Saturday, May 19, 2012

Chen Guangcheng's Family is Told to Pack Up for the USA Today - Christian Newswire

Chen Guangcheng's Family is Told to Pack Up for the USA Today - Christian Newswire: "BEIJING, May 19, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- ChinaAid just learned that the blind activist Chen Guangcheng's family is heading to Beijing airport now and they were informed to pack up and get ready to leave China for the USA today.

Bob Fu made a phone call with Chen a moment ago. Chen said the Chinese official informed them to pack up and leave for the USA today though they have not received passports yet. Nor is their itinerary known. Chen also said he is looking forward to coming to the USA."


IRD: Why Little Mention of Chen Guangcheng's 'Crime' of Exposing Chinese Forced Abortions? - Christian Newswire

IRD: Why Little Mention of Chen Guangcheng's 'Crime' of Exposing Chinese Forced Abortions? - Christian Newswire: "WASHINGTON, May 18, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- Media coverage of blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng, who is awaiting a visa to depart China after escaping from house arrest and seeking refuge in the U.S. Embassy, has been extensive. But there has been little information about Chen's activities that angered the Chinese government."


Life Sentences for ‘Blasphemy’ in Pakistan Overturned

Life Sentences for ‘Blasphemy’ in Pakistan Overturned: "Prosecutors find no evidence for charges against Christian couple.

LAHORE, Pakistan, May 18 (CDN) — A court acquitted a Christian couple of “blasphemy” charges yesterday, overturning their life sentences, their lawyer said.

Chaudhry Naeem Shakir told Compass that Justice Mazhar Ali Akbar Naqvi of the Lahore High Court accepted the couple’s appeal because prosecutors failed to prove allegations that 32-year-old Munir Masih and his wife Ruqayya defiled the Quran or insulted Muhammad on Dec. 8, 2008. "


Friday, May 18, 2012

The Church in the West needs to ‘shut up and learn’

Dan Wooding tells a group of Christian writers that the persecuted church can teach us so much, but we first need to listen 

For Immediate Release

ESTES PARK, COLORADO (ANS) -- ANS founder, Dan Wooding, has told a group of American Christian writers that the church in the West, including America, needs to “shut up and learn.”
Dan Wooding speaking
He added, “The persecuted Christians of the world can teach us so much, but we first need to listen.”

Wooding, 71, was speaking on Thursday, May 17, 2012, at the annual Colorado Christian Writers Conference (CCWC) being held in the magnificent grounds of YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado.

“I have met some of the most incredible Christians in the world during my many visits to restricted countries,” he said. “They are an inspiration to me and I believe that we in the West need to learn from them.

“I get so disgusted to see Christians in America and other so-called developed countries, all fighting each over things like the color of the carpet and the so-called ‘noisy’ sound of the band, yet while this pettiness is going on, these persecuted Christians literally risk their lives each week as they go to church, knowing them could be killed at any moment.

“It is now time for the American church to keep quiet for a while and learn from these believers who daily lay their lives on the line for Jesus Christ. We don’t have anything really to teach them and they have a lot to teach us especially about surviving real persecution."

Wooding also challenged the writers to get involved in publicizing the situation of the persecuted Christians and added, “Let them know that you care and will use your writing skills to tell their stories.”

Part of the audience
In his keynote address, Dan Wooding, who recently returned from a reporting trip to Indonesia and then, after the conferences, travels to Kenya, also told the attendees about his extraordinary story of working for two of Britain’s most scandalous tabloids and how, after a spiritual turn-around in his life, he co-authored a book called Uganda Holocaust with Ray Barnett and then began writing stories about the Suffering Church, instead of “silly Hollywood stars who had really nothing to say to the world.”

Dan Wooding worked for seven years as a writer for Brother Andrew’s ministry, Open Doors, and started ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) in 1988.

The CCWC is taking place May 16th through the 19th, 2012, at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park (northwest of Denver).

The faculty is made up of a diverse group from all parts of the country. Keynote speakers include Dr. Ted Baehr (chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission™, Craig von Buseck (Director of Ministries at also, Lissa Halls Johnson (Author –, Tim Shoemaker (Author and Speaker –, and Dan Wooding (founder and chief editor of the ASSIST News Service ).

