When more than 20 Christian children in northern Kenya received candy from Muslim evangelists in November 2018, they readily pledged to return to Islam, which predominates their Borana Oromo tribe. But days later, Christian workers arrived with a load of cargo that proved more precious and lasting than sugar — children’s Bibles. Christian workers led five donkeys loaded with children’s Bibles through thick forests and across winding rivers to reach the village of Uran Lataka, near Kenya’s border with Ethiopia. They then distributed copies of the illustrated Bible to 52 children, including many who had recently turned their backs on the Christian faith. As the children saw the Bible stories told through the book’s colorful, dramatic images, they were hooked, and in the days that followed most who had been enticed by the Muslims’ candy renewed their commitment to Jesus. “One of the kids couldn’t stop looking through the pictures of the Bible when he received it, even after reaching home,” a VOM worker said. In addition to strengthening the children who were secure in their Christian faith and re-engaging those less committed, children’s Bibles have also proved valuable to Sunday school teachers as a resource for weekly lessons. After

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Categories: Stories from the Field

Christians in a northern Kenyan village are rejoicing as they begin construction on a new church. In this area, death threats and persecution from Muslim neighbors had forced them to meet in the safety of a local police station. Front-line workers say the construction of a new church is a step toward the full acceptance of Christianity in the village.

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Categories: iCommitToPray

Smuggling the Digital Word   Al-Shabab militants came for Christian schoolteachers Philip Okumu and Daniel Wekesa in the middle of the night. They surrounded the men’s house in their small Kenyan village near the Somali border and then tossed a grenade through a window. As flames spread through the concrete-block structure, Philip and Daniel ran for the door and were shot to death as they exited the building. According to a group of Somali Christian leaders, the men were killed for sharing the gospel with their students. Although based in Somalia, al-Shabab terrorists move freely across the country’s borders with Kenya and Ethiopia in a region known as Greater Somalia, enforcing their harsh religious standards with brutal injustice. Sharing the gospel in this region is extremely dangerous. Neither the Somali nor Kenyan government has been able to control the Islamist group in this lawless border region, prompting the Kenyan government to urge non-Muslim government workers like Philip and Daniel to leave the area. The two Christian men chose to stay, however, because they knew the ethnically Somali children they taught would have no other way of hearing the gospel. Their love for the children and faithfulness to Christ cost them

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Categories: Stories from the Field

Christians in coastal Kenya were targeted in multiple Islamic attacks during June and July 2014. While Christians compose the majority of the population in Kenya, Muslim influence has grown, and Christians have faced increasing persecution from Islamic militants in recent years, notably from the Somali-based al-Shabab. Al-Shabab first targeted the village of Mpeketoni in June. Nearly fifty militants stormed the village, going door-to-door asking villagers if they were Muslim or Christian, and then killing the Christians. “My husband told them we were Christians, and they shot him in the head and chest,” said attack survivor Samantha. The attack lasted five hours, leaving sixty people dead. Days later, Poromoko, Kenya, was targeted in an attack in which fifteen were killed and twelve women abducted. As in the Mpeketoni attack, armed men went door-to-door in the middle of the night, dragging people outside and ordering them to recite the Islamic creed. Those who couldn’t or wouldn’t were killed. Almost two weeks later, fourteen were killed in an attack on the village of Hindi. Militants again went house-to-house and dragged Christians out of their homes. They tied up the Christian men before shooting them or slitting their throats. One man who refused to

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Categories: Foxe: Voices of the Martyrs

Multiple Christians have been killed since the beginning of 2022 by attackers who are suspected to be connected to Al-Shabaab, an Islamic extremist group that targets Christians throughout Somalia and Kenya. Since Jan. 3, attackers organized in groups of around 30 people and armed with guns and knives have led brutal assaults on multiple villages in Lamu County.

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Categories: iCommitToPray

Melissa was just four years old when she lost her mother. On July 1, 2012, she went to church with her mother in Garissa, Kenya, as usual. Melissa went to Sunday school while her mother, Sandra, joined in worship with other members of the Africa Inland Church. But the service ended abruptly when gunmen burst into the sanctuary and opened fire on worshipers. Melissa huddled with the other children in Sunday school as worshipers ran from the building. Later, after other parents had collected their children, Sandra’s best friend picked up Melissa and told her that her mother was in the hospital. The next day she was told that her mother had died. The attack, carried out by members of the militant Muslim group al-Shabab, had killed 14 believers and injured 58. Twelve children were orphaned that day, and The Voice of the Martyrs has helped support them since the attack. Melissa is being cared for by her elderly grandparents. Like many in the area, they are subsistence farmers in a drought-prone region where crops are undependable. The support from VOM will help ensure that Melissa is able to attend school and that she and her family will always be

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Categories: Stories from the Field

It was a typical Sunday morning for four-year-old Melissa and hermother, Sandra. They woke up, got dressed for church and joinedthe rest of the congregation for worship and fellowship at AfricaInland Church in Garissa, Kenya. Sandra dropped Melissa off at herSunday School class before joining the adults in the sanctuary. But worship that morning was far from typical. In the middle of theservice, attackers threw grenades into the sanctuary. The panicked congregation ran for the exits amid the chaos and explosions, but they were met with automatic gunfire as they tried to escape the carnage inside the church. Melissa and the other Sunday School students huddled quietlyin their classroom, trying to wait out the attack.When the violence ended, fifteen were dead and more than fiftyothers wounded. Members of the militant Islamic group al-Shababclaimed responsibility for the terrorist attack, one of the worst Kenyahad suffered in years. Kenya’s Christian population has been an al-Shabab target eversince the group began its “holy war” against the enemies of Islam in 2006. The group, whose Arabic name means “the Youth,” was foundedin Somalia before extending its reach into Kenya. Tensions in Kenyaintensified after Kenyan military forces invaded Somalia, leading al-Shabab to vow revenge on

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Categories: Foxe: Voices of the Martyrs

Shortly after their father died, Amara and her older brother left their village in the Somali desert to live with their uncle in the city. Their family thought it would be a positive change for the teenage Amara to have a male relative in her life, but they didn’t expect the move to lead her away from Islam. Shortly after moving in with her uncle, Amara began speaking with her new neighbors. To her surprise, she learned that they were not Somali — and they were Christians. “I’d always been taught that everyone who is not Somali is Christian,” she said, “that the evil we see on TV and movies is because they are Christians. When I met my new neighbors, they were different. They called themselves Christians, but weren’t drunkards, adulterers or immoral like I was taught.” The Christian family welcomed Amara into their home, even sharing meals with her. She noticed that before each meal, they thanked God for their food in such a casual way that they sounded as if they were talking to their father. “It was different than what I had seen on TV,” she said. “Sitting with them and listening and seeing it, I

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Categories: Stories from the Field