LISTEN: Christian Child Left in Coma After Being Beaten in Vietnam (09.10.19)

According to Christian Post, A 6-year-old Christian girl and her parents were brutally beaten and dragged out of their village in Northern Vietnam because of their Christian faith, Open Doors UK reports. The family of three was forced out of their home and their bodies dragged over rocks to the entrance of the village after sustaining beatings that left the young girl in a coma for a month. Open Doors, an organization that serves persecuted Christians worldwide, said earlier this week that the 6-year-old girl has regained consciousness but doesn’t recall what happened to her and isn’t able to recognize her parents. The family had stopped participating in their village’s practice of worshiping their ancestors and received Christ, which angered the villagers and local authorities. Not long after, they were “mocked, tied with ropes and severely beaten while being dragged over rocky ground toward the entrance of the village, forcing them to leave,” Open Doors reports. Members of their church later transported them to a hospital where they were treated for three days.

According to Christian Post, An Alabama pastor whose 10-year-old daughter was killed in a grisly crash last Friday chose to work through his pain at the pulpit Sunday with a soul-stirring rendition of “I Won’t Complain.” According to WBRC, Ramiah Leonard died at 8:15 a.m. at Regional Medical Center after being involved in a two-car crash on Alabama 21. Calhoun County Coroner Pat Brown, said Ramiah’s mother, Rasheda S. Leonard, was driving north when she turned the 2002 Lexus she was driving left at an intersection near the 2200 block of Alabama 21 and a southbound Jeep hit the passenger side of the car. Since his daughter’s death, Eugene Leonard Jr., who is the senior pastor at the Life Center Church in Anniston, has remained stoic in his musings on social media. He shared on his Facebook page on Saturday. “Romans 8:28 (TPT). So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose. My Heartbeat is now My Angel!”

According to Christian Headlines, One week after surpassing most prognostications, the faith-based film Overcomer is expanding. Overcomer, rated PG, will open in 100 additional theaters this weekend, according to Provident Films, one of the companies behind the movie. Overcomer opened in 1,723 theaters last weekend and grossed $8.1 million to finish third behind Angel Has Fallen and Good Boys, and ahead of Hobbs & Shaw and The Lion King. Its per-theater average ($4,728) ranked second among films in the Top 20. It also earned an A+ CinemaScore grade from moviegoers and a 98 percent audience score at Rotten Tomatoes. Kimber Myers, a film critic for The Los Angeles Times, gave Overcomer a positive score and said the movie has “an emotionally effective conclusion that might persuade even the cynics to its cause.”

According to the Daily Mail, Hurricane Dorian is battering the northern Bahamas on Monday as a Category 4 with its strong 150mph winds and floodwaters that reached up to attics, sending locals scrambling to their rooftops for safety. On Monday morning numerous casualties – including an eight-year-old boy – were reported on the Abaco Islands as the Bahamian government highlighted chilling reports of bodies floating in the wreckage, but an official number is yet to be released. Local authorities inundated with distress calls urged trapped residents on the ravaged island to grab flotation devices or find hammers to smash their way onto their roofs to avoid the rising floods. Dorian is continuing its path of destruction by swirling westwards at just 1mph and is expected to skirt along the Florida coast, where storm surges and tropical storm force winds are already breaking through. In the Bahamas, Dorian brought gusts of 225mph and up to 30 inches of rainfall on Sunday, wrecked 13,000 homes, tore down power lines and left Grand Bahama International Airport in Freeport under five feet of water by Monday morning. Experts have also warned of a possible storm surge that could send destructive waves crashing into the coast. Dorian is the second-strongest Atlantic storm on record, and the joint-strongest ever to make landfall, after it barreled into the Bahamas with wind speeds of 185mph on Sunday.

According to the Daily Mail, Authorities on Sunday released a photograph showing the man who is allegedly responsible for the shooting rampage in western Texas that killed at least seven people and wounded nearly two dozen others. The gunman who carried out the mass shooting in Odessa, Texas, has been identified as 36-year-old Seth Ator, two law enforcement officials told AP. Ator was shot and killed by police in the parking lot of the Cinergy movie theater in Odessa on Saturday afternoon. Police had previously said that the suspect was a white male in his 30s. About an hour before Ator was named, Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke told reporters at a press conference that he would not reveal the shooter’s identity because he did not want to give him notoriety. ‘I’m not going to give him any notoriety for what he did,’ Gerke said. Gerke said that authorities would eventually reveal the suspect’s name, though he refused to do it in a public forum.

According to Reuters, Divers were scouring for bodies on the wreckage of a scuba diving boat off California on Tuesday, after a fast-moving fire trapped dozens of people below deck, sparking a panicked rescue call from a man gasping, “I can’t breathe.” Emergency crews found at least 25 bodies after the fire broke out before dawn off Santa Cruz Island on Monday, leaving nine people still missing, the Associated Press reported. Five of the six-person crew who were above deck on the bridge managed to escape in an inflatable boat. The Coast Guard declined to confirm the figures as authorities launched an investigation into one of the area’s worst maritime disasters. “We are looking for bodies now,” said Santa Barbara Fire Department spokeswoman Amber Anderson. In a recording of a desperate call to the Coast Guard, a man is heard gasping for help in the smoky fire. “Mayday, mayday, mayday!” he said. “That’s a distress, this is the Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles on channel 1-6, what is your position … and number of persons on board? Over,” the dispatcher answered. “Twenty-nine. Twenty-nine POB,” said the man in the somewhat inaudible call. “I can’t breathe!… Twenty-nine POB.” The dispatcher at least twice more requested the GPS location of the vessel but the caller apparently fails to respond. The boat sank later in the morning and was lying upside down under more than 60 feet (18 meters) of water, police said. Officials said there were a total of 33 passengers and six crew members onboard the Conception, a 75-foot (23 m) boat, when the fire started at about 3:15 a.m. on Monday.

