My heart is breaking. We have spent countless hours on video conference calls, and phone conversations with our brethren in Nigeria and Pakistan. Two countries, our Lord has laid on our hearts to intervene and bring hope. We have listened to heartbreaking story after story of the desperation, the untold death and suffering. We comfort those who have fled, forced to leave loved ones behind. The sorrow and helplessness in their voices digs at our very soul. But we do this with great love and joy as our Lord commanded us, but at times we shed uncontrollable tears. And today is one of those times.
As I look at videos and pictures of the achievements and growth of a family that we are aiding, I hear sadness in the father’s voice. He is alone, without his family, not by choice but a situation forced on him through extreme persecution.
A short while later I reviewed videos of another sort—the death and destruction carried out by evil men and my soul cries out like theirs does. One on the frontlines was literally broken for a time. The sights of brutal slayings, wails of brokenhearted and lives forever turned upside down, proving too much for his mind and soul to process—literally unable to speak of it. He even began questioning his own faith. After much prayer and comfort from God, he is healing with a renewed spirit and sense of commitment.
We could share all the details that would break your heart in two, but for fear for our brothers and sisters safety, the risk is too great. But know this, their suffering is real, their tears are real, what they are witnessing is real. Traumatized until they reach the Kingdom of Heaven and all sorrow is wiped from their eyes.
The shock and pain the children are enduring is impossible for us to recognize in the West. Our precious brethren in Nigeria and Pakistan wonder, “Do our brethren in the West even know, do they care?” They wonder what would it be like to live in a country where you can walk the streets without fear. Never needing to look over your shoulder, or fearing what awaits around the next corner. To live in a nation not bombarded by targeted attacks month after month, week after week. No need to flee their home to find safe places, as they pass the dead careful to avoid bodies strewn along the path. Why can’t it be this way in their own country, their generational homeland, they don’t want to leave. “We just want to live in Peace.”
I want to share their story, but must do so with discernment.
Recently, we learned of 2 men who were captured by the Boko Haram. They were given the options, convert or die. In fear, one converted, but they killed him anyway stating, “We will send you to Allah without sin.” The other refused to denounce Christ. As they butchered him, he began preaching the Gospel. He begged them not to kill him, not because he was afraid, but because in his words, “You will be judged for this, please don’t do it.” He had that much forgiveness and love for his attackers.
One dear soul tells of a vision that keeps him going, a vision from God of the Kingdom of Heaven. Those of you that share the gifts of prayer and hope, letters, and donations mean so much to those persecuted. One day soon they will be able to tell their stories. But as for now I can only ask that God would allow me to take their pain from them, if only for a moment to allow them comfort.
What if each one of us did this every day, or even once a week? Asking God to give us for a time, the pain of one who suffers allowing them to heal and feel peace. Could you handle it? Could you handle the shock, the pain, the sorrow, the helplessness and hopelessness that they feel every day even for a moment? What if we took 5 minutes even 10, every day to pray and intercede ( o in this manner? I believe the healing that would go forth would amaze.
We don’t normally share video’s that portray horrific images, but I turned to this video by accident which normally I will shut off rather than watch. I already hear firsthand these stories vividly in the lives of our brethren, but this time it was as if God said No, you will watch and then share it. Right now, if God is speaking to your heart to intercede for them—watch this video from Nigeria. It’s 2 years old and at present it is much more volatile. Please use discretion, the video is very graphic and not for the faint of heart. Afterwards, spend time with God asking “What can I do?” Let us know how God is using or moving you for care for these dear ones.
C. Refsland, VOP Advocate/News Analyst
WARNING! VERY GRAPHIC VIDEO BY CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIAN AMERICANS
(Voice of the Persecuted)We’ve reported on the stench of death and destruction befalling Nigeria for a some time. Tirelessly working to bring the latest news from the front lines, verifying each report given. The latest report is nothing new, but still disturbing. Radical groups linked together in a Super Highway of Terror with ISIS, Al-shabob, Al-queda, possible connections with the Lord’s Resistance Army and rebels fighting from Iran to the coast of Africa. They have kidnapped children, boys and girls for servitude, slavery and rape/sex trafficking. Indoctrinating,training boys for their murderous campaigns. But the images being released demand examination. Are these children being utilized in suicide bombings as in recent attacks using 10 year old girls? Are they recruiting those orphaned by this devastating crisis? Can we even begin to understand not only the physical injuries, but the deep psychological wounds suffered as they are exploited?
