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ANOTHER SIDE TO THE NIGERIAN CRISIS AS GOD MOVES SOVEREIGNLY AMONGST THE MUSLIM PEOPLE

The 400 or more students at the Christian Faith Institute (CFI) are exuberant men and women with a strong sense of fellowship, and of purposeful mission and fulfilment. Every day these people defy unimaginable obstacles to the spread of the gospel: Islamic fundamentalist terrorist groups bombing churches and schools; targeted assassinations of pastors and their families; Christian homes set on fire while the family is sleeping, men carrying AK47’s ready to shoot anyone trying to escape. All of this is in addition to the general poverty and a desperate lack of infrastructure.  Even so, the gospel is breaking through! Revival is spreading through this part of Africa and sweeping all before it!

In Nigeria’s north right now, the eyes of great numbers of Muslims are being opened to Jesus by dreams, visions and miracles, or while comparing Jesus in the Quran and the Scriptures. Thousands of Muslims in every district are coming to Jesus. In Jos at the CFI, there are ex-terrorists studying for ministry, planting churches and reaching hundreds of thousands with the gospel. Almost half of the students of CFI are Muslim background believers. Some are sheltered in the college from Sharia law death sentences. Others have come after going through a period of discipleship in safe houses. These men and women come for training ready to answer the call to reach their own Islamic people.

In 2013, Jos was experiencing severe attacks against Christians. The suburb was engulfed in violence with barely a building untouched. Many people suffered loss of family, businesses and personal property. Villages were attacked and hundreds of people were massacred and thousands driven in terror from their homes. Churches were bombed during service times. Students from the college and bishops trained by the college were gunned down. The situation became desperate. Intense and frequent skirmishes, not just about religion, but also about politics and ethnic-cleansing issues occurred all over Nigeria. It looked out of control, as if things were heading towards a national blood bath.

The churches prayed. A miracle took everyone by surprise! The army had moved into three states and begun major operations against Boko Haram, the terrorist group leading the attacks. The senior college staff members at CFI were on radio and TV, urging fairness in the use of disciplinary force, and for just treatment of those in the region. Then, an abrupt change of heart came evident. Muslims and Christians began to cooperate. Unarmed Muslim youths frequently stood between terrorists and Christians to protect them with their own lives. People began to talk about their problems with each other instead of killing. The number of sporadic killings reduced drastically.

In the city Jos, where there is such a diversity of racial and religious groups living together, representatives began meeting for talks. The people of the community spoke with one voice, saying they wanted the killings to stop and to live together in peace. A CFI student who was a special advisor to the governor of the state, one day in class  said “I haven’t heard about this kind of love before”! Now, he speaks boldly on state media of Jesus,and urges for one peaceful community in Jos. He visits mosques (difficult for him, because family and colleagues have been murdered from the same mosques). In the mosques, he and others are invited to share the Gospel. It is not a trap; there is no hidden motive.

Another CFI student took the book Changing the World, Changing Ourselves, to his besieged city in north east Nigeria. The student’s wife, after reading the book decided “the whole community must hear this message!” They organized a meeting, and 200 leaders from the Deputy Governor’s offices, Imams and Islamic youth groups attended. Boko Haram “generals” came and spoke of churches they had bombed. Pastors  spoke on the nature of God’s kingdom and why Jesus came. The Muslims apologized for their killing and the pastors apologized for retaliation.  They all agreed “we have gone against the teachings of Jesus Christ” and the Muslim leaders said “we want to hear more of this Christ.”

A student in a CFI class said, “My Islamic people persecuted me when I became a Christian. I forgave them, but I wouldn’t have anything to do with them.”  The young man realized this wasn’t forgiveness. He went back to his people and found ways of serving them. He began fixing some of their houses. He didn’t preach, only served. Many of them began turning their lives over to Jesus. The Muslim Chief Security officer, involved in so much killing before, began texting the student daily to ask about the ways of Christ. He gathered Muslim and Christians leaders together and asked the student to preach to them about Jesus’ salvation. Outreach is intensifying. and many are coming to know Jesus!

Source: Liberty for the Nations

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MUSLIM WOMAN SAVED FROM DEATH BY JESUS

An Afghan woman has shared this amazing story at a meeting in Greece.  “I was crammed into a small boat with 65 other Afghanis. We were travelling from Turkey accompanied by our smugglers. A storm approached with high winds and rain, which caused our boat to rock violently. The waves were intent on capsizing our vessel. We hadn’t eaten or drunk water for 3 days. Women and children were crying and getting sick. I was separated from my children who were in another part of the boat and I couldn’t get to them. People began praying different surahs from the Quran and repeating the creed over and over. The shouts of “We’re going to die!” were interspersed with the prayers of the refugees.

