Sunday, November 29, 2009

Incredible Korea

Asia accounts for 60 % of world total population, but only 8 % of world’s Christians live in Asia (2006 numbers).
For many decades and centuries Christianity was perceived in Asia as a product of western culture and civilization. Asians perceive Christianity as an "alien" religion, even though "Jesus was born in Asia."
But the face of Christianity is changing in this continent and this is because of South Korea. Christianity arrived first to Korea in the 1784 when the first Catholic prayer-house was established in Korea. Protestantism followed in 1884, but growth of both was slow until the middle of the twentieth century.
Until 1960 only around 5 % of Koreans were Christians. Nowadays more than 50 % are Christians making it for sure the first religion in this country before Buddhism (the number varies due to the confusion between religion and traditions , many Christians in Korea still practice their ancestral Buddhist traditions and many Koreans don’t declare their religion). Christianity in Korea is the fastest growing religion. It is mainly protestant, but Roman Catholicism is also growing so fast.
Another face of Korean Christianity is the missionaries. Korea is the second country in the world in Evangelization after the US, sending alone 16 500 missionaries in 173 countries around the globe, of them 126 persons have died while accomplishing their missions! (Source: Korean World Mission Association KWMA). South Korea sends more than 1,100 new missionaries annually. That means Korea alone sends out as many new missionaries each year as all of the countries of the West combined.
Mission experts estimate that 1.8 billion individuals in thousands of ethnic groups remain unexposed to the gospel. South Korean missionaries, in particular, are pioneering projects and methods to spread the gospel in these areas. Korea sends 34 percent of its missionaries to unreached peoples; the international average is around 10 percent.
Christians in South Korea see their missionaries as uniquely positioned to bridge the divide between the wealthy West and majority-world nations. Moreover Korean missionaries often target dangerous countries in the word such as Chechnya, Iraq (On May 30, 2004, terrorists in Iraq linked to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi kidnapped Kim Sun Il, a Korean interpreter. He was executed on the 22nd of June)and Afghanistan (in 2007 23 South Korean evangelists have been kidnapped by Taliban in Afghanistan).
Korean World Mission Association (KWMA) plans to send 100,000 full-time Korean missionaries by 2030. They hope to mobilize 50 percent of Korean churches to be involved in missions, recruit 1 of every 300 Korean Christians to become missionaries, adopt 200 unreached people groups every five years, and send 1 million tentmakers into difficult-access countries by 2020. (source Christianity Today : Mission Incredible).
In conclusion , Christianity is South Korea is in a continuous progress and the future of evangelization and Christianity in the world depend much on the Korean brave missionaries.

More Info : History of Christianity in Korea
Missions incredible
Christianity in Korea
Korean world mission association

Saturday, November 7, 2009

East Timor (Timor Leste)

The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, otherwise known as East Timor, is located in the eastern half of the island of Timor which lies off the northern coast of Western Australia in the Indonesian archipelago.
It’s a small country of 14,870 km2 , and with a population of 1,134,000.
East Timor is an extremely poor country. The economy is based predominantly on agriculture which employs over 90% of the population.
It is one of only two predominantly Roman Catholic countries in Asia (along with the Philippines). Catholics make around 97 % of the population.
The history of the country dates back to 1520 when it was first colonized by the Portuguese. At this time the Dutch were in control of several of the surrounding islands. By 1613 the Dutch had taken control of the western portion of Timor. The Dutch and Portuguese fought for control over the island until 1860. At this time a treaty was made dividing Timor into eastern and western portions.
The treaty gave the western portion to the Netherlands and the eastern portion to Portugal. Eventually the Netherlands gave up its colonies in the Dutch West Indies including West Timor, giving birth to Indonesia. The Dutch recognized the western part of Timor as Indonesia in 1949.
The Portuguese remained in control of East Timor for 455 years, until 1975. A military coup in Portugal in 1974 increased political activity both in Portugal and Portuguese Timor. In 1975 Portugal pulled out of East Timor, leaving it vulnerable to invasion or conquest. The Timorese Democratic Union demanded independence.
July 16, 1976, nine days after East Timor was declared an independent nation, it was invaded and annexed by Indonesia. In July of 1976 East Timor was declared the 27th province of Indonesia. Indonesia occupied East Timor for the next twenty four years. Indonesian rule in East Timor was marked by extreme violence and brutality. More than 200,000 Timorese reportedly died from famine, disease, and fighting since the country’s annexation . The most cruel of these crimes was the Santa Cruz Massacre on November 12, 1991, where Indonesian troops fired upon a peaceful memorial procession to a cemetery in Dili, East Timor that had turned into a pro-independence demonstration. More than 271 East Timorese were killed that day at the Santa Cruz cemetery or in hospitals soon after. An equal number were disappeared and are believed dead. Moreover Indonesia tried to change the demographics of the country by bringing Indonesian Muslim settlers.
On August 30, 1999, a UN-supervised popular referendum was held to choose between Special Autonomy within Indonesia and independence. 78.5% of voters chose independence, but violent clashes, instigated primarily by elements within the Indonesian military and aided by Timorese pro-Indonesia militias broke out soon afterwards. A peacekeeping force was sent to restore order.
By the end of October 1999 the last of the Indonesian soldiers had left East Timor. For the next three years East Timor was governed by the United Nations Transitional Authority in East Timor.
East Timor declared itself a nation on May 20, 2002. Mari Alkatiri, a former guerrilla leader was elected Prime Minister and former rebel leader, José Alezandre Gusmão, was elected president.
Human Rights Organizations claim that 200,000 of the 650,000 Timorese people were killed during the annexation by the Indonesian forces. The Indonesian occupation and invasion of East Timor is one of the worst atrocities of the twenty first century.

More info : Conflict in East Timor
Santa Cruz Massacre
East Timor

Monday, November 2, 2009

Register your child in Lebanon : your country needs you

Around 10 - 12 million Lebanese live abroad, of whom more than 75 % are Christians.
These Lebanese are having children , but unfortunately aren't registering them as Lebanese , which makes that the 2nd and 3rd generation Lebanese aren't officially Lebanese..
So Lebanon is loosing in it's christian population ... in order to prevent this every Lebanese born outside should be registered in Lebanon.