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NIGERIA (Voice of the Persecuted) Fr. Gideon Obasogie, Director of Social Communications of the Diocese of Maiduguri in northern Nigeria, reported to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) that two Catechists (pastors) and a student Catechist were killed during a suicide attack carried out by two young women outside a Church in Pulka. The village is located in the Gwoza local government area which borders with Cameroon and the Sambisa Forest.
On 11/12/2017, we gathered that the Boko Haram elements sent two female suicide bombers to blend in with the internally displaced (refugees) returning from the Minawao camp. Pastor Joseph Naga, 56 was nearing a church to interview those preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation when the two women accosted and hugged him. Concerned by the women’s actions, Pastor John Manye, 38 and student-pastor Patrick, 27 went to assist the older pastor. According to Fr. Gideon, “Little did the Catechists know that the women were suicide bombers.” But as the younger Catechists approached, the two suicide bombers detonated their vests and John and Patrick were also caught up in the blast. Dozens inside the church were injured and rushed to the Hospital, he said. There are no reports of any fatalities from the wounded. The attack was also near an IDP camp hosting the returnees.
The men had been appointed by the Bishop of Maiduguri, Most Rev. Oliver Dashe, to see to the immediate pastoral exigency of the catholic faithful in Pulka. Vatican Radio reported Catechists Joseph Naga was married and with eleven children and had worked as a Catechist for 36 yrs. John Manye, a Catechist for 11 years is survived by a wife and five children. Patrick, the student-Catechist was unmarried, [but will also be sorely missed by his loved ones].
Fr. Gideon shared with VOP,
“THE PLIGHT OF MY PEOPLE: Since Boko Haram’s ferocious campaign and occupation of most communities in the Northeast around the later part of 2014, life hasn’t been wonderful for the survivors and returnees. The Boko Haram fighters moved out of the Sambisa forest, overran most communities bordering the fierce forest and tried to extend their counterfeit caliphate from Gwoza to the north through Pulka and Bama in Borno State. Then, to the north of Adamawa state through Madagali, Michika, Uba and Mubi. With the help of God and the courage of our military men, we saw a twist and the ruthless arm of terrorism was rolled back”
The drama of displaced people caused by Boko Haram
“Gradually, as days rolled into weeks and weeks into months, a considerable number of our people have come home to settle and begin life anew. The destruction had been done and all we are left with is heartache and ulcer pains. The mere thought of the destructive acts of Boko Haram breeds heart attacks and spinal shocks. Little wonder a lot of our beloved friends have passed on in recent times, he lamented. The rate of psychosis is alarming, my people now suffer from a wide range of disorders, heightened fear of the future and nervousness, which were all together alien in our land”.
“Before the end of 2015, we saw our displaced people who sought refuge in save havens courageously traced their steps back to their ancestral homes. Probably they were propelled by the popular saying ‘no place is good as home.’ Some came home to seek their aging parents and sick relatives, while others came not only to count their losses but to rescue some valuables.
The truth of the matter is that our people in the Northern part of Adamawa State, under the Ecclesiastical circumscription of Maiduguri Diocese (Madagali, Michika, Uba and Mubi), are back to their communities. Their means of livelihood in this part of the globe, after the shift of the militants, have become consistently challenging.
Our farms have become comfort zones for the terrorists. We cannot go to the farms since returning. My people can only plant vegetables and grains in the neighborhood. It is worth noting that this is an agricultural community where farming is invaluable. It’s not uncommon that even graduates and most civil servants make time to cultivate their farms to feed themselves and sell their produce likely pay the school fees of their wards.”
It’s no news that Governor Bindow’s administration of Adamawa State has long declared a State of emergency on the Health sectors. “We sincerely hope that this would be a snake oil to the challenging, dilapidating and seemingly total absence of health care facilities in Michika- Madagali axis of the State. The Catholic Church is however, putting made-shift or mobile clinic to see to the immediate needs of our people.”
THE RETURN TO PULKA
Fr. Gideon emphasized that among the millions of displaced, there are over 91,000 people who left Nigeria to take refuge in Cameroon. However, the hostilities they encountered had pushed many to return to Nigeria at the cost of exposing themselves to the violence of the armed Boko Haram group. The Nigerian army has been re-gaining control of most of the north-east. Since the start of 2017, populations slowly began to return to the area. Nevertheless, returnees, including those from Cameroon refugee camps, are coming back to a precarious humanitarian and tenuous security situation as Boko Haram terrorists continue to rage against the innocent civilian population.