I prayed in my utter desperation. I felt sure we were going to drown. We were in a hold on a boat that had few windows. The air was pungent with body odour, humidity and a sense of terror. If we opened the windows water poured in, but keeping them shut made it difficult to breathe. Suddenly our boat took a sharp nosedive. This was it. Just then flashes of conversations I had had with my Christian sister in Australia and my Christian brother in Germany, and scenes from a film about Jesus I had seen in Iran came to my mind. I breathed out a prayer to Jesus. I had never prayed to Him before. I told Him that if He allowed me and my children to live I would go to a church as soon as we reached land.

Immediately the boat righted itself in a miraculous way and the storm eased. People rejoiced that God had heard their prayers, but I knew Jesus had answered my prayer! Incredibly, a large Greek boat drew alongside us and threw a few bottles of water to us. Fights broke out with people clawing each other to get one. Men from the big boat lashed our boat to theirs and brought us to shore. They called ahead and on the beach where we landed were rows and rows of water bottles and cups waiting for us!  We were taken to a camp area where we were given food, shelter, and dry clothes. If those Greeks had been Muslims they never would have saved us or supplied us with water, food, and clothing.

Fulfilling my promise to God, I headed for the first Church I could find. A wedding was taking place. I went in and sat and watched!  The next week, I went to another church and just sat in the back and watched. I didn’t understand anything they were saying. I went to a third church and again, I did not comprehend what was being said, but I had a peace come upon my heart just being there. I realized something was happening to me. I didn’t understand it but I knew it was something good. Then I heard about the Hellenic Ministries Refugees Centre where they were providing food for Afghans so I went there. I heard a talk about Jesus translated into my own language. They gave me an Afghan Bible.   

I compared what I read in the Bible to what my religion taught. The Bible said things like, “love your neighbour, turn your other cheek, forgive your enemies.” My religion urged us to kill the infidel and hate our enemies. I had never read anywhere of love and forgiveness like in the Bible. Enemies in Afghanistan had killed my husband. All I ever heard from the two major sects in my religion was that each other were infidels. I witnessed a man get shot in the chest and die because he was from the other sect. Another woman was shot and died right in front of me because of her particular sect. I saw men whose limbs were blown off bleeding profusely in bomb blasts over sectarian clashes.

I could not get these images out of my mind. I was only 15 years old then and those images kept coming back to me, sometimes 2 or 3 times a day. I could not help but notice the difference in the people working in the Refugee Centre where I would go to listen to the Bible lessons. They were humble and always ready to help without ulterior motives. I liked them. I was beginning to accept their teaching. I appreciated their attitude and manner. I felt myself drawn to the Jesus they proclaimed. Then 4 months ago I made my decision to believe in Jesus. I wanted Him to be my Saviour. Truly He has answered many of my prayers. Life is still difficult but I’m thankful. I have an inner peace.   I am a new person.

Source: ASSIST News Service

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FOUR KIDNAPPED GIRLS ESCAPE BOKO HARAM

Four more girls kidnapped by Boko Haram militants several weeks ago have escaped their captors leaving 219 still missing.  Education commissioner Musa Inuwa told Reuters the four had been reunited with their parents, but he declined to give further details of their escape. Chief of Defence Staff Air Marshal Alex Badeh said the military knew where the abducted girls were, but ruled out a rescue by force for fear of endangering them. Most officials think any raid to rescue them would run a high risk that the girls would be killed by their captors. Badeh said “We have international partners working with us to release our girls and our girls will be released.”

An Open Doors worker recently visited parents of some of the girls who remain missing. “The atmosphere remains tense in Chibok and surrounding areas,” explained the worker. “In one of the villages the local chief, upon seeing us, went into his house and came out with a gun.  He thought we were members of Boko Haram because we came by car.” After the team had convinced him they were Christians coming to encourage and pray for the parents, he put down his gun and joined them in going around the other villages, visiting as many parents as they could.  Many parents were simply too broken to say much. They just cried. Clearly the pressure is taking its toll.

In tears, one heartbroken father told Open Doors that the shock of his daughter’s abduction was so great that it has left him paralysed. “I feel so bad.I cannot even get out of bed,” he says. The Christians of Chibok are not learned people and are not rich in the things of this world. They live simple lives in sincere dependence on God for things most of us take for granted. Yet, in the midst of this crisis, many have responded with the bold faith we have come to know and love about the northern Nigerian Christians. They expressed a firm hope that they will yet see their daughters unharmed. Where there is life, there is hope. Ayuba and his wife, Rifkatu, say, “We are worried and sad, but we hope in God.”

Please pray:

 

* that God in His grace would enable Nigerian forces, with the assistance from the USA, France and the UK, to locate the girls. Freeing them would be a very delicate operation. Please pray for God’s wisdom.

