October/November News from around the World

AFRICA: New Africa Regional Director Elected
Filimao M. Chambo has been elected the new Africa regional director of the Church of the Nazarene. Chambo, a native of Mozambique and resident of South Africa, replaces Eugénio Duarte, who was recently elected general superintendent. Since 2007 he has been serving the Africa region as coordinator of Nazarene Education and Discipleship (NED) services. He has a doctorate in biblical studies from the University of Johannesburg. He was installed as the fourth regional director for Africa at the Good News Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa, 18 September 2009. (Nazarene Communications Network)

AROUND THE WORLD: World Evangelical Alliance Welcomes Kosovo and Azerbaijan
Kosovo and Azerbaijan recently became the latest alliance members of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) through their affiliation with the European Evangelical Alliance (EEA). “Church growth in both Kosovo and Azerbaijan is exciting,” said Gordon Showell-Rogers, general secretary of the EEA. “And it is wonderful to see how the formation of Evangelical Alliance has multiplied their impact. The WEA international director Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe welcomed the two alliances with the following statement: “….While both these alliances represent minority movements in their countries, we are encouraged to see the recent growth of the Church and their growing unity. As a global community it is important that we stand with each of these alliances as they seek to live out kingdom values in often challenging circumstances.” (World Evangelical Alliance)

AROUND THE WORLD: WEA Rallies against Human Trafficking
The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) has recently created a taskforce on human trafficking in an effort to raise awareness across the WEA community that represents 420 million evangelical Christians worldwide. The taskforce, headed by the WEA spokesperson on human trafficking, Commissioner Christine MacMillan, aims to prevent and combat trafficking by developing strategic and effective actions and tools that will help equip local churches and their leaders to become responsive to the victims of human trafficking. Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, WEA international director, commented, “It is a travesty that more than one person a minute is trafficked across borders every year. It is my hope and prayer that this WEA initiative will help mobilize and train our global community to respond in meaningful, effective and biblical ways. As Christ followers we must do all we can to help end the injustices of this worldwide calamity.” (World Evangelical Alliance)

CONGO: A “Great Harvest Field”
Churches in the Democratic Republic of the Congo run 145 grade schools serving an estimated forty thousand students. Only about ten to twenty percent of the students come from Christian homes, and the government actually requires that schools provide religious instruction. Grace Ministries International (GMI) is sending out teams trained by OneHope to help evangelize students and communities. “This is just a great harvest field,” said Sam Vinton of GMI. “We feel that our focus is going to continue in this area for quite a while with the number of students we have.” Teams do outreach in the schools, distribute tracts with the help of local Christians, and show The GodMan film in the evenings. So far, estimates report about seven hundred students have made professions of faith, over eight hundred people have professed faith in response to the tract distribution, and more than a 1,500 people have professed faith in response to The GodMan. (Mission Network News)

INDONESIA: Consultation Addresses World Concerns
Despite the Jakarta bombings and the H1N1 flu scare, ninety-one participants from twenty countries took part in the Asia Theological Association's (ATA) consultation on Christian Leadership Formation in an Age of Crisis: Our Response to Globalization and Religious Pluralism 21-24 July 2009 at the Seminari Alkitab Asia Tengarra in Malang, East Java, Indonesia. Heads of seminaries, church pastors, and leaders in the public sector responded with commitment and positive enthusiasm to the issues of economic and social globalization and religions seeking to re-establish their control over society. In his keynote address Dr. Joseph Shao, general secretary of ATA, stated that Asia can no longer be defined by ethnicity, but rather by common values. He added, “We live in the midst of a lonely generation, a fatherless generation and a 'me' generation, so that pre-evangelism is needed to loosen the soil for the gospel. The Kingdom of God has no borders.” (Asia Theological Association)

IRAQ: Christians Persevere Amid Increased Danger
In August 2009 it was reported that after a period of relative peace, the situation in Iraq has gotten worse again. There have been explosions, and many people, including both Christians and Muslims, have been killed in the attacks. Carl Moeller with Open Doors says while many Christians have left Iraq, many remain. “There are numbers of Christians that have chosen—because they love their country and love the Lord—to stay in a place where he has planted his church. Some of the most dedicated co-workers that we have there are suffering from depression over the hopelessness that is pervading.” While violence mounts, Moeller says, “The Church is growing. And one of the great testimonies to the power of the Holy Spirit and the witness of Jesus Christ is that he is actually appearing to many ‘seeking Muslims’ in dreams and visions.” (Mission Network News)

