Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world. In today's edition:
- America's Christian Heart Has Spoken
- Sierra Leone: A Village Called "There Is No God"
- Vietnamese Officials Hinder Trial Preparations
- Philippines: Muslim Strongholds Infiltrated with Gospel
America's Christian Heart Has Spoken
Wolfgang Polzer, ASSIST News Service
US-Americans have re-elected their President - much to the chagrin of most Europeans. George W. Bush is not their favorite person: Just four percent of all Germans would have given him their vote. Almost the entire range of mass media placed their bets on John F. Kerry and predicted an election chaos, the likes of which we had seen in the year 2000. But, alas, the prophets of doom turned out to be false prophets. President Bush won convincingly. What is most bewildering to West Europeans: The war in Iraq did not play the decisive role, and George W. Bush owed his victory to Bible believing Christians, pro lifers, advocates of family values. America's Christian heart has spoken - what does it tell us Europeans? America is different. We are divided nowadays not so much by "the big pond" but by a Christian cultural watershed. Moral and ethical issues were important to 22 percent of the US-voters, the highest percentage of all topics. Can you imagine Jaques Chirac, Tony Blair or Gerhard Schroeder fighting their next elections on issues such as abortion, same sex marriages and the family and not on the economy, unemployment and social security? I can't. The fact is: While Americans are re-discovering Christian values, Europeans are discarding them.
Sierra Leone: A Village Called "There Is No God"
When native missionaries in Sierra Leone were searching out areas in need of the gospel, they came across a rural village whose name, when translated, means "there is no God." Stricken by the hopelessness such a name implies, they immediately made plans to take the message of Christ to this isolated community. The village is in a northern province of Sierra Leone that has become an Islamic stronghold. Those who are not Muslims practice occultism, consulting juju gods and living in constant fear of evil spirits. This particular village was known throughout its district for its terrible name. Native missionaries visited the village to build relationships with the chief and elders. God blessed them with favor, and chiefs gave the missionaries permission to start gospel work. Missionaries are using a holistic approach to evangelism, bringing physical aid to this poverty- stricken community in the name of Christ, thus opening people's hearts to His truth. The community has asked the missionaries to take over the village school, which was suffering desperately from lack of leadership. Now, the new generation in a village called "there is no God" will hear His gospel. The missionaries face many obstacles in their work. Native gospel workers are determined to give this village a new name by the power of Christ.
Vietnamese Officials Hinder Trial Preparations
Vietnamese officials are hindering attempts to prepare the defense of six Mennonite church workers scheduled for a November 12 trial. The refusal of the court to give the written order for the trial to the family members of the prisoners is a violation of article 182 of Vietnam 's criminal code. However, the families were allowed to listen to a reading of the indictment, after which they were asked to sign papers saying that they had received it. The indictment indicates that all six are included in the same March 2 incident and charged with "resisting officers doing their duty." Rev. Nguyen Hong Quang is charged in the indictment with inciting the others to resist. Observers believe the fact that Quang is apparently not charged with more serious "crimes" involving his documentation and publication of numerous human rights and religious liberty violations is due to the considerable international attention the case has drawn.
Philippines: Muslim Strongholds Infiltrated with Gospel
Indigenous ministries in the Philippines are seeing God work mightily in Islamic communities. In southern islands of the Philippines, many territories are heavily populated by Muslims. Al-Qaeda is reported to have a training camp on one of the islands. The locally-based Islamic terrorist group Abu Sayaff has committed acts of violence and campaigns of indoctrination, particularly among youths, as it works towards a goal of establishing an independent Islamic state. Yet the very youths Abu Sayaff is attempting to recruit have become an open door for the gospel. Recently, native missionaries led five young Muslims to accept Christ at a youth camp. They were baptized and sent home, where they immediately began sharing the truth of Christ with friends and family, despite danger of angry reprisals. Through contacts made by these brave new believers, native missionaries were able to enter Muslim territories for the first time to preach and disciple converts. They started an underground church for former Muslims and smuggled hundreds of Bibles and hymnals throughout the territories. Missionaries report that, through compassion projects such as literacy training and medical assistance, a number of Muslim communities have opened to missionaries and their message. More Muslim people are coming to the Lord almost daily, due to missionaries' faithful dedication to the dangerous work of spreading the gospel in predominantly Islamic areas.