In a heartbreaking report from Fides, the Mother Teresa Sisters killed in Aden were described as being loved by the locals and admired for their love of serving those most in need, regardless of their faith. Bishop Paul Hinder OFMCap, Vicar Apostolic for Southern Arabia, told Fides, suggests this could be the root of the hatred, “diabolic hatred”. The affection the locals had for the Sisters could be the precise reason behind the massacre last Friday in the port city of Yemen. Four Catholic Sisters serving at Missionaries of Charity, which was founded by Mother Teresa of Calcutta, were slaughtered together with 12 other helpers and the elderly and disabled people whom they assisted at the Mother Theresa Home. Photos show that the Sisters were wearing kitchen aprons at the moment of the killing over their religious habit.
Bishop Hinder confirms that nothing is known of the whereabouts of Salesian Father Tom Uzhunnalil, who was at the residence when the terrorists attacked. The Bishop said, “We imagine he is still being held by the assailants, Yemen bureaucracy keeps searching for him but so far with no result.” The only survivor, Missionaries of Charity local Mother Superior, Sister Sally who is also an Indian from Kerala is preparing to depart.
A year ago when country war broke out between government troops and Huthi rebels, Bishop Hinder remembers discussing with the Sisters the risks of remaining in such a dangerous scenario.
“They told me there was nothing to discuss: they would not leave whatever happened, because they wanted to stay with the people entrusted to their care. It was clear that on the part of the Sisters this was no exhibition of heroism, it was purely their desire to follow Jesus Christ. I respected the Sisters’ decision, and am convinced that their martyrdom will bear fruit also for the lives of other Christians living in the Arabian peninsula”.
BEIRUT: In a Middle East torn apart by war and conflict fighters are increasingly using food as a weapon of war.
Millions of people across countries like Syria, Yemen and Iraq are gripped by hunger, struggling to survive with little help from the outside world.
Children suffer from severe malnutrition, their parents often having to beg or sell possessions to get basic commodities including water, medicine and fuel.
The biggest humanitarian catastrophe by far is Syria, where a ruinous five year civil war has killed a quarter of a million people and displaced half the population.
All sides in the conflict have used punishing blockades to force submission and surrender from the other side, a tactic that has proved effective particularly for government forces seeking to pacify opposition-held areas around the capital Damascus.
Since October,…Read more
Please pray for those in a magnitude of suffering, pray for help. Pray for an end to the conflicts, pray for the presence of the Lord and pray for the lost to be found.
In an Arabic language tweet that has been picked up by various websites offering few other details, Mareb al-Ward writes: “Houthi militias stormed the St. Anthony Church in al-Tawahi, Aden, in Yemen. They plundered the Catholic church of all its contents.”
At this time, no other Arabic or news sources are mentioning this incident.
The Houthis are a Shia-affiliated rebel group operating in Yemen.
They are also known as “Ansar Allah,” or the “Supporters of Allah.”
My heart is breaking. We have spent countless hours on video conference calls, and phone conversations with our brethren in Nigeria and Pakistan. Two countries, our Lord has laid on our hearts to intervene and bring hope. We have listened to heartbreaking story after story of the desperation, the untold death and suffering. We comfort those who have fled, forced to leave loved ones behind. The sorrow and helplessness in their voices digs at our very soul. But we do this with great love and joy as our Lord commanded us, but at times we shed uncontrollable tears. And today is one of those times.
As I look at videos and pictures of the achievements and growth of a family that we are aiding, I hear sadness in the father’s voice. He is alone, without his family, not by choice but a situation forced on him through extreme persecution.
A short while later I reviewed videos of another sort—the death and destruction carried out by evil men and my soul cries out like theirs does. One on the frontlines was literally broken for a time. The sights of brutal slayings, wails of brokenhearted and lives forever turned upside down, proving too much for his mind and soul to process—literally unable to speak of it. He even began questioning his own faith. After much prayer and comfort from God, he is healing with a renewed spirit and sense of commitment.
We could share all the details that would break your heart in two, but for fear for our brothers and sisters safety, the risk is too great. But know this, their suffering is real, their tears are real, what they are witnessing is real. Traumatized until they reach the Kingdom of Heaven and all sorrow is wiped from their eyes.
The shock and pain the children are enduring is impossible for us to recognize in the West. Our precious brethren in Nigeria and Pakistan wonder, “Do our brethren in the West even know, do they care?” They wonder what would it be like to live in a country where you can walk the streets without fear. Never needing to look over your shoulder, or fearing what awaits around the next corner. To live in a nation not bombarded by targeted attacks month after month, week after week. No need to flee their home to find safe places, as they pass the dead careful to avoid bodies strewn along the path. Why can’t it be this way in their own country, their generational homeland, they don’t want to leave. “We just want to live in Peace.”
I want to share their story, but must do so with discernment.
Recently, we learned of 2 men who were captured by the Boko Haram. They were given the options, convert or die. In fear, one converted, but they killed him anyway stating, “We will send you to Allah without sin.” The other refused to denounce Christ. As they butchered him, he began preaching the Gospel. He begged them not to kill him, not because he was afraid, but because in his words, “You will be judged for this, please don’t do it.” He had that much forgiveness and love for his attackers.
One dear soul tells of a vision that keeps him going, a vision from God of the Kingdom of Heaven. Those of you that share the gifts of prayer and hope, letters, and donations mean so much to those persecuted. One day soon they will be able to tell their stories. But as for now I can only ask that God would allow me to take their pain from them, if only for a moment to allow them comfort.
What if each one of us did this every day, or even once a week? Asking God to give us for a time, the pain of one who suffers allowing them to heal and feel peace. Could you handle it? Could you handle the shock, the pain, the sorrow, the helplessness and hopelessness that they feel every day even for a moment? What if we took 5 minutes even 10, every day to pray and intercede ( o in this manner? I believe the healing that would go forth would amaze.
We don’t normally share video’s that portray horrific images, but I turned to this video by accident which normally I will shut off rather than watch. I already hear firsthand these stories vividly in the lives of our brethren, but this time it was as if God said No, you will watch and then share it. Right now, if God is speaking to your heart to intercede for them—watch this video from Nigeria. It’s 2 years old and at present it is much more volatile. Please use discretion, the video is very graphic and not for the faint of heart. Afterwards, spend time with God asking “What can I do?” Let us know how God is using or moving you for care for these dear ones.
C. Refsland, VOP Advocate/News Analyst
WARNING! VERY GRAPHIC VIDEO BY CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIAN AMERICANS
Fox News and others are reporting that President Assad visited Maaloula on Sunday. This is a village that was attacked and many were slaughtered by rebels. We found it utterly amazing that it is reported that taking back this village from the Al-Queda affiliated rebels was a prize to the government. Assad said that he wants to protect Christians, and other religious minorities. We know Christians were afforded a certain amount of freedom and movement that they don’t have now. In one rebel held area, Christians have to pay a tax to the rebels, convert or die. Many media reports from the MSM about Syria are not accurate. We’ve all seen an realize that. Here’s an excerpt from Fox News:
President Bashar Assad on Sunday toured a historic Christian village his forces recently captured from rebels, state media said, as the country’s Greek Orthodox Patriarch vowed that Christians in the war-ravaged country “will not submit and yield” to extremists. Syrian state TV and the country’s official SANA news agency said Assad was in Maaloula, inspecting the damage done in recent fighting to its monasteries and churches.
What do the people of Syria say? Some say the media reports about Syria are wrong. Some say that Assad is actually correct in saying this is not a civil war, it’s terrorists. Some say that the Army and the rebels are both playing games. Others say that both sides are committing atrocities. When talking to those who have fled Syria, you get a different picture all together. While they tell us that Christians had better conditions under Assad, they also say the Government is to blame for the slaughter of Christians, by intentionally moving out of villages and allowing the rebels to take over. Thus causing the slaughter of Christians.
The Christians in these villages held by rebels have come to rely on the government there for protection. When they leave and allow rebel takeovers, many are killed. It raises the question, “Is this an intentional cleansing of Christians?” Syria is not the only place this is happening. It’s happening in Nigeria, the CAR, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and other countries. It is becoming so bad that some call it the next genocide. Yet the Western leaders are either complicit or blinded. The people of the west hardly raise an eyebrow. No one is listening. No one is listening to the heartbreak, the anguish the sorrow of those affected by this. The survivors, the ones that have fled to safety live every day with the nightmares caused by the evil that is growing there. It is hard to express in words the evil that is there. There is no regard for human life, no regard for anything except heinous slaughter. It is pure unadulterated evil. Evil that can only come from the bowels of Hell.
That’s not too harsh. Look at the images coming from these areas, the reports from those on the ground. The suffering and anguish carried by the survivors. The faith that those who witness and experience this puts all in the West to shame. Recently, a Christian facing extreme persecution told us that their faith grows stronger with the persecution.
