June 2023 Persecution Magazine

You also want an ePaper? Increase the reach of your titles

YUMPU automatically turns print PDFs into web optimized ePapers that Google loves.


JUNE <strong>2023</strong><br />


















Contents<br />

JUNE <strong>2023</strong><br />


After an attack from Fulani militants<br />

in Nigeria, Christians worship in the<br />

ruins of their burned down church.<br />

Read more on page 12.<br />

Photo: International Christian Concern<br />


08<br />

12<br />

16<br />

18<br />


FAITH<br />

Equipping pastors to<br />

share the gospel in the<br />

most dangerous places<br />

in the world<br />


NO ROOF<br />

Believers continue to<br />

worship at rural church<br />

in Nigeria despite<br />

hardships.<br />



Two stories of Christians<br />

facing intimidation and<br />

discrimination at the hands<br />

of radical Muslims.<br />

BROKEN<br />

CHAINS<br />

Facing severe<br />

consequences, ex-inmates<br />

and converts choose to<br />

follow Christ underground.<br />


04<br />

06<br />

07<br />



1 CORINTHIANS 12:12<br />




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

ICC Projects Made Possible by Supporters<br />

Highlighting Those Who Have Sacrificed Everything For Christ<br />

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

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 />

2<br />

MEMBER<br />

<strong>Persecution</strong> | JUNE <strong>2023</strong><br />

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

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

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

STAFF<br />

Publisher Jeff King<br />

Editor Mike Anderson<br />

Designer Hannah Campbell

You Help Build Jesus’ Church<br />

Munsi was a nonstop evangelist in India.<br />

After he found the Light, he could not be stopped from<br />

spreading it from person to person where he lived.<br />

It was that determination, but also the effect he had on the lost,<br />

that made the radical Hindus in his village hate him.<br />

Munsi was tireless, but also effective at winning the lost to<br />

Christ. He shared with the tribals and untouchables. They had<br />

been taught that their lives were terrible because of their pastlife<br />

sins, and they would pay for these sins for thousands of lifetimes<br />

ahead.<br />

Munsi brought a message from the King—that they were the<br />

equal of any man, that God Himself loved them, and He wanted<br />

to adopt them. You can imagine the effect of the gospel on<br />

them!<br />

For this, he was hated by the radical Hindus who led the village<br />

who eventually killed him after he converted 20 families to<br />

Christ.<br />

This is the way of persecution!<br />

But it won’t stop the gospel in his village. Why? Because all the<br />

lost who were listening to and watching Munsi saw the Light in<br />

him. They smelled the aroma of life around him.<br />

They knew he was warned to stop sharing the gospel, and yet he<br />

wouldn’t. His murder merely cemented in the minds that what<br />

he said was the truth.<br />

Some will live in fear after his murder, but some will take up the<br />

baton he dropped and continue his race, spreading life to others.<br />

The gates of hell will not overcome the church (Matthew 16:18)<br />

is very real to me as I see this play out over and over.<br />

This month we take a look at the Munsi’s of this world who are<br />

serving at the front lines of the war that rages all across the<br />

globe.<br />

The Kingdom is unstoppable. Welcome to the front lines.<br />

God bless you!<br />

JEFF<br />

Jeff King, President<br />

International Christian Concern<br />

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

Islam Uncensored<br />


ICC Newsroom<br />


More than 8,000 Nigerian Christians Killed or Kidnapped<br />

Last Year, According to New Report<br />

The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law recently released<br />

a report estimating that terrorist groups killed more than 5,000 Nigerian<br />

Christians and kidnapped more than 3,000 in 2022.<br />

The report came as religious freedom advocates call for world leaders to consider<br />

the persecution of Christians in Nigeria genocide. The estimates in the report<br />

were drawn from a variety of sources, including government reports, NGO<br />

(non-governmental organization) statistics, media outlets, and estimates from<br />

diplomats. The report went on to state these groups have killed 1,000 Christians<br />

already in <strong>2023</strong>.<br />

According to the report, those carrying out these attacks and kidnappings are<br />

members of radical Islamic terrorist groups, including Fulani militant groups,<br />

Boko Haram, and ISWAP (Islamic State West Africa Province).<br />

The Nigerian military responsible for some of the killings, the report shows.<br />

Nigerian Christians have long been calling for the government to do more to stop<br />

the killings and have even accused political leaders of encouraging the violence.<br />

In 2022, ICC named Nigeria its worst persecuting country in the comprehensive<br />

Persecutor of the Year report. ICC also advocated for the U.S. Dept. of State to<br />

designate Nigeria as a CPC (Countries of Particular Concern).<br />

USCIRF Releases Annual Findings on International Religious Freedom<br />

The United States Commission on International<br />

Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released its<br />

annual report on May 1 documenting the<br />

state of religious freedom around the world.<br />

The report, published annually since 2006, is<br />

widely cited in the human rights community<br />

and regarded as a prime source of international<br />

religious freedom information.<br />

This year’s report followed a similar pattern as<br />

previous years, recommending 17 countries to<br />

include in the Dept. of State’s (DOS) Countries<br />

of Particular Concern (CPC) list, and 11 for its<br />

lower Special Watch List (SWL) designation.<br />

Both designations carry the threat of penalties<br />

and are used to advance religious freedom<br />

conditions around the world.<br />

New to the CPC recommendations this year<br />

are Cuba and Nicaragua—which USCIRF had<br />

previously recommended for the SWL in 2022.<br />

Deteriorating conditions in those countries<br />

prompted the escalated recommendation.<br />

“This is an impressive body of work released<br />

annually by USCIRF,” said International<br />

Christian Concern (ICC) President Jeff King.<br />

“We so appreciate USCIRF’s efforts to bring likeminded<br />

agencies, groups, and governments<br />

together to tackle religious persecution hot<br />

spots globally. We are baffled at how bad state<br />

actors such as India and Nigeria can escape<br />

CPC designation by the State Department.<br />

USCIRF’s well-documented report – and our<br />

own reports and findings – highlights the<br />

atrocities taking place in those countries.”<br />

4<br />

<strong>Persecution</strong> | JUNE <strong>2023</strong>


More Than 100 Christian College<br />

Students Imprisoned in Eritrea<br />

In April, Eritrean police raided a group<br />

of Christian college students who had<br />

gathered to worship and record video<br />

clips for social media.<br />

Release International reported that the<br />

police arrested 103 Christians, mainly<br />

students, in the crackdown. The raid<br />

took place in the capital, Asmara, and<br />

authorities took those arrested to Mai<br />

Serwa prison.<br />

There are now more than 500 Christian<br />

prisoners detained indefinitely without<br />

trial in the country. Mai Serwa prison<br />

is notorious for its harsh conditions,<br />

overcrowding, and poor treatment of<br />

inmates.<br />

Known as the worst governmental<br />

violator of religious freedom in Africa,<br />

Eritrea has long operated as a pariah<br />

state for its blatant disregard for human<br />

rights.<br />

Libyan Security<br />

Agency Arrests<br />

Christians Accused<br />

of Proselytizing<br />

The Libyan Internal Security Agency<br />

accused two American school<br />

teachers of being “missionaries<br />

inviting Muslim Libyans to convert<br />

to Christianity.” The agency<br />

detained and deported them to<br />

Tunisia and reportedly also arrested<br />

and condemned for apostasy two<br />

Libyan Christians associated with<br />

the Americans.<br />

Such arrests have been common<br />

in Libya for years with Gaddafiera<br />

laws still in place prohibiting<br />

Christian proselytizing and the<br />

distribution or publication of<br />

Christian literature.<br />

Religious Leaders Call for an End to<br />

Violence in Sudan<br />

Amid the escalating violence currently<br />

wracking Sudan, Catholic leaders from<br />

both Sudan and South Sudan have<br />

called for a cessation of hostilities and<br />

dialogue between rival groups to stop<br />

the loss of life and unite as a nation.<br />

The Catholic bishops released a<br />

statement saying, “We call for an end<br />

to the fighting and a revert to dialogue<br />

in order to preserve the unity of the<br />

country and not to further the suffering<br />

of the people.”<br />

Their pleas came several days after<br />

the fighting broke out between the<br />

military units loyal to Gen. Abdel Fattah<br />

al-Burhan and the paramilitary Rapid<br />

Support Forces (RSF) headed by Gen.<br />

Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.<br />


Your Hands and Feet<br />


6<br />

AFRICA<br />

ICC Donors Stay the Course with Nancy<br />

Nancy sat at her desk, clutching her pencil tightly. She couldn’t<br />

believe that she was starting junior secondary school today. It<br />

seemed like only yesterday that she was sitting in her hospital<br />

bed, recovering from the injuries she sustained during the terror<br />

attack that took her parents.<br />

Right before Christmas 2021, when she was just 13 years old, she<br />

witnessed a radical Muslim suicide bomber murder her parents<br />

in the foyer of their home. Nancy survived the attack with serious<br />

injuries, losing three fingers on her right hand and sustaining deep<br />

cuts to her chest, back, and ear.<br />

But as she looked around the classroom, she felt a sense of<br />

gratitude wash over her. She wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t<br />

