Join with us in giving thanks for the 30 years for which the Lord has allowed Barnabas to serve His Church around the world. In that time Barnabas Aid – originally known as Barnabas Fund – has brought practical help and spiritual encouragement to millions of suffering and persecuted believers. We know from His word that these trials will continue until Christ returns. Pray therefore that God will continue to equip us for service for as long as we are useful to Him, for except the Lord build we labour in vain (Psalm 127:1).
Praise God for the work of food.gives which, by His grace, has achieved immeasurably more than we imagined at its launch in June 2021 (Ephesians 3:20). The food.gives programme has delivered your donations of food and other practical aid to millions of Christians in need. It has strengthened our ability to respond swiftly to global crises, such as this year’s Cyclone Freddy in Malawi and the Turkey-Syria earthquake. We are also expanding into food production, with our new food hydration machine hugely increasing our ability to sustain our hungry brothers and sisters. Thank the Lord for His many blessings and pray that food.gives will continue to grow.
“Now, with the knowledge gained from studying with OCRPL, I feel equipped to engage Muslims from a position of understanding.” These are the words of Lucas Nyaware, a church leader from Kenya, who is currently working to complete his master’s programme through the Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life (OCRPL). OCRPL – part of Barnabas Academia – is working to equip the leaders of the Church for their high calling, including in meeting the challenge of Islam in their nations. Pray for God’s blessing on this work to strengthen the global Church.
Almighty and Everlasting God, we bring You thanks that You have taught Your people to know You as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Thank You that we can worship one God in Trinity, and the Trinity in unity. We acknowledge that You are three times holy, and praise You that in sovereign grace You make Your people holy. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, including Your persecuted and suffering children around the world, because we ask in the Name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. (Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8; 2 Corinthians 13:14)
Intercede for Christians in Algeciras, southern Spain, after a church officer was killed and a minister seriously injured in a vicious terrorist attack on two churches. An alleged Muslim extremist was responsible for what the National Court of Spain said could “be classified as a directed jihadi attack”. Ask the Lord to comfort members of both congregations and the wider community, and pray for His protection wherever churches are vulnerable to extremist violence.
Praise God for the release of Pastor Alimujiang Yimiti (Alim) after 15 years of imprisonment in China. Alim, a Christian convert from the Muslim-majority Uyghur people, was accused of anti-state activities and sentenced following two secret trials. He was imprisoned in Xinjiang No. 3 prison, where inmates are reported to be made to wear headphones playing communist propaganda all day every day, which they must memorise and repeat. Pray that Pastor Alim will recover from his lengthy imprisonment, and that, along with his wife and two sons, he will be able to practise his faith in peace.
The persecution of Christians in North Korea shows no sign of abating. Officially identified as belonging to the “hostile” class, they are perceived as enemies of the state and subject to discrimination, punishment and in some cases, execution. Christians continuously live with the tension of wanting to make their Lord known and having to keep their faith secret, even from family members, to avoid arrest. Pray that our brothers and sisters will know God’s protection as they gather in secret, and for His strength to uphold those suffering death, torture and abuse in the country’s labour camps.
“We could not allow the thought of comfort, only necessity,” said the pastor of a poor rural congregation in Uzbekistan. It was often so cold inside their dilapidated church building in winter that they had to resort to worshipping in cars with the heaters on. Thanks to a refurbishment part-funded by Barnabas, the congregation now has heating in their building. Another Uzbek church meeting in a poorly constructed building has also received funding to help with rebuilding. Pray for faithful believers as they seek to build God’s Kingdom. Give thanks that the Uzbek authorities are becoming more tolerant towards the small Christian community and that church registrations are slowly increasing.
“May the Lord bless everyone who has done this work and donated,” said the pastor of a church in Kyrgyzstan, adding, “Our Lord is great.” Thanks to the gifts of supporters, Barnabas funded a year’s course of medication for the pastor and 25 other Christians serving the regional Church suffering from Covid-related and other illnesses. None of the recipients could afford the treatment prescribed by doctors. The majority of the group are converts from Islam who endure persecution from their Muslim neighbours. Give thanks to God, who is healing those who cried out to Him (Psalm 107:19-20).
Sunita Munawar, a 19-year-old Pakistani Christian woman, suffered dreadful injuries to her face, hands and ankle in a shocking acid attack. The attack was perpetrated by a Muslim man, Kamran Allah Bux, as Sunita was getting off a bus in Karachi. He admitted that he threw acid at Sunitra for rejecting his proposal that she convert to Islam and marry him. Pray that Sunita will experience spiritual, emotional and physical healing and that justice will be administered to act as a deterrent against harassment of Christian girls and women in Pakistan.
Heavenly Father, we rejoice that Barnabas-funded aid has become a “light of hope” for 2,000 Christian families struggling to survive following unprecedented flooding in Pakistan. As well as giving thanks that You have graciously attended to their practical needs, we are grateful that You have strengthened them in their faith. Please continue to be with them as they rebuild their lives, meeting all their needs according to the riches of Your glory in Christ Jesus, in whose Name we pray. (Philippians 4:19)
Praise God that His Word is being heard by more people around the world, including Christian converts from the Muslim-majority Flame* speakers of West Africa. An increasing number of Flame people have chosen to follow Christ, and are now being blessed by a new translation of the New Testament in their own language, available both in writing and as radio broadcasts. Pray that these new believers will grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).
Five people were killed as the Myanmar military (Tatmadaw) bombed a church at Lay Wah village, in Christian-majority Karen State. Among the dead were two church leaders, along with a young boy, thought to be three years old, and his mother. In a separate incident shortly afterwards, Tatmadaw soldiers set fire to a church building and torched homes in the Christian-majority Chan Thar area of Sagaing Region. Ask that the Lord will continue to sustain and provide for His children , and that violence against Christians will end.
The military authorities in Chin State, Myanmar, have placed restrictions on Christians meeting for worship. According to a recent announcement, churches must seek permission from the authorities seven days in advance of holding a worship service or any other gathering, while the names of those planning to attend must also be submitted. Chin State is a majority Christian area within Buddhist-majority Myanmar, and the military authorities represent a Burmese Buddhist nationalist ideology. Ask the Lord to sustain His children in Chin State and across Myanmar. Pray that this new requirement will not become a tool of further persecution.
Hundreds of thousands of Christians are among an estimated 1.4 million people displaced since the military coup in Myanmar in February 2021. In 2022 Barnabas provided aid for around 3,500 Christian families, supplying staples such as rice, noodles, dried food, salt and cooking oil, as well as medical supplies, tarpaulins and roofing material to those in need. Pray that God will continue to protect our local project partners as they face danger in seeking to reach those displaced, and that our brothers and sisters will be greatly encouraged as support reaches them.
“Jai”, a young Christian woman in a South-East Asian country, often has to go without food so that her child and her elderly mother can eat. Christians are usually among the poorest people in this region of the world, and suffer greatly from rising food prices – food inflation reached a record 49% in early 2023. Give thanks that Barnabas has funded the purchase of a rice mill and 260 tonnes of rice that can be stored for more than 12 months. With this our project partner can provide discounted rice to believers who are struggling, and a steady supply of free rice to those in desperate poverty like our sister Jai, who will now receive 20kg of rice each month for her and her family.
Fifteen Christian families have been driven out of their home village in rural north-western Laos by their neighbours. The families were expelled for their decision to follow Christ. At the time of writing, the authorities had been unable to reach an agreement with villagers for the families to return to their homes. There have been at least two similar incidents in Laos in recent years, in which Christians have been forced from their homes. Pray for a solution that will allow our brothers and sisters to have settled homes where they can worship in peace. Ask that local and national authorities will enforce a national law protecting the rights of the Christian minority.
Father God, we pray for those among our Christian family who have been forced from their homes by persecution or disaster. Military bombardment has displaced thousands in Myanmar, while Christian families have been chased from their villages in Laos and Vietnam. Islamist violence has destroyed the homes of Christians in Nigeria and neighbouring West African countries. Natural disasters have left many of Your children homeless, including in Malawi, Pakistan, Syria and Turkey. Thank You that You can empathise with their suffering, for on earth Your Son had no place to lay His head. We ask in His Name that You will continue to provide for our displaced and homeless brothers and sisters. (Matthew 8:20)
“We are still trying to get permits to build our church, but the process takes a long time. Does it mean that we can’t worship in the meantime?” These were the words of an Indonesian Christian after a mob of extremists tried to break up a church service in a large rented house in North Sumatra. A video shows one of the attackers declaring, “We object to you worshipping here.” “I don’t know why, suddenly, we were prohibited to carry out services,” said the Christian, adding, “It really hurt us a lot.” Pray that the Lord, who cares for His children (1 Peter 5:7), will make a way for them to worship in peace and security.
Christians in Indonesia often encounter obstacles from local government when applying for permits to construct church buildings. It was therefore encouraging that the president of the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation reminded local authorities of their obligations to uphold religious freedom. Addressing heads of provinces and districts President Joko Widodo said that Christians and other non-Muslims “have the same rights in terms of freedom of religion and worship”. Give thanks for President Joko’s commitment to freedom of worship and pray that his message will be acted upon at local level, enabling Christians to live out their faith freely.
The violence which has afflicted Libya in recent years has caused many expatriate Christians from the USA, Europe, India and Pakistan to leave the country. But there are Christians from various countries of sub-Saharan Africa still in Libya and attending church when they can. At the same time, many Libyan citizens are losing interest in Islam. A survey showed that 36% of Libyans in the age range 18-29 are non-religious. Some Libyans are turning to Christ. Pray for them as they grow in the faith, mainly through online discipleship and online church services.
The most widely spoken dialect in Morocco is Darija (Moroccan Arabic). The New Testament in Darija was published in 2012 and now in 2023, after various delays, it is expected that the whole Bible will be published. Pray that nothing will hinder the distribution of the Bible to eager Moroccan Christians, so that they can read God’s Word in the language of their heart. Pray that the Word will strengthen them and encourage them to stand firm despite the many pressures and difficulties they face.
At the time of writing, 41 church buildings in Algeria have been closed by the authorities, leaving only 13 still open. Even some church buildings constructed before Algeria became an independent nation in 1962 are thought to be at risk of closure. The Christians continue to meet discreetly in small groups in homes and baptisms take place either in homes or (especially now in the summer when the weather is warm) in rivers. Pray for wisdom, strength and protection for pastors as they visit homes to pray, teach and encourage small groups, and ask that the Christians will grow in their faith.
According to some estimates there are now 160,000 indigenous Christians in Algeria. Since 2018 there has been much pressure on them from the authorities. At the time of writing, a few Christians are in prison while several others are under investigation. But persecution is bringing the believers closer to the Lord. One group of congregations has committed to continual prayer and fasting, with the congregations taking turns to pray and fast for a day, and all of them doing so on Saturdays. Add your prayers to theirs that the Lord’s Kingdom will come and His will be done in Algeria.
Lord God and Heavenly Father, we lift before You our brothers and sisters in Eritrea, suffering repression and persecution for their faith in Your Son. Draw near to those in prison, strengthening them even as they face torture and abuse, just as our Saviour was with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the blazing furnace. Strengthen those who live with the constant reality that they too may be thrown into prison, as Daniel was strengthened despite the threat of the lion’s pit. We ask these things in our Saviour’s precious Name. (Daniel 3:25; 6:10)
The Church in Muslim-majority Sudan is no longer harassed by the authorities. Christian cultural centres and libraries that had been forcibly closed for many years have been reopened. A law banning conversion has been lifted. But Christians still face strong opposition from sections of Sudanese society. Some Christians are very bold in their public witness and some Muslims object vociferously and call down curses on the Christians. Pray for the protection of our brothers and sisters as they preach and distribute the Scriptures. Sudanese Christians also ask for prayer for unity and to be delivered from the spies who infiltrate some congregations.
Mozambique is faced with a growing Islamist insurgency in the north of the country. Believers are regularly targeted by Islamic State Mozambique (ISM), who announce on social media the killing of Christians. In one recent attack, the jihadi group issued a statement reporting that “the soldiers of the Caliphate … captured five Christians and slaughtered them, praise be to God”. Pray for the safety of all those who are vulnerable to violence and disaster in northern Mozambique, particularly our brothers and sisters.
Islamists are suspected of killing 15 people in simultaneous attacks on three villages in Ituri province, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The Christian-majority DRC continues to be wracked with violence, particularly in the north-east where various armed groups and Muslim extremists fight for control of territory. Thousands of civilians have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced from their homes. Pray for peace and security in this troubled region, and especially that the Lord will continue to provide for His people despite violence and Islamist extremism (Psalm 23:5).
Christians in northern and Middle Belt Nigeria remain under persistent threat of being abducted by Islamist extremists. In a recent incident, 25 people were kidnapped while attending a Sunday service at a church in the northern state of Katsina. The minister, Pastor Haruna, was shot in the hand and taken to hospital. Ask the Lord to comfort His Nigerian children, who have suffered so greatly for so long. Pray that the abducted worshippers will be released without harm, and that Pastor Haruna will make a full recovery.
Pastor Musa Hyok and his two sons were killed as Islamist gunmen attacked a Christian community in Plateau State, part of Nigeria’s beleaguered Middle Belt. Thankfully Pastor Musa’s wife escaped the violence without physical harm, but she and the wider Christian community still suffer the trauma of the attack. Pray that the Lord will grant them a peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7), and that even amidst grief and sorrow they will find rest in the promises of the Almighty that all who belong to Christ will gain eternal life (John 3:15).