Tuesday, September 02, 2014
ERBIL, Iraq -- American kids are obsessed with violent video games. Some who play them continually seem to live in a fantasy world far removed from reality.
And then we become surprised when periodically some bullied, lonely, or depressed gamer shoots up a school or movie theater.
Whatever happened to the less graphic games of yesteryear like Pong or Mario Brothers?
The innocence of some young Arab kids is also being stolen by graphic images recently seen on television, or social media about the murderous practices of The Islamic State. The terrorist's evil has now spread to children's games.
Watch. This is not your Cowboys and Indians game played during childhood. This is evil engrained into the minds of young Arabs. It was sent to The Global Lane by ABNA.
Now take a deep breath after watching that astonishing video. Relax and smile as you watch some Yazidi refugee children in Zakho, Iraq having fun as most Middle East children should do. They're pretending they are acrobats jumping on a trampoline.
Much better for their future (and ours) instead of playing the ISIS terrorist game, don't you think?
Monday, August 25, 2014
ERBIL, Iraq--This past weekend I met with Ankawa Evangelical Church Pastor Ghassan Yalda who told me he is saddened when Iraqi Christians talk about leaving the country for America or elsewhere in the West.
“Christians are salt and light. If everyone leaves, who will be speaking the truth to the people who need us? Sin is everywhere, people are killing each other. “
Who will be left to ask God to pour out his mercy on Iraq?
But every displaced Christian I’ve met here has told me they want to leave. They say they can no longer live with Muslims when a percentage of them are trying to exterminate anyone who does not believe the way they do.
Yalda also told me he appreciates the partnership CBN Disaster Relief has made with his church to help displaced Christians and others. Each day church volunteers provide food and other necessities for 60-80 families. CBN has stood alongside them.
The daily demands on Yalda’s church body are overwhelming. Just two months ago their main effort was conducting a weekly church service and doing outreach work with Syrian refugees. Now, in addition to the daily outreach efforts, 100 Christian refugees reside at the church in Sunday school classrooms.
Pastor Yalda asks us to pray for more volunteers to come to Iraq to help and encourage the people here.
“We need each other,” the pastor told me. “And our country cannot be saved by military action. It can only be saved by Jesus Christ.”
Watch my full interview with Pastor Ghassan Yalda by clicking on the video here:
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Many of us will never forget Vian Dakheel's impassioned plea to the world on behalf of the Yazidis.
Last week, the Iraqi lawmaker--herself a Yazidi--collapsed after making a tearful speech before Parliament.
"Our families have been slaughtered...set aside your political differences...In the name of humanity, I call upon all of you to save us, to save us!" she exclaimed.
Her emotional plea may have inspired the United States and other Western countries to respond with help to northern Iraq.
Many of the stranded Yazidis have now been rescued from atop Sinjar Mountain thanks to American airstrikes and daring members of the Syrian Kurdish Army. Some of them are now safely residing in a U.N. refugee camp in Mailikiya, Syria.
Ms. Dakheel was determined to do more to help her people, so earllier this week she boarded a Russian-made M-17 helicopter and flew with the Iraqi Army to Sinjar Mountain.
They delivered humanitarian relief to the people, but the dehydrated and malnourished Yazidis desperately demanded rescue from the mountain; many had been stuck there for more than a week, having fled the clutches of crazed Islamic State jihadists.
The Yazidis pushed and shoved their way to the open doors of the helicopter--too many of them clawed their way onto the deck of the departing chopper. Weighted down, the aircraft could not get enough lift, so it toppled over and crashed into the mountainside.
The pilot was killed. Lawmaker Dakheel and others were injured in the crash.
Please note. It's not just suffering Yazidis and displaced Christians who need intercession..
First responders--those who risk their lives in service to others--desperately need our prayers as well!
Watch this dramatic Iraqi Army rescue video of Vian Dakheel (at 1:50) and others, moments after the helicopter accident.
And then keep praying for Iraq!
Tuesday, August 05, 2014
Did American Alan Gross bid a final farewell to his wife and daughter recently when they visited him at a Cuban prison?
Friends and relatives fear the worst if the U.S. government doesn't step in to help the 65-year-old contractor.