for the support of the people who had been with her from that<br />

day.<br />

She thought of the staff at the orphanage center who had taken<br />

her in when she had nowhere else to go. They had become her<br />

family and had given her the love and support she needed to heal.<br />

International Christian Concern (ICC) has been with Nancy every<br />

<strong>Persecution</strong> | JUNE <strong>2023</strong><br />

step of the way, from first hearing about the tragedy to funding<br />

her education for a brighter future.<br />

“You have been my best companions from the time I was going<br />

through treatment after the terror attack that left my two parents<br />

dead. You took up the duty of educating me in primary school,<br />

and you have not stopped doing this,” Nancy said in a recent<br />

visit. “Now you have supported me to begin my junior secondary<br />

school education. I am very happy about the commitment you<br />

have made to see me through my education. May the Lord bless<br />

you.”<br />

As she looked around the classroom again, she knew that she<br />

had a bright future ahead of her. She knew that there would be<br />

challenges along the way, but she was confident that with the<br />

support of her companions, she would overcome them.<br />

Nancy took a deep breath and began to write her first assignment.<br />

She knew that her parents would be proud of her and that their<br />

memory would live on through her education. And as she wrote,<br />

she whispered a prayer of gratitude for the people who had<br />

become her family and her best companions.

Crowns of Courage<br />

It is our privilege to introduce you to a<br />

new segment that we’ll be featuring<br />

monthly in <strong>Persecution</strong> magazine: Crowns<br />

of Courage: Inspiration from memorable<br />

martyrs. Here, we will share the<br />

incredible testimonies of both historical<br />

and modern-day believers who have paid<br />

the ultimate price for their faith.<br />

This month, we are featuring the inspiring<br />

Saint Polycarp of Smyrna, a Christian<br />

leader in the second century, who was a<br />

disciple of the apostle John. Through his<br />

writings, he openly denounced various<br />

heresies that had taken root in the church.<br />


Hope in Times of Crisis<br />


Pastor Rohan had always been a devout man of God, serving his congregations<br />

with utmost dedication and love. However, recently, things have been tough<br />

for him and his family. The COVID-19 pandemic that devastated many rural<br />

areas of India and the Hindu, radical-driven anti-conversion law have greatly<br />

impacted his ministry operations.<br />

The fear of persecution loomed large over the Christian community, and the<br />

attendance in his congregations had dwindled significantly. As a result, Pastor<br />

Rohan had been struggling to make ends meet and provide for his family.<br />

He had been praying for a long time to start a small ready made cloth shop,<br />

which he believed would not only contribute to his family’s survival but<br />

also help him continue his ministry. However, financial constraints made<br />

it impossible for him to start the business. That’s when ICC stepped in to<br />

provide the necessary financial support to set up the small business he<br />

prayed for.<br />

With the income from the business, Pastor Rohan hopes to have a regular<br />

and predictable source of income for his family’s survival and continue his<br />

ministry. He is grateful for the assistance and believes that it is the Lord’s way<br />

