1st Quarter 2000Newsletter of the AD2000 & Beyond Movement Women's Track
Contents
Praying for the World
Christians Facing Suffering and Persecution

We know God often strengthens beleievers through suffering, but we also know He is merciful and full of compassion. Pray for the believers in the following situations:

Nigeria - In spite of having a Christian president, Nigeria is implementing Muslim Sharia law in a number of places. (It includes such punishments as cutting off hands for minor thievery and capital punishment for adultery.) In Daduna State 300 Christians were captured and threatened with death unless they renounced Christianity. Eleven churches were burned and a seminary student was killed. Pray for strength and courage for Christians facing these threats.

Turkmenistan - Formerly part of the USSR, the authorities in this country are still enforcing rigid anti-religion lasw dating back to the Communist era. Churches are being closed and Christians harrassed and persecuted, though the constitution grants religious freedom. Pray for the few hundred believers who are trying to stand for righteousness and freedom.

Afghanistan - A UN report accuses the radical Taliban regime in Afghanistan of violating women's rights with unabated severity, including mass abductions and forced prostitution. Women are barred from attending school or working outside the home and must appear in public covered in head to toe robes. Pray that this evil will soon be ended, and that women will once again be able to live normal lives.

Mozambique, Africa - In February, Mozambique experienced the worst flooding in 50 years. Thousands of people were unaccounted for after the terrible rains. At one point over 90,000 people were stranded in trees and high points without food or water. An estimated 250,000 people have lost their homes, their crops and their livestock. One pastor reported that he had buried more than 200 bodies in one day. Pray for comfort for those who have lost loved ones and for those who have lost their possessions and crops.

China - China continues it's crackdown against minority religions. A US State Department official said, "It hasn't been this bad since the early '90s just after Tiananmen." Many house church leaders are women who are often interrogated and/or imprisoned. Yet the church in China continues to grow. Pray for protection for its leaders and for courage in the bace of persecution.


Model in Ministry


A Prayer Journey into the Mountains of Tibet

A team of five Filipinos - four women and one man - took a prayer journey to Tibet in October 1999. Their target city of Darlag lay high in the remote Maqen mountain ranges. Thelma Pantig, the regional leader of the AD2000 Women's Track for Southeast Asia joined the team from Manila. Tibetans are one of the unreached people groups she has been praying for, and encouraging women in Southeast Asia to adopt.

One of the women knew a little Mandarin, and a German woman, married to a Tibetan who joined the team in Hong Kong, spoke a little Tibetan. In spite of the language barrier Thelma felt they left a fragrance of the love of God as they befriended Tibetans, drank tea in their homes and passed out literature in the vernacular. Tow women professed salvation after reading the gospel literature. Whereever they went they prayed that the love of Christ would break into this Buddhist stronghold.

They also met a young man who had accepted Christ a year ago when one of the team members had previously visisted. He gave his testimony on tape in Tibetan to be broadcast back into Tibet. Here are some experiences from Thelma's report of their journey:

Tthe train ride from Xi'an was the start of our arduous journey. At noon we were at Xining. That night the four of us made do with a room where the bedding had been slept on many times before by weary, dirty travelers. We were at the bus terminal at six am to get a ride for Darlag. The only bus available had seen better days. Our long haul started at 8:45am of October 19 and ended at 7 pm on October 21.

As we ascended I wondered how the brown grass nourished the herds of yaks, sheep and goats. A few days later these mountains were covered with snow. It was very, very cold. We started experiencing engine trouble, being stalled more often than moving. We made a detour to get some engine part replaced... and left again about 11pm.

We stopped to get some sleep at 1 am. We were so exausted chilled and feverish that Lani, Maria and I didn't care about the smelly dirty beds. We were only too glad to snuggle up to each other. Not once during the entire journey did we find a clean and decent toilet anywhere. I woke up at 5 am and discovered the place blanketed by snow. It was such a relief to find all the unpleasant sights and odors in the common toilet covered with snow.

