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Religion Today Summaries - January 6, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - January 6, 2005

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

  • Rocks, Arrows Show Aborigine Tribes Survived Tsunami
  • Indian Preacher Seeks to Rescue Children Orphaned by Tsunami Disaster
  • Sixty More Evangelical Christians Jailed in Eritrea
  • Indonesia

Rocks, Arrows Show Aborigine Tribes Survived Tsunami
John M. Lindner, Assist News Service

When Indian officials, trying to deliver food parcels by helicopter, had rocks thrown and arrows shot at them by the people below, they knew the aborigine tribes people who inhabit the Andaman and Nicobar Islands had survived the tsunami. The archipelago of about 550 islands lies off the coast of Myanmar (Burma) and belongs to India. Only about three dozen are inhabited by some 350,000 people, including six aboriginal tribes of Mongoloid and Negrito origin. Indian officials had feared the tsunami, which killed more than 13,000 on the India mainland, might have killed at least 6,000 island inhabitants, and possibly wiped some of the smaller tribes off the face of the earth. Reports posted on the Reuters website said when a helicopter flew over North Sentinelese Island to survey tsunami damage, tribes people down below began shooting arrows at it. The reason they survived is that they live mainly in the caves in the hills, rather than by the seashore. Paul Hataway of Asian Harvest said he read a report that the same people had possibly saved an entire Thai village. According to an AP news story carried by CNN and others, the Mokkien held to a belief handed down by the elders that "if the water recedes fast it will reappear in the same quantity in which it disappeared." By the time the first great wave of the tsunami arrived, "the entire 181 population of the Mokkien fishing village had fled to a temple in the mountains of South Surin Island," Hataway said. It's good to listen to one's elders.

Indian Preacher Seeks to Rescue Children Orphaned by Tsunami Disaster
Charisma News Service

A Houston-based evangelist is on a mission to rescue thousands of children orphaned by the tsunami disaster in Asia. This Monday, K.A. Paul, founder and president of Global Peace Initiative (GPI), departed from Cincinnati on his ministry's Boeing 747 with 76,000 pounds of antibiotics, food and water for tsunami victims in India and Sri Lanka. The flight complements an international relief response to the Dec. 26 tsunamis, including assistance from private organizations and U.S. military forces. The toll of confirmed deaths has reached more than 145,000 people, with at least 5 million left homeless, the Associated Press reported. "Our immediate goal is to rescue up to 2,000 children orphaned by the tsunami," Paul said. "Many of them are currently being moved into GPI emergency shelters scattered up and down the coasts of Sri Lanka and India.. ... With God as our help, we will see to it that every single orphan in all 11 countries struck by the catastrophe is adopted." Paul's Charity City, a children orphanage near Hyderabad, India, is considered the world's largest children's home. Funded largely by Cincinnati Reds owner Carl Lindner, GPI (www.globalpeacenow.com) established the home in 2000 and it currently houses approximately 1,000 orphans. (http://www.charismanow.com)

Sixty More Evangelical Christians Jailed in Eritrea
Compass Direct

Sixty members of the Rema Charismatic Church in the Eritrean capital of Asmara have been arrested for holding a New Year's Eve celebration in the home of one of their church leaders. On the night of December 31, police took into custody the hosts of the gathering, Habteab Oqbamichel and his wife Letensae, along with another 23 men and 35 women. They are reportedly being held in solitary confinement the Mai-Serwa military camp. Independent Protestant churches have experienced heavy police surveillance since the U.S. State Department named Eritrea as a "country of particular concern" for its severe religious freedom violations. "There are cars parked outside our homes and offices, following us to the post office or wherever we go," one Christian commented. According to BBC correspondent Jonah Fisher who was expelled from Asmara in September, the government seems to be "afraid that people who consider their highest allegiance to be [to] God, at some point may not be patriotic and follow the state's instructions."

Charisma News Service

Two churches were attacked last month in the town of Palu during Sunday night services, injuring at least three people. A bomb exploded at Emanuel church, and at the same time gunmen opened fire on the congregation of Anugerah church in the city located in Central Sulawesi, Compass Direct reported. The attacks happened despite government orders for local police to step up security in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Government officials immediately ordered tighter security for churches in at-risk areas, while criticizing local police for not doing their job. To date, police have failed to apprehend anyone responsible for the attacks, Compass reported. Elsewhere, Jarok Ratu, a 35-year-old pastor, is still missing after a group of unidentified men kidnapped him in the early hours of Dec. 3. National media reports suggested the kidnappers were looking for funds recently donated for the construction of a new church building. Ratu's wife said the intruders initially asked for money and searched their house before leaving with Ratu, saying they would only "borrow him" and that they intended to release him. Villagers, who searched for Ratu the following day, found only the T-shirt he was wearing, marked with three bullet holes, laying on the beach near his home. Police have arrested one suspect in connection with the disappearance, but the investigation is still continuing, Compass reported.  (http://www.charismanow.com)