August News from around the World

AROUND THE WORLD: Forum of Bible Agencies Launches “Find-a-Bible”
The Forum of Bible Agencies International (IFOBA) recently launched a new website that gives easy access to scripture in more than three thousand languages. Find-a-Bible is the first centralized global resource that provides access to the many scripture products available around the world. With just the name of a language, a user can now access a simple search to find existing products in that language. The Find-a-Bible project is one of the strategic global initiatives undertaken by IFOBA to maximize the access and impact of God’s word around the world. It is the most comprehensive list of majority and minority language scriptures in existence. The site provides links to resources including Bibles, New Testaments, and scripture portions in print, audio, and visual formats. (Forum of Bible Agencies International)

AROUND THE WORLD: First Person outside the USA/Canada Region Elected to Church of Nazarene Board
Eugenio Duarte, regional director for Africa and a native of the island of Brava in the Cape Verde Islands, became the first citizen from outside the USA/Canada region elected to the Church of the Nazarene's Board of General Superintendents in the 100-year history of the denomination. Duarte was elected the 37th general superintendent on 30 June 2009 at the Church's 27th General Assembly. Duarte's election also reflects the multicultural face of the denomination. Duarte declared, “This is what being a missional church gives you.” Duarte has been serving as the regional director for the Africa region since 2005. Prior to this assignment, he and his wife, Maria Teresa, served as regional global missionaries with the Church of the Nazarene. He was field strategy coordinator of the Africa French Equatorial and West Fields. (Nazarene Communications Network)

AROUND THE WORLD: Mission Organization Issues 30-Day Global Prayer Challenge
One missionary-sending agency is challenging Christians to embark on a global adventure—a 30-day prayer tour around the world. World Gospel Mission (WGM) invites believers to join The Concert of Prayer: Encore in daily prayer 14 September to 14 October 2009 for specific countries and opportunities where WGM missionaries are serving. The September/October 2009 issue of WGM's magazine, The Call, will lead readers on a 30-day prayer tour around the world. To be part of The Concert of Prayer: Encore, sign up for your free subscription to The Call at The Concert of Prayer: Encore can also be followed on, with audio files of the daily prayers, special podcast episodes, and more. (Christian Newswire)

ASIA: Leading Asian Theological Educator Dies
Lilian Lim Hui Kiau, president of the Asia Baptist Graduate Theological Seminary (ABGTS), died 25 June 2009 in Singapore. Lim was one of the few Baptist women in Asia to be elected to lead a major theological seminary when she was named head of ABGTS, a consortium of nine theological schools in eight countries. Described by colleagues as “a simple lady with a simple faith,” Lim was previously professor of New Testament and academic dean at the Baptist Theological Seminary (BTS) of Singapore, one of the nine schools that form the ABGTS consortium. She served on the executive board of the Singapore Baptist Convention and the Asia Pacific Baptist Federation (APBF), one of six regional fellowships of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA). She was also a member of the board of directors of Global Women, a mainly Baptist organization dedicated to empowering women for service and mission globally, and to creating partnerships across national borders and artificial divisions. Lim was a member of the BWA team participating in the ongoing Baptist-Roman Catholic Conversations between the BWA and the Vatican. (Baptist World Alliance)

GERMANY: Atheists and Christians Tour the Country
Busses with atheistic slogans are nothing new—they have been touring the streets of London and other European cities for some time with the message, “There is probably no God.” But from 30 May through 18 June 2009, Christians in Germany accompanied atheists on a 20-day nationwide bus tour. The red “atheist” double-decker and a white “Christian” coach were often parked side by side or opposite one another. The Christian initiative under the auspices of Campus Crusade for Christ made it clear from the start that hostile confrontation was not their intention. Both vehicles, starting in Berlin, made stops in twenty-five cities, where local Christians joined the bus crew and spread the gospel message with songs, leaflets, and personal testimonies. Television, radio, and the press covered the unusual event. Both sides welcomed the opportunity for an exchange of ideas. Although approximately two-thirds of Germans are at least nominal church members, it is estimated that no more than six percent worship regularly. Evangelicals number about 1.3 million. (Assist News Service)

IRAN: Growing Unrest and Clampdown May Be Pivotal Point for Believers
Facing growing anger over the June election results, the Iranian government is putting heavy restrictions on news coverage. But Christians are joining the Twitter Revolution and using Facebook to get information out of Iran. Carl Moeller with Open Doors International notes the parallel to the Tiananmen Square uprising twenty years ago in China: “… the momentum that that demonstration ignited brought about the greatest revival in the Church in China and also a sense of openness.” Moeller says this could be a pivotal point in the history of Iran and the future of believers who live there. “One of the co-workers that we have there is saying, 'We're not sure right now what the effect of the pressure will be on the Church. It can be both extremes—more pressure to keep control, or earn trust with the people by giving more liberty.' The reality is we just have to wait and see.” (Mission Network News)

MIDDLE EAST: TURK-7 and SAT-7 to Merge
During its recent tri-annual meeting in Beirut, Lebanon, the SAT-7 International Board took a major step forward by voting to fully integrate TURK-7 into the ministry’s network of television channels by January 2010. TURK-7 was created as an independent Turkish Christian television ministry in 2003. Based in Istanbul, the ministry utilizes locally-based Christians and other television professionals to create original programming as well as some dubbed programming. TURK-7 is largely funded by a group of twenty-eight partners, half of which are local churches and ministries. SAT-7 is a founding member of the partnership, providing expertise, funding, and four hours of daily satellite airtime for TURK-7 to broadcast its Turkish Christian programs. “We fully believe that SAT-7, with its similar ethos, its years of experience in Christian broadcasting and its significantly larger operational and support staff, will help raise us up to a higher level of broadcasting,” said David Middleton, TURK-7 executive director. (SAT-7)

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)