The April 2008 PNEUMA INFORMER
In this issue
What's New at www.PneumaFoundation.org
Update from Webmaster
Dave Driggs, Pneuma Foundation "Web Servant," tell us about where we have come from and where we are headed.
Over the past 9 years the Pneuma Foundation website has utilized open source technology. Originally, we started with simple code that ran on the Apache server which was (and still is) the most popular web server on the internet.
In 2003, we moved the website to the Tomcat web server and started hosting the site "locally." Tomcat is a straight forward open source Java web server that allowed us to utilize Java server page technology. At this time we also introduced Struts 1.1 (a web frame work) and XML/XSLT for data transformation.
All of this software was built and deployed using Apache Ant. Ant is a tool that is useful, but tedious to maintain. We had several different scripts to deploy our code. In late 2007, we migrated our website build and deployment to Maven 2. Maven is the next generation build/deploy tool for Java applications. We no longer needed different scripts as we had previously. At the same time, the site software was upgraded to Tomcat 5.5 and Java 6.
Since being hosted locally in the home-offices of our volunteers, the Pneuma Foundation website has been published to Linux servers and is currently running on Fedora Core 7.
Technology changes planned for the future:
- Integration with Struts 2 and Spring frameworks.
- Add database functionality to several "index" pages.
- Integrations with external resources via XML.
- Style rewrite (this has been attempted about 4 times).
Anyone interested in more information about www.PneumaFoundation.org or the technologies it is using is welcome to write. Please use the "Contact Us" page at http://www.pneumafoundation.org/contactus.jsp
Recent Server Issues
Email Problems Lead to Better Solution
The Pneuma Foundation email server began experiencing some problems sometime the week of March 9, and was turned off permanently on Wednesday, March 19. While our backup mail service seems to have retained most of the email delivered to it since March 19, there may have been some lost mail. The Foundation is now using a different service to receive email, and this appears to be a superior solution for our volunteers. If you have not received a reply regarding any communication to us, we are sorry that we missed you. Please write again.
New Online ArticlesNew Links and Content Worth Noticing
There was a planned downtime of the Pneuma Foundation webserver for an electrical system upgrade on March 31, 2008. There will be another maintenance period for an upgrade for the internet service provider, date and time to be announced.
- The Pneuma Foundation is pleased to add content to our website as a resource to our members and friends around the world. We also add links to content that we are not able to republish ourselves, but may be of interest. Here are some examples of links added recently to "Links to Articles & Books" www.pneumafoundation.org/links_articles.jsp and from "Links to Study Resources" www.pneumafoundation.org/links_study.jsp
- The largest list of Pentecostal/charismatic Bible Schools available online anywhere. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/links_schools.jsp
Add your school: http://www.pneumafoundation.org/links.jsp#link
- "Taking Our Revival Temperature" by Eddie L. Hyatt. First printed in the January 2008 issue of Spread the Fire magazine. http://www.eddiehyatt.com/article19.html
- Mark Buchanan, "Singing in the Chains" To be saved means more than we might think (Christianity Today, February, 2008). http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/february/15.30.html
- Read an excerpt from Rick Nanez, Full Gospel, Fractured Minds?: A Call to Use God's Gift of the Intellect "Our Anti-Intellectual Heritage: The history and beliefs of the Pentecostal movement, often shared by evangelicals, hold the seeds of a bias against the life of the mind." http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/marchweb-only/113-43.0.html
- David Neff reviews Thomas C. Oden, How Africa Shaped the Christian Mind: Rediscovering the African Seedbed of Western Christianity, (IVP, 2008). Thomas Oden reminds us of classical Christianity's debt to Africa, in contrast to the presumed hegemony of Greek philosophy. http://www.christianitytoday.com/history/newsletter/2008/feb29.html
- From the In-Depth Resources index: The Center for Early African Christianity "The Christians of Africa are growing faster than in any other area of world Christianity. It is to their future that this effort is dedicated. They deserve to have an accessible way into understanding early African Christianity, its faith, courage, tenacity, and remarkable intellectual strength. The global Christian mind has been formed out of a specific history, not out of bare theoretical ideas." http://www.earlyafricanchristianity.com
