VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

Home » 2016 » December

Monthly Archives: December 2016

Prayer Conference Call Reminder: Begins tonight at 9 pm EST

dending-the-persecuted-in-december-graphic

JOIN US! View Details Here

Advertisements

Fact Check: American Pastor Andrew Brunson is not being held with ISIS terrorists in Turkish prison

brunsonc

(Voice of the Persecuted)  Andrew Brunson has been imprisoned and falsely charged with being a threat to Turkey’s national security. read more Recent reports have shared that Brunson is in grave danger and is being kept with ISIS fighters and Afghani rebels. His wife has confirmed the claim is false.

I want to clarify that Andrew is NOT being held with violent people in prison. He is in a room with 11 Muslims who are very devout so prayers are always going on in the small room. But these are not violent people and he is not in danger from them. They all sleep in bunks in a fairly tight space, and eat the meals in another room and have a small courtyard to go out to. I believe they are kept separate from everyone else.

The Brunsons have lived, including raising their children, in Turkey for 23 years. Andrew was a pastor at the Resurrection Church in Izmir before the couple was detained on 7 Oct. under Interior Ministry deportation orders.

During a trial on Dec. 9, Rev. Brunson was accused of being linked with a terrorist movement. He was then taken to Izmir’s Sakran 3 Nolu T Tipi Prison.

According to the ACLJ, Andrew was allowed to visit with family on Wednesday, and allowed to have a New Testament Bible which was previously denied. He was also given some access to his attorney, and has a visit scheduled for Friday with U.S. Embassy Officials. Yesterday, Pastor Andrew appealed his imprisonment, and was denied. Another appeal to a higher court is allowed, but it is uncertain how that appeal process will go.  Due to an emergency decree in Turkey, those visits are recorded and any notes taken by his attorney are copied. Thus, Pastor Andrew has no attorney-client privilege.

(more…)

EVENT: ‘Defending the Persecuted in December’ 24-hour Prayer Conference Call Event

The Invite to Pray Matthew 26:36-38  …Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane and said to His disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”   And He took wi…

Source: EVENT: ‘Defending the Persecuted in December’ 24-hour Prayer Conference Call Event

Rising intolerance against Christians goes uncontested, even in the West

Global Persecution

Even in countries where there is not obvious persecution, Christians face increasing discrimination.
Moreover, offending, insulting or attacking Christians because of their beliefs and their values, including in the media and in public debate, based on a distorted and misinterpreted concept of freedom of expression, often goes uncontested.

(Vatican Radio) Monsignor Janusz Urbańczyk, the Holy See’s Permanent Respresentative to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) participated in Wednesday’s Conference on Combating Intolerance and Discriminations of Christians taking place in Vienna.

In his remarks, the Vatican diplomat called upon State authorities to “take into consideration the contributions of religious organizations and of their leaders concerning matters of common good and the development of society, including in the decision-making processes.”

The full text of Msgr. Urbańczyk’s three interventions are below

 

STATEMENT

BY MONSIGNOR JANUSZ URBAŃCZYK

PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE HOLY SEE,

AT THE CONFERENCE ON COMBATING INTOLERANCE AND DISCRIMINATION AGAINST CHRISTIANS

14 December 2016

SESSION I: SECURITY OF CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES ACROSS THE OSCE REGION

Mr Moderator,

As this is the first time my Delegation takes the floor, I would like to echo the gratitude voiced during the Opening Session by Monsignor Antoine Camilleri, Undersecretary for Relations with States of the Holy See, and thank the German Chairmanship and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODHIR) for organizing this Conference on combating intolerance and discrimination against Christians. I thank the introducers for their valuable contributions to our discussion, noting especially their presentation of the extensive commitments that all participating States have agreed to in this field.

It should come as no surprise that the issue at hand is important to the Holy See and central to the work of its OSCE Delegation, just as it was when the Holy See dispatched its Delegation to the Helsinki negotiations more than 40 years ago.

The OSCE clearly provides added-value when considering and addressing security in a comprehensive and holistic manner, ranging from military to human security. Therefore, this forum is particularly apt to address the security challenges that Christian communities face today. Thankfully, the OSCE area does not witness blatant and violent persecutions of Christians, as sadly other parts of the world currently do. However, our region is still not free from cases of discrimination against Christians, and ultimately even their security can be at risk. As a matter of fact, manifestations of intolerance, hate crimes and episodes of violence or vandalism against religious places or objects continue to increase, and we certainly thank the ODIHR for its work in this field. Moreover, offending, insulting or attacking Christians because of their beliefs and their values, including in the media and in

2

public debate, based on a distorted and misinterpreted concept of freedom of expression, often goes uncontested.

