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Religion Today Summaries, December 31, 2002

Religion Today Summaries, December 31, 2002

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

In Today's Edition:

  • Missionaries Killed in Attack on Baptist Hospital in Yemen
  • Chinese Evangelist Arrested Again and House Searched
  • Fear and Memories of Christmas Day Attack Keep Pakistani Christians from Church
  • Christmas Day Officially Recognized in Egypt

Missionaries Killed in Attack on Baptist Hospital in Yemen
Mark Kelly

(Baptist Press) Three Americans were killed and another wounded Monday, Dec. 30, when a lone gunman attacked a Baptist mission hospital in Jibla, Yemen.  Hospital administrator William E. Koehn, business manager Kathleen A. Gariety, and nurse Martha C. Myers were killed and pharmacist Donald W. Caswell was injured in the early morning attack.  While initial reports from the scene are sketchy, the Americans were involved in a meeting at the beginning of the workday at the hospital.  A single gunman burst into the room and opened fire.  Koehn, Gariety and Myers were killed immediately.  The gunman then reportedly moved to another room, where he wounded Caswell, who was taken to surgery.  He is expected to recover from his injuries.  News reports indicate a 35-year-old man has been taken into custody.  "We are devastated by this news," said IMB spokesman Larry Cox.  "We are moving quickly to minister to family members located in Yemen, as well as in the United States."  www.bpnews.net

Chinese Evangelist Arrested Again and House Searched

(VOM – USA) According to ASSIST News Service, Chinese house church leader and evangelist Guoxing (Philip) Xu was arrested by the government along with several worshipers at his home in Shanghai. The others who were arrested with Xu have been released, but he was detained. The authorities searched his house and all written materials, tapes, a computer, and thirty stools (used for seating in worship) were confiscated. Xu has only been free since July 2000. He has previously spent over six years in labor camps for his Christian activities. Xu studied in the US in the early 80's and could have stayed in safety and comfort here, but he felt God wanted him to bring the Gospel to his fellow Chinese. He was first arrested in 1989 and sentenced to three years of hard labor. During that time scores of inmates turned to Christ through his witnessing. Pray God will use Xu again to bring more prisoners to Christ.  www.persecution.com

Fear and Memories of Christmas Day Attack Keep Pakistani Christians from Church

(Charisma News) Frightened Christians stayed away from church services in the tiny village of Chianwala, Sunday, after a deadly Christmas Day attack on a Presbyterian congregation killed four girls and wounded 13 others.  Many said they were too traumatized to return to their church, the Associated Press (AP) reported.  "There are no Sunday services in the church because people can't bring themselves to visit it," said Rehmat Asim, pastor of the congregation.  "They're in shock." Two assailants in burqas -- the all-encompassing garment worn by women in some Islamic countries -- burst into the white cement church, tossing grenades at about 40 worshipers.  Six people have since been arrested and five others are being sought.  One of those detained was local Islamic cleric Mohammed Afzar, who had allegedly told his congregation to kill Christians just days before the attack on the tiny, one-room church, the AP reported.  The suspects are believed to be affiliated with the outlawed organization Jaish-e-Mohammed, or Army of Mohammed, which is known to have links with Al Qaida and to have trained its operatives in neighboring Afghanistan.  No charges have been filed.  The Dec. 25 attack was the latest of several on Christians that have left more than two dozen dead since the Pakistani government backed the U.S.-led military campaign to oust Afghanistan's Taliban last year.  www.charismanews.com

Christmas Day Officially Recognized in Egypt

(VOM – Canada) In a surprising development, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak has recently declared that Christmas Day is to be a national holiday in Egypt.  Following the Orthodox tradition, Coptic Christians celebrate Christmas on January 7 and starting this year, the date will now be an official public holiday.  Until now, Christian holidays have not been recognized in this mainly Muslim country, even though ten percent of the population is Christian.  This is truly a good development in a region that has traditionally been the scene of intense persecution of Christians.  www.persecution.net