- "A Critical Evaluation of the Westernization of the Gospel" Lausanne article by Daniel Kim, director of Chiang Mai Theological Seminary, missionary church-planter in Asia with OMF International. http://www.lausanneworldpulse.com/themedarticles.php/907/03-2008
- Christian Leadership: Mark Buchanan, "Wreck the Roof: Are you willing to take apart the church to bring people to Jesus?" (Outreach & Evangelism Today). http://www.christianitytoday.com/outreach/articles/wrecktheroof.html
- Sharing the Story of Jesus: "Whatever Happened to Evangelism?" An interview with Luis Palau (Outreach & Evangelism Today). http://www.christianitytoday.com/outreach/articles/whateverhappenedevangelism.html
Reports from Around the World
Bali: Village leader accepts Christ despite threats
For the first time last year, Book of Hope showed the Godman film on the South Pacific island of Bali. This is a region with a long history of Hinduism. One village leader, Ladra, did not give permission for the film to be shown. But he did invite the Book of Hope team back in a few weeks. Ty Silva with Book of Hope reports: "This time Ladra had prepared a place for the GodMan to be shown. In fact, it was in a field right in front of his own house. They had the film showing, and the children and the people of the village were very excited. In fact, they filled the field and overflowed into the street." Afterward, Ladra gave his life to Christ, which angered other leaders. Threats came in, but the Hindu police promised protection. Still, Ladra was stripped of his leadership. Silva said, "Ladra gave a very similar response as Nicodemus. He said, 'If they turn against me for showing the story of a Man who taught so many wonderful things and did so much good, then let it be.'"
Source: Mission Network News, 24 January, 2008 Full story: http://mnn.gospelcom.net/article/10826
India: Unprecedented response to televised "Godman" film
While persecution increased over Christmas in India, an unprecedented event took place. Book of Hope International's "Godman," the 3D animated film on the life of Christ, debuted on national television. Book of Hope's Rob Hoskins says they've already received more than a half million letters. He says pre-planning was the key. "Before the broadcast even took place we had trained 203,632 volunteers. So far, we've had over 3,405,000 people that have watched the movie, and we've had literally hundreds of thousands of people who have accepted Christ." Hoskins believes this is just the beginning of an incredible move of God, and persecution will increase because of it. There is now an incredible demand for discipleship material. "... And so what we're needing to do is plant the Word of God and ensure that Scripture engagement takes place."
Source: Adapted from Mission Network News, 21 January, 2008. Full story: http://mnn.gospelcom.net/article/10810
Myanmar: Miraculous Breakthrough
4,700 Buddhist Monks Kneel to Accept Christ as their Savior.
For many years Christian Aid has been helping ministries in Myanmar [formerly Burma] and has witnessed many wonderful reports from missionaries laboring in this troubled land. But this latest startling report tells of 4,700 Buddhist monks who accepted Christ as their Savior.
This miracle came about amid a backdrop of more than a decade of political cruelty toward certain Burmese ethnic minorities. Over the years, 3000 villages in eastern Burma have been destroyed and the people were either killed or driven into remote mountainous areas. Some were able to escape to neighboring countries, although they were not particularly welcomed there.
For the full story, visit the Christian Aid report: http://www.christianaid.org/Missionaries/MIR/mir20080318.aspx
Source: Adapted from Missions Insider 9:3, March 18, 2008
Iran: New Draft Law Proposes Death Penalty for Apostasy
Voice of the Martyrs Canada reports that the Iranian Parliament is reviewing a bill that calls for the death penalty for apostasy. According to policy watchdogs, the draft law is clearly aimed at deterring conversion from Islam. Despite tremendous oppression in Iran, many are coming to Christ. Pray for strength, wisdom, and grace for Iranian Christians as they continue to spread the Gospel despite sustained pressure from the Islamic government of the nation.
Source: Mission Network News, 8 February, 2008. Full story: http://mnn.gospelcom.net/article/10881
Azerbaijan: A pastor is released from prison
News and Headlines
There is good news coming out of Azerbaijan concerning imprisoned Baptist Pastor Zuer Balaev.
