|No. 46||[ Home Page ] [ Index ]||May/June 1996|
Opposition to the gospel
One of the results of increased Christian activity among unevangelized peoples, cities and countries is a backlash on the part of hostile governments and religions against the gospel, and particularly against missionaries. Myanmarís military government has been circulating documents denouncing Christianity. Among the governmentís goals is 'to destroy the spread of the Christian Gospel in remote jungle areas.' (Evangelicals now, 1/96). Recently they have killed many Christians among the Karen, Kachin and other hill tribes. Persecution against Christians in Iran is also escalating, according to a report from Iranian Christians International. 'Muslim converts to Christianity, other evangelical Protestant Christians, pastors, and church leaders continued to be arrested, imprisoned, and tortured... Some are kept under heavy surveillance, with phones tapped and letters routinely opened, while others continue to receive written and oral death threats. Others have lost their jobs or have been refused gainful employment, housing, and education' (Pulse, 3/8/96). When making plans for massive global evangelization campaigns, Christian leaders should examine the effects of crusades, national campaigns and large discipleship programs and prepare for potential persecution and martyrdom.
Alarming insensitivity in China
The house church movement of China is very much in need of good biblical and theological teaching, and many expatriate Christians have responded. David Wang of Asian Outreach became concerned that some of these teachers, including some channelled by his own organization, were not serving the Chinese church well. Recently he met with three senior leaders of house church networks, who together oversee more than 400,000 believers. They were gracious and hesitated to be critical, but as Wang persevered they opened up and admitted that sometimes they went to great effort to gather workers together for teaching events that were then disappointing, and that sowed much confusion. Their perceptions of specific problems, according to Wang's article, included:
(Asian report, November/December 1995:3)
A Christian Coptic furniture shopowner was killed in a southern Egyptian village in February. The gunmen are thought to have been members of the Gamaía al-Islamiya (Islamic Group), who have killed more than 910 during its four-year campaign to topple the government and set up a strict Islamic state (Newswires).
Bolivian and Burundian martyrs
Colombia. A prominent Bolivian evangelist received death threats, probably from the drug cartel that had tried to purchase a building belonging to his evangelistic association but had been turned down. The evangelist was murdered in Cali, Colombia on 12 December 1995, allegedly by professional killers as he was leaving a meeting of pastors (OM Newsbytes).
Burundi. About 20 Christan church and relief workers have recently been killed in Burundi, amid growing violence between Tutsi government forces and Hutu rebels. Last December soldiers broke into an Africa Revival Ministries compound which has a dispensary and maternity clinic, and shot 6 of the staff with machine guns (NIRR, 1/8/96).
New documentation of past martyrdoms
A new report on religious oppression in the USSR from 1917 to 1980 admits 200,000 clergy were tortured and killed. Mass executions of leaders and followers were commonósome were crucified, shot, strangled or frozen. 40,000 churches plus half of all Muslim and Jewish places of worship were destroyed (NIRR, 12/11/1995).
An unexpected effect of global warming
Today, malaria kills about 2 million people a year worldwide. Fifty years into the future that could change dramatically, thanks to global warming. There are 50 to 60 different species that harbor the four species of parasite that causes malaria. The most dangerous of these parasites dies at temperatures below 66° Fahrenheit. In temperate countries, cool weather, the draining of swamps, and the use of pesticides have made malaria outbreaks rare. If global warming occurs as some predict, two outcomes are expected: (1) temperate climates will become warmer, making conditions more favorable for malaria, and (2) warmer climates may experience drying up of swamps, which will at first cut back on malaria, but later cause lower rates of immunity, making people more susceptible to sporadic epidemics (Discover, March 1996:15-17).
Unfortunately, many World A peoples will be the recipients of this new possibility. Peoples in the deserts of North Africa, Central and Eastern Asia will be susceptible to malaria for the first time in centuries.
Learning from the campaign to eradicate polio
by Justin D. Long
Global Evangelization isn't the only global campaign presently being conducted. Many secular organizations have their own global causes. By examining their successes and failures, we can learn new techniques to help us in our own Commission. The campaign against polio is a case in point.
