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Alert! Prayer Vigil THIS AFTERNOON for Leah Sharibu

At 2019 Prayer Vigil in Washington D.C. for Leah Sharibu. Pictured: Gloria Puldu, Rebecca Sharibu (Leah’s mother), Lois Kanalos Founder of VOP – Photo: Voice of the Persecuted

(By Faith McDonnell) Today is Nigerian Christian teenager Leah Sharibu’s 17th birthday.

At 4PM Eastern time, you can join a prayer vigil for Leah sponsored by our friends at the International Committee on Nigeria (ICON) and the Leah Foundation. The information on how to join this zoom prayer vigil, here, is also in the links for both of these organizations:

To join the digital prayer vigil,
go to Zoom.com on May 14th at 4 pm (EST).
Meeting ID: 999 5251 1334
Password: May14

This is Leah’s third birthday in captivity. On February 19, 2018 her school was attacked by the Islamic jihadi terrorists, Boko Haram, along with 109 of her classmates. Only Leah is still in captivity. She refused to denounce her Lord Jesus and convert to Islam. So with Boko Haram she remains.

Leah’s situation is hauntingly similar to that of the April 14, 2014 abduction of the Chibok Girls, the 276 Nigerian schoolgirls from Chibok in Borno State, also by Boko Haram. We must not forget neither Leah nor those Chibok girls that remain separated from their families somewhere.

Christians in Nigeria are suffering unbelievable persecution. Leah is just one example of a persecuted Nigerian believer in Jesus, but she is a perfect representation of what hundreds of thousands of Nigerians in the north and middle belt states of Nigeria endure every day, and by praying for her today, we will also be praying for all of Nigeria’s persecuted Christians.

The prayer vigil is the culmination of seven days of prayer. We missed the prayer points during those days, but here they are listed so you can add them to your prayers. The Leah Foundation lists actions and advocacy ideas in which you can participate, and ICON has pictures for each of these seven days of prayer:

Day 1: Pray for Leah Sharibu’s Safe Release
Day 2: Pray for Leah Sharibu’s Family
Day 3: Pray for the Defeat of Terrorism in Nigeria
Day 4: Pray for World Leaders to Call for Action in Nigeria
Day 5: Pray that Leah and her Family are Encouraged Today
Day 6: Pray for Other Girls in Captivity
And then today, Pray for Leah on Her Birthday

Please join us in honoring Leah, a courageous Christian young woman, on her birthday, and praying for her release. This prayer vigil will be a great encouragement and comfort to her parents, and all of the Christians in Nigeria who are facing unspeakable violence from Boko Haram and the Fulani jihadists. They will know that they are not forgotten. They know that God is with them, but please make sure they know that we are, as well.

Lois Kanalos, Voice of the Persecuted with Faith McDonnell, Institute on Religion and Democracy

 

Nigeria: ‘Government is Boko Haram but without bomb’, says church leader

 

 

Wala Village attack Nigeria Photo: Voice of the Persecuted

Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, went to the United Kingdom last week to discuss trade and investment amid increased criticism from church leaders back home who say the government is effectively enabling attacks on Christians in the country.

“They [the government] are using the levers of power to secure the supremacy of Islam, which then gives more weight to the idea that it can be achieved by violence,” Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of Sokoto told the charity Aid to the Church in Need earlier this month. “With the situation in Nigeria, it is hard to see the moral basis they have to defeat Boko Haram.”

The bishop spoke out after the beheading of 10 Christians by the Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP) on Christmas day and an attack by the Islamist group Boko Haram on Christmas eve in which seven people were killed.

“The only difference between the government and Boko Haram is Boko Haram is holding a bomb,” the bishop said, adding the Buhari government had created the environment in which Islamist groups like Boko Haram could thrive.

“It is not a lie that this government is favoring Islam,” said Rev. Gideon Para-Mallam, a prominent evangelical leader in Nigeria, pointing at how Buhari’s political appointments are all Muslim while Nigeria’s population is a nearly even balance of Christian and Muslim.

There have been too many unfulfilled promises, he told Nigeria Everyday. Para-Mallam has been an advocate for the release of Leah Sharibu, a Christian teenager who was abducted by Boko Haram almost two years ago and is believed to still be detained by the group. Last year Buhari promised her family he would do all he could to bring her back. “If the government is truly committed to ending some of these impunities, the crises and the attacks on Christians would have stopped, a lot more could have been done to achieve this,” said the pastor.

Nigeria is 12th on Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to live as a Christian. Just as in 2019, Nigeria’s score for violence was at maximum, due to attacks by Islamist Fulani militants, Boko Haram and other armed groups. Some 1,350 Nigerian Christians lost their lives in the violence.

Persecution Watch Prayer Conference Call (Feb. 6, 2020): Nigeria

2 weeks of prayer/2 years of captivity. Photo courtesy of the Leah Foundation

(Voice of the Persecuted) The Leah Foundation is calling attention to February 19th, which marks two years that Leah Sharibu will be held in captivity by the Boko Haram. Leah’s family is asking Christians across the globe to pray for Leah each day for two weeks beginning Feb. 5th through Feb. 19th.

Nigeria

Population: 196 million, Christians 91 million

Extremist attacks and religious oppression! Christians in the northern region and in the Middle Belt suffer from violence perpetrated by Islamic extremist groups such as militant Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram. Such violence often results in loss of life, physical injury, as well as loss of property. As a result of the violence, Christians are also being dispossessed of their land and means of livelihood—and Christians with a Muslim background also face rejection from their own families

In some northern states, increasing numbers of Christians are dressing like Muslims to make their faith less obvious and reduce the chances of attack. Young Christians in these states are frequently denied access to higher education, and Christians have been asked to give up their faith in order to obtain work. Applications for permits to build churches are ignored.

The situation is especially difficult for converts from Islam to Christianity. They usually are assisted in underground locations for fear of being persecuted or even killed. In the north they often have to flee their homes and even the state. This is far less likely to occur in the south.

February 2019 in Gusau, Zamfara State: Bandits abducted and killed an Anglican priest from the Diocese of Sokoto. His wife and children were also abducted and their whereabouts are unknown.

In April 2019 in Madagali, Adamawa State: At about 5:40 p.m., Boko Haram fighters invaded predominantly Christian Kuda community in Madagali Local Government Area (LGA) of Adamawa State. Over 30 houses were set on fire and 23 people were killed, 20 of whom were Christians. Residents left the village to seek refuge in Gulak and other relatively safer parts of Adamawa State.

August 2019 in Lau LGA, Taraba State: A conflict between a radical Fulani herder and a farmer was the trigger for attacks and reprisal acts that continued for weeks and resulted in 65 deaths (most of them Christians) and 18 burned villages (with 15 churches, two elementary schools and a health centers destroyed). Security forces that were deployed in the area did not intervene; on the contrary, in June 2019 many youths were arrested during protests against the violence and inaction of the local authorities.

· Pray to the Lord to protect believers from violence by militant Islamic groups in the north which often ends in loss of life and physical injury as well as loss of property.

· Pray for those dealing with the effects of recent violence against them. Please pray for the Lord’s provision in in all their physical and spiritual needs.

· Thousands of women remain in Boko Haram captivity. Pray for their liberation.

· Pray for those who have been freed or managed to escape to receive proper physical and emotional care. Please pray for the Lord’s provision in in all their physical and spiritual needs.

· Pray for the women and girls who escaped or were the set free after recanting their faith. The trauma, the remorse and guilt for denying the Lord, the inability to forgive themselves causes to them to have suicidal thoughts or to try to kill themselves. Pray that the Lord will connect them with Christian counselors.

· Pray for the women and girls who escaped or were the set free that their families can overcome their cultural prejudices and welcome and care from them.

· Pray for the Christian women and girls who escaped or were the set free can keep their baby.  [Authorities want to take these children  and place with Muslims, because the child was fathered by a Muslim and therefore is a Muslim]

· Pray to the Lord that Christians living in the southern part of the country, in an environment in which their religious freedom is respected, will become more caring for their brothers and sisters from the North.

· Pray for greater engagement from the Church in South with the Church in northern parts of the country.

·  Pray the Nigerian church will be able to withstand pressure to give up the faith and have the grace to respond to their challenges in a way that glorifies Christ.

· Pray to the Lord that the believers will have courage, wisdom and boldness to reach out to Muslim neighbors.

· Pray to the Lord to give NGOs favor that they will be able to provide much needed spiritual and other support to believers.

· Pray that the Lord will strengthen His Church and that it will continue to grow in spite of the hostile environment.

Again, we want to lift up two persecuted witnesses for the Lord and pray for Leah Sharibu and Alice that this year will be the year where they will be set free. And also pray for pastor Wang Yi to be released from Prison.

Many blessings,

Andy and Nadia Dybvik, Prayer Call Moderators, Persecuted Watch

Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday

From any location on your phone

Time:

9:00 PM EST

8:00 PM CST

7:00 PM MST

6:00 PM PST

Call in number: 712 775-7035

Access Code: 281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

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

What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted and our missions became one. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch is an important part of our own. With the passing of Blaine into glory on December 26, 2019, Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with our dedicated prayer warrior team.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the call to share the trials they’re facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone. We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you’re new to the call and can’t find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

NOTE: Persecution Watch has a new email address for the prayer team and those who would like to receive urgent prayer requests, weekly call prayer points and notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers. Please fill out the form below to be included in our new distribution list to receive this important information. Since the passing of Brother Blaine Scogin, we thank you for your patience as we have transitioned into this new season. We are grateful for your prayers and to the Lord for guiding us as we continue the Persecution Watch prayer call mission.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today and join the team!

Pray for Leah Sharibu #FreeLeah

This teenage girl still suffers as a captive of the Islamic Boko Haram group in Nigeria. They call her an infidel, an unbeliever, beneath them and deserving of punishment. They say she will be their ‘slave for life’.

Why, what has she done? In the face of evil, this young girl refuses to recant her faith in Christ and convert to Islam…come what may.

Our ‘sister’ is in chains for Christ. Pray as if you were held captive with her, as you would want others to pray for you. #FreeLeah #Pray4Leah

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

Leah Sharibu spends 16th birthday in captivity

(Voice of the Persecuted) Despite endless calls for the Nigerian government to do everything to secure the release Leah Sharibu, the girl who refused to denounce her Christian faith, will spend another birthday, May 14, in Boko Haram captivity.

Human Rights Lawyer, Emmanuel Ogebe, shared with Voice of the Persecuted an event at the prestigious Georgetown university in Washington, Nobel Literature Laureate Wole Soyinka paid a poignant tribute to heroine Christian Schoolgirl Leah Sharibu in an ode to Leah and Chibok last week.

Likening Leah to iconic human rights champion the late Nelson Mandela of South Africa, Soyinka said we must “celebrate the exception who said “no” “ as it reminded him of Mandela who refused conditional release.

Reciting the ode titled “Mandela comes to Leah”, Soyinka said, “ “No”, she said, “Faith is not of compulsion”…her torch undimmed in the den of zealots.”

Prof Soyinka said he could only recite excerpts from the ode because he broke down the last time he had tried to read it.

Prof Soyinka also did an epic takedown of a Georgetown professor’s claim that poverty and desperation was behind Boko Haram terrorism.

He said that it was ideological bordering on the metaphysical and we should not underestimate it. “We’re dealing with something much deeper” he said and recalled the son of a former Chief Justice of Nigeria who was upper middle class but who disappeared with his family to join ISIS abroad.

“There’s a will to deny the possibility of horror and evil. We have reached a point where We have to go beyond the material analysis of this phenomenon. It goes beyond poverty and marginalization. The ideology of sheer morbidity”

Soyinka deplored the 20 American intellectuals who wrote protesting the proposal to designate Boko Haram as a Foreign Terrorist Organization actually saying it would interfere with their “scholarly research” saying it “took my breath away”. “Some were my friends (but) there they were in all seriousness simply because they had a very wrong analytical approach to this problem.”

“We must simply jettison the language of political correctness. Political correctness is turning Africa continent into the graveyard of freedom and liberty if we don’t call things by their proper names…”

“We’re dealing now with the toxin of power which barely manifests itself under the cloak of religion.”

