Thursday, March 28, 2019

China Continues crackdown on Christianity

Chinese Authorities Shut Down Another Major House Church in Beijing

Members Detained and Ordered to Stop Attending Their Church 

Several sources, including International Christian Concern and China Aid, are reporting that on Saturday afternoon, March 23, more than 20 police officers and other Chinese government officials raided a Bible school class at Beijing’s Shouwang Church.

The authorities demanded the church to cease its activities immediately and read out an official document formally banning the church. They also demanded Pastor Zhang Xiaofeng sign and keep a document claiming that the church was "in violation of Regulations of Religious Affairs and Regulations on the Registration and Management of Social Organizations."

According to China Aid, a Christian human rights organization committed to promoting religious freedom and the rule of law in China, "this crackdown comes just months after Chinese authorities forcibly shut down another unregistered Beijing church, Zion Church. Such closures come in the wake of the Chinese government implementing a revised edition of its Regulations on Religious Affairs on Feb. 1, 2018, narrowing the margin in which unregistered churches previously thrived. The new regulations coincide with China’s attempts to force religion to align to its ideals, a tactic known as “Sinicization.” As a result, many churches have faced persecution."

All of the students at the Bible school class were taken to a nearby school and questioned by authorities. Several other Christians from another location affiliated with Shouwang were also detained, brought to the school, and interrogated. All those detained were asked to sign a letter of guarantee that they will no longer attend Shouwang, to which they refused. The Christians were only sent home hours later by local police offices.

In the meantime, the officials switched out the locks at the locations of both raids in order to prevent Shouwang Church members from returning.

Shouwang Church is one of the largest house churches in Beijing and is attended by more than 1,000 people. It was targeted and heavily persecuted for its refusal to join the state-sanctioned church in 2011. Its senior pastor, Jin Tian-ming, and two other pastors have been under house arrest ever since 2011 and its purchased property is still confiscated by the Chinese government.

In response to the March 23 raid, Shouwang Church issued a statement to its members, saying that it does not accept the authorities’ decision to ban their church, reminding everyone that the legality of the church is not determined by any religious or administrative agencies. It will continue to meet and operate while adjusting its meeting venues and methods.

Victims from another heavily oppressed church, Sichuan’s Early Rain Covenant Church, express their faith and solidarity amid this persecution against the Church — “When we heard that Shouwang Church is being persecuted again, […] and other churches facing various pressure from the government, we kneeled down to pray to give thanks and praises to our God, because we are delighted that the bride of Christ is closely following her husband.”

Pastor Bob Fu, President of ChinaAid, stated “China’s oppression against house churches will not be loosened. A systematic, in-the-name-of-law crackdown will continue to take place.”

Gina Goh of International Christian Concern, a human rights organization focusing on persecution of Christians around the world, said: “China’s disregard of religious freedom for its 1.4 billion citizens is deplorable. Christians outside of the state-sanctioned churches can no longer worship without fearing of harassment, detention, or even imprisonment. Even official churches face increasing pressure to exalt the Communist Party over God. The international community should continue to press China over its human rights abuses until it is willing to make positive change.”    

China, which remains under strict communist control despite opening up to capitalism in recent decades,  has a population of approximately 1.4 billion people. The Communist Party in China, which is officially atheist, has approximately 70 million members. However, the strong growth of evangelical Christianity in China has resulted in slightly over 100 million Chinese Christians (approximately 75 million Evangelicals and 27 million Catholics. Also, the Chinese Orthodox Church, an autonomous Eastern Orthodox church, has about 15,000 members.

This situation of Christians outnumbering official Communist Party members is at least partially behind government crackdowns on Christianity over the last few years, as they seek to exercise control over Christianity in China. Communist governments, and all other collectivist regimes, demand that the citizen's top loyalty be to the State, not to God, the Church, or even the family. The State essentially sets itself up as God, and hates competition for that slot.

Sources: 1) press release by International Christian Concern dated 3-25-2019; 2) additional information from China Aid, via their website; 3) statistics from the China entry of Pray for the World, a resource from Operation World, 4) original analysis by Tim Gamble.

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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

You Can't Shoot Germs! A Prepper's Guide to the Next Level of Self-Defense

Self-defense is a major part of preparedness, as most preppers know. Yet, when we think of self-defense, we think of people who wish to do us harm: thugs, criminals, looters, rioters, and even foreign governments. Against such enemies, guns & ammo can work well. But there is another enemy, and it is one against which guns & ammo are useless - GERMS!

Failing to prepare for those microscopic enemies can be as fatal a mistake as failing to prepare for human-sized enemies. Take your self-defense preparations to the next level by arming yourself and your family against the dangers posed by disease. 

Understand this: In any collapse scenario, disease will play a major role due to the resulting breakdown of the healthcare system, the scarcity of medical resources, and the collapse of sanitation and waste disposal systems. Hygiene products such as soap, shampoo, toothpaste, and floss will quickly disappear from store selves, as will "luxury" items such as disposable diapers and disposable feminine hygiene products. Water will likely become too valuable to waste on daily showers and frequent clothes-washing. Lack of food will lead to impaired immune systems (historically, during famines more people die of disease than from actual starvation). 

