Fifty-two-year-old Perfecto Padilla, a dedicated church elder from Sultan Kudarat, Philippines, was brutally murdered by two Muslim men on 11 September at 6pm local time.
Brother Perfecto was resting outside his house in a hammock when two Muslim men came by on motorbikes and began to fire what was believed to be a 45-caliber pistol from approximately five metres away, witnesses said. He was struck by seven bullets in his chest, thigh and other parts of his body. The assailants immediately fled the scene.
Perfecto’s 12-year-old daughter Naomi ran to the assistance of her father, crying and screaming for help. A pastor named William was nearby, visiting a church member, when he heard the screaming and immediately went to provide assistance. Seeing the seriousness of the wounds, Pastor William borrowed a tricycle and took Perfecto to the hospital, but the wounded man died on the journey.
Perfectos’ two children Naomi (12) and Joseph (10) are left with no father. Their mother went to work overseas many years ago and they have lost contact with her. They are now alone and in need of assistance.
Our local VOM contact immediately visited the family after a call from Pastor William had informed him of the situation. When he met with the children, Naomi exclaimed, weeping bitterly, “Our father is a good father. He never did anything wrong. Why has this happened to him?”
“This district was once a peaceful village,” our VOM contact reported. “We always visited the church in the past and there were no close Muslim neighbours, but now Muslims have built a mosque very close to their church. They have been trying to force them to sell the property. There have been evacuations of Christians from this area because of the attacks on neighbouring Christian villages. This constant pressure by the Muslims appears to be part of a plan for them to try to claim more of the land for themselves. Perhaps the murder of this church elder has been part of the strategy and pressure put upon this small Christian community by those who are wanting the land.”
Please pray for Naomi and her brother Joseph as they deeply grieve for the sad loss of their loving father, and pray especially for their future. Their father had offered his small house for their pastor to stay in while Perfecto had planned to build a temporary church building beside the house, such was his dedication to the church and his desire to see more people come to know Christ.
Perfecto leaves a legacy for his children of his faithful commitment to God.
VOM will provide financial assistance for this young family to rebuild their lives and future.
This attack comes close on the heels of a bomb attack at a night market in the southern Filipino city of Davao on 2 September, which is reported to have killed 14 people and left another 67 injured. Among the casualties were a pastor’s 42-year-old daughter and her 12-year-old son, who both died in the bombing.
Three years ago, Pastor Dmitry Shestakov and his family fled Uzbekistan after he had spent four years in a labour camp and subsequently received numerous death threats.
The family’s journey of freedom officially ended on 30 August as they arrived in the United States, where they were granted asylum. Mission Eurasia is assisting the family as they make this transition.
Nearly 10 years ago, authorities arrested the pastor after they raided Full Gospel Church in Andijan, Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan’s Religious Affairs Committee claimed Shestakov was not an authorised leader of any officially-recognised religious organisation. He was labelled an “imposter” and sent to a prison camp more than 640km from his home. The distance made a visit from his wife, Marina, and their three daughters, Maria, Alexandra and Vera, difficult.
After his release on 21 January 2011 – exactly four years since he had entered prison – the government still closely monitored and forced him to obtain written permission just to leave his house. Following two years of living under these restrictions and receiving death threats, Shestakov moved his family to Ukraine, where the United Nations Human Rights Council granted them refugee status.
Today, Dmitry, Marina and their youngest two daughters, Alexandra, 20, and Vera, 16, are starting a new life in the United States. Their eldest daughter, Maria, 22, remains in Ukraine with her husband.
Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA
Thank the Lord for providing safe passage to a new home for this family.
Pray the Lord will lead them to find a new home church where they can continue to grow in faith and serve the Lord.
Pray the testimony of the suffering experienced by Dmitry, his wife and children may be used by the Lord to encourage believers in the West to also live out their faith boldly.
An imam has been appointed the mediator between Christians and Muslims in an area in Upper Egypt ─ where persecution is most prevalent.
Christians are persecuted by their Muslim neighbours because of their faith in Jesus Christ, enduring humiliation, assault, arson and murder in at least 37 cases over the last three years.
While the government has recently responded with amending the church construction bill, which previously allowed a maximum of two churches to be built per year, little to no legal action is being taken against Muslim perpetrators in the above mentioned crimes.
Relations are very strained and the Christian leadership is partly voicing their concern publicly while others are taking what seems like a more timid approach.
Source: International Christian Concern, New York Times
Pray for Coptic Christians to receive the encouragement and boldness they need to stand firm before their oppressors.
Pray for Muslim background believers to share Christ’s love with their families and neighbours. Pray the Lord will unify the church.
Pray for a strong and trustworthy government that will act in the interest of all its people.
Slimane Bouhafs (49), an Algerian Christian man, was convicted of blasphemy against Islam and its prophet on 6 August. He was fined heavily and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment – the maximum punishment.
L’Église Protestante d’Algérie (the EPA, the Protestant Church of Algeria) filed an appeal against the verdict with the help of the Algerian League for Human Rights (the LADDH).
The appeal court hearing was on 30 August. The verdict was announced on 6 September, which saw the sentence reduced to three years’ imprisonment. The LADDH have stated that they will do everything possible to achieve Slimane’s release. An appeal will be made to the supreme court.
Slimane suffers from gout, and there are concerns that his condition may deteriorate as a result of this ordeal and the conditions in prison.
Source: Middle East Concern
Pray that Slimane, his family and his church will experience the peace of Jesus and the comfort of the Holy Spirit during this very difficult time.
Pray Slimane’s appeal to the supreme court will be successful, and that he will be acquitted of all charges. Commit the efforts of his legal representatives to the Lord.
Ask the Lord to relieve Slimane’s symptoms and make him physically strong to endure the difficult prison conditions.
This year one of our judges is Matt Carson-Drever, videographer and founder of Castle Dweller Productions. His goal is to bring the Word of God to the screen for all ages.
We asked Matt how it all started.
Matt said, “In 2009 I entered the Ignite Short Film Festival and won Best Actor, Best Film and Best Director. Since then I’ve worked on promotional videos, documentaries and short films. The job has taken me interstate and overseas, which has been a great privilege.”
Watch one of the videos Matt produced for Thirteen Three.
Don’t forget to enter our Release Video Competition. We will keep you updated with more information and Tips from Matt on how to make a good short film.