Religion Today Summaries, December 30, 2002

Religion Today Summaries, December 30, 2002

The staff wishes you and your family all of God’s blessings in the coming new year!

In Today's Edition:

  • Students Stage Anti-Christian Protest in Indonesian Capital
  • 'Fresh Start' Help for Ex-Convicts
  • Father’s House Shines to Children and Government Officials in Ukraine
  • Charges Dropped Against Church Elders in Mongolia

Students Stage Anti-Christian Protest in Indonesian Capital

(Barnabas) Hundreds of students in Padang, the capital of West Sumatra, recently held a rally to protest against what they called “Christianisation” (i.e. Christian evangelism amongst the majority Muslim population).  West Sumatra is a stronghold of Indonesian Islam and some Islamic groups in Padang have been calling for the introduction of Islamic law (Shari’ah).  For many decades of the twentieth century, Indonesia was a shining example of religious freedom in a Muslim-majority context.  Both Christian mission work and Islamic mission work could take place freely.  The student protestors raised again the abduction and rape accusations made against Christian leaders in West Sumatra in 1998.  Christians believe this case was concocted by Islamic extremists to intimidate them.  It centered on a Muslim girl who visited a Christian pastor, saying she had become a Christian and asking for protection from her family who would have given her the traditional local punishment of chaining her legs, arms and neck to a post.  The Christians took her in and looked after her, only to be arrested and imprisoned on charges of abduction and rape.

'Fresh Start' Help for Ex-Convicts

(Charisma News) Two Kentucky businessmen jailed for drug offenses before becoming Christians have joined forces to try to help others wanting to make a fresh start.  Ed Garner and Gary Shanks have launched PLUS -- Positive Living Under Supervision -- that aims to help ex-convicts find jobs, settle in churches and connect with rehabilitation programs.  "I want to show them that you can change, you can become a positive person and do something positive with your life, but only if you surround yourself with positive people," Garner told "The Lexington Herald-Leader."  Now the owner of a diner and car dealership, Garner served a prison term for drug dealing.  Shanks was jailed for drug possession and now owns a store, a construction company and a rental properties firm.  He also works with the prison ministry at his church, and said, "I'm on a crusade to keep our young black men out of prison and to get them engaged in positive things."  The pair hopes to recruit other black entrepreneurs to serve as mentors to parolees and probationers in their new program.  "Sometimes, you just need someone to vent to, you need to talk to someone who's been through the same thing," Shanks said.

Father’s House Shines to Children and Government Officials in Ukraine
(Missions Insider) The “Father’s House” home for street children in Kiev continues to shine as an example for others to follow. The director, Dr. Roman Korniyko, told Christian Aid last week that two seminars were held at Father’s House--one of them was for heads of government agencies that deal with troubled youth.  As a result of that seminar, the head authority has said he will cooperate with local churches in opening children’s homes throughout the country, using Father’s House as a model.  In addition, Dr. Korniyko said that Father’s House was shown as an example to the directors of all the state orphanages.  “In this way we had an opportunity to testify to these people about God’s love toward them,” Dr. Korniyko said.  Korniyko also said that the church the children attend has started a branch church in a village where another children’s home has begun operations.  Already it is being attended by about 60 children ages 6 to 12.  Another 500 young people attending a central church have now organized as a separate church with its own meeting place with Dr. Korniyko as pastor.

Charges Dropped Against Church Elders in Mongolia

(Voice of the Martyrs – Canada) On November 6, the elders of the Church of All Nations in the Bayangol district of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia were facing criminal charges and confiscation of all tithes and offerings because they were not registered, despite efforts to register since 1999.  Voice of the Martyrs has received notice that all charges against the church have been dropped.  The church thanks everyone for their prayers and asks that Christians continue to pray that they will be able to register, to prevent further problems.  The Buddhist government of Mongolia has been working to prevent the growth of Christianity in the country.  Despite these efforts, the Church of All Nations has moved into a larger hall and is continuing to grow.