Madam Moderator, starting from the Helsinki Final Act of 1975, participating States have agreed through the last 40 years upon a consistent set of commitments aimed at promoting freedom of religion or belief, and at fighting intolerance and discrimination. In this regard, let me recall the most recent 2013 OSCE Kyiv Ministerial Council Decision No. 3 on Freedom of Thought, Conscience, Religion or Belief, which emphasizes the link between security and the full respect for the freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief. With this decision, participating States have inter alia committed to ensure the right of all individuals to profess and practise religion or belief, either alone or in community with others, and in public or private, and to manifest their religion or belief through teaching, practice, worship and observance, including through transparent and non-discriminatory laws, regulations, practices and policies.

This is an integral part of the wide concept of security that we are addressing today, which includes, but goes far beyond, the physical protection of Christians and of their worship places and objects. It is well known that manifestations of discrimination and intolerance, if not correctly addressed, may end up threatening the security of individuals and may give rise to wider-scale conflict and violence that undermine international stability and security. While praising the efforts of participating States in this regard, we regret that incidents against Christians are still often underestimated and do not receive appropriate attention by the national authorities or the media. The lives of many are being affected only because of their Christian faith, which is itself an essential source for values such as tolerance and equality.

Furthermore, I would like to draw your attention to another worrying trend. In fact, we have to acknowledge some aggressively orchestrated actions, especially in the media and in public discourse, against Christians and all others who express peacefully their religious views, traditions and values. This seems to be true in particular for those who defend human nature from being reduced to mere matter and from the new ideological colonization that invades human thought, under the pretence of virtue, modernity and new attitudes, and which is contemptuous of reality as God has created it. Freedom of expression on these issues seems to be threatened, and believers who share publicly their convictions are often labelled as intolerant or accused of bigotry. In other words, the peaceful contribution of religion to public life seems not only to be rejected, but also contested. In this regard, allow me to reiterate that where fundamental freedoms are questioned, security also can be endangered.

In conclusion, we call upon participating States to act resolutely to protect Christians in their territories and to address properly, including by adequate legislative measures, all cases of intolerance, discrimination, hate crimes, and violent

3

incidents against Christian individuals, communities and places or objects of worship. Furthermore, we encourage them also to address the new forms of discrimination, including in the mass-media and in public debates, and report and condemn these incidents promptly. The active role of state authorities in protecting and promoting tolerance and non-discrimination can truly assure peace and security, as well as contributing to creating a peaceful environment where Christians, as well as all other religious groups, can freely profess and practise their faith.

In the Ministerial Council meeting in Basel in 2014, participating States, after adopting the Declaration on enhancing efforts to combat anti-Semitism agreed to advance the elaboration of other Ministerial Council Declarations that could effectively combat intolerance and discrimination against Muslims, Christians and members of other religions. It is regrettable that two years later, due to hesitations from some participating States, we seem no closer to making good on our tasking to ourselves. The Holy See recognizes the attempt made by the German Chairmanship prior to the Ministerial Council in Hamburg, and the interest and engagement of so many Delegations, especially those who in good faith took an active part in the discussion, regardless of their views. Despite our lack of success so far – actually because of it – the Holy See calls on the incoming Austrian Chairmanship to devote a meeting of the Human Dimension Committee next year to this Basel tasking.

Thank you, Madam Moderator.

 

STATEMENT

BY MONSIGNOR JANUSZ URBAŃCZYK

PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE HOLY SEE,

AT THE CONFERENCE ON COMBATING INTOLERANCE AND DISCRIMINATION AGAINST CHRISTIANS

14 December 2016

SESSION II. SHARING BEST PRACTICES: EDUCATIONAL APPROACHES AND

AWARENESS-RAISING MEASURES

Mr Moderator,

First of all, the Delegation of the Holy See would like to thank the introducers for their interesting and insightful presentations.

In our pluralistic societies, we recognize the contribution religions make to the shaping of culture, to encouraging dialogue and to fostering mutual understanding. Yet sometimes we witness the marginalization of, and hostility towards, religions and believers, which can constitute intolerance and discrimination and can lead to hatred and violent acts.

