THE AID AGENCY FOR THE PERSECUTED CHURCH
IN THIS ISSUE
Christian education in Christâ€™s birthplace
Persecuted Christians far from home
New constitution gives hope to Christians
The Essential Guide for Helping Refugees
Freedom to Believe Patrick Sookhdeo
Muslims are not allowed to convert from Islam. Sharia prescribes death for adult male apostates and imposes other penalties on those who leave Islam. This book raises awareness of Islam’s apostasy law and promotes the case for its repeal. It discusses Islamic teaching on apostasy, the debate amongst Muslims and the treatment of converts. ISBN: 9780978714192 | Cover: Paperback | No. of pages: 176 | RRP: £8.99 | P & P: £2.00
Edited by Patrick Sookhdeo
Many Christians are forced by persecution to become refugees far from home, and they face immense challenges. Churches are increasingly providing support and guidance for them during the refugee application process. This manual is designed to encourage and facilitate this ministry by outlining the processes involved and providing recommendations for action. It can be used as both a reference tool for those supporting a particular individual and a training resource for groups of volunteers. ISBN: 9780991614523 | Cover: Paperback | No. of pages: 132
To order these books, visit: barnabasfund.org/shop. Alternatively, please contact your nearest Barnabas Fund office (addresses on back cover). Cheques for the UK should be made payable to “Barnabas Books”.
The paper used in this publication comes from sustainable forests and can be 100% recycled
Front cover: Children at a Christian school in Bethlehem supported by Barnabas (Photo credit: Raymond Dague) To guard the safety of Christians in hostile environments, names may have been changed or omitted. Thank you for your understanding. Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the New International Version®. Every effort has been made to trace copyright holders and obtain permission for stories and images used in this publication. Barnabas Fund apologises for any errors or omissions and will be grateful for any further information regarding copyright. © Barnabas Fund 2014
WELCOME FROM THE DIRECTOR
“The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord” (Proverbs 21:1, KJV)
ajor changes are taking place within our world today. Relations between and within nations are being transformed. Saudi Arabia, the centre of Wahhabism, has broken its links with Qatar, the centre of the Muslim Brotherhood. The other Gulf States have rejected political Islam and are now isolating any country, such as Qatar, that seeks to propagate it. Turkey is in turmoil. Egypt’s new constitution gives full equality to Christians and Jews for the first time. At the same time appalling conflicts are now raging in places such as the Central African Republic and the Middle Belt and North of Nigeria. The war in Syria continues unabated, but with the difference that Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States have put pressure on Qatar not to send in any rebel forces, nor to fund them, nor to arm them. Momentous changes are in progress as rulers abandon old positions and adopt new ones. How are we to understand what has happened? How are we to make sense of the changes in our world? The book of Proverbs gives a basic affirmation that the king’s heart lies in the hand of God: in other words, that
God is the supreme ruler of the universe and this world, that all rulers ultimately owe their authority to Him, that He will ultimately direct the forces of the nations. As the Church remembers the Ascension of Jesus Christ back to the Father, we need to remember that in Him the prophecy in Daniel 7:14 has been fulfilled: “[One like a son of man] was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshipped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” The risen Jesus invests His disciples with authority from God. The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church (Matthew 16:18), for Christ is with His Church (Matthew 28:20) and it is the triune God (Matthew 28:19) who will reign. We sing the hymn The Lord is King, a hymn of affirmation. In the midst of the appalling suffering that exists today, emanating from the confusion of authorities and earthly powers, let us be assured that it is our God who reigns over His suffering people and over this world.
God is the supreme ruler of the universe and this world; all rulers ultimately owe their authority to Him
Dr Patrick Sookhdeo International Director
Compassion in Action Training for ministry in wartorn DRC Spotlight The desperate plight of Christian refugees Living in Babylon How to handle unjust suffering
Analysis Violence in CAR: Are the Christians really retaliating?
Project Update A loving, Christian education for Bethlehem children
Newsdesk New Egyptian constitution, but Christians still targeted
In Touch Young Barnabas supporters reach out to persecuted Christians
COMPASSION IN ACTION
how barnabas £26,467 for radio station in Russia (US$41,779; €30,000) £1,685 for Bible institute in Egypt (US$2,801; €2,012) £15,466 for converts from Islam in Uganda (US$25,712; €18,465)
Hungry to learn
Evangelism without borders
Converts stand strong Sudanese refugees now have their own Bible school in Cairo
Christian Sudanese refugees in Egypt have had a disadvantage turned into an opportunity with help from Barnabas Fund. Having fled persecution in the Nuba Mountains in Sudan, thousands of Sudanese Christians sought refuge in the relative safety of Egypt. Unable to find sufficient work, many are very poor. But they do have time on their hands.
Radio is an invaluable tool to bring the Gospel across borders that might otherwise be closed. Barnabas Fund is enabling a strategically placed Christian radio station in North Ossetia, Russia, to bring the Good News to several troubled regions with Muslim majorities.
BARNABAS AID MAY/JUNE 2014
In seminars held in August last year 213 young converts were taught to abide in Christ. They were so fired up by what they learnt that, under the supervision of their local leader, they started holding open-air meetings and doing house-to houseevangelism, undaunted by hostility from Muslims.
Project reference 43-669
The political upheaval in Egypt demonstrated the commitment of the students. Often they had to commute through streets that resembled a war zone to get to the school. Now 28 students are in their second year, four of whom came especially from Khartoum for leadership training and will return there again afterwards. The church also provides a weekly free meal to all the Sudanese refugee members, paid for by Barnabas Fund.
Project reference 48-1139
A church in Cairo, whose membership includes over 650 Sudanese refugees, decided to tap into their potential and started a three-year Bible school to train them as future church leaders.
It is the only radio station in the region that is broadcasting Christian programmes non-stop, covering an area of more than two million people.
Barnabas’ annual donation covers most of the staff wages and other organisational costs.
Hundreds of former Muslims in Bufumbo, Uganda, who gave their lives to Christ are getting essential follow-up care to help them survive and stand strong in their new-found faith. Barnabas provided the funding.
A hundred married couples learnt about Christian home management and child rearing during three seminars. Afterwards many couples found that they argued less and were happier and stronger as families. Fifteen young people, whose Muslim parents refused them care after they became Christians, were enabled to continue with their studies thanks to Barnabas Fund.
Project reference 56-524
This radio mast is reaching many Muslims with the Gospel
The staff do not know exactly how many people are coming to Christ through the programmes, but some certainly are, and the numerous positive letters and phone calls from listeners are an indication that many are touched.
Support from Barnabas enabled this young Christian to attend nursing school
COMPASSION IN ACTION Your support is making a vital difference in the lives of persecuted Christians. They tell us it also encourages them and strengthens their faith, because they know that Christians far away care about them. Thank you for your prayers and gifts. Below and on the following pages are just a few examples of the many ways we have helped recently.
£479 for widow in Kenya (US$796; €572)
£1,262 for Christian school in Pakistan (US$2,098; €1,506)
£1,560 for pastor support in Central Asia (US$2,593; €1,863)
Home for dynamic duo
Transformed by Christian education
Not defeated by al-Shabaab
In their own home
A couple active in ministry in their Central Asian homeland needed a new home. “Rahmet” and “Nadira” were sharing a small flat with his non-believing parents, brother and nephew. It was hard for them to invite Christians to their place because Rahmet’s parents, the owners of the flat, did not like them to.
This Christian boy is learning to pray before he studies, eats or goes to bed
Christian parents in Multan, Pakistan, are seeing their children’s lives transformed through a Christian school that receives regular help from Barnabas Fund.
Thanks to the resources from Barnabas, Esther could start a business of buying goats and cows, and selling them on market days. With the profit she is able to buy bread for herself and her children. Esther is one of five Kenyan Christian widows who have received support from Barnabas to launch small businesses.
Project reference 00-345 (Victims of Violence Fund)
Esther Kikipiya’s life was shattered on 3 March 2013 when al-Shabaab terrorists gunned down her husband. He is one of many Christian victims targeted by the Islamist organisation in Kenya.
The children have become more proficient in the core skills of reading and writing, listening and speaking. They are learning English, which gives the children greater confidence and could improve their future employment prospects. They are also encouraged in their Christian faith by the teachers, which is having a positive impact on their spiritual lives and their families. A recent grant from Barnabas Fund paid for the salaries of four teachers and one assistant, furniture and books for 55 students. Without this support many of the children’s parents, who experience discrimination for being Christian, could not afford to send their children to school.
A grant from Barnabas covered their rental costs for a year. This gave them a base from which they could freely organise their full-time church work. It also gave them a place to rest and spend time with their two children. During the year Rahmet and Nadira visited church leaders around the country teaching them in seminars, discipled recent converts, prepared young church members in eight towns to serve the church and community and organised several youth camps.
Project reference 00-477 (Pastors’ Support Fund)
Start-up capital from Barnabas Fund has given a Christian mother of three in Kenya a means of survival after disaster struck.
Project reference 41-893
Barnabas has helped Christian widows in Kenya to start small businesses
In a context where the government controls and suppresses Christian activity, the couple’s work is said to have “strengthened the church locally and nationally”.
BARNABAS AID MAY/JUNE 2014 5
COMPASSION IN ACTION
Walk to freedom “I haven’t seen that for two years,” “Wasim”, an emaciated Syrian Christian, told “Ibrahim”, one of his liberators, who organised the distribution of aid from Barnabas. He was talking about a cucumber he had just been given.
Wasim was one of a group of Christians who had managed to escape the besieged part of Homs in February after two years of virtual imprisonment by rebel forces. Their escape was facilitated through the tireless intervention of Ibrahim, whom Barnabas Fund supports.