KYRGYZSTAN: New Council to Crack Down on “Religious Extremism”
In order to crack down on religious minorities, Kyrgyzstan has established a state Coordinating Council set to fight against what the country views as religious extremism. On 5 August 2009, the Prime Minister signed the decree establishing the council. Forum 18 shared some of the text of the decree, which reads in part that it was created “for the purpose of ensuring concerted action and coordination of activity of state agencies and local governments of Kyrgyzstan in prevention of the spread of and resistance to religious extremism, fundamentalism, and conflicts on religious grounds.” Faith-based groups, as well as civic agencies, are alarmed by the scope of power bestowed upon the council. According to Forum 18, Raya Kadyrova of the Foundation for Tolerance International, says, “Unfortunately, our laws give a very wide definition of religious radicalism and extremism.” (Mission Network News)

PERU: North American Youth Outreach Strategy
Taken to South American Youth After wrapping up Summer of Hope 2009 in the United States, the Ron Hutchcraft Ministries On Eagles’ Wings (OEW) team traveled to Peru, where pastors selected two indigenous Christians from six key regions of Peru to participate in training and evangelism with the OEW team. In a two-day training camp, Ron Hutchcraft and his team trained the Peruvians to do outreach and cast vision for revival to be led by youth reaching their peers. “Peruvian young people are, like their peers around the world, shaped by the American youth culture,” Hutchcraft explained. “The Church doesn't understand them, and they are often overlooked.” The experience with the OEW team kindled a fresh fire in the hearts of the twelve Peruvian youth for reaching their peers with the gospel. The inspiration, however, went both ways. The passion of these youth also gave the OEW team a renewed passion for evangelism. (Ron Hutchcraft Ministries)

SINGAPORE: Convention Aimed at Inspiring South Asian Youth
In July 2009, nearly 350 delegates and invited guests between the ages of 16 and 45, varying from students to young urban professionals and ministry leaders, and representing more than fifteen different denominations, attended the third South Asian Global Convention (SAGC) in Singapore. This third international and trans-denominational gathering of South Asian Christian youth, young adults, and ministry leaders from around the centered around the theme “Beyond Boundaries,” based on Isaiah 54:2. According to Pastor Pritam Singh Sandhu, founder of South Asian Connection, God laid a vision in the hearts of various leaders of the South Asian Diaspora for a new and relevant work aimed at the present and next generation of young South Asians. Fifteen different mission organizations and specific South Asian youth ministries were represented at SAGC through informative exhibit booths and video presentations. (Assist News Service)

UNITED STATES: SIM Names New U.S. Director
SIM (Serving In Mission) has named Bruce Johnson as its new United States director. Johnson, a 35-year veteran in ministry leadership, started 1 July 2009 on the SIM USA Leadership Team. Beginning 1 October 2009 he replaces Dr. Steve Strauss, who is leaving to become professor of world missions and intercultural studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. Johnson came to SIM from Asian Access, where he served seven years as vice president of ministry and also as interim president. Prior to that he served with Arrow Leadership, NextLevel Leadership, and Campus Crusade for Christ. SIM began 116 years ago in Nigeria and is now an international mission with more than 1,600 people from fifty-five nations serving on six continents. (Serving In Mission)

UNITED STATES: Greg Laurie’s Twentieth Annual Harvest Draws Record Numbers
More than 126,000 people made up the standing-room-only crowd for the twentieth annual Southern California Harvest with Greg Laurie. Many more around the world participated online and via Twitter. The crowd lined the concourse at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California, 14-16 August 2009, while fireworks exploded overhead, celebrating lives changed through the event. Nearly twelve thousand people committed their lives to Christ over the three nights. A media release said that tens of thousands of people from over one hundred countries also attended “virtually” using the Internet and live iPhone streams. (Assist News Service)

UNITED STATES: Joni and Friends Celebrates Thirtieth Anniversary
As Joni Eareckson Tada observes her sixtieth birthday in October, this year also marks the thirtieth anniversary of the ministry she founded to provide support and outreach to individuals with disabilities and their families—inspired from her own experience as a quadriplegic trying to adapt and survive in an inaccessible world. Joni and Friends Ministries Inc. includes Tada’s internationally-syndicated radio program “Joni and Friends”; the Wheels for the World program, which provides wheelchairs for individuals with disabilities all over the world; and family retreats, during which individuals with disabilities and their entire families are encouraged and given a real respite during a week-long “summer camp” atmosphere. As the ministry turns the corner on this its thirtieth year, it continues to fulfill Tada's vision of accelerating ministry to those with disabilities. “If churches around the world would grasp the revolutionary truth that Christ's transforming power always comes through sacrifice and weakness, it would dramatically alter the landscape of the global church,” Tada said. (Christian Newswire)