|Zprávy HCJB 19.2.2008|
|21 významných čínských kazatelů domácí církve posláno do pracovního tábora|
|Dvacet jedna prominentních kazatelů domácí církve bylo naráz posláno do pracovního tábora v Šandong, pobřežní provincii východní Číny. Podle zpráv došlých od China Aid Association (CAA) byli tito lidé odsouzeni Převýchovnou Komisí Práce města Linyi. CAA uvádí, že 21 kazatelů bylo zadrženo 7. prosince 2007 během společného kurzu organizace a vedení sboru, který probíhal ve městě Linyi v okresu Hedong kraje Šandong. Bylo přítomno ještě dalších dalších 249 duchovních. Tito ostatní dostali tresty od několika dnů několika týdnů vězení a pokutu, ale 21 prvních dostalo vězení od 15 měsíců do 3 let. Byli obviněni z členství v „ďábelské sektě,“ což je u čínských soudů obecné označení pro neregistrované domácí sbory. Mezi odsouzenými je 17 mužů a čtyři ženy. Podle některých příbuzných odmítla policie města Linyi zákonný požadavek na zaslání písemného rozhodnutí o umístění v pracovním táboře, hlásí CAA. Zdroj: Assist News Service, China Aid Association|
|Vđechny zprávy v angličtině|
| CUBAN CHRISTIANS UNCLEAR ABOUT IMPACT OF CASTRO’S RESIGNATION
Cuba’s ailing Fidel Castro, one of the world’s longest serving leaders, officially resigned today (Tuesday, Feb. 19), but it was not immediately clear what impact that decision would have on political and religious prisoners, including Christians, held across the island.
In a letter published by the website of official Communist Party paper, Granma, Castro said he would not return to the presidency, following his long illness. “I neither will aspire to, nor will I accept, the position of president of the council of state and commander in chief,” he wrote in the letter.
Castro, who has not appeared in public for the last 19 months, handed over power “temporarily” to his brother, Raul, in July 2006 when he underwent intestinal surgery. The 81-year-old has ruled Cuba since leading a communist revolution in 1959.
He said in a letter in December already that he did not want to stay in power “forever.” Castro added that his duty is not to hold on to positions or block the path of younger people, but to share the experiences and ideas from his life. The National Assembly or legislature was expected to nominate his 76-year-old brother as president.
Stepping down was a major decision for Castro, who created the title comandante en jefe (commander-in-chief) in 1958 as supreme leader of the guerrilla forces that swept down from the mountains of eastern Cuba to overthrow U.S.-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista.
Rights groups and dissidents said they hope his resignation will lead to democratic changes and the release of at least hundreds of dissidents, including many Christians. In one of the most published developments, more than 70 Christian and other activists were detained in a massive government crackdown in March 2003 on dissidents demanding more religious and political freedom.
Many were sentenced to long prison terms to charges that included “acts against the independence and the territorial integrity of the Cuban state,” and there have been reports of torture and other abuse endured by prisoners.
* HCJB Global Voice continues to air Spanish programs to Cuba via shortwave from South America. Hundreds of listeners have enrolled in the ministry’s Bible Institute of the Air, a Spanish correspondence program incorporating radio broadcasts. In addition, numerous pastoral training workshops, held in conjunction with Leadership Resources International, have been held in Cuba since the mid-1990s.
21 PROMINENT CHINESE HOUSE CHURCH LEADERS SENT TO LABOR CAMP
Sources: Assist News Service, China Aid Association
Twenty-one prominent Chinese house church leaders have been simultaneously sent to labor camp in Shandong, a coastal province in eastern China. According to a news release from the China Aid Association (CAA), the sentencing was carried out by the Linyi City Re-education through Labor Commission. CAA reported that the 21 leaders were detained on Dec. 7, 2007, as they gathered together for leadership training with 249 other church leaders in, Linyi city in Shandong’s Hedong district. After paying fines and completing jail time ranging from a few days to a few weeks, all but the 21 most senior church leaders were released. The 21 received sentences ranging from 15 months to three years. They were accused as “evil cult” members, an arbitrary charge applied to any non-registered house churches by Chinese law enforcement. Of the 21 sentenced, 17 are men and four are women. According to some family members, the Linyi police refused to send the legally required notification concerning the labor camp decision, CAA reported.
HOPEGIVERS INTERNATIONAL UNVEILS NEW ORPHANAGE IN HAITI
Source: Christian Newswire
The Georgia-based humanitarian organization Hopegivers International recently completed construction on a new Hope Home orphanage in Haiti. In addition to providing 31 current orphans with better living conditions, the facility provides the potential to house 100 or more orphans. The opening of the new orphanage came in response to the crowded conditions of the previous orphanage, which reflects the overwhelming number of starving, sick, and suffering children in Haiti. “Many people don’t know that Haiti is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere and that the most basic of life’s necessities cannot be counted on,” said M.A. Thomas, founder of Hopegivers. “These kids are so happy to be in their new home -- and now we have room to rescue even more children in need.” The orphanage provides children with food, clean water, medicine, clothing and other necessities as well as a solid Christian education.
* Staff members from the HCJB Global Technology Center in Elkhart, Ind., are working with OMS International to establish a satellite radio network based at 4VEH outside the city of Cap-Haitien that will deliver programs to FM stations nationwide. Downlinks have been installed in Tortue Island, Pignon and Beaumont, and at least two more are planned. HCJB Global Voice also helped partner World Gospel Mission with a small station in Port-au-Prince. Engineers also helped upgrade Radio Lumière’s LaJeune outlet in March 2007.
UPDATE: REFUGEES IN KENYA STILL IN ‘DESPERATE NEED’
Source: Evangelical News, Assemblies of God News
As representatives from the U.N. and the U.S. converge in Kenya to encourage an agreement between President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga, little news of violence has made headlines. However, Assemblies of God (AG) World Missions Communications Director Randy Hurst says there is an “ongoing refugee crisis that no one is hearing about, and it is going to continue for many months. The number of displaced Assemblies of God people remains at more than 70,000. AG believers in Kenya are sharing their homes, food and clothing with many of those displaced by the violence, but they still desperately need our help.” Hurst said that there are two main reasons the more than 600,000 displaced people don’t return to their homes: their homes have been destroyed in the violence; or they have been warned by other tribes not to return to their homes under threat of death. “There are many thousands of AG people living on church compounds right now, but missionaries and national church leaders are continuing to find other AG members in the refugee camps,” he added. “They are doing their best to find room for these people on AG properties as the camps are only temporary.” There are more than 1 million church members and 4,000 AG churches in Kenya. Some 7 percent of AG Kenya members are displaced.
BILLY GRAHAM RETURNS HOME AFTER ELECTIVE MEDICAL PROCEDURE
Source: Assist News Service
Evangelist Billy Graham, 89, returned to his mountain home in Montreat, N.C., today (Tuesday, Feb. 19) following discharge from Mission Hospitals in nearby Asheville where he underwent an elective procedure to replace the valve in his brain shunt last Thursday. A health bulletin from Mission Hospitals stated that the incision required for the replacement is healing well and that the new externally programmable valve is “working satisfactorily” and will be “gradually regulated in the next week or two.” Graham is working with physical therapists to improve his walking and regain his strength.
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