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CHRISTIANS FLEE NORTH-EAST SYRIA AS FIGHTING CONTINUES

DAMASCUS/ANKARA (BosNewsLife)– Tens of thousands of panicked-stricken people, many of them Christians, are seen fleeing north-east Syria amid fears that a brief ceasefire will not end a deadly Turkish invasion. They escape a region where over 100 people, including some Christians, were reported killed in recent fighting between Turkish and Kurdish forces. Others were injured.

“Already one Christian home in a Christian neighborhood in the city of Qamishli has been shelled, with family members injured,” confirmed Christian aid group, Barnabas Fund.

“The mother is in a critical condition in hospital. Two other Christians in Qamishli have been killed and many wounded,” the group added.

Barnabas Fund said, “Christians are alarmed to note that the attacking forces include not only the Turkish army but also Syrian Islamist rebel factions whose extremist ideology makes them strongly anti-Christian.”

At least one Islamic rebel group, the Levant Front, seized Christian homes of those fleeing in the town of Tal Abyad, other Christian aid workers told BosNewsLife. It was not immediately clear how many houses had been taken over.

CHRISTIAN REFUGEES

Barnabas Fund claimed that some of the Christian refugees were already displaced several times during Syria’s civil war. They “finally found stability in this region. Now they must run for their lives again,” the group explained in a statement to BosNewsLife.

As many as 100,000 people have already left their homes, according to the United Nations. The number of internally displaced persons could reach 300,000 in the area, warned Barnabas Fund citing local sources.

Turkey’s attacks, launched last week, target a part of Syria viewed as relatively secure in eight years of civil war. “But overnight it has become a battlefield,” Barnabas Fund complained.

The group noted that the region has strong Christian communities that are “often seen as a peace-keeping buffer between the Arabs and Kurds.”

Barnabas Fund said it is providing humanitarian aid such as food and shelter to Syrian Christians. Additionally, “We have also helped to support our brothers and sisters spiritually. That includes funding projects to strengthen church ministry and build them up in their faith through the years of unrelenting conflict, loss, and trauma,” it stressed. “As Christians, they suffered persecution for their faith in addition to all the normal suffering of the war.”

MORE VIOLENCE

Christians have reasons to fear more violence. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey warned his troops would “crush the heads” of Kurdish fighters if they don’t withdraw from a planned safe zone area in northern Syria.

Turkey agreed on Thursday, October 17, to suspend an offensive for five days to allow Kurdish forces to withdraw from the region.

But both sides have accused the other of violating the ceasefire, which was negotiated by the United States. American forces appeared unwilling Monday, October 21, to be drawn into the conflict. Reporters saw hundreds of trucks carrying American troops crossing into Iraq in a long military convoy Monday.

U.S. President Donald Trump said last week that he would bring all American troops stationed in Syria “back home.” He rejected concerns that this could lead to the freeing of Islamic militants from prisons and more pressure on minority Christians and other vulnerable groups.

American troops fought the Islamic State terror group alongside the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces. Most of these forces will move to western Iraq, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said. But he suggested that some would remain temporarily in Syria to protect oil fields from Islamic State, despite President Trump’s call for a full withdrawal.

IRAN: ‘NINE CHRISTIANS JAILED FOR LEAVING ISLAM’

Photo: BosNewsLife.com

TEHRAN, IRAN (BosNewsLife)– An Iranian court has sentenced a pastor and eight fellow members of the big evangelical Church of Iran movement to jail for leaving Islam.

Church leader Matthias Haghnejad and the other believers were each sentenced to five years imprisonment after a short hearing on September 23, trial observers confirmed to BosNewsLife.

Pastor Haghnejad was detained by the feared Islamic Revolutionary Guard following a church service in February this year, said advocacy group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), which supports the Christians.

The other believers Shahrouz Eslamdoust, Babak Hosseinzadeh, Behnam Akhlaghi, Mehdi Khatibi, Mohammad Vafadar, Kamal Naamanian, Hossein Kadivar (Elisha) and Khalil Dehghanpour were reportedly taken into custody in the coastal city of Rasht in early 2019.

Confirmation about their sentences came days after jailed Church of Iran pastor, Yousef Nadarkhani, ended a three-week hunger strike, according to Christians familiar with his situation.

FATHER’S CRY 

Nadarkhani, who is serving a ten-year prison term for church activities, began his action on September 23 to protest against his children being prohibited from continuing with their education.

He described his hunger strike in a letter to prison authorities as “the cry of a father, unjustly imprisoned.” The pastor stressed that the second-generation Christian children are increasingly penalized by educational authorities who do not recognize their faith.

It was not immediately clear whether Nadarkhani would be able to meet the other jailed Christians. Trial observers said the nine men faced a severe July hearing by Judge Mohammed Moghisheh, who activists claim “is notorious” for miscarriages of justice.

He allegedly attempted to coerce Pastor Haghnejad, Eslamdoust, Hosseinzadeh, Akhlaghi and Khatibi, into accepting a court-appointed legal representative.

The judge eventually suspended the proceedings, remanding them in custody on significantly increased bail terms when they refused to do so, reported CSW. “Judge Moghisheh subsequently resumed the trial of Mr. Vafadar, Mr. Naamanian, Mr. Kadivar (Elisha) and Mr. Dehghanpour, who were representing themselves…during which he asserted that the Bible was falsified and called the men’ apostates’,” the term used for leaving Islam, the group added.

APPEALS EXPECTED

During another hearing last month, the defendants’ lawyer was allowed to speak shortly, Christians said. “However, Judge Mogisheh is reported not to have responded to his statement. A source informed CSW that “it seemed as if the judge had already made his decision,” the group explained.

CSW claimed that the judge “allowed this process as a formality before pronouncing a pre-determined sentence.”

All nine Christians are appealing their sentences, but Pastor Haghnejad and those defended by a lawyer were already jailed, CSW said.

CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas told BosNewsLife that his group condemns “in the strongest terms,” the sentences handed to the Christians. “Once again, it is clear from the brevity of the trial and reported lack of interest of the presiding judge that due process was not observed. And the judge was not impartial,” he added.

“The charges against these Christians are excessive, completely unfounded and constitute a criminalization of a religion which the Iranian constitution purportedly recognizes,” Thomas said.

BROADER CRACKDOWN

He confirmed that CSW called “for the immediate and unconditional release of these nine men,” and all who are behind bars “for their religion or belief in Iran.”

The detentions are part of a broader crackdown on devoted Christians in the Islamic nation, according to several church sources and activists. Apostasy and spreading Christianity often lead to long prison terms and possibly a death sentence in Iran.

Despite these difficulties, mission groups suggest there are at least an estimated 360,000 Christians in the country. They include many former Muslims who turned to Christianity, seeking freedom from strict Islamic rules. Iran’s government-led Statistical Center reports 117,700 Christians in this nation of just over 82 million people.

The U.S. State Department has classified the Islamic Republic as a “country of particular concern” under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 “for having engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom.”

Iranian authorities have denied wrongdoing but say they want to protect the country against dangerous outside influences.

By BosNewsLife Middle East Service with Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife

Video: Hindu Extremists, Police Shut Down Worship Services in Uttar Pradesh

(Morning Star News) – Police broke up a congregational gathering of 6,000 worshipers in northern India on Tuesday (Oct. 15) after Hindu extremists leveled false charges of black magic, arms possession and forcible conversion against the pastor, sources said.

An administrative officer from Bahraich District, Uttar Pradesh, arrived with police in Pandeypurwa village, in Hardi police jurisdiction, announcing that the outdoor venue for the gathering had to be vacated by 8 a.m., said 23-year-old pastor Santosh Jaiswal.

