December News from around the World

AROUND THE WORLD: Trans World Radio Selects New President
Trans World Radio (TWR) announced in October 2008 that Lauren Libby would serve as its new president and CEO. The decision was unanimous by TWR’s Board of Directors following a 6-month search process. Prior to this new position Libby served as vice president and CEO for The Navigators. Libby is a member of the Board of Directors for the National Religious Broadcasters, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, and Northwestern College. He is also president and CEO of New Horizons Foundation, a public charity helping donors achieve their giving objectives in education, research, humanitarian aid, religion, and health-related areas. (Trans World Radio)

AROUND THE WORLD: WEA Appoints Spokesperson on Human Trafficking
The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) announced the appointment of Christine MacMillan as a spokesperson for the WEA on human trafficking issues. MacMillan is director of the International Social Justice Commission of The Salvation Army and has spent much of her life providing social services for women and children. MacMillan hopes to work with the WEA in raising voices within the Church on human trafficking and perhaps make the Church itself a place of safety for those who are victimized. (World Evangelical Alliance)

AROUND THE WORLD: Youth For Christ Holds International Conference
Youth for Christ (YFC) recently held an international conference attended by 750 people from eighty countries. According to national director of YFC in the United States, Dan Wolgemuth, about half of the attendees were under the age of thirty. The conference included sessions of worship and prayer involving Christians from a variety of backgrounds. YFC sees its people reaching out to those whom other ministries have yet to reach. Wolgemuth called for prayer for the “continual movement toward young people who are on the fringes and are being discarded around the world.” (Mission Network News)

CHINA: Langham Foundation Develops Program for Chinese Pastors
In fellowship with local leaders, Langham Foundation Hong Kong has been working to launch a small pilot project for pastors from mainland China. Langham Preaching will help with the development of a week-long seminar for about thirty mainland pastors from various parts of China, focusing on the development of biblical preaching in church life. It will be an opportunity to assess needs in different Chinese contexts, prepare materials that might have wider applications, and look toward further development in a mainland Chinese context. (John Stott Ministries)

CONGO: MAF Ministers to Congolese Refugees
Amidst renewed attacks by the rebel group LRA in the North Kivu region of eastern Congo, many Congolese have been fleeing to neighboring Uganda. According to Fran Derocher, Africa director of Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), “Many of our guys are flying in support of a lot of relief agencies who are trying to get some aid and medicines and food up there.” Although MAF specializes in working in remote areas, expenses, particularly rising fuel costs, have made operations more difficult. In addition, instability and violence in the region forced MAF out of its base in Nyankunde six years ago. MAF, which supports Christian workers, evangelists, teachers, medical personnel, and relief workers, subsequently moved that base to Bunia, Congo. (Mission Network News)

ECUADOR: Agricultural Projects Train Farmers and Spread God’s Word
International Mission Board (IMB) missionaries sometimes use gifts from the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund for agricultural projects that help make long-term solutions in times of crisis. IMB missionaries Darrell and Rogene Musick have worked in Ecuador treating livestock for parasites and disease and training farmers in caring for their livestock and raising crops. Farmers who completed the training have agreed to teach others what they learned. Through their work, the Musicks have been able to share the gospel, and since beginning their work in Ecuador four years ago, they have seen forty-two house churches start. (International Mission Board)

ETHIOPIA: World Serve Pushes On in Difficult Circumstances
World Serve Ministries has partnered with several Ethiopian churches to help starving Ethiopians who are victims of a large economic crisis. With global food prices rising, there is much to do, and efforts are complicated by problems such as HIV infection and lack of housing. However, World Serve estimates that there are over six hundred emerging churches in the country and over five hundred missionaries serving them. (Mission Network News)

EUROPE: Thousands Pray For Millions to Know Christ
On 23 October 2008, more than ten thousand people responded to Greater Europe Mission’s (GEM) call to prayer for Europe. Since then, the number continues to grow. GEM created “virtual prayer journeys” for each of the forty-seven countries of Europe (plus Turkey and the Mediterranean Region), featuring pictures, facts, related web links, and strategic prayer requests for that area. “This effort to enlist widespread, strategic prayer springs from our desire to see the 821 million indigenous and immigrant peoples of Europe experience transformation through the person of Jesus Christ,” said Henry Deneen, president of GEM. (Greater Europe Mission)

GERMANY: Youth Conference Challenges, Connects, and Celebrates
More than 6,500 people gathered in Leipzig, Germany, over the summer of 2008 to attend the fifteenth Baptist Youth World Conference. Young people representing eighty-nine countries participated in Bible studies, workshops, family groups, and evening celebrations, giving them an opportunity to interact with different cultures. Small groups provided the youth a forum to share the experiences and challenges of living out their Christian faith. While daytime activities challenged believers to dive deeper into their faith, evening celebrations became times of exuberant worship with scripture passages read by youth in many different languages. (Baptist World Alliance)

HAITI: Bringing Water and Christ’s Love to Hurricane Victims
Many Haitians remained without food, water, or shelter in October 2008, following three devastating hurricanes over the summer. Because Haitians in the hard-hit city of Gonaives walk very great distances to find working water pumps, Living Water International (LWI) has been working hard to rebuild wells and repair hand pumps in the area. LWI also trained local people to do repairs themselves. Gonaives is reported to be a city where voodoo is practiced widely, so the ministry of LWI is an opportunity to demonstrate the love of Christ and debunk beliefs in witchcraft. (Mission Network News)

