Friday, October 19, 2007

Martyrdom in Gaza

A friend sent me the following report earlier in the week.

MARTYRDOM IN GAZA:

“…and that they loved not their lives, even unto death” (Revelation 12:11b).

The small Christian Arab community in Gaza was badly shaken last Sunday (Oct 6th) when Rami Ayyad, a 30 year old believer who ran a Palestinian Bible Society book shop in Gaza City was found slain after having been kidnapped from near his home the previous day. He had been stabbed and shot. He had been tortured before he died. Rami had received numerous threats before and after his shop was firebombed last spring. He is survived by his pregnant wife and two young children.

It is estimated that there may be up to 3,000 Christians in Gaza, in a sea of some 1.5 million Muslims. Most are Greek Orthodox; there are around 100 Baptists. Christian Arabs have a very difficult time in all of the areas under Muslim Palestinian control — those who have converted from Islam are especially targeted. In Gaza, since the takeover by the radically religious Hamas element, the threats and incidents of violence have begun to increase alarmingly (Hamas is an Arabic anagram — but in Biblical Hebrew, the word means “violent cruelty”, cf. Psalm 25:19).

A dear friend who is closely connected with the believers in Gaza reports that as always, fear is the weapon which the enemy is counting on most to further his work. The believers, trying to be strong, are under a barrage of fear — many are terrified to come out of their homes (“It’s not like they can go to Egypt and lie low for two months — they can’t go anywhere, but must just sit and see what happens”).

They also must battle the implications drawn from the facts that the murderers would have acquired Rami’s cell phone with the numbers of all of his friends, that there is no way of knowing how much information concerning his associates may have been forced out of him before he died, that no organization has come forward to claim responsibility, suggesting that they may have other incidents planned before doing so. Yet, a friend close to Rami’s widow shared with our friend how she expressed to her amazement at the grace she senses covering her during this time.

PLEASE PRAY:

* For the widow of Rami Ayyad, angelic protection over her heart, spirit and body…her two children and the little one still in her womb.

* For the Father of mercies and God of ALL true comfort (II Cor. 1:3) to shelter this family and the believing community around them under His wings.

* Over the minds of Believers in this community, that they will be protected from the enemy’s attempts to plant and rerun images of what might have taken place in their minds. Phil 4:6-7 speaks of the necessity of God’s ineffable Shalom guarding our hearts and minds in Messiah Yeshua (Jesus). A Scripture which we are praying for the loved ones is Ps 25:5, “Guide them in Your Truth and teach them, for You are God their Saviour.

* Acts 4:29-30 over Palestinian Arab believers throughout Gaza, Judea and Samaria: that God will take note of the threats and grant that His bond-servants may speak His word with all confidence, while He extends His hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of His holy servant Yasuah (Arabic--Hebrew: Yeshua; English: Jesus). Pray that the power of the Holy Spirit would break out through all denominational and religious boundaries in the brothers and sisters and vindicate the Name to the Muslim community in goodness, and mercy and power. That what Satan meant for evil in Gaza, the LORD will use to further His Kingdom of love and hope and life in this dark and despairing place.

* For the Body of Messiah in Israel… that as these things increase we will be sober-minded yet not fear the fire — that Jewish and Arab believers will be joined together in the unity of Yeshua’s love and that “those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:3

1 comment:

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