Please pray for the persecuted Church. It is more than just a lack of religious freedom. These believers are targeted with violence and hatred because of their sincerely held religious beliefs. Can you imagine!?!
This update focuses on Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan, Persecution and the Sudan:
Young Believers Killed in Pakistan
Sometimes children are able to see truth in unencumbered, refreshing ways. Jesus loved children, and even challenged his followers to “receive the kingdom of God as a little child.”
At VOM, we acknowledge the mandate of James 1:27 and have a unique interest in serving the underserved, especially children and widows living in areas that experience intense persecution. Pakistan is one of those places.
For several years, VOM has been in active partnership with David C. Cook, a nonprofit organization dedicated to publishing discipleship resources to help Christians all over the world grow in their faith.
Together, we have been able to distribute hundreds of thousands of “Story of Jesus” books in some of the world’s most difficult places. These colorful books, which are similar to “comic books,” introduce Jesus to children in a way that is very compelling. In fact, when I took a copy home to my own children, they were immediately drawn to it.
Female Church Workers Raped and Killed in South Sudan
Several churches attacked and looted as ethnic conflict continues
Scores of female church workers were massacred last month as they sought refuge at a church in the central South Sudanese town of Bor.
The women, several of whom were elderly, had fled rebel attacks to hide in the St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church compound, when rebels descended on them, raping several of them before shooting them at close range.
“The women were from different parishes in the diocese and had converged in the church compound when they were killed,” the Anglican Bishop of Bor, Ruben Akurdit Ngong, told World Watch Monitor by telephone from Bor. “This is very painful. They destroyed most of the churches in the diocese, but God is with us.”
Christians Killed in Sudan Bombings
Government ramps up bombardment of civilians in rebel-supported areas
The Sudanese Air Force bombed more civilians in South Kordofan state this week, killing a Christian man and injuring a 13-year-old girl, an area source said.
As part of what area Christians believe is President Omar al-Bashir’s campaign to rid the country of Christianity and the ethnic Nuba people, a government jet on Monday (Feb. 10) dropped three bombs on Damardago village, killing a Christian identified only as 30-year-old Timotuos, the source said.
Timotuos was a member of the Sudanese Church of Christ, as are two others who sustained burns and other injuries in the bombing, 13-year-old Zaienab Jebril Turomba and 27-year-old Salim Kuku, according to the source, who requested anonymity. There is no military installation near the area, but Sudan has been bombing civilian populations it believes support the rebel Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) since 2011.
Islamic Extremist Threats in Pakistan Could Quash Prosecution of Bhatti Murder
Terrorists drive victim’s brother from country, demand release of suspects
Suspects in the murder of Pakistan’s first Christian cabinet minister, Shahbaz Bhatti, could walk free due to intimidation tactics by Islamic extremists, Christians fear.
The suspects have confessed, according to Dr. Paul Bhatti, brother of former Minister for Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti, who was gunned down on March 2, 2011. But prosecution will be difficult after death threats from Islamic extremists forced Paul Bhatti to flee the country, and banned extremist groups are demanding the release of the suspects for progress in talks with government officials.
Paul Bhatti took responsibility for becoming the complainant in the case when the government’s prosecution slowed to a standstill, but he has left the country due to threats on his life by the Pakistani Taliban and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) terrorist organizations.
Nigeria’s deadly winter
Exceptional violence prompts Christian groups to insist on protection
The new year has begun in exceptionally violent fashion in north-eastern Nigeria, prompting Christian organisations to renew their pleas for better government security.
Boko Haram, the militant group that wants to set up Islamic rule across Africa’s most populous country, has waged several attacks on specifically Christian targets in 2014’s early days:
Jan. 26, Waga Chakawa village, Adamawa state: Attackers stormed St. Paul’s Catholic Church during mass, blocked the main door, detonated homemade bombs, and opened fire. Some victims had their throats slit.
“My brother was slaughtered like [a] ram,” Moses Yohanna told the Associated Press.
Kidnappers target Christian children in Egypt
Kerolas Adel Abdel-Malak, a 25-year-old Christian from Egypt, was on his way home from Minya City last week when he was kidnapped at gunpoint and later held for ransom.
Malak’s attack is the most recent in a long list of Christian kidnappings in Minya province in Upper Egypt, 125 miles south of Cairo. At least eight similar cases were reported in the last two weeks alone.
“Minya has probably the highest percentage of Christians in the country,” said Todd Daniels, a regional spokesman for International Christian Concern. “In [Minya] province and villages, where most of the kidnappings happen, there is a lot of poverty.”
Please pray for the persecuted Church!