LISTEN: Honduran youth pastor wins asylum hearing (UCNN 09.29.19)

According to Christianity Today, Honduran youth pastor Douglas Oviedo won his asylum hearing last week. After fleeing violent gangs in Central America, trekking north to the US, and then being returned to Tijuana for seven months, he has won the right to stay in the country. He is safe—at least while the US government decides whether or not to appeal the court’s decision. The 35-year-old first arrived in California with the heavily publicized migrant caravan in November 2018. He was returned to Tijuana in January along with thousands of other asylum-seekers, as part of the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” program, which keeps asylum seekers out of the US while their cases are being heard. Oviedo won his case after he proved the threats he faces in Honduras constitute grounds for asylum under US law. He posted on Facebook thanking God for remaining by his side throughout the process and sharing pictures from California. He is one of only a few Central Americans to receive asylum since the Trump administration started tightening restrictions. The administration changed the rules in June 2018, telling immigration courts that gang violence are domestic abuse and are not legitimate grounds for an asylum claim. This reversed a long-standing precedent and precluded many Central American claims. This summer the administration also said persecution based on family ties is not a valid grounds for asylum. Oviedo’s persecution was gang-related, but he was able to show that the gangs were targeting him for his religious activity and political positions. Religious and political persecution are grounds for asylum, but are harder to prove than threats of gang violence, which are ubiquitous in Honduras. According to reports from the San Diego Union-Tribune, Oviedo told the judge he was “blacklisted” by the gangs because of his efforts to offer youth an alternative to gang membership.
According to The Christian Post, A Hillsong singer who was hospitalized after suffering a brain aneurysm shortly after a worship service will be returning home. Chelsea Lee Taylor, who helps to lead worship at the Hills campus in Sydney, Australia, garnered international headlines when she suffered a brain aneurysm last month and had to undergo a nine-hour emergency surgery. Emma Fellers, creative administrator at Hillsong Church, announced in an Instagram post earlier this week that Taylor was returning home. Fellers said Taylor was “100% healed, able to walk, talk, DRIVE” but added that “recovery time at home and continued physiotherapy” was still needed. Days after the medical emergency, Hillsong’s Cass Langton posted an update to social media from Taylor’s mother, noting that the singer was recovering and taken out of intensive care.
According to the AP, The accrediting body that oversees Liberty University has asked the college for more information about recent news reports that have questioned President Jerry Falwell Jr.’s leadership style and personal business interests, a spokeswoman told The Associated Press. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges recently sent the Lynchburg, Virginia, university a letter asking it to “respond to the media reports,” Janea Johnson said this week. Johnson declined to provide details about the contents of the letter or any specific concerns the commission would like addressed, saying the commission doesn’t divulge such communications. “The things that are in the media are things we wanted the institution to address to us,” Johnson said. Liberty spokesman Scott Lamb said the university hadn’t received any communications from the commission yet. Liberty is the nation’s highest-profile evangelical college. Falwell previously told AP that the news reports stemmed from an “attempted coup” orchestrated by several disgruntled former board members and employees who are leaking internal university communications to discredit him. He said he has asked the FBI to investigate what he considers a criminal conspiracy. The reports, some based on anonymous sources, have described Falwell as a temperamental leader who brokers no dissent and has blurred the lines between the school and his personal business. Once Liberty responds to the commission’s inquiry, a staff member will weigh whether any further action is necessary, Johnson said. If that staff member recommends taking action, the commission’s board would consider that at its next meeting in December, she said. Currently, Liberty is fully accredited without any sanctions, she said.
