Explosives removed from Jordan River

The site of Jesus’ baptism is free from land mines for the first time since 1968, when the Isaeli military laid the explosives along the river during the Six-Day War. Peace was declared with Jordan in 1995. Mine removal began in earnest in 2018, and specialists exploded the final 500 devices on the banks of the Jordan River in April. When the area was partially opened in 2011, hundreds of thousands of pilgrims visited. Many have been baptized in the Jordan, including pastor Max Lucado and rapper Lecrae. The removal cost $4.6 million. Israeli officials expect the number of visitors to triple after the pandemic.

Church protest leader freed from prison

A Vietnamese man has been released from prison after 16 years. Y Ngun Knul, part of the Montagnard ethnic minority, called for protests in 2004 when the government shut down unregistered churches in the Central Highlands. Thousands took to the streets, showing the strength of Dega Christianity, which combines evangelical faith with aspirations for political autonomy and control of ancestral lands. More than 140 people were arrested, and a new law banned religious activity that threatened national security or public order. Knul’s family lost their land in the years he was captive, so now he is homeless and suffering serious illness.

Pastor who fed asylum-seeker acquitted

An evangelical pastor has been acquitted of the crime of harboring an immigrant. Norbert Valley, former head of the Swiss Evangelical Alliance, took care of a man from Togo after his asylum application was rejected. Valley said his faith required him to help his neighbor, but Swiss law criminalizes aiding people without legal documentation. Valley was arrested at his ...

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