04 02 Newsflashes from the Persecuted Church
Kenya: Terrorism Threats Continue against Christians
On Sunday members of the African Independent Pentecostal Church of East Africa (AIPCEA) in Mpekitoni, Lamu West on the Kenyan coast found an explosive device inside their church compound. They do not know when it was planted or who is responsible. The undetonated device has since been safely removed from the premises.
The discovery came as a young man died in a Nairobi apartment while assembling what is believed to be an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). His body was found in the kitchen of the apartment in the Somali-dominated Eastleigh estate where he was assembling the device.
Meanwhile, in a show of solidarity with Christians, Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto attended Sunday worship at the Joy in Jesus Church in Likoni, Mombasa where unknown assailants opened fire on worshippers on Sunday, March 21, killing six and injuring 21. Speaking to the press after the service, he encouraged Christians not to fear going to church and declared, “No amount of terror attacks will deter Kenyans from attending church because there is constitutional freedom of worship guaranteed for every citizen.
“Radicalism is dangerous and as a government we will not compromise or have it take root in this country. I want to assure Kenyans that we will pursue those propagating it….”
Veronica Akinyi Osinya died in a hail of bullets while shielding her 11-month-old son Satrin. The baby survived but has a bullet lodged in his head. He was taken to Nairobi for specialized treatment to which he is responding well.
Open Doors spoke to Benson Osinya, Satrin’s father, over the phone. “The doctors are monitoring Satrin, but he is doing so well you cannot even tell he has a bullet in his brain. I truly thank God for that! He is running around, eating, sleeping…not like at the beginning when he was wailing and refusing to eat or sleep. I was so helpless I could only hold and cry with him. Now it is a little easier. The neurosurgeon cleaned and closed up the entry wound and said that if they decide to remove the bullet, they will use another place on the head. Seeing the boy respond so well is encouraging to me, even though I am very sad at the loss of my wife.”
The recent string of violent attacks targeting Christians in Kenya has increased fears regarding the apparent radicalization of Muslims, particularly among youths in coastal regions.
Egypt: Christian Students Who Are Bullied, Mocked Receive Help
A 12-year-old boy who lives in Minya, a southern Egyptian city, was harassed at school by his classmates a few months ago when they mocked him about what they considered his corrupt Bible. The boy felt so humiliated and helpless, that he went home and tore up his Bible while sobbing and crying. The frustration and anger he experienced from the attacks he faced on his Bible left him with a deep sense of defeat.
Christians in Egypt often face attacks on the fundamentals of their faith. They are occasionally confronted with hostile lies about their Christian beliefs in the media. They are also forced to listen to frequent attacks publicly broadcasted from the loud speakers from the minarets of mosques, generating doubts about issues of Christian theology. Walking down the streets or riding public transportation, Christians are subjected to recorded Quran tapes or speeches from famous Islamic preachers mocking issues of Christian faith. They state that the Bible is not the Word of God, Jesus was not crucified and God can’t be part of the Trinity.
Children have their share of suffering, as they occasionally face taunts and ridicule in school from their fellow students, and even from their neighbors.
I know and Am Not Afraid is an apologetics program established in 2012 designed to help Christians know the answers to the most common accusations and false claims they face about their Christian faith. This project aims to equip a generation which is facing daily pressure to stand up for its faith. The project presents material related to surviving hardship as well as an awareness course related to civil rights.
The program draws both adults and children. Teachers have been working with over 500 children, ages 9-11. Recently, two conferences took place in Assuit and Menya. They were held for 170 Sunday school children and teachers to learn about these important issues through simulations and games. Children had the opportunity to test their knowledge in role playing.
Magdy, an 11-year-old boy, shared his experience in one of the classes: “I feel confident now and l look forward to being asked by my friends or even ridiculed by my classmates to answer them. I knew that the Bible is right, but did not know how to prove it or answer their questions.”
(For more information or to set up interviews, call Jerry Dykstra at 616-915-4117 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Open Doors USA website is www.OpenDoorsUSA.org)