ONGOING ATTACKS IN NORTHERN NIGERIA
The global pandemic has not stopped Muslim militants from continuing their attacks on Christian villages in northern Nigeria. Workers from Voice of the Martyrs have documented attacks on 15 cities in Plateau and Kaduna states since Jan. 8, 2020. At least 86 people have been killed, 13 kidnapped and 24 injured in the attacks, and more than 400 families have had to relocate. In the most recent attack, on May 5, eight militants shot a pastor, his wife and their two children at their home; thankfully, all survived.
Nigeria is sharply divided along religious lines with a Muslim-dominated north and a majority-Christian south (there are more than 80 million professing Christians in Nigeria). Foreign missionary activity in the Muslim majority north has declined significantly over the past 10 years as a result of the emergence of the Islamic militant group Boko Haram. Although Boko Haram appears to have weakened in the northeast, it is believed to be the source of increasing attacks on Christian villages by a group of militant Fulani herdsmen, a tribe known for its adherence to strict Islam. Muslims in the north want to create a separate country governed by Sharia, or Islamic law, and those in the middle states, such as Kaduna, Plateau, Benue and Abuja, are strategic in the battle. The terrorist groups want to drive Christians out of these mixed states and continue their push for an Islamist nation.
Nearly all Christians in northeastern Nigeria have lost family members in attacks by Boko Haram or Islamic Fulani militants. Entire congregations have been displaced, and many pastors have been forced to leave the region. Being active in the church looks much different than it did 15 years ago. Today, it takes great courage and faith to openly worship and serve Christ. Thousands of Christians remain in camps designated for internally displaced people. With few schools able to function because of the violence, families are concerned about their children’s education. Life is a constant struggle, and in some places it’s even difficult to find food.
Pray for believers recovering from attacks. Pray for believers who are disowned by their Muslim families and ostracized by their communities. Pray for Fulani evangelists who bring the Gospel to their fellow tribesmen at great risk. Pray for Christian widows whose husbands were killed by Boko Haram.
– Voice of the Martyrs
LOCUSTS, DISEASE AND FLOODS IN EAST AFRICA
Ethiopia. Before COVID-19 arrived in East Africa, Ethiopians were – and still are – fighting one of the worst desert locust plagues in modern history. Now, severe flooding is decimating any crops that survived the locusts.
One-third of all Ethiopians live in severe poverty, existing on less than two dollars a day. Natural or man-made calamities often hit these communities the hardest. According to USAID, some 8.5 million Ethiopians need emergency food assistance. Another half-million to one-million people will need food aid in the coming month due to COVID-19 and locusts.
Kenya. The coronavirus could not have come at a worse time for Kenya’s rural communities. Kenyan farmers were already struggling with the massive locust outbreak and food supplies have been dangerously low. And with everyone shut in their homes, people cannot go to work or make money to buy what little food is left. The food that is available is also marked at higher prices.
One ministry leader in Kenya asks us: “Pray for the people. Their economic livelihoods are at stake for many of them. They can’t get to their jobs. They can’t get paid. I know many of the people we know in Kenya are being laid off from their jobs. Also, pray that this would be a great time to share the love of Jesus Christ. Pray for them to reach out to their neighbors to increase the body of Christ. Pray for Kenyans, that they would really see the hope and the light of Jesus Christ at this time.”
Along with prayers for Ethiopia and Kenya, please remember other countries in East Africa that are dealing with locusts, coronavirus and other major issues. Pray for the Lord’s merciful intervention and for His provision for the people.
– mnnonline.org, Information by permission of Mission Network News.
FOOD SHORTAGES IN NORTH KOREA
Because of the cases of coronavirus in neighboring China, North Korea closed its borders in January. A growing concern is that the border restrictions and conditions in the country will result in greater food shortages, and possibly even another famine similar to the one in the 1990’s in which some estimate up to 2-3 million people died.
Pray that goods will be available to the people and that famine will not return. Pray that North Koreans will be able to cross into China to reach aid from organizations such as Open Doors. Pray that the North Korean government will accept international aid. Pray also that the regime will open their hearts to see the truth of Jesus and His love – and that His love will lead them to care for the millions of people living under starvation and persecution. Pray the Lord’s protection on believers.
PRAYER FOR ISRAEL
In May, Israel officially formed a government after three divisive elections and 17 months of political chaos. According to the power-sharing deal, Benjamin Netanyahu will continue service as prime minister for the next 18 months before being replaced by Benny Gantz. These two had battled each other in three inconclusive elections until announcing they are putting aside their rivalry to form an “emergency” government to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. The timing of the government deal is important to Netanyahu in his effort to annex Jewish communities in the West Bank – Israel’s biblical heartland.
Pray for wisdom for this government as the leaders seek to deal with the coronavirus crisis and make important decisions regarding their country, such as the controversial annexation. Pray also for breakthroughs for researchers and innovators in Israel who are working to provide solutions for COVID-19. And pray for Israel’s elderly citizens who are especially vulnerable during this time.
– CBN News and CBN Israel
Continue to pray as well for the hearts of the Jewish people to be opened to the salvation that is in Jesus the Messiah. “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved” (Rom. 10:1).
As we continue to face the crisis with the coronavirus, let us, as God’s people, continue to humble ourselves, pray, seek His face and turn from our wicked ways, that He may hear from heaven, forgive our sin, and heal our land (2 Chr. 7:13-14).