Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Hindu Groups Call off Christmas Day Strike in Orissa
- Pakistan's Turmoil over Mumbai Attacks Opens Doors for Peace
- Myanmar Refugees Bring Advent Alive for Tennessee Church
- Egyptian Christian Convert Tortured, Raped in Egypt
Hindu Groups Call off Christmas Day Strike in Orissa
ASSIST News Service reports that Hindu groups announced their decision Friday evening (December 19) to call off their proposed state-wide strike in Orissa planned for December 25th. The decision was made after representatives of several right-wing Hindu organizations met with Orissa Chief Minister, Mr. Naveen Patnaik. This welcome news for local Christians who have already seen terrible violence in their state, was announced by Friends of Orissa (www.FriendsofOrissa.org), which is part of the Foundation for International Research and Education. A message sent to their supporters said that Mr. Ratnakar Chaini, president of the Samiti, a memorial group formed after the murder of Laxmanananda Saraswati, told reporters that the turn of events was due to assurance given by the Chief Minister that all the killers of the Swami would soon be arrested.
Pakistan's Turmoil over Mumbai Attacks Opens Doors for Peace
Mission News Network reports that mission organization are hopeful that peace efforts between Pakistan and India will work for good. Tensions between both countries run high following the attacks in Mumbai by Pakistani Islamic extremists, and both countries are working to diffuse the volatile situation. World Bible Translation Center President Eric Fellman says reconciliation efforts have opened the door to the message of Jesus. "[President Asif Zadari of Pakistan] said in the current environment, reconciliation is the best revenge against the dark forces of terrorism. The only path to reconciliation is through Jesus Christ, so our goal is to take this bit of an opening in a Muslim country and get in as many copies of the Gospel as we can."
Myanmar Refugees Bring Advent Alive for Tennessee Church
The Anglican Journal reports that one rural church in Smyrna, Tenn., has experienced double blessings since welcoming the "alien within their gate." About 70 ethnic Karen from Myanmar began coming to the financially-struggling church earlier this year, and have since helped the church by volunteering to plow surrounding land and planting Burmese vegetables, which the whole church then harvested. Part of sales from the crop went to help pay the church's mortgage, which it had been struggling to meet. The sales also sponsored outreach projects. The Karen, who are the lowest rung in Burmese society especially if they are Christian, also used part of the proceeds. "It's a classic example of the Advent story," said Michael Williams, incoming senior warden at All Saints, Smyrna, Tennessee. "We could not find God, but God found us."
Egyptian Christian Convert Tortured, Raped in Egypt
ASSIST News Service reports that Martha Samuel, an Egyptian Muslim who converted to Christianity five years ago, was arrested at Cairo airport on last Wednesday as she, her husband and two sons (four and two years old) were leaving for Russia. Her name was on a list of people prohibited from leaving the country. According to reports, Martha Samuel has been sexually assaulted by Egyptian police officers and has been beaten and tortured in an attempt to force her to return to Islam. Samuel (and her children, who are also under arrest), is to be transferred from the National Security office in Heliopolis to Al-Qanater prison after seeing the “renewal judge.” Food has been withheld from Samuel's children to pressure her to covert.