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VOLUME 3 • ISSUE 2   |   Release date: October 15th, 2007

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Mir Christianity

Group plans to station "missionauts" to spread the gospel in outer space

Mir Christianity

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Missions trips that take missionaries 200 miles from home don't usually stir up a lot of controversy, but a missions group here is finding out that when those 200 miles are straight up, people tend to take notice.

“We really view the exhortation of Christ to carry the gospel to the ends of the earth as more of a starting point,” said Christian Newman, founder and executive director of Third Heaven Ministries. “Besides, it’s been more than 2,000 years. I would certainly hope we’ve sewn up the whole earth thing by now.”

Third Heaven Ministries is working overtime to become the first Christian ministry to send missionaries, or, as they call them, “missionauts,” to outer space. Sources tell The Holy Observer that Newman and his staff have already come to an agreement in principle with the governing board of directors of the International Space Station to lease a wing of the 1,000 cubic meter research facility when it is completed in 2010.

Newman has spent the past few months traveling the globe, trying to convince influential leaders in the Christian community to pledge funding for the highly controversial three-year project that Third Heaven has dubbed Mir Christianity. The price tag is reported to be $100 million.

“I’d say the reaction has been mixed,” Newman says. “Some leaders are skeptical about spending this kind of money when we don’t really know to whom exactly we’ll be ministering, but others really catch the vision right away. They know, as we at Third Heaven do, that reaching out to life on other planets before the Muslims do is absolutely critical to the future of Christianity. We see this as one small step for Third Heaven Ministries, but one giant leap for the Kingdom of God. Actually, now that I think about that, it's actually a pretty big leap for both. I guess in that way this is more important than the moon landing.”

Newman declined to name his supporters among what he calls the “terrestrial ministry” community, but many of his detractors had plenty to say.

“It goes without saying that $100 million would go a long way to solve the many humanitarian crises we’re dealing with right here on good old planet earth,” said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse and son of famed evangelist Billy Graham. “Besides, have these people never heard of Larry Norman? If there’s life on other planets, then I’m sure that He must know, and He’s been there once already and has died to save their souls. So, we should probably focus on a place somewhere a little closer than outer space, like, oh, I don’t know, Sudan maybe. Just thinking out loud here.”

Despite the views of Graham and other prominent critics, Third Heaven Ministries is soldiering on. They hope to send five missionauts into space between now and the 2010 launch to begin setting up operations and gathering intelligence for the upcoming operation.

“We’re going to start out by taking some broadcasts of different Christian radio programs up there as soon as we can to put out some feelers,” Newman said. “We’re even going to run them in a number of languages, you know, just in case the aliens don’t speak English.”

“Then we’ll begin scanning the signals for any return communication, but that’s all just the beginning” Newman continued. “The folks at SETI [Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence] have been listening to static for years. We have to be more proactive. When's the last time an isolated jungle tribe just showed up at a missionary's door? We won't stop until we've looked for sinners under every last space rock!"”

When asked what Third Heaven Ministries will do if they don’t reach their ambitious goal of raising $100 million, Newman seemed defiant.

“We will not rest until we get there,” he said. “This mission will happen. Onward Christian Spacemen!”End of story

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