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All articles in category Asia

September 2006
Lebanon

MERF and Lebanon

In 1971 Lebanon was a prosperous, democratic multicultural haven in the Arab world — a centre for business, education and tourism. But sadly, the 50,000 Lebanese Protestants identified in an early 1950s census had dwindled to barely 3000 regular churchgoers. Three young believers in Beirut, of various nationalities, met regularly for prayer, Bible study and the discussion of Reformed literature. They were united in a desire to ‘proclaim the whole counsel of God’ and to serve and guard ‘the church of God which he purchased with his own blood’. Together they established a growing fellowship. They began to sponsor lectures, seminars and other Christian activities...

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Evangelicals in Lebanon
September 2006
Lebanon

Evangelicals in Lebanon

There are an estimated 20,000 Protestants in Lebanon. These comprise Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Baptists, Church of God, Nazarene, Brethren and Charismatics. The Presbyterian and Congregational churches are similar, and form 75% of the Protestant community. The Presbyterian Synod covers Lebanon and Syria (there are several thousand Presbyterians in Syria also). The evangelical missions that established Congregational and Presbyterian churches started work early in the nineteenth century. They founded the Syrian Protestant College (now the American University of Beirut) and the Beirut College for Women (now the Lebanese American University). Both today are secular institutions. Sadly, most of these churches no longer preach salvation. They are heavily...

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The struggle for Lebanon
September 2006
Lebanon

The struggle for Lebanon

This month’s missionary spotlight demonstrates that in the past Lebanon has played a unique role in Christian mission in the Middle East – surely a point not lost on Satan either. In this article we chart the conflicts that have raged over the last 60 years as Islamic forces have struggled to take control of Lebanon. Lebanon gained independence from France in 1943. Five years later the first Arab-Israeli war broke out and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled their homes, 150,000 of them finding refuge in Lebanon. Embittered and predominantly Muslim, they threatened the fragile balance of the country. In 1958 a short civil...

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Hezbollah
September 2006
Lebanon

Hezbollah

Hezbollah (Hizbullah, Arabic for ‘party of God’) is an Islamic political party and militia group ­functioning within Lebanon. It was founded during the Lebanese civil war of 1975-1990. In June 1982 Israel invaded Lebanon and sided with one of the country’s ‘Christian’ factions against the many other, mostly Muslim, factions. Other powers, including Syria and several Western countries, also played various roles in the civil war. Largely in response to Israel’s invasion, a group of Shiite Muslim clerics led by Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah established Hezbollah to promote Islam and to resist Western influences in Lebanon. Iranian influence The clerics’ politics and theology were inspired by...

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September 2006
Lebanon

Lebanon profile

Lebanon is located north of Israel at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea and shares a border with Syria. It is a beautiful land of plains and mountains, with about 3.8 million inhabitants, nearly all Arab. Lebanon was once wealthy — an economic centre of the Middle East — but decades of war have destroyed its economy. Some rebuilding has taken place in recent years, but today Lebanon is a shadow of its former self. When Lebanon gained independence during World War II, power was apportioned among the various religious groups based on size. At that time, professing Christians were the largest group. Then...

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Missionary Spotlight – Philippines; the William Carey School of Theology – Janet Billson
August 2006
Philippines

Missionary Spotlight – Philippines; the William Carey School of Theology – Janet Billson

The WCST has its first graduates! These are the first-fruits of a work begun in October 2001 when four men travelled to the Philippines to launch this project for the Lord. Born out of prayer, the school was created to train spiritual leaders – men who would shape churches and influence nations.   Responding to an invitation from Warlito Monsalud, president of the Conservative Bible Believer Ministers’ Fellowship, Dr Bob Penhearow and his team of lecturers began to prepare students in the Philippines for their Diploma in Theology. The first twelve graduated in May 2006 after five years of diligent study. There was a sense...

