January 2023 Persecution Magazine

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JANUARY <strong>2023</strong><br />




A Daring Escape from<br />

Jungle Captivity<br />








Contents<br />

JANUARY <strong>2023</strong><br />




Emboldened to Terrorize<br />


04<br />

06<br />

08<br />

26<br />





From Tragedy to<br />

Thanksgiving<br />



ICC Projects Made Possible by Supporters<br />

Your Source for <strong>Persecution</strong> News<br />


ESCAPE<br />

A Family Leaves<br />

Everything Behind to<br />

Freely Follow Christ<br />


Kahindo’s life was<br />

completely torn apart<br />

when ADF terrorists<br />

killed almost her entire<br />

family. She recounts her<br />

story in her own words<br />

on page 16.<br />

12 16 20 24<br />

OUR MISSION: Since 1996, ICC has served the global<br />

persecuted church through a three-pronged approach of<br />

advocacy, awareness, and assistance. ICC exists to bandage<br />

the wounds of persecuted Christians and to build the church<br />

in the toughest parts of the world.<br />


A Hotbed of Terrorism<br />

A Deep Dive Into the Lives of Church Planters and Pastors<br />

Find Hope and Victory in the Messages of the Persecuted<br />

@persecuted @persecutionnews @internationalchristianconcern International Christian Concern<br />

DONATIONS: International Christian Concern (ICC) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) (all<br />

donations tax-deductible). ICC makes every effort to honor donor wishes in regards to<br />

their gifts. Occasionally, a situation will arise where a project is no longer viable. ICC<br />

will redirect those donated funds to one of our other funds that is most similar to the<br />

donor’s original wishes.<br />

Jeff King, President<br />

International Christian Concern<br />

Author: The Last Words of the Martyrs and<br />

Islam Uncensored<br />

A Year Like No Other<br />

2022 was a challenging year. Just a glance at the<br />

spread on page 10 can remind you of some of<br />

the low points.<br />

Our persecuted brothers and sisters face hardships<br />

we can’t even fathom in the West. Yet, I marvel at<br />

their tremendous strength, their faith, and even the<br />

optimism I see in them. They remind us that despite<br />

what the world sends our way, we can rise above<br />

through the power of the Holy Spirit.<br />

On page 16, you’ll meet a beautiful soul, Kahindo<br />

(featured on this cover). The Allied Democratic Forces<br />

(ADF) attacked her village in the Congo, killing<br />

her parents, husband, two children, and two brothers.<br />

Kahindo and her remaining daughter were kidnapped<br />

and taken to the forest where the mother<br />

was abused for days. Immeasurable suffering and a<br />

river of tears followed.<br />

Because of your help, we were able to give Kahindo<br />

a safe place and a fresh start with a small business.<br />

Thanks to your investment, she’s waking up out of<br />

a long nightmare, beyond touched that some Christians<br />

around the world were willing to rescue her.<br />

But this is the Lord’s work we do together. We bring<br />

the touch of God’s healing and restoration to those<br />

Satan sought to destroy.<br />

I am incredibly grateful to do this work in partnership<br />

with you and always remember, your gifts will<br />

be used ethically, effectively, and efficiently!<br />

I promise.<br />

- JEFF<br />

© Copyright <strong>2023</strong> ICC, Washington, D.C., USA. All rights reserved.<br />

