A time of crisis
A message from WorldShare's Chief Executive
MALI : JORDAN : SYRIA : SUDAN : IRAN : NEPAL
We invite the prayers and help of all WorldShare’s supporters, in a time of crisis for many of our partners across the world.
In Mali, the President and government were ousted by an army revolt which still continues around the capital, Bamako. This destroyed government power in much of the country. Then, in the far north of Mali, large numbers of Tuareg nomads, who had been well-armed to fight as mercenaries for Colonel Gadaffi in Libya, returned to Mali with the intention of setting up their own Muslim country, Azawad.
The Tuareg have swept south, easily overcoming the weak and divided Malian forces. Most of the country has fallen to them, including Timbuktu and Gao, where our partner ministries were based.
The Tuareg are Muslim, and Al Qaeda-linked funda-mentalists have taken control over the movement. Shari’ah law is being brutally imposed on the conquered populace. We know that churches, Christian bookshops, the Christian radio station in Timbuktu etc, have been destroyed. Christians are being actively sought out and killed.
Most of the Christian population (Mali had a rapidly-growing number of believers) have fled to the temporary refuge of Bamako in the south. There they are still in danger of the fighting which goes on between different army factions, and many are homeless, starving and fearful for the future.
Pastor Mohammed from Gao reports that believers have been gathered into six sites and that he has managed to gather 235 Christian refugees. They have temporary shelter, but little food. Many other refugees are arriving and new shelters are needed.
NEW Mali update 25 May 2012
In Syria, believers are in great danger from Muslim fundamentalists as the country continues to slide into chaos. Many Christians have been killed. Two of our partners have church-planters in Syria. One of them asks for special prayer for a brother in a Kurdish-populated area. His ministry has been fruitful and may have believed in Christ. Now several have been killed, and others are fearful and under threat.
In Jordan, conditions for believers are getting worse. At the end of April, six converts from Islam were travelling to a house meeting in northern Jordan. Their car was deliberately rammed by another carrying Islamic fighters. The attackers were armed with iron bars and the Christians were badly beaten. One woman has died of her injuries; her husband has a fractured skull. Another has a broken neck; almost all have broken limbs and internal injuries.
Such attacks are increasing.
Click for a profile of our regional partner in the Middle East, Raja al Umam.
In Sudan, the northern government is gradually tightening pressure on believers.
Recently, at least three churches have been destroyed by the government, and the believers scattered. Many others, including those run by our partners, are under threat.
Sudan and the new country of South Sudan have a very difficult relationship which erupts into fighting from time to time. Now, outright war is imminent.
In the Nuba mountains, the government is conducting a genocidal campaign because the people of Nuba have links with the south.
Many believers have been killed or are under threat.
Will Nuba become the new Darfur?
In Iran, the pressure on believers continues to be intense. The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Propaganda have hired several thousand new employees to identify all Christians and all house churches and to stop all Christian
activity. Many believers are becoming too frightened to attend services. Others are being forced to leave the country.
In Nepal (photo below), an impending new law would make it illegal to seek to influence anyone to change their religion. The Nepali church has grown strongly in recent years, but this proposed new law would make it illegal to share Christ with a Hindu Nepali.
These are just some of the difficult and dangerous situations faced by WorldShare’s partners right now. All these news items are from reports within the last few weeks. Despite their many difficulties, the believers in each of these countries - “sharing in Christ’s sufferings” - are seeking to maintain a faithful Christian life, worship and witness. Church and ministry leaders have asked for our compassion, prayer and help.
"How can we help them?"
a) First and foremost, they need our prayers. Please pray for your brothers and sisters in the situations mentioned above, and please encourage your church, fellowship, house group etc, to do so.
Regular updates appear on this website and in our fortnightly E-News. You can subscribe to the free E-News service from the News and Issues page.
b) WorldShare is committed to helping those who have lost homes, livelihoods or loved ones in each of these circumstances, and to help the churches to continue their ministry. Our fellow-Christians are needing shelter, food, clothing, medical attention, etc. The churches need places to meet, Bibles, material to help them share Christ.
The Bible commands us to “remember those who are persecuted, as if you, yourself, were persecuted with them.” Please help us if you can to show that Christians in the UK have not forgotten those who suffer for Christ.
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Thank you for your help.
Photo on home page click panel: © illusionstudio / Shutterstock.com
Nepal. Proposed new law could make it illegal to share Christ