September News from around the World

AROUND THE WORLD: Bible Agencies Unite to Strengthen Ministry Impact
Two Bible ministries with complementary missions have announced plans to merge. Bible League International (BLI) and the World Bible Translation Center (WBTC) both bring unique strengths: Bible League in Bible distribution and WBTC in Bible translation. The new organization will focus on expanding a literacy program around the world, as well as using digital delivery technology recently developed in a strategic alliance with twelve other ministries. According to BLI CEO Robert T. Frank, “This merger will strengthen operations for both of our ministries, increasing the tools available to reach the three global audiences we share: the poorest of the poor, the persecuted church, and those walking in darkness.” (Assist News Service)

NORTH KOREA: Call to End Persecution of Christians
Recent reports by human rights organizations accuse North Korea of putting up to 180,000 people into forced labor. Christians are among the inmates facing torture, starvation, and execution in political prison camps. Persecution watchdog Release International is working to support North Korean Christians who have fled the country by providing safe houses, pastoral support, and health care. An interim petition calling for religious freedom in North Korea has gathered more than twenty thousand signatures from concerned Christians in the U.K. The petition can be signed at (Assist News Service)

SOMALIA: Christian Agencies Continue Work despite Security Issues
Christian relief agencies providing aid to millions of people facing drought face security issues in the war-torn country of Somalia, where humanitarian officials say operating is difficult, but not impossible. Nearly 3.7 million people, half of the country's population, are affected by a serious food crisis, which declared famine in two regions of southern Somalia. An estimated 1,500 refugees fleeing the famine were arriving daily in Dadaab camp in northern Kenya. Another 1,700 are arriving in eastern Ethiopia. (Ecumenical News International)

SRI LANKA: Violence against Christians
Violence against Christians in Sri Lanka has been increasing in recent weeks. On 10 July 2011 a pastor was assaulted after attending a meeting convened by a Buddhist monk in Ampara District, Eastern Province. On 19 July, a mob of fifty people attacked the homes of five Christian families in Badulla District in Uva Province. At last report, there were plans to force these families to renounce Christianity or leave the village. (Voice of the Martyrs, Canada)

TANZANIA: Muslim Extremists Torch Churches
According to Compass Direct News, on 30 July 2011 Muslim extremists burned down the Evangelical Assemblies of God-Tanzania church building on Zanzibar Island. This was just three days after another congregation’s facility was reduced to ashes. Assailants were apparently shouting, “Away with the church—we do not want infidels to spoil our community, especially our children.” Another church building was burned down on 27 July, said Pastor George Frank Dunia of the Free Evangelical Pentecostal Church in Africa. On neighboring Pemba Island, suspected Muslims extremists razed a Seventh-day Adventist Church building. (Assist News Service)

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: InterVarsity Inspired after World Assembly
The 2011 International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES) World Assembly, held 26 July to 2 August in Krakow, Poland, hosted more than 650 delegates from over 150 nations. InterVarsity Christian Fellowship was just one of dozens of student ministries represented. Staff members were motivated by seeing how students were leading hundreds of others in a single ministry chapter and how staff stepped fearlessly into harm's way when necessary for Christ. InterVarsity personnel are not only motivated to work harder, but are more keenly aware of the Lord's work not just on American campuses, but in universities around the globe. InterVarsity president Alec Hill says he was able to see Jesus as Lord in a broader context. InterVarsity has been building communities on American campuses for decades. (Mission Network News)