Hundreds of Syrian Christians flee Islamic State
The head of the Christian Assyrian Network for Human Rights in Syria says hundreds of families have fled the advance of Islamic State fighters. Osama Edward says many Christians around the central Syrian town of Sadad fear that like Yazidis in Iraq and other Christians in Islamic State-controlled territory they could be forced to choose between fleeing, converting to Islam or facing death. Activists said the Islamic State group abducted 230 residents, including dozens of Christians, from the nearby town of Qaryatain in recent days. Activists say some Christians were released, though the fate of the others is still unknown. News courtesy: SRN News.
Church in Syria grows amidst persecution
Tom Doyle, Vice president and Middle East director for global ministry e3 Partners, emphasized that the Church is growing despite the persecution of Christians. While hundreds flee and many others are kidnapped by the Islamic State, Pastor Tom says it is important to know that the Church is not losing the fight. Despite these threats to Christians, there are still many who are brave enough to spread God’s word and invite followers into the Church. Doyle wrote in his book ‘Killing Christians’ that a team of about 10 church planters in Syria were allowed to choose between leaving the country or continue risking their lives to spread the Gospel. The 10 church planters not only decided to stay in Syria but recruited 15 others Christian church leaders as well. From this Christian Today link.
Many turning to Jesus from Islam
Many people are turning away from the extremists values that the Islamic State is trying to propagate and embracing Jesus. Barazan Azeezi, an Iraqi who was a devote Muslim said that there was something missing in the religion that he practiced and preached. He said, Jesus appeared to him in a dream and “opened his eyes” to remind him of HIS love and peace. Azeezi said he started to read the bible. More on this here.
Nigerian army rescues 178 from Boko Haram’s custody
Nigerian army claimed that they had rescued 178 people, 101 of whom were children from the captivity of Islamic militants Boko Haram. Reports suggested that a militant leader was also caught in the operation to rescue the captives, some of whom had been held for over a year. Nigerian troops had been attacking Boko Haram strongholds and have been claiming that they have made a serious dent in the militant group’s operations. The army had rescued 71 people towards the end of July. Boko Haram is a militant organization that targets Christian populations in African countries like Nigeria and Cameroon. Click here to read more.
Christian captives freed in Vietnam, Sudan and Iran
The month of August saw the release of Christians who were held captives by the governments of Vietnam, Sudan and Iran. Catholic blogger Paulus Le Van Son and Protestant leader Nguyen Van Oai were arrested without a warrant in Vietnam for ‘anti-government activities’ in 2011. The two had to serve their full sentence before being released. Two South Sudanese pastors, Yat Michael and Peter Yen, who were accused of ‘spying’ and faced a possible death sentence, were released by the Judge of Khartoum North Central Court, Ahmed Ghaboush, Sudan. German news agency reported that the judge found Yat Michael guilty of a “breach of the peace” (Article 69) and Peter Yen (also known as David Reith) guilty of “managing a criminal or terrorist organisation” (Article 65). But he ordered both be released, as they had already served the sentences for these offences through their eight-month stay in prison. Iranian Christians rejoiced when authorities released Church of Iran member Alireza Seyyedian on 1 August 2015. Seyyedian served three and a half years in prison after authorities re-arrested him in March 2012 for trying to enter Turkey. His first arrest was in 2010. According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide, his lawyer said Iranian courts considered Seyyedian’s baptism in Turkey an act against the state.
Christian mother of three ‘abducted and forced into Islamic marriage’
A Christian mother of three has been kidnapped and forced into an Islamic marriage in Pakistan, campaigners say. Fouzia Sadiq was abducted from the field where she worked as a bonded laborer on July 23. Her family say that she was taken by her Muslim landlord – Muhammed Nazir – whose brother promised at the time that Sadiq would be returned shortly. However, after returning for their daughter on July 24, they were told that Sadiq had converted to Islam and was now the property of Nazir, whom she had married. Excerpts taken from this Christian Post link!
Most Americans don’t believe the US is a Christian nation: Survey
The majority of Americans believe that faith in God is an important component of being a true American, but that the US is not a Christian nation, a new study has found. Data compiled by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 69 per cent of Americans agreed with the statement that a belief in God is an “important part of being truly American”. This view was more popular among older people, held by 77 per cent of seniors in comparison to 52 per cent of young adults. However, most Americans do not believe that America is a Christian nation. Around 59 per cent said that it isn’t, though 45 per cent agreed that it once was. Read more about this survey through this link.
90-year-old man rescues wife from fire; thanks God
A 90-year old man, Arthur Schneider, thanked God for giving him strength, after he rescued his wife, Rosemary Schneider from a fire that engulfed their home in North Carolina, USA. The couple has been married for 70 years and Rosemary has been suffering from Parkinson’s Disease and dementia. The wheel-chair bound Rosemary was saved because her husband ran a football field’s length without a cane to their neighbors’ house to call for help. He credits this run to God, who he says, “gives us strength when we need it.” Click here to read the entire account of this rescue.
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