Polio, also called infantile paralysis, is a highly infectious viral disease that chiefly affects children. In its acute form can cause paralysis, muscular atrophy, deformity and death. There is no known cure; however, vaccines can prevent the disease and have nearly eradicated it from developed nations. Less-developed nations have not been so lucky; but in 1985 the World Health Organization (WHO) began an effort to eradicate polio worldwide by the year 2000.
300 million children (about half of all children) have received polio immunization. An additional $500 million is required to globally eradicate the disease by the year 2000. In 1985, WHO and several partners member states collectively undertook a campaign to eradicate polio this disease. The combined international effort has since reduced the number of polio cases reported worldwide by 80 percent. They have used a variety of methods, some of which are outlined below.
National Immunization Days: This entails nationwide campaigns to immunize children against polio. Examples of success include China (83 million children), Bangladesh (18 million), Indonesia (19 million) and Thailand (6 million).
In 1995, a December 9 National Immunization Day in India saw 82 million children vaccinated. In order to achieve maximum coverage of the more than 650,000 villages in India, around 500,000 vaccination posts were set up strategically throughout the country, involving some 2 million national health workers who administered two drops of OPV to children irrespective of their previous immunization record. This campaign was repeated on January 20, and will be repeated another two more times in 1996 and 1997.
Operation MECACAR: Over a period of 3 months, 18 countries in the Middle East, Caucasus and Central Asian Republics immunized 56 million children. During the campaign, heavy fighting was briefly halted to allow 'immunization truces' in Tajikistan and Afghanistan. Iran mobilized 500,000 members of its Islamic Youth Organization to carry out vaccinations. In other countries, immunization was carried out despite having the health infrastructures almost totally destroyed by war. In Sri Lanka, heavy fighting was stopped for eight hours to permit vaccination of 1.6 million infants.
Six Steps to Free Africa: A new program will involve 25 African countries in an immunization campaign which will cover some 80 million children in 1996. Despite Africaís widespread lack of advanced medical technologies, its predominantly rural and poor population, its low economic development and its lack of infrastructure, it is still possible to run a campaign which will eradicate a killer diseaseóif outsiders care enough to invest the manpower and money in the cause. An identical parallel confronts us and our readers as Great Commission Christians. Much of Africa has already been evangelized: but there are still many World A peoples in the region. Will we invest the time, money and manpower to adequately research, evaluate, and engage these peoples_
What are the results_ Despite these enormous programs, as many as 100,000 new cases of polio still occur each year in 67 polio endemic countriesóprimarily in Asia and Africa. Bangladesh, India and Pakistan together account for two-thirds of all polio cases reported annually worldwide. An additional US$500 million is needed to eradicate the disease by the turn of the century; it will be the second global disease after smallpox to disappear. Financial savings accruing from polio eradication are expected to exceed $1.5 billion per year.
Here are some lessons we can take to heart:
1. Global campaigns must comprehend and communicate the problem. WHO uses verifiable, thoroughly-researched statistics and measurements of progress in every paragraph of every communication. This communicates to the reader the full scope of the task remaining, the progress made, and the amount of effort needed to reach the goal.
2. Global campaigns must be committed to the cause. Countries are less open to global evangelization than to immunization; still, the examples demonstrate that large populations (like those of China or India) are not insurmountable obstacles. National Immunization Days can be compared to Every Home for Christís Every Home Crusades, DAWNís Saturation Evangelism strategies, and Campus Crusadeís 'Jesus' Film programs. When these unite to canvass a country, the results can be enormous. If todayís present evangelistic megaplans were to join together and focus their combined resources on restricted-access nations, they could find innovative approaches which could lead to similar results.
Likewise, while Muslim nations are highly unlikely to stop civil warfare in order to permit Christians to evangelize them, warfare and civil unrest, like large populations, are not insurmountable obstacles. Numerous Christian humanitarian relief organizations have demonstrated an ability to carry on full-scale work in war-torn areas like Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Bosnia and Somalia.
