Armed terrorists, often connected to the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS), have ravaged parts of Niger, particularly in the west near its borders with Mali and Burkina Faso. Much of the country’s small Christian population has been displaced in the violence: “Many have seen their parents or family members shot and killed,” a front-line worker said. Additionally, after Niger’s president was overthrown by military officers in a July 2023 coup, the Islamic Council of Niger has been pushing to change the country from a secular democracy into an Islamic republic governed by sharia law.

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Darya was depressed and scared. Her much older husband had suddenly died of a stroke, and her 8-year-old son had become angry and violent. “I consulted with different psychologists about my son’s behavior, but nothing improved,” Darya said. “Once in the middle of the night my son came into my room with a knife in his hand. I was so afraid that I didn’t sleep at all that night, and I just kept trying to calm my son down.” The next day she told a friend what had happened. That friend was a Christian who prayed for her and gave her an illustrated Action Bible to give to her son. When Darya went home, she started to read the Gospels.

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Narmith, a new Christian in a discipleship program in Bhutan, has been growing in her faith and has had many opportunities to practice sharing her testimony and the gospel with others. Recently, she met two women with severe hearing impairments. She spent the entire afternoon with them, explaining through improvised hand signs how much Jesus loves them before praying for them. One woman was moved to tears after the prayer and conversation.

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In August 2023, district police officials summoned the Houy Khoun village chief and all local Christians to a meeting where they outlined steps that would be taken against Christians to halt the spread of their faith. Authorities threatened to demolish the pastor’s home (which also serves as a house church), enforced restrictions that do not allow new members to join the church, and warned them against evangelizing in the village or elsewhere in the district. The Christians boldly challenged the right of the police to close or damage the church.

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Feliciana’s husband pastored a church in a town in Oaxaca, Mexico, until he was killed in 2014 for his bold witness for Christ. After her husband’s murder, Feliciana struggled to provide for her family, and her two children became seriously ill. With VOM’s help, she has been able to continue the work of leading the church in her town, and her children are healthy and thriving.

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Khalida, her two sons and a daughter placed their trust in Christ years ago after having dreams about him. When Muslim extremists in their community heard about their conversion, they attacked the family and tried to kill them. The family barely survived. The enraged Muslims then formed a mob that attacked and burned several churches that were helping Khalida’s family.

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Pastor Vinod was killed in 2021, leaving behind his wife, Sunita, and 13-year-old daughter, Stuti. They have struggled emotionally and financially with their loss while living with Hindu family members who refuse to help them. Front-line workers have helped them get counseling, which has given them tools to express and process their emotions and begin to regain some joy.

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Khaled’s Lebanese Muslim family was displeased when he decided to become a follower of Christ. After learning about his newfound faith, they attacked him and locked him in a room away from his wife, attempting to force him to return to Islam. But Khaled escaped and eventually reunited with his wife. She was also not supportive of his conversion and only allowed him to return if he paid the full cost of their housing and living expenses without any financial assistance from her. He found a new job, is paying the expenses, and is trying to demonstrate God’s love to his wife.

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On January 10, 2023, in a small town in central Benin, a group of voodooists burned down a church when Christians refused to honor local idols. Benin is considered the birthplace of voodoo, and the country celebrates National Voodoo Day on January 10 each year. Occult practices, which include worshiping idols, sacrificing animals and wearing special talismans to ward off evil, are widespread. With VOM’s help, the church has been rebuilt and reopened.

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The atheistic Communist government in Cuba has enacted a new law intended to control the online spread of misinformation, especially that which is related to the country’s reputation, national security, revolution, government leaders and ideology. Christians in Cuba have reported concerns about the law’s enforcement as the government has defined “misinformation” broadly and indicated that it will prosecute violators with heavy scrutiny. Some have reported instances of government prosecution simply for sharing Bible verses in social media posts, which the government then interpreted as a threat to the regime.

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