Edited by Frank Fortunato email@example.com
Coordinator, AD2000 Worship and Arts Network
Greetings, Worship and Arts Friends.
Lu Xiaomin, aged 20 at the time, had a powerful encounter with the Holy Spirit in the late 1980s. One night shortly afterward, Lu was so filled with joy that she couldn't sleep. Then the words and melody of a Christian song came into her mind. Hesitantly, because she had no musical training, she told some of the leaders in her house-church community. They encouraged her to sing the songs directly into a cassette recorder. She started to do so, and by 1998 had recorded some 440 of them. They had not only been printed and distributed but also were being sung in house churches all over China. By early 2000 the number of songs exceeded 700 with no end in sight to the astonishing inspiration. Church fellowship leaders who know many of her songs by heart mentioned that Lu's songs had encouraged them at crucial times in their Christina lives. In a sure sign of God's desire to continue the revival in China, some of Lu's songs are now being sung in the Three-Self churches whose leaders reject house churches.
(Excerpted from an article by David Aikman, in Charisma Magazine, August 2000.)
(The following story is so incredible, we felt it important to send it out again. It demonstrates one of the powerful ways that God is building his church and keeping people strong in persecuted areas. Christian radio penetrates through the closed areas where pastors and Christian workers cannot reach by normal methods).
Vietnamese church leaders visited a group of 200 "secret believers" in a remote village in Vietnam. No one knew about the believers until they contacted a religious broadcaster asking for a visit. Christian leaders traveled five days through a jungle to reach the village. It seems the villagers all meet together for worship, tuning into Christian radio programs. "The response to the daily and Sabbath broadcasts have been far beyond anything originally expected," one church leader said. "There are congregations worshipping in parts of the country where the Church has never had members before."
(As reported in Religion Today, August 24, 1998.)
"Shatahn! Shatahn! Shatahn, Kazakhstan!" These words, which in English mean "Shine, Kazakhstan", thundered upward from the city of Almaty's outdoor stadium, where a crowd of 18,000 Christians gathered to bless this Central Asian country which, until 1991, had been a part of the former Soviet Union.
The stadium event, held in late July, was the culmination of a five-day Christian festival called Silk Road 2000. Dr. Paul Choi, a scholar in Muslim evangelism asserted, "This is the first time in Islam's fourteen hundred year history that a Christian event of this magnitude has happened within the Muslim sphere of influence."
Keynote speaker, Luis Bush, International Director of "A.D.2000 and Beyond", said, "The Silk Road 2000 Festival is a watershed event. It has the potential to launch a powerful evangelistic movement all across Central Asia and into Turkey."
Silk Road 2000 was a multi-track happening involving praise and worship gatherings, educational seminars, medical and dental mobile clinics, economic development consultations, and cultural events. It was a vision simultaneously given by God to Korean believers in both Korea and North America."
Kiho Lee, is one of the nine, earnest, young men from Korea, in whom the germ of that vision was birthed. In 1998, the group, led by Kiho, who is a well-known songwriter and worship leader, enlisted a prayer team of 10,000 intercessors to support their fourteenth journey, by four-wheel-drive vehicles, along the entire length of the old Silk Road. As they traveled, they visited the work of more than 100 missionaries, absorbed cultures, tasted spiritual hunger, were touched by human need, prayed fervently, and listened for what God would say to them. By the time their pilgrimage was over, they had heard from God, and the Silk Road 2000 Festival idea was alive in them.
Central Asia, where much of the Silk Road is located, is populated largely by Turkic peoples. Although there are differing local customs and languages among the many people groups who live in this region of Asia, there are also fundamental similarities rooted in their common Turkic background. Among those similarities is a linguistic link. For westerners, it may be surprising to learn that the Korean language is a Turkic language. That connection makes it easy for Koreans to learn the languages of Central Asia. This reality, along with the knowledge that Korea is the only substantially evangelized country among the Turkic nations, is accepted by Korean Christians as a missionary mandate from God to win the peoples along the Silk Road to Jesus Christ.
The festival was attended by hundreds of Korean-Americans, Korean-Canadians, and by 2000 South Koreans, all of whom flew in chartered planes from Seoul to Almaty. Many of them were in leadership roles at the festival, and hundreds more participated in short-term mission projects throughout Central Asia after the close of the festival.
Scores of 'tent making' Korean Christians came to the festival from all over Central Asia, as well as from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Turkey and other parts of Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. "When they were joined by thousands of local Kazaks, Russians, Uighurs, and other ethnic groups from Kazakhstan, the Festival became a kind of 'Central Asian Pentecost' . . . a supernatural bonding together of diverse national and linguistic peoples, spirit-filled, energized, and commissioned to witness to the love and Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Local practitioners of occultist religions carried out on-site satanic rituals to curse the festival; but the accumulated power of 2 years worth of prayer was too strong. Within the conference, in spite of ethnic and linguistic diversity, there was complete harmony. Even the initially suspicious and stern police brigade at the stadium events relaxed and became friendly as delegates smiled at them, shook their hands, prayed for and applauded them, and then left the stadium spotlessly clean.