STAFF<br />

Publisher Jeff King<br />

Permission to reproduce all or part of this publication is granted<br />

MEMBER<br />

Editor Mike Anderson<br />

provided attribution is given to ICC as the source.<br />

Designer Hannah Campbell<br />

2 <strong>Persecution</strong> | JANUARY <strong>2023</strong><br />


Your Hands and Feet<br />


Making a<br />

difference,<br />

one project<br />

at a time.<br />


From Betrayal to Redemption<br />


Mona struggles to provide for her six daughters as her handicap<br />

makes it difficult to find work. She successfully found a job at a<br />

public school where she befriended a kind teacher, Mr. M. They<br />

would talk about her family and her Christian faith and he even<br />

offered to help her pay her debts on multiple occasions, but she<br />

refused.<br />

When her job shifted and she began working the copier machine,<br />

she asked administration if she could bring the copier home to<br />

better support her daughters. Suddenly, Mr. M showed his true,<br />

extremist colors and accused her of using the machine to print<br />

money to pay her debts.<br />

The school opened an investigation, but because Christians are<br />

not often believed, she was suspended for a year. During that<br />

year, she attempted to take her own life because of the mounting<br />

pressure of her debts.<br />

Recently, Mr. M offered to get Mona’s job back in return for letting<br />

him marry one of her daughters. Mona swiftly rejected his offer.<br />

ICC got in contact with Mona and helped her relocate and start<br />

her own clothing business. Now, she is able to work from home<br />

and generate an income to support her family and pay back her<br />

debts.<br />

AFRICA<br />

Free to Love Everyone<br />


Sofia has lived most of her life a Muslim—but it’s rarely been filled<br />

with peace. She converted after she married her late husband, but<br />

quickly began to disagree over how Muslims and Christians should<br />

be treated. Sofia wanted to love everyone, but her husband thought<br />

only Muslims deserved love.<br />

When Sofia’s husband died last year, she was free to convert back<br />

to Christianity. His family took away everything he left her because<br />

they disproved of her renewed faith in Christ. They went so far as to<br />

threaten to poison her.<br />

ICC got in contact with Sofia while she was living in a local reverend’s<br />

kitchen. ICC relocated her and helped her rent a house and bought<br />

her new household items.<br />

“I thank ICC so much for the support they have given me today...<br />

May the Lord bless you for showing me Christ-like care when I was<br />

suffering,” Sofia said.<br />


The Reality of Ministry Work<br />


ICC works in volatile places throughout the world, and Indonesia<br />

is no exception. While we can pray and prepare that projects<br />

go as planned, there are things we cannot expect. We worked<br />

with a farmer last year who planted chili peppers and ministered<br />

to Muslim-background believers through his business. But<br />

suddenly, the land was sold and the chili crops died, sidelining<br />

the evangelist’s plans.<br />

“Without my knowledge, the land was sold partially, so my chilis<br />

just died. The soil on the remaining land was not as fertile, and in<br />

the end those chili trees slowly dried up and died,” the evangelist<br />

said.<br />

The evangelist pivoted to cultivating catfish while continuing to<br />

minister to those around him.<br />

“ICC continues to help us as field workers who are at the forefront<br />

of evangelism to help us develop a form of business that we can<br />

use as a platform for our ministry,” he said.<br />

4 <strong>Persecution</strong> | JANUARY <strong>2023</strong><br />


ICC Newsroom<br />



Kachin Bible School Shelled by Burmese Army<br />

The Burmese Army (the<br />

Tatmadaw) attacked a<br />

Baptist seminary in northern<br />

Myanmar, injuring four men in the<br />

dormitory. The Tatmadaw launched<br />

a series of attacks on the Theological<br />

Seminary when there was no active<br />

fighting in the area at the time.<br />

The victims were hit by shrapnel<br />

and sustained non-life-threatening<br />

injuries.<br />

“The attack against this Kachin<br />

Bible school was certainly not<br />

an accident,” said Gina Goh, ICC<br />

regional manager for Southeast<br />

Asia. “The Tatmadaw deliberately<br />

targeted a Christian facility knowing<br />

how important faith is to Kachin<br />

people.”<br />

Christianity account for more than<br />

90% of Ethnic Kachin in Myanmar.<br />

Forty Children Abducted by Militants in Northern Nigeria<br />

Unidentified militants have abducted 40 children in a farm attack<br />

in Katsina state, in northern Nigeria. The Nigerian newspaper ‘The<br />

Premium Times’ reported that the kidnappers had demanded the<br />

payment of 30 million Naira (about $70k USD) as a ransom.<br />

Laws in Algeria Restrict Mission Work<br />

Officials in Algeria make it difficult for<br />

missionaries to evangelize or challenge<br />

the Islamic faith in any capacity. Any<br />

attempt to convert followers of Islam is<br />

met with the possibility of jail and hefty<br />

fines.<br />

Algeria’s population is about 99% Suni<br />

Muslim. The country has blasphemy<br />

laws, anti-proselytization laws, and laws<br />

governing worship that make mission<br />

work nearly impossible. Anything that<br />

could be said or seen as going against<br />

Islam is criminalized.<br />

Algeria discourages the practice of faith<br />

systems outside the Sunni Muslim sect.<br />

As a result, mission work has become<br />

dangerous.<br />

One Hundred Killed in Somalia Terror Attack<br />

Al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda affiliated<br />

terrorist group, launched a deadly attack<br />

in Somalia’s capital city, Mogadishu, at<br />

the end of October.<br />

Two cars packed with explosives blew up<br />

within minutes of each other near a busy<br />

intersection. Following the explosion,<br />

militants opened gunfire on passerbys.<br />

“The ruthless terrorists killed mothers.<br />

Some of them died with their children<br />

trapped on their backs,” he said.<br />

The attack took place at the same<br />

