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Ethiopia

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Children at a Barnabas-supported
school in Ethiopia

Ethiopia has considered itself a Christian country since the fourth century, and its Christian roots are sometimes traced back to the Ethiopian eunuch who met Philip on the road while reading the book of Isaiah (Acts 8:26-40). Today it is the only Christian-majority country in the Horn of Africa, surrounded by a “sea” of Islam.

Islam first came to Ethiopia in 615 AD when a small group of Muhammad’s early followers fled there to escape persecution in Mecca. Ethiopia was considered a place of safety, and numerous Muslims followed in this first hijra (migration), living peacefully among the Christians. This relationship changed in the succeeding centuries as Islam began to spread throughout Africa and developed a negative attitude to Christians.

Muslims comprise around a third of the Ethiopian population and have generally lived quite peacefully with the Christian majority. However Muslim extremism has become increasingly influential in Ethiopia, as Islamists (for example, from Afghanistan and Somalia) come into the country to spread anti-Christian teaching and discourage local Muslims from having any contact with Christians. In addition, money from external Islamic sources has been used to build mosques and Muslim schools.

In addition, Muslims are becoming increasingly radicalised by preachers who are promoting aggressive forms of Islam from countries such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. One Christian leader said that Ethiopia was being targeted by Muslim fanatics with a strategy to Islamise the country and there was a campaign to “clear Christianity from the land by [the] sword”. A four-fold plan to Islamise the area was outlined at an Islamic conference: burn the churches, kill the men, marry the widows and send their children to Islamic schools. Yet in this context, Muslims are also coming to Christ.

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    • Give thanks to the Lord that Barnabas Aid is able to help oppressed and persecuted Christian communities by providing grants to Christian students in higher education. Pray for those who have received this help in the past, that they will give a voice to their brothers and sisters and will help to resource, empower and protect them in the face of hostility. Ask that God’s sustaining grace will uphold those who are currently studying, often under severe pressure from the majority community, and pray that they may be equipped for spiritual leadership. Praise God for their dedication to His service, and ask Him to use them powerfully in their various vocations. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 11 hours ago

    • Almighty God, we pray that You will protect Your people in the Holy Land. We pray especially for the congregation of a church in Gaza City, whose church compound was attacked with a small explosive device on 26 February. We give You thanks that the church, school, nursery and pastor’s house were undamaged and that a fi re that was lit under the pastor’s car was extinguished when Christians came outside to investigate. We pray that the congregation may stand firm for You in the face of the threatening message that was written on the wall facing the church gate: “We’ll get you soon, O worshippers of the cross.” We ask that there will be no further attempt to attack this church or others in the area. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Jul 2014 00:00

    • Taliban militants attempted to attack a Christian-run day-care centre in Kabul, Afghanistan, on 28 March, saying it was “a church used to convert Muslims to Christianity”. The attackers mistakenly targeted the next-door building, which houses workers on an agricultural and de-mining project, instead; two Afghan civilians, one a young girl, died in the crossfi re. All five Taliban bombers were also killed in the raid on the heavily-secured compound. The day-care centre that they were attempting to target, which is used by expatriates, is said to hold Christian worship services on certain days. Ask the Lord to change the hearts of those who plan and carry out terrorist attacks against Christians and other targets in Afghanistan; pray that they will turn instead to Him. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Jul 2014 00:00

    • “He was always a light for Christ and he had a love and commitment that he expressed for the Afghan people because of that love for Christ.” The widow of Dr Jerry Umanos, an American doctor who was shot dead at the Christian-run hospital where he worked in Kabul, Afghanistan, spoke of her husband’s faith and ministry. Two visiting American Christians, father and son Gary and John Gabel, were also killed on 24 April when an Afghan security guard opened fire on the staff he was meant to be protecting. Pray for comfort for the grieving families of the three men, and ask the Lord to safeguard the future of the hospital, which provides much-needed medical care and also trains Afghan doctors and nurses. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Jul 2014 00:00

    • “We ask all Christians and members of other faiths to reconsider their own beliefs and join Hinduism.” Krishna Hari Baskota, secretary at the Office of the Prime Minister in Nepal, was speaking about the application process for a new identity card that will show citizens’ religious affiliation. Christians and members of other minorities will be subjected to greater scrutiny before obtaining the official documents and will be asked to reiterate their faith. One Christian rights activist said that the government is trying to discourage people from converting from Hinduism. Pray that the Nepalese authorities will not discriminate against Christians but will treat them on equal terms with the Hindu majority. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Jul 2014 00:00

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