of providing for his family and his ministry.<br />

After Polycarp’s many faithful years<br />

of service in the church, the Roman<br />

proconsul ordered him to renounce<br />

his faith. Holding fast to the promise<br />

of eternity, Polycarp clung to his faith,<br />

knowing the brutal consequences to<br />

come, by saying, “For eighty and six<br />

years I have been His servant, and He has<br />

done me no wrong. And how can I now<br />

blaspheme my King who saved me?”<br />

He offered up a prayer, and his captors<br />

soon bound him, intending to burn him<br />

alive. Yet, to their surprise, he would not<br />

die. As Polycarp stood in the flames, the<br />

scene was described “not as burning<br />

flesh, but as bread that is being baked,<br />

or as gold and silver being refined in<br />

a furnace.” Eventually, an executioner<br />

stabbed Polycarp with a dagger, which<br />

ultimately brought about his death.<br />

Following Polycarp’s martyrdom, a<br />

group of believers gathered his scorched<br />

bones in remembrance. In the years<br />

that followed, on the anniversary of his<br />

death, they gathered to remember what<br />

they referred to as his “birthday.” Here,<br />

they would rejoice over the legacy of his<br />

enduring faithfulness, not yet knowing<br />

that his testimony would be shared for<br />

centuries to come.<br />


Front Lines of Faith<br />



In this issue, we delve into the work of pastors and evangelists who are on the<br />

front lines of sharing the gospel in some of the world’s most challenging places.<br />

These courageous followers of Christ use various methods to share the gospel<br />

and impact their communities.<br />

From broadcasting the gospel in North Korea to supporting the underground<br />

church in the Middle East, we are committed to building Christ’s church. Join us<br />

as we shine a light on the important work of those who labor tirelessly to shed<br />

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

TURKEY<br />

Genocide nearly eliminated Christianity from Turkey a century ago. To help rebuild<br />

the church, ICC supports underground pastors throughout the country.<br />

Syria<br />

ICC donated 300 Arabic-language Bibles in war-torn Syria to young Christians who<br />

did not have one.<br />

Middle East<br />

If Muslim-background believers (MBBs) declare their allegiance to Jesus publicly,<br />

they face immediate violence and threats. The Muslim converts to Christianity<br />

stand to lose their families, communities, and very lives.<br />

ICC cares for more than 100 MBBs in the Middle East. Each new believer needs at<br />

least six months of base-level care that includes a safe place to live, medical care,<br />

food, job training, and a small business to provide financial support in their new<br />

life.<br />

Afghanistan<br />

Khan fled to Iran following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. He converted<br />

to Christianity shortly before the takeover after an Afghan pastor discipled him.<br />

Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we’ve been rescuing Christian leaders<br />

and getting them out of the country – at least the ones who want to escape. There<br />

are many courageous Christians who remain and need our support in growing the<br />

underground church in Afghanistan.<br />

Uganda<br />

ICC disciples and cares for Christian converts as they transition to their new life in<br />

