Just recently, on 25 April, Australia commemorated ANZAC day. ANZAC day is one of Australia’s most important national occasions. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces in the Gallipoli campaign in Turkey during the First World War.
As I was watching historical footage and documentaries on a soldier’s life in trenches and the courage and sacrifice made during that war, my thoughts flashed back to the ultimate sacrifice our Lord Jesus made for us, as well as the millions of Christians who are paying the ultimate price for following Christ. They work in church planting ministries, sowing the seeds of the Gospel in the hearts of unbelievers, as well as training the next generation of Bible college students to further advance Christ’s kingdom. They are bringing the message of hope and peace to a world that has been at war and chaos since the fall of man.
Reading back over VOM Australia’s April 2016 newsletter made me understand how important it is as a Christian to support our brothers and sisters standing on the front lines of persecution. VOM’s Front Line Ministry helps deliver resources and training to assist pastors with sharing the Gospel in hostile areas. Our prayer and support is needed.
These courageous individuals are bringing hope and change by sharing Christ’s love in these dark areas of the world. They are soldiers of Christ. Their weapons? Just their faith and their Bible.
Whenever I read about Christians like Hadi in our newsletter, who was beaten for sharing the Gospel in India, I compare them to the ANZAC soldiers who died for our freedom. These believers are the unsung heroes of Christianity. They are bringing the power of the Gospel and the freedom that comes from it to every corner of the earth. May we continue to remember them in our thoughts and in our prayers. May our faith continue to be strengthened by their testimonies and their stories.
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Boko Haram is seeking a ransom of nearly $75 million for the release of the 219 schoolgirls kidnapped from the Nigerian town of Chibok two years ago, sources close to the group have reported.
The terror sect is thought to have issued the demand during secret contacts with the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, who has said he is willing to negotiate for the girls’ freedom.
The group’s leader, Abubakr Shekau, had previously demanded the release of jailed comrades in exchange for the girls. But a deal along those lines – brokered by the Red Cross – fell through after Nigerian prison officials said that commanders on a list given to them by Boko Haram were not in their custody.
Details of the new ransom request emerged ahead of the second anniversary of the girls kidnapping on the night of 14 April 2014, when they were abducted by Boko Haram gunmen posing as soldiers.
The Nigerian military has made significant gains against Boko Haram in the last 18 months, raiding a number of the sect’s camps in Nigeria’s vast Sambisa forest, and freeing at least 1,000 women and children taken in other mass abductions.
Yet in none of the raids have any rescued prisoners or captured fighters been able to give any convincing accounts of meeting or seeing any of the Chibok girls.
This indicates they are still being kept well away from other captives, and that their kidnappers see them as having huge symbolic value as hostages – thanks partly to the global attention the kidnappings received.
Recently, Nigeria’s Defence Headquarters launched “Operation Safe Corridor,” a program to rehabilitate repentant Boko Haram fighters through camps where they will be offered jobs and training in return for undergoing biometric profiling.
The military said some 800 fighters had already signed up for the program, and that other camps would open across north-east Nigeria in coming months.
Source: The Sunday Telegraph
- Pray the Lord will minister to and strengthen those who are being held against their will. Pray they will soon be liberated, restored to life and start the process of healing.
- Pray the Lord would help those involved in bringing an end to the violence and protecting the civilian population. May He bless them with wisdom, strength and discernment. Pray the Lord will lead them.
- Thank the Lord for the gains made so far; pray for the success of the rehabilitation program. May many more Boko Haram members leave their life of evil behind.
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