intersection where a truck exploded in<br />

2017, killing 512 and injuring 200 more.<br />

The attack, attributed to al-Shabaab,<br />

was the deadliest in Somalia’s history.<br />

Archbishop Warns<br />

About the Extinction of<br />

Christians in Iraq<br />

Iraqi Archbishop Bashar Warda of<br />

Erbil warned hundreds of religious<br />

leaders of the impending extinction<br />

of Christians in Iraq. He spoke at<br />

the G-20 Religion Forum in Bali,<br />

Indonesia.<br />

If the level of general violence and<br />

persecution toward Christians and<br />

other religious minorities continue,<br />

there will be no religious diversity<br />

left in Iraq.<br />

Militant Islamic groups and non-<br />

Christian government officials<br />

perpetrate much violence and<br />

oppression, leaving most Christians<br />

to practice secretly.<br />

Without a change in the overall<br />

culture of Iraq, the number of<br />

Christians within the country will<br />

continue to dwindle.<br />

The militants have contacted the parents of the children asking for<br />

the money.<br />

Attacks against Christian farming communities in northern Nigeria<br />

have become a common occurrence. But they are becoming more<br />

concentrated in regions previously not affected by this violence,<br />

signaling a rising tide of terrorist activity across Nigeria.<br />

At the time this article was written, the children are still held hostage.<br />

For the latest updates, please visit our website, persecution.org. Please<br />

pray that the abducted children will be returned to their families.<br />

“So far the number of people who died<br />

has reached 100 and 300 are wounded,<br />

and the number for both continues<br />

to increase,” said Somalia’s president<br />

Hassan Sheikh Muhamud.<br />

Police spokesperson Sadik Dudishe<br />

released a statement following the<br />

attack describing some of the victims<br />

of the attack, which included women,<br />

children, and the elderly.<br />

“The ruthless<br />

terrorists killed<br />

mothers.”<br />

- Police spokesperson Sadik Dudishe<br />

6 <strong>Persecution</strong> | JANUARY <strong>2023</strong><br />


Front Lines of Ministry<br />


“ICC was a huge blessing<br />

to our situation over here,<br />

many times many people<br />

say we will help and no one<br />

helps...ICC was there with<br />

us from the beginning of<br />

this incident.”<br />


An Enduring Faith<br />

The earth-toned walls echoed with the praises of believers<br />

lifting their voices to the Lord. Pastor Rajveer led his<br />

congregation in worship, when an eruption cut through<br />

the house. The group of radicals that had been threatening the<br />

congregation had finally followed through.<br />

Led by none other than Pastor Rajveer’s brother, the group of<br />

Hindu radicals began tearing down the roof, setting things on fire,<br />

and physically beating members of the congregation. Then they<br />

turned their wrath toward the pastor.<br />

Two men grabbed Rajveer’s wife and held her back and another<br />

group began kicking and punching Rajveer.<br />

“Please, please, I beg you to stop this!” She pleaded. But the<br />

radicals ignored her and continued. When it was all over, Pastor<br />

Rajveer and his congregation were left with bruises and a broken<br />

home, but not a broken spirit.<br />

The days and weeks following the attack, the congregation<br />

continued to face bullying and intimidation from the group of<br />

radicals that had just attacked them and destroyed their place of<br />

worship.<br />

Stock image used to protect the true identity of Pastor Rajveer.<br />

Through the difficulties, Pastor Rajveer continued<br />

his ministry to his congregation and community. He<br />

conducted a weekly prayer gathering in the church<br />

with the sky peaking through the half-demolished<br />

ceiling. Many nonbelievers saw his endurance and<br />

heard the word of God through his preaching.<br />

The church began fasting and they prayed for God to<br />

provide them the means to rebuild their church. “We<br />

prayed by faith that God will help in rebuilding the<br />

house,” the pastor said.<br />

ICC got in contact with Pastor Rajveer and his<br />

congregation and helped rebuild the church, which<br />

was also the pastor’s home. The attack could now be<br />

put behind them.<br />

“ICC stood with us when we were lonely and<br />

discouraged, saying, ‘We are with you.’ Your support<br />

was a huge blessing to us and helped to rebuild the<br />

damaged house...In tough times, ICC’s support was so<br />

amazing, and we are very touched by their love and<br />

support.”<br />

Once construction finished, the church had a<br />

thanksgiving meeting to give praise and thanks to the<br />

almighty God who had answered their prayers.<br />

“We as a family are so thankful to God for ICC’s<br />

assistance in rebuilding the house that was completely<br />

in bad shape,” Pastor Rajveer said. “Now that the<br />

house was rebuilt, we as a congregation are meeting<br />

for worship in the house again.”<br />

8 <strong>Persecution</strong> | JANUARY <strong>2023</strong><br />


2022 Snapshots<br />


The Stories Their Scars Tell<br />

ICC staffers checked in on young survivors of two earlier<br />

horrific bombings in Indonesia.<br />

The first attack occurred in November 2016 and injured<br />

toddlers Alvaro (4), Anita (2), Intan (2), and Trinity (3). Intan<br />

died from her injuries, and the others endured suffering and<br />

surgeries.<br />

ICC, along with other organizations, helped the families of<br />

Alvaro, Anita, and Trinity and have chronicled their recoveries.<br />

Breaking News on the Ground<br />

Gunmen burst into a Catholic church in Nigeria on a Sunday<br />

morning in June, opened fire on congregants, and set off<br />

explosives, reportedly killing dozens of worshipers as they<br />

celebrated Mass on Pentecost Sunday.<br />

The attack surprisingly occurred in the southwestern state<br />

of Ondo, which rarely sees this kind of violence.<br />

ICC obtained footage after the attack of bodies lying<br />

between pews as worshipers wailed in mourning.<br />

ICC works with our international staff in every region to<br />

report news straight from the source. With this specific<br />

attack, ICC was the first major western outlet to break the<br />

news.<br />

Screenshot of ICC footage taken after the attack.<br />

“What I see through these young victims is resilience,” said<br />

Gina Goh, ICC’s regional manager for Southeast Asia who<br />

visited the young survivors and stayed in touch with their<br />

families over the years. “They are doing well and recovering.”<br />

The second suicide bombing occurred at the Sacred Heart<br />

Cathedral in March 2021.<br />

The blast injured friends Edeline, Karina, and Valeri.<br />

ICC came alongside the survivors from the get-go, supporting<br />

their basic needs and covering travel costs for family<br />

members to and from treatments.<br />

“We walked with them through this process from the attack<br />

until today; we reached out to them at the beginning,” said<br />

Goh. “Edeline said it meant so much when we visited them<br />

at the hospital and offered to pray for her, knowing she was<br />

being cared for by someone she didn’t know.”<br />

ICC staffers visited Valeri and Karina (Edeline already returned<br />

to her hometown) this past year. Valeri started an internship<br />

as a hospital nurse. Karina is a nursing student and Edeline<br />

works for a government outsourcing firm.<br />

Left Alone in the World<br />

More than 200 little ones packed a children’s refugee<br />

shelter in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The<br />

orphans’ parents were killed by terrorists of the Allied<br />

Democratic Forces. An ICC staffer visited the shelter and<br />

orphanage and bought mattresses and food for the kids. ICC<br />

will also install a fishpond to supply long-term sustenance.<br />

Valeri’s scared hands from the blast.<br />

Two children play tag in the open space surrounding the<br />

refugee camp an ICC staffer visited in 2022.<br />

1.<br />

INDIA<br />

April 12, 2022 March 30, 2022 March 19, 2022 April 2, 2022<br />

The Supreme Court of The displaced and traumatized<br />

Christian comtian<br />

pastor, was mur-<br />

Yalam Sankar, a Chris-<br />

India rejected a petition<br />

for a nationwide law munity was attacked for dered when five masked<br />

against religious conversions.<br />

The court statitants.<br />

They destroyed tor’s house, dragged<br />

eight days by Fulani mil-<br />

men broke into the pased<br />

that people above their farm crop and attacked<br />

the community. him to death. Local rad-<br />

Mohamed,<br />

him out, and stabbed<br />

the age of 18 are free to<br />

choose their religion of Local security forces ical Hindu nationalists<br />

choice in a huge win for watched as militants threatened the pastor<br />

international religious burned down Christian two days before they<br />

freedom.<br />

homes.<br />

killed him.<br />

The Islamic State ravaged<br />

many Christian<br />

historical sites during<br />

its rampage in Iraq. Recently,<br />

archaeologists<br />

restoring a church discovered<br />

about a dozen<br />

ancient relics and<br />

parchments connected<br />

to several saints.<br />


2.<br />


Maria, a 20-year-old<br />

Christian TikToker was<br />

murdered by her family<br />

after she posted a video<br />

singing a worship song.<br />

She converted to Christianity,<br />

but her Muslim<br />

family was unaccepting<br />

of her conversion.<br />

3. INDIA<br />

4. INDONESIA<br />

A Nigerian Christian<br />

documented his kidnapping<br />

on Twitter after<br />

Fulani militants ambushed<br />

his vehicle in<br />

Jos, Nigeria. When his<br />

attackers found out him<br />

and his brother were<br />

Christians, they kidnapped<br />

them and killed<br />

his brother.<br />

An Indonesian Christian<br />

YouTuber was sentenced<br />

to 10 years in<br />

prison for a viral Youtube<br />

video allegedly<br />

insulting the prophet<br />

offending<br />

Muslims across the<br />

country.<br />

5. IRAQ<br />

6. IRAQ<br />

7. NIGERIA<br />

8. NIGERIA<br />

June 23, 2022 March, 8, 2022 <strong>January</strong> 16, 2022 May 14, 2022<br />

At least 896 civilians<br />

have been killed in violent<br />

attacks in Nigeria<br />

during the first three<br />

months of 2022. Open<br />

Doors cited a report by<br />

SBM Intelligence, a Nigerian-based<br />

research<br />

firm, for the reported<br />

killings in the West African<br />

country.<br />

10 <strong>Persecution</strong> | JANUARY <strong>2023</strong><br />



O n t h e h o r i z o n<br />


We recently sat down with Darius*, who is involved<br />

with ICC’s international relief efforts and projects<br />

and asked him to assess trouble spots as we look<br />

ahead to <strong>2023</strong>. Where are Christians in peril? Where can<br />

they find hope? And what is ICC doing to relieve the suffering<br />

of those who put their faith in Jesus?<br />

What were some of the overarching contributors to<br />

global persecution in 2022?<br />

In 2022, two significant events affected persecution: the<br />

Ukraine War and the sour global economy. Radically empowered<br />

dictators, regimes, and terrorist groups took advantage<br />

of the situation. With the world’s attention distracted<br />

by this new war and the financial crisis, villainous<br />

leaders saw an opportunity to accelerate their actions<br />

and pursue their agenda—to the detriment of Christians.<br />

The U.S. government doesn’t have a lot of leverage right<br />

now, displaying the limited impact a leading world power<br />

can have. As a result, the regimes and the groups do<br />

more of what they want to do without the world’s big<br />

reaction to them.<br />

These situations will worsen for Christians without a<br />

doubt. To some, the U.S. influence has diminished,<br />

though it continues to pursue diplomatic efforts, freeze<br />

accounts, support embargoes, and more. North Korea is<br />

a good example, emboldened to expand its nuclear program.<br />

You can imagine what’s happening for Christians<br />

and others living there.<br />

The same thing applies to radical groups. So, you see terrorists<br />

like Boko Haram, the Allied Democratic Forces, and<br />

Fulani militants in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Democratic<br />

Republic of Congo getting a free ride to spread terror.<br />

Also, socioeconomic factors significantly contribute to<br />

Christian persecution. With increased poverty, desperate<br />

people take desperate measures. If the only way to get<br />

food is to attack a Christian village and take what they<br />

have, they just don’t care.<br />

The way we struggle now—a deficiency of resources, currency,<br />

and inflation—creates more desperation. Minority<br />

groups and Christians in many areas are being taken advantage<br />

of.<br />

* Name changed for security reasons<br />

12 <strong>Persecution</strong> | JANUARY <strong>2023</strong><br />


How is this playing out in some of the<br />

trouble spots?<br />

China CHINA<br />

In China, we see more acceleration in<br />

the crackdown on house churches and<br />

religious leaders than ever before. Our<br />

comprehensive reports on China show<br />

this concerning rise. We have been<br />

tracking persecution incidents for several<br />

years and concluded that persecution<br />

in China was worse in 2022 than in<br />

any other year.<br />

Myanmar MYANMAR<br />

The political coup in Myanmar in 2021<br />

led to a crackdown on all minorities, including<br />

Christians. As a result, we see a<br />

lot of attacks on churches and bombings<br />

of churches. The internally displaced<br />

often use churches as shelters.<br />

Iran IRAN<br />

Iran is another example of how a regime<br />

took advantage of the world being<br />

distracted by the war in Ukraine<br />

and the poor global economy. The government<br />

did the biggest crackdown on<br />

churches, Christians, and Muslim-background<br />

believers this year, with more<br />

arrests and torture of Christians.<br />

India INDIA<br />

More states enforce anti-conversion<br />

laws, which many Indian scholars agree<br />

are unconstitutional. More states try<br />

to stop any evangelism or outreach to<br />

Hindu communities by adopting anti-conversion<br />

laws.<br />


About 100,000 Christians remain stuck<br />

in Nagorno-Karabakh (Armenian: Artsakh)<br />

and don’t have access to the<br />

world. The government took more<br />

land and closed the only road that gave<br />

Christians access to Armenia, essentially<br />

putting them in a big, geographical<br />

prison. The Russian peacekeepers are<br />

not doing anything, which has made<br />

this so much worse for Christians.<br />

Afghanistan AFGHANISTAN<br />

I think the desperate situation in Afghanistan<br />

will remain, unfortunately.<br />

They have an economic crisis, and<br />

funds are not coming into the country.<br />

This financial crisis will allow the government<br />

to enforce more restrictions<br />

on freedom, rights, and religion because<br />

no other entities have a strong<br />

hand to control the country. It’s already<br />

as bad as it can get with a mob that<br />

doesn’t know how to run the country.<br />

No national income exists, and all the<br />

country’s assets are frozen worldwide.<br />

Afghanistan is not a country that has<br />

natural resources or oil or anything. It<br />

has created a desperate situation for all<br />

Afghans. The case for many Christians<br />

“As believers,<br />

however, despite<br />

what’s happening<br />

in this world, we<br />

have an eternal<br />

hope in Jesus Christ..<br />

<strong>Persecution</strong> will<br />

never go away; it is a<br />

Biblical promise.”<br />

is primarily unknown because it’s illegal<br />

to be a Christian, so all worship occurs<br />

underground. We continue to work in<br />

the country, support those who have<br />

either chosen or been forced to stay,<br />

and help others escape to safe havens.<br />

It’s a big mess.<br />

Turkey TURKEY<br />

Turkey is taking advantage of the international<br />

climate at all levels. Their persecution<br />

is outward, not inward. They<br />

spread persecution in Libya, Syria, Iraq,<br />

and all neighboring countries. They<br />

monopolize terrorist groups and harass<br />

Christians in Iran. Turkey stays a big<br />

player in this game—and its influence<br />

goes beyond its border. Recep Tayyip<br />

Erdoğan and his cronies are more emboldened<br />

than ever to persecute Christians.<br />

Where do you see hope?<br />

I do not see immediate but more longterm<br />

hope. There tends to be this global<br />

malaise as people are discouraged.<br />

As believers, however, despite what’s<br />

happening in this world, we have an<br />

eternal hope in Jesus Christ. It is hard<br />

to see any light coming soon for persecuted<br />

Christians. <strong>Persecution</strong> will never<br />

go away; it is a Biblical promise.<br />

The immediate relief that we do, where<br />

we come in and help persecution survivors<br />

after an attack, will always be our<br />

core ministry work.<br />

I see great hope in our long-term sustenance<br />

initiatives. ICC implements<br />

programs that empower Christians and<br />

improve their socioeconomic status<br />

through job training and entrepreneurship.<br />

We help Christians stand up for<br />

themselves and improve their situations.<br />

For ICC, we see great promise and results<br />

through programs such as Generation<br />

Transformation, which helps<br />

young adults and families rise above<br />

the harassment as they gain new job<br />

skills and start small businesses.<br />

Investing in children (through ICC’s<br />

Hope House in the Middle East) and<br />

young adults (through ICC’s Generation<br />

Transformation) gives me hope to educate<br />

kids with the hope of becoming<br />

a doctor or engineer. It’s an incredible<br />

investment that will have a ripple effect<br />

on families and the Christian community.<br />

The ICC Communal Farms initiative in<br />

Nigeria, where we launch sustainable<br />

farms, offers immediate relief for Christian<br />

communities. But we are looking<br />

at what we can do to widen the community<br />

rebuild and turn it into something<br />

bigger—to invest in women and<br />

kids, literacy programs, and look at the<br />

situation from multiple angles where<br />

we are investing in communities at all<br />

levels.<br />

14 <strong>Persecution</strong> | JANUARY <strong>2023</strong><br />



IN THE<br />


On March 20, 2022, Kahindo, 25, and her two-yearold<br />

daughter, Nuela, were captured from their village<br />

