AUSTRALIAN  PRAYER  NETWORK  NEWSLETTER

CHRISTIAN SUDANESE REFUGEES IN AUSTRALIA SPEAK OUT THEIR CONCERN FOR FAMILIES BACK HOME

Residents from the Nuba Mountain Region of Sudan now living in Australia, are very concerned about family members back in South Kordofan, Sudan. Numerous attempts to eradicate these people by other groups is presenting a huge humanitarian issue for the people of this region. They are extremely concerned about the genocide and deprivation being imposed upon their families and friends on the Nuba Mountains. Consisting of many mountains and hills, the Nuba Mountains support people using 99 different dialects however, difficulty in communication is overcome because since 1978 Arabic has been adopted as a national language in Sudan.

In the 1980s Muslim fundamentalists began attempting to scourge Christians from the area. The Nuba Mountain region is mainly Christian culture due to Missionaries from Australia living with them over a considerable period. Dr Peter Hammond from South Africa says; “There has been systematic aerial bombardment of Christian villages throughout the Nuba Mountains as part of a genocidal Jihad against Christian Nubians. Al Jazeera television has broadcast footage of the governor of South Kordofan, the indicted war criminal, Ahmed Harun, addressing Muslim soldiers in the Nuba Mountains: ‘You must hand over the place clean. Don’t bring them back alive! We have no space for them!’”

Those from the Nuba Mountains have no arms with which to defend themselves. The choices available to them are to flee into surrounding hills or be murdered. The Government of Sudan has not supported the Nubian people and is preventing information about attempts at genocide from becoming known to the world. It is also blocking humanitarian aid while escalating aerial bombardments of refugees and displaced people in the Nuba Region. Some 108 aerial bombardments were recorded in October 2013 alone. Arab militias mobilised by the Sudan Armed Forces have killed tens-of-thousands of Nubians through their ground offensives and aerial bombardment campaign which began in June 2011.

Hundreds of thousands of Christian Nubians have been displaced as their homes and farms have been bombed, plundered and burned. “By means of massive population displacement, systematic destruction of crops and denial of humanitarian aid, the regime is affecting a Final Solution… the elimination of what it terms ‘black infidels’” The government has placed spies in the region and Christians who gather together are shot or bombed. The government has sent soldiers recently to the village of Abbri. The people there have been forced to hide in the hills.  They have no water, food, or clothes or any other items. The government is not permitting the supply of human needs for the region. 

Some people have fled to Kartoum (the capital of Sudan) however, when it becomes known they are from the Nuba Mountain Region they are prevented from working or earning any sort of living. These people then must return to their home region without any form of support. The Nuba Mountains Sudanese in Australia have no way of communicating directly with their relatives and friends in the Nuba Mountains. They can only communicate through family members able to visit South Sudan or if people in South Sudan get messages out to them. The Sudanese Government wants the land. The Sudanese Government intends to annihilate the people to get it.

There is no opposition to the government eradicating Christians from the Nuba Mountain Region to resettle Palestinians there. Many Palestinians are already in Port Sudan. Meetings are presently being held between the Nuba Mountains people and the African Union to try to stop the violence and the stealing of their land and livelihood. The current President of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir has a close alliance with Iran and Lebanon and Qatar is known to have been responsible in 2013 for sending planes to destroy Nuba Mountain villages. Please pray for these meetings and for those involved that they can arrive at solutions to this problem and pray also for God’s victory in this situation in the long term.

Source: Statement released by concerned Christians from Sudan

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A LIVING MIRACLE IN NIGERIA

On 11th May at about 8:00am local time, 44 year old Emmanuel Tajudeen Razack was driving between Nigeria’s Middle Belt cities Abuja and Jos. With him were his close friends and co-workers missionary Kent Hodge and Josie Nweke, and a visiting medical doctor from rural Australia. Suddenly, on a potholed, poorly maintained stretch about half way to Jos, semiautomatic rifle bullets hammered and ripped the air around them and through the car, killing Emmanuel instantly. The car careered and crashed into the bush by the road. The bullets continued their violent onslaught on the cars travelling behind.

