Christians in Libya Plead, “Please Pray for Us”
In the midst of the turmoil surrounding the capture of Tripoli by opposition forces, the churches and their members were covered by prayers from all around the world. “We are very thankful for the situation,” one pastor explains. “Please pray for Libya. We really hope that Libya will become a moderate Islamic country.” Local pastors ask you to continue to pray for them, for reconciliation in the country, for freedom and for wisdom for the new leaders.
Church life in Libya has been disrupted with many fleeing their cities and the country. Churches that normally have hundreds gathering for worship now only have 40 or 50. At least one pastor makes a point of keeping in touch with the church members who have fled during the crisis and, in general, pastors in the area are confident that many will eventually return.
Life, however, is difficult for the Christians who remained in Libya; in particular for the African (dark skinned) believers in Tripoli. “At the moment there is no government, no police. Now the Libyans attack Africans,” notes a pastor there. One of the dangers for African believers who live mostly in the south Sub Saharan regions of Libya is that they are being mistaken for mercenaries. And according to another pastor, the situation is exacerbated by the prevalence of weapons. “Everyone seems to have guns; Gaddafi handed out guns as sweets.” It is a dangerous place for these believers.
There are other pressing needs as well. With many shops closed, food and other supplies have been difficult to come by. “Everything in the city is expensive,” one pastor acknowledged. There have been shortages of everything in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, including lack of food and drinking water and hardly any form of healthcare for the sick and injured. During the heat of the battle, Open Doors co-supported the delivery of aid products with two big trucks in Benghazi. Food, cooking oil and blankets, along with other aid, was distributed among the people in need. Now, one of the pastors in Tripoli reports that shops are opening again and life is gradually returning to normal there, for which we give thanks.
“We trust in the Lord who is in control,” declares one pastor full of confidence as he quotes Psalm 65:7-8. “You quieted the raging oceans with their pounding waves and silenced the shouting of the nations. Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of your wonders.” “By God’s grace and because of your prayers we’re still alive. Thank you for all your prayers,” say the pastors. “Know that we see the glory of God in Libya.”
God of our salvation, we continue to pray for Libyan Christians, caught in the crossfire of violence there. We pray for their protection, but also that You will grant them opportunity to proclaim Your message of Good News as the new government is formed. As life turns back to normal for them, may You draw them back into the glorious Kingdom work to which you have called them. Amen