Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 10, 2008
By KEVIN CHIRI
Editor and Publisher
LAPLACE –They don’t call it the “worldwide web” for nothing.
And therein lies the problem in countries such as India and China, which are now experiencing an explosion in United States culture, all via the Internet.
The problem, however, is that much of the negative influence from the Internet, and the proliferation of focus on American clothing, TV and music is now making its way into countries such as India and China, which previously did not have that kind of rampant cultural change occurring in any other way.
LaPlace Pastor Neil Bernard, who heads up the large New Wine Christian Fellowship, was recently invited to those two countries to serve as a guest minister before groups of young people, and then to pastors who are trying to figure out how to handle what the Internet has done to their young people.
Bernard spoke on back-to-back nights to leaders of an underground church in China, where he taught 30 to 40 pastors who are facing such challenges with their young people.
Then he also was the guest preacher to youth conferences in Nagaland, India, where he had a message of how to deal with the radical changes of modern media.
“Both of these countries are now experiencing a whole new problem with their young people, and it is all because of the Internet,” Bernard said recently, upon his return from the long, overseas flight. “India has tried to preserve the culture of Nagaland, but due to the Internet, they now have a huge problem since their young people have been thrust into the 21st Century.”
In China, Bernard and his wife Angela made the trip there, which saw him secretly brought at night to the meeting with the pastors of the underground church.
“It was quite interesting,” Bernard said with a smile. “We had to slip out at night, take this kind of zig-zag trail and eventually meet these people in a secret location. You have to remember that it is still against the law to preach the Gospel in China.”
Bernard had to preach to the Chinese leaders through an interpreter, highlighting the fact that strong marriages have to be built at first to keep the family unit together.
Bernard also got to meet LaPlace missionaries Clay and Anita Brooks, who were sent to China 13 years ago by Reserve Church.
It was the second visit to Nagaland for Bernard, who went in ’06, leading to his second invitation to preach again at two youth conferences.
Also highlighting the obvious rapid change in culture in India, Bernard noted that when he went in 2006, there were dozens of ox-drawn carts
“But now there are none,” he said. “You can see how fast the Internet is changing things there. The young people all want American clothing, and watch American TV and listen to American music. And even though many of them don’t have running water, the most important thing to so many of them is to have cell phones.”