Christ.<br />

8<br />

<strong>Persecution</strong> | JUNE <strong>2023</strong>

“Repent and be baptized, every<br />

one of you, in the name of Jesus<br />

Christ for the forgiveness of<br />

your sins. And you will receive<br />

the gift of the Holy Spirit. The<br />

promise is for you and your<br />

children and for all who are<br />

far off—for all whom the Lord<br />

our God will call.”<br />

- PETER PREACHING, ACTS 2:38-39<br />


“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,<br />

baptizing them in the name of the Father and of<br />

the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to<br />

obey everything I have commanded you. And surely<br />

I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”<br />

- MATTHEW 28:19-20<br />

Did You Know?<br />

Through ICC’s Gospel fund, more<br />

than 200,000 people heard<br />

the gospel in 2022 worldwide<br />

through ICC-sponsored Bible<br />

distribution and radio broadcasts.<br />

10<br />

<strong>Persecution</strong> | JUNE <strong>2023</strong>

Nepal<br />

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, ICC aided<br />

thousands of Christians denied help because of their faith. In<br />

Nepal, we supplied aid to 100 Christian families.<br />

ICC kept in contact with those families and their communities.<br />

In 2022, we distributed 1,000 New Testaments to hard-to-reach<br />

Christians in the mountains of Nepal.<br />

“These believers had to walk by foot for about an hour to<br />

come to the church to receive the Bible,” said ICC’s Nepal<br />

representative. “These Bibles have brought back their hope and<br />

encouragement.”<br />

India<br />

Unstoppable Pastor V<br />

After growing up in a strict Hindu household in India, Pastor V<br />

loves sharing the love of Christ with those around him – but not<br />

without a cost.<br />

“I face oppression from the radical Hindu nationalists,” he<br />

shares.<br />

Pastor V has been sharing the gospel since 2000, but an increase<br />

in anti-conversion laws inspired him to focus more on outreach.<br />

International Christian Concern (ICC) supplied him with a<br />

bike and a Bible to reach more people. He has consequently<br />

established 10 house churches in the last two years.<br />

Bikes and Bibles in India<br />

Christians are not welcome in India by Prime Minister Narendra<br />

Modi and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu<br />

Nationalist group. The RSS stops at nothing to ensure that India<br />

remains a Hindu nation.<br />

To counter this, ICC trains and sends out church planters<br />

throughout the country. We give them bikes and Bibles to cover<br />

more ground and reach remote villages. From 2021 to 2022,<br />

ICC trained and sent more than 100 evangelists and will train<br />

another 100 this year.<br />

Indonesia<br />

ICC connected with a couple who God called seven<br />

years ago to serve in ministry. They work tirelessly<br />

to preach the gospel to children in their community<br />

with little outside support for their ministry efforts.<br />

Although more than 40 children regularly visit their<br />

learning center to hear about Jesus, very few have<br />

Bibles of their own.<br />

North Korea<br />

When North Korean defector and Christian Illyong<br />

Ju told his story to ICC, it reinforced the need to<br />

evangelize to the Hermit Kingdom. Illyong shared<br />

how his family came to Christ by listening (discreetly)<br />

to Bible broadcasts on their contraband radio. While<br />

his immediate family escaped North Korea, relatives<br />

continue to endure brutal conditions in prison labor<br />

camps.<br />

Because radio is a powerful tool for reaching North<br />

Koreans, ICC broadcasts the gospel twice daily inside<br />

North Korea.<br />

Vietnam<br />

There is an ongoing revival among the Hmong people<br />

in Vietnam with many becoming believers. Being<br />

ethnic, the Hmong people are subject to surveillance<br />

and even persecution. The government sets up<br />

roadblocks and checks on shipments to make sure<br />

printed Bibles aren’t being smuggled.<br />

Hmong believers in Vietnam live in remote mountains.<br />

Many are illiterate or elderly with poor eyesight.<br />

Therefore, they need audio Bibles to access the Word<br />

of God.<br />

ICC worked with staff on the ground to provide 600<br />

audio Bibles for believers in this remote region in<br />

Vietnam.<br />

Malaysia<br />

The Malay Bible is banned by the Malaysian<br />

government, and for the Muslim-background believer<br />

(MBB), it’s nearly impossible to obtain a copy of<br />

any Bible. Malaysia restricts private ownership of<br />

Christian materials. That means even having a copy<br />

of God’s Word in their home can invite persecution.<br />

Bibles are banned from being imported. MBBs who<br />

have an electronic version of Scripture must be very<br />

careful to avoid being caught and accused of spreading<br />

apostasy, for they will be sent to a rehabilitation camp<br />

for Muslims.<br />

ICC partnered with 125 MBB house church leaders and<br />

gave them 2,000 Bibles to courageously distribute.<br />

ICC came alongside this growing ministry to provide<br />

them with a supply of new Bibles that they can<br />

distribute among the children.<br />




Fulani militias swept through one rural community<br />

in Plateau State, Nigeria, on Easter weekend in<br />

