Gaza Baptist Church seized by Fatah

By February 7, 2007

Gaza (MNN) — Christians in Gaza are asking believers around the world to pray for them. Palestinian Authority (PA) police of the Fatah party have seized the six-story Gaza Baptist
Church building.

President of Open Doors USA Carl Moeller says, "They've taken it over as a military
out-post in their gun battle with the Hamas. This situation is just terribly tragic
because for so many Christians that remain in Gaza, this was their only bright
light. This was their hope."

That hope has turned to questions, Moeller says. "They're wondering what's becoming of
that building as it's now being used by the forces of the Palestinian Authority
and of course it'll make it a target for Hamas attacks."

Fatah
authorities forcibly took over the building, however no one was injured.
According to Moeller the Palestinians are losing a lot. "It's a six story
building that houses not only the church, but a mammogram clinic. On the ground
floor, there's a public library and then there's a hostel for people who are
visiting."

Pastor of the Gaza Baptist Church Hanna Massad is devastated. "He's seen the international
restrictions on the economy (which) has affected everyone. He's seen violence
tear apart neighborhoods and the sad reality is that he's reporting that this
moment, as the church has been taken over, is really the worse situation he's
gone through in Gaza."

This isn't
the first time the church has been targeted. Moeller says the library has been
burned three times.

Unfortunately, there's no hope in sight.  Moeller says in every sense, this is a civil war. "Half of the population of the
Palestinians support Fatah. The other half of the population supports Hamas. And, all of the
Christians are caught in the crossfire."

Despite all of the problems, Christians haven't lost their vision. "Their vision is
not to just survive. Their vision is to be the church in Gaza, to reach out
with hope and healing and the love of Jesus Christ to their neighbors and even those that persecute them."

A cease-fire was declared Sunday evening, but there was no indication it would be
any more successful than previous truces in recent weeks of factional fighting

Prayer requests:

  • God will protect Gaza's believers.
  • Believers will experience the power of God's peace. God will give Massad strength and wisdom to minister.
  • There will be no gunfire around the church building and that God will protect this building for His glory.

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