The tiny country of Eritrea ranks as the world’s tenth-harshest persecutor of Christians. Dire economic conditions and government oppression have earned that nation the title, “North Korea of Africa,” and its citizens have been fleeing the country for years. Eritrea’s official religions are Sunni Islam and three government-approved Christian denominations—Catholic, Orthodox, and Lutheran. Independent congregations are illegal, and evangelical Christians—who number slightly more than 100,000—are suffering. In 2017, more than 200 evangelical Christians were arrested—including mothers taken away from their small children. These believers endure barbaric conditions in concentration camps, where they are being housed in crowded metal shipping containers with no ventilation in extreme heat. Fikadu Debesay, a young mother of three, died in August while interned in a desert camp. Some believers have spent more than ten years in the concentration camps. Yet, “God is working mightily; the church is growing,” said an Eritrean church elder. Pray for sustaining grace for our brothers and sisters in Christ in Eritrea who suffer for the Gospel’s sake.
Although 82% of the population of Kenya self-identify as Christians, Kenya ranks 18th on the list of countries that are the worst persecutors of Christians. Kenya’s 10-15% Muslim minority is growing and becoming radicalized. The Al-Qaeda affiliate al-Shabbab, which is based in neighboring Somalia, has been attacking Christians in eastern Kenya. In August, three Kenyan Christians in eastern Lamu County were beheaded when they refused to deny Christ by reciting the Islamic prayer of faith. One of the men was Joseph Kasena, age 42, who was an elder in his church. In July, al-Shabbab militants raided a village and went door-to-door looking for Christians. Seven Christian men—all poor farmers—were brutally killed by the attackers. In 2015, al-Shabbab terrorists killed 148 Christian students at Garrisa University near Kenya’s Somali border, and in 2016, the same group of militants murdered 48 Christians in Lamu County who could not recite Quaranic verses. Please pray for special grace for suffering Kenyan believers and their families who endure torture and death for their faith in Christ.
(Photo from www.uscirf.gov)
Egypt is a deeply divided nation—even within the 95% Muslim population. While some Muslims there desire a secular state, many want Egypt to be an Islamic nation strictly ruled by sharia. The minority Christian population, caught in the middle of this national controversy, are being targeted; and currently Egypt ranks #21 among nations that persecute Christians.
In January, 18-year-old Hanan Adly Girgis, a Christian young woman who was planning her wedding, was kidnapped from her home at night. Her family is heartbroken because the police have done little to solve her abduction. It’s not uncommon for Christian young women in Egypt to be pressured—and even kidnapped—to become brides for Muslim men.
Also in the last few months, shootings of Christians by radical Islamists have increased in the Sinai Peninsula area of Egypt, and hundreds of Christians are fleeing the area. Please pray for God’s special grace for Hanan, as well as for her family, and for all the others who stand for Christ in Egypt, as their nation becomes increasingly hostile to the Cross.
Syria is currently ranked as the sixth worst nation in persecution of Christians. The situation there is very complex because of warring Islamic factions, and those who have left Islam to follow Christ face extreme persecution, including murder, kidnappings by ISIS, and forced slavery. Because of this, approximately 50% of the Christian population has fled the country, leaving behind their homes and businesses. The remaining Christians are conflicted about whether to stay or to leave. In Aleppo, the Christians who stayed are seeing extraordinary opportunities to reach Muslims with the Gospel. Bombs are exploding around their church, but one pastor said in spite of that, they are conducting mercy ministries to 2,000 families—half of whom are Muslims. Muslims are shocked to see Christians caring for them, which often causes them to abandon their prejudice against Christians. A pastor said, “I think God is giving us double grace.” Another believer said, “For the first time in history, Muslims are coming to us. The only thing we have to do is tell them the Good News.” Please intercede for special grace for our suffering brothers and sisters in Syria who are courageously following Jesus.
