April News from around the World

AROUND THE WORLD: GoBible Traveler Holds Entire Audio Bible
The GoBible Traveler device is available in two new portable audio Bible editions, The GoBible Traveler and the Spanish GoBible Viajero. The GoBible Traveler is a lightweight, hand-held, portable device preloaded with the entire audio version of the Bible featuring over seventy hours of audio. It is offered in either the King James Version, The New International Version, or The Nueva Versión Internacional. Each GoBible Traveler retails for $59.95USD and includes instructions, earphones, and one AAA battery that can power the device for over twenty hours. Both versions can be played through two GoBible accessories: a set of portable speakers or an FM transmitter for car stereo playback. (Assist News Service)

CHILE: Speaking Hope in the Aftermath of the Earthquake
As the nation of Chile continues suffering from the aftermath of the March earthquake, TWR was also affected as its partner office there, Radio Trans Mundial (RTM), sustained severe damage. According to RTM-Chile national director Sigisfredo Alvarado, “All of those involved in the [RTM] ministry here in Chile are physically well, but the office ended up in a heap of rubble.” Fortunately, no one was inside the building at the time the quake hit. The extent of the damage and what it may cost to repair are still being assessed. TWR’s Member Care Radio, in partnership with Dr. Brent Lindquist of Link Care Center, is responding to comfort the people of Chile by distributing a series of radio programs in Spanish for caregivers and survivors of crisis and catastrophe. These programs, based on the Biblica (formerly International Bible Society) book When Your Whole World Changes, present a clear Christian context throughout while bearing witness to the love and care of God in the midst of tragedy and devastation. The book will also be distributed as part of an on-the-ground ministry to earthquake victims. (TWR)

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Major League Baseball Player Spreads Christ’s Love
While the United States is gearing up for America's favorite pastime, a Major League baseball player is helping kids learn the game while also introducing them to Christ. According to Kathy Redmond of Compassion International (CI), Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals sponsors CI’s entire child survival program in Batey Aleman, a community of Haitian migrant workers who harvest sugar cane in the Dominican Republic. Sadly, Redmond explains, “The sugar cane industry is defunct. People are living in a dust bowl, where drug dealers come by. You can see men playing dominos in the streets because there's nothing for them to do.” There is also nothing for the children to do. So, Redmond says, Little League baseball is being brought into Batey. As for Pujols, Redmond adds, “He uses baseball as a platform. But, really what he's interested in is spreading the Word of God and being a good Christian man and leading people to the Lord.”(Mission Network News)

ERITREA: Cargo Container Program Highlights Human Rights Abuses
Teenagers who attended the Elim Pentecostal Church annual youth department’s Serious4God event, The Gathering, in February 2010 were invited by Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) to watch a human rights film about Eritrean prisoners while caged inside a metal shipping container. CSW’s youth program, Outcry, is showing the film to help raise awareness of the plight of some three thousand Eritreans detained without trial in horrific conditions by their government for holding Christian beliefs. The documentary depicts the story of one such prisoner, a gospel singer, imprisoned and held in a cargo container for three years. The young delegates will be invited to send a postcard of protest to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions, whose remit includes the plight of those held in Eritrea. (Christian Solidarity Worldwide)

ESTONIA: Funding of Upgraded Transmitter Complete
TWR will soon be able to reach deeper into Russia with the life-changing truth of the gospel with 200,000 watts of power from Estonia. This is because a critical Estonia transmitter upgrade project has been fully funded—the result of over $400,000USD worth of answered prayers. TWR will now be able to reach an additional fifty-two million people and a potential total audience of 159 million people. The next step involves funding the programs that will air on the upgraded Estonia transmitter. Each program is specifically targeted to meet the needs of Russian listeners. (TWR)

ETHIOPIA: Women of Global Action Reaches Out to Entoto Mountain Community
Women of Global Action (WOGA) is a network of over 150,000 Christian women leaders around the world. Together, they educate women on how best to influence their world with God's love as they address the issues of injustice affecting women and girls. WOGA’s Entoto Outreach Project ministers to an Ethiopian community of approximately four thousand people living with HIV/AIDS on Entoto Mountain, located on the outskirts of Addis Ababa. The project helps individuals obtain access to health care and income generation opportunities, and eventually reintegrate back into society. The project also helps the children of these individuals through after-school activities, health screenings, tutoring, and other educational activities. (Mission Network News)

INDIA: Radicals Attack Christians in Karnataka Slum
On 17 February 2010, a group of three hundred Hindi radicals entered the homes of Christian believers in a slum located in Mysore, Karnataka state, and assaulted them for their faith. According to the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), radicals belonging to Bajrang Dal, a right-wing Hindu organization which is the youth wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), went to twenty-two Christian houses in a slum. The GCIC report said that they indiscriminately attacked and beat up men, women and children. It is also alleged that the saffron-clad radicals “misbehaved with the women engaged in the household chores and hit them with stones and beat them with wooden clubs.” A source said the attackers then compelled some of the victims to sign affidavits saying they were being “forcibly converted” to Christianity. (Assist News Service)

