Monday, January 13, 2014

Gunmen kill Pastor in Brazil

By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service

BRAZIL (ANS) -- Police in Brazil say two gunmen have fatally wounded an evangelical pastor at his church in the city of Belo Horizonte.

via BBC
According to a story by BBC News, the gunmen reportedly entered the city's Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, and shot him in the head before fleeing by car.

Police said there was no evidence the men were robbers. The pastor, Charles Vidal de Souza, 34, died shortly after arriving at hospital.

It is not clear whether the pastor was the intended target of the assault.

He was found in an office in the church where there were signs of a struggle, according to police.

According to the BBC, the killing occurred in a middle-class neighborhood of Belo Horizonte, the state capital of Minas Gerais.
The city is around 400 miles south-east of the capital, Brasilia.

Gun violence is high in Brazil, but attempts at banning the sale of guns have failed in the past.
The BBC said a 2005 referendum on the issue was defeated by a sizeable majority.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Christians face internal conflicts in South Sudan

Sudanese refugees recently celebrated Christmas
 in Egypt. (Photo courtesy of e3 Partners/8thirty8)
South Sudan (MNN) — Africa’s newest country and the world’s newest state is the site of extreme violence brought on by internal conflicts.
According to BBC News, at least 1000 people have been killed since mid-December. Many of these are civilians. More than 200,000 people have left their homes due to the fighting and mass killings.
e3 Partners shares on their Facebook page the reactions of two pastors in the midst of the violence. One pastor plans to get his family to a safe place along with the thousands of other South Sudanese fleeing the region. Then he wants to return to minister in South Sudan.
The other pastor says, “I am fully convinced that this is the best time for evangelism, missions, and discipleship here in South Sudan, regardless of the risks. God has already taken care of them. Now is the time to preach about the Sovereignty of God in suffering, God’s grace in our sufferings, and why God appoints suffering for His saints. HOPE…the best of things! Waiting for the morning, during the long night of weeping.”
Many Christians see the darkness of trials as the place where God’s light shines the brightest. They do not falter because they know the importance of God’s work, and they rely on His strength.
According to The Christian Post, Roman Catholic Priests and Protestant pastors in S. Sudan are doing their best to protect both the Dinka and Nuer ethnic groups. Some are opening their homes and risking their lives to save these people, ignoring the danger they are in. The division between the Dinka and Nuer is often credited with the heightened violence, including mass killings.
e3’s Facebook page, 8thirty8, is founded on Roman’s 8:38-39 — “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The hope is that Christians will pray at 8:38 pm each day before they go to bed. Many Christians are just getting ready to face a new day of trial and persecution while we in the West are preparing to lie down for a peaceful sleep.
As you watch other believers step up and do Kingdom work despite the risks, consider how you can be involved in a big way. e3′s mission for this region is to plant as many healthy churches in Sudan as they can, so that the discipleship can occur right in the country.
e3 encourages Christians to pray for their fellow believers in South Sudan, who on top of persecution by Muslims must now face this deadly war. Pray also for those remaining in South Sudan to reach many ears with the Gospel truths.
e3 recognizes that at this moment, Muslims around the world are more open to the Gospel than they ever have been. Don’t waste that opportunity. If you’d like to support e3 in a tangible way, check out their “Get Involved” page. 

Libyan Christians have reason to fear

Libya (MNN) — Christians in Libya are concerned following the announcement that Libya’s new constitution will follow Sharia, or Islamic Law.
Cabinet of interim government
Christians have reason to fear as Cabinet of the interim government meets.
According to reports, the General National Congress released a statement that said, “Islamic law is the source of legislation in Libya. All state institutions need to comply with this.”
Todd Nettleton with the Voice of the Martyrs says since Islamic law will be the source of legislation, Christians have reason to fear. “What’s going to happen to those people who used to be Muslims who are now following Jesus Christ in Libya? This says the state law is going to follow Islamic law, which says those people are apostates and should be killed.”
Nettleton says Christians are asking important questions. “How is this fair? How is this democracy if all of the laws, all of the rules, are based on one religion and not open to the others?” Many Christians feel promises of democracy after President Moammar Qaddafi’s fall have been broken. NATO actually went to war with Qaddafi under that premise.
While the constitution isn’t completed, it doesn’t look hopeful. The only thing Christians in the west can do is pray. Unfortunately, few Christians in the west know what to pray about.
The Voice of the Martyrs offers a free monthly newsletter to help you follow stories of persecution more closely. Nettleton says, “We’re called Scripturally to remember those in prison as if we were in prison with them. We can’t do that if we don’t even know that they’re there.”