Christians in Shanghai. I am hurt really. After reading your article, I can understand him. He fear it will take the risk to the Christians here. But that lets me suffer now. Since I want to give up communism, I will get a lot of problems, and should face a lot of pressure, and the life (salary, all kinds of relations), but also I can't contact with Christians here. That means I want to be a really Christian, but suddenly I feel I am alone.

I don't know how to do now. I am wondering, so hard for me. Wish Lord Jesus is seeing me, and he is almighty, give me a way.

best regards, Suzie

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International Students Incorporated (ISI)
Helps International Students Adjust
agency profile

ISI volunteer Over 14,000 ISI volunteers in more than 200 U.S. cities provide assistance and have friendships with international students.

International Students Incorporated (ISI) is a 45-year-old organization of Christian volunteers who want to have friendships with international students at U.S. colleges and universities.

ISI volunteers and staff help students with such things as learning about American culture, solving problems that need the expertise of a native speaker, finding a Christian mentor in their academic discipline, and (if interested) learning about God and the Bible.

While ISI is a Christian organization, students need not be Christians to participate. Students from any nationality and all religious backgrounds are encouraged to join. ISI offers social service and spiritual activities. Participating in spiritual activities is not necessary to receive other services. ISI offers help and friendship unconditionally. Students are not pressured to participate in spiritual activities.

The biggest need from volunteers is for friendship. ISI recruits Friendship Partners to include international students in recreation, cultural events, birthday and holiday celebrations, and religious services.

ISI also uses volunteers to help many international students with English language tutoring, transportation to the airport, temporary housing, and sightseeing or shopping excursions.

Volunteers often host fellowship dinners, taxiing students and preparingmeals for an evening of social activities, interesting discussions, and shared ideas.

ISI equips their volunteers with valuable resources like country and religion profiles, videos and books, and Bible studies.

International Students Incorporated

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Summer Short Term Trips

kids Pioneers Edge 2000 Softens Resistance
POC Kristine or Angie at 1-800-755-7284
or theEdge@compuserve.com

The Edge 2000 program of Pioneers uses short term volunteers to help prepare the way for the gospel among people who are beyond reach by ordinary means. Prefield orientation is held in Orlando from19 to 22 June. Then teams go overseas until 12 August. Here are some of the locations:

Frontiers Frontiers Sends Teams to Muslims
POC Karin Crawford at 1-800-GO-2-THEM
or karin.crawford@ccmail.lfa.com

Frontiers bases short term trips on long range goals. Participants usually work with long term teams under the oversight of experienced leaders. Contacts will be followed up so that your contribution will be a lasting one. Here are some of the trips offered:

International Teams Ministers
POC Mitzi Hanold at 1-800-323-0428
or summer@itusa.org

International Teams

International Teams (IT) stresses teamwork, training, personal care, and innovation to facilitate workers in ministries that are strategic to world evangelization. IT will conduct two six- day sessions for training summer ministry teams at their center in Elgin, Illinois. IT also sponsors language and culture training in overseas locations.

IT language and culture training will be conducted at the following locations:

The 23 May to 20 June training session prepares people for the following four to twelve week trips:

The 22 to 27 June training session prepares people for the following five to eight week trips:

Youth With A Mission Challenges All Boundaries
POC Jody Farrell or John Stumpf
at 1-800-735-9926
or mailto:74604@compuserve.com

YWAM is sponsoring several summer service opportunities for both the novice and initiated from their Elm Springs Arkansas center.

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Moslem Studies Training Programs in 2000

Dates Program Name Sponsor Contact Info Location
2-9 June Summer Institute on Islam Arab World Ministry 1-800-447-3566 Philadelphia
5 Jun - 21 Jul Middle East Practicum Arab World Ministry 1-800-447-3566 Detroit
1-31 July Summer Training and Outreach Program CHRISTAR 1-800-755-7955 New York City
10-21 July Institute of Muslim Studies (Session One) Columbia International University 1-800-777-2227 Columbia, SC
24 Jul - 4 Aug Institute of Muslim Studies (Session Two) Columbia International University 1-800-777-2227 Columbia, SC
19 Jun - 15 Sep Various Intensive Courses Fuller Theological Seminary 1-800-235-2222 Pasadena, CA
10 Jul - 4 Aug Summer Institute of Muslim Studies Ministry to Muslims 1-800-597-0609 Colorado Springs
15 May - 9 Jun Various Intensive Courses Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary 1-817-923-1921 Fort Worth

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Finishers Project Will Help You Find A Game Plan For Your Second Half

Finishers Project Your career has been successful, rigorous, and even fun. But you find moving up the ladder is an empty reward. You sense there's more to life than accumulating things, career, achievement, and lifestyle. Your role at church is changing and you wonder if it's your real niche. And, well, perhaps you're itching for some adventure.