by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an Islamic<br />

extremist group operating in the Congo. Kahindo and<br />

her family are all Christians, as were much of the people<br />

from her village.<br />

Following the ADF raid, during which her husband, two<br />

children, two brothers, and both of her parents were brutally<br />

murdered in front of her, Kahindo and her daughter<br />

were imprisoned by the militants at their camp in a nearby<br />

forest for more than three weeks.<br />

This is a recounting of her story.<br />

Scan this QR code with your<br />

mobile device to have Kahindo’s<br />

story read aloud.<br />

“They killed over 30 people in our small village in Luna.<br />

They said that they wanted to kill all unbelievers because<br />

they have defiled the call of Allah and the teaching of Mohamed.<br />

My child and I are the only ones who survived. My two children<br />

were shot dead while escaping and I could also see<br />

their little bodies crumpled on the ground. I was lying next<br />

to my husband’s dead body, pretending to be dead as well.<br />

I lay there for about 30 minutes as the rebels went on to kill<br />

my parents, brothers, and other villages.<br />

I scooped the soil that was soaked in my husband’s blood,<br />

hoping to keep it as a reminder of him if I survived. They<br />

saw my body moving and they pulled me up from my husband’s<br />

body. They shouted that they had found a wife for<br />

their leader.<br />

16 <strong>Persecution</strong> | JANUARY <strong>2023</strong><br />


So, they took me and my child away to the forest. They<br />

abused me for days.<br />

During the three weeks that they held us, we were not given<br />

any food. Desperate, I took the dirt soaked in my husbands<br />

blood and mixed it with wild green leaves. This is what my<br />

child and I ate to survive. We had no water, but we could trap<br />

some with our hands when it was raining.<br />

There were many of us being held at the camp in the forest.<br />

Those who did not cooperate were being shot dead or slaughtered.<br />

They were speaking Arabic words as they slaughtered<br />

them—one of them was taking a video. We were forced to<br />

sleep on dead bodies.<br />

When the army attacked the rebel camp, they were shooting<br />

all over and two bullets barely missed me. They scratched<br />

my right hand as I ran for my life and the life of my child. I<br />

escaped from my captors and fled the battling forces.<br />

I found more dead bodies along the way. They were people<br />

who had been killed by the rebels.<br />

I walked for five days until I reached Kasindi where I was registered<br />

as a refugee. I was tired and had given up. I even contemplated<br />

ending my life to be in heaven with my husband,<br />

my children, and my family members.<br />

It is not easy to lose all family members in one attack, and you<br />

can only wish to die and escape from this ugly reality.”<br />

The Healing Begins<br />

In March 2022, ICC stepped in to rescue Kahindo and her<br />

daughter Nuela. ICC set them up in a safe home and helped<br />

her start a small grocery business at the local market.<br />

“Thank you, I now have a shop of my own. Today we will be<br />

sleeping in our own home, cook our own food, and sleep in<br />

our own bed. By running a grocery stall in the market, I will<br />

now be able to provide for myself and my child. Thank you,<br />

ICC, for visiting me and organizing my resettlement and empowerment<br />

in a very short time.<br />

My child and I are now starting to see life from a different<br />

perspective. We see the Lord as the Shepherd for all people<br />

and gracious to the widows and the orphans. We are slowly<br />

coming out of the bondage of emptiness after so much loss.<br />

This has been made possibly by you together with other<br />

Christians who have been praying for us after hearing our<br />

story.”<br />

We can never erase the evils of persecution, but we can act<br />

as Simon and help them carry their crosses.<br />

Kahindo’s shop has become very successful and she often<br />

turns over all her inventory. She continues to heal from her<br />

physical and emotional scars.<br />

Kahindo remains hopeful as she builds a future for her and<br />

her daughter.


The Great Escape<br />



Leyla is a loving mother and wife in her forties,<br />

married to her faithful husband, Murat. A<br />

beautiful family who loves the Lord and lives<br />

in scenic Turkey. One wouldn’t suspect that<br />

Leyla grew up in a radical Islamic family. When Leyla<br />

met Murat, he became a catalyst for her Christian<br />

journey and led her to accept Christ and become a<br />

believer. But because of her unaccepting family, she<br />

needed to hide her faith.<br />

When they found out, it marked the beginning of a<br />

trying time.<br />

“My family has a point of view that sees anyone who<br />

doesn’t think like them as infidels. If it is learned by<br />

our big family that we are Christians, they can easily<br />

reach us...even if we change the city we live in. And<br />

in such a case, our safety is in serious danger,” Leyla<br />

said.<br />

During a visit from out of town, Leyla’s Muslim father<br />

confronted his daughter and discovered their<br />

faith in Christ. Without giving Leyla a choice, took<br />

her and her children hostage.<br />

“You are never allowed to see Murat again,” he said.<br />

“You must divorce him. Or else.”<br />

While the couple was separated, they said it felt like<br />

their souls were wounded living with the fear, pressure,<br />

and uncertainty of the situation.<br />

“I was so scared that I couldn’t say anything. I was<br />

just praying to the Lord to help us overcome these<br />

problems. I spent three weeks like a nightmare at<br />

my father’s house,” Leyla recalled.<br />

Murat made the decision to speak to his father-inlaw,<br />

but this frightened Leyla because of the radical<br />

Islamic beliefs that she knew could drive her father<br />

to kill her husband. This is all because he chose to<br />

20 <strong>Persecution</strong> | JANUARY <strong>2023</strong><br />


“If we had stayed with my<br />

family...my children would<br />

never see their father<br />

again...This is unfortunately<br />

a common occurrence in<br />

our culture.”<br />

- LEYLA<br />

When a Muslim-background believer is discovered by their family, they often have to make life or death decisions.<br />

