Today on Christian World News ñ
Suffering in Sudan. Military attacks on civilians
force tens of thousands to flee. Why this
famous face is joining others in a call for
The gangster and the missionary. A Brazilian
gang leader finds salvation just days before
his death, thanks to the Christian pastor
who daily risks his life to share the Gospel
in Rioís most dangerous slums.
Hope floats. Japanese fishermen lost their
livelihoods when the tsunami swept their boats
away. How a Christian ministry is helping
them get back on the water.
Welcome everyone to Christian World News.
Iím Wendy Griffith.
And Iím Mark Martin. George Thomas is on
Ethnic cleansing, mass murder, and rape. Itís
something the people of Sudan face every day.
The Islamic regime in the north continues
its assault on the Nuba mountains, home to
one of the largest Christian communities.
Now a U.S. lawmaker is asking the Obama administration
John Waage has that story.
More than 25,000 refugees are living in camp
Yida, just 20 miles south of the Sudan border.
They have fled the fighting in the nearby
Nuba mountains where the armed forces of President
Omar Bashir are terrorizing people with daily
air strikes and house-to-house raids.
This refugee says she lived in fear as bombs
flew over her familyís head every day.
Virginia Congressman Frank Wolf is a long-time
advocate for Sudan. He recently visited the
refugee camp, which is run by the Christian
relief organization Samaritanís Purse.
He is the first member of Congress to visit
the camp in Yida. When he returned to the
U.S., he held a press conference to make a
plea for help.
The world should be outraged, this administration
should be outraged. And if itís happening
in southern Europe, or southern Africa or
southern Sudan, there ought to be a similar
parallel. The value of the people is the same
Franklin Graham says the attacks could escalate
into a full-blown war. He told CBN News that
the international community should establish
a no-fly zone over the region and the Obama
administration should work to broker a peace
You need to have somebody who is willing to
take the leadership for peace. Yes, war will
break out but I think the United States, I
think President Obama has an excellent opportunity
to bring all these sides together and hammer
out a peace accord.
Wolf said what refugees need most right now
is food and if they donít get it they could
be facing a severe famine. He said Bashir
and his forces have denied access to food
and humanitarian aid.
Tom Andrews, with the organization United
to End Genocide, also called on the U.S. to
We have half a million people facing starvation
and the President of the United States and
the Secretary of State have to personally
stand up and call upon him to lift this blockade.
The blockade didnít stop CBNís Operation
Blessing last summer from taking a team into
the Nubas. When he heard about the extreme
shortages of medicine there, President Bill
Horan put together an emergency relief mission.
The team brought in medicine and other medical
supplies, enough to set up a temporary clinic.
Horan also so firsthand the brutality of the
A school was actually targeted, a school that
was filled with children in school, in session.
Two huge bombs. Thank God they missed but
not by much. Two giant craters in the soil
but it was close enough to the school that
some shrapnel fell and penetrated the walls
of some of the school buildings. One child
was killed and a whole group of children were
injured. Who in the world would target on
Bashir is an indicted war criminal for the
genocide in Darfur. He also remains on the
list of state sponsors of terrorism.
Bashir needs to be brought to justice. No
American tax dollars should be going to any
country that welcomes Bashir, period. Absolutely,
The Nuba people suffered persecution at this
level back in the 1990s. Humanitarian organizations
say the same people who killed more than 500,000
people back then are trying to ìfinish the
John Waage, CBN News.
Hollywood actor George Clooney is using his
star power to shine the light on human rights
abuses in Sudan.
This week Clooney and his father were arrested
for protesting outside the countryís embassy
in Washington, that after a trip to Sudan
to document attacks by the government against
people living near the border of South Sudan.
Testifying to Congress, he shared some of
the victimsí stories, including one about
a boy who lost both hands during a bombing
Heís urging lawmakers on Capitol Hill to
increase pressure on the Muslim-dominated
north to stop what he calls war crimes.
In a one-on-one interview, Clooney told CBN
News Christian ministries play a key role
in helping those who are suffering.
They lead the work a lot of times here. When
we were at the Darfur rally it was ministers.