The soul stirring capstone experience of Silk Road 2000 came when the government's non-Christian Minister of Religious Affairs, who came to the stadium to monitor the celebration for possible infractions, was so deeply moved by the experience, that, at the end of the service, he made a public decision to receive Jesus Christ as his Savior.
Evangelism was not the immediate objective of Silk Road 2000. The primary objective was to demonstrate God's love for the people of Kazakhstan, and to bring the Kazakhstan Christians together for support and encouragement. Christian leaders believe festivals like this one, where massive public demonstrations of love and blessing, and acts of humble service toward non-Christians take place, will prove to be an effective means of witnessing convincingly to the character of Jesus Christ and His Good News. It's possible that, in the aftermath of this festival, Kazakhstan could become the launching pad from which all of Central Asia will find, and come to know, the God revealed in Jesus Christ. "Shine Kazakhstan!"
(Excerpted from an article from Assist Communications. The report featured the first hand observation and reporting by Norm and Cher Nelson, of the international radio broadcast and compassion ministry, Life At Its Best. The Nelsons were the only two western media representatives invited to participate in this amazing event. To get the full report, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or LAIB@CompassionRadio.com)
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(New Zealander David Garrett continues to focus God's people on indigenous worship. In many ways this article reflects the purpose of the GWR).
"God has times for everything, time for blessing and time for judgment. To Sodom and Gomorrah came a time when God said "enough"... and judgment came. To answer the cries of the descendants of Jacob in Egypt came Moses who as an eighty-year-old was at last readied to lead God's people out of the land of bondage into the land of promise.
Today I feel the cry is going up to heaven again, the Indigenous and Ethnic peoples of the earth are looking for a place to put their feet, a place of identity. God is saying, "I have heard their cry I have seen their distress I am coming down to deliver them." In the right time and under the right spirit Moses saw the gods of Egypt succumb to the God of Israel and suffer a defeat they have probably never recovered from.
When God created the uniqueness of the different people groups he gave them all different treasures, sounds, dances, rhythms, musical instruments...all used in their celebrations and festivals. Over centuries and thousands of years these "treasures" have been, in many situations, used as tools to worship Satan. During the past 10-15 years a stirring has risen in the hearts of the "ethnos" of the earth. A stir for their land, their place, their own .....Many have sought to return to the ways of their ancestors and to the gods they served. I have however wondered if the real cry is one put into the hearts of the people to return to the true God even though they may not recognize it as such.
Because Satan has stolen so many of the treasures for his worship many of these sounds, dances, instruments...are seen in themselves as being evil. They are only associated with that which is demonic_ŬIn our enthusiasm we need to be very aware of this so that we allow God to untie the chains through the revelation of his Spirit. We should ask the questions, "can this be redeemed, if so, when and how?". We have made many mistakes through our ignorance in the past. Let us be careful to allow the Holy Spirit show the way.
In many cases as representatives of those who closed the door on the cultural expressions of the people, God will merely require us to, in humility, open it again and stand aside...God is saying today, "Let my People Go. In Exodus 12 when Pharoah released the Israelites, Moses insisted "they must bring their flocks and herds, their cattle and sheep", (their dances and songs, their instruments, languages and colorful garments), for they won't know until they get there what they need to worship me"
(Excerpted from an email from David Garrett. For the complete article on "Let my people go" and for information about ordering a recently-completed video that deals with the themes of the above excerpts, (also called "Let my people go") email David Garrett at email@example.com.)
Perhaps the article about from Garrett has stirred you to get involved in some way helping to do your part to see indigenous worship released in the peoples of the earth. Perhaps you would like to get involved personally or as a group in a cross-cultural assignment.
Listed below are several different ways that people can be used to share the Gospel using the fine arts as a starting point. These ways can also be used to touch the lives of fine arts professionals with the Good News.
(The above opportunities are excerpted from email from George H. McDow, Fine Arts Coordinator, East Asia-IMB. firstname.lastname@example.org)
Roberta King, respected ethnomusicologist, professor at Fuller, and past music missionary to Africa visited an energetic church in Africa. As in so many parts of Africa, the worship not only included singing, but hand clapping, movement, and dancing. As the worship began, Roberta did what was natural to her. She joined in and was soon singing, clapping and dancing. There were other missionaries present. They were all silent and stiff. Later the Africans expressed great concern for these missionaries and wanted to know how they could be prayed for. Their concern was not for the missionary that was dancing but for all those that were not. They suspected deep sin in the lives of the missionaries. In their culture, the only believers that did not dance in church were those in sin!!
(To trace the origin of the story, and to find out about articles and books available from Roberta King, email her at Rking@fuller.edu)
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