[quote]Sri Lanka, Jan. 19 -A dozen Americans walked into a relief camp here, showering bereft parents and traumatized children with gifts, attention and affection. They also quietly offered camp residents something else: Jesus.
The Americans, who all come from one church in Texas, have staged plays detailing the life of Jesus and had children draw pictures of him, camp residents said. They have told parents who lost children that they should still believe in God, and held group prayers where they tried to heal a partly paralyzed man and a deaf 12year-old girl.
The attempts at proselytizing are angering local Christian leaders, who worry that they could provoke a violent backlash against Christians in Sri Lanka, a predominantly Buddhist country that is already a religious tinderbox.
Last year, Buddhist hard-liners attacked the offices of the World Vision Christian aid group and vandalized or threatened churches and pastors 75 times. They accuse Christians of using money and social programs to cajole and coerce conversions.
Most American groups, including those affiliated with religious organizations, strictly avoid mixing aid and missionary work. But scattered reports of proselytizing in Sri Lanka; Indonesia, which is predominantly Muslim; and India, with large Hindu and Muslim populations, are arousing concerns that the good will spread by the American relief efforts may be undermined by resentment. . .
In Indonesia last week, reports that a missionary group named WorldHelp planned to raise 300 Muslim tsunami orphans in a Christian children’s home in Jakarta brought an outcry from Muslims . . .
A Jan. 18 posting from the team in Indonesia says the country’s devastated Aceh Province is “ripe for Jesus!!”
“What an opportunity,” it adds. “It has been closed for five years, and the missionaries in Indonesia consider it the most militant and difficult place for ministry. The door is wide open and the people are hungry.”[/quote]
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