The main tool needed for the continued advancement of these new Christians is the Teaching of the Word of God.
Again Pastor Nadeem is doing just that. Through open air meetings and teaching to these new Christians what the Word of God means to them and how the Word of God will set them free.
Persecuted, But Not Abandoned; Struck Down, But Not Destroyed
A Nigerian church elder shares that his church had around 500 members before the deadly attacks started in 2011; the congregation has now dwindled to around 120. He says, “All of us live in perpetual fear,” but adds, “We are … persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body,” 2 Cor. 4:8-10.
The United Nations has stated that more than 70,000 people have died during the past two years of unrest in Syria. It seems as if every day there are more and more casualties from this ongoing conflict. Many Christians become victims simply because of their faith. even raped. In the end, many of their homes were completely destroyed.
"The violence in Syria continues to increase and Christians are becoming a target of many extremists," says Katia, a Syrian Christian. "A few years ago, we observed many of the same Christmas traditions that Christians in other parts of the world do. We would display our Christmas tree in the window, have a Christmas service on Christmas morning and would share the Christmas story with others on the street afterwards. This past year, if someone was fortunate enough to get a Christmas tree, they could not display it in the window of their home, as they knew it was not wise to bring attention to their household. Christians gathered together for only a short amount of time for the Christmas service, to avoid large gatherings." even raped. In the end, many of their homes were completely destroyed.
As the international community watches in growing concern, the death toll continues to rise in Syria. According to a United Nations report in early January, more than 60,000 people - including government troops, members of the Free Syria Army (rebel forces), and innocent civilians - have been killed in the conflict. One rebel agency claims that more than 3,500 children are among the dead, but that is not confirmed by the U.N.
Prayer Requested In Days Following Kenya Elections
On March 4, Uhuru Kenyatta won Kenya’s presidential elections by a slim margin of 50.07%. His main rival, Raila Odinga, indicated that he will challenge the result. Local Christians have asked for our prayers, for this nation where over 1,500 persons were killed and more than 800,000 were displaced in the violence following the previous election results. Kenya’s new president, Kenyatta, accused of fuelling the post-election violence in 2007, is expected to face an International Criminal Court. A guilty verdict may have far-reaching effects if various nations and development partners were to impose sanctions demanding that he relinquish power, as would be constitutionally expected.
Akono is an elder from Northern Nigeria. His church had approximately 500 attendees before the attacks started in 2011. Now, the size of his church has dwindled down to about one-fourth of the original size.
This post was modified from its original form on 15 Mar, 5:34
Christians in Mexico Cut-off from Vital Resources; Acteal Prisoner Set Free
Open Doors has learned that traditional authorities in Chiapas have denied evangelical Christians access to water, firewood, and healthcare services for refusing to participate in pagan practices. Please pray for these brave brothers and sisters. On a positive note, on March 13, Marcos Arias Pérez, wrongly convicted for allegedly engaging in the slaughter in the Village of Acteal, Chiapas in 1997, was declared innocent and released. Due to the release of Perez, the Supreme Court has decided to review the 17 remaining cases. Praise God for this break-through giving the imprisoned men and their families hope.
Syria - #11
Leader: President Bashar al-Assad
Government: Republic Main Religion: Islam
Population:21.1 million (1.7 million Christians)
"We’re a humble church in Damascus but nowadays we are helping over 1350 displaced families in Damascus", pastor Imad says enthusiastically. "It is rewarding that God allows us to reach that many people." With the support of Open Doors, his protestant church is helping Christian and Muslim families with the basics they need.
The number the pastor mentioned represents the internally displaced families in Damascus that are registered with this specific church for regular help and follow up.
The relief work of this congregation that is supported by Open Doors includes food supply, medical help in a clinic, house visitations, blankets to all families and mattresses where needed. Sometimes rent is paid. "All help depends on the needs of the families." Besides material help, the church also helps spiritually by distributing Bibles, Christian books and through discipleship.
"The overall condition in Damascus is getting worse", Imad says. "The people have to cope with the horrific sounds of gunshots, sporadic mortars and missiles all around. There is no safe place anymore. And the violence leads to other problems. There is no electricity during many hours of the day. People cannot do their normal daily activities like cleaning their clothes, cooking, taking a shower, ironing, heating their homes (for the lack of electricity, gas, diesel and petrol), even reading and studying is hard as there is no electricity."
