Episode 96: South Sudan, Yemen, and Syria
Please pray for South Sudan, Yemen, and Syria.
You can help thousands of Christians in North Africa by supporting VOM’s Christmas Care project.
Nations highlighted for prayer:
Sudan and South Sudan appear to be on the brink of war as security in the border region continues to deteriorate. Sudan continues to attack and bomb areas along the border, including areas inside the new sovereign nation of South Sudan. The border region is home to vast natural resources as well as majority-Christian ethnic groups. “We are following this situation very closely as we plan projects and outreaches to respond to the crisis and encourage the persecuted church in the Nuba Mountain region,” wrote a VOM field worker. In early December, Christian aid organizations serving refugee communities along the border were forced to evacuate their field workers because of intense aerial bombing and shelling by Sudan. Members of AIM Air, who transport aid to the refugee communities, said the biggest obstacles affecting relief efforts are the bombing, shelling and fighting in Jau and Yidra, communities inside South Sudan. These regions are home to the largest Christian community in South Sudan and Sudan. More than 300,000 people have been displaced by the conflict, which began on June 6, 2011. Please pray that God will continue to sustain his people there.
Four of nine foreigners kidnapped in Saada, northwest Yemen, are still missing two and a half years after their abduction. Among the nine were a German doctor, his wife and their three children; a British man and his South Korean wife; and two German women. The six adults had been working as aid workers in a hospital in Saada. Three of the women were found dead shortly after their abduction, and two of the children were freed on May 17, 2010. The welfare and whereabouts of the German couple, Johannes and Sabine, their 3-year-old son, Simon, and the British man, Tony, are unknown. Those close to the situation are hopeful that the transfer of power from President Saleh to the vice president and the formation of a unity government will lead to a release of information about the missing foreigners. However, the political situation in Yemen has not improved, and protests and violent clashes continue. Pray that the missing four are still alive and that information on their welfare might be released. Pray for their families, especially for Johannes and Sabine’s 5-year-old and 7-year-old daughters, who are with relatives in Germany.
As Christians around the world prepare to celebrate Christ’s birth, Christians in the Syrian city of Homs are afraid to leave their homes. “Troops are surrounding the city, and people don’t go out of their houses, as they will get shot,” said a VOM-supported evangelist. Another VOM contact who lives in the city said, “Everyone is afraid of huge massacres and ethnic violence. There has been no electricity for a week and no fuel for heating. No one goes out because he will die. Really, it’s a terrible situation. Anyway, we trust that Emmanuel is still with us. Please pray for the peace of Christ to enter the hearts of the people in Homs.”
Since the Arab Spring uprisings that began a year ago and spread throughout the Arab world, attacks on Christians and churches have increased in North Africa. In Egypt, as in other countries in the region, Christians are considered second-class citizens. Today in the large Cairo suburb of Mokattam, Christian children work next to their parents, sifting through mountains of garbage in search of items that can be reused or recycled. The Christians in Mokattam, also known as “Garbage City,” serve as Cairo’s waste-disposal workers. A few months ago, in April 2011, these children and their parents were terrorized by Muslim extremists who raided their village, attacking Christians, burning houses and destroying vehicles and other property. Fourteen people were killed in the attack, leaving many widows and orphans.
For a gift of $25, you can sponsor a Christmas Care Pack for a North African child who lives in an area where Christians are persecuted. Each pack includes items such as clothing, toiletries and school supplies as well as a gospel storybook to help encourage children in their faith.