Barnabas Prayer Focus: Nigeria & Iran

September 2, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

Nigeria – Christians forced to flee from deadly violence

Nigeria deadly violenceChristians in Northern and Middle Belt states in Nigeria continue to be extremely vulnerable to violent attack. Thousands of believers were forced to flee their villages in the central state of Plateau after violence broke out on 27 June. Ten days of raids by suspected Islamist gunmen left more than 30 Christians dead in the villages of Magama, Bolgong and Karkashi, and other villages were also targeted. A Christian source in the country said that the total death toll may be as high as 70.

More than 100 houses were burned down, and 6,000 people were displaced by the violence and have taken refuge in camps in nearby towns. Although the authorities initially said that the attackers were nomadic Fulani herdsmen, a spokesperson later said that it was not an ethnic conflict and that most of the attackers were foreign.

Then, in the Northern state of Kano, at least 45 people lost their lives in coordinated bomb attacks on two churches in Sabon Gari, a predominantly Christian area. Four bombs exploded within minutes of each other as Bible studies were being held on the evening of 29 July.

Pray that the Lord will comfort all those who have lost loved ones in these atrocities, and ask the Holy Spirit to enable the bereaved to forgive those responsible. Ask the Lord also to meet all the needs of those who have been displaced and to make a way for them to return to their homes in safety. Pray that the violent influence of Islamist elements, both at home and from abroad, will be effectively countered in Nigeria.

Iran – Convert from Islam given ten years in jail

Mostafa Bordbar was arrested at Christmas 2012

Mostafa Bordbar was arrested at Christmas 2012

Pray for Mohammad-Hadi Bordbar (known as Mostafa), an Iranian convert from Islam to Christianity who has been sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment for his Christian activities. Mostafa, who is from Rasht, was charged with membership of an “anti-security organisation” and with gathering with intent to commit crimes against national security. As is often the case, these charges are pretexts for penalising a believer for his Christian activities.

A breakdown of the charges against Mostafa in court documents refers to his statement in court that he had left Islam to follow Christianity, his involvement in a house church, his work to translate and dub Christian films, and the discovery of 6,000 Gospels and other Christian resources at his home. Mostafa said in court that he considers evangelism his duty and has distributed 12,000 pocket-sized Gospels in Iran.

Mostafa was arrested at a house-church gathering in Tehran in December 2012. This is the second time he has faced legal penalties for his faith; he was arrested in 2009 and found guilty of apostasy. Although he was freed on bail, the apostasy conviction stayed on his record, making it difficult for him to earn a living.

Give thanks for Mostafa’s fearless evangelism in a strictly Islamic country. Ask the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3) to draw near to him as he endures being locked up for his faith. Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, has made some positive noises about the reform of civil rights in the country and has called on the government to stop meddling in people’s private lives. Pray for genuine moves towards increased freedom for Christians in Iran and that Mostafa’s conviction will be overturned.

– barnabas team

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