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Missionary Abducted In Niger Shown Alive In Video Released By Jihadists After 2 Years.

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Father Pierluigi Maccalli (L) and Italian tourist Nicola Ciacco (R) are seen in a 23-second video released by their captors in April 2020.
Father Pierluigi Maccalli (L) and Italian tourist Nicola Ciacco (R) are seen in a 23-second video released by their captors in April 2020.
A Catholic missionary priest who was abducted 2018 in Niger is still alive, according to a proof-of-life video released last week that was purportedly filmed in late March.

The Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need reports that Father Pierluigi Maccalli was seen in a 24-second video that also featured Italian tourist Nicola Ciacco.

The 59-year-old Maccalli is a missionary serving with the Society of African Missions.

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Maccalli’s brother, Father Walter Maccalli, who is serving in Liberia, said he was joyful to see that his brother is still alive, according to Aid to the Church in Need.

“It’s great news, and we are delighted and hopeful that everything may turn out well,” Maccalli was quoted as saying, adding that he was a bit surprised by the video.

“I never expected to get news of this kind about my brother … [as] a great deal of time has passed without knowing anything.”

According to the charity, the new video is the first time there has been an update about Maccalli since he was kidnapped in September 2018 from the Bomoanga parish, near Niger’s border with Burkina Faso.

This video was first sent to the editor of Niger’s Air info newspaper

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The video was first sent to the editor of Niger’s Aïr Info newspaper.

Over the last few years, the rise of Islamic radical extremist groups in the Sahel region of West Africa has led to a sharp increase in violent attacks and abductions in Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso.

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Aïr Info reports that Ciacco and Maccalli are believed to be held by Jama’a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin, a Salafist extremist group founded in Mali in 2017.

The same organization is believed to have also abducted Canadian national Edith Blias and her Italian boyfriend Luca Tacchetto. Both were abducted in December 2018 and released in March according to Christian Post.

SMA Italian Provincial Superior Father Ceferino Cainelli told Aid to the Church in Need that there has been a prayer gathering every month in Maccalli’s home diocese of Crema to call on God for the priest’s release.

“The pain caused by the absence of Father Pierluigi, after a year and five months of his kidnapping, is very much felt,” Cainelli said.

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According to International Christian Concern, a U.S.-based persecution watchdog organization, Maccalli served in Niger for 11 years before he was taken captive from his home by armed gunmen.

“This means that the gunmen were specifically targeting Father Maccalli for this kidnapping,” ICC reports. “So far it is unclear as to why they abducted him. There have been no ransom demands that have been released, and they have not killed him as a public statement.”

ICC called the new video a “good sign.” But it is still unclear in which country Maccali is being held.

Niger, a predominantly Muslim country, ranks as the 50th worst country in the world when it comes to Christian persecution, according to Open Doors USA’s 2020 World Watch List.

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Hundreds Circle Round Georgia Hospital To Pray Against Coronavirus

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“We’re called to be the hands and feet of Christ – and that’s exactly what we did today. We bombarded heaven with our prayers.”

People of faith throughout Georgia are finding unique ways to gather and pray for hospital workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic – and they’re following social distancing guidelines while doing it.

In Cartersville, Ga., hundreds gathered in their cars around the Cartersville Medical Center last Thursday to pray for the nurses and doctors. They tuned their radios to 91.7 FM, a local Christian station that plays worship songs.

Georgia is one of the epicenters of the coronavirus outbreak.

“I know people personally here that have been tested with the coronavirus. And one of our church members passed due to the coronavirus,” participant Jennifer Hyde told Atlanta’s Fox 5.

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“We’re called to be the hands and feet of Christ – and that’s exactly what we did today. We bombarded heaven with our prayers,” he told Atlanta’s 11 Alive. “… It’s just been a blessing.”

Hospital workers appreciated the prayers. Several workers stood on top of the hospital building, arms outstretched in worship, as popular Christian song ‘Way Maker’ played on the radio. Other workers stood on the lawn.

Cartersville Medical Center in Bartow County wrote in a Facebook post that hundreds of people joined the prayer circle to raise the spirits of hospital staff and patients who are battling COVID-19.

“They are putting their lives at risk,” participant Lisa Shryock said, holding a sign reading, “Thank you. Praying for you.”

Michelle Anderson, who has worked at the hospital for 26 years, told Fox 5 she has “never been more proud to work here.”

“The community outpouring today is unbelievable,” she said.

As cars filled the hospital parking lot, people sat inside their vehicles and tuned their radios to hear prayer and music.

Camden McGill, who helped organize the event, said she is ready for the pandemic to end.

“It’s hit close to home, a lot of people have been affected by this, we’re just ready to see it go,” she said.

Staff members waved to everyone from the hospital’s rooftop, then sang the popular Christian song “Way Maker.”

Cartersville isn’t the only Georgia community to form an automobile prayer circle.


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Coronavirus: Christian woman released from prison during Covid-19 outbreak is free for good.

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A Christian woman temporarily released from prison in Iran because of the coronavirus pandemic has been told she does not need to return to jail.

Fatemeh Bakhteri was one of thousands of prisoners released on a temporary basis in Iran as part of the country’s efforts to stem the spread of Covid-19.

