May News from around the World

AROUND THE WORLD: Training Essential for Global Church Growth
India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal are areas of the world where being a Christian can cost you your life. However, many people are coming to Christ, and churches are growing at incredible rates. Lars Dunburg with Global Action says this is a challenge. “There are not enough seminary-trained pastors to go around,” he says. “Some have absolutely no training.” To combat this, Global Action has a program, GLOMOS (or Global Mobile Studies), which has trained more than fifteen thousand pastors. GLOMOS is held in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Ukraine, El Salvador, and Honduras, with thirty countries on the waiting list. The year-long training is economical and effective. Pastors get training and materials, and when they graduate they get ten books to help them in their teaching. (Mission Network News)

AROUND THE WORLD: Lutheran Grouping's Membership Tops Seventy Million
For the first time, the total number of members in churches belonging to the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has risen to just over seventy million, increasing by 1.6 million from the preceding year. On its website, the Geneva-based grouping says that in 2009, membership of LWF churches in Africa and Asia increased, while churches in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as in North America, experienced a slight decline. In a statement, the communications office said that the total number of members in churches affiliated to the federation in 2009 stood at 70,053,316. In 2008, LWF-affiliated churches had around 68.5 million members worldwide, up from 68.3 million in 2007. (Ecumenical News International)

AROUND THE WORLD: Faith Comes By Hearing Maintains Four-Star Charity Rating
For the third year in a row, Faith Comes By Hearing (FCBH), the world's largest audio Bible ministry, was awarded the four-star rating, the highest recognition, by America’s leading charity evaluator, Charity Navigator. “Only 13% of the charities we rate have received at least three consecutive 4-star evaluations,” said Ken Berger, Charity Navigator president and CEO. When Jerry Jackson, FCBH founder and president, first heard the news, he said, “I was filled with gratitude to the Lord for his blessing and for allowing us to bring God's word to poor and illiterate people without charge in their spoken language.” Founded in 1972 as a non-profit ministry, FCBH records and uses heart-language audio Bibles to reach and disciple the world's poor and illiterate people. (Faith Comes By Hearing)

HAITI: Kids Alive International Helps Children in Slavery
Kids Alive International (KAI) is trying to help Haiti’s “restavec” children. In Creole, “restavec” means “to stay with”; however, these children are in essence slaves. Tom Froese of KAI said the restavec children are forced to live with families they usually do not know. They endure grueling labor for the household, yet are the last to receive food and clothing and often sleep on cold cement floors or under tables. Unfortunately, KAI’s effort to help these children gets no support from the government. “The restavec situation is pretty much a cultural thing that seems to be accepted here,” Froese said. Authorities do nothing to stop the situation, which often leads to abuse and neglect. KAI is doing what they can through their children's homes and schools in the country. They currently have three homes in Haiti: Phillip's Place, Nate's Place, and Joseph's Place, where thirty children are cared for by Christian house parents who show them love and give them an education. The children are also introduced to the message of Christ, which they might never hear otherwise. Their response to the message has been amazing. “Just about every child in our homes right now has accepted Christ as Savior,” Froese said. (Mission Network News)

INDIA: Believers Accused of Forceful Conversion
On 25 March 2010, three Indian Christian believers were arrested under what are said to be false charges of “forceful conversion” in Hunsur, a town in Mysore district of the Indian state of Karnataka. The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) reported that, following an altercation with believers attending a funeral, a mob registered a complaint with police against the Christians on alleged charges of “forced conversion.” Police arrested the three Christians in response to the complaint. (Assist News Service)

MIDDLE EAST: SAT-7 Establishes Turkish Language Channel
SAT-7 has announced the launching of its new channel, SAT-7 TURK, fulfilling a dream of broadcasting Christian programming in the three primary languages of the Middle East: Arabic, Farsi, and Turkish. Until recently, Turkish broadcasts were carried for a few hours per week on SAT-7 PARS, the Farsi channel. The new channel aims to eventually broadcast twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week. SAT-7 reports that when given a chance, Turks will readily watch a satellite channel like SAT-7 TURK, one that cannot be censored. According to SAT-7, there are approximately 100 million Turkish language speakers in the world, yet the Christian Church in Turkey has been nearly extinguished. (SAT-7)