Since last July, Turkey’s President Erdogan has intensified his crackdown against tens of thousands of Turkish citizens—mostly educators, journalists, judges, military personnel, and especially Christians. Caught up in the crackdown is Pastor Andrew Brunson (pictured), a 48-year-old American from Black Mountain, North Carolina, who has been a pastor in Turkey for the past 23 years and is currently the pastor of the Izmir Resurrection Church. On October 7, 2016, he and his wife were arrested on vague “national security” grounds. They were held in isolation without formal charges and were not allowed to see a lawyer. Andrew’s wife, Norine, was released two weeks later, but Andrew continues to be detained. On December 9, Andrew was formally brought to court and charged with “membership in an armed terrorist organization.” No evidence was presented except the word of a secret informant, and Andrew was sent to a maximum security prison. Please intercede earnestly for God to give grace and a special sense of His presence to Pastor Andrew in prison and to his family who is working for his release.
Somalia has been on the list of nations that severely persecute Christians for more than twenty years. Not only does Somalia rank high for religious persecution, it also ranks as one of the most corrupt nations in the world. Its competing Islamic tribal groups are very robust, imposing harsh sharia law as their ruling code. In spite of Somalia’s claim that it is 100% Muslim, there are approximately one thousand Christians who are seeking to serve Christ underground. The Islamic terrorist group, al-Shabaab, continues to flex its muscles—most recently by killing two Somalian members of Parliament who voted to accept financial support from the West, calling it “an invasion of Christians into Somalia.” Furthermore, al-Shabaab extremists promote the beheading of Christians from village to village in their attempts to remove any vestige of Christianity. Please pray both for the Gospel’s advance in Somalia and also for Christians there to persevere as they follow Jesus in isolation, greatly needing fellowship and discipleship.
Saudi Arabia—the birthplace of Islam—is among the top dozen countries that persecute Christians and is the only nation in the world with an official policy that bans all Christian church buildings. The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice rules the country by the strictest interpretation of Islam, also known as Wahhabism. The Commission has 3,500 religious police who enforce strict Islamic laws on dress codes and dietary rules. These officers have authority to arrest violators and are assisted by thousands of volunteers who provide tips for arrests. Officially, every Saudi citizen is considered a Muslim, and apostasy is punishable by death, often by beheading. The Christians in the country—who number only about 4% of the population—are primarily migrant workers from the Philippines and India who meet in underground churches. In addition to forbidding public expression of any other religion, the religious police raid house churches. Recently, a house church was raided, and 28 people were arrested, including women and children. Please pray for sufficient grace for believers who follow Christ at great risk in this Muslim nation.
The tiny country of Eritrea broke away from Ethiopia in 1993. Now known as the “North Korea of Africa” and listed in the top ten of the harshest persecutors of Christians, Eritrea’s predominant religion is Sunni Islam. However, the primary agent of persecution has been the Marxist president, who claims to be an Orthodox Christian and who has ruled over the country with an iron fist for over twenty years. Dire economic conditions and government oppression are so bad that Eritrean citizens have been fleeing the country for years. The suffering for evangelical Christians—who number only about 128,000—has been horrific. It is estimated that somewhere between 1,000 and 3,000 evangelical Christians are in concentration camps, where they are tortured and housed in crowded metal shipping containers with no ventilation in spite of the extreme heat. Some believers have spent more than ten years in such camps! Yet, an Eritrean church elder recently said, “God is working mightily; the church is growing.” Pray for sustaining grace for our brothers and sisters in Christ in Eritrea who suffer for the Gospel’s sake.
The Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram, has dramatically escalated attacks on Christians during Holy Week. On Palm Sunday they massacred 71 believers and wounded 130 in the capital city, and 8 teachers have been murdered this week. Also, this past Monday night insurgents kidnapped 243 girls from an all-girls school, and only about 100 have been recovered.
As we celebrate the joy of our risen Savior, please remember to pray for grace, comfort and deliverance for brothers and sisters in Nigeria during this time of great need.
