By Melissa Wuske
Drones Drop Bibles Over ISIS Territory
The Word of Life Church in Uppsala, Sweden, is using drones over ISIS-controlled areas to drop Bibles. This project is in response to the violence and religious restriction of ISIS, as well as what the church has heard from congregations and organizations in the Middle East: there is “a huge spiritual awakening in the Middle East, where millions of people turn to the Christian faith, and the need and demand for Bibles is gigantic.”
Rather than using force against violence, the church is reaching out with practical spiritual help: “Our ambition is to pass on the hope and love of the Christian gospel to a population living in closed areas where they are being denied human rights.”
Awaiting Justice in Pakistan
“Our Christ is the true prophet of God, and yours is not true.” These words landed Asia Bibi in a Pakistani prison seven years ago, with a life imprisonment sentence. Bibi spoke the words to coworkers who were pressuring her to renounce her faith in Jesus. The other women beat her and locked her in a closet. First she was rescued by the police, but then Muslim officials pressed charges.
Her family is one of three Christian families in their Muslim village of 1,500 families. A month after her arrest, her husband, Imran Ghafur, was falsely accused of burning a Koran and sentenced to life in prison.
The courts have agreed to review Bibi’s case, and Gharfur has filed an appeal, but slow judicial processes and numerous delays mean they’re both still in prison. Both have stated that they are sustained by the knowledge that people are praying for them.
Pokémon Go Isn’t a Waste of Time
For one young boy, the app-based mobile game Pokemon Go is opening the door to life. Ian Thayer is 12 and has Asperger’s syndrome, a condition that makes social interaction difficult. But his mother, Stephanie Barnhill, has seen a change in him since he began playing the game.
“He’s willingly starting to go out and going to PokéStops, get Poké Balls and catch creatures, whereas he didn’t have the interest to go outside before. He’s not a go-outside-and-play kind of kid. But this game has enabled him to want to reach out to people and strike up conversations about creatures that they’ve caught.”
Lenore Koppelman, mother of Ralphie, who’s 6 and has autism and other verbal language difficulties, has seen a similar change in her son’s ability to interact with peers: “The kids are so fixated on catching Pokémon that they are concentrating on finding them more than they are concentrating on his behaviors like they usually do. As a result, he is finally finding himself in the middle of groups of kids he doesn’t even know, being welcome to play with them.”
New Hope in Chernobyl
After the Chernobyl disaster, a 250,000-acre area has been off limits, unsafe for human life. But now, 30 years later, “There has been a change in the perception of the exclusion zone in Ukraine,” according to a development proposal created by Ukraine’s government. The proposal calls for part of the restricted area to be used to generate solar and biogas energy.
The new energy sources could use some of the infrastructure, such as power lines and grid, still intact after the nuclear accident. The new project could produce 1,000MW of solar energy as well as 400MW of non-solar renewable energy—and all much more safely than the 4,000MW capability of the nuclear plant.
Melissa Wuske is a freelance editor and writer. She and her husband, Shawn, live and minister in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Find her work at melissaannewuske.com.