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Christian World News - December 28, 2018

Christian World News - December 28, 2018 Read Transcript


(dramatic music)

- This week on Christian World News,

the US military is pulling out of Syria.

What will happen toAmerica's allies, the Kurds,

and who will protect Christians

and other religious minorities?

Plus, spiritual independence.

Ukraine's Orthodox Church isno longer bound to Russia.

The news has themcelebrating in the streets.

And crackdown in China.

President Xi moves toshape society in his image,

and that means controlling the church.

(dramatic news)

Welcome to Christian World News, everyone.

I'm Wendy Griffith.

President Trump shocked the world

when he annoucned he's pullingUS troops out of Syria,

and one of our closestallies in the region

is hoping America won't end its support.

CBN contributor Chuck Holtonreports from Kurdistan.

- [Chuck] US troops maybe headed home from Syria,

but one important US ally is still there

fighting the remnants of ISIS.

They're known as theSyrian Democratic Forces,

which are predominantlymade up of Kuridsh fighters

known as the Peshmerga.

The Kurdish Peshmergahave been fighting ISIS

since the beginning, andthey've been some of America's

staunchest allies in the region.

But the latest move bythe Trump administration

has them worried because they say

there's still plentyof fighting left to do.

Masrour Barzani was just nominated

to become Kurdistan's prime minister.

- I have no doubt that ISIS is going to be

militarily defeated.

It's just a matter of time,

but they will not be eradicated

because the ideology will stay.

This is a world war, butwe are in the front line.

But unfortunately, really,we are not being supported

to the degree that we need to.

- The US has often made it harder

for the Peshmerga to fight ISIS

because we've sometimesrefused to sell them

the military equipment they need to do so.

This American Humvee now belongsto the Kurdish Peshmerga,

but they didn't get it fromthe United States directly.

They got it from ISIS.

Now ISIS got it when the Iraqiarmy left their equipment

and ran away in Mosul back in 2014.

So the Kurdish army says wedon't get to pay with dollars

if we want to buy American equipment.

We have to pay with blood,and that's what they mean.

At over 30 million,

the Kurdish are the largestpeople group on the planet

without a country of their own.

And for generations,they've dreamed of, one day,

having a free Kurdistan.

Hoshyar Zebrani has beenfighting for this dream

his entire life and hesays a free Kurdistan

is an idea whose time has come.

- The issue ofself-determination for Kurdistan

has never been so highby the Kurdish people,

that after all this suffering,after all these years,

they need a place under thesun als like any other nation.

And after ISIS, I think therewill be a lot of thinking

whether these communitieswhere people can live together

or be canned into those borders,

they should have their own free will

to decide to see their future.

- [Chuck] And with Iran, Syria, and Russia

all vying for control in this region,

Kurds think this mightbe a very good place

for a permanent US base.

- We need Americans to remember

that we are loyalfriends and loyal allies.

We share same principles and same values.

And we are together againstinternational terrorism

as long as it takes.

And in this case, to eradicate terrorism

and to fight terrorism,there are many ways

that we have to work together.

- [Chuck] But if theAmericans pull out completely,

the Kurds will keepfighting because, for them,

this fight is about their homeland.

Chuck Holton, CBN News, Erbil, Kurdistan.

- Thanks, Chuck.

When ISIS invaded theirvillages and towns,

many Christians soughtrefuge in Kurdistan.

Earlier, CBN's CharleneAaron spoke with Ryan Mauro

of the Clarion Project.

He says a Kurdish state couldbe a positive development

for the region's Christian community.

- An independent Kurdish country

would be a place whereChristians can go for safety

if they like living under Kurdish rule,

or they could live outsideof it, either in Syria

that is controlled byAssad and the Iranians

or they could go to a part of Iraq

that is dominated by the minorities

in an autonomous state,which we also called for,

those of us that study this.

We feel that an autonomous province

within Iraq just for the minorities

is also a step in the right direction.

