Persecution and Prayer Alert

"Nothing tends more to cement the hearts of Christians
than praying together. Never do they love one another
so well as when they witness the outpouring
of each other's hearts in prayer."

~ Charles Finney

NIGERIA: Christian Villages Ruthlessly Attacked by Militants

Sources: Release International, World Watch Monitor

Pray for the protection of villages targeted
by militants in Plateau State, Nigeria.
Photo: Flickr / Jeff Attaway

Fulani militants recently attacked several Christian villages in the Riyom Local Government Area of Plateau State. Twelve villagers and a soldier were reportedly killed in the assault.

Meanwhile, the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram recently abducted more than 40 people, a number of whom are Christians. Among those seized on September 30th were a mother and her newborn twins. (Boko Haram was also responsible for the kidnapping of hundreds of schoolgirls in April. For more information on that incident, please visit this page.)

Earlier in September, a group of bishops in the country called the government to do more to protect the lives and properties of citizens. Their statement included the following remarks: "As Nigeria tragically bleeds and burns, we bishops are alarmed at the scale of human and material destruction, and at the disruption of village and community life with increased levels of hatred and the potential for more conflicts in the nation. While Muslims are sometimes targets of these destructive attacks, Christians, churches and non-Muslims in general are the principal targets for extermination, expropriation and expulsion by the Boko Haram insurgents, the perpetrators of all this destruction."

Let us bring those who are injured or mourning the loss of a loved one to our Lord, praying that they will have the assurance of His comforting promise to be especially near to the broken-hearted and crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). Pray also that those who were abducted will be shielded from additional harm and very soon freed from captivity so they can safely return to their homes and concerned families. May the witness of faithful Christians in Nigeria serve as a powerful testimony to the members of Boko Haram who are perpetrating such atrocious crimes, so that these militants may repent and come to faith in Jesus. Finally, ask that God will grant wisdom to Nigeria's church leaders and governmental authorities as they work to resolve the ongoing unrest in their homeland.

For more information on Nigeria's persecuted church, visit our Country Report.

YEMEN: Update on Abducted Foreign Aid Workers

Source: Middle East Concern

The Hentschel family

In recent years, we have requested prayer for nine Christian foreigners who were kidnapped in Saada. Abducted by armed assailants in June of 2009 were Johannes and Sabine Hentschel (a German couple), along with their three young children, Simon, Lydia and Anna; Tony (a British engineer); and three young women, Rita Stumpp, Anita Gruenwald and Eom Young-sun. The six adults worked for the Dutch-based World Wide Services Foundation, an aid organization that places medical personnel in hospitals of developing countries. Early reports indicated that these Christians were likely targeted because they were suspected of being involved in evangelistic work.

Just days after the abduction, the bodies of Rita, Anita and Eom were found in the Noshour Valley region -- a known hotbed of al-Qaeda activity. Thankfully, Lydia and Anna were freed in May of 2010, and have since been living with relatives in Germany. Following the release of the two young girls, many months passed with no news regarding their parents and younger brother, or of the British believer. Sadly, the German Ministry for Foreign Affairs recently advised that reliable intelligence confirms that Johannes, Sabine and little Simon are no longer alive. The situation surrounding Tony remains unclear. (To read our past updates regarding the abducted foreigners, visit this page.)

With thankfulness for your prayerful concern in regards to these kidnapped believers, let us bring this difficult situation to our loving and gracious God. In particular, pray that He will fill the hearts of those who are grieving over the loss of the deceased Christians with His perfect peace and rest -- knowing that their loved ones are not suffering but rather experiencing life to the fullest with our Resurrected Saviour. Pray especially that the two surviving children, Lydia and Anna, will be surrounded by His love and the support of caring relatives and other concerned Christians. Please also intercede on behalf of Tony, asking God to make known what has become of this dear brother in Christ, while bringing needed ministry and peace to His loved ones as well.

To post a prayer of support for those mourning the loss of their loved ones, please visit our Persecuted Church Prayer Wall.

LAOS: Hmong Converts Forced to Leave their Homes

Source: VOM USA

"Tou Ly" and "Fai Cho"

Two Hmong Christian men, "Tou Ly" and "Fai Cho," were recently forced by relatives to leave their homes after refusing to renounce Christ and return to the community's tradition of ancestor worship. The two believers were then arrested by local authorities and detained for two weeks. After their release, on August 25th, the men rented a place to live outside of the village community.

Their struggles were only compounded when Fai Cho's father died on September 27th. Local authorities issued the family a large fine, claiming they had not obtained the proper burial permit. Thankfully, the two men are receiving help from their church toward the cost of the fine; however, they have little to no food or clothing, and remain in desperate need.

Praising God for the steadfast faith of these two dedicated believers, let us also intercede on their behalf, asking God to grant them daily strength during this trial. May they not give in to the pressures coming against them to renounce their faith, but instead be filled with the Holy Spirit and, therefore, fully equipped to follow Christ despite the hostility. Ask God to use the vibrant witness of these men to effectively draw many others, especially their persecutors, to saving faith in His Son Jesus. Finally, pray that He will bless the efforts of their church, also providing a way to meet the persecuted believers' physical and spiritual needs as they continue to stand for righteousness' sake.

To learn more about the struggles believers face in Laos, go to the Laos Country Report.

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