The Bishop of Maiduguri was scheduled to visit the Pulka community at a later date to pray with and encourage the faithful. While he calls on the government and military to check and double check all corners so as to completely wipe out the terrorists, he continues to pray for the safety of the community and the victims in this attack.
Fr. Obasaogie said, “The Pulka community was joyfully preparing for the pastoral visit of the Bishop but have now been thrown into this sadness. They are scared, but they say they will stand for Christ and that the death of their Catechists shall not be in vain.”
We are committed to being a VOICE for persecuted Nigerian Christians and bring them comfort, relief, and encouragement. We plan for a long-term mission in Nigeria and they will not be forgotten!
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. Our mission also supports families, staying at a Christian IDP camp, from the Pulka community who were forced to flee their homes during Boko Haram attacks. All recent reports confirm their apprehensions of returning back to this dangerous area with their families.
In great hardship, they thank God and feel extremely blessed that He has kept His hand on them. 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! There are at least 200 men, women and children still living in the camp. Food, clothing, medicine and medical attention are their greatest needs. If you would like to show your compassion for those who’ve faced unimaginable persecution please support our Nigerian relief mission, today. 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. We pray they will experience much joy as they glorify God, this Christmas!
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
(Voice of the Persecuted) The story of the song is covered in the Book by Dr. P.P. Job and Indian preacher in His book “Why God Why” About 150 years ago, there was a great revival in Wales, England. As a result of this, many missionaries came from England and Germany to North-East India to spread the Gospel. At the time, north-east India was not divided into many states as it is today. The region was known as Assam and comprised hundreds of tribes. The tribal communities were quite primitive and aggressive by nature.
The tribals were also called head-hunters because of a social custom which required the male members of the community to collect as many heads as possible. A man’s strength and ability to protect his wife was assessed by the number of heads he had collected. Therefore, a youth of marriageable age would try and collect as many heads as possible and hang them on the walls of his house. The more heads a man had, the more eligible he was considered.
Into this hostile and aggressive community, came a group of Welsh missionaries spreading the message of love, peace and hope of Jesus Christ. Naturally, they were not welcomed. One Welsh missionary succeeded in converting a man, his wife, and two children. This man’s faith proved contagious and many villagers began to accept Christianity. Angry, the village chief summoned all the villagers. He then called the family who had first converted to renounce their faith in public or face execution.
Moved by the Holy Spirit, the man instantly composed a song which became famous down the years. He sang:
I have decided to follow Jesus. (3 times)
No turning back, no turning back.
Enraged at the refusal of the man, the chief ordered his archers to arrow down the two children. As both boys lay twitching on the floor, the chief asked, “Will you deny your faith? You have lost both your children. You will lose your wife too.” But the man sang these words in reply:
Though None Go With Me, Still I Will Follow (3Times)
No Turning Back, No Turning Back.
The chief was beside himself with fury and ordered his wife to be arrowed down. In a moment, she joined her two children in death. Now he asked for the last time, “I will give you one more opportunity to deny your faith and live.”
In the face of death the man sang the final memorable lines:
The World Behind Me, The Cross Before Me (3 times)
No Turning Back, No Turning Back.
He was shot dead like the rest of his family. But with their deaths, a miracle took place. The chief who had ordered the killings was moved by the faith of the man. He wondered, “Why should this man, his wife and two children die for a Man who lived in a far-away land on another continent some 2,000 years ago? There must be some supernatural power behind the family, and I too want that supernatural power.”
In a spontaneous confession of faith, he declared, “I too belong to Jesus Christ!” When the crowd heard this from the mouth of their chief, the whole village accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior. This is the power of God in demonstrated in true faith. NO TURNING BACK!
via James on Youtube
(Voice of the Persecuted) Too many have been forced from their homes, villages, even countries from the violence and threats against them. Many are left with no means to fend for themselves. Without the love and support of caring hearts, they go hungry, homeless and often succumb to illness and disease. Each day we hear, “Please give us a chance” from those who are suffering for Christ. They cry, “Please help us”.
The picture above reflects the ongoing suffering many experience through persecution. When John and his family fled from their home seeking freedom from persecution, they faced a new battle and ongoing suffering in Thailand. Because his father is prevented from legally working, there was no money to take his son for much needed medical treatment. Unfortunately, his hands became worse and he developed a severe infection. This little boy experienced great pain and suffering. By the time treatment was finally provided, John had to spend 10 days in the hospital. How heartbreaking it progressed to this point before someone provided the funds to care for this child. Infections like John’s are common and likely due to a lack of nutrition and and the inability to purchase hygiene products. Many find it hard to even buy a toothbrush.
