Can you imagine ten-year-old Philip* running for his life as jihadists killed his father by the roadside? It’s even harder to picture this scene, knowing that this attack happened just days after Philip’s family fled their home, when jihadists came to kill Christians like them.
I wish I could tell you that this terrible attack on Philip’s father, pastor Daniel,* is an isolated incident in Burkina Faso. Sadly, this is not the case.
In this relatively unknown and poor African country, thousands of Christian families like Philip’s are being targeted, displaced and killed. And they urgently need our prayers and our support.
And in June, the government of Burkina Faso said that gunmen killed at least 100 people in their deadliest attack in the northern region. The BBC put the death toll even higher at 160.
According to our Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) Poland partners jihadists from Mali, as well as from Burkina Faso itself, are targeting pastors and priests, forcing churches to close their doors and meet in secret.
‘They want to kick out Christians.’ – said Susanna, from VOM Poland. ‘The jihadists come looking for Christians to kidnap or kill them.
The church in the centre and the south of the country is doing all it can to help displaced Christian families. They have opened their homes and are sharing their food and provisions. But, they thought this situation was going to last just a few months not years.
As numbers of refugees increase, they need our help to serve families like Philip’s who are on the brink of starvation and deeply traumatised.’
Philip’s parents, pastor Daniel and Halima, and his five siblings fled their village when they saw the jihadists coming. They found refuge in another town but soon they ran out of food.
That is why, a week later, pastor Daniel decided to go back to their home to get some food supplies he knew they had. He took Philip with him thinking that the jihadists had moved on.
But when they approached the village, the jihadists were still there, and they had been seen by them. When pastor Daniel saw that they could not turn back or hide he told his son: ‘Run as fast as you can and tell your mother that I am going to see Jesus today!’
Philip outran the jihadists. His father however, was surrounded, stabbed and shot. He didn’t survive. Thankfully, our Release International partners reached out to Philip’s family providing food and support for them.
Hundreds of grieving widows and mothers like Halima, in Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Sudan and the Middle East, and in other countries like them, are unsure about where their next meal will come from and are worried about the future of their children.
These words spoken by Philip’s mother, Halima capture the plight of these women who are trying to focus their prayers and their hope on God: “Please pray for me. Pray for my children so we may continue to believe in Jesus, and we may continue to have strength from Him.”
You can help provide food for displaced Christian families. Your gift of £30 can help them stay alive. Especially at this time, when the pandemic lockdown and persecution have made life really hard for many displaced Christians in Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Sudan and the Middle East.
What’s more your generosity can ensure that Christian widows can receive the support they need to start small businesses so they can provide for their children.
You can also help provide education for displaced children like Philip and his siblings. Your gift of £100 can help cover school fees for Christian children so they can make something of their lives.
Your past generosity has enabled us to support over 1,000 children already and your gift today can make it possible for more children to get the education they need.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the situation for bereaved and displaced Christians has worsened, as it is putting a strain on already very scarce resources. Your gift of £250 could provide a support package for 5 families in Burkina Faso, Nigeria, the Middle East or Sudan.
The timing is critical right now to provide emergency food kits, basic medical treatment and financial support to displaced, traumatised and bereaved Christians who are suffering for their faith.
You can give them hope. You can show them they are not alone. You can help them be salt and light in some of the world’s darkest places.
Serving persecuted Christians together,
CEO, Release International
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I pray today for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are being oppressed, persecuted and abused for their faith, just as Jesus was.
Comfort and give courage to all Christians who are experiencing physical harm, intimidation and death at the hands of their oppressors.
Our heavenly Father, thank you for welcoming into your arms all Christian martyrs who have given their lives because they refused to stop sharing the gospel and living out their faith.
Heal the hearts and minds of those who have lost loved ones because of persecution and restore them to full physical and spiritual health.
For those who persecute my brothers and sisters in Christ, I pray that their hearts will be touched by the wonderful faith of those they attack.
I pray also that they will open their hearts to your love.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord,
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