leave their religion and become a Christian, which means<br />

that he “lost” the right to be her husband and the father to<br />

her children.<br />

In the eyes of her family, he was contaminated.<br />

Despite the risk, he went to the home where no one spoke<br />

to him or ate at the same table with him, as it was haram according<br />

to Islam. Murat wanted his wife and children home,<br />

so he met with his father-in-law to tell him how he came to<br />

know Christ and how his life was changed. He declared he<br />

would not give up on Christ, but he would also not give up<br />

on his family.<br />

Leyla expresses what happened between her father and her<br />

husband, “Thank God, the Lord heard my pleas. My father<br />

agreed to this on one condition: my husband would never<br />

take me and my children to church. My father said to my<br />

husband, ‘If I hear such a thing, I will sacrifice you with one<br />

bullet.’ Even that was a great miracle for us because I knew<br />

my father very well. I knew I would never come home again.”<br />

Murat accepted his father-in-law’s request, but he knew<br />

they could no longer live in peace where they were living.<br />

“If we had stayed with my family, we would never have been<br />

able to get together. My children would never see their father<br />

again, and they would brand my children as ‘children of<br />

the infidel,’” said Leyla. “If I had stayed with my family, they<br />

would have married me to someone else after I divorced<br />

my husband. This is unfortunately a common occurrence<br />

in our culture. This was going to be a very difficult<br />

and heavy situation for me.”<br />

Before they were released from Leyla’s father, he<br />

warned his grandchildren, “If your father takes you<br />

to the church among the infidels again, you will inform<br />

me immediately. I’ll come and get you, and<br />

you’ll never see your father again.”<br />

Leyla’s father threatened to kill his son-in-law without<br />

caring about his daughter’s future or feelings. He<br />

believes he is justified simply because his faith allows<br />

him to do so. And as long as Murat was breathing, he<br />

would never be safe from his father-in-law’s threat.<br />

One of their children, who is afraid of what her grandfather<br />

said, cried and begged on the way home, saying,<br />

“Please let’s not go to church, mom.”<br />

Word spread throughout Leyla’s radical Islamic<br />

family, and the pressure to stay in the Islamic faith<br />

mounted. “My family is constantly video calling me<br />

to check where I am. And when they don’t call, my<br />

sister sends my nephews to our house,” Leyla said.<br />

“Since we cannot go to church on Sunday, we wanted<br />

to attend our meeting online, but we cannot do<br />

that because my family is constantly following us.”<br />

Leyla and Murat considered moving to another city<br />

to be safe, but moving would not protect them from<br />

danger. Wherever they go throughout Turkey, Leyla’s<br />

family has the power to find them.<br />

They made the decision, despite the danger, to move<br />

out of the country. Leyla and Murat desire to raise<br />

their children with the love of Christ. They plan to<br />

move somewhere where the language and culture<br />

are different. This move will be painful, and their<br />

lives will never be the same again, but it’s worth it for<br />

the chance to publicly practice their faith and attend<br />

church without fear.<br />

The Rise of <strong>Persecution</strong><br />

Incidents in Turkey<br />

ICC heard about Leyla and her family’s story<br />

after they had stepped into their new life.<br />

But telling these stories is important because<br />

Turkey adamantly denies that any such stories<br />

exist within the country. By raising awareness<br />

and telling compelling stories, we are helping<br />

counteract the false narrative that all is well<br />

for Christians in Turkey, keeping the pressure<br />

on the country and its leadership to make<br />

real changes.<br />

Turkey is taking advantage of the<br />

international climate at all levels. Their<br />

persecution is outward, not inward. They<br />

spread persecution in Libya, Syria, Iraq, and<br />

all neighboring countries. They monopolize<br />

terrorist groups and harass Christians in<br />

Iran. Turkey stays a big player in this game—<br />

and its influence goes beyond its border.<br />

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his cronies are<br />

more emboldened than ever to persecute<br />

Christians.<br />

22 <strong>Persecution</strong> | JANUARY <strong>2023</strong><br />




a hotbed of terrorism<br />

The Sahel region of Africa is a belt<br />

of land immediately south of the<br />

Sahara Desert that stretches east<br />

to west across the African content.<br />

The region has garnered global<br />

attention due to the rise in extremism<br />

over the past decade, in what is now<br />

considered an epidemic of jihadism.<br />

Mali is known to be the epicenter of the<br />

Sahel’s insurgency ever since jihadists<br />

hijacked a coup attempt in 2012 and<br />

established a caliphate. Though French<br />

military troops drove out the jihadists<br />

just months later, the northern portion<br />

of the country has remained a hotbed<br />

of terrorism. Many extremist groups call<br />

northern Mali their safe haven and continue<br />

to train and recruit their militants<br />

from there while conducting attacks<br />

across borders into Niger and Burkina<br />

Faso.<br />

In 2021, Burkina Faso experienced a record<br />