The situation for this family has not changed. John and his 2 siblings continue to go underfed. From month to month, his parents wonder how much longer they will have a roof over their heads or be forced out on the streets. Families like John’s suffer silently while waiting on the UNHCR asylum process which takes years. A staggering amount of these Pakistani Christians suffer to the extreme. They receive very little or no help to sustain and help them endure the painfully long wait to be moved to a welcoming nation. Many parents can’t even buy milk and diapers for their babies. Sadly, too few are trying to cover their needs. The UNHCR does not have a program to care for their needs, nor can they protect them from being arrested as illegals. Thailand doesn’t recognized asylum seekers. In 2011, James Lynch, a UNHCR Representative for Thailand said,
“The UN refugee agency believes no refugee should be locked up simply for being a refugee, so we applaud any measure that gets refugees out from behind bars. At the same time, we continue to work with the Thai government to prevent refugees from being arbitrarily rounded up and sent to detention centres.”
Unfortunately, it’s 2016 and the arrest rate of innocents fleeing persecution and hold UNHCR asylum certificates has risen. The approx. $1450USD to bail them out is an extremely high amount for most of us working for their survival. This costs takes food and shelter away from families suffering ‘outside’. The Thai government has developed a monthly plan to raid places known to house these Christian asylum seekers. They have ramped up their efforts to round them up and hold them in the most horrific conditions at the immigration detention centre. When funds are available, Voice of the Persecuted delivers nutritional food and toiletries for those suffering in the IDC. We remain in prayer that something can be worked out between the government and the UNCHR Bangkok office for their protection. We continue pray their asylum interviews can be fast tracked and moved to a country where they can worship Christ freely…this is their hope.
Severe depression and high blood pressure from stress, even in the young, is a critical issue among Pakistani asylum seekers. They are overlooked by government agencies and the Church as a whole. How can the Church ignore the suffering of the weakest members of the Body of Christ? They tell us the world has forgotten them, or looks at them as beggars. We assure them they are not, the world has left them no other choice.
Voice of the Persecuted is able to pay the costs of John’s medical care and hospitalization, but the family’s ongoing needs are a major concern. Without help, they’re lives remain at great risk.
To help John’s family, those we already cover month to month, and the many praying for relief on our waiting list, we ask, we beg, we pray for your help. In one of our cases, multiple families stay together in a two room ‘apartment’. All the adults except one woman have been arrested and taken to the IDC. She’s caring for 9 children on her own and is worried how they will survive. In another case, a woman with 6 children waits near the top of our list. She too cares for her children alone…her husband has been detained in the IDC for over 4 months.
We are short on the amount necessary to provide next month’s expenses for those we already care for. Voice of the Persecuted relies on the generosity of people like you, members of the Body of Christ to help this mission continue. If you can and would like to sponsor John’s family, the costs to cover shelter, food and basic necessities is only $230 USD per month. So many families are in great need. Take this information to your church, or faith group. Ask if the congregation could sponsor even one of these families or those still waiting on the lists. The costs would barely be felt by each individual. We are happy to send you or your church updates, photos and messages from ‘your family’. They would also love prayers, encouragement and messages from you!
For more information to aid a persecuted family in Thailand, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Let us not forget them, nor think as the world, ‘someone else will step up to help’. Let us not regret the loss of even one of these ‘family members’ when there is surely a way to share and provide. But any help you can give is appreciated more than you could ever know.
L Kanalos, VOP Founder
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.
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
Article/photos may be reprinted with credit to Voice of the Persecuted.
Majority of Americans – And Candidates of Both Parties – Say Christians Face Genocide in Middle East
NEW HAVEN, Conn. Press Release – By a wide margin, most Americans agree with the presidential candidates of both parties in calling ISIS’ atrocities against Christians in the Middle East “genocide,” according to a KofC-Marist poll conducted this month.
Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee and Martin O’Malley have all called the situation genocide.
By almost 20 points, 55 percent to 36 percent, Americans agree that this targeting of Christians and other religious minorities meets the U.N. definition of genocide.
In addition, nearly 6 in 10 Americans (59 percent), say they have heard “a great deal” or “a good amount” about the targeting of Christians and other religious minorities in the region by ISIS.
“The American people, together with presidential candidates and elected officials of both political parties agree that Christians and other religious minorities are facing genocide in the Middle East,” said Knights of Columbus CEO Carl Anderson. “With such a bi-partisan consensus, inaction on a declaration of genocide by Congress and the State Department is unconscionable. An entire year has gone by with their silence. The time for action is now – while those being persecuted can still be saved.”
