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‘Prostitution is rife’ – sexual exploitation of Boko Haram survivors in IDP camps

Christian women living in IDP camps are vulnerable to sexual exploitation by government officials.

Thousands of Christians in north-east Nigeria displaced by Boko Haram’s insurgency now face discrimination and harsh treatment – including sexual exploitation – by government officials, reports Global Christian News (GCN).

While many thousands have been killed, others sought refuge in neighbouring Cameroon or in the relatively safe states in the Middle Belt and southern Nigeria. Still thousands of others, trapped in camps run by the government, are often forced to convert to Islam even to get food, GCN points out.

“Whenever supplies come, the sharing is chaotic. The officials would make us queue and usually fights break out as people struggle to jump queues, and if you are a Christian you are harassed and insulted. ‘Get out infidel!’ is usually what you hear all the time,” said Margaret, who was forced to leave the government-controlled NYSC camp in Maiduguri.

Christian women are particularly vulnerable, she noted, saying: “Muslim men come in their cars every evening and women are ‘arranged’ for them by some camp officials and middlemen who have access to the camps.”

She said prostitution is rife in the camps. “Our young vulnerable Christian teenage girls are being destroyed by men,” she said. “They deceive the girls, get them pregnant and divorce them. Many times the Muslims come to meet us [women] and say they want to marry us and take us away from the suffering. They say we should simply convert to Islam and all will be okay.”

The report also highlighted other forms of discrimination against Christians, notably in the reconstruction efforts. The governor of Borno state claimed that 20 churches have been rebuilt, but according to some Christian leaders, the picture the government is trying to paint to show its magnanimity is false.

“As you drive into Maiduguri from Damaturu, please do observe for yourself how many villages have been rebuilt by the Borno government. In each of the villages, the government will build a large mosque, whether that mosque existed before or not,” one pastor said.

GCN’s report echoes previous allegations of discriminations faced by Christians IDPs.

Voice of the Persecuted is on the ground in Nigeria to care for our persecuted Christians including those who’ve fled government camps to escape the ongoing threats and pressure to convert. If you would like to show your love and support for those who’ve faced unimaginable persecution please support our Nigerian relief mission, today.

We are committed to being a VOICE for persecuted Nigerian Christians and bring them comfort, relief, and encouragement. We have committed to a long-term mission in Nigeria. When they are able to return home, we will be there to encourage and help rebuild villages and their lives. They will not be forgotten!

We want you to know that even in great hardship, they thank God and feel extremely blessed that He has kept His hand on orphan-306x4601them. They have been so encouraged and thankful for each one of you who have joined this mission through your prayers and support. Your gifts have brought so many smiles. THANK YOU!

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.

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

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

If the Lord is placing it on your heart and you are able, please help us to continue the mission in Nigeria. It will be a long term project. Donations always desperately needed

Half of Syria and Iraq’s Christians have left since 2011, says report

(World Watch Monitor) Three years to the day since the Islamic State group took control of the Iraqi city of Mosul, a new report estimates that 50-80% of the Christian populations of Iraq and Syria have emigrated since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011.

The arrival of IS was only the “tipping point” of a trend already gathering pace as Christians experienced an “overall loss of hope for a safe and secure future”, according to the report, produced by Christian charities Open Doors, Served and Middle East Concern.

The report also notes that for the Christians who have settled elsewhere, there is “little incentive” to return, with several interviewees saying “the Middle East is no longer a home for Christians”.

“There is little incentive to return, with several interviewees saying the Middle East is no longer a home for Christians.”

In a policy paper released alongside the report, the three charities call on the EU to help establish an “accountability mechanism” to deal with incidents of religious and ethnic persecution and discrimination in Iraq and Syria.

“Creating a national accountability mechanism for grievances is a long-term solution which aims to restore faith in a system that ensures all religious and ethnic communities are affirmed as equal citizens and deserving of protection, while also deterring negative actors from taking adverse actions against these communities,” the charities write.

They urge the EU to “advocate for the establishment of the mechanism through its contacts with the Iraqi and Syrian governments” and to provide funding, technical support and monitoring. The mechanism, the charities add, “should be transparent and inclusive, ensuring all key stakeholders at all levels (government, community leaders, civil society and the public) are represented adequately”.

