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NIGERIA: Concern for Welfare of Christian Convert’s Daughter

NIGERIA: Concern for Welfare of Christian Convert’s Daughter

When Idara a former Fulani Muslim converted from Islam to Christianity, his in-laws removed his wife and daughter from his home and married his wife to a Muslim.

Being concerned for her safety and wellbeing and wanting her to be raised as a Christian, he removed his daughter, Alero from the new family situation. He brought her to a Christian school to be educated at the same VOM partner mission where he was receiving Bible

training. Alero continued at the school for almost three years.

Alero’s mother began a custody dispute and recently, policemen arrived to collect her and return her to her mother in another state. The family initially promised Alero would continue her education but this is doubtful as she had arrived at the Christian school at seven years of age; never having been to school before. Alero wept as she was taken, she loved school, was very happy there and was doing very well.

VOM partners are concerned for her wellbeing, Alero is 10 years old; an age when some girls in Nigeria’s northeast are married. The family refuse to provide any further news.

Please pray for her welfare.

Read the original story here: https://vom.com.au/nigeria-convert-loses-wife-receives-threats-regarding-daughter

JORDAN: Frontline Worker in Danger from Family of Muslim Background Believer

JORDAN: Frontline Worker in Danger from Family of Muslim Background Believer

Farid was born into a wealthy Muslim family in Iraq. The family has expansive business interests in several countries in the Middle East and beyond, and have been residing in Jordan for many years.

As a child, Farid’s next-door neighbours were Christians, he spent a lot of time with them and became intrigued by their faith in Jesus. One day, he asked his father about Christianity, but his father became angry and told him to have nothing more to do with the neighbours.

Source: VOM contacts

 

As Farid grew into adulthood, he had not lost his desire to know more about Jesus and he secretly started to attend a Catholic church, when the priest found out who he was, he asked Farid to stay away. In the meantime, Farid’s church attendance was reported to his father by a family friend. The father, now furious, drove Farid to a cemetery in a nearby town and told Farid that this is where he would end up if he continued to pursue Christianity.

Soon after, Farid was sent overseas by his family and was only asked to return when his family had arranged a marriage for him to a devout Muslim woman. After three months Farid arranged for the marriage to be annulled; the family disowned him and Farid secretly left the area.

In a new workplace, he was under the supervision of a Christian woman, Farid saw this as a God-given opportunity to learn more about Christ. Through his boss, he was introduced to a VOM frontline worker. The worker spent much time with Farid and the Gospel was clearly explained to him, he eagerly accepted Christ as his Saviour.

The family soon located Farid and started to make trouble for him including harassment, threats and beatings. Farid moved many times but each time was found and the threats continued. He eventually stopped moving and although his life is in real danger, he is not hiding in fear but is ministering to other Muslim background believers, encouraging them in their struggles.

Farid’s faith remains strong, “In spite of all this chaos I have in my life, I have huge peace. I have found the Lord Jesus.” Farid said.

Farid’s greatest concern is that his presence would bring trouble to the frontline worker and the ministry he is a part of. The fears have now been realised; the family are now accusing the worker of human trafficking and organ harvesting. They have also threatened him with murder if he does not leave the country.

The frontline worker contacted the authorities in an attempt to bring an end to the threats and harassment. A case was brought against the family and the worker has attended court three times so far, he has another hearing on Tuesday 13 July. He fears some of the authorities may be influenced by the family. He may be forced to leave the country.

Let us pray:

 

  • Earnestly intercede for Farid, the frontline worker and the fellow believers. Ask the Lord to give them His peace. Pray they will be shielded from harm and that they will stay strong and faithful. Pray for wisdom.
  • Pray for the authorities overseeing the case, that they would be completely disinterested – without bias or influence, and will rule justly.
  • Pray for the family of Farid, that his strong and unwavering testimony may be used by God as a witness to the power of the Gospel. Pray for conviction, repentance and salvation through Jesus Christ.
NIGERIA: Pastor and Young Son Killed by Fulani Herdsmen

NIGERIA: Pastor and Young Son Killed by Fulani Herdsmen

Leviticus Makpa, 39, served as a pastor and church planter in Niger State, Nigeria. On 21 May, he sent a text message to an associate, Folashade Obidiya Obadan, stating that Fulani herdsmen had surrounded his house and mission compound.