Slavic Gospel Association's Joel Griffith says he and more than 50 others were granted amnesty by the president. While Christians are thanking God for Balaev's releases, Griffith says that doesn't mean religious freedom is improving. "With any Baptist pastor, evangelical or non-Islamic religious group, they're probably going to be watched very closely. We know from officials over there that other pastors have been threatened with the same kind of treatment if they were to pursue their ministries or plant other congregations." Many foreign leaders petitioned for his release, including former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. Regarding religious freedom, Griffith is hopeful. "Our hope is that the international outcry of the Balaev case will result somehow in the government loosening some of the strings. We're certainly hoping and praying that." Balaev was falsely arrested and convicted for assaulting state representatives last year.
Source: Mission Network News, 24 March, 2008 Full story: http://mnn.gospelcom.net/article/10826
for Current News and Links
- Kenya: Post-Mayhem Woes: Tribal rivalries - including Christian-on-Christian violence - hamper healing "The depth of the hatred that flared up ... was a shock to many of us" (ChristianityTodayOnline). http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/march/1.24.html
- Chad: Islamic Jihadist Coup Poses Major Threat (WEA Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin). http://www.worldevangelicals.org/commissions/rlc/reports/articles.htm?id=1648
- Middle East: Millions view scriptural programs Practically their only source for biblical learning, many viewers compile hand-written compilations of scripture verses (MNN).
- Kazakhstan: Religious Freedom Under Attack (WEA Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin). http://www.worldevangelicals.org/commissions/rlc/reports/articles.htm?id=1662
- Russia: Charismatics targeted as would-be Orange Revolutionaries? (Forum18). http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=1087
- Middle East/Africa: "New media restrictions signal authoritarian regimes worries of citizens' awakening" "Free speech in Egypt will not be the only victim here, it's the whole Arab world ..." (Associated Press). http://www.iht.com/bin/printfriendly.php?id=10094065
- USA: California Court Says Religious Claim Doesn't Grant Homeschooling Right (ChristianityTodayOnline). http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/marchweb-only/110-43.0.html
- Mozambique: Despite HIV, the church is growing (MNN). http://www.mnnonline.org/article/10967
- Editorial: "I Knew I Wasn't Alone: The recent study findings on STDs confirm my experience - and my conviction that churches can do more to help young women" (ChristianityTodayOnline). http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/marchweb-only/112-12.0.html
- Brazil: Indigenous Indignation Investigators accuse YWAM of squelching tribal cultures (Christianity Today, April 2008). http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/april/6.17.html
- Ethiopia: Radical Muslims attack and murder Christians (MNN). http://www.mnnonline.org/article/11004
- Russia: Methodist church dissolved for having Sunday school Pastor says, "We are Methodists and we don't want to and will not become Orthodox, no matter how hard they try to scare us" (Forum18). http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=1104
- India: Anti-conversion bill gets harsher in Rajasthan New "Freedom of Religion" bill proposes jail time for anyone changing their religion (MNN). http://www.mnnonline.org/article/11067
- North Africa: Greater freedom for Christians As governments become increasingly concerned with Islamic extremists, Christian ministries pray for new opportunities to share the story of Jesus (MNN). http://www.mnnonline.org/article/11037
- USA: Student prayer movement: starting something only God can finish Prayer vigils on college campuses: "go big or go home" (MNN). http://www.mnnonline.org/article/11075
- Editorial: "The mustard seed in global strategy" by "Spengler". Magdi Allam, formerly an exemplar of "moderate Islam," became convinced that Islam cannot be moderate and was baptised by Pope Benedict XVI in St Peter's on Easter Saturday during the Easter vigil. This commentary looks at this pivotal moment in Western history. Will Christians love and offer hope to the Muslims in their midst or let their governments carry their society into either a war they cannot win or the complete surrender of their freedoms? (AsiaTimesOnline). Recommended by Elizabeth Kendal. http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page/JC26Aa01.html
- China: Church leaders detained in Inner Mongolia, China (MNN). http://www.mnnonline.org/article/10954
See other news to pray and praise God about in the Prayer Requests department below.
