Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Voice of the Martyrs Update

NIGERIA Christians Killed by Muslims; Hundreds Displaced in Kano, Nigeria -VOM Sources:On September 28, angry Muslims killed 10 Christians and set churches, homes and businesses on fire in Tudun Wada, in Nigeria's Northern state of Kano. According to The Voice of the Martyrs' contacts in Nigeria, "At 9 a.m., Muslims began the attacks, setting fire to homes and churches. They attacked and killed any Christian they came across." More than 50 people were injured, while more than 500 members of the minority Christian population were displaced. VOM contacts added, "Muslim attackers burnt down all eight churches existing in the community, homes and businesses in the area." Christians believe the attack resulted when Muslim students at a government secondary school in the area claimed a Christian student drew a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad on the wall of the school's mosque. VOM contacts reported, "No Christian student would do this, since the school has nearly 2,000 students and only seven are Christian.... [also] the mosque is usually busy with Muslims praying around the clock during the (Muslim) Ramadan fasting season; therefore, no Christian student would have any way of getting close to the wall of the mosque to make such sketches on the wall." Pray for the families of those killed. Pray the Holy Spirit will be their greatest comforter. Ask God to encourage and provide for believers in this area. Psalm 119:105, Proverbs 3:5, 6

ERITREA Senior Pastor Arrested VOM Sources:Pastor Oqbamichael, a well-known leader of the Kale-Hiwot Church in Eritrea, was arrested and imprisoned. This was the second imprisonment for the pastor in the past two years. In 2005, he was arrested at a Christian wedding and was later released after 10 months in prison, which included solitary confinement and hard labor in the Sawa Military Camp. The arrest of Pastor Oqbamichael follows the recent arrest of Evangelist Mussie Ezaz, who is also a minister in the Kale-Hiwot Church. Pray God sustains and strengthens Pastor Oqbamichael while he is in prison. Pray the Holy Spirit encourages his family and church. Ask God to protect Christians in Eritrea who are serving Him in the midst of severe persecution. John 16:13, 14

AZERBAIJAN UPDATE: Imprisoned Baptist Pastor's Appeal Rejected - Forum 18 News:On October 3, the Sheki Appeal Court in Azerbaijan rejected Pastor Zaur Baleav's appeal to have his two-year prison sentence overturned. According to Forum 18 News Service, the head of the Baptist Union, Ilya Zenchenko, said, "We are stunned at the result the court handed down. We don't know what to do. It is a tragedy for his wife and children. It was all over in two minutes. Zaur's son is distressed, complaining that there is no hope and no law in Azerbaijan. He is very young, but his emotional reaction is understandable." Pray the Holy Spirit encourages Pastor Balaev, his family and believers in Azerbaijan. Ask God to use his testimony to draw non-believers into fellowship with Him. Hebrews 13:5,6; Isaiah 54:17

NIGERIA Christians in Northern Nigeria Threatened and Forced Underground - Compass Direct News: Death threats and other dangers have driven most of the Muslim-background members of a church in Northern Nigeria underground. However, three members have remained. According to Compass Direct News, "Of the 25 converts who formed a church in the northeastern state of Borno two years ago, only three remain. Still while worshipping separately in towns where they reside, once a month the converts brave the threats of Islamic extremists and family members to return to Maiduguri to secretly pray and praise together." Rev. Titus Doma Pona, the founder and pastor of an underground fellowship in Northern Nigeria, told Compass, "The venue and time is agreed among themselves, and the venue is also changed every meeting, so that they are not attacked.". These recent reports of persecution in Northern Nigeria reflect the trials believers endure. Churches have been burned and the abduction and forcible conversion of teenagers by Muslims has become common. Pray for Nigerian Christians who face death, destruction and hatred for their faith in Jesus Christ.Psalm 91; 2 Timothy 1:7

TURKEY Alleged Instigators Named in Malatya Murder; Christians Called to Pray - Compass Direct News: The Turkish media recently discovered an e-mail message sent to Turkish Christian leaders in June, revealing the names of Malatya officials who allegedly plotted to murder three Christians in April. The leaders have submitted the letter to the Malatya prosecutor's office. According to Compass Direct News, "The Firat News Agency (ANF) reported on September 18 that an anonymous e-mail message signed รข€˜A.A.' had named a colonel in the Malatya gendarmerie along with an Islamic faculty member, as the instigators of the plot to kill three Christians. The ANF article identified the officer as Mehmet Ulger, but gave only the initials of several others. A September 19 article in Birgun newspaper, however, listed the name of the faulty member as Ruhi Babat. It also identified a member of parliament from Malatya, one military commander and another suspect, claiming that the murder conspiracy had been planned for four or five months in advance." Meanwhile, Christian leaders in Turkey have called on Christian congregations to designate each Thursday for prayer and fasting, praying for the upcoming trial and for other cases in Turkish courts dealing with the rights and freedoms of Christians. Pray God gives Christians in Turkey boldness to stand for Him, and for the Holy Spirit to touch the lives of all those who were involved in the martyrdom of these believers and the persecution of Christians. Isaiah 26:3, Psalm 27:1

CHINA Two House Church Leaders under House Arrest - China Aid Association: On October 1, the Chinese government placed two house church leaders, Hua Huiqi and Liu Fenggang, under house arrest. According to China Aid Association (CAA), "Each of their houses has been surrounded by two dozen police. Some Public Security Bureau (PSB) officers were even staged on top of Pastor Hua's roof in order to prevent anyone from coming in or going out. On October 3, eight PSB officers broke Hua and his wife's bedroom windows, and then cut off the electricity to their house." Hua Huiqi was released from prison in July after serving six months, while Liu Fenggang was released in February after three years in prison. Meanwhile, Hua Huiqi's 77-year-old mother, Shuang Shuying, is serving a two-year sentence. According to CAA, Shuang Shuying was recently beaten severely, received no medical care; she is now dying in her prison cell. Pray for Christians in China who face increased persecution ahead of the 2008 Olympics. Pray God encourages and heals Shuang Shuying in prison. Romans 8:11, Exodus 15: 26


  1. So sad to hear about Kano Nigeria. My sis and family lived in Nigeria for 17 years and they were in Kano too for many years.they used to tell us about the violence.
    Have to pray.

  2. Becky..I love that you so faithfully share these Voice of the Martyrs Updates. I often forget what our brethren suffer on Christ's Behalf. Thank you for these reminders. They also remind me to pray for my friend Anibel and her family, missionaries in Thailand and Russia with Gospel Net.

    Hope your well!