What Can We Do to Help Persecuted Christians Survive this Tsunami of Violence?
There have been attacks on churches and murders of pastors in Tanzania and threats by the Minister of Home Affairs to deregister churches who resist incorporating Shari'a changes to the Tanzanian constitution. Vicious attacks on Christian communities and bombings of churches in Nigeria by Boko Haram Jihadists. There have been beheadings of Egyptian Coptic Christians and Ethiopian Christians by ISIS terrorists, shouting "Allah Akbar". These are only some of the recent high profile examples of a relentless war against Christians intensifying in Africa.
Beheading Christian Students in Kenya
On Thursday, 2 April, Al-Shabaab Islamic terrorists murdered 148 people at Garissa University College in Kenya. Students who could recite the Quran in Arabic and answer specific questions about the name of Muhammad's mother, and other indicators, of whether they were Muslim, or not, were spared. Those who were identified as Christians were singled out for beheading. There are rising demands throughout Kenya for all Somalians to be expelled from the country.
Serving the Suffering
As a Mission serving persecuted Christians throughout Africa over the last 34 years, we seek to speak up for and provide practical help to Christians on the frontlines in Northern Nigeria, South Sudan, the Nuba Mountains, the Congo, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Burundi and Zambia, conducting Security and Survival Workshops, updating and expanding Security and Survival Manuals and other resources to educate and empower believers to be prepared and vigilant to resist and survive Islamic terrorism.
Security and Survival
I have given Security and Survival presentations at Mission stations, Bible colleges, to churches and communities, adapting the presentations and practicals for the particular congregations, missions, colleges or communities. We deal with what the Bible teaches, scenarios of potential threats, case studies of attacks on churches in the Nuba Mountains, Northern Nigeria, on churches and shopping centres in Kenya, etc. We take the people through practical strategies and tactics to prepare them for contingencies using multi-media and hands-on practicals. Switzerland is a good example of preparedness. If you want peace, prepare for war. Bad times are good for spiritual work. Our biggest enemy is apathy. Opposition can often make us stronger. When things are dark the light shines brighter. Amidst tremendous upheavals and violence, God's people are standing firm and persevering in Africa.
A Comprehensive Response is Needed
In addition to presentations at the Great Commission Course, we have presented Security and Survival Courses. We are developing a comprehensive strategy to help churches and colleges set up security ministries and provide practical hands-on training for farmers, families, congregations, missions, ministries, Bible colleges and vulnerable communities.
Learning from Hard Experiences
As a Mission of Christians from a military background, dedicated to serving persecuted churches for over 34 years, we have experienced ambushes, aerial bombardments, rocket and artillery fire, thefts, terrorism, capture and imprisonment. Utilising lessons learnt through these decades in conflict areas, we are offering training for Christians to be able to withstand and resist violent attacks and to survive in adverse circumstances. "A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished."
At this time of crime, violence, instability and increasing threats against Christians worldwide, it is necessary to be prepared. "For man also does not know his time; like fish taken in a cruel net, like birds caught in a snare, so the sons of men are snared in an evil time, when it falls suddenly upon them." . If we do what we can, then we can trust God to do what we cannot. "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the Faith and is worse than an unbeliever."
Evangelising in War Zones
We have worked amongst RENAMO freedom fighters in Mozambique, UNITA freedom fighters in Angola, SPLA soldiers in South Sudan and SPLA-N in the Nuba Mountains. We trained the Chaplains Corps and Medical Corps of South Sudan, provided Security training for Christians in many of these threatened areas, including Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan and Northern Nigeria. There is a desperate need for training and equipping Christians throughout Africa to be able to resist and withstand Islamic terrorist attacks. To this end, we believe that we can continue to save many lives and strengthen Christian resistance to terrorism with your practical help and fervent prayers.
You Can Help Us Save Lives
Any practical help that you can offer will be greatly appreciated. We need more people with the background and experience that can help conduct Christian Preparedness Seminars and workshops in the field. We need walkie-talkies with solar rechargers to provide communication systems for Christian workers in vulnerable areas, strong mosquito netting that can cover windows of churches and help resist grenade attacks, night vision equipment, binoculars, etc.
When Churches are Targeted
In just 5 years, 1,000 churches have been attacked in Northern Nigeria alone. Even in Kenya and Tanzania, which have majority Christian populations, churches are being targeted by Muslim Jihadists with grenade attacks. Churches are seen as soft and easy targets. It is not only churches which are being attacked, farmers in South Africa face ongoing terror attacks. Throughout Africa we are seeing even remote Mission stations and Bible colleges needing to erect high fences, install security gates and burglar bars, even on chapels, as a result of increasing crime and violence in their areas. We need to educate and train Christians to prepare for just such scenarios and provide them with practical steps and workable strategies that they can use to lower their vulnerability and prepare their people to react effectively to neutralise threats.
Fear God Alone
We do not fear Islam, or terrorism. We fear God alone. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Greater is He who is in us than him who is in the world (1 John 4:4). We are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus who loves us (Romans 8:37). "Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses." Nehemiah 4:14
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa
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