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Through the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus, God has redeemed us and calls us his children. May God bless us with great joy. Through Christ, we have been saved by grace, our chains have been broken and we now have freedom. Father, lead us and help us to resist temptation, to be united with Christ and life eternal in Your presence. O God bless us, in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen and Amen. Have a very blessed Easter Sunday remembering all the Lord has done and accomplished. Rejoice, the victory is won, LOVE wins!
Being a Christian has never been easy. It has brought suffering, pain and persecution for those who stand firm in their faith. Jesus said, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” John 15:18. Despite the challenges and hurdles, Christianity has grown over the centuries and the Bible holds wonderful promises for the ones who are suffering; “Blessed are those who are persecuted.” Matthew 5:11
(Voice of the Persecuted) Pakistan is a nation which persecutes Christians and is known as the 4th most dangerous country to be a Christian. The blasphemy law is used as a tool to settle personal vendettas against Pakistani Christians. It’s a place where Christians can be lynched publicly upon false religious allegations. Thousands of minority girls are kidnapped, raped and forcibly converted to Islam. Christians in Pakistan live in fear, many afraid to even speak with Muslims about their faith.
Thailand, a popular tourist hot spot, has been one of the major destinations for Christians fleeing persecution in Pakistan. But they fled to Thailand without the full knowledge of the dangers that lie ahead. Thailand, not being a signatory of the UN refugee rights convention, regularly arrests asylum seekers and refugees. The nation considers them to be illegal migrants despite them having UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) documents. Hundreds are in the notorious Immigration Detention Center and have been living in a deplorable situation for several years. The Immigration Detention Center is designed to hold about 50 detainees at a time. Presently, there are close to 200 people which leads to lack of space, sanitation and serious health concerns. They are at risk of contracting highly infectious diseases such as, tuberculosis, skin infections, among other air/water borne illnesses. They’re malnourished due to a diet of nothing more than rice and cucumber soup. Please pray for them to remain steadfast in holding onto their faith.
“Faith in Christ plays an important role in the life of a persecuted Christian”
Many have been wondering if they could endure the atrocities our brothers and sisters suffer in restricted nations. Christian Malik, our Thailand representative, knows the hardships of persecution very well. He recently shared about the role faith plays in his life and that of other Christian refugees. Last month, during Q&A on our November prayer conference call event, one of the participants asked what advice he had for those in the west when persecution comes knocking at our door. He told us,
“Faith is all that is keeping us alive. In Thailand, every second holds an uncertainty about the future. One second, we might be free, the next second we might be behind bars. Under such circumstances, we pray and ask God for his mighty intervention in our lives and to keep us protected from all harm and danger. We are not allowed to work here which means we are unsure about securing food and other necessities for our daily needs, but our Father in Heaven is mighty and has great promises for us.
Matthew 7:11 mentions, ‘If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!’ Amen. Our Father in Heaven is indeed merciful and gracious. He provides for us from His riches. The bible states, ‘Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.’ When we are need, we ask God, we seek, and we find it. We knock at the door and it is opened for us. There has never been a time when God denied, He provides for us according to His time.
Faith in Christ makes things possible, not easy. We know the journey will be hard, but we have surety from God that it would be possible. In the dictionary of Faith, the word impossible doesn’t exist. Our God is a living God and He never leaves us alone. The suffering in Thailand has brought us closer to God and our lives here have become a living sacrifice.”
Persecution always results in the dispersion of believers and the spread of Christianity. Persecution will grow the Church in the 21st century as well. “Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews.” (Acts 11:19).”
This Christmas, let’s stand strong with our brothers and sisters and uphold them in our prayers. Let us also bless them with their needs as faith without deeds is incomplete. “Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” James 2: 15-17
VOP is on the ground in Thailand. This Christmas, join hands with us to spread the love of Jesus. We’re planning an outreach for a large number of asylum seekers and refugees in Bangkok. We have only 4 days left to deliver Christmas relief packages, much needed supplies and nutrition to those suffering in the notorious IDC, Immigration Detention Center.
Keep us in your prayers as we try to raise the needed funds to complete this Christmas mission. If you feel led to help, please consider our mission and donate, today. Go with us to Thailand through your blessings to share the joy of Christmas with these dear brothers and sisters who have suffered so much. God bless you and your families. May your Christmas be filled with much joy as you celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, our dear Lord and Savior.
HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED
Together with your generous help, we can reach the goal to alleviate horrific suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.
Every day, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and to further His Kingdom! As you greatly bless others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!
You may also send your gift to:
2740 Third St
P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183
Donations always desperately needed
A woman who claimed to have a grandmother inside a writing class in Snyder Hall, where a portion the massacre unfolded, described the scene in a tweet.
“The shooter was lining people up and asking if they were Christian,” she wrote. “If they said yes, then they were shot in the head. If they said no, or didn’t answer, they were shot in the legs. My grandma just got to my house, and she was in the room. She wasn’t shot, but she is very upset.
For the record, there is a precedent here: Whenever Islamic terrorists raid large centers where Muslims and Christians are intermingled — especially universities — they routinely separate Muslims from Christians, before massacring the latter.
For example, last April in Kenya, gunmen from the Somali Islamic group, Al Shabaab—“the youth”—stormed Garissa University, singled out Christian students, and murdered them, some beheaded. Read here for more examples.
VOP Note: It was found that the shooter in Oregon belonged to an online group who shared common interests in “magick and the occult.” Under the category of “Religious Views,” he wrote that he was not religious but “spiritual” and was interested in “pagan” and “wicca.”
Many will be honoring America’s fallen heroes this weekend. We honor all who have served America and given the ultimate sacrifice, their lives for this Country and our freedoms.
However, there are heroes the world has remained mostly silent on. The unsung heroes of faith.
These silent heroes have given their all. They have been tortured, watched their loved ones and children brutalized or killed, and given their lives for their faith in Christ. We have seen many images of the martyred and the suffering survivors of this modern-day Christian Holocaust spreading across the Middle East, Africa and Asia. While the media has given it some coverage, there is one aspect that they leave out—the loss of dignity, the loss of peace and freedom.
Most have lost everything they own. Their properties have been completely destroyed. Many no longer have villages to return to, they been razed to the ground. All they have worked so hard to obtain is gone. They have lost family members, or have succumbed to their injuries, starvation and sickness due to squalid conditions and little to no medical care. Much physical and emotional suffering begins after the attack, but often goes unseen due to lack of media reports. They are wounded, traumatized and devastated. One look at the faces of those surviving and you can see the loss of dignity and peace, some feel as if lost forever. And the numbers of those who have lost their lives is staggering.
Inspirations of faith, these martyred brothers and sisters including the survivors, are our heroes who deserve our respect and prayers.
They are family, one with us in the Body of Christ. Let us never forget these Ambassadors for Christ. Let us remember their sacrifice in this great spiritual battle. May they inspire and encourage our own faith, as they have shown us what it truly means follow Christ to the end. In adversity and unthinkable situations, with great courage and strength in Christ, may we also be able to say, “I follow Christ, my Lord and Savior…no turning back, no turning back.”
This weekend, join us as we also remember our unsung heroes, the persecuted.
“What I heard was all new to me – I could feel the power of the words of the gospel I was hearing,” Kuku said. “It was as if a new thing had come into my life.”
(Morning Star News) – First an 18-year-old Sudanese Muslim became a refugee from Sudan’s war-torn South Kordofan state; then he received Christ and became a refugee from his family.
Kuku (full name withheld) and his family, ethnic Nuba from the Kauda area, arrived at Yida refugee camp in South Sudan in 2011, shortly after military conflict broke out in South Kordofan. The Sudanese Air Force has routinely bombed civilian targets in its battle with area rebels.
About seven miles from the Sudanese border at the Yida settlement, where tens of thousands of refugees have set up homes, an evangelist going door-to-door managed to gain an audience with Kuku’s family in December 2014. He obtained permission to speak of Jesus with the family in their home.
“What I heard was all new to me – I could feel the power of the words of the gospel I was hearing,” Kuku said. “It was as if a new thing had come into my life.”
He kept quiet. Shortly thereafter, however, he met with the evangelist’s church and put his trust in Christ. At home, he remained quiet.
In February, after two months of sneaking away to worship with the church, he revealed his faith to his family.
His father told him he would never forgive him for leaving Islam. Warning that he should leave before they did “something bad” to him, his father said, “You cannot stay with us anymore, because you have become an infidel.”
