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Volcano Devastates Congo Cities,
Destroys Adventist Headquarters

ore than 450,000 people are homeless following a volcanic eruption near the Rwandan-Congolese border January 17. Flowing lava from Mount Nyiragongo in eastern Congo devastated surrounding towns and villages, with the city of Goma feeling the full brunt of the eruption. The Seventh-day Adventist Church's North Kivu Association headquarters located in Goma was among the many hundreds of buildings destroyed in the disaster.

"Half the city [of Goma] has gone to ashes," reports Manasse Mvukiseye, president of the North Kivu field. He says the lava burned down the mission headquarters, all the mission buildings, two mission cars, and the homes of many church employees and members. "Most of our [church] members are now refugees," he says. Families of church administrators made homeless in the disaster are currently staying at the church's Rwankeri Mission headquarters in neighboring Rwanda.

"The eruption started slowly January 14," explains Jean Emmanuel Nlo Nlo, communication director for the Africa-Indian Ocean Division. "People thought it would soon die as usual. Unfortunately things changed rapidly on Thursday January 17. In addition to smoke, heavy lava came roaring to the central city of Goma at a speed of about 20 kilometers per hour. Those who had not already left the city days earlier rushed to the border to take refuge in the nearby Rwandan city of Gisenyi. There are now about 500,000 refugees in Gisenyi, the villages between Gisenyi and Rwankeri, and Rwankeri itself." According to Nlo Nlo, no Adventists are reported to be among the more than 40 people killed in the disaster.

As refugees return to Goma, relief agencies are struggling to provide shelter, food, and fresh water. The closure of Goma's airport due to lava flows has complicated relief efforts. --Adventist News Network

New Bible Translation Released in Poland
Thirty translators, representing 11 Christian denominations, have recently published a new version of the New Testament and Psalms for Polish Christians. The entire project took six years to complete. Polish Seventh-day Adventists were active in the work of the translating committee, according to Andrzej Sicinski, secretary of the Polish Union Conference, who served as a consultant.

"The overarching principle guiding this translation was faithfulness to the original text and clarity of the language," said Sicinski. The new translation reflects this with shorter sentences and the replacement of archaic language with a more contemporary and better-understood phraseology.

According to Sicinski, the new translation demonstrates a tremendous effort invested by the representatives of the different churches. "Publishing such an edition of the Bible should be considered an immensely important and creative venture, and there was value in participating in the project." Participation allowed Adventist representatives to share our denomination's position on a number of theological issues.

This is the first translation since the "New Version" of the Bible was released in Poland 26 years ago. It is hoped this new translation will be attractive to a younger generation of readers. Already the new translation has received many favorable reviews, and the influential weekly magazine Polityka called the release a "great event in the religious life of democratic Poland."--Adventist News Network

ADRA Establishes Office in Afghanistan
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) has established an office in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The Kabul office will begin meeting immediate needs within Afghanistan and work toward developing a long-range program to help the Afghan people reconstruct their devastated communities, states Byron Scheuneman, senior vice-president for ADRA International.

Roger Kopitzke, formerly director of ADRA Vietnam, has been appointed as acting director of ADRA Afghanistan. Additional staff assignments are being filled.

In order to avoid duplication of services, ADRA will work with United Nations agencies and other non-governmental organizations to identify areas that are most in need. Program planning will take place in cooperation with local communities, and the emphasis will be on long-term sustainability of projects.

New Bible Study CD Sells More than 100,000 Copies
Amazing Facts ministries debuted an exciting and unique witnessing tool at the 2001 ASI convention last August. Since then it has become an international favorite, selling more than 103,000 copies in just five months.

An interactive Bible study CD, Panorama of Prophecy, retails for one US dollar, but contains more than US$300 worth of resources. It features lessons covering essential Bible truths, a King James Bible, the Conflict of the Ages book series, more than 30 Amazing Facts booklets on a variety of topics, and more than US$100 worth of QuickVerse, a Bible search software.

"People are buying them by the dozens and giving them away to everyone they know," says Amazing Facts president Doug Batchelor. "Some are offering them through classified ads, others donate them to libraries. One individual was trying the disk on board a flight when an airline attendant expressed an interest in it. He immediately gave her a copy." Batchelor adds, "Since its release, many people have contacted Amazing Facts once they've completed the Bible studies, asking for a church that teaches these same truths."

For more information, contact Amazing Facts through their website: or Amazing Facts, P.O. Box 1058, Roseville, CA, 95678-8058, USA.

Review Seeks Information Concerning
Seventh-day Adventists in Vietnam

In preparation for an upcoming feature article, the Adventist Review is seeking information about Seventh-day Adventists who served in the Vietnam conflict (1964-75), especially including names and stories of those who died in the conflict.

Recent estimates suggest that as many as 25 young Adventists may have given their lives in the war, but no record has yet been assembled.

Brief biographical information, contact information for surviving family members, and photos will be treated with discretion, and all materials provided to the magazine will be returned to senders.

Send material to associate editor Bill Knott at: Adventist Review, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904 or by e-mail to [email protected].

When the North American Division Executive Committee met October 18-21 for their annual Year-end meeting, the administrative body discussed and voted several policies regarding pastoral salaries.

Among the proposals discussed was a measure that would expand pastors' wage rates so that pastors of large churches, who supervise pastoral staffs, could be paid up to nine percent more than the pastor's base rate. This proposal was not approved, as reported in the November 22, 2001, Review, but was referred for further study.

News Notes

  •, a Seventh-day Adventist web site developed to help individuals have a clearer understanding of the Bible, has attracted a million visitors and 100,000 phone calls. Questions and prayer requests have been received from 168 countries with the most recent from Vatican City.

  • Euro-Asia Division reported more than 240 people baptized in Ukraine on December 22 as a direct result of global pioneer work in the 300 Churches Project. Adventists in former Soviet countries are planting 300 member-led churches in unentered areas. Global Mission pioneers are planting 96 of these house-churches in Ukraine.

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    © 2002, Adventist Review.