Major findings

The report, ‘Understanding the recent movements of Christians leaving Syria and Iraq’, acknowledges the difficulty of producing definitive figures, as it estimates that the overall Christian population of Iraq has reduced from “well over 300,000” in 2014 to 200,000-250,000 today – “many” of whom are now displaced internally. In Syria, meanwhile, the charities estimate that the Christian population of around 2 million in 2011 has “roughly halved”.

“Factors for leaving included the violence of conflict, including the almost complete destruction of some historically Christian towns in the Nineveh plains of northern Iraq, the emigration of others and loss of community, the rate of inflation and loss of employment opportunities, and the lack of educational opportunities,” the report notes. “While direct violence, such as the movements of ISIS in both Iraq and Syria, was the tipping point for displacement, the ultimate decision to leave the countries was portrayed as an accumulation of factors over time.”

A greater number of Christians are thought to have left Syria, but only because the initial population was higher, according to the report, which adds that a greater proportion of Iraq’s Christians have left the country.

The Christians have emigrated via a range of routes, including resettlement programmes through churches, formal refugee registration and “illegal routes” – though the deaths of Christians trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe have reportedly “dissuaded some”, while “the high price of these routes have made them unavailable for others”.

Lebanon has reportedly taken in the most Christians, while thousands more have resettled in Jordan and Turkey, and a smaller number in European countries such as Sweden and Germany. However, “recent policy changes, as well as living conditions, have made arrival or staying in many of these countries, such as Sweden, incredibly difficult”, the report concludes, adding: “There were reports of returns [home], but many expressed the sentiment that Christians have given up hope of returning.”

However, the charities note that “many” of those who remain “want to play their part in rebuilding the shattered societies of Iraq and Syria. They want to be seen as Iraqi or Syrian citizens, enjoying the full rights of citizenship, such as equality before the law and full protection of their right to freedom of religion or belief, including the ability for everyone to freely worship, practise, teach, choose and change their religion. They are not calling for special privileges as a religious minority.”

Faith Over Fear in Nigeria – Mission Update!

Nigerian Christian children forced to live in IDP camp by Boko Haram insurgency. Photo: Voice of the Persecuted

Nigerian Christian children forced to live in IDP camp by Boko Haram insurgency. Photo: Voice of the Persecuted©

(Voice of the Persecuted) We’ve been busy! Much is going on behind the scenes to better advocate for and aid the faithful suffering in persecution. Our founder, along with other members of the team, recently met with VOP’s Nigerian Project Leader, Fr. Gideon Obasogie and Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme, head of the Diocese of Maiduguri in Nigeria’s Borno State. During the mission discussions, they focused on the current situation of our Nigerian brothers and sisters and ways VOP’s Project 13:3 Nigeria can better help them to endure. We have long warned of Boko Haram’s murderous campaign and their capabilities. Last year, the Boko Haram was described as the world’s deadliest terror group and has wreaked terrible death and destruction across the region. Like those in Iraq and Syria, they too have faced some of the worst persecution the world has ever known. Yet, the media seems less interested in covering the Nigeria crisis as the majority of reports are focused on the Middle East.

Fr.Gideon Obasogie, VOP Founder Lois Kanalos, Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme

Fr.Gideon Obasogie, VOP Founder Lois Kanalos, Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme

Voice of the Persecuted is on the ground in Nigeria supporting a camp for those displaced by extreme persecution. Many in the camp come from areas hardest hit by the radical militants. They’ve survived unimaginable attacks, kidnappings, rape and great losses. Nearly every person has suffered the death of family members. It has taken a serious toll on their physical and emotional health. Many will need long-term counseling and medical rehabilitation. More than two million people have been internally displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency. Based on those in ‘unregistered’ camps some report the number is much higher.

Overwhelming Silence

For the most part, the global community has blatantly looked away. It has shocked a number of us at Voice of the Persecuted and the reason a few advocates have named these dear ones, The Invisibles‘. Many in the West are unaware that every day, Christians are facing some form of persecution in North Nigeria. Bishop Doeme said. “Since Boko Haram’s emergence, it has been one attack after another on the church, on individuals and families.” Aid reaching these victims falls way short compared to the scale of the crisis. We cannot continue to ignore them any longer. Our silence has added to the acute suffering. We are the Church, we must do more to aid our brethren when others will not.

