Exclusive stories from the mission field
A widow in Egypt was in tears when she called a local ministry leader with word that she had lost her job as a housecleaner due to a coronavirus lockdown.
She was supporting seven family members, including a daughter with two infants who was separated from her drug-addicted husband and a married son with two children who had lost his job and home due to the pandemic.
“She was crying while telling us that she had to sell her kitchen appliances in order to meet some of their basic needs,” the leader said.
Local missionaries and their families were among 1,900 families who fled their homes when heavily-armed Fulani herdsmen raided predominantly Christian villages in southern Kaduna state, Nigeria this month.
The slaughter of Christian men, women and children by the Fulanis accelerated in recent weeks to unprecedented levels, with a three-day series of assaults displacing five native missionaries and their families, the leader of a native ministry said.
“The killing of Christians in southern Kaduna by the Muslim killers is unprecedented,” he said. “We have lost so much again and again, and our missionaries are being pursued and lost everything.”
Believing he had a divine mandate to stop all efforts to lure people away from Allah and his prophet, Idris had persecuted local missionaries in Nigeria in many ways.
When an area Christian donated land for a church building, he found a way to block its construction and built a mosque on the property, the leader of a local ministry leader said.
“He was extremely hostile to all efforts and to our missionaries, leading to the persecution against all of our converts there,” the leader said. “Idris even promised to kill our missionaries if they would not stop reaching their communities and preaching the gospel.”
A year ago this month, a 72-year-old villager in Kenya known as Shaaban woke up unable to speak.
A sorcerer with a reputation for causing the ruin and even deaths of many people through black magic, Shaaban was certain he was the victim of a retaliatory spell.
His wife sought advice from their neighbor, who advised her to seek prayer from a native ministry’s church pastor.
Food in short supply after locusts began devouring harvests in the Horn of Africa in 2019 became even more scarce when coronavirus containment measures this year put the brakes on supply channels.
The rise of coronavirus cases across the region has heightened the emergency in the already locust-plagued rural areas where outreaches are concentrated, the leader of a native ministry said.
“The poor and elderly people in the villages are walking to some churches, begging churches and pastors for basic foodstuffs for them, which the churches don’t have,” he said.
A native missionary who pastors a new church recently led an evangelistic outreach in an undisclosed village in Kenya where he met a man who appeared deeply troubled, forlorn and shunned.
He had a desperate air about him, but in time the missionary found he had charisma and an engaging laugh; why did villagers avoid him?
As they were talking one day, the man swallowed and decided to tell the pastor his secrets.
Caroline’s husband didn’t come home and beat her because he was drunk; he beat her because she was drunk. In a remote, undisclosed village in Uganda where few people could read, Bwambale Nakonde* believed that if he punished his wife enough times she might stop being an alcoholic.