MOROCCO: Church Grows amidst Growing Intolerance
In March 2010, foreign Christian workers departed from Morocco. Morocco's Communications Minister, Khalid Naciri, told reporters that the government would be “severe with all those who play with religious values.” He also called Morocco a “land of tolerance” and said Christians can live and worship there as long as they don't proselytize. Avant Ministries has worked in Morocco for more than one hundred years. That changed about ten years ago, says Avant president and CEO, Jack Elwood. “During the last situation, when expatriates were forced out of the country, we began to work through national believers and media broadcasts out of Malaga, Spain. And, in those ten years we've seen our local churches multiply from about twenty to over fifty churches.” Elwood asks Christians worldwide to pray for Moroccan believers. “Not only are expatriates being kicked out of the country, but great pressures are being put upon national believers as well. Many of our friends and contacts have been questioned by the police and are under great pressure.” (Mission Network News)

RUSSIA: Minister to Muslims Is Murdered
Russian church minster, Daniil Sysoev, 34, was murdered in his church in Moscow in November 2009. A masked gunman approached him, checked his name, and then shot him in the head and chest. A choirmaster was also injured in the attack. Sysoev had been active in evangelistic outreach to Muslims, and many think he may have been killed because of this ministry. He had received threats that he would have his head cut off if he did not stop preaching to Muslims. Sysoev’s widow said he had expected a martyr’s death for some time. (Barnabas Aid)

SENEGAL: Ministry to Street Children
A Christian ministry in Senegal is caring for Talibe street children—boys who have been given up by their families to a marabout. The marabout, a Muslim spiritual leader, sends the boys to the streets to beg. The boys live in terrible conditions, and when they reach the age of twelve, they are no longer the responsibility of the marabout. Many are left to the streets. A Christian drop-in center offers a place for the boys to wash, play, and eat. They also hear the gospel. If the boys make a decision for Christ and give up their life on the streets, they are cared for by the ministry while learning skills and receiving schooling in math and French. (Barnabas Aid)

SUDAN: Common Profession Opens Lines of Communication
International Mission Board (IMB) workers Jennifer Miller and Whitney Prewitt have dedicated their lives to working in southern Sudan with the Dinka people, who are cattle herders moving from camp to camp with their livestock. The camp atmosphere is filled with revelry and sexual immorality. As a result of a lack of education, most of the Dinka simply do not know about diseases like HIV/AIDS. Many could not read literature on AIDS even if it were available. To explain the dangers of AIDS, Miller and Prewitt have put together a series of stories using Dinka folklore and biblical parables as examples of morality, truth, and good decision making. However, because they are female, Miller and Prewitt struggled to communicate their message. Therefore, four young American cattle owners have come to help. Cattle-herding as a common occupation has enabled the men to initiate conversations with the Dinka men, who often come to listen to the volunteers talk at night. The four men take these opportunities to tell the stories Miller and Prewitt have prepared, to discuss the dangers of AIDS, and to explain the gospel. (Mission Network News)

THAILAND: Children’s Prayers Answered, Saving Orphanage
On 19 March 2010, orphans at the Children's Home of Thailand were rushed to safety as forest fires closed in on the orphanage. A Vision Beyond Borders (VBB) Thailand contact said the center had just finished building new dorms, a kitchen, canteen, church, and bathrooms. Workers sent out urgent prayer requests by email and moved the children to the top of a hill for safety. Once there, a staff member encouraged the kids to start worshiping and praying to God. Although Thailand is in the midst of their dry season, they trusted God to send rain. Less than an hour later, as the fires approached the orphanage, a thunderstorm rained down, extinguishing the fires. (Mission Network News)

TURKEY: Christians Face Tide of Censorship and Negative Views
Turkish World Outreach recently reported on a national survey that found that fifty-nine percent of Turkish citizens believe non-Muslims should not be allowed to hold open meetings to discuss their religious teaching. Fifty-four percent also said non-Muslims should be prohibited from publishing literature that describes their beliefs. Nearly forty percent expressed negative views of Christians. (Turkish World Outreach)