Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News
The disturbing, though biblically promised, trend of Christian believers being persecuted for their faith expanded this week into a community in East Africa.
Per a report from Morning Star News, Muslim extremists in Omorio cell, Agule Town Council, Pallisa District, Uganda, murdered an evangelist in his home while his wife and children hid in another room.
A Morning Star journalist, who for obvious reasons is identified only as the organization’s “East Africa correspondent,” reports that Sozi Odongo, 45, died as a result of severe lacerations and deep cuts to his head and body.
Odongo appears to have angered the Muslim extremists by hosting public Christian services during which he often quoted (and presumably challenged the teaching of) the Koran and Islamic hadiths.
According to Stella Kilo, Odongo’s widow, the murder occurred on July 29. As the family sat down for supper, they heard a group of men approaching their home.
“We heard them talk in the Arabic language and wondered what could be the matter,” Kilo said. “They then arrived and knocked at the door.”
Odongo opened the door for the men, who almost immediately began beating him.
The Morning Star News report reveals that authorities believe a Muslim sheikh, Nasuru Ongom, is the person responsible for Odongo’s death.
Kilo said that prior to the attack, Ongom had texted her husband, “Please stop preaching to our people using the holy Koran, or else you risk your life.” This was one of many threatening texts Odongo received.
“He screamed while mentioning the name of Nasuru, saying, ‘Leave me Nasuru, Nasuru, Nasuru, please don’t kill me, just tell your colleagues to leave me,’” Kilo said. “Then I heard a loud hit, and thereafter no more screaming.”
Although the Muslim population in Uganda is small, only about 12 percent, the murder is in no way isolated in that nation. Not even a month earlier, Morning Star News reported on a different Christian, 28-year-old Robert Bwenje, who was murdered in a different region for participating in an open-air service.
Frequent readers of FISM will know that this site is replete with heartbreaking tales of the worst kinds of violence perpetrated against fellow believers, particularly in Africa. In just 2022, FISM has highlighted violent anti-Christian acts committed in Mozambique, Burkina Faso, and numerous instances in Nigeria.
As horrifying as it is to think of believers losing their lives for the Faith, there is an abundance of Biblical evidence that persecution is destined to befall those who follow Christ. Crossway.org offers a substantive, though non-exhaustive, compilation of verses.
Few of the early church leaders avoided death at the hands of the enemies of God, and Jesus warns all believers to be prepared to be hated by the world. Indeed, in the early church much was made of the fact that the Apostle John was spared a martyr’s death and lived into an old age.
However, for every promise of earthly sorrows, the Word of God is equally replete with assurances of comfort and reward.
Perhaps the best known of these assurances is found in the Sermon on the Mount when (in Matthew 5:10-12), Jesus says, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
However, as outlined by ForTheMartyrs.com, one need not travel far in the Word to find more promises that, ultimately, even those who die at the hands of God’s enemies will be victorious in Christ.
In the immediate, there are also numerous reasons to rejoice.
Prior to his murder in early July, Bwenje had assisted 25-year-old pastor Ambrose Mugisha in witnessing to a large group of Muslims, of whom eight, six men and two women, made public professions of faith and began following Christ.