It was a lot of people of faith that had been
working very hard on this. So in some ways
Iím trying to honor whatever part I can in
the hard work that they do, because Iím a
big fan of it, of all of the work thatís
being done. And people really put their hearts
and souls in it.
Clooney also met with President Obama and
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Staying in Africa, a video exposing the crimes
of Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony is continuing
to spread though it is getting some criticism.
ìKony 2012î has been viewed by about 80
million people on YouTube. Kony is the leader
of the Lordís Resistance Army, a group that
terrorized northern Uganda and abducted as
many as 30,000 children in the ë90s and early
Some say Kony is no longer a threat to Uganda.
He reportedly has been driven from the country
and has only about 300 followers. Others say
the video is doing a good thing by bringing
awareness to the issue of child soldiers in
And joining us now is Jesse Eaves. Heís a
policy advisor for Children in Crisis with
the Christian humanitarian group World Vision.
Jesse, the film highlights the abuses by Joseph
Kony, but kids in many parts of Africa are
the victims of conscription and exploitation.
What can you tell us about this problem?
Well, thatís absolutely right. In fact, right
now globally there are about 250,000, a quarter
of a million children who are actively serving
as soldiers. And itís absolutely tragic in
every single case.
These children are not only used as soldiers
carrying weapons but theyíre also used as
porters, theyíre used as human mine detectors.
And the girls are most often used as sex slaves.
Ahh, itís horrible! What types of trauma
are these children experiencing?
Well, if you take the case of the Lordís
Resistance Army and what Joseph Kony has forced
these children to do, they often abduct them
at night and then force them to commit terrible
acts against their own family and friends
They basically force these kids to kill their
mother or father, brothers and sisters, and
then saying okay you are now one of us; youíve
killed your own family, now your community
hates you, you must join us now.
And we saw this time and time again with close
to 30,000 children, specifically in the LRA.
And so the trauma that these children come
through and then have to deal with in the
aftermath is absolutely tragic. And it takes
a comprehensive effort to try to bring them
back and heal them both emotionally and physically.
Oh, itís just heartbreaking to see those
pictures! What can be done to help these victims
cope with this trauma? Can they ever recover?
Actually, they can. World Vision actually
in northern Uganda has run a program called
ìThe Children of War Rehabilitation Center.î
And since about the mid-ë90s this center
has served about 14,000 abducted children,
formerly abducted children, and child soldiers.
And in the center they receive emotional,
spiritual, and physical healing. They are
given an education; in some cases, theyíll
receive vocational training.
And then most importantly thereís a ceremony
of forgiveness. Thereís a forgiveness ritual
thatís held between their families and their
communities. So these children who feel like
theyíve committed horrible acts, they can
never be forgiven, get to really understand
the power of Christís love and forgiveness
as their family welcomes them back with open
arms and they undergo a ceremony where all
is forgiven and they only look towards the
future and getting these children back to
live a normal life.
Oh, my goodness, that is so powerful, the
power of forgiveness, I canít imagine! Well,
what can the international community do to
stop this problem on a bigger scale as a whole?
Right, well, everyone has a direct role to
play. I mean, we have close to a hundred million
views of this video and awareness of this
issue at an all-time high. What weíre hoping
is that all of this awareness will be transformed
into direct action.
We hope that this inspires millions of people
to engage actively in serving developing communities
around the world. And there are several ways
to do that.
First off, itís never been easier to communicate
with our elected leaders either through social
media or just picking up the phone and calling
them. So if this is an issue that has impacted
you in some way, itís really touched your
heart, itís so easy to talk to your congressman,
to your senators, to the president, either
through FaceBook or Twitter or even just calling
their offices and saying ìI care about this
issue. I want the U.S. to be involved.î
But also itís not justÖwe shouldnít just
rely on the government to do everything here.
I mean, each individual person plays a role
and that can include supporting programs in
the field, supporting organizations like World
Vision that are actively engaging on this
issue. And I think whatís most important
to remember is that clicking like on Facebook
is not enough in this situation.
Good point, Jesse.
Itís absolutely critical to turn this awareness
into direct action.
All right, good point, Jesse, we appreciate
World Vision, all youíre doing. God bless
you guys and thanks for being with us today.
