Ukraine -- We begin today in the Ukraine where political and economic turmoil came to a head two weeks ago when the President sacked the entire Cabinet. Even as the dust settles from the shake-up, the people remain uncertain. This is where evangelist Sammy Tippit's recent pastor conferences touched the local church body. "What is happening in these tough times is it's bringing a lot of these guys back to this place where they see that they need God...[that] they desperately need God; that they can't do it in their own power, in their own strength, with their own resources. So, it has thrown them back into that place of dependence upon the Lord." Tippit says even more exciting is the potential for more opportunity for local ministry. "They are taking my evangelistic meetings, and they're going to the villages and communities where we can't go to, to reach those people with the Gospel. We have made an agreement with the Baptist and evangelical seminary in Kiev make this a part of their curriculum."
Middle East -- Next, while Ramadan continues for Muslims around the world, many Christians believe evangelism can flourish. Operational Mobilization's John Mark works in the Islamic world and explains why Ramadan can be good for the spread of the Gospel. "Muslims are sincerely seeking God and seeking to please God. I think it's a great opportunity for Christians around the world, even in the United States today, it's a great opportunity to get this chance to speak to them about our faith. I think it is the most open time for them to really listen to you." Mark says Christians have many needs. "We need to see more people praying for us, supporting the work we're doing. We need to see more people coming to that part of the world. The picture may be a bit dark because of what's happening. I believe many of the Muslims are waiting to hear the Good News."
Central Asia -- Last week's summit in Prague expanded NATO's membership into what was once Soviet territory, marking a new shift in the anti-terrorism fight. Even as world leaders embarked on the campaign, the Central Asian church leaders are quietly continuing their fight against hopelessness. Bible Mission International's Mark Reimschisel explains the project called 'Central Asia 300'. "The goal of the local evangelical Christian churches there is to plant 300 new churches in the next five years, really reproducing themselves as a saturation church planting movement." Reimschisel says church leaders are causing others to catch their vision. "We're very excited about this, because some of the news that we hear coming out of the region is that the authorities are trying to suppress religious freedoms. I think that it's important to keep in mind that, while there might be things going on that look like they're suppressing religious freedom, there are still so many opportunities."
Romania -- Elsewhere, according to a statement from the U-S Embassy in Bucharest, the Romanian government may extend its moratorium on adoptions again pending the enactment of new adoption legislation. Yet, Bethany Christian Services reports that three families in the "pipeline" have been approved for placement of their pre-identified, special needs children. Bethany strives to demonstrate the love of Christ by protecting and enhancing the lives of children and their families.
Senegal -- And finally, the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee is partnering with another agency to help curb the rising HIV/AIDS problem in Senegal, West Africa. They're doing it with "peer education" reproductive health classes, a five month program for adolescent youth. They're taught by trained peer educators who help stimulate discussion about critical life decisions. The CRWRC is hoping these classes, taught from a Christian perspective, will have a huge impact on the country's future.
By Albert H. Lee