Persecution and Prayer Alert, Voice of the Martyrs
Dedicated Christian Worker Shot in Pakistan
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Source: Morning Star News, VOMC
It has just been confirmed by our VOM contacts that Birgitta Almby, Area Director of Full Gospel Assemblies in Lahore, Pakistan, is in critical condition after two unidentified gunmen riding a motorcycle opened fire when she arrived home from the office on December 3rd. Although the doctors were able to remove the bullet from her chest, the shooting caused considerable damage to the 70-year-old woman’s lungs and jugular vein. “We have kept her in the Intensive Care Unit, where her situation is precarious because of the excessive bleeding,” announced Dr. Ali Usman of Jinnah Hospital.
For 38 years, Birgitta has faithfully served in Pakistan, where her unwavering dedication and commitment are appreciated by the believers of the Lahore community. While police officers are presently investigating the source of attack from all angles, it’s possible that the shooting was carried out by Islamist extremists who are increasingly targeting Christians in Pakistan. For more information on the challenges facing Christians in this country, please go to the Pakistan Country Report.
May our Almighty God miraculously intervene, not only sparing Birgitta’s life, but also ministering complete healing to the areas wounded by the attack. Please also pray that He will bring much needed peace and encouragement to her family and fellow Christian workers, as well as to all those in the community she so lovingly served. In fact, through this circumstance, may these believers increase in their effectiveness of reaching those who are spiritually lost (including the gunmen) by demonstrating His heart of concern for their present eternal destiny.
Anti-Christian Violence in Syria Increases As War Intensifies
Source: Assist News Service, Open Doors News
The inhabitants of Jaramana, a suburb in Damascus, are now trying to recover from the shock and terror of recent twin car bombings which took the lives of 38 and injured at least 83. It is known that many Christians reside within this community, which was reportedly blasted by “terrorists” who are seeking to overthrow the government and attack all who are loyal to it. To read further about Syria’s Christian minority, visit the Syria Country Report.
It is apparent from other recent events that Christians are indeed being targeted in Syria. For example, on October 25th, the lifeless tortured body of Father Fadi Haddad, 43, was discovered by the side of a road. A few days prior to his kidnapping, Father Fadi told a pastor who provided him with Bibles, “I cannot not serve Jesus. I need to help people….”
Other incidences include the November 14th attack of four missiles on the Christian village of Tel Nasri where a church and many homes were severely damaged. It is reported that a 14-year-old boy was killed and many were wounded during the attack. On October 21st, in Bab Touma (an historical Christian neighbourhood in Damascus), a car parked next to two churches exploded at a time when local believers were heading for services. At least 10 people were killed and more than 16 injured. About a month before the most recent twin car bombings, another bombing in Jaramana killed 11 people and wounded 69 (on October 29th).
Thankfully, the above mentioned deceased followers of Christ are now basking in the wonderful presence of God and, undoubtedly, many of them are the recipients of eternal rewards for their diligence…right to the very end. May others be inspired by their willingness to remain true to the Gospel. Please uphold all of the surviving believers in this part of the world who are facing many hardships, as well as ongoing threats of terrorism. Pray that the Lord will cover them with His peace and protection, and that they would experience a profound sense His presence in the midst of adversity.
Update: Court Sentences Perpetrators of Violent Attacks in Odisha (Orissa)
Source: Christian Solidarity Worldwide
On November 27th, a total of 12 people were sentenced to six years’ imprisonment for their involvement in the horrific communal violence committed against Christians in the Kandhamal district on August 25th of 2008. These violent acts included arson, rioting and the torching of houses in Jarkinaju village, attributing to about a hundred deaths and the displacement of more than 50,000 people. It is considered the worst single outbreak of anti-Christian violence in the history of post-independence India. For more on the status of Christians in this country, go to the India Country Report.
While it seems that justice is being meted out, the overwhelming majority of cases relating to the 2008 events have either been dismissed or resulted in acquittals, including many murder cases. Human rights defenders in the area are continuing in their vigil, pointing out significant flaws in the court’s rulings. David Griffiths, South Asia Team Leader for CSW, concludes that this is important as the victims not only deserve justice, but also because “the rule of law is the essential foundation for peace.”
On behalf of the many surviving victims of these terrible atrocities, may the “Prince of Peace” continue to bring healing, restoration and the hope of a brighter future; a future filled with His ongoing presence and provision as they rebuild their lives. And in accordance to Scripture, we must pray for their persecutors who are also greatly in need God’s touch upon their lives. May they, too, be drawn to the “Light of Jesus” and, as a result, come to repentance…acknowledging their need of Jesus as Saviour before it’s too late.