3. Global campaigns must be built on cooperation. The polio campaign is marked by serious planning and cooperation by several agencies who have a common cause. Christians need similar cooperation. While we probably will not see complete cooperation within the whole Church, it is negligent on our part if our particular agency is not working in tandem with at least three others: 'A three fold cord is not quickly broken' (Ecclesiastes 4:12, KJV).
If Christians everywhere were to implement these lessons we would see an exponential multiplication of effort and results. As we grew to understand these lessons better, and found new ways of implementing them, we would easily see the task finished in the next generation. Unless we embrace these lessons, world evangelization will continue to travel with its present stagnant energy, held up by numerous large and looming problems until closure around AD 2050, by which time half a billion more people on earth will have died never having heard the gospel of Christ.
On commitment to a cause
"The eradication of polio is within our grhtml. We owe it to future generations not to let it slip away."
WHO Director-General, Dr. Hiroshi Nakajima
About 7,000 young people from 52 nations attended the Dec. 28-Jan. 2 missions conference in Utrecht, Netherlands. The theme ëWho Cares_í focused on Europe as a mission field. 1,500 re-dedicated their lives to Christ or committed to minister at home or overseas after hearing the New Yearís message (Pulse, Feb. 2, 1996). Unfortunately, the focus on the unevangelized was minimal and the majority of those who actually follow through on their commitment to service will likely end up in Christian lands rather than World A.
Chinese Mission í95
1,500 young Chinese gathered Dec. 26-30, 1995 in Washington D.C., USA, at a missions mobilization conference organized by Ambassadors for Christ (Pulse, Feb. 2, 1996). There are about 8,000 Chinese congregations outside mainland China which could be mobilized to send ethnic Chinese missionaries to Asian countries. Carefuly strategic planning to place such personnel most effectively will be essential.
Africans encounter Christ
Over 8 million Africans have seen the English language gospel film 'Sabinaís Encounter,' particularly effective among Muslims. Cinemavans of the Evangelical Lutheran Church Tanzania will be used to show it to 50 million more in Swahili. The Intl. Christian Media Commission states 'Language dubbing is an effective way to use high budget Christian films to reach Africans for Christ' (Pulse, 3/22/96). This is a good example of applying the success of other programs (e.g. the 'Jesus' Film) to new, innovative projects.
New TWR broadcast for Iran
This April a daily 15-minute Bible-reading programme in the Farsi language will be broadcast over Trans World Radio to more than 65 million living in Iran (Church Around The World, March 1996).
Mission ship serves Polynesia
A 90 foot converted fishing trawler is being used by a Finnish mission, Kaksi Kalaa ('Two Fish'), to reach hundreds of South Sea Islands. The mission enlists local believers to sail and evangelise other Pacific islanders. Director Kari Immonen once sailed with OM ships (K-K Mission Newsletter).
25,000 plus attended Festival `96, a 3-day Franklin Graham crusade in Sydney March 8-11. In Cairns a 3,000-seat hall was standing-room-only despite 3 ft. of rain in 18 hours before the service. About 1,500 people made commitments to Christ in Sydney and 100 in Cairns. (National & International Religion Report, 3/18/96)
The impact of proselytism on global plans
The January issue of the International bulletin of missionary research offers a number of perspectives on the subject of proselytism. Practically speaking, the problem has intensified with the opening of Eastern Europe, with continued tensions in Latin America and the Middle East. In each case Christians (often Evangelicals) come into a group of people who are Christians of another traditionóseeing them as prime targets for evangelization. In relation to global plans it is easy to see how this approach could cause great overlap, duplication, and waste. Most of the agencies involved have stated their commitment to evangelizing the world. Yet, deployment studies show a continuing overemphasis on already-Christian peoples.
To their credit, the IBMR authors do point out the difficulty of dominant Christian traditions claiming large territories when, if fact, many of their members show little interest in Christianity. However, even when one recognizes the legitimacy of mission to lapsed church members, the overemphasis on mission to other Christians still has to be grappled with.
Palestinians view the Jesus film
As many as 1 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip may have seen an Arabic language prime-time broadcast of the 'Jesus' Film on Dec. 23rd when aired by the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation.