We’ve reported on Nigerian Christian leaders crying out for world intervention, the Daily Mail shows in their report, images released by Boko Haram of their training camps. They quote Pastor Laolu Akande, the Executive Director of Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans, CANAN.
“Boko Haram can only be defeated if the Nigerian military is backed up internationally. He said Nigeria had been trying to defeat the terrorist for four years, but ‘Nigerian forces are too weak’. Pastor Akande said: ‘It is time for international force of the calibre of the UN to deploy troops in that part of Nigeria. This has to be done and it cannot be ignored any more.’ (More)
Recently, the best the US had to offer was to send John Kerry who urged Nigerians not to postpone upcoming elections. The Washington Times covered the visit.
Amidst rising civil unrest in Nigeria, Secretary of State John F. Kerry flew there this weekend to meet with President Goodluck Jonathan and his challenger in the upcoming Nigerian presidential election to discuss the vote and discourage violence from each party’s supporters, and also to enhance cooperation in the fight against Islamist terrorism.(More)
Nigeria’s elections are often fervidly contested. And this election may be one of the most competitive yet. Polls show the candidates are neck and neck with the outcome too close to call. This election is promising both new hopes and fears hovering like a huge black cloud over the country. The back and forth between incumbent President, Goodluck Jonathan and former military ruler, a Muslim from north, Muhammadu Buhari has threatened to turn violent. Without going in depth, it was said after the 2011 election, many were killed when Buhari lost and that he “unleashed the dogs of war.” Many Christians and Muslims were killed in the violence, 800 according to Human Rights Watch. Since, the unthinkable slaughter has soaked the country in blood of the innocents.
Angry at the Nigerian government’s failure to fight Islamic extremists, many Christians & Muslims are disillusioned with Jonathon. They are looking to Buhari with his checkered past, to save Nigeria and stamp out the Boko Haram. Only time will tell and while the accusations continue on both sides, pray wisdom for leadership and the people of Nigeria.
And lastly we ask, “What will happen to the children of Nigeria?” What will become of the government already fragile, while Boko Haram expands—claiming a government in a territory now the size of Belgium? The future of Nigeria belongs to the children, the next generation. What will their elders leave for them? Freedom or captivity?
(Voice Of The Persecuted) On Jan 7th, Islamic gunmen forced their way into the secular satirical weekly, Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris and carried out the massacre shouting “Allahu Akbar” meaning “God is most great” during their attack, which ended with 17 killed, four at a kosher supermarket. The weekly often pokes fun at all religions, not only Islam. It publishes caricatures of everyone, religious and political.
Over 40 world leaders attended the Paris unity march and linked arms with the French President as they led millions who had gathered to take part in the march. France pledged to battle terrorism with “a cry for freedom” at the historical rally.
While many in the world vehemently denounced the Paris massacre, Muslims around the world protested against the magazine demanding an end to free speech when it concerns satire or criticism of Islam’s founder. Violence erupted during the protests in Niger that came against many churches and other buildings. Christians were killed in the mob attack.
PAKISTAN: Thousands attended protests in Pakistan against Charlie Hebdo, the secular satirical weekly. Speaking at a protest, the leader of Jamaat-e Islami, stated, “The path that the West has chosen will take the world to a third world war.” Jamaat-e Islami, is a leading influential Islamic revivalist movement and Pakistan’s oldest religious party.
In Pakistan insulting the prophet can carry the death penalty.
