Forty-one passengers of AirAsia Fight QZ8501, which crashed on Sunday with 162 people on board, were reportedly members of a single church in Indonesia, reports have said. The search for the bodies of the victims in the Java Sea meanwhile continues around much grief and tragedy.
The Straits Times reported on Thursday that the 41 Christians were members of the Mawar Sharon Church of Surabaya, part of one of the largest megachurches in the region, with 30,000 members.
A pastor at the church, Philip Mantofa, said that he was shocked to learn of the big loss to his parish. He urged relatives of the victims not to allow the tragedy to shake their faith. more >>
In a review of its 2014 efforts, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association reveals that it has shared the Gospel with close to 9.5 million people around the world through its outreaches. More than 1.6 million of those people have made a decision for Christ, reports the BGEA.
Those outreaches include BGEA collaborations with local churches in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia to hold large scale festivals and celebrations. BGEA President and CEO Franklin Graham and his son, Will Graham, also preached the Gospel at functions hosted in parts of the United States, Canada, Japan, Sri Lanka and Papau New Guinea.
Franklin Graham praised God for the BGEA's efforts in a recent letter. He wrote "Our hearts overflow with gratitude to God for all He has done and is doing, and we are eager to keep pressing forward as He continues to open doors." more >>
Warning: Graphic image below
A New York City pastor and Texas-based Yazidi activist who flew to Iraq the week before Christmas to assess the humanitarian needs of displaced Yazidis persecuted by the Islamic State have called the present situation of more than 300,000 refugees "genocidal" and "insane."
William Devlin and Murad Ismael connected via phone with a radio show in New York City live from Iraq just days before Christmas to describe the living conditions of distraught Yazidis staying at several refugee camps in Dohak in Kurdistan, in northern Iraq. more >>
AirAsia has confirmed that debris from Flight QZ8501 has been discovered in the Karimata Strait, south west of Pangkalan Bun in the Borneo province of Central Kalimantan. At least 40 bodies from the 162 passenger list have already been recovered, leaving grieving family members devastated.
"The warship Bung Tomo has retrieved 40 bodies and the number is growing. They are very busy now," an Indonesia navy spokesman said, according to Fox News.
AirAsia confirmed that the debris and the bodies, found six miles from the flight's last point of contact, are from the missing aircraft. more >>
With help from a Dominican-Pakistani priest, an American couple has bought a new home for three Pakistani children whose Christian parents were burned alive by an angry mob of Muslims in the Punjab Province after being accused of blasphemy in November.
Moved by the orphans' unfortunate situation and the barbaric death of the children's parents, Jill and Scott Kelley of Tampa, Florida, have paid for a new home for the three children of Shama Bibi and Shahzad Masih, The New York Post reports.
After being accused of ripping pages out of the Koran, Bibi and Masih were tortured, had their legs broken and were thrown into a brick kiln by a mob of about 500 to 600 Muslims in the town of Kot Radha Kishan on Nov. 4. more >>
A Christian organization that runs a restorative shelter program in the U.S. for women recovering from domestic human trafficking has pointed out ahead of National Human Trafficking Prevention month in January that anyone can be pulled into sex trafficking — its shelter has girls with master's degrees, and those that come from affluent families. The Samaritan Women organization urges churches to offer hands-on engagement and respond not with judgment, but with compassion toward victims.
The Samaritan Women is one if the organizations that appears in the newly released documentary "In Plain Sight," which seeks to raise awareness for National Human Trafficking Prevention month in January. more >>