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Pastor on hit list. Elevator magazine restores faith. Yao Christians under great pressure.


On Sunday, January 28, two masked gunmen entered a Catholic church in Istanbul during a service and randomly shot and killed a 52-year-old man. The self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility. Turkish police quickly arrested two suspects with ties to ISIS and later arrested 25 more after raiding numerous locations. Afterwards, police contacted a pastor of a rapidly growing church in another part of Turkiye and told him that his name was on an ISIS hit list. “This pastor has been threatened by ultra-nationalist Tks many times, but this was the first time that he sounded worried,” said a front-line worker. Turkish police offered to protect the pastor and encouraged him to set up security cameras. “We can’t pray for the elimination of persecution,” said the front-worker, “but we can pray that believers will be strengthened and recognize these things are happening because of the growth of the church.”



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Farid placed his trust in Christ six years ago, but with no church to attend, he had not been growing in his faith. While riding in an elevator, a Christian woman gave him a magazine and said, “This is a gift for you.” Farid was startled and wondered if it was a special kind of advertising campaign. But after the woman left, he read it. “I came upon a page that really touched my heart,” he said. “On that page, they interviewed believers who shared their stories of faith. One was a story was about believers who, like me, had given their hearts to Jesus but then forgot that they even were Christian.” Another story discussed a worship song that Farid remembered from a Christian satellite TV channel years earlier. “Right then I was encouraged to renew my forgotten faith with God,” he said. “The magazine reminded me that even if we forget God, he will never forget us.”


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Roughly 2.5 million Malawians are part of the Muslim Yao people group. According to front-line workers, God has been moving significantly among the Yao people in the last two decades. But in recent years, Yao Christians have experienced severe pressure. “They are beaten and cast out of their communities,” said a front-line worker. “When others find out they are Christian, they have 24 hours to leave the village, and then they will put a fatwa on their life,” he added. Churches have been burned down, Christians have been attacked and front-line workers are under extreme pressure: “They get so many death threats that one worker’s wife has developed severe PTSD and can no longer homeschool her own kids.” The front-line worker asked for prayer that Yao Christians will have courage to stand firm in their faith amid intense opposition.

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