HONDURAS: Medical Teams International Sends Relief to Tropical Storm Victims
In its second medical supply shipment to Honduras, Medical Teams International (MTI) sent help to thousands of families who are victims of recent storms in the country. Relief items included antibiotics, bandages, and water purification kits. Health workers with MTI’s Honduran partner, Project Global Village, dispersed the supplies in the hope of treating approximately ten thousand people for three months in shelters and clinics. MTI volunteer doctors and nurses planned to arrive in November to provide critically needed back-up to workers already on the scene. MTI is a non-profit humanitarian relief and development agency that exists to demonstrate the love of Christ to people affected by disaster, conflict, and poverty around the world. (Medical Teams International)

IRAQ: Iraqi Christians Send Urgent Text Messages to Christian Television Station
In October 2008, SAT-7, a Christian television broadcaster that serves the Middle East and North Africa, reported receiving urgent text messages from persecuted Christians in Iraq. The messages urged prayer for Christians in the northern city of Mosul, from where many Christians are reported to have fled due to increasing pressure by extremists. There have also been reports of Christians being killed and homes being bombed, as well as death threats made to those who do not convert to Islam or pay a special tax that positions them as second-class citizens. (SAT-7)

JORDAN: Arab Anglican Women Meet in Jordan
Women of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem met at the second Arab Anglican Women’s Convention in Amman, Jordan, in early October 2008. The Diocese of Tokyo, which wanted to learn more about Jerusalem after one of its member attended the first convention in 2007, financed the gathering. Twenty-five Arab Anglican women from Jerusalem, the West Bank, Israel, Lebanon, and Jordan participated, as did seventeen members of the Tokyo diocese. The gathering provided an opportunity for the women to pray together and share stories and their cultures with each other. Frequent contact between women of the Jerusalem diocese is not possible since travel between the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the Galilee is difficult. (Ecumenical News International)

KAZAKHSTAN: Religious Freedom Faces Further Threats
A new proposal in Kazakhstan calls for tighter registration requirements for all religious groups, a smaller number of religious communities, and increased penalties for members of unregistered communities. Under the current draft, repeat “offenses” would lead to a religious community being banned. Although Kazakhstan's constitution guaranteed freedom of religion in early 2002, parliament actions have moved a different direction. The country is being closely monitored by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom for its violation of religious liberty. (Mission Network News)

KENYA: Trans World Radio Awarded Seven FM Frequencies
Trans World Radio (TWR) announced the awarding of seven FM radio frequencies to broadcast to outlying areas of Kenya and remote northern and eastern portions of the country where no Christian broadcasting has existed. TWR-Kenya produces over thirty-two different programs with over sixty hours of programming each week. The new frequencies will allow TWR to reach refugees who have fled to Kenya from war-torn parts of East Africa. While temporary transmitters and antennae have been set up in Garissa, Lodwar, and Marsabit, TWR must establish seven radio stations in Kenya to broadcast programs recorded locally and in Nairobi. (Trans World Radio-Africa)

LATIN AMERICA: TWR Launches City Lights Project
With ever-increasing numbers of people moving into urban areas around the world, Trans World Radio (TWR) is focusing some new projects on city dwellers. One such project is City Lights in Latin America. City Lights “links churches and individuals throughout the United States with Latin American churches and radio stations to bring God’s principles into fifty Latin American cities over the next few years.” TWR gives each city a package of original programming designed to connect biblical teachings with listeners’ everyday lives. Partner offices in ten Latin American countries produce and distribute programming to local stations. The programs are aimed at meeting the needs of children, youth, women, and families. (Trans World Radio)

SOUTH KOREA: Audio New Testament Fits Hectic Lifestyle
Faith Comes By Hearing (FCBH) recently released the South Korean Audio Drama New Testament. This dramatized format, available for free download, includes background music, sound effects, and multiple characters. It is estimated that ninety percent of South Koreans have broadband access, which allows the South Korean Audio Drama New Testament (about twenty-five hours of audio) to be downloaded in approximately twenty minutes. The ministry currently has audio New Testaments in 321 languages with a goal of two thousand languages recorded by 2016. (Faith Comes By Hearing)

UNITED STATES: International Teams USA Commissions New President
In October 2008, International Teams (ITeams) USA hosted a commissioning service for its new president, Scott Olson. The event also celebrated the service of past presidents Mark Dyer, Stephen Freed, and David Schroeder, and board chairman Stephen Fraser. Guests included members of the original team of missionaries that traveled to Calcutta, India in 1961. ITeams is an interdenominational, evangelical Christian ministry that sends over 1,200 missionaries from fifty-two nations to sixty-six different countries. (International Teams)

UNITED STATES: The Navigators Elects New President
In August 2008, the U.S. Navigators’ Board of Directors commissioned Dr. Doug Nuenke as president and director. Following a process that vetted several qualified candidates for the position, Nuenke was the unanimous choice of a 35-member selection council. Nuenke assumed his new role in October. Pursuing an international mission assignment, he and his wife, Pam, joined Navigators in 1992. In 2004, Nuenke joined the leadership of The Navigators’ U.S. Metro Mission, and last year, he completed his doctorate through Denver Seminary with a focus on executive leadership. (The Navigators)