April News from around the World

ARAB WORLD: HCJB Global Reaches More than One Million Households Weekly
HCJB Global is now reaching more than one million Arab households weekly across the North Africa/Middle East region via radio broadcasts. HCJB Global's media strategy in the region has a two-pronged approach. First, it's engaging households that listen to broadcasts together. Second, programs are produced by trained local believers who could face great persecution. HCJB Global recently announced its “Me and My Household” initiative that centers on Joshua 24:15. The ministry is offering a free prayer e-card at www.hcjbglobal.org/myprayer, which Christians can use to encourage their family and friends to serve God and pray for non-Christian families around the world. (Christian Newswire)

AROUND THE WORLD: ECFA Names New President
On 3 March 2009, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (EFCA) named Dan Busby as its new president. For the past eleven months, Busby has been acting president of ECFA during the board’s search process. Chair Michael Batts said, “After conducting a national search, the board of directors concluded that Dan Busby was clearly the right person for the job.” While Busby was acting president, ECFA experienced one of the largest single-year membership increases in its history and was named one of the “Best Christian Workplaces in America” by the Best Christian Workplaces Institute. Busby has served as vice president and senior vice president of ECFA since 1998. (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability)

AROUND THE WORLD: News Agency Focuses on Inspiring Mission Stories
Founded by two former missionary kids, The International Faith Telegraph: World Christian News & Missions News (IFT) was launched in February 2009 and has already begun making contact with Christians and missionaries around the world. IFT places less focus on political news and greater focus on worldwide news, bringing its readers inspiring mission stories from individual missionaries and organizations around the world. IFT provides “instant” access to how God's people are fulfilling the Great Commission worldwide. IFT also promotes the success of Christian artists, worldwide advancements and trends in technology, and churches worldwide by publishing articles that are inspiring and give the “good” news a place to stand out. (Christian Newswire)

AROUND THE WORLD: My Hope Television Ministry Brings Millions to Christ
Since its inception in 2002, the My Hope World Evangelism through Television Ministry, an evangelistic outreach of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), has been implemented in forty-four countries and has seen more than 9.5 million people make commitments to Jesus Christ. “God has really blessed the My Hope ministry like nothing we've ever seen before,” said Erik Ogren, senior public relations specialist of the BGEA. The February 2009 Billy Graham Television Special offered an on-the-ground look at efforts in Brazil, including a trip up the Amazon River, and a home meeting in a gang-controlled area of Río de Janeiro. (Assist News)

AROUND THE WORLD: FCBH Releases Nine More Audio Translations
Faith Comes By Hearing (FCBH) recently released nine more audio New Testament recordings, covering several South American languages as well as additional languages spoken in Asia and Africa. These new offerings represent more than 4.7 million people on three continents. FCBH now has 412 audio scripture recordings available in 350 languages. FCBH’s mission is to record the New Testament in two thousand languages and to start 1.8 million Bible listening groups by 2016, thereby reaching the fifty percent of the world who cannot read and are poor. (Faith Comes By Hearing)

AUSTRALIA: “Jesus. All about Life” Goes Statewide in Australia
Bible Society NSW has announced that its “Jesus. All about life” campaign will now cover all of New South Wales, the oldest and most populous Australian state, located in the southeast of the country. “Jesus. All about life” is a non-denominational, advertising-based, mass-media campaign which aims to increase the general public's awareness of the person of Jesus, and what he said “about life.” The media campaign is supported by local churches that will run community, cultural, and arts events that connect with the message of the campaign. So far, it has the support of all the major denominations including the Catholic Church, Anglican Church, Seventh Day Adventist, the Australian Christian Churches, including Hillsong and the Baptist Church of NSW. The campaign is to run during September and October of 2009. (Assist News)

AUSTRALIA: Agencies Respond to Fire Devastation
In February 2009, devastating arson-induced fires destroyed an estimated 750 homes and wiped out entire villages north of Melbourne in what has been described as the worst natural disaster in Australia's history. YWAM Melbourne staff cared for refugees who lost their homes, establishing prayer booths alongside local churches, and making their skills available to overstretched government officials. The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (RRT) also deployed crisis-trained chaplains to Melbourne at the invitation of local churches in response to the wildfires. “The heartbreak caused by these fires is unimaginable,” said Jack Munday, director of the RRT, on-site in Australia. “We will be with the churches in and around Melbourne, offering training on how to appropriately offer emotional and spiritual care during such a tragic time.” (Assist News)

