Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- California: Four Shot at Korean Christian Retreat Center
- Chaplain Issued Day of Prayer, Fasting for U.S. Army
- Watchdog Urges Monitoring of Aid Money for Eritrea
- Spring Breakers Choose Outreach over Vacation
California: Four Shot at Korean Christian Retreat Center
Associated Press reports that one person is dead after a shooting at a Korean Christian retreat center in California Tuesday night. Three others were shot; at least two of those people were critically injured. Police say the language barrier has so far prevented a clear understanding of events, but say they first responded to the rural area after receiving reports about a man shooting his wife. "That language barrier, that's the key to figuring out what happened," Riverside County Sheriff's spokesman Dennis Gutierrez said, noting that most people at the center spoke Korean. So far the name of the alleged shooter has not been released, though he is believed to be one of the injured.
Chaplain Issued Day of Prayer, Fasting for U.S. Army
Religion News Service reports that the Army's top chaplain declared yesterday (Apr. 8) a day of prayer and fasting for U.S. soldiers, a response to rising suicide rates in the Army. Last year, the Army reported the highest suicide rate since record-keeping began in 1980. "I therefore call the Chaplaincy to a Day of Prayer and Fasting, in keeping with your religious traditions, to be observed on 8 April 2009 that the united cry of our Corps will be heard and answered regarding the protection, preservation, and peace for our Soldiers and Families," Carver said in his proclamation, which was issued March 2. "[W]e really encourage not only Baptists but all local churches to pray for the military," Carver told the Baptist Press.
Watchdog Urges Monitoring of Aid Money for Eritrea
Mission News Network reports that a persecution watchdog has voiced serious concerns over impending aid being sent to Eritrea's government. The European Commission may give the African nation $161 million in aid money. "We are extremely concerned that the European Commission's generous allocation of aid to Eritrea does not simply provide a financial lifeline to the oppressive Eritrean leadership, but rather alleviates the incredible suffering of the Eritrean people," says Arie de Pater, Open Doors Director of Advocacy. "We call on the European Commission, however, to ensure that the aid will benefit the people rather than the leadership or the military. Strict monitoring of funds and projects is crucial." At least 3,000 people in Eritrea have been imprisoned in military or labor camps for their religious beliefs in recent years.
Spring Breakers Choose Outreach over Vacation
The Christian Post reports that thousands of high school and college students are using their spring breaks to help someone else. Many of them are choosing to head to areas affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, or areas in the Midwest affected by flooding. "This week is different because these students have a choice," said Torey Kittleson, a Disaster Response Services staffer for the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee. "They’re free for a week of vacation – and they choose to help people in need rather than go to the beach and lie out in the sun." College ministry Campus Crusade for Christ led a trip of 2,600 students to Panama City Beach, but to share the Gospel with people out on the sand.