After some false starts due to the rebels not keeping to their word, many Christians managed to get out through an underground tunnel system on 10 February. Two days later, another 21 escaped through a similar route, having to crawl through parts of it. As many were elderly, it was a slow and arduous process.
Daily phone calls
Towards the end of the two years the entrapped Christians were coming increasingly close to starvation and despair. (For more background on their time under siege, see page 14.) Daily phone calls from Ibrahim, which were filled with messages of reassurance and encouragement, helped to make this terrible time endurable for them.
In January, Ibrahim phoned them with the hopeful news that the rebels had agreed to their release. He explained to them what route to take and how best to prepare for the escape.
Ibrahim welcomed all who got out and tried to reunite them with their families. Soon after, he visited some who were in financial difficulties and provided them with aid from Barnabas Fund.
Over 35,000 Christians in Syria are receiving food and other aid from Barnabas Fund every month
£17,728 for aid for 100 Christian families in Homs, Syria (US$29,241; €21,000)
Project reference 00-1032
Slipping through the red tape In the face of increasingly harsh religion laws, Christian children in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are still receiving a beloved Christian children’s magazine thanks to Barnabas Fund. “The journal is fun, colourful and at the same time very rich in content,” writes a Christian man in Kazakhstan. It “helps children and adults in their first steps of spiritual life”. Written in their own language and using content from their own culture, the magazine aims to build up their faith in an accessible and interactive way. It is almost a miracle that the magazines are still reaching Christian children. Laws that already greatly restricted the availability of
BARNABAS AID MAY/JUNE 2014
Christian literature have been tightened even further in recent years. As a consequence, Christians in Kazakhstan are forbidden to hand out the magazine to people they do not know. Thankfully, the staff are still able to post the magazine to a mailing list and use it in children’s camps. Barnabas funds the translation and adaptation of the magazine into Kazakh, Kyrgyz and Bulgarian. We also pay for the production costs of the magazines so that the children can get six annual issues at no or very little cost.
Christians of all ages in Kyrgyzstan enjoy reading the Christian children’s magazine
£39,561 for children’s magazine (US$;65,737 €44,400)
Project reference 80-664
COMPASSION IN ACTION
transforming lives Healed to minister
Most of the participants minister specifically to rape victims
“I had a broken heart and felt wounded from fear… I imprisoned many people in my heart. When I released everyone, the chain that bound my heart fell off and I felt free, ready to dance, sing and do anything God asked me to do.”
Irene, a trainee
Over 200 pastors and leaders in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) received lifechanging training, which was funded by Barnabas, on ministering to victims of violence, with a focus on sexual abuse cases. Many came away not only with new pastoral skills but also with personal healing and a reinvigorated outlook on life.
The circumstances under which the pastors are working are traumatic. Eastern DRC, the area where many are ministering, has been ravaged by years of brutal fighting between the Congolese army and various rebel armies. The leaders have
witnessed how their congregations were caught up in the violence and how a staggering number of women were – and continue to be – targeted for rape. Many pastors have had to flee to safety alongside their congregations.
“raised from the dead”. Another said, “I give God thanks. I am now feeling fresh air waving on me – even blowing on my heart. I am feeling good now and my hope is now with Jesus.”
Some were so burdened by the horrors they had witnessed that were considering leaving the ministry. “The past month we were all like dead bodies,” one of the trainees said. “I was carrying a heavy burden.”
Many are now determined to use what they learnt to minister to their churches and communities. “I want to teach this to the whole church,” Jaques said enthusiastically. And Japhet added, “The teaching has lifted the church up. We can walk together now. We have to take the message to others.”
“Raised from the dead”
In the course they learnt about the deep spiritual issues surrounding trauma and forgiveness. They learnt how to pray with those affected as well as offer practical help. And they were prayed for themselves. The teaching and prayer made a great impact. Some felt released from their burdens, while others were healed from physical ailments. Two pastors testified that spiritually they had been
£20,000 for training in trauma counselling (US$33,234; €23,875)
Project reference 92-1086
BARNABAS AID MAY/JUNE 2014 7
God’s elect, scattered exiles Christian refugees suffering far from home
Imagine for a moment that you are a Christian in Syria. You are surrounded by horrific violence and in dire need of basic essentials. Your Christian community is a deliberate target for Islamist militants, and your family members and friends may have been kidnapped or murdered. You are vulnerable, unprotected and desperate. What would you do?
aced with this nightmare, around 600,000 Syrian Christians have fled their homeland, among two million Syrians who have sought refuge in other countries. These conflict victims form part of a global population of 15.4 million refugees.1 Official figures record a further 28.8 million people who are displaced within their own countries, although the actual total may be much higher. It is feared that if the migration of Christians from Syria continues, the country could become another Iraq. Since 1990, three-quarters of Iraq’s Christians have left the country, escaping hostility and targeted violence. Some fear that the Church could be wiped out from both Syria and Iraq. Persecuted Christians in Syria and many other countries must often make a painful choice between remaining in their homeland and fleeing abroad. This article examines the pressures that force our brothers and sisters to make this choice, the prospects facing those who flee and the reactions of the governments to whom they turn for asylum.
Why do Christians become refugees?
In many countries, Christians suffer violence, harassment and discrimination because of their faith in Jesus. Converts from Islam are particularly at risk and may face harassment, social exclusion, violence and even death at the hands of family members, neighbours, employers or the authorities. Christians may also be badly affected by war, unrest or natural disaster.
Barnabas Fund supports displaced Christians in Syria and Syrian Christian refugees in other countries with food and other essentials
For example, being falsely accused of blasphemy changes the lives of Pakistani Christians forever. Even if they are acquitted and released, they remain in constant danger of attack. Farrukh Gill was forced to flee with his family after he was falsely accused of writing blasphemous letters and burning pages from the Quran. He was arrested and tortured by the police, and continued to receive threats from Islamists even after he was finally acquitted. After he and his family fled Pakistan, Farrukh wrote: “Although by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we have been released, the death threat to me and Dad The term “refugee” is used for a person who has left their own country. In this article, the term “displaced” is used for a person who has left their home but who is still within their own country
BARNABAS AID MAY/JUNE 2014
and our family is still present. We as a family are so worried about our future. We have lost our jobs; we have lost our home… despite all these problems we have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ who has saved us from the most difficult situation one could ever face.” Farrukh and his family now live in a Barnabasfunded safe house in another country. Since December 2012, when an Islamist uprising began in the Christian-majority Central African Republic, more than a million people have been displaced by violence in the country.2 Thousands of Christians have fled, many of them to neighbouring countries. They may face desperate living conditions, where disease is rife, and annual food shortages in the region are set to compound their suffering. Barnabas Fund is providing emergency food rations to displaced Christians. Other countries from which Christian refugees are fleeing include Iran, where Christians are severely persecuted by the authorities. Some are thrown into prison on false charges. Even in their countries of refuge, Iranian Christians, and especially converts, are sometimes at risk of persecution. Barnabas has supported the practical needs of Iranian Christian refugees.
An agonising choice
Not all persecuted Christians have the option of flight. Some are prevented from leaving their country by their geographical location, frailty or lack of resources. But those who are able to leave the country face an agonising decision. Should they maintain their Christian witness in a place where they are at risk of martyrdom, or should they flee in the hope of finding greater security elsewhere? A Biblical precedent exists for more than one course of action. In Acts, Paul escapes from Damascus when his life is endangered (Acts 9:23-25; cp. 2 Corinthians 11:32-33), reflecting Jesus’ instruction to His disciples to flee when they encounter persecution (Matthew 10:23). On another occasion he makes use of his right as a Roman citizen to appeal to the emperor to avoid being handed over to his enemies (Acts 25:11). And he also bears witness to his endurance of persecution for the sake of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:8-12; 6:4-10; 11:2326), a response required elsewhere from all God’s people (Revelation 13:10). It is for each individual believer to be guided by God as to which of these actions to take. Those who do decide to leave have no guarantee of finding a better life. The journeys
made by refugees can be very dangerous, and they often face poverty and miserable living conditions in their new location. Host countries that are not signatories to the UN’s international agreements on the treatment of refugees do not have to grant them legal status. Those who have not been officially recognised as refugees find it very difficult to find jobs or rent homes, and are sometimes not afforded the protection of the law. They may be in danger from fellow refugees from the majority religion of their homeland. This is the situation facing a group of Afghan Christian refugees in another Asian country. A Barnabas partner, referring to two girls in the group, wrote: “Though they are happy and hopeful in their Lord Christ Jesus … they are facing big problems in their lives, as their parents are not getting good and regular jobs, they are not even able to feed their family, they stay in a very dirty and crowded area in a small house.” Applying for asylum in states that are signatories to the UN agreements can be a long-winded, complicated and frustrating process. Christians seeking asylum may well meet the criteria for refugee status, but because they are unable to express the facts clearly and persuasively, their applications are denied. Revealing their faith to those who process their asylum applications is a particular risk for converts from Islam. Muslim case workers may report converts to the local Islamic community and have been known to tell applicants to return to Islam. Translators, who are often nationals of an applicant’s home country and who may also belong to their former religion, may skew the process by not translating accurately. The same problems can affect Christians applying for refugee status from the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees).
An Iraqi Christian refugee in Syria receives a food parcel
When Christian families gain asylum in the West, parents are often dismayed to see the negative effects on their children’s faith of growing up in a strongly secular culture.
No room at the inn?
