Religion Today Summaries - December 30, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - December 30, 2004

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world. In today's edition:

  • Workers Ministering Among The Estimated Three Million Survivors In India

  • Critics Bring Down 'Wait 'Til Marriage' Sex-Ed Program In NY

  • Elderly Finds Comfort, Acceptance at Couple's 'Nursing Home Church'

  • Unique Reality-TV Show Puts Viewers In Shoes Of Modern Day Missionaries

Workers Ministering Among The Estimated Three Million Survivors In India
Gospel for Asia

Workers are rushing food, clothing, medical supplies - and the love of God - to millions of Asians devastated by the earthquake and tsunami. GFA workers are already ministering among the estimated three million survivors huddled in massive refugee camps in India. Others are serving in Sri Lanka and other hard-hit countries. In spite of the death and destruction, Yohannan reports, some bright spots exist. He explains how God's hand protected one congregation. "In one of our churches in Sri Lanka, our believers were spared even though their entire village was washed away. At the time the wave hit, they were all in church, and their church building is located up in the mountains." But Christians have suffered alongside their countrymen throughout South Asia's devastated coastal regions. In the wake of this disaster, GFA's 1.5 million-member Believers Church in India is rallying support and deploying its leadership and members to minister to those suffering both physically and spiritually. "In times like these, we know that God opens the hearts of those who suffer, and we pray that as our workers demonstrate God's love to them, many of them will come to know for the first time that real security comes only through Him," Yohannon says.

Critics Bring Down 'Wait 'Til Marriage' Sex-Ed Program In NY
Jim Brown, AgapePress

A New York school district has dumped an abstinence-until-marriage program after a vocal minority claimed it was insensitive to people who don't want to get married or cannot get married legally. A two-day skit-based presentation called "I'm Worth Waiting For" has been banned from Lansing Middle School.  Critics claim the program, sponsored by the Ithaca Pregnancy Center, may offend children from "non-traditional" families.  But the Center's executive director, Rhonda Mapes, says the program simply tells students there are consequences to sexual activity outside of marriage. Mapes claims "Christianphobia" prompted the district's decision to discard the program -- but she vows that critics' objections to the Center's Christian affiliation will not deter her from promoting abstinence in other schools. According to Mapes, the "I'm Worth Waiting For" program has been used in ten area school districts and has received strong approval from health teachers in those districts.  It was allowed into the Lansing Central School District's eighth-grade health program last year. Responding to parents' confusion about how the issue became heated so quickly, school board president Dan Brown indicated to The Ithaca Journal that re-examination of all aspects of the health curriculum had been in the board's plans for some time, implying that objections to the "I'm Worth Waiting For" program simply brought it to a head. 

Elderly Finds Comfort, Acceptance at Couple's 'Nursing Home Church'
Charisma News Service

The church often ignores the elderly, but a compassionate couple in Florida decided to provide these people easy access to God's love. People Worth Loving Fellowship (PWLF) in Jacksonville, pastored by Buck Stanley and his wife, Nikki, is a unique congregation that consists entirely of nursing home residents. Earlier this year they completed construction on a new, $135,000 nursing home church. Every part of the building is wheelchair-accessible, including the custom-made altar. The couple now holds weekly services for an average of 60 residents from seven nursing homes. They run four converted buses equipped to transport the elderly and disabled. The Stanleys give every penny to the ministry, including an inheritance Nikki used to pay off the church building four days after it was completed. They travel five or six days a week, visiting an average of two nursing homes daily. Returning home on the weekends, they hold a 10 a.m. service every Sunday at a local nursing home before busing people in for their 3 p.m. service at PWLF. The Stanleys report that some of the nursing home staff members come to know Christ because of the changes they see in the lives of the residents. In addition to PWLF, the Stanleys currently visit 69 nursing homes in Florida and 16 in North Carolina. For more information on People Worth Loving Fellowship, visit (

Unique Reality-TV Show Puts Viewers In Shoes Of Modern Day Missionaries

A unique reality-TV show that puts viewers in the shoes of modern day missionaries will soon be airing its second season. Travel the Road is a television show that follows the real-life adventures of Christian witnesses Tim Scott and Will Decker as they journey through various parts of the world sharing their faith. Mike Scott, producer of the series, traveled with the pair through Vietnam. He says the series gives viewers a clear picture of the dangers and challenges missionaries face. Recounting one misadventure, he says he and the two young men "got lost in the jungle and actually were attacked and eaten by leeches, of all things. It's a pretty wild episode to see and check out." The producer says the adversity the two young missionaries go through runs the gamut from war zones to wild animal encounters. "You name it, they're involved in it," Scott says, "but there's a purpose behind it, and the purpose is really to get back to these tribes and these people who have never heard the gospel and share with them." The second season of Travel the Road will premiere on TBN next summer.