An expression of grief and anguish and an appeal for the wider body of Christ to share in the pain of the family, especially the wife/mother and the parents/grandparents. See report here
One of our contacts in South Africa and dear brother in Christ has notified VOP that a beloved co-worker, also a South African, Werner Groenewald has been killed by the Taliban in Afghanistan. He had been running an education charity. His two teenage children were also killed. His wife escaped death, as she was not home at the time of the attack.
Reports claim a Taliban spokesman said in a statement that it was targeting “a secret Christian missionary and foreign invaders’ intelligence center.”
The small California-based NGO that he had been working with shared this statement on their website:
“It is with great sadness that we report the death and injuries of several of our staff yesterday during an attack on the offices of Partnership in Academics and Development in Kabul, Afghanistan. The attack which occurred on November 29, 2014 by multiple gunmen included one who detonated a personal explosive device killing three and injuring other staff members.
We are caring for all staff and their families as they grieve the loss of their friends and co-workers and nurse the wounded. We honor their commitment to the people of Afghanistan. We grieve for their loss and hold them close to our heart. Our thoughts are with the survivors and their families as they grieve the loss of life. Their selfless sacrifice for the people of Afghanistan is an inspiration to all.
In the midst of this unprovoked attack, Partnership in Academics and Development remains committed to providing educational resources for Afghan citizens as they become part of the international community.”
An expression of grief and anguish and an appeal for the wider body of Christ to share in the pain of this family.
Please pray the Lord will comfort his wife, Hannelie Groenewald who has also lost her children. And for all those who love them.
Thank you for always committing to pray for those enduring great suffering. To them, your prayers are priceless!
Rome (Agenzia Fides) – To propose a motion on religious freedom in Pakistan to Italian politicians, to be approved in Parliament; to invite the international community and the Italian government – especially during the six-month Presidency of the Council of the European Union – to ask Pakistan to defend and protect religious minorities: are the goals of the Association of Pakistani Christians in Italy who on December 2 at 11,30 am will hold a conference in Palazzo Montecitorio, seat of the Chamber of Deputies of the Italian Parliament. The conference takes its cue from the severe episode regarding Shama and Shahzad Masih, a Christian married couple burned alive in a brick-kiln on November 4, and intends to discuss the anti-blasphemy law but also of the slavery of Christians in the brick-kilns, a widespread phenomenon in Pakistan. The conference involves several Italian MPs and prof. Shahid Mobeen, founder of the Association of Pakistani Christians in Italy.
“The tragic murder of the couple is yet another case of extrajudicial killings linked to accusations of blasphemy”, says the note sent to Fides, “and is used in particular to target religious minorities”. “The episdode – concludes the text – also highlights the tragic fate of brick kiln workers in Pakistan. Entire families are enslaved to repay debts to factory owners and forced to work in inhuman conditions. It is estimated that between three and eight million Pakistanis are victims of this present-day form of slavery”. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 29/11/2014)
Living daily at risk of unspeakable torture, becoming enslaved, or killed at the hands of brutality.
(VOP) Imagine, for a minute that you live in a land where slavery is rampant. Imagine for a minute that a walk in the park, or simply going to the store could find you in the hands of barbarous rebels who wanted nothing more than to rape, torture or kill you. Imagine for a minute while riding a bus to visit family, to get to work or go home at the end of the day suddenly overtaken by evil men demanding that you recite a prayer to their deity which is foreign to you. Imagine how you would feel knowing you couldn’t and the result would most likely end in your death.
This is reality for many in Africa from Somalia to Nigeria, even as far north as Libya. A recent slaughter took place in Kenya as a band of Muslim rebels attacked a bus load of people, and when the men couldn’t recite the Muslim ‘shahada’ they forced them to lay on the ground and shot them. One man who survived said they must have thought that another already shot him. He laid very still until they left.
There are reports that 33,000 Nigerians are still in the caves and starving. They were forced to flee the Boko Haram to escape death. The same report says that Boko Haram has stolen tear gas canisters that they are now throwing into the caves. (More) Why is this barely reported by the West? Why is it not repeatedly denounced by the UN? Nigeria has been embroiled in a political struggle amid reports of human rights abuses by the military, which prominent leaders deny. Yet, no one is helping the many in the most dire situations, nor interested in the truth.
FACT: The people are suffering, many to the extreme. Based on the magnitude of need, they have received little aid relief, safety, nor much sympathy. It appears Western leaders along with the UN are not interested in the ethnic cleansing and what is called by some, a genocide taking place. History repeating itself?
One of our Nigerian contacts witnesses these horrific scenes and great suffering on a daily basis. He described to us a recent trip to deliver relief. While traveling, he felt the sudden urge to leave the car, he said God was guiding him to get out the car and run into the bush. He demanded the driver to stop the car and urged him to leave too, but the driver refused and continued down the road. He didn’t get very far. The car was attacked, robbed and the driver beheaded. These are occurrences faced by those brave enough to offer love, sympathy and aid to those suffering immensely.
It has become common place for people of Western nations to accept the fact that their governments are supplying aid to rebel groups in Syria and other places, including weapons. It has been presented to them as necessary to help rebel groups who are fighting evil, so it’s honorable to arm them. But what is the truth?
It’s reported these weapons are being shared and trafficked in a ways unimaginable to most. Many in these groups, no matter what they portray to the West, are uniting with one another for one goal, to set up one government, one law, (Sharia) that will as they believe, rule the world. Rebels trained to kill as many ‘non-believers’ as possible. To rape women, force conversion, marriage, and torture those they kidnap.
In another recent attack at least 40 were killed by two female suicide bombers in Maiduguri. One entered a roadside trading area and detonated herself. While people were trying to get to the wounded, the second woman blew herself up causing more damage and death, preventing help from getting to the victims. (More) A calling card of Boko Haram. Again it begs the question, could these females be captives that were kidnapped?
Cameroon, that borders Nigeria is closing 130 of it’s secondary schools as they have become targets of Boko Haram (Western education is sinful). It is understandable why they would want to do this for the protection of children. However, many feel this will only embolden the terror group as, ‘mission accomplished’. Again, why does the West remain silent? These terror groups have catapulted the Middle East, Africa and Asia from a modern-day world that has prided itself on movements toward equivalence and peace, into the dark ages wiping out thousands of years of history, all vestiges of civility and growth toward peace and equality for all.
World leaders have instituted failed foreign policies that have set 1/4 of the world on fire, with cataclysmic results. They have fueled and aided a war of attrition.
“Attrition warfare is a military strategy in which a belligerent attempts to win a war by wearing down the enemy to the point of collapse through continuous losses in personnel and material. The war will usually be won by the side with greater such resources. The word attrition comes from the Latin root atterere to rub against, similar to the “grinding down” of the opponent’s forces in attrition warfare.”
Is the West ‘complicit’ in these killings, tortures and genocide of minorities? While this snake continues to grow governments continue to slice up the spoils. And the people, innocent victims are starving, or suffering immense & indescribable torture. Do they view them as simple casualties of war? While thousands are forced to flee from this evil, fear and hatred grows in strength.
Amid the cries from the West to stop all travel to Africa due to Ebola, many now question if they should mission to this Continent. Who is going to help these people? Who will provide comfort, food, clothing, spiritual support and encouragement for these children and their families? Many are hiding and unable to even find a crumb of food or water. While African leaders have met with the West, no sustainable solutions are forthcoming. No condemnation, only defensive statements when challenged such as, “We have given military support.”
You can be their voice, you can be their spiritual family. Your prayers and voices do matter. Over and over we hear the same thing, “no one cares.” No one is helping, are we forgotten? Sadly, for most of the world this is true. Too few care, “Africa’s always in crisis, what’s new?”
These are our brethren! Innocent people who are being ripped apart by this erosion of civilization in modern times. Spreading an evil ideology that’s beginning to make the dark ages look pale in comparison. Today, atrocities are being carried out with blindness in part for a civilized world. Why not start, or help to start a conversation in your church, your parish, your neighborhood and help with a mission there. Ask your community leaders, your Representatives, your Senators for their help. You would be surprised at the lack of interest for missions boards in this region. Didn’t Christ tell us not to fear? So why are not more of these agencies helping. We have heard that they do not wish to plan their activities in these areas facing untold evil. Why not ask your pastor about your mission board and how they can do more? Watch, a minister who is speaking out and aiding.
Again, send your prayers to the throne of God, but start a conversation this Thanksgiving. Lets start a revival with the Holy Spirit guiding us with Spiritual fire instead of manmade flames.
We, at VOP have answered God’s call “Whom shall we send.” Won’t you help? Help us to go, or bring a voice from the front lines to tell us first hand, their heart wrenching testimony? Won’t you wrap your arms around our family who needs us so desparately? Will you answer God’s call, can you hear His voice? We can’t do it without you.
As we are thanking God for our blessings this season, let’s remember and act for those less fortunate and suffering. Let’s do as Jesus said: “Truly I tell you what you did for the least of these, you did for me.”
Everyday, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and further His Kingdom! As you have greatly blessed others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support.
VOP Advocate Team
(Voice of the Persecuted) A mother of five, Asia Bibi has spent the last four years in prison in Pakistan for daring to drink water from a Muslim well. She is a Christian who has been tortured and persecuted for her faith in Christ. While working in a field along side other women, she became thirsty and went to the well to get a drink, her Muslim co-workers complained as a Christian, she had defiled the well. An argument ensued and Asia defended her faith to the Muslim co-workers who then tried to force her convert to Islam. She was arrested, tortured and later convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to death.
Since her incarceration, Asia has faced extreme pressure to convert to Islam. At one point her family states that during interrogations she asked for a drink and they gave her urine. Though there has been a global outcry in support of Bibi, world leaders still haven’t championed for release her. In fact they have said very little about her death sentence. Meanwhile, Pakistan is one of the West’s biggest beneficiary of monetary aid—in the billions. They continue to overlook and allow abuses such as this to continue as radicalism grows. Silence is consent.
The world watched stunned, appalled and shocked as a Muslim mob tortured and burned a Christian couple in a brick kiln oven for what is now proven to be a false charge of burning Koranic verses. A couple who did not worship as they did. The lynch mob became judge, jury and executioner. Another man recently died in police custody enduring torture. Human rights abuses are rampant in this country as they follow a barbaric law that may lead to a death sentence simply for faith outside of the majority.
‘You are my only hope of staying alive in this dungeon, so please don’t abandon me,’ she said. ‘I did not commit blasphemy.’
Watch the story of Asia Bibi and then call or write your Senators and Representatives and tell them you expect them to call an emergency meeting and demand accountability from the Pakistan government. Tell them you expect them to initiate safeguards to prevent Pakistan’s government from going against their Constitution. Click here for a copy of a letter you can send. And please remember Asia, Keep her in daily in your prayers.
Below is a preview of an upcoming documentary of Asia Bibi’s blasphemy case and the danger to minorities in Pakistan.
Julie, IA, USA
Pastor Saeed and his wife, Naghmeh Abedini have been facing insurmountable spiritual warfare because of their Love for God. I hope and pray that myself and each one of us can stand in the face of evil and proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord!
We must press in and rely on God for all thing in our lives—trusting in Him with no limits. Focusing our attention solely on Him. We must also pray for the lost to be found in Christ. May we boldly go forth sharing the Gospel of love and truth and may they accept it with open minds and hearts. May we being living sacrifices so that our faith, love and testimonies point them to the Lord. May all the glory and praise go to our Father in Heaven. IN FAITH, KEEP PRAYING AND TRUSTING. Thank you for stepping out of the ‘comfort zone’ to support the persecuted. God bless you, sister!
VOP Project Team
(Morning Star News) – Two pastors in northwestern Bangladesh could face two years in prison if convicted for “hurting religious sentiments.”
Police on Nov. 9 arrested the pastors and 41 people, including Muslims, who were listening to proclamation of Christ at a rented house in Nabinagar village in Lalmonirhat District, 300 kilometers (186 miles) northwest of Dhaka, after at least 100 Islamists disrupted the meeting and began “jabbing” at the church leaders’ faces, sources said.
The 41 people who were detained along with their children were released that night; the pastors of Faith Bible Church of God were not released on bail until Nov. 17, charged with “hurting religious sentiments” and luring Muslims to convert by offering money. The church leaders deny both charges.
“We did not tell anything to anyone that might hurt religious sensibility,” one of the released pastors, Arif Mondol, told Morning Star News. “We did not offer any money to anyone to be converted to Christianity.”
An area source told Morning Star News on condition of anonymity that the incident caused a sweeping furor among local Muslims.
“More than 100 Muslims headed by local Jamaat-e-Islami party members and Muslim clerics gathered at the house and started barking questions at the pastors – why did they propagate Christianity in the locality and convert some of them,” the source said.
The Islamist leaders asked the pastors who had given them permission to spread Christianity in the area.
“The pastors replied that it did not take any permission from any authority to propagate any religion and convert people to any religion,” the source said. “Suddenly the Muslims became apoplectic with rage, tried to pick a fight and started jabbing the pastors’ faces.”
Police arrived and detained all 41 people, along with their children, and the two pastors, and took them to the Lalmonirhat police station at noon.
Local imams filed a case against the pastors the following day. Police told Morning Star News they were investigating.
Nazrul Islam Mukul, an attorney who helped the two church leaders to obtain bail, told Morning Star News that the pastors told those in attendance that Jesus Christ was alive and would return, and that as the living one everyone should come to Him for salvation.
“If the allegations of the case are proved and if they are found guilty, they will be put in jail for maximum of two years according to Article 295/A,” Mukul said. “People of the locality were very angry with the pastors. If police had not come timely, they would have faced severe consequences.”
A hearing is scheduled for Dec. 21.
Nirmol Rozario, secretary general of Bangladesh Christian Association, told Morning Star News that the charges went against the spirit of the country’s constitution.
“I demand that the case against the pastors should be dismissed, since the grounds of the case are contradictory to our constitution,” Rozario said. “This is the act of the communal and religious fanatics.”
Sunni Muslims constitute 90 percent of Bangladesh’s population, according to the 2011 census, with Hindu making up 9.5 percent of the total population, which the U.S. government estimates at 163.7 million people . The remainder of the population is Christian (mostly Roman Catholic) and Theravada-Hinayana Buddhist. There are also small numbers of Shia Muslims, Bahais, animists, and Ahmadiyya Muslims.