Late last year, Canon Hassan John, a pastor from the Diocese of Jos in Nigeria, asked Anglican Aid for prayer. Christians in the north-east were being targeted by the Islamist group Boko Haram. As locals travelled between villages, Boko Haram militants were setting up checkpoints and identifying Christians through their ID or ATM cards. The Christians were then either executed immediately or taken away as captives for ransom.
Archbishop of Jos, Ben Kwashi, also informed Anglican Aid, ‘In the north of Nigeria where I live there have been so many killings, together with the destruction of homes, farms, properties, churches … The stories can be heartbreaking. But the gospel cannot be burnt out or destroyed.’ In 2021 alone, over 10,000 people in north and central Nigeria were displaced by attacks from Islamist groups like Boko Haram and Fulani cattle herders and these types of attacks have continued into this year. Week by week over the first quarter of 2022, there have been reports of ongoing and harrowing targeted killings of Christians and the destruction of their villages, in particular in the Kaduna and Plateau states of north-east Nigeria.
With the help of supporters, including the Diocese of Canberra & Goulburn – which established a Diocese-Diocese partnership arrangement with the Diocese of Jos in 2017 – Anglican Aid has been working to provide emergency relief and resettlement aid for these brothers and sisters who are in desperate need. However, Canon John has recently told Anglican Aid that in northern Nigeria, some believers, especially young people, are seeking protection from extremist groups by turning to traditional idol worship, charms, or Islam. They also urgently need continued prayer!
‘Right now, we are looking for people to pray with us,’ says Anglican Aid’s CEO, Canon Tim Swan. Anglican Aid is inviting you to go to anglicanaid.org.au/ category/persecuted-christians to sign up to receive regular prayer requests via email from persecuted Christians. The prayer points will come from Anglican Aid’s partners on the ground, like our brothers and sisters who are suffering in Nigeria.
This invitation is part of Anglican Aid’s Persecuted Christians Support Program, being launched this Easter. ‘To some extent, this isn’t new,’ Tim confirms, ‘we’ve already been supporting church partners in places where Christians are suffering persecution like the Diocese of Jos in Nigeria, such as in Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, and Pakistan. But we are sharpening our focus in this area of ministry and establishing networks in other countries to support persecuted Christians through prayer, advocacy and humanitarian assistance. In Galatians, God calls us to bear one another’s burdens and we take this as our call to action.’
In launching the Persecuted Christians Support Program, Tim says, ‘I pray that our prayers will strengthen our brothers and sisters in their faith and testimony amidst difficult circumstances, and that we here in Australia will have our vision increased for what God is doing around the world’. Tim continued, ‘It takes God’s empowering Spirit to help our brothers and sisters to endure. Please join us in praying, as we seek in collaboration with the Diocese of Canberra & Goulburn to see your partnership with the Diocese of Jos continue to grow, that churches will be strengthened and communities transformed in Nigeria and around the world, all for God’s glory.’
Watch this video (https://youtu.be/ W1lZ2wO2-Jk) to see what Anglican Aid is doing to support Persecuted Christians across the globe.
Please sign-up at anglicanaid.org. au/category/persecuted-christians to join us in prayer.