- Okay, and Ryan, whatimpact will the US pullout

have on Christians inSyria and northern Iraq?

- It's horrifying.

The announcement of thewithdrawal from Syria,

as well as Afghanistan at a slower pace,

has really shaken me to my core.

And I would expect a similar draw-down,

if not full out withdrawal,from Iraq as well

over the coming couple of years.

And that puts the Christians in peril

because, in Syria, youhave some Christians

that are living under the Assad regime,

which isn't great, butthey're not facing genocide.

Then, within theKurdish-run area of Syria,

you do have a Syriac Christian militia

that works with the Kurds,works with the Arabs,

and is putting out pressreleases expressing great fear

about what comes next.

They know that Turkeyand its jihadist armies,

when they invade Syria, aregoing to treat those Christians

just like the Kurds, whichmeans massacring them,

jailing them, persecuting them for sure.

And they say that there areabout 100,000 Christians

in northeastern Syria at riskof Turkish aligned persecution

in the coming months asthis withdrawal happens.

- That is terrifying.

The Kurds are mostly Muslim, yet Kurdistan

has been something of asafe haven for Christians

and other religiousminorities fleeing ISIS.

Talk about that.

- Sure, well the Christianopinion in both Iraq and Syria

is divided on the Kurdish issue,

so you'll hear somereports from Christians

of mistreatment at thehands of some Kurds,

but that's a far cry fromgenocide and outright massacres

and what they're facing inthe rest of Iraq and Syria.

Then there are Christians whosing the praises of the Kurds.

And when you meet Kurds onthe street, as I did in Iraq,

they are very proud of theirtreatment of Christians.

They view that as a testament

to the fundamentalgoodness of their people,

that they're willing to take in refugees,

including Christians.

And so the opinion isdivided on that question.

But overall, the Kurds arereally the bright light

in those two countries as wellas in Iran and even Turkey

for the region.

As a people, they believein secular democracy.

They are openly and proudly pro-American.

And with a whisper, they'llsay they're pro-Israel as well.

And that is why everyjihadist force in the region

has to extinguish the Kurds as a people

because, if the Kurds succeedas a secular democracy,

as a Muslim people whoare at peace with Israel

and then are successful on the ground,

are wealthy economically,and are advancing socially,

then that is truly a threatto the sustainability

of radical Islam.

- And you can learn more aboutthe church in the Middle East

at our Christian World News web page.

Just go to CBNNews.com.

Well CBN's Operation Blessing is working

with Christian refugees in Jordan

to help them transitionback into normal life.

The war in Syria and Iraq

became an international refugee crisis

as millions of persecutedChristians fled their homes.

Operation Blessing is helpingChristian families get access

to education, health care,food, and vocational training.

Teams are providing more than 200 students

with quality education and a daily meal.

Suffering Christian families now have hope

and a place to worship freely.

Up next, it's been one ofthe fastest growing churches

in the past 50 years.

Now, Christianity inChina is under assault.

(dramatic music)

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- Hello, I'm Terry Meeuwsen.

Did you know there are morethan 148 million orphans

in the world today?

148 million.

But it was three littlegirls that taught me

about the plight of orphans.

My husband and I spend nearly a month

immersed in the daily activitiesof the Ukrainian orphanage

as we waited to adopt three sisters.

I saw firsthand the utterloneliness, the pain of rejection,

and the overwhelming desire to be loved.

That experience changedme forever, and out of it

grew a ministry from my heartcalled Orphan's Promise.

Today, we're helping orphansand vulnerable children

in more than 50 countries worldwide.

Thousands of childrenare now in safe homes,

they're being educated, andthey're learning life skills.

I'm asking you to join with me

and become family to these children.

Will you call the numberon your screen right now?

Because every child deservesa chance to be happy.

- Welcome back.

Well, in Eastern Europe,the conflict between Russia

and Ukraine is affectingone of the oldest churches

in the world and millions of Christians.

Dale Hurd reports.