Report the News
We are looking for stories about what God is doing in the world, reports about the persecution of Christians, and information about significant trends and ministry opportunities. If you have a news item to report, please send an email to the PNEUMA INFORMER. http://www.pneumafoundation.org/contactus.jsp
Thoughts to Ponder
"Spirit and Scripture"
A Symposium on Renewal Biblical Hermeneutics
Where: Regent University School of Divinity
When: October 17 & 18, 2008
Pentecostal, Charismatic and renewal movements throughout the world share a common theological experience. However, several seminal questions about renewal biblical and theological studies have not been sufficiently treated for today. For example:
What is the role of the Holy Spirit in biblical hermeneutics?
What are the distinctive presuppositions, methods and goals of renewal biblical hermeneutics?
With the present growth of both renewal scholarship and the movement around the world, we believe that the time has come for a focused and concerted treatment of this topic. You are invited to a gathering of scholars to address this vital subject for biblical and theological studies in the 21st century.
For more information, visit: www.regent.edu/spiritscripture
BLEND, Christians Against Racism
Christian Leaders Call for an end to racist rhetoric in immigration debate
Where: Mercy Church in Laredo, Texas
When: May 4-5, 2008
Dr. Cindy Jacobs, President and Founder of Generals International, and Christian leaders from all major ethnic communities have issued a call for prayer to bring to God this pressing need for justice and an end to racism in the immigration debate. Jacobs says, "After visiting with some top Hispanic leaders and listening to their concern, the consensus is that this issue will never be settled through natural means. Only God knows what needs to be done for much needed reform. Together, we are going to appeal to the Creator of the universe to adjudicate a just solution to this grievous problem."
Dr. Jesse Miranda, Global Chairman of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, America's largest Hispanic Christian Organization, sees the event as prophetic and pivotal to changing the language of the debate. "For too long the extremist have hijacked the issue of immigration and made it a rallying cry for nativism and racism. We do have a legitimate immigration situation that requires our attention. However the debate must convert to a dialogue and reason must trump rhetoric," explained Miranda. "Racism is ultimately a spiritual problem and it is only right the church become involved in seeking reconciliation," he added.
Dr. Jacobs will be joined by prominent Evangelical leaders such as Bishop Harry Jackson, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, Rev. Mark Gonzalez, Dr. Alemu Beefetu, Herman Matir, Will Ford III and others.
For more information, visit: www.NHCLC.org National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
Next Generation Hispanic Evangelical Gathering
Where: Jesse Miranda Center, Vanguard University, Costa Mesa, California
When: May 12-14, 2008
For more information, visit: www.NHCLC.org National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
Resources You Can Use
Church Planting Coach monthly newsletter
Church Planting guru, George Patterson, and his co-workers answer pressing questions for those who mentor and coach shepherds of reproducing, new churches. See past issues at www.MentorNet.ws.
Source: Brigada Today 2008/02/01
Churches to Hold Web Focus Day April 27
"How can we use this new-fangled Internet thing to share the gospel?" Christians are asking. A worldwide "web evangelism focus day" is helping to provide answers. Sunday, April 27, has been designated as Internet Evangelism Day. Churches can download free materials from the Internet Evangelism Day website. These materials make it easy for churches to create a short presentation about online outreach on or near that Sunday. A PowerPoint, video clip testimonies, drama scripts, music and handouts can be used to create their own customized program lasting from one minute to 50.
Church leaders who have already used these materials are excited. "This is a huge help for small churches such as ours," writes a church leader from California.
The Internet Evangelism Day team emphasizes that web evangelism is for anyone, not just the technically gifted. "There are many ways to share your faith online, without any technical background at all," says IE Day Coordinator Tony Whittaker.
Christian leaders are also enthusiastic: "I am glad to commend Internet Evangelism Day," says Dr. John Stott.
Churches can start planning their focus day now. More information is available at www.InternetEvangelismDay.com
Source: Web Evangelism Bulletin February 2008 Bulletin Reminder Alert
Free Church Website Tool Released
The people behind Internet Evangelism Day also provide year-round resources about online outreach. The ministry explains many ways that Christians can share the good news, including through church websites. Churches often find it difficult to create a site that will engage with outsiders in their area, and find themselves asking, "How can our church website help us reach out into our community?"