Christians have been severely impacted as the military fights to push back the jihadists. Many fled their villages which were completely razed, even going as far as neighboring Cameroon to seek safety. Family members became separated with many of the victims unaware if their loved ones are still alive. They are hopeful that the government will soon take down the Boko Haram. They are praying for the ability to return home safely. The military has taken back some areas once controlled by the militants. Weary from the conflict, some people have recently started to return. But many villages are still unstable and under threat of possible attacks, including suicide bombings. Their safety outweighs the risk of return. They’ve been through enough.

Project 133 Nigeria mission meeting Mar 2016During our meeting, we listened as they shared heartbreaking stories of what can only be described as demonic activity. One may not like to hear us use such terms, but the extreme brutality and torture being witnessed is not human. Our Nigerian brothers and sisters agree. However, they ask us to pray for their persecutors as they are lost and have been deceived.

We heard horrifying accounts of women and children watching their husbands or fathers murdered before their eyes. Some have lost multiple family members in a single attack. They saw their homes doused with flammables as everything they owned was set on fire, burned to the ground in a heap of ash. In particular, the story of one woman stands out. She begged the militants to take her life after they forced her to watch the beheading her husband, a man with great faith. Strangely the insurgents ignored her. She grabbed the shirt one of the militants, demanding they relieve her from living without the man she loved and the loss of all she had. She claimed she would rather be with him than to face another day without. Once again, the they seemed not to notice her. They did not rape or take her as a spoil. She lives today! Praise the Lord with us that our Christian sister has been spared. Pray that she will overcome the intense grief, will be uplifted and shown love and concern by us, the Church as a whole.

Gideon spoke of boys abducted to kill in the insurgency, Young girls forced to become suicide bombers. Some ran away before they were blown to bits to protect their neighbors recognized in the crowd. Women and girls kidnapped and used as sex slaves. Thousands, like chattel, taken over the past 6 years. But many have only heard of the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped in 2014. The whereabouts of most of the 270 Chibok girls are still unknown, only 56 escaped captivity. Nearly all the girls were Christians. We pray these little sisters have hope in Christ, are remaining strong in their Christian faith and know He is always with them. Please pray for them and the release of all captives held by the Boko Haram.

Divine Strength in Christ

Fr. Gideon reported stories of the incredible faith of those facing immediate death but held onto Jesus until their last breath. Miraculous news of those submitting their lives free from fear as if nothing was happening while they were brutally killed. Though it was a blessing to hear of these miracles, many have suffered immensely. Take heart, all these dear ones are precious in the sight of the Lord. They will be given white robes and a crown of life! One day, we will rejoice with them and together give glory to our Almighty God.

eyn-church-building-in-nigeriaThe insurgency has been ongoing since 2009. Some have been living in the IDP camps for years. Many churches have been destroyed or stand vacant. Whole congregations fled as their communities were experiencing or under the constant threat of attack. Eventually, pastors also had to run for their lives leaving their churches behind. Some began ministering in the IDP camps, as they too became refugees in their own land.

Brother Gideon told us,

“They can destroy our church buildings, but they cannot destroy our faith.”

Many of you may remember Brother Gideon and others from the camp on our January 24-hour Prayer Conference Call EventDuring that call, we heard directly from, asked questions and prayed for persecuted Christians. While we were praying, Gideon told us that explosions were taking place and the city was under attack. It was an anxious moment for all of us. Fr. Gideon shared how important the call is for them. How they feel as if they’re sitting in the same room praying with us. Our founder, Lois Kanalos shared how many of you have been deeply touched hearing their voices, their current status and connecting with them on a deeper level. He was very encouraged and looking forward to the next Prayer Call Event in April.

In Christ, Bishop Doeme has learned to deal with the anxiety that comes with each attack.

“Fear will always come,” he said. “But then, as a believer, the faith overshadows the fear.”

