Persecuted Church – September 2020
“He gives power to the faint: and to them that have no might he increases strength….they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength: they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not be faint.” ~ Isa 40:29,31
9/6 – Philippines On Jolo Island, Southern Philippines,
August 24 two bombs exploded, killing an estimated 20 people and injuring at least 75. The explosions took place near a church where two explosions killed 23 people on Januray 29, 2019. No one has accepted responsibility for the bombings. Jolo Island is a stronghold of Abu Sayyaf, an ISIS-linked group, “notorious for banditry, piracy, kid-nap-for ransom and countless attacks on civilian and military targets.”* Conflicts between Muslims and Christians have beset the Philippines for centuries.
9/13 – Burkina Faso, West Africa
Half a million persons have been displaced this year in the surge of continual jihadist violence from a variety of groups in the northern and eastern sections of the country. No churches are open in these violence-ridden regions. Hardly any Christians seek shelter in refuge camps. They look to the churches of the new area for support, which places a great burden on local pastors and congregations.
9-20 – North Korea
Pandemic and floods have been a severe blow to the North Korean economy, already impacted by US sanctions. The country’s borders have been closed since January due to the COVID-19 virus. Imports and exports to China have fallen dramatically. A longer- than normal monsoon season has dumped torrential rains** in the country’s breadbasket, causing fear of food shortages and famine this year. President Kim has refused offers of international aid for fear of the virus.
9/27 – Egypt
Christians are ongoing targets of violence and abuse and the general culture often shows a religious bias. Houda Hanna, a local village mother, and her two sons were attacked by a radical Muslim as they sat outside. He began with verbal insults, “Christians shouldn’t be out on the street because they are dogs.” When they would not move he became irate, ranting that he would “kill the dogs”, he attacked all three with a knife. The oldest child spent three days in intensive care recovering from her wounds. Houda and the other son needed a few stitches. The family has received threats and pressure to drop the charges against the attacker.***
Presence, Mar/April 2020, “Persecution Watch”, pg. 8, Open Doors
This month, we have but one prayer for persecuted Christians, indeed Christ’s whole Church.
Stir up the gift that is in us, Thy Holy Spirit, source of power and strength, whatever the circumstances under which we labor, empower us to be faithful witnesses for Thy Name’s sake. Amen.