Through the numbness, daze and shock the men heard angry shouting and demands: “Where are your wallets, your passports?!” “Get out of the car!” “Give us your laptops. Where is your money?!” Kent and the other two survivors, miraculously unharmed, were ordered out of the car. Emmanuel’s body was thrown and lifeless, his blood spattered. Kent remembers saying through the fog and pain of his mind and emotions but with a firm spirit, “I am a missionary. I don’t have much money”. Threats of being held for ransom followed. Then, amidst the chaotic shouting and gunshots, the men were ordered to walk into the bush. Every moment seemed it would be their last.

The day was Sunday. Emmanuel and Josie had come to Abuja to collect the two Australians from the airport and take them back to the Christian Faith Institute (CFI), in a suburb on the outskirts of Jos. They had looked forward to meeting Kent again; close friend, leader, advisor and co-worker in Nigeria for so many years. As always, it had been a joyful, expectant reunion. Together, often on different continents, these men had carried the vision and responsibilities of a thriving training institute and mission to Africa. The life and gifted leadership of Emmanuel Razack, beloved Principal and co-leader of CFI with Kent from the beginning, is a grievous loss.

Emmanuel helped lay the foundation of the College until it reached Masters Level. He led the team of pastors who oversee various churches and mission stations, laid the foundations of schools and a Safe House for persecuted adolescent children, ran large Pastor’s Conferences and the college’s mission into Egypt. He founded the Computer Teaching Centre in the local Islamic community. He led the college through major religious riots in its suburb in 2009-2010 and during a prolonged period of attack on Jos by Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria since 2011. He worked tirelessly on improving the college’s administration, their computerized and satellite linked library and their academic credibility.

While Fulani tribesmen raided villages all around the College site, killing hundreds of people, Emmanuel faithfully and fearlessly erected the boundary wall, planned and designed all the buildings, obtained government authorization for each design, and built on the site. Today, many Fulani are studying in the college. The Christian Faith Institute in Jos, where Emmanuel’s body is now buried, is a remarkable, almost unbelievable story about God at work right now in the Muslim-dominated centre and north of Nigeria. It is a continuing testimony to what God can do when people obey Jesus’ command to love our enemies and bless those who despise and persecute us.

Source: Liberty for the Nations

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UGANDA CHURCHES WARNED OF AL SHABAB THREATS

Uganda and Kenya authorities have scaled up security in recent days in response to warnings from Western countries that a jihadist group is planning to attack churches in Uganda. The U.S. embassy in Uganda warned that churches there may face “specific threats” from Al Shabab, a Somalia-based militant Islamist terrorist group. The threats against the two East African countries are said to be due to each having peacekeeping troops in Somalia. “All the churches have been informed. The anti-terrorist police and police board in Uganda are providing security to the churches. There are further efforts to inform the people on what the explosives may look like so that they can identify them.

We are especially concerned about the situation based on what we have seen happening in Kenya,”  Rev. Mead Birungi of World Shine Ministries said. On May 21, a grenade attack a few metres from a mosque in Garissa, close to the Kenyan border with Somalia, is believed to have killed one and injured 11. No one yet has claimed responsibility. On May 16, 10 people were reported killed and more than 70 people injured in Gikomba, a market in the capital city, Nairobi.  Three people died and 86 were injured during a twin blast May 5 along Kenya’s busy Thika highway.

Some Western countries such as Great Britain, the United States, France and Australia have issued travel advisories concerning Kenya, based on the threats from Al Shabab. British tourists in particular have abandoned travel plans to Kenya or have returned home. “The influx of guns and other dangerous weapons into the country is alarming,” Cardinal John Njue, chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, said May 9. “Suddenly, Kenyans cannot go to places of worship without fear. A country that has for years been called the oasis of peace in the region has become a terrorist playground.”

In Uganda, reports of Al Shabab threats bring back memories of twin attacks in Kampala in July 2010 that killed more than 80 people. For the most part, however, Christians and Muslims have lived peacefully together in Uganda. “As a Christian, I feel that the threat to churches is an issue of orientation. Some people are simply bad and hide behind religion to settle scores. There is no possible justification for taking another’s life,” said a resident of Kampala, who asked not to be named. The sentiment is shared by Birungi, who said the Interreligious Council in Uganda has been working with the majority Christians and other religions to raise their voices against any possible attack.

