(Voice of the Persecuted) In VOP’s latest communications with our contacts in Nigeria, we hear “life has not been easy”. They are “under much tension and fears, as the terrorists are at it again.” In recent weeks, Boko Haram has stepped up attacks on the suffering.
(Agenzia Fides) – Maiduguri, capital of Borno State in northeastern Nigeria, is again at the center of the attacks of Boko Haram, the Islamist sect, that despite having suffered heavy losses on behalf of the army in Nigeria and those of neighboring countries (Chad, Cameroon and Niger), has proven to still be able to hit and to sow death and destruction. On June 2, a suicide bomber blew himself up in the cattle market of the city, killing at least 13 people and several were wounded. During the night, residents in Maiduguri were kept awake by the gunfire and explosions of the clashes between the army and a commando of Boko Haram that wanted to make an incursion into the city.
“Maiduguri – explain local sources to Agenzia Fides – is a highly symbolic target for Boko Haram, especially as the new President, Muhammadu Buhari, has announced plans to transfer the command center of operations against the Islamist sect, so far located in the federal capital, Abuja. The new attacks are also a ‘sort of welcome’ for the new President, who has made the fight against Boko Haram one of the priorities of his mandate”.
By attacking Maiduguri, Boko Haram intends to prove that they are still able to hit, minimizing their losses. According to some interpretations, even the change of the group’s name, “Islamic State of West Africa”, announced in a video released yesterday, would be part of a operation to emphasize the threat posed by the Islamist sect. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 03/06/2015)
Two suicide bombs have rocked the city of Yola. It is reported that the men staged a fight to draw in a large crowd before detonating themselves on Thursday evening. Authorities confirmed on Friday that two suicide bombers killed at least 31 people and injured 38 others in the crowded Jimeta Main Market. Boko Haram is suspected of carrying out the attacks.
9 Northern Nigeria states already have implemented Sharia law completely, 3 others partially use Sharia. But Boko Haram’s goal is to Islamize all of Nigeria’s 36 states and put it under strict Islamic law.
Boko Haram, with ties to jihadists such as ISIS, has changed it’s name to ‘Islamic State of West Africa’. In their most recent video, suspiciously missing their leader, they mock the coalition, including Obama in an attempt to prove they have not been weakened. But the group has lost ground in recent months as the Nigerian military and their coalition partners push them out of places once under their control. But many areas remain unsafe with a real threat of being re-attacked by the militants.
In light of all this, the persecuted are praising God for sustaining them and they covet our prayers. They’re encouraged by their family in Christ remembering them in their suffering. DO NOT let up! Press into the throne with many prayers and petitions. Connect with our Father, intercede on their behalf.
The amount of internally displaced (IDP’s) is staggering. So many are suffering with little means to restart their lives. They have faced extreme persecution and great loss, including the lives of loved ones. Many have no where to turn, but to God and the Body of Christ. They NEED our help!
VOP has been blessed to work for and help Nigerian Christians in one of the hardest hit parts of the north. Running water, electricity, even shelter is not available for many of the affected.
Voice of the Persecuted’s, Project 13:3 mission offers aid such as nutrition, shelter, clothing, medicine, encouragement and Spiritual needs. We believe putting a bandaid on the wound is not enough. Following these families is an important part of this mission. And to assist in ways to help them rebuild their lives and future to the point of sustaining themselves.
Presently in one camp, we have 19 families including widows and orphans (equaling 100 people-58 of these are children) living in harsh conditions. Their needs are great and most are forced to sleep on cold concrete floors. Entire families sharing a tiny doorless cubicle with no glass in the windows. Clean water must be brought in for them, as the facility does not have the luxury of running water. They are unable to pay for the basics such as food, clothing, medical care and must rely on us, the Body of Christ.
Last week, I suffered an accident where the tip of my finger was crushed. Surprisingly, I didn’t notice any immediate pain but within seconds, it became so intense that I had waves of nausea that nearly brought me to the floor. This continued on for hours throughout the day. And though there was no visible signs of blood, it was bleeding on the inside. The next morning, my entire finger was so swollen it had more than doubled in size. If it was not raised above my heart, I experienced great pain and found it nearly impossible to focus on anything else. And for the past week, I’ve taken great care to protect it from further injury. A little part of the body that normally goes unnoticed, yet the injury affected my body as a whole and basically rendered my hand useless. Thankfully, it’s finally beginning to heal and should soon be back to normal.
Through this ordeal, I could not help but be constantly reminded of how the persecuted who so often go unnoticed, are a part of the Body of Christ that is suffering to the extreme. That when we are injured, our whole body suffers. And this is what the Church is experiencing today. The Word of God kept resounding in my mind. See below
For those partnering with us, your donations have recently covered the needs of one Nigerian family with 7 children in this camp. They now have pillows and are able to sleep on a mattress. They are clothed and no longer must go barefooted. The mother and her new baby (born in the camp-see photo above) have been seen by a doctor and will receive ongoing medical care. They have food and utensils to help sustain them, along with hygiene products to protect them from disease.
Their faith was really shaken; they went through and have faced extreme challenges. They urgently fled their home during an attack taking nothing for the journey. All they’ve ever labored for has been looted and destroyed by the radical elements. The whole community where they lived has been reduced to a heap of ruins.
“But God is still God. It is only in persecution that our faith is tested and purified.”
In their challenges, they have come to believe that God is always close to the persecuted. In Christ, your gifts have literally encouraged and strengthened their faith. To God they give all praise!
“From nowhere and in our nothingness, we have come to see the hand of God at work in our lives. We are gradually rebuilding our lives through the aid of Voice of the Persecuted.”
As they continue to cry out to God for help, we have been given the opportunity to bring hope to all 19 families in the camp. But caring for so many has brought a great financial burden. On their behalf, we are asking and pleading for your help. As the Body of Christ, let us be used as vessels, and continue on in this mission as his hands and feet.
Next Saturday, we will be sending an encouraging letter to our brothers and sisters in this camp. All those who have donated this month and those donating to the Nigerian Project in the next week, your names will be added to that letter. When donating, you are also welcome to add a message which we will include in the letter. They would love to hear from you!
UPDATE 93/2015: Since April, this camp has doubled in size with more coming everyday.
Lois Kanalos, Founder and the VOP Team
Together with your generous support, we can reach the goal to alleviate horrific suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.
Everyday, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and further His Kingdom! As you greatly bless others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!
You may also send your gift to:
Voice of the Persecuted
2740 Third St
P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183
1 Corinthians 12:12-26 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.
If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked. That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Galatians 6:10 So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.