Although hundreds of thousands of refugees are displaced from their homes in Iraq and their futures remain uncertain due to the siege of the Islamic State, The Vicar of Baghdad wrote in an online Christmas statement that Christian refugees in Iraq have not been deterred from exhibiting joy in the only thing they have left: the unconditional of Jesus.
Writing from his new temporary home in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Christ, the Rev. Canon Andrew White, the only Anglican pastor in Iraq, said that even though ISIS has left these displaced Christian refugees with no homes, no clothes and, in some cases, no families, their faith remains strong in the "refugee child," Jesus.
"All you have got left is the love of that refugee child. That to us in the Middle East is all that matters this Christmas," White explained. more >>
Some voices in the Cuban-American community have expressed displeasure with Pope Francis due to his involvement in getting the United States to lift its embargo of the Republic of Cuba.
Pope Francis, the first Latin American pontiff in the Catholic Church's history, was a strong proponent of the United States lifting its restrictions on the Caribbean island nation.
In response to his connection to the U.S. normalizing relations with Cuba, some have vetted their frustration at the pope. more >>
The controversial nonprofit group Invisible Children, which produced two influential documentaries that helped heighten awareness of the abduction and use of children as soldiers by the Lord's Resistance Army in the Ugandan civil conflict, has announced that it will officially close down by the end of 2015.
The organization is most notable for the 30-minute "Kony 2012" documentary, which called for the arrest of LRA leader Joseph Kony and also called for greater U.S. involvement against the LRA. The documentary, which went viral on YouTube when it was published in March of 2012, received over 100 million views in a matter of five days and helped raise more than $30 million for their cause.
The organization's CEO, Ben Keesey, announced in a recent video statement that the group has had difficulty maintaining funding and it's no longer viable for the organization to continue operating at its current levels. more >>
Former NFL quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow has announced the opening of the Tebow CURE Hospital in Davao City, Philippines, which will serve the critical orthopedic needs of children who are not fortunate enough to afford treatments and simple procedures.
The Tim Tebow Foundation announced in a press release that the hospital, which has been in the works since 2011, officially received its operating license from the health department last week and is already caring for impoverished children. However, the hospital's grand opening will not happen until spring 2015.
The hospital was built in partnership with the Christian organization CURE International, which is a non-profit devoted to the medical care of suffering children. The five-story facility will consist of 30 beds, three operating rooms specializing in pediatric orthopedic surgeries and a 54-member staff that is "ready to provide care to the underserved children of the Philippines." more >>
NEW YORK — A New York City pastor who visited Sudanese Christian mother Meriam Ibrahim during her detention in the Muslim-majority country for blasphemy has partnered with a U.S.-based Yazidi activist to travel to Iraq to assess the humanitarian crisis of the religious minority group that has been targeted by the Islamic State. The men said they also hope to win the release of Yazidi women and girls abducted by the jihadist group and used as sex slaves.
The Rev. William Devlin and Texas-based Yazidi human rights advocate Murad Ismael were traveling to Erbil, Iraq, this week to "assess the humanitarian condition of the Yazidis first-hand" and "will also be seeking the release of women and young girls kidnapped by ISIS," they told The Christian Post in a series of emails and phone conversations.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, abducted scores of Yazidi women and girls in August as they attacked their towns in the Sinjar Mountain area in the Nineveh province in northwest Iraq. ISIS cornered many of the tens of thousands of Yazidis on Mount Sinjar, where some died from hunger and dehydration before the international community stepped in to help. The United States was among the countries offering humanitarian aid, in addition to carrying out airstrikes and training local forces in their military engagement with ISIS militants, who have already seized cities in Syria and Iraq. Reportedly, hundreds of Yazidis still remain on Sinjar Mountain, defending themselves against the Islamic State's unrelenting attacks. more >>
A string of secret Santas in Massachusetts made their way to local Toys "R" Us stores last week and paid thousands of their own dollars to pay off all of the stores' layaway orders in efforts to help families in financial need put gifts under the Christmas tree for their children.
The pay it forward-type of Christmas initiative took prominence last Wednesday at a Toys "R" Us in Bellingham, Massachusetts where an unidentified woman, known only as the "Layaway Angel" paid nearly $20,000 of her own money to bless hard working parents by closing out all of the store's 154 layaway orders. Each balance varied from just a few bucks to over a few hundred dollars.
One parent, who along with her kids is a beneficiary of the "Layaway Angel's" Christmas generosity, told the Milford Daily News that she was surprised when she received a call from Toys "R" Us telling her to come pick up her layaway order because her balance had already been paid for. more >>