December News from around the World

AROUND THE WORLD: Billy Graham Radio Program Turns Sixty
One of Christian radio’s most beloved and longest-running programs hit the airwaves across the United States sixty years ago. “The Hour of Decision” with evangelist Billy Graham has grown into one of the most widely distributed radio broadcasts in the world. Today it airs on 581 radio stations across the country and on several networks. Internationally, the program airs on 39 radio outlets in Canada, 345 across Australia, and 38 Spanish-language outlets. The program airs in five languages (English, Spanish, French, Mandarin, and Farsi) in fifty-five countries on six continents. Cliff Barrows has been the program’s only host since 1950. “The messages Billy preached sixty years ago and over the years are as relevant today as when he delivered them,” Barrows said. “God continues to use Billy’s faithfulness to reach a hurting world with the good news of Jesus Christ.” (Assist News Service)

BRITAIN: Anglican Head Concerned for Failed Zimbabwe Asylum Seekers
Human rights activists have praised the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, for showing concern about the safety problems failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers face if they are forced to return and live under the regime of President Robert Mugabe. Reports published in Britain state that up to ten thousand Zimbabweans in Britain could be forced to return to the land of their birth following a statement in the British parliament on 14 October 2010 by immigration minister Damien Green. He told lawmakers it is right to send asylum seekers back because of improved conditions in Zimbabwe following the formation of a Government of National Unity in 2009. (Ecumenical News International)

CHILE: Rescued Miner Gives Testimony at Luis Palau Festival
The thirty-three Chilean men who were trapped thousands of feet underground when the San Jose mine collapsed are still making headlines, but this time for a different reason. One of the now-rescued miners recently joined an evangelistic campaign. During the 69-day period that the men were stranded, Jose Henriquez was known as “the pastor.” He continuously asked for Luis Palau audio biblical messages to be sent down, and he frequently spoke with the other victims about his Lord. By the time the men were rescued, twenty-two had professed faith in Christ. (Mission Network News)

ERITREA: Christians Arrested in Latest Cleansing
The governor of the Southern Zone of Eritrea has ordered a crackdown on Christians living in his province. As a result, Eritrean security officials rounded up Christians from the cities of Mendefera, Dekemharre, and Dibarwa. Police also confiscated TVs, video players, and other electronic equipment that belonged to the Christians. Most of the detainees belong to the Full Gospel Church, an evangelical church that was among those banned by Eritrean officials in 2002. Despite information that three thousand believers are being held illegally, the government continues to support its statement issued in May 2003 that “no groups or persons are persecuted in Eritrea for their beliefs or religion.” In spite of the most recent arrests, the gospel is going forward. In-depth discipleship has led to new leaders rising up with others are arrested. (Mission Network News)

HAITI: Worst-case Scenario Realized in Haiti's Cholera Fight
The worst-case scenario on Haiti's cholera scope has occurred. The disease has shown itself in the capital city of Port-au-Prince, in which three million people live. The epidemic has killed nearly six hundred people and sickened thousands. According to Scott Hendrix, vice-president for relief and development at Global Aid Network, “I think that number is much higher, because many towns aren't able to report the cholera outbreaks and the deaths from cholera. We've heard that there have been over seven thousand people who have been infected.” Tropical Storm Tomas exacerbated conditions by causing mudslides that closed roads and flooded water sources. (Mission Network News)

IRAQ: Hostage Drama Ends in Church Bloodbath
At least fifty-eight people—including worshippers, security forces, and hostage takers—were recently killed after a hostage siege in Assyrian Catholic Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad. During the evening Mass, several gunmen entered the building. After four hours, security forces stormed the church and ended the hostage situation. Two of the pastors, Father Saad Abdal Tha’ir and Father Waseem Tabeeh, were beaten and killed when they tried to reason with the terrorists. Carl Moeller, president/CEO of Open Doors USA, says, “This is a horrific and despicable act targeting innocent Christian worshippers. There still is a war going on in Iraq—a war by Muslim extremists to drive Christians out of the country. This is another tragic reminder that Christians are targeted every day for their faith in Jesus Christ.” In the past few years Christians from Baghdad and other cities have encountered violence and attacks. (Assist News Service)

MONACO: Celebrating Fifty Years of Broadcasting from Monaco
Fifty years ago, TWR aired its first program from a 100,000-watt shortwave transmitter in Monte Carlo, Monaco. The transmitter was housed in a building ordered built by Adolf Hitler during World War II to broadcast Nazi propaganda. Never used for its original purpose, TWR now utilizes the facility to transmit the gospel to millions of listeners daily throughout Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. Programs air in sixteen languages, including Arabic, English, French, Hungarian, Kabyle, Romanian, and Tamazight. “God provided TWR a huge voice to speak in Jesus’ name at a strategic time in history,” said TWR president Lauren Libby. (TWR)

SUDAN: Many Turn to Christ after Hearing Bible Stories
Sudan has seen much trouble over the past few decades with civil wars between the north and the south. More recently, the conflict in Darfur gained worldwide attention for the huge extent of human suffering. Many spoke of it as genocide. Despite this, more than five million people have turned to Christ in the past ten years. Global Recording Network (GRN) teams have worked recording Bible stories in 129 languages and dialects. With close to three hundred languages spoken by the Sudanese people, there is still much work to be done. To this end, GRN is partnering with another mission to work towards the faith-stretching goal. A long-range plan is to recruit national Christian to be trained as recordists and research assistants. The pilot project will set up a center in the south to distribute evangelism recordings already in the audio library. A team of eight people plan to take in cassette and CD duplicators. Language maps will be prepared to show where each language is spoken. (Global Recordings Network)