Voice of the Martyrs - October 5, 2012
1. Grenade attack on Sunday school in Kenya
(Source: Release International)
A nine-year-old boy was killed and at least three other children were seriously injured in a grenade attack on a Sunday school in Nairobi, Kenya, on September 30.
Suspected Islamist militants attacked the St. Polycarp's Church building during a worship service for children aged six to 10. Witnesses reported hearing a loud explosion then seeing people running for their lives. A total of nine children were hospitalized.
Police blamed sympathizers of al Shabab extremists in neighbouring Somalia, angered by Kenya's role in UN-backed efforts to oust the group. The previous day, al Shabab was driven from Kismayo, its last urban stronghold in Somalia. St. Polycarp's is near Eastleigh, a district of Nairobi popularly known as "Little Mogadishu" due to its many Somali immigrants. Nairobi officials appealed for calm after youths reportedly attacked a nearby mosque and homes in apparent retaliation for the grenade attack.
Ask the Lord to strengthen and comfort the injured and the grieving. Pray that the Lord will give all those affected by the violence the grace to forgive their attackers. Ask the Lord to give wisdom to authorities in Kenya and Somalia. Pray that the Lord will bring an end to al Shabab's activities and influence in Somalia and in bordering nations. Pray that Christians in Kenya will not retaliate in anger, but will show Christ-like love and forgiveness to their persecutors.
To post a prayer of solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Kenya, visit our Persecuted Church Prayer Wall at www.persecution.net/prayerwall.
2. Raids and fines against believers in Turkmenistan
(Source: Forum 18 News Service)
On Sunday, September 23, police and other unidentified officials raided the home of a Baptist family in the northern city of Dashoguz during a church meeting. The owner of the home, 77-year-old Begjan Shirmedov, was dragged from the house by his collar. About 15 church members were questioned and religious literature was seized. When Begian's wife, 68-year-old Kerime (Klara) Ataeva, complained about the mistreatment, authorities beat her hands until they bled.
Earlier that month in the same city, police raided a religious meeting at a private home. Three Christians were fined after being found guilty of violating the "law on religious organizations." The charge carries a punishment of fines of between five and 10 times the minimum monthly wage for refusing to register a religious community or for participating in an unregistered religious community. One of the fined Christians, Oleg Piyashev, was visiting Turkmenistan from Russia at the time of the raid. A Russian and Turkmen citizen, he was later banned from leaving Turkmenistan at the airport on September 23.
Please pray for complete healing and restoration for Begjan and Kerime. Pray the Lord will give them and the other church members the strength to overcome their ordeal and the determination to continue to stand firm. Pray that they, and other Christians facing opposition, will continue to meet together to encourage one another. Pray Oleg will lean on the Lord's strength during this time, and pray that he will have an opportunity to return to his homeland.
Go to www.persecution.net/turkmenistan.htm to learn more about our suffering brothers and sisters in Turkmenistan.
3. Militants burn church building in Pakistan
On September 21, a mob of several thousand militant Muslims attacked St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Mardan City, Pakistan. The attackers, armed with rifles and kerosene, overwhelmed security guards and broke into the church. They destroyed Bibles and prayer books, desecrated the altar, and set fire to the church building and several surrounding homes and buildings. The mob was returning from a protest against the YouTube film, "Innocence of Muslims."
The attack on the 82-year-old church building lasted for five hours. The church staff was able to flee, but those who lived on the campus lost all of their possessions. The attackers spray-painted the words "God is great," "Oh God help us," and "Love our prophet" on the church steeple.
The day after the attack, church members and other local Christians gathered in front of the burned buildings to express their disappointment at the local government for failing to protect their church. On Sunday, September 23, more than 1,000 people -- many more than the church's usual congregation of 300 -- attended a prayer meeting at the church site.
Pray for the protection of Christian communities in Pakistan and in other nations where protests are continuing. Praise the Lord for the faithfulness of the many believers who gathered together to worship Him. Pray that their conduct will act as a witness for Him.
For more information on Pakistan's persecuted Church, please visit www.persecution.net/pakistan.htm.
4. Update: Setback in teen's blasphemy case in Pakistan
(Source: Asia News)
The court case for Rimsha Masih, a Pakistani Christian teen accused of blasphemy, has been postponed until October 17 (for more information on the accusations, go to www.persecution.net/pk-2012-09-27.htm).
Meanwhile, the case has taken an unexpected turn as three witnesses whose testimony could absolve Rimsha have changed their statements. The three had earlier testified that the mosque leader, Khalid Jadoon Chishti, had planted fabricated evidence on Rimsha. However, they have since claimed they made the accusations under police pressure.
Please pray that Rimsha and her family will rest in the Lord who works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed (Psalm 103:6). Ask the Lord to grant wisdom to those defending her. Pray this case will result in positive changes to the legal system in Pakistan. Pray that Christians in Pakistan will not give into fear, but will look to the Lord for their strength.
For more on Pakistan's suffering Church, please visit www.persecution.net/pakistan.htm.
5. Pray with us this November
In the traditional church calendar, "All Saints Day" and "All Souls Day" stand out in the month of November, set apart to remember the saints of the church and the souls of those who departed this world. It is fitting, then, that the modern church has set apart the month of November to remember and pray for the persecuted Church through the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP).
November 4 is IDOP Sunday -- a day dedicated to lifting up our persecuted family in prayer. Talk to your pastor about getting your church involved by showing a short video about Christian persecution or having a congregation-led prayer time. You can also join in prayer with a prayer group, Bible study, or as a family.
For downloadable resources to guide you in prayer -- including videos, prayer points, and testimonies -- visit IDOP Canada at www.idop.ca.
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