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Observations by missionary doctors 100 years ago offer clues to fighting cancer and other diseases

Nobel prize winning physician and theologian Albert Schweitzer worked at the missionary hospital he founded for more than 40 years

Albert Schweitzer treating patient

before he saw his first case of appendicitis among the African natives. Cancer was completely unknown when he first reached the interior lowlands of West Africa in 1913.

“On my arrival in Gabon, I was astonished to encounter no cases of cancer,” Schweitzer noted. “I can not, of course, say positively that there was no cancer at all, but, like other frontier doctors, I can only say that if any cases existed they must have been quite rare.”
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Cybermissions: Using computer and internet technologies to impact lives for Christ

Imagine packing 500 hours of Bible college training on a $13 chip that plays from a cell phone. Add speakers to the cell phone for only

Cybermissions training in the Amazon

$20 and a group of pastors can be trained in places far-removed or unreachable by conventional means.

“I don’t need a visa to get into these countries,” says John Edmiston, founder of Cybermissions. (www.cybermissions.org)  “We tunnel in and then we blast away.”

Edmiston started Cybermissions in 2001 to serve the church in Southeast Asia, especially pastors who had no training. Now their reach is global, with more than a million people each year making use of training materials they provide.

Through one of their contacts in Bhutan – a country governed by a Buddhist-dominated monarchy hostile to the Gospel, Cybermissions materials are training dozens of pastors. “We’re reaching underground Christians,” Edmiston notes. “Through one man we’ve reached Bhutan.”

A retired businessman based in Australia has used their program to start 100 Bible colleges in the Amazon River basin. “Pastor Jose” Keegan started developing a rapport with Latin American pastors via the internet in 2002. Now he oversees pastors throughout the Spanish-speaking world, who lead training groups ranging in size from 15 to 70 people.

“We don’t teach Hebrew and Greek, but the quality is on a par with Bible colleges in the U.S.,” Edmiston says. Harvestime International Network developed their college materials, which consist of 21 modules. Each module is between 150 to 300 pages long, with a “fill-in-the-blank” style commonly used in Theological Education by Extension.

Pastor Jose – originally from Argentina – has seen 14,000 people take the Harvestime courses in the last nine years. Initially, he talked up the courses using internet forums, but now he uses Skype, Facebook and any other available technology to guide the Spanish-speaking pastors he oversees.

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Missions through cyberspace

I spent Saturday with the board of Cybermissions, who are using new technologies to reach and equip the body of Christ in remote or restricted places.

In partnership with Pastor “Jose,” their training materials have started 100 Bible colleges in the Amazon. Three or four people a day are coming to Christ through their website.

They can put 500 hours of college-level Bible courses on a chip that plays through a cell phone for $13. Add another $20 and speakers can be attached to the cell phone, allowing a small training class to commence.

Compare this to a year of seminary in the U.S. for $30,000 to $40,000.

John Edmiston, the founder of Cybermissions, says he doesn’t need a visa to get into restricted countries. “We tunnel in (using cyber technologies) and then blast away.”


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