Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Swine Flu May Impact Countless Mission Trips
- So. Baptists Seek Great Commission Resurgence
- Five Pakistani Christians Arrested for 'Blasphemy'
- Wheelchair No Obstacle to Passion for Missions
Swine Flu May Impact Countless Mission Trips
Mission News Network reports that fears surrounding swine flu in Mexico may cancel dozens of short-term mission trips to the country this year. As the number of unconfirmed cases reaches into the thousands, trip organizers are proceeding cautiously. "We've been talking to the Youth For Christ Mexico, based in Monterey, very closely, as well as our hosts along the border, and they're watching it as well," said Ministry Advancement Coordinator Jerry Johnson. "Right now we're really in a 'wait and see' mode as far as what this is actually going to do to our trips." Once one of the most popular destinations for short-term trips, organizers had already cut back some trips because of increase drug violence in cities such as Juarez. But Johnson remains hopeful. "There are a lot of young people [in Mexico] who are standing up and filling the gap, if you will."
So. Baptists Seek Great Commission Resurgence
The Christian Post reports that members of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) are ready for a Great Commission Resurgence to rejuvenate their denomination, even as the number of baptisms and members continues to fall. The declaration calls SBC members to get back to the basics of faith. "What unites us in this movement is not some naive notion that we are all the same or that we all agree on every doctrinal or practical issue that confronts us," wrote Tom Ascol, senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Fla., on his blog Thursday. "Rather, we agree that the gospel is central to any and every Christian effort and that we must not allow anything, no matter how good and noble it might be, to detract from proclamation of that gospel around the world." The declaration has already been signed by SBC president Johnny Hunt and R. Albert Mohler, Jr. of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Five Pakistani Christians Arrested for 'Blasphemy'
ASSIST News Service reports that Christian advocates are condemning the latest arrest of five Pakistani Christians under Pakistan’s disputed blasphemy laws. One Christian, Ashfaq Gill, a political worker of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) was accused of tearing up pages of Quran, and writing "unwanted content" on a blackboard at a local primary school. Fearing more trouble from Muslim fundamentalists, Ashfaq’s family has gone into hiding, fearing extrajudicial violence even if he is acquitted. Apparently under pressure from fundamentalist Muslims, the Police arrested four other Christians from the area including Naseer Masih, Harris Masih, Israr Masih. Police also arrested guard of the school on suspicion of complicity in the alleged blasphemy of Quran.
Wheelchair No Obstacle to Passion for Missions
Peggy Gentry may be bound to a wheelchair, but her service to Christ knows no bounds, the Baptist Press reports. "The Lord gave me a desire to go, and I just want to keep on going," says Gentry, who has been limited to her wheelchair since she was stricken with multiple sclerosis in 1970. But physical affliction hasn't kept Gentry from staying faithful in her church attendance at First Baptist Church in Aliceville, Ala., and participating in missions trips to Thailand, Guatemala and Venezuela. "Everywhere Peggy went, people marveled that she would come such a long distance in a wheelchair," says Gentry's husband, James. "She's made friends on every trip. People see things in Peggy that change their ways of looking at life."