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Christian World News - November 23, 2018

Christian World News - November 23, 2018 Read Transcript

(dramatic rushing)

- [George] This week onChristian World News, journey

with us to one of theoldest Christian countries

in the world.

- [Levan] I come from avery ancient, perhaps one of

the most ancient cultures in the world.

- [George] 6000 miles fromthe shores of America,

the tiny nation ofGeorgia fights to preserve

it's Christian past, present and future.

- Georgians have alwayshad to defend their faith,

even to the last drop of blood.

- And meet one ofGeorgia's most famous men

leading the charge toprotect faith in his nation.

Hello everyone.

Welcome to this weeks additionof Christian World News.

I'm George Thomas.

On this special edition ofthis broadcast, we focus

on a part of the worldfew people have ever heard

of or know its location.

I travel some 6000 miles tothe tiny nation of Georgia.

No, I am not talking aboutthe state here in the U.S.,

but an ancient landwhere culture, tradition

and faith in Jesus Christ run deep.

(classical music)

It was famed novelist, John Steinbeck, who

while traveling throughthe Soviet Union in 1947

referred to this land asa kind of second heaven

and it's easy to see why.

Once part of the communistempire and often called

the Riviera of the SovietUnion, the Republic

of Georgia nestles betweenthe Caucasus mountains

and the Black Sea.

Turkey and Armenia flankits southern border.

Azerbaijan is to the east.

Russia to the north.

Levan Vasadze is a Georgia businessman.

- I come from a very ancient, perhaps one

of the most ancient cultures in the world.

- [George] An ancientplace where people speak

a language that's over 2000 years old.

Ethnographer, Luarsab Togonidzed says his

is a country that has also witnessed its

fair share of turmoil.

- Georgians go through a lot.

Because of the geographical location,

many armies invade as would pass this way.

- [George] History hereis measured in millennia,

not centuries.

And throughout the ages,

your country has been the playground

for numerous empires.

- The Ottomans, the Persians, the Greeks,

the Byzantine empire, the Romans,

the Mongols, the Russians.

- [George] In the capital city of Tbilisi,

the ancient and modern mix seamlessly

to create a beautiful portrait

of Georgia's rich culture and traditions.

One of the best ways to take in the sights

and sounds of Tbilisi is to take one

of these trolleys up the mountain.

In filming these scenes of Tbilisi

and stunning country side landscapes,

Georgian cameraman GiorgiShermazana said it best.

"Every time I travel in different regions

"of my country, I feel like I'm traveling

"through thousand of years of history."

Georgians are legendaryfor their hospitality.

They believe guests come from God

and as such, are treated with honor.

Their food, mmmm, issimply out of this world.

For example, you have this amazing dish.

It's called Khinkali

and the all famous, khacha puri.

Friendship is highlyvalued in this society

and family is paramount.


But if there is one thingmany Georgians cherish most,

it is their faith.

Vasadze says, "Christianity,above all else

"has protected and preserved his nation."

- The reason Georgia remained what it is,

because our nation has a profound feeling

of responsibility to holding on

to the eternal featuresof our national character,

which by all means are rootedin the Christian culture.

- [George] Georgia is one of

the oldest Christiancountries in the world.

It's Christian heritage can be traced here

to the small town of Mtskheta.

It was around 326 ADwhen a woman evangelist

named Nino startedpreaching the gospel here.

- And where these two rivers meet,

two main rivers of Georgia, there was

a big baptism and it's consider to

be second Jerusalem.

For Georgians, it's a holy place.

- [George] Christianity spread to the rest

of the country and in about 10 years,

became the state religion.

Five crosses symbolizingChristianity's influence

adorn the Georgia national flag.

Dating back to the fourth century,

the church has played a significant role

in this society.

In fact, about 80% of Georgians say

they belong to the Orthodox church.

- Georgians have alwayshad to defend their faith,

even to the last drop of blood.

- Ioane Gamrekeli is a prominent leader

in the Georgian Orthodox church.

He says, "over thecenturies, many Christians

"became martyrs for refusingto renounce their faith."

In 1226 alone, Musliminvaders beheaded more

than 100,000 Georgian Christians.

- There have been numerous attempts

by invading armies to forceus to give up our faith,

but we never back down.

- Elene Kavlelashvili is curator

at Georgia's National Museum.

She has in her collection,priceless manuscripts,

rare Bibles and other historical artifacts

documenting Georgia's Christian heritage.

- Today, the role of Christianity is even

more significant as weface new challenges.

- Kavlelashvili believes her country today

stands at a crossroads with the countries

of central Asia, Russia, Europe

and the Middle East all vying for cultural

and religious influence.

She says tiny Georgiamust once again stand

to protect her heritage.

- I hope Georgia's exampleof unconditional love

and dedication to faith are a testimony

to all man kind.

People should realizethat the absence of faith

is disastrous for a nation.

Christianity is how wesurvived in the past

and it's how we willsurvive in the future.

- [George] Up next, asour special coverage

from Georgia continues,

a closer look at how modern influences

are challenging this nation'sdeep religious values.

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- [Woman] As he startedpulling me through, it was

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- Hello, I'm Terry Newsome.

Did you know that there aremore than 148 million orphans

in the world today?

148 million, but it was three little girls

that taught me aboutthe plight of orphans.

My husband and I spendnearly a month immersed

in the daily activitiesof the Ukrainian orphanage

as we waited to adopt three sisters.

I saw first hand the utter loneliness,

the pain of rejection andthe overwhelming desire

to be loved.

That experience changed me forever

and out of it grew aministry from my heart

called Orphan's Promise.

Today, we're helping orphansand vulnerable children

in more than 50 countries world wide.

Thousands of childrenare now in safe homes.

They're being educated andthey're learning life skills.

I'm asking you to joinwith me and become family

to these children.

Will you call the numberon your screen right now,

because every child deservesa chance to be happy.

(upbeat music)

- And welcome back to the broadcast.

The Republic of Georgia is one of

the oldest Christiancountries in the world.

For century, numerous empires have tried

to eliminate Christianity there.

Now Georgia faces a new challenge

to its values and its faith.

This time, from theUnited States and Europe.

25 years after the collapse of

the Soviet Union, Georgia'sPrime Minister says,

"forging ties with the West is

"in his country's best interest."

- There is a very clearwheel of Georgian people

in population to be pro western,

to be pro European.

- The tiny nation of Georgialies between Russia and Turkey.

While the majority here favor closer ties,

- We are not saying we are against west.

I always say I'm a big enthusiast

of selective westernization of Georgia.


- Many like Levan Vasadze insist

the opening must not happen at the expense

of Georgia's faith and family values.

- We'll take all theproductive, progressive things

from you, but we'll throw in garbage,

all the nonsense.

Unfortunately, in this particular case,

this means you're currentpseudomoral standards

need to stay outside of Georgia.

- [George] Vasadze is aprominent Georgian business man

and pro family advocate.

The pseudomoral standards he refers to

are efforts by the U.S.and E.U. to force Georgia

into accepting homosexual practices and

same sex marriage as societal norms.

- If you think indecent,radically sexual behavior

is what you want todo, that's your choice,

but if I think that thisis an embarrassing sin, I

want to remain a societywhich is allowed to say that.

- Much to his dismay,the Georgian Parliament

under pressure from the European Union

and with help from internationalprogay groups passed

a controversial law in2014 making it illegal

to discriminate againstpeople on the basis

of their sexual orientation.

Vasadze says that the decision amounted to

the legalization ofhomosexuality in Georgia.

- You say this law is partof an international agenda.

What is that agenda?

- To destroy family.

I believe the front line of this war

is in every living roomand in every bedroom.

Where your wife and mywife, our children sleep.

- The frontline is nowspreading to Georgian classrooms

with children as young as eightbeing taught gender theory.

- To somehow alter and change--

- Tinatin Khorbaladze is director

of a profamily organization.

She says the aim is simple yet alarming.

- To change the thinking of the children

to be open and to accept the things

that still my generationand older generation

consider to be not really acceptable.

(bell ringing loudly)

- [George] Georgia is deeply conservative.

More than 80% of the population here say

they belong to the Orthodox church

and polls show a majorityside with the church

in opposing anything other

than traditionalheterosexual relationships.

- We feel the responsibilityfor the future

of this country, for thefuture of our children

and next generation.

- But not everyone agrees with

the church's stance on marriage.

Some human rights groupshave labeled this country

one of the most homophobicnations in the world.

Are you afraid for your life?

- As for me personally, yes,

because my life is in danger in Georgia

and not just because ofmy sexual orientation,

but because of my professionalactivities as well.

