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SYRIA: High Cost of Maintaining the Christian Presence

SYRIA: High Cost of Maintaining the Christian Presence

On 11 November at least two bombs were detonated in Qamishli; one outside a church. At least six civilians were killed and more than 20 wounded. Rev Hovsep Bedoyan (43), an Armenian Catholic priest in Qamishli, was driving his father and two church members to Deir ez-Zor where he was overseeing the reconstruction of a church built by survivors of the Armenian Genocide but destroyed by IS in 2014. Hovsep and his father were killed when their vehicle was ambushed by armed militants. Nobody doubts Rev Hovsep Bedoyan was assassinated for his efforts to re-establish the Christian presence in Deir ez-Zor.

Contrary to its deal with Russia, Turkey and its jihadist proxies continue to press towards the Assyrian town of Tel Tamer. Exploiting insecurity, Islamic State is re-asserting itself.

Source: Christian Faith and Freedom

  • Pray God will intervene to protect, preserve, rescue and sustain His people in north-east Syria.
  • Pray the plans of those who are bent on evil will be frustrated. Pray those intent on doing good will experience the wisdom, provision and blessing of God.
  • Ask God to bring an end to the violence and unrest in Syria.

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INDONESIA: Bombing Victim Laid to Rest

INDONESIA: Bombing Victim Laid to Rest

As people come to terms with the reality that three churches were targeted by suicide bombers in Indonesia, the families of the victims begin to lay their loved ones to rest. Our CEO is in Surabaya to assist where needed, attending the funeral today for Bing Bing, one of the victims.

Bing Bing and her fiancé Stephanus became engaged to be married on Saturday 12 May.  The day after their engagement they attended Pantekosta Central Church in Surabuya where Bing Bing was an usher. She was greeting people at the door when the bomb exploded.

We have set up an emergency fund to assist the victims and their families. For more information go to https://vom.com.au/indonesia-family-stages-suicide-bombings-at-three-churches/

 

IRAQ: Revival of Life in Qaraqosh

IRAQ: Revival of Life in Qaraqosh

For many Christian families in Qaraqosh, this Easter is particularly special, as they will be celebrating it at home for the first time since fleeing the city in 2014.

The city, located in northern Iraq’s Nineveh Plains, was occupied by the Islamic State group for over three years before its liberation in October 2017.

Since then, around 5,000 families have returned to the city that used to be a home to 50,000 Christians. They are now rebuilding their lives amidst the ruins and rubble that IS left behind.

On Sunday, the Palm Sunday celebrations saw thousands of Christians take to the streets of the ancient city, where they marched, waving palm and olive branches, and chanted Christian songs. The march culminated in an open-air religious service on the square of St John’s Church.

Andraws, a 25-year-old English teacher at a recently re-opened school, said that he and his family had almost lost hope of ever returning to their home town.

Meanwhile, Anis Behnam, a 58-year-old university lecturer who returned to Qaraqosh last year, said he is determined to stay in his town, whatever the circumstances.

Source: World Watch Monitor

  • Thank the Lord, He is now being worshiped in Qaraqosh.
  • Thank Him for the return of these families; pray for His protection and provision.
  • Ask the Lord to grow His church in this city and beyond, all over Iraq.

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RUSSIA: Terror Strikes in Dagestan

RUSSIA: Terror Strikes in Dagestan

On Sunday 18 February a local Islamic jihadi attacked Christians as they emerged from Kizlyar’s Russian Orthodox church.

They had been ushering in Lent when the gunman approached, cried “Allahu Akbar” and opened fire. To keep the gunman outside, believers barricaded the church door while police shot the gunman dead.

Four Christian women were killed instantly; a fifth died later in hospital. Four others were wounded. Islamic State claimed responsibility.

More than 3400 Chechen and Dagestani Muslims have travelled to Syria for jihad; an estimated 400 have returned. The attack comes in the wake of an intervention from Moscow aimed at ending clan-based systemic corruption. One analyst likened Dagestan to ‘a disturbed anthill’. A new administration has been installed; tensions are boiling.

Source: Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin

  • Pray the Lord will pour out His grace on the church, to bring comfort and peace to those who grieve and are fearful.
  • Ask the Lord to grant His favour to the authorities and lead them well as they seek to end corruption and protect the people.
  • Pray this tragedy will not be in vain, ask the Lord to use this recent violence to strengthen the church and draw people to Himself.

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EGYPT: ISIS Renews Threat to Copts

EGYPT: ISIS Renews Threat to Copts

A pro-Islamic State (ISIS) group media outlet has issued a new threat against Egypt’s Coptic Christians, saying they must be attacked as “infidel fighters” and their churches must be blown up.

Twenty-eight Copts were killed in an attack for which ISIS claimed responsibility in which gunmen opened fire on pilgrims travelling to a monastery for Ascension Day.

The message, issued by the Wafa Media Foundation, said Copts did not accept dhimmitude – the condition of submission imposed by Sharia (Islamic law) on Christians in Islamic societies. Instead they should be fought because they continue to build churches and even promote television networks to spread the Christian message, Wafa said.

ISIS’s Egypt affiliate has claimed responsibility for massacres in churches on Palm Sunday and last December, and for an attack on a coach-load of Christian pilgrims in May. In February it issued a video in which it described Copts as its “favourite prey”.

Sources: World Watch Monitor, Fides news service

  • Ask the Lord for His intervention and his merciful protection for Coptic believers. Ask Him to comfort the grieving, injured and those who are fearful.
  • Pray the authorities in Egypt including the police and military will be granted wisdom, direction and strength by the Lord to safeguard against violence and bring perpetrators to justice.
  • Pray against these latest threats so they will come to nothing. Remembering, we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12).