The survey came shortly after a broad coalition of religious leaders, researchers and scholars sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, urging – based on the overwhelming evidence of their targeting in Iraq and Syria – that Christians be included in any determination of genocide made by the State Department.
In addition, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) recently released a statement urging the State Department to declare what is happening to religious minorities in the region as genocide.
Pope Francis has called the situation genocide as well. During his trip to Bolivia, he stated, “Today we are dismayed to see how in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world many of our brothers and sisters are persecuted, tortured and killed for their faith in Jesus. … A form of genocide is taking place, and it must end.”
Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, New Mexico, chair of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, in a letter has also urged Congress to pass the “Genocide” resolution, H.Con.Res. 75.
The survey of 1,517 adults was conducted Dec. 1-7, 2015, by The Marist Poll sponsored and funded in partnership with The Knights of Columbus. Adults 18 years of age and older residing in the continental United States were interviewed in English or Spanish by (landline and cellular) telephone, using live interviewers. Results are statistically significant within ±2.5 percentage points.
• Pray for the dismantling of widespread corruption which cripples all levels of society – especially the government and including the church.
• Pray for an emphasis on discipleship and balanced Bible teaching in the Nigerian church, which continues to experience massive growth but whose teaching is often syncretistic and prosperity – based.
• Pray for increasingly persecuted Christians in Islamicized northern states to be characterized by supernatural love and forgiveness.
• Pray for a divine strength, that they may stand on the rock of faith when faced with persecution.
• Pray they will be filled joy that can only come from the LORD.
As the eighth most populated nation in the world, more people call Nigeria their home than any other country in Africa. Located in West Africa on the east coast of the Gulf of New Guinea, the Niger and Benue Rivers converge and form a “Y” that separates the country into three sections and three major ethnic groups-the Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo. English is the official language, but the many tribal groups also speak 521 other languages. This former English colony holds the distinction for having more sets of twins born here than in any other country in the world.
Nigeria is one of the world’s leaders in petroleum resources and exportation. Weak and corrupt governments have made the Nigerian economy far too dependent on the exportation of oil, and most of the oil profits have remained in the hands of the wealthy and powerful. Most of Nigeria’s work force is engaged in agriculture and 70 percent of Nigerians are classified as living below the poverty line. In recent years, however, a new civilian government has renewed its focus on the people, and the Nigerian economy has become one of the fastest growing in the world.
The Nigerian population is split more or less equally between Christianity and Islam with a small percentage that practice indigenous religions. Evangelicals represent 30% of the Christian segment. Many people have beliefs that reflect the influence of their indigenous roots and are part of their Christian and Muslim practices. Muslim and Christian relations in Nigeria are strained, and violence has resulted in loss of life in both groups. Facing Muslim persecution, Christians are working to reach the unreached people groups of Nigeria.
(Voice of the Persecuted) A mother of five, Asia Bibi has spent the last four years in prison in Pakistan for daring to drink water from a Muslim well. She is a Christian who has been tortured and persecuted for her faith in Christ. While working in a field along side other women, she became thirsty and went to the well to get a drink, her Muslim co-workers complained as a Christian, she had defiled the well. An argument ensued and Asia defended her faith to the Muslim co-workers who then tried to force her convert to Islam. She was arrested, tortured and later convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to death.
Since her incarceration, Asia has faced extreme pressure to convert to Islam. At one point her family states that during interrogations she asked for a drink and they gave her urine. Though there has been a global outcry in support of Bibi, world leaders still haven’t championed for release her. In fact they have said very little about her death sentence. Meanwhile, Pakistan is one of the West’s biggest beneficiary of monetary aid—in the billions. They continue to overlook and allow abuses such as this to continue as radicalism grows. Silence is consent.
The world watched stunned, appalled and shocked as a Muslim mob tortured and burned a Christian couple in a brick kiln oven for what is now proven to be a false charge of burning Koranic verses. A couple who did not worship as they did. The lynch mob became judge, jury and executioner. Another man recently died in police custody enduring torture. Human rights abuses are rampant in this country as they follow a barbaric law that may lead to a death sentence simply for faith outside of the majority.
‘You are my only hope of staying alive in this dungeon, so please don’t abandon me,’ she said. ‘I did not commit blasphemy.’
Watch the story of Asia Bibi and then call or write your Senators and Representatives and tell them you expect them to call an emergency meeting and demand accountability from the Pakistan government. Tell them you expect them to initiate safeguards to prevent Pakistan’s government from going against their Constitution. Click here for a copy of a letter you can send. And please remember Asia, Keep her in daily in your prayers.
Below is a preview of an upcoming documentary of Asia Bibi’s blasphemy case and the danger to minorities in Pakistan.