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Christmas: a dangerous season for some

In France the security alert system is at its highest level, after an extremist gunman opened fire at a Christmas market in Strasbourg, killing two people and injuring at least twelve. Christmas can be a dangerous season for many. Last year suicide bombers killed nine and wounded over 50 people attending pre-Christmas church services in Pakistan. In Nigeria, Boko Haram have often carried out Christmas attacks. In the West, Christmas can mean financial strain, pressures, loneliness or simply a time with relatives where old tensions come to the fore and explode, sometimes with devastating results. For example, last year in Canada a father who had custody of his daughters (aged six and four) on Christmas Day killed them both and attempted suicide. Pray for peace to replace turmoil, restraint to replace violence, and harmony to replace disagreement wherever it threatens. Pray that police and other agencies can detect and remove danger from vulnerable community spaces.

Pray: for all affected by the Strasbourg attack to have comfort and support. (2 Corinthians 1:4)

More: www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/strasbourg-terror-manhunt-live-update-cherif-chekatt-shooting-christmas-market-police-france-a8679036.html

Christian ministry to seafarers

The Sailors' Society, an international charity based in Southampton, started a crisis response network (CRN) in South Africa in 2015, providing trauma care and counselling wherever necessary. This network provided support to its 100th case this week, with piracy, death at sea and abandonment accounting for 59% of those supported. 26% of those seeking crisis response were affected by piracy. The CRN now has 52 chaplains trained to offer crisis support to seafarers around the world. The International Maritime Bureau saw 107 actual or attempted attacks in the past six months, up from 87 in the same period of last year, with Nigeria and Indonesia the main piracy hotspots. On 31 October, eleven seafarers were seized by pirates off the Nigerian coast. Piracy, and the fear of piracy, is a massive issue for seafarers.

Pray: for Sailors' Society chaplains to experience God's presence and protection. (Psalm 16:11)

More: www.christiantoday.com/uk/seafarers-in-crisis-how-a-christian-ministry-is-dealing-with-the-fallout-from-piracy-and-abandonment/130831.htm

Nigeria: aid workers killed, hostages held

Hauwa Liman, a midwife with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), was killed days after her kidnappers set a deadline. Ms Liman was taken with two others in the northern town of Rann last March. Fellow-midwife Saifura Ahmed Khorsa was killed last month. Ms Loksha remains a hostage. A 15-year-old schoolgirl is also still being held by the same group, which is affiliated to a faction of Boko Haram. Most of the other 110 students who were kidnapped have now been freed but the girl, who reportedly refused to convert to Islam, remains in captivity. The ICRC's regional director said there was no justification for the execution of innocent young healthcare workers, and feared for its implication on their work in the region. The information and culture minister said that the government would ‘keep the negotiations open’ and continue to work to free Ms Loksha and the schoolgirl. Pray for this work.

Pray: for better security for all helping internally displaced people. (Psalm 119:45,46)

More: www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-45871361

Nigeria: action needed

Reconciliation seems far away between Christian farmers and Muslim herdsmen in Nigeria’s middle belt areas. Christians fled to Plateau and Benue states because of discrimination and attacks from Boko Haram in the north,but now they are being killed and having their homes torched by Muslim Fulani herdsmen. Over 56 villages have been attacked this year, three in the past week. It is a religious battle and a battle over land. There is no reconciliation in sight, and the attitude of government is not helping. Governments should protect their people, but this government has allowed the people to be continuously attacked. Some Christians are having their faith eroded, while many are holding on trusting in God. A local farmer said, ‘We believe God will come through for the church as believers stand with us worldwide in prayer - He will sort out these issues’. Pray for those carrying the burden of housing people who have fled persecution.

Pray: for God to give Nigeria’s leaders compassion. May they promote justice. (Micah 3:1,2a)

More: www.premierchristianradio.com/News/World/Something-needs-to-be-done-or-the-church-will-be-destroyed-says-Nigerian-Christian

Nigeria: massacres shatter peace efforts

Christian leaders in the central Plateau State argue that there is a religious dimension to Fulani attacks on villages; unless politicians acknowledge this, they cannot properly address the conflict. On 28 August in Jos, a Christian peace summit for the northern regions was ending. 100 miles away, at the same time, Fulani militants set ablaze Rev Adamu Wurim Gyang and his three children. They were burnt beyond recognition. His wife Jummai was left to die in a pool of blood. 95 houses were torched, 225 crops awaiting harvest were destroyed, at least 14 were killed, and many wounded. CSW said that after the perpetrators had gone the military arrived, killing a woman who tried to stop them detaining local youths who wanted them to go after the Fulani militia instead. A video verified by World Watch Monitor shows people holding up her body, and Rev Ezekiel Dachomo appealing for assistance from the US, UK, and the UN, saying, ‘An Islamic agenda is taking over the nation’.

Pray: for God to prompt the nations to stand with and for the persecuted in Nigeria. (Isaiah 14: 24, 25b)

More: www.worldwatchmonitor.org/2018/09/nigeria-pastor-and-three-sons-burned-alive-among-at-least-20-killed-in-latest-plateau-massacre/

PM visits Africa ahead of Brexit

Theresa May visited Africa on a major mission to build up new trade relations ahead of Brexit. Pray that every detail of conversations with South African, Nigerian and Kenyan leaders will be used to re-engage with a fast-growing continent which some feel British business and politicians have neglected in recent years. Pray that the delegates who travelled with her (trade minister George Hollingbery, minister for Africa Harriett Baldwin, secretary of state for Wales Alun Cairns, a Stock Exchange representative, and the Lord Mayor of London Charles Bowman) will in the future be able to build on the links made. A Government statement before the visit stated, ‘This comes at a time of enormous change across Africa with a unique opportunity, as the UK moves towards Brexit, for a truly global Britain to invest in and work alongside African nations, with mutual benefits.’

Pray: for wide-ranging trade to be established and built on in the coming years. (Jeremiah 29:11)

More: www.gov.uk/government/news/theresa-may-to-lead-ambitious-three-nation-trip-to-africa

Cameroon: growing violence

The World Council of Churches (WCC) has called on the Cameroonian government to stop using force to punish its people in the English-speaking region. The authorities should immediately cease using ‘disproportionate and deadly force against civilians and protect everyone’s human rights’. The UN described the situation as ‘an unprecedented complex humanitarian crisis’ caused by violence between the government and both English-speaking separatists in the west of Nigeria and Boko Haram in the north-east. The country has been affected by the mass displacement of hundreds of thousands of Nigerians and Cameroonians; also by insecurity, malnutrition, and a ‘very disturbing’ risk of epidemics, because of the ongoing conflict. The WCC particularly condemned escalating violence against women and children. Paul Biya, who has been president since 1982, intends to run for a seventh term.

Pray: for God to protect the vulnerable, and bring change through October’s elections. (Judith 9:11)

More: www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2018/10-august/news/world/world-council-of-churches-condemns-growing-violence-in-cameroon

Nigeria: KILLINGS - Let the truth be told

The National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) commented on a press release by the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA). Their opening comments were, ‘On 5 July, 2018, the NSCIA published an article titled LET THE TRUTH BE TOLD. In our candid estimation, rather than tell the truth, the article is the exact opposite of the truth. It might have been more proper to have titled it ‘Let the Taqiyya  be told.’ Taqiyya is religious deception and the article they refer to said that Muslims were the targeted victims of herdsmen. NCEF stated categorically that this statement is untrue and Muslims were not victimised, Christians are the victims while the government consents to ongoing genocide and ethno-religious cleansing of communities. NCEF said that the government deliberately obscures the truth as the targets of the Fulani herdsmen are natives of Middle Belt who are mainly Christians. See also next article - Five Christian youths to be hanged.

Pray: for God to intervene and end rural religious volatility in Nigeria. (Psalm 7:9)

More: http://csmnigeria.org/blog/393-killings-let-the-truth-be-told?utm_source=newsletter_192&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=killings-let-the-truth-be-told

Nigeria: Five Christian youths to be hanged

Muslim Fulani herders do not make the headlines as often as Boko Haram. Christians in the northeast state of Adamawa have fled because of Boko Haram, only to return and find their property occupied by Muslim Fulani herders. Five Christian youths have been sentenced to hang for killing one Fulani herdsman who in turn had allegedly killed 48 people. Who is stopping the violence? Where is the government's protection for citizens? Where is justice? The lack of response by Nigeria's security services is seen as complicit in crimes against Christians. The Numan Federation in Adamawa is the only predominantly Christian area remaining in northern Nigeria. In recent years migration of Muslim Fulani herdsmen into that area has increased. The judicial, military, and security agencies are all controlled by non-Christians and many fear that the Muslim President may use the violence as an excuse to cancel the 2019 elections and remain in power.

Pray: for world leaders/countries to exert pressure on President Buhari to protect of all of Nigeria's citizens, particularly the minority Christians. (Ezra 9:9)

More: http://win1040.com/post.php?id=44190&cat=EPA

Nigeria: Genocide of Christians Ignored

“In what the Christian Association of Nigeria is calling a “pure genocide,” 238 more Christians were killed and churches desecrated by Muslims last week in the west African nation.  This brings the death toll of Christians to more than 6,000 since the start of 2018.

According to a joint statement by the Christian Association, an umbrella group of various Christian denominations, “There is no doubt that the sole purpose of these attacks is aimed at ethnic cleansing, land grabbing and forceful ejection of the Christian natives from their ancestral land and heritage.”  See: https://viewpointnigeria.com/stop-this-senseless-and-bloodshedding-in-the-middlebelt-can-tells-buhari/

Christians protest outside Nigerian High Commission

On 18 July a protest was organised by Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) outside the Nigerian High Commission in London, to mark 150 days since 15-year-old Leah Sharibu was kidnapped by Boko Haram in Yobe state, Nigeria. Leah was one of 110 schoolgirls abducted on 19 February from the a local government college. Five died during the ordeal and the rest were freed, but Leah remained in captivity as she refused to renounce her faith. CSW’s CEO Mervyn Thomas said, ‘It's very important to remember that this is not just a protest - this is prayer and protest. CSW believes in those two things going together. So we're hoping first of all that God will answer prayer, but we're also hoping that the Nigerian government will take action.’

Pray: for God to answer all the prayers for Leah’s safe release. (Psalm 88:2)

More: www.premierchristianradio.com/News/UK/Christians-mark-150-days-since-Nigerian-girl-was-held-captive-for-her-faith

Nigeria: international community ignores Christian genocide

On 15 July the Christian Association of Nigeria reported that in the previous week 238 Christians were killed and more churches desecrated by Muslims. This puts the total number of Christians killed as 6,000+ since January. This is genocide. A joint communiqué from the Christian Association, representing different denominations, said, ‘There is no doubt that the sole purpose of these attacks is ethnic cleansing, land seizure and the forced expulsion of Christian natives from their land and ancestral heritage.’ The statement condemned recent attacks, where 2,000+ people had been brutally murdered and churches destroyed without any security intervention despite the various calls for help that were made. Taking into account that Christians constitute more than 50% of the Nigerian population, it is obvious that the objective of the Islamists is to create serious conflicts that, if not controlled, can lead to another civil war. Also, floods are killing many and ruining crops, raising fears of food shortages. See https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/07/nigeria-floods-worsen-food-shortages-180715120551293.html

Pray: for God to end the false presentation of Christian genocide as struggles between ‘shepherds and farmers’, leaving unpunished those who murder Christians. (Psalm 45:4)

More: www.gatestoneinstitute.org/12645/christians-genocide-nigeria

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