Read about a few things God and His people are doing around the globe for the sake of the Gospel:
Franklin Graham Helps Bring Oregon Standoff to Peaceful End
A 41-day standoff at a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon ended peacefully on Feb. 11 when the final group of occupiers ended their takeover and emerged to pray with BGEA President Franklin Graham before surrendering to the FBI.
Franklin was in phone contact with the protestors for the final week of the ordeal and helped negotiate the surrender at the request of the protestors and the FBI. He flew to Oregon after they promised to come forward.
The unlawful, armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Ore., commenced Jan. 2. It was a protest against federal land-use polices and alleged governmental overreach. On Jan. 26, the group’s main leaders were arrested, except for one who was killed by authorities in a highway confrontation.
Franklin’s involvement came when only four protestors remained at the refuge. The first three of these surrendered without incident, and the final man came forward after initially threatening to commit suicide.
“Thank God that the [standoff] is over and all are safe,” Franklin posted on Facebook. “This is a complicated controversy with the government that has roots going back many years. [I am] praying now that their grievances will be heard and addressed through the right channels.
“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to all the law enforcement—FBI, State Police, Sheriff’s Department and other agencies for all they have done.”
NASA Censors ‘Jesus’
Liberty Institute attorneys have sent a demand letter to NASA, threatening a federal lawsuit if the space agency does not reverse its prohibition of the name “Jesus” in the e-newsletter of the Johnson Space Center (JSC).
JSC employees founded a praise and worship club in 2001. Members meet during lunchtime to discuss their Christian faith and sing Christian songs. Like other employee groups at the JSC, the club routinely submits announcements about its meetings to the space center’s daily email newsletter. Last June, the club was told the name “Jesus” could no longer appear in those announcements.
“It is illegal for the government to censor the name of Jesus in employee emails,” said Jeremy Dys, senior counsel for Liberty Institute. “Censoring a religious club’s announcement to specifically exclude the name “Jesus” is blatant religious discrimination.”
Missionary to Continue Serving After Husband Dies in Terror Attack
A Christian missionary from Florida was among 29 people killed Jan. 15 by Islamic extremists during an attack on a coffee shop and hotel in the West African country of Burkina Faso.
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Mike Riddering, 45, of Hollywood, Fla., was meeting with a pastor in the popular Cappuccino Café in the capital city of Ouagadougou when al-Qaida-affiliated terrorists opened fire on patrons of the café and the hotel across the street, both of which were known as havens for Westerners. Also among the dead were six Catholic aid workers from Quebec.
“People wonder what I am going to do now,” said Riddering’s widow, Amy, as quoted by The Ledger in Lakeland, Fla. The couple lived in a village outside Ouagadougou. “It’s simple—God did not only call Mike to Burkina Faso; He called me too.” She announced plans to return to her work with orphans and widows in Burkina Faso during a news conference at their home church, Hollywood Community Church on Feb. 5.
Christian Festival Wins Venue Battle
A nonprofit organization that showcases Christian arts and music can continue to hold its annual festival at a high-profile downtown Toronto location, after the city of Toronto reversed its ban.
“After almost four months of prayers, petitioning, rallying and legal intervention, the Yonge-Dundas Square Board of Directors has decided to loosen—somewhat—their grip on the rights and freedoms of Voices of the Nations,” said a news release on the organization’s website.
The victory is bittersweet, though, said Voices of the Nations President Peter Ruparelia, as the permit still contains conditions that violate the group’s rights, though to a lesser degree.
Chaplains Bring Hope After Storms
Chaplains with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team ministered to hundreds across the South and Midwest following deadly winter storms and devastating floods.
In Texas, storms over the Christmas holidays spawned tornadoes that killed eight in Garland and injured 15 others. In nearby Rowlett, 23 were injured. Meanwhile, more than 100 buildings were damaged or destroyed in DeSoto and Glenn Heights.
In the two weeks following those storms, chaplains prayed with more than 700 people and saw 18 pray to receive Jesus Christ.
Tornadoes also ripped across Mississippi, with four people losing their lives in the town of Ashland. Chaplains prayed with more than 475 people there.
In Fenton, Missouri, inundated when the Meramec River rose 18 feet above flood stage, chaplains prayed with more than 250 people. One man told chaplains that he hoped his good deeds would get him to Heaven. The chaplains explained what the Bible teaches about salvation, and the man prayed to receive Christ.
Imam Arrested in Killing of Christian
A muslim imam in eastern Uganda was arrested in connection with the murder of a recent convert to Christianity. Laurence Maiso’s body was found Jan. 27 at his house, his head laying in a pool of blood, Morning Star News reported.
Maiso’s wife told police that the imam, Kamulali Hussein, had warned him that “Allah is about to send to you the Angel of Death in your house. Please prepare to meet him at any time.”