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NIGERIA: Martyrs Survived by Grieving Families

NIGERIA: Martyrs Survived by Grieving Families

Two church workers in Nigeria have recently been killed by militants in separate incidents. Eunice Elisha was murdered in the early hours of 9 July near Nigeria’s capital of Abuja. The 42-year-old mother of seven had gone out to preach as usual, her husband Pastor Olawale told local media.

Eunice is described by her surviving husband as a zealous Christian who “rarely missed a day in church.” When asked how he felt about the attack, Olawale replied, “I see Eunice as a martyr who died for Christ. Whether the people are caught or not, they should be forgiven.” Police have since arrested six suspects, and will be continuing with their investigation.

Eunice’s case represents only one of several attacks targeting Christians in recent weeks. Reverend Joseph Kura, a pastor of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) in Obi town (located within Nigeria’s central State of Nasarawa), was killed on 30 June by suspected armed Fulani herdsmen.

Rev Joseph was accompanied by three other people when he went to his farm at about 7pm to cut down trees for roofing wood. As the group arrived at the farm, two armed men suddenly appeared from behind them. Rev Joseph’s severely mutilated body was later recovered from the scene. He leaves behind a wife and seven children.

Source: World Watch Monitor

Prayer Points

  • May the families and friends of these faithful servants be greatly comforted with God’s promises of being reunited with them and with our Lord in the next life.
  • Intercede for the perpetrators that they may also come to personally know the Lord and His saving grace.
  • Pray the church in Nigeria will be unified and may witness for the Gospel by loving and forgiving their persecutors; pray the Gospel will spread throughout the land.

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PAKISTAN: Father Expects No Justice for Daughter

PAKISTAN: Father Expects No Justice for Daughter

The father of a 16-year-old girl allegedly raped by her neighbour believes she has little hope of justice because the accused is well-connected politically in the local area.

Nasar Masih believes the police will ultimately favour the suspect, whom he believes was able to rape his daughter in expectation of immunity from prosecution due to “some support from his family and political leadership of the area.”

The 16-year-old student, Sonia Nasar, was returning to her home in Sheikhupura, Punjab when she was allegedly raped by Muhammad Iqrar, 23, on 7 July. The two families share a yard and Sonia Nasar had to pass Iqrar’s front door to get to her house.

Sonia’s father heard her cries and rushed to help. “I was home when the incident took place. Sonia tried to set herself free and shouted for help but we failed to hear her as the doors were closed. However, as we eventually heard her cries we rushed and stormed into Iqrar’s house. Seeing us, Iqrar fled from the scene, leaving Sonia in a critical situation,” Nasar Masih told World Watch Monitor.

The First Information Report – a witness statement given by the accuser – was registered at the Saddar police station in Farooqabad. “I don’t have much hope for justice,” he said. “Even forensic reports can be interfered with, and if Iqrar isn’t jailed he will be free to harass us as their house is so near to ours.” Masih has, meanwhile, requested that the accused and his family use a different entrance to their home.

“We have asked MPs to support our case for Iqrar’s family to use the other door, which is on the other side, because they threaten us whenever we enter or leave our house. The police initially promised this but then said that it would take time.”

Masih believes his daughter’s accusation will be rubbished. “Efforts are underway to portray Sonia and Iqrar as being in a relationship,” he said.

In the police investigation Iqrar claimed that they had been talking on the phone, which Masih strictly denied. Investigating Officer Malik said, “We do not value Iqrar’s claim. The medical report has confirmed that she was raped. We have requested the mobile phone company to provide Iqrar’s call data, which will be submitted in the court.”

There has been local support for the Masih family.

Source: World Watch Monitor

Prayer Points

  • Intercede for this young girl and her family; pray the Lord will bring justice for them in an unjust world (Psalm 140:12). Pray the Lord will protect them from threats or further harm.
  • Pray the Holy Spirt may bring comfort as well as physical and psychological healing to Sonia.
  • Thank the Lord for the local support the family has received and pray the result of this heinous crime may be to strengthen this family’s faith in the Lord.

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The Chocolate Farmer who Loved the Lord

The Chocolate Farmer who Loved the Lord

Johannes was terrified when he heard his neighbour screaming for help as he was being badly beaten by terrorists.

He ran to his village for help. As he ran, he could still hear the cries of his friend, calling for help.

The sound of his screams still echo in his mind today. Johannes knew from previous attacks on farmers in his area that this might be the last time he would see his friend. Sadly, he was right.

How does a simple chocolate farmer, who works daily on his plantation trying to support his wife and two children, end up being viciously murdered?

Village staggered by his death
The question remains unanswered for many of the village Christians who worshipped with Simeon and his family. Their community is staggered by the events of his death.

The attack took place in September 2015 and Simeon’s wife, Mita, shared with us details of the days leading up to his death.

