Editor's note: This article is tied to a report on Yazidi immigrant Murad Ismael and NYC Pastor William Devlin's humanitarian trip to Erbil, Iraq. Read that report here: US Pastor Who Supported Meriam Ibrahim in Sudan Heads to Iraq With Yazidi Activist; Says Christians Can Pray, Give Money But Should Put Their Bodies on the Line. Also, read Ismael's account of the atrocities unfolding in Iraq under the Islamic State here: US Yazidi Returning to Iraq Amid ISIS Persecution Calls for People of All Faiths to Act.
NEW YORK — A New York City pastor traveling with a U.S. Yazidi leader to offer humanitarian assistance to religious minorities targeted by the Islamic State in Iraq believes Christians in America should do more to encourage believers living in some of the world's most persecuted countries.
The Rev. William Devlin, co-pastor of Infinity Bible Church in the Bronx borough of New York City and a former politician, is as much of an activist as he is a missionary. When the City of New York banned churches and other religious groups in 2011 from renting public schools for worship gatherings, Devlin embarked on a 42-day fast, was arrested in an act of civil disobedience, and publicly confronted then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg during an interfaith breakfast about the city's decision (which the current mayor has vowed to reverse). more >>
The Islamic State has been selling artifacts from churches and other cultural centers in the nation of Iraq to fund their organization, says a British publication.
ISIS is taking antiquities, including those worth millions of dollars, from the Middle Eastern country and selling them to prospective Western buyers, according to Oliver Moody of The Times.
"Willy Bruggeman, a former deputy director of Europol who is now president of the Belgian federal police council, said that some of the artefacts had almost certainly been sold illegally to buyers in the UK, although none had yet been traced to Britain," reported Moody on Wednesday. more >>
Jill Duggar and husband Derick Dillard posted a new photo to their Instagram account on Thursday, showing them standing on the beach in El Salvador and revealing Jill's growing baby bump.
"Headed back to the USA. Praise God for the work He is doing in El Salvador," Derick posted to Instagram. "#babydillysfirstmissiontrip," he then added.
The photo shows the couple standing together on a beach in El Salvador, where the Duggar family has been for at least a week, working on a mission trip as a family for Christmas. The Duggars often go on mission trips, whether as a whole family or just several members going together, and this latest excursion to El Salvador is considered part of their Christmas. more >>
Billy Graham is still focused on spreading the good news found in the Bible, says his daughter Anne Graham Lotz. "He is 96, he has not yet lost his focus on the gospel, reaching people for Christ," she described in a recent interview.
Reflecting on his ministry as a world famous evangelist and pastor to presidents, Lotz said there were many temptations that could have diverted Graham's attention from his ministry. Instead, he remained faithful to his Bible calling.
The secret to Graham's continued focus, Lotz explained, is his humility. more >>
A Christmas-themed music video posted on YouTube featuring the Guinness World Record holder for largest living nativity has garnered over 1.7 million views in less than a week.
Posted by The Piano Guys on Friday, the music video features the living Nativity scene held earlier this month at Provo, Utah, that had over 1,000 participants.
Featuring a hymn fusing the two carols "Angels from the Realms of Glory" and "Angels We Have Heard On High," the video has garnered more than 1.7 million views, over 56,000 likes, and more than 3,200 comments as of Tuesday morning. more >>
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating girls' right to education, expressed heartbreak at the news of the Taliban's attack on a school in Pakistan where at least 130 people, most of them children, were killed.
In a statement released Tuesday, Yousafzai expressed, "I am heartbroken by this senseless and cold blooded act of terror in Peshawar that is unfolding before us. Innocent children in their school have no place in horror such as this."
"I condemn these atrocious and cowardly acts and stand united with the government and armed forces of Pakistan whose efforts so far to address this horrific event are commendable." more >>