Indian plan to plant 1.4 million churches in Asia by 2000
Indian evangelist K. Anand Paul of Gospel to the Unreached Millions has planned to train 100,000 workers and plant 1.4 million churches in the Asian nations of the '10/40 Window' over the next five years. (National & International Religion Report, 3/18/96). The ministry is building a training facility in Visakhapatnam to house 10,000 trainees; the first wing will open June 3. Most of the training will be done by indigenous church leaders from Asiaís 20 major language groups, but several Western speakers will participate. This plan has three benefits: it is (1) indigenous to the area, thus dealing with many of the language and cultural barriers; (2) it networks with Western leaders for help in training; (3) it has a measurable, quantifiable goal. The only drawback is that the plan calls for 20,000 workers to be trained each year: a very large logistical challenge.
A failed plan: superfluous evangelizing
A 1995 project sent all Franceís mayors a New Testament and an invitation to contact a church leader, but had mixed results. Although there were some positive responses enabling workers to build links with their local town hall, and 300 letters of thanks were received, another 300 New Testaments were returned (World Prayer News, Jan/Feb 1996). This illustrates the folly of treating anybody in authority as a viable target for evangelism. France today has over 160,000 full-time Christian workers and well over 5 million Great Commission Christians. Virtually all educated leaders have been heavily exposed to Christianity, Christ and the gospel even if they rejected the message many times. The project would have been better served if it had diverted its energies onto correspondence ministry with World A countries such as Turkey.
This month, we're profile the Gilaki of Iran. In this people profile, contrast (1) the Apostle Bartholomew evangelizing there in AD 50 and getting martyred, with (2) virtually no evangelizing throughout the 20th Century. Why on earth have all todayís 4,000 foreign mission agencies been evading this apostolic example_
This contrast should worry every Christian who is serious about obeying the Great Commission, let alone fulfilling it in this generation. We must face this issue squarely.
(Recent titles with bearing on our monitoring purpose)
How maps work: representation, visualization, and design by Alan M. MacEachren (Guilford Press, 1995, 513p, $42.00) is a must for those who wish to communicate ideas clearly through maps.
Neera Burra argues that the prevalence and persistence of child labor reinforces, if not creates, poverty in Born to work: child labor in India (Oxford, 1995, 285p, $24.00).
For an excellent policy-oriented demographic analysis of problems that confront Asian countries see Warren C. Sanderson and Jee-Peng Tanís Population in Asia (World Bank, 1995, 243p, $15.95).
Theodore M. Porter argues that quantification should be a valid interdisciplinary concern in his Trust in numbers: the pursuit of objectivity in science and public life (Princeton, 1995, 310p, $24.95).
The non-Jewish origins of Sephardic Jews by Paul Wexler (State University of New York, 1996, 321p, $24.95) uses linguistic, ethnographic, and historical data to argue that Sephardic Jews are primarily descended from Arabs, Berbers, and Europeans who converted to Judaism between the first Dihtmlora and the 12th century.
Medieval Christian perceptions of Islam: a book of essays edited by John Victor Tolan (Garland Publishing, 1996, 414p, $60.00) covers history, theology, travel, and other subjects that reflect Christian ideas about Islam from the seventh to sixteenth centuries.
Common values by Sissela Bok (University of Missouri Press, 1996, 144p, $27.50) defends a minimalist set of universal values and argues that recognition of their universality can aid cross-cultural communication.
Know your body clock by Carol Orlock (Citadel Press, 1995, 190p, $9.95 pb) introduces the fledgling science of chronobiologyóthe study of the more than 100 body clocks that regulate everything we feel and do, including sleeping and eating patterns. Previously published in hardback as Inner time (1993).
Darrell Huff, author of the classic How to lie with statistics (1954), gives detailed explanations on how to navigate through the computations we all use in everyday life, such as computing retirement investments, home insurance, distances, and currency exchange rates. Find all of this in The complete how to figure it (Norton, 1996, 470p, $27.50).
The microprocessor: a biography by Michael S. Malone (Spr-Verlag, 1995, 333p, $29.95) offers a comprehensive history of one of the most important technological breakthroughs of the 20th century.
Women and fundamentalism: Islam and Christianity by Shahin Gerami (Garland, 1996, 178p, $29.00) compares the status of women in American, Egyptian, and Iranian fundamentalism.
