News Articles

INTERNATIONAL DIGEST: U.S. Arab allies among worst slave traffickers; …

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Five Arab countries allied with the United States -– Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar -– are among the world’s worst offenders in human slavery and sex trafficking, according to a new report from the U.S. State Department.

Among other atrocities, the annual “Trafficking in Persons Report” documents the problems of children sold into prostitution and forced to become child soldiers. Sixteen countries named in the report have 90 days to improve their efforts to combat trafficking or face possible economic sanctions.

U.S. Ambassador Mark Lagon told Reuters news service it was “especially disappointing” that many of the countries ranked lowest were Middle Eastern nations that have the money to combat the problem. Congressman Chris Smith criticized the fact that 32 countries –- among them U.S. allies like India -– were kept out of the lowest category.

An estimated 800,000 people -– most of them women and girls -– are sold into servitude each year. Perhaps half of those are minors.

VIETNAM APPROVES BIBLE PRINTING — The government of Vietnam has approved the printing of 100,000 Bibles, an “unprecedented” development in a country known for years as one of the world’s worst persecutors of Christians.

“Our friends in Vietnam have written permission from religious affairs to print 100,000 Bibles that will be released to the unregistered church in Vietnam,” David Hunt, president of WorldServe Ministries, told Mission Network News. “In spite of the difficulties over the years and the challenges in Vietnam still today, to some extent, we are seeing some of the greatest opportunities and openings in the history of the nation.”

The Bibles are needed because of incredible growth, Hunt said. “The church has grown so explosively since 1975 from about 55,000 baptized believers to 1 million believers today, and maybe close to 1.5 million believers. The church is growing by leaps and bounds.”

CITIES’ GROWTH PRESENTS MISSIONS CHALLENGE — By 2020, nine cities -– Delhi, Dhaka, Jakarta, Lagos, Mexico City, Mumbai, New York, São Paulo and Tokyo -– will have more than 20 million inhabitants, and the growing migration of people into cities has serious implications for Christian missions.

A report published by The Economist observed that within 10 years the world will have nearly 500 cities of more than 1 million people. Greater Tokyo’s population already stands at 35 million -– more than the entire population of Canada.

The United Nations estimates that by 2030 nearly 5 billion people – three out of five -– will live in cities. The increase is expected to be most dramatic in Asia and Africa, where masses are forced to live in horrible slum conditions.

On his blog at www.albertmohler.com, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. said the report “should remind Christians to think again about the challenge represented by the city” and asked several penetrating questions:

“How are we to reach the teeming millions gathered in these great cities? How do we develop a missiological strategy to reach China, when that nation may soon have 200 cities with populations over 1 million? What about people in the exploding mega-slums of the world’s fastest-growing cities?”

NIGERIAN TRIBAL CHIEF ACCEPTS CHRIST — Nigeria’s Idoma people group, which numbers approximately 1 million people, now is led by a Christian chief.

About 14,000 people made public decisions for Christ when a missionary team showed the “JESUS” film in Idoma towns and villages. One team member had an opportunity to present a Bible to the Idoma chief and share the plan of salvation. The chief was moved by the gift of the Bible, a team member said.

“After I shared Christ with him, the chief asked me to write down the prayer, how to pray to receive Christ,” he told Mission Network News. “The pastors we were working with were very ecstatic. They had told me that meant that he wanted to go pray to receive Christ, kind of in private.” The team later received word that he did accept Christ.

Local pastors and JESUS film workers conducted follow-up ministries with those who made decisions during the screenings.

NEEDS OF DESPERATE POOR RAISED AT G-8 MEETING — While many of the protestors at the G-8 meeting in Heiligendamm, Germany, in early June fought with police, a group of Christians focused on peaceful reminders of the group’s promise to cut extreme poverty in half by 2015.

Among the other issues raised for leaders of the most powerful industrial nations were the negative effects of globalization, the need to protect the environment and assistance for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Leaders of Micah Challenge, a worldwide evangelical movement of churches and Christian organizations, reminded governments of the Millennium Development Goals they adopted in 2000. The group wants to be “a voice for the concerns of Christians from around the world to remind G8 leaders of the needs of the church and people in the global south about poverty,” said Geoff Tunnicliffe, international director of the World Evangelical Alliance.

“We’re significantly behind in some parts of the world in meeting those goals, but it’s not just up to the government,” Tunnicliffe said. “The Christian community around the world is also committed to reflecting the heart of Jesus to the poor … living out the words of Jesus, bringing word and deed together.”

    About the Author

  • Mark Kelly