Fr. Gideon pointed out the Bishop’s bright red socks, which stood out in contrast to his dark clothing. He explained the Bishop wore the socks as a reminder to the faithful that he would not abandon them. He would be the last to leave, even if that departure meant martyrdom. The Bishop nodded and said,

“God has planted me there in order to serve the people.”

They expressed their gratitude for all the prayers of protection. The Christian camps in the nearby area have not been affected by recent attacks! They also said, our Nigerian brothers and sisters are very encouraged knowing we pray for them.

When many pastors have been forced to flee, these brave men have vowed to stay with, help to protect and care for all Christians, regardless of denominational differences. Voice of the Persecuted also stands united with all who call Jesus Christ, “Lord” and are persecuted for their faith. We are honored to work side by side. We thanked the Bishop for allowing our dear Brother Gideon to lead VOP’s Project 13:3 Nigeria to care for Christians who have suffered the most at the hands of the Boko Haram. Aid has even been given to moderate Muslims, particularly women, who have suffered alongside those we intend to help, which is in agreement with the VOP mission.

Continued Pressure

We were informed of the stress many Christians are facing in government camps. They’re constantly pressured to convert to Islam and often passed over for daily food rations and water. Women are extremely vulnerable and preyed upon by Muslim men. It has reached a level where Christians leaders are now asking the brethren to leave these camps and find those aiding Christians, such as our camp. The numbers in this camp rise and falls between 400-700 people. Larger numbers are seen following attacks. We’re told those in the camp have spread the word for others to come. Sharing they feel cared for, receive 3 square meals a day and medical needs are supplied.

Thanking the Lord

Thanking the Lord

The Bishop specifically spoke about our completed well project and the great blessing it has been to those in the camp. Not only has it protected them from the cholera outbreak experienced from the contaminated local well, they no longer must trek the long distance carrying heavy buckets back and forth to the camp. It has made a huge impact on them and they are forever grateful to all who have partnered for its construction. THANK YOU! They pray daily for the Lord to continue using this mission and for those making it possible through their gifts.

Excitedly, we all praise God as we discussed how the Lord has directed Project 13:3 Nigeria from the very start. From covering the needs of one family to caring for the needs of the entire camp a year later. We were reminded of the loaves and fishes. God is truly blessing His saints! With Christians now being forced out of government camps, the numbers of our brothers and sisters needing our help have grown.

Voice of the Persecuted has been asked to expand the mission to aid 2 more camps—2000 in one, 7000 in the other. We humbly ask for and need your support to help alleviate their suffering. We pray He can use each one of us to do our part for His love to shine on these persecuted brothers and sisters in Nigeria. Any amount is greatly appreciated. If your church is being led to do more for our persecuted family, please contact us. We would be happy to send detailed updates of this relief project. Is God calling you to be a part of this important mission?

Christian Children Nigeria copyright photo Voice of the Persecuted©-1

We are committed to being a VOICE for persecuted Nigerian Christians and bring them comfort, relief and encouragement. We have committed to a long-term mission in Nigeria. When they are able to return home. we will be there to help rebuild villages and their lives. They will not be forgotten!

We want you to know that even in great hardship, they thank God and feel extremely blessed that He has kept His hand on them. They have been so encouraged and thank God for each one of you who have joined this mission through prayer and your support.

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.

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

Everyday, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and 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

If the Lord is placing it on your heart and you are able, please help us to continue the mission in Nigeria. It will be a long term project. Donations always desperately needed

 Article may be shared and reprinted with credit to Voice of the Persecuted.  

 

Nigeria: President ready to negotiate with Boko Haram for release of 200+ Schoolgirls

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Chibok Schoolgirls forced to convert to Islam by Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria

NIGERIA Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, a former dictator, who took office in May, stated he had no new intelligence on over 200 schoolgirls (majority Christians) kidnapped nearly two years ago in April 2014. His government is now willing to negotiate with any “credible” Boko Haram leadership for the release of the schoolgirls. Their case captured international attention when it made global headlines. We pray for their return as for the thousands of girls kidnapped during the course of 6 years, yet rarely cover by the media.

276 girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram militants from their school in the town of Chibok in northeast Nigeria. Some of girls were able to escape soon afterwards, but nothing has been seen or heard from around 200 of the girls since a video released, last May.