- Giorgi Tatishvili is transgender.

He rarely gives interviews,

but agreed to meet with CBN News

at an undisclosed location in the capital.

He is a lawyer for the LGBT community

and says he has paid a price for it.

They've arrested you.

They've beaten you.

- Yes, many time I was beaten

by policemen, ordinary citizens

and in general from many people.

- Tatishvili madeheadlines earlier this year

when he became the first person every

to file a suit with theconstitutional court

seeking same sex marriage.

The lawsuit is still pending.

- A majority of Georgians today believe

that what you're doing,your lifestyle is sinful

and they say that you aredestroying their country.

- I think that this is the case

and I'm not surprisedpeople feel this way.

The principles of secularism

are practically violated in Georgia.

The Orthodox church puts so much pressure

on the society to makesure Georgian human rights

are not extended to include LGBT people.

- Meanwhile, Levan Visadzeworries the pressure

to become more accepting of homosexuality

in Georgia will only intensify following

last years controversialSupreme Court decision

legalizing same sex marriage in America.

He bemoans the fact that since the ruling,

many in America aretoo afraid to speak out

against homosexuality.

- You can no longer freelyexpress your opinion

about what's shamefuland what is disgraceful

and you are crucified for that.

The whole concept ofsin is being abolished.

Where is it?

The metamorphosis in Englishlanguage is staggering.

I studied it since I was a child

and I remember that shame meant shame.

In modern English, whensomeone says it's a shame,

he or she means it's a pity.

So, we see a gutting ofthe concept of shame.

Visadze's praying Georgianever reaches that point.

He's urging his fellowcountrymen to be bold

in proclaiming the truth in love.

- Is it your opinion that the church

in Georgia, Christiansin Georgia like yourself

are in the end goingto determine the future

of your country?

- What else, of course.

That's it.

Nothing else.

- [George] As our specialcoverage continues, meet

the most trusted man in Georgia

who is fighting to keep faith alive.

(lively music)

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Live it fully.

(cheerful piano music)

- 911, what's your emergency?

- [Woman] We have avehicle that is upside down

and on fire.

These people are trapped and we need

the jaws of life.

- [Woman] My feet were on fire.

The car was filling up with smoke.

- [Man] There was fire coming

in through my left door.

Steering wheel was clear through my chest.

I couldn't move.

- [Woman] Seat belt, Ikept trying to release it,

but it wouldn't release.

And I just screamed, God,send your angels now.

I saw a set of just white hands,

it was just a burst of white light.

(upbeat music)


- Young people, millennials,are flocking to church.

- [Man] We're all in this together.

There's no pretenses.

- [Woman] It's not an exaggeration to say

that we love to meet them and that we love

to know their stories.

- And welcome back to the broadcast.

You know, across Europe, churches

are closing as growing numbersof Christians abandoned

the faith, but in the nation of Georgia,

the opposite is happening thanks to

the efforts of one man.

Christianity there is notonly alive, it's thriving.


On any given Sunday morning, you'll find

most churches in Georgiapacked with the faithful

and one of the first things a visitor

will notice is that there are no pews

or chairs in most Georgian churches.

That's because, unlike typicallychurch meetings, Christians

here stand during their services.

- We say that Orthodox

are like candles because they stand

before God in churches.

It's uncomfortable to standfor two hours, three hours

in a row but we choose to.

- That was the case during a service

at Holy Trinity Cathedral

in Georgia's capital of Tbilisi.

As thousands stood listening to

their nation's most famous citizen.

His name, Ilia II and he leads

one of the oldest Christian communities

in the world.

- The history of the Georgian church dates

back to the first century A.D.

when the Apostles of Jesus Christ entered

to Georgia and preached the gospel.

- At 83, this elder statesman has

been affectionately dubbedthe most trust man in Georgia.

- He's the spiritual father of Georgia

and a wonderful example

of what it means to bea humble servant of God.

- [George] You've probablynever heard of him,

but here in Georgia andsurrounding countries, Ilia II

is more famous than moviestars and politicians.

Patriarch Ilia II is themost respected figure

in Georgian society.

In fact, his favorablepoll numbers are over 90%.

In an exclusive interview conducted

at his private residence, Ilia II,

whose official title is Patriarch

of the Georgian Orthodox Church, spoke

with CBN News about hiscountry's deep love for God.

- The church's past is intertwined towards

the people and history of our nation.