In self-defense against people, the first line of defense is situational awareness. In self-defense against germs, the first line of defense is our health as it is now. The healthier we are now, the more we will be able to resist, and recover from, disease later. Developing our health & fitness, and that of our family, now should be a top priority for any serious prepper and survivalist. 

I know people don't like to be lectured on their health, especially if we know we aren't doing all we should be doing along those lines (and most of us aren't). Besides, you already know what you need to do: stop smoking or using tobacco in any form; stop abusing drugs or alcohol, lose weight if you're overweight, be physically active & get into shape, eat healthy, consume less sugar, de-stress your life, get enough sleep on a regular basis, take care of your teeth, and get regular medical, dental, and vision check-ups. Simple, but requires a lot of work and sacrifice. 

Having plenty of food and water stored, or otherwise being able to provide it for yourself and your family, is key to maintaining your health in a collapse. Food is not only energy, but is the nutrition that your body needs to repair itself and to maintain its immune system. A 'joke" I often hear overweight preppers make is that their extra fat will enable them to do without much food longer than a skinny person could. Sorry, but that isn't how nutrition works. They may understand the energy of food, but fail to understand the nutrition side of the equation. 

I recommend a good multi-vitamin & mineral be added to your food storage as insurance against prolonged periods of limited food. A small bottle could also be easily carried in your bug-out bag or survival pack. Vitamins and minerals don't go "bad" and are not required by the FDA to have expiration dates (though some companies do put dates on their vitamins, typically 1 to 3 years out). Even as they remain safe, vitamins & minerals will slowly lose potency over time, so rotate your vitamins to ensure they remain fresh.  

Next, we need to figure out how we are going to handle sanitation and hygiene during and after a collapse, especially since modern infrastructure will likely collapse, and resources will quickly become scarce. Stockpile needed supplies before any collapse - everything from bleach and cleaning supplies, to soap and toothpaste. 

Also, learn about alternatives you can use as your supplies run out. Examples: baking soda, sea salt, coconut oil, and various herbal powders can all be used instead of toothpaste. You can make your own soap and other cleaning supplies from many common household products (many recipes can be found on the Internet). The point is to learn now, before a collapse.

     Food Preparation = It will be critical to keep all food preparation surfaces clean, as well as dishes, cookware, and utensils. Washing hands before handling food is a must. Wash hands after handling raw meat to prevent cross-contamination. If you are processing wild game or fish, or butchering domestic animals, keep those areas extremely clean. Learn before the collapse how to safely process and butcher animals. 

      Clothes Washing = If there is no electricity, your electric washing machine and dryer won't work. Now what? A clothes washing wand and a large tub, along with a clothes line or dryer rack, will substitute nicely. Remember: Don't waste  your potable (safe-to-drink) water on clothes washing - rainwater or pond water will work as long as it is relatively clean.
     Trash/Garbage Disposal = Post-collapse, the garbage trucks won't be running. What to do?  Yard waste, vegetable scraps, egg shells, and used coffee & tea grounds should all be used for composting to improve your garden soil. Newspaper and cardboard can either be shredded for composting, or used as sheet-mulch. Many items can be repaired or repurposed. Scrap metal is worth saving, as it may become very useful after a collapse. Rinse the metal off if necessary, and store in piles a safe distance from your home (it may become a good hiding place for snakes, rats, etc.). Plastics and other non-usable trash can be safely buried away from your home. Be hesitant to burn trash during and after a collapse, since the smoke may draw unwanted attention, and since fire departments won't be operating.

Don't let trash pile up near your home, garden, or animals. Trash heaps attract snakes, vermin, flies, mosquitoes, and other wildlife, can be breeding grounds for bacteria, and are generally dangerous and unsanitary for a variety of reasons. 

     Bathing/Washing Hands - Even if you cannot bathe daily due to limited water supplies, don't skimp on washing your hands & face or brushing your teeth. Keeping good hygiene practices during and after a collapse will be extremely important to protecting yourself and your family from disease.

     Human Waste - If your septic or sewer system is still working, but you no longer have running water, you can still use your toilets by pouring water into them to flush the waste (this water definitely doesn't have to be potable, so don't waste your drinking water - use rainwater or water straight from a nearby stream or pond). Or consider installing a composting toilet before the collapse, which both allows you to deal with human waste and provides rich compost for your garden (and it really is safe, even if it sounds a little gross). Finally, you can always dig a latrine or outhouse, or simply use a 5-gallon bucket with a toilet seat. Mixing lime, wood ash, and dirt in with the poop can help reduce order. Empty and clean the bucket daily, of course, using the contents for composting (be sure do this type of composting away from your garden and water sources, and other potential contamination points, and keep it covered to prevent flies).