“At least 6,000 were present for prayers, and within minutes the congregation scattered, and the police dismantled the stage and barricades,” Pastor Jaiswal told Morning Star News. “I have received information that I have been booked for insulting religious beliefs and for possessing arms, but I had never spoken about any religions. I don’t possess any weapons.”

The administrative officer, Surendranath Tripathy, and officer Shankar Prasad investigated allegations of forced conversion and found no evidence against Jaiswal, but police ordered him to stop the worship services, the pastor said. He relocated to the area to proclaim Christ among rural villagers on the border with Nepal less than seven months ago, he said.

Pastor Jaiswal said that officers Tripathy and Prasad accused him of performing black magic on Hindus.

“About a week before inspection, a Brahmin [high caste Hindu] journalist came to Sunday worship with cameras,” Pastor Jaiswal said. “He videotaped the congregation lifting up their hands and praying, and some groaning as they were held by evil spirits, and he also interviewed some people who experienced healing. Soon the local news media reported the prayers as black magic rituals, and that a Christian priest is promoting blind belief.”

The police officers parroted the same accusations, he said. Attempts to reach officers Tripathy and Prasad were unsuccessful.

“Some of the members from the congregation came to me and urged me to go into hiding, fearing my arrest,” Pastor Jaiswal said. “I wanted to face the police even if it would lead to my arrest, but I was moved to safety to a believer’s home.”

The First Information Report also names as defendants the pastor’s wife, Kajal Jaiswal, his sister Kunti Devi and a female believer. The open worship venue of about an acre belongs to his sister, who made it available for ministry, he said.

“People suffering from long-term illnesses and those captivated by evil spirits are relieved through prayers,” he said. “We share the gospel with them, and when they put their belief in Christ, they are healed. Only their faith heals them, it is not me. I am nobody to perform any miracles or magic tricks. When a person in pain requests for prayers, all I do is pray for them.”

He was working as a supervisor at a pub in Delhi when he first learned about Christ and developed a strong yearning to boldly proclaim his faith before as many people as possible, he said. He left his job and received training in Haryana state for two years, then returned to his native Pandeypurwa to minister among his own people, he said.

“In March, we were a home church of 12 believers,” Pastor Jaiswal said. “Soon the sick and people in need of prayers came to us. As we prayed, Lord gave them deliverance, and people also came from villages far away. When one receives healing, the entire village, curious to know about Christ, throngs to prayers.”

Within months, hundreds of people increased to thousands, he said.

“Now at least 6,000 people gather for prayers on Sundays as well as on weekdays,” he said.

Village President Ram Sufal Mishra is aware of the services in the village and has never opposed them, he added.

Tricked into Jail

In Lakhimpur Kheri District, Hindu extremists last month surrounded pastor Shibu P. Matthew’s house threatening to attack him for his faith, but when he called police, they arrested him.

Released on bail on Saturday (Oct. 12), Pastor Matthew had cancelled a church service in Musupur, six miles from his home, on Sept. 8 due to a warning of an impending Hindu extremist attack, but a mob of Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council, or VHP) members found his home in Jahanpur and demanded that he come out, he said.

“They were abusing me in filthy language that I convert Hindus to Christianity, and that India is a Hindu country and I should be strictly punished for going against the Indian nation,” Pastor Matthew, 52, told Morning Star News. “Youths from the church had come over, and we thought we could spend the time in singing and worship. Then we heard a loud knock on the door. It was the Hindutva [Hindu nationalist] activists. We did not open doors and locked ourselves inside the house.”

He called Phoolbehar police, who threatened to take the mob into custody and then told the pastor he would need to come to the police station since he had reported them.

“I supposed that I was being summoned to the police station to give a written complaint,” he said. “But it was not so. The Hindu militant leaders were furious, and they levied pressure on police to register cases against me. The police whom I believed had come to my help until a minute ago had now taken their side. They also started accusing me of forced conversions, and that I distribute foreign funds among innocent Hindus and attract them.”

