Ray Barnett’s New Book

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As a young boy struggling to find his way through the immense poverty, secrecy and war-time suffering that gripped his life in Northern Ireland, Ray Barnett dreamed of a life of adventure and travel like that of his hero: famed missionary-explorer David Livingstone.

As an adult, he has lived that life—leading a human-rights based ministry that has brought hope, healing and humanitarian aid to hundreds of thousands of people across the globe.

In this riveting memoir that spans eighty years, Ray takes readers on a rollercoaster journey through his childhood in the rough, working-class neighborhood of Killowen—a childhood marked by loss, abuse, severe learning disabilities, rejection, and the crushing discovery that the family who raised him was not his own.

Ray’s life makes a sudden U-turn when, at age 13, he turns his life over to God. Spurred by the scripture, “All things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23), Ray sets out to accomplish what seems like the impossible—from securing the release of Hezbollah-held hostages and imprisoned Christians, to launching the world-renowned African Children’s Choir, to unraveling the lifelong mystery surrounding his identity.

Only Believe is an inspiring testament of the miracles that can transpire when we put our faith in God and take action; believing if we do everything that’s in our power to do, God will take care of the rest.

NIGERIA’S BENUE CLASHES: MASS BURIAL AFTER FARMER-FULANI CLASHES

Tensions have been rising for some time. Pictured: A man protecting his village in February 2017

A mass burial of more than 70 people is under way in Nigeria’s central Benue State.

Dozens have been killed in conflicts between nomadic herdsmen and farming communities in three states – Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba – in recent weeks.

The Nigerian army says it has deployed special forces to all three to “stem the menace”.

Herders, mostly from the Fulani ethnic group, and farmers often clash over land in the region.

Since the New Year, the number of clashes has intensified, with more than 100 deaths reported in Benue and Taraba states.

Fighting has been particularly heavy in Benue state, where 80 people have been killed and 80,000 displaced.

“Thousands are attending today’s funeral service to honour those killed,” Benue’s information commissioner Lawrence Onoja told the BBC.
Mr Onoja, who was at the funeral, said 73 people were being buried.

He defended his state’s controversial ban on open cattle grazing implemented in November, which Fulani herders have complained targets them unfairly.

“Our economy in Benue State depends on agriculture,” he said. “Take that away and we have a serious problem.”

Live Photos From Mass Burial For Victims Of Benue Killings

Mr Onoja said that herdsman had a “misconception” the law was against them, saying they had not taken the time to look at it closely.

“[Until now] Fulani herders have been a law unto themselves. We want them to adopt ranching. These clashes result from the encroachment of cattle on farmers’ land.”

The BBC’s Haruna Shehu in the capital, Abuja, says Fulani herders’ associations have told him they only mount retaliatory attacks when others steal their cattle or kill members of their community.

“They prepare attacks months in advance and enlist fellow herdsmen from as far as Guinea,” he said.

The Fulanis are spread across West Africa, from Senegal to Central Africa Republic.

Map showing the three affected states

While these tit-for-tat clashes often begin over land, the crisis seems to be taking on an ethnic and religious dimension.

Earlier this week, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the head of police to relocate to Benue to manage the crisis.

The president’s office later confirmed the deployment of special forces to Nigeria’s central region in a tweet:

Presidency Nigeria

@NGRPresident
UPDATE: @HQNigerianArmy has deployed Special Forces To Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa States to secure vulnerable communities and prevent further attacks.
6:21 PM – Jan 10, 2018
149 149 Replies 310 310 Retweets 371 371 likes

Analysts say the deployment to more states is likely to overstretch the Nigerian military, as it currently has thousands of troops fighting Boko Haram in the north-east.

Many other troops are operating in the oil-rich Niger Delta in the south, where militants are demanding a greater share of the oil wealth.

