By BosNewsLife Africa Service
KAMPALA, UGANDA (BosNewsLife)-- Christian rights activists have appealed for prayers after an evangelical church outside Uganda's capital Kampala was reportedly closed early August after months of harassment by local Muslims in the latest attacks against Christians in the African nation. "The final blow came on August 4th when a stone was thrown through a window, striking Pastor Moreen Sanyu of the Greater Love Church in the forehead and knocking her unconscious," said advocacy group Voice Of the Martyrs Canada (VOMC).
When the pastor regained consciousness, she found that most of the church members had fled for their lives, according to aid workers familiar with the situation. The pastor was reportedly released from the hospital after doctors said she had no serious injuries.
When the pastor returned to the church, she found the building empty, according to Christians. "No one came to the service in fear for their safety," added VOMC. Authorities and local Muslims objected to the rapidly growing congregation. The church, located in a predominantly Muslim area, began in May 2017 and had grown to 400 worshipers, added VOMC.
But the number of worshippers began to dwindle following attacks from militant Islamists. Despite claims to the contrary by local Muslims, Pastor Sanyu insisted that she did not target children in her ministry. "I just shared the Gospel of Christ and His
love for humanity with my Muslim neighbors, and they freely accepted the Christian faith -- especially when many sick people (whom) I prayed for got healed," she said in published remarks. "I did not persuade them nor steal them to join my church."
After months of enduring the pelting of rocks, together with the hurling of "abusive threats," leaders of the church have decided not to continue meeting in the volatile area and are looking to relocate elsewhere, Christians said.
VOMC urged its supporters to pray that "opportunities to share the love of Christ will continue to abound" for the pastor and other church leaders.
"Ask the Lord to grant them the strength required to endure despite opposition, and that those responsible for these attacks will be convicted to the point of repentance. May Pastor Sanyu be greatly encouraged by the assurance that her work for the Lord is never in vain," VOMC said in a statement.
The attack has underscored broader concerns about reported assaults against devoted Christians in Muslim areas in this nation of 40 million people. "There are concerns that the situation is deteriorating after two Christians were killed, and two churches were attacked by mobs in Uganda last year," explained rights group Open Doors, which monitors persecution cases.
"Christians from Muslim backgrounds...face extreme persecution in Uganda, and may be disowned by their parents, divorced by their spouse, harassed by their communities, forced to leave their homes, attacked or even killed. Muslim background believers often keep their faith a secret to avoid such treatment", the agency said.