Dealing with dead bodies will be a tragic consequence of any collapse. You probably won't be able to call the authorities to deal with it, so plan now what to do. Some thoughts:
  • The sooner you deal with a body, the safer it will be, as the decomposition process starts almost immediately.
  • Cremation probably won't be a good solution, as to thoroughly cremate a body will require enormous amounts of wood/fuel, and may attract unwanted attention.
  • Wear disposable gloves when handling a dead body.
  • Completely cover any cuts and abrasions you may have before handling the body.
  • Wear a disposable surgical mask over your mouth & nose, and wear goggles or safety glasses. A face shield would also work nicely.
  • Wear a disposable apron or gown.
  • As soon as possible after death, wrap the body in a body bag or several layers of garbage bags or plastic sheeting.
  • Graves should be dug away from open water sources (at least 100 feet or more) and deep enough (or covered with rocks) to prevent animals from digging it up.
  • Thoroughly wash yourself afterward, even using bleach to clean your hands.
  • Dispose of the gloves, surgical mask, and apron.
  • Th roughly clean and disinfect all equipment and surfaces that came into contact with the body.
  • Keep notes on who you bury and where, along with information on the circumstances of their death. Once law & order is re-established, the new authorities may ask questions.
Avoiding sick people is lot easier said than done, even in good times, as we have little control over people who choose to go to work, school, or shopping while sick. But, to the extent you can, avoid being around with people who are sick. This is especially true during and after a collapse. This means trying to avoid large crowds whenever possible. It means having enough supplies so you don't have to go out if there is an outbreak in your area. When you do have to be around someone who is sick, take proper precautions like washing your hands frequently and wearing a disposable surgical mask.

Wear a disposable surgical mask in public, in good times and bad. Taking the bus, train, or subway? Visiting a flea market or otherwise hanging around a large crowd of people in tight quarters? Trading with the homestead just over the hill?  Take a clue from the Japanese and wear a disposable surgical mask. This will help you not spread your own germs and help you avoid the germs of other people. (They are also great pollen blockers for those suffering from hay fever.)  This isn't common in the west as it is in Asia, so you'll likely get a lot of strange looks. But, is it really effective? Actually, yes. According to a study published in The International Journal of Infectious Diseases (December 2008 issue, page e328), masks have a protective efficacy of over 80% against respiratory illnesses like colds and influenza.

Despite your best efforts, you or someone in your family or group will likely get sick at some point. What then? How do you deal with a sick person during and after a collapse?

Setting up a sick room (also known as a quarantine room) is a good idea. A sick room is a place in your home specifically set aside for the care of a sick person. This room is apart from the rest of the house (perhaps the bedroom at the far end of the house) and folks know to avoid it unless they are taking care of the sick person. Plastic sheeting and PVC piping can be used to create an entrence area just outside the bedroom door, where the caretaker can prepare to enter and leave the area. The room should be fully stocked ahead of time with needed supplies. A good article by an RN on this topic can be found on the Survival Blog website: Setting Up A Sick Room in Your Home.

You need to figure out now how to treat illnesses when their is no hospital or doctor available. For my money (literally, since I have bought two print and one kindle editions), the absolute best book on this subject is The Survival Medicine Handbook: THE essential guide for when medical help is NOT on the way, by Dr. Joe Alton and Nurse Amy Alton. Now in its third edition, this book has over 650 pages of well-organized and well-explained information on dealing with disease and injuries when there is no medical help available. An invaluable resource, I consider this book to be an essential core book for any serious prepper or survivalist. The knowledge it contains could literally be the difference between life and death in a post-collapse world. Especially useful in preparing for a post-collapse world is its lists of medical supplies, OTC drugs, training, and alternative treatments to acquire before the collapse.

To vaccinate, or not to vaccinate, that is the question. I'm not going to tell you what to do on this one - its up to you. People on both sides of the debate have very strong opinions when it comes to vaccines. Pro-vaccine people point to the success of vaccinations with wiping out diseases like polio and smallpox, and fervently believe that modern vaccines are safe. Anti-vaccine people point to a lot of anecdotal evidence that vaccines can cause various problems such as autism and infertility, and they don't trust corporations or the government to tell the truth about the safety of vaccinations. And a third set of folks believe that vaccines are generally safe, but that we are way over-medicating ourselves, which could create unintended consequences. Therefore, they are reluctant to take every recommended vaccine that comes on the market. Decide for yourself. Need more information to decide? Check out:

Vaccinations: A Thoughtful Parent's Guide: How to Make Safe, Sensible Decisions about the Risks, Benefits, and Alternatives.  This book discusses both the pros and cons of vaccinations in a fairly even-handed way.

The blurb: "Midwife, herbalist, and mother of four, Aviva Jill Romm sifts through the spate of current research on vaccine safety and efficacy and offers a sensible, balanced discussion of the pros and cons of each routine childhood vaccination. She presents the full spectrum of options available to parents: full vaccination on a standardized or individualized schedule, selective vaccination, or no vaccinations at all. Negotiating daycare and school requirements, dealing with other parents, and traveling with an unvaccinated child are covered in detail. The book also suggests ways to strengthen children's immune systems and maintain optimal health and offers herbal and homeopathic remedies for childhood ailments. Emphasizing that no single approach is appropriate for every child, the author guides parents as they make the choices that are right for their child." Available on Amazon.