This video shows a clip of the girl in the 2014 video. One girl describes seeing some of the schoolgirls months later during her captivity.


In a radio broadcast, President Buhari said, “We are prepared to negotiate with them without precondition.” He relayed they wanted to make contact and added, “we are looking for a credible Boko Haram leadership that will confirm that the girls are alive.”  “We want to be sure that they are complete, safe.”

He said it was the honest truth that the government has no information on the girls, including their health condition.

In their six-year terror campaign to create an independent Islamic state in Nigeria, Boko Haram has brutally slaughtered thousands of people. 2.2 million people have fled their communities, many completely razed, now refugees in their own land. They are called IDP’s, Internally Displaced Persons.

Last week, Buhari’s announced that “technically” the group had been defeated. But his words proven false by a wave of attacks and suicide bombings that killed over 50 people, injuring many more in the weary northeast of the country.

Sources on the frontlines told Voice of the Persecuted(VOP), “Our hearts are heavy. They claim they are meeting the December dead line even after lives have been lost. We have come to lose confidence in our military. In regards to last week’s attacks, we were told some had to flee for safety, but things have improved.

Buhari, a Muslim, mentioned to journalists that he could ban the wearing of hijabs or other headwear by Muslim women if insurgents continue to use veiled females to carry out suicide attacks. “Hijab will have to be banned if this continues,” he said.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu stated on Friday,

“Everything will be done to balance national security requirements with the rights and obligations of citizens under their religions as protected by the constitution.”

While noting that the increasing abuse of the Hijab by terrorists to perpetrate criminal mass murder and other atrocities is a reality, he asserted that the government would address the security challenge in consultations with Muslim leaders so as to find a workable solution.

Today, President  Buhari said a committee to rehabilitate infrastructure and resettle IDPs will soon be inaugurated.

The committee, will be led by a frontline statesman, Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, a retired lieutenant general. It will also include Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, a statement by spokesperson, Garba Shehu, said.

Buhari announced that all forms of assistance and aid in this respect, generated locally and from foreign countries as promised by the Group of Seven of Industrialized Countries (G7) would be channeled through the committee when inaugurated.

He said he had compiled a list of damaged infrastructure,including schools and bridges and handed it to the leaders of the G7 and the United States, adding that “I didn’t ask for a Kobo (in cash). It is up to them to choose what they will undertake. Already, some of them have sent teams to verify our assertions.”

He also decried the impact of the Boko Haram violence on women and children, declaring that they are its worst victims.

“In the North-East, what I saw for myself and on those clips is a source of concern for people with conscience,” he said. “They are mostly women, and children who are orphaned. Some of them don’t even know where they come from. This is the pathetic situation in which the country has found itself.”

He said the fight for the return of the Chibok girls was ongoing and “continues to be a most worrying issue” to his government, emphasizing that the administration will do all within its powers in making the best efforts to secure their freedom.

Based on latest assessment reports, many areas remain too dangerous for return. It’s also believed the planned closings of government IDP camps will not be possible as seen with the latest attacks. Boko Haram is not defeated and still remains a deadly threat.

VOP is aiding an IDP camp caring for Christians who have faced incredible persecution. Nearly every person has lost loved ones, at the hands of Boko Haram militants. The road ahead is long, both physically and emotionally. The well project to protect these dear ones from disease has begun! The the ground appears very difficult and after drilling to a great depth, drillers feel the need to change location. Pray this project goes smoothly and more funds will not be necessary to finish the well. Daily, those in the camp draw water from a local well and must carry the water back to the camp. It’s also believed to be contaminated by overuse causing an outbreak of Cholera.

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Much help is needed to continue covering basic needs for persecuted families, orphans and widows in the camp, approx. 400 people. Your gifts make it possible to get food, clothing, medical needs/care and fresh water to the suffering. These brothers and sisters need us to step up.

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.

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

Everyday, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and 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

Nigeria: Our People Returning Sick, Hungry and Traumatized

image (1)

(Voice of the persecuted) Maiduguri, the capital of the Nigerian State of Borno, was hit by new attacks committed by Boko Haram on Sunday, September 20th. According to varying reports, between 54 to over 100 people were killed. Despite this, the inhabitants of the city who decided to escape the violence, are now returning.