Source: BBC News

Please visit the “Nigeria’s Forgotten Christians” article, by Spectator journalist, Douglas Murray

Nigeria’s New Year begins with attacks on Christians

Worshippers in four churches in Ilorin, the capital of Kwara state, were attacked by mobs of youths during services on New Year’s Eve. (Photo: CAN)

In Nigeria, the New Year celebrations were marked by incidents which claimed dozen lives across the country. According to local sources and media, the attacks were carried out by suspected Fulani herdsmen or Muslim youths, who targeted Christian worshippers.

The attacks affected the volatile Middle Belt states (Benue, Kaduna), epicenter of the deadly attacks by Fulani Herdsmen in recent months, but also some typically peaceful states like Rivers in the predominantly Christian south and Kwara in the east, both usually spared by religiously motivated violence.

Worshippers attacked, women raped in Kwara

Worshippers in four churches in Ilorin, the capital of Kwara state, were attacked by mobs of youths during services on New Year’s Eve.

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) condemned the attack in a statement. The worshippers were attacked at the Christ Apostolic Church, CAC, Oke-Isegun, the Methodist Cathedral and the St. Joseph Catholic Cathedral.

According to CAN, some women returning back home were raped, while others were rescued. The association also said the assailants destroyed buildings, religious articles and vehicles. They also dispossessed some worshippers of their phones, bags and other valuables.

More than 16 killed in Rivers

At least 16 people were killed as gunmen opened fire at churchgoers returning from a midnight service on New Year’s Eve in Omuku, in Nigeria’s southern Rivers state. Several others were injured, as World Watch Monitor reported. But according to an NGO on the ground, Stefanos Foundation, the death toll is much higher.

Rivers state is Nigeria’s main oil-producing region and, according to local reports, the incident was linked to growing tensions between rival gangs, who demand a greater share of oil revenues.

The president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, condemned what he called these “unacceptable” acts. (Photo: Stefanos Foundation)

Scores killed in Benue

At least 50 people lost their lives as suspected Fulani herdsmen invaded five communities in Benue state, on New Year day and in the early hours of 31 December. Many others were wounded.

According to The Nigerian Guardian, the assailants, armed with various weapons, attacked a suburb of Ayilanmo and Turan villages in Gambe-tiev Local Government Area, while residents were in church.

The assailants also attacked Tomatar and Umenger villages in Guma Local Government Area, killing some villagers. They also burnt a patrol vehicle.

The state governor, Samuel Ortom, who visited the victims on New Year Day, condemned the violence.

“What happened, from the report I have received, is far beyond what you have seen here,” the governor said. “So many houses have been burnt. So many people have been killed. Some are still missing. Can you imagine innocent children and women being killed and their private parts removed? People were slaughtered like animals.”

Traditional ruler and pregnant wife killed in Kaduna

A traditional ruler and his pregnant wife were shot dead by gunmen believed to be Fulani herdsmen in his hometown of Ark village, in southern Kaduna, on New Year’s Eve.

According to This Day, Gambo Makama and his wife were killed at around midnight. His 45-year-old son also sustained serious injuries during the attack and was taken to hospital. The assailants also set the house ablaze and burnt a vehicle, which was recently given to the chief as a gift.

This Day also reported further attacks, which claimed at least 10 lives. On 22 December, four people were killed and eight others injured in Nidem village, in Jama’a Local Government Area.

According to the newspaper, the assailants invaded the village square, where Christmas carols were being sung.

In the second attack which took place on Christmas Eve in Anguwan Mailafiya, also in Jama’a, six people were killed by armed men believed to be Fulani Herdsmen.

Traditional ruler abducted in Kaduna

On Tuesday (2 Jan), a ruler of Ikulu in Zangon Katang Local Government Area of southern Kaduna was kidnapped in his private residence in Anchuna village.

The ruler, Yohanna Kukah, is the younger brother of Mathew Hassan Kukah, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto.

Another brother, Samuel Kukah, told The Daily Trust that around 20 well-armed men stormed Yohanna Kukah’s house at about 8.30pm.

