Monthly Archives: January 2014

Christian Convert in Algeria Risks Loosing Daughter for New faith

Source: Persecution.org

A Muslim woman in a northern Algerian city wants a divorce from her husband because he has converted to Christianity. She left him 6 months ago when she found out about his new faith and has refused to let their daughter see her father.

A court in Algeria has told Ali Touahir, a recent convert to Christianity, that he should renounce his faith if he wishes to reconcile with his wife and be reunited with his 7 year old daughter.

When asked if he would be prepared to renounce his Christian faith and return to Islam, Mr Touahir replied,

If there is a change, it would be in my heart, which neither you (the judge) nor my wife can see or understand. My faith in God is personal; this is a matter between me and God alone.

Let us pray:

Father, please strengthen Mr.Touahir right now. May You be speaking to him day and night. Pour out Your love for him. Give him Your peace and comfort and presence in this difficult situation. Soften the hearts of his wife and family towards him. Draw them to Yourself too. May he find fellowship with other believers that will encourage him at this time. Thank you for his willingness to follow you even though it comes at a personal cost. Bless him with your abundant goodness.

History Makers leadership training

A North African pastor writes:

God continues to give us the opportunity to train young potential leaders in and from North Africa. From 29 January to 2 February we are hosting leadership training called History Makers.

Young North African believers will gather from various North African nations to take part in this training. They request prayer for:

  • Protection and wisdom for those who are hosting and attending
  • Anointed teachers and hearts and minds open to learn and grow
  • Humility in those who receive the teaching and a willingness to take it back and apply it in their lives and ministries.
  • Safety and good health
  • More doors to be open in North Africa

Rural Exodus in Mauritania

Source: irinnews

For decades in the Sahel, working-age men have left their rural villages to find work in regional towns or capital cities, returning to plant or harvest crops when possible. Mauritania is no exception, but the phenomenon is particularly pronounced here, say several aid agencies, with village after village devoid of working-age men, a dynamic that is starting to have other social implications. The rural exodus has been “rampant” over the past 40 years, said Secretary General of the Ministry of Rural Development Mohamed Ould Aida.

Some of these social implications include children and adolescents dropping out of school; women picking up all the heavy labor of farming; and men taking on new wives in the city they have moved to and divorcing their first wives in the village. Mauritania has an extremely high divorce rate with many women having multiple marriages & divorces and children from all the various marriages.

The government and NGOs in Mauritania are trying to increase rural incomes and food security to encourage men to stay at home. How can you pray into this?
* Let’s pray for these initiatives to increase, multiply and be effective.
* Ask God to provide international assistance for the nation of Mauritania, and pray that the projects will help the communities to become self-sufficient.
* Drought will interrupt the success of these programs forcing men to once again go looking for other income, so let’s ask the Creator God to send the blessing of rain on Mauritania.

Human Rights and the Moroccan Church

Source: worldmag.com | persecution.org

Unlike many nations in the Middle East, there is no historic church in Morocco. There are Moroccan Jews and Moroccan Muslims, but no official Moroccan Christians. The Church in Morocco remains an underground house church movement. Praise the Lord there are indeed Moroccan followers of Christ!

In August 2013 a Moroccan Christian, Mohamed El Baladi, was arrested and charged for proselytising and inducing Moroccan Muslims to convert to Christianity. With unusual speed, his case was taken to court a week later, with no legal representation secured for El Baladi , and he was sentenced to 2.5 yrs in prison and fined a large sum of money.

However, international public outcry and many people’s prayers resulted in El Baladi being released a month later from prison while he awaited his appeal court case in October. Interestingly, 11 Moroccan human rights lawyers turned up at the October appeal hearing. Human rights advocates say that his conviction and sentence violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Human rights advocates were very public in their condemnation of El Baladi’s case, on radio and tv programs and in printed media.