The 35-year-old was initially granted temporary release from Evin prison but has now been told by officials that she does not have to return because she was pardoned for the Persian New Year, celebrated last month, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reports.

Ms Bakhteri, from Rasht, is a convert from Islam and a member of the Church of Iran. She was sentenced to a year in prison in September 2018 for “spreading propaganda against the regime”.

CSW reports that during the trial, the judge offered Ms Bakhteri her freedom if she returned to Islam. She was handed a prison sentence after refusing to renounce her Christian faith.

CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas welcomed her release but criticised her treatment at the hands of the regime.

He called the charges against her “unfounded” and said they “amount to criminalising Christian activities”.

“Ms Bakhteri has spent a year away from her loved ones for discussing Christian doctrine with fellow Christians, which is not illegal,” he said.

“She is amongst many Iranians who are being penalised for adopting a religion of their choice, an action which is protected under Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is party.

“Given the reported spread of COVID-19 in the country’s prison system, CSW urges the international community to press the Iranian authorities to ensure the immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience, and to end the harassment of religious communities.”

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PRAYERS

5 Hope-Filled Prayers for Christian Marriages

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In the midst of a marriage crisis, there is a very real temptation to focus on what is wrong, why it is wrong, and whose fault it is. This earthly focus can result in a hopeless state of mind. This hopelessness and discouragement makes us vulnerable to the enemy’s schemes to divide us.

Throughout the Bible, God offers us hope. He shows us over and over again that nothing is impossible when He is involved. He promises that we will experience peace when we keep our eyes on Him (Isaiah 26:3). Jesus literally spoke the words “Peace! Be still!” to a storm, saving the disciples’ lives while perfecting their faith in Him (Mark 4:39).

Our task is to believe, to ask, and to resist doubting (Mark 11:23).

These five Bible passages and prayers will help you to refocus on God who is able to do infinitely more to heal sacred marriage than you can imagine.

  1. Remember Me
    But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded. Genesis 8:1

God, I trust that You see me and know what I am going through. You saved Noah, his family, and the animals from the flood. You sent a wind over the earth and caused the waters to recede. I am waiting on Your winds of change, Lord.

Change me, Lord. Here is my heart. Cleanse me of impure motives. Reduce me to love. Let Your pure love be the driving force behind my words, my touch, and my tone of voice.

Change my perception. Help me to see myself and my spouse through Your eyes.

Reveal to us where we are making the situation worse by resisting Your leadership and disobeying Your commands.

Help me to wait prayerfully and expectantly for You to move in us and our circumstances.

  1. Encourage Me
    Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.” “Selah” But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head. To the LORD I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill. “Selah” I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side. Psalm 3:2–6

Forgive me Lord for being discouraged by those who do not believe in Your power. The temptations to give up outnumber the billboards in the city.

But You, O Lord, are my encourager. Shield my heart and mind from discouragement.

Remind me of Your great acts of love for Your people.

You fed five thousand with one boy’s lunch. You transformed Saul from a Christian killer into Paul, a Kingdom builder. You are able to do so much more for our marriage than I have asked of You.

I rest my hopes on Your faithfulness. I will not fear based on what I can see with my eyes. I will trust in You, the unseen God, to shield me and my husband from reacting to the enemy’s schemes to divide us.

  1. Reward My Faith
    Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches the birds of the air can perch in its shade.” Mark 4:30–32
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God, You have promised that if I offer You a miniscule amount of faith, You will create something so much bigger out of it.

Today, I offer You my faith in Your ability to bring Jesus into this world from a virgin girl. I believe that You breathed life into Adam and made Eve from his rib. You transformed Zacchaeus from a crook into someone who wanted to give back four times what he had stolen.

I believe that You, O Lord, can turn our bitterness into kindness. You can transform our self-focused stubbornness into a “your needs come first” mindset.

You are able to restore us completely and allow our marriage to point others to Your perfect love for imperfect people.

Let my faith become sight, Lord.

  1. Heal Our Marriage
    As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see,” he replied. Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God. Luke 18:35–43

Lord, I want our marriage to be healed.

Let the healing begin with me. Have mercy on me, Lord, a spouse who has failed so often to demonstrate Your love.

I want to love my spouse the way You love me. Help me.

I want to be a vessel of Your love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in _’s life. Use me.

I want to love in such a way that __ is inspired to praise You. Glorify Yourself in me, Lord.

  1. Make Me Brave
    Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the LORD will do to all the enemies you are going to fight.” Joshua 10:25

Lord, I want to be filled with Your courage and strength. I want to live by every word that comes from Your mouth and speak boldly about what You can and will do.

The threats against my marriage are wimpy compared to Your great power.

Joshua put his godless enemies to death. He listened to Your voice and obeyed You.

You gave him authority to accomplish Your will. He commanded the sun to stand still, and You made it happen for the glory of Your name and the protection of Your people.

Teach me, Lord, to exercise the authority You have given me. Train me to hear Your voice and respond without hesitation.

Make me brave. Use me to war against the enemies of our marriage in prayer using the Sword of Your Spirit.

I believe You are able, Lord. Please help my unbelief.

With faith in Jesus’ blood and righteousness, I pray.

Amen