“They surrounded the chief, who was making a call, tied his security guard in one of his cars and took the chief inside the house and asked him for money,” Samuel Kukah said. “They seized all his handsets and those belonging to his family members, collected his money and whisked him away without saying or demanding anything.”

Two killed in Adamawa

According to Stefanos Foundation two people were killed and eight others injured in two separate attacks in the north-eastern state of Adamawa during the final week of the year.

On 28 December, Fulani militants attacked Tamboh Jimoh village, in Gerei Local Government Area. They killed one – James Hamman – and injured four others.

Three days earlier, one person – Danbaki Talami – was killed and four others injured in an attack carried out in the same area.

The president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, condemned what he called these “unacceptable” acts.

“You can’t kill to please God, and I know no religion tolerates the taking of another person’s life in the name of a religious movement,” he said in a statement. “There is never a justification for killing any member of the society. We have been tackling the Boko Haram menace, and we have made significant impact, and we will extend the measures to stop all wanton killings.”

Source: World Watch Monitor

CHIBOK GIRLS: KIDNAPPED SCHOOLGIRL RESCUED IN NIGERIA

A massive global awareness campaign began after 276 schoolgirls were abducted in 2014

One of the “Chibok girls” abducted by Islamist group Boko Haram in 2014 has been rescued, Nigeria’s military says.

The girl is in “the safe custody of troops and receiving medical attention”, it said in a statement.

More than 270 girls were kidnapped by the group from a school in the north-eastern town of Chibok.

The military say that the girl was rescued in Pulka in northern Borno state, which is more than 160km (100 miles) from the town.

They say she was discovered with a 14-year-old girl who was with a child but neither was identified as being part of the Chibok group.

More than 100 of the 276 kidnapped schoolgirls are still being held by Boko Haram and their whereabouts is unknown.

In September, a group of more than 100 were reunited with their families at a party in the capital Abuja.

Most of the group were released in May as part of a controversial prisoner swap deal with the Nigerian government that saw five Boko Haram commanders released.

The girls spent months in government custody, undergoing psycho-social therapy after their traumatic experience at the hands of the Islamist militants.

But the government says they are “fully rehabilitated” and has promised to sponsor their further education.

A separate group of 21 girls were freed in October 2016 after negotiations with Boko Haram.

More than 50 managed to escape on the day they were captured, mostly by jumping off lorries and running off into the bushes.
After the girls were abducted from their school in April 2014, a massive global awareness campaign began, using the Twitter hashtag #BringBackOurGirls.

Boko Haram has been fighting a long insurgency in its quest for an Islamic state in northern Nigeria. The conflict is estimated to have killed tens of thousands of people.

The Chibok girls represent a fraction of the women captured by the militant group, which has kidnapped thousands during its eight-year insurgency in northern Nigeria.

Source: BBC News

US PASTOR IN TURKISH PRISON FEARS HE WILL BE FORGOTTEN

 

 

By Cara Bentley

Andrew Brunson, who was arrested in 2016, has told his wife that “prison has stretched me far more than I ever would have imagined”.

The Pastor of the protestant Izmir Resurrection Church in Western Turkey was arrested in October 2016 on claims of links to “armed terrorist organisations”, claims he denies.

Brunson remains in prison in Izmir despite US requests for his release.

He wrote to his wife, Norine, saying:

“I am deeply grateful to all who have prayed for me. This trial – time in prison – has stretched me far more than I ever would have imagined. I have been very weak, had many doubts, felt very alone. I know that God’s grace is sustaining me, even when I do not feel that grace, and I know that the prayers of God’s people are surrounding me and giving strength. One of my big fears has been that I will be forgotten in prison. Thank you for not forgetting! It is a great encouragement to know there are people praying for me – it reminds me that I am not alone, and that I need to stand firm, with my face pointed in God’s direction always. Thank you for standing with me in this most difficult time.

Many blessings to you

Andrew”

 

Source: Premier

Founder of the African Children's Choir, Music For Life and Friends In The West.