“By Our Love”: Loving Muslims Affected by the New Zealand Terror Attacks

Dear Friends and Readers who Follow Christ,

Today has been an incredibly traumatic, life-altering day for many, many muslims in New Zealand, and all over the world. If you have not heard, two terror attacks in New Zealand mosques have taken place, killing at least 49 people and wounding 20 more (you can stay up to date on the event here).

Friends, this is the perfect time to love and be there for these dear, precious people. Islam is a hateful religion; but we ultimately know that we do not fight the people who believe it as much as we fight the ideology itself. These are people, just like you and I, and they are in deep, deep grief.

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A candlelight vigil is held in Melbourne. Note the empty prayer rugs, signifying the loss of those in the attacks. Photo Credit: Max Walden

Whether it would be praying for them, or reaching out in support on their behalf and presenting the Gospel, let’s think of the ways we can love these people in the darkest hour of their lives. As we do so, and as we are given opportunities to share the Gospel, they will know we are Christians by our Love and genuine care for them– and it will glorify our Loving, Gracious, Truth-filled Savior. In doing so, they will know Jesus’ Love– and hopefully give their lives to Him.LOVE

Right now, these people need love. May the way we conduct ourselves honor and please Jesus, who Loves all and wants all to come to Him.

Amen?

Your Friend in Christ,

Annalee


***YOU CAN DONATE TO THESE PEOPLE BY LEGITIMATE CROWDFUNDING SITES, WHICH YOU CAN FIND HERE.***


Do you know Jesus?

Jesus once said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). Jesus wants to comfort those in distress– and comfort those who are distressed by their sin, by being their Savior. Learn more about Jesus, and what His action on the cross meant for you, here.


Please pray for (find the prayer sheet here)…

  • Those who are in deep grief over these terror attacks.
  • The perpetrators– that justice would be done, and that they would be incredibly humbled and brought to Jesus.
  • The Chibok girls and Leah Sharibu.
  • Jesus to come back soon.

Thank you for your prayers. 

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For the Men

In all of my blog posts about the war on terror worldwide and especially in Nigeria, I talk a lot about the victims—the women and children, especially. But I have realized that I have not spoken about the men who have been victims of Boko Haram. Continue reading

REMEMBERING THOSE IN THE 9/11 ATTACKS

Today, on such a painful, painful day, I wanted to say a prayer for the family members and loved ones of those 2,977 people who passed away 17 years ago. Would you agree with me in prayer?

“Dear Lord Jesus,
You know better than anyone the pain, anguish, and grief so many people are going through today. We praise You and thank You for each and every life of those involved in the 9/11 terrorist attack, and we thank You for those on Flight 93 who fought back against the terrorists.

We pray now that You would comfort those who are, once again, grieving those closest to them. Show them that You are near, Lord Jesus, and give them vision of You.

Hold these people, Lord Jesus, and draw them to Yourself. Give them the strength they need to continue living through this tragedy.

Please end this war, God. Come back, and bring the Peace that only You can.

In Jesus’ Name we pray,

Amen.”

A list of the names of all 2,997 people lost in 9/11 can be found here.


Do you know Jesus?

God, Jesus, is “the God of All Comfort,” holding the hearts of all the broken (Psalm 34:18); Jesus offers rest to the weary (Matthew 11:28). Learn more about Christ, and how He can heal and comfort you in your brokenness, here.

 

 

The Month of March: 31 Days of Prayer

 

month of march prayer.jpgAs I wrote in another post, I have been praying over how to continue to best serve and be faithful “in the little things” to Christ, especially on this blog. I came up with a list of things to start integrating; one of those things was to spend the entire month of March– every single day– writing a short blog post asking you guys as readers to pray for 4-5 Chibok girls I post about each day.