Todd Daniels, International Christian Concern’s Middle East regional manager believes

the effective pressure from the human rights lawyers shows the importance of monitoring religious freedom: “The Moroccan government is sensitive about their international reputation, and so when they see that imprisoning someone simply because of their faith produces a response among the international media and draws government attention, it encourages them to allow for greater religious freedoms.”

But its more than just international intervention. I think its “a sign of the times” that Moroccan people (human rights advocates and lawyers included) are outspoken in their defence of Moroccans’ right to freedom of religion. Many Moroccans are pushing for greater freedoms. For the first time the Moroccan media has started referring to a “Christian minority” in Morocco. Is now the time for the Moroccan Church to start pushing for greater freedom? Can they ask for official recognition as Moroccan Christians?

How can we pray?

  • Let’s ask God to give the Church in Morocco wisdom, patience, perseverance, boldness, courage and discernment.

  • The outcome of El Baladi’s appeal case is expected on 6 February 2014. Let’s ask God for His intervention.

A prayer from Mauritania

> Worship the LORD your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. “I will take away sickness from among you.” (Ex.23:25) “If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God.” (Deut.28:1-2)

_Father, I ask for your blessing on Mauritania. Will You have mercy on Mauritania that the people of this country will turn back to you and bless this country, keep sickness away and give them food and water._

Source: Practical Prayer by Bennie Mostert, Jericho Walls, 2007, pg 27

Bearing Fruit

Photo: mralan

When Jesus told the crowds the parable of the sower from the boat, He distinguished between the different soils and emphasized that only good soil can produce a thirty, sixty or hundred fold crop. Then He continues about ‘hearing, understanding’, having a soft heart as prerequisite and called people who ‘hear’ the Word, blessed. (Mat 13:11-16)

The question which remains, however, is why the yield is different in good soil? Why will the produce sometimes be thirty, sixty or hundred fold? The answer lies in the presence, quality and quantity of five different components.

Nutrients

Good, living soil is rich in nutrients and has a Ph-level of about 6. Not too acidic or alkaline and well drained. A man can live on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord (Deut 8:3). It is living and active, sharp, can penetrate and judge attitudes (Heb 4:12). For that very reason and all the attributes of the Word written in Psalm 119, the apostle Paul advised to the Colossians to ‘…let the Word dwell in you richly’ (Col 3:16). It is therefore imperative to be submerged in the nutrients of the Word of God daily and to dwell upon it in order to produce a good crop.

Water

Constant and regular watering of the seeds is vital for a good crop. Ezk.19:10-11 refers to ‘thick foliage because of abundant water’. Jesus, the source of living water (John 4:10-14) is always available and free of charge, but we have to ask. To be constantly connected to Jesus, there will be a continuous flow of water to the soil of our also hearts, the leaves will always be green and never fail to bear fruit (Jer. 17:7-8). “….for he has given you the autumn rains in righteousness. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains …” (Joel 2:23-24) He provides it all!

Sunlight

Optimum sunlight is needed for optimum growth. ‘Many plants are known for their ability to track the movements of the sun by a process called solar tracking or heliotropism. Some plant species orient their leaves so they will be perpendicular to the sun\’s rays in the mornings and evenings to maximize photosynthesis, as the sunflower plant movie shows. The flowers of some plants also display solar tracking behaviour.’ A lack of sunlight can allow fungi to grow on the leaves and destroy the crop. Christians need to constantly keep our eyes on Jesus, the Way and the Shepherd and follow the ‘Son’ daily.

Removal of weeds

Very important, weeds need to be removed. In the book of James, Christians are encouraged to ‘wash your hands and purify your hearts’ and to ‘confess your sins to each other’(James 4-5) When Jesus washed the disciples feet and Peter wanted Him to wash his whole body, Jesus replied in John 13:10: ‘ A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet…..’ We all collect dust and sin which needs to be removed regularly.

Pruning

The dictionary defines this as ‘to cut off or remove dead or living parts or branches of a plant to improve shape or growth’. To produce a bumper crop, the branches that already bear fruit, need to be pruned!!!(John 15:2, 16) Although this is an uncomfortable or painful experience, it forms an integral and important part of the growing season.
Kinds of fruit

The Greek word for fruit is, ‘karpos’, which refers to works or deeds being the visible expression of power working inwardly and invisibly.
Fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22)

Good works:

  • Growing in the knowledge of God (Col. 1:10)
  • Confessing his name (Heb. 13:15)
  • Peace making (James 3:17)

Let us therefore strife to obtain ALL the components to unsure a hundred fold harvest of fruit that will last!

‘You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit- fruit that will last.’ —John 15:16

Pray for the King of Morocco, His Majesty King Mohammed VI. Ask God for protection over his life and his family. Pray that he will be surrounded by wise and godly advisors. May God give him discernment and compassion to lead the nation of Morocco well.

> By justice, a king gives a country stability, but one who is greedy for bribes tears it down (Prov.29:4)

> Remove the wicked from the king’s presence, and his throne will be established through righteousness. (Prov.25:5)

Desperate for the lost to be found

Photo Source: RealHistoryWW

Desperate for the lost to be found

A worker in North Africa sat in my living room with head in hands saying, “How long? How long do I have to work here before I see any fruit? I just want to see some fruit.” Having served in North Africa for 5 years, and faithfully shared the Good News of Jesus Christ, not one of their friends have made a commitment to Christ. We can all battle with our heart’s motivations. Do we want to see our friends come to Christ so we have a good story to share in our newsletters? Do we want to feel some measure of success as a result of our ministry? Its good to search our hearts. But deep down this worker’s heart, there is a longing for people in North Africa to meet their Maker, to know the Father’s unconditional love, to experience the grace and mercy of Jesus’ victory on the cross, and to have assurance of eternal life. “We just want our friends to meet Jesus!”, another worker said.

So we look to God’s Word, and turn it into a prayer. Will you join us today and pray this for North Africa?

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done in North Africa as it is in heaven. (Matt 6:10) As co-heir with Christ Jesus, I ask of you the nations of North Africa as an inheritance, because You promised the ends of the earth as our possession. (Ps 2:8; Rom 8:17) Your Word teaches that people from every nation, tribe, country and language were bought by the blood of Jesus. In front of your throne a multitude from every nation, tribe, people and language in North Africa will be standing, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. (Rev 7:9). Amen!
Source : Practical Prayer by Bennie Mostert. Jericho Walls 2007 pg.66,67

Praying for Casablanca

Casablanca is a huge, sprawling city that keeps spreading out further every year. Official statistics indicate the population is about 4 million people, but every local knows its a lot more. Shanty towns crowded with people are hard to count in the census. Most people say its likely to be closer to 6-8 million people. Its by far the largest city in Morocco.

This is the business capital of Morocco (the nation’s capital city is Rabat). Most major multi-nationals have offices in Casablanca. Its port is enormous. Trade, enterprise, economics are the foundations of this city.

The lure of the big city and the hope of employment draw many from within Morocco to move to Casablanca. But employment is not easily found and many find themselves living in shanty towns surviving on the smallest income made through any means available.

The contrasts of this city are easily seen. One can drive through the poverty of a shanty town to get to Morocco Mall, the nations first major Saudi-funded mall filled with all the international brands such as Starbucks, GAP, Louis Vuitton and Cartier. There is a lot of money in Casablanca too!

There are few workers in this city, and the national church is very small.

How can we pray?

  1. Ask God to raise up Kingdom business and open doors for workers in the business community.
  2. Pray that corruption, greed and the love of money will be torn down.
  3. Pray that those who are poor and needy will search for Jesus. Praise God that the Bible says that when people seek the Lord, they will find Him.
  4. Ask that the youth and next generation of leaders will not fall into the traps of materialism. Pray for those who are tired of religion and hypocrisy to begin to search for Truth and meaning in their lives.
  5. Ask that the Lord build His Church in Casablanca both in number, but also in unity, love, maturity, faith, boldness, and courage. May the Lord impart a vision for reaching this great city for His Kingdom to His church.