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Saturday, March 23, 2019

The Islamic State is Officially Defeated

The following unedited press release by International Christian Concern (ICC) may be of interest to my readers. You can visit their website at for more on Christian persecution around the world.

Territorial Defeat of ISIS Overshadowed by Threats of Insurgency and Ideological Longevity

03/23/2019 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on March 23, 2019, Syrian Democratic Forces declared the Islamic State (ISIS) territorially defeated as the extremists lost control of their last hold in the Middle East. The final battle waged in Baghouz, Syria, which is located near the Iraqi border.

The battle in Baghouz led to the liberation of a number of individuals held captive by ISIS as part of the extremists’ genocide against religious minorities. Thousands of captives remain missing, and ISIS remains engaged in pockets of fighting throughout both Syria and Iraq. The resulting instability, combined with the massive amount of destruction left behind, continues to generate significant regional instability.

For the victims of ISIS’s genocide, the consequences of the militants’ ideology haunt and define every aspect of life.

“Life is like it has turned into something bad,” explains Joseph, a Christian who fled ISIS in 2014. “I am having psychological problems whenever I remember those incidents. We are alive, but we cannot enjoy life again. I feel like I am in a nightmare.” 

“We are a minority, and yet we paid the biggest price of any group during these years,” adds a Christian woman who also survived ISIS’s genocide. 

The possibility of an ISIS insurgency has many Christians and other victims of ISIS’s genocide concerned that the extremists’ territorial defeat is overshadowed by ideological longevity.

“ISIS 2.0 is something possible,” adds Majid, another Christian impacted by ISIS. “ISIS is still (here)… the only difference is that they threw down their weapons, and they will pick them back up at any weak point.” 

ISIS was born out an insurgency and first rose to prominence in 2014, when the militants violently seized large swaths of territory across Iraq and Syria. They controlled territory stretching approximately 34,000 square miles, most of which historically belonged to the ancient homelands of religious minorities.

 Claire Evans, ICC’s Regional Manager for the Middle East, said, “The territorial defeat of ISIS has long been anticipated and is most welcome news. During the height of their so-called caliphate, they introduced a reign of genocidal terror that targeted religious minorities who lived across their newly acquired territories. Many lives were lost in the difficult fight to wrestle territorial control back from ISIS. The challenges of moving forward are significant. Many ISIS members have escaped and melted back into society with their ideology intact. ISIS left behind a path of destruction severely affecting families, community, and infrastructure. Territorially defeating ISIS was an essential step. 

Holistically reconstructing the damage is perhaps a greater challenge, but one absolutely necessary for the future of religious minorities in the Middle East.”  
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Saturday, March 16, 2019

Rethinking Survival for Modern Times

Much of the prepper and survivalist movement revolves around wilderness survival and bushcraft skills (what used to be known as camping). Virtually every episode of every survivalist-type TV show depicts these skills. These are useful skills to learn. However, most modern survival situations won't see us stuck on a deserted island or lost in a jungle. We are much more likely to face survival situations that require different skill sets.

Modern Survival Situations:
  • Identity Theft
  • Cyber Threats
  • Violent Crime
  • Active Shooter Situations
  • Civil Unrest, including Riots & Looting
  • Terrorism
  • Epidemics & Pandemics
  • Recession, Job Loss, High Inflation, and Economic Turmoil
  • Loss of Freedoms & Privacy (via political correctness, "hate speech" laws, Big Tech censorship & data mining, etc.).
  • Political Turmoil & Police State Actions 
Knowing how to build an emergency shelter or start a fire in the rain probably won't do you much good in most of those scenarios. Not that there is anything wrong with those skills. They can be useful and are worth learning. But there are many other skills that you should also learn, and that may prove even more valuable to you than your primitive fishing skills. 

Modern Survival Skills

Modern survival starts with awareness of potential problems and developing self-reliance (my recent article, The Two Keys to Preparedness, is on this subject). Awareness requires us to take an honest look at the dangers of the world around us, and not just adopt the idea that "nothing really bad will ever happen, and even if it does, that is why we have a government," an attitude so common among most Americans today.

Self-reliance is an attitude of responsibility and accountability. It is up to us to take care of ourselves and our families - not society, the government, public schools, or any other "authorities." It is our duty to watch out for life's potential pitfalls, and to take proactive steps ahead of time to prevent or survive those pitfalls. 

Speaking of awareness: although its been out for ten years now, Fernando Aguirre's book The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse is based on the realities that happened during Argentina's economic collapse in the early 2000s, and offers many clues as to what may happen in America at some point. In it you won't find tips on finding wild edibles, but will learn pointers such as why safe-deposit boxes may not be a good idea. After the banks reopened in Argentina, customers found that their safe deposit boxes had been cleared out of valuables by the government and/or corrupt bank management - and the contents of safe deposit boxes are NOT insured in Argentina, or in America for that matter. If you haven't read his book, I highly recommend you read it. If you have read it, it will be a good idea to go back and re-read it. 

Building on the foundation of awareness and self-reliance, there are many other useful skills for modern survival scenarios:
These are just a few of the skills that may prove very useful in a variety of modern survival situations. Leave your suggest skills in the comments section below.

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Thursday, March 14, 2019

Continuing Genocide of Christians in Nigeria Goes Unreported

Muslim Group Boko Haram Attacks Christian Village, Destroys Church in Latest Attack

03/14/2019  – International Christian Concern (ICC), a Christian human rights organization, is reporting that earlier today, around 6:00 a.m. local time, Boko Haram insurgents launched an attack on Ngurhlavu village of Lassa in Askira-Uba local council area of southern Borno State in Nigeria. Most of the villagers were able to flee into the bush, but the insurgents burned down six homes, destroyed the EYN Church (Church of the Brethren), killed one person, and abducted two sisters, Stella Ibrahim and Plungwa Ibrahim.

The attack by Boko Harem, a Muslim militant group, comes on the heels of an attack by Fulani militants in northern Nigeria in which at least 20 people were killed with machetes and guns. According to WorldWatch Monitor, "The Fulani were early adopters of Islam, participating in holy wars, or jihads, in the 16th Century that established them as a dominant social and economic force in Western Africa." Today, the Fulani continue to wage "holy wars" against Christians and other non-believers in Western Africa. 

Is it really genocide?

Since the Muslim genocide against Christians in Nigeria is ignored by the mainstream media in America and Europe, some may doubt that a real genocide is occurring. However, consider this fact reported by ICC on their website: "Radical Islamic militant groups such as Boko Haram and Fulani militants have decimated Christian communities throughout northern Nigeria. In the last 18 years, an estimated 50,000 to 70,000 Christians have been murdered by these groups, while another 2 million people have been displaced." Countless others have been injured. And the genocide is only increasing

The Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), compiled data for 2018 on the ongoing genocide of Christians in Nigeria. ACLED reported that approximately 1,930 brutal deaths were attributed to Fulani militants in 2018. In addition, Boko Haram was responsible for at least another 550 deaths according to records mainstained by (TROP), bringing the total number murdered in the name of Islam in Nigeria in 2018 to at least 2,480. This was a sharp increase (over 25%) from the 1,900 total people killed in 2017 by both Boko Haram and Fulani militants (both groups are Muslim).

Additional Details of This Morning's Attack

Recalling this morning's attack, a senior executive of the EYN Church, who wished to remain anonymous, said that their local pastor called around 6:00 a.m. to report the attack. He shared, “I could hear desperation in his voice, just coming out of the bush.  His voice sounded completely demoralized as he was saying only God… We don’t know what else to do! There’s no security presence here.” The insurgents dropped a concealed improvised explosive device which a church member named Avi Lassa stepped on. Avi was killed on the spot.

Lamenting the spate of repeated, violent attacks, the senior church leader said, “These frequent attacks on churches and [their] members are really weighing us down. These attacks seem to be escalating soon after the elections.” Nigeria’s presidential elections took place in late February, but has seen violence even in the build-up to Election Day.

The leader said that members of the EYN Church in the village of Gwandang were attacked on February 2, 2019. This was shortly followed by another set of attacks in the village of Paya-Bulguma on February 7 and 21, during which 26 houses were burned down, large quantities of food supplies were destroyed, and motorbikes and other valuables were stolen or destroyed.  A seven-year-old boy was also abducted and has not been heard from since.

Sources: 1) Press release dated 3-14-2019 by International Christian Concern. 2) Article Who are the Fulani? by WorldWatch Monitor. 3) Additional information from the website. 4) Statistics from the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED) and from 5) (TROP).

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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Nigeria: Muslim Fulani Militants Kill Over 20 using Machetes and Guns

The following is an unedited press release from International Christian Concern (ICC). You can visit their website at for more on Christian persecution around the world.

03/11/2019 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on the morning of March 4, 2019, Fulani militants attacked Tse-Tema Dula, Tse-Ugor, and Tse-Jabu villages of Mbacohon area in Gwer West Local Council area of Benue State. According to ICC’s local sources, 23 people were killed. Confirming the attacks, Reuben, a member of the Gwer West legislative council, said, “It was bad. They killed over 20 people. Some were killed by gunshots and some by machete hacks!” While speaking of the aftermath for those who survived, Reuben lamented, “The displaced persons are scattered all over, some in Naka, the Local Government headquarters.

Three days after the village attacks, the militants again launched another attack at Tse-Ikyo Mke, Mbapupur community in the same Local Council area. This time, three people were killed.  Commenting on this attack, a local pastor named Reverend Ajoh shared, “Even today, they attacked. One of my members came to report that his father was killed, and another member said his son-in-law was also killed.” All three of the victims, Stephen Uper, Kwaghkunda Ngyeegh, and Denis Iorundu, were married with children.

The communities in Benue State are predominantly agrarian. The farming communities have suffered several years of violent confrontation by nomadic herdsmen who prefer open-grazing cattle breeding, a practice that has resulted in instances of destruction of farmland. As an approach to a solution, the state government enacted legislation providing for ranching instead of open-grazing, which took effect on May 22, 2017. Shortly after this law was implemented, attacks worsened for several months, culminating in more than 70 people being killed in early January 2018.

The law has caused some of the herdsmen to claim that it was deliberately aimed at upturning their generational lifestyle and culture of nomadic cattle breeding, as well as a deliberate attempt to expel them from the state and deny them their constitutional right of freedom of movement. However, Taraba State, which shares a boundary with Benue, has also instituted a similar law, given the years of violence between the Christian farmers and Fulani militants.

Until this incident, the situation had been relatively calm in Benue State for almost a year, and the majority of citizens were hopeful that the peace could be sustained. But with the resurgence of attacks, some local community leaders now believe that the Fulani militants likely refrained from confrontation to allow for a peaceful presidential election, having shown support for their kinsman President Buhari. According to a local source, “Before the presidential election, they moved away, but they are now returning in their hundreds. They don’t like the current governor, and don’t want him to return, so they would want to disrupt the state elections. Buhari has not been happy with him because he refused to cede land for ‘cattle colonies.’

A senior aide in the Palace of the Tor Tiv, the paramount ruler over the Tiv tribe, confirmed the attacks, saying, “Recently, they (herdsmen’s militia) resumed attacking simultaneously in three areas now that their man has won the presidential election.” He added, “Some are still missing in the bush and the search is ongoing.” He further disclosed that security reinforcements have been sent to the affected areas. Expressing faith for divine intervention, Pastor Ajoh said, “The Church in Benue is praying and we know that our God will never disappoint us!

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Friday, March 8, 2019

The Two Keys to Preparedness

There are a lot of different aspects to preparedness - food, water, shelter, first aid & medical, sanitation & hygiene, and guns & ammo, just to name a few. But, in my opinion, there are two keys to preparedness, upon which everything else depends. The two keys to preparedness are 1) Awareness and 2) Self-Reliance.

1) Awareness - The first key is awareness, because without awareness, you will never even begin to prepare. Let's face it, most people just go about living their lives as if nothing bad will ever happen. They simply don't want to think about it (too depressing, too scary), or don't want to confront unpleasant possibilities (too hard). If they had a motto, it would be "Ignorance is Bliss." They just want to go through life playing Doodle Jump on their IPhone (until something bad happens that their not prepared for, and they are left wondering when the government help will get there.)

I'm going to assume, since you are reading this article, that you are at least somewhat aware, putting you ahead of 80% of your fellow citizens. But you may know others who aren't awake. You may have even tried to talk to them and wake them up. Most likely, you failed, They simply don't want to here it. But don't give up. There is still hope. Here are some tips for talking to them about preparedness without upsetting them or turning them off to the subject.

Here's what not to do:

   1- Avoid too much doom-and-gloom.
   2- Avoid jargon. acronyms and "military" talk.
   3- Avoid politics as much as possible.
   4- Put away the tin-foil hat.
   5- Don't nag. 

Here is what to do:

   1- Adopt a conversational tone.
   2- Emphasize building security and safety.
   3- Use personal experiences & real-life events.
   4- Remain calm.
   5- Use humor.

Still having trouble getting a spouse or friend to "wake up" to the potential dangers all around us and the need to prepare for those dangers? Survivor Jane has written a wonderful book that explains things in a non-threatening, non-agressive, non-paranoid, non-technical, and non-intimadating way: What Could Possibly Go Wrong??? How To Go From Completely Clueless To Totally Prepared.

2) Self-Reliance - One of my favorite subjects, and I've written a number of articles on it. My take on self-reliance boils down to these points:
  1. Assume responsibility for your own life. 
  2. Take the blame for your own life.
  3. Be informed. 
  4. Know where your going.
  5. Make your own decisions.
  6. Learn skills.
  7. Gain experience.
See my article What Exactly is Self-Reliance? for a deeper look at these seven points.

Self-reliance doesn't come naturally, anymore. It isn't taught in our schools, nor is it encouraged in our pop culture. In fact, the opposite is true. Personal responsibility and accountability are not politically correct virtues, and if you bring it up, you will likely be accused of being unfair at best, or bigoted at worst. Self-reliance is thought of as selfish or anti-social by many folks today, and even is mistrusted by government authorities (they want you reliant on them, not yourself). 

But, self-reliance is not anti-social or selfish. It does not mean shutting yourself off from your friends or community. It certainly doesn't mean heading for the hills and hiding, heavily armed, in a secret compound until after some dread doomsday comes to pass.

If you have ever listened to a flight attendant give emergency instructions, you may have noticed that they tell parents traveling with a child to put the oxygen mask on themselves first, before putting one on their child. The airlines don't say that because they hate children. Instead, they say that because if a parent is to help their child, they must first be able to do so. A parent unconscious from the lack of oxygen will be of absolutely no help to their child.

Likewise, we will be of little help to our family, friends and neighbors, if we are the ones in need of help ourselves. In fact, our own helplessness may make matters much worse for our community. Far from being selfish, building self-reliance may be one of the most generous things you can do. 

The Bottom Line:  If you are aware, and if you have built self-reliance, then you'll most probably will be okay, come what may...

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Hardline Islamic Cleric Takes Control of Iran’s Judiciary

Tim's Note: The following is an unedited press release from International Christian Concern (ICC). The news does not bode well for Iran's religious minorities, including an estimated 350,000 Christians, mostly Armenian, and up to 15,000 Jews. Exact figures on religious minorities in Iran are impossible to get, and estimates vary widely. You can visit the ICC website at for more on Christian persecution around the world.

Hardline Islamic Cleric Ebrahim Raisi Sworn in as Judiciary Chief of Iran

03/08/2019 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on March 8, 2019, Ebrahim Raisi was sworn into office as the new Judiciary Chief of Iran’s Islamic Republic. His long anticipated appointment comes with a five-year term, which is approved by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Raisi’s career trajectory comes at the expense of a long line of serious human rights abuses that have provoked great alarm regarding his new position.

Raisi is a hardline Islamic religious cleric who studied at Qom Seminary and quickly rose through the ranks of Iran’s judiciary. His name first rose to prominence in 1988, when Raisi served on Iran’s notorious death commission which massacred thousands of political prisoners declared to be “apostates of Islam.” He would later serve as a prosecutor, deputy chief justice, and attorney general. He would launch an unsuccessful bid for president in 2017, after which momentum began to build for his current appointment.

Raisi has remained unapologetic for his record of serious human rights abuses. In a 2018 speech, he highlighted his involvement in the 1988 mass killings and said it “was one of the proud achievements of the system.” This is a reflection of the regime’s position that the judiciary exists to safeguard Iran’s Islamist ideology. It is for this reason that many of Iran’s Christians are tried for political crimes and viewed as apostates.

“The human rights violation of religious minorities in Iran would most likely get worse under the leadership of Mr. Ebrahim Raisi as Iran’s new judiciary chief,” worries Mike Ansari from Heart4Iran, an Iranian Christian partnership platform.

His judiciary appointment comes at a time when the regime is under significant pressure from its citizenry, who are increasingly discontent with the government’s hardline view of Islam. One Iranian woman shared with ICC, “I am a Muslim, but I don’t like the way that the government is forcing us to do it.” 

This enforced Islamist pressure on Iran’s citizens has caused an organic interest in Christianity, which the regime views as a national security threat. “As Christianity is growing fast in Iran, the top religious leaders are alarmed… Their strategy is to arrest a few, but publicize their arrest to put fear in the hearts of 1-3 million Christians and make them isolated, fearful, and prisoners in their homes,” explained Dr. Hormoz Shariat of Iran Alive Ministries.

For this reason, Christian persecution in Iran has grown significantly in recent years. Iran is rated as a Tier 1 Country of Particular Concern by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom and number 9 on Open Doors’ World Watch List.

Claire Evans, ICC’s Regional Manager for the Middle East, said, “Although human rights violations have long been the norm in Iran, today’s appointment of Raisi as Judiciary Chief marks the beginning of a worrisome new chapter. Raisi has not only been complicit in violent abuses, he has reveled in them. His new position gives him broad powers to ‘protect’ Iran’s Islamic theocracy, a cause of great concern for all Christians, many of whom converted from Islam. We must keep them, and Iran’s judges, in our prayers.” 

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Monday, March 4, 2019

February death toll is 126, as Muslim genocide against Christians continues in Nigeria

The following is an unedited press release from International Christian Concern (ICC). You can visit their website at for more on Christian persecution around the world.

03/04/2019 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Boko Haram and Fulani militants continued their brutal campaign of violence throughout Nigeria’s Middle Belt region in February. The uptrend in attacks by Fulani militants has persisted throughout 2019, with the heaviest attacks taking place in Plateau State. This undeclared war has turned Muslims and Christians against each other in a confrontation that threatens the stability of Nigeria. In February, ICC documented at least 60 attacks by Boko Haram and Fulani militants that killed a total of 205 people. Of these, Boko Haram was responsible for 126 deaths, 83 of which were civilians. Fulani militants were responsible for at least 79 deaths.

Persistent ethnic tension, religious differences, and a lack of economic resources inflict suffering in Christian areas as Fulani militants attack defenseless farmers, impoverishing many. Human Rights Watch reported, “Increased frequency of violent conflict has been linked to intense pressures on land because of expansion of commercially cultivated areas, corporate mining activities, and competitive overuse of common resources, such as forests, pastoral rangelands, and water sources, exacerbated by climate change.” As Nigeria’s farmer-herder conflict continues to unleash bloodshed, the humanitarian crisis continues to worsens in the state.

Despite these violent attacks, there have been no major attempts by the Nigerian government to hold the Fulani accountable or disarm them. The recent re-election of President Buhari ensures that the government will remain dormant as the perpetrators continue to inflict suffering in Nigeria. Although Buhari assured Nigerians that Boko Haram would be a “thing of the past” if he were re-elected, there is little confidence that militant groups will be defeated in 2019. The Middle Belt should remain a cause of great concern for all those interested in Nigeria’s growth and stability.

Below are the largest attacks that took place in February:
  1. February 10, 2019: Fulani militants attacked Adara Christian community, killing 11
  2. February 18, 2019: Boko Haram beheads merchants, killing 18
  3. February 20, 2019: Fulani militants attack Benue State, killing 16
According to Global Terrorism Index’s 2018 ranking, Nigeria remains the third “Most Terrorized Country” for the fourth consecutive year. This trend continues to worsen as militants are able to operate freely. Boko Haram and Fulani militants’ brutal campaigns have claimed tens of thousands of lives and displaced millions more in recent years. The Nigerian government and the rest of the world must remember to pray for those affected by the deadly violence taking place in the Middle Belt.

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Sunday, March 3, 2019

Survival Advice: Know Your Location

Bushcraft and wilderness survival skills are useful, and homesteading is one path to self-reliance. But for modern survival, you really need to know your locality - the area(s) where you live. work, shop, and go to church and school. By "know your locality," I mean a lot more than just the geography of where you live, knowing the roads you drive (although that is a small part of it). 

Develop Your Local Knowledge.  

Get to really know really know your locality. Start with the geography, but don't stop there. Learn your way around your city or town, particularly the areas in which you live, work, shop, worship, and go to school. Know not just one way, but several, to get to and from places you frequent.

You need to know where the bad neighborhoods and high crime areas of your town or city are, and how to avoid them. All communities, big or small, have bad areas - places where crime and vice are more common, and where the folks you're going to want to avoid typically hang out. 

You also need to know the people of your locality. Do you know an honest mechanic? A good and dependable plumber? A babysitter you can trust with your kids? Do you know your neighbors? Are there any sex offenders living near you (search online for sex offender registries). 

Do you know your local elected officials? Do you know what their plans are for your city? Do you follow the local news, or maybe listen to a local talk radio show? Get to really know your community and its people. Build a network of people you trust, and who have reason to trust you.

Know your local markets. Chances are you know where the Wal-Marts, Targets, Sam's Clubs, and Home Depots in your area are.  But what about smaller stores, and Mom-and-Pop operations. Over the years, I've found many things at these places that I couldn't find at the Big Box stores, sometimes at real bargain prices. And I've met some wonderful people.

If, like me, you are a prepper on a shoestring budget, it is a good idea to learn the locations of the various flea markets, farmers' markets, salvage stores, thrift shops, and pawn shops in your community. It may also be a good idea to find all your local antique stores, coin and stamp dealers, gun stores. used bookstores, small hardware stores, feed stores, and gardening centers. I'm putting together a notebook of all these places near me, along with notes on what I can find where, owner's names, and so forth. Should we ever experience a period of scarcity of goods, like Venezuela, it will be good to know and be friendly with these folks. 

Know local industry. Are there any factories or  industrial parks near you? Where is your local electricity generated? And how? Any mines in your area? Industry is both a source of employment, and a source of potential problems such as pollution and chemical spills. What opportunities and threats do your local industries pose?

Know several escape routes from your city should bugging-out ever become necessary or even mandatory. Have paper copies of directions and maps, in case GPS & Google Maps are down when you need them. If you are bugging-out on foot, abandoned train tracks may be your best option, rather than trying to hike along congested and dangerous roadways. Most cities and some small towns have many of these, and some have already been turned into greenways and walking/jogging trails. Learn these now. Acquire or make maps, especially of the ones leading out of town. 

Resources for learning about your community include local newspapers and local talk radio stations. Local and state road maps can often be picked up for free at visitor centers, tourism boards, or the local Chamber of Commerce. If not, you can buy them for only a couple of bucks at just about any gas station in town. Your local library should have maps of local infrastructure such as railways, greenways, waterways, sewer systems, gas lines, and power lines. If not there, your local zoning board will have them. Many local libraries also have community bulletin boards. My local library publishes a monthly newsletter which is a great source of information on local programs, events, government meetings, and so forth. However, nothing beats actually getting out in your community, exploring it for yourself, and meeting new people.  

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Friday, March 1, 2019

Navy SEAL Survival Technique

Someone I know recently faced a really bad, scary situation. Without going into details, at a time in which she needed to remain calm and clear-thinking, she panicked and had an anxiety attack. This only made matters worse. Fortunately, some other people were around who kept their heads and things turned out okay. 

She feels bad about panicking, and worries that it will happen again. Next time, others might not be there to help. What can she do prevent another panic attack at a critical moment? I suggest she learn and practice a Navy SEAL technique called Box Breathing.

Navy Seal Technique: Box Breathing

You should practice Box Breathing often under normal conditions so you'll be able to remember the technique under pressure, which won't be as easy as you may think. Instructions for Box Breathing:

  • Inhale deeply for 4 seconds
  • Hold your breath (lungs full) for 4 seconds
  • Exhale for 4 seconds
  • Hold your breath (lungs empty) for 4 seconds
  • Repeat as needed
More than just a psychological trick, there is actual medical science behind this technique. By using it, you are increasing the nitric oxide levels in your blood, increasing your blood flow, and reducing your blood pressure. These are physical changes that will help you regain or remain in control of your emotions.

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