Religion Today Summaries - March 24, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - March 24, 2006

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:

  • Missionary Family Takes God's Love and the Gospel Message to Haiti
  • Annual 'Renewing Your Passion For God' Conference Drawing World Ministry Leaders
  • West Java, Indonesia Churches Told Not to Meet in Homes
  • Cross Sketched on Pakistain University's Floor

Missionary Family Takes God's Love and the Gospel Message to Haiti

A missionary to Haiti says the instability of that nation is having a big impact on outreach to the Haitian people. An AgapePress story says that Anne Kendall, her husband, and their six children have served as missionaries to Haiti for the past four years through Global Outreach. The Kendalls are part of a four-family team that works to meet the physical and spiritual needs of those in and around Haiti's capital of Port Au Prince. According to Kendall, political instability along with severe poverty in Haiti has actually resulted in many individuals coming to Christ. "We see the average Haitians finally beginning to understand, those that are in the church, that indeed it is only God that they can depend upon," she says, "because the government has let them down for so many years." Haiti is the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere, and the average life span there is 45 years. "Short-term ministry is a huge ministry in Haiti," Kendall explains, "as it gets people out of their comfort zones and on the field in a quick manner." However, recent instability in the Caribbean country has forced the Global Outreach to curtail its short-term missions trips. About 80 percent of the people in Haiti practice a mix of Catholicism and voodoo. The rest are Protestant.

Annual 'Renewing Your Passion For God' Conference Drawing World Ministry Leaders

Gospel for Asia, one of the fastest growing church planting ministries in Asia, will hold an international conference this June focused on helping strategic leaders renew their passion for what God is doing in the world today. The event, which will run from June 30 to July 2, will feature native mission field leaders as part of an intentional effort to “bring the mission field” to those attending. "I believe this conference could change your life forever,” said Gospel for Asia Founder and President Dr. K.P. Yohannan.  “I am excited to bring you this opportunity to learn from more than a dozen of our native missionary leaders how the Lord is moving powerfully through their ministries.” Beyond hearing first-hand account from native mission leaders, some of the conference highlights include: *Testimonies from the lives of ordinary men and women who have been used by the Lord to bring the Gospel to places that had never been reached; *A special ministry prayer meeting on Saturday evening; *Preaching from Dr. Yohannan and others. Gospel for Asia's passion is to plant churches among the world's most un-reached peoples – those who have never heard a Gospel message.  More than 15,000 native missionaries are now on the field with more than 29,000 churches planted to date in 10 Asian nations.

West Java, Indonesia Churches Told Not to Meet in Homes

A Compass Direct release states that a local council in West Java has warned several congregations in the Rancaekek Kencana housing complex in Bandung to abandon their “nomadic” cell group system, which allows limited numbers of Christians to meet together in private homes. In letters to the churches, the council also warned Christians to stop meeting in buildings that were converted some years ago into permanent – though unregistered – worship facilities. A joint decree issued in 1969 by the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Religious Affairs requires all religious groups to seek permission from neighbors and district officials before they build or establish a place of worship. Since Christians are a distinct minority in Indonesia, the decree has made it virtually impossible to secure church permits.

Cross Sketched on Pakistain University's Floor

In a bid to avenge the publication of the controversial caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, hundreds of students of the Punjab University walked over a cross that was drawn on the floor of the Institution of Education and Research in the university. Deflating hopes of Pakistani Christians, who were not anticipating to bear any further brunt of the cartoons’ controversy, especially after government moved to ensure the peaceful staging of the anti-cartoon rallies, the fresh incident involving the desecration of a cross in the university comes as a chilling reminder that troubles still lay in store. According to ASSIST News and the Pakistan Christian Post, the cross was drawn on the floor of the university where scores of students trampled it upon their feet to show their anger against the cartoons. After seeing the desecration of the cross in the Punjab University, the Chairman of God’s Love Ministry, Pastor Nazir Shad, reportedly lodged a strong protest with governor of Punjab, Lt. General (Retd) Khalid Maqbool, who is also the chancellor of the universities in the province Punjab. The Rev. Shad urged the governor to take notice of the desecration of cross and ensure that its sacrilege end. The pastor also called upon Pakistani Muslims to demonstrate respect for people of faiths other than Islam in the country.