A new online tool released by IE Day provides churches with a free 15-page evaluation report. Users assess their own website by answering 55 simple questions. Their customized report is immediately displayed online, ready to print or save. The report's recommendations are tailored with specific practical suggestions, based on the questions that were ticked. View the evaluation tool here:
A church site which has been prioritized for non-Christian visitors can be remarkably effective in reaching the community. "Week in, week out, more visitors turn up at our church on a Sunday because of the website, than anything else," writes one growing church in London.
The tool also provides the parable 'A Tale of Two Golf Clubs' (which is available to republish) to illustrate the principles of effective church websites:
Church leaders have welcomed this new resource. "This competent evaluation tool provides a valuable service to churches that will help them strengthen their effectiveness in outreach through the Internet," says Dr. Sterling Huston, director of North American Ministries for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Gary McClure of LifeWay Ministries agrees, saying, "This checklist is an invaluable tool to identify critical areas for improvement. Every church should study this regularly and act on it!"
For more information, visit www.InternetEvangelismDay.com
Source: Web Evangelism Bulletin February 2008 Bulletin Reminder Alert
Excerpts from THE PNEUMA REVIEW
THE PNEUMA REVIEW is a quarterly printed journal of ministry resources and theology for Pentecostal and charismatic ministries and leaders. For more information about THE PNEUMA REVIEW, and to learn how to subscribe, please visit: Introducing THE PNEUMA REVIEW. www.pneumafoundation.org/intro_pr.jsp
Buy THE PNEUMA REVIEW online at Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000D8CY9
Write a review online for THE PNEUMA REVIEW!
For a full index of the contents of all Pneuma Review issues, visit: http://www.pneumafoundation.org/pr_archive.jsp.
From "The Empowered Christian Life" by J. I. Packer
From the Winter 2008 issue
Read the full article by J. I. Packer at PneumaReview.com: http://pneumareview.com/the-empowered-christian-life.
J. I. Packer, is a British-born Canadian Christian theologian. He currently serves as the Board of Governors' Professor of Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. He received a Ph.D. (Philosophy) from the University of Oxford, Oxford, England. As an Anglican theologian, Dr. Packer has played a major role in British and North American evangelicalism. He has written numerous books and scholarly articles, including the best-selling book, Knowing God.
This chapter is from Gary S. Greig and Kevin N. Springer, eds., The Kingdom and the Power: Are Healing and the Spiritual Gifts Used by Jesus and the Early Church Meant for the Church Today? A Biblical Look at How to Bring the Gospel to the World with Power (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1993). Used with permission.Periodical Review: "Glocal Church Ministry"
From the Winter 2008 issue
Read the review at PneumaReview.com: http://pneumareview.com/glocal-church-ministry/
Julie C. Ma is Research Tutor in Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, Oxford UK. She is the author of When the Spirit Meets the Spirits: Pentecostal Ministry among the Kankana-ey Tribe in the Philippines (Peter Lang, 2000) and Mission Possible: Biblical Strategies for Reaching the Lost (Regnum/Paternoster, 2005), and editor of Asian Church and God's Mission (2003) with her husband Wonsuk Ma. She now preparing her third book, Pentecostal Mission in Asian Context. Her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Intercultural Studies and Theology are from Fuller Theological Seminary.
Read more reviews and articles from the Winter 2008 issue of THE PNEUMA REVIEW www.pneumafoundation.org/intro_pr.jspBook Review: Kingdom Triangle
From the Spring 2008 issue
J. P. Moreland, Kingdom Triangle: Recover the Christian Mind, Renovate the Soul, Restore the Spirit's Power (Zondervan, 2007), 237 pages, ISBN 9780310274322.
Read the review at PneumaReview.com: http://pneumareview.com/j-p-moreland-kingdom-triangle.
W. Simpson is a student at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, and is currently studying for an MPhys. in Theoretical Physics and Mathematics. He is also a lay-reader in philosophy and theology, and has assisted the Pneuma Foundation with numerous online projects.
