Former Muslim Sheikh in Eastern Uganda Attacked for Embracing Christianity

November 30, 2016 | Posted in Persecution | By

 

Malik Higenyi has been unable to return to his home. (Morning Star News)

Malik Higenyi has been unable to return to his home. (Morning Star News)

By Morning Star News East Africa Correspondent

NAIROBI, Kenya (Morning Star News) – Muslim villagers in eastern Uganda on Nov. 23 destroyed the maize crops of a former Islamic sheikh (teacher) in eastern Uganda who was beaten unconscious after revealing his faith in Christ, sources said.

The day before his fields were destroyed, 30-year-old Malik Higenyi of Bufuja village, Butaleja District, received threatening messages on his mobile phone, he told Morning Star News.

“Be informed that you risk your life and that of the entire family if you happen to come back to your house,” read one anonymous text. “We curse you and your family. You are an apostate according to Islamic law, and you deserve to die.”

Higenyi, who along with his wife and two children secretly embraced Christ on April 16, made an open confession of faith at his church on Nov. 13. News of his confession reached a mosque in nearby Lubanga village immediately, sources said.

“Before reaching my house, suddenly I was attacked by three people,” he told Morning Star News. “They started shouting, saying I am a disgrace to the Muslim fraternity of Lubanga mosque.”

Higenyi suffered a head wound and a broken bone in his right hand.

“The attackers hit me with a blunt object, and I fell down and did not know what happened from there,” he said. “I just found myself at Bufuja health center.”

Relatives ostracized him, and Local County 1 Chairman Walubi Mailadi supported their opposition to his conversion, sources said. Fearing attacks, he and his family have been unable to return to their thatched-roof home.

The family received Christ when a local pastor (name withheld for security reasons) visited his home and discipled him the following months.

Since Higenyi’s public confession, Muslims from Lubanga mosque have been holding meetings to discuss his punishment, and after Friday prayer meetings they have issued harsh statements against apostates, sources said.

Higenyi and his family are now without a home and have taken refuge at an undisclosed location.

“Please pray for Higenyi’s family at this difficult time, for they are emotionally troubled,” the pastor told Morning Star News.

The attacks are the latest in a series of aggressions against Christians in eastern Uganda. On Oct. 20, Muslims in Kobolwa village, Kibuku District gutted the home of a Christian family for housing two boys who had been threatened with violence for leaving Islam.

Stephen Muganzi, 41, told Morning Star News that the two teenaged boys sought refuge with him on Oct. 16 after their parents earlier in the month learned of their conversion, began questioning them and threatened to kill them. The two boys, ages 16 and 17, had secretly become Christians nearly seven months before.

On Sept. 18, a Muslim in Budaka District beat his wife unconscious for attending a church service, sources said. Hussein Kasolo had recently married Fatuma Baluka, 21-year-old daughter of an Islamic leader in a predominantly Muslim village, undisclosed for security reasons.

On Aug. 10, a Christian woman in eastern Uganda became ill after she was poisoned, she said. Aisha Twanza, a 25-year-old convert from Islam, ingested an insecticide put into her food after family members upbraided her for becoming a Christian, she told Morning Star News. She and her husband, who live in Kakwangha village in Budaka District, put their faith in Christ in January.

In Busalamu village, Luuka District, eight children from four families have taken refuge with Christians after their parents beat and disowned them for leaving Islam or animism, sources said. The new-found faith of the children, ages 9 to 16, angered their parents, who beat them in an effort to deter them from sneaking to worship services, and on June 29 the young ones took refuge at the church building, area sources said.

About 85 percent of the people in Uganda are Christian and 11 percent Muslim, with some eastern areas having large Muslim populations. The country’s constitution and other laws provide for religious freedom, including the right to propagate one’s faith and convert from one faith to another, but Christians in eastern Uganda are suffering continual attacks by non-state figures.

© 2016 Morning Star News. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

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50 new missionaries appointed by International Missions Board

November 14, 2016 | Posted in IMB | By

New IMB missionaries offer a song of worship during a Sending Celebration November 10 near Richmond, VA.

