Religion Today Summaries - May 11, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - May 11, 2006

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

  • Indonesian Tsunami Survivors Send Money for Katrina Victims
  • Police Investigate Easter Attack on Church in Punjab
  • Hopegivers Founder Calls for Prayer and Fasting in India and Around the World
  • Iran President Questions Bush's Christian Values

Indonesian Tsunami Survivors Send Money for Katrina Victims

A Baptist Press story details how Louisiana Baptist Convention officials recently opened an envelope filled with $854 cash, which turned out to be an offering from several grateful citizens of Sumatra, Indonesia - a region decimated by the Dec. 26, 2004 tsunami. Twenty Sumatran men reached deep in their shallow but generous pockets to send aid to Louisiana, which they heard was hit by Hurricane Katrina. During the tsunami disaster, these 20 men had experienced the help of Southern Baptist disaster relief volunteers from several state conventions. The Indonesian men remembered how these particular Americans helped them, cared compassionately for them and loved them unconditionally. The Indonesians gave the offering to a Southern Baptist humanitarian consultant who was in Sumatra recently to assess the progress of current relief efforts. “Some of the greatest joys in ministry occur when God surprises you,” the consultant said. “My trip to Indonesia was no different as I was blessed beyond measure especially because God had this special surprise for me.”

Police Investigate Easter Attack on Church in Punjab

Punjab police on Friday (May 5) assured members of a house church in Bhatinda district attacked by Hindu extremists during an Easter service that they would help negotiate a compromise with the attackers, Compass Direct reports. Sukh Pal Singh, a member of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP or World Hindu Council), on April 16 led a group of five people who disrupted the service at the House of Prayer, an independent church. The extremists also warned the church not to hold further meetings. Pastor Francis, who goes by one name, said, “Initially, they stood outside my house and warned the Christians who were coming to attend the service not to enter the house. Later they came onto the terrace and started shouting, demanding that we stop the prayer right away.”

Hopegivers Founder Calls for Prayer and Fasting in India and Around the World

Millions of Christians across India and around the world are praying daily for the many humanitarian ministries of Emmanuel in the northern state of Rajasthan. Besides the 2,000 orphans on the Raipura campus in Kota, a total of over 10,000 orphans are being rescued in 87 Hope Homes across India, according to an ASSIST News Service story. Now Hopegivers International Co-Founder Dr. Samuel Thomas is calling for an All India International Night of Prayer and Fasting May 12-13 for the situation in Kota, Rajasthan. Dr. Sam, who was released on bail after 47 days in prison last week, is currently reorganizing the staff and outreach ministries of humanitarian mission -- and working with contractors on an emergency plan to rebuild a "Wall of Hope" around the Hope Home Orphanage in Kota. All the orphans are expected to join Dr. Sam, Bishop M.A. Thomas and "Circle of Hope" prayer groups around the world. Over 20,000 congregations are expected to participate among the Emmanuel Fellowship churches in India along with Christians of all other denominations.

Iran President Questions Bush's Christian Values

With his 18-page letter to President Bush, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivered a history lesson, philosophy lecture and religious sermon laced with references to Jesus Christ. The Christian Post reports that Ahmadinejad declared that Western-style democracy had failed, and that the use of secret prisons in Europe and aspects of the war in Iraq could not be reconciled with Bush's Christian values. It did not address Iran's nuclear ambitions. In Iran on Tuesday, the Iranian president portrayed his letter as a blueprint of "suggestions for resolving the many problems facing humanity." Ahmadinejad questions whether Christ and other religious prophets would have approved of U.S. policies and actions in the Middle East. The United States dismissed the letter as irrelevant, a stalling tactic, and devoid of concrete proposals.