September News from around the World

AROUND THE WORLD: Eldon Barkman Serving as Interim President of JAARS
Eldon “Butch” Barkman is serving as interim president of JAARS until a new president is chosen. David Reeves resigned in April 2010 as president of JAARS. Reeves and his wife will continue in ministry with the organization. JAARS provides technical support services and resources to speed the work of Wycliffe Bible Translators, SIL International, and related translation and literacy organizations. (JAARS)

BURMA (MYANMAR): Money Raised to Help Orphaned Children Fleeing Anti-Christian Violence
An urgent email appeal from Barnabas Aid earlier this year requested help for a group of one hundred Christian children on the brink of starvation. The children were making their way through the jungle to seek refuge in a Christian orphanage. Many were fleeing the anti-Christian violence through which they had lost one or both parents. Barnabas Aid raised more than $20,000USD for rice, blankets, pillows, mosquito nets, and other needs for the children and those already in the orphanage. (Barnabas Aid)

IRAN: Mass Arrest of New Christian Converts
In a pre-planned and coordinated effort by government security forces, a group of new Christian believers were rounded up and arrested in a northern province of Iran. According to reports received by Farsi Christian News Network (FCNN), on 18 July 2010 a group of fifteen newly-converted Christians, who were traveling to the provincial town of Bojnoord to fellowship with believers of that town, were arrested in Masshad, the capital of the North Eastern province of Khorasan. The detainees were transferred to the Ministry of Information's central detention center. During the ensuing week they were subjected to harsh and inhumane interrogations. After one week, thirteen of these believers, after agreeing to sign promissory notes and posting bails, were conditionally freed. Two did not agree to sign any forms, and thus remain in detention. (Assist News Service)

ISRAEL: River Jesus Baptized in “Too Polluted” for Pilgrims
Health concerns relating to water quality have triggered an environmental advocacy group to call for the banning of baptisms in the lower Jordan River in Jerusalem, where the Bible says Jesus was baptized. “For reasons of public health as well as religious integrity, baptism should be banned from taking place in the river,” said Gidon Bromberg, the Israel director of EcoPeace/Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME). Israeli authorities said that tests done on the water of the lower Jordan River show the popular site for baptismal ceremonies meets health ministry standards. Bromberg said, however, that baptisms should not take place until pollutants are removed from the water. The Qasr el Yahud site inside an Israeli controlled military zone faces another baptismal site on Jordan's side of the river. Both sites attract pilgrims who come to the Holy Land, and both are claimed as the authentic site where John the Baptist baptized Jesus. “Our call is to halt baptisms on both sides of the river. It is exactly the same polluted water,” said Bromberg. Bromberg has brought local Christian leaders to the site. Although they expressed disappointment at the quality of the water, he said the matter has not been brought to a governmental level. FoEME said the lower Jordan River has long suffered from “severe mismanagement.” (Ecumenical News International)

KYRGYZSTAN: Six More Churches Attacked and Robbed
Following news that an evangelical church in Bishkek was robbed three weeks ago and a church member badly beaten comes news that six other churches in the city have since been attacked. In the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh, recent ethnic tensions saw hundreds killed and hundreds of thousands displaced. In the violence, it was reported that Kyrgyz mobs attacked the Uzbek community and looted and burned entire Uzbek neighborhoods. Hundreds of people were murdered and, in the weeks that followed, hundreds of thousands of Uzbeks escaped to refugee camps. (Assist News Service)

NORTH AMERICA: North America Indigenous Ministries Appoints Interim Executive Director The Boards of North America Indigenous Ministries (NAIM) USA and NAIM Canada have appointed Clyde Cowan as interim executive director of NAIM, effective 5 July 2010. Cowan first came to NAIM in 1975, after six years in a multicultural pastorate. He and his wife served in a First Nation community for thirteen years and later he served as communications director of NAIM. He is co-founder of COMIX35. Former executive director Bill Taylor stepped down to serve as alumni secretary at his old boarding school in India where he was born and grew up. (North America Indigenous Ministries)

PAKISTAN: Disease Looms over Pakistan's Flood Survivors
The death toll from Pakistan's worst floods stands near 1,200, with waterborne disease emerging as a threat to survivors. Flash floods and landslides were brought on by monsoon rains, displacing two million people in the northwest provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Kashmir. The Pakistani army has mobilized tens of thousands of troops, rescuing twenty thousand people from marooned areas. Fortunately, because of the military's offensive against the Taliban, many humanitarian agencies were already in place. However, food and fuel are running low. Bridges to some of the worst hit areas have washed away or broken apart with the force of the waters, making travel with humanitarian supplies nearly impossible. Some cities, such as Peshawar, are entirely cut off from the rest of the country. Peter Howard with Food for the Hungry says, “This is turning into a significant disaster that's having a major impact on the poor.” (Mission Network News)

SUDAN: Jaac Christian School Brings Hope to Displaced, Impoverished Children
Jaac, a squatter city home to over 200,000 Darfur refugees, sprawls next to the southern Sudan-Darfur border. Those in the city have seen much pain, but one pastor began a refugee school there, now called the Jaac Christian School. Although it meets in a pole hut, the school is a place where displaced and impoverished children can become educated, but also a place where kids can find clean water, as well as food and clothing. Smyrna Ministries International has partnered with the Persecution Project Foundation to assist the pastor and staff of this school to minister to thousands of children. (Smyrna Ministries International)

UNITED KINGDOM: International Gathering Launches Historic Five Hundred Days of Prayer
Several hundred Christians from across the globe gathered at the Emmanuel Christian Centre in Westminster, London, on 1 August 2010 for the launch of an historic prayer chain. Organized by Celebration for the Nations and GDOP London, believers from South Korea, Spain, South America, Africa, and the U.K. came together for a powerful evening as Global Day of Prayer London began five hundred days of non-stop prayer and fasting for the nation. “There is tremendous power when the Church comes together to seek God. The social and spiritual transformation of our nation will happen as churches unite in prayer and action,” said Evangelical Alliance general director Steve Clifford. GDOP London is urging Christians from all denominations and ethnic backgrounds to sign up their churches to take part in this prayer chain. (Assist News Service)