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Anxiety High as Rebels Take Over Central African Republic
A three-month-old rebel uprising in the Central African Republic swept into the country's capital Sunday, March 25, ousting the president and leaving a wake of ransacked Christian homes and churches. ''We live in a great fear. Properties belonging to Muslims are not attacked,'' said a priest, who chose to remain anonymous. "Communication systems are down, and the water and power supplies have been suspended, plunging the capital into darkness."
Egypt's Christians, Fearing Instability, Seek Security Elsewhere
Tens of thousands of Christians are estimated to have joined a mass exodus from post-revolution Egypt amid concerns over rising Muslim conservatism and sectarian tension. On Sunday, in a brash display of animosity towards the Christian community, a crowd attacked mourners emerging from a funeral in Egypt’s main Coptic Christian cathedral in central Cairo.
North Korean Church Leaders Call for Prayer Amid War Preparations
As North Korean military officials intensify war threats and combat preparations, North Korean church leaders are sending out an urgent plea to Christians worldwide to pray for their country.
Forced Displacement in Chiapas
Twenty-four Christian families in La Piedad Margaritas Chiapas fled on Sat, April 6, after two days of death threats and vicious attacks with rocks. As the assailants slept, the Christians quietly slipped away. Walking 12 hours under cover of darkness to the town of Comitan, the refugees were welcomed and hosted by New Jerusalem Church. Please pray for strength and provision for these displaced believers while they seek favor with the La Piedad authorities, hoping for a swift and peaceful resolution to the problems, and be able to return back to their homes. Pray also for God’s mercy on the town of La Piedad, that the Lord will be known in every square inch of the city.
Church Shelled, Christians Killed/Wounded in Central African Republic
At least 20 are dead after a weekend of fighting with rebels. ‘‘Two shells landed on the church building and another one landed in the church yard,” Rev. Mbaye-Bondoi told Watch World Monitor in a telephone interview. “Many children were among those injured.”
Damascus Church Reaching Out to Refugees
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reports that over 1.3 million refugees have now fled war-torn Syria, and the number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Syria exceeds 2 million. In spite of the worsening situation for Christians, the church in Damascus is reaching out to refugees with supplies, medicine and the love of Jesus.
Colombian Couple Afraid Their Son Could Kill Them
Pastor Miguel Rodriguez and his wife Amparo are concerned that their son, a former member of a criminal band, wants to kill his father. Saying that he gets drunk and practices witchcraft, they have requested prayers for safety and wisdom, and that their son’s heart will be touched by the Lord.
Violence Over Funeral Procession Leaves at Least 39 Dead in Nigeria
A bloody clash between Nigerian Christians and Muslims occurred during a funeral procession for a traditional leader from the Christian Jukun tribe. As the mourners walked through a predominantly Muslim area, youths blocked the road and said no ‘arne’ (‘infidels&rsquo would be allowed to pass, claiming the procession was interrupting Friday prayers. Multiple homes and shops were destroyed during the attack, causing an estimated $6 million in damages. Security forces have been enforcing a 24-hour curfew since May 3, to prevent further violence from developing between Christians and Muslims.
Bomb Outside Church in Tanzania - One of the Worst “Terrorist” Incidents in Years
Two people were killed and 60 injured in an attack that highlights rising tensions between religious communities. Tanzania, once celebrated as a role model for peace in Africa, is no longer being considered “safe” due to an increase in inter-faith violence.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom reported “the flight of Christians out of the region (Middle East) is unprecedented and it’s increasing year by year.” In our lifetime alone “Christians might disappear altogether from Iraq, Egypt and Afghanistan,” says Jerry Dykstra, spokesperson for Open Doors. “One word I use to describe attacks on Christianity, as well as other religious groups, is “religicide” the "intentional, systematic, and institutionalized effort to eliminate a religious belief and its followers from a country or region."
Project Endurance - Nigeria
A team dispatched to northeast Nigeria arrived last week to bring relief aid to Christians affected by Boko Haram activity in recent months. The first stop was Yobe where they met a handful of pastors who had resolved to stay despite the constant hostility and insecurity they face.