Religion Today Summaries - Nov. 13, 2007

Religion Today Summaries - Nov. 13, 2007

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

  • Operation Blessing Responds to 'Worst Disaster in Mexico's History'
  • Medical Teams International Responds in Mexico
  • North Korean Christians Arrested; Current Status Unknown
  • Christians to Build New Hospital in West Bank for Palestinian Children

Operation Blessing Responds to 'Worst Disaster in Mexico's History'

Much of Villahermosa city still remains underwater, which is putting an even greater strain on the city's depleting food and water supplies, according to Operation Blessing International (OBI). Mexico's President Felipe Calderón is calling this the worst natural disaster in the country's history. An estimated 1 million residents of Mexico's southern state of Tabasco have been affected by days of heavy rains and widespread flooding. OBI has teamed up with DHL, a global delivery networking company, to help provide fast relief to people in need and prevent a logistical bottleneck in incoming relief supplies. So far, four portable water puriciation units, provided by Water Mission International, have been shipped free thanks to DHL. The Mexico Air Force will fly the units into the devastated regions. The units will provide 40,000 gallons of clean water on a daily basis, and can be used for five years with no filter replacement costs.

Medical Teams International Responds in Mexico

Volunteers and medicines from Medical Teams International have been leaving this week to help thousands left homeless by floods in Mexico. Medical volunteers from the Pacific Northwest depart Nov. 17 to care for families camped in temporary shelters in the Mexican state of Tabasco. Additional volunteers will also be deployed to the area during the coming weeks to help families in remote communities who have not received medical help since the dam in Tabasco broke eight days ago.  “The destruction here is as bad as what I saw from Hurricane Katrina,” said Joe DiCarlo, the director of emergency response at Medical Teams International. DeCarlo has served in major disasters worldwide, including the Southeast Asia tsunami and Katrina. A shipment of medicines valued at $680,000 will arrive in Villahermosa, the flood’s epicenter, in the upcoming week. The container of antibiotics, bandages and pain relievers will re-supply destroyed clinics and hospitals, and be distributed to shelters where an estimated 78,000 people are housed.

North Korean Christians Arrested; Current Status Unknown

In a highly unusual press conference in Pyongyang in September, the National Security Service of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) announced the arrest of “foreign spies” and “native citizens working for a foreign intelligence service.”  The Voice of the Martyrs (VOM), a ministry serving Christians in restricted nations who are persecuted for their faith, announced last week that those arrested in North Korea were in fact Christian believers and not spies. The security service spokesman at the press conference, Li Su Gil, said that those arrested “carried out the missions by means of diverse espionage equipment.” He did not name any of those arrested, but VOM has identified the North Korean Christians who have disappeared and are believed to have been arrested by government authorities: According to VOM sources working in North Korea, they were not involved in espionage activities. It is believed that equipment taken by the government was in fact photography equipment used in portrait studio work.Christians to Build New Hospital in West Bank for Palestinian Children

Christians to Build New Hospital in West Bank for Palestinian Children

ASSIST News Service reports that CURE International, a US-based Christian medical charity which operates teaching hospitals throughout the developing world, has announced plans to open a $16.5 million state-of-the-art medical training center and hospital in Bethlehem. “The facility will be the first specialty surgical care available to Palestinian children in the West Bank,” says a story on “This cardiac and orthopedic hospital fills a major need in the West Bank where medical care is severely limited,” said Dr. Scott Harrison, an orthopedic surgeon who founded CURE International ten years ago and serves as the organization's president and chief executive officer. The story said that Harrison is appreciative of the cooperation between Christians, Muslims and Jews who are working together to provide medical care for children in the area. “The Bethlehem hospital is unique in that it is bringing together three faith groups to build a facility of healing in a very volatile region,” said Harrison. “Christians and Muslims will serve together at the hospital and will receive additional training at some of the leading hospitals in Jerusalem.”