(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Tuesday, September 7, 2021 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.
Dear Prayer Warriors, it is a privilege to pray with you for our brothers and sisters going through persecution for their faith in Christ.
Suffering as a Christian
“12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And
“If the righteous is scarcely saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?
19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.”
The Lord’s servant,
Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Conference Call Leader
VOP Note: The prayer team will continue praying for Believers and the people of Afghanistan on the prayer conference call Monday, Wednesday and Sunday nights. Please join the call and unite in prayer.
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What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.
Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.
“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.
On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.
Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone.
We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you are new to the call and cannot find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!
God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.
Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team
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Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.
Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Fulani herdsmen and suspected local Muslims killed 40 Christians in and near Jos, Nigeria in attacks on Aug. 25 and Aug. 15, sources said.
Armed with machetes and guns, herdsmen attacked the predominantly Christian community of Yelwa Zangam, Jos North County on the night of Aug. 25, killing 16 Christians and then burning to death 17 others when setting fire to their homes, area residents said. The dead included 12 children.
Local community leader Sunday Bunu identified the 16 Christians gunned down or killed by machete as Na’omi Joshua, a 12-year-old girl; Blessing Joshua, a 15-year-old girl; Rejoice Bala, a 19-year-old woman; Dashe Daniel Ganga, a 90-year-old woman; Mercy Daniel Ganga, a 40-year-old woman; Monica Ishaya, 38; men killed were Daniel Igyem Ganga, 110; Bulus Bagudu 45; Yohanna Bala, 42; Joshua Daniel, 40; Samson Danjuma, 26; Michael Busa, 25; Timothy Bitrus, 25; Naphthali Amos, 24; Philemon Bitrus, 22; and Uwenni Joshua, 20.
Burned beyond recognition in the house fires, according to Bunu, was a 4-year-old girl, Timara Ishaya; a 5-year-old girl, Goodness Bala; an 8-year-old girl, Lovina Markus; a 13-year-old girl, Susana Ishaya; Halima Asabulu, 90; Sylvia Ajida, 56; Paulina Asabulu, 50; Deborah Asabulu, 37; Bridget Nathaniel, 20; boys killed were Ephraim Hosea, 9; Titus Bitrus, 13; Titus Ajida, 16; Silvanus Dauda, 17; Barnaba Hosea, 17; and Yunana Bitrus, 17; men killed were Yahanum Solomon, 18, and Babuka Bitrus, 75.
Yelwa Zangam resident Bitrus Pada confirmed that 33 Christians were killed in the attacks in the area, which is near the University of Jos, while several others received hospital treatment for injuries. Pada said he lost two members of his family in the attacks.
“Those of us who survived this attack need urgent supply of food items and temporary shelter, as most of our possessions were burned and looted by the herdsmen,” Pada told Morning Star News.
Johnson Jauro, a top leader of the predominantly Christian Anaguta people in Jos, confirmed the attacks, as did area resident Jeremiah Bulus. Bulus said the herdsmen shot Christians as they slept in their houses at about 10 p.m.
“Corpses have been taken to the mortuary,” Bulus said. “We are still making efforts to recover more corpses from several houses which the herdsmen also set ablaze. The situation is really bad for us.”
‘Let Her Blood Speak’
Three Christian university students in Jos were killed on Aug. 15 by suspected local Muslims, as were four other Christians in and near Jos in separate attacks, sources said.
The three Christian students of the University of Jos were identified as Doris Bitrus Danboyi, Bagu Christopher and Iyaye Abuma Shedrack. Bitrus Danboyi, a student of the Department of Religion and Philosophy, was killed while returning to campus from her church worship, according to her uncle, Godwin Tengong.
“Islamists killed my niece while she was coming back from church! Let her blood speak!” Tengong said.
Area resident Lilian Madaki said that Bitrus Danboyi was killed around Bauchi Road Junction in Jos on her way back from church. Ayuba Iliya, a member of her Assembly of God church, said in a text message that his wife taught her in Sunday school.
“I watched this girl grow,” Iliya said. “She couldn’t have been above 20, yet the human vampires snuffed life out of her, while the government has kept a conspiratorial silence on the deaths of many more innocent children killed in the heart of town.”
