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NIGERIA: Islamists Execute Five Christians

NIGERIA: Islamists Execute Five Christians

Islamist militants executed five Christians in Nigeria over Christmas. In a video of the killing, they declare: “This is a warning to Christians in all parts of the world and those in Nigeria.”

The terrorist group Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) claimed responsibility for the killings. ISWAP is a splinter group of Boko Haram, which has pledged to turn Nigeria into an Islamist state.

The five executed are believed to have been among 11 kidnapped on Christmas Day in northeast Nigeria. Their executioners filmed them kneeling with their hands tied behind them.

Before they shot them dead from behind they asked them to state their names.

The men gave their names as Uka Joseph, Sunday, Wilson, Joshua Maidugu and Garba Yusuf.

Their last words were: “I am a Christian.”

Sources: Release International, Morningstar News

  • Pray earnestly for the believers who have suffered so much in the last few years as a result of this unrelenting violence from Islamic groups. Ask God to bring good from this tragedy. Pray for the other kidnap victims.
  • Pray against any kind of retaliation from Christian communities. Ask God to enable believers to encourage each other with powerful words of forgiveness and love.
  • Ask God to use the witness of His children to powerfully work to change the hearts and minds of those who have opposed Him and His church.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

PAKISTAN: Christian Man Shot Dead by Neighbour

PAKISTAN: Christian Man Shot Dead by Neighbour

A Pakistani Christian man who was shot by his Muslim neighbour for buying a house in a Muslim area has died.

Nadeem Joseph was admitted to hospital after being attacked in Peshawar, but died on 29 June after multiple surgeries.

Nadeem and his mother-in-law Elizabeth Masih were set upon by Salman Khan and his sons a few days after Nadeem bought a house in Swati Phatak, TV Colony in Peshawar on 4 June.

Despite several members of Khan‘s family being arrested in connection with the incident, he still remains on the run, and the police are hunting him.

In a video message, Nadeem claimed Khan had been harassing him since the day he moved to the colony.

Nadeem said Khan repeatedly called them derogatory terms, and badly damaged the doors of their house, even asking them to leave the area.

Khan claimed the neighbourhood was for Muslims only, and a Christian family did not belong there.

Source: CLAAS-UK

  • Pray for the family mourning the loss of Nadeem. Ask God for wisdom in dealing with the authorities about this case and making plans for the future.
  • Pray for justice for the family.
  • Ask God to bring good from this terrible loss, for the family, the community and even for the perpetrators.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

INDIA: Daughter of Slain Pastor Wounded

INDIA: Daughter of Slain Pastor Wounded

On 13 October 2015, Pastor Chamu Hassa Purty was shot and killed while at his home in Sandih village, Jharkhand. The murder happened after he had prayed for a sick boy in a nearby village and then helped him get to hospital.

Five years later, on the evening of 16 April, two men came to the door of the Purty home, asking if it was the home of the pastor who was killed. Threatening the family members who were there, the men shouted: “That pastor was killed, but you did not learn a lesson. You have continued assembling in large numbers for Christian prayers. Where is the woman working as a spy?” Chamu’s widow insisted they were not spies and demanded that the men leave the premises.

When Chamu’s daughter, Neelam, entered the room to see what was happening, one of the men declared, “She is the one!” The day before, Neelam had returned from another community where she was employed as a teacher, since the school had shut down due to the coronavirus lockdown. The man holding a gun shot her and then fled. The bullet pierced Neelam’s thumb and entered her thigh.

With the help of the local pastor, Neelam was transported to hospital where she underwent surgery a few days later. She is recovering well. A police report has been filed and the officers have identified some suspects. It is believed that those responsible for this attack may well be connected to the slaying that took place five years earlier.

Sources: Morning Star News, International Christian Concern, The Telegraph India

  • Pray that Neelam will fully recover from her injuries.
  • Pray the family will experience the peace of God that transcends all understanding and His divine protection over their lives.
  • Intercede for the perpetrators. Pray they will not only be brought to justice but also genuine repentance.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

A Stolen Future

A Stolen Future

Weeks before his wife’s death, James had a casual discussion with her about whether either of them would remarry if the other died. James told her he wanted to die first so their two daughters would have a mother to care for them, and his wife, Mary, teased him by saying she would remarry. But then she grew more serious, telling him she had a sense that she would die first. James didn’t think much of the conversation until later, when Mary was killed in an attack on their Christian village in central Nigeria.

James was in the city donating blood at a hospital on the day of the attack. When he called home around noon, Mary told him not to come home because they had heard gunshots in a nearby community and she wanted him to avoid travelling through an area of conflict.

She was not yet aware that Fulani Islamic militants were attacking the entire region of Barkin Ladi, outside Jos. Beginning at 7am on Saturday 23 June 2018, the heavily armed militants swept through the area, using plastic garden sprayers to shower houses with petrol before setting them alight. Mary called James in the early afternoon, crying and telling him the attackers had entered their village.