- Since the late 1600s, theOrthodox Church in Ukraine

has been under the wing ofthe Russian Orthodox Church.

Now, it's independent of Moscow

after Ukrainian bishopsvoted to approve a charter

for the new church nolonger under the care

of the Moscow Patriarch Kirill.

This isn't like a church split in America.

This is about politicalpower and national rivalries

and Vladimir Putin's dream ofrebuilding the Russian empire.

When the spit was announced in Ukraine,

there was a rock concert atmosphere,

with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko

giving glory to God and saying:

The new United IndependentUkrainian Church was born today.

What kind of church is it?

It's a church without Putin.

It's a church without Patriarch Kirill.

It's a church withoutprayer for Russian officials

and the Russian army.

Moscow has vigorouslyprotested Ukraine's bid

for spiritual independence,

and Russian President Vladimir Putin said:

There's nothing good in it,

not for religious freedoms in general.

It's a vivid, harsh violationof religious freedoms.

And what worries me mostis that redistribution

of the property will definitely follow.

In fact, it's already in full swing

and might acquire very hard,if not deadly, features.

Some believe Putin's angerover the church split

could be why Russianborder guards in November

rammed into and opened fire onthree Ukrainian navy vessels.

- It could be connected

to what happened just a few weeks ago

when this Bartholomew in Istanbul,with a stroke of the pen,

took 12,000, a thirdof all of the churches

under the Moscow Patriarch and gave them

to the Ukrainian Patriarch.

This created anger in Putin.

It's like you lostpower over all of these,

you know, a third of his parishes.

- [Dale] Fearing war,

the Ukrainian parliamentimposed martial law

and says Russia has massedtroops and tanks on its border.

But not all in Russia areas upset as Vladimir Putin.

This Russian Orthodox believer said:

I don't get involved in it.

God will manage everything.

We just need to pray.

Dale Hurd, CBN News.

- Wise words.

Well, China's president is cracking down

on the country's rapidlygrowing church there.

Recently, authoritiesarrested a prominent pastor

and more than 100 of his church members.

As George Thomas reports,it's just the latest move

in China's increasingpersecution of Christians.

- This past Sunday, membersof Early Rain Covenant Church

were blocked from enteringtheir worship building.

With their leadersdetained and facing jail,

churchgoers decided topray and worship outside.

On December 9th, authoritiesin the city of Chengdu

arrested prominentChristian Pastor Wang Yi

along with his wife and 100 members

of Early Rain Covenant Church.

Authorities shut down the church

and charged Pastor Wangwith inciting subversion

of state power.

He and his wife could faceup to 15 years in prison

if convicted.

Early Rain, like scoresof other congregations,

is outside government control

as part of China's burgeoningso-called underground

or house church movement.

Appearing on CBN News' Worldbeat,

Todd Nettleton of Voice of the Martyrs

says this movement hastouched every corner of China.

- And that's the excitingthing, is all across China,

there are house churches,

there are what they call family churches.

The reason the Communistgovernment is so worried

is because there are farmore Christians in China

than there are membersof the Communist Party.

- [George] And Nettleton saysBeijing is waging a brutal

and widespread crackdownto stop the growth

of these unregistered churches.

- [Todd] This crackdown, Ithink, is a direct response

to the fear of the Communist Party leaders

who see the church growingway faster than the party is.

- Mr. Yang, has Chinadeclared war on Christianity?

- Yes.

- [George] Fenggang Wang,

a leading expert on religion in China,

says what started several years ago

as a small government campaignagainst unregistered churches

has turned into all out war.

- The campaign was firstexperimented in Zhejiang Province

in 2014 to 2016.

Now, it has become a nationwide campaign.

- [George] A campaign where authorities

routinely target houses of worship,

destroy crosses, burnBibles, and arrest pastors.

Mr. Fenggang, who once predicted

that China could become theworld's largest Christian nation

(trumpets blare)

says the government, headed by Xi Jinping,

views Christianity as a threat

to the party's long termpolitical aspirations.