Under pressure from the vice president of the VHP, Shivnarayan Paswan, and his counterparts from the Bajrang Dal, police filed a First Information Report against him that night and presented him before a judge, who sent him to Lakhimpur jail, Pastor Matthew said.

The Hindu extremist leaders persuaded police to confiscate the pastor’s phone, saying it could contain evidence of forced conversions and foreign donations, he said.

Hindu extremists are working in an increasingly organized manner, said the coordinator of legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) in Uttar Pradesh.

“They are mapping even the remotest areas where Christian prayers are held and are targeting one after the other,” said the coordinator, whose name is withheld for security reasons. “In the first phase, it is only threats and warnings through a known person or village council. If these threats are not taken seriously, the strongmen from the militant group [Bajrang Dal] are deployed; they even call the police to their support.”

Local media are also enlisted, spreading biased, sensationalist news that touches off Hindu nationalist sentiment and instigates Hindus against Christians, he said.

“Musapur is a hamlet and it is not well connected to road or transportation – they reached even there, and also shut down five churches in surrounding villages as well,” he said. “Once a church is shut down by the extremists, they set up their informers in that village to collect information if the churches have started functioning again,”

Since March, ADF-Uttar Pradesh has organized more than 70 trainings to advise church leaders on how to exercise their legal rights when under attack by police and Hindu extremists, he said.

“As many as 100 pastors attend each training camp, and they have been informed of their rights and strategies that can be adapted to deal with police and authorities at the time of the attack or arrests,” he said. “We are connected with victims from across the state via the toll-free helpline, 1-800-208-4545, and smaller teams have also been built in almost all the districts, working like a rapid action force to come to victims’ aid upon receiving information about attacks or arrests.”

Originally from Thiruvalla in southern India’s Kerala state, Pastor Matthew had moved with his family to Uttar Pradesh following a divine call after he underwent heart bypass surgery, he said.

“After the surgery, we sold off whatever was left in Kerala and moved to Uttar Pradesh, because God had put this zeal in my heart that we should minister among people who had never known or heard about Christ,” he said.

Police Seal Off Worship Venue

In Varanasi District, another pastor has moved to three villages in the past three years due to pressure from Hindu extremists to stop worship services.

Pastor Dasarath Pawar of Evangelical Churches of India told Morning Star News that the congregation has scattered since their latest move from Madhuban Lawn to New Colony.

“We only gathered in the evenings in Madhuban Lawn, and their accusations were that we are converting Hindus to Christians, and that they had warned me several times before but I had continued the prayers,” he said. “On Sept. 8, a batch of 25 strongmen of Hindu Yuva Vahini threatened us that the attack would be brutal if we don’t obey this time. The church property has been sealed by police, and they are not allowing us there.”

CALL-IN PRAYER EVENT FOR LEAH SHARIBU Oct. 26, 2019

(Voice of the Persecuted) Leah Sharibu was taken captive on February 19, 2018 by the Islamist militia, Boko Haram. October 26th marks twenty months of Leah’s captivity and concerned citizens will gather in Washington DC, and across the globe, to pray for her safe release and call on governments to act on Leah’s behalf. To give all an opportunity to pray, Persecution Watch has scheduled a call-in event for those unable to attend a physical location. See details below

The Nigerian government was able to negotiate the release of her 104 classmates but because Leah refused to convert to Islam, she remains in captivity and the government has been less than forthcoming about securing her release. Although Nigerian leaders have made occasional pronouncements and assurances throughout her captivity, Leah remains a hostage and her family continues to wait and pray for her release. After false hope and unmet expectations, it is unknown what this Christian girl is having to endure solely for her Christian beliefs. Leah is not alone in her plight. Christians around the world are persecuted daily for their faith, facing threats of beating and death, and are often forced to flee their homes for fear of retribution.

Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch team moderator, who will be leading the call-in event shared,

Nadia Dybvik of Persecution Watch Photo: Voice of the Persecuted

“As a young girl in Italy, I was very shy, didn’t have many friends and often felt lonely and depressed. I remember looking up to the vast and beautiful sky dreaming that somewhere over the clouds was a mighty God in a mighty big mansion. I hoped for Him to look down and take me up with Him. I imagined it was a place of peace flowing with love. I wanted to go there and to be with this mighty God. That was so many years ago and I realize now that l genuinely didn’t know our mighty and loving God back then.

I am no longer that lonely, depressed, shy little girl. 36 years ago, I gave my life to Him and finally became a child of God. He has come into my heart and forgiven me for all the wrongs I have done.

“For God so loved the World that He gave HIs only son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

As I look at the picture of this young girl named Leah, my memory brings me back in time when I was her age and my heart cries. If I had known Him then would I stand firm or would I deny Him so that my life would be spared? I hear His Word, “If you deny me, I will deny you”

Oh, what a faith to have at such a young age. Leah knows the Lord as her Savior, and when she looks up in sky, she knows for sure the true Living God. What a mighty work the Lord is doing through this young girl, what a testimony to all. I’ve never met her but love her so dearly. She loves Jesus this I know. I pray that I too will demonstrate my faith in Christ as firmly under all circumstances.

After her kidnapping, at only 14 years old, she wrote a note to her family.

“I know it is not easy missing me…I am confident that one day I shall see your face, if not here then there at the bosom of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

As I read Leah’s note to her mom, I hear Him whispering a very familiar verse to me,

“Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering” Hebrews 13:3.

How can I not obey? I will remember and I will Pray! I’m asking, “Will you also pray for Leah and the many brothers and sisters in this world suffering for their faith in Christ?” I personally invite you to join the call-in event.

Thank you for standing with Leah and the persecuted church. I look forward to meeting and praying with you on the call!”

Location: Any location from your phone
DATE:
Saturday, October 26, 2019
Time:
1 p.m. EDT
12 p.m. CDT
11 a.m. MDT
10 a.m. PDT
Call Number:  
712-775-7035
Access Code:
281207#

International numbers and Mobile App links available (We encourage the use of the free mobile app)

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link  or App Store – iTunes

Available International IDOP Prayer Conference Call Connection

(Note: You may experience issues in your country. If you are unable to connect, try using the VoIP dialer available at this link. Dial a number from any of the countries listed at this link to connect to the conference call. In-app language support is available for select countries.

If you would like to host a vigil for Leah or find one near you, please visit pray4leah.org for more information.

Persecution Watch is a prayer call ministry dedicated to praying for the persecuted. The weekly Persecution Watch Prayer Call meets at 9 pm Eastern every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.  For more info contact: pwprayercall@gmail.com  

Prayer vigil on October 26, 2019 for Leah Sharibu in Washington D.C. #FreeLeah #ItsTime

A global prayer vigil will take place on October 26, 2019 for Leah Sharibu.  For those unable to attend the D.C. vigil, information is provided on the Pray For Leah website to help you find or host a prayer vigil for Leah in your area.

Leah was abducted by the Boko Haram on February 19, 2018 with more than 100 of her classmates in Nigeria. She was the only Christian who was abducted and the only one who was not released because she refused to deny Christ. It is time to bring her home. Go to http://www.pray4leah.org to find a vigil near you. #Itstime #FreeLeah

Voice of the Persecuted is asking you to pray and to be a voice by spreading the word on social media, at your church, and in your community. Voice of the Persecuted will be at the vigil in Washington D.C.. If you’re attending, we hope to see you there!

We encourage you to also sign the petition urging the president of Nigeria to secure the release of Leah. SIGN HERE

Algerian Christians rally for “freedom of worship without intimidation”

Photo: Evangelical Focus report

(Evangelical Focus) by Joel Forster—Peaceful demonstrations call authorities to “stop closure of worship places”. Churches re-organise themselves in houses as the government threatens to close more buildings.

Algerian Protestant Christians have protested peacefully in the last days against the “unjust” governmental campaign to close churches. Groups of believers have called on the streets for “freedom of worship without intimidation”. “Mr Governor, stop the closure of churches”, said one of the signs written in Arabic and French.

“No to the unjust closure of churches” was written on another banner. Demonstrators also called to “derogate the 06/03 law of 2006”, a controversial order used to hinder the activities of faith minorities.  

BUILDINGS CLOSED, MATERIALS BLOCKED

“The closures of churches happen arbitrarily, with no chance of taking the materials out of the worship places. Chairs, microphones, materials, Bibles, everything is blocked”, told Evangelical Focus an Algerian source who knows the churches on the ground well.

Several local churches have moved their belongings to other worship places when the intervention of police officers seemed imminent.

Nine Protestant worship places have already been closed in 12 months, the last case being a “witness point” of a larger church in Tizi-Ouzou.

AN ANTI-PROTESTANT CAMPAIGN

The government action against Protestant groups has focused much on the Kabylie region. Some believers in the region see it as a “provocation” of the government with the underlying aim of prompting some kind of reaction that could then be punished “with a firm hand”, the source said.

Nevertheless, Algerian church leaders have called to maintain a peaceful attitude, not expressing anti-governmental opinions on social media, and defending religious freedom as they continue to engage in the prayer and fasting initiatives started in March.

The hostility of the government has led to a “stronger unity than ever before among the churches”. The significant growth of the Christian Protestant communities in the last twenty years may have led to some discrepancies in secondary theological issues, but these have now been set aside “to face all these injustices together”, the Algerian source told Evangelical Focus.

Christian communities whose places of worship have been shut have found the collaboration of other groups who are offering their facilities. “New groups in houses” have also been started lately.

The national government of Algeria is in the midst of a confusing transition time after the resignation of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Abdelkader Bensalah is the new interim leader called to organise new elections.

MORE CHURCHES AT RISK

In the last days, it has been known that two more churches in the Kabylie region could be forcibly closed. So far, authorities have justified their actions arguing that most Protestant places of worship do not have the license required under a law of 2006, known as the 06/03 order.

The Algerian Protestant Church (EPA, in French), an entity formed four decades ago which now unites more than forty Protestant churches in the country, has denounced Christian communities have applied for these licenses for many years, but authorities have intentionally ignored their requests in order to put them in a position of illegality. Algerian Human Rights experts are seeking to derogate the law.

WEA DEMANDS END OF CLOSURES

The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) is one of the international organisations that has positioned itself in favour of the Algerian Protestant Church.

The WEA addressed the situation at the recent September sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. It denounced that “the churches are in a legal grey-zone of non-recognition, giving authorities the latitude to close one building after the other”. The body representing 600 million evangelical Christians worldwide called to “end the campaign against Protestant churches, and review the registration process”.

Six Girls, Two Staff Members Kidnapped from Christian-Run High School in Nigeria

Engravers’ College sign in Kakau Daji village, Chikun County, Kaduna state, Nigeria. (Morning Star News)

(Morning Star News) – A day before the Kaduna governor said kidnappers terrorizing the state are working with Boko Haram, Muslim Fulani herdsmen on Thursday (Oct. 3) kidnapped six teenage girls and two staff members from a Christian-run high school in north-central Nigeria, sources said.

Suspected to be herdsmen who have carried out numerous kidnappings and attacks in southern Kaduna state, the armed Fulani at 12:20 a.m. invaded Engravers’ College in Kakau Daji village, in Chikun County Local Government Area near Kaduna city, as students and staff members fled into the bushes, the sources said. The eight victims were taken away at gunpoint.

Kaduna Gov. Nasir el-Rufai told media on Friday (Oct. 4) that “bandits,” the term used by officials and Nigerian media wary of connecting the kidnappings to their fellow tribal Fulani, are working alongside elements of Islamic extremist group Boko Haram.