That's because Gross is apparently giving up. Depressed over his mother's recent death and despondent over his prolonged imprisonment, Gross told wife Judy and daughter Nina that he can no longer endure prison life. He's also refusing humanitarian visits from members of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana.
Gross was arrested in December 2009 for delivering Internet communications equipment to the country's small Jewish community. He was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison for committing "crimes against the state."
Nearly five years later, he's lost vision in one eye and is reportedly in deterioritaing mental and physical health.
In an expression of urgent concern, 300 American Jewish rabbis reportedly sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking that he secure the "immediate release" of Gross.
Christian leaders should do the same.
When I last interviewed Judy Gross two years ago, she remained hopeful that proposed talks between the Castros and the U.S. government would lead to her husband's early release. I asked readers of this blog to pray that Gross would be returned home in time for a joyous Hanukkah holiday celebration. That was in September 2012.
Let's keep praying that God will encourage Alan Gross and his family, and that the Obama administration will do more to negotiate the release of this aging, ailing man whose only crime was trying to help some Cuban Jews communicate with the outside world.
Learn more at Bring Alan Home.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Starting Thursday, 500 Christian leaders in Liberia will gather at Dominion Fellowship Church in Monrovia, Liberia for three days of fasting and prayer. They're calling it Sackcloth And Ashes.
The pastors and other church leaders will ask God to to stop the Ebola outbreak that is plaguing the country (and now contracted by two American health workers). All Liberian churches will join in for a full week of prayer beginning Monday, August 4.
Pastor Emery David of Triumphant Christian Church told The Global Lane by phone that God has responded in the past when Liberians have humbly confessed their sins, repented, and asked for divine intervention to spare their nation.
He said Liberians would like American Christians to join them in prayer, so God will once again "heal their land."
Watch and listen to David's comments, and then join Liberians during this time of prayer--not only for their nation, but also Sierra Leon, and Guinea.
More than 1,200 cases of this fatal virus have been reported and nearly 700 people have perished from the disease in West Africa since last February.
Monday, July 28, 2014
Just days before the government of Sudan allowed Christian mother Meriam Ibrahim to leave the country, it imposed a new ban on church construction.
Because many Sudanese Christians fled the north and moved to South Sudan once that nation gained independence in 2011, the government insists the few who remain in Sudan have enough existing churches to meet their needs.
But Christian Headlines.com reports that Sudanese Christians were angered by the government decision. It quotes Rev. Kori Elramla Kuku, general secretary of the Sudan Council of Churches, who described the ban as shocking and misleading.
"We (Christians) have the right to have new plots of land and building of new churches," he said.
"We need the churches for the growing of Sudanese Christians."
Religious freedom groups say the church ban is a violation of the right of freedom of religion and worship.
Also, Tina Ramirez, executive director of Hardwired recently told CBN News, Sudan's apostasy law needs to be overturned if more cases like Meriam Ibrahim's are to be prevented.
The 27-year old mother of two was sentenced to death for marrying an American Christian, and for abandoning the Muslim faith. Ibrahim insisted she never practiced Islam, but instead embraced the Christian faith of her mother.
Meanwhile, as Sudan moves forward with its ban on church construction--its northern neighbor--Egypt is negotiating with Christian leaders to develop plans to facilitate new church construction. Under the Mubarak regime, Egyptian Christians were required to petition the government for permission to repair or build churches. Rarely were new church buildings allowed.
So far, church leaders are optimistic that changes in the Egyptian constitution allowing church construction will be honored by new President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Friday, July 25, 2014
My father--a World War II veteran--often told me that history has a strange way of repeating itself.
Seventy years after the Nazis forced Jews to wear Yellow Star of David patches on their clothing to mark them for persecution and extermination, another holocaust is under way.
This time, it's Middle East Christians instead of European Jews. But the evil tactics are much the same.
Members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)--now known simply as The Islamic State (IS)--have marked Christians for dimmi status and extinction; their goal is to eliminate all Christian presence from their new caliphate.
As their predecessors did 1,400 years ago, Muslims in the IS have given Christians four options:
1. Convert to Islam.
2. Live as dimmis under sharia law and pay the jizya tax.
3. Forfeit their homes, possessions, and flee the IS.
Christian homes and businesses have been marked with the Arabic letter Nun. It stands for "Nazarene," or Christian. This symbol has now gone viral on social media and Christians around the globe are using it as a symbol of solidarity with the Christians of Mosul and Iraq.
