Religion Today Summaries, January 29, 2003

Religion Today Summaries, January 29, 2003

Religion Today Summaries: Daily summaries of the top national and international religious news stories impacting Christians

In Today's Edition:

  • Indian Ministry Reaches 40,000 with the Gospel Despite Persecution
  • Inner-City Church Forced onto Street in Mexico
  • Shooting Leaves Two Dead and Six Wounded in Colombia
  • Pastor Tortured for Resistance to Forced Conversions

Indian Ministry Reaches 40,000 with the Gospel Despite Persecution

(Mission Insider) A ministry in Central India reports outstanding outreach last year.  The leader told Christian Aid that last year 40,000 people heard the gospel at open-air meetings conducted by his ministry.  The ministry touched 13,000 villages where the gospel was heard at least once.  In ten of those villages new churches were established and a total of 150 new believers were baptized.  The missionaries distributed 10,000 New Testaments and 2000 Bibles in the course of their ministry last year.  In addition, bore wells were dug in six places to help people who had no supply of fresh drinking water.  Besides the evangelistic and church-planting work, the ministry also cares for 25 children in a children's home, assists needy widows in its midst. Last year it reached 6000 children in various gospel outreaches.  The ministry also is training 25 workers in its short-term Bible school.  To learn how you can help support the ministry, write [email protected] and put MI-402 637-PGN on the subject line.

Inner-City Church Forced onto Street in Mexico

(Compass) -- “We have not cancelled any services because of rain, and the congregation has multiplied,” says Alejandro Tonatiuh Ramirez, an active member the Central Presbytery of the Interdenominational Christian Church.  Tonatiuh’s church has been meeting on the street since last April, when more than 80 people belonging a group calling itself the National Center of Organization in Urban and Social Re-engineering invaded the church’s two-story property in the center of Mexico City.  They broke locks and carried off objects used for worship, as well as food and clothing gathered for the congregation’s social outreach.  The invaders placed a sign on the door announcing, “This is a Catholic home.  We do not accept Protestant propaganda.”  Church members immediately reported the confiscation to the city government, but to date they have seen no attempt on the part of officials to resolve the problem.  Mexican evangelical leaders are concerned that the case represents a serious breach of religious freedom.

Shooting Leaves Two Dead and Six Wounded in Colombia

(VOM Canada) Four gunmen entered St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church during Mass on Sunday, January 19 and began shooting, killing two people and wounding six others.  According to Zenit, Authorities are speculating that one of the victims was the primary target, perhaps settling a grudge.  Ten people have been arrested, suspected of involvement in the attack.  In recent months, Christians in Colombia have faced increasing violence, particularly from guerrilla groups and those involved in the drug trade.  This is the latest of several attacks in the past year, including a bomb attack in May that killed more than 100 people.

Pastor Tortured for Resistance to Forced Conversions

(Charisma News) A pastor has told of the brutal treatment he suffered for urging Christians to resist forced conversion to Islam.  John Salu says that only a miracle enabled him to survive the beating he endured from government troops seeking to impose Muslim rule on the Christian south.  After one of his arrests, Salu was locked in a shipping container for 15 days with little food and water.  "Sweat was flowing from my body like a running stream of water, and I found it very difficult," he told Voice of the Martyrs (VM).  On another occasion Salu was bound with his arms behind his back and suspended 15 feet above the ground, then beaten continuously for seven hours.  "I asked Jesus to get into the minds of my torturers and to send his Holy Spirit to change them so they may know the true God," he said.  "I was praying for them, because I looked at them as blind people - they had eyes, but did not see.  So I prayed that the grace of Jesus Christ would open up their minds and eyes to see that they are persecuting Christians for nothing; there is nothing wrong with me being a Christian."