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Religion Today Summaries - September 7, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - September 7, 2004

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

  • Nepal: Mission Work Disrupted by Political Upheaval 
  • Holy Land Church Thriving Amid Conflict
  • Africa: Christians Battle Satanic Strongholds
  • Piggy Banks Reaching India

Nepal: Mission Work Disrupted by Political Upheaval
Christian Aid Mission

Native missionaries in Nepal report that their evangelistic work has been inhibited due to the tense political situation following the murder of 12 Nepali hostages in Iraq. On August 31, an Islamic militant group released video footage of the executions of 12 Nepali men. Contracted by a Jordanian business to do work in Iraq, the men had been held hostage for a little over a week. This incident marks the largest mass killing of captives since the war against the occupation began in Iraq. It almost doubles the total number of hostages believed to have been killed there. The incident has sparked outrage among Nepalis in recent days, exacerbating an already tense situation that began recently with Maoist rebel attacks within Kathmandu. Mission leaders tell Christian Aid that gospel work has been slowed in recent days. Numerous meetings had to be canceled. Students were unable to attend a Bible college. A training session for mission workers had to be called off. Christian workers ask brothers and sisters around the world to pray with them for peace to return to Nepal; for the families of those who were killed in Iraq; and for mission work to continue despite troubling circumstances.

Holy Land Church Thriving Amid Conflict
Allie Martin, AgapePress

An expert on the Middle East says Christianity is flourishing in the war-torn region. In his new book Two Nations Under God, Tom Doyle says America has been blessed in the past because the United States has supported Israel.  Despite the violence shown nightly on network television, he says it is evident that God's hand is moving in Israel and the surrounding Arab countries. "The worst place to be a Christian is really the best place to be a Christian," Doyle says, "and right now, in the Gaza Strip, that has been rated one of the most dangerous places to live as a Christian. But yet there's a church there that's flourishing." The author says the Christian church in Israel is active and vibrant, and believers there are daily winning people to Christ, preaching the gospel, feeding the poor, and helping the homeless in their country. However, Doyle notes that as more and more Jews and Palestinians are coming to Christ, the reconciling influence of the Holy Spirit comes into play. But for many of these Holy Land Christians, the author says, their passion and commitment to Christ exceeds their political allegiances. Doyle and his wife lead tours to Israel several times a year. He says it is vital that America continue supporting and praying for Israel.

Africa: Christians Battle Satanic Strongholds
Christian Aid Mission

Animistic and spiritist religions are rampant in much of Africa. Sometimes demanding human sacrifice, the witch doctors keep entire communities in fearful submission. Christians are often accused of angering the "gods'" and chased from their homes or sentenced to death for "offending" a deity. However, native missionaries persevere in spreading the gospel among animist tribes and are seeing amazing fruit. But the strongholds they face are powerful. The Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin reports that earlier this month Nigerian police raided at least 11 shrines and were shocked by what they found: 30 skulls, 50 decaying human corpses and five fresh dead bodies. In another part of Nigeria, the Bulletin reports, a Christian woman and her family had to run away from patrons of an animist shrine. They claim that their "god" had chosen this woman to be its priestess; when she refused because of her Christian beliefs, followers of the idol sentenced her and her family to death. Yet native missionaries are seeing great breakthroughs in their evangelistic outreach to spiritist communities. One ministry in Benin, a country known worldwide as the "cradle of voodoo," reports to Christian Aid that in recent months some 300 animist chiefs and witches have given their lives to Christ.

Piggy Banks Reaching India
Gospel For Asia

Fifteen native missionaries on the Indian subcontinent received bicycles recently, thanks to an Ohio Sunday school's latest missions project. Five hundred children, ages 3 to 11, raised and saved the money for five weeks. Each quarter the group selects a new missions project. That quarter, they chose to give toward providing bicycles for Gospel for Asia missionaries. The children completed the project enthusiastically. Some children went door-to-door in their neighborhoods, asking for donations. One young person raised $300 that way. The fourth and fifth grade children challenged their teachers to match the funds they raised. A third grade girl gave $59 of her allowance to the bike fund. During the project, teachers sent home flyers and reminders, along with printouts of missionary stories from Gospel For Asia's website. Teachers and parents alike enjoyed seeing the children's selfless commitment and their excitement at being able to reach the lost. When the time came to count the money and send it in for bikes, the children discovered they had raised $1,440. These enthusiastic children sent 15 missionaries out on new bicycles to bring the love of Christ to many more unreached Asian villages than they ever could have reached on foot.