- [Fenggang] Christians,they're remaining NGOs

in the shrinking civil society in China.

And under Xi Jinping, theChinese Communist Party

is really trying toestablish a totalitarian rule

of Chinese society.

And the Christians are standing in the way

of totalitarianism, so that'swhy they became a target.

- [George] Pictures sharedon Early Rain's Facebook page

claim to show thatpolice physically abused

some of those arrested afterthey were taken into custody.

Forseeing this possible arrest,Pastor Wang wrote a letter,

titled My Declaration ofFaithful Disobedience,

with instructions thatit should be published

if he went missing for more than 48 hours.

In it, Wang vowed touse non-violent methods

to stand against Chinese laws he believed

were against the Bible and God.

My savior Christ also requiresme to joyfully bear all costs

for disobeying wicked laws, Wang wrote.

I am filled with anger and disgust

at the persecution of thechurch by this Communist regime,

at the wickedness oftheir depriving people

of the freedoms ofreligion and of conscience.

Wang is no stranger to authorities.

He was once one of China's

most prominent civil rightslawyers and intellectuals.

In 2005, he had anencounter with Jesus Christ

and decided to convert to Christianity.

He gave up his law career topursue his calling as a pastor

and started Early Rain inChina's Szechuan Province.

(speaking foreign language)

His sermons, many of them widelycirculated on social media,

soon made him a rising starand an important player

in the Christian revivalthat was sweeping China.

All that has come to a screeching halt

with his arrest and theclosure of the church.

Still, members of hiscongregation vow to keep meeting,

despite the risk of arrest.

George Thomas, CBN News.

- Thanks, George.

Up next, meet the Gouda nuns

and find out what secret ingredient

makes their product a sellout.

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- We had four jobs that didn't go right,

but we didn't waver in our faith.

- That's when God put on my heart

that we needed to do the well.

- [Husband] Within a couple of days,

we got an insurance refund check

that we had no idea was coming.

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- You go out and help other people

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- [Announcer] Get PatRobertson's latest teaching,

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(dramatic music)

- And welcome back toChristian World News.

It's a business model youwon't see anywhere else,

13 nuns who make cheese, andthey sell out every year.

So, what's their secret ingredient?

We sent our Heather Sells

to a Virginia monastery to find out.

(nuns singing)

- [Heather] This is the heart

of this cloistered Trappist nun community,

gathering for worship andprayer seven times a day

starting at 3:15 in the morning.

And this is the cheese barn,

where the 13 sisters atOur Lady of the Angels

make 20,000 pounds of Gouda every year.

Most of their quarter milliondollar business is mail order,

although some localshops drive out monthly

for the cheese their customers crave.

- The flavor's great.

It's on the mild endin terms of intensity,

but it's delicious and really versatile.

You can use it for cooking

or you can just gnosh it withsalami and olives and bread.

- When they started, the nuns knew nothing

about how to make cheese.

Today, they literally cannotkeep up with the demand

from food connoisseurs around the country.

- It sort of sells itself.

People get it as a gift and they call

and they say, "Could Iorder some of this cheese?"

- [Heather] Sister Barbarais one of the original six

who was sent by a largemonastery in Massachusetts

to start anew on thisgorgeous piece of land

near Charlottesville, Virginia.

The goal: follow the centuries-oldrules of St. Benedict

by building a life based on prayer

and engage in manual laborto support themselves.

Happily for the sisters,the property they bought

already featured a cheese making facility.

- We were so naive.

We thought it'd be so simple.

You have some of this equipment here

and they'd just get somemilk and a few lessons

and just make some cheese.

- [Heather] But the sisters persevered

and they got it right, really right.

They allot 32 days ayear to make the Gouda,

and everyone pitches in.

Sister Maria is thedesignated cheese cook.

The 35-year-old from Spain must manipulate

some 6,000 pounds of pasteurized milk

with a little culture and rennet

into several hundred wheels of cheese.

It looks easy, but like any good recipe,

it's all about precision.