A fundamental principle of the Christian vision of things is to seek the common good instead of the merely personal. For Christians, as Pope Francis has written in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, “the whole is greater than the part, but it is also greater than the sum of its parts”. [Christians] constantly have to broaden [their] horizons and see the greater good which will benefit us all.”1 This approach, for example, allowed Europe, based on its religious roots, to be capable of reconciling diverse cultural traditions and this approach still allows Christians today to seek mutual understanding, open to an increased sharing of the values of each one.

I would like to stress, in particular, two aspects of the topic proposed for discussion during this Session.

The first one is the key role of education in promoting tolerance and non-discrimination since it addresses the root causes of the phenomenon.

1 Apostolic Exhortation EVANGELII GAUDIUM, No. 235.

In this regard, it is to be hoped that governments and leaders commit themselves to ensure that all can have the minimum spiritual and material means needed to live in dignity, including the right to education and religious freedom.2 In order that education is able to ensure integral human development, it should be used as a means to build bridges. In fact, one of the greatest temptations nowadays is to build walls instead of bridges, and this is sometimes even achieved through education. As Pope Francis said, “the biggest failure [….] is to educate “within the walls.”. Educating within walls: walls of a selective culture, the walls of a culture of safety, the walls of a social sector that is well-off and goes no further ahead.”3

Bearing in mind that this “temptation” is often widespread, in Brussels Ministerial Council Decision 13/06 the Participating States have recognized the value of cultural and religious diversity as a source of mutual enrichment of societies and the importance of integration as a key element to promote mutual respect and understanding. Indeed, religious values should be considered an enriching integral component of a society rather than the expression of a subculture that is not linked with public life. Furthermore, in Ljubljana Ministerial Council Decision 10/05 the Participating States have encouraged public and private educational programmes that promote tolerance and non-discrimination, and raise public awareness of the existence and the unacceptability of intolerance and discrimination, fighting prejudice, intolerance and discrimination against Christians as well as Muslims and other religions. The Holy See firmly believes that education is a tool at our disposal to build bridges for peace and stability and to raise our youth as peace-makers and promoters of true tolerance and non-discrimination.

The second aspect is the crucial role of constructive dialogue, within the public debate in promoting tolerance and non-discrimination against Christians. The misuse of dialogue can create and reinforce patterns of intolerance and discrimination. On the contrary, its wise use can contribute to humanizing relations among people but also among governments, and can foster and develop a correct, mature and respectful public opinion. As Pope Francis has written in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, social dialogue is a contribution to peace. In this regard, also interreligious dialogue could be a tool which reinforces mutual understanding and builds confidence in order to reduce intolerance and discrimination.

Finally, to quote Pope Francis once again, “in her dialogue with the State andwith society, the Church does not have solutions for every particular issue. Together with the various sectors of society, she supports those programmes which best respond to the dignity of each person and the common good. In doing this, she proposes in a clear way the fundamental values of human life and convictions which can then find expression in political activity.”4

Thank you, Mr Moderator.

  1. Meeting with the members of the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization, Address of the Holy Father, September 2015.
  2. Address of Pope Francis to the participants at the World Congress promoted by the Congregation for Catholic Education, 21 November 2015.
  3. Apostolic Exhortation EVANGELII GAUDIUM, No. 241.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS OF PERMANENT MISSION OF THE HOLY SEE,

AT THE CONFERENCE ON COMBATING INTOLERANCE AND DISCRIMINATION

AGAINST CHRISTIANS

14 December 2016

Some additional recommendations to those already proposed during the previous session of this conference.

  1. We call upon State authorities to take into consideration the contributions of religious organizations and of their leaders concerning matters of common good and the development of society, including in the decision-making processes.
  2. We call upon authorities to respect and protect religious education in society. We also encourage them to support educators, including families, schools, and religious organizations, to develop and strengthen education programmes that can promote mutual understanding between different cultures and religions, as well as universal values such as respect for the inherent dignity of every human being and solidarity.
  3. We invite all actors to engage in an open and constructive dialogue on religious issues. In fact, we seem to witness a certain timidity to undertake a serious dialogue on religious issues and a reluctance to deal with them, which may prevent us from further advancing in our efforts towards mutual understanding.
  4. We express appreciation to the ODIHR for any initiative it may develop aimed at enhancing the security of Christian communities as well as capacity-building programs for improving the prevention and response to hate crimes, including the training on hate crimes for representatives of Christian churches and for Christian Civil Society.

Finally, since ODIHR Director Michael Link has recently confirmed that next year will see concrete progress in the drafting of guidelines for educators on countering intolerance and discrimination against Christians, reflecting guidelines on intolerance and discrimination against other religious groups, the Holy See does not need to repeat its recommendations on this point. However, this delegation thanks the

ODIHR for its decision, and assures the Office of our wholehearted support for the work ahead.

