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Monday, 7 December 2009

Martyrdom - then and now!

I have just received an e-mail from my friend Mark, directing me to the following website that shows an act of reconciliation between the inhabitants of a South Sea island, and the descendants of a Christian missionary who was murdered, and eaten, by the islanders' ancestors. Named "Martyrs' Island" by Presbytarian Missionaries at the beginning of the 19th Century, Erromango (second island from the bottom!) never quite lost its reputation as a dangerous destination. Please click on the link!

Sadly, the murder of disciples of Jesus continues to this day. On Nov. 14, according to Compass Direct News, the body of a 23-year-old Christian convert, Mumin Abdikarim Yusuf, was discovered in the Yaqshid district of Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia. On Oct. 28, members of al-Shabaab, an Islamic extremist group, detained Yusuf and searched his home for Christian materials. A 15-year-old Muslim boy had accused Yusuf of trying to convert him to Christianity.

In an attempt to gain evidence against Yusuf and to gain information about other Somali Christians, the extremists knocked out all of Yusuf's front teeth and broke several of his fingers. They then shot him twice in the head and dumped his body on an empty residential street. Since it is unknown whether Yusuf revealed information about other Christians during his torture, the 'underground' Christians who knew him have relocated for their safety. Yusuf's Muslim family members are also in danger, as extremists have accused them of failing to report his conversion to Christianity.

Of course, this is just one more instance of people being murdered for no other reason than their confessing that Jesus is their Lord. I am always challenged at the price that these dear people pay for their faith - a price that I am unlikely ever to have to even consider. May it be that, one day soon, their descendants will contact the descendants of these modern martyrs, and seek reconciliation in the Name of that same Jesus, Whose advent we are remembering at this time.
P.S. Don't forget to check out today's Advent Video!

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