Archive for August 1st, 2007

Possible Rescue Mission Launched to Save Remaining South Korean Missionaries

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007

Michelle Malkin has a report that a possible rescue mission has been launched to save the remaining South Korean Christian missionaries after another one is kill by the Islamic terrorist.

Update 9:35am Eastern. There’s confusion about whether this rescue attempt is real or not. Yonhap is running this quote: “We have not sanctioned such a rescue operation. We have not been informed of such an action either,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Lee Youn-soo said.

ABC News:

A military operation to rescue the remaining 21 Korean hostages held by Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan began on Wednesday, hours after a Taliban deadline expired, a provincial official said.

“The operation has started,” said Khowja Seddiqi, the district chief of Ghazni’s Qarabagh district, where the Taliban kidnapped 23 Korean Christian volunteers nearly two weeks ago.

He did not give more details or say which forces were involved. Any attempt to rescue the hostages is fraught with risk, as the kidnappers have split the 18 women and three men into small groups and are holding them in different locations across the mainly flat terrain.

The Taliban could not be immediately be contacted, but spokesmen for the radical Islamist movement have repeatedly said any use of force would jeopardise the lives of the hostages.

Earlier the army had dropped leaflets warning civilians of an assault.

Eugene Cho has covered the crisis extensively and expresses the frustration I share about the lack of American concern over the past two weeks:

Seriously, does anyone care? Is anyone else just tired of the Michael Vick story? Why isn’t the media sharing more about the situation? Anderson Cooper, where are you? I really do not understand how this cannot be prominent NEWS here in the United States. I understand that these hostages are not “Americans.” They are Koreans and Asians and thus, considered by some as “others” here. But, can’t people understand that the Taliban took these hostages as an attack and a statement – not to Christians or to Koreans, but to all those that oppose them. This was and is a statement to the US as well, right? Isn’t that the reason why the first interview was given to CBS News, right? Where is the outrage? It pisses me off immensely that another person has been killed and it is barely mentioned. My cynical prediction: this won’t be front news until the Afghan president, Harmid Karzai, visits President Bush at Camp David on August 5 and 6 – that is, if the hostages are still alive. Does anyone care?

James Na yesterday:

It is a self-loathing pathos of a post-modern capitalist democracy where victimhood trumps victory on the moral plane — why fight like dog-faces and win when suffering from aggressions of others is a far nobler endeavor?

Are we now reaching the apex of the reaction against the kind of virulent nationalism and imperalism of the 19th Century and the early 20th Century that resulted in the bloodbath of the two world wars?

Can people arouse themselves from a cozy, air conditioned Starbucks to muster rage and anger against those who harm their tribe or is such “primitive” feeling passé along with rabbit hunting on one’s backyard?

I have long resisted a cyclical view of history, but when I think of where Western post-modern society is headed (the prizing of clever words and legal arguments and the disappareance of mensch-ness), I cannot but help visualize how helpless the silk-clad Mandarins must have looked as illiterate nomadic warriors broke into their cities or how pathetic the Byzantine magnates must have appeared as they fled their estates from the ravages of Varangians and Arabs.

Perhaps they lost their civilizations despite all the advantages of superior technology, learning, organization, and wealth, because, in the end, they simply lost their desire for vengeance.

Joshua Stanton at One Free Korea: “If you’re practiced at prayer, this would be a good time.” Joshua presaged the rescue bid yesterday in “Ransom is not a countermeasure:” “Talk of yielding to their demands will only get more people kidnapped and killed.”

My column this week spotlights the martyrs no one cares about:

The blood of innocent Christian missionaries spills on Afghan sands. The world watches and yawns. The United Nations offers nothing more than a formal expression of “concern.” Where is the global uproar over the human rights abuses unfolding before our eyes?

For two weeks, a group of South Korean Christians has been held hostage by Taliban thugs in Afghanistan. This is the largest group of foreign hostages taken in Afghanistan since Operation Enduring Freedom began in 2001. What was their offense? Were they smuggling arms into the country? No. Inciting violence? No. They were peaceful believers in Christ on short-term medical and humanitarian missions. Seventeen of the 23 hostages are females. Most of them are nurses who provide social services and relief.

Over the past few days, the bloodthirsty jihadists have demanded that South Korea immediately withdraw troops from the Middle East, pay ransom and trade the civilian missionaries for imprisoned Taliban fighters. The Taliban leaders have made good on threats to kill the kidnapped Christians while Afghan officials plead fecklessly that their monstrous behavior is “un-Islamic.”

Two men, 29-year-old Shim Sung-min and 42-year-old Pastor Bae Hyeong-gyu, have already been shot to death and dumped in the name of Allah. Bae was a married father with a 9-year-old daughter. According to Korean media, he was from a devout Christian family from the island province of Jeju. He helped found the Saemmul Church south of Seoul, which sent the volunteers to Afghanistan.

Across Asia, media coverage is 24/7. Strangers have held nightly prayer vigils. But the human rights crowd in America has been largely AWOL. And so has most of our mainstream media. Among some of the secular elite, no doubt, is a blame-the-victim apathy: The missionaries deserved what they got. What were they thinking bringing their message of faith to a war zone? Didn’t they know they were sitting ducks for Muslim head-choppers whose idea of evangelism is “convert or die”?

I noted the media shoulder-shrugging about jihadist targeting of Christian missionaries five years ago during the kidnapping and murder of American Christian missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham in the Philippines. The silence is rooted in viewing committed Christians as alien others. At best, there is a collective callousness. At worst, there is outright contempt — from Ted Turner’s reference to Catholics as “Jesus freaks” to CBS producer Roxanne Russell’s casual insult of former GOP presidential candidate Gary Bauer as “the little nut from the Christian group” to the mockery of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith.

Curiously, those who argue that we need to “understand” Islamic terrorists demonstrate little effort to “understand” the Christian evangelical missionaries who risk their lives to spread the gospel — not by sword, but through acts of compassion, healing and education. An estimated 16,000 Korean mission workers risk their lives across the globe — from Africa to the Middle East, China and North Korea.

These are true practitioners of a religion of peace, not the hate-mongers with bombs and AK-47s strapped to their chests who slay instead of pray their way to martyrdom.

Original Link.

Mission Trip Teaches Christians How to Witness to Mormons

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007

A youth speaker is on a mission to teach Christians how to effectively witness to Mormons.

For the fourth straight year, Brett Kunkle of Stand to Reason Ministries — an apologetics ministry based in California — led a mission trip to several cities in Utah. According to Kunkle, at least one Mormon was converted to Christianity during a one-on-one witnessing encounter, and a number of Mormons were questioned in depth about their faith, beliefs, and practices.

“In some conversations, some of the Mormons we talked to … walked away a little rattled. I can attribute that to the fact that this is the fourth year that we’ve taken this particular church up to Utah,” says the student impact speaker. “These folks really know what they believe and why they believe it. They’re confident — they’re able to kind of gently point out to these Mormon folks not only the differences between true Christianity and Mormonism, but then also all the flaws that you find in Mormonism.”

It is unfortunate, says Kunkle, that too many Christians still do not know how to defend their faith when confronted with the confusing doctrine of Mormonism. He likened witnessing to Mormons as trying to save someone from a burning building. “What would you do [in that situation]?” he asks. “You would do everything that you could to try and tell that person to get out of the house — and even if they didn’t believe you, you would try and persuade them.”

Kunkle says in their mission trips to Utah, they want to convey a genuine concern to people — and not make them feel bad, but rather show them that truth matters. And while he acknowledges that some Mormons were offended by the witnessing attempts, Kunkle urges believers to never back down from opportunities to tell others about Jesus.

Original Link

Noah’s Problem with the Beavers – A New Bible Story Mural

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007

The Bible tells us Noah took two of each type of animal on the ark to save them from the flood.

“And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.
Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.”

Genesis 6:19-20 (King James Version

But suppose Noah had a bit of trouble with the beavers? In Doug Westbrook’s newest Bible Story mural, he gives us a humorous look at what might have happened with “Noah’s Problem with the Beavers”.

Noah's Problem with the Beavers

“This mural is a result of a customer request to add some humor to the Noah’s Ark mural.”
-Doug Westbrook, Artist of “Noah’s Problem with the Beavers – A Bible Story Mural”

See Mr. Westbrook’s Bible Story Murals here.
Bible Story Murals
If your church is looking for a unique way to bring the Word of God to it’s children and young people, take a look at Doug Westbrook’s Bible Story Murals. Each wall sized mural is based on the hand painted originals Mr. Westbrook created at Central Baptist Church in Houston, Texas and represents a different well known Bible story.
They are available on durable vinyl wallpaper for easy installation.