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Missionary Spotlight – Eating scrolls in Mongolia – Dr Gerald Mitchum
August 2006
Mongolia

Missionary Spotlight – Eating scrolls in Mongolia – Dr Gerald Mitchum

I have never actually eaten a scroll, but I have eaten some meals in Mongolia that would make a scroll look like a gourmet feast. However, I know some of our western food in equally repulsive to our Mongolian friends. But God told Ezekiel in Chapter 3:1 of his book, ‘Eat this scroll’. Did he eat it? It says, in 3:2, ‘so I opened my mouth and he gave me the scroll to eat’. People come to the mission field for various reasons – some for travel adventure or to experience a different culture, others to escape the stress of living in the West. Still...

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MISSIONARY SPOTLIGHT – King Jesus and Iran
May 2006
Iran

MISSIONARY SPOTLIGHT – King Jesus and Iran

  In 1978, after forty years of exile, Ayatollah-Ruhollah Khomeini made his triumphal re-entry into Tehran, the capital of Iran. Hundreds of thousands of excited Iranians took to the streets to welcome him and celebrate the beginning of the new Islamic regime.   He had the blessing of Western nations hoping to keep Iran from joining the communist bloc. Shortly before that, the much-hated pro-Western monarch, Shah Muhammad Reza Pahlavi, had departed — a defeated man dying of cancer.   Murderous   Khomeini didn’t waste time. Immediately he declared the ‘Islamic Revolution’, which ‘beginning with this great country Iran will advance to the entire Islamic...

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MISSIONARY SPOTLIGHT
May 2006
Iraq

MISSIONARY SPOTLIGHT

Christianity in Iraq Many Mesopotamian Jews turned to Christ when the gospel was first preached, and their synagogues became Christian meeting places. But these soon succumbed to Nestorianism (a heresy teaching that the incarnate Christ was two separate persons – human and divine). Along with internal power struggles among the clergy, this weakened the churches and made them easy prey to invading Muslim armies (seventh century AD). Christians took refuge in the mountainous north and survived only because Sunni and Shia Muslims became distracted by internecine conflicts. By the early twentieth century, professing ‘Christians’ (Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox) made up 30% of the Iraqi...

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The Cyprus connection (1)
May 2006
Cyprus

The Cyprus connection (1)

Cyprus is an ideal location for a late season holiday, and the temperatures were still in the mid-twenties at the end of November when we visited Paphos last year. There is a relaxing feel to this area, and a crime rate only 6% of that in Britain. There are only about 750,000 inhabitants in the whole island which measures 148 by 40 miles. The biblical links to Cyprus are fascinating. Although Cyprus is not mentioned by this name in the Old Testament, we can trace the origins of the earliest settlers to two of the great-grandsons of Noah — Elishah and Kittim (Genesis 10:4).  ...

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December 2005
Cambodia

Missionary Spotlight-Spectacular growth in Cambodia

Dr Stephen Griffiths of OMF International writes:   I went to buy a school van. ‘By the way,’ said Mr Lak, the salesman, ‘are you a Christian?’ Waiting for the paperwork, we sat on plastic chairs, traffic thundering past just feet away. Waves of dust, heat and diesel fumes gently choked me while Mr Lak, completely at ease, sat back and told me his story of his journey to faith in Jesus through a tiny group of just ten believers in the south of Cambodia – but this exciting story of rapid church growth is a pattern we see repeated over and over again. Anna...

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The little man of Mindoro
November 2005
Philippines

The little man of Mindoro

Margaret and I began our ministry in the Philippines in 1970 on the small island of Mindoro. As new missionaries, we were discouraged. With no savings, and no income for three months, we struggled to learn a new language and a new culture. Early one morning during a typhoon, Margaret shook me awake, groaning in pain. Flipping through our medical book, I suspected acute appendicitis. But how could I find a doctor at this time of night? Perhaps the neighbours could help. I woke them at 2.00am and they told me of a Christian Filipino doctor who had a small mission clinic about 15 kilometres...

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