Fr. Gideon Obasogie, the Social Communications Director of the Catholic Diocese of Maiduguri in Nigeria, asked Voice of the Persecuted to share this message:

In an earlier interview with Vatican Radio’s English Service for Africa, Fr. Obasogie said “Most of our people are coming back to their communities”. Many towns, homes, schools, hospitals, bridges have been razed down by the bombs of Boko Haram. Generally life and movement in this part of Nigeria has been very difficult.

“A lot of our people are back, but they look sick, hungry and traumatised. “These communities need support. The Bishop of Maiduguri, Oliver Dashe Doeme, has taken the unusual step of sending priests to these same communities where security is far from certain. He wants the priests to accompany the people as they try to rebuild their lives”.

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The ordination of three new priests in one of the communities that was bombed and ransacked by Boko Haram was a sign of hope. Despite fears of new attacks, the faithful who even come from distant places of the diocese went to the ordination Mass.

Fr. Obasogie says that against all odds, “The faith of the Church in this part of the country is truly growing.  We appreciate all people of good will who have demonstrated their love and care towards the suffering Church of Maiduguri Diocese. Our people have come to experience greater faith than ever before.  They hold on to their faith in their plight and difficulties. God is all we have now,” he emphasised.

He also relayed, “the Buhari administration is doing its best to end the insurgency. The military is advancing and recapturing those communities that were under the terrorists’ control. Despite this, a lot of people are still afraid of the presence of suicide bombers around the city and villages”.

Due to conflict, particularly in the north east by the Boko Haram insurgency, the humanitarian situation has become dire. The needed counter-insurgency has added to and may further increase the numbers of displaced people. Many husbands, wives and children have been separated unable to locate and unaware of their loved ones condition. Humanitarian needs are great. The displaced in the camp that Voice of the Persecuted is aiding has doubled in the last few months. There are many staying here who are unable to return to their completely razed villages, or areas still at risk of attacks.

Recently, deaths have been reported from a cholera outbreak at three nearby camps in the area. We thank God to report none at our camp were affected by the outbreak! To lessen the chance of disease, sanitation safeguards had been put in place and much effort made to keep the camp clean. We invite you to rejoice with us for the gift of life, new babies born at the camp! Raise these little ones up to the Lord, along with their families, the road ahead may be long and hard.

Together with your generous support, 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.

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

Everyday, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and 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 mail your gift to:

2740 Third St
P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183

 

NIGERIA: Boko Haram hits Maiduguri again – Suffering Christians in Great Need

Children forced into refugee camp through persecution. Photo: Voice of the Persecuted

Children forced into refugee camp through persecution. Photo: Voice of the Persecuted

(Voice of the Persecuted) In VOP’s latest communications with our contacts in Nigeria, we hear “life has not been easy”.  They are “under much tension and fears, as the terrorists are at it again.”  In recent weeks, Boko Haram has stepped up attacks on the suffering.

(Agenzia Fides) – Maiduguri, capital of Borno State in northeastern Nigeria, is again at the center of the attacks of Boko Haram, the Islamist sect, that despite having suffered heavy losses on behalf of the army in Nigeria and those of neighboring countries (Chad, Cameroon and Niger), has proven to still be able to hit and to sow death and destruction. On June 2, a suicide bomber blew himself up in the cattle market of the city, killing at least 13 people and several were wounded. During the night, residents in Maiduguri were kept awake by the gunfire and explosions of the clashes between the army and a commando of Boko Haram that wanted to make an incursion into the city.

“Maiduguri – explain local sources to Agenzia Fides – is a highly symbolic target for Boko Haram, especially as the new President, Muhammadu Buhari, has announced plans to transfer the command center of operations against the Islamist sect, so far located in the federal capital, Abuja. The new attacks are also a ‘sort of welcome’ for the new President, who has made the fight against Boko Haram one of the priorities of his mandate”.

