This past month as I read my “Voice of the Martyrs” weekly email updates, I felt extremely appreciative of the freedom we have in Canada to openly share good news of Jesus Christ. Here are a few of the stories I read over the last couple weeks …

Restrictive Constitutional Amendment Proposed ( Sri Lanka )
– The JHU party, composed entirely of Buddhist monks, is attempting once again to engrain Buddhism as the state religion … the amendment would also prohibit converting Buddhists to any other religion as well as spreading other religions among Buddhists.

Convert from Islam Seriously Wounded ( Philippines )
A 24-year-old Christian man in southern Philippines , was seriously wounded by Muslim militants. The relatively new convert from Islam … was shot in the abdomen and the chest. One bullet lodged in his spine, causing fear of paralysis. The man has been an ardent evangelist since he came to faith in Christ. His public testimony has resulted in several death threats against him.

Two Die in Attack on Evangelistic Team ( Nigeria )
Ten heavily-armed Islamic militants attacked an evangelistic team in northern Nigeria during an open-air evangelistic event. According to Compass Direct, the “New Life For All” evangelistic team was leaving for street evangelism when they were attacked.

Native Missionary Severely Beaten ( India )
A Gospel for Asia missionary, was severely beaten by a mob opposed to his ministry. The mob beat and kicked him while others ransacked his home, burning over 200 New Testaments and
other literature.

Final Decision on Vilification Charges Imminent ( Australia )
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal will be announcing the decision on accusations of “religious vilification” of Muslims by Pastors Danny Nalliah and Daniel Scot. Pray that this decision will be favorable, allowing the freedom of Christians to speak the truth in love.

As I consider situations like these all over the world, I am thankful that in Canada we continue to have the freedom to publicly share our faith without fear of violence or imprisonment. As Christ’s followers we should make the most of the opportunities that God has given us to proclaim the “Good News”.

In recent years the use of sports in evangelism has become more prominent. Sports are a great ministry tool in that they serve to connect us to those we wish to reach. Several Free Methodist churches are already using this medium as part of their approach to evangelism and many of you have indicated a desire to explore further the possibilities of using sports to reach out to youth and young adults.

With this mind we will be holding a Sports Ministry Summit on Saturday April 2nd, 2005 at Kingsview church in Toronto . The purpose of the summit is to provide an opportunity for individuals and churches to come together to consider the use of sports ministry as an evangelism tool.
We will have guest speakers from several sports ministry organizations that will give us a framework for facilitated small group reflection and discussion.

Pastors, student ministry leaders, youth and young adults that are interested in sports ministry are encouraged to come and participate in this event. Come as an individual or as group from your church. We will be providing a travel subsidy for Western representatives wishing to attend.

To register for the event or for more information contact [email protected] / 905-527-3289 or check the FMCiC website www.fmc-canada.org.

Andrew Brown is Student Ministries Director for The Free Methodist Church in Canada and will be continuing in his role as President of Reach Forth (www.reachforth.net), a multi-denominational evangelistic sports and youth ministry in Hamilton , ON .