Source: World Watch Monitor

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MILITARY COUP IN THAILAND THREATENS COUNTRY’S STABILITY

Thai society is polarized with two distinct political sides, the pro-government and anti-government backers. There have been 12 military coups since the end of the monarchy in 1932.  On May 20, the military imposed martial law in an attempt to end the instability, but said it was not a coup. However, May 22 it took power outright. A coup in 2006 deposed the now exiled Prime Minister Thaksin. His sister, Yingluck, as acting Interim Prime Minister, attempted to pass an amnesty bill, allowing her brother’s return, thus triggering the current coup. The army announced that military chief General Prayuth currently has power to act as Prime Minister.

The military has detained the pro-government leaders and has ordered the broadcast media to suspend all normal programming. A curfew is in place from 10:00 P.M. until 5:00 A.M., and schools are closed for three days. Thailand’s currency, the baht, sank after the coup announcement.  Foreigners and tourists are caught in the middle of this turmoil, although the military has said it will guarantee their safety. The coup will certainly affect the operations and movements of many Christian agencies based in Thailand even though Thailand is not currently on the 2014 Open Doors World Watch List of the worst persecutors of Christians in the world.

Let’s Pray for:

*  honesty and justice to be restored in this fractured political climate

*  opposing political parties to agree to meet, put aside biases, and compromise their extreme positions in the best interest of the country. 

*  Christian agencies to be protected from any hostile attempts to curtail their activities.

Source: Windows International Network

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POPE FRANCIS CALLS HUMAN TRAFFICKING A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY

Four women who were forced into sex slavery and later freed have met with Pope Francis at a conference on human trafficking held at the Vatican to combat what the Pontiff called a “crime against humanity.” After a private meeting with the victims, the Pope joined church officials and police chiefs from 20 countries in an effort to build global cooperation to fight the problem. “Human trafficking is an open wound on the body of contemporary society, ” the Pope told the conference. “I exhort the international community to adopt an even more unanimous and effective strategy against human trafficking, so that in every part of the world, men and women may no longer be used as a means to an end.”

The Catholic Church, citing International Labour Organization estimates, calculates that 2.4 million people are trafficked at any given time, with traffickers receiving more than $32 billion a year. Cardinal Vincent Nichols, archbishop of Westminster, said only 1 percent of those trapped in modern human slavery have been rescued, and it has never been more widespread. Nichols served as chair for the conference, which was organized by the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. “There is an endless supply of stolen bodies among the poor and desperate in the world,” Nichols said. “They are not free. They are slaves.”

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, London’s Metropolitan police commissioner, said British police have been working with church officials to free victims of trafficking and police have successfully prosecuted 300 cases in the past three years. With the Pope’s support, he said, there is potential to collaborate in countries around the world. “Different jurisdictions can work across boundaries,” Hogan-Howe said. “We are building networks with the Catholic Church and enforcement agencies.  We are not going to give in.”

Source: Religious News Service

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POPE FRANCIS CALLS ABORTION AN ABOMINABLE CRIME

Human life is “sacred and inviolable” and “every civil law is based on the recognition of the first and most fundamental right, the right to life,” Pope Francis told an Italian pro-life organization. The Pope thanked the Movimento per la Vita, one of Italy’s leading political pro-life groups, for their work, urging them to continue “with courage and love” for life “in all its phases.” “It is therefore necessary to reiterate the strongest opposition to any direct attack on life, especially innocent and defenceless life represented by the unborn child in the womb” the Pope told the gathering of politicians and pro-life activists at the Vatican.

“If you look at life as something that is consumed,” the Pope said, “it will also be something that sooner or later you can throw away.” Human life, however, is “a gift from God” and if it is accepted as such, “then you have before you a valuable and intangible asset, to be protected at all cost and not to be discarded.” Pope Francis took the opportunity to link the pro-life message of the Church to his critique of the global economy, a major theme of this pontificate. “This economy kills. It considers the human being as a commodity; a commodity that you can use and then throw away. We started the culture of ‘waste’ that, indeed, is promoted through abortion in which “even life is discarded”.

Source: LifeSiteNews

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