Although a person fleeing persecution for their faith is covered by the United Nations’ definition of a refugee, persecuted Christians are sometimes denied asylum in the West. Western governments can be more reluctant to grant asylum to members of persecuted religious minorities than to members of other minority groups, for fear of appearing to favour one religion over another. This could result in legitimate Christian applicants for refugee status being denied asylum. For example, Australia plans to give asylum to 800 Afghans who helped Australian forces in their homeland and are now at risk of persecution by Islamists, but has not made provision for members of the tiny Christian minority in Afghanistan, who are similarly at risk. At the time of writing, over 18,000 of the most vulnerable Syrians who have fled to neighbouring countries have been promised resettlement by more than 20 other countries. These will include torture victims, women and girls at risk, and those
The pastor of an Afghan refugee congregation in another country stands in the entrance to his church. The church meets in a discreet location to avoid persecution by Afghan Muslims in their local community
Please see p.11 for further information on the nature of this conflict.
BARNABAS AID MAY/JUNE 2014 9
with medical needs. The UN, which has asked that 100,000 resettlement places be provided, has stated that “Refugees who face serious threats to their physical security, particularly due to political opinion or belonging to a minority group, may also be prioritised.” This appears to recognise the vulnerability of Christians and members of other religious minorities. Similarly, in the debate over whether Western countries should accept refugees from Syria, some have argued that Christians, who are an especially vulnerable minority, should be considered a priority group. While Muslim refugees may be welcomed elsewhere in the Middle East, Christians have few safe havens in the region. Barnabas Fund supports displaced children from predominantly Christian ethnic minorities in Burma (Myanmar)
How is Barnabas helping? Barnabas Fund provides: ●● Emergency relief for Christian refugees and displaced Christians in many contexts. We are providing Syrian Christians who have sought refuge in Lebanon, Armenia and Greece, as well as those displaced within their homeland, with food and basic essentials. ●● Shelters and safe houses ●● Longer-term support for refugee communities. For example, Barnabas Fund is supporting a group of Afghan Christians, who have taken refuge in another country, with school fees for their children. ●● Advocacy. Barnabas Fund campaigns on behalf of Christian refugees and has produced a handbook, The Essential Guide for Helping Refugees, for individuals, churches and organisations that seek to support refugees in their communities. Please see p. 2 for further details.
10 BARNABAS AID MAY/JUNE 2014
But the resettlement programme is likely to be targeted only at refugees already registered
with the UNHCR, which excludes many Christians who may face difficulties registering, as we have seen, or who do not dare even to attempt the process. Excepting such resettlement cases, most Western countries grant asylum only to refugees who have managed to reach their shores. Even Sweden, the only country to offer residency to all Syrian asylum applicants, requires them to make their own way there, unsupported and without a visa. So, since the conflict began, many Christians have attempted to reach safety by putting their lives in the hands of people traffickers or even escaping on foot to Greece and other European countries via Turkey. These journeys are very dangerous. Our brothers and sisters have endured crossings in unsafe boats and have been the victims of violence in Turkey and Greece. Some have died en route.
How can I help? Christian refugees are following in the footsteps of our Lord, who was forced to flee to Egypt with His family to escape Herod’s wrath. God loves and cares for foreigners and expects His people to do the same (Deuteronomy 10:1819 and Leviticus 19:34, for example). And Galatians 6:10 says, “As we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” We are called to reach out to all refugees but especially to Christians among them. Unlike other new arrivals to multicultural Western countries, Christian refugees cannot seek help from fellow refugees from their own country because this could put them at risk of further persecution by members of the majority religion. They need the support of their brothers and sisters in Christ. There are many ways in which you can help Christian refugees: Pray. Lift up to the Lord Christian refugees (and IDPs) around the world; ask Him to
provide for them and to surround them with His love and care.
Give. Barnabas Fund’s support for Christian refugees relies entirely on donations.
Projects that support refugees and displaced Christians include 00-1032 (Middle East Fund), 20-383 (Feeding Iraqi Christian refugees in neighbouring countries) and 01-901 (Afghan Christian refugees in other countries).
Speak up. We encourage you to urge your government to recognise Christian
refugees and those from other vulnerable religious minorities as deserving of asylum. For a sample letter to your elected representative, please visit www.barnabasfund.org/syria-asylum-letter or contact your nearest Barnabas office (addresses on back cover).
Get involved. World Refugee Sunday, which takes place this year on 15 and 22 June,
is a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness about refugees in general and Christian refugees in particular. Please visit www.refugeehighway.net/resources/world-refugee-sunday for more information.
LIVING IN BABYLON
Living in Babylon Faithful to Christ in a hostile world
In The status of women
In the 1st-century Greek and Roman worlds, women were regarded as inferior to men and were subject to various legal disadvantages. By the late 1st century, their position had improved somewhat within the Roman Empire, but their subordination to men was still generally accepted. This convention extended to the submission of wives to husbands. The early Christians challenged the assumption underlying this practice by declaring that in Christ women and men have equal status in the eyes of God. But their churches still had to live in a strongly patriarchal society, and to flout its norms on marriage was to put themselves under even greater pressure. This passage is a careful attempt to balance the Gospel truth of equality in Christ with sensible (though limited) respect for social norms. Christians today disagree over the proper roles of men and women within marriage. But in the context of 1 Peter 3, this debate is secondary to how wives and husbands should relate in an appropriate and prudent way in the context of a hostile society.
this issue, we are continuing our series of pull-out supplements reflecting on how Christians are to live in a world that is basically opposed to our faith and discipleship. In the first letter of Peter, this world is given the name “Babylon” (5:13), which is probably a symbolic reference to Rome and denotes the place of exile for God’s people. Christians are exiles and foreigners in a land that is not their own, and so we experience scorn and rejection from its citizens because our values and customs are different. This negative response is meant to bully and shame us into giving up on our Christian beliefs and lifestyle and reverting to our former ways. First Peter is written to encourage Christians to persevere in the face of such hostility and to guide us in how to do so. It speaks powerfully to the roughly 10% of believers around the world who suffer deliberate discrimination, harassment or violence because of their faith. But the context it addresses is in some ways even closer to that of Christians in the West today, who face more indirect forms of social pressure to turn back from the way of Christ. In this letter we can all find teaching to sustain us and instruction to direct us as we strive to remain faithful to our Lord in a hostile world.
1 Peter 3 In previous studies we have seen that 1 Peter calls us in chapters 1 and 2 to a lifestyle that reflects our status as God’s people and our hope of salvation in Christ. In the latter part of chapter 2, it brings this general appeal down to earth in practical guidance for specific social relationships. The opening verses of chapter 3 continue this section, with directions for wives and husbands (vv. 1-7), and it is then rounded off with a call to right conduct that applies to all Christians (vv. 8-12). In the latter part of chapter 3, the letter declares that nothing can ultimately harm us if we do the will of God; not even undeserved suffering can do that if we handle it correctly (vv. 13-17). It then bases this claim on the victory of Christ over evil powers, a victory that achieves and guarantees the salvation of His people (vv. 18-22). This assurance that we will emerge from present distress into future triumph motivates us to persevere in the face of persecution of whatever kind.
Wives and husbands (3:1-7)
These verses continue a longer section of the letter about the proper conduct of Christians in relation to the institutions of society. Having looked at the relations of subjects to the state and of slaves to masters, it turns now to consider the relation of spouses to each other. The first and longer set of instructions is addressed to Christian wives (including those married to non-Christian men), and the final verse to Christian husbands. The passage is an application of the letter’s more general teaching (in 2:11-12) about submitting ourselves to established institutions and conducting ourselves as far as possible in ways that our society regards as fitting. By doing this, we can deflect at least some of the hostility that our faithfulness to Christ draws down upon us, and we may even win over some of our opponents to faith in Him. So, Christian wives are to fulfil the expectations of Greek and Roman society (see text box) by submitting or deferring to their husbands. In the case of a woman married to a non-Christian, such subordination will reduce strain in the marriage and avoid unnecessary strife, and it will thereby encourage his conversion. This submission does not entail any compromise of a woman’s Christian integrity; on the contrary, it involves virtues commended in Scripture, such as modesty, gentleness and quietness, which were seen in godly women such as Sarah who also deferred to their husbands.
BARNABAS AID MAY/JUNE 2014
The Message of 1 Peter
LIVING IN BABYLON
But the submission required of Christian wives is limited. A non-Christian husband has no right to compel his wife to abandon her faith or to worship and serve his gods. Instead wives must hold fast to their Christian profession and practice (“do what is right”, v. 6) and not be intimidated by any threats that may be made against them as a result. As for Christian husbands, their life together with their wives is to be governed by the knowledge that Christian women have an equal status with them in the Christian community. So they are not to use their physical strength or social advantage to oppress and exploit their wives, but to show them honour as co-heirs of the life-giving grace of God. This is sufficiently important to be a condition of their prayers being heard by God. Social expectations regarding the roles of men and women are very different across time and culture. But the principles of this passage still apply. Christian husbands and wives are to respect existing structures in marriage and conform to approved practices where these are consistent with our faith and lifestyle, to diminish the hostility that society shows towards us. Where they are inconsistent, we are to do what is right without fear of the possible negative consequences. And we are to treat each other with respect, recognising that within the Church we have equal standing; this is a bond that strengthens our unity and helps us to stand firm together in a context of persecution.
Women in Muslimmajority societies
Call to right conduct (3:8-12)
These disadvantages are extended to Christian women, who are despised for their faith as well as for their gender. Thus in Pakistan and Egypt in particular, Christian women and girls are in danger of kidnap and sexual assault; they may then be coerced into converting to Islam and marrying their Muslim abductors. Hundreds of cases occur every year, and the authorities often do little to help the victims.