According to Reuters, Almost 200 people were rescued attempting to make the dangerous crossing from North Africa to Spain on Monday, the coastguard said. The rescues come amid a debate in Spain over the role that charity boats should play in assisting government efforts after a Spanish non-governmental organization ship was at the center of a standoff with European states last month. In the Strait of Gibraltar, 73 people were rescued from three boats, among them 10 minors, Spanish rescue services said. Another 110 people were rescued from five boats in the Alboran Sea, the majority of whom will be taken to the port of Malaga. Arrivals to Spain so far this year by mid-August were a little over 18,000, Interior Ministry data shows, a 39% reduction on the same period last year.

According to Reuters, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intends to annex all Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, he said on Sunday, reiterating an election promise made five months ago but again giving no timeframe. Settlements are one of the most heated issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Palestinians have voiced fears Netanyahu could defy international consensus and move ahead with annexation with possible backing from U.S. President Donald Trump, a close ally. “With God’s help we will extend Jewish sovereignty to all the settlements as part of the (biblical) land of Israel, as part of the state of Israel,” Netanyahu said in Sunday’s speech in the West Bank settlement of Elkana, where he attended a ceremony opening the school year. He did not say when he planned to make such a move.

According to The Daily Beast, An arrest warrant has reportedly been issued in Alabama for Los Angeles Lakers star DeMarcus Cousins after he allegedly threatened his ex-girlfriend, ESPN reported Thursday. The Mobile municipal court website reportedly said Cousins has been charged with “third-degree harassing communications,” but no other details were made available. A police spokesperson confirmed the arrest warrant to USA Today Sports. Cousins’ ex-girlfriend Christy West is reportedly seeking a restraining order against the NBA player after he allegedly called her and said he would “put a bullet in [her] head” when she declined to let their son to go to his wedding. The NBA previously said it was investigating the matter, and the Lakers said they were “gathering information” about the incident.

According to The Daily Beast, Rapper Kanye West is slated to release his new album, Jesus is King, next month. West’s wife, Kim Kardashian West, posted a photo on Twitter of what appeared to be a track list and a release date of Sept. 27. According to Pitchfork, the track list included “Water,” a song that West performed at his Coachella “Sunday Service” performance earlier this year. The rapper released his most recent album, ye, last year. He announced that he would release another album, Yandhi, in September 2018, but the project was postponed indefinitely. At his “Sunday Service” performances, West—along with a choir—has performed covers of West’s old songs and other church tunes.

According to ET, The legendary singer teamed up with Australian Christian rock duo For King & Country on a remix of their song, “God Only Knows,” and only ET has the exclusive behind-the-scenes video. “This song was Heaven-sent,” Parton says in the clip. “I wanted to be a part of it because it just speaks to so many people out there that are having a hard time going through rough times.” To illustrate that message of redemption, Parton pulled double duty in the music video; she starred as herself and and as a prostitute, complete with fishnet stockings and a gold mini-skirt. The music video came together after For King & Country’s Joel and Luke Smallbone reached out to Parton hoping she’d sing on a remix of the song, which they released earlier this year. The deal was sealed over Skype, when she was in Nashville and they were in Los Angeles. “It’s a beautiful song and I love singin’ it with them,” Parton tells ET. “I think we need this song this day and time.”

According to Christianity Today, A Tennessee man was recently dealt two sentences: freedom in Christ and life in prison. In a murder trial last Friday, defendant Danny Holmes opened with a 20-minute testimony where he confessed to killing a man three years ago and then he recounted his spiritual transformation in prison since then, the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal reported. Instrumental to his confession was the song “Redeemed” by Christian rock band Big Daddy Weave. He brought the lyrics in a notebook to court. Mike Weaver, the band’s eponymous lead singer, told CT he was “blown away” when he learned how God used his band’s music in Holmes’ life. “Over the last handful of years, so many stories have come from God using that song,” said Weaver, who lives north of Nashville in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, just 33 miles from the site of Holmes’ crime in Murfreesboro. “It is a message that is so dear to [God’s] heart.” The song emphasizes redemption and Christ’s work to free us from our past sins and past selves. The line that sealed the deal for Holmes came from the first verse: “Then you look at this prisoner and say to me, Son, stop fighting a fight that’s already been won.’” Holmes accepted his life sentence and vowed to serve the Lord and spread the gospel while behind bars. “I’m 30 years old, and I’ve been fighting for nothing all my life. I’ve been fighting for gangs,” Holmes said in court. “I ain’t never fought for anything that made sense. But I knew the Lord was telling me to fight for him this time. I just knew he was stirring on my spirit.” Weaver said he and “Redeemed” co-writer Benji Cowart intend to visit Holmes in prison.