2013 PASTORS' CONFERENCE: VIRGINIA BEACH, VIRGINIA
- When: Friday, June 14, 2013, from 9 AM to 3:30 PM
- Where: Colonial Baptist Church, 2221 Centerville Turnpike, Virginia Beach, VA 23464
- Download or Print the Invitation with Agenda:
- Registration: There is no charge for this conference, however we ask that you register to let us know of your plans to attend. You can do so by using the link in the above Agenda or by clicking the "Sign Up" button below. Attendees are responsible for their own meals and lodging. Coffee and snacks will be provided during the break.
- Recommended Hotels:
- The Founders Inn and Spa
- 5641 Indian River Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23464, 1.757.366.5700 or online
- Rates: use the rate code “FMI” to receive the discounted nightly rates for Colonial Queen or Two Queen Rooms below: Thursday, June 13: $105 per night + tax; Friday-Saturday, June 14- 15: $115 per night + tax (no booking deadline to get these rates)
- Hyatt Place Chesapeake/Greenbrier
- 709 Eden Way North, Chesapeake, VA 23320, 1.757.312.0020 or online.
- Two different options: Rate is based on availability at time of booking – so book your rooms ASAP. All reservations must be guaranteed with an acceptable form of payment. To cancel a reservation please do so by 3pm EST 24 Hours Prior to Arrival. Check-in time is 3pm. Guests may be checked-in earlier depending on occupancy levels and availability of ready rooms. Check out time is noon.
- Special Nightly Rate of $109 + tax for 1 King or $119 + tax for 2 Queens (using the special code: "G-FRNT" in the box labeled group/corporate #; or by referencing "Frontline Missions International room block rate"; rate available only if booked before May 13, 2013)
- Special Nightly Rate of $86 + tax (using special code "30857" online in the box labeled group/corporate #; or by referencing the "Chesapeake Churches Rate" on the phone; may not be available for any or all nights, as this is a general region rate)
- The Founders Inn and Spa
OTHER EVENTS HOSTED BY FRONTLINE IN 2013:
In 2013, Frontline Missions International will be hosting three Frontline Experience (FX) conferences in three different cities along the East Coast! Choose either a one-day conference in Virginia Beach or New York City or an extended two-day conference in Brevard, NC.
- FX-VB (Frontline Experience: Virginia Beach)
- When: Saturday, June 15, 2013, from 9 AM to 5 PM (check-in begins at 8 AM)
- Where: Colonial Baptist Church and Virginia Beach Theological Seminary, 2221 Centerville Turnpike, Virginia Beach, VA 23464
- More Details about Applying and Registration Fees at www.FrontlineExperience.org.
- Applications for this event are now open!
- FX-TW (Frontline Experience: The Wilds)
- When: Friday and Saturday, September 27-28, 2013
- Where: The Fremont Center at The Wilds Christian Camp and Conference Center, 1000 Wilds Ridge Road, Brevard, NC 28712
- More Details about Extended Conference and FX-TW Costs Available Soon (Breakout Sessions will include a special "Pastors' Track" at this event)
- Applications will open on July 1, 2013.
- FX-NYC (Frontline Experience: New York City)
- When: Friday and Saturday, November 8-9, 2013
- Where: The First Baptist Church in the City of New York, 265 West 79th Street (corner of 79th and Broadway, just steps away from the 1 train 79th Street station), New York, NY 10024
- Agenda for this event is similar to FX-TW. More Details about FX-NYC Available Soon. (Breakout Sessions will include a special "Pastors' Track" at this event)
- Applications will open on September 1, 2013.
The FX program is designed to equip spiritually mature, ministry focused individuals with the skills needed to minister in places where there is open and systematic hostility to the Gospel. If you have individuals or couples in your congregation who are interested in following Christ, making Him known, and accepting the risks of taking the Gospel to even the hardest places, the Frontline Experience is designed to help equip them for this pursuit.
Frontline Missions International • PO Box 829 • Taylors, SC 29687
(864) 451-5550 • firstname.lastname@example.org • www.FrontlineMissions.info