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PHILIPPINES: Church Elder Brutally Murdered

PHILIPPINES: Church Elder Brutally Murdered

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.

Source: VOM Australia

 

EGYPT: IS Claims Killing of Coptic Minister in Sinai

EGYPT: IS Claims Killing of Coptic Minister in Sinai

A gunman fatally shot a Christian minister on Egypt’s volatile Sinai Peninsula on 30 June. The Islamic State, in a message distributed on social media, claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Coptic Orthodox minister, the Reverend Rafael Moussa, 46, was standing outside a car repair shop near St George’s Church in El Arish, the main town in northern Sinai, when a masked gunman walked up and shot him, officials said. The assailant threatened witnesses before fleeing.

In its message, the Islamic State described Reverend Moussa as a “disbelieving combatant” but did not provide further justification for his killing, according to a translation by the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors extremist activity online.

It was the latest in a series of attacks on Coptic Christians in northern Sinai, where the Egyptian Army has been fighting an Islamist group that pledges allegiance to the Islamic State.

Church officials said eight members of their church have died in targeted attacks since 2013. The violence has caused some Christians to leave the area for Cairo and other cities.

Source: The New York Times

 Prayer Points

  • Pray for the church members and family of Reverend Moussa as they come to terms with this sudden loss. Pray they will look to the Lord for comfort and strength.
  • Pray for the protection of church leaders across the nation of Egypt; ask the Lord to grant favour to the army as they try to bring an end to the violence in the north.
  • Pray the church in Egypt may be unified in their love for the Lord and their desire for others to be brought into relationship with Him.

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NORTH KOREA:  Pastor Han Chung-Ryeol Murdered

NORTH KOREA: Pastor Han Chung-Ryeol Murdered

Pastor Han Chung-Ryeol, a VOM partner, was brutally murdered on Saturday 30 April in Changbai, China. Pastor Han, 49, reportedly left his church building in Changbai at 2pm, and his mangled body was discovered at 8pm.

He is believed to have been killed by North Koreans, who likely returned to North Korea after committing the murder. Pastor Han was known for helping anyone who came to China from North Korea. He would provide practical aid, such as food and clothing, and introduce each person to the Gospel before sending them back to North Korea to share Christ and help their families.

Since planting a Three-Self Church near the North Korean border in 1993, Pastor Han had helped orphans, women enslaved to prostitution, soldiers, those starving from famine and many others. Pray for Pastor Han’s family and those inside North Korea whom he has helped. Many of these people reportedly have been detained for questioning.

Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA

 Prayer Points

  • Thank the Lord for the great love and servant-hearted attitude displayed in the life of Pastor Han; pray his witness for the Lord’s kingdom may continue through his family and those he has helped.
  • Pray for those who have been questioned; ask the Lord to give them courage and the right words to say.
  • Pray the Holy Spirit may be at work in the hearts of those responsible for the murder; may they too have the opportunity to hear the Gospel and put their hope in the Lord.

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