Persecution and Prayer Alert
"A 'prayer warrior' is a person who is convinced that God
is omnipotent -- that God has the power to do anything, to change
anyone and to intervene in any circumstance. A person
who truly believes this refuses to doubt God."
~ Bill Hybels
Source: World Watch Monitor
|The United Nations camp for Nigerian
refugees in northern Cameroon
Photo: World Watch Monitor
Thousands of Nigerians, many of them Christians, have fled their home country for northern Cameroon in the wake of ongoing violence by the Islamist militant group, Boko Haram. Yet, even beyond the borders of their homeland, these Nigerian believers are far from safe. In the village of Cherif Moussary, an assault from militants left a church ransacked and the residence of the pastor burned down. Many of the Christian families were also stripped of virtually all their possessions. A similar act of destruction was reported at Mouldougoua village. At Assighassia, which was occupied for days by militants before the army arrived, two church elders were beheaded. Meanwhile, in Djibrilli village, a pastor was kidnapped, threatened and asked about his faith by militants before being released the following day.
In the midst of these gruesome attacks, churches in Cameroon are working to assist both Nigerian refugees and internally displaced people (IDP). "The action of our churches has initially consisted of providing the refugees and IDPs with food, shelter and medicines. But now, the capacity of our churches is overwhelmed, as their number has increased up to threefold," a church leader explained of the situation. "Every week we welcome new waves of refugees coming from all sides. More than 9,600 displaced people were recorded in two weeks. Some are welcomed within church compounds and others in the UN...refugee camp."
Despite the current overwhelming needs in Cameroon and Nigeria, let us come with boldness while petitioning our omnipotent God, asking that He make a way to protect and provide for His suffering children. In particular, pray that He will equip the church in Cameroon to address the tremendous physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the refugees and displaced persons now in their care. May Cameroonian believers encourage the faith of those who are struggling as a result of the horrors they have endured, while also serving as a witness to those who have yet to embrace Christ as Lord. Please also pray for lasting peace in Nigeria and Cameroon, so the atrocious acts of violence that have been taking place within these areas will soon cease.
To learn more about Boko Haram and the threat this militant group poses to Christians, visit our Nigeria Country Report.
Sources: VOM USA, World Watch Monitor
|Kollol and his family|
In the month of June, 15 radical Hindus attacked a Christian couple during a prayer meeting in their home. "Kollol" and his wife were beaten and then dragged to a Hindu temple where they were forced to undergo a ritual "cleansing." During the ritual, the Hindus poured water on them to symbolize outward cleansing and dabbed red powder on their foreheads to mark them as devout Hindus. When the assailants force-fed the couple with food sacrificed to idols, Kollol's two teenage daughters began to protest. The young women were then beaten as well, to the point that they and their parents all required treatment at a hospital. Community members later evicted the family from the village, threatening to kill them if they returned.
The attack against this family is just one incident in an ongoing trend of violence against Christians. Since late May, when the country's new prime minister was sworn in, there have been more than 600 attacks on minority Christians and Muslims. The new governing party, Bharatiya Janata Party (or BJP), is well known for espousing Hindu nationalism.
Please pray for "Kollol," his wife, and their two daughters, asking God to shield them from any further assault. May He heal their bodies as they recover from the ordeal, while also guarding their hearts from fear. Also pray for the perpetrators of this attack, that they may repent and come to accept Christ as their Saviour. Also lift up in prayer India's new governmental leaders, praying that God will use them to advance His good purposes in this country.
For more information on India's persecuted church, check out our online country report.
RECENT PRISONER UPDATE
Source: Christian Solidarity Worldwide
Present Truth Ministries
Three Christian men -- Matthias Haghnejad, Silas Rabbani and Behnam Irani -- were recently charged with "spreading corruption on earth," a serious offense that may be punishable by death. The new charges appear to be part of a surge in repression targeting religious and ethnic minorities under the country's leader, President Rouhani.
Pastor Matthias Haghnejad, who was arrested along with two other believers in July, was previously charged with the lesser crime of "enmity against God." There are particular concerns surrounding the pastor's safety, as authorities appear to be targeting him actively. Meanwhile, Pastor Behnam Irani has been handed this serious charge as part of 18 new charges recently placed against him. Sources claim that all three men, who are being held separately at Ghezal Hesar Prison in Karaj, have been pressured into confessing that they are "spies." (For previous prayer reports on Pastor Matthias, please visit this page; and for reports regarding Pastor Behnam, you may visit this page.)
Lift up these three persevering believers in prayer, asking our faithful and ever-present Saviour to be near to them as they suffer such injustice for His sake. May they each be acquitted of this serious new charge and freed to return to their anxious loved ones. Until then, pray that God will use them in a powerful way to minister to fellow prisoners and guards who do not yet know Jesus Christ personally. Please also intercede for Iran's president and other governing authorities...that they may not only respect religious freedom for all citizens, but ultimately come to faith in the one true God themselves.
To express your own prayers and petitions for these brothers in Christ, please visit our Persecuted Church Prayer Wall.