They've also started the hashtag #WeAreN.
I too, have adopted the Nun symbol as my Facebook photo www.facebook.com/GlobalLane.
But it will take more than just hastags and symbols to stop Caliph Ibrahim (Abu Bakir al-Baghdadi), his cohorts, and other Islamic extremists from committing atrocities in the Middle East.
Sir Edmund Burke said, "Evil prevails when good men do nothing."
Just ask survivors of the Jewish concentration camps.
Hashtags and symbols are excellent tools to raise awareness, but good men--and women--will need to do more to rescue these ancient Christian communities from this modern-day holocaust.
Watch this video of Islamic extremists blowing up the Mosul mosque that housed the tomb of the Biblical prophet, Jonah:
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
After my recent visit to Egypt, some people asked about Egyptian Christians. "How are they faring under President Al-Sisi?"
"They are doing better under their new president," I replied. "But they still need our support and prayers because Islamists are continuing to attack them, and life remains extremely difficult for them and other Egyptians."
I recently interviewed Father Anthony Hanna, a key adviser to Coptic Pope Tawadros who said a Christian kidnapping case is now reported almost every week in Minya Province.
Militant Muslims are abducting males and females--mostly from wealthy Christian families--demanding that a ransome be paid. In some villages, Islamists are demanding that Christian businessmen pay a jizya-like tax to keep their businesses safe from attack.
Father Hanna said several Christian homes were recently burned in Upper Egypt, and police foiled an attempted arson attack against a church in Sohag.
Are police and the government responding to help Christians when they come under attack by militants, or are they looking the other way?
Hanna said in many cases the police neither have the men, nor weaponry needed to combat heavily armed terrorists.
He also told me most Egyptians love Americans, but they are still upset and puzzled over continued U.S. support for the Muslim Brotherhood. He insists it is ongoing through American arm shipments via Turkey and Egyptian Christians are often the victims.
The new Egyptian government is "promising," said Hanna. But Egyptian Christians and their new government need our help if the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic extrmism are to be defeated.
Watch the full interview here:
Thursday, July 17, 2014
A court verdict in Cairo this week is sending shockwaves through Egyptian society.
Seven men convicted of sexual assault during recent rallies in Tahrir Square were given life in prison for their crimes.
Some felt the sentence was too harsh, but others were encouraged by the government's unprecedented, tough stance to defend the country's women.
The court decision came following several brutal sexual attacks at political gatherings over the past three years. Cell phone videos captured frenzied mobs of men tearing clothing off of women--some even showed them being raped and beaten.
The brutal attacks led to a public outcry to protect women and even resulted in an unprecedented hospital visit from an Egyptian president.
One day after he was sworn in as president, Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi visited the hospital bedside of a female victim who was raped during his innaugural celebration at Tahrir Square.The newly elected president vowed to crackdown on those perpetrating sexual violence against Egyptian women, and one week later, 13 supects were placed on trial.
Wednesday's court verdict demonstrated the government is serious about enforcing the country's new sexual violence law.
Three of the convicted men received multiple life sentences for involvement in several assaults. Two others received 20-year prison sentences.
The court also ordered the defendents to pay restitution to their victims.
This is a big step forward for Egypt. President al-Sisi and the court deserve our praise.
But will they remain committed and respond in the same manner when militant Muslims rape, kidnap, and attack Egyptian Christian women?
Watch this video of the Egyptian convicts as they received their sentences in a Cairo courtroom on Wednesday:
Monday, July 14, 2014
Photo Courtesy Operation Blessing International
Chances are the Ebola outbreak that is now growing in West Africa is unlikely to spread to America or other western countries. Still, we need to be concerned.
The number of people that have contracted the deadly disease since late last winter is fast approaching 900. There is no known cure for the virus.
More doctors and nurse volunteers are needed, and humanitarian relief organizations like Operation Blessing, Samaritan's Purse, and Doctors Without Borders need our financial contributions if they are to do what they can to help prevent this disease from spreading.
Also, the people of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leon need our prayers!
Watch my interview with Dr. Lance Plyler, Medical Team Director for Samaritan's Purse to learn more about this fatal disease and why it is spreading.