Well, thank you so much.
And you can add your voice to the millions
of people who are speaking out against child
exploitation and child soldiers. Post your
thoughts and prayers to our CWN Facebook page.
Fifty human rights activists from around the
world are calling on Pakistan to free Asia
Bibi. She is the imprisoned Christian mother
sentenced to death for blasphemy.
Several groups signed a petition this week
at a U.N. human rights summit. French journalist
Anne-Isabelle Tollet was among the attendees
urging Bibiís release.
Asia Bibi is innocent and the Pakistani government
knows it but does nothing for fear of reprisal.
By refusing to act and to impose reforms,
the Pakistani government becomes an accomplice
of the fundamentalists.
Asia Bibi has been in prison for nearly three
years. Her case is on appeal. CBNís Gary
Lane met with her husband and daughters late
last year and they asked people to pray for
her safe return home.
Up next ñ
Meet an American missionary who risked his
life in Rioís most dangerous slums, and the
gang leader who found salvation just days
before his death.
This next story comes to us from our friends
at the International Missions Board of the
Southern Baptist Convention. Itís about an
American missionary who spends his days ministering
in the favelas, the slums of Brazil.
More than 11 million people live in the midst
of poverty and violence there. But Eric Reese
is working to bring light to one of the darkest
slums in Rio de Janiero.
What makes me love Rio is just seeing the
hurting people in the communities like this.
Just trying to survive. Just trying to pay
the bills, just trying to put food on their
table. I see that every person here is a creation
of God and that when Christ went to the cross,
he went to the cross for these people, too.
This is where Eric Reese works. He thinks
often of the danger knowing he might go out
one day and not come back.
I wrote a letter to my wife: ìIf I donít
return, you be strong. Let my girls know dadís
going to miss them.î
Ministry in the favelas is hard, even for
Itís hard because the Christian people here
in Brazil, and I think in other countries,
donít want to do this kind of job. Donít
want to go to the streets at night to speak
the word of God, to preach the word of God.
They donít want. They want to stay in their
big church, just watch a good sermon.
Yet the American couple continues reaching
out to drug dealers, gang members and prostitutes.
Ramona Reese believes their own background
helps them relate.
From the beginning, the way in which we grew
up, to bring us to do what weíre doing. Itís
not so hard for us to understand the people
that weíre ministering to. Itís just trying
to be, minister to somebody who needs Jesus,
who just so happens to be a drug trafficker,
or a militia, or whatever.
Reese and his family came to Brazil 13 years
ago as Southern Baptist missionaries from
Albany, Georgia. His greatest challenge? Gaining
the confidence of a top favela gang leader,
the godfather. One night, the man agreed to
an interview in a secret location.
The godfather, who originally wanted to kill
Reese, now spoke well of the missionary.
Shortly after the interview, a rival gang
assassinated the godfather. But not before
he put his faith in Jesus Christ.
I will not go back into a comfort zone for
my comfort level, shorten the hand of Christ,
shorten the hand of God, when people are dying,
going to hell, needing to know thereís a
way their life can be changed, and changed
radically. I will not do it.
Reese now finds help from a Brazilian pastor
with a favela background.
I tried to steal a car. And when I looked
behind there was a police car. They started
shooting at us and one of these shots got
me here. My mother had always told me that
even if it were the last minute of my life,
if I repented, God would forgive me of my
sins. And that time had come. I started a
new life with Jesus.
The grace of God has brought that guy from
near deaths and shootings to, now, a beautiful
family, a lovely wife, awesome kids. Only
the grace of God can do that.
Ramona Reese supports her husband in ministry.
She befriends other women, including Viviane,
a single mother and former prostitute.
When that relationship has been established,
and the Holy Spirit does his work, and that
person receives Christ, and I can actually
see them being baptized, and seeing them join
the church, thatís the greatest. Thatís
the biggest reward.
And as the Reeses deal with the daily challenges
of work in the favelas, people like Viviane
remind them why they came in the first place.
Stan Jeter, CBN News.
Coming up ñ
One year ago the sea brought death and destruction
to Japan, including those who make their living
on the water. Today theyíre back with a little
help from some Christian friends.