I am listing 4-5 of these young women daily, based upon this banner photo of 60 of the Chibok school girls, the list of 18 Chibok girls found/freed on October 13th, 2016, the list of 57 girls who were found/freed on May 6th, 2017, and Solomi Pogu, who was freed on January 4th, 2018 (136 young women in all). I will simply be listing the women in groups of 4-5, going down the list of the 136 women in all. Because there are 140 girls whose names have not been made public– and no one knows if they have been freed/found– I ask that you keep one or two of these young, unnamed, yet so loved women in your prayers, too.

Each week will have a theme:

Week One: Freedom & Courage
Week Two: Loved Ones
Week Three: Truth
Week Four (only consisting of 4 days): Healing
Week Five: Renewed Interest (in the Chibok girls’ situation)

If you like to journal your prayers but do not have paper/ a journal, you can print this prayer-journaling sheet, here.

Pray however you are led; this is merely a prayer resource for you! Feel free to share these posts, and to comment anything you want to add to them! I pray that these daily times of prayer would not only do much in the Chibok girls’ situation, but would bring you closer to Jesus and His heart 🙂

Happy Praying!

(PS: Honestly, March creeped up on me! Because of this, I am (obviously) starting this a day late– so the “month of prayer” will end April 2nd. Please forgive me for the slip up! Be blessed 🙂 )

URGENT PRAYER REQUEST: 100 MORE GIRLS KIDNAPPED.

It has happened. Again.

It was reported by numerous news agencies that a huge number of young girls– approximately 100 of them– were kidnapped by the terrorist group, Boko Haram, on February 19th, 2018, from Government Girls Science Technical College in Yobe State. Most, if not all of the girls were from a place called Dapchi village.1

Honestly, I am angry. Because, once again, the Nigerian government said that they had rescued 48 of these young women. They didn’t.2 I am honesty fuming, and so, so disappointed, at so much.

I have to remind myself that, horrifically, this has been happening for a LONG, long time. To hundreds of men, women, and children.

But don’t you ever just get tired of this happening, again and again???
All I can do is ask God why. And, “When will this stop?” It’s really hard to not become jaded, right now.

But in this time of anger, heartbreak, and extreme discouragement, I am reminded that my Jesus cares. That, just like in John 11:33, when Lazarus dies, Jesus is “deeply moved in spirit and troubled.”

Let me give you some background. In John 11, Lazarus, the brother of Martha and Mary, becomes deathly sick. Instead of running to Lazarus, or healing him with a word, Jesus waits. Four days. 

In this span of time, Lazarus dies– and there seems to be no Hope for the situation. He is dead. He is gone.

By this time, Jesus comes upon the scene. Mary and Martha are in the thick, dark blackness of grief; Martha runs to Jesus in honest anguish and disappointment.‘Lord,’ Martha said to Jesus, ‘if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask’” (John 11:21).

Holding on to faith, Martha pours herself out to Jesus. “‘I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day. …I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world’” (John 11:21, 27, NIV).

Mary, in her grief, does not turn from Jesus. Instead, she runs to Him.

After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. ‘The Teacher is here,’ she said, ‘and is asking for you.’ When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.”
(John 11:28-31, NIV)

In her grief and questioning why, Mary cries out to Him. “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died,” she says, knowing that Jesus is the only One who can help her in her grief. And as Jesus looks around at the death and grief surrounding Him, the greek for verse 33 is very telling. According to Lysa TerKeurst, “Embrimaomai,” the word used to describe Jesus’ response, “refers to anger, outrage, and emotional indignation.”3

Jesus was not just moved to sad tears—though He was (John 11:34). He was moved to extreme emotional aggravation and anger. Not in a sinful sense; but in the sense that He hated what was going on.

I believe Jesus is filled with a similar anger and outrage, looking at the situation in Northern Nigeria—where countless people have been abducted, coerced, and brutalized under being “led by allah.” I believe that it breaks His heart, and makes Him sigh in sorrow.

In Exodus 5, when Moses initially asked Pharoah to let God’s people, the Israelites, go free, things got a lot worse before they got better. Pharoah refused, commanding the Israelites to work even harder. A lot of pain, anguish, and patience was needed before they were actually able to be free.

And so it seems with this. Things are getting worse before they get better. Mary and Martha couldn’t understand it at the time; but, just as Jesus waited four days—until Lazarus was already dead—so that He could show everyone His Glory, He has a purpose for allowing even an event so sick as this one to take place.

And even now, He is my Hope.

Everyone, please pray for these 100 kidnapped young women. May their story not be so tragic and evil as the Chibok girls’ abduction has been—and may their families never, ever lose the Hope that is only found in Jesus. Please, Jesus, bring these young women home soon.



Do you know Jesus?

At this point, Jesus Christ is the only One who can save. These girls, their families, and the world at large—there is no one who can save like He can.

Learn more about this God-in-Human-Flesh, the One who Loves you and wants to save and help even you, here.


Please pray for (print out a “Prayer Points” sheet here)…

  • These 100 young women. Already, two women were found dead. Please pray that the rest of these young women would be saved, and that this evil, pain, and suffering would STOP in Jesus’ Name.
  • The 112 Chibok girls who are still in Boko Haram captivity. That they would not lose Hope, and would desire to be free. May they come home so, so soon.
  • The families and loved ones of these girls, as well as everyone in Chibok, Nigeria, and Dapchi, Nigeria. Please pray over every person that this evil is affecting.
  • Pray that Jesus would bring about saving people, both now and eternally, even through this tragic event.

Please spread this news, as well as the story of the Chibok schoolgirls. These girls CANNOT be forgotten; MAY JESUS BRING THEM OUT OF BONDAGE, SOON!!!

1 https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2018/02/22/boko-haram-kidnaps-more-nigerian-students/362197002/

2 https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Nigeria-100-Girls-Kidnapped-by-Boko-Haram-Still-Missing-20180222-0037.html

3 TerKeurst, Lysa. Finding I Am: How Jesus Fully Satisfies the Cry of Your Heart. LifeWay Press, 2016.

 

ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY: Where It’s going from Here

Dear Friends & Readers,
After some prayer and some thought, I have come to the conclusion that I will continue to post blog posts, as Christ leads, concerning The Chibok Girls, Boko Haram, Northern Nigeria, West Africa, and anything else I feel Jesus putting on my heart to write. 

One thing that has stood out to me as I have prayed, thought, and reflected, is the conviction from the Holy Spirit that I have been neglecting my gift (encouragement) and this ministry. I have chalked it up to everything from busyness to a lack of passion for ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY, but absolutely none of that justifies me neglecting a ministry Jesus has put in my life to steward.

While it is incredibly painful to think that most of, if not all of, the Chibok girls– now young women– want to stay under Boko Haram’s control, I don’t believe there is ever a time when we should give up ALL Hope and discontinue praying for someone– even people in their situation. The truth is, we don’t know what is really going on in their hearts and minds. Many things could factor into them not wanting “to come home”– from the health and safety of their children, to simply finding life in captivity somehow more desirable in a material, “living-supplies” sense than true freedom (which is heartbreaking– to get the perspective of these women, please read this.) With that in mind, I will continue to post and write, unless and until I sense Jesus leading ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY, or me, in a different direction.

Please continue to pray for the remaining Chibok school girls; they need our prayers now, more than ever. Please pray that their eyes, hearts, and minds are opened to Jesus and that their hearts would desire freedom from Boko Haram. Please pray that I would continue to faithfully post important news events, insights & observations, and anything else the Spirit leads me to write. Thank you! ❤

With Love in Christ,
Annalee of ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY

To learn more about the amazing, freeing, beautiful God I serve, and how you can know Him, click here.

When Life Stops Making Sense

Since I last wrote a post, much has happened all over the world, and especially in West Africa. In the past week alone, many major tragedies have occurred.

In Cameroon: On the morning of December 29th, 2017, two women suicide bombers set out to do major, irreversible damage to a community of people. Upon seeing these two women, people of Kordo of the Kolofata subdivision in Cameroon cornered the women, causing them to set off their explosive devices prematurely. Only the two young women suicide bombers were killed. On the previous night, December 28th, 2017,  not very far away from Kordo, another attack occurred, killing one innocent person in the Mayo-Moskota subdivision, bordering Nigeria (source).

As if this was not enough, Moussa Ramat, the ex-mayor of Fotokol, Cameroon, was acquitted on charges of secretly helping Boko Haram. Ramat was a part of “several negotiations” with Boko Haram that led to the freedom of Boko Haram captives. Because there was little evidence linking Moussa Ramat to the charges that he was helping Boko Haram, he was deemed not guilty (source). This is all in view of recent news that a journalist from France was also freed from prison, acquitted on charges that he spoke to Boko Haram without passing on the information to the government. Only Jesus alone knows the full truth of these whole investigations (source).

In Nigeria: On Christmas Day, around 11 p.m., gunmen snuck into the Kamale community in Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State. As people celebrated the birth of Christ, these assailants shot sporadically into the homes of those in the Kamale community, killing at least four people and injuring many others (source). The survivors climbed up nearby mountains and “scampered away,” one survivor, Micheal Zira, said (source).

In Molai, Nigeria, Boko Haram also attacked the Molai General Hospital (source). Shooting everywhere as they entered Molai, at least one woman and numerous young men assaulted those belonging to the hospital. Three people were burned to death. Two brand new jeeps were also stolen from the Hospital (source).

In the USA: A partner in a Law Firm, located in Long Beach, California, shot and killed two of his colleagues, before committing suicide himself. Employees in the entire law firm ran out as the gun shots sounded, screaming, “They’re shooting inside” (source).

In Colorado, on the morning of December 31st, 2017, one Colorado deputy was shot and killed, and six others were wounded, four being police men and two being civilians. The shooting happened after responding to a domestic violence call close to Denver. It is reported that it was an “ambush style” shooting (source). The officer who passed away was 29-year-old Zackari Parrish.

Egypt: Though not in West Africa, I found it important to report that, tragically, 9 Coptic Christians were killed in the city of Cairo, Egypt.

On Friday, December 29th, 2017, assailants reportedly a part of Boko Haram went into a store owned by a Coptic Christian, killing his two sons. Shortly after, the assailants tried to get into The Coptic Orthodox Church, in Mar Mina, a part of a small suburb within Cairo called Helwan. While the assailants intended to throw an explosive device into the church, they were unable to get through the line of security officers surrounding the church’s entrance. The shoot out killed one security officer and six worshippers, inside (source).

 

As I write this, I become aware of the fact that 22 people have died– and that those around them have been forever changed by their deaths.
Tens of hundreds of people have been suddenly, and violently, immersed into a state of grief so deep that they may consider death themselves.

In one moment, their loved one was alive. Worshiping Christ, or working, or celebrating Christmas with those around them… and then they were gone.

Many, many people, due to terrorism, have been plunged into a world that suddenly doesn’t make sense. For those who were innocently taken by terrorism, the words of one person, who knew one of the partners killed in the Law Firm shooting in Long Beach, California, sum it up quite well. “He certainly didn’t deserve this.

He certainly didn’t deserve this.

What are we to do, when suddenly, we are submerged into a life that no longer makes sense– a life that is filled with grief, loss, and pain?

What the Bible Says about Suffering

I understand that me, a young person safe within the confines of her own home, holding a laptop, free to worship Jesus– I have no idea of how it feels to lose someone I love so much to something as evil as terrorism. I have little to no room to preach to those who have been struck by such a dark and evil blow.
No cliche or common Christian saying can mend a heart so broken.

But the Bible speaks a lot about how we will suffer in this life, especially for Jesus, in passages such as Philippians 1:29 and 1 Peter 4. In 1 Peter 4, Peter writes this:

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And, ‘If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?’ 19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.”
(1 Peter 4:12-19, NIV)

The people Peter was writing to were overwhelmed by the trials and persecution they were going through. But Peter encourages them to rejoice.

How can one rejoice, when everyone around them is gone?

Christ does not call us to rejoice because of the suffering. That is insane. But He does call us to rejoice throughout the trial, because of the fact that we draw closer to Christ in the suffering, becoming partners with Christ in it (1 Peter 4:13). 

When No One is To Blame

There are people to blame in these tragedies. Boko Haram. Evil, greedy men with guns and bombs and other weapons. Some of our problems are even self-inflicted. But, what about when pain has no one person or thing to blame? While pondering such questions,  I happened upon an essay article written by David Weiss– a Christian man diagnosed with schizophrenia, who has undergone immense pain and suffering. His essay, “God of the Schizophrenic,” offered some insight: “Even when we cannot grasp the sources of our misfortunes, we can strive to learn the right lessons.”

“Pain is a powerful drug. It altered my perception and was an indelible part of my reality,” Weiss states. So many of those plunged into the world of grief, fear, and immense loss know what He is saying, all too well.

But his words about lessons is true:
We can get bitter, or get better.
We can turn away from Jesus, or run to Him, with all of our anger and questions and tears.

And perhaps, it is in running to Him, we will find something bigger than the answers we seek, as David Weiss did:

“I have finally met the God I had heard about but never truly experienced. A God who heals. A God who loves. …A God who manifests his genius by salvaging good from the evil in our lives.”

A Love that Never Fails

Let me ask you this: Is having every answer going to make you feel less bitter about your suffering? Does knowing the specifics and story of a crime scene make it less sad?
Right now, amidst the clamoring voices demanding change because of these tragedies– and rightly so– the deepest need of those suffering in a world that makes no sense is not having answers, but being Loved. Love that will never fail; Love that will save and restore them. Love that will comfort and hide away those in their distress.

As those around the world this week are suffering from these horrific tragedies, I pray that Jesus would surround them in a real way with His Comfort and Love, both supernaturally and through His People.

If you are not a Christian, please know that the only Love that will never fail is Jesus Christ’s Love. Come to Him during this time.

If you are a Christian, run to the One who promises to weep with you, comfort you, hide you away, and never leave your side, in the midst of the darkness.

You may (or may not) ever get any answers in this life. But His Love will see you through. And perhaps, that is all we really need. 

 

This blog post is in tribute to the 5 deputies wounded in Colorado’s recent shooting, which took place Sunday morning. One of those deputies, 29 year old Zackari Parrish, passed away in the shooting. Parrish is said to have been a Godly man, going to a church in Littleton.

Please pray for all those who have been affected, including the deceased deputy’s loved ones.



Do you know Jesus?

I understand how trite all of this might feel, as you go through so much pain that no one’s input could change it, one bit.

I don’t want to make your pain seem less than it is, at all. Instead, I want to point you to the One who knows it fully. David Weiss says in his essay on suffering through Schizophrenia, “If God isn’t up there in heaven watching and waiting for me to screw up—if instead he weeps when I weep and celebrates when I take just one step toward a new and better life—then who am I to judge others harshly?

Christianity differs from every other religion in this: That God descended into humanity, lived a completely perfect life, and died for the sins of those who rejected and killed him– for the sins of all mankind. No other religion offers complete salvation by mere faith in a God who loved us enough to meet us where we are at, in all of our pain and darkness, and be called Emmanuel: “God with us.”

If you are hurting today and seeking God, know that He wants to meet you where you are– and save you from going to hell.

Learn more about this amazing, Loving God, here.



“Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.”
(Hebrews 13:3, NIV)

Please pray for…

  • Those in Cairo, Egypt who are grieving and going through daily persecution for believing in and loving Jesus.
  • Those in Nigeria who are suffering from attacks made by Boko Haram.
  • Those in the USA who are suffering and oppressed from different acts of terrorism.
  • Those in Cameroon, who are also suffering from Boko Haram and muslim terrorist attacks of all kinds.
  • That those who are suffering, whether there is a clear culprit for it or not, would come to Jesus with it, and would receive His Love and Comfort. 

 

Thank you for your prayers.