12 June 2020

“If anything happens to my pastor, I will not fear. I will take charge of Pastor’s work and serve the Lord!” This brave declaration was made by Samaru Madkami, aged 14, from Odisha State, India. He had good reason to expect his pastor to die, as Christians in their area face hostility and violence from extremists in the Hindu majority. Samaru’s father, a church elder, had received death threats.

Courageous young Indian Christian, Samaru, was murdered by Hindu extremists

But it was Samaru himself who was abducted and brutally murdered by the extremists, not long after he had made his courageous pledge. He went missing on 4 June and his body was found two days later. The gang who killed him also tried to seize a cousin of Samaru’s but, being older and stronger, the cousin managed to get away.

“Samaru was a passionate Christian,” said his pastor, recalling how the boy had energetically shared the Gospel with other young people and children in the village.

West African killing spree targets Christians

In Burkina Faso, jihadists killed 58 people in three separate attacks on 29 and 30 May. One attack was on a convoy taking food to a camp of displaced villagers, mainly Christians, who had fled previous jihadi violence. A survivor, who had been travelling in an ambulance, recalled how the attackers had left that particular vehicle alone, not because it was an ambulance but because the driver had shouted: “Forgive, forgive, we are also followers of the prophet Muhammad.” One of the gunmen turned to his fellows saying, “They have the same religion as us,” and the ambulance was left unharmed.

Pakistani Christian father in hospital after being shot by Muslim extremist neighbours

“We will cut you like a carrot”

“You are a Christian. Get out of this area, or we will cut you like a carrot or a radish.” This was the threat that two Muslim extremists would make to a Christian family who had moved into their neighbourhood in the Pakistani city of Peshawar. They harassed the family mercilessly, and then, on the evening of 2 June, they opened fire with a Kalashnikov. Three family members all suffered gunshot wounds.

Yes, we can do something to help the victims

These violent attacks on our innocent brothers and sisters, in three widely different countries, took place within a period of one week.Maybe we feel helpless to stop the violence, except by prayer to the Prince of Peace.

But we can give real practical help to the victims – the bereaved, the injured, the displaced, those who have lost their homes, their livelihoods, their breadwinners ...

"May God bless them abundantly" were the words of a young Christian widow as she collected food aid from Barnabas. Her husband died when the couple fled extremist violence in Burkina Faso

“I send my thanks to Barnabas Fund who hurried to our aid; although they do not know us physically, but they know us by the compassion of God.”

“There are people who are far away from us and who heard the news of our plight. And this news touched them to the point where they reacted quickly by helping us with the food that is here,” said Pastor Yonli, National President of the Evangelical Church in Burkina Faso at the distribution of food aid from Barnabas to Christian victims of violence earlier this year.

“I send my thanks to Barnabas Fund who hurried to our aid,” he said, “Although they do not know us physically, but they know us by the compassion of God. They sympathised with our pain, in prayer and in financial support. The bags of corn and rice you see are a sign of this compassion.”

In the last year* Barnabas Fund helped 26,000 Christian victims of violence and injustice in 19 countries, including Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mali, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand and Uzbekistan.

Your gift today to our Victims of Violence Fund will be used to bring hope and aid to those who have suffered so much, just for following the Lord Jesus.

£20 ($25; €22) could buy 100kg of maize in Burkina Faso

£46 ($59; €52) could buy 100kg of rice in Burkina Faso

* 12 months period to 31 March 2020