Displaying items by tag: Christian persecution
Each zone in Nigeria has unique challenges and opportunities. Christian persecution increases, especially in the north. Some Muslim groups have killed thousands and destroyed hundreds, possibly thousands, of churches. Persecution unites Christians, driving them to the Lord in prayer. It also threatens the core of society and statehood. Pray for restoration and recovery for those who suffer from loss, or rape. Pray for forgiveness and freedom from a spirit of revenge. Pray that believers respond in the most Christ-like way possible, and for enemies of Christ to become His followers. In the south oil industries have polluted pristine agricultural land but only an elite (corrupt) few have benefited. Pentecostal churches are growing: may God give them sacrificial concern for the less privileged in the less-reached areas. Muslim missionary activity has intensified to win ethnic religions and backsliding Christians. Pray for cross-cultural outreach and true conversion of youth.
Barnabas Aid invited people to join them for their Suffering Church Action and Awareness Week launch on 22 October at their new UK offices in Swindon. It also launched its new medical.gives project. The meeting provided an overview of the increasing suffering endured by Christians, and how we can understand the times we are living in. There were also updates on recent projects supported by Barnabas Aid, under God’s guidance. If people were unable to get to Swindon, Barnabas Aid were livestreaming the event.
Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is urgently calling for prayers for Nicaragua amid an escalation of efforts to silence the Church. The expulsion of the country’s Apostolic Nuncio was followed by the abduction of Bishop Rolando, the Apostolic Administrator of a vacant diocese, along with three priests, two seminarians, a deacon and a photographer. Bishop Álvarez is under house arrest after he criticised the closure of Catholic radio stations. ACN said, ‘These events represent further escalations in an attempt to silence the Nicaraguan Church. There is no easy solution. We need to support them as much as possible and pray for a peaceful solution and no further increase in hostilities. This crisis is critical. In less than four years, the Catholic Church has suffered over 190 attacks, including a fire in the Cathedral of Managua.’ Street processions are prohibited, religious celebrations are interrupted, and the police intimidate worshippers at churches.
Zaina is just one of the thousands of Christians who suffer for their faith. After she was married her brother-in-law attempted to rape her. She fled to her parents, but they sided with him, enraged at the shame she had brought on the family. She fled to her aunt, but her father found her and beat her unconscious - leaving only when he thought she was dead. Her aunt asked her to leave. During this desperate time Zaina heard about the love and mercy of Jesus and received him as her Saviour. Her family continued to threaten her. She relocated several times, and finally her husband divorced her. She found a church and a job, but when her boss discovered she was a Christian convert he fired her, fearing retribution from the predominantly Muslim community. Her brother ultimately convinced her to come home, but he deceived her and once there he tried to kill her. She has relocated again and is now dealing with several health issues.
In the midst of persecution God is providing spiritual and financial support to Christians: spiritual investment is eternal, while the financial support is temporal. Help the Persecuted (HTP) addresses real needs with Gospel-centred, sustainable methods like an agricultural project in Lebanon that goes beyond providing physical needs. The community created around this farm is hearing the Gospel being shared along with food distribution. One member tells of being strangled by her radical Al-Qaeda husband and in that moment she saw Jesus. He reached out his hand and said, ‘I love you.’ She didn’t know who he was, but shortly afterwards learned about the person she saw in her vision. She gave her life to Jesus and fled alone to Lebanon. She knows he will never leave or forsake her. We can praise God for the work of HTP and need to continue praying for their protection and finances.
Four Christians in Darfur accused of apostasy will have their first court hearing on 30 August. The prosecutor and investigator will present evidence, after which the judge will decide whether to continue the case or acquit the defendants. The four were arrested on 22 June following a raid on a Baptist church, accused of apostasy and subsequently released on bail. They were physically mistreated during their detention. They are charged under Penal Code Article 126, which criminalises apostasy, even though that article was abolished in 2019. Due to fears of community and police harassment, the four believers remain in hiding. There continue to be other reports of harassment of Christians in Darfur. Please pray for the judge to dismiss the case against them, and for physical and emotional healing.
On 30 July Islamist militants beheaded two Christian men during an attack on a minibus in northern Mozambique in Cabo Delgado. IS of Mozambique, known locally as al-Shabaab, claimed responsibility for the killings: its statement declared, ‘By the grace of God Almighty, the soldiers of the Caliphate killed two Christians, beheading them, and shooting them with weapons.’ In June IS beheaded several Christians in Cabo Delgado, and another during a raid on a Christian village in Nampula. Cabo Delgado is called ‘the Land of Fear’ owing to persistent brutal violence meted out against both Christians and moderate Muslims over several years. Pray that the Lord will comfort the family and friends of the Christians so brutally murdered. Ask that the violence perpetrated against Christians and moderate Muslims by IS militants will come to an end, that the LORD will rescue His people from their powerful enemy, from their foes who confront them.
The persecution of Christians in India is intensifying as Hindu extremists aim to cleanse the country of their presence and influence. The driving force behind this is Hindutva, an ideology that refuses to treat Christians and other religious minorities as true Indians because they allegedly have allegiances that lie outside India; it asserts the country should be purified of their presence. This is leading to systemic, often violent, carefully orchestrated targeting of Christians. The extremists often use social media to spread disinformation and stir up hatred. Pray that social media companies will do more to combat the spread of fake news and hatred on their platforms. Overall, violence against Christians remains at an extreme level, and levels of pressure in all spheres of life remain very high or extreme. Regions experiencing the most persecution are ruled by the Hindu nationalist party (BJP). Pray that this situation changes with the next elections (Himachal Pradesh in November and Gujarat in December).
In August 2021 Afghans dreading the return of the draconian Taliban regime risked their lives clinging to the outside of departing planes, desperate to escape. Afghanistan is now the most dangerous place in the world to be a Christian. Closing the ministry of women’s affairs demonstrated a return to the denigration of women that had previously characterised the Taliban rule. Except for healthcare workers, women must stay at home ‘to protect their safety’. Girls’ secondary schools stay closed ‘until a comprehensive plan is prepared according to Sharia and Afghan culture’. The Taliban have re-established the ‘Ministry for the Prevention of Vice and Promotion of Virtue’ to enforce their strict interpretation of Sharia. Their drive for only the ‘purest’ form of Islam has left no room for Christians in Afghanistan. Please pray for the safety and protection of secret believers from being discovered, and for the families who have to leave everything behind as they flee to safety. See also
In 2017 Fulani militants seized a Christian mother’s land and burned down her house, forcing her and her family to move closer to the city for safety. Loss of their farmland forced the family of seven into deep poverty, living and sleeping in one room. On 8 August Fulani militants attempted to rape her 16-year-old daughter while they were out walking. A missionary visited the family after the attack and the mother said, ‘They told us to stop, then they beat me as I tried to stop them from raping my daughter.’ She showed the deep gash in her arm she received from the militants, and said God used her to protect her daughter from public disgrace and shame, which is how victims of rape are viewed in their society. ‘I have nothing to say but thank God. Please tell Christians to pray for us. Pray that we will return to our village one day. Life is too expensive in the city.’