This is the International Christian Herald podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.
According to Open Doors, Your prayers are again desperately needed for our family in Nigeria, following another attack on Christians, this time by a group of bandits. The incident reflects the increasing and shocking impunity with which armed bandits and extremist Islamic militants are wreaking havoc across Nigeria, with Christians often amongst those targeted. The country is number nine on the World Watch List. A Christian has been killed and at least 60 kidnapped after a group of bandits stormed a church in Kaduna state, Nigeria, last Sunday (31 October). It’s the latest in a string of kidnappings in Nigeria, with Islamic militants and armed bandits targeting people with increasing impunity. This has been aggravated by the government’s failure to decisively address the country’s rapidly growing security problem. Christians are frequently the victims of these attacks. Often they are targeted specifically because of their faith; at other times, they are simply an easy target for violence. It’s not clear if this recent attack was religiously motivated, though observers report that armed bandit groups are at least to some extent influenced by the Islamic extremists Boko Haram. To compound matters, a shutdown of state telecom services to help combat bandit activity is understood to have exacerbated the attack. The church was unable to call for help, whilst the bandits have reportedly asked for a higher ransom because they had to travel further for network service to contact the victims’ relations. The government claims that security in the locality was strong, but Reverend Joseph Haya, chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), disputes this, saying security has worsened. “We are seriously worried now,” he said. “Gunmen are gradually approaching the township.”
According to Christianity Today, More than 160 buildings in a town in northwestern Myanmar, including at least two churches, have been destroyed by fires caused by shelling by government troops, local media and activists reported Saturday. The destruction of parts of the town of Thantlang in Chin state appeared to be another escalation in the ongoing struggle between Myanmar’s military-installed government and forces opposed to it. The army seized power in February from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, but has failed to quell the widespread resistance. The Chin state is a heavily Christian area in the otherwise majority-Buddhist country. Over 90 percent of the ethnic Chin people identify as Christian, many of them Baptists after the history of Baptist missionaries in the region. A government spokesman denied “nonsense allegations being reported in the country-destroying media,” and blamed insurgents for instigating the fighting and setting the fires. Human rights groups and UN experts recently warned that the government is planning a major offensive in the country’s northwest, including Chin state, along with the regions of Magway and Sagaing. Residents of the rugged area have a reputation for their fierce fighting spirit, and have put up stiff resistance to military rule despite being only lightly armed with single-shot hunting rifles and homemade weapons.
According to CBN, A mob of 50 radical Hindu nationalists brutally attacked a Christian community in India’s Chhattisgarh state on Saturday, leaving nine Christians severely wounded. International Christian Concern (ICC) reports that three of the victims are in critical condition after the group stormed into 14 Christian homes in Metapal village, located in the Dantewada district. The radicals were reportedly trying to make Metapal a “Christian-free” village. Christians, including women and children, were beaten with fists, wooden clubs, and other objects. The attack left several victims with broken bones, dislocated joints, and head injuries. “Santu, a teenage boy, was carried by four people to the hospital like a dead body,” Pastor Susheel Kumar, a survivor of the attack, told ICC. “He suffered multiple fractures to his legs and hand.”
In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16, “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, 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 your day!