Stacy L. Harp
If there has been one nation on my heart this year, it is Nigeria because of the intense persecution of Christians by Boko Haram. We even saw the Jubilee Campaign petition President Obama with the hopes of getting enough people aware of the terrorism of Boko Haram so that the United States State Department would defund Boko Haram. Sadly, that hasn’t happened yet.
The following is from Mission Network News:
Nigeria (MNN) ― Boko Haram, a Nigerian militant Islamist group, had their bloodiest year in 2012, responsible for over 750 deaths.
General Aziza, Nigeria’s former national security advisor, says the upscale in Boko Haram’s terrorist attacks may be linked with the upcoming 2015 Nigerian presidential elections.
When President Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian, was elected president of Nigeria in 2011, a series of Boko Haram killings followed. Boko Haram made threats on the president to resign or else turn Nigeria into an Islamic nation.
Rae Burnett, the Africa Director for Christian Aid Mission, explains, “I do believe that it’s spiritual warfare, but it’s definitely the desire to see that Islam is the world religion. They start where they are, and these guys are Nigerian, so they want to be empowered in Nigeria.”
Several of the Muslim-majority Northern states began declaring themselves under Sharia law after the 2011 elections. Of the 32 Nigerian states, 12 currently are govern by Islamic Sharia law. 2015 will be Muslims’ next chance to gain power in Nigeria’s political arena.
However, Boko Haram grew quiet on the large-scale attack front earlier this month. The fact that Christmas was approaching—the biggest Christian holiday of the year—wasn’t lost on anyone and created an eerie silence. Attacks were expected, especially since Boko Haram has declared intent to eradicate Christians from Nigeria.
And Boko Haram militants have the means to back up this desire. With ties to Al-Qaeda and funding for weapons, they fight in pockets and avoid any clashes with the Nigerian military. They’ve gotten bolder. According to Burnett, “They do whatever is in front of them. If it’s a school bus, they’ll blow it up. If it’s a school, they’ll blow it up. They’re trying to make people afraid.”
Because of the disjointed nature of Boko Haram’s fighting tactics, several smaller attacks still occur weekly in Northern Nigeria, but they are largely unreported.
Burnett shares, “Once, I read [about another attack] and called my friend [in Nigeria] and said, ‘Why didn’t you tell me about this?’ He said, ‘Look, if I tell you about every terrorist attack, we would be on the phone all the time.’ They’ve become so common place that they are happening every day. We don’t hear about them.”
The attacks have gotten so bad in the state where Christian Aid’s headquarters are located that they need to move to a safer site. But Christian Aid can’t do it without the funds. Out of the $40,000 needed, they only have $10,000—enough to buy the land and lay a foundation. Christian Aid still needs $30,000 to finish the headquarter buildings and residences.
“They really need to move from the state where they are now,” says Burnett. “Two and three times a week, they are suffering terrorist attacks.”
But despite the danger, the 120 missionaries in Nigeria associated with Christian Aid are staying in the ministry field. “They are committed to making the Lord known and dying for Him if need be,” says Burnett. “They’re doing wonderful work, and many people are coming to Christ.”
Pray for Christians in Nigeria to persevere and hold fast to their hope in the Lord. Pray for many others in Nigeria to come to know Christ and for church leaders to advance their ministry.
Source: Mission Network News
Stacy L. Harp
In 1866, Chalmers and his young wife sailed for the Southern Seas and were shipwrecked on Rarotonga, where they settled. Eleven years later, they left for Papua New Guinea, and were warmly received into a cannibal village called Suau.
Chalmers began journeying up and down the coast. At one of his stops, the natives surrounded him and demanded tomahawks and knives. Otherwise, they would kill him and his wife. Chalmers stood his ground, and the natives respected his tenacity. They even apologized the following day and soon became friends.
In 1879, his wife died. James was devastated and told a friend, “Let me bury my sorrow in work for Christ.”
Chalmers returned to England twice on furlough, only to be further convinced of his calling. “I cannotrest with so many thousands of savages without knowledge of God near us.”