According to KHOU 11, Three sixth-grade boys are accused of pinning down a fellow classmate — a 12-year-old girl — on the playground and cutting her locks because they are “nappy” and “ugly.” Amari Allen said she has never been more traumatized in her life until Monday when she said a group of white male classmates attacked her on the playground at Immanuel Christian School, a private K-12 school, in Fairfax, Virginia. Amari tells WUSA9 that one boy covered her mouth and the second boy put her hands behind her back, while the third boy pulled out scissors and cut her medium-length locks while calling her names. Allen’s family pays nearly $12,000 a year for Amari to attend the private school where Vice President Mike Pence’s wife, Karen Pence, teaches there twice a week. “They kept laughing and calling me names,” Amari said, as tears poured down her face. “They called me ‘ugly,’ said, ‘I shouldn’t have been born.’ They called me ‘an attention-seeker.’” The ordeal happened during recess on a sliding board. On Thursday, the entire playground was surrounded by caution tape as Allen’s family spoke to the administration. “They ran off laughing, and I was just sitting there,” Amari said. The soft-spoken preteen didn’t tell her family what happened until Wednesday — two days after the incident when her grandmother, Cynthia Allen, noticed a difference in the length of her hair. “It’s very painful,” Cynthia Allen said. “I want to see them dismissed from the school. I want to see something done.” Amari initially denied that anyone cut it for fear of retaliation. When Allen continued to ask questions, she broke down crying and told them the truth.
According to CTV News, The wife of Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary was charged in a fatal boat crash that occurred last month on Ontario’s Lake Joseph, CTV News reports. Ontario Provincial Police announced Tuesday that Linda O’Leary was charged with “careless operation of a vessel” after she allegedly piloted a boat on Aug. 24 that slammed into another—resulting in the deaths of 64-year-old Gary Poltash and 48-year-old Susanne Brito. Kevin O’Leary was reportedly on the boat when the late-night crash occurred, and his wife is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 29. Richard Ruh, a 57-year-old New York resident, was also charged with “failing to exhibit navigation light while underway” in the crash.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Detroit remained the center of the Kanye West universe Friday evening, as the rapper staged a pop-up listening party to reveal his new music at the Fox Theatre, hours after an outdoor gospel event. About 2,000 very zealous fans gathered inside the grand theater as West served up the first listen of his 10-track “Jesus Is King,” the much-delayed album that at one point was scheduled for Friday release. As revealed by the listening session, guests on the record include rap duo Clipse and sax man Kenny G (closing track “Use This Gospel for Protection”), along with Detroit-raised gospel singer Fred Hammond (“Hands Off”). With his wife and daughter looking on, West also revealed clips from a forthcoming IMAX film, “Jesus Is King,” directed by British filmmaker Nick Knight. The listening session revealed an album infused with spiritual themes, including cautions against the temptations of superficial culture (“L.A. Monster”), songs of personal revelation (“Hands Off” with Hammond) and urgings of faith and devotion (“Closed on Sunday” — “just like Chick-fil-A,” as Kanye quipped). The listening event, which was announced Friday afternoon minutes before the free tickets were released, was part of a quickly devised Detroit visit that included West’s Sunday Service gospel event at the Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre.
According to The Christian Post, Hollywood filmmaker Terrence Malick is working on his next film, “The Last Planet,” which reportedly will tell the story of Jesus Christ, and he’s recruiting a star-studded cast to be part of the film. According to reports released in the past few months, “The Last Planet” will tell the story of Christ’s life in a series of parables. The movie is currently in production in various locations in Italy and Iceland. Aidan Turner of “The Hobbit” is the latest actor to be added to the cast, playing the role of the disciple Andrew, according to Deadline. The actor confirmed his casting on Facebook with a link to the article announcing his participation and the caption which read, “It’s official.”“Son of Saul” star Géza Röhrig has been cast as Jesus, and Matthias Schoenaerts (”A Hidden Life”) is set to play St. Peter. Additionally, One Big Soul revealed that Joseph Fiennes (“The Handmaid’s Tale”), Douglas Booth, Alfonso Postiglione, and Lorenzo Gioiell are also in the movie.
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In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, today is a good day to get to know Him. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Thanks so much for listening and may God bless your day!