News

Indicators Point to Horn of Africa War

Multiple indicators are pointing toward inevitable territorial and religious war centered among the Horn of Africa nations of Somalia, Ethiopia, and Eritrea. The Islamic Courts Union (ICU), which recently took control of Somalia's capital city Mogadishu, is now threatening a jihad against Ethiopian military in Somalia to aid in defending Somalia's U.N.-backed Transitional Federal Government. Ethiopia, a mostly Christian nation, is fearful that Islamic groups such as the ICU might increase unrest in Ethiopia's southern region that contains about 4 million ethnic Somalis who have already tried to gain their independence from Ethiopia. Large arms shipments of offensive weaponry and strong ties with extreme foreign jihadists, including Arabs, Afghans, Pakistanis, Kashmiris, Palestinians, and Syrians, have led to rallies like one on July 24, in a Somali soccer stadium, where Islamic protesters burned Ethiopian flags to chants of "God is great!"

Assist News Service via MissionNet

Maronites Vandalize Beirut Baptist Church

Maronite Catholics attacked a new independent Baptist church near Beirut, Lebanon, Aug. 2, breaking doors and windows, stealing computer and sound equipment, and beating men, according to Compass Direct. The assault began with 10 Maronite men beating Pastor Raymond Abou-Mekhael and another man as they retrieved items from a parked car. Ten others shortly joined in while police looked on and "even advised the attackers on what to steal and vandalize," said Abou-Mekhael. The attack followed a long saga of conflict that arose due to public criticism from the local Maronite bishop, whose main complaint was that the Baptists planned to "steal" Maronite parishioners from his flock. The congregation had agreed not to meet in the new building until an agreement could be made. They were inside the church during the attack in order to prepare to host war refugees from southern Lebanon. The Maronite Church is an Eastern Rite church in communion with Rome. Approximately 20 percent of the Lebanese population (half of Lebanon's Christians) belongs to the denomination.

Compass Direct via MissionNet

Massive Conversions Reported in Iran

Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) President Tom White says that despite all the terrorist activity and Muslim persecution of Christians, an estimated 500 to 600 Iranians are converting to Christianity each month. Seven Iranian Christians who share their stories are featured in White's new book, Iran: Desperate for God. A country ranked in the top-10 persecutors around the world is failing to stop "massive" numbers of conversions to Christ despite reports that Christians "continue to be subject to harassment, arrests, close surveillance, and imprisonment." Iran is one of the youngest nations in the world with about 70 percent of the population under 30 years old. "We've met with Iranians in several countries across Europe, we've met with Iranians in Iran, and when they encounter the love of Christ or forgiveness, which is alien to their beliefs-especially the radical Islamic approach in Iran-they are amazed and curious about Christ," White says.

Agape Press/Voice of the Martyrs
via MissionNet

Planned Parenthood Markets Abortions

Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion business, now provides nearly 20% of all abortions in the U.S., according to 2004 figures included in Planned Parenthood's annual report for fiscal year 200-4-2005.  In 1984 the "non-profit"-which showed a $63 million profit-did 5.5% of all abortions nationwide. Their doctors performed 255,015 abortions in 2004-up 4.3% from 2003.

A recent corporate marketing plan, pioneered by Planned Parenthood Golden Gate in California, offered teenage girls an opportunity to win free movie tickets and a chance to win an iPod., according to LifeNews.com.

www.lifenews.com via Life in Oregon

Pro-Life Voter News Blog Is Announced

LifeNews.com has announced that it will cover every single important election battle through November. For example, in South Dakota, voters will consider a measure that would ban virtually all abortions. Also, voters in Oregon and California will determine whether or not parents have the right to know when their teenage daughters are considering an abortion; and Missouri residents can have their say on whether their state should promote human cloning and embryonic stem cell research.

Election news stories of interest to pro-lifers can be accessed by going to www.LifeNews.com or by visiting the blog directly at www.lifenews.com/election2006.html.

From LifeNews.com

Christian Station in Jerusalem Now Global

Jerusalem's only round-the-clock Christian radio station beams its unique biblical perspective around the world via the Sky Angel satellite network. Voice of Jerusalem radio was first established in southern Lebanon in 1979 where staff personally experienced the violence that has plagued the area. Five staff members have lost their lives in attacks by terror groups. The station was forced to move to Jerusalem when Israeli forces withdrew from southern Lebanon. The radio station continues to "scan all of the available Israeli and international sources to find the stories which we believe our faithful listeners and prayer partners want to hear," said Voice of Jerusalem Middle East Operations Manager Isaac Gronberg. With three of its own correspondents reporting in the field, the station is able to cover unfolding events from a personal, human-interest perspective.

Sky Angel via MissionNet

Millions Come to Christ Through "JESUS" Film

As of July 1, the "JESUS" film had been translated into 959 languages around the world. The JESUS Film Project reports that the film has allowed 5.4 billion people in more than 200 countries to hear the gospel, with 201 million viewers making decisions for Christ. At work since 1979, the JESUS Film Project has more than 2,200 teams around the globe, and some 1,500 denominations and mission organizations are using the film as part of their ministry. More than 200 additional translations are in process.

Mission Network News

African Missionaries Coming to the West

With church attendance waning in Europe, Africa's vibrant Protestant churches are sending scores of missionaries to the West to win souls and put new vitality into shrinking congregations. Kenyan minister Patrick Mukholi, who works for the Anglican Church Missionary Society in Blackbird Leys, England, says, "The church in the UK. has become shy about faith. Maybe as African missionaries we can encourage them to be more exuberant about knowing God." African pastors began coming to Europe and the U.S. to minister to African immigrants from their own countries back in the 1970s. But in the 1980s, African evangelicals-including some Anglicans, Baptists, Lutherans, and Methodists-decided to take a more systematic approach toward reaching what they saw as an increasingly godless West. "We couldn't just throw up our hands and see these churches turned into nightclubs or mosques," Tokunboh Adeyemo, former general secretary of the Association of Evangelicals in Africa, told Reuters in a telephone interview.

