Voice of the Martyrs - June 27, 2012
1. Earlier this week, we sent you our first "Featured Resource" email, a new email service that will share special resources, videos or ways to serve the persecuted Church approximately once a month. This month, we shared a video with testimonies of Christians in Nigeria. You will continue to receive these Featured Resource emails only if you sign up.
If you missed the email, you can still view the video and sign up for this new email service by visiting www.persecution.ca/feature/feature.html.
Thank you for remembering those in bonds (Hebrews 13:3)!
2. Dozens of Christians slain in Nigerian bombing
(Source: Compass Direct News)
The Boko Haram Islamic sect has claimed responsibility for the bombing of three churches in Kaduna state, Nigeria, on June 17 -- the third consecutive Sunday that Christian worship services in the country have ended in bloodshed.
An attacker crashed a car into a barricade at an Evangelical Church Winning All building, detonating a bomb that killed at least 24 people and wounded about 125. Moments later, extremists bombed the Christ the King Catholic Church building in Zaria, killing another dozen people. Not long after, the Shalom Church building in Kaduna city was bombed, killing at least 10. Retaliatory attacks reportedly killed several others.
Boko Haram has killed at least 560 people this year, according to the Associated Press. The Islamist sect has targeted churches, state offices, law enforcement sites and some moderate mosques in its effort to destabilize the government and impose a strict version of Shariah (Islamic law) on all of Nigeria.
Please pray that the Lord will bless believers in Nigeria with the strength and compassion to model Christ-like love to all, despite the persecution they face. Please pray that God will grant leaders and law enforcement officers with wisdom and integrity. Pray that the violence will stop and peace and reconciliation will prevail. Pray that, in the meantime, increased persecution will result in increased boldness among believers in Nigeria (Acts 4:29-31).
Visit www.persecution.net/nigeria.htm for more information on Nigeria's persecuted Church.
3. Update: Christian man released from prison, loses family in Ethiopia
(Source: Compass Direct News)
After being wrongfully imprisoned in southern Ethiopia for two years, Tamirat Woldegorgis returned home to find his two children, ages six and 15, missing.
Tamirat was falsely accused of desecrating the Qur'an in 2010 and spent two years confined to a small cell with 50 other inmates. The harsh conditions left the Christian widower with one leg paralyzed. Tamirat was arrested after a Muslim co-worker accused him of writing "Jesus is Lord" in a copy of the Qur'an and on some cloth, although no evidence was ever found (for more on this story, go to www.persecution.net/et-2010-12-02.htm).
"I have been trying to locate my children, but all in vain," said Tamirat. "My life is ruined -- I have lost my house, my children, my health. I am now homeless, and I am limping."
Tamirat believes that local Muslims in his village may have taken his children to limit his influence in the area. He is now staying with a friend in an undisclosed town.
Please pray that Tamirat's children will be located and reunited with their father. Please pray that the Lord will use these troubling circumstances to be a testament to the power of faith in Him, and that this witness will lead others in the community to Christ. Pray that Tamirat will trust that the Lord has plans for him and his family -- plans to give them hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).
For more information on the challenges facing Christians in Ethiopia, visit www.persecution.net/ethiopia.htm.
4. Update: Pastor acquitted in Kazakhstan after praying for the sick
(Source: Forum 18 News Service)
Pastor Yerzhan Ushanov, who was found guilty of "causing severe damage to health due to negligence" after he prayed for an ill church visitor, has been exonerated by Kazakhstan's Supreme Court.
The pastor of a church in Taraz was originally charged by the National Security Committee secret police when it was claimed a visitor to the church suffered after the pastor prayed for him using hypnosis (for more on this story, please visit www.persecution.net/kz-2011-07-07.htm).
Kazakhstan's Supreme Court acquitted the pastor in April, overturning last September's guilty verdict. The Court stated it reached its verdict "due to the absence of elements of crime in his actions."
Praise God that Pastor Yerzhan has been vindicated and may now return to lead his church family. Pray that he will maintain the attitude of Christ, entrusting himself to God Who judges perfectly (1 Peter 5:1-4). Please pray that this case will act as a deterrent to officials who consider falsely accusing Christians in Kazakhstan.
Go to www.persecution.net/kazakhstan.htm for more information on Kazakhstan's suffering Church.
5. Three church buildings destroyed in Zanzibar, Tanzania
(Source: International Christian Concern)
A Muslim mob demolished three churches in Zanzibar, Tanzania, in May, bringing the total number of churches destroyed in the past 10 years up to 25.
Tanzanian Christian leaders say Muslim government officials are perpetuating the persecution by refusing to bring attackers to justice and failing to help the victims rebuild.
"About 200 Muslims were shouting, 'Tabir, Allahu Akbar' as they attacked our churches. I was nearby my church when they destroyed it," said a Christian leader who asked to remain anonymous for security reasons. He also said attackers are becoming bolder by targeting churches in Zanzibar, as previously it was the village churches that were attacked.
Please pray that officials in Zanzibar will rise up, seek justice, and defend the oppressed (Isaiah 1:17). Pray that the Lord will provide for the needs of those believers who lost their church buildings. Pray that Christians in Zanzibar will confidently entrust themselves to Christ so that they can preach the gospel without hesitation (2 Timothy 1:7-12).
To post a prayer of encouragement for our brothers and sisters in Zanzibar, please visit our Persecuted Church Prayer Wall at www.persecution.net/prayerwall.
The Persecution & Prayer Alert is a ministry of The Voice of the Martyrs, Canada. (Mailing address: P.O. Box 608, Streetsville, Ontario, L5M 2C1)
Tel. (905) 670.9721. Website: www.persecution.net