Morocco: Parents and Staff Deported from Orphanage
Christian workers at the Village of Hope (VOH) orphanage in Morocco were recently deported, the building closed, land confiscated, and the children left without parents. Local papers accused the Christians at VOH of proselytism. VOH is located in Ain Leuh, an area known for prostitution in Morocco. When young women get pregnant, they often come to this area to have their baby and then are forced by their family to leave the baby behind. In 1999, Christians asked the governor for permission to restart an orphanage that had closed a few years earlier and to begin taking in these abandoned babies. They did this overtly as Christians. After years of passing government inspections, this time authorities came in and announced only a few days later that the parents and staff had to pack and leave. As the bus pulled away, parents and staff could hear the tears and cries of the children left behind. The Moroccan government is cracking down on various religious issues, one of them being proselytizing. (Village of Hope)

NIGER: Coup May Be a Positive Step
Niger's junta staged a coup on 18 February 2010 and put former Nigerian president Mamadou Tandja under house arrest. In spite of how it looks, the coup may be a step toward stability. Carl Moeller with Open Doors says it's the third one in eighteen months. “There is hope that this coup led by moderate elements within the opposition party would actually, in fact, restore a larger degree of democracy over the long term.” Open Doors co-workers say calm has been restored in the capital city of Niamey, and the country's borders have now been re-opened. They also say they have been able to continue their work. 2010 is a strategic year for Open Doors. They have plans to present four Islam Awareness seminars to pastors and one to youth. (Mission Network News)

NIGERIA: Protests Held in Jos after Fulani Muslims Massacre Hundreds of Christians
Youths in Bukuru and Barkin Ladi are holding protests following the recent massacre of more than two hundred Christians in Zot, Dogo Nahauwa, and Rastat villages by armed Fulani Muslims. Despite a heavy security presence, entire families are reported to have been murdered, although the final death toll is still to be confirmed. Survivors of the massacre say armed men arrived at around 3 a.m. on 7 March 2010, and woke the villagers simultaneously with gunfire and shouting, before setting homes on fire and attacking men, women, and children with knives. Army assistance was requested, but arrived after the massacre had taken place. Some youths are now calling for the army to leave, as they question its role in the violence. The attackers are said to have traveled into the area from the neighboring Shari’a state of Bauchi during curfew hours. The violence is thought to be in retaliation for an incident in Kuru Karama on 19 January 2010, which was widely reported as a Christian massacre of 150 Muslim villagers. However, the village head of Kuru Karama, a non-Muslim who fled the violence, has since confirmed that non-Muslim houses and bodies were among those shown in international media reports. (Christian Solidarity Worldwide)

RUSSIA: Children Receive over Fifty Thousand Christmas Gifts
According to Anita Deyneka, president of Russian Ministries (RM), a total of 50,183 Christmas presents were given away to needy children and their families or caregivers during December 2009 and January 2010. In Ukraine, students and graduates from School Without Walls (SWW), a program run by the Association for Spiritual Renewal, participated with forty-five local churches and eleven other groups to deliver 9,915 Christmas presents to needy children, street kids, and orphans in forty towns and villages. In Russia, 206 local churches joined SWW to deliver 40,268 Christmas presents to needy children in regions, including Chechnya and South Ossetia. Michael Minyazev with RM in Moscow says, “[These gifts] help the local churches to build bridges to these children and to the local population. It's not preaching the gospel directly, but first we build, and after that, we start telling them about Jesus, about his love.” (Mission Network News)

SOUTH KOREA: Nazarene Mission Camp Prepares Diverse Group
Sixty enthusiastic participants from thirteen churches across the Korea District of the Nazarene Church gathered 1-2 February 2010 for Mission Camp 2010. The camp, sponsored by the Korea Nazarene Mission Center (KNMC) and held on the campus of Korea Nazarene University (KNU) in Cheonan City, was the first such camp ever held in the Korea District. Participation in the camp is a requirement for anyone wanting to be sent from the Korea District as a missionary. The ages of the participants ranged from fourteen to forty and included high school and university students, pastors, business people, Nazarene Missions International leaders, a clinical psychologist, and a medical doctor and his wife. Regional director Verne Ward commented, “It is inspiring to see the growing interest in following Jesus' command to make disciples among people who are yet unreached. It is encouraging to see how the Korea Nazarene Mission Center is working hard to develop an efficient and culturally appropriate process and accountability structure for the sending of missionaries from Korea.” (Nazarene Communications Network

UNITED STATES: Only Five of Top Twenty-five U.S. Churches Report Growth
Membership has increased in the Roman Catholic Church—the largest Christian body in the United States—but the number two Southern Baptist Convention, along with most traditional Protestant denominations, reported continuing decline, according to new figures released by the U.S. National Council of Churches. Both the Southern Baptists and Catholics reported membership losses in 2009's Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches; in the 2010 edition, released on 12 February 2010, however, only the Catholics reported a rebound, with a 1.5% growth rate, to more than 68 million members. Southern Baptists held on to the number two spot, at 16.3 million members, but that figure represented a 0.2% drop from 2009 and the second consecutive year of decline. The Presbyterian Church (USA) experienced the greatest loss among the top ten denominations (3.3%), down to 2.8 million members. (Ecumenical News International)