We were not prepared for the dreadful climb up Mt. Maqen. The snow was so deep the driver ordered everybody down... Once Pastor Joy and I fell into a waterway about four feet deep. The Tibetans came running to pick us up. Thrice we ran alongside the bus trying to jump on board. Twice I slid and the bus passed me by. At one point I realized I was the tail end of the march and the bus was about half a kilometer away. I flopped on the snow and cried out to God, "Please don't let the bus run without me." Right then three Tibetans turned and came back for me, lifting me up by my armpits and dragged me to the bus.

The two and a half hour ordeal broke the ice in the bus and we realized these cold Tibetans had warm hearts for strangers like us.


Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan

Population: 3,277,900
Largest Religion: Muslim (95%)
Christians: 0% (possibly 500 believers today)
Scriptures in their language: New Testament
Estimate of those who have never heard the
        gospel: 2.2 million (75%)
Adapted from Unreached People Prayer Profile

Turkmen Under Siege
During the years of its rule, the Soviet authorities launched an anti-religion campaign aimed at complete destruction of Islam. With the fall of Communism, Turkmenistan became an independant country. But today it is a harsh totalitarian regime. Turkmenistan has the worst record of all former Soviet Republics when it comes to religion and human rights in general.

The Turkmen government is engaged in al all-out assault on all religious minorities, both Christian and non-Christian. Beleievers have been fined, detained, imprisoned, deported and places of worship have been bulldozed. They are not allowed to register as a church until they have 500 members.

"Ten years ago we knew of less than one half dozen believers; now there are almost 500 believers all experiencing harassment and many severe persecution."

Source: Flo Friesen
An advocate for the Turkmen who spent a short term serving in Turkmenistan

The latest insult occurred this past February when political police raided a Christian meeting in a private home. They threatened believers and confiscated the car of the leader. A young woman in the group later reported the indident saying, "Each of us felt morally injured and children were scared and cried."

Pray for mercy and peace and for strength for the tiny handful of believers.


Unreached People

A Church Born Out of a Vision

A woman's dream leads to planting an Arabic church

You would hardly call it a church. The people sit around the crowded room on the floow, sometimes for three or four hours, as they eat and pray and sing together. Miracles have become almost common place -- often two pounds of rice feeds forty or fifty people with food left over.

But the most striking thing is the courageous enthusiasm as these believers worship in a land where becoming a Christian can mean prison, torture or even death. Not long ago as the believers prayed they felt they were surrounded by angels and all fear left them. Now they even worship with the doors open, in spite of the fact that a mosque stands just across the street.

This Arabic church was started by a young woman to whom Go had revealed Himself in dreams. In her late teens, Serena (not her real name) was already a wife and mother. Her father, a powerful Islamic witch doctor promised to pass his powers on to her. But Serena loved the Creator, though she did not know who he was.

One night in her dreams a man appeared to her, calling, "Come to me." The second night the vision returned and this time she asked, "Who are you?" And the man responded, "I am Isa (Jesus)."

On the third night when Isa reappeared she promised to follow him. But when she told her father of her vision he grew angry. He burned incense and tried to deliever her of the "evil spirit," but to no avail. "I can't do anything," he admitted. "The power in you is so strong."

For five years Sevena listened to the voice within her, knowing this Spirit was her friend, but nothing else about him. As she rejected Islam, her father slapped and beat her, and sent her husband and child away. She delievered her second child but was not even allowed to see her before she was given to her husband. He eventually married three other women, and kept her children from her.

About five years after her vision, Serena entered a hospital to have her appendix removed, and there she met a Catholic nun who secretly gave her a Bible. She began reading in the Islamic way, washing her hands before handling the sacred book. Now she discovered who her Friend was; how He had died on the cross for her, paying the price for her sin. Serena realized what a miracle her conversion was. There were no missionaries in her country but she says now, "God had a plan -- He came by Himself."

