Persecution & Prayer Update - November 9, 2017 (Used with permission of VOM Canada) IRAQ: Families Again Forced to Flee Hometown Sources: Christian Solidarity Worldwide, The Christian Post
Hundreds of Iraqi Christian families had recently returned to their hometown of Teleskuf, after being displaced for years due to attacks perpetrated by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group, only to be forced to flee their northern Iraq community all over again. These families have since relocated to Alqosh and other Christian villages in the Nineveh Plains where they are now seeking refuge from the internal conflict that's presently taking place -- this time, between two of the country's governmental factions.
The town of Teleskuf, which is located about 30 kilometres north of Mosul, initially fell into the hands of ISIS terrorists in 2014. Yet, since its liberation last year, the town was rebuilt with the help of the international community; in particular, the Hungarian government. The collaborative rebuilding efforts made it possible for many Christian families to return to their homes.
However, now that rising tensions are taking place between the Central Government in Baghdad and the Kurdish Regional Government, there is a deepened level of sectarian strife in the rest of Iraq. Many civilians have been wounded in the conflict, resulting in the mutually shared security concerns of leaders representing various religious, political and civil society groups -- along with numerous internally displaced persons -- over the country's troubling situation.
In light of the chaos that has ensued in Iraq, we join in the urgent prayers of His people for the need of peace in this country, especially in areas where the conflict is prevalent. May God help those from the town of Teleskuf overcome the severe trauma they have endured by strengthening their faith and ensuring their needs for safety and provision are amply met. Additionally, intercede for Iraq's political leaders, asking the Lord to grant them wisdom, diplomacy and direction as they seek to govern the country justly and for the overall betterment of the people.
NIGERIA: Plateau State Attacks Include Fatal Shooting Source: Morning Star News
On October 24th, a Christian woman and her two children were killed in north-central Nigeria. Armed Muslim Fulani herdsmen ambushed and shot to death Rebecca Daniel Choji, her 16-year-old daughter Suzanna, and 29-year-old son Joel. Prior to the shooting, which took place in Jol village (located within the Riyom Local Government Area of Plateau State), the attacked family members had been on their way to a health facility in Vwak village.
Suzanna and Joel died immediately, while their mother succumbed to gunshot wounds two days later at the Plateau State Specialist Hospital in Jos. At the time of the attack, the three victims were being driven to the health facility by a relative, Dachung Yakubu, who had also been wounded by the gunfire. Upon receiving this news report, Dachung was in critical condition at the hospital's Intensive Care Unit.
This incident was part of a series of attacks committed by militant Fulani herdsmen who were targeting Christian communities in various areas of the Plateau State. A week prior, similar assaults were carried out in the villages around Miango town of Plateau State's Bassa Local Government Area. (A report on the release of a pastor, who had been abducted from the same Nigerian state a few months ago, may be found here.)
Ask the Lord to provide greatly needed comfort and strength to the surviving loved ones of this tragically slain family. Also intercede for the many other Christians who have been victimized by the ruthless attacks of militants in the Plateau State, praying that they will not grow weary in well-doing nor lose hope. May God mightily intervene through the power of His Holy Spirit, manifesting His overcoming strength and love in the midst of such hatred and evil -- for the two-fold purpose of 1) ministering to His suffering people, and 2) transforming the hearts of the militants who've been inciting violence in these vulnerable Nigerian communities.
CANADA: Momentum Conference Coming to Western Canada Source: VOMC's International Ministry Team
In recent history, there have been news reports of many nations going through turmoil in epic proportions. There is reporting on the chaos of wars, governmental breakdown due to corruption, natural disasters, and the list goes on.... But there is very little, if any, (secular) news about the persecution of the faithful followers of Jesus Christ.
All too often, when travelling to troubled nations, we find in the background that this particular group of people have been targets of militant Islamic aggression, communism, and opposition by extremist members of other religious sects.... Yet we thank God for the vision of Rev. Richard Wurmbrand. He gave us the mandate to not only be a "voice of the martyrs," but to also seek out our persecuted family members, minister to them and equip them -- no matter how restrictive or closed their nation may be.
The Apostle Paul said to the saints in Rome, "First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.... I long to see you...that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other's faith, both yours and mine" (Romans 1:8,11-12 NASB).
Paul was confident that there would be mutual encouragement by spending time with other believers.... This is true for us today as we reach out to our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ. In fact, this is the essence of The Voice of the Martyrs' international ministry. As members of the same body, each of us is on a set course, navigating to heaven's shores where we will collectively be with our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ. Until we arrive, every one of us must press on, remaining encouraged and strengthened by the faith of our fellow sojourners.
At the upcoming Momentum conference in Calgary, Alberta, on November 18th, we will be discussing the realities, difficulties and blessings of working (with persecuted believers) in restricted nations. Please pray for this important event as our conference speakers and participants delve into this timely topic -- with the purpose of effectively accomplishing God's mandate for today's global church as a whole. More information on this event is available at VOMC's webpage.