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All articles in category Asia

MISSIONARY SPOTLIGHT- The Republic of Turkey
October 1998
Turkey

MISSIONARY SPOTLIGHT- The Republic of Turkey

– where Europe and Asia meet   The gospel and Turkish people   Turkish people are characteristically friendly, hospitable, outgoing and religious. The western media and secularism are eroding fundamental Islamic belief, and so most Turks, in an effort to be reconciled to modern thinking and still retain their ‘faith’, have liberalised Koranic teaching much as liberal Christians have done with the Bible. Even among the minority of fundamentalist Muslims there are scholars who are promoting an understanding of other faiths. In this cultural climate it is easy to engage any Turk in spiritual conversation, in any place and at any social level.   Our...

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October 1998
Turkey

A summer holiday

with a difference One summer’s morning, in the early hours, a small group of us arrived, bleary-eyed and a little bewildered, at the airport in Turkey. Our Bible studies during our stay in Turkey were to be in the book of Esther, when, morning by morning, we were reminded of God’s hand of providence in the lives of his people, in Shushan and the king’s provinces. By big and seemingly small events, by placing the right people in the right place at the right time, by overturning events completely, God works out his eternal purposes.   The seven-hour bus ride that followed was awful, as...

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September 1998
South Korea

MISSIONARY SPOTLIGHT

South Korea (Republic of Korea) The church in South Korea today The church in South Korea today presents a very mixed picture. Her past history of faithful pioneering by American Presbyterian missionaries; her former, intense sufferings for the faith; and her present, large early-morning prayer meetings: are all well known. The church’s piety, with nights of prayer, fasting and missionary zeal are well attested. Yet, nonetheless, closer enquiry reveals a disturbing picture, with conflicting factors at work in contemporary Korean Christianity. Her past glories and present difficulties are mirrored, over a longer time-scale, in the history of the church in Great Britain, and it is...

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September 1998
North Korea

MISSIONARY SPOTLIGHT

North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) History of the church in North and South Korea The first known Protestant martyr in Korea was the Welsh missionary, Robert Thomas, who was killed in 1866 while preaching and distributing Scriptures in the north of the country. Protestantism first took root in 1882, when Suh Sang-yun, a Korean convert of Scottish missionaries in Chinese Manchuria, brought Korean Scripture portions into forbidden Korea. He secretly gathered together the country’s first group of worshipping Protestants. Over the next few years American Presbyterian and Methodist missionaries arrived.   One important factor in the establishment and growth of the new Protestant...

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September 1998
South Korea

MISSIONARY SPOTLIGHT

South Korea Area: 38,200 square miles. North Korea forms the northern boundary.   Environment: Mainly mountainous, with a steep eastern coastline. The western coast has many islands and natural harbours. Most people live in the southern and western coastal areas. The climate is continental. Population: 45 million (99% Korean); 11 million in Seoul (capital), 4.3 million in Pusan (main port) and 2.3 million in Taegu. Millions have immigrated from North Korea, but many have emigrated from South Korea to Japan and the USA. Life expectancy : Men 68 years, women 74 years. Literacy : 92%. Economy : Urbanization 84%. Originally an agricultural economy, rapid industrialization...

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September 1998
North Korea

MISSIONARY SPOTLIGHT

North Korea Area : 46,500 square miles. China forms the northern boundary, and South Korea the southern.   Environment : Rugged mountains with narrow valleys, and a western coastal plain. The mountains are covered with coniferous and deciduous forests. The climate tends to be harsh, with long and severe winters. The coastal plain, with its five alluvial rivers, is suitable for cultivation. Population : 25.5 million (99% Korean); 2.4 million in Pyongyang (capital). Life expectancy : Men 71 years, women 74 years. Literacy : 91%. Economy : State-controlled industries and collective farming. There are major reserves of minerals, including coal (the main energy source), iron...

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September 1998
North Korea

MISSIONARY SPOTLIGHT

North Korea The church in North Korea today The present state of the church in North Korea is not easily gauged. There were about 400,000 professing Christians in the North in 1945, with many living in the capital, Pyongyang. By the end of the Korean War there were 100,000. Many emigrated to the South as a result of the fierce communist persecution.   The Korean Christian Federation (KCF) is the only Protestant church organization currently functioning in the North, with up to 12,000 members. However, it is widely believed that there are quite a number of family-based house churches meeting secretly, and attended largely by...

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HONG KONG   – one year on
August 1998
China

HONG KONG – one year on

  It is now just over one year since the return of Hong Kong to China. After the glamorous celebrations of the hand-over on 1 July 1997, Hong Kong has met many challenges. The greatest has been the shock wave from the economic crisis in south-east Asia. Hong Kong is still trying desperately to prevent a downward spiral in its own local economy. Unemployment figures released in May showed that unemployment reached a high of 3.9% – a record for the last ten years. Many shops and restaurants have gone out of business. Property prices have dropped by at least 10-20%. For the 15,000 university...

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May 1998
Israel

Messianic believers threatened but encouraged

Antagonism towards Messianic groups in Israel has been increasing since the introduction of a bill in the Jewish parliament to outlaw ‘missionary material’. Opposition from ultra-orthodox Jews is thought to be the source of a number of incidents over the past few months in which Messianic believers have had their property damaged and threats made against them. However, leaders of Messianic (Christian) groups are encouraged by the scale of worldwide support for their case that the proposed legislation would not only hinder legitimate missionary activity but be a positive barrier to freedom of information. It would amount to religious censorship and undermine the freedom of...

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Israel – fifty years on
May 1998
Israel

Israel – fifty years on

From poverty to plenty The modern State of Israel, established fifty years ago, is a remarkable phenomenon. A nation exiled for almost 2,000 years returns home under the most distressing circumstances the world has ever known. Torn and battered from the Nazi ‘holocaust’, the population has swollen from an initial 600,000 to now over 5 million. Israel has constructed a highly modern infrastructure, established world-renowned centres of learning, renewed the use of its ancient language (Hebrew), once spoken by prophets, and adapted that language for genetics, computers and space travel. Even though the nation has faced economic blockade and seven major wars, its standard of...

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The gospel and Arab Palestinians
May 1998
Palestine

The gospel and Arab Palestinians

The Arab Palestinian population is estimated to be about 7 million worldwide. About 1.2 million live within the internationally recognized borders of Israel. Another 2.1 million live in Gaza and the West Bank. In Jordan the Palestinians are estimated to be 1.8 million. In addition, there are many hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who, since the Arab/Israeli war of 1948, have dispersed to neighbouring Arab countries. Several hundred thousands also live in North and South America, Europe and elsewhere. The present Arab Palestinian population is for the most part Sunni Muslim. Until the end of the nineteenth century about 40% claimed an ethnic Christian identity....

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April 1998
China

Missionary Spotlight-China – Churches still under pressure

We sat under the coconut palms, on an island off the coast of south China, as the young Chinese pastor shared with me the pressures upon his church. His church had been formed in 1992 and grew rapidly to over 200 people. The believers built a large church building with a palm-thatched roof. But in October 1997 the local authorities declared the church illegal and tore down the building. Since then the Christians have been meeting in three smaller cell-groups, in various homes. I visited one of these homes: a simple red cross adorned the rough walls: ‘Emmanuel’ was written in Chinese over a blackboard...

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