Persecution watch in Nigeria – it is estimated between 300 – 1,000 already martyred in 2011

Pray for the Church in Nigeria. See article above on How to pray for the persecuted church.

If you have been following international news you already know about all the church bombings and killings being perpetrated on Nigeria’s Christians. Already approx. 100 people have been killed in church bombing  attacks this year. With yet another attack on churches that left 21 people dead just this past Sunday, the 25th of June, 2012 in Kaduna State, some are fearing that Nigeria is sliding into anarchy.

Church bombed June 25, 2012 which killed 21 people – photo

Mission News Network reported today that Nigerian security forces are warning that more violence is coming:

The grim report was confirmed by an e-mail released by the Boko Haram confirming their plans for the coming weeks. In Kaduna and Zaria where churches were bombed last week, a curfew is still in effect.

The United States has imposed sanctions on three people associated with the militant group Boko Haram. It’s a move aimed at disrupting the group’s finances, since it appears the group has gotten both organized and funded since its re-emergence in 2010.

Open Doors reported two thwarted bombings over the weekend. Open Doors President and CEO, Dr. Carl Moeller, explains, „Boko Haram concealed a bomb in a coffin, claiming that it was a corpse. Fortunately, soldiers at a checkpoint insisted on seeing what was inside, and there were bombs in there. The men were arrested.”

In the second attempt, a man was arrested when he masqueraded as someone who was interested in learning about Jesus Christ and to submit his life to Him. The man approached the pastor in the church. While talking, the pastor noticed a bag a few yards away. When he asked the possible convert about the bag, he denied knowing anything about the bag. But after the police discovered that the bag was filled with explosives, the would-be suicide bomber was arrested.

Then, with Sunday came a prison break, a fire fight, and the escape of 40 inmates who are members of Boko Haram. A top radical Islamist sect member blamed for a deadly Christmas Day church bombing in Nigeria was shot and killed by security forces in the fight. However, Habibu Bama’s death may cause more problems than it solves.

Boko Haram released a statement announcing it was happy about Bama’s „martyrdom.” Moeller says, „The jihad declared by Boko Haram is enough to push many of the extremist-influenced Muslims into violence against the Christian community, when you add the component of a martyr–someone who was intentionally sprung from jail this last week. He was killed in the ensuing fight, and that takes it to a whole other level.”

Meanwhile, the Nigerian government fired the West African nation’s security adviser and defense minister.  However, Moeller notes, „The firing of the national security leader in that country is not the worst part of it.” It may have been calculated to keep dialogue open, but the real concern is that they hired a Muslim to replace the outgoing adviser. Moeller says, „Most of the Christians in the country are viewing this appointment as a mistake, because what will the orientation of this new Defense Minister be? Probably oriented to sympathize with a number of the Muslim communities.”

It’s a desperate move as the country continues to battle an insurgency that has cost hundreds their lives and displaced thousands. Militants are increasingly attacking civilians–in particular, Christians, which has inflamed religious tensions in Nigeria’s volatile Middle Belt region.

Despite last week’s reprisal violence, Moeller says by and large, „The only thing that’s maintaining any level of social stability in the country is that the  Christians have not taken on the jihad against them with equal acts of violence.” And yet, „You have a situation where it’s almost untenable for the Christian community to do nothing.”

What can be done? Pray. It’s the first line of defense. „We are calling on Christians to seek God’s face in the midst of this and let God fight the battle for them.”

Moeller goes on to say that there is still a lot of fruit, despite the circumstances. „I just read a report from Operation World that had Nigeria’s Christian church growing at three or four times the population growth. As big as the population growth is in Nigeria, the church is growing at a remarkably rapid pace.”

An Open Doors co-worker is asking for prayer: „We really appreciate your concern and prayers. Continue to pray for us, and don’t get tired. Our office might be among the places which the sect members may aim to attack at any time and any day. Pray that the Lord will deliver us.”

Moeller agrees. „Pray for the Christians in Nigeria. Pray for the peace of the church in Nigeria. Pray for those that would be bombers against the church that they would have a dramatic Damascus Road conversion in some cases, and that testimony would also go out to encourage believers.”

Nigeria is ranked No. 13 on the 2012 Open Doors World Watch List of 50 countries which are the worst persecutors of Christians. According to the World Watch List, Nigeria had at least 300 martyrs in 2011, although the actual number could be closer to 1,000.

Nigerian president says Boko Haram wants to destabilise govt

Missionary from Lebanon crosses into Syria to baptize believer, he has to bury him instead as a martyr

Matthew 5:10 – Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Pray for our brothers and sisters who are being persecuted worldwide.


Death, danger stalk Syrian Christian ministry

Syria (CAM) ― An indigenous missionary from nearby Lebanon crossed the border to baptize a believer last week. Instead, he had to bury the believer – shot in the head as a martyr for his recently-found faith in Jesus Christ.

Native missionaries continue to share Gospel CD’s, baptizing new believers, and delivering food and medical aid to suffering Christians in Syria while violence rages around them. More help is needed each day according to one of the ministries in Syria being assisted byChristian Aid Mission based in Charlottesville, Virginia. A Lebanese team is preparing to deliver more aid as soon as funds arrive from the USA to buy supplies at the local market.*

„Right now,” said the missionary leader at his base in Lebanon,” there is no food or medicine left. The economy has come to a standstill, and there is no work.” Many Christians are sick and starving, along with other minorities such as the Bedouins and Gypsies.

„This has been one of the longest weeks of my life,” the missionary told Christian Aid. „To visit Syria, I had to sneak in through the mountains and not go by normal roads.

„I went there to bury a friend who died last week. I was supposed to be baptizing him, but I ended up doing his funeral. I led him to Christ two years ago. He was a key helper in the ministry. He was shot in the head. Why? Because he had become a Christian. Now revenge is taking place.”

The slain Christian had been witnessing to many friends and neighbors and had led a growing house church that met in his home with 43 other believers. He was actively involved in delivering aid to some 600 Syrian Christians in his area.

„Lots of people came to the funeral. In the beginning, I did not know how to start the service. Then I decided to share some letters of encouragement from the churches. I invited several of the believers to read in front of the meeting. They were so encouraged to know that they are not alone. By the time we were done, there were tears of joy instead of sadness. As it says in the Word, when one member suffers, all suffer.”

The Lebanese leader of the mission is preparing now to go back to Syria with Bibles, CD’s, food and medicine. He listed the following needs:

  • About 80 food packages and a small amount of cash; $150 per family or $12,000 total.
  • About $6000 for emergency surgeries, medicines and basic medical supplies.
  • $4 each for 2000 New Testaments in Arabic; total $8000.
  • $1.70 for each Gospel CD; 20,000 needed, or $34,000.”Yesterday,” he said, „I was harassed by local authorities. „You know what this tells me? Simply that I am doing the right thing. I feel every time we move forward, Satan tries to stop us. That is why I want to continue– especially now when we have more people coming to Christ and being baptized. I will not stop until I am with Jesus.”

    Lebanese Christians are ministering on both sides of the border with Syria, welcoming refugees into their homes and church buildings at considerable risk. Lebanese believers are trying to help with basic needs such as food, housing, and medicine as funds permit. Rent for a refugee family can run as high as $800 a month.

    *Offerings for the suffering believers of Syria are being collected by phone at 800-977-5650 or by Christian Aid Mission at Aid for Syrian relief should be designated for Gift Code 400REF.

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