This is the Urban Christian News podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.
According to CBN, Coptic Christian students at a school in Egypt were recently forced to remove cross jewelry and were subsequently beaten by teachers and students, according to persecution watchdog International Christian Concern. These incidents reportedly unfolded at an elementary and middle school in Egypt’s Minya Governorate. One of the episodes is said to have involved a female teacher who allegedly attacked a male child. The teacher not only purportedly participated in the assault but also encouraged other kids to take part. The group allegedly removed the cross, took the pendant away, and destroyed it. These shocking actions are said to have had the support of the headmaster at the school. Children reportedly told their parents what unfolded, with news of the assaults later reaching persecution watchdogs and media outlets alike. It is unclear if any subsequent action was taken by government officials. Christian Solidarity Worldwide President Mervyn Thomas called on Egyptian authorities to take swift action against those responsible and expressed concern over the inclusion of teachers and adults in these incidents. Christian persecution remains a major problem in Egypt, which ranks 17th on Open Doors USA’s World Watch List, a rating of the countries in which persecution is most prevalent.
According to CNBC, TikTok usage is spiking among young Americans at the expense of Instagram, according to survey findings published by Forrester. This year, 63% of Americans between the ages of 12 and 17 used TikTok on a weekly basis, compared with 57% for Instagram, Forrester wrote in a blog post on Thursday, citing data from a survey the research firm conducted. In 2020, Instagram led that demographic, with 61% of kids on the platform, while TikTok had 50%. Instagram’s recent struggles have been widely reported of late, starting with a series in the Wall Street Journal, based on internal research from parent company Facebook, now known as Meta, that was released by a whistleblower. In an effort to keep users on the app, Facebook disregarded its own data showing the harmful effects of Instagram, particularly on young girls, the research showed. TikTok, however, is not the top social media app among American Gen Z. That distinction belongs to Google’s YouTube, which in 2021 is used weekly by 72% of American teenagers, up from 69% in 2020, Forrester said. Snapchat is used weekly by 54% of U.S. Gen Z, which is flat compared to 2020.
According to CBS News, With holiday travel approaching for many families, state data shows more school-aged children coming down with COVID-19, outpacing every other age group in Massachusetts. A local epidemiologist says that’s not entirely surprising. “The highest rate per capita is among school-aged kids, kids ages 5-9,” said Dr. Jon Levy, a Boston University professor who’s been studying the state COVID-19 data. The latest numbers from the state Department of Public Health shows that within the last two weeks, children ages 5-9 saw the highest positivity case rate in Massachusetts, followed by kids ages 10-14. “There’s a lot of exposure and a lot of potential risk happening,” said Dr. Levy. “Kids who might be missing school, and, of course, kids live with adults and might be them passing on COVID to their families.” As it gets colder and people spend more time indoors, Tufts Medical Center Epidemiologist Dr. Shira Doron says it’s to be expected that more kids will test positive for the coronavirus.
According to the New York Times, Two people associated with an American missionary group seized in a mass kidnapping in Haiti more than a month ago have been released, the organization said Sunday. The hostages were among 17 people kidnapped by a notorious Haitian gang on Oct. 16 as they paid a visit to an orphanage outside the capital, Port-au-Prince. In announcing that two of them had been released, the Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries urged discretion to protect those still in the hands of the gang members. “We cannot provide or confirm the names of those released, the reasons for their release, where they are from, or their current location,” the group said. “We ask that those who have more specific information about the release and the individuals involved would safeguard that information.” The group, which included 16 Americans and one Canadian, had been working with Christian Aid Ministries before being abducted by one of Haiti’s most fearsome gangs, 400 Mawozo, which is infamous for orchestrating mass kidnapping.
According to CNN, When Adeola “Abraham” Olagbegi discovered his bone marrow transplant was successful, he was granted any wish of his choice. But the 13-year-old’s wish was not a trip across the world or the newest gaming console. Instead, he chose to feed homeless people in his hometown of Jackson, Mississippi, for a year. It began in June 2020, when Abraham was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a rare and life-threatening blood disorder. The disease is a type of bone marrow failure that made it impossible to produce enough blood cells to support his body. “I am a person of hope, so when you come against a big mountain, you have to remember you have a big God,” Abraham told CNN affiliate WLBT. Because the disease causes bone marrow damage, Abraham needed a bone marrow transplant to survive. “I had my transplant 10 months ago in November 2020, so I am doing good,” he told WLBT. Make-A-Wish Mississippi, which grants wishes to children and teens ages 2-18 who are often battling devastating illnesses, made his wish come true, bringing to life Abraham’s Table, a service that provides meals to the homeless every third Saturday. On those days, Abraham and a group of volunteers stand in Jackson’s Poindexter Park distributing meals and will continue to do so with Make-A-Wish for the next year.
According to the Associated Press, The Kansas City Chiefs will pay for ongoing medical treatment and other expenses for a young girl who was seriously injured when a vehicle she was in was struck by a car driven by former assistant coach Britt Reid. The agreement between the Chiefs and the family of Ariel Young will provide her with “world-class medical care and long-term financial stability,” according to a statement Friday from the team’s legal representative and the family’s attorney, Tom Porto. The agreement was reached after several months of discussions between the Chiefs, Ariel Young’s family and medical experts. Other details were not released. Ariel, who was 5 at the time, suffered a traumatic brain injury on Feb. 4 when Britt Reid’s vehicle hit two stopped vehicles on an Interstate 435 entrance ramp near Arrowhead Stadium.Ariel was hospitalized in critical condition for weeks before being released from the hospital April 2. “Ariel’s recovery is a long road, but she has made great strides and continues to improve every day,” the statement said. Earlier this fall, she was able to attend her first day of school. Reid, who is the son of Chiefs coach Andy Reid, has been charged with driving while intoxicated and is scheduled to go to trial April 18. Prosecutors have said his blood alcohol level was 0.113 about two hours after the crash. The legal limit is 0.08.
According to the Associated Press, Friends and associates of slain rapper Young Dolph handed out Thanksgiving turkeys at a neighborhood church Friday in Memphis, Tennessee, two days after he was gunned down in broad daylight inside his favorite bakery. Known for acts of charity in his hometown, the hip-hop artist and label owner had helped organize the event at St. James Missionary Baptist Church and was going to participate before he was fatally shot Wednesday, November 17. Undaunted, members of his music label, Paper Route Empire, along with church volunteers and community activists, distributed dozens of turkeys, stuffing mix and cranberry sauce — and said “happy Thanksgiving” — to people driving past the church. Undaunted, members of his music label, Paper Route Empire, along with church volunteers and community activists, distributed dozens of turkeys, stuffing mix and cranberry sauce — and said “happy Thanksgiving” — to people driving past the church. It was the type of event Young Dolph, who grew up in the Castalia neighborhood where the church is located, has been organizing for years, often without the reporters and cameras present Friday. Before the event, volunteers spoke quietly among themselves or sat in solemn reflection as his music played outside the church on the sunny afternoon. Label employee Bee Bee Jones, 38, helped hand out the food, honoring his friend of 30 years. “When I hear his music, I just break down,” said Jones, who spoke with a reporter while sitting on the rear bumper of a U-Haul truck full of 300 turkeys. “The truth in all of it, and where he came from, that’s what really gets to me sometimes. This is what he would want us to do right here, still keep on giving. He came from nothing, but he wanted to make sure everybody got some.” Police on Friday kept searching for suspects in the killing, which shook Memphis and shocked the entertainment world. Police have released photos taken from surveillance video that shows two men exiting a white Mercedes and shooting Young Dolph before fleeing.
You can read these stories and more at UrbanChristianNews.com
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!