 

* for God’s continued sustaining grace to the abducted girls. Pray that God would keep them safe and that He would minister to them through His HolySpirit. Pray that they would have a very clear sense of His presence and love as they face their suffering.

* for God’s grace also to their parents. To those who know Christ as Saviour, we pray that their faith would be strengthened through this trial and that they would come to know Christ very intimately. To those who are not Christians yet, we pray that the Holy Spirit would reveal Christ’s salvation.

Source: ASSIST News Service

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HOW EL SALVADOR PASSED A TOTAL BAN ON ABORTION

It is illegal for a mother to abort her child in El Salvador. But the story of how a country with a name meaning “saviour” came to constitutionally protect its unborn children remains practically unknown. “It was a miracle,”said Julia Cardenal, president of the Yes to Life Foundation of San Salvador. Speaking to about 200 attendees at a pro-life conference held recently in Canada, Cardenal related how underdeveloped countries like El Salvador depend on foreign aid to help improve the country. But she said that such aid usually comes with “reproductive rights” strings attached. A cabinet minister told her after returning from a meeting in Europe: “All these people want to do is talk about abortion.”

In 1998, a massive pro-life effort resulted in El Salvador removing from its 1973 penal code exceptions that permitted abortion, including to save the mother’s life, and in cases of rape and serious congenital disorder. Abortion was now illegal, but the victory was tenuous. Pro-lifers feared foreign aid groups would too easily woo the country into signing onto a treaty that would override the penal code and effectively bring back abortion. They knew the only way to guarantee protection for the unborn was a constitutional amendment that no treaty could override. Cardenal and her group began a national campaign for a constitutional amendment that would “defend the right to life from conception.”

At that time about half the country’s legislators were considered pro-life. But for it to be enshrined in the constitution, it had to be ratified by a two-thirds majority.  An election was called and a significant number of pro-life legislators lost their seats to socialists. Pro-lifers felt sure the amendment was doomed. They re-doubled their efforts, calling for a national prayer campaign. What happened next shocked everyone. “When the time came for the vote, the first one who spoke was a socialist woman whosaid: ‘I am going to give my vote as a woman and as a doctor for the constitution al amendment.” “After that, there was no vote against it.  We could not believe it. It was a miracle” Cardenal said.

Source: LifeSiteNews

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SUDAN: MERIAM YAHIA IBRAHIM GIVES BIRTH IN PRISON

Imprisoned Sudanese Christian Meriam Yahia Ibrahim has given birth to a baby girl five days early. According to local sources, Mrs Ibrahim’s husband Daniel Wani has yet to be granted permission to see his wife and newborn daughter, who are currently incarcerated in Omdurman Federal Women’s Prison along with his 20 month-old son Martin, but has been informed that both mother and baby are well. On 22 May, Meriam Yahia Ibrahim’s lawyers lodged an appeal against the Public Order Court’s decision on 11 May to sentence Mrs Ibrahim to death for apostasy and 100 lashes for adultery.

 

Mrs Ibrahim was charged and sentenced for adultery and apostasy under articles 146 and 126 of Sudan’s Penal Code respectively. The Public Orde rCourt in El Haj Yousif Khartoum, Sudan, chaired by Judge Abbas Khalifa, confirmed the sentence on 15 May, after Mrs Ibrahim refused to renounce her faith. Mrs Ibrahim was born in western Sudan to a Sudanese Muslim father and an Ethiopian Orthodox mother. Her father left the family when she was six years old and she was subsequently brought up as a Christian by her mother. The case against Mrs Ibrahim began after Sudanese authorities were made aware of her marriage to Daniel Wani, a Christian with dual American and Sudanese citizenship.

Mrs Ibrahim produced her marriage certificate, where she is classified as Christian, as evidence. Three potential witnesses who went to court to testify of her lifelong adherence to Christianity were prevented from giving evidence. Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas says “We are pleased to hear that Mrs Ibrahim and her baby are reportedly in good health; however, we urge the authorities to ensure that her husband and lawyers are granted access to see them, and that they are guaranteed medical attention. We continue to call upon the Sudanese authorities to annul the sentence given to Meriam Ibrahim, and to release her and her young children immediately.”

Source: Morning Star News

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BRITISH PRIME MINISTER CLAIMS HE IS AN EVANGELICAL

In an effort to “woo back” Christians upset by his endorsement of gay marriage, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron has declared himself an evangelical who wants a bigger role for religion in Britain. His comments came after Independent Nigel Farage called for “a more muscular defence of our Judeo-Christian heritage.” “We should be more confident about our status as a Christian country, more ambitious about expanding the role of faith-based organizations, and more evangelical about a faith that compels us to go and make a difference in people’s lives” Cameron said.  The issue of gay marriage has resulted in British politicians taking pains to appeal to their Bible-believing constituents.

Source: The Guardian

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