These verses end the larger section of the letter that began in 2:11-12 with an appeal to persevere in good conduct. This has then been worked out in the context of various social relationships, which typify the difficulties faced by all Christians as exiles and aliens in the Roman Empire. Now, finally, the general call is renewed to all the readers to live rightly, and it is made more specific in terms of not retaliating in kind against hostility but instead blessing our persecutors. The call is confirmed with a quotation from Psalm 34 affirming that God blesses the righteous and opposes evildoers. When faced with pressure and persecution, Christians sometimes respond by turning on each other, reproducing within our congregations the intimidation and hostility that is being shown to us by non-Christians. But verse 8 indicates that we are not to allow these negative qualities to become part of our own common life. On the contrary, we are to exhibit the opposite virtues: oneness of mind, sympathy, mutual love, compassion and humility. Maintaining harmony among ourselves makes a Christian community robust, able to withstand oppression and persevere in its faith. Christians may also be tempted to retaliate against their enemies, paying them back in deed or word for the harm and hurt they have caused us. But again, we are called to the opposite response: not to pay back evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but instead to bless those who persecute us. This is the kind of lifestyle to which we were called, so that we may receive a blessing from God, both now and in the future. Psalm 34:12-16 restates this call. It says that those who want to love life (that is, to bring blessing upon themselves) and to see good days should stop their tongues from saying what is evil and their lips from speaking what is deceitful. They should turn away from evil and do what is good; they should seek after peace and pursue it vigorously. The reason is that the Lord has His eye on the righteous and keeps His ear open for their prayer, but sets His face against those who do evil. Disharmony among Christians in the face of persecution and fighting back against our oppressors are ultimately destructive; such responses drag us down to their level and cut us off from God’s blessing. But if we meet the hostility of others with kindness and humility, both among ourselves and towards those who persecute us, we fulfil God’s will for us and so receive the present and future benefits that He gives to the righteous. Among these is the ability to survive and thrive under pressure from others.
BARNABAS AID MAY/JUNE 2014
The dignity and equality ascribed to women in this passage contrasts sharply with the subordinate status of women in Islamic law. According to classical sharia, a woman is worth only half a man and does not have the same rights that he does in terms of marriage, divorce and custody of children. Most Muslim women in Muslim-majority contexts suffer severe legal and cultural discrimination and other gross abuses of their human rights.
Blessing our persecutors
Pam Gyang, aged 33, was one of five Christian men who were shot dead in a roadside ditch in Nigeria by Muslim gunmen in August 2013. The attackers stopped their minibus, separated the Christians from the other passengers and opened fire. Pam left a widow, two daughters and a son, and the couple were expecting their fourth child at the time. Yet Grace Yop Gyang responded to her tragic bereavement by saying, “My husband is a friend, and I’m already missing him. But what can I do but thank God for his life? I pray that through his death those who killed him will get to know Jesus as their Saviour.”
LIVING IN BABYLON
Many Christians today have fled from their homes and even their homelands because of threats, intimidation and violence. Hundreds of thousands of Christians have been displaced from Iraq and Syria after being told that they must leave, convert to Islam or be killed. Christians accused of blasphemy in Pakistan have had to take refuge in other countries because of the danger of reprisals.
Courage and faithfulness
When suicide bombers attacked All Saints Church in Peshawar, Pakistan, in September 2013, they left more than a hundred people dead and many others grievously injured. Teenager Shaloom Naeem lost his entire immediate family in the blast. Yet his Christian faith remains strong and unshaken, and he is even encouraging his brothers and sisters to continue attending worship. “I am not afraid to go to the church,” he said. “We should thank God for His great love.” A father who lost both his children bravely confessed his enduring trust in God in the words of Psalm 91:2: “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
The flow of the letter takes a minor turn at this point. The emphasis now shifts to renewing the readers’ assurance that although powerful, evil forces are ranged against them, they will ultimately be victorious. The guidance that these verses provide on how to deal with undeserved afflictions should be seen in this wider context. The opening question takes up from the preceding call to live rightly and implies that no-one will harm us if we are eager to do good, that is, to obey the will of God and avoid giving unnecessary offence to non-Christian society. But this immediately raises a problem. Both the author and the readers know that this rule can apparently be broken; it is quite possible to suffer contempt and rejection at the hands of others despite – or even because of – our own righteousness. How can we understand this unjust suffering, and how should we respond to it? The letter insists that even if we do suffer because of righteousness, we are still blessed. Such distress has no ultimate power to hurt us, provided we handle it properly. Of course, it can be acutely painful for as long as it lasts, but the harm it can cause us is only partial and temporary. Moreover, undeserved suffering is actually a sign and ground of God’s blessing to us, both now and when Christ is revealed. Instead of discouraging us, it should prompt us to persevere. Of course, when Christians are threatened and attacked by their enemies, our natural human response is to be afraid. Where persecution and suffering are real, and especially where they are intense, they can destroy our composure and equanimity and sometimes even shake us from our Christian commitment. But these verses offer us a different perspective and encourage a different reaction. The right response to this suffering (as the quote from Isaiah 8:12 shows) is not to be afraid of those who inflict it or to be disturbed by them. Because they cannot finally injure us, and the afflictions they impose on us actually lead to our being blessed by God, we have no reason to yield to their pressure by renouncing our loyalty to Christ. Instead, we are to be faithful to Him as Lord: to reverence Him and live in obedience to Him, in the confidence that God is with us even in the midst of our most severe trials. Part of what it means to do this is being ready to give a reason or defence for the hope that we have; that is, to account for why we believe and behave as we do, in terms of the salvation that we look forward to receiving in Christ. But we must do so gently and respectfully and in the context of a good life. If our loyalty to Christ causes others to speak against us, our polite manner and exemplary conduct should shame our accusers and deflect the worst of their hostility. And it is better to live well and suffer for it in accordance with God’s will than to suffer for doing evil. The response that this passage commends, of fearing and confessing Christ as Lord while refraining from provoking others needlessly, will ensure that our unjust afflictions do not harm us but instead bring us blessing.
The Message of 1 Peter
It is important to recognise that the clear command in these verses against fearing our enemies is not incompatible with such prudent evasive action. In Matthew’s Gospel, the Lord Jesus repeatedly tells His disciples not to be afraid of those who ill-treat them (Matthew 10:26, 28, 31), but only a few verses earlier, He has told them that when they are persecuted in one place, they must flee to another (Matthew 10:23). Our brothers and sisters from these stricken countries are courageously maintaining their Christian faith and discipleship in the face of extreme hostility. They are no less an example to us because they have fled to escape the worst of its ravages.
Handling unjust suffering (3:13-17)
Christ triumphant (3:18-22)
But what is the basis for this positive view? How do we know that we are blessed when we suffer unjustly because of our Christian faith and lifestyle? The final part of chapter 3 grounds this claim in the victory of Christ over evil forces, a victory that saves His people from their power. Christ too experienced unjust suffering, when He offered Himself as a complete sacrifice for sin in order to bring us into the kingdom of God; He suffered as a righteous person on behalf of the unrighteous. But having died in the weakness of our own human nature, which is subject to the destructive effects of human sin, He has now been raised to a new kind of human life, which is controlled entirely by the Spirit of God.
BARNABAS AID MAY/JUNE 2014 iii
The Message of 1 Peter
LIVING IN BABYLON Following His resurrection, Christ proclaimed His victory to the imprisoned spirits from Noah’s time (see text box) and has thus announced the final doom of all spiritual powers that disobey God. In those days, God waited patiently before executing His judgment on the world, just as He is waiting patiently now to execute the final judgment. And just as then a few righteous people were saved by passing through water in the ark, so now we are saved by passing through the water of baptism. Baptism does not work as an outward ritual that removes dirt from the body. It is effective because in it we turn to God, by pledging ourselves to acknowledge Him properly and to behave accordingly. And it saves us through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, through His victory over the powers of evil; it takes us out of their control and places us under the dominion of God. The basis of all this is the taking up of Christ to heaven, to the place of divine authority and universal dominion, following His death and resurrection. By His exaltation, all the evil forces that control human and earthly life have been made subject to Him, and their malign power over His people has been broken. Those who have pledged themselves to God in baptism can no longer be ultimately harmed by them, and the powers that persecute us now will finally be destroyed altogether. So Christians can face the future with confidence, whatever afflictions we may face in the present. Through His own unjust suffering, Christ has triumphed over all evil, and through Him we who suffer as He did will also be victorious over all the evil that oppresses us. His dying and rising, and His resulting exaltation to heaven, ensure and guarantee that we will emerge from the crucible of persecution into the blessedness of God’s kingdom.
Spirits in prison?
First Peter 3:18-22 is a very hard passage to understand, and many different interpretations of it have been offered. The one followed here sees the “spirits in prison” of verse 19 as the fallen angels of Genesis 6, who disobeyed God by taking human wives for themselves. In some Jewish tradition they were the source (through their offspring) of evil on the earth, and they were put in prison to await final judgment. Christ’s exaltation to heaven involves His victory over them; it spells their final doom and that of all the evil they have spawned.
The third chapter of 1 Peter continues to support Christians living as exiles in an alien land – “Babylon” – and subject to pressure and hostility from others. The letter’s earlier appeal for right conduct is applied to another social relationship, that of wives and husbands, and then renewed in terms of harmony among ourselves and blessing our persecutors. The chapter then assures us that the undeserved suffering that we experience cannot finally harm us but leads to our blessing, provided that we handle it properly, and offers guidance on how to do this. And it supports its claim by a bold proclamation of Christ’s victory over every evil and persecuting power. A notable feature of the chapter is the response to persecution that it requires. We are to maintain our Christian integrity without regard to the consequences, acknowledging the dominion of Christ in all that we say and do. But we are also to avoid provoking unnecessary antagonism from those around us, by respecting social customs and norms where possible and responding graciously to our oppressors. And we are to treat each other with respect within the Christian community, to strengthen our unity and help ourselves to stand firm. If we act on these directions, then our unjust sufferings will indeed work out for our blessing; we can be confident of sharing in Christ’s victory.
