Praise and Prayer

Pray: German Home Schooling Parents Ordered to Undergo Psychiatric Evaluation-Hubert and Gundrun Busekros, of Nuremberg, Germany, the parents of Melissa Busekros, the 15-year-old home-schooled girl removed from her home by government authorities, have been ordered by the courts to undergo psychiatric testing, World Net Daily (WND) reported. Melissa was removed by court order in early February and placed in a mental institution by German youth authorities who claimed that she suffered from "school phobia," the treatment for which was complete isolation from her family and home. She is now being kept in a foster home in a location unknown to her family who are allowed to visit her for an hour a week.

Joel Thornton, president of the International Human Rights Group (IRHG) told WND that he fears the state will use any test results to remove the other five Busekros children from their parents and permanently break up the family. "There is an increased fear among [other] home-schoolers about whether their children are next," he said. The IRHG is considering options to defend the rights of the Busekros family, including a possible complaint to the European Court of Human Rights. Meanwhile, local news services have instigated a news blackout on the situation, claiming it is "a personal affair that is not of public interest," according to Melissa's father.

Praise: Young Girls "Redeemed" From African Religious Slavery-In some areas of the world, slavery still exists with estimated numbers as high as 27 million. Rody Rodeheaver, president of IN Network USA, says in the Volta region of Ghana the African practice of "Trokosi" is still taking place. Rodeheaver describes this as "young virgin girls, some as young as 5, 6, and 7 years old, are taken as slaves by fetish priests for the payment of the sins of other people." As these girls reach puberty, they're raped and forced to live in horrible conditions. IN Network has been trying to negotiate the girls' release from this outlawed, yet ignored, practice. "This is so deeply rooted in the traditional African religion and voodoo that law enforcement officials in these areas are themselves afraid of the death curse, so they have been very reluctant and have not enforced the law at all." When freed, IN Network provides basic life skills, trauma counseling and micro-enterprise grants to help them start a new life. "Over 90% of the women who are freed from this slavery become Christians," Rodeheaver said. "It's easy to understand why because they understand what it means to have a redeemer. They understand what it means when we share with them that Christ has paid for their sins."

Mission Network News

Pray: Abductions of Christian Children in Nigeria on the Increase-Christian leaders in northern Nigerias Sokoto majority-Muslim state say abduction of Christian boys and girls for conversion to Islam has become a common phenomenon. For example, last November 13-year-old Victor Udo Usen, a member of the Christ Apostolic Church in Sokoto, went missing. On Tuesday, Feb. 20, news that Victor was spotted in a Muslim neighbor's house jolted his family. His mother, Esther Udo Usen, said she ran to the house and met him as he was making frantic efforts to escape. "I quickly held his hands and dragged him along with me towards our house," she said. "But within a twinkle of an eye, I heard shouts of Allahu Akbar!' (God is great). I was shocked as I saw a large number of Muslims rushing towards us." Victor's father, Udo Usen, was away from home when he heard the news, only to be disappointed anew when he rushed back. "I thought, If I force myself into the house of that Muslim to get my son, I will not only be placing the lives of my family at risk, but also creating room for them to attack other Christians in Sokoto," he said. Christian leaders are worried that the kidnapping trend is on the increase.

Compass Direct News via MissionNet

Praise: Leading Homosexual Activist Finds Freedom in Christ-Charlene E. Cothran, a prominent homosexual activist and publisher and editor-in-chief of the black homosexual-oriented publication Venus Magazine, recently announced-via a cover article in the February issue of the magazine-that she had embraced Christianity and renounced homosexuality. The article was titled "Redeemed! 10 Ways to Get Out of the Gay Life, If You Want Out." Cothran wrote of having been an aggressive supporter of gay and lesbian issues for the past 29 years, but said "I have recently experienced the power of change that came over me once I completely surrendered to the teachings of Jesus Christ." She explained in the article how a "chance" encounter with a pastor resulted in her giving her heart and soul to the Lord. Coming to Christ caused Cothran to view her lesbianism in a new light: "As a believer of the word of God, I fully accept and have always known that same-sex relationships are not what God intended for us," she wrote.

From a Baptist Press article by Kelly Boggs

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