Multiple outlets reported that 200-300 Muslim students stormed a Christian school during rallies held on Monday against the French magazine. The students from local Islamic seminaries were among those at the rally in the town of Bannu. Some ran into the Christian Panel High School for boys telling the students to leave and demanding closure of the ‘school for infidels’. A stampede resulted injuring four students. The protesting youth also damaged the property and smashed windows. Some have claimed a few of them were carrying guns. School administrators called off classes the following day.
Though violence was not seen against Muslim institutions, the District police authorities are claim it was not thought to be an anti-Christian attack. Naturally, Pakistani Christians remain cautious. Many feel it’s not a matter of if they will be targeted, but when. Schools in high tension areas are requesting security and preparing children for a possible attack by holding drills.
There are those who are feverishly working to end freedom of speech on a global scale. Recently a Pakistani cleric called for the UN to establish a global Blasphemy law. We can’t remain silent on this, as there are many who risk death every day in Pakistan alone for this Blasphemy law. One sister Asia Bibi is awaiting a death sentence for accusations of Blasphemy. While the world finds excuse after excuse to attack Christians and minorities we must unite in prayer and voice for those in these countries and those fleeing. Please join us in prayer and support for those remaining in Pakistan.
(Morning Star News) – Muslim Fulani herdsmen on Friday (Jan. 23) killed a father of two in Taraba state whose pastoral ministry had brought education, medicine and clothing to thousands of impoverished people, sources said.
Pastor Joshua Adah was returning to his mission station in Bantaje, a village near Jalingo, from an evangelistic outreach to some villagers when his vehicle broke down after he had gone to some villages for evangelistic outreach, a ministry supporter told Morning Star News. Armed, ethnic Fulani cattlemen had invaded area Christian communities last week.
Joseph Kwaji, a police spokesman for the Taraba State Command, confirmed that Muslim Fulani killed Pastor Adah. Area Christians spoke as if Boko Haram had a hand in the slaughter, as the Islamic extremist group and other terrorists from outside the state have in some cases supported and joined the Muslim herdsmen in their longstanding conflicts with primarily Christian farmers.
“A few kilometer from Jalingo, he had car issues along the Wukari-Jalingo road,” said a supporter of Pastor Adah’s ministry. “He was mercilessly hacked to death by Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram.”
Pastor Adah is survived by his wife and two children, ages 8 and 6. His widow has said that he was “butchered.” He had left the comforts of city life to start a boarding school in a round hut that provided free education to a student population that grew to more than 400 pupils.
“Not too long after he got born again, he left the comfort and ‘luxury’ of city life for a remote village on a hill without light nor potable drinking water, not even a well in sight,” said the ministry supporter, whose name is withheld for security reasons. “He was there with his humble wife and kids to answer the call of God at this time when larger cities meant ‘greener pastures,’ fatter offerings and sizeable tithes to others doing ministry.”
As funding grew, his ministry (name also withheld) went on to build health centers, distribute clothing and provide medicines and supplies to the poor or whoever needed help, she said.
“He continued to preach the gospel and hold campaigns, not in the urban areas but mostly in rural areas,” she said “I don’t know why God allowed Boko Haram to cut his life short; even when it became dangerous, he refused to get out but kept preaching Christ in villages and areas where many will not go.”
Pastor Adah was a university graduate but decided against pursuing a career in his field after he felt called to pastoral ministry, she said.
“He shelved his qualifications and answered the call,” she said. “He took the gospel to those who never heard, even when many preferred the cities. He shared his meager resources with the poor, he clothed them, he showed love to them. His home was theirs. I can’t keep the tears away.”
She said his death has been devastating for her and other members of the mission.
“I’m still hoping to wake up and realize it has all been a bad dream,” she said. “If only I can see and speak to my friend, my big brother just one more time. You were a rare gem. I remember all the times he prayed with me, encouraged me. I feel so shattered. I am crushed.”
She began praying that the Lord, rather than men, would take vengeance.
