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: Global Prayer Guide

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: Global Prayer Guide

After questions about Islam led her to Christ, Aliyah became passionate about sharing Jesus with the rest of her Somali community in Kenya. Aliyah flipped the black headscarf over her dark hair and fastened the veil across her face. It was nearly evening, and she was going to visit relatives at her former home in “Little Mogadishu,” the Eastleigh suburb of Nairobi, Kenya, that is populated almost exclusively by Somali immigrants. Although Aliyah didn’t wear the hijab in daily life around Nairobi, she was careful to wear it whenever she went to Eastleigh, especially when she planned to visit her relatives. She didn’t want to attract the attention of the local sheikh’s henchmen or of neighborhood gossips, and the hijab and darkness helped conceal her identity. It was dangerous for Aliyah to enter the Muslim neighborhood now that she had converted to Christianity, but it was equally dangerous for her to enter her relatives’ home. Just a few days earlier, her uncle had told her to stay away from his children or “something bad would happen to her.” One relative has threatened her several times. “You need to die,” he said. “You don’t deserve to live because of what you

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Categories: Global Prayer Guide