Persecution & Prayer Alert

"In Christianity, Jesus shows Christians how to answer persecution with love. Although this suggestion might seem impossible to some and ridiculous to others, Jesus' teachings were always radical; and they are only possible if the Gospel message is true."
~ Nabeel Qureshi


DR Congo: Thousands Flee Militant Islamist Violence

Source(s): World Watch Monitor


Children in a displacement camp in northeast DR Congo
Photo: Open Doors via World Watch Monitor

Islamist militants are suspected to have killed between 20 and 40 villagers in the eastern areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Late in the evening on May 3rd, attackers carried machetes and axes into a village located within the North Kivu province. "Between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., the enemy managed to get past army positions and kill peaceful residents in their homes," reports local administrator Bernard Amisi Kalonda.

A Christian missionary adds that thousands of people have already fled the area since the militants' unexpected attack. "It was eerie; hundreds of houses (have been) abandoned and thousands of people displaced," the missionary says of the mass exodus. "I saw four coffins and a funeral or two on the road. I saw people carrying their mattresses and things in cars, on motorcycles, on foot. Hundreds of homes along the road are abandoned. Where there was a thriving community, there is now a ghost town."

The local population in the related area is overwhelmingly Christian (95.8 percent), and the resulting impact on them has been immense. Referencing the attack, a pastor of a church in the community reported that the people are terrified. While some contemplated fleeing again, others have opted to stay in hopes that things will normalize soon.

Thank you for joining us in prayer for the families who have lost loved ones, and for the community at large after having experienced forceful expulsion from their homes. May they take comfort in the knowledge that wherever they go, God will always be with them (Deuteronomy 31:6). Uphold those in need of healing from physical injury or emotional trauma due to the attack -- whether the Lord works through the giftedness of medically trained experts or another means of His divine intervention. Also intercede for the perpetrators responsible for this horrific attack. May they come to know the God of those they persecute and, as a result, be able to proclaim Him as their own Saviour and Lord.

Tanzania: Third Church in Recent Burning Spree

Source(s): World Watch Monitor


A church being burned in Tanzania.
Photo: World Watch Monitor

Another church in Tanzania's extreme northwest corner was burned to the ground on May 2nd in a suspected arson attack. No group has claimed responsibility for the fire that destroyed the church in Nyarwele, located within the Kagera region which borders Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda. According to Kagera Regional Police Commander Augustine Ollomi, it is the third church in four months to be burned down.

The police commander added that seven suspects are currently helping police with investigations following the burning of other churches in the region last year -- six within a one-week period during September 2015. At the time of the 2015 attacks, the secretary of the local Bukoba Pastors' Fellowship testified that there had been many arson attacks in the area: "Since 2013, we have had over 13 churches torched here in Kagera, and no one has been held accountable."

Fortunatus Bijura, the leader of the church that was burned on May 2nd of this year, says the resulting damages will not stop the congregation from meeting. "Those who think that destroying our church means we won't pray; they are wrong.... We have a big tree near the church and will continue meeting there for prayers."

Local police have asked the community to work together in an effort to resolve the case of the most recent incident. Bishop Almachius Vincent Rweyongeza appealed for calm, requesting that locals co-operate with the police in order to locate those responsible and, therefore, put an end to the destructiveness and dangers posed by the fires. To review a report on last year's arson attacks, click here.

Pray that the Lord will minister His perfect peace to the congregations of the attacked churches after the tremendous destruction and upheaval they've recently experienced, restoring to them all that the enemy has sought to destroy. And may the Lord not only minister to the suffering Christians of these communities but also to the instigators of the fires, by convicting them of their grievous sin and need for salvation. In addition, may there be a great outpouring of God's Spirit throughout Tanzania -- blessing the efforts of His faithful people as they endeavor to shine His light brightly so those faltering in the darkness will clearly discover "the Way, the Truth and the Life" (John 14:6).

Sudan: Member of Embattled Church Freed!

Source(s): Morning Star News


Telahoon Nogose Kassa
Photo: Morning Star News

Telahoon Nogose Kassa, head of discipleship at the embattled Khartoum Bahri Evangelical Church, was released after Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) arrested him without charges on December 13th, 2015. While it's unclear why Telahoon was released, according to Human Rights Watch, NISS can hold detainees for up to four-and-a-half months without judicial review.

During the night of December 13th, NISS agents went to the home of the 36-year-old Christian leader, ordering him to report to their offices. Upon doing so the following day, officials arrested Telahoon and took him to a detention centre in Khartoum.

No reasons for the arrest were given, though Telahoon was questioned for five consecutive days about his relationship with a foreign missionary who had attended a discipleship class. Sources believe that he was targeted for his Christian activities and his opposition to government interference with the church.

Khartoum Bahri Evangelical Church has fought a government takeover of its property. Telahoon's arrest came four months after two South Sudanese pastors, Rev. Peter Yein Reith and Rev. Yat Michael, were released following eight months in prison on false charges of capital crimes due to their attempts to defend the church against the illegal sale of its property.

Although we are praising God for the safe return of Telahoon, and for the previously granted release of the two South Sudanese pastors, we do ask for prayer on behalf of a pastor from another church who is still in detention. Authorities arrested Rev. Hassan Abdelrahim Tawor at his home on December 18th. While no charges have been brought against him, NISS officials were said to have objected to his Christian activities.

More information about this case, as well as other reports on persecution in Sudan, are available at our Sudan Country Report. It is important to note that Sudan was recently subject to a United Nation's Universal Periodic Review on human rights abuses.

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