Russians Pressure U.S. Forces in Northeast Syria

Russian troops are engaging in standoffs with U.S. troops guarding oil fields and fighting remnants of the Islamic State.

NYT Story, read it here
Eric Schmitt
By Eric Schmitt
Feb. 14, 2020

WASHINGTON — Russia is intensifying a pressure campaign on U.S. military forces in northeastern Syria following the American withdrawal from much of that area ahead of a Turkish cross-border offensive last fall, American military and diplomatic officials say.

Russian military personnel have increasingly had run-ins with U.S. troops on highways in the region, breaking agreements between the two countries to steer clear of each other. Russian helicopters are flying closer to American troops. And on Wednesday, a U.S.-led convoy returned fire after it came under attack near a checkpoint manned by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, who are backed by Russia.

American officials say these actions by Russian personnel and their Syrian allies are devised to present a constant set of challenges, probes and encroachments to slowly create new facts on the ground and make the U.S. military presence there more tenuous. About 500 American troops remain deployed in Syria with a mission to protect oil fields and help fight remnants of the Islamic State.

“These are not daily occurrences but they have been increasing in number, and thus is troubling,” James F. Jeffrey, the top American diplomat overseeing Syria issues, told reporters last week.

Iranian prisoner shares powerful request

Friends, Iranian Christian convert and prisoner, Nasser Navard Goltapeh, recently wrote a letter requesting prayer from the notorious Evin Prison in Iran.

In his letter dated January 31, he writes, “I am confident in all hardships and I believe I will become free by Him who I have hope to (my Lord) because the Lord our God does not forget his children … so let me be bold and say, ‘The Lord is my helper.’”

Nasser and three visitors from Azerbaijan were arrested in 2016 at a private gathering in Tehran. They were held in solitary confinement for two months in Evin Prison and endured intense interrogation. After losing an appeal to his conviction of “action against national security and establishing house churches,” he began serving his 10-year sentence in January of 2018.

“Remember me in your prayers always—you know that your prayers are a sweet smelling offering to God and a sacrifice which is accepted and pleasing to him,” he writes.

He also challenges Christians to remain firm in their faith and to show concern for one another, not to give up meeting together and to work hard to spread the Gospel.

Please join us in praying with Nasser for his requests:

Please pray for his family to come to know and follow Jesus.

Pray God will bless the people of Iran and that the gospel will continue to advance, despite the many obstacles.

Pray God will encourage and strengthen Nasser and all other Christian prisoners and that they will know His continued help.

Photo: Nasser Navar Goltapeh

Another church attacked in Burkina Faso—two killed

Friends, we have just been alerted to another church attack in northern Burkina Faso. Information is scarce at this point, but our Africa team is reporting that unidentified armed individuals on motorcycles attacked a church during their worship service on Sunday, February 9.

Reportedly, at least two Christians were killed as they fled. As of yet, there has been no official reaction to the attack.

Please pray for God’s abundant grace to be upon all affected by this attack.

Pray that local Christians would be strengthened in their faith and walk in unity in the face of these ongoing attacks.

Pray that believers would trust in God and not live in fear (Psalm 56:4).

*Representative names and photos are sometimes used to protect identity.

Christian woman held in dangerous Iranian prison

Friends, we have confirmed reports that the missing 21-year-old Christian activist in Iran, who was arrested four weeks ago in Iran’s capital city of Tehran, is alive. She is being held in the country’s largest—and most dangerous—women’s prison.

Article18 reports that Fatemeh (or Mary as she likes to be called) Mohammadi is in Qarchak Prison, located in a desert south of Tehran. She has been able to call home a few times to reassure her family that she is okay.

A month ago, on January 12, Mary was arrested, as protests took place in central Tehran’s Azadi Square following the Iranian government’s admission of guilt in the downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane.

The young woman is seen as a threat and has already been imprisoned more than once. She boldly speaks out about injustice and the rights of Christians, including the cruel treatment she received in prison. She writes on a variety of social issues and has also run a campaign petitioning for all Christians, including converts, to be given the right to worship in a church.

Please pray for her safety and quick release from prison.

Pray God will comfort and strengthen her and continue to give her boldness.

Pray God will continue to raise up devoted men and women like Mary to lead His church in Iran.

If you would like to read more about Mary’s story, please click here.

Photo: Fatemeh (Mary) Mohammadi, copyright Article18

More deadly attacks on Christians in Burkina Faso

Friends, unidentified gunmen shot and killed Deacon Babililé Lankoandé of the SIM Evangelical Church in the town of Sebba, in northeastern Burkina Faso during the night of February 10. His vehicle was later used to abduct the pastor of the SIM Evangelical Church in Sebba, Omar Tindano, along with two of Omar’s daughters, his son and two nephews. Omar’s two daughters were released unharmed on February 13. However, Omar was executed along with his son and his two nephews.

These attacks come only days after unidentified armed individuals attacked a church during a worship, service killing two.

“Christians in these areas are in need of urgent prayer and support. They are traumatized and don’t know how to handle all this violence. Even close friends and members of SIM church are reluctant to share details with reporters, fearing further targeting,” OD Senior Analyst, Illia Djadi commented.

Please pray for the Lord’s intervention in the terror attacks in Burkina Faso.

Pray for comfort for all those coming to terms with the terrible loss of loved ones.

Pray for Christians to have hope and grow in faith in the midst of these attacks.

*Representative names and photos are sometimes used to protect identity.

Scripture of the Day

Philippians 3

7. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 
8. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 
9. And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 
10. That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 
11. If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 

Scripture of the Day

Psalms 39

1. I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.
2. I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred.
3. My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue,
4. LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.
5. Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.

Scripture of the Day

John 16

7. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
8. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
9. Of sin, because they believe not on me;
10. Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
11. Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
12. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
13. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
14. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

Scripture of the Day

Luke 21

1. And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury.
2. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites.
3. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all:
4. For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.

Scripture of the Day

Luke 18

2. Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
3. And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
4. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
5. Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
6. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
7. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
8. I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

Scripture of the Day

Luke 14

2. And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy.
3. And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day?
4. And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go;
5. And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?
6. And they could not answer him again to these things.

Scripture of the Day


John 5

10 The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed. 11 He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk. 12 Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk? 13 And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place. 14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. 15 The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.

Coronavirus: China accused of ‘burning bodies in secret’

Also, one thing that #China is hiding is the number of death caused by the virus. Credible Chinese media outlet @initiumnews interviewed people working at local cremation centers, confirming that many dead bodies were sent directly from the hospitals to the cremation centers…

–> Read it here <–