Praise and Prayer

Praise: Families of 3 Beheaded Indonesian Girls Forgive Killers—The families of three Christian schoolgirls who were murdered and beheaded by Muslim extremists in eastern Indonesia's Central Sulawesi Province last October said they have forgiven the killers. A fourth girl survived the assault. Pastor Mastin said the deaths of the three teenagers, Alfita, 19, Teressia, 18, and Yarni, 15, were not in vain as they brought unity to the Christian churches in Poso and encouraged believers to be strong in the faith. "We hope peace will come to Poso," Mastin said. "Because of the three girls who were martyred, we are challenged, and our faith is put to a test like gold." The parents of the girls said they have forgiven the killers, believing that it is God who will judge them. Markus Sambuwe, the father of one of the girls, remarked, "I am really angry, but the Holy Spirit touched my heart and changed me. I forgive them just as Jesus has forgiven my sins." Police have arrested several suspects in the case.

Christians in Crisis/CBN News/Assist News Service, via MissionNet

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Praise: 5-year-old's kitty pillow models sacrificial giving—In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, many donors dug deeply, but few gave more sacrificially than 5-year-old Danielle Croteau, daughter of Ann and David Croteau, a recent Ph.D. graduate of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary at Wake Forest, S.C. Her mother recounted that the day after Danielle heard about the hurricane's damage, she started saying, "Maybe I can share my clothes with them because some of them don't have clothes because their clothes got washed away." "We went through her clothes and filled up three boxes. She would have given more, but I wouldn't allow her to give her school uniforms and shoes away." Danielle didn't stop there. She donated toothbrushes and canned food in subsequent drives at her school. "As she continued to pray about the needs there, and they had drives at school, her heart just grew to dwell on [the hurricane victims] a lot." Finally, Danielle decided to give up her most treasured belonging to the disaster relief effort—her Hello Kitty pillow, which she had slept with every night since her third birthday, so that another little girl in New Orleans might be comforted.

Baptist Press

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Praise: Convenience Store Owner Prompts Customers to Memorize Bible Verses—Dale Lanier has found a way to get people to read and memorize Bible verses. If they walk into his convenience store in Snead, Ala., and recite the Bible passage he has selected, they can have a free soft drink or cup of coffee. This month's memory verse is Psalm 118:8, "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man" (NKJV). Lanier says he has been doing this for the last six years, and gives away between two and 12 drinks a day. He says entire families sometimes walk in and recite the Bible passage he has picked. Lanier credits God with showing him a way to share the gospel at his business.

AgapePress/Associated Press via MissionNet

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Praise: Egyptian Sisters Can Retain Their Christian Identity—A pair of Coptic Christian sisters whose father had converted to Islam when they were infants, have won a court battle in Egypt to retain their official religious identity as Christians. Iman and Olfat Malak Ayet, now 18 and 19 years of age respectively, picked up their new identity cards, matching their Christian birth certificates, on Feb. 4. Although the verdict was handed down on May 31, 2005, civil authorities refused to implement the decision until late January. In the final verdict, presiding Judge Farouk Ali Abdel Kader of Cairo's District No. 1 Administrative Court declared that the civil authorities had conducted a "non-justified intervention" by imposing upon the two plaintiffs a belief they had not chosen. "It is not in any way acceptable that the civil authorities take advantage of their authority to force the plaintiffs to embrace Islam," the ruling specified.

Compass via MissionNet

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Praise/Pray: Eritrean Soldier-Conscripts Jailed for Reading Bibles—Military authorities jailed 75 Protestant Christians at the Sawa Military Training Camp in the East African country of Eritrea Feb. 1, for "reading Bibles and praying during their free time." Local sources said most of the detainees were evangelicals, including 37 women, who were doing their compulsory national military service near Eritrea's mountainous western border with Sudan. The 75 young conscripts put under "military detention and punishment" had not attempted to conduct any Christian meeting at Sawa or committed any other transgression of military law. "In Sawa, to possess your own Bible and keep your personal devotion and loyalty to Christ is not allowed," an Eritrean Christian explained. "This is considered an act of Christian extremism."

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