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Appeal – Families of Christian Martyrs

The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)

One of the things God has taught me recently is that He is the one who sustains us in every situation, even in the middle of this pandemic. He wipes away our tears and fills our hearts with joy. And not just our hearts, but also the hearts of our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ.

Today I want to share with you some news from the Stefanos Foundation in Nigeria, They are our ministry partners whom you have supported through your generosity and prayers.

You have blessed widows like Saratu Ayuba* (pictured), enabling her to provide for her seven children.

On a cold October night, her family woke up at midnight disturbed by the sound of gunshots nearby. She gathered her children quickly and ran into the kitchen to hide.

Moments later Boko Haram broke into Saratu’s house, shot her husband, and set the furniture ablaze.

As fires engulfed the home, she ran out of the house with her terrified children.

That night Saratu and her children lost their husband and father, their home and all they had.

Tired and traumatised they came to Stefanos Foundation.

And, thanks to the generosity of caring friends like you, they received prayer, trauma counselling and a financial gift.

Saratu said: ‘We are staying with my father and we are well. I appreciate your gift and your love and concern. Thank you! It’s my prayer that the Lord “will enlarge your tent.” (Isaiah 54:2)’

Will you pray with me that God will continue to protect Christian widows like Saratu and their families in these hard times?

And, will you send a special Christmas gift of £30 or more to Release International today to help persecuted believers like Saratu?

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‘But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” ’ (Luke 2:10)

Your compassion and your prayers this Christmas season can help to sustain Christians in Nigeria and elsewhere who are experiencing intense persecution right now.

The brutal killings of believers and pastors, the setting homes and churches on fire, destroying crops, machete attacks on children and more have devastated the Plateau State in Nigeria. For example, in 2018 far more Christians in Nigeria were killed in violence in which religious faith was a critical factor than anywhere else in the world; Nigeria accounted for 3,731 of the 4,136 fatalities: 90 per cent of the total.**

Families like Margaret Samuel’s*, whose home was burnt down twice, are crying out for help.

Margaret’s husband was killed by the Fulani militants in November 2016. He returned home from church before his wife, and the militants killed him on the doorstep of his own home and burnt the house down too.

When they heard the gunshots Margaret (pictured) and other women gathered their children and ran from their church to the neighbouring village.

For three years, Margaret and her children worked hard to rebuild their house. Then, in April 2020 at about 6pm, her village was attacked again. Mercifully, no lives were lost, but Margaret’s home was set on fire a second time and her crops were destroyed.

Thousands of persecuted families like Margaret’s need our help right now.

This Christmas will you reach out to a persecuted family like Margaret's by sending a special gift of £30, £100, or even £250 to Release?

Your generous gift could be used to provide much-needed food, medicines, and shelter to displaced widows and families of Christian martyrs, in Nigeria, Sudan, Burkina Faso, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India and other countries where the persecution of Christians is intensifying.

With your help, Stefanos Foundation and other Release partners can provide pastoral care and trauma counselling to adults, young people and children who have been deeply scarred emotionally, as well as physically.

Together we can bring ‘good news’ and ‘great joy’ to our persecuted and displaced brothers and sisters in Christ who need a special outpouring of God’s love in their lives right now.

Your generosity and prayers can be like a vessel through which the love that knows no bounds flows into the lives of countless persecuted Christians – putting food on their tables, smiles on their faces and God’s perfect peace in their hearts.

Please send the most generous gift you can securely online today by clicking the button below or by calling our office on 01689 823491.

With my deepest gratitude and warm Christmas greetings,




Paul Robinson
CEO, Release International

* Names have been changed in order to protect the identity of the people we serve.
** Bishop of Truro’s Independent Review for the Foreign Secretary of FCO Support for Persecuted Christians.

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A Prayer For Families of Christian Martyrs

Almighty God

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 Christians in countries such as Nigeria, Eritrea, Pakistan, Egypt and India where many are experiencing physical harm, intimidation and unjust imprisonment 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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