“Oh God, hear my cry from the depths my heart, from my innermost being,” she said. “Arise ohJehovah Sabaoth [Lord of hosts], mighty in battle, and destroy your enemies lest they say, ‘Where is their God!’ My Father, shake the very foundation of Bantaje, for God’s General Joshua did no wrong. Maker of the heavens and the earth, behold your son’s blood has been unjustly spilled; righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne – then do justice, my Father.”
In a testimony he gave to his congregation and posted on his Facebook timeline two months before he was killed, Pastor Adah said he would remain faithful to Jesus Christ till death. In what appears to be his last message to church members, he said he first trusted in Christ in 2000.
“Fourteen years later, I am still born again,” he wrote. “I thank all those who stood and are still standing by me all these years; we will make it by God’s grace. Do not faint, no matter the challenge. God bless you all. I love you, please pray for me.”
Christians across Nigeria responded to news of his death, with many noting in social media that Boko Haram had killed and displaced thousands of Christians in Nigeria’s northeast. Some of the reactions appeared on the slain pastor’s Facebook page.
“He has fulfilled his ministry, he has finished his course,” wrote Mejida Job. “I love you my brother. I know you are with your Lord Jesus Christ.”
Islamists from violent groups have collaborated with Fulani herdsmen in attacks on Christians in Taraba, Kaduna and other states. On Oct. 19, Armed Muslim extremists stormed two churches in Taraba and killed 31 people as they worshipped. Two pastors, one pastor’s son, and 28 other Christians were slain in the attacks in the villages of Gindin Waya and Sondi, Christian leaders said.
Attacks on Christian communities in Wukari Local Government Area since February 2014 have been carried out by Muslim extremists in military uniforms who were members of Boko Haram, according to Christian leaders. Insurgents from Boko Haram, based in Borno state, have reportedly joined ethnic Fulani herdsmen in attacks on Christians in Taraba and other northeastern states.
Some recent attacks, according to Nigerian press reports, have been carried out by Fulani herdsmen who have become members of Boko Haram, which seeks to impose sharia (Islamic law) throughout Nigeria. While ethnic Fulanis have had longstanding property disputes with Christian farmers, church leaders say attacks on Christian communities by the herdsmen constitute a war “by Islam to eliminate Christianity” in Nigeria.
Last year well-armed Islamist mercenaries from Niger accompanied ethnic Fulani herdsmen in attacks on eight towns and villages across four local government areas in the southern part of Taraba, Christian leaders told the head of the state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria. The assailants also destroyed three church buildings.
Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s population of 158.2 million, while Muslims account for 45 percent and live mainly in the north.
VOP note: In the constant flow of ‘bad news’ being shared daily, many find it easy to turn it off as to not subject themselves to ‘depressing stories that bring them down’. They stay ignorant—hearts who inadvertently don’t care. We want to thank you for caring enough to read and learn how the Body of Christ is being persecuted and suffering in the world. Thank you for not turning your back on them and stepping up to help them survive. And most importantly, thank you for keeping them in your prayers.
Please continue to pray strength and endurance for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria.
God bless you.
(Voice of the Persecuted) Being the facilitator of a national conference call to pray for the persecuted church, much of our information is taken from reports and profiles given by advocacy groups such as Open Doors and Voice of the Persecuted. It is this information that often informs our prayers.
But it is a special blessing when I can hear from someone who is on the front lines. Those who are literally ‘boots on the ground’ in the midst of persecution witnessing the horrible atrocities that our brothers and sisters are enduring.
Through Voice of the Persecuted, I had the opportunity to connect with a Nigerian brother, ask questions, hear his response and to pray with him. He has seen the horrible persecution our brothers and sisters are facing in the country. Much of that persecution inflicted by the Boko Haram. This brother has seen atrocities that would grieve one’s soul. He too has been a victim of persecution. Yet this brother`s faith is strong.
He tells us that the saints in Nigeria hear our prayers as we pray for them. He asked that we pray the Nigerian brethren would have strength to endure the persecutions they are under. He also asked that when faced with their own martyrdom, the believers would have the courage to stand for Jesus and not deny Him.
What this brother speaks testifies to what I have heard regarding prayers for the persecuted. The persecuted ask that we pray for them. And their top prayer request is not that they escape persecution, but to have the faith to endure the persecutions and be faithful to Jesus even unto death.
1. Please pray that God will strengthen the Saints in Nigeria in the midst of persecution by Boko Haram.
2. Please pray that God will enable the saints to be faithful to Christ even as unto death.
3. Please pray that God will provide for the physical needs of precious saints who have been displaced by the evil of Boko Haram.
4. Please pray for a maturing and a unity of the Church in Nigeria in the face of persecution.
5. Please pray for God to change hearts of hate two hearts of love among the Boko Haram. Remember that Paul who was then known as Saul was the extremist of his day. And I cannot help but think that some serious prayer was going up for him in Damascus. And we see what the outcome of that prayer was. Saul was changed. Saul became Paul. Paul became a defender and a proclaimer of the gospel of Jesus Christ. So how many Saul`s might God have among the Boko Haram?
Blaine Scogin, VOP Prayer Coordinator
(Voice of the Persecuted)As you know we have reported that Boko Haram recently released a new video threatening all of Northeast Africa. Several threats were made against, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Chad. Threats made by the leader showcasing their huge array of weapons, and trumpeting their pride in how far they have come “from machetes and sticks” to now, boasting they would rule. Their recent presence in Niger inciting protests against a cartoon sent significant shock waves through the Christian Communities. Image after image of Christians continuing to worship in darkness show a contrast to the fear that this murderous group is attempting to instill in the world. But in reality while the world remains silent, the Black flag of Islam is controlling large swath’s of land. Larger than many in the world seem to realize.
Abuja (Agenzia Fides) – “Boko Haram tried to enter Maiduguri twice last weekend: the first time on Friday 23 and the second, Sunday 25 January”, reports Agenzia Fides. His Exc. Mgr. Oliver Dashe Doeme, Bishop Maiduguri, capital of Borno State, in northern Nigeria where the Boko Haram fighters tried to enter after having taken possession of other cities in the north-east of the Country.
“The guerrillas of Bolo Haram were rejected by the military and the civilian militia that defend the city. The fights were very intense. Boko Haram has lost several men. At the moment the situation in Maiduguri appears calm”, says to Fides Mgr. Doeme, who states that he is in Damaturu (Yobe State capital, whose territory falls within the diocese presided over by the Bishop) on a pastoral visit, although his collaborators keep him constantly updated on the situation in Maiduguri.
“We find ourselves in a very dangerous and difficult moment” continues the Bishop. “We risk seeing Boko Haram conquer the entire north-east before the end of the election, unless foreign troops intervene”, said Mgr. Doeme, referring to the presidential elections to be held in mid-February and to the coordination of the military actions of neighboring Countries against Boko Haram, after the latest raids of Nigerian extremists in Cameroon and the conquest of the base of the international force of Baga, on the shores of Lake Chad (see Fides 09/01/2015).
“The situation is very complex and the first victims are innocent civilians”, concluded the Bishop of Maiduguri who implies the existence of some “saboteurs” and accomplices within the Nigerian army, who favor the advance of Boko Haram for political reasons. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 26/01/2015)
A recent report by CNN gained alot of criticism for portraying the government’s lack of concern, care and support of the military. They spoke with soldiers and wives of soldiers, and their report shows soldiers having to buy their own uniforms, equipment and health care. Widows of soldiers are ignored, with the government refusing to hear their pleas.
Northern Nigeria (CNN) :I didn’t want to ask the question. I could already guess the pain behind the answer. “Do you think your husband is dead?” Her mouth twists, contorting her young face, tears welling in her already reddened eyes. “I don’t know… I pray to God to give him another chance,” she finally manages to stutter.
To watch the video click the above link. It’s eye opening. We also were skeptica,l so we sent it to someone on the ground for verification. Sadly, they confirmed this was true, saying there are many women in the same situation. Their husbands missing or killed and the government refusing to open their cases. Many women and children abandoned from a government their husbands swore to defend. Many innocents on the run from Boko Haram finding little comfort. One critic of the above said that the media here in America wouldn’t dare to call out our military in that manner, but yet we have. We have repeatedly called out our government for the way our veterans and their families are treated.
