October 8, 2008

Christian Communities in India Targeted

By a Baptist leader in India

Persecution in India is going on in isolated areas; even our district Karbi Anglong is not that safe anymore. New believers are being threatened and deprived of their basic rights and resources.

The Virvar area where our two church planters are ministering is likely going to be the epicenter for an outbreak of a hate campaign against the Christian community in our Karbi Anglong district. For example, two families (from a nearby village who started to embrace Christ recently) were five times forced to go to their village council meeting where they were beaten. In addition, the houses of the two families were also demolished. We made several attempts to broker peace and understanding but were not successful. Three days ago we went there, and an angry mob (villagers) gathered around us, and we could hardly even speak with them. So in some measure, a psychosis of fear is prevailing.

Even in this situation, 12 new youths are undergoing 20 days training and they are ready to go on an outreach ministry for 40 days in the remote areas that are the least evangelized.

Our workload is increasing but our time and resources seem to be dwindling in relation to meeting the needs. We are committing our lives and work to Him who called us, as He is faithful and able to protect us and fulfill the mission.

Thank you for your prayers.

Editors Note: The above comes in the form of an update and prayer request from a young Baptist leader in India. In recent weeks parts of India have seen the rise of intentional targeting of the Christian community leading BWA General Secretary Neville Callam to issue a letter to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (http://www.bwanet.org/default.aspx?pid=940). See also the following two stories by the Economist:
"Marching as to War" (
"The Corss They Bear"

October 7, 2008

Living in the Global Community

By Melody Maxwell

The World is Bigger Than My Context.
It’s easy for me to be consumed by demands of everyday life—work deadlines, church committees, school assignments, family responsibilities—and lose sight of the bigger picture. Sitting in a room with people from dozens of countries puts my concerns in perspective: God’s world is bigger than my world. I have the opportunity—and the responsibility—to listen to and learn from others. I may find that other Baptist groups have very different traditions and perspectives from my own. And I just may learn something valuable as a result.

The West doesn’t have the corner on theology.
In the past, I’ve sometimes been far more interested in snatching up the latest book by the hip thirty-something American church leader than in reading a discussion on the theology of the African church. But after hearing captivating ideas from leaders around the world, I realize that my perspective is far too narrow if I only listen to people who are like me. We in the West need the dynamic, emerging theologies of other contexts—and they need us—to breathe fresh life into our thinking.

Friendship crosses cultural boundaries.
What do a descendant of a slave owner and a descendant of a slave have in common? Plenty, if they’re followers of Jesus! Meeting new friends from around the world has demonstrated to me the power of cross-cultural relationships. It doesn’t matter if our countries, or even our Baptist bodies, have a history of disagreement or conflict. Hearing each other’s stories and praying for one another gives our group a connection that transcends human cultural barriers and reveals a glimpse of the eternal kingdom of God .

World news affects everyone.
After meeting Baptist leaders from around the world, I’ll no longer flip the channel when the news anchor starts reporting on current events in India , or delete an email about religious freedom in Zimbabwe . Now, those places aren’t just dots on a map—they’re represented by faces of my friends. As a result of conversations with other emerging leaders, I understand that my country’s policies affect them, and the actions of their governments have an indirect influence on me as well. I’ve learned that to understand today’s world, global Christians must be global citizens.

**Many thanks to Melody Maxwell who is a member of the BWA Emerging Leaders Network and a magazine editor with the Women's Missionary Union (WMU).

October 1, 2008

This Week in History: Emerging Leader Biography

More than fifteen hundred years ago on September 30, 420 the man Sophronius Eusebius Hieronymus passed away in Bethlehem. History records the work of this man under the much shorter name of Jerome.

Born in a far northeastern corner of Italy, Jerome moved to Rome at the age of 12 and was baptized at 19. Before his death Jerome would complete one of the most important translations of the Scriptures – the Vulgate – a translation that eventually became the standard Bible of the Latin-speaking church. Jerome also completed a number of important Old and New Testament commentaries and his writings have had a deep and permanent influence.

In what would eventually become a ministry of global impact, Jerome began his translation of the Bible in 382 at the age of 35.

(For more on Jerome see Justo L. Gonzalez, The Story of Christianity: Complete in One Volume The Early Church to the Present Day. Peabody: Prince Press, 1999, 201-6.)