Watch a short prayer video on Casablanca

Libya on Fox News

By Perry Chiaramonte

Libya\’s recent edict that its coming constitution will be based on Shariah law has sent a chill through the North African nation\’s small Christian community.
Libya\’s Coptic Christians, who number about 300,000, or 5 percent of the population, were allowed to practice their faith under dictator Muammar Qaddafi. But since the strongman was ousted from power, and ultimately killed, Muslim fundamentalists have increasingly filled the power void. Last month, the national assembly voted in favor of making Koranic law, or Shariah, the basis of all legislative decisions, meaning Islam will shape all future banking, criminal and financial cases.

“Islamic law is the source of legislation in Libya,” stated the General National Congress in a statement released shortly after the vote was held.The emerging political and legal system\’s orientation, combined with the rise of militants in the oil-rich nation, has left Christians feeling like the promise of democracy in the wake of Qaddafi\’s fall has been broken.

“NATO went to war in Libya on the basis of a full democracy,” Patrick Sookhdeo, international director for human rights group, The Barnabus Fund, told FoxNews.com. “But what we have ended up with is a fractured government in which religious extremism of the worst kind has now taken over the government.”
“The concern is that this conflict has produced the exact opposite of a democratic government,” he added.

Sookhdeo adds that the recent legislation will have a serious effect on those in Libya who desire a fair and just society –especially those in the country who are not of the Muslim faith. The status and rights of women will have to be addressed in Libya\’s future constitution, analysts say.

Sookhdeo likened Libya\’s situation to what happened in Egypt after longtime leader Hosni Mubarak was replaced by Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood-backed president who in turn was ousted by the military after he was seen as pushing the nation toward Islamic rule.

“They [Christians] will not have full citizenship,” he said, referring to the recent ouster of Muslim Brotherhood backed President Morsi when his administration attempted to implement similar legislation.

Christian workers, including Copts who come from Egypt in search of work, have been targeted since Qaddafi\’s ouster in October 2011. Earlier this year, Libyan authorities reportedly released four Egyptian missionaries who had been arrested for proselytizing. A fifth Egyptian Christian, Ezzat Atallah, died while in prison. Their supporters say all they did was possess images of the cross for their own spiritual reflection.
The danger for Christians and other non-Muslims in Libya was underscored again last month when an American teacher was murdered. Ronnie Smith, 33, of Texas, who was teaching chemistry at Benghazi’s International School, was shot to death on Dec. 5 while jogging. The killing highlighted persistently tenuous security in the eastern Libyan city where U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens was killed during an attack on the embassy Sept. 11, 2012.

There were no credible claims of responsibility, but it is believed that Islamic militants active in Benghazi were responsible for Smith’s murder. It came after an Al Qaeda spokesman publicly called upon Libyans to attack U.S. interests everywhere as revenge for Special Forces snatching an Al Qaeda suspect off the streets of Tripoli last October.

Many have speculated that Smith may have been killed because of his Christian faith and how he spoke about it with Muslims and his students in Libya.
Sookhdeo said that the recent legislation could have a severe effect not only within Libya, but beyond its borders as well. He noted that Sookhdeo says that Libya’s southern border is under Al Qaeda control and arms are being filtered into Syria at an alarming rate.

“We have a potential regional problem,\” Sookhdeo said. \”And Christians and others in the Middle East have every right to want a free, democratic society.”
Persecution, violence, and even the murdering of Christians have been on the rise in the Middle East as of late.

In March 2012, Jeremiah Small, a resident of Washington state who was working as a teacher in Iraq, was shot by one of his students. The motive was not clear, but the pupil had threatened to kill him for his religious views a day earlier after a heated discussion broke out in the class. Just a few days later an another American teacher was killed in Yemen after being shot eight times by Islamic militants.

Joel Shrum, 29, was killed by members of the Supporters of Sharia — which also operates in Libya — who issued a message saying that the murder occurred, “as a response to the campaign of Christian proselytizing that the West has launched against Muslims.”