New IMB missionaries offer a song of worship during a Sending Celebration November 10 near Richmond, VA. The appointees are part of 50 new missionaries sent by Southern Baptist churches.

by Julie McGowan

RICHMOND, Va. (BP) — Bob and Melanee Gallina invested 18 years in leading The Church at Green Hills in La Habra, Calif. They lived in a comfortable house that was a home base for their children, who are missionaries overseas. After retirement, the couple noted, they planned to serve overseas themselves.

But then they felt God prompting them to consider, “Why wait until you retire? Why not now?” Now the church they once led is sending them through the International Mission Board to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to American peoples.

The Gallinas were among 50 new Southern Baptist missionaries appointed through the International Mission Board Nov. 10 near Richmond, Va.

The celebration highlighted ways God transforms personal experience into a willingness to make disciples and multiply churches among unreached peoples and places for the glory of God. Lily Llambes’ appointment is a long way from her history involved in voodoo, to the point of almost being personally sacrificed in a ritual. She heard the Gospel on TV and surrendered her life to Christ.

Lily and her husband Carlos joined Iglesia Bautista Estrella de Belen in Hialeah, Fla., where they were discipled. Lily was involved in Woman’s Missionary Union and prayed for four years that God would call Carlos to missions, as God had called her. He did, and the couple will share the Gospel in Mexico City, “grateful to God, IMB and the Lottie Moon Offering.”

When she was 19, Jamie Schilt said, she was “jaded toward the Gospel and indifferent to the resurrection.” But “God brought my dead heart to life. Now, I celebrate the resurrection of my Lord every Sunday and long to see the nations do the same!”

Schilt and her husband Chris are being sent by Relevant Worship Church in Claremore, Okla., to partner with a team in Malawi, Africa, to plant churches, train pastors and gather worshippers among the nations.

Why go?

“Why are you going? Why are you uprooting your lives, giving away your possessions, altering your future to move to difficult, even dangerous, places in the world?” IMB President David Platt asked the new missionaries.

He extended the question: “Why are we sending them? Why are we sending single sisters and brothers, married couples, parents, grandparents with our support to difficult, even dangerous, places in the world?”

“Why?” is a really important question, Platt said. The answer can be found in 1 Corinthians 15. In the passage, Paul is willingly walking into difficulty and danger for the spread of the Gospel in the world. The first reason, Platt said, is because death is coming (1 Cor. 15:20-22).

“Death is our destiny. And death is our enemy,” Platt said. “It could be today. It could be tomorrow. … We don’t invest our lives here in temporary trinkets. We invest our lives here in eternal treasure. We don’t spend our lives here on fleeting pleasures and foolish pursuits. We spend our lives here on what’s going to matter forever.”

Followers of Christ go to share the Gospel because others’ death is coming, too. “Here’s why it makes sense to go and live your life and lead your family into great risk in another part of the world: because those 2.8 billion people who haven’t heard the Gospel, they’re not guaranteed tomorrow either,” Platt said.

“The second reason we go is because the resurrection is real,” Platt noted, reading 1 Cor. 15:3-8. Christ’s resurrection, he said, is “crazy good. It’s the greatest news in all the world: death has been defeated! … Because Jesus was raised from the dead, risk-taking, death-defying missions in difficult, dangerous-to-reach places is to be envied in this world.”

The Bible gives an outline of history in the passage, and Christian believers go to share the Gospel because of where all history is headed, Platt said.

“All of history is headed toward the day when Christ will put all His enemies under His feet, and we will join with men and women from every nation, tribe, tongue and people to enjoy and exalt Him forever in a new heaven and new earth where there is no more sin, sorrow, or suffering,” he said. “Let’s lead the church for that day. Let’s live and die for that day.”

Pathways to go

The 50 new missionaries represent fully funded, full-time personnel. While IMB is developing ways to send “limitless” missionaries, the organization is committed to continue sending these fully funded, full-time missionaries to the field. This includes funding in the 2017 budget for Journeyman and International Service Corps personnel — those previously called “short-term personnel,” but what IMB soon will call “mid-term personnel.”

“Let me be crystal clear,” Platt told Southern Baptists during IMB’s report to the Southern Baptist Convention in June, “the IMB is still going to send full-time, fully funded career missionaries just like we’ve always sent. They are the priceless, precious, critical core of our mission force.”

Those career missionaries, he noted, will be surrounded with professionals, students, retirees and others who collectively show that global mission “is not just for a select few people in the church, but for multitudes of Spirit-filled men and women across the church.”

