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Pentecostal Churches Burn

Arson attacks in Tanzania signal growing persecution trend.

The BBC has reported that three Pentecostal churches burned this week in the Kagera region of northern Tanzania. At least one of the churches is affiliated with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada (PAOC), which is part of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship (WAGF).

According to reports, no one was injured or killed in the arson attacks. Officials state that it is too early in the investigation to determine a motive behind the attacks and the assailants remain unknown. The three buildings are a complete loss.

George O. Wood, chairman of the WAGF, cautions that this is part of a growing pattern of persecution -- a trend that demands our increased prayers.

"The violent attacks on churches in Tanzania again remind us of the tragic escalation of persecution of Christians throughout the world," Wood says. "The body of Christ must unite in even greater faithful and fervent prayer for the thousands of believers who are suffering for our Lord's name."

The attacks come at a time when Pentecostal churches in Tanzania are experiencing tremendous growth. The Tanzania Assemblies of God has grown by more than 4,000 churches in the past seven years. Amid the growth, the challenges remain real and constant.

"Churches in many places of Africa are enduring incredible suffering and yet continue to stand strong in their testimony," states Greg Beggs, AG World Missions regional director for Africa. "Our hearts grieve with our brothers and sisters in the Pentecostal Assemblies of God church and others in Tanzania who have endured these attacks."

Many Tanzania Assemblies of God churches have also been subject to violent attacks in the past couple of years.

Image credit: "Tanzania in its region" (TUBS) CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons