American missionary murdered in Uganda
"Last Friday, gunmen in Mbale raided the home of an American missionary, Micheal Stachofsky, and shot him dead," reports The Monitor, a newspaper in Kampala, Uganda. "Shocking as it is, there is nothing unusual about this because many Ugandans are killed in a similar way all the time. But what Ugandans will find sad is the fact that, like other Ugandans that have been murdered in cold blood, Stachofsky could not be rescued or his killers apprehended in time for the simple reason that police lacked means of transport to get to the scene!" The only local police car, the paper says, doesn't work.

Nevertheless, police roadblocks did turn up a suspect: Santos Odongo, a soldier in the Ugandan People's Defense Forces. African news reports are only identifying Stachofsky and his wife, Patti Sue, as American missionaries who had worked on a water project in the town of Mbale, but they don't identify any religious background or missionary agency. (A quick Web search didn't turn up anything either.) According to one report, Patti Sue Stachofsky told police "the intruders had demanded money from her husband but he had refused and tried to force them out of the house when they shot him and fled."

Congressman in Philippines: let the U.S. military help free Burnhams
U.S. Representative Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) is in the Philippines meeting with President Gloria Arroyo on freeing New Tribes missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham. The Philippine media are reporting that he's satisfied with the Philippine military's rescue efforts, but American and international media emphasize that he wants greater openness in allowing U.S. troops to give it a shot. "Joint training exercises would help keep peace and order," he tells The Wichita Eagle. "We are feared for our capability." In yesterday's edition of the Eagle, Tiahrt said there was some indication that American troops might be welcome. "The perception that the U.S. can help is there," he said. "They just don't want us to come over and run roughshod over them."

Meanwhile, New Tribes Mission and Martin Gracia's father, Paul, are busy encouraging Christians to pray for the missionaries. "I think there was quite a lot of activity and anticipation that the Burnhams would be released before Christmas," said New Tribes spokesman Scott Ross. But all is not lost. "We do believe there is some progress being made. Every day we wake up and say 'maybe today,'" Paul Burnham told members of Rose Hill Bible Church.

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Looking back at 2001:
  • A world in turmoil | A troubled 2001 and an uncertain future in 2002 push religion to center stage. (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
  • In a year of high drama, religion plays a leading role | The sudden emergence of the American Muslim community and global Islam is perhaps the biggest religion story of 2001, a year in which the sacred and the secular collided head-on in the public square. (Religion News Service)
Church and state disputes:
Faith-based initiative:
Church life:
Campus Crusade for Christ:
  • More students pursuing a spiritual path | Campus Crusade for Christ convention a sign of growing religious interest (The Baltimore Sun)
  • Evangelists expand reach | Campus Crusade for Christ adds chapters (Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, New York)
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  • Flame of hope still burns at church shelter | Many of the regulars here tonight travel the circuit together, doing their own thing during the day--job hunting, visiting the doctor—and meeting up at the churches at night. (Dawn Turner Rice, Chicago Tribune)
Counting Christians:
Other stories of interest:

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