Globe Trot: Volcanos, earthquakes, and running to God

by Mindy Belz
Posted 4/27/15, 11:20 am

CHILE: In the wake of an earthquake it’s easy to forget a volcano, but the Calbuco eruption continues, with residents trying to save their homes from a rain of ash in a “gray desert.” 

NEPAL: Today’s death toll from Saturday’s massive earthquake stands at more than 4,000 but is rising. A before and after shot of one of Kathmandu’s temples is indicative of widespread damage. CNN also is posting aerial shots of damage. At the Mount Everest base camp, where at least 18 were killed in an avalanche caused by the quake, about 150 climbers remain trapped on the mountain, including Americans.

In 1999, after an earthquake in Turkey killed more than 18,000 (I was there to see the unparalleled destruction), John Piper wrote of running to the God who causes earthquakes when even the ground beneath gives way.

Nepal is a young democracy—its first elections were held in 2008—and is in the throes of constitutional reforms that leave its long-persecuted Christian minority uncertain about the future, especially now.

JAPAN: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is in the United States this week, with a state dinner scheduled at the White House on Tuesday. On Wednesday, he addresses a joint session of Congress—the first Japanese head of state to do so, just ahead of the 70th anniversary of Japan’s defeat in World War II and with wartime atrocities by Japan still a sensitive issue.

TANZANIA: The home affairs minister has threatened to deregister churches opposing a constitutional referendum scheduled for April 30. The constitution accommodates the creation of Islamic Khadi courts, and Christian leaders are opposing the move (though some courts have been active since 2012). It’s worth noting the creation of Islamic courts in northern Nigeria more than 10 years ago led to the rise of Islamic opposition of Christians, and violence against them.

CUBA’s churches are growing, and Christians on the island want to build on their legacy.

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Mindy Belz

Mindy wrote WORLD Magazine's first cover story in 1986 and went on to serve as international editor, editor, and now senior editor. She has covered wars in Syria, Afganistan, Africa, and the Balkans, and she recounts some of her experiences in They Say We Are Infidels: On the Run from ISIS with Persecuted Christians in the Middle East. Mindy resides with her husband, Nat, in Asheville, N.C. Follow her on Twitter @mcbelz.

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