38 Dead After Bombings In Iraqi Christian Areas On Christmas Day

About 38 people were dead and at least 60 were injured after two bombs went off on Christmas Day in Baghdad, Iraq. One exploded outside a Catholic church as members of the congregation were leaving a Christmas Day service, while another bomb killed 11 in a market in a Christian neighborhood. The attacks will likely only incite more anxiety in Iraq’s waning Christian population, which has long been targeted by extremists following the U.S. invasion of the country and the toppling of Saddam Hussein. The population has dwindled down to less than 500,000 from 1.4 million in 2003. Click here to read more.

Darlene Zschech Faces Battle With Breast Cancer

darlene-zschechAnointed worship leader, song-writer, singer Darlene Zschech was diagnosed with breast cancer after a routine mammogram on December 11, 2013. Her blog mentions that despite her challenges during recovery, she found comfort in the Holy Spirit and the Bible.

“Even though the past days have been very tough at times, the Holy Spirit has brought me endless comfort and the Word of God is literally holding me moment by moment,” she wrote. Request all the readers of News Digest to pray for her healing and recovery. Click here to read more.

1300 Weapons Recovered In Dominican Republic Guns-For-Bibles Programme

gun-on-BibleIn an interesting initiative by Evangelicals and the local authorities, the residents of some violent Dominican Republic were asked to forsake their weapons and pick up a Bible. The authorities have reportedly recovered more than 1,300 firearms, knives, and machetes in communities known for corruption and violence, in a guns-for-Bibles program, aimed at reducing the country’s crime rate. Church leaders went into some dangerous neighborhoods to spread the word of God to gangsters and other criminals as part of the recent month-long initiative. Excerpts from this link.

Angelina Jolie Directing Movie About Christian POW

Angelina-Jolie-POWLeading Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie has started filming a movie on the life of a former Prisoner of War. Taken from Laura Hillenbrand’s biography of Olympic track athlete Louis Zamperini, the film Unbroken will star Jack O’Connell, Garrett Hedlund and Alex Russell. Zamperini was a former Olympian who participated in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, and went on to join the US Air Force, when he was captured by the Japanese forces during the Second World War Zamperini would go on to survive the horrors of Japanese imprisonment, and later give his life to Christ at a Billy Graham crusade. Click here to read more.

Paul Crouch, Founder of TBN, Dies at 79

paul-crouch-diedPaul Crouch, who co-founded the Trinity Broadcast Network with his wife, Jan, 40 years ago, passed away at the age of 79 after more than a decade of chronic heart problems. TBN’s website and Facebook page announced Saturday that “Dr. Paul F. Crouch passed into the presence of the Lord on Nov. 30, 2013. We are grateful for the life of this amazing servant of God.” Started in 1973, TBN celebrated its 40th anniversary this year.

The Crouches purchased TBN’s first station, KTBN-TV, in Southern California. TBN since has grown to reach every major continent through 84 satellite channels and more than 18,000 television and cable affiliates worldwide. Excerpts taken from this link.

Persecuted Pastor’s Faith Inspires Prisoners to Accept Christ

Pastor Ugyen Tashi was branded an enemy of his country for sharing the love of Christ, and was put behind bars by the authorities. Failing health, inhuman treatment or the dungeons couldn’t stop him from proclaiming his faith to his fellow prisoners, many of whom joined him for prayer, and three inmates submitting themselves to Christ. Although he was released from the jail in March of 2013, his story was published here only last month in Charisma News.

Follow-up: Human Right Activists Say Western Countries Miss A Chance to Secure Release Of Imprisoned Pastor

Many leading western nations have decided to ease the economic sanctions against Iran as part of the new Nuclear non-proliferation treaty. However, various human rights activists were disappointed that these nations missed a chance to secure the release of many prisoners of faith, especially that of U.S.-Iranian pastor – Saeed Abedini. Human rights groups were concerned when they learned human rights had not been part of the negotiations with Iran. In the quest to obtain some sort of agreement with the Iranians, they said pursuit of basic rights for Christians and other religious minorities was set aside. Click here to read more. Meanwhile, Pastor Abedini’s wife Naghmeh testified before the US Congress, telling them that Pastor Saeed’s condition is worsening. Here’s the link to her account.

And here’s something to inspire us…

Three-Year-Old Collects 900 Teddy Bears for Fellow Hospitalized Children

bennettsbearsThree-year-old Bennet Nester a braveheart. Diagnosed with brain tumour in 2011, little Bennet not only is fighting his battle like a hero, but is making a positive impact to the other children around him. Bennet received a teddy bear in the early stages of his treatment that helped him ease the trauma and pain he went through. Today, Bennett — barely a tot himself — spends time making sure that other children like himself receive a similar well wish as they fight their battle against sickness and disease. For the last two years, Bennett has collected hundreds of teddy bears this purpose – nine hundred just this year alone. The initiative is called ‘Bennett’s Bears.’ Click here to read this inspiring story of the little braveheart.