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January 1988


Editorial Comment

Facts and Fallacies

Christian Groups Reset World Evangelization Goal for Year 2000

COMIBAM '87 - Mission Meeting of the Century

Children's Mission Education Part 1 - Mission Centered Education?

Children's Mission Education Part 2 - Ele Parrott: One Woman's Story

Children's Mission Education Part 3 - Geri Templeton: A Time for Everything

Children's Mission Education Part 4 - Starting Your Own Program

Children's Mission Education Part 5 - Adopt a Missionary

Children's Mission Education Part 6 - Workshop Spurs Curriculum Production

Children's Mission Education Part 7 - Children's Mission Curriculum Sources

Beyond the Campaign: Excerpts from a Speech by Ralph Winter to the USCWM Staff

Beyond the Campaign: A Mission Renewal Movemnt

Around the World

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Around the World

Charges Against Missions in Bolivia Refuted
A Bolivian government commission investigating the Swiss Evangelical Mission and the New Tribes Mission operating in the Bolivian Amazon Basin (MF, Nov. '87, p. 17) found no evidence to substantiate claims by leaders of the Center for Indigenous People of the Bolivian Orient (CIDOB) that the missions are committing "gradual ethnocide, extortion, and economic exploitation against the indigenous forest dwellers with whom they work."

CIDOB, an activist group seeking to organize a federation among Bolivia's various tribal groups, had leveled the charges against the evangelicals advocating the "immediate expulsion" of the two Protestant missions from the country.

After visiting mission bases established among the Chimani, Araona, Ese Ejja, Cavineno, Chacoba, and Pacaguara tribes in the Beni department, an investigative commission found no evidence to substantiate the charges of misconduct. They did, however, encounter popular support for the missionaries among the indigenous peoples and local residents of the region.

Anthropologist Homer Firestone, ex of-ficio member of the commission, had a good deal of praise for the missions' work. "As far as the charge of ethnocide is concerned, I think if these people had not been contacted by missionaries, they would be much closer to extinction than they are now. I can see that the missionaries have helped preserve the ethnicity of the groups."

At least one instance can be cited in which missionary influence has helped preserve a tribal culture that might otherwise have ceased to exist. When the Araonas were first contacted by New Tribes 20 years ago, they had a total population of 45 individuals; they now number over 70.

"Most cultures at the level at which the missions are working are not even moderately institutionalized," Firestone concluded. "Schools, science, and technology will destroy primitive values and value vehicles. The church can be the custodian and developer of such values. Instead of destroying values, it can protect them and be a force for mental health." ÷Pulse

Terrorists Destroy Christian Radio Transmitter
Six armed arsonists fire-bombed the Radio Lumiere transmitters serving Port-au-Prince, Saturday morning, November 21, eight days before Haiti's first free elections in more than 30 years were scheduled to take place. The damage, initially estimated at $80,000, cut off AM broadcasting.

While no group has taken credit for the action, it is widely believed it was done by a network of the military and the so-called Tonlon Macoutes who oppose free election and have been responsible for numerous acts of violence.

Owned and operated by an association of 280 Baptist churches. Radio Lumiere is a Christian broadcasting network covering 94 percent of Haiti's six million people. Commentators in Haiti cite the network's high credibility as a possible reason why it was chosen as the first target among representatives of the press. It has neither supported nor opposed any political candidate. ÷WEF

Explosive Church Growth in Thailand
Churches in the predominantly Buddhist country of Thailand have experienced a wave of explosive growth in this decade. The Hope of Bangkok Church, which started as a Bible study of five people in 1981, now has more than 2000 members and intends to plant a church in each of the 685 districts of Thailand by the year 2000, Christian Mission reported. ÷NS2000

Sudanese Christians Under Increasing Pressure
In 1983, the Sudan was declared an Islamic republic. At that time, Islamic Sharia law was imposed on all the country's citizens. Since then, dozens of Christian pastors have been killed and countless Christian churches burned. According to Chiristian researcher Patrick Johnstone, most of the fighting in the Sudan stems from "strenuous efforts by Muslim Northerners to impose Islam and Arab culture" on the south, homeland of the Dinkas.

This past March 27 and 28, according to a 33-page report filed by Khartourn University professors, Drs. Ushari Ahmad Mah-mud and Suleyman Ali Baldo (both Muslims), more than 1000 Dinka men, women, and children were slaughtered and burned to death in the western Sudan town of Diein.

The massacre erupted when 25 Christian Dinka worshippers were driven from their evening prayer service by a mob of Rizeigat Muslims wielding sticks, spears, axes, and Soviet-made Klasnikov guns. That evening, five lo seven Dinkas were murdered, and dozens of homes were burned.

Early the next morning, as many Dinkas were being loaded into rail boxcars for safe evacuation from the troubled town, hundreds of armed Rizeigats converged on the train station and began attacking the defenseless Dinkas. Burning mattresses were heaped on top of huddled Dinkas. Others were shot, mutilated, and clubbed to death. By nightfall, more than 1000 Dinkas were dead. ÷NS2000

Church Restrictions Lifted in Burundi
National pastors in Burundi report a "new breath" sweeping their country since the bloodless coup in September. Gradual expulsion of missionaries and the denial of visa applications since 1979 all but eliminated the Western missionary force. Government policies aimed primarily at the Roman Catholic Church limited church activity, though not church witness. 

Burundi's new leader. Major Pierre Buyoya, who quickly promised to lift restrictions, has already converted those promises into specific action. Many people placed in prison for religious reasons have been released. Property confiscated from the Seventh Day Adventists has been returned. Church that were closed are gradually reopening. In 1984, the government limited services to Saturday and Sunday only. low, pastors report, "We are free to worship any day of the week."

Paris-based news service Agence France Presse says that Buyoya, who identifies himself as a Catholic, "regards the restoration of relations with the church as the key to ending the alienation of traditional donors of economic aid." Burundi is one of he world's poorest countries.

Burundians are hoping and praying for even more changes, like getting the Bible back into government secondary schools. Western mission agencies hope eventually to get their personnel back into Burundi. Evangelical Christians account for some 10 percent of Burundi's five million people, up from about 8 percent in 1979. ÷MNS

New Society to Promote Islam in the West
A Libyan-based Society for the Preaching and Spreading of Islam has opened in Bonn, West Germany, according lo IDEA, the news service of the German Evangelical Alliance. IDEA reported the organization, named "The Call of Islam," has an annual budget of $100 million÷close to one-tenth the worldwide total spent by Christians on frontier missions. The Call of Islam's aim is to promote "the building of Islamic culture centers and training establishments in the West." ÷MNS

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