Monday, January 23, 2012

Latest from Nigeria

This is from a senior pastor.

Our friends,
We covet your prayers even more. At 3.00am this morning, I was woken up by a call from one of our members. Apart from the Kano bombings, BH invaded part of bauchi and Tafawabalew towns of bauchi state, just a little northeast of us. They approached the towns from 5 different locations. Eight of our members were killed. The 9th one died while being rushed to the hospital. most of this morning, between 3. am and 5 am were spent on the phone trying to find help. I had to call the military commandant through his superior officer whom I know personally. They organised and went. and by 5 00 am they had calmed down the situation.The people mobilised themselved and pursued the attackers. One of those caught is a Nigerian Policeman from far away Yobe the headquarter of BH. You may recal I said the President of nigeria had, in a broadcast said he had become aware that the Government has been infilterated by BH people. If the people did not rise to their defence the Christians would have been wiped out. I am rethinking Church history. I wonder why the Churches that were once strong got wiped out. Whatever thology one holds, now is survival that is seen as the best thing to do. Pastoral leadership at this time is very hard and tasking.As I said in previous communications, we now know that the Northern Muslims are using BH to fight for them. Some of the young persons caught this morning confessed to being sponsored by the M. elites.We had suspected that. Pray that the sponsore of these attacks be exposed and brought to book by the law. Pray that the law does not get compromised.We wait in hope and trust God.Now we sleep with one eye closed and the other opened.Lord, have mercy!!
Our eyes are on the Lord.

What do you do when your neighbour turns mad and starts to kill all your children? What would Jesus do? How do you love a person who never grew up with any love, and the good Christian for him is the dead one?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

From a Christian pastor in Jos, Nigeria

We send greetings today, January 20th this year. No body is still in 2011. We wrote early this year about the trauma of high petrol price. some of you call it gas. What we call gas here is different. Enough of digression. That was just after the Christmas bombing by Islamic religious sect called Boko Haram ( Western education is forbidden or evil). Of course one has to be illiterate to hate and bomb literate people in the name of God. Further studies and investiagtion is convincing many of us here that Islam in Northern Nigeria is different from Islam in Souhern Nigeria. Many of the Islamic countries are experiencing the same problem. A week ago we had to close two of our congregations in Damaturu in Yobe. This is further North. I had gone and just returned from that place and hell was let lose.The pastor was almost killed. Most Churches were burnt and property of Chrstians destroyed. Meanwhile Labour organised nationwide strike action to protest the oil price hike. Govement brought it down abit. From 141 naira to 97 as against N65. It is still very high for most Nigerians but better than N141. The naira has also been devalued so it does not make any difference. Not only has petrol gone up, food and everything else has gone up.The most devastating thing is the threats to our lives. One of our pastors was chased by a BH man on a morocycle and shot at 11 times but all the 11 bullets missed him. He called me from Borno in the night and asked me to thank God that he would have been wasted by 11 bullets. Many of our pastors cannot live in the pastors houses any more because of the threats to their lives. Because the security is also divided on religious line, it is more dangerous to trust any of them.The oil price hike is not as threatening as the Boko Haram. The king leader was arrested and while in police custody he was reported to have escaped. The President in a nationwide broadcast has said he now knows that his Government has beeen infilterated by BH people. He has suspended the Police boss. The Inspector general of the nation will lose his job if the BH man is not produced. But that is it. We know that it is the work of senior Muslims in the country who have a hand in all these. Their goal has been to islamise Nigeria by all means. We have had no choice but to ask our members to defend their families and not to allow themselve be killed like animals. We do not wan to go and fight. We will not take up arms but cannot see mad men kill sane people. We have encouraged congregations to set up vigilante groups and get bomb detectors.We are not dealing with human beings anymore but wild animals claiming to be working for God. No, gods. Our eyes are on the Lord. If we fold our arms and watch them kill us are we cooperating with good or evil? These are hard questions in a hard time..Thank you for praying for us.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

NIGERIA – Christians attacked after extremist ultimatum to 'leave or die'

Islamist extremists have launched fresh attacks on Christian communities after telling them to leave northern Nigeria – or die.

Violent attacks in three northern states last week left at least 30 people dead after Boko Haram issued a new year ultimatum for Christians to leave northern Nigeria in three days. The Red Cross reports that in some areas Christians are fleeing the region in response to recent violence, including Christmas Day bombings (Prayer Alert, December 28, 2011).

At least 21 people were killed in the town of Mubi in Adamawa state – where, on Friday, gunmen opened fire on Christians who had gathered to mourn three people killed the previous day.

Release partner Stefanos Foundation reports that gunmen raided the Deeper Life Church in Gombe city, Gombe state, on Thursday evening. Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reports that six people were killed, including the pastor's wife. Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for the attacks on Mubi and Gombe.

There have also been reports that gunmen fired on Christians leaving church in the Adamawa state capital, Yola, on Friday, killing several people – although precise details are not yet known. And CSW reports that two people died in a raid on a Christian compound in Damaturu, Yobe.

President Goodluck Jonathan, who has declared a state of emergency in Yobe, Borno, Plateau and Niger states, has just said that he suspects his Government and security forces include Boko Haram sympathisers. Christians fear that extremists' aim to split Nigeria along religious lines may heighten ethnic tensions between Christians and Muslims.

For more news and a country profile about Nigeria, click here

Chinese officials have announced that Beijing human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng is being held at a remote prison in Xinjiang province, north-west China. His brother, Gao Zhiyi, received a letter from the jail to that effect. ChinaAid reports that officials also announced that they had sentenced Gao to three years in jail for 'violating the terms of his probation'. Gao has not been seen since his arrest in February 2009, except for a brief reappearance in March 2010. His wife and children, who fled to the US, have had no confirmation of his condition or whereabouts.

To watch a BBC interview with our partner Bob Fu talking about Gao's sentence click here

(Sources: Agence France-Presse, BBC, China Aid, CSW, Reuters, Stefanos Foundation)

• Pray for wisdom and a firm resolve for all those involved in tackling the extremist threat posed by Boko Haram in Nigeria. Pray that Christians in the worst-affected states will 'rest in the shadow of the Almighty' (Psalm 91:1).
• Please pray for Release partner Stefanos and a project Release has supported that provides training on trauma counselling to children affected by the violence. The training takes place later this month.
• Ask God to bless, comfort and fill with His peace the family of Gao Zhisheng – including his wife Geng He, his children Geng Ge and Gao Tianyu.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

The Hurt Locker

Having watched it I wonder why I bothered. How did it win all those Oscars? Foul mouthed soldiers whose communication left me out. A lot of the time I could not understand what was going on in the narrative nor in the action. It was bitty in plot. I remember being critical of Saving Private Ryan but that was great compared with this. It communicated the horror of war and the frightening tension of bomb disposal. I have nothing but admiration for these bravest of soldiers. But I have no admiration for the makers of this film.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Metrical Psalms

Click on the title for Psalm 23 to The Bays Of Harris with beautiful photos of the island's coast.