South Sudan--Christians Remain at Risk
VOM Canada, Middle East Concern
2 Timothy 1:7-12
South Sudan officially gained independence from Sudan on July 9, becoming a new nation. The secession follows a long history of violent conflict, including two civil wars between the largely Islamic north and the Christian and animist majority in the south. Christians, in particular, have endured severe oppression. Although many have expressed hope for a more peaceful future, it is clear that Christians on both sides of the new border remain at risk. Violence erupted in several areas in the months leading to South Sudan's independence. Government agents and Islamic militants looted churches and killed Christians in parts of South Kordofan state. Many are concerned that churches in Sudan may face further restrictions on freedom of worship if the government implements a strict form of Islamic law. As Christians continue to flee to South Sudan, it is also feared that believers who remain in the north may be especially vulnerable to violence, pressure and accusations of defaming Islam. Pray that Christians in both Sudan and South Sudan will continue to entrust themselves to Christ, knowing that he is sovereign over kings of the earth.
Nigeria--Maiduguri Christians Face Extremist Threat
Release International, Compass Direct News
2 Corinthians 5:18
Christians are fleeing the northern city of Maiduguri amid threats of further large-scale attacks by Islamic extremists. Most churches in Maiduguri have been boarded up and are under police or military guard as rumors spread that Boko Haram militants are planning a "massive attack" for the end of July. The widely anticipated assault would mark the two-year anniversary of the death of the group's founder, Mohammed Yusuf, who died in police custody. Church attendance in Maiduguri has reportedly fallen dramatically following a series of bomb attacks on churches there. Leaders of the Christian Association of Nigeria have advised churches to suspend or reschedule services, and several have changed service times to try to outwit potential attackers. Church leaders fear that this extremist threat could deepen the divide between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria. "This Boko Haram has to be dealt with before they plunge the entire nation into a very serious crisis," a church leader in Maiduguri told Compass Direct. Pray for the safety of Christians in Maiduguri, and pray that Muslim extremists will see that they can be reconciled to God only through Jesus Christ.