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MIRIAM: The Cost of Following Christ

MIRIAM: The Cost of Following Christ

As a university student, Miriam never wore a hijab. One day a Muslim lecturer asked, “Are you Christian?” When Miriam answered, “No sir, I am Muslim”, the professor became very angry and shouted, “Why you don’t wear hijab as a Muslim lady, to protect yourself as the Koran says?” He warned her that she would experience a very tough time at the university if she didn’t wear a hijab.

Miriam was very upset about the interaction and slipped away to a discrete corner and started to cry. Another lecturer approached her, asking why she was crying. Miriam told him what had transpired. He consoled her by saying, “You are free to wear or not to wear the hijab. No one has the right to instruct you to wear it.”

This same lecturer challenged the one who had threatened Miriam, saying that he didn’t have the right to say what he did, and told him very clearly not to cause any future problems for her.

He told Miriam that if she faced similar opposition again, whilst studying at the university, he was available to help. Miriam asked him, “Are you Muslim sir?” he replied, “I was Muslim but now I am an atheist”. Miriam was surprised by his answer, but grateful that he was kind to her and defended her against the other lecturer. Miriam soon decided to become an atheist.

Sometime after completing her university studies, Miriam met a Christian leader and debated with him on the basis of Christianity. She met with him many times, challenging him to prove to her that Christian faith is the ‘right faith’. The Christian leader continued to answer her questions and Miriam began accompanying him to church. This led to her becoming a Christian.

After her conversion, Miriam’s faith was discovered accidentally at home. Her family became very angry with her and began torturing her, trying to force her to return to Islam.

Fearing for her life, Miriam fled to another town.

Miriam’s father eventually discovered where she was living and forced her to come home. He tied her to a bed and began to torture her, aggressively trying to force her to deny her newfound faith.

Miriam managed to escape again. She travelled to Alexandria where she met a person working with a VOM partner ministry that aids and supports Muslim background believers.

The ministry has helped Miriam find accommodation and has encouraged her to participate in trauma counselling. She is now 31 and has been diagnosed with cancer. She is currently undergoing chemotherapy.

Please remember to pray for Miriam, for her physical strength, mental health, and her spiritual growth.

If you would like to financially support the work of Voice of the Martyrs, please go to: vom.com.au/donate

Voice of the Martyrs Australia is an endorsed deductible gift recipient (DGR) by the Australian government. This means you can claim tax deductions for all donations over $2 to Voice of the Martyrs Australia on your tax return.

EGYPT: New Converts Hunger for Christ

EGYPT: New Converts Hunger for Christ

An underground Bible school for former Muslim women who have come to faith in Christ has experienced significant growth in the past year. The Bible school, founded by three former Muslim women, has grown to several thousand students simply by word of mouth.

Some of the women have not told their families they have become Christians, and they fear the reaction of their family members if they are found out. However, the freedom they have found in Christ is worth the sacrifice.

Christian converts from Islam face persecution, including being expelled from their families, being divorced by their Muslim spouses, losing their children and losing their jobs.

Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA

  • Praise God for the way He is at work though this group of former Muslim women.
  • Ask God to continue to equip them with knowledge, understanding and resources they need to continue.
  • Pray the Lord’s protection will be on these women. Ask God to give them wisdom to know how and when to share their faith with others, including their families.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

EGYPT: Muslim Family Kills Son Over Christian Conversion

EGYPT: Muslim Family Kills Son Over Christian Conversion

A Muslim background believer living in Egypt, Hussein Mohammed, was killed on 6 October after his family discovered that he had converted from Islam to Christianity.

Hussein, who preferred to be called by his baptismal name George, had posted several photos to his Facebook account. One of the photos showed a cross tattoo which George had obtained on his wrist; a practice pursued by Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Christians. His family had known of his conversion prior to the photos being posted, and his uncle had made complaints to the Directorate of Security about his ‘apostasy’. However, these photos were a public acknowledgement of his conversion.

According to George’s friend, “[He] was a very brave man. He was a very good believer and follower of Jesus Christ. He loved Christ very much. He challenged his family for his faith in Jesus Christ. He was knowing that his family were going to kill him anytime, but he didn’t fear death. He kept faith till his last breath and refused to renounce his new faith. He was martyred in the name of Jesus Christ.”

Egypt is an officially Islamic country, but with the largest Christian demographic in the Middle East. Christians are regulated as second class citizens at best, and often lack the opportunity to claim their civil rights. Muslims who convert to Christianity, however, are viewed by the Islamic community from an even harsher perspective. They are viewed as apostates, which means that the public discovery of their conversion makes them vulnerable to becoming a victim of an honour killing.

Sources: International Christian Concern, World Watch Monitor

  • Commit to the Lord those who grieve the loss of George. Pray his death will not be in vain, but that God will use his testimony for spiritual enlightenment and His glory.
  • Pray that the perpetrators will face justice in this life. Pray the Lord will have mercy on them and grant them salvation.
  • Pray for the Lord’s strength and protection to be on Muslim background believers in Egypt.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

Bible School Egypt – Absolute Defiance!

Bible School Egypt – Absolute Defiance!

Due to the number of Muslim background believers growing in Egypt, there continues to be a need for foundational Bible teaching. The difficulty in Egypt is compounded by the fact that leaving Islam is a dangerous endeavour and apostates are not easily tolerated. Christianity is mocked and targeted.

Amongst all this stands a close-knit group of Muslim background believers who defy the status quo by meeting in secret to learn, share and spread God’s Word. They started this Bible school nine months ago and it has grown from three to more than 3,000, with expected growth to exceed 10,000 by the end of 2019. Growth has come by word of mouth and continues to astound the leaders as attendees clamour for a place to participate in the curriculum.

Many women who attend still cover their heads with a niqab as they fear being found out. Some testify that their husbands and family members do not know of their conversion to Christianity.

Their new faith has brought them freedom from an oppressed life in Islam. The ministry that runs the Bible school is also engaged in assisting with relocation of Muslim background believers to other parts of Egypt as they start their new life in Christ. This new life comes with being forced to walk away from everything they have held dear, sometimes even their children and most certainly their possessions. This relocation comes after being threatened with death and physical violence by their families.

For many of these new believers, being a blessing and sharing their faith is important and is taken seriously. Many still pray five times a day, but now to Christ. The appetite for learning and seeking His presence is strong.

Voice of the Martyrs supports this important work by providing practical assistance for the ministry team such as rent for their centre, operational costs, speakers’ fees, food and medical expenses. The ministry locations are spread out over a wide area, so transportation is vital. We intend to provide a vehicle for the team to move around as they expand their reach further.

Your prayers and support for this ministry are vital, as they operate in an extremely hostile environment in areas that can quite quickly turn violent. Please uphold them, as they share Christ and equip believers who, in turn, will reach others.

“And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me” Matthew 10:38.

If you would like to financially support the work of Voice of the Martyrs, please go to: vom.com.au/donate

Voice of the Martyrs Australia is an endorsed deductible gift recipient (DGR) by the Australian government. This means you can claim tax deductions for all donations over $2 to Voice of the Martyrs Australia on your tax return.

 

EGYPT: 127 Churches Approved

EGYPT: 127 Churches Approved

A committee established by the Egyptian government has approved legalising 127 churches who were previously operating without a permit. This brings the total number of legalised churches by this committee to 1,021.

The committee is a result of a 2016 law which purported to streamline the legalisation process for churches. Egypt has a long history of regulating the building of churches, but many churches were not able to complete this process. Instead, they were built illegally. The 2016 law included the creation of the committee which would reportedly legalise all churches existing before 2016 – an estimated number just reaching over 3,000.

The government has faced heavy criticism for its slow record of retroactively applying legalisation to these existing churches. The 2016 law was supposed to make it easier for new churches to go through the legalisation process. However, President Sisi’s government has a worse record than his predecessors when it comes to approving new church buildings.

Most of the Middle East’s Christians live in Egypt, where they are subject to indiscriminate mob violence, discrimination, and other acts of persecution. The federal government has made several symbolic gestures towards Christians but has not taken steps to ensure that the root causes of persecution are addressed at a local level. The official state religion is Islam, leaving Christians to live as second-class citizens.

Source: International Christian Concern

  • Thank the Lord for the recent progress made. Pray the Egyptian church will be encouraged by this development.
  • Ask the Lord to bless the local church with a renewed boldness and readiness to share the Gospel with those who do not yet know Him.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to be at work in changing hearts and minds towards Jesus, in all levels of society in Egypt.

Post your prayer in the comments below.