 

STATEMENT

BY MONSIGNOR JANUSZ URBAŃCZYK

PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE HOLY SEE,

AT THE CONFERENCE ON COMBATING INTOLERANCE AND DISCRIMINATION AGAINST CHRISTIANS

14 December 2016

SESSION III: THE WAY FORWARD. PREVENTING AND RESPONDING TO INTOLERANCE AND DISCRIMINATION, BY BUILDING TRUST BETWEEN COMMUNITIES

Mr. Moderator,

At the end of this Conference, my Delegation wishes to thank once again the German OSCE Chairmanship and ODIHR for their efforts in preparing this important event and for providing us all with a platform to discuss the burning issue of intolerance and discrimination against Christians. Many thanks also to introducers for their interesting and insightful presentations.

The previous sessions have given us the opportunity to reflect on various aspects of intolerance and discrimination against Christians as well as more broadly on freedom of religion and belief. A freedom “which shapes the way we interact socially and personally with our neighbors whose religious views differ from our own.”1 As enshrined in the principles of the OSCE, freedom of religion is a key for security, stability and peace, and it allows that mutual understanding which is increasingly important in our globalized world. This session now calls us to reflect on how building reciprocal trust can contribute both to preventing and to responding to, violations of that freedom and episodes of intolerance and discrimination.

The key to prevention is to recognize that religion, with its values and traditions, can significantly contribute to the enrichment and development of society, and to creating a peaceful environment where everybody is free to profess and practice his faith. As Pope Francis has recalled, “religion itself, the religious dimension, is not a subculture, it is part of the culture of every people and every nation. [Religions] remind us of the transcendent dimension of human existence and our irreducible freedom in the face of any claim to absolute power.”2 As a matter of fact, religions have an enduring capacity to open new horizons, to stimulate thought,

  1. Pope Francis, Meeting for religious liberty with the Hispanic Community and other immigrants, 26 September 2015.
  2. Ibidem.

to expand the mind and heart,3 feeding mutual trust among people and communities. We therefore call upon participating States to acknowledge such a role and to enable Christians to fully participate in public life. We also urge authorities to condemn, including with adequate legislative measures, the use of and incitement to violence on religious grounds. In this regard, as Pope Francis has repeatedly affirmed, no violent act, including terrorism, should ever be predicated on religion or belief.

Already emphasized earlier today, we are sadly witnessing that all around the world religious freedom seems not only to be reduced to a marginal sight, but in some cases, is actively suppressed. In the OSCE region, discrimination and intolerance against Christians is increasing, leading to mistrust, hatred and even to episodes of violence against believers and of vandalism against places or objects of worship. This is the reason we convened here today, to address jointly this challenge for our common security area. Moreover, Christians are frequently discouraged from practising their faith and sharing their values, as they are fearful of being attacked or insulted. The forms of intolerance against Christians stem from what Pope Francis calls the “globalization of the technocratic paradigm,”4 which consciously strives to impose uniformity and seeks to eliminate all differences and traditions under the false justification of unity. Thus, religious leaders and believers have not only the right but also the duty to show that it is possible to build a society where “a healthy pluralismwhich respects differences and values them as such [is a] precious ally in the commitment to defending human dignity […] and a path to peace in our world.”5

Mr Moderator, to face these challenges and to respond to intolerance and discrimination against Christians it is fundamental to build, or even re-build, trust. First of all, while already praising efforts in this regard, we call upon all participating States to uphold firmly the many commitments related to freedom of religion or belief we have agreed to since the very founding of our Organization. With the Helsinki Final Act of 1975, at a time when the very existence of religion was questioned, we promised “to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief, for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.”6 After Helsinki, we have developed together several effective tools to make this promise real. Among others, for instance, Kyiv Ministerial Council Decision 3/13 commits us to promote dialogue between religious or belief communities and governmental bodies, and to encourage the inclusion of religious and belief communities in public discussions.

In fact, dialogue is the key to fight intolerance, but to have an effective dialogue we need trust. The Holy See encourages governments, followers of the various religious traditions as well as all other actors in society to engage in an exercise of mutual understanding and to join their voices in calling for tolerance as well as in promoting and living the rediscovery of encounter with others. Only in this

  1. Pope Francis, Apostolic Exhortation EVANGELII GAUDIUM, No. 256.
  2. Pope Francis, Encyclical Letter LAUDATO SI’, No. 106.
  3. Pope Francis, Apostolic Exhortation EVANGELII GAUDIUM, pp. 255 and 257.
  4. Helsinki Final Act.

way, we will be able to achieve that culture of encounter that Pope Francis has invoked many times. My Delegation would also encourage the incoming OSCE Chairmanship and participating States to keep this topic high on the agenda of our Organization.