The Finishers Project 2000 conference scheduled for 6-8 April in Dallas at the Wyndham Anatole Hotel may be for you.

The Finishers Project is a cooperative effort of churches and over fifty leading mission agencies to address the longing of mature adults for a lasting and eternal legacy one not measured in dollars, but in treasure that does not rust or decay.

This three day conference featuring Dr. Joe Stowell, President of the Moody Bible Institute, will be serious fun with music, drama, multi-media, and teaching all designed to help you reflect on where God might be leading you from this time forward.

It will provide you with the process, pathways, and planning tools to find a substantial assignment for Kingdom significance in your second half.

You will meet peers who have already made this transition and discuss with them ways to use creatively your life skills and experience. You'll chat with like-minded attenders who are at the same stage of life and considering their options. You'll dialogue with some of the most creative minds in missions.

This conference will enable you to learn quickly about a wide array of real-life opportunities that you and your spouse could plug into right away or several years down the road. Compare organizations where your skills can be put into play part-time, part of the year, or full-time.

This will be an assembly of the best resources available to help this generation find a ministry activity with eternal significance.

Breakout sessions will zero in on key issues such as learning about your spiritual gifts and passions, assessing financial requirements of missions opportunities with real cost-of-living figures (for many countries) at hand, caring for elderly parents, maintaining medical care while overseas, adjusting to cultural changes, and minimizing issues of separation from family and friends.

Joe Stowell will take us back to take stock of our own generation, what we have become, who we are, what we have pursued, and how God can use us in the future. He will pull from God's Word some principles for preparing for the future. He will point us to what the Bible says about hearing and understanding the call of God.

Finishers Forum 2000 is a place where it's OK to be "in process." It's an environment where you can safely investigate opportunities both at home and internationally, without pressure.

Wherever you are in the process, these tools and breakout sessions are designed to help you.

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World Christian Magazine Mobilizes Christians to Finish the Great Commission
resource review

World Christian Magazine World Christian magazine is published quarterly by a division of World In Need (WINPress).

The magazine informs, encourages, and mobilizes this generation to be obedient to the Great Commission on a world wide scale. Psalm 96:3 is the theme. This passage says, "Declare his glory among the nations, his wondrous works among all peoples."

An annual subscription costs $14.95.

WIN Press
P.O. Box 1357
Oak Park, IL 60304
1-708-5174 (fax)

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Tom Steffen Authors Bussiness as Usual in the Missions Enterprise
resource review

Missions Business This book surveys present-day missions issues in a unique manner. It covers missions committee roles, western roles, non-western roles, money allocations, short term trips, gathering and sharing information, cross-cultural training and turf wars.

The allegory format makes it interesting and helps the reader understand some complex problems in the missions profession. The narrative is interspersed with lists of principles and insights that help the reader make maximum sense of the funny and entertaining story.

We recommend this book for missions committees, chapel councils, PWOCs, PMOC's, short term missions personnel, missionary candidates, and others with less-than-extensive experience who are involved in missions. It is a good overview for the big picture. It will help the newly initiated avoid trendiness and strike a good balance in the complexities of cross-cultural Christian work.

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Mission Agencies Crave Laborers For Kosovo
news and needs

Kosovo Refugee Chaos in Kosovo has opened incredible doors for ministry. The tidal change of social conditions has opened unprecedented opportunities. One mission leader writes, "This may be the best church planting situation we have ever had!" He notes that their only constraints are laborers to work the over ripe fields.

As refugees returned to their homes many mission agencies helped with emotional and physical needs. The emotional and physical ministry is continuing. Teams of missionaries continue to do trauma counseling while others help to rebuild shattered homes and businesses.

Many former refugees are responding spiritually by putting their faith in Jesus Christ. The resulting need for experienced shepherding leadership is overwhelming the new congregations and the relief and development missionaries.