The mega-urban regions of Southeast Asia edited by T.G. McGee and Ira M. Robinson (University of British Columbia Press, 1996, 384p, $65.00) is a collection of essays on the growth of urban regions centered around the core cities of Bangkok, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, and Singapore.
Mawdudi and the making of Islamic revivalism by Seyyed Vali Reza Nasr (Oxford University Press, 1995, 222p, $45.00) is a biography of the Pakistani Muslim thinker Mawlana Mawdudi (1903-1979) which traces his role in Islamic revival movements from Morocco to Malaysia.
Sufism, mystics, and saints in Modern Egypt by Valerie J. Hoffman (University of South Carolina Press, 1995, 461p, $49.95) draws on the authorís fieldwork among Sufis in Egypt.
A new study on World A cities in China, Beyond the Great Wall: urban form and transformation on the Chinese frontiers by Piper Rae Gaubatz (Stanford University Press, 1996, 424p, $49.50) contains comparative case studies of the inland cities of Hohhot, Kunming, Lanzhou, Xining, and Urumqi, all of which were originally established as frontier garrisons.
The missionary movement in Christian history: studies in the transmission of faith by Andrew F. Walls (Orbis Books, 1996, 250p, $20.00) makes available for the first time Wallís ideas on missionary expansion with special emphasis on African Christianity.
Guest people: Hakka identity in China and abroad edited by Nicole Constable (University of Washington, 1996, 280p, $35.00) is a series of essays dealing with what it means to be a Hakka in sociocultural, political, geographical, and historical contexts in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Calcutta, Taiwan, and contemporary China.
A year in the life of a Shinto shrine by John K. Nelson (University of Washington, 1996, 288p, $17.50 pb) describes the ritual cycle at Suwa Shrine, Nagasakiís major Shinto shrine.
Concerned about the growing illicit drug markets_ See Paul B. Staresí thoughtful look in Global habit: the drug problem in a borderless world (Brookings Institution, 1996, 170p, $24.95).
Comprehensive documention of the human impulse to hate and to act murderously is fournd in Mass hate: the global rise of genocide and terror by Neil J. Kressel (Plenum Press, 1996, 315p, $25.95).
A new collection of essays of interest to all Christian leaders, by Robert K. Greenleaf of Servant leadership fame, is Seeker and servant: reflections on religious leadership (Jossey-Bass, 1996, 380p, $29.95).
An interesting contribution to our understanding of peoples among nations is Migrations and culture: a world view by Thomas Sowell (Basic Books, 1996, 516p, $30). He studies the global migrations of the Germans, Japanese, Italians, Chinese, Jews, and Asian Indians.
A new work of travel literature that mainly covers places in World A is Robert D. Kaplan's The ends of the earth: a journey at the dawn of the 21st century (Random House, 1996, 476p, $27.50).
World A advocates and others seeking to bring positive change for world evangelization will be helped by Beyond the wall of resistance: unconventional strategies that build support for change by Rick Maurer (Bard Books, 1996, 208p, $24.95).
Living Judaism: the complete guide to Jewish belief, tradition, and practice by Rabbi Wayne Dosick (HarperSanFrancisco, 1996, $25.00) provides the average reader with an accessible overview of this important world religion.
For a Jewish attempt to harmonize science and religion see Daniel C. Mattís God and the Big Bang: discovering harmony between science and spirituality (Jewish Lights, 1996, 208p, $21.95).
Why would someone convert to Judaism_ Rabbi Allan Berkowitz and Patti Moskovitz explore this question in Embracing the covenant: converts to Judaism talk about why (Jewish Lights, 1996, 184p, $15.95).
Why is peace so rare in the Balkans_ For four different opinions see (1) David Owenís Balkan odyssey (Harcourt Brace, 1996, 389p, $25.00); (2) The Dayton Peace Agreement on Bosnia Hercegovina (US Department of State, Office of the Spokesman, November 30, 1995); (3) The black book of Bosnia: the consequences of appeasement edited by Naider Mousavizadech (Basic Books, 1996, 219p, $10.00); and (4) With no peace to keep: United Nations peacekeeping and the war in the former Yugoslavia edited by Ben Cohen and George Stamkoski (Grainpress, 1996, 184p, $15.00). All four are reviewed in the February 29, 1996 issue of the New York review of books.
For an insightful look into Chinaís civil war of the mid-eighteen hundreds and the role played by Christians see Yale scholar Jonathan D. Spenceís new book Godís Chinese Son: the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuquan (Norton, 1996, 400p, $27.50).
Keith Quincy has revised his comprehensive account of a Southeast Asian Montagnard people in Hmong: history of a people (Eastern Washington University Press, 1996).
The pursuit of victory: from Napoleon to Saddam Hussein by Brian Bond (Oxford University Press, 1996, 256p, $29.95) discusses the successes and failures of military and political leaders who used war as an 'instrument of policy' over the last two centuries.
Why did Czechoslovakia split into two pieces_ See The end of Czechoslovakia edited by Jiri Musil (Oxford University Press, 1996, 296p, $19.95 pb).
What you need to know: using email effectively by Linda Lamb and Jerry Peek (OíReilly & Associates, 1995, 160p, $14.95) is now available in German.
Are we allowing machines to dehumanize our future_ Stephen L. Talbott thinks we are and tells us what to do about it in The future does not compute: transcending the machines in our midst (OíReilly & Associates, 1995, 502p, $22.95).
How private is religion meant to be_ Daniel A. Stout and Judith M. Buddenbaum (eds.) explore this theme in Religion and mass media: audiences and adaptations (Sage, 1996, 304p, $22.50 pb).
Missions to Central Asia arenít disproportionate
Given the large amount of media exposure for Central Asia, one might be led to think these countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) are a hotbed for mission activity, while other nations languish for lack of missionaries to their Muslim groups. But thatís not the case. 3,172 missionary teams are sent to peoples who are more than 25% Muslim: Central Asia has 3% of the worldís Muslims and 4% of the worldís missionary teams. Pakistan has the largest concentration of the worldís Muslims (12%) and 3.9% of the teams to Muslims. Indonesia has the highest number of teams: 6%.
New prayer program for the unreached
In Zaire, 15 million Christians in 66,000 churches pray weekly for the worldís unreached nations. Women in 23 African nations have developed a strategic prayer network to pray for the African peoples which still have no access to the gospel (DAWN FridayFax, Jan. 16, 1996).
Where is urbanization growing the fastest_
The countries we think of as most urban are not the countries with the fastest-growing cities. Neither Japan, nor any country from North America or Europe, appear on the list of the world's top 100 countries for urban growth rate. Instead, the list looks like a roll-call of the least-developed countries of Africa and Asia. The following table shows the top ten nations for rate of urban growth, with the annual urban growth rate between 1992 and 1993 in the third column:
|1. Burkina Faso||11.1%|
|8. Cape Verde||6.7|
|10. Solomon Islands||6.6|
Note: a large proportion of nations with rapid urban growth rates are World A nations (Asiaweek, 9 February 1996:13).
New country statistics
South Korea. The Charismatic Renewal is growing among the 6 main and 56 smaller Presbyterian denominations of South Korea (reported to include 7.7 million people, 62% of South Korea's Christians). As one sign of this trend, 30-40% of the students at the Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Seoul are described as 'baptized in the Holy Spirit,' which often involves speaking in tongues. The key leader of this movement is Na Kyum-il, pastor of the 55,000 member Ju An Presbyterian Church of Inchon, the fourth largest church in the nation (Religion watch, February 1996:7). This is a notable trend in light of the stagnation, or even slight decline, of Christianity in South Korea overall.
Czech Republic. The Moravian church in Libarec has 500 members. It is the second-largest free church in the country. Since 1989 it has planted 6 daughter churches. They also have a primary school and a mission school (DAWN Friday fax, 9 March 1996).
England. The 1989 English Church Census found that 25.5% of England's adult Anglicans were Evangelicals, divided into these three types: 12.8% Broad Evangelicals, 3.4% Mainstream Evangelicals, and 9.3% Charismatic Evangelicals (CRA quadrant, March 1996:2).
Sudan. The Anglican diocese of Yambio is in territory controlled by the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement. There are 40 parishes and 200,000 members served by 60 pastors, some of whom are now in exile. An important ministry is the Mother's Union, which teaches handicrafts and home skills and provides much-needed household staples (Anglican world, Pentecost 1995:9).
Indonesia. The New Testament has now been published in the Citak language of Indonesia. There are 100,000 Citaks in Irian Jaya. 3,000 copies of the New Testament have been distributed (NIRR 10:6, 4 March 1996:6).
AIDS. The Global AIDS Policy Coalition of Harvard University, which brings together experts from all over the world, has carefully compiled and released new statistics that are more discouraging than those from the WHO:
In Uganda, one of the hardest-hit nations in the world, more than half of all adult deaths are now AIDS-related. Some businesses have been forced to limit the number of funerals their employees can attend. The good news: the virus is declining in the areas of the country that were first affected. One expert predicts the wave of death will last only 10 more years (Economist, 10 February 1996:42-43). Some Christian ministries are reaching out in compassion and witness to AIDS sufferers and those close to them. This still represents an enormous opportunity for Christ-like ministry. Few have sounded this note of urgency: unevangelized and non-Christian AIDS sufferers have only a limited time to hear, to be persuaded, and to believe.
How does one enumerate the status of Christians (World C), Evangelized non-Christians (World B), and Unevangelized non-Christians (World A) from 1900-2025)_ The analysis below is derived from our annual table from the January 1996 issue of the IBMR. All figures are percentages. See graph on page 1 for a visual representation of these figures.
|Date||World A||World B||World C|
New technologies needed to combat rats
When people read in Our globe and how to reach it that there were 20 billion rats in the world, many laughed: 'Theyíre counting rats, now! This has nothing to do with world evangelization.'
Today, the Chinese are among those who arenít laughing. The countryís population of 1.2 billion is outnumbered 4 to 1 by rats, who are devouring crops, cutting holes in dams, eating through electric power lines and bringing plague and disease to untold millions.
Over the past four years, rats have gobbled up more than 11 billion pounds of grain, 100,000 tons of sugar cane and have destroyed 22 million pounds of cotton. In addition, they are known to spread 57 diseases. In light of the danger posed, Chinaís government is undertaking measures hoping to reduce the numbers of rats by 1 to 2 percent each year from 1996-2000. Whether this will deter the onslaught of 4 billion rats seems unlikely.
Rat-proof graineries could help eliminate the threat of the rodents. The investigation and development of this technology would be a viable ministry option with tremendous benefits for the peoples of China.
A new forum for evangelization emerges
1995 was an explosive year for the growth of the Internet. The number of Internet host computers globally jumped 37% in the first half of the year alone. Internationalization also continues to expand. Between March and July of 1995 the number of Internet users in China jumped from 3,000 to 40,000. By early 1996 the number was 100,000 (Asiaweek, 2 February 1996:16). So far, Great Commission Christians have done relatively little to evangelize through the Internet. This presents an opportunity that may very soon be as important as Christian radio or TV broadcasting.
Inductive Bible Studies on the Web
Intensive Care Ministries has a new web page with information about Inductive Bible Study Seminars worldwide and correspondence courses for missionaries in the field. The ICM Web site is located.
China tightens up on the Internet
China has issued regulations to tighten control over computer networks such as the Internet, threatening imprisonment and even death to those who compromise 'state security.' Computer access will be controlled by the Public Security Bureau and electronic news services will be censored by the Xinhua news agency (Newswires).
Technology and medicine by e-mail
The International Institute of Technology and Theology offers free e-mail consultation for world missionaries about computer and medical concerns.
You can change the world video
The Unevangelized Fields Mission has produced a video to introduce children to world mission called You can change the world. Contact UFM Worldwide, 47a Fleet St., Swindon, Wiltshire, SN1 1RE, England or call 01-783-610515.
Photo enhancement for prayer cards
Creative Plus offers digital photo enhancement of your not-so-great photos and produces sharp looking prayer cards. , or, in the USA, call (800) 347-2848.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."