Mary gathered their two-year-old daughter, Melody, in her arms and ran with their six-year-old daughter, Marvelous, for the safety of the surrounding bush. But they immediately encountered militants. Marvelous was hit on the head and knocked unconscious, while Melody was shot in the stomach. The bullet passed through Melody’s body and lodged in her mother’s chest, killing Mary instantly. The girls lay near their mother’s body through the afternoon, until someone found them.

James heard nothing until the next morning when his sister called to tell him that Mary had been killed but their two daughters had survived.

He immediately rushed to the hospital to be with Melody, who was being taken into surgery. He stayed in the hospital with her for two months while she underwent two surgeries to repair her intestines.

James even missed his wife’s funeral, as the 86 people killed in the Barkin Ladi massacre received a hasty mass burial under the protection of Nigerian security forces. James was filled with grief and questions.

“If I’d known I would be a widower at age 29, would I even have gotten married? Why did the God we serve allow this to happen to us? Why me?”

While many women have lost husbands in the violence in northern Nigeria, it is less common for men to lose their wives. Islamic militants usually target men because they know men are often a family’s sole source of support. In this attack, however, James said he knows of five other men who lost their wives. One of the men lost 11 family members.

James is thankful he still has his daughters and his parents who help care for the girls while he works.

James’s grief was compounded by also losing his home. He and his family lived in a camp for displaced people for eight months, but they still could not return home. The neighbouring Fulani who had attacked the village, moved into the remaining homes and took the land.

James’s older daughter, Marvelous, later told him that the man who killed her mother used to visit their house and eat dinner with them. “He was one of the men who took Mummy to see Jesus,” she said, naming the man. James also learned that the attackers had chanted, “Jihad is compulsory” and “We have killed the infidels!”

For many weeks, James was angered when he thought of the men who killed his wife. “I didn’t want to see them,”
he said.

As a Christian, he knew about persecution, but he never thought it would happen to him. He felt like his future had been stolen.

A short time before the attack, James had graduated from university with a degree in environmental health and had finished the two-year national service required of every graduate. Their farm had supported the family, and he had considered going back to university for a master’s degree in public health. With no land and two young girls to support on his own, James now works as a tin miner.

Housing prices in the city have risen sharply because of the influx of Christians displaced by militant attacks and, although James earns an income, he needs help to meet family expenses. Voice of the Martyrs has been assisting James with rent, school fees, clothing and medical care since January 2019.

In addition, he is also meeting with a specially trained VOM worker who functions somewhat like a social worker for the many persecuted believers VOM serves in Nigeria.

The worker meets weekly with each persecuted believer to check in on his or her progress, which has been a great help in moving traumatised people out of shock and into a place of self-sufficiency.

After several months in the programme, James’s outlook on life had brightened.

“I feel like I have people who care for me,” he said.

Being reminded that he is supported by his Christian family has restored his faith in God, and he says it is even stronger than before.

“God is good!” he told a VOM worker. “I feel I have a God, a living God who will never forsake me.”

He still finds it difficult to interact with the militant Fulani villagers who attacked his village and killed his wife, but he intentionally greeted them on a recent trip.

James still wonders why the Lord chose to take his wife and not him, but he sees God providing for him as needs arise. “I feel loved,” he told a VOM worker.

He asked for prayer for himself and his two daughters, Marvelous and Melody, as well as for all Nigerian Christians who have lost family members, homes and land.

“Pray that God will strengthen us and make us strong in our faith and provide for our desires,” he said, “because as it is now it’s like we don’t have a heritage, we don’t have a land.”

James and our other Nigerian brothers and sisters who have been scarred by this violence may have lost their loved ones and land, but they have not been lost to the Lord.

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.

Not Forgotten: Jonah in Pakistan

Not Forgotten: Jonah in Pakistan

As a young man, Jonah’s search for God led him to a jihadi training camp where he was taught how to kill. As he continued his search and studies, he eventually found a Bible and miraculously placed his faith in Christ, later leading his uncle and several other family members to Christ as well.

Yet some of his family condemned his new faith, making Jonah eat separately and threatening to shoot him if he did not return to Islam. Then, in September 2006, the threats became a reality, as masked gunmen entered the shop where he was working and opened fire.

Although Jonah’s left arm required amputation, he survived against all expectation.

When a Voice of the Martyrs worker met him in 2007, he arranged to provide Jonah with a prosthetic arm to help him continue his work of preaching the Gospel in northern Pakistan.

Recently, a VOM worker reconnected with Jonah, visiting him in his small rented room, and found that his passion for evangelism had not waned since the attack. While his family continued to pressure him to leave Christianity after the shooting, Jonah boldly shares the Gospel wherever he goes.

Knowing that some Pakistani Christians decide to leave the country after facing opposition for their faith, the VOM worker asked Jonah if he ever thought about leaving Pakistan. “Why should I?” said Jonah, who has served as a frontline worker for more than 10 years. “If I experience persecution, I just move on to a new area. There are plenty of places in Pakistan that need the Gospel.”

Noticing that Jonah’s prosthetic arm was quite worn, the VOM worker offered to provide him with a replacement. Jonah told him he’d rather have the funds to spend on evangelism materials.

The VOM worker has since arranged for Jonah to have both a new prosthetic arm and more tools to help him share the Good News.

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.