GUNMEN KILL 100 CHRISTIAN VILLAGERS IN CENTRAL NIGERIA

While all eyes are on Nigeria’s north-eastern regions where the radical group Boko Haram is at last being challenged by multi-national military forces, violence targeting Christian communities in the group of states across the centre of Nigeria, known as the Middle Belt, has increased dramatically. This comes ahead of Presidential elections on 28 March.

In the early hours of 15 March in a village in Benue state, close to the Cameroon border, 100 people, including women and children, were slaughtered by Fulani herdsmen who broke into homes and started shooting while their victims slept.

A witness who escaped the killings said ‘we were still sleeping when they entered our village and started shooting sporadically in all directions killing every human and animal in sight’.

You can read the full story in the news section of our Friends In The West website at www.friendsinthewest/news

KIDNAPPED CHIBOK GIRLS – NEWS UPDATE

CBN News have taken their cameras to Nigeria, to a village where many of the relatives and friends of the kidnapped schoolgirls from Chibok have taken refuge after Boko Haram attacks.  Please continue to pray for the safe release of the 219  girls who are still being held. You can see the video report on the Friends In The West website at the link below:

www.friendsinthewest.org/news

Happy St Patrick’s Day

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It’s that time of year again when people all over the world are remembering the patron saint of Ireland.  It always reminds me of the place of my birth and upbringing in County Antrim. This is the same county where St. Patrick tended sheep, and where he developed a close relationship with God and felt the “call” to bring the gospel to pagan Ireland.

Slemish Mountain, Co Antrim

Slemish Mountain, Co Antrim

St. Patrick was born in Britain around 385 AD. When he was 16 years old, he was captured by Irish pirates and brought to Ireland where he was sold into slavery. There, his job was to tend sheep, which he did on Slemish mountain, which is close to where I was brought up in County Antrim.

During his six years of captivity, he became deeply devoted to Christianity through constant prayer, and he came to view his enslavement as God’s test of his faith. In a vision, he saw the children of Pagan Ireland reaching out their hands to him. With this, he grew increasingly determined to convert them to Christianity.

saint-patrickCirca 408 AD, the idea of escaping enslavement came to St. Patrick in a dream. In the dream, a voice promised him he would find his way home to England. Eager to see the dream materialise, he convinced some sailors to let him board their ship. Eventually, St. Patrick was reunited with his family in England. As time passed, however, he never lost sight of his vision: to convert Ireland to Christianity.

Around 431 AD, he returned to Ireland to spread the message of Christianity to the Pagans there. 

Upon his arrival in Ireland, St. Patrick was initially met with hostile resistance. But through preaching, writing and performing countless baptisms, he eventually convinced Pagan Druids that they were worshiping idols under a belief system that kept them enslaved. By accepting Christianity, he told them, they would be elevated to “the people of the Lord and the sons of God.”

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The reputed burial place of St Patrick at Down Cathedral, Downpatrick, Northern Ireland