HAITI: Youth for Christ Launches Program and Graduates Fifty
Haiti, the poorest and least safe country in the Western Hemisphere, is also the latest to form a national Youth for Christ (YFCI) organization. Haitian national YFC director Galilee Perlus has already held a three-month training program for youth workers and pastors which has graduated fifty students. The YFC organization in Haiti is virtually self-supporting and was formed indigenously by Perilus with little outside help. YFCI operates in over one hundred countries worldwide. Every YFCI national program has a locally selected board and a national director from within the country. (Assist News)

HONG KONG: Six Hundred Top Christian Leaders Expected to Gather
It is expected that over six hundred top Christian leaders from seventy nations will assemble in Hong Kong 1-6 June 2009 for the International Call2All Gathering '09. Mark Anderson, president of the Global Pastors Network (GPN), organizers of the event, challenged Christians all over the world to attend the gathering in Hong Kong. “We are entering a new phase of world events; it's not going to be 'business as usual' for the Church anymore. We are experiencing increasing shakings all around the world; this is a prelude to the greatest ingathering into God's kingdom we have ever seen. The time is now! It is imperative we plan and work together to see the Great Commission completed,” Anderson said. The Call2All Gathering is expected to run alongside the Global Day of Prayer (31 May 2009) and the Global Day of Missions (7 June 2009). For more information, go to www.call2all.org. (Assist News)

MALAYSIA: Government Re-bans Use of “Allah” by Christians
Malaysia's government has re-imposed a ban on the word “Allah” in Bibles and in Christian newspapers and religious texts in the Malay language following pressure from some Islamic groups in the country. The home affairs ministry retracted a decree issued in mid-February which would have allowed the Roman Catholic-run Herald newspaper to use the word “Allah” in its Malay-language edition, if it included a warning on the front page saying the newspaper was for Christians. Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar said the government had made a mistake in enacting the decree allowing the word to be used and that the matter should be decided in the courts. (Ecumenical News International)

MYANMAR: Churches Ordered to Cease Services
During a recent crackdown on Christians in Myanmar, approximately one hundred churches were ordered to stop holding services and fifty pastors were forced to sign documents agreeing to cease church services. The pastors were warned repeatedly they could face time in jail if they disobeyed. Most of the churches affected met in homes, and some think it could be the military regime's response to churches helping victims of Cyclone Nargis, which hit Myanmar's coast in May 2008. “The regime does not like the fact that Buddhists have been receiving help from churches, and fears this may possibly result in conversion,” one pastor living in exile said. (Gospel for Asia)

PAKISTAN: First Large Christian Leadership Conference for Women
In February 2009, over five thousand women gathered in Karachi for Pakistan's first large Christian Women's Leadership Conference. YWAM Pakistan chair, Zafar Francis MA (London) PgDip said, “I am hoping our Pakistani women will realize their worth before God and move into the leadership roles he has designed for them in our nation and beyond.” The program, held during the workweek and during children's exam time, witnessed women climbing into large fleets of buses to attend. Some had given up two days' salary; others had even put jobs at risk to make sure they could be there. This was the first time any public event had been held especially for them. (Assist News)

SUDAN: Humanitarian Situation Worsens
The humanitarian situation in Sudan has taken a disastrous turn following the indictment of President Omar al-Bashir for war crimes in Darfur. The government of Sudan has expelled over a dozen international aid organizations, risking the lives of over one million people. Samaritan’s Purse, which has been feeding over 200,000 victims of the fighting, is one of the organizations that have been allowed to stay in Darfur. (Samaritan’s Purse)

UNITED STATES: Giving to Ministries Higher than Expected in Late 2008
Despite the economic downturn, most evangelical parachurch ministries exceeded, met, or came very close to their 2008 fourth-quarter contribution goals. The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) conducted a recent survey of more than three hundred parachurch ministries which rely heavily on charitable giving to launch and sustain their programs. Dan Busby, acting president of ECFA said, “Most ECFA member ministries expect 2009 to be more challenging, primarily because major donors who made gifts in 2008 have expressed they may not be able to renew their financial commitments because of the economy.” (Assist News)