Category Archives: Ray Barnett

Texas Pastor Who Lost 14 Y/O Daughter in Church Shooting: ‘I Don’t Understand, But I Know My God Does’

By LEAH MARIEANN KLETT

Frank Pomeroy, the Texas pastor whose 14-year-old daughter was among those killed when gunman Devin Kelley opened fire on the small church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, urged his congregation to lean on their faith amidst the devastation.

“I would submit this to everyone – my families here and you guys there – whatever life brings to you, lean on the Lord rather than your own understanding,” Frank Pomeroy, who pastored the church for 15 years, said on Monday. “I don’t understand, but I know my God does.”

Pastor Frank Pomeroy was out of town when he got the news his 14-year-old daughter, Annabelle, was among 26 people killed in the mass shooting at the First Baptist Church.

His wife, Sherri Pomeroy, said she and her husband flew back from Florida after hearing about the attack, and had spent a long night with their children and grandchildren processing the shooting.

“With as much tragedy as that entails for our family, we don’t want to overshadow the other lives lost yesterday,” said Sherri Pomeroy said. “We lost more than Belle yesterday – and one thing that gives me a sliver of encouragement is the fact that Belle was surrounded yesterday by her church family that she loved fiercely and vice versa.”

“Our church was not comprised of members or parishioners, we were a very close family,” she added. “We ate together, we laughed together, we cried together and we worshiped together. Now, most of our church family is gone – our building is probably beyond repair, and the few of us that are left behind lost tragically yesterday.”

According to officials, Kelley, 26, entered the sanctuary with a rifle, and began indiscriminately shooting, leaving dozens dead and at least 20 others wounded. He was first shot by an armed resident who confronted the gunman outside the church and shot him. The suspect then turned the gun on himself, and was later found dead in his vehicle.

At a news briefing, Freeman Martin of the Texas Department of Public Safety said that while the gunman’s mother-in-law had attended the church, she was not there Sunday when the shooting occurred.

“There was a domestic situation going on within the family and the in-laws,” he said.

Those killed ranged in age from 5 to 72, Martin said, adding that another 20 people were wounded at the church, 10 of whom remained in critical condition Monday.

Source: The Gospel Herald

At least 27 dead in Texas church shooting

Please pray for comfort and strength for the relatives and friends of the loved ones who were brutally massacred and others injured while attending church in Sutherland Springs today.

 

At least 27 people have died after a gunman opened fire at a church in Texas during Sunday services, police say.

The attack happened at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs in Wilson County.

Police official Albert Gamez Jr confirmed the number of fatalities to CBS News.

The gunman, who is reported to have been killed in the aftermath, entered the church and opened fire at around 11:30 local time (17:30 GMT).

“The details are kind of sketchy but what I know right now, what they’re telling me, like 27 deceased and over 20, 25 injured,” Mr Gomez Jr said.

“They’re talking about the shooter is dead also,” he added.

(PHOTO: TWITTER/MAX MASSEY) Police and rescue vehicles sit outside of First Baptist of Sutherland Springs, Texas after a gunman opened fire during Sunday service on Nov. 5, 2017.

One witness, Carrie Matula, told NBC News: “We heard semi-automatic gunfire… we’re only about 50 yards away from this church.”

“This is a very small community, so everyone was very curious as to what was going on.”

The San Antonio FBI branch said its agents had been deployed, and there was no indication of the gunman’s motive.

The FBI also said that while only one shooter was reported, it was looking into other possibilities.

Photos and video from the scene showed the area taped off by local law enforcement.

A number of helicopters have arrived to transport the wounded, KSAT 12 reporter Max Massey said.

Texas governor Greg Abbott said: “Our prayers are with all who were harmed by this evil act. Our thanks to law enforcement for their response.”

He said more details would be released by the Texas Department of Public Safety shortly.

President Trump, on a tour of Asia, tweeted: “May God be with the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas. The FBI and law enforcement are on the scene. I am monitoring the situation from Japan.”

Source: BBC News

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church

International Day of Prayer

Sunday November 5, 2017

More Christians are persecuted today than ever before. Which is why we need to join in the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.

ERIC METAXAS with Anne Morse

On a sunny day last May, several families climbed onto a couple of buses, happily looking forward to visiting a monastery together.

They never made it. Instead, half of them, including ten children, were slaughtered. You see, these families were Egyptian Christians.

Islamic terrorists dressed in military fatigues stopped the buses and ordered the riders off. As one eyewitness later said, “As each pilgrim came off the bus, they were asked to renounce their Christian faith and profess belief in Islam. But all of them—even the children—refused.”  The terrorists murdered 29 Christians before fleeing.