2021 and 2022, burning hundreds of houses and<br />

a church.<br />

This Easter, an International Christian Concern (ICC)<br />

staffer joined hundreds of worshipers at the same<br />

burned church. Families sat on the ground, on<br />

cinder blocks, or on plastic chairs that they brought<br />

from home. They gazed up at the sky because the<br />

church had no roof. “Sometimes we worship in the<br />

rain,” said the pastor. “… I am passionate to preach<br />

the gospel of Christ.”<br />

Militants have attacked dozens of farming Christian<br />

communities in the Rigwe chiefdom in Plateau in<br />

recent years. They often attack villages at night or<br />

ambush Christians in the day while they travel to<br />

their farms or church.<br />

We wanted to learn more about the courage and<br />

faithfulness of the pastor and his community.<br />

Below are questions we asked of him – we are<br />

withholding his name and that of the church.<br />

12<br />

<strong>Persecution</strong> | JUNE <strong>2023</strong>


What led you to become a pastor,<br />

knowing the path would be difficult?<br />

Of course, since it is God’s call, I have no<br />

regrets. Some people even advised me not<br />

to be a pastor, but I went in fully and am<br />

glad. I enjoy doing it, despite the suffering.<br />

You and many of your worshipers have<br />

lost everything and endured much. What<br />

keeps you going?<br />

What gives you hope? The Scriptures<br />

tell us about this. We know that we are<br />

living in the last days, and we cannot stop<br />

worshiping God. That is why we have come<br />

back and continued our work because it<br />

is our land. Secondly, we know our God.<br />

Thirdly, even if we die in the Lord, we have<br />

no regret.<br />

Your community was attacked over the<br />

Easter weekends in 2021 and 2022. What<br />

was your worship service like this year?<br />

Many have come back, but there are still<br />

more people that have not returned yet<br />

… but many have returned fully. We have<br />

returned because we know our God,<br />

and we wish to reunite and continue our<br />

worship, despite any suffering.<br />

How did you see the Lord move in your<br />

Church?<br />

Attendance in Church service has reduced<br />

due to the attacks because many are<br />

still living far away from the area. We<br />

have reduced in number but spiritually<br />

and character-wise, we are stronger<br />

as evidenced by our togetherness and<br />

worship. We worship within the area of the<br />

Church building, but due to the challenge<br />

of heat, we have to schedule our Church<br />

activities in the early hours of the day<br />

before the heat of the sun becomes too<br />

much … there is no roof, everything was<br />

burnt, and not even a single chair was left.<br />

How did you see the Lord move in your<br />

church?<br />

God is doing his work. The situation has<br />

resulted in some people becoming more<br />

committed. Those who were not born<br />

again have drawn closer and committed<br />

themselves to the Lord in repentance<br />

and some people rededicated their lives.<br />

People in the community who were not<br />

attending Church have begun to come<br />

to church. Even in the aspect of church<br />

offerings, members are doing their best …<br />

they are lacking food, but they are giving<br />

offerings. So, I would say they are trying<br />

harder than before the crisis.<br />

How does fear affect those in your<br />

congregation and community?<br />

Due to fear, some people have relocated<br />

from the community. However, most<br />

people have returned, and we expect<br />

those who relocated to return. Surely,<br />

we all became afraid and fled, but we<br />

have rekindled hope and returned to our<br />

community fully. That is why the people<br />

attend the Church.<br />

Tell us about some of the local people<br />

who inspire you.<br />

There are many people that encourage me<br />

so much here. Considering the unfortunate<br />

situations that we have found ourselves in<br />

here, they would say that I haven’t come at<br />

a good time to enjoy their support as their<br />

pastor … He who called me will see me<br />

through to the end. They encourage me<br />

so much, and I am thankful to them. But<br />

there are also some of our people that are<br />

not committed, they also are many.<br />

What specific prayer needs do you and<br />

your Church/community have?<br />

Some members do not even have food,<br />

because we couldn’t cultivate our lands<br />

last year due to the Fulani attacks. Some<br />

people have not been able to rebuild<br />

their houses. See the Church building.<br />

The main building of the pastor’s house<br />

is still in ruins. Secondly, we need prayers<br />

for this issue of Fulani attacks. Until now,<br />

Satan is still controlling them. Presently<br />

they are not attacking us here, but they<br />

are attacking other places including some<br />

neighboring communities. Our hope is that<br />

these attacks will end. They should pray<br />

for the lives of our members who have not<br />

accepted Christ yet to come to the saving<br />

knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.<br />

How difficult is it for you and your Church<br />

to forgive the Fulani militants?<br />

We have already forgiven them since we<br />

