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Monday, January 10, 2005

Always Look on the Bright Side (of Death) 

Courtesy of our stalwart colleagues at Cursor, further proof that God always sends plagues in bunches:
As Western humanitarian organizations unleash an armada of relief supplies and workers into Asia's crisis zone, some evangelical Christian groups aim to bring the Gospel to the victims, as well . . . .

"This (disaster) is one of the greatest opportunities God has given us to share his love with people," said K.P. Yohannan, president of the Texas-based Gospel for Asia. In an interview, Yohannan said his 14,500 "native missionaries" in India, Sri Lanka and the Andaman Islands are giving survivors Bibles and booklets about "how to find hope in this time through the word of God."

In Krabi, Thailand, a Southern Baptist church had been "praying for a way to make inroads" with a particular ethnic group of fishermen, according to Southern Baptist relief coordinator Pat Julian. Then came the tsunami, "a phenomenal opportunity" to provide ministry and care, Julian told the Baptist Press news service.

In Andhra Pradesh, India, a plan is developing to build "Christian communities" to replace destroyed seashore villages. In a dispatch that the evangelical group Focus on the Family posted on its Family.org Web site, James Rebbavarapu of India Christian Ministries said a team of U.S. engineers had agreed to help design villages of up to 400 homes each, "with a church building in the center of them" . . . .

Yohannan said Sri Lankan officials are "extremely angry" with Christian missionary work and want to outlaw proselytizing. Some states in southern India have anti-conversion laws that bar "fraudulent manipulation," he said, adding: "I cannot tell you there is a hell awaiting you because it can be interpreted as a fear tactic."

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