Look at the recent statement made by Pastor Abidini for Easter. He lays in a hospital bed in Iran knowing he is going back to prison there, and he’s praying for Christians everywhere—not for himself, but for his brothers and sisters facing persecution. That kind of faith is monumental. But do western Christians have that kind of Faith? Would we have that Faith if we faced what they are facing? Would you, could you? They are an inspiration for our own faith.
As I talk to people and I look around, and listen to the news about the bombings in Abuja, the kidnapping of the schoolgirls in Nigeria, the slaughter in the CAR and Syria, the horrific images of death, starvation, torture, and rape ring in my mind. Then I ask why, why does the west remain silent. It’s not too hard to see what concerns them. Look at the television programs and what’s popular, Naked & Afraid, The Kardashians, the Shopping channels, & other reality shows. Naked and Afraid is lived every day by those in these area’s. Starvation, hardships, fear of death, is reality for them. If you want to watch a reality show, watch the news about Syria, Libya, Nigeria, Yemen, Sudan and others. That is Reality!
New video shows a large gathering of Al Qaeda members meeting out in the open in Yemen.
“We must eliminate the cross … The bearer of the cross is America.”
In previous reports, we looked at the refugee camps in Syria. But the refugee camps in Africa are just as wretchedly miserable. The recent CAR conflict has left thousands displaced. The exact numbers are cloudy, but are starting to surface. The entire region in Southern and Central Africa are in crises and the fighting continues. Other news agencies are reporting that the weapons movement to this region has a fairly easy road from Libya and other countries. Christian Persecution is at an all time high. Wanting nothing but peace and normalcy, innocent children are the ones who suffer the most, as they tell us in this touching video below.
News agencies and Christian organizations report that the refugees are living in deplorable conditions “like animals.”
They claim that pastors are in dire need, attempting to worship amidst the difficulties. Through it all, they continue to demonstrate great faith and strength.
Sky News is reporting on the horrific conditions for those caught in the CAR conflict. They witnessed a teenage girl go into labor. She had been raped by the Seleka, and gave birth in squalid conditions, while mid wives tried to help her by forcing the baby. (From Sky News Click to watch video, *Graphic*)
France 24 reported in October of last year that those fleeing the Seleka were flooding a Catholic Mission in Bossangoa, mostly women and children. The men were afraid to leave the mission for fear of being picked up by the Seleka and accused of being part of a militant group. The women were left to scrounge for food, and still had to pay bribes and face rape and torture.
Interim President Djotodia has been removed from office and it is said the Seleka are being disbanded. But these people have lost their homes, their families and everything they had. Most of the children have lost their security. There have been reports that the Seleka will still retaliate if they don’t agree with the new government. An apparent vicious circle. Today, Yahoo news is reporting that fresh acts of violence has broken out. They say there is violence everywhere and it will get worse as the deadline to the election closes in. It’s far from over for these beleagured, war weary people. How much more can they endure? (More)
Sudan, Yemen, Ethiopia, and Nigeria are facing similar trials. There are thousands fleeing from Sudan into UN humanitarian camps. It has been reported that human trafficking has become the new black market and is prospering. Those fortunate enough to scrape money together and are strong enough to flee, are met on the roads by bandits and human traffickers. From this map you can see how easy it is for them to traffic arms and people.
According to Caritas the number fleeing Sudan has grown by leaps and bounds:
We can see this war in Sudan is no different than the conflict happening in CAR. Warring tribal leaders and government’s driven by greed over control of mineral and oil rich lands, force innocent people into extreme suffering.
Two weeks ago, Sudan was reported as the youngest South African country. Today it is possibly the next Rwanda. Again we see an oil rich country that has it’s government fighting for control with the rebels, while the citizens are caught in the middle. Some say ‘It’s a resource wealth coveted by global powers.’ So again, at the expense of people wanting nothing more than to rebuild their shattered lives in peace. (More)
Here too, we see the world turns a blind eye, and as in the past–world leaders turn their heads. What is the answer? Start with awareness. Help us to raise awareness of this and other humanitarian crises. Share these reports, talk about them, write to your representatives. Talk to your Pastor’s and church leaders, your prayer groups. Keep praying for those persecuted and those caught in this ethnic and sectarian violence.
Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body. (Hebrews 13:3)
Report by: VOP Advocates, C.Refsland / L.Kanalos
Article may be reprinted with link to original report and credit to VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED.
