“We are calling for prayer for TWR Woman of Hope in Central Africa. The security situation is serious as we write to you. The rebellion made its foray through coordinated attacks from the city of Bangui. Several people died, mostly in the southwest and north of the capital Zone where our prayer groups are located. Some phones don't answer calls. All activities are blocked. No news. Urgently pray for us. According to reports, children are traumatized by the detonations of heavy weapons.”
This message which we recently received from a TWR worker in the Central Africa Republic (CAR), is a confirmation of the staggering statistic, released by Open Doors last week, that Christians in Sub-Saharan Africa faced up to 30 percent higher levels of violence than the previous year, while other parts of the world saw a decrease in violence during the Covid-19 pandemic.*
“Covid-19 has given new weapons to people who want to suppress and eradicate Christianity,” Henrietta Blyth (CEO of Open Doors UK & Ireland), said. “In Africa and Asia, Christians are being denied food aid. In Nigeria and across sub-Saharan Africa, Islamic militants are exploiting Covid-19 restrictions to intensify their attacks.”
The latest World Watch List* has seen one more West-African country, namely Nigeria, added to the top ten countries where Christians face the most extreme persecution. Four African countries - Somalia, Libya, Eritrea and Nigeria - are now in this top-ten list, cumulatively accounting for 40 percent of countries worldwide.
Furthermore, 17 African countries are in the Open Doors ranking of the 50 countries where Christians face the most extreme persecution, accounting for around 33 percent of countries worldwide.
Of the 4700 people who have been killed for their Christian faith, documented in the Open Doors report, over three and a half thousand of these killings happened in Nigeria.
The heart-breaking reality is that millions of Christians in Africa still face oppression and violence because of their faith. Many instances of forcible conversion by marriage indicates that apart from faith, gender bias is still very prevalent in many of these countries.
Thankfully, there are also good news reports, such as that in 2019 the transitional constitution of Sudan guaranteed freedom of religion and omitted reference to sharia as a source of law.
Sounds of joy and jubilation were heard from different areas visited by TWR staff in Malawi when distributing radios to beneficiaries. “Women were ululating and dancing,” says Victor Kaonga, National Director of TWR-Malawi, “and people were greeting us with smiles and tears of joy.” He added that a woman, probably in her late 50s, expressed her joy saying, “It’s rare to have someone come just like that and give such a precious gift. God bless you”. Another listener said she felt like she was dreaming to be owning a radio.
Doris* (not her real name) decided to commit suicide after discovering she was HIV positive. She lost hope in any future as the solution required dramatic change! What would the future even look like? How could she live a normal life? At this point, Doris began listening to TWR’s Women of Hope programme in the language of her heart - Zulu.
Through practical wisdom and spiritual discipleship, the Women of Hope programmes have saved, inspired and grown many listeners around the world. Women have even formed listener groups around the programme. During these sessions, parenting and family-oriented programmes in the Zulu language are played on audio players and the women discuss how to apply the Bible-based lessons to their lives.
Article written by Jon Hill
Some refer to TWR Africa's annual Shine event as a fundraiser, but it's a lot more than that.
The third edition of Shine took place Aug. 24-28 and once again was a time of live and prerecorded special programming, of celebration for how the Lord has blessed gospel broadcasting in sub-Saharan Africa, of sharing and prayer by both listeners and on-air guests, and of mutual encouragement throughout this ministry. And yes, the fundraising portion also was important, with more than 130,000 rand (over US$7,800) donated.
Matthew’s gospel records a beautiful truth which Jesus shared with His disciples, namely that by shining their light before others, they give glory to God! (Matt 5:16).
How wonderful is the thought that our witness glorifies our Father! This is what ultimately lies behind TWR’s motivation to host the annual Shine initiative – we wish to see God glorified!
This year’s Shine annual fundraising event carries the theme “Giving Hope”.