Getting the correct temperature,

cutting the curds atjust the right moment,

heating them, then draining the whey,

and finally, pressing the cheese.

Over the years,

the sisters have not onlyperfected their technique,

they've never bungled a batch.

That's almost unheard of.

Sister Linda is sidelinedfrom the cheesemaking

with an injury right now,

but says her fellow sisters'attention to detail is key.

- A big part of it has beentheir openness to learning

and their absolute dedicationto doing it better.

- [Heather] The sisters say prayer

is also a big part of their work,

from making the cheese to shipping it out.

- While I'm doing it, I'mreally praying for the people

who are gonna eat that cheese.

I mean I know every family,every person have problems.

- For every five cheeseorders that come in the mail,

at least one, maybe out of every four,

one will have a request for prayers.

- [Heather] Prayer is also the reason

the nuns say they won'tgrow their business.

- People will come in and say,

"Well, you sold out last year

"so you're gonna make morenext year, aren't you?"

- The priority is not the cheese.

That's not why we're here.

- [Heather] What is happening here,

a seeking after the Lordthat is visibly discernible.

- It's fun to see the nuns

and they're so kind and calm and mellow.

It sort of slows you down a little bit.

- People come to thedoor, come to buy cheese,

they always want to know alittle bit about our way of life

so we tell them and then we ask

if they'd like to stop inthe chapel for a moment.

- [Heather] When they're not in the chapel

or making the cheese, the nunsdo admit to eating it often,

and there is a preferred method.

- My favorite way to have it

is on a piece of toast for breakfast.

- If you toast a piece of bread

so that the bread is kind of crispy

and then you put a couplethin slices of cheese on,

put it in the microwave for 25 seconds.

- [Heather] So what'snext for the sisters?

No cheddar or Havarti they say.

It's strictly Gouda.

As for their numbers, it'sclear a new generation is needed

sometime soon.

But these women believe,

if they remain true to their calling,

God will replenishtheir ranks in his time.

- We are here togetherbecause God called us here.

One way or another, we all followed

what we perceived to be God'scall to us individually.

We'd never knew eachother before, you know,

so it's not a coincidence,but part of a larger plan

that remains a mystery.

- [Heather] It is abeautiful, holy mystery

that's unfolding here asthe sisters seek out God

and find ways to minister through simple,

two-pound wheels of cheese.

Reporting in Crozet, Virginia,Heather Sells, CBN News.

- Looks scrumptious.

Thanks, Heather, and youcan find more great stories

about the church around the world.

Just visit our ChristianWorld News web page.

We'll be right back.

(dramatic music)

- [Pat] When you give,

smiles grow bigger.

When you care,

homes are happier.

When you comfort,

the hurt goes away.

When we all come together to love,

miracles happen.

- Hello, I'm Terry Meeuwsen.

Did you know there are morethan 148 million orphans

in the world today?

148 million.

But it was three littlegirls that taught me

about the plight of orphans.

My husband and I spent nearly a month

immersed in the daily activitiesof the Ukrainian orphanage

as we waited to adopt three sisters.

I saw firsthand the utterloneliness, the pain of rejection,

and the overwhelming desire to be loved.

That experience changedme forever, and out of it

grew a ministry from my heartcalled Orphan's Promise.

Today, we're helping orphansand vulnerable children

in more than 50 countries worldwide.

Thousands of childrenare now in safe homes,

they're being educated, andthey're learning life skills.

I'm asking you to join with me

and become family to these children.

Will you call the numberon your screen right now?

Because every child deservesa chance to be happy.

- Hello.

Is this thing on?

Hey kids.

Do you love games?

And do you love discovering things.

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Well, do you?- Yeah!

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- Well, 2018, it's just about over,

and all of us here at Christian World News

want to wish you and yourfamily a very happy new year

and pray you'll know God's comfort,

leading, and care in deeper ways in 2019.

So until next year, goodbye.

And as always, God bless you.

(dramatic music)

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