“We have been receiving intelligence some three months ago that the bandits have connected with some elements of Boko Haram, and they will be targeting schools to kidnap children because they know that that is what makes the news,” El-Rufai said.

Shunom Giwa, vice principal of Engravers’ College, said that five armed herdsmen appeared at the door of his house and spoke with each other in the Fulani language.

“They asked me to lie down, and I did as instructed,” Giwa told Morning Star News by phone. “They then attempted to enter my bedroom and, fully aware that my wife and children were inside, I stood up to distract them, but they asked me to lie down again, which I did.”

A few minutes later, he said, another set of the armed Fulani herdsmen appeared at his house with Joel Adamu, the school’s vice principal academics, and they ordered his colleague to lie on the floor beside him.

“When I discovered that their attention was on my colleague, I just ran into the bush, and on realizing I was escaping, they shot at me, but fortunately they didn’t get me,” Giwa told Morning Star News. “They searched for me without success, and when they couldn’t get me, they started looking for where the students were.”

As the assailants went to the school hostel and forced the door open, Giwa tried to distract them by shouting, “Police, JTF [Joint Task Force] security come, there are kidnappers here!” he said. “On hearing me shouting, they began to shoot at to my direction again. I then ran and jumped over the fence and ran out of the school.”

He remained hiding behind the fence until the sound of barking dogs signaled to him that the assailants must be leaving, he said. He headed toward a school official’s house where female students had gathered after hearing gunshots.

“When we recovered from the shock of what was happening, we started doing a head count to know which students were missing,” Giwa said. “We found that Joel Adamu, the vice principal of academics, the house mistress and six female students were abducted.”

The school, which is open to both Christian and non-Christian students, has a secular curriculum in accordance with Nigeria’s Ministry of Education but includes a Christian perspective, and students take Christian Religious Knowledge as a subject, an official told Morning Star News.

The school has a student population of 100, with rampant insecurity in the state compelling some parents to withdraw their children from the school, Giwa said.

The kidnappers have contacted school officials with their demands for ransom, he said. Initially they demanded 30 million naira (US$82,327) per student before negotiating lower, according to local reports.

“We are trusting God for the protection of the captives and hoping they would be released without being hurt,” Giwa said.

The 15-year-old daughter of Julde Juli was among the abducted students.

“I was shocked on receiving the news of the kidnapping of my daughter and other students,” he told Morning Star News. “I just pray that nothing happens to them, and that they come out alive. I trust that our God is sovereign over all things. We are trusting that through divine intervention our children would be rescued.”

The high school has suspended classes, school Director Samuel Amamchukwu told Morning Star News in a text message.

“We can’t continue with academic activities while the six students and two staff are in captivity,” he said.

Remaining students have returned to their parents, he said.

The village lies in the kidnapping belt of the state and is on the route to Kwanti village, where Morning Star News last year reported the displacement of many Christians due to kidnappings by armed Fulani Herdsmen, according to area residents.

Kaduna State Police Command spokesman Yakubu Sabo said authorities are making efforts to rescue the captives.

“The Command immediately mobilized combined teams of anti-kidnapping, SARS, and conventional police to the area for possible rescue of the victims and arresting the perpetrators of the unfortunate incident,” he said.

Kaduna state Commissioner for Information, Internal Security and Home Affairs Samuel Aruwan said in a statement on Friday (Oct. 4) that Gov. El-Rufai has dispatched a government delegation to sympathize with the school community and assure them that security agencies are working to rescue those abducted.

Persecution Ministries schedule 12-Hour Prayer Conference Call for IDOP 2019

Voice of the Persecuted, in partnership with Persecution Watch, will host an open 12 hour prayer conference call to mobilize Christians to unite in prayer for those suffering for their faith in Christ during the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP2019 Persecuted but not abandoned). The call begins at 9 a.m. Eastern and will continue throughout the day until 9 p.m on Sunday, Nov. 3rd. The call is open to all with a desire to pray for those facing extreme hardships for their faith in Christ. Callers are not required to remain on the call for the full twelve offers, but encouraged to sacrifice some time to join the call and band together in prayer.