Well, in just moments people in Japan had
their world turned upside down about a year
Thatís right, when they were hit with the
largest earthquake in their history and a
devastating tsunami. But Operation Blessing
has been on the scene to help people get back
to work and restore their lives.
George Thomas has the story from Japan.
Thereís something about his smile and his
laugh that warms the heart. Perhaps itís
because at 75 Kiyoshige Chiba has survived
the most difficult year of his life.
Did you ever think that this is too much,
Iíve lost my boat, Iíve lost my livelihood,
Iím not making any money, did you ever think,
wow, this is enough, I canít take it anymore?
Not anymore. Kiyoshige and ten other fishermen
whose way of life were ruined a year ago are
back on their feet.
(Voice of Interpreter). I was really surprised
because I was given something that I wasnít
Ten new fishing boats donated by Operation
Blessing to this village that saw nearly all
its boats destroyed by the tsunami.
These boats represent two things for the fishermen
here: first of all theyíre restoring their
livelihood which is so important to help these
communities get back on their feet, and secondly
the boats represent hope, hope for the future.
That hope was robbed one year ago when a massive
earthquake and resulting tsunami devastated
Japanís northeast coast. Small fishing villages
like this one took the brunt of
The companies that manufacture boats in Japan
have simply been overwhelmed by the demand
for new boats. So Operation Blessing got creative,
turning to Stacey Raymond, a boat builder
from Maine, to custom-design boats for Japanese
They have a very specific design criteria
to their fishing and that required us to actually
design these boats from the ground up.
Operation Blessing has commissioned ten more
boats, bringing much needed economic relief
for Raymondís business back in Maine.
This was an important project for us. It allowed
us to feed our people in the States, keep
our employees going, and at the same time,
you know, help the Japanese out. It was a
This past Saturday, Raymond joined Operation
Blessing and representatives from the software
company SAP that sponsored the first ten boats,
in presenting the new vessels to the fishermen.
The new boat could not have come at a better
time for Kiyoshige Chiba.
…because for the last twelve months he has
had no boat, has had no income and in fact,
heís been telling me that heís had to dip
into his savings to, in essence, survive.
(Voice of Interpreter). With this boat Iíll
be able to fish for valuable seafood closer
to the shore such as shell fish, oysters and
nice varieties of fish.
(pointing to new boat name and reading it
in Japanese). What does this mean to you in
Heís named the boat Victorious Treasure.
(Voice of Interpreter). When I heard that
I was going to be receiving a boat it gave
me huge motivation to go back to fishing.
It was a huge help so thank you very much.
Operation Blessing was on the scene days after
the earthquake providing more than 100 tons
of emergency supplies to families in need.
Twelve months on, they are still here helping
Darg says that whether itís providing prescription
eyeglasses to those who lost theirs in the
tsunami or whose eyesight has worsened since
then, to giving fishermen the tools and equipment
to get their businesses back up and running,
Operation Blessings is here for the long haul.
The fact that Operation Blessing is here one
year later after the tsunami is testament
to our commitment for long-term solutions
to these disasters here in Japan and around
the world. And so Operation Blessing isnít
just a one-hit, weíre in, weíre out, weíre
here committed to serving and having an impact
in these communities.
George Thomas, CBN News, Kesennuma, Japan.
Thanks, George. And for daily stories about
the work of the church around the globe, you
can check out our Christian World News web
page. You find it at cwnews.org.
Weíll be right back.
CBN is working to purify water in villages
near the capital of India.
Yeah, law prohibits well drilling in the area
because the water table is already low. But
the need for clean drinking water is high.
So CBN is working to distribute water purifiers.
So far, more than 450 have been handed out.
Villagers were also taught about good hygiene.
And the host of a local CBN TV program visited
residents and offered a message of encouragement.
I tell you what, CBN is just doing incredible
work all around the world.
I know, I love that story from Japan.
The fisherman was so happy to have his boat
Öand called it Victorious, you know.
Thatís right. Itís wonderful. Well, thatís
all for this week. Thanks for joining us.
Until next week, from all of us here at Christian
World News, good-bye and God bless you.