are still together with Fulanis day and<br />

night. Some of them are even saying it is<br />

not their desire to see things happening<br />

this way, but some of their relatives want<br />

it that way. But as for us we have already<br />

forgiven them.<br />

You have forgiven them, and they have<br />

returned to destroying farms again?<br />

(Laughs) Well, there is nothing we can<br />

do. Last night there were cows scattered<br />

around the houses in this village around<br />

3.00 am, but there was no problem.<br />

14<br />

<strong>Persecution</strong> | JUNE <strong>2023</strong>

Where do you see the Lord working in<br />

your life, giving you strength and courage?<br />

God is helping me greatly, and I am eager<br />

to serve him. I have never gone without<br />

food any day. I have no regrets. My family<br />

is supportive. That’s great encouragement.<br />

Perhaps, if I were in a better place than<br />

this, I may not have been dedicated to<br />

serve God as I am doing now. I am closer to<br />

God because of this situation. I am happy<br />

because God gives me strength. Even if I die<br />

doing this work (as a pastor), I am happy.<br />

God says in His Word that the gates of<br />

Hades won’t prevail. Where do you see<br />

hope in growth of believers and the church<br />

in Nigeria?<br />

My hope is just as the Scripture says. We<br />

have no doubt and hope that the gates of<br />

hell cannot prevail over the church. I hope<br />

that someday, in this Church, everyone will<br />

want to come and worship in it because<br />

peace will return. Even those who are<br />

attacking the church will accept Christ<br />

and become believers. What is happening<br />

is a challenge that the Lord God already<br />

informed us would happen. By the time<br />

they have tried again and again as they<br />

have been doing and failed, and they see<br />

the Church progressing, they will someday<br />

repent and become believers. This is what I<br />

look forward to.<br />

What do you want Christians in the West<br />

to know and understand about what is<br />

happening here?<br />

I think it is good that all believers<br />

everywhere unite. All Christians in Nigeria<br />

too should unite. If we unite as the letter<br />

to the Corinthians says, I think whatever<br />

request we make to God will be answered.<br />

I believe that Christians in the West have<br />

heard about our situation. If they unite<br />

with us too in prayers to God, whatever we<br />

ask God in unity will be answered.<br />

If we Christians in Nigeria unite and inform<br />

our brothers and sisters in the West about<br />

the exact difficulties that we face, not the<br />

requests of individuals for their selfish<br />

purposes, they will also unite and rise to<br />

support us in our predicaments. We will<br />

progress and the world will be amazed.<br />

Some NGOs from somewhere that we don’t<br />

even know where they came from were<br />

giving some support in many communities<br />

that have been attacked. It shows that<br />

Christians are united. May this kind of<br />

support continue, and Christianity will<br />

progress, and yes, we are progressing. The<br />

troublemakers do what they do because<br />

they don’t know God, but we will continue<br />

to progress. Our desire is that fellow<br />

believers in the West would support us.<br />

“Sometimes we<br />

worship in the rain.<br />

I am passionate<br />

to preach the<br />

gospel of Christ.”<br />


TH E RISKY<br />


TEACH I NG<br />




Meet Murad, a man born<br />

Hindu from northern<br />

Pakistan who chose<br />

to leave Hinduism to<br />

follow Christ a decade ago. His decision<br />

to convert was not an easy one, but he<br />

believed in the transformative power<br />

of Christ after hearing the gospel. It was<br />

irresistible to stay silent.<br />

With courage and determination, he<br />

shared the gospel with his family, and<br />

they also converted. Twelve families soon<br />

followed in his footsteps.<br />

Murad’s commitment to Christ led him to<br />

start a school where he teaches Christian<br />

values to his students – but not all of his<br />

students are Christians. Out of the 35<br />

students he teaches, only 12 are from<br />

Christian families while 23 are from a<br />

Hindu background.<br />

But Murad’s work is not without its dangers.<br />

Islam is the dominant religion in Pakistan,<br />

and Muslims use archaic blasphemy laws<br />

to punish Christians trying to live out<br />

their faith. They claim blasphemy against<br />

their Christian neighbors, which results in<br />

beatings, arrests, and in too many cases,<br />

the death penalty.<br />

Still, Christ is alive in Pakistan, working<br />

through the dedicated followers who<br />

spread His message of love and peace.<br />

People like Murad risk persecution<br />

to teach the next generation about<br />

Christ, ultimately breaking the cycle of<br />

persecution and expanding the church in<br />

Pakistan.<br />

Most Christians living in Pakistan work<br />

lowly jobs like laying bricks and cleaning<br />

sewers. They don’t make enough to<br />

send their children to school, so they are<br />

condemned to follow in their parent’s<br />

footsteps. Education is the surest way to<br />

break the cycle. If more Christian youth<br />