Missionary sending organizations are desperately seeking mature believers with at least two years experience in church or para-church ministry who are willing to make at least a six month commitment to help these young congregations in Kosovo.

Pray to the Lord of the harvest for laborers. If you or anyone you know has interest in going or recruiting, Operation Reveille can link you to the mission agencies involved.

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Indonesia's Decline into Anarchy Has Important Lessons for All Nations
news and needs

Indonesian Policeman Statue After Mohammed died (632 A.D.), Islam spread rapidly by conquest. All across the Middle East and North Africa, Christian art, writing, and facilities were incinerated. It's happening again, this time in Indonesia.

Several years ago in Asiaweek, John L. Esposito, Professor of Religion at Georgetown University, and a scholar on Islam contrasted Indonesian Islam with perceptions of the Middle East writing, "Southeast Asia is far more multireligious and multicultural and projects a more moderate and pluralistic profile."

So, how could Indonesia, once renowned for religious tolerance, become the reigning world champion at burning churches in just a few short years? The answer is important to religious freedom everywhere, even in America.

Web site review At Indonesia's founding in 1945, all religious groups understood that the state ideology, Pancasila, guaranteed freedom of conscience, freedom to convert, and freedom to share with others. Movements, like Darul Islam in West Java and other provinces, that opposed this kind of religious tolerance were pursued by the government till they were eliminated or controlled.

Then beginning in 1968 and operating through the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MRA), as part of its bid to placate radical Muslims, Soeharto's government began eroding these basic freedoms with executive orders and legislation applied unfairly to Christians rather than to Christians and Muslims alike.

In 1969 the MRA decreed that houses of worship could not be built without government approval and that services in homes were only allowed if all the local religious leaders approved.

In 1978 the MRA decreed that people of other religions could not be targeted for conversion through social services, literature distribution, or personal visitation. They also decreed that religious funding from outside the country had to go through the MRA.

Finally, in 1985, the government assumed direct authority over churches through legislation that all social organizations, including churches, had to embrace the regime's interpretation of Pancasila ideology.

While claiming to support tolerance, government actions actually promoted animosity between religious groups. Permits for all kinds of Christian activities were severely restricted.

Following the government's lead, Mosque sermons and Muslim literature fanned hostility towards other religions which in turn created fear of Muslim intentions in all other groups. Muslim leaders were given excuses for offense and were sensitized to complain about anything that was Christian. Even illegal reactions by Muslims were appeased.

For example, on 22 October 1990, a mob attacked the offices of the weekly tabloid Monitor, smashing windows and destroying equipment. They were protesting a recently published popularity poll ranking Mohammed in eleventh place. No protesters were prosecuted, but the Monitor was shut down, and the editor went to prison.

Rather than appealing to the natural tolerance of Indonesians, Soeharto curried approval from radical Muslim elites. By appeasing the hostile attitudes of Muslim leaders to perfectly legal Christian activities, Soeharto stimulated the insatiable appetite of the radicals, thereby feeding the voracious monster of intolerance now rampaging through once harmonious communities.

While, in Indonesia, the potentially irreversible damage is already done, it is not too late to learn important lessons for avoiding similar problems elsewhere.

Preserving religious freedoms of conscience, conversion, and propagation is not just a special interest luxury. These freedoms are central to peace, stability, and prosperity.

The liberty to hold and promote religious convictions is being challenged in America.

Last October U.S. congressman Jim McDermott sent out a letter on congressional stationery calling fellow congressmen to help end the Southern Baptist "conversion campaign directed to members of the Hindu faith."

In November the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago wrote the Southern Baptists claiming that evangelism campaigns could lead to hate crimes.

Americans are encountering the same "garden path" that Christian Indonesians faced thirty years ago.

For more information on the struggle of the church in Indonesia visit www.sunda.org/Church.html

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MultiLanguage.Com is Your Gateway to Foreign Language Christian Resources
web site review


The Multi-Language Media online catalog at this web site provides Scriptures in over ninety languages, Christian books in about forty-five languages, the Who Is Jesus? tract, Bible-based English Language teaching materials, the JESUS video in over three hundred languages, plus a variety of foreign language Christian videos.

Use it to purchase house gifts.

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The Reveille Shofar
Volume 4, Number 1 - January/February 2000