On Thursday 13 October 2016, 21 of the kidnapped Chibok girls were released. For two-and-a-half years we have been praying with the parents for the release of these girls.
It feels like it’s not often we hear good news like this. But today, we’re thankful to share this and 3 other good news stories from the persecuted church in Pakistan, Iraq and Burkina Faso!
1. 21 Chibok Girls Released
The 21 girls were released into care of the Nigerian Army in Maidugiri (capital of Borno state where the Islamist group has been strongest).
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo tweeted images as he welcomed the girls home.
“We thank all our supporters for the continued prayers for this situation over the past 2-and-a-half years. Our eyes are still on God for the release of the rest of them.”
– Open Doors Manager for Nigeria
2. Asia Bibi’s Trial Delayed
On Thursday evening, Asia Bibi’s trial was delayed again. Asia Bibi was arrested in 2009 and sentenced to death for blasphemy. The future looks bleak for Asia, but there is some good news in this delay.
1. The charges are serious, but for now, she is still alive. Her children and husband still have the opportunity to see her again.
2. It’s great the Pakistani government is carrying out the trial properly. The case was delayed to ensure judges involved were unbiased. Riot police surrounding the court ahead of the hearing protected Asia against threats, regardless of the outcome. In the past this pressure has resulted in judges giving into pressure from Islamic extremists. This has not happened with Asia Bibi and is a positive development, not just for her case but for all Christians falsely accused of Blasphemy.
3. Burkina Faso – The Shining Example
Earlier this year we wrote about the rising Islamic extremism in Africa. One exception though, is Burkina Faso. The Muslim, Christian and animist communities in Burkina Faso have lived in relative peace for years, with very few incidents.
So much so that earlier this year, when Australian missionaries Ken and Jocelyn Elliot were kidnapped by extremists, people were shocked. All groups demanded their safe return seeing the positive role that Ken played as a doctor in the community. Jocelyn has been returned but Ken is still missing.
4. Suaad Flees Islamic State, Now Helps Displaced People Learn To Sew
Suaad fled her town in Iraq from Islamic State in 2014. She has now been able to find a job doing what she loves – sewing. She creates children’s pyjamas and clothing for other displaced people. She also trains other displaced women with new skills for themselves.
“It’s what I like most about the job, that I can share with those in a worse position then me. Sometimes a displaced person comes to me to ask if I can make them a dress. Then I do that and I don’t charge them. How could I?” – Suaad
This is Suaad. Look at that smile.