Barnabas fund hope and aid for the persecuted church UK 9 Priory Row, Coventry CV1 5EX Telephone 024 7623 1923 Fax 024 7683 4718 From outside the UK Telephone +44 24 7623 1923 Fax +44 24 7683 4718 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Registered Charity Number 1092935 Company Registered in England Number 4029536
BARNABAS AID MAY/JUNE 2014
New Zealand PO Box 27 6018, Manukau City, Auckland, 2241 Telephone (09) 280 4385 or 0800 008 805 Email email@example.com Australia PO Box 3527 Loganholme QLD 4129 Telephone (07) 3806 1076 or 1300 365799 Fax (07) 3806 4076 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland PO Box 354, Bangor, BT20 9EQ Telephone 028 91 455 246 or 07867 854604 Email email@example.com USA 6731 Curran St, McLean, VA 22101 Telephone (703) 288-1681 or toll-free 1-866-936-2525 Fax (703) 288-1682 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
International Headquarters The Old Rectory, River Street, Pewsey, Wiltshire SN9 5DB, UK Telephone 01672 564938 Fax 01672 565030 From outside UK Telephone +44 1672 564938 Fax +44 1672 565030 Email email@example.com Scotland Barnabas Fund Scotland, PO Box 2084, Livingston, EH54 0EZ Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Image Source: The U.S. Army, Flickr
Anarchy in CAR
How are the Christians responding? Secular media reports from the stricken Central African Republic (CAR) tell a grim story of sectarian bloodshed. They portray two religious groups locked in conflict: the Muslim Séléka fighters, whose savage coup in 2013 ignited the current explosion of violence, and the Christian “anti-balaka” militias, who are now fighting back viciously against them. Muslims and Christians are presented as equally responsible for the tragic events that are now unfolding.
ut how accurate is this picture? In particular, in what sense if any can the anti-balaka rightly be called “Christian”? And how far is their response to the violence of the Séléka typical of Christians in CAR?
Christian militias – or not?
In November 2012, the Séléka, a militant Islamist group, launched a revolt against the government of CAR. By March 2013, they had seized power, and Séléka militias then went on the rampage, unleashing rape, machete attacks and murder on the country’s non-Muslims. There were harrowing stories of brutal violence and mass killings. After months of atrocities, anti-balaka (anti-AK bullet) self-defence units were formed by non-Muslims. The Séléka were progressively driven on to the back foot, and their leader was forced to resign the presidency. The anti-balaka have now committed numerous retaliatory attacks and massacres. We should not attempt to gloss over the fact that many of the anti-balaka claim to be Christian and to be acting on behalf of the Christians of CAR. But in the context of Central Africa, this assertion is highly misleading. Alongside substantial evangelical and Catholic communities, there exist in CAR large numbers of merely ethnic Christians, who bear the name only as members of their tribe, and of nominal Christians, who might attend church but otherwise practise occultism, animism and African Traditional Religions. These people can properly be regarded as only pseudo-Christians. There is good evidence to suggest that the anti-balaka are drawn mainly from these sources. Many of them wear amulets and charms, which
they suppose will protect them from bullets, but which reveal that their basic religious allegiance is to fetishism rather than to Christ. While the great majority of their attacks are against Muslim targets, Christians too have been assaulted and injured by them. Their motivation appears to be more political than religious, as church leaders in CAR have insisted. Some of the groups have explicitly said that they are not Christian militias.
But the most compelling proof that the anti-balaka are Christian in name only is the vastly different response to the crisis displayed by mainstream church leaders in CAR. They have repeatedly distanced themselves from the militias, declaring that the anti-balaka should not be labelled as Christian and that they are in no way mandated by the churches. They have also explicitly condemned the violence in the country, whatever its origin, and have called upon Christians to pursue forgiveness, reconciliation and healing.
Churches are offering refuge to Muslims threatened by anti-balaka violence
These words have been matched by practical actions. Churches are hiding, defending and caring for thousands of Muslims endangered by the anti-balaka, and one of the country’s most
senior church leaders has invited the president of the country’s Islamic community to move into his church compound; “I live alongside him and I ask Christians to do likewise,” he said. People claiming allegiance to the anti-balaka have been expelled from their churches. The Church in CAR is bearing a powerful witness to the grace and love of Christ in a context of intense pressure and desperate suffering. It deserves not to be tarred with the same brush as the anti-balaka, whose cruelties reveal that they are “Christian” in name only.
Countering Muslim rebellion
The descent of CAR into violence and anarchy has graphically illustrated the threat that a Christian-majority country can face from militant Islam. The Muslim population of CAR numbers only about 15% of the total and is concentrated in the north. Yet a local Islamist group, supported by Muslim fighters from abroad, was able to overrun the country, overthrow the government and impose a reign of terror that lasted for months. Its brutalities have provoked an equally ferocious response from some non-Muslims, which has raised the bleak prospect of mutual genocide. For governments, there are no easy answers. Doing nothing to counter Islamist militias is to surrender to them by default, but repressing or banning Islamism (or even Islam itself, as Angola has recently done) may simply cause it to grow faster. If CAR, with its 50% Christian population, is at risk, then few countries can feel themselves to be safe.
BARNABAS AID MAY/JUNE 2014 11
in the birthplace of Christ
Barnabas has been supporting the school since these children were toddlers Photo credit: Raymond Dague
“I cannot think my five children … could be better brought up, than in such a pure Christian setting when all else around them is not Christian by any means.”
and societal discrimination have forced many believers to leave the area, and those who remain are often very poor. Many Christian businesses have closed down because the unstable political situation has led to a decline in tourism.
hese thankful words were spoken by a parent whose children attend a Barnabasfunded Christian school in Bethlehem. The school is renowned locally for its healthy, clean environment, and its atmosphere is so happy and loving that some children have been known to cry when it is time to go home.
Barnabas makes up the shortfall in the school’s running costs, so that even children from the most impoverished Christian families who can afford only minimal fees, or no fees at all, are able to attend. But for our support, many of the children would be forced to attend other local schools that have a strongly Islamic curriculum.
Demand for places at the school is high; it is currently providing 400 children aged 3-12 with a quality education. The school also provides employment for 40 Christians, as teachers, administrative staff and cleaners, in a context where many Christians are unable to find work.
The school is unashamedly Christian despite its hostile surroundings. Every morning, the whole school gathers in the playground to praise God and sing Christian songs. The morning devotions end with the Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic, the language of Jesus. During the school day the students are also taught Aramaic by a local church leader, and they listen to Bible stories during regular religious education classes.
A beacon of Christ’s love amid hostility
It is not easy to be a Christian in Bethlehem. In the last few decades, economic decline
12 BARNABAS AID MAY/JUNE 2014
Recently, children from grades 2-6 took part in a wonderful project to create a copy of the Bible in which all the verses are handwritten by schoolchildren. Each child copied a number of verses in Arabic, their mother tongue, onto a piece of paper along with their name, age and school; the verses will now be collated with those written by children from other schools and published. The organisers of the project were amazed by how much the children at the school knew about the verses they were writing.
Quality education in a flourishing school
With help from Barnabas Fund, the school opened in 2003 with just 15 pupils. Since then, the school’s excellent reputation and the positive feedback it has received from the Palestinian Ministry of Education have led to steady growth in student numbers. In 2011, the school’s space almost doubled after Barnabas funded a large building extension to accommodate the larger numbers. The extra two
PROJECT UPDATE floors were used for classrooms, a computer lab, a science lab, an art room and a small space for children with learning disabilities. The quality education that the children are receiving at the school will help them to succeed in life despite the disadvantages they face. For example, by the age of ten the children are learning three foreign languages, including modern Aramaic. Right from the start of their school career, at age three, the pupils are exposed to English. For the first three years, they are taught the language orally, through songs and the identification of words. Aramaic is taught from age seven, and Hebrew is added to the package by the time they reach the age of ten (grade five). Older pupils are taught history and science classes in English to help them to prepare for future English-language exams. In the past, students have even had a taste of French as an extra-curricular activity.
Supporting the needy, in school and outside
For some of the students, the school environment is safer and more pleasant than
their home circumstances. The heating and hot water are a true luxury for those children who do not have them at home, and all the children are provided with a nutritious meal several times a month. Recently, the head teacher was able to arrange a school trip to the seaside for all the students; it was the first time that any of them had ever seen the sea. The school does everything it can to support children from the neediest families. Three siblings at the school live with the six other members of their family, which includes seven children aged between six and 16, in three small rooms. The family mostly survive on rice. Their father, who reads the Bible to his children and loves to tell them stories, sometimes goes without food so that they can eat. As the family is unable to pay anything towards their children’s education, the three who attend the school are not charged any fees and are also provided with school uniform, textbooks and anything else they need. When times are so difficult for the family that the children come to school with only a very small piece of bread for lunch, they are provided with sandwiches.
All the children at the school are encouraged to show Christ-like selflessness in caring for the needy amongst their peers and in their wider community. Jack, a five-year-old pupil, felt that his friend Abdo was less fortunate than himself and wanted to reach out to him. He said: “I think my friend should be happy as I am. Because I do not see him smile often, I decided to help him … to be happy as Jesus told us.” Jack saved up all the sweets he was given and gave them to Abdo. Every Christmas, the school takes part in a charity collection. The head teacher is the first to give, followed by the teachers and other staff and finally the children. Despite the hardship that many children endure, the amount given has increased again and again over the years. The offering collected last Christmas was donated to a Christian boarding school and day-care centre for children who are blind or who have learning disabilities. The Bethlehem school students also visited the centre to spend time with the children and to sing carols for them.
Please pray ●● Give thanks to God for the remarkable way in which He has blessed the Bethlehem school over the last decade.
