This is the International Christian Herald podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.
According to Faithwire, Dave Eubank of the Free Burma Rangers issued a clarion call for people around the globe to help those captured, tortured and fleeing the Burma army. “The ethnic people in the mountains, though chased from their homes, also refuse to give up and continue loving and helping each other,” Eubank wrote in an email update. “Our teams and other groups move amongst the ethnic people giving medical and food support and being with them in love. The Burma military is more powerful than anyone here but we believe God is more powerful and is giving us ways to help.” Eubank added that first and foremost they require prayer for their team. “We have been asked during this crisis in Burma how people can help more and what the needs are. First, we need prayer that we do God’s work God’s way, and that more help comes,” Eubank wrote.
According to France24, A giant new statue of Christ being constructed in southern Brazil will rise even higher than the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue that overlooks Rio de Janeiro. A head and outstretched arms were added this week to the statue, which has been under construction since 2019 in the city of Encantado, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. Completion of the monument is scheduled for late this year, according to the Association of the Friends of Christ, which is coordinating the work. “It is a day for celebration, for devotion,” said Gilson Conzatti, a local councillor and son of Adroaldo Conzatti, the politician who conceived the idea. The elder Conzatti, who was the city’s mayor, died in March from complications of Covid-19. The statue, to be named Christ the Protector, will stand 43 meters (140 feet) tall, including its pedestal, making it one of the world’s tallest statues of Christ with outstretched arms. It will measure 36 meters from hand to hand, and will have an interior elevator and an observation deck near the top. Christ the Redeemer, in comparison, measures 38 meters high, pedestal included, and spans 28 meters hand to hand. It will mark its 90th birthday this October.
According to the Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement, On 9 April, in-charge nurse, Maryam Lal and 3rd-year student nurse Navish Arooj working in Civil Hospital, Faisalabad, were charged with committing blasphemy. A first information report (FIR) under blasphemy law section 295-B, has been registered against Maryam and Navish after a complaint from Dr Mirza Muhammad Ali. In his written complaint he said while on his rounds of the Fatima ward with sanitary inspector Faisal Yaqoob, head Nurse Rukhsana told him that on April 8, Navish scribbled on a sticker inscribed withverses from the Quran that was displayed in the medical cabin. After stripping it from the wall, she allegedly handed it to Mariam. According to the Muslim head nurse Rukhsana, she saw Maryam doing this and snatched the piece of paper inscribed with holy verses from her hands. She said she took pictures of that sticker to use as evidence. Rukhsana said that since it was the end of the day and most of the staff had left and there was no uproar, saving both nurses from the outrage. A Muslim ward boy Muhammad Waqas has also alleged that Navish removed a religious sticker from a wall and tore it up on her colleague Maryam’s call. He claims Maryam committed a blasphemous act that cannot be tolerated by any true Muslim and used abusive language against both Christian nurses.
According to Radio Free Asia, Authorities in China are detaining Christians in secretive, mobile “transformation” facilities to make them renounce their faith, RFA has learned. A member of a Christian “house church” in the southwestern province of Sichuan who asked to be identified by a pseudonym Li Yuese said he was held in a facility run by the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s United Front Work Department, working in tandem with the state security police, for 10 months after a raid on his church in 2018. “It was a mobile facility, that could just set up in some basement somewhere,” Li said. “It was staffed by people from several different government departments.” “It had its own (CCP) political and legal affairs committee working group, and they mainly target Christians who are members of house churches,” he said. The Chinese Communist Party, which embraces atheism, exercises tight controls over any form of religious practice among its citizens.
According to the Christian Post, Sir. Keir Starmer, leader of the U.K.’s Labour Party, was forced to apologize for visiting a church on Good Friday that critics have attacked as being “anti-LGBT” for adhering to biblical sexual ethics. In a since-deleted video, Starmer praised Jesus House for All the Nations on Friday as being a “wonderful example” of a church serving its community during the coronavirus pandemic, including acting as a vaccination center and running a food bank. “I recently visited Jesus House UK to hear about their crucial work in the community,” Starmer announced in a tweet that has also been deleted. “Churches across the country have played such a vital role in the fight against the virus. I hope everyone has a good, restful and safe Easter weekend.”
According to the Christian Post, Amid COVID-19, Christian humanitarian organization Compassion International is partnering with pro athletes for the Fill the Stadium initiative to fund tens of thousands of impoverished children whose sponsorships have been affected by the pandemic. In an interview with The Christian Post, Fill the Stadium spokesperson Ken McKinney revealed that the coronavirus pandemic impacted or delayed the sponsorships of an estimated 70,000 children across 25 countries. “With COVID and all the shutdowns, we had over 1,200 fundraising events canceled between sporting events, churches and conference tours,” he said. “So, we ended up with 70,000 children, newly entered into our programs, who we didn’t have any access to help raise funds to support.”
According to the Christian Post, China has launched a campaign to increase restrictions on five types of social organizations that the government has deemed illegal, which includes house churches that aren’t members of the Chinese Communist Party-backed Three-Self Patriotic Association. According to Radio Free Asia, China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs recently announced a campaign to shut down organizations that aren’t registered with authorities but have carried out activities in the name of a social organization, private non-enterprise unit or foundation. Organizations that continue with their activities despite their revoked registration are also a target of the campaign, the ministry said.
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!