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Two Christians running to replace Boris

Conservative MP Kemi Badenoch wrote in the Times, ‘I'm putting myself forward in this leadership election because I want to tell the truth.’ The Christian MP for Saffron Walden supports lower taxes to boost growth and productivity, and is accompanied by tight spending discipline. Her role as minister for local government, faith and communities included being the government’s liaison for the country’s faith leaders. She was born in Wimbledon, brought up in Nigeria, and has a range of faith traditions to draw upon. Tom Tugendhat, a Catholic, is MP for Tonbridge and Malling and chairman of the foreign affairs committee. He appealed to Boris Johnson on behalf of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and asked UK churches to negotiate her release from an Iranian prison. As of 14 July, he is one of the five remaining candidates, but Kemi has been eliminated.

Pray: for God’s chosen MP to lead the Conservative party and the nation. (2 Chronicles 1:10a)

More: premierchristian.news/en/news/article/former-faith-minister-catholic-mp-in-running-to-replace-boris-johnson

Nigeria: mass escape from prison

Hundreds of prisoners escaped from the Kuje medium-security prison near Abuja due to an attack attributed to Boko Haram. Equipped with explosives, the attackers freed 600 of the 994 inmates and only about half of the escaped prisoners have been found. A large number of captured Boko Haram fighters were released in the attack. Armed extremist groups have been gaining power in Nigeria, with a lack of effective opposition from security forces and government officials. Boko Haram has maintained an insurgency in Northern Nigeria for thirteen years and displaced over 2.4 million people through violent attacks and threats. They have murdered tens of thousands of Christians and forcibly converted many others. Please pray for the end of their attacks, and for the Lord to soften the hearts of militants.

Pray: for the Lord to heal and strengthen terrorism victims and the persecuted. Pray for the government, security forces and judiciary to be strengthened in Nigeria. ( Psalm 10:17-18)

More: www.persecution.org/2022/07/12/hundreds-inmates-escape-prison-nigeria-armed-attack/

Global: Top three 2022 ‘Persecutor of the Year Awards’

In Afghanistan, after America and its allies withdrew, the Taliban controlled the government, declaring an Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, employing harsh tactics to expose Christians. This has brought persecution in Afghanistan to its highest levels since the Taliban’s first government in 1996. In Nigeria Fulani Militants, the largest nomadic ethnic group, have killed tens of thousands of Christians and left many more homeless since 2000. Having seen increasing violence against Nigeria’s Christian population in the Middle Belt, it is alleged that the Fulani militant aggression is aided by stakeholders within the Nigerian government. Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s Supreme Leader, exerts control over every aspect of Iranian life, both physically and spiritually. As an Islamic republic, Iran poses severe limits on the ability of Christians to practice their religion, enforcing a hardline regime that allows the brutal torture and execution of many Iranian Christians.

Pray: for God to strengthen Christians who are being beaten, imprisoned, tortured and murdered simply because of what they believe in. (Isaiah 40:31)

More: https://www.persecution.org/2022/06/29/icc-cites-afghanistan-fulani-militants-ayatollah-ali-khamenei-worst-persecutors/

Church greed, prosperity gospel, lawlessness

A high court has ordered a church founded by Pastor Tobi Adegboyega to be closed ‘in the public interest.’ His Salvation Proclaimer Ministries Limited (SPML) is charged with £1.9 million fraud. Adegboyega, popular for his opulent lifestyle, is charged with financial mismanagement and lack of transparency. The Charity Commission is also examining SPML’s financial, governance and safeguarding; members have allegedly been financially exploited by senior church personnel promoting ‘prosperity gospel’ and establishing what many called ‘cult membership’ by young Black people from poor communities. Meanwhile, the Everlasting Arms Ministries sold their London property for £8 million, while being allowed to continue occupying the building. At the same time the pastor’s salary increased from £44,536.20 to £72,000 pa, and his deputy’s from £45,000 to £54,000. Other employees’ salaries also rose. A Charity Commissions investigation found £180,000 spent on business-class flights and £457,655 on luxury hotels.

Pray: for the charities watchdog to continue to recognise and remove corruption, theft, and fraud by churches and charities. (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)

More: www.gov.uk/government/publications/charity-inquiry-the-everlasting-arms-ministries

Nigeria: kidnapping and ransom demands

The Nigerian government is about to pass a bill that will punish those who pay ransoms with up to fifteen years in prison. It would also give a death sentence to those who commit abductions. Armed groups have kidnapped hundreds of people for ransom across Nigeria over the last two years. Most recently, a ransom of $240,000 was paid by the Nigerian Methodist Church after eight gunmen abducted its head, His Eminence Samuel Kanu, and two other pastors while they were on their way to the airport in Nigeria’s southeastern state of Abia. The clergymen’s driver and one other church member managed to escape. The 69-year-old recounted how the abductors showed them the rotted bodies of previous victims, threatening to do the same with him. Archbishop Chibuzo Opoko, who heads the Methodist church in Abia State, said paying the ransom was necessary.

Pray: for more security agencies, for better and more successful police intervention, and for the new laws to deter criminals from kidnapping. (John 17:15)

More: gatewaynews.co.za/nigerias-methodist-leader-says-huge-ransom-paid-of-his-release/

Two Chibok girls achieve degrees

Two of the 276 Chibok schoolgirls who were abducted by Boko Haram extremists in 2014 have completed their master’s degrees in the USA. Lydia Pogu completed a masters in Human Services Administration, and Joy Bishara a masters in Social Work. ‘Boko Haram told us that school is a taboo for women and warned us that if we went back to school, they would come for us,’ said Lydia. ‘I thought all my dreams had changed, but God had a different plan for me.’

Praise: God for the successful education of Lydia and Joy. Pray for God to spread His protection over Nigerian Christians, especially those who live in Muslim-majority states. (Psalm 5:11)

More: www.barnabasfund.org/resources/pfu/2022/pfu-a4-jun22.pdf

Nigeria: Pentecost Sunday murders

Gunmen burst into St Francis Catholic Church in Ondo state. They opened fire and set off explosives, killing dozens of worshippers, including many children, who were celebrating Mass on Pentecost Sunday. Legislator Adelegbe Timileyin told local media that at least fifty people were dead. While much of Nigeria has struggled with security issues, Ondo is widely known as one of the country’s most peaceful states. Its state governor said, ‘This vile and satanic attack is a calculated assault on the peace-loving people of Owo Kingdom. I appeal to our people to maintain calm and let the security agencies take charge. The perpetrators will never escape. We are after them. And I can assure you we will get them.’ While radical Fulani militants have terrorised the Middle Belt region over the past two decades, authorities are still investigating the source of Sunday’s attack.

Pray: for peace and tranquillity to return to the region as God’s presence fills the atmosphere, bringing comfort to the bereaved and fearful and healing to those wounded in body and spirit. (Matthew 5:4)

More: www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/6/5/worshippers-killed-during-church-service-in-nigeria

Global: rising Christian persecution

Release International reports, ‘With all eyes on Russia’s assault on Ukraine, we will be watching closely to see how Russia is treating Christians of faiths other than Russian Orthodox.’ The USCIRF has long criticised the Taliban for their extremist policies. Its 2022 report warns, ‘Afghans who do not adhere to the Taliban’s harsh and strict interpretation of Sunni Islam and adherents of other faiths or beliefs are in grave danger. With the Taliban’s return to power, religious freedom conditions in Afghanistan, and the overall human rights situation, have significantly deteriorated. Christian converts (and other minorities) practise their faith in hiding due to fear of reprisal and threats from the Taliban.’ Also religious persecution in India has taken a significant turn for the worse. In Nigeria there is an anti-Christian dimension to much of the violence which the government is failing to control.

Pray: for God to destroy the persecutors’ plans and increase protection of Christians. (Ephesians 6:11)

More: www.releaseinternational.org/christian-persecution-growing-in-nigeria-india-and-afghanistan-warns-us-commission/

Nigeria: Gospel singer's husband arrested over death

Osinachi Nwachuckwu was best known for featuring in the hit gospel song Ekuweme has died in an Abuja hospital. Police have arrested her husband. Initial reports said the 42-year old had been sick with throat cancer, but her family deny that, alleging she had been a victim of domestic abuse. A police spokesperson said an investigation was underway to determine the cause of her death. Many Nigerians, especially Christians, have reacted with sorrow and anger to the news of her death. Some have gone online to urge religious leaders not to advise church members to stay in abusive relationships. Domestic violence has also been trending on social media.

Pray: for authorities to bring justice for the Nwachukwu family and promote the concept that it is better to be single and alive than to die in an abusive marriage.(Colossians 3:19)

More: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-61067247https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-61067247

Nigeria: insurgents continue attacking

For twenty years Nigerian Christians have suffered attack after attack, with little to no response from the largely Muslim government. Anti-Christian violence is often swept under the carpet. On 20 March community members had just finished their church worship when armed insurgents arrived with sophisticated weapons, an eyewitness told International Christian Concern. ‘Twenty-five people were killed and over 100 houses burnt down.’ He added that the evening attack occurred from 7 to 10 pm, without any intervention by the Nigerian army. The total number of casualties is yet to be released. ‘We are now hiding, our church and houses burnt; we are sleeping outside tonight’, said another eyewitness. Nigeria is one of the worst countries in the world for persecution. Due to violent terrorist groups and government indifference, tens of thousands have been killed and millions displaced.

Pray: for God to heal the physical and emotional wounds of persecuted Christians, and for the world to recognise the government’s indifference to the violence. (Proverbs 21:15)

More: www.persecution.org/2022/03/21/insurgents-attack-center-christianity-nigerian-state/

Africa: potential new energy market

African countries have some of the world’s deepest gas reserves. President Hassan said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is an opportunity for gas sales: Tanzania aims to secure a new energy market outside Africa and has been working with Shell to utilise their vast offshore gas resources and export elsewhere. He said, ‘Whether in Africa, Europe or America, we are looking for markets.’ Nigeria, Africa’s largest gas producer, has similar plans. They intend to build a trans-Sahara pipeline, taking their gas to Algeria and Europe. They recently signed an agreement with Algeria and the Niger Republic to construct the 381-mile-long Trans-Saharan Natural Gas Pipeline, beginning in northern Nigeria. However there are concerns over the historic lack of investment in gas infrastructure that has hampered the energy industry. Many African countries with massive gas reserves have struggled to attract investment to build gas infrastructure projects that would have supplied the European market. Ask God to use the current Russian gas situation to take many African nations out of poverty.

Pray: for honest and fair investment, wise and fruitful incentives, and up-to-date technical support to be released into this new energy market. (Proverbs 27:17)

More: www.aljazeera.com/economy/2022/3/1/analysis-can-african-gas-replace-russian-supplies-to-europe

Nigeria: militants kill Christians, soldiers do nothing

On 28 January a contact in Nigeria discovered over 500 bullet shells used in the killing of eighteen Christians in Ancha village, located about two hours from the capital of Plateau State. Villagers said the attackers were Fulani militants dressed in black while others wore the uniform of the Nigerian army. Thirty soldiers with AK47s were stationed in a classroom in the community when the attack happened. The converted classroom served as a barracks for the soldiers. Despite being stationed inside the village, the soldiers did not defend it against the invading militants. Instead, they stood by and watched as houses were burnt, cars and food were destroyed, and villagers were killed. During the attack, the soldiers protected only their two vehicles and the converted classroom. This attack is just the latest in a years-long pattern of militant violence committed against Ancha and neighbouring villages. Often bullet shells found belong to the army.

Pray: for security agencies to be more committed to tackling the criminals killing Christians. (Psalm 43:1)

More: www.persecution.org/2022/01/28/nigerian-militants-kill-christians-spate-recent-attacks/

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