Barnabas Fund’s support is vital if the neediest students are to continue their studies
●● Pray that the school will continue to be a shining light for Christ in an environment where His people are not made to feel welcome, and that it will continue to grow and flourish.
Barnabas Fund contributes an average per child of £36 a month. A twice-yearly newsletter about the school is sent to regular sponsors, who also receive a prayer card with a photo and details of one child they can pray for.
●● Pray for all the children at the school, and ask Him to bless their studies and their home life. Ask that they will grow in their understanding and in their faith.
To begin sponsoring a child, please use the form on p. 19, giving the project reference 65-420 and using the “I would like to give regularly…” box. You can also set up a regular gift by visiting www.barnabasfund.org/donate, selecting “Direct Debit” and selecting project reference 65-420, or by contacting your nearest Barnabas office (addresses on back cover). We will be glad to send a prayer card and the twice-yearly newsletter to supporters who are regularly contributing any amount.
●● Pray that the school will help to maintain Bethlehem’s Christian presence, which has been dwindling rapidly, and that the pressures our brothers and sisters face there and elsewhere in the Holy Land will be relieved.
BARNABAS AID MAY/JUNE 2014 13
More violent attacks by Boko Haram NIGERIA – The campaign of
brutal violence against Christians and other targets in Nigeria by Islamist group Boko Haram continues. Among many other incidents, 106 people were killed on 15 February when militants attacked a predominantly Christian village in Borno State in the North. Shouting “Allahu Akhbar [Allah is great]”, the attackers gunned down and slaughtered residents. Countless people were injured, and homes and
“We are fighting Christians. We will kill because Allah says we should”
businesses were looted and torched. Hundreds fled the area. This attack followed three separate acts of anti-Christian violence in the North in late January. Boko Haram fighters targeted a church and village in Adamawa state on 26 January; a total of 53 people were killed in the carnage.
This Christian woman has been widowed by Muslim violence in Nigeria for a second time (Source: Morning Star News)
Then on 30 January, a Christian family of seven in Kaduna state were murdered by Fulani herdsmen. The next day, eleven worshippers were killed by Boko Haram gunmen who stormed into a church and fired at the congregation in Adamawa state. The incidents took place shortly
after Boko Haram’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, had restated in a video the group’s agenda and threatened more violence: “We are fighting a religious war… we are fighting Christians. We will kill because Allah says we should decapitate, we should amputate limbs, we
Boko Haram has been fighting since 2009 to establish an Islamic state in Northern Nigeria. The group is believed to be responsible for around 3,500 deaths.
Christians escape from Homs, but oppressed in Raqqa SYRIA – Some Christians have managed to leave the besieged Old City area of Homs in evacuations that began in late January. When opposition forces captured the city two years ago, they prevented the 80 Christians who remained there from leaving, effectively holding them as a human shield. As shortages of food and medicines took their toll, they began to die one by one, and by the time of the evacuations, only a few dozen remained. In recent weeks, the Christians’ plight had intensified. They were increasingly attacked, and terrifying graffiti was daubed on walls. A church leader was tied up and beaten. Food
14 BARNABAS AID MAY/JUNE 2014
shortages reduced to some Christians to eating vine leaves. Rebel fighters broke into Christian homes, stealing food as well as anything of value that was left. The rebels cut off believers’ electricity supply and also stole their
ultimatum: convert to Islam, pay jizya (the traditional, humiliating Islamic tax on non-Muslims) and accept certain restrictions, including some relating to the practice of their faith, or risk being killed. In a statement posted
When the evacuations began, armed groups tried to prevent Christians from leaving mobile phones so they could not communicate with one another. When the evacuations began, armed groups tried to prevent Christians from leaving. Meanwhile, a jihadist group in control of the northern city of Raqqa has given Christians there an
online, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) said it would give Christians protection if they paid the tax and agreed to its conditions, but that if they rejected the terms, they would be legitimate targets. This is the latest move by the group to establish a strict Islamic state in the
city. It reflects the teaching of classical Islam, in which Christian minorities are protected if they pay jizya and keep the rules for non-Muslims but can be killed if they refuse. These rules include prohibiting Christians from making renovations to churches or other religious buildings, displaying crosses or other Christian symbols except in churches, ringing church bells or praying in public. Most of the city’s very small Christian population fled when ISIS captured the city and started attacking churches and destroying Christian symbols. The cross on top of one church was replaced by ISIS’s black flag.
New constitution passed, but Christians still targeted
Many Egyptian churches have been destroyed by Islamists
EGYPT – Egypt’s Christians are rejoicing after the passage of a new constitution that replaces an earlier Islamist version and strengthens their rights and freedoms. Christians were firmly supportive of the new charter, but it was also approved by a huge majority of Muslim voters. One church leader described it as a vote “against religious extremism, sharia and attempts by the Muslim Brotherhood to Islamise the society”. The referendum on 14-15 January was boycotted by the Brotherhood, who tried to stop people from voting, using violence, intimidation and threats. Clashes between the group and police left eleven people dead, and a bomb was detonated outside a courthouse shortly before voting was set to begin. Christians were especially targeted, with most of the reported attacks taking place in Minya province, which is an Islamist heartland but also has a large Christian population. Militants climbed onto the roofs of some houses in Sohag and pelted passers-by with stones, shooting at some of them. In the city of Minya, a Christian-owned pharmacy was smashed by Morsi supporters, while an attempted robbery at the home of a prominent Christian businessman
was foiled. Text messages saying that voting would be extended for a third day were probably sent by Islamists to discourage people from voting on one of the two scheduled days. In some cases, the Islamists’ tactics worked, but on the whole people were determined to exercise their democratic right.
state have been removed. But although the new constitution gives Christians hope of better times, at present they remain vulnerable to acts of targeted violence by Islamists, including killings and kidnappings. Arabic media reported the murder on 17 February of a Syrian Christian family who had been living in Alexandria. A
Although the new constitution gives Christians hope of better times, at present they remain vulnerable to acts of targeted violence by Islamists The new constitution enshrines the equality of all citizens and prohibits discrimination on the grounds of religion, belief, sex, race and other factors. Christians and other minorities are granted greater political representation. In a significant shift, “absolute” freedom of belief is also granted, although the freedom to practise religion and establish places of worship is limited to the followers of Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Restrictions on church buildings have also been lifted. Provisions of the 2012 constitution that paved the way for the establishing of an Islamic
44-year-old man, his 35-year-old wife, their six-year-old son and the wife’s brother were stabbed to death at their home. The attackers set the house on fire. On 8 February a 30-year-old Christian woman, Madline Wagih Demian, was killed in an attack on a Christian community in Kom Ombo, Upper Egypt. A knife-wielding Muslim man went on a rampage, targeting two Christian-owned pharmacies. In one of these, he stabbed Madline in the neck; she died at the scene. The assailant then stabbed Marian Kamal Shafik (19), who was walking along the street with a friend. The teenager
survived the injury. Since the violence, Christian women in Kom Ombo have been afraid to leave their homes alone. The suspected attacker has been arrested. Kidnapping for ransom remains a serious and persistent problem for the Christian community, and younger victims are now being targeted more frequently. In February, a 25-year-old Christian was kidnapped at gunpoint on his way home from Minya City. Over the past two years, there have been more than 150 reported kidnappings of Christians in Minya province. Payments extorted from families in exchange for their loved ones’ release range from US$7,000 to US$500,000. Egypt has been wracked by instability since the removal of former Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in July 2013, as his supporters use violence to undermine the new, armyled political transition. Hundreds of policemen and soldiers have been killed by Islamist militants, who are now also targeting tourists. On 16 February 2014, jihadist group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis carried out a suicide bombing on a tourist bus carrying 31 South Korean Christians who were visiting historical Christian sites in Sinai. Four people were killed and 14 injured.
BARNABAS AID MAY/JUNE 2014 15
Support for Christian Sharia imposed on minority, but non-Muslims in Aceh? violence continues INDONESIA – Sharia laws that are in force in Aceh include the IRAQ – Moves are being made in their safety. Iraq to help bolster the position of the country’s vulnerable Christian minority and stem the tide of emigration that could see the community disappear altogether. Hundreds of thousands of Christians have fled the country in response to targeted violence, which intensified following the 2003 US-led invasion. Many of those who have moved to safer parts of the country have been unable to find stable jobs. Efforts to restore the Christian minority’s place in Iraqi society are being made at both regional and national levels. The governor of Basra has promised Christians a piece of land to cultivate as well as job opportunities to encourage them to come back. Consideration is also being given to an autonomous province for Christians in the Nineveh Plain, which would have its own police and army to guarantee
Nationally, a draft law is being prepared on minority rights to improve the status of groups such as Christians. The legislation recognises their marginalisation and aims to ensure their participation in public life. It focuses on protecting their language and cultural education and supporting their appearances in the media. It also seeks to change attitudes among the wider population by revising school curricula in history and religion. Amid these positive developments, however, violence and instability continue to rock Iraq. January was the deadliest month in nearly six years, with more than 1,000 deaths. Sunni Islamist insurgents are gaining ground. The violence has displaced hundreds of thousands of people, and Christians are continuing to pour out of Iraq.
may be extended to non-Muslims in the Indonesian province of Aceh under a controversial new proposal. Elements of sharia are already in force in the territory but are applied only to Muslims. On 13 December 2013, however, a new bylaw was approved by Aceh’s legislative council and signed by Governor Zaini Abdullah. According to a council member, it obliges everyone in Aceh without exception to follow sharia; he said, “It would be unfair if Muslims were punished while non-Muslims were not, just because sharia violations are not stipulated in the Criminal Code.”