This Sunday is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. It’s a time to focus our attention on our brothers and sisters who are being arrested, tortured, murdered, and driven out of their homeland, simply because they worship Jesus.

The attack in Egypt was just one of many around the world last spring. In Germany, a Muslim stabbed a woman to death—one who had converted from Islam to Christianity.

In Pakistan, a Christian pastor was sentenced to life in prison and tortured for blasphemy. He reportedly has been tortured many times.

In North Korea, entire families are thrown into labor camps, where they often die from torture, beatings, and starvation.

In Turkey last year, American missionary Andrew Brunson was locked up on the absurd grounds that he was a terrorist.

Islamists have also swept through Niger, setting fire to Christian churches, orphanages, schools and homes. I could go on.

According to Open Doors USA, the worst offenders are North Korea, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Sudan. Sometimes Christians are persecuted by a hostile government, as in China. But in the majority of countries, Islamist extremists are at fault. Tragically, western governments and the United Nations are not doing enough to prevent genocidal efforts, according to the Catholic News Agency.

They should—and they must. More Christians are being persecuted today than ever before in history. Some one hundred million believers are at risk. And yet, the world press largely ignores this massive humanitarian horror.

Why, you may ask, are Christians being persecuted in such great numbers today? In part, it’s because they’re considered part of the “imperial” West. And in many countries, Christians are the ones who are speaking out against the exploitation of the poor.  Third, Christianity is spreading rapidly in predominantly Muslim countries. And totalitarian leaders hate Christians because our ultimate allegiance is always going to be to God and not to a government.

Finally, writes Laura McAlister on the blog site Ignitum Today, “the hidden reality behind all persecution” is revealed in the book of Revelation: It teaches that Satan “makes war” on “those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus.”

Folks, we need to wake up, speak out, and urge our leaders in government to do what it can to fight atrocities committed against innocent men, women, and children around the world.

Above all, we need to pray for them fervently. Lifting them up before God’s throne is what persecuted Christians say they need most.

There are two websites I urge you to visit. First, go to opendoorsusa.org, you’ll find resources to help you and your church observe this international day of prayer for the persecuted church.  Then there’s the Voice of the Persecuted.

Come to BreakPoint.org, click on this commentary, and I’ll link you to them both.

Finally, to those who are suffering for their faith, I leave you with the words of Joshua: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid . . .for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

 

Share your passion with your church and inspire others to pray for persecuted Christians.

“Strengthen what remains.”
Revelation 3:2

Source: Breakpoint.  Open Doors

Central African Republic IDPs angry at UN failure to protect them

By Illia Djadi

When armed men attacked the north-western town of Bocaranga in the Central African Republic in September, thousands fled, including women and children.

Madeleine, 9, and her baby sister Cesare (World Watch Monitor)

Madeleine, 9, and her baby sister Cesare (World Watch Monitor)
Madeleine, nine, was among them. She didn’t think of taking a toy; instead, she strapped her 15-month-old baby sister Cesare on her back and ran.

With others, she walked for three days, including a night in the bush, before reaching a village, 40km away. From there, a lorry sent by a local MP brought them to safety in Bozoum.

Madeleine is among 19 unaccompanied children who have sought refuge there, 125km from home.

An eyewitness, anonymous for security, recalled the moment which shattered the lives of thousands:

“It all started on Friday 22 September. It was like the calm before the storm,” the eyewitness recalled.

“During the night, all was quiet, but tension was high as the town heard rumours of an attack. This created an atmosphere of panic, with some fleeing into the bush – on their bare feet, or by bike.

“Others sought refuge in the Catholic church compound or in schools, and others at the UN peacekeepers’ base [MINUSCA]. The exodus continued through the night, but nothing tangible happened.

Madeleine and her sister are two of the 19 unaccompanied children who have sought refuge in Bouzoum, 125km from home (World Watch Monitor)

Madeleine and her sister are two of the 19 unaccompanied children who have sought refuge in Bouzoum, 125km from home (World Watch Monitor)
“Early the following day, just after 5am, a MINUSCA patrol was seen near the Catholic church compound. Two armoured vehicles were stationed at its entrance. At about 5.30, the first column of armed rebels entered the town. They passed by the Catholic compound. The UN soldiers were still there, outside their armoured vehicles. The rebels greeted them, before continuing on their route.

“A few minutes later, the first detonations of automatic rifles were heard. Meanwhile, the two UN armoured vehicles left the Catholic compound and moved towards the town. They seemed to be going back to their base, 3km away.

“The detonations and shootings continued through the day, until 6pm. For about eight hours, the rebels attacked and overran the town, without any reaction from the MINUSCA troops.”

On Sunday 24 September, the whole town was under rebel control, though MINUSCA said its troops had intervened and repelled the attack.

Brigitte with some of her children (World Watch Monitor)

Brigitte with some of her children (World Watch Monitor)

The exodus of civilians continued: the vast majority of the 15,000 inhabitants, including women and children, fled.

A total of 3,388 IDPs arrived in Bozoum during the three to four days that followed the attack.

Brigitte, in her forties, is a mother of ten. The youngest is still a baby.

“Why is this happening to us?” she asked. “We used to have a decent life. I used to run a small business, while my husband was a nurse. We earned enough to look after our children.”

But now life has changed. Despite the generosity of local communities and churches in Bozoum, conditions are hard: Brigitte and her husband share the same room with their ten children.

“We have no bed or mattress… We sleep on a piece of tent. At night, it’s difficult to sleep. It’s cold and mosquitos are flying all around and biting us,” she said.

Four days after their arrival, the first food distribution was organised – by Caritas International. Like dozens of other IDPs, Brigitte waited for hours to receive her portion: three kilos of rice for her family of 12.

“It’s not enough for us all. But we had something to eat for the night and the following day,” she said.

Asked about the future, she shook her head: “Nobody knows. Each time I see children on their way to or from school, I think of my own”.

Christiane, 29, a lone mother of three, including twins, lacks even basic toilet facilities. She is worried her babies could easily get sick because of the mosquitos or living conditions. She says it’s been hard to cope with the whole situation on her own. The father of her children left her even before the attack. She doesn’t know where he is now.

Christiane, a single mother of three (World Watch Monitor)
Valentin, a deacon in a church in Bocaranga, walked for four days, 125km, to reach Bozoum with his wife and eight children, aged between two and 16. “By the grace of God, we got the strength and energy to walk all the way,” he said. He knows that of the hundreds who left with him, not all reached the town.

Grateful for support from local communities, including churches, he prays and encourages others to remain strong in the midst of hardship.

People who managed to visit their former homes in Bocaranga say the rebels looted and ransacked them all. They say the attack targeted the predominantly Christian districts of the town: the commercial district, Catholic sector and the Bollara area, where most NGO offices were located. They say predominantly Muslim districts were spared: some of their residents were said to sympathise with the rebel attackers.

The attackers are believed to be members of two armed groups: The 3R (Retour, Réclamation et Réhabilitation), a predominantly Fulani group led by Abass Sidiki, and MPC (Le Mouvement Patriotique pour la Centrafrique), led by Mohamed Bahar.

Though MINUSCA eventually launched an offensive, on 7-8 October, to remove the rebels from Bocaranga, there is no expression of joy or celebration from the IDPs in Bozoum. Just a lot of anger. They say it is too late; they have already lost everything.

“Why did the UN troops wait for more than two weeks to intervene?” they wonder.

A total of 3,388 IDPs arrived in Bozoum during the three to four days that followed the attack (World Watch Monitor)

And they denounce MINUSCA’s failure to stop rebels entering Bocaranga in broad daylight, as well as what they saw as the peacekeepers’ “hypocrisy” – two weeks before, at a meeting with community leaders, high-ranking UN officers reportedly said any attack from rebels would be “impossible” or “unthinkable”.

They also wonder why MINUSCA said it had repelled the attack on 24 September and that the situation was under control, when in fact the rebels were in charge of the town. Some even accuse the MINUSCA troops, in this case made up of Bangladeshis, of complicity with the rebels.

It isn’t the first time MINUSCA troops have faced such accusations – in August, Moroccan troops were accused of the same following an attack in the eastern town of Gambo that left dozens dead, including ten Red Cross workers. Previously, another Moroccan contingent in Bangassou was accused of indiscriminate killing of civilians, prompting the local bishop, Juan José Aguirre Muños, to demand their withdrawal.

Source: (World Watch Monitor)

CHRISTIANS RECOUNT TERROR OF HERDSMEN’S NINE-DAY MASSACRE IN PLATEAU STATE, NIGERIA

Muslim Fulani assailants aided by armed terrorists, survivor says.

One of the homes burned in assault on 13 villages in Plateau state, Nigeria Oct. 8-17. (Morning Star News)

JOS, Nigeria (Morning Star News) – The church elder in Plateau state, Nigeria saw the Muslim Fulani herdsmen storm into his village at 11 p.m. the night of Oct. 13, shooting in all directions.

“Every one of us ran to save his life,” Dauda Samuel Kadiya, 38, of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) in Zanwrua, told Morning Star News. “I was shot at, but the bullet only bruised my hand. You can see the wound yourself.”

The assailants destroyed eight houses in the attack, one of several assaults in Plateau state that went on uninterrupted from Oct. 8 to Oct. 17, killing 48 Christians, survivors said.

“All Christians in villages around here have been displaced, and worship buildings have been abandoned,” Kadiya said. “Some of the church buildings were destroyed by the attackers.”

In Zanwrua village, 62-year-old Agado Aura recounted how he and his wife narrowly escaped death.

“Myself and my wife were still sitting in front of my house chatting at about 11 p.m. in front of my house when the attackers came,” Aura, a member of St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Tafigana but a resident of Zanwrua, told Morning Star News. “We could not go to bed early, because the previous night a village near ours, Tafigana, was attacked by the herdsmen. Suddenly, we heard gunshots from the eastern part of the village. We ran into some of the nearby rocks close to my house and hid there.”

ECWA church elder Dauda Samuel Kadiya. (Morning Star News)

The armed herdsmen came to his house and started shooting, he said.

“They broke the doors to our rooms and then set fire on my house,” Aura said. “Having set fire on my house, they went to the next house and did the same. They continued burning houses until they were done, before they left. I was watching all they were doing from my hidden spot behind those rocks you see over there.”

Area Christian leaders told Morning Star News how armed herdsmen, apparently accompanied by terrorists from Islamic extremist groups, attacked communities just a few kilometers from a Nigerian army facility, the Rukuba Military Cantonment outside Jos, for nine days.

Moses Tsohu, a Zanwrua village leader and ECWA member, lamented that the attacks were carried out in spite of the presence of soldiers stationed at check points on the Jos-Miango Highway.

“In the past few weeks, our people have been attacked by Muslim Fulani herdsmen who are collaborating with armed terrorists to invade our communities,” Tsohu told Morning Star News. “These attacks are being carried out daily. Every blessed day we witness the invasion, killing of our people, and the destruction of their houses.”

The attacks on 13 Christian communities in the north-central state also wounded nine people and ruined 249 homes, survivors said. Herdsmen began the assaults on Oct. 8 on Nkie Dongwro village, where one Christian was killed and another wounded.

Tsonhu said a 2-year-old was among those killed over the course of the attacks. He gave the names of Christians killed in Nzherenvi, Nzherivo, and Aribakwa as Arivure, 2; John Audu, 25; Kure Dah, 31; Sunday Vire, 22; Voh Te, 20; Garba, 28; Zhu, 41; Jerry Simon, 34; Tegwi Mba, 30; and Wura Hwei, 27.

Hundreds of Christians who have been displaced were taking refuge in Miango and in Jos, Tsonhu said.

Survivors told Morning Star News that two Christians were killed in Hukke; one in Kpachudu; two in Nzhweruvo; one in Tafigana; six in Taegbe; one in Chuvorivireh; four in Aribakwa; one in Arichaka; and 30 in Nkyie Doghwro, which was attacked twice.

They said nine Christians were injured in two villages, five in Taegbe and four in Nkyie Doghwro. In addition, the herdsmen kidnapped one Christian from Rotsu village.

“We have continually woken up to news of attacks each day leaving tears, sorrow, despair and apprehension,” Sunday Abdu, president of the Community Development Association of the predominantly Christian Irigwe ethnic group, said at a press conference in Abuja.

Abdu said that there was a prior attack as well: after Sept. 8 attacks on Ancha that killed at least 20 Christians, on Sept. 9 two persons were killed, including a soldier, in Hukke. The Oct. 8 assault began in Nkie Dongwro, killing one Christian and wounding another, he said.

Abdu said that a young man in Kpachudu, Solomon Elisha, was killed on Oct. 10; three people were killed and houses razed on Oct. 11 in Nzhweruvo and Tafigana; On Oct. 12, Muslim Fulani herdsmen razed houses in Rikwe Chongu; on Oct. 14 in Taegbe, six people were killed, five injured and houses destroyed; in Nkyie Doghwro on Oct. 16, 29 people were killed and three injured at a school used as a camp where security forces were present.

“It is painful to note that all these happened despite useful, timely information provided to security personnel, regarding movement and mode of operation of the assailants,” he said.

The 13 villages attacked across nine days were Hukke, Kpachudu, Nzhweruvo, Tafigana, Rikwe Chongu, Taegbe, Zanwrua, Nchetahu, Chuvorivireh, Aribakwa, Nshuariba, Arichaka, and Nkyie Doghwro.

Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s population, while Muslims living primarily in the north and middle belt account for 45 percent.
Nigeria ranks 12th on Open Doors’ 2017 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution.

Source: Morning Star News