December News from around the World

AFRICA: Development Associates International Brings MA Program to French-Speaking Africa
Since 2004, Development Associates International’s (DAI) Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership program has grown to more than five hundred students from twenty-two countries. In addition to its English curriculum, DAI also offers the MA program to French-speaking students. With groups meeting in four countries, more than two hundred students travel from around French-speaking Africa to take part in the program. Both lay people and clergy use the educational experience to redefine their ministry. Although distance learning has challenges, many leaders have shown great interest in continuing their education through DAI’s part-time educational system, which partners with local academic institutions such as the Katanga Methodist University in Mulungwishi Town, Congo, and Faculte de Theologie Evangelique de Bangui in Central African Republic. The MA program’s approach allows participants to learn without having to give up their jobs. (Development Associates International)

AROUND THE WORLD: Better Connection and Collaboration through Godreports
ASSIST News Service veteran senior writer Mark Ellis has started a website that allows missionaries to share their own stories. On, missionaries and ministry organizations can create their own webpages—their “Godreports,” where they can share their vision, passion, prayer requests, needs, and updates. They can link photos, video, and worship music to their page. “They can also raise funds for vital mission projects,” Ellis notes. Responding to spiritual and physical needs is an important goal of the website. “Suppose a missionary needs Bibles, food, or medical supplies to meet an urgent need and he's unaware that someone is working only fifty miles away who could help with that need,” Ellis says. “I'm hopeful Godreports will help build greater collaboration on the mission field….From the local church to the highest levels of the missions' movement, there is a lack of networking and communication.” (Assist News Service)

AROUND THE WORLD: Creating Music from the Heart
Begun in 2008, Resonance, a ministry of WEC International, is creating music in the “heart languages” of people around the world. Its vision is for all peoples to express their heart’s devotion to God with music they cherish, rather than music that feels foreign to them. This ministry does not simply translate worship songs from English to a local language, but works to make music in the style and culture of local believers. WEC workers learn musical instruments such as the African harp-lyre or the Asian long-necked lute. Instruments such as these are often an emblem of cultural identity and tradition. (WEC International)

AROUND THE WORLD: Heart Language Translations Are Essential
Faith Comes By Hearing (FCBH) is using technology to bring God’s word to the poorest regions of the earth, where misuse of scripture can result from the lack of understandable translations. International director Morgan Jackson said recently, “Half of the world's people are illiterate and too poor to afford a Bible.” Jackson added that another problem is misuse of scripture, sometimes accidental and sometimes intentional. Citing witchcraft and adultery, Jackson said, “People will hear and memorize one story or passage and build whole doctrines (or even denominations) on it, and leaders can mislead the people.” Bringing scripture to people in their heart language is important in combating this problem. FCBH is therefore using the Proclaimer, a self-powered audio player that can be used in the most remote and rugged locations. The device has an embedded microchip pre-loaded with the Audio Drama New Testament in the heart languages of the world. Indigenous believers take these life-changing Audio Bibles into their villages and towns and start listening groups. (Mission Network News)

ERITREA: Authorities Arrest More Christians
According to Open Doors USA, in October 2009 Eritrean security forces raided the home of the founding elder of the Full Gospel Church in Asmara, Pastor Tewelde Hailom. Three people were arrested during the raid. Pastor Hailom was not arrested, apparently because of his frail health due to an ulcer. He was, however, placed under house arrest with guards positioned outside his home. Later, seven more people from this congregation were taken in. The government's arrest and detention without trial of its citizens continues amidst reports of hunger and desperation in the country. It is estimated more than 2,800 Christians remain behind bars for their persistence to worship outside of the state-sanctioned Orthodox, Lutheran, and Catholic churches. At least ten believers have died as a result of the harsh treatment and medical neglect they endure while being incarcerated. (Mission Network News)

INDIA: Warli Ministries Plants New House Group
Warli Ministries reported that in June 2009 a new house group was planted in a remote village in the Khonpada mountains, about 150 miles north of Mumbai. The indigenous church is growing in area villages, although new believers need training and a facility in which to receive training. Pastor Pratap Aghamkar and others on his team who meet with people in Khonpada must travel for more than eight hours to reach them. The organization also reported that its children’s home ministry is in need of larger facilities as it continues to get requests from hundreds of children in need. Information can be obtained by email at [email protected].