Though she did not see her children for ten years, God gave her a deep sense of peace and contentment and assurance that He would care for them. Today not only her children but her parents are believers, and she has remarried a Christian.

Serena deeply loves her people who are simple and love Islam. But the country is filled with a spirit of magic and witchcraft which she longs one day to see replaced by the Spirit of God. Some estimate that there may be 1000 believers in her country. She believes that at least 70 percent of converts have come to faith through dreams, miracles and healings. She marvels that even when the police come in the door, "they can't see us."

The small fellowship meeting in her home is now sending its members out to other villages to tell of the love of Christ. Serena knows there may still be a greater price to pay for her openness to share the gospel, but she echos the words of Paul, "God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." 2 Tim 1:7

 
Women's News Blurbs

Women hold up half the sky, but...

There are slightly fewer women than men in the world -- 98.6 women for every 100 men. And women make up 46.7 percent of the official labor force worldwide. But women account for only 13 percent of lawmakers in the legislatures of the world's more than 190 countries.

Of the 32 countries that have some form of female quotas in politics, six reserve a set number of seats for women in parliment; Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Nepal, North Korea and the Philippines. Source: Los Angeles Times


Women in Zambia unite against violence

A group of housewives in the northern town of Kitwe have formed a national assoiciation aimed at stemming domestic violence. The Zambia Housewives Association will operate like a trade union. "It may look or sound like women's gossip, but the formation of an association to counter wife beating is a matter that must be taken seriously," the association chairperson Anne Ngwira said. The group plans also to protect children, widows and the aged. The association will hire lawyers to handle technical matters. Source: World Pulse, March 17, 2000


Jesus the Revolutionary


The Power of Persistance

She was just a widow -- defenseless, helpless and unprotected. (Had she a male relative he would have advocated for her.) But alone, she bravely persisted in pleading with a local judge for a just decision on her behalf. Jesus didn't explain how she had been mistreated, but He honored her for her courage to return over and over to the heartless judge.

The judge himself admitted he neither feared God nor cared about people. But he grew tired of the woman's persistance, and to rid himself of a nuisance he granted her request.

The contrast between the powerless widow and the arrogant judge is a fitting analogy with how God's children face the godless systems today. Too often governments and leaders neither fear God nor care about the welfare of the people. Rather they selfishly commit injustices, using their power for thier own intrests.

Jesus protrays a widow -- one considered morally weak, unstable and socially inferior in Jewish society -- as a model for one fighting for righteousness. Again He demonstrates His rejection of society's partiarchal judgements by giving this woman success in her request.

More and more women today are speaking out against injustice, even when the situations seem hopeless. Christian women need to combine the power of persistant prayer with the influence of a united voice to speak out against society's injustices. We must raise our voices against such evil as the Taliban's unabated severity against the women in Afghanistan. We must speak out against female genital mutilation, enforced prostitution, abuse and aborting of unwanted female babies.

Jesus concluded His parable by reminding His disciples that "God will bring about justice for his chosen ones who cry out to him day and night." Even though He seems to delay He is strengthening His own as they endure hardships. But when He brings justice He will do it quickly.

Dear sisters, in the light of the injustices you see around you, heed Jesus' words, "Pray always and don't give up." (Luke 18:1-8)


What's Happening


Regional Leaders to Meet in Guatemala

The AD2000 Regional Leaders Council will meet in Guatemala City from July 13-22 for its biannual meeting for prayer and planning. This year new regional leaders (formerly called regional representatives) from Brazil, the Arab world, and the Pacific Rim/Canada will be added to the Council.

Mercedes Dalton, regional leader for Latin America, has organized her team of Guatamalan women to host the Council as well as to plan an all-day rally for women from various parts of Latin America on the 22nd of July. About 3,000 are expected.