Africa: A Sinister Plot Behind The Massacre In CAR (Voice Of The Persecuted)
WARNING: Brink of Catastrophe – Central African Republic (Voice Of The Persecuted)
Bishop: Sudan’s Christians Are ‘On the Cross’ Daily (Voice Of The Persecuted)
Why was Ronald Thomas Smith II, an American teaching at Benghazi’s International School, shot to death last Thursday in Libya, even as he “was looking forward to his first Christmas in the United States with his wife and toddler son”?
Ronald Smith with wife and child
Most Western media and analysts dismiss the killing as a random act of violence incited by a recent al-Qaeda video.
However, by connecting the dots and looking at precedence, it appears that Smith’s Christianity, specifically his talking about it among Muslims, was the motive behind the slaying.
First consider two facts gleaned from the AP report, “American killed in Benghazi remembered as ‘much loved teacher’”: 1) Smith once had plans to attend seminary, a place devoted to preparing Christians to share the Gospel—a crime according to Islamic law (recall the Coptic Christians tortured and killed on the accusation that they were proselytizing in Libya); 2) according to his home church in Texas, “Ronnie’s [Smith’s] greatest desire was for peace and prosperity in Libya and for the people of Libya to have the joy of knowing God through Christ” (emphasis added).
Then there is the fact that Smith was a “much loved teacher”—a phrase that immediately, if not eerily, brings to mind another very similar story of another “much beloved” American teacher who was killed in the Islamic world for talking about Christianity.
On March 1, 2012 in Iraq, Jeremiah Small—described as “beloved teacher and friend”—was shot to death by a student, even “as he [Small] bent his head to pray at the start of a morning class. The 33-year-old teacher from Washington State took bullets to the head and chest and died at the scene.” According to students, “Mr. Jeremiah’s hands were still folded in prayer when he fell.” A day before the shooting “a heated discussion” broke out “during which the pupil threatened to kill the teacher because of conflicting religious views.”
As with Smith, Small was described as a very devoted teacher and friend to his students; and as with Smith, the official story as reported by mainstream media, such as the Wall Street Journal, is that the motive for his murder was a “mystery.”
Jeremiah Small with students
Yet, according to interviews with family and friends, Small “was a devout Christian who frequently praised Christianity and prayed in the classroom, and his friends in Washington said his evangelism is what motivated him to teach in Iraq… but he wasn’t pushy.” Moreover, the father of the student who killed Small, before killing himself, said that Small was trying to convert his son to Christianity and described Christians like the slain American teacher as “more dangerous than al-Qaeda.”
The fact is, Americans attacked and/or murdered for merely talking—or being suspected of talking—about Christianity is not an uncommon phenomenon in the Islamic world.
Thus, a few days after the killing of Jeremiah Small in Iraq, on March 18, 2012, yet another American teacher, Joel Shrum, 29, living in Yemen with his wife and two children, was shot eight times and killed by gunmen and members of the Supporters of Sharia (which operates a wing in the new Libya created by the U.S.). The group later issued a message saying, “This operation comes as a response to the campaign of Christian proselytizing that the West has launched against Muslims,” calling Shrum “one of the biggest American proselytizers.”
Lest there is still any doubt concerning the violence that often sparks up when Christians, in this case, Americans, are seen as sharing the Gospel with Muslims, consider the following anecdotes, both from Muslim countries regularly touted for being “moderate”:
In Indonesia, October 2011, after they were accused of proselytizing to Muslims, an American family was attacked by “an enraged mob spurred by a local religious leader”; the Muslim mob set fire to Americans’ property and vehicle: “Only the intervention of police saved the[ir] lives.”
Joel Shrum with wife and sons
In Bangladesh, February 2012, three American Christians were injured by broken glass after their car was attacked by another Muslim mob that suspected they were converting Muslims: at least 200 angry locals chased their car, throwing stones at it.
As for the Obama administration’s response to the murder of Smith, it asked the Libyan government to “thoroughly investigate” the killing—a somewhat pointless request, considering the U.S.-supported Libyan government openly arrests Westerners accused of “proselytizing,” threatening them with the death penalty.
And that’s the point: while Western media and their talking heads habitually dismiss such coldblooded murders as “random” and “mysterious,” incited by al-Qaeda—that one blame-all “terrorist” organization that everything can be heaped upon—the unspoken fact is that these attacks are products of Islamic teachings; in this case, that openly challenging the truths of Islam with another set of truths—such as the Gospel—is strictly forbidden, often on pain of death.