“My husband was a good provider for our family,” Mita testified. “He was the type of man who would help other farmers and not look for any reward from them. He was a peacemaker and loved being involved in church ministry. Why would someone want to kill him?” she exclaimed.

A special memory
On 13 September, the night before the attack, Simeon and Mita were retiring for the night and prayed together.

“As we lay side-by-side, my husband reached out to hold my hand and then he prayed,” Mita said. “It was a very beautiful time. I will never forget this special time we had together as I know now it was something that God was preparing ahead of time for me.”

The next morning, Mita rose early as usual to prepare lunch for her husband. After leaving Simeon at their plantation, Mita continued to her work as a housemaid, planning to return to collect him at 4pm.

But this time, things did not go as usual. Simeon’s friend Johannes described what happened after he ran to the village for help.

Terrorists responsible
“When I reached Mita’s place of work at about 11am, Mita immediately wanted to race to her husband,” Johannes said. “I had to stop her because of the danger. She was beside herself when I told her of Simeon’s possible death.”

Johannes and Simeon’s nephew returned to the plantation to find Simeon’s body. He had been brutally slashed with machetes and knives. He had been beheaded and his right arm was also severed from his body. Deep stab wounds were found in his head and on other parts of his body. The attack was savage and merciless.

Local police suspected a terrorist group who had been attacking other chocolate plantations was responsible for Simeon’s death. The police had been working to apprehend the violent group for months, with many battles and deaths in their efforts to capture them.

Firm faith
Mita shared, “Each day I continue to trust the Lord for my life and my children’s. Despite this terrible event that we have experienced, God is still with us.”

Mita has been unable to find any labourers willing to work her plantation because they are afraid to risk their lives. As a result, the chocolate crop is wasted, falling to the ground and rotting. No one will even buy the property until the government resolves the terrorist threat in their area.

In the meantime, Mita continues her work as a housemaid, as she has for the past 13 years, but this is insufficient to support her family. Mita is excited about the opportunity Voice of the Martyrs Australia has provided in helping her to start up a door-to-door sales business.

This new business will assist with funding her children’s education as well as provide for their daily needs.

You can help families like Mita’s by donating to our Families of Martyrs fund here

Subscribe to our free monthly newsletter to read more testimonies from the persecuted church.

PAKISTAN: Christian Boy Dies After Being Set on Fire

PAKISTAN: Christian Boy Dies After Being Set on Fire

A 14-year-old Pakistani Christian boy who was beaten and set on fire by two Muslim men after answering truthfully that he was a Christian has died due to third degree burns over more than half his body inflicted during the attack.

According to prominent Pakistani human rights attorney Sardar Mushtaq Gill, the young boy, Nouman Masih, was walking on his way to a cloth stitching job when he was approached by two Muslim men.

After answering when asked by the men whether he was a Muslim or Christian, the men beat him, chased him down, doused him in kerosene and set him on fire when he told them that he was a Christian. Doctors ruled that Masih’s body was 55% burned.

Although doctors thought Masih might be able to survive his burns, Gill told The Christian Post that the hospital did not have the burn treatment facilities needed to treat the severity of Masih’s wounds.

Because Masih’s attackers were able to flee the scene unidentified, the actual perpetrators of the attack are unknown.

Source: Farsi Christian News Network

 Prayer Points

  • Pray for Nouman’s grieving family and friends; ask the Lord to comfort them and enable them to forgive.
  • Ask God to use Nouman’s testimony to give other Christians the courage to stand up for Christ even under terrible pressure.
  • Pray for the church in Pakistan to remain faithful and hold on amidst strong opposition and frequent attacks (Revelation 2:25).

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New Life, New Identity

New Life, New Identity

 

17-B-BannerNewLifeThirteen Three sponsors Bible college students who live in restricted countries. Our desire is to see the Gospel spread in these areas. Therefore, it is vital to invest in the next generation of leaders whom God is equipping to be His instruments for this purpose.

Agus is one such student. He has decided to go to Bible college to become better equipped to evangelise with the Gospel. Agus’ background is not typical of most Bible college students: he grew up in a broken, abusive, Muslim home and, as a teenager, got involved in the drug scene as a way to escape. Agus’ conversion, just like all conversions, is a miracle and is featured in our next newsletter. Subscribe {link https://vom.com.au/subscribe} to find out how God transformed Agus’ life.

Now that Agus is a Christian, he desperately wants to see other Muslims convert to Christianity. He frequently evangelises them. Because of this, Agus is verbally abused and at times even beaten.

Agus wants to grow in his knowledge of Christianity and better equip himself to be an effective evangelist.

Join us in praying for Agus. Ask the Lord to grant him many opportunities to speak the Gospel and pray he will continue to grow in faith and love for the Lord.

Read the full story in the next VOM Newsletter Support students like Agus