Godfrey Yogarajah, Executive Director of WEA RLC states,

“Millions of Christians around the world are persecuted for their faith daily. From Pakistan to Kazakhstan, Nigeria to North Korea, Christians routinely face discrimination, harassment, violence and even death for their faith in Jesus. Their suffering is unimaginable. 

The Bible in Hebrews 13:3 command Christians to pray for those suffering as if they themselves were suffering. In other words, the Bible calls us to not only remember those who suffer but also to identify with them in their suffering. In keeping with this scriptural command, the International Days of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) has united millions of Christians in prayer for the suffering Body of Christ around the world. After all, as the Bible says: If one suffers, we all suffer.

Over the years, the IDOP has served as a platform to highlight the stories of persecuted Christians and mobilise the global Church to respond to their plight. Moreover, in so doing, the IDOP has also been a source of solidarity and encouragement to persecuted Christians by reminding them that they are part of a larger, global family of believers.

We believe that God uses the prayers of his people to strengthen and deliver suffering saints. However, in order to pray for these suffering brothers and sisters, we must first listen to their stories. In other words, we must hear their cry.

We invite you, therefore, to join us this year on 3rd and 10th November as we unite globally to pray for the persecuted. Let’s pray that in spite of the pressure and persecution, our suffering brothers and sisters –where ever they may be in the world — would stand firm in their faith, hold fast to the promises of God, and live victoriously in Christ.”

Blaine Scogin, Founder of Persecution Watch and Prayer Director of Voice of the Persecuted shared,

“Brothers and Sisters, in this final hour of redemptive history, we see the forces of Satan marshaling against the followers of Jesus. Persecution continues to increase in a frequency which has not been seen previously in history. Satan has declared an all out war on the followers of Jesus and if possible seeks to destroy them.

But God has given to us powerful weapons that are not of this world. We recognize those weapons as the word of God and prayer. Imagine the power of using His word as we pray. Through the Holy Spirit, we can pray powerful prayers to uphold our persecuted family.

God has placed us in the freedom of America. We are able to cry out for those who cannot cry out for themselves. The persecuted in the shadow of the cross pray of course, but they also have a heartfelt plea, Please pray that we will ‘endure’ the persecutions and that God will deliver us ‘through’ the persecutions.”

Sunday, November 3rd, is designated the first of two days IDOP2019 will be observed this month. Believers around the world will be lifting up our persecuted family and we want to join with them lifting our prayers also on behalf of those suffering.”

Ephesians 6:18 New Living Translation

▪︎ Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. (NLT)

Colossians 4:18 New Living Translation (NLT) (KJV)

• HERE IS MY GREETING IN MY OWN HANDWRITING—PAUL.
Remember my chains. (NLT) {KJV)
May God’s grace be with you.

Please share this invitation with your church, prayer warriors and through your social media contacts.

The Lord hears the cries of the righteous who are afflicted. He intercedes for them. Will we hear the cries of our persecuted family? It’s time for us to intercede in prayer for them.
From the team at Voice of the Persecuted, MARK YOUR CALENDARS, join us! (Call details below)

Location: Any location from your phone

DATE:
Sunday, November 3 2019
Time:
9 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST
8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CST
7 a.m. to 7 p.m. MST
6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST
Call Number:  
712-775-7035
Access Code:
281207#

International numbers and Mobile App links available (We encourage the use of the free mobile app)

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link  or App Store – iTunes

Available International IDOP Prayer Conference Call Connection

(Note: You may experience issues in your country. If you are unable to connect, try using the VoIP dialer available at this link. Dial a number from any of the countries listed at this link to connect to the conference call. In-app language support is available for select countries.

The weekly Persecution Watch Prayer Call meets at 9 pm EST every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. For more info contact: pwprayercall@gmail.com  

 

1 The UN Declaration on Human Rights states that: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

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