Snippet: Attacks in Nigeria, Cameroon, Egypt, India; Faith growing stronger in Niger; Air crash kills 46 church members; Possible site of Jesus’ trial and a papyrus with words from Mark’s gospel found; man wakes up after 12 years.
Editor’s Note: Make no mistake, we live in tough times, but we can take comfort in the fact that amidst these storming seas comes One who walks on water and calms the waves. And onto this Jesus is where we put our hope as we pray for churches and believers who face threats every time they wake up. Continue to pray, church!
If you come across any news on the web or as a direct witness, which you think can be featured in News Digest, please do write to me at [email protected]
At least 15 people have been killed in an attack by suspected Boko Haram militants on a bus in northern Cameroon. The militant organization has been killing thousands of innocent civilians, especially Christians, in their struggle to create a Caliphate in Northern Nigeria, in the process intensifying their attacks along the border. CNN also reported that Boko Haram has conducted its deadliest attack ever after it stormed a village and fired everyone in sight. An estimation of casualties is put up at 2,000.
Meanwhile, on New Year’s morning, a suicide bomber blew himself up just outside of an evangelical church in Nigeria. The blast injured several people at a sanctuary located in the Nigerian city of Gombe, according to residents and a rescue worker. For more, click here. As we read, three nations – Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria have gone on an air and ground offensive against the insurgents of Boko Haram.
46 Members of One Church Die in AirAsia Crash
Churches in Surabaya, Indonesia lost dozens of members in the AirAsia Flight QZ8501 crash on Sunday, but their pastors urged believers not to lose faith. Pastor Philip Mantofa of the Mawar Sharon megachurch lost 46 members from 14 families, while Agustinus Tri Budi Utomo, vicar-general of the local Catholic Church, lost 27 church members. Flight QZ8501 disappeared about one hour into its journey to Singapore from Surabaya while flying over the Java Sea. Officials lost contact as the plane travelled between Belitung and Kalimantan, Indonesia with 162 people on board. Excerpts taken from this link.
Egyptian Christians Kidnapped in Libya
Masked attackers in central Libya have kidnapped 13 Egyptian Christians after seven were abducted days earlier, said a witness and a priest. These kidnappings in the central city of Sirte are part of a wave of assaults against Egyptian Christians working in the North African country. Hanna Aziz, a witness, told the Associated Press news agency that the abductors went room to room in the workers’ residence at 2:30 AM and asked for identification papers to separate Muslims from Christians. Aziz said the attackers handcuffed the Christians and drove away with them. From this link.
Indian Churches Under Attack
Attack on Indian churches is on the rise in recent times. Over December and January, a series of attacks on churches have put fear in the hearts of the faithful in the country. In the Open Doors’ World Watch List – a list highlighting the 50 most difficult countries to be a Christian – India now ranks 21, its highest ever- a statistic that no liberal Indian will be proud of. Click here for more on this.
Faith of Christians in Niger Grows Stronger in Face of Unprecedented Violence
Christians in Niger are joyfully meeting in homes under police protection as they plan to rebuild church buildings and houses after attacks during the weekend of Jan 16-18, that were unprecedented in scale. “Nothing of this magnitude has ever happened in this nation,” wrote one missionary couple in the capital, Niamey. “Nearly every church in the capital city of Niamey was burned or looted, along with some schools and orphanages and several other churches and Christian homes throughout the nation.” More on this link.
Atlanta Fire Chief Fired for His Christian Beliefs
Kelvin Cochran, Atlanta’s Fire Chief, was fired by Mayor Kasim Reed because of a book he wrote for a men’s Bible study group at his Baptist church. Cochran was suspended in November 2014 because of a passage he wrote about homosexuality in a book titled, ‘Who Told You That You Were Naked?’ The book’s theme is about biblical morality. More on this story can be read through this link. Meanwhile, a conservative legal firm has filed an official complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of former Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran, alleging that he was discriminated against when Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.
Possible Site of Jesus’ Trial Found in Jerusalem
Archaeologists have unearthed a possible site in Jerusalem where Jesus’ trial was held. Archeologists dug through seven layers of Jerusalem history inside the Kishle, a former Turkish prison that sits next to the Tower of David Museum, revealing the foundations of Herod’s grand palace where Jesus’ trial may have taken place. For Shimon Gibson, an archeology professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, there is little doubt that the trial occurred somewhere within Herod’s palace compound. In the Gospel of John, the trial is described as taking place near a gate and on a bumpy stone pavement — details that fit with previous archeological findings near the prison, he said. Excerpts and photograph from this link.
Scriptures from the Gospel of Mark Found in a Mummy Mask
The discovery of a small papyrus fragment containing words from the Book of Mark could end up being the earliest copy of a Christian gospel on record, according to experts. The biblical text, which came from Egypt, was reportedly placed on a sheet of papyrus before the document was recycled and used to create a mummy mask.
Scientists found a way to undo the glue on the mask without damaging the centuries-old ink, allowing the text to be read. Excerpts from this link.
Man Awakens After 12 Years in Vegetative State
After all hope was lost for a South African boy who was left in a vegetative state for over 12 years, starting from the time he was 12, Martin Pistorius miraculously broke out of his paralyzing trance to eventually become a functioning business owner, husband and author. Read more here.
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