Christian Life 

Suffering Church Sunday - November 2009

The Barnabas Fund which works to highlight the suffering of Christians around the world is encouraging church congregations to set aside a Sunday in November to remember those who are being violently persecuted for their faith.
       Suffering Church Sunday


House BurntMost will be aware of the continuing – even escalating – violence against Christians in countries around the world. And this is most prevalent in those places which have a large Muslim population.
For Christian converts, baptism often becomes a death certificate.

Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo, himself an Asian convert and founder of the Barnabas Fund says:

For Christian converts from Islam, baptism is that pivotal moment in their faith when they express publicly their new allegiance to Jesus, their total loyalty to Him, and their willingness to follow Him even unto death. Baptism is regarded as the point of no return, the decisive break, and is therefore often the moment at which real persecution of the convert begins.


Across the world today, there are many converts who are choosing to take this step of baptism. Indeed, there are more Muslims coming to Christ than at any other time in history. For some this step will end in almost certain death. I was in East Africa recently, and a church leader told me of two young ladies who had left Islam for Christ and then returned to their communities only to be slaughtered by their fathers.

Christians Together has links with believers in Pakistan, and one of the recent stories coming out of that country gives an example of what is going on there:

Despite eyewitness accounts and medical evidence indicating guilt, police have declared three Pakistani men innocent of raping a 13-year-old Christian girl in the Sangla Hill area of Pakistan. In February, Ambreen was abducted and gang-raped at gun-point and was found by her family in a critical condition several hours later. When she was kidnapped, she was told by her captors, "We will kill your parents if you tell them this." Christians in Pakistan are often extremely poor and are employed by the local Muslims. The teenage girl comes from a poor background, while the Muslim men accused of her rape are part of a wealthy family of local landowners. In such circumstances it is exceptionally hard for Christians to get a fair investigation or trial.

In terms of supporting those who are being persecuted and killed for their profession of faith in Jesus Christ the Barnabas Fund are, again this year, making resources and information available to churches and individuals to encourage prayer and meaningful expressions of empathy with those brothers and sisters around the world. The suggestion made each year is that local congregations set aside one Sunday in November which will focus around the persecuted church.

Visit the Barnabas Fund website to access materials in including a Powerpoint Presentation.


Ed. footnote: The Kingsview Christian Centre have some special meetings planned for the end of November (27/28) with an invited guest speaker. Further details later.



Christians Together, 08/10/2009

Feedback:
a h 09/10/2009 22:15
We should focus more on this than we do on remembering those killed in the wars in November. I know it doesn't have to be an either or situation, but at least the church is alive and is being persecuted now and we should not only mark this in our church diary, but take some action.
Starfish (Asia) (Guest) 30/10/2009 15:56
This week a car bomb exploded in a market in Peshawar killing nearly a hundred people, mostly women and children. This was the latest attack by militants trying to avenge the Pakistani army offensive against the Taliban stronghold of South Waziristan, bordering Afganistan. The tensions between radical and moderate Muslims (who together make up 96% of Pakistan's population) are increasing.

Out of a population of 165 million, 5 million are Christian in name. Many are subject to exploitation and discrimination, and coming as they do from the poorest levels of society most never have the opportunity to attend school.

In the middle of this bleak picture the Christian gospel brings hope. God became man and died on the cross to save His people from their sins so that all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved. A heart devoted to sin is replaced by a cleansed and new heart. Love replaces hate. Starfish Asia are one organisation seeking to support the Christian community in Pakistan. By supporting Christian schools and other projects to help those in need they offer hope for the transformation of communities by the Gospel of grace.

Our brothers and sisters in Pakistan need our prayers and are greatly encouraged by them.
-Pray for many to come into the kingdom of God through the preaching of the Gospel. As earthly securities vanish many are coming into the churches. This week tent missions are being held.
-Pray that the security forces would discover and prevent further attacks and that evil would be restrained. Pray for the protection of God's people.
-Pray for God's Spirit to comfort and help believers at this time and for the churches to be strengthened.

More information about Starfish Asia can be found at www.starfishasia.com

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