To conclude, the Holy See reiterates its full and tireless commitment to build trust through frank, open and direct dialogue with State authorities and other religious organizations. “Such dialogue is particularly crucial in our multipolar societies. In fact, if religions are not part of the solutions, they may easily become part of the problem.”7

Thank you, Mr Moderator,

source: Vatican Radio

Martyrdom Robert Jermain Thomas: A seed that spread Christianity in Korea

Robert Jermain Thomas

Robert Jermain Thomas

Many in Wales never heard of the Welsh missionary Robert Jermain Thomas but in South Korea he’s recognized as a hero and the man who brought Christianity to the country.The young missionary left the shores of Britain to minister God’s Word in China and Korea. His martyrdom would be the seed that would grow and contribute to the Korean revivals in 1903 and 1907. Be encouraged by his testimony and the growth of Christianity in Korea.

The BBC recently shared an article titled, ‘Remembering North Korea’s Christian martyrs’ describing the efforts and sacrifice of this young Christian missionary.

Christmas is a time of great celebration for the world’s two billion or so Christians. In one part of the planet, though, the lights are out. There is not be a flicker of recognition of the festival in North Korea – or not in public. It may be celebrated secretly, particularly as 2016 is the anniversary of a great Christian martyrdom on the banks of the Taedong river in Pyongyang.

Nobody knows how many North Koreans celebrate the birth of Christ just over two millennia ago. For them, displays of faith can lead to prison or worse.

And nobody knows either who will remember the death 150 years ago of a missionary on the banks of the Taedong river.

The Welshman, Robert Jermain Thomas, was one of the big figures who brought Christianity to the Korean peninsula. Befitting his contribution, his death, around the end of August in 1866, has been marked with loud and joyous celebrations in churches in Cardiff and Seoul.

But from Pyongyang, where Thomas was martyred, there has not even been a peep of the smallest trumpet. Read more

To learn more visit www.robertjermainthomas.com

Please remember our brothers and sisters living in North Korea, the most dangerous place to be a Christian.

What you would do if you were living in North Korea under it’s oppressive rule? Imagine living in extremely harsh conditions without a freedom of speech, little hope for the future and the possibility of extreme punishment, even death for being a Christian? Imagine what it means to risk not only your own life but that of your spouse, children and even extended family members because you believe in Jesus. What would you do?

Pray for North Korea

Pray that God will break Communism in North Korea like He di

Pray for North Korea

Pray that God will break Communism in North Korea.

Pray for the secret believers who face torture and execution if discovered.

Pray that the Holy Spirit will move upon people’s hearts and reveal Jesus to them.

Pray that God will call more to pray for North Korea.

Pray that the Holy Spirit will move upon North Korea and reveal Jesus to them.

 

 

Dec. 26: The Feast of St. Stephen, the First Christian Martyr

Stephen, first Christian Martyr (Saint Stephen by Luis de Morales)

Stephen, first Christian Martyr (Saint Stephen by Luis de Morales)

The story of Stephen: In the New Testament, in the book of Acts, you will learn how the members of the church in Jerusalem gave their money freely to help the poor. This free giving led to trouble, as the church grew so fast; for some of the widows who were poor were passed by, and their friends made complaints to the apostles. The twelve apostles called the whole church together, and said:

“It is not well that we should turn aside from preaching and teaching the word of God to sit at tables and give out money. But, brethren, choose from among yourselves seven good men; men who have the Spirit of God and are wise, and we will give this work to them; so that we can spend our time in prayer and in preaching the gospel.”

This plan was pleasing to all the church, and they chose seven men to take charge of the gifts of the people, and to see that they were sent to those who were in need. The first man chosen was Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Spirit of God; and with him was Philip and five other good men. These seven men they brought before the apostles; and the apostles laid their hands on their heads, setting them apart for their work of caring for the poor.

