October/November News from around the World

AROUND THE WORLD: Global Prayer Initiative to Launch Annual Day of Prayer for the Poor and Suffering
If the leaders of Convoy of Hope's Global Prayer Initiative have their wish, hundreds of thousands of people will pray every year on 12 December for the world's poor and suffering. The 12.12 initiative “is a network of compassion organizations and church fellowships from around the world who want to make a difference by praying for those who are hurting,” said Thomas E. Trask, chairman of Convoy of Hope's Global Prayer Initiative. Participants will be asked to pray through twelve points of emphasis regarding the poor and suffering. (Assist News Service)

AROUND THE WORLD: Billy Graham Youth Ministry Launches New Interactive Website
Youth evangelism ministry Dare to Be a Daniel has launched a new Web resource for Christian students who want to learn how to share their faith. The ministry’s online training site (www.DaretoBeaDaniel.com) now offers greater interactivity—allowing students to “friend” each other, as with Facebook—and a customizable user experience. “We saw the need to take our site to the next level,” said Chad Miller, director of Dare to Be a Daniel. “The features added to the site make it a fantastic place for youth to live in community and encourage each other in the vital work of sharing Jesus Christ with their friends.” In addition to its sleek new design and more user-friendly interface, the site still serves as a valuable information resource for students. It includes training for sharing one’s faith, a host of engaging videos, and a range of articles to help students understand and live out their Christian faith. Students can also submit their own spiritual questions. More than seventeen thousand youth in all fifty U.S. states have gone through the training. (Assist News Service)

INDIA: Truth Brings Hope to a Deeply Religious People
The state of Bihar in North India is home to nearly eighty-three million people. Bihar's population is seventy-seven percent Hindu and fifteen percent Muslim, with ethnic religions sharing another five percent. Christians make up less than one percent of the population, and because of the area's resistance to evangelism efforts, it has become known as the “graveyard of missions.” Bibles For The World (BFTW) is focusing its attention here. BFTW's Mawii Pudaite says beginning this week, 100,000 Bibles are on their way to families. Nearly thirty major Christian organizations are working in Bihar. In some areas of Bihar, mission agencies have been violently confronted by people who want to stop the spread of the gospel. According to Pudaite, “The genius of this project method is sending the word of God by mail. [People] receive them in the privacy of their homes, without the fear that someone might be watching them.” (Mission Network News)

ISLAMIC WORLD: Continuing Tragedy of Forced Marriages and Conversions of Christian Girls
Shah Taj, a 14-year-old Christian girl from Lahore, Pakistan, was on her way to school last year when a vehicle occupied by three men pulled up beside her. Grabbing her, they threw her in and sped off. After being raped she was later forced to marry a Muslim man and required by law to convert to Islam. Like Shah Taj, Christian girls throughout the Islamic world are being abducted and trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation and coerced into domestic servitude. Muslim men are often offered financial incentives when they marry a Christian girl—a technique designed by Islamic fundamentalists to convert young girls to Islam forcefully. (Assist News Service)

KENYA: Churches Welcome Statistics Showing Christianity Has Grown
Church leaders in Kenya have cautiously welcomed the latest Population and Housing Census result, which shows the number of Christians in the East African country has grown. “This increase may have resulted from sustained evangelistic work, but we are concerned many are nominal Christians,” said Anglican Bishop Charles Gaita of Nyahururu. The leaders say many of those describing themselves as Christians are not attending Sunday services and their lifestyles have not been in keeping with the faith. The Rev. Wellington Mutiso, general secretary of the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya warned that a nominal Christian faith is “a great killer of churches.” The results of the 2009 survey, released on 30 August 2010, showed that Christians make up 31.8 million of Kenya's 38.6 million people, or 82.6% of the population, compared to 78% at the time of the last census in 1989. (Ecumenical News International)

NIGERIA: Christian Leaders Concerned after Muslim Radicals Escape from Prison
According to International Christian Concern (ICC), more than seven hundred members of an Islamic extremist group, Boko Haram, escaped 7 September 2010 after suspected fellow members of the group raided a prison where they were being held in Bauchi, northern Nigeria. ICC stated that Christian leaders in northern Nigeria are alarmed by the massive escape of Boko Haram members. In July 2009, members of Boko Haram carried out attacks against Nigerian police officials, leading to the death of more than seven hundred people. Members of Boko Haram also killed a dozen Christians. (International Christian Concern)

PAKISTAN: Mennonite Central Committee Using Donations for Needs
Following weeks of disruptions, loss, and trauma, people in flood-stricken areas of Pakistan are facing enormous challenges as they struggle to rebuild their lives. Although Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) does not have its own programs or personnel in Pakistan, it is working through experienced and trusted organizations that are responding to emergency and humanitarian needs there. The estimated number of people affected by the floods has increased to twenty-one million, with ten million displaced and eight million in need of immediate assistance, said Willie Reimer, director of MCC’s food, disaster, and material resources programs. By the end of the second week of September, more than $700,000USD had been donated to MCC for the Pakistan flood response. (Mennonite Central Committee)

SOUTHEAST ASIA: Transformation among the Ketning People
The Ketning people in the remote eastern highlands of Southeast Asia were once known for practicing cannibalism, exercising black magic, participating in revenge killings, venerating ancestors, and partaking in animism. However, today there are over fifteen thousand who have a remarkable story of transformation through the help of The Seed Company. The Ketning received their first New Testament in 1983. Today, about seventy-five percent are Christians because God's word became accessible to them. Recently, The Seed Company partnered with local pastors and ministries in translating the Old Testament as well. The project should be done by 2013. (Mission Network News)