Bomb Scare for Congregation in Mali
Disaster was narrowly averted for a local congregation in Gao, Mali, on Jan 12, when military personnel patrolling the area that Sunday morning discovered explosives behind one of the doors of their meeting place. After police ushered frightened parishioners to safety, French army personnel were able to safely diffuse the devices. In 2012, Mali seemed to be another state on the verge of succumbing to an Islamic takeover. But in January 2013, the French military intervened and helped to stabilize the situation, at least temporarily. Sadly, for the Christian community, the infrastructure of Christianity in the north has been largely destroyed. Believers who are slowly trickling back to the north are forced to meet in school classrooms because churches have been either looted or destroyed. An Open Doors representative in the area comments, “Building up a Christian presence again will be difficult, and the Christians who fled the north are afraid to return.” Even though most Malian Christians, who make up less than 5% of the population, live in the southern region, they still feel threatened by Islamists in the north and fear a new uprising. This month’s bomb threat has left church members shaken, but thankful for God’s protection. Please pray for this small community of believers. We thank You, Father, for protecting this Christian community that has suffered so greatly in recent years. Continue to protect them not only as they suffer for their faith in Christ, but also as they live in fear of bandits who continue to be a threat in Gao. We pray for Your sustaining grace to these believers as they seek to live lives that honor You, and demonstrate the presence of Christ in them in the midst of these difficulties. Give them opportunities to share the gospel of Christ with their Muslim neighbors. In the name of Jesus, our sustainer and provider, Amen.