The next day, Folashade learned that Pastor Leviticus, along with his toddler son Godsend, had both been tragically shot and killed.

Sources: Morning Star News, Open Doors

The pastor’s wife and daughter managed to escape. A funeral for the two slain family members was held on 23 May.

According to another associate, Samuel Solomon, this was not the first threatening encounter posed to Pastor Leviticus by the Fulani militants. During a previous attack, the pastor hid in a cave until the bandits left; yet the incident didn’t deter him from continuing in ministry. “How many of us can do this?” asked Samuel in his tribute to the slain pastor. “He knew his life was at stake, but [the] burden for souls wouldn’t let him run away from the [mission] field.”

More Christians were killed for their faith in Nigeria last year than in any other country. The West African nation also leads the world in the total number of kidnapped Christians.

Let us pray.

  • Pray for peace and strength on behalf of Pastor Leviticus’ wife and daughter. Pray they will receive much love and support from their church family and community as they come to terms with this terrible loss.
  • Pray for peace, stability and safety throughout the nation, asking God to grant the authorities the ability and willingness to rein in terrorist groups like the militant Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram.
  • Pray these deaths will not be in vain but that somehow, God will use this tragedy to bring spiritual blessings.
PAKISTAN: High Court Acquits Christian Couple on Death Row

PAKISTAN: High Court Acquits Christian Couple on Death Row

A Lahore High Court has acquitted Shafqat Emmanuel and his wife Shagufta Kausar, two Christians sentenced to death under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. The acquittals end a nearly eight-year legal struggle that saw the Christian couple jailed separately on death row.

On 3 June, Justice Syed Shehbaz Rizvi and Justice Anwar-ul-Haq of Lahore High Court acquitted Shafqat and Shagufta after almost eight years in prison for allegedly committing blasphemy through text message.

Sources: International Christian Concern, Reuters, BBC, World Watch Monitor

On 18 June 2013, Muhammad Hussain, a Muslim cleric at a mosque in Gojra received blasphemous text messages from a phone number allegedly registered to Shagufta. Hussain reportedly showed these text messages to his lawyer, Anwar Mansoor Goraya, who claimed to later receive further blasphemous messages from Shagufta, written in English.

On 21 July 2013, Shagufta and Shafqat were arrested and charged with blasphemy under Sections 295-B and 295-C of Pakistan’s Penal Code. Shafqat claims that, in order to extract a false confession, Gojra City Police tortured him in front of his wife and children.

The Christian couple claims that Hussain’s accusation is motivated by a minor quarrel between the couple’s children and their neighbours, which took place six months before the accusation. Shagufta claims that Hussain conspired with a friend to steal her National Identity Card and used it to purchase a SIM card in her name. Using this SIM card, Hussain sent blasphemous text messages to himself.

Throughout the investigation, little evidence was produced against the Christian couple. Police were unable to recover the SIM card or the phone allegedly used by Shagufta to send the blasphemous text messages. The blasphemous messages were also written in English, a language which neither Shagufta nor Shafqat speak.

Despite this lack of evidence, the Sessions Court of Toba Tek Singh sentenced both Shagufta and Shafqat to death on 4 April 2014. Since 2014, the couple was jailed separately with Shafqat in Faisalabad District Jail and Shagufta in Multan Jail. In prison, Shafqat’s health quickly deteriorated due to a lack of medical care for a spinal injury he sustained in 2004.

In Pakistan, false accusations of blasphemy are common and often motivated by personal vendettas or religious hatred. Accusations are highly inflammatory and have the potential to spark mob lynchings, vigilante murders, and mass protests. In April, the European Parliament passed a motion condemning Pakistan for failing to protect religious minorities, focusing on the case.

Let us pray.

  • Thank the Lord that the couple has finally been released. Pray this case may be used to strengthen the case that the country’s blasphemy laws must be changed.
  • Ask God to bless them by supplying their medical needs and daily necessities, ask Him to protect them from those who are angry at the outcome and wish to harm them.
  • Pray for them as they adjust to life outside of prison. Ask the Lord to lead them as they make future plans.