INDIA: Gospel for Asia Continues Work in Flooded West Bengal
Less than four months after Cyclone Aila pounded the Bay of Bengal, West Bengal, India, was again deluged in early September 2009. The latest round of flooding was caused by heavy rainfall as well as a release of water from local reservoirs. Almost two million people in five districts of West Bengal have been affected by the floods. It is estimated that more than thirty-seven thousand people have been rendered homeless, and at least twenty-three people have died. Gospel for Asia (GFA) missionaries, mobilized since Aila struck in May 2009, are working in the hardest-hit areas sharing relief supplies and the love of Jesus. Even several days after the flooding started, many villagers were still stranded on rooftops waiting for relief. At least twenty-four believers lost their homes in the flood and seventy took temporary refuge in the rented home of Indrani Sarin and Priya Verma, two GFA-supported missionaries doing their internship. (Assist News Service)

NEPAL: GLOMOS Program Uses Multiplication Effort
Today in Nepal, more than one million people claim Christ as their Savior, and the number of churches is growing. Global Action (GA) is helping facilitate that growth with their Global Module Studies program (GLOMOS). According to GA founder Lars Dunberg, GLOMOS trains pastors who hold some other occupation and can't come for a whole week or a whole month. Instead, they train for three days a month for ten months. This year, GLOMOS graduated sixty-nine students. Last year, it had sixty-five graduates. Dunberg says GLOMOS is a multiplication effort. “Each of them will in turn train a minimum of five other leaders using the same material, who will in turn start other churches. So we will see a chain reaction of new churches springing up in the villages, out in areas where there is no Christian witness.” The demand for the program isn't diminishing for next year's GLOMOS program. Dunberg says, “We have about one hundred fifty on the waiting list. How can we pick seventy to seventy-five people out of one hundred fifty? These are the most needy and the ones who will benefit most. We need to pray that we have the finances to put them through the program.” It costs about $900USD per year ($75 a month) to sponsor a pastor in training. (Global Action)

PAKISTAN: Taliban Sends Threats to Christian Institutions
International Christian Concern (ICC) learned that on 6 October 2009, members of the Taliban sent threatening letters in Sargodha, Pakistan, warning Christian leaders to convert to Islam or face dire consequences. A copy of the letter obtained by ICC warns Christians to convert to Islam, pay Jizya tax (an Islamic tax imposed on religious minorities), or leave the country. If Christians refuse to accept the choices given to them, the letter explains that they “would be killed, their property and homes would be burnt to ashes, and their women would be treated as sex slaves. And they themselves would be responsible for this.” An ICC spokesperson said the Islamists sent letters to St Peter’s Middle School, Sargodha Institute of Technology, Sargodha Catholic High School, St John's Primary School, and Fatima Hospital. ICC’s Jonathan Racho said, “Christians in Pakistan are soft targets for attacks by Islamic extremists. Over the past four months alone twelve Christians have been killed by Muslims due to their faith. We are alarmed by the increase in attacks against Christians in Pakistan. We urge Pakistani officials to take the threatening letters seriously and take measures to protect the Christians and their institutions from attacks.” (International Christian Concern)

PAKISTAN: Pakistan Fellowship of Evangelical Students Cherishes Fellowship while Training Volunteers
Earlier this year, the president of Pakistani signed a bill introducing Sharia law to the northwest of the country. Some Christians fear increased Islamism in the whole country. In this context, fellowship is particularly meaningful to the Christian students who are part of Pakistan Fellowship of Evangelical Students (PFES), part of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES) movement there. In July 2009, PFES held two national events: a conference for forty-five medical and engineering students, and a mission camp. Nearly one hundred students from twelve cities took part in the mission camp. PFES general secretary Huma Philip shared that PFES has a vision to strengthen the ministry from the grassroots, so staff are working to establish well-trained volunteer teams of student leaders and graduates who can lead Bible study groups. PFES currently has eighty Bible study groups across sixteen cities. (International Fellowship of Evangelical Students)