Libya: Young people captured passing out Bibles, held for ransom
By Mark Ellis —
Two teenage boys and a woman in her early twenties were caught with Bibles, taken captive by an independent militia, and are currently being held for ransom.
“They were caught red-handed with a few copies of the Bible, which is punishable by death,” says Jon Nelms, president of Final Frontiers.
The two unidentified young men are ages 14 and 17. The young woman who was captured is about 21-years-old. All are described as recent converts to Christianity.
In the past year they gave out Bibles to people they met.
“They have been captured by an independent militia, but they have not been tortured because a messenger had given word making them believe that we will not discuss release terms if there has been torture,” Nelms said.
While Nelms believes they are being fed and has no information about abuse, he is concerned about the stress and fear they face. “Threats of torture, rape, both of the young lady and the young men are constantly hurled at them,” he said.
Nelms oversees a team of Christian workers on the front lines in restricted countries who face depravation, starvation, persecution and sometimes death.
“The Sahara is littered with the graves of our beloved brethren and in some cases, the birds have feasted on them,” he lamented.
“But each time one fell two or three would rise up to take their place. Each day they pick up their cross and each day they expect to be nailed to it. If not today, the go to bed at night and thank God for the opportunity to pick it up again the next morning.”
The captors have demanded a large ransom amount from Final Frontiers. They also want the organization to hand over any Bibles they possess in Libya. “They believe we have 900 (Bibles) in hiding and they want them all. In light of their requests we countered with our two demands. One, accept a lower price and two, don’t expect us to give up a single copy of a Bible,” he said.
Nelms says the captors asked for $80,000 for the release of the three, but finally agreed to $9,780.
Final Frontiers has expanded their reach from North Africa’s Atlantic coast to the Indian Ocean and north to the Caspian Sea. “As we grew our pastors trained more and more men for the ministry and taught young, college age adults in doctrine and witnessing. We had severe consequences in each of these lands but God always met our needs,” he says.
“According to Islamic scholars, every hour 667 Muslims convert to Christianity. Every day 16,000. Every year 6,000,000. With these numbers increasing, is it any wonder our Lord’s Enemy is trying to stop His front-line soldiers?”
“Pray for all our witnesses to be protected. God is doing a marvelous thing in the region.”