In the past 30 years, evangelical Christians in Ethiopia have grown from 1% of the population to more than 20%. Allan Sherer, the Horn of Africa Director for Front Line Mission, calls that church growth “one of the great Gospel stories of our generation.” That growth hasn’t come without challenges and persecution. Listen to this interview excerpt and hear how converted Muslims are deliberately reaching out in some of the most dangerous areas.
Four Christians belonging to the self-styled ‘Church of Iran’ network are due to appear in Rasht Revolutionary Court on 15 October charged with “actions against national security”.
On 13 May security agents raided the home of Yousef Nadarkhani, a church leader who attracted international attention after he was charged with apostasy and sentenced to death in 2010. He was eventually acquitted of apostasy charges, but was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for evangelising. He was released on 7 December 2013.
Following this raid in May, Yousef and his wife Tina were arrested along with Yasser Mossayebzadeh, Saheb Fadaie and Mohammed Reza Omidi, and their phones, computers and Christian literature were confiscated. Yousef and Tina were released later that day, but Yasser, Saheb and Mohammed Reza were detained and interrogated for several weeks before being released on bail.
Yousef, Yasser, Saheb and Mohammed Reza were charged with acting against national security – a common charge levelled against Christian converts who are recognised as having leadership responsibilities in the Christian community.
In addition, Yaser, Saheb and Mohammed Reza faced charges related to consumption of alcohol, for drinking wine during a communion service. They had a hearing on 10 September, but a verdict has yet to be given. If found guilty, they are likely to receive a sentence of flogging (Mohammed Reza received 80 lashes for the same offence in 2012).
Drinking alcohol is not illegal for Christians, but under applicable Islamic law it is prohibited for Muslims. The charges brought against Christian converts reflect the state view that a Muslim cannot change religion.
Source: Middle East Concern
Please pray Yousef, Yasser, Saheb and Mohammed Reza will be successfully defended in court, and be acquitted of all charges.
Pray the judges and other court officials will act justly and that the money submitted as bail will be safely returned.
Pray God will strengthen and encourage faithful Christians in Iran to withstand persecution and act as witnesses for His Gospel.
Please pray for our Christian family in Chibok in northern Nigeria after Islamist extremists Boko Haram struck again. The terrorists took over three villages near Chibok town in Borno state last Monday.
At least eight people, including a village elder, were reported to have been killed. The attackers have hoisted their flag around these villages.
Many families in the area are still waiting in agony for news of more than 200 girls who were snatched from a Christian school in Chibok town in April 2014. Though one girl was rescued in May, almost all of those seized by Boko Haram remain missing.
Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has called on the UN to mediate with the militants. Buhari has said he is prepared to arrange a swap, freeing extremists in jail in return for the girls’ release.
Sources: BBC, Release International
Please pray that God will comfort and heal all those injured and bereaved in this recent attack.
Pray for the immediate release of the girls abducted from Chibok. Pray that they will know God’s presence, His love and His healing power.
Pray for wisdom for President Buhari and the Nigerian Government as they work to free the Chibok girls and defeat Boko Haram. Pray that God will give them courage and determination to tackle this terrorist threat.
A boat captain faces a prison sentence of up to 90 years after being charged in Spain with the murder of six Christian migrants by allegedly throwing them overboard. According to the indictment against him, the captain and a colleague attacked the six Nigerian Christians because they believed the passengers’ prayers had provoked a storm during the voyage from North Africa.
The inflatable boat had about 50 migrants aboard when it left Morocco in December of 2014 to make the 14-kilometre voyage to Spain. Police state in the indictment that the attackers pulled up slats and beat the Christians, then threw them into the “raging sea” where they were lost. One body was found a few days later off the coast of Granada.
The captain, named as Alain N.B. from Cameroon, has denied all charges. He was one of two men arrested in connection with the incident; the second man died before the start of the trial. Prosecutors in the Spanish city of Almería have requested 15 years for each of the six offences. If convicted of all charges, Alain will be serving 45 of the total 90 years behind bars.
So far this year, more than 300,000 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean Sea in order to reach Europe, after fleeing countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Nigeria. Another 3,000 died while attempting to make the crossing.
Source: Christian Today
Pray for the grieving families and friends of the six Nigerian Christians whose lives tragically ended while at sea. May they continue to sense God’s comforting presence and strength.
Intercede on behalf of the accused captain, pray he may come to the Lord in repentance and receive the Lord’s mercy and salvation.
Pray for the protection of all those fleeing strife and unrest. Pray for the nations in the Middle East and Africa ─ for peace, stability, good governance and a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit.