December News from around the World

AROUND THE WORLD: Major Demographic Shift Underway in Christianity
Scholars claim the biggest change in the history of Christianity is underway amid the religion's move to Africa, Latin America, and Asia. “The story of Christianity as a worldwide faith is being written before our eyes,” declared Dana Robert of Boston University School of Theology, as she addressed a group of world church leaders at the Global Christian Forum (GCF) in Indonesia. The gathering brought together leaders from major church traditions, theological perspectives, and world communions. According to Peter Crossing of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity, in 1910 about sixty-six percent of the world's Christians lived in Europe; a century later it was only twenty-six percent. He said the overall percentage of Christians had remained fairly constant over the last century, but there had been a dramatic change in the center of gravity of global Christianity. The global reconfiguration raises critical questions for all churches, said Robert. “Contemporary Christians are focusing on mission for multiple purposes–both to recover tradition and to recover from tradition.” (Ecumenical News International)

AROUND THE WORLD: e3Resources Challenges Christians to Share the Gospel
To commemorate twelve years of EvangeCube, between now and 12 December 2012 e3 Resources is challenging one million Christians to use EvangeCube and share the gospel with one new person each month for twelve months—with the goal of twelve million gospel presentations. Why twelve? It represents perfection. It is the product of three (which represents what is perfectly divine and a heavenly number) and four (which represents the earth, what is material and organic). The number twelve also has prominent usages throughout the Bible—tribes of Israel, judges, gates, disciples, etc. Beginning with the creation of EvangeCube in 2000, e3 Resources now provides an extensive line of tools and resources used in over seventy-five countries. (e3resources)

HORN OF AFRICA: Rains Hindering Relief to Millions
More than thirteen million people are currently threatened by the effects of drought in the Horn of Africa. The drought has driven up food prices and weakened livestock, thus increasing malnutrition, hunger, and famine. According to Jeff Palmer of Baptist Global Response, “The good news is that rains have started in a number of those areas. But in a drought place where we're doing food dispersal, one of the things that we're trying to get around now is the rains, [which are] hindering getting the food in.” The long-term cycles of severe hunger have been sharpened by decades of failed crops, economic crises, and climatic changes. As a result, the people are suffering through the worst drought since 1951. (Mission Network News)

KAZAKHSTAN: New Anti-Religion Laws
The government of Kazakhstan enacted two new laws, further restricting freedom of religion. All registered churches must now re-register with the government, and only churches meeting new criteria will be registered. Forum 18 News reports that the first law imposes a complex registration system, bans unregistered religious activity, enforces greater religious censorship, and requires both central and local government approval to build or open new places of worship. Any current church that does not re-register faces court liquidation. The second law amends nine existing laws and legal provisions. (Voice of the Martyrs)

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Two Major Mission Associations Merge
In October 2011 the memberships of CrossGlobal Link and The Mission Exchange agreed to merge, forming a body representative of 35,000 evangelical missionaries deployed in every country by more than 190 agencies and churches. “The merger will create better synergy, more effective use of resources, and eliminate needless competition and duplication of programs, products, and services,” said Marv Newell, executive director of CrossGlobal Link. “We must have a united voice to honor God as we move forward in this ever-changing world.” The goal is to unveil the new name and brand at a special celebration in Salem, Massachusetts, where, two hundred years ago, the first North American missionaries were commissioned for overseas service by an organized mission society. (The Mission Exchange)

URUGUAY: RTM Uruguay Celebrates Thirty Years
On 1 October 2011, TWR’s Uruguayan partner, Radio Trans Mundial (RTM), celebrated thirty years on the air. “During these years, I have learned many lessons about God’s faithfulness and provision. From my perspective this has been an amazing school for our faith,” said Esteban Larrosa, RTM Uruguay’s director. Many people have been saved, and others receive their daily spiritual food to grow in their faith in Christ as a result of RTM. (TWR)