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Religion Today Summaries - September 20, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - September 20, 2004

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

  • World Vision, U.S. Government Airlift Supplies To Jamaica

  • Addition Of Saudi Arabia To State Department's "CPC" List Is Milestone

  • Papua New Guinea: Cultural Taboos Broken in the Name of Christ

  • Christians Reach Out to Homeless, Abandoned Children With Compassion - Part I

World Vision, U.S. Government Airlift Supplies To Jamaica
World Vision

As Hurricane Ivan hits the U.S. Gulf Coast states, thousands of survivors from its weekend assault on Jamaica are in need of emergency medical, hygiene and shelter aid. An airlift of relief goods from World Vision will leave Denver, bound for the hurricane zone. The U.S. Government's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance is supporting the airlift, including charter of a DC-9 jet. "People are asking us to bring in relief supplies as soon as possible," said Carolyn Rose-Avila, World Vision's relief director in Latin America. Based in Miami, Rose-Avila flew to Jamaica in advance of the storm, and huddled with other guests in their hotel as 150-mile-per-hour winds roared around them. She visited the worst affected region of the island, about 40 miles southwest of Kingston. "I saw families sitting on cement slabs with nothing around them, dead animals were everywhere, and nobody had drinking water or food," Rose-Avila said. "Water had surged in from the sea, at least 2,000 homes in the area are destroyed." World Vision's airlift includes supplies valued at more than $110,000, including: medicines and medical supplies such as pain relievers, bandage materials and hygiene kits and plastic tarps. Florida-based Food for the Poor will distribute the relief goods in Jamaica.

Addition Of Saudi Arabia To State Department's "CPC" List Is Milestone
Freedom House

Freedom House's Center for Religious Freedom today welcomed the U.S. State Department's designation of Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, and Eritrea to its list of "countries of particular concern" under the International Religious Freedom Act.  Other countries on the list are Burma, China, Iran, North Korea, and Sudan. Center Director Nina Shea said, "the addition of Saudi Arabia for the first time to the State Department's short list of egregious religious persecutors marks a new day in the world struggle against extreme religious intolerance. This intolerance is the ideology that under girds Islamic terror." Shea added: "For decades, the government of Saudi Arabia has been responsible for the proliferation worldwide of an extreme Wahhabi interpretation of Islam that fosters virulent hatred, alienation, and even violence toward Christians, Jews, and other religious believers, including moderate Muslims.  Fueled by petrodollars, Saudi efforts in this regard have begun to radicalize Muslim communities far beyond the Arabian Peninsula including in Northern Nigeria, Indonesia, and Central Asia."

Papua New Guinea: Cultural Taboos Broken in the Name of Christ
Christian Aid

A tribal man of Papua New Guinea testifies to the power of Christ in overcoming traditional prejudices. A member of the remotely located Barai tribe, he was working at the head office of a Bible-translating ministry supported by Christian Aid. One day there was a problem with the plumbing, so all the workers, male and female, joined together to clean toilets and bathrooms. The Barai man was shocked to see even the director and business manager of the ministry helping in the dirty task. As he explains, this is not done in his culture: One of the strong cultural taboos of the Barai is cleaning toilets or bathrooms. These tasks are restricted to the ladies. If a man is seen cleaning, he would be regarded as the lowest man in the community, not able to be blessed by the spirits of his dead relatives. But on seeing fellow believers so willingly do "unclean tasks" in their work for the Lord, the Barai man said, "I realized that we had freedom in Jesus to serve Him." The word of God is breaking down barriers in the Barai area. With the Bible available in their own language, these tribal people can read for themselves.

Christians Reach Out to Homeless, Abandoned Children With Compassion - Part I
Charisma News Service

Caring Christians are reaching out with Christ's compassion to a growing number of homeless, abandoned children. According to researchers, the number of orphans worldwide will reach 106 million by 2010 -- a number equal to more than one-third the population of the United States. For 13 years, Sherry Burnette and her husband, Bobby, have sought to save one more orphan from the clutches of poverty in Haiti. Since 1990, the Burnettes have built eight schools and churches in remote areas. This fall, they will be feeding almost 3,000 children daily. The Burnettes' latest project is "Love a Child Village", based in Fond Parisien, about seven miles from Haiti's border with the Dominican Republic. Here, they are building an orphanage to house 100 children. The property includes a carpentry shop to teach children at the orphanage, as well as local street children, a trade. One Christian school on the property already is operational. The second of four schools is expected to be finished in the fall, as well as a feeding center for 1,200 children. Poverty is so severe in Haiti that even children with parents feel blessed to eat every other day. (http://www.charismanow.com)