Around the World
Charges Against Missions in Bolivia Refuted
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
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
Sudanese Christians Under Increasing Pressure
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
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