At the Council the new name and organizational structure of the Women's Track will be launched.

 


International Day of Prayer for Women

"Carrying Each Others' Burden"

The third International Day of Prayer for Women will again be held the first weekend of September. Women have met for united prayer in places as far as Myanmar, the Philippines, El Salvador and Australia. The prayer day was originally started by the Pan African Women's Association, which continues to set the theme. Women all over Africa meet for prayer on this special day.

The theme for this year's International Day of Prayer for Women is "Carrying Each Others' Burden" based on Galatians 6:2 and 10. In her meditation on the theme Judy Mbugua, PACWA coordinator, writes, "Paul admonishes the Philippians to help the 'women who have contended at my side in the cause of the Gospel.' What service do we render in our churches or to the members of the body of Christ" Remember that God has given each one of us gifts to prepare us for works of service so that together we will build up the body of Christ. Eph 4:11-12. Will it be said of us that we have contended side by side with fellow ministers for the cause of the Gospel?"

Begin now to make plans to bring together women from different churches and denominations for a day of prayer the first weekend in September. Look for opportunities to promote the event through radio and television. Please contact the PACWA office of the international office of the AD2000 Women's Track for more information.

 


Global Women's Celebration

More than a dozen global women's organizations focusing on evangelism are partnering to hold a Global Women's Celebration September 19-21, 2001 in Houston, Texas.

The Global Celebration mission is to celebrate who God is and what He has done for women; to rejoice in women's contributions to the Kingdom of God; and to excite and equip women to touch the world with the transforming love of Jesus Christ.

Sponsoring organizations include PACWA, AD2000 Women's Track, Lausanne Women, Women's Commission of WEF and Hope for Europe, as well as denominations such as the Assembly of God, the Southern Baptists and Salvation Army.

The group has booked the Houston Astrodome, which can accomodate more than 40,000. It is hoped that at least one quarter of the women attending and many of the speakers and participants will come from outside the United States.

Pray for the committee planning this extraordinary event and for God's provision for all the costs involved. Let's celebrate what God has done for us and through us as women, and look forward to serving Him more effectively. Watch for further developments.



For more information

Write the representative from your region:

Africa (South of the Sahara; French, Portuguese and Spanish speaking): Madeleine Goutenou, Box 411, Man, Ivory Coast
Africa (English-speaking): Esme Bowers, 3 Wyehill Way, Retreat 79X5, Cape, South Africa
Caribbean: Blossom White, 36 Mottley Ave., Kingston 20, Jamaica, West Indies
Europe: Elizabeth Mittelstaedt, Lydia Magazine, Postfach 1222, D-35608 Asslar, Germany
Latin America: Mercedes Dalton, Calle Los Abetos, PJE No. 136, Colonia San Francisco, San Salvador, El Salvador
Middle East, N. Africa, CIS countries: Iqbal Massey, 1136 Ginger Lane, Corona, CA 91719-7776, U.S.
N. America: Evelyn Christenson, P.O. Box 29557, Minneapolis, MN 55429, U.S.
N. Asia: Kai-Yum Cheung-Teng , Block A, 3/F., Podium of Tak Bo Garden, 3 Ngau Kok Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Pacific: Robyn Claydon, 12 Cornwall Avenue, Turramurra, NSW 2074, Australia
S. Asia: Contact the International Coordinator
S.E. Asia: Thelma Pantig, 6 Sampaguita St., Roxas Cir. Subd., Sanyo Novalches 1116 Q.C., Philippines

International Chairperson:
Judy Mbugua, Box 49332, Nairobi, Kenya
FAX: 254-271-0254, E-Mail: AEA@MAF.org

International Coordinator:
Lorry Lutz, 4585 Hilton Parkway, #202,
Colorado Springs, CO 80907, U.S.
E-Mail: AD2000wt@IBM.net
Tel: (719) 260-6788, FAX: (719) 260-6784

Webmaster
6/29/00