Read more reviews and articles from the Spring 2008 issue of THE PNEUMA REVIEW www.pneumafoundation.org/intro_pr.jsp
- Growing religious oppression in Central Asia. Christians are experiencing growing persecution in the predominantly Muslim Central Asian countries. The changing religious legislation is bringing more restrictions on missionary activities and church worship. Police raid the churches, detaining and interrogating believers, confiscating Christian literature and arresting and fining church leaders. Despite this, the number of Christians is constantly growing. Christian lawyers faithfully defend the believers' rights under the threat of being persecuted themselves. Please pray that God will protect and empower Central Asian believers, their leaders and advocates, and that he will move powerfully amongst their oppressors and the authorities.
Source: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - RLP 460 | Central Asia: Growing Religious Oppression
- Philippines: Christian worker killed, security forces readied. Armed soldiers in Mindanao in the Philippines are posted near churches to protect Christian missionaries. According to the government and published news outlets, this comes after a Christian worker was murdered by a known terrorist group - Abu Sayyef - an Islamic extremist group. Kidnap-for-ransom activities still take place in the region. Others in the area have received threats in the past. However, at this time, Christian workers plan to stay there to be agents of peace and hope.
Source: Mission Network News, 28 January, 2008. Full story: http://mnn.gospelcom.net/article/10835
- Pastor M. Rathna writes: "I want to buy a Digital projector and I will go to some of the villages and will show the films of Jesus Christ for weekly 2 times that the people will divert their minds and come near to Jesus Christ. Please pray for me that God will do this. I am waiting for so many days for this one, the digital projector will cost approximately Rs.46, 000/- and the other equipments Rs. 14,000/- (Screen and boxes etc.). I hope God will give to me and I have hope and trust. I will do the service of my restless life for the people who don't know about Jesus Christ." Reference Number: 90031787
- Uzbekistan: Hot Winter for Christians. Predominantly Muslim Uzbekistan is a persecution hotspot for its Protestant Christians and other religious minorities. The Uzbek authorities' continuing restrictions are aimed at keeping Christians living in constant fear and stopping internal outreach.
Any religious activity not held on the premises of a registered religious organization is 'illegal'. Thus it is even harder for religious groups who are unable to get registered as all their activities are strictly suppressed as illegal and the participants treated as criminals. Police regularly raid church services, Christian literature is destroyed and believers are fined and even imprisoned. Church buildings are being confiscated. Even more restrictive laws are expected soon. However the solidarity of Protestant churches is growing under persecution. Please pray that God will strengthen and protect Christians in Uzbekistan.
Source: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - RLP 462 | Uzbekistan: Hot Winter for Christians
- "Thank you very much for responding to my mail and suggesting that I send you people my prayer request which I am very delighted to do.
"Like Solomon, after he had realized that the task his father left with him, was so enormous beyond his reasoning and might, when he was giving an opportunity from God to choose what he wanted Him to do for him, swiftly requested wisdom from God to rule his people.
"Brethren this nation has gone through much pain as a result of the just ended war, almost all of those we have in our congregation are traumatized, poverty stricken, anxious, revengeful etc. So I am requesting that you pray for me that the Lord should bless me with wisdom and understanding to deal faithfully with these categories of people in my congregation, community, and the nation at large in Jesus name.
"Also brethren, I humbly request that you pray for an increase of God's anointing, blessings, and power to breakthrough the barriers of false religion that is fast erupting as a result of the increase of poverty of lives in the nation. They are taken an advantage of the situations of the people and bringing in relief in exchange for their belief and commitment. So people are accepting their false messages and gifts. But if there is an increase of God's anointing, and blessings, we will conquer by his grace.
"Lastly for the sake of the expensive nature of commercial internet facilities, there is a dark political cloud over our nation; we want you people to pray that the Lord break, and disperse every political dark cloud hovering over this nation in Jesus name.
"Thank God for the internet. Every good thing is seriously under satanic attack that is why the devil is raising dishonest people to break the hearts of people through this God-given medium.
But I am sensitive that Lord is uniting his people all over the world through this medium. So brethren, keep up the good work."
