Former prisoner turns pastor at Saddleback Church

After more than three decades in prison, Danny Duchene is ready to start afresh, this time to play a role in the spiritual renewal at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in Lake Forest California where he will lead the Mercy Ministry for those who are behind bars. Warren, bestselling author of the “The Purpose Driven Life”, was instrumental in Duchene’s release and his new role as he appointed the former inmate to his new position. Click here to read the rest of this article.

Christianity sees growth in Iran despite persecutions

The underground church movement is growing rapidly in one of the most persecution heavy countries of the world – Iran. “Thousands upon thousands” of people in Iran are becoming Christians annually, according to Open Doors USA spokeswoman Emily Fuentes. “The house churches are causing such rapid growth in conversions it is unmatched by any other country in the Middle East,” she said. Operation World recently ranked Iran as the country with the fastest growing evangelical population in the world. For more, read from this link.

One pastor dies after being kidnapped; two others released in Nigeria

Two of three pastors kidnapped in north-central Nigeria on March 21 have been released, while the third died after being left in the wild, sources said. The Rev. Iliya Anto, initially said to have been released by the kidnappers because of ill health, was found dead in the bush 10 days after the abduction, said the Rev. Jibrailu Wobiya, general secretary of the United Church of Christ in Nigeria (HEKAN). Details of his death remained unclear, but he was reportedly said to have died after the kidnappers left him in the wild. Excerpts from this link.

Nepal cancels Christmas as a national holiday

Nepal has decided to remove Christmas from its calendar in an effort to control the rising number of public holidays. Christians in Nepal are protesting the decision, however, calling for its immediate reinstatement. The Nepali government has emphasised that its decision is due to the high number of public holidays in the country, and it is not an act against Christianity. Christmas, first recognised as a national holiday eight years ago when Nepal became a secular state, has until now been the only Christian national holiday recognised by the country. Excerpts are taken from this link.

Fifty new Bible translations completed in 2015

In 2015 Bible Societies assisted in the completion of translations in 50 languages spoken by nearly 160 million people. 2015 was ‘a first’ for no fewer than 28 languages, spoken by nearly 33 million people. 11 communities now have their very first full Bible, 6 have a New Testament and 11 communities have their first, or additional, portions of Scripture. The full Bible is now available in 563 languages spoken by nearly 5.1 billion people and a further 1,334 languages spoken by 658 million people have a New Testament. This leaves 281 million people with only some portions of the Bible and a further 497 million people with no Scripture translated in their language at all. For more on this story, click here.

Christian couple prepares to open first rescue home for sex-trafficked boys in US

Chris and Anna Smith are all set to open the first safe home for sex-trafficked boys in the USA. Anna, a sex trafficking survivor, worked as an intern at a similar facility, Hope House, in Asheville, N.C. When Hope House founder Emily Fitchpatrick learned the Smiths wanted to open a home, she asked them to consider taking in boys. The couple has constructed a facility, which includes a 4,430-square-foot, two-story main building and a 1,639-square-foot cottage in Greenville, North Carolina, but not without any opposition from the residents of the county after they were not informed of the facility beforehand. Click here for more.

Christian woman bulldozed and killed during church demolition protest in China

A pastor’s wife was killed after being buried while protesting the destruction of a church in China, according to a human rights organisation. China Aid said that Ding Cuimei suffocated to death when she and her husband, church leader Li Jiangong, stepped in front of a bulldozer in an attempt to stop the demolition on April 14. The bulldozer reportedly pushed the two into a pit, where they were covered in soil. Li was able to escape, but Ding was killed. Excerpts are taken from this link.

Radical Islamist turns to Jesus

Al-Rashid, a former commander of a radical Islamic group, has given his heart to Jesus after he had an encounter similar to Apostle Paul’s conversion. Angered by Muslims converting to Christianity, Rashid had formed a special task force to track down the Christian leaders who were responsible and convert or kill them, one of whom, incidentally was a pastor by then name Paul. During one such attempt to kill Pastor Paul’s daughter, a vision from heaven changed Rashid’s life completely, who surrendered his life to Jesus, and is now an evangelist himself. Click here to read Al-Rashid’s incredible story.

Christian baseball player quits game to rescue sex slaves

Just before the official season started, Chicago White Sox player Adam LaRoche abruptly quit the team, reportedly over a conflict over bringing his son in the team’s clubhouse. Now, however, notes that LaRoche’s reason for leaving the team, while perhaps partly due to the conflict involving his son, also has a lot to do with his efforts to rescue young woman who are in sexual slavery. ESPN’s Tim Keown reported, LaRoche, along with Brewers pitcher Blaine Boyer, spent 10 days in November in Southeast Asian brothels, wearing a hidden camera and doing undercover work to help rescue underage sex slaves. Both baseballers credit God for helping them through these undercover operations. Click here for more.