North Korea said Friday it will release an American missionary who has been detained since Christmas for illegally entering the country from China.
Through state-run media Korean Central News Agency, North Korea announced that Robert Park will be freed after expressing “sincere repentance” for the transgression and for his “biased” view of the communist country. The government “decided to leniently forgive and release” Park because he admitted his wrongdoing, according to KCNA.
Park, 28, is a Christian activist from Tucson, Ariz., who crossed the frozen Tumen River and entered North Korea without permission on Christmas Day. Park, who had worked with North Korean refugees in China and advocated for greater human rights in North Korea while living in South Korea, said he hoped his illegal entry would bring international attention to the human rights abuse in the reclusive country. more >>
Police on Monday reported the eighth arson attack on a church in Malaysia since the High Court ruled that non-Muslims can use the word “Allah” to refer to God.
Sometime between 1:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. local time, unknown vandals attacked Sidang Injil Borneo Church on the western coast of Malaysia. Burn marks were found on the church’s main entrance door, according to local newspapers. But the arson did not affect the interior of the building.
Deputy police chief of Negeri Sembilan state Datuk Abd Manan Mhd Hassan told reporters that officers, a forensic unit and members of the fire department inspected the damaged door after a man reported the scorching Monday morning. more >>
Greek Orthodox churches began Christmas celebrations Wednesday as Palestinian Christians in Bethlehem held protests against church leaders for allegedly selling land to Israelis.
On Orthodox Christmas Eve, Palestinians in the town of Jesus’ birth held up placards reading, “The Holy Land is not for sale,” and chanting slogans as a procession led by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III walked through Manger Square toward the Church of the Nativity, where Christians believe Mary gave birth to Jesus.
According to the BBC, at least 100 protesters turned out on Wednesday to demonstrate against Orthodox church leaders. more >>
An official of South Sudan’s government says Sudan is in danger of witnessing another civil war between the Muslim north and the Christian and animist south unless the international community intervenes.
The National Congress Party, headed by President Omar al-Bashir, has repeatedly broken the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which ended the country’s bloody two-decade-long civil war, reported Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, head of government of South Sudan Mission to the United States, to International Christian Concern.
As a result of the North’s failure, the delicate peace process is in danger of being derailed, he said. more >>
A Korean-American Christian activist has crossed over to North Korea from China to urge the country’s leader, Kim Jong-Il, to repent and release prisoners, according to a group associated with the activist.
Robert Park, a 28-year-old U.S. citizen from Tucson, Ariz., crossed the Tumen River and entered North Korea without permission around 5 p.m. on Christmas Day, Dec. 25. Fellow activists, who said Saturday they will soon release footage of Park crossing over to North Korea, said he prayed before crossing the Tumen.
Park also reportedly shouted in Korean as he crossed the frozen river, “I am an American citizen,” according to Jo Sung-Rae, head of the Seoul-based civic group Pax Koreana, to The New York Times. “I am coming here to deliver God’s love. God loves you.” more >>
In two weeks, the world’s largest mission-focused bookstore will open in St. Louis at the Urbana 09 conference.
For five days only, Urbana attendees can browse through 900 unique titles available at the 30,000-square-foot bookstore. The store, sponsored by InterVarsity Press, will feature both IVP titles as well as books from other publishers.
Urbana is one of the country’s largest student missions conferences. This year, organizers expect about 18,000 people from every state and many nations to attend the Dec. 27-31 event. The four main focuses at the upcoming Urbana conference are: movement of peoples, money in terms of missions funding, environmental stewardship, and divisions between peoples. more >>