In the fourth century, A. D., Christianity

was officially declaredas the state religion.

- [George] That makes Georgia one of

the oldest Christiancountries in the world.

Tucked between the Caucasusmountains and the Black Sea,

more than 85% here say they belong

to the Orthodox Church and while

many neighboring European countries

have seen religiousadherence fall, Christianity

in Georgia is witnessingunprecedented growth.

- We are like the little spiritual oasis

in the middle of this region.

- Patriach Ilia the Second was installed

back on Christmas day,1977, and since then,

he has managed to single handedly revive

the Georgian Orthodox Church.

(somber violin music)

He took over at a time when Christianity

was under severe persecution from

the Soviet government.

- The Bolshevik invasion in 1921 witnessed

the unmerciful destruction of churches

and monasteries across Georgia.

- Sergo Vardosanidze is a professor

of Georgian history.

- There were 1500 churchesand 1600 clergymen

active in Georgia.

When the Patriarch was installed,

there were only 50 churches

and barely 70 priests remaining.

He initiated a range of reforms to rebuild

the church, including an emphasis

on young people.

He reached out to the youth encouraging

them to attend church andconsider the priesthood.

He also took steps to make church services

more engaging and easier to listen to.


- [George] The churchshowed signs of revival

in the late 1980s.

Men like Ioane Gamrekeli impressed by

the Patriarch's humility and dedication

to service decided to join the priesthood.

- The Patriarch stretched out his hands

to the people and the people responded.

He preached God's word and people

turned to God.

(somber music)

Then came the Soviet Union collapse

in the late '90s, which lead

to Christianity's renewal.

The changes have since been profound.

Now there are more than2000 active churches

with new ones being built every year,

like this massive structure rising

on the outskirts of Tblisi.

Also, more than 3000 people have joined

the priesthood, servingthe spiritual needs

of Georgia's nearly four million people.

- It has been said thatthe Patriarch inhered

a church that was nearly persecuted

and covered in shroud.

Now, it is a living body.

- [George] Nearly three hours

after arriving for the service,

a slow and frail Patriarch Ilia II

finally makes his way through the throngs

of worshipers that have gathered

to hear him speak this Sunday morning.

CBN News is granted unprecedented access

to film as hundreds ofmen, women and children

line the ornate halls ofHoly Trinity Cathedral

to receive a prayer or special blessing.

- The Patriarch always says that all

that's been achieved during his reign

is because of the Lord's will.

(heavy bell chiming)

- [Announcer] After decadesof religious repression,

many are grateful thatthe church in Georgia

has not only survived, but is thriving,

thanks in part to one man's desire

to bring his nation closer to God.

- Many kind of achievementhas been accomplished

and I thank God for letting me undertake

such endeavors for our nation.

- You can bring these amazing stories

from Georgia to your friends and family.

Simply to go our CBN News webpage

and share it on Facebook and Twitter.

Folks, we'll be back right after this.

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- Hello, I'm Terry Newsome.

Did you know there are more

than 148 million orphansin the world today?

148 million.

But it was three little girls

that taught me aboutthe plight of orphans.

My husband and I spent nearly a month

immersed in the daily activities

of the Ukrainian orphanage as we waited

to adopt three sisters.

I saw first hand the utter loneliness,

the pain of rejection andthe overwhelming desire

to be loved.

That experience changed me forever

and out of it grew a ministry

from my heart called Orphan's Promise.

Today, we're helping orphans

and vulnerable children in more

than 50 countries world wide.

Thousands of childrenare no in safe homes.

They're being educated

and they're learning life skills.

I'm asking you to join with me

and become family to these children.

Will you call the number on your screen

right now, because every child deserves

a change to be happy.

(uplifting music)

- [Announcer] When yougive, smiles grow bigger.

When you care, homes are happier.

When you comfort,

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When we all come togetherto love, miracles happen.

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- Well folks, that is it

for the special editionof Christian World News.

As always, you can find more

or our exclusive coverage of God

at work around the world at

Tell us what you think about

the stories you've seen here this week.

As always, you can reach out to us

via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

I hope you'll send us your comments,

especially on this particular edition.

Well folks, that is it, unfortunately,

for this weeks editionof Christian World News.

From all of us here in the studio

as well as back in the control room,

have a fantastic week

and always remember, God bless you

and God loves you.

Have a great week, guys.

(uplifting music)


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