04 24 Newsflashes from the Persecuted Church
Nigeria: Group Urges Christians to Pray for Safe Release of Abducted Girls
The local chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria has asked Christians around the world to join them in three days of prayer and fasting for the safe release of the at least 180 girls abducted last week.
On Monday night, April 14, suspected members of Boko Haram drove into Chibok in Borno State in seven pickup trucks.
While some of the Islamic group attackers set government and other buildings ablaze, others went to the senior secondary school where they overpowered the security guards before forcing around 230 of the female students into trucks and drove the girls between the ages of 16 and 20 deep into the nearby Sambisa forest.
“The Christian enclave of Chibok, a Christian village, has been thrown into mourning over the abduction of girls from a secondary school. Almost every house has a child in this school. Cries of parents could be heard all over the town as they prayed for God’s intervention over their tragic circumstances,” reported Open Doors workers from Nigeria.
State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, later announced that 52 girls had escaped, leaving 77 still missing. But the head teachers at the school, Ms. Asabe Kwambura, refuted his claims and said parents reported 230 girls were abducted, with 40 having escaped.
The federal government has challenged Borno security agents to do everything possible to rescue the girls. Governor Shettima has since offered a reward of $50,000 for information leading to the rescue of the girls.
Criticism for the military’s handling of the crisis is mounting. Parents have pleaded with Boko Haram to release the girls. Some have also ventured into the Sambisa forest to look for their daughters. They say they have done so without the support of the military. Local military officers advised them not to proceed because it was too dangerous. Boko Haram is equipped with much more sophisticated weapons than the sticks and machetes the parents are bearing.
The Zonal Chairman of the northeastern chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Reverend Shuaibu Byal, has urged the federal government and security agents to intensify efforts to rescue the remaining abducted secondary school girls.
“The abducted girls will most probably be responsible for cooking and cleaning for the insurgents. But there is every possibility that these children would be forcefully converted to Islam and married off to members of the group or other Muslim men,” commented Open Doors workers.
Join Christians in Chibok in praying fervently for the release of all the girls
Please pray for God’s grace to the girls as they face very fearful circumstances. Pray that they will experience His nearness and love in the midst of their suffering
For God’s miraculous protection for the girls and God’s comfort to the parents
Observers have been increasingly pointing to inadequate handling by the Nigerian security forces of the Boko Haram crisis. Please pray for extraordinary grace as they consider how to free the girls. Also pray for diligence and courage. Please pray that they will ask and receive wise counsel from others who are more experienced in these kinds of situations
For God to be at work through His Holy Spirit in the hearts of the Boko Haram abductors and that they would grow a heart of compassion for their prisoners.
Bhutan: Detained Pastors Released on Bail
Bhutanese pastors, Tandin Wangyal and Mon Thapa (also known David Lobzang), have been released on bail from the Dorokha police station on Tuesday after 49 days of detention.
“We are beyond happy,” says a relative of Thapa. “Thank you all for everything. God is great!”
The two pastors were arrested on March 5 while they were on the way carrying a sick child to a clinic in Khabdaney village. They were in the area the day before upon invitation to hold a three-day seminar for 30 Christians who came from neighboring towns.
The families of Tandin and Thapa are silent on the details of the charge sheet that the Office of the Attorney General levelled against them. However, they requested prayers as the case continues. The two pastors will appear before court on May 5.
(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)