On April 7, 1901, Chalmers, Oliver Tompkins, and a group of assistants sailed to the island of Goaribari. The following morning he and Tompkins went ashore and were escorted to a large building. Once inside, the natives killed the men and cooked them that same day.
How depressing. Understandably, when we read the stories of martyrs like James Chalmers, our natural reaction may be one of sympathy, and sorrow, and even shame. What a waste. But, we must take a closer look at their stories. Chalmers gave his single earthly life in order to share eternal life with many others. Chalmers did not consider his martyrdom a foolish mistake. Why should we be discouraged? When our earthly sufferings bring the glory and honor of heaven one step closer to the lost, nothing is in vain. Suffering becomes an inextricable part of God’s plan . . . for you and for others. Are you willing to endure earthly pain in order to bring heaven’s opportunity to others?
[Muslim Extremist for saudi imperialism: sharia terrorists, Continue: to grow violent, against Christians: in all the world]. in Indonesia. Stacy L. Harp
December 26, 2012. Indonesia (MNN) ― The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights recently raised concerns over the plight of religious minorities in Indonesia.
Many are Christians who have been noting the rise of violent attacks and forced displacement. This, in addition to other forms of discrimination, such as being denied identification cards. Sources from Open Doors and the Voice of the Martyrs say there have been reports of forced church closures, even where the churches have secured legal permission.
[Muslim Extremist for saudi imperialism: sharia terrorists, Continue: to grow violent, against Christians: in all the world]. International Christian Concern reported Jakarta police finally taking security measures to protect Christians as they gathered to celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. More than 12,000 police were deployed to roughly 2,000 churches throughout Central Java. Muslim extremist groups in Indonesia, with suspected ties to al Qaeda, continue to grow more violent towards Christians, with little resistance from authorities. Voice of the Martyrs noted one incident with a girl named Ribur who was jailed for 60 days for talking about her faith in Jesus. According to the VOM report, she chose to be part of an agricultural mission project in Aceh on the island of Sumatra. Teaching about how to raise crops and livestock often gave the team opportunities to answer questions about their faith.
[Muslim Extremist for saudi imperialism: sharia terrorists, Continue: to grow violent, against Christians: in all the world]. ICC says Ribur eventually began a community Bible study. She and another teammate had developed a relationship with a local woman, who eventually gave her life to Christ. That’s where Ribur ran into trouble. Shortly after this, a mob attacked Ribur and the other Christian worker. The beating continued for 45 minutes, eventually ending when the police came and arrested the pair for blaspheming Islam. When officials asked her why she shared about Jesus, Ribur said, “Jesus wants everyone to know about Him.”
[Muslim Extremist for saudi imperialism: sharia terrorists, Continue: to grow violent, against Christians: in all the world]. Eventually, the pair was released. However, Franz Magnis-Suseno of the Driyarkara School of Philosophy says, “The religious situation in Indonesia is marked by a rising number of social conflicts between neighborhoods and villages; conflicts on ethnic and, increasingly, on religious lines.” The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) cited the lack of religious freedom in Indonesia as among the issues that marred the country’s human rights record.
[Muslim Extremist for saudi imperialism: sharia terrorists, Continue: to grow violent, against Christians: in all the world]. Ignorance by the government has obviously encouraged increasing violence against minority groups in other areas, too, all across the country, which could potentially be misused by political interests approaching the 2014 legislative and presidential elections, said Kontras. Pray for Christians like Ribur who are facing persecution for their faith. Ask God to give those who face persecution the strength to stand strong and testify the truth. Nigerian Seminary Attacked; Broader Aim Revealed
Stacy L. Harp. October 2, 2012.
[Muslim Extremist for saudi imperialism: sharia terrorists, Continue: to grow violent, against Christians: in all the world]. Nigeria (MNN) A bomb blast and gunfire shook an area around a seminary in northern Nigeria on Sunday, leaving two dead. It was not immediately clear who was behind the blast in the city of Zaria, but extremist group Boko Haram has been blamed for hundreds of deaths as part of its insurgency in northern and central Nigeria. Investigators said the blast was the result of an improvised explosive device. The targeted area included the school as well as the worship center.
[Muslim Extremist for saudi imperialism: sharia terrorists, Continue: to grow violent, against Christians: in all the world]. Sound like a familiar story? In this case, it involved the Salafi, students who are studying Sunni Islam. Todd Nettleton, spokesman for Voice of the Martyrs USA, explains what this might mean. “I think it goes to show the nature of Boko Haram, that they have a very narrow vision of what Islam is and what it should be, and they want all Nigerians to fall within that very narrow vision.” Nettleton goes on to say that reports indicated “the Salafist cleric who runs this Islamic boarding school has been at odds with Boko Haram in the past. It seems like that is a strong possibility of a Boko Haram attack in Nigeria.”
[Muslim Extremist for saudi imperialism: sharia terrorists, Continue: to grow violent, against Christians: in all the world]. The violence came a day ahead of commemorations marking 52 years of Nigerian independence. However, says Nettleton, “They celebrate independence, but I think there’s a real threat to their independence that is growing in northern Nigeria among Boko Haram.” Nigeria’s north has been hit by scores of deadly attacks attributed to Boko Haram. In the last two years, their rebellion has cost 1,400 people their lives. While Boko Haram has claimed to be fighting for the creation of a state in Nigeria’s north, Nettleton warns: don’t be fooled. “They talk about wanting an independent state that would be run according to their vision of what true Islam is, but their demands have changed over time, as well.”
[Muslim Extremist for saudi imperialism: sharia terrorists, Continue: to grow violent, against Christians: in all the world]. The lines have gotten muddied on what Boko Haram actually wants. The name of the group is generally translated as “Western education is sinful,” but in Hausa it literally means “book forbidden.” The founders of the group believed Islam had been corrupted by Westernization, especially education and Christianity. They also rejected the legitimacy of the state and of Muslim traditional rulers. What they wanted, explains Nettleton, was a Sharia state governed by orthodoxy. “Obviously, Christians fall outside of that. We’ve seen attacks on churches, we’ve seen attacks on Christian institutions, but this shows that even if they [Boko Haram] think fellow Muslims are outside of what they call the ‘true teaching of Islam,’ they will attack them as well.”
[Muslim Extremist for saudi imperialism: sharia terrorists, Continue: to grow violent, against Christians: in all the world]. The battle for Nigeria’s soul intensifies. While Islamic terrorists rely on weapons and fear, Nettleton says Christians need to trust in God’s love and eternal promises. That’s also one of the challenges for the church in Northern Nigeria: the issue of fear. “Just imagine when you wake up Sunday morning and are deciding, ‘Should we go to church or not?’ If you add in the threat that ‘maybe our church will be bombed while we’re there this morning,’ you imagine the sense of fear and the sense of concern that that would raise.”
[Muslim Extremist for saudi imperialism: sharia terrorists, Continue: to grow violent, against Christians: in all the world]. That’s what standing in solidarity would mean, Nettleton adds. “We can pray with them against that spirit of fear, and against that spirit of intimidation. I think the second issue then becomes: ‘How are we going to respond to those who attack us? How are we going to respond to the Muslims around us?’ There is obviously a place for evangelism; there’s a place for sharing.” The bigger issue is how to respond to the violence of the insurgents and “the issue of forgiveness,
[Muslim Extremist for saudi imperialism: sharia terrorists, Continue: to grow violent, against Christians: in all the world]. the issue of loving those who society would say are our enemies. That’s a difficult thing, and that’s another thing that we can pray for our Nigerian brothers and sisters, for them to be able to do that with God’s help.”
Ask God to protect them and help them as they seek to respond in love and prayer for their Muslim attackers. Pray for the attackers, that God’s mercy and grace might pierce through the hardness of these hearts so opposed to His name. Ask God to send peace to Nigeria.