Sharia police have already started reprimanding non-Muslim “offenders”. Women were told to wear a headscarf, and men who were dressed in shorts were told to wear trousers. Threetime violators of the dress rules could be publicly caned. Other sharia laws
prohibition of alcohol and affectionate contact between unmarried couples. Non-Muslim violators of Aceh’s Criminal Code will be given the option of being tried by a sharia court or a regular court. But if the matter is not covered by the Criminal Code, they will automatically be tried in a sharia court. Even if acquitted by a sharia court, they will be required to undergo “rehabilitation”. The bylaw was submitted to the Home Ministry on 2 February; the central government department needs to verify it before it can be enacted. A more recent report in the Indonesian press also suggests that the governor is downplaying the significance of the new bylaw for non-Muslims. But the head of legal affairs at the Aceh provincial secretariat has said that the administration will seek to implement a more comprehensive sharia-based criminal code in the future.
Christian missionary detained, then released NORTH KOREA – An
Australian missionary, John Short (75), was detained in North Korea on 16 February for distributing Christian leaflets. He was arrested in the capital, Pyongyang, the day after he arrived in the oppressive country. Short was reported to security officials after he was spotted leaving a Christian leaflet at a Buddhist temple. His bags at the hotel were subsequently searched and further Korean-language Christian leaflets found. These were tracts that he had written himself and had had translated into Korean. It is illegal in North Korea to spread religious material. It was feared that Short could face a lengthy and severe jail term, like other Christian missionaries held
16 BARNABAS AID MAY/JUNE 2014
John Short was arrested for distributing Christian leaflets in North Korea
by North Korea. American-Korean Kenneth Bae was sentenced to 15 years’ hard labour in April for carrying out similar activities. And North Korea has refused to release South Korean
Kim Jeong-wook, who was arrested in October, despite his confession and appeal for forgiveness. At the time of writing, 33 North Koreans are facing execution for allegedly
receiving money from Kim to set up underground churches. But on 3 March, Short was unexpectedly freed and deported to China. North Korea said that it had released him “in consideration of his age” and “in light of the fact that he confessed his crimes and apologised”, describing the decision as “generous”. He was required to sign a statement; confessions scripted by the authorities are a standard prerequisite for detained foreigners seeking release. It was Short’s second visit in North Korea, and he had previously visited other countries that are hostile to Christian activity. He has been arrested three times for evangelising in China.
Church demolished, Christians attacked in Islamisation drive
A church building in Omdurman was bulldozed without warning (Source: Morning Star News)
SUDAN – A church in
Omdurman has been demolished and its land confiscated by the Sudanese authorities, apparently as part of an ongoing campaign to rid the strict Islamic country of its Christian presence. The Church of Christ building in the Ombada area was bulldozed without prior notice on 17 February. Police and officials from the National Intelligence and Security Services, who oversaw the demolition work, said that the 300-member church was not wanted in a “Muslim area”. Since the secession of the majorityChristian South Sudan in July 2011, the Sudanese authorities have destroyed
numerous church buildings, clamped down on Christian activity and targeted individual Christians in various ways.
President Omar alBashir is carrying out his repeated promise to strengthen sharia law and make the country 100% Islamic and Arab Believers have been subjected to harassment, arrests and death threats; foreign Christians have been deported. President Omar al-Bashir
is carrying out his repeated promise to strengthen sharia law and make the country 100% Islamic and Arab. A brutal campaign of ethnic and religious cleansing in the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan state, which has one of the largest Christian populations in Sudan, is also part of this agenda. The Sudanese military has been attacking the territory since June 2011, claiming the lives of many civilians. On 10 February, a 30-yearold Christian man was killed in the bombing of Damardago village. Two other Christians, including a 13-yearold girl, sustained burns and other injuries in the attack.
Pastor Kashkumbayev released but still in danger KAZAKHSTAN – Kazakh pastor Bakhytzhan Kashkumbayev has been convicted of harming the health of a church member. On 17 February, the pastor was given a four-year prison term suspended for three years and ordered to pay “moral damages” to his supposed victim, Lyazzat Almenova. The 67-yearold was freed after nine months’
imprisonment. He will appeal against the verdict. Pastor Kashkumbayev was accused of causing psychiatric harm to Lyazzat by her sister. Lyazzat has repeatedly insisted that she is healthy and called for the case against the church leader to be dropped. Further charges were brought against Pastor Kashkumbayev; he
was accused of harming the health of another church member, leading a religious organisation that harms individuals’ health and two counts of “religious extremism”. All but the first extra charge were subsequently dropped. His lawyer has warned that a new criminal case could be launched against him.
Threats to witnesses in Bhatti trial PAKISTAN – The trial of suspects in connection with the murder of Christian government minister Shahbaz Bhatti is in jeopardy following death threats against key parties in the case. His brother Paul Bhatti, the complainant, lawyer Rana Abdul Hameed and two eyewitnesses have all received threatening letters from Islamist terrorist groups, who are trying to thwart the trial of two suspects from the Pakistani Taliban. Paul Bhatti, who was appointed to replace his brother as minister for national harmony and minority affairs in the previous government, was warned by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) that he would also be killed if he did not stop pursuing justice. He has temporarily left Pakistan but says he plans to return and continue his fight. Mr Hameed said that he is constantly receiving death threats but likewise expressed determination to pursue the case. But the intimidation tactics have proved effective against the two eyewitnesses. Following their appearance before the court on 22 January, a letter signed by the TTP and LeJ threatened them and their families with death if they continued to give evidence. Fearing for their safety, the witnesses failed to appear at a subsequent hearing. Shahbaz was targeted because of his opposition to Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws and support for Christian mother Aasia Bibi, who was sentenced to death under them in November 2010. She has been languishing on death row awaiting an appeal ever since. The first hearing had been scheduled for 14 February but was adjourned.
BARNABAS AID MAY/JUNE 2014 17
Suffering Church Action Week 2014 – get planning!
This year’s theme for Suffering Church Actio n Week will be Living in Babylon: Faithful to Christ in a hostile world. Barnabas Fund invites you to set aside the week of 26 October – 2 November , or any other week that suits your church’s calendar, and start planning how you could get involved. In the Bible, the name of Babylon represent s a place of suffering and exile, where Christians endure cruelty, corruption, confl ict and confusion. For our persecuted brothers and sisters, “living in Babylon” is a daily reality. Even in the West, Christians are increasingly the victims of marginalisation and discrimination, sometimes resulting in loneliness and isolation. Persecuted Christians need our prayers and practical support to help them remain faithful to Christ in their hostile surroundings. Barnabas Fund is calling on Christians in the West to help us provide the aid and enco uragement our brothers and sisters need. Could you, or your church, get involved in Suffering Church Action Week to raise awareness and funds for Christians who are “living in Babylon”? Barnabas Fund will be providing a range of resources to help you hold a Suffering Church Sunday church service, a prayer mee ting, a children’s event or a fundraiser such as a coffee morning. These will include: • An A3 poster to advertise you r event • Prayer materials • A DVD with resources relating to our work • Children’s resources • A sermon outline and Bible stu dy • A money box for collecting don ations
Living in Ba bylon Supporters' Event
Tonbridge – 7 June 20 14 For further deta ils, please cont (address on ba act Barnabas Fund UK ck cover). Pleas e register your advance at ww at tendance in w.barnabasfun d.org/event.
Change to postal addresses
Because Royal Mail no longer use s the names of UK counties in postal addresses, we are no longer including county names on the mailings that we send you.
Additional tax relief for UK supporters who pay higher-rate tax Did
you know that if you pay higher-rate tax in the UK, you can claim additional tax relief on your cha ritable donations? You can claim back the difference between the basic rate of tax (20%) and the higher rates (40 and/or 45%) on the total gross value of your donation to the charity (i.e. the don ation plus Gift Aid). If notified, H M Revenue and Custom s can include the gross amount of all your Gift Aid paymen ts in your notice of coding, so that you can receive tax relief in the year that you make payments. You may be required to complete a Self-Assessment tax return at the end of the year. For more informa tion, visit www.hmrc.gov.uk/individuals/givin g/gift-aid.htm#4
Sea-swimm in young supp g and selfless giving: or ters reac h out Some of Ba
rnabas Fund UK’ s youngest supporters have been reaching ou t to their persecuted brot hers and sisters in imaginative and sacrificial w ays.
friends to spend less on a presen t for her ninth birthday an d instead make a donation to Barnabas. The bi rthday girl’s gene rous request raised £75, which will be used to he lp feed hungry Christian families. Her fath er wrote that the children wer e delighted to gi ve and excited about the differe nce the funds w ill make. We also heard fro m Naomi, from Se venoaks, who wrote:
After learning ab out persecution, a girls’ Bible class at C annon Park Con gr egational Church in Middl esbrough were in sp ired to start fundraising for Barnabas. N aomi, Lydia, Erin, Ola and Bl essing have mad e and sold cakes and book marks, and two of the girls bravely took a sp onsored Boxing D ay dip in the freezing Nor th Sea! Another “My name ev en is Naomi a one of the girls, t involved who does not lik nd I’m n ine years ol e vegetables, being sponsore d . It ’s just d to eat her gree been m y birthday a ns. The group’s efforts have alto nd I got lot gether raised a lo s of v ely presents fabulous £191. . I decided didn’t need I my pocket Separately, a Chr money and I wante istian father in H d to give it ove wrote to tell us that his to you!” daughter had as ked her 18 BARNABAS AID MAY/JUNE 2014
These girls from Cannon Park Congregational Church have become intrepid Barnabas fundraisers
We are so gratef ul to Naomi for se lflessly giving her £5.42 pocket money to help support persecuted Chris tians. Our thanks also go out to all the young pe ople who have re cently been fundraising on ou r behalf.
