In this issue of the newsletter
New: Communist governments are still persecuting Christians
New: Biden Administration praises oppressive communist government
New: Jihad in Nigeria since 1804 – Most of the land now controlled by Muslims
Update: Orphanage improvements / The secrets of helping Muslims who come to Jesus
Communist Vietnam no better than Red China
By William J Murray
Ignoring persecution of Christians? The communists who run Vietnam are now the best buddies of our State Department. Secretary of State Blinken headed to Hanoi in April to rub shoulders with this despotic communist government.
During the Vietnam war 58,220 American servicemen lost their lives to the communists. Tens of thousands of others had their lives forever changed by the wounds of war. When the last Americans evacuated Vietnam on April 30, 1975 the repression of the Christians of Vietnam began. All freedom was lost.
The repression of Christians continues in Vietnam today.
On April 8, just days before Secretary of State Blinken was to arrive in Vietnam, police of Dak Lak Province arrested Montagnard Evangelist Y Krech Bya, a member of the Evangelical Church of Christ of the Central Highlands, as he was hosting an Easter vigil service at his home. He was criminally charged for “sabotaging the national unity policy” under Article 116 of Vietnam’s Penal Code, which may carry a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.
Before he departed the United States for Vietnam he was presented a letter signed by more than forty organizations including the Religious Freedom Coalition, Jubilee Campaign, Save the Persecuted Christians and dozens of noteworthy individuals including former Senator Sam Brownback.
More than 300 very brave members of affected churches inside Vietnam also signed the letter.
The letter listed numerous offenses by the communist government against evangelical pastors and church members as well as harassment of Catholic priests. The letter concluded with a demand that Secretary Blinken “… communicate to Vietnamese leaders in no uncertain terms that further engagement between the two countries must be based on Vietnam improving its record for human rights and respect for religious freedom.”
Under President Biden’s Administration despots have not been discouraged from a path of persecuting Christians, and Vietnam is just one example. During Secretary Blinken’s trip to Vietnam there was no mention at all made by him about the persecution of Christians. Why?
“The enemy of my enemy is my friend” is the driving force of American diplomacy. We are courting Vietnam to “stand up” to communist China and as a result our nation looks the other way from communist oppression in that nation.
This is not new. The most repressive Muslim nations where Christians have no rights at all are referred to as “our Sunni allies” by our leaders.
President Trump had placed Nigeria on the Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) list for religious freedom violations. As soon as Biden took office, he removed the CPC designation, much to the disgust of Christians and all those who work on religious freedom.
Since Biden removed Nigeria from the CPC list, the repression of Christians has grown worse. Since he was elected in 2015, President Buhari’s federal government has appointed mostly northern Muslims to critical offices. An Open Doors analyst stated that those included “security agencies like the army, air force, police, immigration service, the Department of State Services (DSS), customs, Civil Defense Corps, prison service etc.” The report went on to state that the same “…applies increasingly for the judiciary in Nigeria, and for key economic sectors.
The jihad against Christianity began with Usman Dan Fodio, a Fulani radical Islamic scholar who began an Islamic jihad in Gobir in 1804, well before the British colonial administration in Nigeria. Christians have been pushed out of the north of Nigeria by incursions since then. The enforced Islamization gained speed in 1999 with the declaration of Sharia states in northern Nigeria.
The newest target is the majority Christian state of Benue which is under constant attack. The last two times I have been in Nigeria there have been fatal attacks on Christians in Benue State. Whenever in Benue, I must travel with an armed escort.
Nigeria close to home: The second week of April some of our aged-out orphans were to be transported from the orphanage in Jos to a new group home in Makurdi. By the intervention of the Lord the plans were changed to a week later because of a logistical problem. The change was a blessing because of attacks in Benue State.
Two attacks occurred in Benue State north of Makurdi. At least 74 Christians were killed. There were 28 bodies recovered at a camp for internally displaced people in Mgban local government just north of Makurdi. Benue is the new battleground for the Fulani as they claim all of Nigeria on their march to the south. Looking closely at a map of Nigeria, Christians are now the majority in only one-third of the nation.
Our orphanage is in Plateau State: Because of attacks by Sunni Muslim Fulani Herdsmen in the third and fourth week of April in Plateau State, there are now many new orphans. Dozens of Christian farmers were killed to stop them from planting their small farms.
The Fulani herdsmen want the Christian land for their cattle. Theologically the Fulani Tribe believes all of Nigeria should be Islamic and controlled by the Fulani. The current president of Nigeria is Fulani. The election just held was rigged to allow its party to stay in control. President Joe Biden congratulated him on the way he “handled” the election.
Just about the time of the attacks in April, the first seven aged-out orphans from our orphanage were transported to a new group home supplied by a partner ministry in Nigeria. Using this facility gives our ministry time to open a new facility for future aged out orphans in Jos. There is no pressure for us to rush the building out of the new home.
In addition to the seven aged-out orphans being moved to Makurdi, we are transferring a total of 15 younger orphans to an orphanage operated by another ministry near Abuja. With the seven gone to Makurdi and some of the younger transferred, we will have space for new arrivals.
Moving the more settled orphans will give us some openings for new arrivals from areas recently under attack, where children have lost their parents to the on-going Jihad. The care givers at the orphanage are better trained in dealing with children suffering from trauma. All have undergone specialized training.
Advances at the orphanage: Your prayers are needed for the farm. We rented land for the new farm in a rural area. We have a small bus for the older children to go to the farm in shifts and take care of crops. The Irish potatoes will be the first crop planted. We have also had great success with maize (corn).
I am asking your prayers for the farm because it is in a more rural area. It is susceptible to attack and there is some risk. The risk is not to the children, but to the crop itself if it is overrun by the Fulani’s cattle. Is the risk worth it? I believe so.
The children love the farm. First and foremost, it allows the older children to provide for themselves, and provide food for the younger ones as well. Rather than just being recipients of aid, they are providing their own support.
Our last farm was destroyed in 2021. Not a single crop was saved, but previous years were so productive that a tithe of the crops was given to less fortunate orphanages in Jos.
More build-out: Our orphanage is operational but not complete. The chapel is a hollow building with no lights. The musical instruments that were lost at the destroyed site have not been replaced.
All the children’s belongings were replaced including clothing. They even have new Bibles. The kitchen is fully functional, and we are supplying sufficient food. The new wells and water towers we have built are providing adequate water.
BUT … We still have classrooms with no power. Some of the classrooms are temporary buildings constructed for us by a local ministry out of scrap wood. One good storm with winds over about 25 or 30 miles an hour, and some of the temporary buildings will come down.
The temporary structures must be replaced with cement block structures to withstand the extreme elements in the mountainous area where Jos is located. What we have is great to keep sun off the students, but they leak in the rain and it is now the rainy season.
From a “Muslim background”
Some really bad guys: Over the many years I have been the president of the Religious Freedom Coalition I have met many good people who love the Lord — and some who were truly evil.
One of the most evil men I ever met was Omar al-Bashir, the Muslim dictator of the Sudan who is responsible for the murders of hundreds of thousands of people.
I and other evangelical leaders came to the Sudan to inspect the conditions of Christians. The government promised to show us tolerance toward Christians, but what we found was repression.
Omar-al-Bashir invited me and the others to his home. He smiled and shook my hand, but he could not hide the hatred in his eyes. He would have preferred to have me killed.
He was overthrown by his own military in April of 2019 after a year of protests by the people over price increases and a failing economy. Inflation was a greater cause of his downfall than a desire for freedom. So it is in the Muslim world. Along with Islam comes monarchies and intolerance. (NOTE: I was training for the Marine marathon while there in 2006 and got up every morning at 4:00 AM to run along the Blue Nile because of the extreme heat after dawn. During the day the temperature would often be about 110.)
Please continue to pray for this work and for divine protection for the faithful all over the world who face persecution in their daily lives.