A relative, Saje Daniel Dalyop, said Bitrus Danboyi made a great impact for Christ at only 20 years old.
“She is indeed a martyr,” Dalyob said. “Our loss but Heaven’s gain. Jesus remains Lord.”
The body of Christopher, a history and international studies student at the university, was found Aug. 15 after he had gone missing, said student Atomigba Tordoo.
“He was killed by Muslims in the town,” Tordoo said.
Shedrack, a first-year student of microbiology, was stabbed to death by suspected local Muslims in Jos. Danladi Joshua Adankala, president of the Students’ Union of the University of Jos, said in a text message, “The incident of Sunday, Aug. 15, resulted in the brutal killings of Christian students by some elements guided by inhuman and barbaric philosophies.”
Adankala said two other Christian students of the university, Mafeng Ezekiel and Mangal Joseph, were still missing and three others wounded.
“Three Christian students, Moses Joyce Tsaku, Kwaghaondo Kingsley Aondona and Peace Isaiah, were stabbed and injured by the Muslims,” he said.
Four other Christians were reportedly killed on Aug. 15 by local Muslims in the Terminus, Yan Trailer and Katako areas in Jos and in Dong, a suburb of the city.
A worship auditorium of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) on Bauchi Road in Jos also was set ablaze by local Muslims on Aug. 15, according to Jos North Local Council officials.
The killings reportedly came in retaliation for an Aug. 14 massacre of 25 Fulani Muslim travelers by youths belonging to the predominantly Christian Irigwe ethnic group along Rukuba Road in Jos North County. Reportedly returning from an annual Islamic New Year (Zikr) prayer event in Bauchi state, the travelers were en route to Ikare, Ondo state when they were intercepted and killed by the Irigwes who were retaliating for the prior killing of their kinsmen by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
The Rev. Polycarp Lubo, chairman of the Plateau State Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), said church leaders were tired of conducting funerals for members killed on a nearly daily basis in Plateau state.
“We are tired of telling Christians to calm down, take it easy, pray,” Pastor Lubo said. “Christians will be in their houses and still get killed while sleeping; I don’t understand this.”
Nigeria was the country with the most Christians killed for their faith last year (November 2019-October 2020), at 3,530, up from 1,350 in 2019, according to Open Doors’ 2021 World Watch List. In overall violence, Nigeria was second only to Pakistan, and it trailed only China in the number of churches attacked or closed, 270, according to the list.
In this year’s World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, Nigeria broke into the top 10 for the first time, jumping to No. 9 from No. 12 the previous year.
Numbering in the millions across Nigeria and the Sahel, predominantly Muslim Fulani comprise hundreds of clans of many different lineages who do not hold extremist views, but some Fulani do adhere to radical Islamist ideology, the United Kingdom’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom or Belief (APPG) noted in a recent report.
“They adopt a comparable strategy to Boko Haram and ISWAP [Islamic State West Africa Province] and demonstrate a clear intent to target Christians and potent symbols of Christian identity,” the APPG report states.
Christian leaders in Nigeria have said they believe herdsmen attacks on Christian communities in Nigeria’s Middle Belt are inspired by their desire to forcefully take over Christians’ lands and impose Islam as desertification has made it difficult for them to sustain their herds.
The APPG report noted that tribal loyalties cannot be overlooked.
“In 2015, Muhammadu Buhari, a Fulani, was elected president of Nigeria,” the group reported. “He has done virtually nothing to address the behavior of his fellow tribesmen in the Middle Belt and in the south of the country.”
The U.S. State Department on Dec. 7 added Nigeria to its list of Countries of Particular Concern for engaging in or tolerating “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom.” Nigeria joined Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan on the list.
In a more recent category of non-state actors, the State Department also designated ISWAP, Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Houthis, ISIS, ISIS-Greater Sahara, Jamaat Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin, and the Taliban as “Entities of Particular Concern.”
On Dec. 10 the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, issued a statement calling for investigation into crimes against humanity in Nigeria.
Photo: Aug. 28 funeral by Anglican Diocese of Jos for 17 of 33 Christians killed on Aug. 25 in Yelwa Zangam, Plateau state, Nigeria. (Facebook Anglican Diocese of Jos)