Headliners for the week of 26 February, 2021

Democratic Republic of the Congo’s 2021 death toll includes 100+ believers

Congo-Kinshasa (MNN) -- Nightly raids claim more than a dozen lives in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Officials blame the Allied Democratic Forces, or ADF, for this week’s violence. It’s the latest in a disturbing upward trend. Armed groups have killed more than a thousand civilians in the eastern DR Congo since late 2019. Voice of the Martyrs Canada’s Greg Musselman says this year’s death toll includes over a hundred believers so far. Ask God to move powerfully in this situation.

(KRAMER :18) Nightly raids claim more than a dozen lives in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Officials blame the Allied Democratic Forces, or ADF, for this week’s violence. It’s the latest in a disturbing upward trend. Armed groups have killed more than a thousand civilians in the eastern DR Congo since late 2019. Voice of the Martyrs Canada’s Greg Musselman says, (MUSSELMAN :05) “In 2021, we’ve seen mass attacks by these Muslim extremists.” (KRAMER :06) Over a hundred armed groups operate in DR Congo. Not all of them are Islamic, but those that are have one goal in mind. (MUSSELMAN :09) “These radical Islamic groups, even though they may have lost some of their control in places like Iraq and Syria they're doing whatever they can to cause destruction.” (KRAMER :03) The 2021 civilian death toll includes over a hundred believers so far. (MUSSELMAN :07) “They are targeted because they're Christians and it's a desperate situation for them. These are people who lost their families; whole families were killed.” (KRAMER :02) Ask God to move powerfully in this situation. (MUSSELMAN :23) “It does get a little bit discouraging at times [but] let's not lose hope. We pray and we ask God to protect them, and we believe that He can. Part of my work with the Voice of the Martyrs is having seen how God has protected believers. We can't lose track that God is ultimately in control. It maybe doesn't feel like it, but He is in control.”

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(MUSSELMAN :07) “And there's eternity at stake here. That's why we continue to spread the Gospel, our time on earth is very short.”

Call to action

  • Pray that the peace of Christ will fill the hearts of people in DR Congo.
  • Pray for believers’ protection and safety.

Persecution or reform: what’s going on in Sudan?

Sudan (MNN) -- Ominous signs surface in Sudan despite promises of religious freedom and reform. Todd Nettleton with The Voice of the Martyrs USA says at least nine church buildings have been torched in the two years since a transitional government took the helm. A Christian youth leader who spoke out against the arson was kidnapped on Friday. Masked men thought to be national security beat this leader and threatened to kill him. Ask the Lord to encourage Sudanese Christians and remind them of His presence and strength.

(KRAMER :13) Ominous signs surface in Sudan despite promises of religious freedom and reform. At least nine church buildings have been torched in the two years since a transitional government took the helm. Todd Nettleton with The Voice of the Martyrs USA says, (NETTLETON :11) “The good news is it's not the government attacking churches. At the same time, it shows there is a long way to go in Sudan for Christians to feel safe and to feel free to practice their faith.” (KRAMER :18) A Christian youth leader in Sudan who spoke out against the church burnings was kidnapped on Friday. Masked men thought to be with national security beat this leader, and threatened to kill him if he kept speaking out. Believers worry that persecution continues under the transitional government, even though it promoted religious freedom on the world stage. (NETTLETON :08) “Two or three years ago, we were reporting stories of the government reclaiming church properties and bulldozing church buildings.” (KRAMER :07) Support Sudanese Christians through VOM USA at our website. Find prayer requests there, and keep an eye on the headlines. (NETTLETON :11) “Watch the transitional government. As we get closer and closer to when those free and fair elections have been promised, will they allow a civilian-elected government to take control?”

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(NETTLETON :10) “Some of the people in key positions are holdovers from the regime of Omar al Bashir. When push comes to shove, will they actually step aside?”

Call to action

  • Ask the Lord to encourage Sudanese Christians and remind them of His presence and strength.
  • Pray for the protection of believers and church buildings.
  • Pray the transitional government will uphold religious freedom.

Central African Republic approaches ‘failed state’ status

Central African Republic (MNN) -- The United Nations calls for more security forces and humanitarian aid as the Central African Republic reaches a critical tipping point. Fighting flared following the December elections, forcing more than 200,000 people to flee. Instability drives food prices sky-high, leaving believers who remain in the country without a next meal. Send help through World Mission at our website. Pray people will see the love of Christ as believers help those in need.

