Boko Haram Captives Released

For months Open Doors has asked you to pray for the rescue of countless women and children abducted by the militant Islamist group, Boko Haram, in northeastern Nigeria. We are thankful to report that around 1,000 men, women and children, have been freed from Boko Haram camps in the Sambisa forest – said to be the militants’ last stronghold. Those rescued included many Christians, but there was no sign of the 232 school girls abducted from Chibok in April 2014.

Please Pray:

  • Thank God that these men, women and children are finally free again
  • For healing and restoration for those who have been freed from Boko Haram – they are often brainwashed and traumatised
  • For God to work through churches and Open Doors staff to provide them with support

For the protection and safe return of those who remain captive, including the Chibok girls.

For more information about Open Doors please go to:-

http://www.opendoorsuk.org

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

ISLAMIC STATE EXECUTE 30 CHRISTIANS

Islamic State has released a video showing the militants executing 30 ‘people of the cross’ in Libya. The video claims that those who were killed were Ethiopian Christians; the Ethiopian government has confirmed that they were Ethiopian migrant workers, but the Jerusalem Post has reported that three of those killed were from Eritrea.

One contact in Libya has asked us: “Please support us in Libya with your prayers. Especially the Arabic-speaking congregations of migrants need prayer; these churches are mainly attended by Ethiopian and Eritrean Christians… Many of them are becoming frightened, weak, discouraged and disappointed. Pray that the Lord might strengthen us in our faith in this time of trial.”

Please Join Me in Praying:

  • For comfort for the families of those who have been killed
  • For strength for the church in Libya, particularly Arabic congregations
  • For an end to violence in Libya
  • For God to change the hearts of members of Islamic State and turn them to Him.

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Identifying Bodies Is Torture

Identifying bodies ‘is torture’

Kenya is mourning the death of the 148 students killed by al-Shabaab militants in Garissa University on 2 April. Their families have faced the horrific task of trying to identify the bodies, which is particularly traumatic due to their injuries and poor preservation in the heat – one relative who had spent three days trying to identify his nephew described the task as ‘torture’.

But Kenyan believers found hope in the Easter message. Ciku Muriuki, a popular radio presenter in Kenya, wrote an open letter to al-Shabaab on Good Friday, saying: “Jesus will die at 3pm and rise again. So will the students you have slain… I don’t hate you. I love you. I forgive you.”

Please Pray:

  • For the prevention of more al-Shabaab attacks – they have threatened further bloodshed
  • For healing for those who were injured in the attacks
  • For comfort for mourning families and the swift identification of bodies
  • For wisdom for the Kenyan government as they consider how to prevent extremist violence.

Open Doors supports victims and families

Our staff in Kenya have been able to meet with injured victims of the attacks in hospitals in Nairobi to pray with them and encourage them, as well as with bereaved families.

We spoke to one parent who was yet to find the body of his son after searching through the bodies for three days. The boy’s uncle told an Open Doors worker, “I cannot find words. We are speechless. For now we just want to find his body. But looking through the bodies to find any mark that would identify him is almost too painful…this is torture. May God help us find him!”

Staff members asked us to pray in particular for parents as they search through the bodies for their missing children.

Support your persecuted church family in Kenya

Thanks to your support, Open Doors is able to care for the families of those who have been killed for their faith in Jesus. In Kenya, when Gladys Juma’s husband Ben was killed, we were able to help her pay the school fees for her children. If you would like to pray, give and speak out to support our persecuted church family, you can take the Step of Yes today.

 

With many thanks for your prayers.

Lisa Pearce
CEO Open Doors UK & Ireland

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Pakistan – Bombings Lead To Further Violence

 At least 17 people were killed and 80 injured in two suicide bomb attacks on churches in Lahore on Sunday. A militant Islamist group claimed responsibility for the attacks. “In that moment my first thought was ‘Thank you Lord that we belong to you,'” one of our partners told us.

The attacks have created a cycle of violence, with Christians rioting and killing two Muslims, which led to a further attack on a Christian. Church leaders are calling for peace; Fr John Nisar, from the Diocese of Lahore, has said: “We must remain peaceful and witness Christ with our own lives.”

Please Pray:

  • For peace to be restored in Pakistan, particularly in Lahore
  • For God to give Christians the strength to forgive their attackers and not to seek revenge
  • For comfort for the families of those killed in the violence
  • For healing for those who have been injured.

Volunteers die to save others

2,000 people were gathered at the two churches that were attacked on Sunday. The death toll could have been higher, but the suicide bombers were prevented from entering the churches by volunteer security members, which may have saved hundreds of lives.

32-year-old Obaid Sardar Khokhar overpowered the attacker who was approaching Christ Church and dragged him away from the entrance. The bomber blew himself up, killing Obaid and his pregnant wife Ambreen.

At St. John’s Catholic Church, 16-year-old Akash Bashir grabbed the leg of the suicide bomber as he attempted to scale the wall of the church. When Akash refused to let go, the attacker detonated his bomb and killed them both, along with several others.

Say yes to supporting your persecuted church family in Pakistan

Pakistan is number 8 on our World Watch List. Just 2.5% of the population are Christians, and Pakistan’s infamous blasphemy laws are often abused to settle personal scores against Christians and other minorities.

Asia Bibi is a Christian mother-of-five who has been imprisoned since 2009 on charges of blasphemy. If you would like to find out how you can support Asia Bibi, email our Inspire team on inspire@opendoorsuk.org for more information.

With many thanks for your prayers.

