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August News from around the World

August 2009

NEPAL: Gospel for Asia Holds Radio Rally
Despite growing unrest in Nepal, Gospel for Asia (GFA) missionaries in the country are experiencing God's blessing on their efforts to encourage the Body of Christ. "For a long time, GFA radio listeners were asking for a chance to meet the radio speakers face to face," wrote a GFA correspondent. Listeners recently had this opportunity during the first GFA radio rally ever held in one area of Nepal. Several congregations and a youth group led by a GFA-supported missionary put the rally together. Hundreds gathered to hear from GFA's Nepal leader, Narayan. The rally was also aired over a radio station. Soon after, a church led by a GFA-supported pastor raised money to record three new Nepali worship CDs. These CDs were released during a church service and are available in Nepal to help bring people closer to the Lord. (Assist News Service)

PAPUA: TEAM Showing Christ’s Love to Displaced Javanese Muslims
The Church in Papua is thriving, and a new mission field there has opened up for The Evangelical Alliance Mission (TEAM). Thousands of Javanese Muslims have been displaced to Papua by the Indonesian government. Brent Preston with TEAM said, “Our goal is to show the love of Christ to Muslim people who are coming onto this island that they did not grow up on and they really know nothing about." However, the Papuans have not been very open to the Javanese: "Even in the church, there's not a deep love for these Javanese Muslims coming in," Preston explained. Therefore, TEAM has a two-fold goal as they minister in Papua: (1) to change the attitude of the Papuan Christians and (2) to build a community center in the town of Merauke along the southern coast of Papua. Preston said, “Through that community center our missionaries will hope to seek to build relationships with the Javanese Muslims, and then through that share the gospel of Christ.” (Mission Network News)

SCOTLAND: Highlands Reached through Evangelist Luis Palau's 2-Week Campaign
The Highland Festival with Luis Palau culminated in Inverness, Scotland, on 20 June 2009 after two weeks of more than sixty outreach events in more than a dozen towns throughout Scotland's Highlands. Local pastors praised the Palau outreach for the unity it created among participating churches and for saturating the Highlands with the gospel message. Most of the sparsely populated towns impacted by the campaign had not witnessed such a large scale effort since Palau's previous Scottish campaigns that ran from 1979-1981. "You can definitely sense the secularization and lack of church attendance," said Palau. “I have asked young people, ‘Do you go to church?’ and they look at me like I'm from another planet. But Scotland is once again dry tinder, ready to catch fire for the Lord.” The Highland Festival involved more than one hundred churches—more than half the region's total church population. Leading up to the final event, an outdoor festival in Inverness on 19-20 June, were eight mini-festivals in nearby towns, more than forty outreaches at schools and prisons, a tea for women held at the personal castle of a well-known Christian businesswoman, a business leaders' luncheon, and two evenings of traditional music and preaching at an indoor theatre. By the end of the culminating festival, officials estimated approximately twenty thousand people had been reached with the gospel message—representing ten percent of the population of the surrounding area and marking a significant step forward for evangelism in the region. (Christian Newswire)

SRI LANKA: Partners Offer Help and Message of Hope
After twenty-six years of bitter civil war in Sri Lanka, this island nation’s militarized minority, the Tamil Tigers, laid down their weapons. This transition has opened the door for the good news to come into areas once cut off from the world. “Conditions in Sri Lanka are difficult right now—closed roads, unsanitary living conditions, and lack of resources,” said Doug Harstine, Faith Comes By Hearing (FCBH) regional manager. “There is great need, especially for food. Relief organizations and FCBH partners, like the Ceylon Bible Society, are assessing which regions have the most damage,” said Harstine. “The people are ready for the message of hope that comes from God’s word.” (Faith Comes By Hearing)

SWITZERLAND: World Church Body Names Korean, Norwegian Candidates for Top Post
The World Council of Churches (WCC) says it has identified two candidates—a Korean Presbyterian and a Norwegian Lutheran—for the post of general secretary, which became vacant 1 January 2009. The WCC said in a 26 June 2009 statement that the two candidates are the Rev. Seong-won Park, a professor of theology at Youngnam Theological University and Seminary in Kyeongsan, South Korea, and the Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the Church of Norway Council on Ecumenical and International Relations. (Ecumenical News International)

UNITED STATES: Harvest Crusades with Greg Laurie Marks Twenty Years
The Harvest Crusades with Greg Laurie, which have drawn nearly three million people to ballparks and arenas across Southern California since 1990, will mark twenty years with its annual evangelistic outreach at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California, 14-16 August 2009. Featuring nightly messages from pastor and evangelist Greg Laurie, who will speak during all three evenings of "Southern California Harvest 2009," the crusade is the longest-running annual outreach in the U.S. The event will also feature music from top name Christian bands. With a trademark ability to present a straightforward gospel message in a culturally relevant format, drawing on the latest in current events, contemporary Christian music, and technology, Laurie's Harvest events have drawn more than 3.8 million people to stadiums and arenas around the world since 1990. (Assist News Service)

UNITED STATES: Hawaii Church Becomes First to Stream Live Video to iPhone
Less than two weeks after the release of Apple's iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3.0 update, Honolulu-based New Hope Christian Fellowship has begun streaming its weekend worship services live to iPhone and iPod touch users. Live streaming to the iPhone was one of the most requested features from church attendees, and is now possible with the inclusion of HTTP live streaming in Apple's iPhone 3.0 software. New Hope's addition of live streaming to the iPhone is significant in that it is the first non-profit organization to offer this type of service. "Typically, churches are years behind other organizations when it comes to technology and innovation. We have tried to reverse that trend and pioneer new ways to spread the gospel using the most current tools available," explains New Hope's technology and innovations director, Michael Sharpe. Leveraging standards-based HTTP streaming technology, New Hope delivers high-quality video over either a Wi-Fi connection or other carrier network, providing for a truly portable experience. The live stream of New Hope's services became available on their website 4 July 2009. (New Hope Oahu)

VIETNAM: Persecution of Christians Escalates
Across Vietnam, persecution against Christians, Catholics, and Protestants alike is escalating. Communist authorities have recently demolished two Catholic monasteries in the south and an historic Protestant church in the Central Highlands. In the north, Catholics continue to be harassed in Hanoi, the same place where evangelical religious liberty advocate Nguyen Van Dai also remains incarcerated. Indigenous Degar house church leader Puih H'Bat, a mother of four, whose husband is a refugee in the United States, was arrested in April 2008 and her fate is still unknown. This is of particular concern because of intense Vietnamese ethnic and religious hatred of Degars. Some have been tortured to death. Continuing persecution has crumbled hopes of religious reform in Vietnam. (Assist News Service)

YEMEN: Two Bible School Students Kidnapped and Murdered
Two German Bible school students studying at the evangelical Brake Bible School in Lemgo, Germany, have been kidnapped and murdered in Yemen. Both nurses were on a short-term internship at the Al Jumhuri hospital in Saada (North Yemen). It is supported by the humanitarian agency Worldwide Services in the Netherlands. The victims, members of a Baptist Church in Wolfsburg, Germany, were abducted 12 June 2009 north of Saada on an excursion with a German couple and their three children, a British engineer and a South Korean teacher. In the last fifteen years at least two hundred foreigners have been kidnapped in Yemen. In most cases, they were set free after ransom payments. (Assist News Service)

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