YES, I WOULD LIKE TO HELP THE PERSECUTED CHURCH Title...................... Full Name......................................................................................................................................
www.barnabasfund.org 0800 587 4006
Address.......................................................................................................................................................................... ........................................................................................................................................................................................... Postcode..................................... Telephone............................................................................................................ Email...................................................................................................... PLEASE USE MY GIFT FOR
Wherever the need is the greatest (General Fund)
Other..........................................*(give reference number of project to be supported) HERE IS MY SINGLE GIFT OF £ .......................................................................................
A direct debit can be set up either by completing the form below, by telephoning the number above or by going to our website.
CAF card /other charity card
£ ................................................ (amount in words) .............................................................................................................
or issue date
Maestro issue number Expiry Date
(On your transfer, please quote as your reference your postcode and house number. To receive a letter thanking you for your donation please add the letters TY to the end of the reference.)
I WOULD LIKE TO GIVE REGULARLY THROUGH MY UK BANK
I enclose a cheque/voucher payable to “Barnabas Fund” OR Please debit my
I have made an internet transfer to the Barnabas Fund bank account (Sort Code: 20-26-46) Account Number: 50133299
I do not require an acknowledgement of this gift
Please start on 1st/11th/15th/21st of ........................................(month) and then every month/quarter/year (delete as applicable) until further notice. This Direct Debit is a new one/in addition to/replaces an earlier Standing Order/Direct Debit in favour of Barnabas Fund. (delete as applicable).
Instruction to your bank or building society to pay by Direct Debit Please fill in the whole form using a ball point pen and send it to: Barnabas Fund, 9 Priory Row, Coventry CV1 5EX Name and full postal address of your bank or building society
2 5 3 6 4 5
Reference (Barnabas Fund to complete) Instruction to your bank or building society: Please pay Barnabas Fund Direct Debits from the account detailed in this instruction subject to the safeguards assured to by the Direct Debit Guarantee. I understand that this instruction may remain with Barnabas Fund and, if so, details will be passed electronically to my bank/building society. DD18
Name(s) of account holder(s) Bank/building society account number
Service User Number
Branch sort code
GIFT AID DECLARATION
(Applicable to UK tax payers only)
Name of charity: Barnabas Fund Please treat as Gift Aid donations all qualifying gifts of money made: (Please tick all boxes you wish to apply) this gift only
in the past 4 years
in the future
I confirm I have paid or will pay an amount of Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax for each tax year (6 April to 5 April) that is at least equal to the amount of tax that all the charities or Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) that I donate to will reclaim on my gifts for that tax year. I understand that other taxes such as VAT and Council Tax do not qualify. I understand the charity will reclaim 25p of tax on every £1 that I give.
ALTERNATIVE GIFT CARD
A Gift of Love for the Persecuted Church
A A Gift of Love for the Persecuted Church
B A Gift of Love for the Persecuted Church
Signature.................................................................................... Date .................................................... Please inform us if you want to cancel this declaration, change your name or home address or no longer pay sufficient tax on your income and/or capital gains. If you pay Income Tax at the higher or additional rate and want to receive the additional tax relief due to you, you must include all your Gift Aid donations on your Self-Assessment tax return or ask HM Revenue and Customs to adjust your tax code.
A Gift of Love for the Persecuted Church
Please return this form to Barnabas Fund at your national office or to the UK office. Addresses are on the back cover. Barnabas Fund will not give your address, telephone number or email to anyone else. Supporters in Germany: please turn to back cover for how to send gifts to Barnabas Fund. Phone 0800 587 4006 or visit our website at www.barnabasfund.org to make a donation by Direct Debit, credit or debit card. From outside UK phone +44 1672 565031. *If the project chosen is sufficiently funded, we reserve the right to use designated gifts either for another project of a similar type or for another project in the same country. Registered Charity number 1092935 Company registered in England number 4029536
A Gift of Love for the Persecuted Church
If you would like to make a donation as an alternative gift for a friend or relative, we can supply you with an attractive “Thank you” card, which you can send to the person for whom you have made the donation. Please fill in the details as you would like them to appear on the card. “Dear ................................................. A gift of £ ................ has been received on your behalf from.............................................................................................. This gift will assist Christians who are persecuted for their faith. With many thanks on behalf of the persecuted Church” Tick here if you do not want the amount to be stated on the card Tick here if you do wish details about the project to be included on the card Please state your preferred card choice (see left): ..........
E A Gift of Love for the Persecuted Church
If you would like to have the card sent directly to the recipient, or if you would prefer to receive blank cards and fill them out yourself, please contact your national office (address details on back cover).
If you would like more cards, please photocopy the form or attach a separate piece of paper with the details for extra cards and send it with your donation. You can also call your nearest Barnabas Fund office with the details and pay by credit/debit card over the phone.
The Direct Debit Guarantee This Guarantee is offered by all Banks and Building Societies that accept instructions to pay Direct Debits. If there are any changes to the amount, date or frequency of your Direct Debit Barnabas Fund will notify you 10 working days in advance of your account being debited or as otherwise agreed. If you request Barnabas Fund to collect a payment, confirmation of the amount and date will be given to you at the time of the request. If an error is made in the payment of your Direct Debit by Barnabas Fund or your bank or building society, you are guaranteed a full and immediate refund of the amount paid from your bank or building society. If you receive a refund you are not entitled to, you must pay it back when Barnabas Fund asks you to. You can cancel a Direct Debit at any time by simply contacting your bank or building society. Written confirmation may be required. Please also notify us.
The Barnabas Fund Distinctive We work by:
●● directing our aid only to Christians, although its benefits may not be exclusive to them (“As we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” Galatians 6:10, emphasis added) ●● aiming the majority of our aid at Christians living in Muslim environments ●● channelling money from Christians through Christians to Christians ●● channelling money through existing structures in the countries where funds are sent (e.g. local churches or Christian organisations) ●● using the money to fund projects that have been developed by local Christians in their own communities, countries or regions ●● considering any request, however small ●● acting as equal partners with the persecuted Church, whose leaders often help shape our overall direction
How to find us
What helps make Barnabas Fund distinctive from other Christian organisations that deal with persecution?
●● acting on behalf of the persecuted Church, to be their voice – making their needs known to Christians around the world and the injustice of their persecution known to governments and international bodies
We seek to:
●● meet both practical and spiritual needs ●● encourage, strengthen and enable the existing local Church and Christian communities – so they can maintain their presence and witness rather than setting up our own structures or sending out missionaries ●● tackle persecution at its root by making known the aspects of the Islamic faith and other ideologies that result in injustice and oppression of non-believers ●● inform and enable Christians in the West to respond to the growing challenge of Islam to Church, society and mission in their own countries
●● facilitate global intercession for the persecuted Church by providing comprehensive prayer materials
●● we are called to address both religious and secular ideologies that deny full religious liberty to Christian minorities – while continuing to show God’s love to all people ●● in the clear Biblical teaching that Christians should treat all people of all faiths with love and compassion, even those who seek to persecute them ●● in the power of prayer to change people’s lives and situations, either through grace to endure or through deliverance from suffering
“Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40)
You may contact Barnabas Fund at the following addresses:
UK 9 Priory Row, Coventry CV1 5EX Telephone 024 7623 1923 Fax 024 7683 4718 From outside the UK Telephone +44 24 7623 1923 Fax +44 24 7683 4718 Email email@example.com Registered charity number 1092935 Company registered in England number 4029536 For a list of all trustees, please contact Barnabas Fund UK at the Coventry address above.
New Zealand PO Box 27 6018, Manukau City, Auckland, 2241 Telephone (09) 280 4385 or 0800 008 805 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland PO Box 354, Bangor, BT20 9EQ Telephone 028 91 455 246 or 07867 854604 Email email@example.com
Australia PO BOX 3527, LOGANHOLME, QLD 4129 Telephone (07) 3806 1076 or 1300 365 799 Fax (07) 3806 4076 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Scotland Barnabas Fund Scotland, PO Box 2084, Livingston, EH54 0EZ Email email@example.com
Germany German supporters may send gifts for Barnabas Fund via Hilfe für Brüder who will provide you with a tax-deductible receipt. Please mention that the donation is for “SPC 20 Barnabas Fund”. If you would like your donation to go to a specific project of Barnabas Fund, please inform the Barnabas Fund office in Pewsey, UK. Account holder: Hilfe für Brüder e.V. Account number: 415 600 Bank: Evang Kreditgenossenschaft Stuttgart Bankcode (BLZ): 520 604 10
Singapore Cheques in Singapore dollars payable to “Barnabas Fund” may be sent to: Kay Poh Road Baptist Church, 7 Kay Poh Road, Singapore 248963
International Headquarters The Old Rectory, River Street, Pewsey, Wiltshire SN9 5DB, UK Telephone 01672 564938 Fax 01672 565030 From outside UK: Telephone +44 1672 564938 Fax +44 1672 565030 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
barnabasaid the magazine of Barnabas Fund Managing Editor: Steve Carter Published by Barnabas Fund
The Old Rectory, River Street, Pewsey, Wiltshire SN9 5DB, UK Telephone 01672 564938 Fax 01672 565030 From outside UK: Telephone +44 1672 564938 Fax +44 1672 565030 Email email@example.com
USA 6731 Curran St, McLean, VA 22101 Telephone (703) 288-1681 or toll-free 1-866-936-2525 Fax (703) 288-1682 Email firstname.lastname@example.org © Barnabas Fund 2014. For permission to reproduce articles from this magazine, please contact the International Headquarters address above. The paper used is produced using wood fibre at a mill that has been awarded the ISO14001 certificate for environmental management.
To donate by credit card, please visit the website or phone 0800 587 4006 (from outside the UK phone +44 1672 565031).