Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world. In today's edition:
- Christian Situation Worsens in Laos
- Removed Ten Commandments Plaque Returned to Israel
- Turkish Christian Makes Slow Improvement Following Brutal Beating
- Private Academy 'Resurrected' as Christian Home School
Christian Situation Worsens in Laos
Charisma News Service
Two families were recently forced to leave their village in the Attapue Province because they would not renounce their faith in Christ. According to Christian Aid Mission (CAM), six women and their children arrived in the city of Pakse in southern Laos on Jan. 2 after being threatened for many months. "The situation is getting very unstable and dangerous," two of the women said. Meanwhile, police arrested six believers gathered for worship in Kang village on Dec. 27 and another Christian in Somsouk village. On Dec. 28, authorities arrested three believers in Donphai village who were conducting worship in their homes and another believer in Sanamsai City. Bibles were also confiscated during the arrests. Other Christian leaders and believers are reportedly being sought by authorities and remain in hiding. Some reportedly have walked more than 60 miles to avoid arrest, CAM said.
Removed Ten Commandments Plaque Returned to Israel
A stone monument of the Ten Commandments has been returned to Israel. During a National Clergy Council press conference in the nation's capital on Thursday, Dr. Kenneth Johnson of Adams County, Ohio, announced the results of a joint venture with a group of Ten Commandments supporters in Israel. "A couple of months ago, we sent an 800-pound granite Ten Commandments monument to Barkan, Israel -- where they have already installed the monument -- and some of us will be going to Israel sometime in the future to dedicate it." Johnson, a local pastor who helped lead the fight to block the removal of the Ten Commandments from four Adams County schools, said it felt good to return a stone tablet of the Commandments to their homeland.
Turkish Christian Makes Slow Improvement Following Brutal Beating
Barbara Baker, Compass Direct
After being beaten into a coma three months ago for alleged “missionary propaganda,” Turkish Christian Yakup Cindilli has been slowly improving from a nearly helpless state. Cindilli, 32, was hospitalized the third week of October after four men linked with the right-wing Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) beat him severely on his head and face for distributing New Testaments and “doing missionary work.” At a court hearing on December 17, about 60 MHP sympathizers gathered outside the courthouse in a show of support for two of Cindilli’s assailants who remain in jail. Metin Yildiran, president of the local MHP chapter, was released at an earlier court hearing. The crowd of sympathizers began shouting angrily when they learned that the defendants had been remanded back to jail custody following the hearing because, a defense lawyer stated, there was “hard evidence” against them. Cindilli, discharged on December 2 from the intensive care unit of Bursa State Hospital shortly after he began to emerge from total unconsciousness, is now at his family’s home and starting to speak, although he is still unable to care for himself, his attending doctor confirmed.
Private Academy 'Resurrected' as Christian Home School
Jim Brown, Agape Press
A private academy in Mississippi has been converted into a Christian home school. When Pine Hills Academy in Gloster closed down recently, several parents were reluctant to send their children to local public schools. As a result, the school was reopened as Pine Hills Christian Academy, with a home-school curriculum called "Old Dominion." Methodist pastor David Brooks, principal of the school, says Pine Hills is very much like a typical public or private school -- except for the curriculum, low tuition, and Christian emphasis. "The curriculum has a lot of Christian teachings in it," he explains. "I teach Bible to all the different age groups, and we have P.E. We do basically what a [public] school would do, except we are using this home-schooling material." In addition, Pine Hills allows students to learn at their own pace. Brooks emphasizes that Pine Hills is not a private school, that it is open to anybody who would like to come. "We've had a black family join here, and they are very, very happy with the way things are going," he says. "We hope everything is going to continue to go and grow. In fact, we picked up some [students] after Christmas." Brooks says he is excited about the school's potential, noting enrollment has grown to 43. Plans include fielding a football team next year.