By attacking Maiduguri, Boko Haram intends to prove that they are still able to hit, minimizing their losses. According to some interpretations, even the change of the group’s name, “Islamic State of West Africa”, announced in a video released yesterday, would be part of a operation to emphasize the threat posed by the Islamist sect. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 03/06/2015)

Two suicide bombs have rocked the city of Yola. It is reported that the men staged a fight to draw in a large crowd before detonating themselves on Thursday evening. Authorities confirmed on Friday that two suicide bombers killed at least 31 people and injured 38 others in the crowded Jimeta Main Market. Boko Haram is suspected of carrying out the attacks.

9 Northern Nigeria states already have implemented Sharia law completely, 3 others partially use Sharia. But Boko Haram’s goal is to Islamize all of Nigeria’s 36 states and put it under strict Islamic law.

Boko Haram, with ties to jihadists such as ISIS, has changed it’s name to ‘Islamic State of West Africa’. In their most recent video, suspiciously missing their leader, they mock the coalition, including Obama in an attempt to prove they have not been weakened. But the group has lost ground in recent months as the Nigerian military and their coalition partners push them out of places once under their control. But many areas remain unsafe with a real threat of being re-attacked by the militants.

In light of all this, the persecuted are praising God for sustaining them and they covet our prayers. They’re encouraged by their family in Christ remembering them in their suffering. DO NOT let up! Press into the throne with many prayers and petitions. Connect with our Father, intercede on their behalf.

The amount of internally displaced (IDP’s) is staggering. So many are suffering with little means to restart their lives. They have faced extreme persecution and great loss, including the lives of loved ones. Many have no where to turn, but to God and the Body of Christ. They NEED our help!

VOP has been blessed to work for and help Nigerian Christians in one of the hardest hit parts of the north. Running water, electricity, even shelter is not available for many of the affected.

Voice of the Persecuted Project 133 Nigeria

Bringing Hope by aiding Christians suffering in persecution

Voice of the Persecuted’s, Project 13:3 mission offers aid such as nutrition, shelter, clothing, medicine, encouragement and Spiritual needs. We believe putting a bandaid on the wound is not enough. Following these families is an important part of this mission. And to assist in ways to help them rebuild their lives and future to the point of sustaining themselves.

Presently in one camp, we have 19 families including widows and orphans (equaling 100 people-58 of these are children) living in harsh conditions. Their needs are great and most are forced to sleep on cold concrete floors. Entire families sharing a tiny doorless cubicle with no glass in the windows. Clean water must be brought in for them, as the facility does not have the luxury of running water. They are unable to pay for the basics such as food, clothing, medical care and must rely on us, the Body of Christ.

Last week, I suffered an accident where the tip of my finger was crushed. Surprisingly, I didn’t notice any immediate pain but within seconds, it became so intense that I had waves of nausea that nearly brought me to the floor. This continued on for hours throughout the day. And though there was no visible signs of blood, it was bleeding on the inside. The next morning, my entire finger was so swollen it had more than doubled in size. If it was not raised above my heart, I experienced great pain and found it nearly impossible to focus on anything else. And for the past week, I’ve taken great care to protect it from further injury. A little part of the body that normally goes unnoticed, yet the injury affected my body as a whole and basically rendered my hand useless. Thankfully, it’s finally beginning to heal and should soon be back to normal.

Through this ordeal, I could not help but be constantly reminded of how the persecuted who so often go unnoticed, are a part of the Body of Christ that is suffering to the extreme. That when we are injured, our whole body suffers. And this is what the Church is experiencing today. The Word of God kept resounding in my mind. See below

For those partnering with us, your donations have recently covered the needs of one Nigerian family with 7 children in this camp. They now have pillows and are able to sleep on a mattress. They are clothed and no longer must go barefooted. The mother and her new baby (born in the camp-see photo above) have been seen by a doctor and will receive ongoing medical care. They have food and utensils to help sustain them, along with hygiene products to protect them from disease.

Their faith was really shaken; they went through and have faced extreme challenges. They urgently fled their home during an attack taking nothing for the journey. All they’ve ever labored for has been looted and destroyed by the radical elements. The whole community where they lived has been reduced to a heap of ruins.

“But God is still God. It is only in persecution that our faith is tested and purified.”

In their challenges, they have come to believe that God is always close to the persecuted. In Christ, your gifts have literally encouraged and strengthened their faith. To God they give all praise!

