Persecution Takes a Toll in Northern Nigeria (Whyte House Report 9.12.21)

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According to Mission Network News, Persecution takes a toll in northern Nigeria. Pastors in Plateau state tell Morningstar News they’re burying church members on a near-daily basis. Twelve children were burned beyond recognition in the latest attack on a Christian village. Last month, Fulani herdsmen killed 36 believers between August 4 and August 28. “I’ve talked to leaders and they say, ‘We used to go out for a meeting and if we had to travel across the country, we would be fearing for our safety,'” Greg Musselman of Voice of the Martyrs Canada says. “Now they’re saying, ‘We’re fearful even in our own homes.'” Attacks like this often leave believers without food or shelter. “The Bible teaches a lot about [caring for] the widows and the orphans, so we need to be doing that,” Musselman says. “There are some very practical needs in terms of food and clothing, and [we help] believers set up businesses so they can be self-supporting. The Family of Martyrs fund helps women who have lost their husbands and are trying to support their children.” Nonetheless, hope remains. “It’s a difficult situation each and every day. They’re living under constant fear and threat. But it doesn’t stop believers from sharing the message of Jesus with their Muslim neighbors,” Musselman says.

According to Mission Network News, Conditions are so bad in Lebanon right now that some parents decide death is better than life for their newborns. Pierre Houssney, Executive Director of Horizons International, says people recently found a newborn baby in trash bins near their ministry centers. “Unfortunately, this is becoming more common in Lebanon as people are sinking into destitution,” Houssney says. “The umbilical cord was torn off, and a beautiful baby girl was left in a plastic bag in a dumpster.” Thankfully, the same desperation plaguing Lebanon led to the little girl’s rescue. “As soon as new trash bags come, a lot of people jump on them. Desperate people look through the trash for anything valuable or edible. They found the baby quickly,” Houssney says. A Christian couple wants to adopt the baby, but courts have gridlocked the process. Horizons is raising funds to help with medical costs, as well as the adoption process. You can send a gift here through Horizons’ Facebook fundraiser.

According to Mission Network News, The U.S. and other countries have ended evacuation efforts in Afghanistan. Thousands fled the Taliban’s rule over the country. Anne Hamming of Tent Schools International says up to half of these refugees may be “school-aged children from zero to 17. While they’re on the move, of course, they are missing school. And God willing, once they find a safe place (not under immediate threat, shelter from the elements, food, and access to basic medical care) their children are again likely not to have access to school.” Without schooling, the situation won’t get any better for these children. That’s why Tent Schools international works with refugee students in places like Lebanon, where they have started a mobile school on a truck. In the U.S., they provide refurbished laptops for students in resettled families. Hamming says, “The pandemic showed us all just how essential having a device in the home was for children to learn.” And most resettled families don’t have 400 dollars to spend on a laptop. Hamming says, “The resettlement agencies work with them to make sure they have reliable internet access. And then we grant them a laptop or a desktop.” Hamming says adults in the families can benefit greatly from these computers as well. “Many of these families are taking vocational training or language training, so it really gets used by the entire family.”

According to Mission Network News, The pandemic has caused a lull in Bibles for China’s ministry. But Kurt Rovenstine isn’t expecting this quiet time to last. “This lull gives us a feeling that there’s something that’s going to happen. We don’t know what it is. But we really feel there has to be a shift of some sort in how we do things to be able to be relevant and effective in China.” China’s government continues cracking down on citizens in new and increasing ways. In one bizarre recent example, Chinese authorities barred teens under the age of 18 from playing video games for more than one hour per day. And gaming will only be allowed from 8-9 pm on Fridays, weekends, and holidays. But Rovenstine says Chinese Christians persevere. “The church is doing the best they can in all its various forms: whether that’s online, whether it’s the nonregistered church, whether it’s the registered church, or whether it’s just some people who love Jesus and want to share their faith with their neighbors. All those folks need the influence of the Holy Spirit and His direction, opportunity, wisdom, and knowledge to be able to spread the Gospel.”

According to Mission Network News, Rumors have surfaced on social media claiming the Taliban plans to murder 229 Christian missionaries in Afghanistan. But that report is not true, according to fact-checkers. Versions of this story have been bouncing around social media for the last 10 years. The city cited in the social media story isn’t even in Afghanistan; it’s in Iraq. The story may date back to a 2007 incident in which 27 South Korean missionaries were kidnapped by the Taliban and two were killed. The story appeared most recently on Facebook but has popped up in various forms on WhatsApp. Todd Nettleton of The Voice of the Martyrs USA says, “I would encourage people to be very careful about what you share and what you post on social media. Make sure it’s accurate, make sure it’s true. And understand that we can pray for a situation without knowing all of the details. God obviously knows all of the details. I think posting something that isn’t accurate sort of undermines the goal of helping people to pray for our brothers and sisters.”

According to Mission Network News, A third of us, one in three people worldwide, have never encountered Jesus. You can help change that by joining the Alliance for the Unreached, a coalition fueling Gospel access for every people group. For example, a new video Bible device from alliance member MegaVoice is opening doors in Deaf communities. “MegaVoice invented the first audio Bible 32 years ago. That was great for blind [or] visually impaired people and all the oral learners. But we weren’t doing anything for the Deaf, and there’s a huge need,” MegaVoice VP Darrel Templeton says. As estimated by the World Federation of the Deaf, there are around 70 million Deaf people worldwide. Less than two percent of them have Gospel access, making the Deaf the largest unreached people group in the world. Premiering this month, “Envision” is a 10-inch tablet that comes preloaded with video content, like sign language Bible translations or the JESUS Film. The device can be paired with solar panels and a backup battery, allowing Gospel workers to reach previously unreached areas. Working alongside groups like DOOR International, MegaVoice can supply Deaf evangelists with the tools they need. The Envision tablet is a powerful asset for Deaf ministry, and hard-of-hearing communities can benefit, too. What’s the difference between Deaf and hard-of-hearing? “For those low-hearing people – an elderly person, or someone who is losing their hearing – they would be able to hear it as well [as see it],” Templeton says. “It’s loud enough for 100, 150 people to easily listen to it.”

According to Mission Network News, Building long-term relationships of trust is crucial for sharing the Gospel in rural areas of Mexico, and for that local missionaries rely on personal interaction – the very thing the coronavirus pandemic curtails. Travel restrictions are enforced by local authorities and, in some areas, also by ordinary villagers. They limit not only large gatherings but home visits. “Some of the towns have taken some health and surveillance measures due to the coronavirus issue, and that has limited the mobility of several of our workers,” the leader of a native ministry said. “Indigenous people being of oral tradition, our ministry is developed mainly through home visits. Interpersonal relationships are of the utmost importance, so being limited in making visits has become an obstacle to overcome.” Local missionaries invest years living among indigenous people in their villages in order to gain enough trust to share the Gospel. Some workers have actually benefited from being “locked down” among those they’re serving, and their determination to remain in troubled areas has further cemented trust. Many doors have been opened for the Gospel since local missionaries have remained with villagers through difficult times, the leader said. In spite of pandemic restrictions, workers have formed three new groups of disciples in once unreached villages. In three other unreached villages, local missionaries have initiated contact with indigenous people through mutual friends, opening the possibility of workers to one day settle among them, the leader said.

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In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, today is a good day to get to know Him. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Thanks so much for listening and may God bless you.

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