But Stephen did more than to look after the needy ones. He began to preach the gospel of Christ, and to preach with such power as made every one who heard him feel the truth. Stephen saw before any other man in the church saw, that the gospel of Christ was not for Jews only, but was for all men; that all men might be saved if they would believe in Jesus; and this great truth Stephen began to preach with all his power. Such preaching as this, that men who were not Jews might be saved by believing in Christ, made many of the Jews very angry. They called all the people who were not Jews “Gentiles,” and they looked upon them with hate and scorn; but they could not answer the words that Stephen spoke. They roused up the people and the rulers, and set them against Stephen, and at last they seized Stephen, and brought him before the great council of the rulers. They said to the rulers:

“This man is always speaking evil words against the Temple and against the law of Moses. We have heard him say that Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the laws that Moses gave to us!”

This was partly true and partly false; but no lie is so harmful as that which has a little truth with it. Then the high-priest said to Stephen:

“Are these things so?”

And as Stephen stood up to answer the high-priest, all fixed their eyes upon him; and they saw that his face was shining, as though it was the face of an angel. Then Stephen began to speak of the great things that God had done for his people Israel in the past; how he had called Abraham, their father, to go forth into a new land; how he had given them great men, as Joseph, and Moses, and the prophets. He showed them how the Israelites had not been faithful to God, who had given them such wonderful blessings.

Then Stephen said:

“You are a people with hard hearts and stiff necks, who will not obey the words of God and his Spirit. As your fathers did, so you do, also. Your fathers killed the prophets whom God sent to them; and you have slain Jesus, the Righteous One!”

As they heard these things, they became so angry against Stephen, that they gnashed on him with their teeth, like wild beasts. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up toward heaven with his shining face; and he saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on God’s right hand, and he said:

“I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God!”

But they cried out with angry voices, and rushed upon him, and dragged him out of the council-room, and outside the wall of the city. And there they threw stones upon him to kill him, while Stephen was kneeling down among the falling stones, and praying:

“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit! Lord, lay not this sin up against them!”

And when he had said this, he fell asleep in death, the first to be slain for the gospel of Christ. (Bible Hub)

St. Stephen’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Stephen, is a Christian saint’s day to commemorate Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr or protomartyr, celebrated on 26 December in the Western Church and 27 December in the Eastern Church. Many Eastern Orthodox churches adhere to the Julian calendar and mark St. Stephen’s Day on 27 December according to that calendar, which places it on 9 January of the Gregorian calendar used in secular contexts. In the denominations of Western Christianity, Saint Stephen’s Day marks the second day of Christmas or Christmastide.

Suicide Bombers attack capital of Borno State

nigerian_map

(Voice of the Persecuted) Nigeria:  Two suicide bombers attacked the Kashuwa Shanu market in Maiduguri, the capital city of Borno State on Monday morning. The attack follows Nigerian President Buhari’s statement circulated on Christmas Day, which  declared a major victory against Boko Haram insurgents and announced the fall of the last enclave of Boko Haram militants in Sambisa forests to Nigerian troops. (more…)

The Light of the world has come! Merry Christmas from Voice of the Persecuted

Voice of the Persecuted Merry Christmas 2015

At Voice of the Persecuted, we share with you all the joy that is felt as we recall and honor the birth of our dear Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Matthew 1:23

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Even angels appeared to announce the great event and joy to the world.

 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2:8-14

A promise of peace among men with whom He is pleased!

It’s a special time of gratitude, giving, hope, anticipation of a new year and time spent with those we love.  But for many, it can be a time of isolation and loneliness, longing for those we have lost and the place we called home. As we hear of war, terror attacks and fallen economies, many fear for what may come. When Christ was born, people also lived in oppression and walked in dark times.  But through amazing love, we were given the greatest gift, a Savior, Jesus who is the Light of the World!

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”  John 8:12

In the darkness of night, Christ was born to bring hope and light into the world. He did what no other could accomplish; He brought salvation to all who believe, love and follow Him. As followers of Christ, we will never walk in darkness.

This Christmas, let us reflect not on the trials, but on all God’s blessings in our lives. Let us thank the Lord for His faithfulness to bring hope to the afflicted, to bind up the brokenhearted and liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners. We thank God for comforting all who mourn, giving them strength and peace instead of mourning. For the ability to praise instead of a spirit of fainting, for being with us in the storm.

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. Titus 2:11-14

To all our persecuted brothers and sisters, our advocates and workers in the field, missions who partnered in emergency situations—to all friends of Voice of the Persecuted—and to you who have supported our ministry and make it possible for us to care for our persecuted family…THANK YOU! We pray for the Lord’s guidance and the ability to do so much more in 2017.

Rejoice! In the name of the Lord, Rejoice! Christ is King and Savior of the world.

May Peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all through the year. We thank you for standing with us in the mission!

God bless you,

From all of us at the Voice of the Persecuted

%d bloggers like this: