Africa (MNN) — From Sunday, May 25, to the following Sunday, June 1, the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram destroyed 43 churches in northern Nigeria and killed at least 30 believers. Bent on establishing an Islamic state ruled by Sharia law, the Boko Haram has killed over 12,000 people–mostly Christian–since it launched its insurgency in 2009.
The violent Muslim-Christian divide isn’t limited to Nigeria though, says Greg Kelley, the Executive Director of World Mission. “Nigeria is really a microcosm of the [whole] North Africa situation,” he notes.
The push for control of Africa from radical Islamic groups, like Boko Haram and al-Shabaab, usually costs believers their lives. According to Kelley, the nine African nations between the Atlantic and Indian oceans are “a 5,000 mile [wide] swath that is some of the most volatile areas in the world.”
Yet, this is the expanse World Mission targeted for their Coast-to-Coast for Africa campaign. What exactly is the Coast-to-Coast for Africa campaign? Find out here.
“We’re targeting the persecuted Christians, and we’re targeting followers of Islam to bring them to the knowledge of Jesus Christ,” Kelley summarizes. They’re asking you and your friends to pray for their efforts on two specific days: June 8 and December 31.
World Mission is timing its first call-to-prayer to coincide with the 2014 Global Day of Prayer (GDOP). GDOP began as a day of prayer for South Africa in 2000 and then expanded its focus to the entire continent of Africa. In 2005, believers from 156 of the world’s 220 nations united for the first GDOP.
This Sunday, “Pray for Christians who are living in this zone where Christianity and Islam collide in northern Africa,” requests Kelley.
Ask the Lord to strengthen and encourage persecuted believers. Pray that Muslim hearts will be softened and that they will understand the Gospel Truth.
“There’s no one more zealous for the Gospel than a converted Muslim,” Kelley says. “They are very zealous of their religion. They’re praying five times a day, they’re fasting; they have their pilgrimage.
“When a follower of Islam becomes a Christian, they apply that same tenacity to the Gospel, and they are amazing missionaries.”
Even hardened Islamic extremists, inarguably the most radical in their Muslim faith, can’t overcome the power of the Living Word.
“We hear accounts on a weekly basis of Boko Haram individuals becoming followers of Jesus because they’ve opened their heart up to it,” says Kelley. “As long as the heart is soft and receptive to the Word of God, God is going to do a work in that person’s life.”
Will you stand with us and World Mission in prayer this Sunday? Join the event we’ve created on Facebook, and then share it with a friend!
It doesn’t take much to realize June 8th and the Global Day of Prayer are appropriate choices for World Mission’s prayer initiative. But, December 31 seems to lack the same connection.
New Year’s Eve signifies the hope of a new beginning, Kelley explains. “Almost more so than any other place, we need to come alongside our persecuted brothers and sisters [in Africa] and just give them hope and encouragement that there’s something new, something better coming,” he says.
“We’re really trying to mobilize people around two specific dates where we can have an amazing impact in the continent of Africa.”