Persecution & Prayer Alert

"If we could catch a glimpse of heaven, we would
strain to make the best use of the opportunities
presented to us. Our lives, said James, are just 'a mist
that appears for a little time and then vanishes' (4:14).
There is so much that awaits us on the other side."
~ Erwin Lutzer


Nigeria: Boko Haram Firebombs Village

Source(s): Fox News, CNN, Release International


A Nigerian village
Photo: Flickr/Melvin "Buddy" Baker (cc)

A survivor hidden in a tree couldn't escape the trauma he witnessed as heavily armed Boko Haram terrorists firebombed huts during their ruthless evening attack on Dalori village in northeastern Nigeria. Nor can he forget the screams of the other villagers -- including children -- who were among the many victims traumatized, wounded or killed by the January 30th attack.

According to survivors and soldiers at the scene, scores of charred bodies with bullet wounds littered the streets of the village and a nearby camp housing more than 20,000 refugees. Officials now report that the number of fatalities has reached 86, with more than a hundred injured. The agenda of Nigeria's homegrown Islamic militant group includes enforcing a stricter adherence of Sharia law and ridding northern Nigeria of Christianity.

An additional incident which took place at a nearby unprotected village, caused by the explosions of three suicide bombers, has only heightened concerns for residents of northern Nigeria's frequently targeted Christian communities. To learn more about the atrocities experienced by the followers of Christ in northern Nigeria, go to the Nigeria Country Report.

Please join us in praying for our traumatized Christian brothers and sisters in Nigeria who have experienced such tremendous pain and loss as a result of Boko Haram's vicious attacks against their communities. May these believers strongly sense God's comforting presence as they recover from the trauma, viewing these horrific evil assaults in light of eternity. Ask the Lord to ignite their hearts with great hope and faith as they look to Him in their time of dire need. While interceding for the perpetrators of these crimes, pray that their eyes be opened to the truth of the Gospel and their hearts receptive to the transformative work of the Holy Spirit.

Mexico: Traditionalists Set Christian Homes Ablaze

Source(s): Voice of the Martyrs Mexico, Christian Solidarity Worldwide


Pray for the growing
number of displaced
families in Mexico.

Christians in several Mexican municipalities are continuing to face harassment and expulsion by the country's traditionalist leaders. In early January, believers residing within the municipality of Las Margaritas, located in the southern state of Chiapas, found themselves destitute after their homes were destroyed by armed village leaders who had threatened them for the duration of ten months prior to the incident.

President of VOM Mexico, Luis Antonio Herrero, reports that the nine families had been threatened by village authorities since April of 2015, warning them of consequences if they refused to change their religious affiliation. In October, each adult belonging to the evangelical Christian group was fined $190 for not signing a letter of confirmation indicating the required change. On December 15th, a final ultimatum was given in which the church members were to provide evidence of the mandated conversion. By the afternoon, it was reported that seven of the Christians had been imprisoned for not complying with the village leaders' orders.

Although those held in confinement were released two days later, Luis Herrero adds that on January 4th, 2016, the Christians' refusal to comply had resulted in the burning of their homes and their families' forceful expulsion from the community. This is only one of several such cases involving severe unjust treatment by leaders of traditionalist communities.

In the municipalities of Venustiano Carranza, Cuahtemoc Cardenas, San Jose Yashtinin, and Buena Vista Bahuitz, families are contending with opposing local authorities in their efforts to regain access to electricity and water after being discriminately disconnected. While some of these struggles have been ongoing since 2012, there has yet to be any meaningful recognition of their plight or practical help provided by regional authorities. Previous reports can be reviewed at this page.

Let's uphold these believers in the various mentioned municipalities of Mexico who've faced numerous challenges due to the discrimination and harassment imposed on their families by the traditionalists' unwarranted mandates. Ask God to convict the hearts of the local authorities whose acts of injustice are causing much undue hardship for the Christian members of their communities. Pray that the victimized believers will be granted much more than justice. Most of all, may the love of Christ ultimately prevail in and through the lives of all who are involved in this spiritual struggle (1 Cor. 13:13).

China: Pastor Released From Black Jail

Source(s): China Aid


Huang Yizi (left) just following
his release from a black jail.
Photo: China Aid

Authorities have recently released a church pastor in China's southeastern coastal Zhejiang Province. Pastor Huang Yizi, who was detained since September 12th in what is referred to as a "black jail" had been accused of "stealing, spying on, buying or illegally providing state secrets for institutions and people outside the country."

The term, "black jail," is used to describe "residential surveillance in a designated location." Considered a more severe form of holding than "criminal detention," individuals under residential surveillance are held in undisclosed locations. Since no outside contact is allowed, those detained in "black jails" are not permitted to speak with family members or legal representatives for the duration of their confinement. A previous report relating to this topic can be found here.

While we can praise God for Pastor Huang's release, pray that he will be undaunted by the obstacles he has faced. May he instead be further strengthened and imbued to more effectively resume his ministry. Let's also uphold the other Christians still being detained in this manner, as well as their concerned families, asking that they be encouraged to remain steadfast in their faith, drawing even closer to the Lord during this difficult time of trial. May the government's unrelenting pressure on churches and their leaders not cause the believers to waver spiritually or become discouraged. Rather may they be more fervent in their resolve to follow Christ, serving as vibrant witnesses to those around them who are desperately in need of God's eternal salvation.

To post a prayerful concern on behalf of Christians suffering for their faith, or to lift up a prayer of thanksgiving and praise to the Lord for answering previous petitions relating to persecution, visit our prayer wall.

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