Boko Haram has devastated large areas of land. Right under the noses of the African Government and military.
Just how much territory do they control? It’s been said that Boko Haram alone controls land the size of Belgium. How could this happen? How could the world allow this cancer to spread? They seem to have underestimated the super highway that has been constructed right under their noses. By uniting with ISIS, Al-shabob, Al-queda, Hezbollah, Hamas, Taliban and Iran they have created this super highway of terror that reaches from Iran to the coast of Africa. They receive funding and weapons with their own network of alliances that rival NATO. That’s not hyperbole or an understatement.
While previewing this video for truth, we were told that one way for the Boko Haram to obtain weapons was to attack military bases where they receive intelligence from their connections in the military. Until the world realizes the scope of the magnitude of what is happening these groups will thrive. Again, their weapons, their intelligence, their support rivals that of NATO. They have created this mammoth network all across the Middle East and Africa. Look at Yemen and how quickly the government fell.
Despite all the violence, Christianity continues to grow in Nigeria. The numbers of Christians in Nigeria has grown from 21.4% in 1953 to 49.3% in 2010. Their faith is strengthened in the face of tribulation. What is heartbreaking is the numbers of displaced. Refugee camps are growing.
World Watch Monitor quotes a Nigerian Cleric : What ISIS has done in Iraq, Boko Haram is doing in Nigeria.
World Watch Monitor also tells of the plight and anger of Christians at the Governments inability to care for or protect them.
The Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria for the North Central Zone, Daniel Kadzai, said Christians in the north have lost confidence in the government’s ability to deal with the crisis. ‘‘The Federal Government has toyed with the lives and limbs of the Christians in Northern Nigeria for political gains. “There is no explanation the government can give as to why the Federal troops will run away from the towns prior to the attack on such towns by Boko Haram without putting up any resistance, if the government does not have a hand in the whole genocide on Northern Christians as is being speculated in the local and foreign media,’’ Kadzai said.
The Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (EYN), based mainly in the northern part of the country, is the worst affected by the insurgency. Information released during the protest shows that the church has suffered heavy losses and damages over the 5 years of Boko Haram insurgency. Over 8,000 of their members have been killed, while more than 700,000, mostly women and Children have been displaced and now scattered in places like Jos, Abuja, Kaduna and Yola. Some 270 churches have been razed completely by the insurgents. Nigeria is ranked fourth on theGlobal Terrorism Index (GTI) for 2013, issued by the Institute for Economics and Peace. According to the index, more than 80 per cent of the lives lost to terrorists occurred in five countries – Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria.The institute says Boko Haram is one of the four most-active militant organisations along with the Islamic State, the Taliban and al Qaeda. (More)
So you begin to see the magnitude of what is transpiring in Nigeria. Why are the cries of the innocents unheeded? We would like to know the answer to that. Although recent attacks are ever stronger, the condemnation from world leaders and the UN are not. No aid, no help, and nothing to stop the rampage. Pray for Nigeria.
C. Refsland, VOP Advocate/News Analyst
Petition to Stop Giving Our Tax Dollars to Nations that Persecute Christians
Eight billion dollars.
That’s roughly the amount of money U.S. taxpayers have paid Pakistan as it persecutes Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five sentenced to die for her faith.
How many billions are you willing to pay persecutors?
As a wave of persecution sweeps across the Middle East – and Christians flee for their lives – it’s time for the money to stop.
Already there is growing support for basic human rights and basic common sense on Capitol Hill.
Join the ACLJ and[over 132,000] as they demand the U.S. government stop funding nations who persecute Christians.
To Congress and President Obama:
We must stop sending billions of our taxpayer dollars to nations that persecute Christians. It’s that simple. Not one more dime for persecution. Cut off American foreign aid to any country that persecutes Christians.