year of conflict and replaced Mali<br />

as the epicenter of Sahel terrorism. On<br />

June 4, 2021, the country underwent<br />

the bloodiest attack in its six-year struggle<br />

with jihadists. Al-Qaeda affiliates<br />

killed more than 135 civilians over two<br />

nights. Seven months and several attacks<br />

later, soldiers staged a coup and<br />

announced a military-run government.<br />

In Niger, attacks doubled in 2021 compared<br />

to 2020. In March 2021, insurgents<br />

raided three villages in Niger’s<br />

Tahoua region, bordering Mali, and massacred<br />

137 civilians. Blamed on affiliates<br />

of the Islamic State, the attack followed<br />

a <strong>January</strong> attack that killed 100, as well<br />

as an attack weeks earlier which left 58<br />

civilians dead.<br />

In addition to Niger, Boko Haram has<br />

some presence in Chad and Cameroon.<br />

Most of the Boko Haram activity,<br />

however, remains in northern Nigeria<br />

where they have maintained an insurgency<br />

for 13 years. Now split into two<br />

factions, Boko Haram seems to be making<br />

a comeback after its territory was<br />

significantly reduced in 2015, the year it<br />

pledged allegiance to Islamic State and<br />

created the Islamic State West African<br />

Province (ISWAP). Boko Haram soldiers,<br />

largely forced out of northern Nigeria,<br />

entered the lake Chad Basin where<br />

weak governance has enabled them to<br />

regain strength.<br />

As jihadists continue to gain momentum<br />

throughout the Sahel, they will deepen<br />

their influence across borders and claim<br />

territory further into Western Africa. If<br />

left without international intervention,<br />

2022 is projected to be a year of expansionism<br />

for radicals on a quest for global<br />

Jihad.<br />

24 <strong>Persecution</strong> | JANUARY <strong>2023</strong><br />


Hope for the Present<br />


Religion is not an Inheritance,<br />

but a Personal Journey with God.<br />


My name is Ruth, and I am 26 years old. I was born into a<br />

Muslim family, and we belonged to a tribal community<br />

with the largest Muslim population in Indonesia.<br />

In 2009, when I was only a young child, I dreamed of walking<br />

up a hill. When I woke up, I felt tired. Night after night for<br />

one week, I would dream of walking up the hill, and in the<br />

morning, I would feel tired, like I had actually climbed a hill<br />

the previous night. I vividly remember that dream.<br />

Later, in junior high school, the dream came again, except<br />

this time, I was not alone—I walked with a man. But when<br />

I woke up, I did not feel tired. The dream lasted about two<br />

weeks.<br />

Around that time, I met a new friend at my school who was<br />

a Christian. One day, I told her about my dream. She said,<br />

“I think I know that man.” And she showed me a picture,<br />

and I immediately recognized him. I said, “Yes! Who’s he?”<br />

She told me that He is Jesus. I was surprised and filled with<br />

curiosity. I went to a bookstore and bought a Bible. Though<br />

I still considered myself a Muslim, I started reading the Bible<br />

secretly.<br />

At the time, I was still wearing a hijab at school because the<br />

school required it. After graduating high school, I worked in<br />

a beauty clinic in Jakarta. I took off my hijab because I felt<br />

uncomfortable.<br />

In October 2019, while I was scrolling on TikTok, I saw a<br />

“You did not<br />

choose me, but<br />

I chose you.”<br />

JOHN 15:16<br />

quote from a church: “You did not choose me,<br />

but I chose you (John 15:16).” Interested in<br />

these words, I went to that church. I started<br />

attending church without anyone knowing that<br />

I was a Muslim.<br />

I remembered that Christian friend and asked<br />

her to guide me. She took me to her church<br />

leaders, and they taught me about Jesus and<br />

the Bible. In December 2019, I was baptized.<br />

In September 2022, one morning, my mother<br />

suddenly said to me, “I know you are a Christian<br />

now; what do you want to do if you become a<br />

Christian?” I realized that she had found out<br />

because she found the Bible in my room. I told<br />

her I would never pray again at home. She was<br />

still furious and told me to leave Christianity or<br />

leave the house.<br />

Heartbroken, I left my home and started<br />

living in my neighbor’s garage, which was far<br />

from my house. My neighbor is actually my<br />

family’s driver. I began to live in my family car<br />

because my parents cannot drive, and the road<br />

in front of my house was inaccessible by car.<br />

Whenever my parents need to use the car to<br />

go somewhere, they will call the driver to take<br />

it to our house. I told the driver not to tell my<br />

parents I lived there.<br />

I do not regret my decision; I’ve found the<br />

Truth.<br />

I believe that religion is not an inheritance but<br />

the spiritual journey that a person experiences<br />

with her Creator. And I truly believe what the<br />

Bible says, “Everyone who has left houses or<br />

brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife<br />

or children or fields for my sake will receive a<br />

hundred times as much and will inherit eternal<br />

life” (Matthew 19:29), and “Though my father<br />

and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive<br />

me” (Psalm 27:10).<br />

26 <strong>Persecution</strong> | JANUARY <strong>2023</strong><br />









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