(MORRIS :09) The United Nations calls for more security forces and humanitarian aid as Central African Republic reaches a critical tipping point. World Mission’s Greg Kelley says, (KELLEY :22) “When you're that dependent on one supply line and these rebel groups are cutting it off, and your only protection is the presence of the UN, that's not a very good spot to be at. Out of 189 countries that the UN Human Development Index rates, CAR is rated at 188. It's on route to becoming a failed state.” (MORRIS :05) Fighting flared following December elections, forcing more than 200-thousand people to flee. (KELLEY :30) “Over 80% of the country is outside of the control of the government and you get an utter dependency upon the UN for any sense of stability. There's a real push from the northern countries who have a very Islamic agenda; they're pressing that into CAR, trying to capitalize on the vulnerabilities that the state has from a government standpoint. All these rebel groups are heavily motivated by Islamic agendas and they're causing chaos.” (MORRIS :02) Send help in Christ’s name through World Mission. (KELLEY :02) “If we don't respond, people are going to be dying.”

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(KELLEY :02) “It’s a survival issue; we're at that point right now.”

Call to action

  • Pray for churches as they encourage thousands of displaced Christians.
  • Pray Christians in remote areas will gain access to Bibles.

Nigerian Christians attacked every Sunday in February

Nigeria (MNN) -- Violence against Christians continues unabated in northern Nigeria. Believers were attacked every Sunday this month. Fulani herdsmen led the charge in most cases. They’re now the biggest threat to Nigerian Christians, surpassing Boko Haram and the Islamic State. A Deaf Nigerian Christian helped by DOOR International says Deaf people are often the last to know about pending attacks. At our website, the leader describes a Deaf Christian who came face-to-face with Boko Haram and survived.

(KRAMER :09) Violence against Christians continues unabated in northern Nigeria. Attackers burnt down a church and two homes in Kaduna state on Sunday. More from MNN’s Katey Hearth: (HEARTH :65) “Christians throughout northern Nigeria were attacked every Sunday this month. Fulani herdsmen led the charge; they’re now the biggest threat to Nigerian Christians, surpassing Boko Haram and the Islamic State. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom describes Nigeria’s Islamist extremists as “some of the deadliest and most formidable groups in the world today.” Through an interpreter, I spoke to a Deaf Nigerian Christian helped by DOOR International. He says Deaf communities know about these jihadist groups and the threat they pose. However, if word gets out about a pending attack, Deaf people are often the last to know. At our website, you can read the account of a Deaf believer who came face-to-face with Boko Haram and survived. The Deaf leader I spoke to says DOOR helps them with church planting and evangelism work throughout Nigeria. They have Deaf church planters in nearly every part of the country – except the north. Pray for DOOR and its local Deaf partners as they brainstorm ways to safely reach this region. Pray they can reach Deaf people who face these threats without the hope of Christ. Katey Hearth, Mission Network News.”

Call to action

  • Pray for DOOR and its local Deaf partners as they brainstorm ways to safely reach Deaf communities in northern Nigeria.
  • Ask the Lord to prepare Deaf hearts to receive the truth and hope of Christ.

Texas power grid overwhelmed by winter storm

USA (MNN) -- Unexpected freezing weather in Texas last week led to an overload of the electrical grid. Millions lost power for days, and roads were closed to due ice and snow. Many have had power restored, but half the state remains under a boil-water advisory after pipes froze and leaked. Sammy Tippit of Sammy Tippit Ministries lives in a highly affected area. “The first day, we would have maybe 30 seconds or one minute of electricity, and then you would have hours without it. And of course, the ice and the snow came in. So they closed many of the road systems down. And on our side of town, everything was closed, nothing was was open, no grocery stores, no gas stations, no anything. So you were basically stuck in your house with no electricity, no heat,” Tippit says Texas is the most energy-independent state. But this storm should be a reminder of dependence on God, and the need for revival. Next week, Sammy Tippit Ministries will be co-sponsoring a conference called Heart Cry for Revival. “I don't believe that it's any accident that we're having this next week, with the pandemic having been for one year now. And this whole thing with this weather condition across the nation, I believe the Lord is trying to speak to our hearts.” Learn how to join this conference at mnnonline.org.

Call to action

  • Pray electricity and water will be restored to people in Texas, and that Christians will come to the aid of those in need.
  • Consider participating in the Heart Cry for Revival Conference this week.