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Kenya

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Church services in Kenya have been targeted by militant Islamists

Two pastors in the coastal region of Kenya were murdered in the space of two nights in October 2013. Charles Matole was found in his church in Mombasa, shot in the head from behind; he had begun to receive death threats after he led several evangelistic meetings in the city. Ebrahim Kidata was left in bush in Kilifi, having apparently been strangled; he was planning to plant churches in the Vitengeni area.

The deaths of these pastors highlight the threat faced by Christians in the coastal region, where many of the country’s Muslims live. Members of the militant Islamist group al-Shabaab have taken refuge there after being driven out of Somalia by Kenyan and African Union forces, and they have carried out a number of gun, grenade and bomb attacks against local congregations. In one incident last year, 15 people were injured when an explosive device was thrown into a church compound near Likoni in June. Al-Shabaab was also responsible for the siege at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi in September, when the militants murdered many of their non-Muslim hostages.

 Although Christians and Muslims generally live at peace in Kenya, some converts from Islam to Christianity have been threatened with violence or death by Muslim leaders. Like many converts, they are also liable to harassment and persecution by their own families.

 Kenya is more than 80% Christian and has seen massive church growth in recent decades. But Muslims form the majority in some areas, and Christians there may suffer discrimination from individuals and businesses. Muslims are seeking to Islamise these regions. The constitution allows Muslims to have certain civil cases, such as divorce and inheritance, decided by Islamic (Kadhi) courts.

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Daily prayer

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  • Cry out to the Lord for 33 Christians who have been sentenced to death in North Korea. The believers are thought to have been working alongside Kim Jeong-Wook, a South Korean missionary who was arrested in October 2013. Jeong-Wook has admitted trying to “create a network of house churches in North Korea” and was also said to be carrying Bibles and other Christian literature. His alleged associates are accused of trying to overthrow the government and of receiving a large sum of money for the construction of 500 house churches. Pray that these executions will not be carried out and that international pressure will be brought to bear on North Korea to release Kim Jeong-Wook and to cease its intense anti-Christian persecution. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 4 hours ago

  • Praise God for the release of John Short, an Australian missionary who was detained in North Korea for distributing Christian leaflets. John, who is 75 and based in Hong Kong, was reported to security officials in Pyongyang after he was spotted leaving a Christian leaflet at a Buddhist temple, an act that is illegal in North Korea. Further Korean-language Christian pamphlets were subsequently found in his hotel room. John, who was released on 3 March after two weeks in custody, was required to sign a confession probably scripted by the authorities. Other foreign missionaries arrested in North Korea have been given long prison sentences. Give thanks to God that John has escaped further punishment, and pray for him as he recovers from his traumatic ordeal. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Pray for Barnabas Aid partners in South Sudan who have been supporting Christians forced from their homes by violence. Conflict between supporters of President Salva Kiir and his sacked deputy Riek Machar in December and January displaced around 860,000 people. Churches were burned down and a number of pastors killed, while many people lost their belongings and were left destitute. Give thanks that churches in and around the capital, Juba, were able to provide food and other essentials to many families with help from Barnabas. Pray that they may continue to be salt and light in their country at this unstable time (Matthew 5:13-16), and that it will soon be safe for displaced Christians to return home. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Pray for the residents of a mainly Christian village in Borno state, Northern Nigeria, in the aftermath of a horrific attack by Boko Haram militants on 15 February. Ask for God’s comfort for the relatives and friends of the 106 people in Izghe who were gunned down and slaughtered in their houses or in the open as they tried to flee. Pray for strength for the numerous residents who were wounded or whose properties were looted and torched. Pray too for the many Christians who fled into the neighbouring state after the attack, and ask that the Christian community in the North of Nigeria will be preserved in the face of Islamist violence. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Violent attacks by militants from the Islamist group Boko Haram continue unabated in Northern Nigeria. On one horrendous day of violence on 26 January, at least 138 people were killed. A church in Wada Chakawa village in Adamawa state was targeted; the attackers locked the congregation inside and then detonated bombs, shooting and cutting the throats of people who tried to escape. They then went on a four-hour rampage in the village. Later the same day, Kawuri village in neighbouring Borno state was burned to the ground. Boko Haram is fighting to establish an Islamic state, and Christians are among its main targets. Pray that the Nigerian authorities will succeed in containing its insurgency. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Apr 2014 00:00

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