Support through the Cooperative Program and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering make it possible for these new missionaries to be appointed. Cooperative Program and LMCO gifts also sustain the thousands of Southern Baptist personnel already on the field.

The 50 new missionaries are able to go through the sending of all kinds of churches — such as Three Wooden Crosses Cowboy Church in Augusta, Kan., or Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, N.C., among dozens of others. Churches interested in learning how they can partner with IMB to send their members on mission can visit IMB.org/send. To learn more about personal pathways of service, including students, retirees and professionals, visit IMB.org/sendme.

Reprinted from Baptist Press (www.baptistpress.com), news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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International Missions Board celebrates balanced budget

November 11, 2016 | Posted in IMB | By

David Platt

IMB President David Platt addresses the Trustees

by Julie McGowan

RICHMOND, Va. (BP) — International Mission Board trustees celebrated a balanced budget, unanimously approving the 2017 budget during their Nov. 10-11 meeting near Richmond, Va. Trustees also appointed 50 new missionaries during a Sending Celebration.

“I am pleased to share with you that because of generous giving from Southern Baptist churches to the IMB, disciples have been made and churches have been multiplied over the last year among the nations in truly breathtaking ways,” IMB President David Platt told trustees.

“Furthermore, we are pleased to be able to present to you a balanced budget request for 2017 that projects growth in both fully supported missionary appointments as well as new pathways designed to see multitudes more men and women taking the Gospel to people who have never heard it.”

“We have a sense of glad celebration with responsible projections,” Platt said. “As we are communicating to churches, we want to say two resounding words: Thank you.”

The budget presented to trustees represents a reversal in a trend of recent years that has seen a decline of missionaries on the field. The budget proposes an increase in full-time, fully funded missionary appointments for 2017, Platt said, while also opening the door for missionaries to go through other pathways.

Rodney Freeman, vice president of support services and IMB treasurer, led trustees through a review of the 2017 Fiscal Resources Strategy Plan during their sessions and in the Support Services committee meeting. He recapped the budget proposal during the Nov. 11 plenary session. The 2017 budget request is balanced with receipts and expenses both projected at $270,000,000. Freeman noted the budget proposal reflects short-term financial responsibility and long-term organizational stability.

Key factors presented with the budget include the following:

— The budget relies on the Cooperative Program and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.

— LMCO giving projections for the 2016 calendar year are on pace to be the largest offering in IMB history, with projections the offering could exceed the 2015 record giving by 10 percent.

— The 2017 budget proposal projects growth in fully funded missionaries plus new pathways that take the Gospel to all peoples.

Additional personnel

IMB projects appointing 451 new personnel in 2017, which represents a 3 percent net increase in total field personnel (100 additional field personnel). Of those newly appointed, 351 will replace personnel who retire, complete a mid-term assignment or transition through resignations or other departures. In 2016, 310 missionaries were appointed, bringing IMB field personnel to 3,651.

“We are very excited to have these funds in the budget to send additional personnel, and these funds will only be used to send additional personnel,” Freeman told trustees.

Freeman also reported that IMB contingency reserves are projected to be at five and a half months of operational expenses in 2017. The figure falls within SBC Executive Committee guidelines, which allows for a maximum of six months of operational expenses in contingency reserves.

Platt reminded trustees what the budget numbers represent: 40,000 Southern Baptist churches partnering together through the Cooperative Program and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering to send and support missionaries around the world.

Trustees also voted to affirm a revised mission statement for the organization, which states: The International Mission Board partners with churches to empower limitless missionary teams who are evangelizing, discipling, planting and multiplying healthy churches, and training leaders among unreached peoples and places for the glory of God.

Scott Harris, missions minister at Brentwood (Tenn.) Baptist Church, presided over the meeting.

The appointment of 50 new missionaries highlighted the meeting during a special Sending Celebration broadcast to churches, families and individuals via live stream. The service recognized both the new personnel and the churches sending them as Southern Baptist missionaries to take the Gospel to the nations.

Platt shared a video of the Cregg Family taking the Gospel to the people of South Asia looking for hope and light. The video represents the upcoming Dec. 4-11 Week of Prayer for International Missions, which launches the 2016 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering emphasis.  See related video on how giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering is helping change lives.

Reprinted from Baptist Press (www.baptistpress.com), news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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