From nowhere and in our nothingness, we have come to see the hand of God at work in our lives.  We are gradually rebuilding our lives through the aid of Voice of the Persecuted.”

As they continue to cry out to God for help, we have been given the opportunity to bring hope to all 19 families in the camp.   But caring for so many has brought a great financial burden. On their behalf, we are asking and pleading for your help. As the Body of Christ, let us be used as vessels, and continue on in this mission as his hands and feet.

Next Saturday, we will be sending an encouraging letter to our brothers and sisters in this camp. All those who have donated this month and those donating to the Nigerian Project in the next week, your names will be added to that letter. When donating, you are also welcome to add a message which we will include in the letter. They would love to hear from you!

UPDATE 93/2015: Since April, this camp has doubled in size with more coming everyday.

Lois Kanalos, Founder and the VOP Team

Together with your generous support, 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.

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

Everyday, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and 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:

Voice of the Persecuted
2740 Third St
P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183

1 Corinthians 12:12-26 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.

If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?

But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:

And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked. That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Galatians 6:10  So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

give-love-with-open-hands

Nigerian Christians “Looking forward to the end of Boko Haram”

Nigerians hope in Christ

Nigerians hope in Christ

(Voice of the Persecuted) As Boko Haram presses to regain strongholds, Nigerian Christians are seeking God for deliverance.

“Hopefully this is really the beginning of the end of Boko Haram,” said Nigeria’s Bishop of Maiduguri Diocese,  Oliver Dashe Doeme. The Bishop said this about the current situation in Nigeria, where in recent weeks the Islamist sect, Boko Haram, appears to have suffered serious setbacks at the hands of Nigerian, Chadian and Cameroonian military forces. Bishop Doeme was speaking to representatives of “Aid to the Church in Need.”

“Extremists continue to attack because the military have not been able to hit all the strongholds of Boko Haram,” says Bishop Doeme, “and I am not surprised that Boko Haram is still attacking new areas.”

The Bishop, however, speaks of several areas recaptured by the army. He hopes that the newly elected Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari who from 1983 to 1985 held the position of President of the Supreme Military Council, will have more success than his predecessor.  “Buhari has solid experience in the military and this will certainly have positive effects in the fight against terrorists. Fighting Boko Haram is one of the priorities of the new government and we hope we can finally put an end to this madness,” the Bishop said.

Following the reconquest of areas once in the hands of Boko Haram, the first refugees and some internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been able to finally return home. Bishop Doeme has been visiting several parishes in his diocese to give comfort to the faithful just returned.

The violence of Boko Haram has seriously affected the Diocese of Maiduguri.  The death and destruction at the hands of Boko Haram are too ghastly to contemplate: Thousands of Christians and some Moslems, among them many Catholics, killed by Boko Haram; 350 Catholic churches destroyed; many priests and religious women displaced from their rectories and convents respectively. Also destroyed are three of the four Catholic schools in the diocese.

Despite the terrible suffering, Bishop Doeme invites the faithful not to give in to the desire for revenge. “The crimes committed by Boko Haram are the work of the devil. Only God can free us.  He will fight this war and end the violence,” Bishop Doeme said.

Sent to us by Fr.Gideon Obasogie, Communications Director of the Diocese of Maiduguri

Voice of the Persecuted

Let us storm the heavens with prayers and petitions that Nigerian Christians will be free from the evil that has been and terrorizing them from the past 6 years. They have witnessed so much grief and suffering, it will takes much time to rehabilitate and rebuild their lives. Voice of the Persecuted is working to aid those in the hardest hit areas. They have experienced atrocities beyond our comprehension. Many have become widowed and orphaned directly through persecution and pray for our compassion and help. Please consider partnering with us in making a difference in the lives of persecuted Nigerian Christians, one family at a time. May the Spirit work through us, as the hands and feet of Christ, to answer their cries. May these dear ones glorify Him in return.

Voice of the Persecuted Project 133 Nigeria

Aiding Christians suffering in persecuton

 

Together with your generous support, 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.

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

Everyday, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and further His Kingdom! As you have greatly blessed 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:

Voice of the Persecuted
2740 Third St
P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183


give-love-with-open-hands

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