Also on the panel with Soyinka was the ambassador who belatedly announced Obama’s decision to designate Boko Haram as an FTO as then top US diplomat for Africa Assistant Secretary of State Linda Thomas Greenfield. 

Greenfield pleaded impotency in responding to the Chibok abductions due to denials by many as to what happened which she said was her biggest challenge. “I had this feeling of impotency – a superpower who couldn’t do anything…I still feel it…there’s no more frustration to be in and I felt frustrated.” She also mentioned a recent attack in Nigeria where girls were taken the previous week.

Ambassador Greenfield paid tribute to some of the girls whom she had met as being strong saying she herself was traumatized just watching the drama “Chibok: Our Story” which preceded the panel discussion.

International human rights lawyer Emmanuel Ogebe who led the successful advocacy effort to designate Boko Haram as a Foreign Terrorist Organization thanked the cast and producer/playwright of “Chibok:Our Story” Wole Oguntokun for giving voice to the Chibok situation despite efforts of the government to silence the advocacy.

He mentioned the sad news that Leah’s 16th birthday was coming up in captivity on May 14 and the good news that one of the escaped Chibok girls he brought to school in the US was graduating with an associate degree in science the same week.

While stating that he forgave ambassador Greenfield for the Obama administration’s delay in designating Boko Haram as a Foreign Terrorist Organization because she delivered the good news, Ogebe noted that the Chibok girl graduated from college without one dime of US government support in the past 5 years. “We can’t bring back the girls but we can all do something,” he added.

Ogebe and Ambassador Greenfield had testified together before the US Congress on the day the FTO designation was announced – she represented the Obama administration while Ogebe and a Boko Haram victim represented civil society https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CHRG-113hhrg85552/html/CHRG-113hhrg85552.htm

The panel event was part of the Currents Festival at Georgetown University where the Chibok play which has performed in Nigeria and Rwanda made its US debut to rave reviews. Wole Oguntokun the acclaimed producer/playwright is a protégée of Soyinka.

1. Abuja – National Christian Centre, CAN Hqts Abuja and the Unity Fountain Park

Time: 9am – 12noon

2. Jos – ECWA Hqts Church – Time 12noon -3:00pm

3. Lagos: Realm of Glory Hqts Church

Off Dibor Street, Okota-Isolo, Lagos

Time: 10:30am-12noon

YOLA AND PORTHARCOURT NOW ADDED

With also now have two additional Cities: 
4. Yola – Unity Chapel.
Adasolid Estate, Opp. FRSC, Numan Road, Kofare.
Jimeta – Yola
Pastor Zidon: 08081919000

5. Port Harcourt – 
Date: Mon 13th
@ Cornerstone Christian Foundation, Manila Pepple St by JAMB office off Fruit Market, D/Line, Port Harcourt. 5pm.
Contact: Sis Carol 08081739960

6. London UK Please join us to pray and protest from May 14, 2019 1-1:30pm, the address is: 9 Northumberland Ave, Westminster, London WC2N 5BX. Nigerian High Commission. CSW

7. Washington USA – Leah Birthday Cake-cutting commemoration Hart Senate Building, Capitol Hill May 14, 2019 (justiceforjos@gmail.com) AUP & USNLG

8. Washington US – Radio Ogebe’s tribute to Leah on WAVA 105.1 FM at 5:30pm EST Monday May 13 2019 listen live online at http://player.listenlive.co/57651/en

Ogebe encourages people to post and share Leah’s photographs as their temporary profile picture for a day.

VOP Note: Leah has stood for Christ for 449 days. Please continue to pray for her and all others in captivity for their faith.

Nigeria: Where is Leah Sharibu

As we approach the next elections, the question that should agitate our mind is “Where is Leah  Sharibu?” This should be made a subject of discussion particularly for the incumbent President seeking a second term. Unfortunately, we seem to have swept this issue under the carpet. See the full article here to read the questions not only Nigerians but the global community are asking about this Christian girl who still has not been rescued.

Please keep Leah in your prayers.

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