A married couple who started a new church in their city had to change venues recently because of persecution.
Hani, a former Hindu, and Chakama, a former Muslim, have actively shared their faith ever since coming to Christ and getting married.
The community where they were living kicked them out because of their bold witness, so they moved to another city. The church they planted in the new city has grown to more than 55 families, and they have also started two prayer meetings in surrounding villages.
Recently, community opposition to their church forced them to relocate, but they have not stopped meeting and the church continues to grow. Chakama’s family continues to threaten her for leaving Islam.
Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA
- Praise God for bringing these two people together, to work in partnership as a married couple and in ministry. Thank Him for the good works He prepared in advance for them (Ephesians 2:10).
- Pray for Hani and Chakama as they lead the church and pray for their continued influence on the community around them.
- Join with Hani and Chakama in praying that their loved ones will also come to know the living God.
Post your prayer for Hani and Chakama in the comments below.
Bassem Herz Attalhah, 27, also known as Haythem Shehata, was on his way home from work in El-Arish, capital of North Sinai governorate, on Saturday evening (13 January), with his brother Osama and neighbour and friend Mohamed, when they were stopped by three armed men, aged between 23 and 25.
“We thought they were policemen because they weren’t masked… They were wearing black jackets.”
Osama, 38, told World Watch Monitor. “They approached us and asked Bassem to show them the wrist of his right hand, and when they saw the tattoo of the cross, they asked him: ‘Are you Christian?’ Bassem answered ‘Yes, I am Christian’, and repeated that again in a loud voice.”
The men then asked Mohamed his name and made him show his wrist. When they saw he had no tattoo, he was allowed to leave. Then they turned to Osama.
Osama is a common name, also among Muslims, and the men didn’t know he was Bassem’s brother.
“Bassem told them that I had children,” Osama recalls. “They asked me to show them the wrist of my right hand and, when they didn’t see any cross, they thought that I was Muslim.” The men didn’t see the cross that Osama has tattooed on the top of his hand because it was hidden under his sleeve.
“They fired two shots on the ground close to my legs and asked me to leave,” he recalled. “And then they shot Bassem in the head. I could not believe what happened to my brother. He fell on the ground in front of me and I was unable to do anything.”
On his way to find help, Osama says his legs gave way from the shock. Their mother, upon hearing the news, fainted and had to be taken to hospital.
“We lost a person dear to our hearts. My brother Bassem was a very good and kind man. He had a strong relationship with God. He was always reading in the Bible, praying and going to the church. He was loved by all people,” Osama said.
When Bassem’s close friend Milad Wasfi heard he had been killed, he couldn’t believe it and called his friend’s phone. His call was answered, but not by his friend.
“The terrorists answered me and said they belong to State of Sinai and promised to kill more Copts before they put down the phone,” he told World Watch Monitor.
In February last year President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi ordered his government to “take all necessary measures” to help resettle Christians fleeing North Sinai. But as the attacks against Copts continued, they have found it harder and harder to believe their government could protect them.
Source: World Watch Monitor
- Pray for Bassem’s family, may they rest in the knowledge he is now with Jesus and one day they will be reunited with him.
- Pray the perpetrators will be brought to justice. Pray they too may have an opportunity to hear the Gospel and repent. May the testimony of Bassam be used by the Lord for His glory.
- Pray for the government in Egypt, ask the Lord to grant them His wisdom. Pray for the protection of the Christian community.
On 13 October, a British optician who had been kidnapped was killed shortly after singing the hymn, Amazing Grace, to lift the spirits of his fellow hostages.
Ian Squire, 57, was killed instantly by shots fired by one of the four gang members who abducted him and three other Christian aid workers from their clinic in the country’s lawless Delta state. The gunmen refused to give any information as to why the shots were fired.
According to the surviving Christian aid workers, Ian was killed during their first morning of captivity, while being held by abductors in a bamboo hut located in a remote swamp. Three weeks after Ian’s death, Dr David Donovan and his wife Shirley ─ along with a fourth hostage, Alanna Carson ─ were released following the payment of a ransom, believed to have come from the Nigerian government.
According to Dr Donovan, Ian had trained local staff to make prescription glasses using a custom-made lens-cutting machine that he had specifically designed for use in remote areas. Dr Donovan paid tribute to Ian’s professional achievements which were described as being “outstanding” and “revolutionary.” “Ian was a man of faith,” his colleague explained. “…a man who was really hungry to know more of God, and lived his life with that main purpose at the forefront.”
Earlier in November, the locals held a demonstration against the militant group responsible for the crimes, amid fears that the kidnappings and Ian’s death would lead to the clinic’s closure. However, thanks to the effective training provided by the missionaries, the local staff are well-equipped to run the clinic with minimal supervision.
Sources: World Watch Monitor, The Telegraph
- May God help the surviving missionaries overcome their trauma and allow them to continue to demonstrate His love to the people of Nigeria.
- Ask God to comfort, heal and sustain Ian’s family and friends, as well the locals who appreciated his dedicated life of service.
- Pray for the kidnappers. May they be enlightened by the Holy Spirit so they will see Jesus and be receptive to His transformative love.
Imam Fedu, a Muslim scholar and teacher in Bangladesh, recently placed his faith in Christ after receiving a Christian tract and hearing the Gospel from a Christian worker.
“Jesus is the Saviour,” Fedu said. He immediately resigned from his Muslim work and made plans to be baptised.
“In Scripture, Nicodemus was a big Jewish scholar, but he didn’t know how to be born again,” the Christian worker said. “It is the same with my friend. When I came back home, Fedu called and [said] he had already led another imam to Christ, and that he gave him a New Testament.”
Fedu hopes the other imams who served with him at the mosque will all come to know the truth of Jesus.
Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA
- Praise God for drawing Fedu to Himself. Pray that he will grow in faith and that God will use him to reach other imams, who will then share the Gospel with many more Muslims.
- Pray also for the bold Christian worker who is sharing the love of Christ with Muslim scholars.
- Pray the Lord will pour out His Spirit on this nation. May the church be a faithful and strong witness to Him.
In the Philippines, one girl has stood firm for her Christian faith despite her young age. Not too long after accepting Christ, Jen-Jen began to experience pressure from adult authority figures, one of whom was a school teacher with militant views.
One day, the teacher announced that one of the class requirements was to go to a mosque and pray a Muslim prayer aloud. Although Jen-Jen explained that she now prayed to Jesus and could not pray in a mosque, the teacher insisted.
On the day of the mosque visit, an ill Jen-Jen burned with a high fever and eventually lost consciousness. Despite all this, the child was not excused from the rest of the ceremony, nor from listening to the entirety of the imam’s message.
Since that day, Jen-Jen has been pressured by others to conform to many practices which are not reflective of her own personal faith, such as fasting during the month of Ramadan. In addition to requirements of the school staff, fellow students who oppose Christianity have teased and bullied Jen-Jen, sometimes bombarding her as she walked to and from school ─ to the point of pushing or insulting her.
Yet, miraculously, these pressure-filled experiences have not jaded Jen-Jen. Instead of spending her time fostering animosity, she seeks ways to improve the lives of other Christian children in her region. She continues to attend church, and even assists her pastor by reading the Scriptures to members of the congregation who are illiterate.
Source: Open Doors USA
- Thank God for Jen-Jen’s tenacity and faithfulness amid difficult challenges. Pray for continued strength.
- Pray her steadfast witness and love to bless many others in her community will be a great witness to
- Commit to the Lord her teachers and fellow students who currently oppose the Gospel.