This is the International Christian Herald podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.
According to CBN, After months of fervent prayer and fasting by Anabaptists and other Christian supporters worldwide, every member of a group of American and Canadian missionaries held hostage in Haiti for months has now been released. “We glorify God for answered prayer—the remaining twelve hostages are FREE!” stated Christian Aid Ministries (CAM) today in announcing the good news. “Join us in praising God that all seventeen of our loved ones are now safe,” stated CAM. “Thank you for your fervent prayers throughout the past two months. We hope to provide more information as we are able.” The Ohio-based group, one of the world’s largest Anabaptist parachurch organizations and active in scores of countries, cited Exodus 15: “I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously.” The remaining group of 12 missionaries made a daring overnight escape last week, eluding their kidnappers and walking for miles over difficult, moonlit terrain with an infant and other children in tow. In Port-au-Prince, National Police spokesman Gary Desrosiers confirmed the release to The Associated Press (AP) but did not provide additional details. The group of 12 adults and five children—including an 8-month-old—was kidnapped by a Haitian gang called 400 Mawozo in October after visiting an orphanage. The gang demanded $1 million ransoms and threatened to kill the CAM workers. Two hostages were released on November 21 and three more were released on December 5.
According to the Daily Mail, Suspected ISIS-linked extremists have decapitated a Christian pastor before handing his severed head to his wife to show authorities in Mozambique. The killing, reported by local news, took place in the country’s gas-rich northern province of Cabo Delgado. Last Wednesday, the man’s widow carried a sack containing the head of her husband to the district police headquarters, according to the BBC who cited military sources. She was ordered to inform the authorities of her husband’s killing by the suspected Islamic State-linked insurgents, who found the pastor in a field, she told police. The woman, a resident of Nova Zambezia, told officials that the attackers kidnapped her husband from the farm before beheading him. Speaking on Thursday, Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi Thursday stressed that his country had witnessed fewer jihadist attacks this year than last, after Rwanda and neighbouring countries helped tackle the four-year insurgency. The Cabo Delgado province has been rocked by attacks by Islamic State-linked militants since 2017, killing at least 3,340 people and displacing more than 800,000.
According to Reuters, Cardinal Peter Turkson, seen by some as a candidate to become the first African pope in about 1,500 years, has abruptly offered his resignation from a key Vatican department, sources familiar with the matter said on Saturday.Turkson, 73, from Ghana, has been a key adviser to Pope Francis on issues such as climate change and social justice, and is the only African to head a Vatican department. According to the Vatican sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the pope has yet to decide whether to accept the resignation. Turkson heads a large Vatican department known as the Dicastery for Integral Human Development. It was formed in 2016 to merge four offices that dealt with issues such as peace, justice, migration, and charities. One source said Turkson, who is about two years shy of the mandatory retirement age of 75 for bishops, had become “fed up” with internal disputes. Another source said Turkson had told staff he would say more after the pope made his decision. His departure would leave the Vatican with no African heading a major department, following the retirement of Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea earlier this year. Turkson’s department underwent an external review headed by Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago at the pope’s request earlier this year.
According to the Daily Mail, An American priest has been jailed for 12 years in East Timor after being found guilty of ‘horrendous’ child sex abuse at a remote orphanage he founded. Richard Daschbach, 84, was convicted of sexually abusing young girls in his care at the Topu Honis shelter, in the first case of its kind in the staunchly Catholic nation. He spent decades as a missionary in the country’s remote enclave of Oecusse, setting up a shelter in the 1990s named Topu Honis, which means ‘Guide to Life’, where hundreds of young girls passed through his care. He was charged with sexual abuse as well as child pornography and domestic violence – and faces similar charges back in the US after he was indicted by a federal grand jury in Washington, DC, in August. The East Timor trial began in February but was postponed several times before concluding last month. Campaigners have applauded the verdict but said they would appeal for tougher measures as under the law, Daschbach faced more than twice the prison time he received.
According to the Daily Mail, The Archbishop of Canterbury has said being vaccinated against coronavirus is a moral issue. The Most Rev Justin Welby said that getting the jab reduces the chances of illness being spread and that ‘it’s not about me and my rights to choose – it’s about how I love my neighbour’. His comments come as Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that people could go ahead with their Christmas plans but there is ‘continuing uncertainty’ about the severity of the fast-spreading Omicron variant and hospital admission rates. Asked during an interview with ITV News At Ten if being vaccinated is a ‘moral issue’, the archbishop said: ‘I’m going to step out on thin ice here and say, yes, I think it is.’ He added: ‘A lot of people won’t like that, but I think it is because it’s not about me and my rights. ‘Now obviously there are some people who, for health reasons, can’t be vaccinated – different question – but it’s not about me and my rights to choose.
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!