Bakht Singh, a prominent evangelist and church planter in INDIA, died September 16 of Parkinson's disease. He was 97. An internationally known Bible teacher, Singh started more than 6,000 indigenous churches and fellowships throughout India. Today his influence is felt in about 10,000 churches planted in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Australia, and the United States. Singh's Bible training center, the Hebron Assembly, continues to equip hundreds of people in sharing their faith. An estimated 600,000 people from around the world attended memorial services in Hyderabad, India, to mourn Singh's death.
Scripture translation in MONGOLIA took nine years, but Mongolian Christians now have access to the complete Bible in their native language. Christians bought 10,000 copies of the new version printed in Mongol when it was released in August. The Mongolian church has experienced explosive growth during the last 10 years, despite governmental persecution and threats of communist rule. Before the democratic revolution of 1990, Mongolia had fewer than 50 known Christians. Mongolian Christians now may number as many as 10,000.
Twelve Filipino evangelists held hostage for three months by Muslim rebels in the southern PHILIPPINES were rescued in September after one, Fernando Solon, escaped and gained the help of military officials. Members of the Muslim rebel group, Abu Sayyaf, fled and continue holding five hostages, including three Americans. The 12 evangelists from the Jesus Miracle Crusade were abducted while visiting an Abu Sayyaf camp to pray for a group of hostages taken earlier. The kidnappings were part of an ongoing conflict between military and rebel forces in the country.
Jean-Jacques Weiler was chosen as the new president of YOUTH FOR CHRIST INTERNATIONAL (YFCI) at the group's world congress of delegates in September. A native of France, Weiler worked with Youth for Christ in Europe for 40 years. He replaces Sam Sherard, who resigned for health reasons.
A 13-year-old boy in eastern INDIA has been sentenced to 14 years at a juvenile-detention center for his role in the 1999 murder of an Australian missionary and his two sons. Sudarshan Hansda was one of 15 people arrested for the murders. The father and sons died inside their vehicle after rioters set it ablaze. Church leaders in India believe the killings were carried out by an extremist Hindu group.
Anglican bishops in southern Africa have agreed to undergo HIV tests, hoping it will encourage others to get tested and stem the rising tide of aids that is crippling the continent. The bishops, at a synod meeting in Bloemfontein, SOUTH AFRICA, agreed to encourage clergy and lay leaders in their dioceses to also take the HIV tests. Results will be kept confidential, and the bishops said they will develop guidelines for counseling before and after testing. "It has set the ball rolling in terms of breaking the steel band of silence which makes so many people feel the need to keep quiet about being positive," said Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane of Cape Town, according to Anglican Communion News Service. The bishops hope their testing will help remove some of the stigma associated with HIV and show the church's efforts to help stop the spread of the disease.
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