Kuku told his angry family that he was truly convinced he had found “the true way and true life,” he said.
“You should consider denouncing your Christian faith and come back to Islam so that you are not hurt,” his father told him. Kuku replied, “I am leaving this house totally convinced that I have become a Christian, and there is no turning back. But God will provide me with a place to stay.”
His resolute faith, however, did not mean he was without fear.
“When they asked me to leave the house, I was terribly afraid,” he said. “I did not expect my family to treat me in such a harsh way.”
Yida community leaders tried to persuade the family to allow Kuku to remain with them even though he had left Islam. The family rejected all such attempts, a church leader said.
“Kuku had faced growing threats from his family, who told him to come back to Islam if he wanted to spare his life,” the church leader said.
The evangelist who proclaimed Christ to Kuku and his family encouraged him in his new faith and helped arrange for him to go into hiding on Feb. 15.
Another evangelist told Morning Star News that Kuku’s faith remains strong.
“Kuku is stable in his new faith in Christ to the point that he witnesses to his Muslim friends about Jesus,” he said.
With refugee life cutting short his education – he studied only up to the eighth grade before his family fled Sudan – Kuku is uncertain about his future. A Christian family is giving him shelter and food. Amid uncertainty, his faith is steadfast.
“It is difficult to be abandoned by your family, especially parents, but God will one day bring my family to Christian faith,” he said.
(Voice of the Persecuted) Yesterday, Ethiopians began three days of national mourning for more than 20 Ethiopian Christians killed by Islamic State militants in Libya. ISIS once again singled out Christians and documented their savagery in a video where they brutally beheaded and shot the believers in Christ.
The Islamic State – aka ISIL/ISIS/IS/Daesh – has taken over parts of Iraq and Syria in recent months. The militant terror group has established a caliphate and carried out mass persecutions of minority populations, primarily Christians and Yazidis. They have also published videos as a warning to countries that have militarily intervened and a way to control civilians through fear.
The discriminate murders have horrified Ethiopians and spurred international calls for condemnation.
The leader of the Catholic Church shared his anguish of the mass execution and offered his condolences to patriarch of the Ethiopian Tewahedo Orthodox Church, Abuna Matthias.
Pope Francis lamented,
“With great distress and sadness I learn of the further shocking violence perpetrated against innocent Christians in Libya. I know that Your Holiness is suffering deeply in heart and mind at the sight of your faithful children being killed for the sole reason that they are followers of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
He also stated,
“It makes no difference whether the victims are Catholic, Copt, Orthodox or Protestant,” Pope Francis said in his message. “Their blood is one and the same in their confession of Christ!”
He offered hope amidst the darkness, noting the Easter season of joy in the knowledge that “Christ has risen from the dead.”
“This year, that joy – which never fades – is tinged with profound sorrow. Yet we know that the life we live in God’s merciful love is stronger than the pain all Christians feel, a pain shared by men and women of good will in all religious traditions.”
The Pope offered “heartfelt spiritual solidarity” and assurances of “closeness in prayer at the continuing martyrdom being so cruelly inflicted on Christians in Africa, the Middle East and some parts of Asia.”
Voice of the Persecuted is praying that more Christian leaders across denominations, will inform their congregations of the modern-day persecution taking place against Christians, encourage them to pray and care for the persecuted, and use their voices to advocate for and stand with our suffering brothers and sisters, worldwide. #WeAreOne
If you are a church leader raising awareness and praying for the persecuted, we would be very encouraged to hear from you! If you are a leader who would like to begin sharing with your congregation, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with Pastor for the Persecuted in the subject line. We’d be happy to help you in the process.
Christian Mother Meriam Ibrahim to Receive NRB Award for Showing ‘What It Means to Not Be Ashamed of Christ’
Meriam Ibrahim, the Christian mother who was held prisoner and initially sentenced to death in Sudan for her faith, is set to receive the National Religious Broadcasters’ President’s Award later in February for showing “what it means to not be ashamed of Christ.”
“Mariam Ibraheem is a modern-day example of what it means to not be ashamed of Christ,” said NRB President and CEO Jerry A. Johnson. “We are honored to welcome her to NRB15 as we rejoice with her over God’s protective care in her life.”