WorldWide Religious News/Reuters via MissionNet

More Germans Are Becoming Muslims

Last year in Germany approximately 4,000 people became Muslims according to the Central Islam Institute in Soest, Germany. The annual number of converts has been rising since the year 2000, with no explanation regarding the trend. The institute's director, Salim Abdulah, says there are 3.2 million Muslims in Germany, many of them Turkish immigrants. The number of mosques is expected to double in the next few years. The Islamic Fellowship of Germany, associated with the radical Muslim brotherhoods, is attracting approximately 500 converts per year. By comparison, Protestant churches have about 25.6 million members, while Roman Catholics number 25.8 million. The churches believe interest in religion in Germany is increasing, but is not focused on Christianity. Buddhism and Islam appear more "intriguing" to the German population.

Assist News Service via MissionNet

Demolition of Church Sparks China Protest

The demolition of a 10,000-member house church in the city of Hangzhou in China's Zhejiang Province on July 29 prompted a protest of around 3,000 people. At least 20 people were hurt, four severely, as up to 500 police tried to break up the group, according to the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy. Officials claimed the church was an "illegal structure" despite the church's repeated attempts to attain approval to build.

WorldWide Religious News/BBC via MissionNet

Full-Scale Noah's Ark Project Goes Slowly

American Pastor Richard Greene, who is building a full-scale Noah's Ark at his Frostburg, Md., church, hopes to visit a couple in Christchurch New Zealand who have completed their own. After a series of dreams to build a large ark that would attract visitors from around the world, Greene began his project in 1976. Once completed, the ark will be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and almost 43 feet high. Plans call for the ark to house a Christian school, Bible college, a 1,500-seat auditorium, conference facilities and a Noah's Ark historical room. After 30 years, the steel framework on Greene's ark is only about one third completed while nearby residents mock the project and complain of lowered property values. In contrast, New Zealanders Ken and Bev Loader's ark took only three years to construct on the hills overlooking the Avon Estuary in Christchurch.

Assist News Service via MissionNet

Multiethnic Churches Growing in Europe

Evangelical churches in Europe, particularly those attended by immigrants from Africa, Asia and Latin America, are booming when compared to Europe's steady decrease in traditional Protestant and Catholic churches in recent decades. Statistics show France has shown an eight-fold increase in evangelical Christianity in the last 50 years, from approximately 50,000 to 400,000. Overall numbers remain small, with evangelicals representing only 2% of Europe's population. Despite overall numbers, Christopher Sinclair of the University of Strasbourg says the trend shows that spirituality in Europe is not dead, even though secularization continues. Congregations such as the Impact Christian Center in Ivry-sur-Seine, France, are alive and welcoming and have a distinct multiethnic flavor, with at least 26 different nationalities. "This is just a church focusing on the needs of people," said Pastor Yves Castanou.

WorldWide Religious News via MissionNet

4 Buses Hired to Kill Christian

Drivers of four different buses were hired by a militant Muslim group in Bangladesh to crash into an SUV driven by a Christian man known as "Andrew" to protect his identity. On April 24 on his way to visit 17 Muslim convert families, a bus rammed the front passenger seat of his vehicle, breaking his left elbow and severely cutting his right forearm. Immediately following the collision, the bus driver ran from the scene to report Andrew's death to leaders of the Islamic group that had hired him. However, Andrew survived despite receiving shoddy medical treatment, perhaps due to pressure placed on the hospital staff from the militant Islamic group. More recently, Andrew has received threatening telephone calls in which group members identify the make, model, and color of the vehicle he is to be transported in on a certain day as well as the date and location of upcoming medical treatments. In spite of the pressure, Andrew remains committed to reaching Muslims for Christ.

Voice of the Martyrs via MissionNet

Another Indian State Restricts Conversion

Central India's Madhya Pradesh state assembly has passed a controversial bill amending the state's ironically named Freedom of Religion Act of 1968, making religious conversion by force or allurement illegal. The bill was passed by voice vote without allowing discussion. Under the new law, a person desiring to change religion must voluntarily inform the district magistrate. The priest or organization performing the conversion must also inform authorities a month in advance. Police must verify the credentials of the priest or organization and verify the conversion is not a result of force or allurement. Indian human rights activists and Christians have strongly opposed the law. One noted, "The proposal is not only anti-Christian, but it will disproportionately affect scheduled castes like the Dalits and scheduled tribes who will be denied a life of dignity and the freedom to choose their faith."

WorldWide Religious News via MissionNet

Factory in Pakistan Demolishes Church

The Christian community of Multan in Pakistan's central Punjab Province is protesting the alleged illegal destruction of a local church. On Aug. 4, about 150 protesters burned tires and blocked a principal roadway, claiming that the Pak-Arab Fertilizers Ltd. factory had destroyed a Protestant church shortly before a court issued an order not to demolish it. Shahbaz Bhatti, chairman of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA), said a nearby mosque was untouched. "Only the church, a symbol of the vulnerability of the Christian minority, fell victim to the intolerance of these industrialists," he said. The fertilizer company, which legally owns the land on which the church was built, claims there was no "religious motive" but destroyed the church to "allow the industry to expand." Company spokesmen say the community had been given advance notice to vacate the church.

WorldWide Religious News/AsiaNews via MissionNet

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