Marlene Bagnull has been the director of the CCWC since 1997. She is passionate about encouraging and equipping Christians to write about a God who is real, who is reachable, and who changes lives. Again this year, CCWC will challenge Christians to “write His answer,” the conference theme from Habakkuk 2:2.
YMCA of the Rockies

CCWC not only equips writers in all genres and at all levels with the skills needed to be effective, it also provides the opportunity to talk one-on-one with the “gatekeepers” of Christian publishing – the agents and editors who are able to open the doors to publication.

This year’s faculty has included 8 literary agents, 13 book editors, and 15 periodical editors who represent over two dozen periodicals. Those who attend the entire conference get four free 15-minute appointments with the faculty of their choice (based on availability).

In addition to eight continuing sessions and 60 workshops, Rick Marschall, who writes a weekly column for the ASSIST News Service, leads “A Culture in Peril” forum on Saturday May 19, from 10:30 – 4:00. 

What can one Christian do in the face of our nation’s spiritual crisis? Rick has addressed this before. So have others. And so have you . . . perhaps in frustration! What can you, as one person, do in the face of society’s crises? This forum offers a new approach. Rather than a traditional lecture, or seminar, or workshop, this will be a creative blend of all these modes. There will be free-wheeling discussion on topics from biblical traditions, to our American heritage, to dilemmas Christians face living in today’s world.

You may contact Marlene Bagnull at

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Aceh, Indonesia: new governor advances Islamisation

Aceh, Indonesia: new governor advances Islamisation: "Aceh, on the north-west tip of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is around 98 percent Muslim and one percent Christian (mostly Protestant). Acehnese went to the polls on 9 April to elect a new governor. The winner, Zaini Abdullah (72) of the dominant and increasingly autocratic and militant Aceh Party, ran on a platform that included a vow to advance a more 'pure' form of Quranic Sharia (Islamic law). On 30 April hundreds of Islamists protested in Aceh's southern-most district of Singkil, which has the highest proportion of Christians of any district in Aceh. The Islamists demanded the closure of Singkil's supposedly 'illegal' churches and prayer houses. The administration quickly acquiesced and 17 places of Christian worship across Singkil have since been closed. Please pray for Aceh's minority Christian community."


Harsh Era Looms in Aceh, Indonesia

Harsh Era Looms in Aceh, Indonesia: "Election of hard-line Islamic governor followed by closure of 17 churches.

JAKARTA, Indonesia, May 16 (CDN) — The election of a hard-line Islamic governor in Indonesia’s Aceh Province last month appears to have opened the way for a crack-down on the minority Christian community, which saw 17 churches sealed shut in early May.

Emboldened by the April 9 election of Zaini Abdullah of the militant Aceh Party (Partai Aceh, or PA), hundreds of Islamists demonstrated in front of the office of Aceh Singkil regency on April 30, demanding area church buildings be not only sealed but demolished. "


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

From China, Blind Activist Chen Testifies Before Human Rights Panel - Christian Newswire

From China, Blind Activist Chen Testifies Before Human Rights Panel - Christian Newswire: "WASHINGTON, May 15, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- Chen Guangcheng, the blind Chinese human rights lawyer who caught the attention of the world over the past two weeks in his bid to escape house arrest in China by seeking help in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, testified via telephone about his well-being and that of his family and brave supporters Tuesday at a hearing held by Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04)."


Injured Convert in Pakistan Tries to Rebuild Life

Injured Convert in Pakistan Tries to Rebuild Life: "Christian, pregnant wife endure threats while he seeks treatment for injuries from beating.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, May 15 (CDN) — Muhammad Kamran isn’t sure who sent the men to beat him after his Muslim wife told both her family and his that he had become a Christian.

The 34-year-old native of Karachi said his wife’s brothers had begun coming to his office to threaten him before unidentified assailants attacked him as he was returning home two years ago."


Two pastors set on fire in Kenya

Mission Network News: "Kenya (MNN) ― Last Tuesday, May 8, two pastors were burned to death in Jomvu area Mombasa, Kenya.

Yesterday, police arrested five suspects who may have instigated the attack, says Open Doors, USA. Otieno Awour, the Officer Commanding Police Division, Changamwe Division Mombasa said the five suspects will be arraigned in court once the investigations are complete.

It's the most recent in a bout of increased violence in Kenya, a nation filled halfway with Christians. In this case, the two pastors, Benjamin Juma of Nyali Baptist Church and Jackson Kioko of Melchidizek Church, were planning to hold an evangelistic outreach in the Jomvu area of Mombasa City. While planning, a crowd gathered and suddenly accused them of being thieves."


