Weekly Global News
Updated Every Week
Last update: March 5, 2014
Egypt: Making Way For Military Rule (Mission Network News) — Political players are making moves in Egypt ahead of April’s elections. Egypt’s interim Prime Minister and his entire cabinet resigned yesterday, reportedly clearing the way for army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to run for President. Prime Minister Hazem Beblawi didn’t give a clear reason for resigning. However, Beblawi did tell state media that his government essentially started the interim authorities’ recovery process for Egypt by holding a referendum on a new constitution in January. “For the past six to seven months, the government assumed its responsibilities and duties…the government did not spare any efforts to get Egypt out of a bad phase,” said Beblawi on state television. “This is not the time for personal interests. The nation is above everybody.” Thus far, only short-lived workers’ strikes have taken place throughout the country. But E3 Partners Middle East expert Tom Doyle warns, “Every election, every political move, causes instability, riots, killings.” Doyle agrees with the view of many analysts who believe Sisi is a prime contender for Egypt’s presidency. “I think there’s possibly only one other person that has been named as a candidate,” Doyle says, referring to leftist Hamdeen Sabbahi. “I would imagine in the next month that he [Sisi] would be elected the president of Egypt.”
South Africa: Christians Bring Hope To Aids Ground Zero (Imb) — Located on the outskirts of the modern city of Johannesburg, Tshepisong is home to 50,000 residents. It is a poor area made up of government-built housing and shacks. The township is filled with poverty and crime, and HIV/AIDS plagues much of the community. There are not enough medical supplies within the community to meet patient needs. Parents often die of AIDS, forcing the oldest child to drop out of school to care for the younger children. Boitshoko Community Home-based Care Centre workers make daily visits in Tshepisong to AIDS-affected patients who are bedridden, home-bound, or orphaned, to teach them to live healthier lives by providing medical care and health education.. Through One Community, additional assistance for Boitshoko is brought in through a variety of means. Since 2011, IMB missionaries Alan and Beth Locke have been assisting with Boitshoko, adding a Gospel-centered influence to the organization by leading Bible studies that are translated into Zulu, one of the nine languages spoken in Tshepisong. The Lockes also help mobilize American volunteers to serve with the center through One Community. Volunteers distribute health care and food parcels, assist caregivers with cooking and cleaning, minister to the orphans through Bible studies and games, and help wherever aid is needed within the center and the community it reaches. In all situations, One Community volunteers are encouraged to include Christ in their ministry by sharing the Gospel, discipling and training new believers, and helping plant a church. Beth explains, “Our goal is to assist [the center] to do what they are already doing better, plus add the Gospel.” Through the One Community project, the Lockes hope to see needs met and a light spread in a community filled with traditional African spiritual beliefs, poverty, and hopelessness.
Central African Republic: Alone On The Road To Recovery? (Odm/ Mission Network News) — The United Nations refugee agency called once more for stepped up security to protect more than 15,000 people surrounded by armed groups across the northwest and southwest portions of Central African Republic. The Open Doors Research and Communications Manager for West and Central Africa is in Central African Republic (CAR) this week. We caught up with Arne Mulders in Bode, he explains his purpose. “We are going to churches and Christians to hear their stories.” More than 700,000 are internally displaced, including some 273,000 in Bangui spread over 66 sites, while more than 288,000 people have fled to neighboring countries. People need medicine. They need shelter, and they need food. Over concerns that the refugee populations were vulnerable to more attacks, Mulders notes, “Especially in the West, people are settling down. Peace is coming slowly. And there are small pockets of local Muslim population that remained behind. Between those Muslims and the rest of the population, peace has to be created.” But the peace process itself will be generational. “What we will also do is work on reconciliation, because there is a lot of harm done between Muslims and Christians. So we need to speak about love, about forgiveness, about reconciliation, but it’s very hard when people have seen their loved ones killed and hearts are wounded. There is great psychological trauma.” Mulders explains why unity will be important in the days ahead. It’s all about cultivating new growth. “The church has been weakened through this crisis because the believers have been scattered around in refugee camps. Pastors have been fleeing away from their fold because of the emergency, so the whole Church needs to be reconstituted again.
Syria: Creative Response To Refugee Needs: Human Dignity Solutions (Cam/ Mission Network News) — Most of the stories following Syria’s refugees are tales of horror, sorrow, loss, and chaos. This story is a breath of fresh air, thanks to Christian Aid Mission, your link to indigenous missions. Lebanon has no government refugee camps, so refugees find shelter wherever they can. There have been reports of families living in rooms with no heat or running water, in abandoned chicken coops, garages, and storage sheds. Most refugees must find a way to pay rent, even for derelict structures. Without any legal way to work in Jordan and Lebanon, they struggle to find odd jobs and accept low wages that often don’t cover their most basic needs. However, as a way to make friends with Syrian refugee families, a Christian Aid Mission-assisted ministry in Lebanon has hired barbers and beauticians to give free haircuts to the children they’re reaching.
Uganda: Afayo Project Reaches Children With The Gospel (Mission Network News) — In a place where children make up nearly 50% of the population, Sunday school is a vital way of reaching a community with the Gospel. Every Child Ministries has been working in Africa for over two decades. One of their ministries which is led by the Luckeys is called Afayo, meaning “He cares” in Lusoga. Lorella Rouster of ECM is currently helping. “I’ve been training Sunday school teachers in a rural area of Uganda called Naigobya. This effort is part of a holistic program of community development in that area that we call The Afayo Project.” With the success that ECM has had with Sunday schools in Africa, it is an obvious choice to reach the children. The teaching style has been tailored to fit the needs of the African people. That is because ECM doesn’t teach the Sunday school, but they train African Christians to teach Scripture. Most often, they use an active method of teaching. When the children are taught a new passage, they usually act it out or sing a song to help them understand and remember the story. The student involvement makes learning about Jesus effective and fun. Often times, the children memorize a Bible verse that coincides with what they just learned. It is something to take along with them for the week to remember and apply what they learned. Rouster says eleven new Sunday schools started last week. She explains why this Sunday school training is so crucial to their work in Uganda: “If you do not successfully reach the children, you have lost half the community, and you also have lost the half that is most receptive to the Gospel. So we believe this training is really important, and we’re very encouraged with the results.” This method of reaching a community with the Gospel is superior to some others. Rouster says, “It’s a very critical way because it’s a very practical and easy way to reach most of the children of the community. They’ve not had any programs like this before.” The small, crowded classrooms are an example of the logistical challenges they face.
Kenya: Bishops Protest Pay-To-Preach Law (Mission Network News) — Three hundred bishops in Central Kenya confronted a county governor last week to protest a new bill that would charge clergy for preaching outside of their churches. The bishops, who claim to represent as many as 1,200 churches within Nyeri County, marched to the governor’s office on Feb. 12 to protest against the Nyeri County Finance Bill that includes a section on charging preachers for speaking in public. The bill states that clergy must pay per day to preach inside a stadium, outside a stadium and in rural areas. In Kenya, it is common for churches to hold evangelical events in stadia that can last from three or four days up to a week. Charles Muchiri–priest of St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Ruiru, near Nairobi, and chairman of the 300 bishops–said that churches should not be commercialized and treated like businesses, and that the bill would leave clergy dependent upon funds to reach beyond their churches. “The services rendered by the church to the people are free, and such a high tax imposition will greatly affect the spreading of the gospel,” he said. Christians in Kenya are divided on the issue. Some argue that it is wrong to charge preachers, but others say clerics should pay the fees, a view that is bolstered by reports that clergy have been exploiting their positions to make money. The bill is yet to be debated by the local government or signed by the county governor.