A U.S. missionary from the Free Methodist Church has been kidnapped in Nigeria. The church posted on their website that Rev. Phyllis Sortor, “our missionary in Nigeria, was abducted from the Hope Academy compound in Emiworo, Kogi State, Nigeria by several persons. The U.S. Embassy has been notified, and the State Department and the FBI are working with local authorities to find and rescue her. We are calling on the U.S. church to join together in prayer for Phyllis’ safety and speedy release.” In addition to her work at the school providing education to local children, Rev. Sortor was also helping to build clean water wells in the community. As Reuters notes, kidnapping is a significant criminal problem in the country. However, the region where the abduction occurred has historically not seen much activity from the Islamic radical group Boko Haram, militants who have terrorized other areas in the northern part of the country ...

UPDATE: The gunmen are now demanding $300,000 for Rev. Sortor's return. Discuss

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is reporting that ISIS militants have abducted at least 90 people after raiding an Assyrian Christian village. (Different reports vary on how many dozens were abducted in the raids, but Reuters says it was “at least 90.”) Children are said to be among the group kidnapped. Reports indicate that the raid specifically targeted areas where Christian minorities lived. The region of northeastern Syria is also an important strategic location, and has seen fighting between ISIS militants and the Kurdish military, as well as airstrikes from the U.S. led coalition ... Discuss

A young girl—who witnesses described as about 8-years-old—detonated a suicide bomb at a market in Nigeria this weekend, killing herself and at least five others. More than 40 were also injured in the bombing. Though no terrorist organization has formally claimed responsibility for the attack, it has the hallmarks of the work of Boko Haram, a radical Islamic militant group that is suspected of using abducted children in attacks of terrorism. The tragedy follows two other recent incidents of suicide bombings in Nigeria, including an attack that killed seven people at a bus station last week. In April of last year, the group became the center of the #BringBackOurGirls social media campaign after kidnapping more than 200 schoolgirls in a brazen attack on a local village ... Discuss

So, it has come to this. The end of a magnificent journey. Did it have his difficult moments? Yes, and how. Every great adventure must have a hero who feels the temptation to surrender. Frodo had Shelob. Lucy had the Stone Table. Jesse had the 167th hour of listening to Nickelback. But Jesse, like the great heroes of history and lore, summoned the strength within himself to persevere through adversity and ultimately triumph in the light of a victorious dawn. He has overcome, yes, but is he OK? That is a difficult question. Some wounds do not heal, and time alone will be the judge of how well Carey is able to piece together the fragments of his psyche. They will be difficult days, but the worst is over. The healing has begun. He has raised over $32,000 for Charity:Water (and there is still plenty of time to donate!) And now he ventures off to the West, to White Shores, his glorious purpose having been fulfilled. It is up to us now, to keep his legend alive for our children and their children, that his sacrifice might never be forgotten. Thank you, Jesse. The world owes you a debt ... Discuss

What began as a steely test of determination has grown into something much larger, as the minds and hearts of the world entire bend their attention towards the noble plight of one Jesse Carey, the man who has pledged to listen to Nickelback for 168 straight hours for charity. Few could have guessed when his journey began that it would soon become not only a test of endurance, but a symbol for the inexhaustible flame of the human spirit. Buzzfeed has reported on it. So has The Nerdist. So let the child in Brooklyn tend to her studies with just a bit more ardor, knowing that Carey is out there, listening to Nickelback for all of us. Let the shepherd in Ireland put his hand to the plough with just a bit more grace, thinking of the sacrifice being made. Let the people of Japan incline their eyes from their weariness, and find hope in one man's struggle.

In the meantime, Carey's Charity:Water donations have soared past his original goal of $5,000 to over $20,000—a testament to what can happen when one man has the courage to face the unknown. His wrestling match with destiny is far from over. The greatest challenge undoubtedly lies ahead, in the steep climb up through the final days of his pilgrimage. But wherever happens from here, Carey is not alone. Indeed, he carries the fate of us all ... Discuss