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A series of explosions in Ukraine could be ‘politically motivated’

A series of explosions in Ukraine could be ‘politically motivated’: "By Victoria Uzunova of the Christian Telegraph ( 
Special to ASSIST News Service

DNEPROPETROVSK, UKRAINE (ANS) -- A Ukrainian pastor says he believes that the series of explosions that occurred in Dnepropetrovsk on April, 27, 2012, could have been “politically motivated.”

He is Vladimir Ivanov, pastor of the Good News Church in Dnepropetrovsk, who has now asked for Christians around the world to pray for the situation in his city.

According to media reports in media, four explosions occurred, but the pastor claims that there were actually five of them."


Sudanese Authorities Close Christian Offices in South Darfur

Sudanese Authorities Close Christian Offices in South Darfur: "Sudan Council of Churches, Sudan Aid in South Darfur state shuttered without explanation.

JUBA, South Sudan, May 14 (CDN) — Security agents in Sudan’s South Darfur state have closed down the Nyala offices of the Sudan Council of Churches (SCC) and relief group Sudan Aid, sources said.

Agents from the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) arrived at the organizations’ compound in Nyala at 8 a.m. on April 22, ordered SCC staff members to hand over keys of offices and vehicles and, without explanation, ordered them to leave immediately, an SCC staff worker said."


Iran tightens the screws on church leaders

(Tehran images courtesy Wikipedia)
Mission Network News: "ran (MNN) ― The Iranian government is tightening control on a Farsi-speaking Church, says a report from Compass Direct News.

Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs USA says he's met with members of the Assemblies of God (AOG) Central Church of Tehran before. He notes that the AOG church holds two Sunday services, both conducted in Farsi. In fact, since 2009, it has been the only church remaining in Tehran that offers Farsi-language worship on Sundays in a dedicated building."


Monday, May 14, 2012

13-year-old Christian girl allegedly raped by three men in Pakistan

13-year-old Christian girl allegedly raped by three men in Pakistan: "ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN (ANS) -- A Pakistani Muslim man, along with two accomplices, allegedly abducted and raped a 13-year-old Christian girl on Thursday, March 29, 2012, according to her uncle, Asher.

The Rev. Gul Irfan Khan of the Local Church, Pakistan, spoke about this sad event on telephone.

He alleged that he had been told that the Muslim man, along with the others, abducted Anisha Moris, 13, the daughter of Moris Masih, a resident of Dhomala Narowal city of Sialkot region of Punjab province, and took her to their place and forcibly raped her."


Syria in Disarray

(Photos by Douma Revolution)
Mission Network News: "Syria (ODM/MNN) ― Syria was wracked with protests beginning Friday--another manifestation of the upheaval since  the anti-government movement began 14 months ago.

Jerry Dykstra, spokesman with Open Doors USA, says despite an April ceasefire, "Things are breaking apart. We've seen that with the twin car blasts in Damascus that killed 55 outside of the Syrian Intelligence Compound on Thursday, and other bombings also.""


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Pakistan Minorities’ Minister’s Murder Charge Thrown out of Court

Pakistan Minorities’ Minister’s Murder Charge Thrown out of Court: "By Michael Ireland
Senior International Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

RAWALPINDI, PAKISTAN (ANS) -- A man booked for being allegedly involved in the murder of former Pakistan minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti more than a year ago, was acquitted by an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) last week."


U.K. wants Nadarkhani and his lawyer’s sentences turned down

U.K. wants Nadarkhani and his lawyer’s sentences turned down: "By Michael Ireland
Senior International Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
LONDON, UK (ANS) -- The British Foreign Office has called on Islamic Republic of Iran to turn down the sentences issued against Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani and his lawyer, Mohammad-Ali Dadkhah.

Mohabat News  reports that in a statement, Alistair Burt, British Foreign Office Minister, expressed his concern over the issuance of a nine-year sentence against the lawyer Mohammad Ali Dadkhah for his struggles to defend political prisoners and Human Rights activists.

Burt has opposed the verdict against Nadarkhani and appealed for its cancellation.

In his statement, Burt called the sentences "unjust."

Burt also pointed to the arrest of two Iranians for their conversion to Christianity and referred to it as an obvious sign of violation of Human Rights and as a crackdown on freedom of religion and speech in Iran."