Lisa Pearce
CEO Open Doors UK & Ireland

 

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As you know I have been supporting the Persecuted Church – and Open Doors – for some time past.

Please add your prayers to those of Christians throughout the world who are praying every day to give strength to everyone who is and has been persecuted for their religious beliefs.

With many prayerful blessings

Geoffrey

The Persecuted Church – Letter from Nick Smith, MP

I was very pleased to have received the following letter from Nick Smith, my local MP, in support of our campaign on behalf of the persecuted church. Nick’s letter reads as follows:-

Dear Geoffrey,

Thank you very much for writing to me about religious freedom and the persecution of Christians. I agree with you that this is a hugely important issue, which does not always get the profile it deserves. It is unacceptable for anyone to be deliberately targeted, attacked or persecuted because of their faith. Christianity is under threat in many countries across the world, and we must be willing to stand up against this plight.

I’m really proud that the Labour party have pledged to put the campaign against religious persecution at the heart of our foreign policy. Our Secretary of state for Foreign Affairs, Douglas Alexander, has argued that Christian persecution, just like anti-Semitism or Islamophobia, must be named as the evil that it is, and challenged systematically by people of all faiths and no faith. He has pledged that a Labour Government would appoint a Global Ambassador for religious freedom, as well as setting up a multi-faith council in the Foreign Office to lead the campaign against religious persecution. It is this level of commitment that we need to really make a difference.

I have to send my apologies, that I was unfortunately unable to attend the report launch and service of prayer, as I had conflicting parliamentary and constituency duties on those dates. I will strongly support a future Labour Government in their efforts to challenge this unacceptable violence and persecution, and the Labour party have pledged to work with all other parties to ensure this issue gets the strength of hearing it deserves.

Thank you again for writing to me,
Yours sincerely,

Nick

Nick Smith MP

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Those of you who read and follow my daily blog on a regular basis will know that I very seldom become involved in politics but the Persecuted Church is different because this is definitely a subject on which Governments need to stand up and be counted.

And come May 7th, the day of the UK General Election, if Labour get to form the next Government I shall expect them to keep to their commitment as outlined in Nick’s letter.

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

CHRISTIANS KILLED and ABDUCTED in the Central African Republic

Christians killed and abducted

At least 18 Christians have been killed in a recent wave of violence in Central African Republic (CAR). In an attack in the capital Bangui on 11 February, 16 Christians were killed, some by beheading. The following week, in the Nana Grebizi province, Fulani herdsmen killed two Christians and abducted another Christian, Kondremunju Philippe, and his son. Pastor Enza Vincent from Kaga-Bandoro, the provincial capital of Nana Grebizi, says: “We want peace… There are thousands of Christians who are suffering.”

Please Pray:

  • For bereaved families to experience God’s comfort and provision
  • That Kondremunju Philippe and his son will be released safely
  • For those displaced by the recent violence, and that aid organisations will be able to deliver relief to them soon
  • For breakthroughs in the battle to restore peace in CAR, and wisdom for the government.

As those of you who read my daily blogs regularly will know I am a great supporter of the Persecuted Church and I make no apologies for including frequent references to the terrible atrocities that are being perpetrated against Christians and people of other religious faiths around the world.

Please remember the people being persecuted for their religious beliefs.

In today’s ‘civilised’ society this should never be allowed to happen but – sadly – it is all too prevailant.

Your prayers can – and will – make a difference.

With many heart-felt blessings

Geoffrey

For more information about the Persecuted Church please go to:-

http://wwwopendoorsuk.org

 

Libya

“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death.. but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Matthew 24: 9 -13

“ISIS helped us strengthen our faith”

The brother of two of the Coptic Christians executed by Islamic State (IS) in Libya has thanked IS for including the declarations of faith made by the men in the video of the killings. The last words of some of the Christians were ‘Lord Jesus Christ’. “ISIS helped us strengthen our faith,” said Beshir Kamel, speaking on Christian channel SAT-7 ARABIC.

He finished the broadcast by praying for his brothers’ killers: “Dear God, please open their eyes to be saved.” Please join him in his prayers.

Please Pray:

  • Thank God for the courage of the 21 Egyptians who were faithful to the end
  • For members of IS to encounter Jesus and turn from their life of violence and hatred
  • For protection and wisdom for the Christians who remain in Libya
  • For comfort and strength for the families of the murdered Egyptians.

Martyrs’ mother would welcome IS

Beshir described what his mother said she would do if she saw one of her sons’ killers: “My mother, an uneducated woman in her sixties, said she would ask [him] to enter her house and ask God to open his eyes.”

The brother of another of the martyrs told an Open Doors contact: “They kept the faith until the last moment. They didn’t deny the name of our Lord… We are proud of them.”

“I’m not moving”

Incredibly, some Christians are choosing to stay in Libya, despite threats against their lives. Christian Today reports that Bishop Giovanni Martinelli, the Italian Bishop of Tripoli, has said: “I’m not moving from here. And I’m not afraid.”

A pastor in Libya recently asked Open Doors to pray for ‘all those who are Christians in the country, especially the Coptic Christians who have become immediate targets’.

Say ‘Yes’ to your persecuted church family

If you would like to register your commitment to regularly pray, give and speak out for your persecuted church family in places like Libya, take the Step of Yes today.

Source: Open Doors, SAT-7 ARABIC, Christian Today

With many thanks for your prayers,

Open Doors Prayer Team
http://www.opendoorsuk.org

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey