Thursday, January 20, 2011

Somali Mother of Four Slaughtered for her Faith

Image: Ethiopian Christian Pilgrims in Jerusalem

A mother of four was killed for her Christian faith on Jan. 7 on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia by Islamic extremists from al Shabaab militia, a relative said.

The relative, who requested anonymity, said Asha Mberwa, 36, was killed at 5:15 p.m. in Warbhigly village; the Islamic extremists from the insurgent group had arrested her outside her house the previous day at 8:30 a.m. She died when the militants cut her throat in front of villagers who came out of their homes as witnesses.

She is survived by her children – ages 12, 8, 6 and 4 – and her husband, who was not home at the time she was apprehended. They had married in 1993.

Her relative, whose location is also withheld for security reasons, said he had phoned her on Jan. 5 to try to make arrangements for moving her family out of the area. Al Shabaab extremists, who control large parts of Mogadishu, were able to monitor the conversation and confirm that she had become a Christian, he said.

He told reporters by phone that Mberwa feared that she and her family members’ lives were threatened.

“Asha had been receiving threatening messages” after al Shabaab monitored her previous communications with him, he said.

Her husband, Abdinazir Mohammed Hassan, fled to an unknown location. Mberwa’s relative said a “good Samaritan” in Mogadishu was caring for her four children. The traumatized children continue to weep and cry out for their mother, he said.

Al Shabaab insurgents control much of southern and central Somalia and have embarked on a campaign to rid the country of its hidden Christian population. With estimates of al Shabaab’s size ranging from 3,000 to 7,000, the insurgents seek to impose a strict version of sharia (Islamic law).

Al Shabaab was among several splinter groups that emerged after Ethiopian forces removed the Islamic Courts Union, a group of sharia courts, from power in Somalia in 2006. Said to have ties with al Qaeda, al Shabaab has been designated a terrorist organization by several western governments.

The transitional government in Mogadishu fighting to retain control of the country treats Christians little better than the al Shabaab insurgents do. While proclaiming himself a moderate, President Sheikh Sharif Sheik Ahmed has embraced a version of sharia that mandates the death penalty for those who leave Islam.

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By producing a small written item to present the leadership of your nation, picture the current situation as to persecution and/or missions, add information on spiritual combat and frontlines of confrontation, report on the situation of the poor and needy in your society we will be able to come alongside in prayer.
By writing on these subjects or by sending articles written by others you will draw the attention of many intercessors, who are eager engage in the most rewarding pursuits available to man – PRAYER.
Please, do not hesitate to try to describe urgent prayer targets. . .
Blessings on every effort in this realm. . .

Lars W.

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There I will meet with you
Ex 29:42-43

A gathering of the interceding Church for the purpose of unreserved commitment and explicit agreement. . .

The Holy One of Israel – a name of honour, a name borne by God, borne by him who reveals himself. The revealing begins by the name itself, a singular statement about his identity, his nature and his choice. It is a distinct marker of his intent – he chooses a people and a place for communion. He chooses the least, chooses that which is the weakest, even that which is despised for the purpose of revelation – indeed an extra-ordinary setting, indeed holy ground. In a tent, among a people brought forth from among nations, he chooses to call himself by name – the Holy One.

The continuation of this revelation of holiness and communion is set before us, even today, in the call to efforts at an extra-ordinary level of attention and alertness in an atmosphere of fellowship and concord under the direction of the Holy Spirit. The Israel of today, Jew and gentile, will be arranged by the same foundational principles and arrayed by the same beauty of holiness as the people of old.

The continuation of the revelation of God will take place among a people who has a desire for communion – like the church of the first days, gathering in homes, arranged by the Spirit of holiness in house fellowships. The continuation of the revelation of the beauty of holiness will take place in settings in which togetherness in righteousness is a main feature. The tent is the place of communion. That which is small and despised is still, even today, the choice of the Lord. In it he fosters a people for his praise – and for his returning to Zion.

The tent, the tabernacle of Israel declared the presence of that which is holy. The priests were constantly occupied with a holy sacrificial service before the Lord. The three parts of the tabernacle were marked as levels of increasing holiness. Parallels may immediately be found in the fellowship of the first church, as it was led to an ever increasing measure of godliness under the instructions and guidance of the Holy Spirit. There is yet a tempering of the tent to be expected among the people of God, to be received and apprehended in the Consensus Church – expressed in house church settings, among those who are waiting for the Redeemer to come to Zion.

The tabernacle is a call to holiness. The tabernacle is an invitation to communion. The church is once again called to extra-ordinary efforts in the realm of godliness. The tabernacle stands in our midst as a setting apart for a unified and unreserved commitment unto holiness. God pitches his tent in our midst as a foretaste of his coming and his rule. The tabernacle is defined among us by explicit agreements for the sake of extra-ordinary prayer for the displaying of the glory of God in these last days. . .

Lars Widerberg

A calling forth, a bringing together of godly men and women everywhere, for the sake of unreserved commitment and explicit agreement in prayer and intercession, in preparation for a solid testimony of the Lord. 1 Tim 2:8, Matt 18:19-20.

What is your role in relation to such a call? What is your response to such a call? Would you give yourself to prayer for the mobilization of such a fellowship, given to the working out of explicit agreements concerning time spent, goals defined and devotion refined?

An explicit agreement aiming at:
A recovering of the apostolic patterns for church fellowship and spiritual growth.
A recovering of the glory of God among his people.
A recovering of veracity, authenticity, holiness and godliness.
A renewal of the understanding of the sovereign Lordship of Jesus Christ among his people.
A renewed waiting before the Lord for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
A new period of intensified efforts in the realm of missions - a sending of workers to the harvest.

The intercessors at the Network HQ are waiting to serve you in explicit and ongoing agreement in prayer to help and cover you as you move along these paths of recovery. We have at our disposal a couple of seed fellowships who have chosen to begin to develop apostolic patterns of church life for the sake of waiting on the Lord.
The Network as such is made aware of this mobilization and is in itself the first target for this prayer effort as well as the first unit to be involved in the prayer for the sake of unreserved commitment and explicit agreement in prayer and intercession, in preparation for a solid testimony of the Lord.
The Lord mobilizes Heaven and its resources for our growing together in effectual prayer for the fulfillment of the recovery.

We welcome reports and descriptions regarding in what manner you are able to express this agreement:
How often do you find it appropriate to gather?
Where have you found a place to gather?
Areas of prayer which you try to cover and penetrate.
How you are received by the general Christian community.
Present difficulties.
Ideas as to the development of the agreement.

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Apostolic Foundations:
The Challenge of Living an Authentic Christian Life
By Arthur Katz

There is no word that should be more alive in our consciousness than the word apostolic. It is a word that says everything about the nature and the genius of the church, and all that God expects from it, and intends for it. Like all other great biblical words, we cannot find a definition for them by reaching for a dictionary. It is a word that we need to apprehend and be apprehended by. It is a word that has fallen into disuse and needs to be restored, and that restoration is not going to be cheap—but it is worth everything.

Nothing of any eternal consequence or immediate value can be effected in the earth independent of it. I have maybe a slight patience for what is called para-church ministries and interim things that have been raised up in our generation for the lack of a church of this kind. At best they are only God’s temporary provision. His true works, however, must emanate from a true church, and a church of a particular kind, as was laid forth in the church at Antioch (Acts 13).

God is jealous over the word apostolic. The Lord designates Himself as the “High Priest and Apostle” of our confession. If the church is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, then we need to appropriate the depths of the meaning of that word in order that we might be part of what makes that up, and the configuration of things apostolic that makes the church the church.

Six full-grown chapters on the pertinent issue of what it means to carry an apostolic testimony formulated by a man who lived an apostolic life and worked out an apostolic calling for more than thirty years – Art Katz.

Sent to you for prayer and consideration on request.

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Lars W.

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