enter the workforce with skills, it would<br />

be difficult to keep them isolated without<br />

also suffering from their absence of talent.<br />

This starts with the youngest children.<br />

Murad knows that the children need<br />

16<br />

<strong>Persecution</strong> | JUNE <strong>2023</strong>

literacy, basic math, and a community<br />

of fellow believers to support them. For<br />

this reason, he gathers the children of his<br />

village to a shack near town. There they<br />

learn the basics as well as about Christ.<br />

Murad tells them that they are the future<br />

and that through Christ, who loves them<br />

unconditionally, they can do anything.<br />

Murad and his family are constantly under<br />

threat, and the school where he teaches<br />

requires basic necessities like clean water,<br />

Bibles and Christian teaching materials,<br />

and book bags for the children.<br />

Working with local partners, ICC provided<br />

all these necessities for the children,<br />

so they not only have a safe learning<br />

environment but also one where they can<br />

thrive spiritually and continue to learn<br />

more about the Lord.<br />

Working with pastors in Pakistan is<br />

humbling. These children aren’t Murad’s,<br />

and most of them aren’t from Christian<br />

families, yet he risks everything to share<br />

the Good News and give them a chance<br />

when the rest of the country won’t.<br />

As a young man himself, he knows the<br />

importance of investing in the next<br />

generation. He strives to give them the<br />

skills and, more importantly, the faith to go<br />

against the status quo and make positive<br />

changes for the Christian community in a<br />

nation hostile to it.<br />

Despite the risks, Murad remains<br />

committed to his mission. He understands<br />

the danger he faces, but he also<br />

understands the eternal reward that<br />

awaits those who follow Christ. His<br />

story testifies to the power of faith and<br />

the courage of those willing to stand<br />

up for their beliefs, even in the face of<br />

persecution.<br />

PHOTO: A man teaches children basic<br />

math. Source: Creative_Stock/iStock<br />




Christianity is no stranger to the<br />

stale concrete walls of a prison<br />

cell. Throughout the Bible, we<br />

see the Lord reach down into the<br />

prison cell and reveal Himself in<br />

many mysterious ways.<br />

A small prison ministry in Tanzania<br />

has seen God move in those<br />

miraculous ways through the<br />

conversion of prominent Muslim<br />

leaders to Christianity. However,<br />

conversion often leads to severe<br />

persecution, ostracization, and<br />

even death. But despite the grave<br />

consequences of leaving Islam,<br />

these many brave souls, who we<br />

call Muslim-background believers<br />

(MBBs), have chosen to follow<br />

Christ, risking everything for their<br />

newfound faith.<br />

Recently, a team from International<br />

Christian Concern (ICC) visited a<br />

group of MBBs in Tanzania who<br />

had converted while in prison.<br />

During their visit, the ICC team met<br />

with a group of 14 ex-inmates who<br />

had come to share their stories of<br />

conversion.<br />

“We are touched in our hearts by<br />

your kindness and acceptance to<br />

listen to our stories of conversion.<br />

We come from Muslim backgrounds,<br />

and we have been suffering for<br />

leaving the teachings of Allah and<br />

following Christ,” said the prison<br />

ministry pastor. “Through the jail<br />

and prisons ministry, we have found<br />

hope and a reason to continue<br />

believing in Christ. We believe that<br />

with your prayers and support, we<br />

shall continue to grow and reach<br />

out to more inmates for Jesus.”<br />

These converts are persecuted by<br />

their families and communities<br />

for leaving Islam, yet they remain<br />

steadfast in their faith.<br />

“He brought them out of darkness, the utter<br />

darkness, and broke away their chains.”<br />

- PSALM 107:14<br />

18<br />

<strong>Persecution</strong> | JUNE <strong>2023</strong>

The ICC team also met with five former Muslim leaders and<br />

teachers in local mosques and Islamic institutions. After their<br />

conversion to Christianity, they now live their faith in secret. They<br />

risk their lives every day to follow Christ, knowing that if they are<br />

discovered, they face severe consequences.<br />

“We ask that you will continue praying for us to grow more<br />

and more in the salvation of Jesus the Messiah. We would like<br />

to thank you for the support you have given us, and it is a huge<br />

gift to us and to our families as we navigate through the life of<br />

underground believers,” said one of the former Sheikhs.<br />


We’d love to hear from you!<br />

ICC<br />

PO BOX 8056<br />

SILVER SPRING, MD 20907<br />




800-ICC-5441<br />

Giving via Will<br />

Provide now for a future gift to ICC by including<br />

a bequest provision in your will or revocable<br />

trust. If you would like more information on<br />

giving to ICC in this way, please give us a call at<br />

1-800-ICC-5441.<br />




To support our evangelism and church building efforts,<br />


please visit www.persecution.org/give<br />



Hooray! Your file is uploaded and ready to be published.

Saved successfully!

Ooh no, something went wrong!