Pastor Andrew. Reference Number: 90031091
- Chad: Islamic Jihadist Coup Poses Major Threat. While rebels attacked the Chadian capital N'Djamena on 2 February their clean-shaven, suit-wearing spokesman was telling Aljazeera TV that this was a domestic uprising against dictatorship and corruption. However the truth is this rebellion is being sponsored by Sudan and Saudi Arabia to effect regime change in Chad and install a pro-Arab, Wahhabi regime loyal to Khartoum (Sudan). The coup has forced the postponement of sending a 3700-strong UN- sponsored, EU humanitarian force to Chad and Central African Republic to protect Darfurian refugees. Chad is 55 percent Muslim and 28 percent Christian. If this plot succeeds it will be a major coup for Sudan, Wahhabi Islam and Arabism and it would doubtless herald an era of unprecedented persecution for the Church in Chad.
Source: World Evangelical Alliance - RLP 464 | Chad: Islamic Jihadist Coup Poses Major Threat
- Cuba: Former prisoner in Cuba responds to Castro's resignation. For the first time in 49 years, Fidel Castro is no longer the President of Cuba. He resigned on February 19.
Voice of the Martyrs' USA Director Tom White was imprisoned for 17 months in Cuba after the plane from which he was dropping Christian tracts crash-landed there. He doesn't believe Castro's resignation will inspire a revolution because of the influence of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. "Chavez has unlimited fiscal resources to aid the Cuban government. When the Russians pulled out of Cuba, Castro was furious because he lost between 17 to 21 million dollars a day. Now, their 'sugar daddy' is Chavez." While communism isn't expected to end, White believes Christians will be relatively safe. "Cubans noticed how the Romanian revolution was begun by a Lutheran priest, and it really shook them up, and they pulled way back. In my opinion it would cause a total revolution on the entire island." The church is growing fast. Pray that believers will be even more bold.
Source: Mission Network News, 20 February, 2008 Full story: http://mnn.gospelcom.net/article/10923
- Pastor Abraham wrote on February 18, 2008, from Colombo, Sri Lanka: "I bring a very urgent prayer request for you to pray. As I informed you earlier our country situation has gone from bad to worse. Now it has turned against the Christian Pastors. Last week the police arrested six pastors and they are in prison now. Secondly, there is a pastor called Neel E. who was serving the Lord in a very strong Buddhist area called Ampara (more than 350km from Colombo and our Pastor R. is also working in this area), who was killed yesterday (Sunday, Feb 17) night by some gunmen. They enter in to the church and shot the Pastor and his wife and their year-and-a-half old child.
"Pastor Neel died one the spot and his wife is in very serious condition, admitted to intensive care. But by the grace of God, the child was not wounded but only unconscious due to the incident. Please pray for Mrs. Neel E. and her child for their recovery. Pastor Neel was fasting and praying for 40 days and yesterday was the 40th day for his fasting." (Reference Number: 90031445)
And a related story from the World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin, No. 469:
Anti-Christian violence suddenly escalates in Sri-Lanka Ethnic and religious tensions have grown again in Sri Lanka over the past two years as hostilities between Tamil separatists and the Sinhalese-dominated government have escalated. The Church bridges the Tamil-Sinhalese divide and is therefore targeted by extremist militants from both sides. The war, which officially resumed mid- January 2008, gives Buddhist nationalists a perfect opportunity to attack the Church under the cover of the prevailing chaos, and even blame the Tamil separatists. Christians have been the targets of several appallingly violent attacks in recent weeks. In Ampara on 17 February, Pastor Neil Edirisinghe (37) was fatally shot in a contract killing, while his wife Shiromi (31) was critically wounded. Please pray for peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.
- Eritrea: Christians released from prison. Christians are praising God for answered prayer. Authorities in Eritrea released 35 evangelical Christians after holding them in custody for six weeks at a local police station. Compass Direct reports that 35 men and women had been worshiping in a private home on January 6 when the house was raided. The group was denied visitation rights while there. Official charges were never filed. Many believers are still in prison. Pray that believers will be bold and that many will come to Christ despite the persecution.
Source: Mission Network News, 26 February, 2008. Full story: http://mnn.gospelcom.net/article/10942