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Mathew (centre), touched by the immense
faith of the Egyptian believers, acknowledged
Christ just before his death.
Photo: YouTube

Following the brutal murder of a group of Coptic Christians by members of the Islamic State (ISIS) this past February, the names of the 21 martyred men were widely shared. Prior to the beheadings, the victims were kidnapped while residing in Sirte, Libya, where they were working in order to support their families.

Initially, it was believed that all of the men who were slain for their faith were from small impoverished villages in Egypt. However, while the name and background of one of those killed was first unknown, Mathew Ayairga was soon identified by friends who recognized him in the video footage of the killings released by ISIS. According to "Ahram-Canadian News," Mathew, who had been missing since January of 2015, was from the country of Chad.

The video showed each of the kidnapped men dressed in orange jumpsuits, kneeling on a beach, with their black-clothed attackers standing behind them. Each man was then systematically beheaded. The video clearly captured many of the men praying, "Lord Jesus Christ," in their final moments.

According to reports, Mathew was not a Christian. However, just moments before his death, when the ISIS militants demanded he follow Islam, Mathew turned them down. After reportedly witnessing the "immense faith" of the Egyptian believers, he decided to become a follower of Christ himself. On camera, one of the terrorists asked Mathew, "Do you reject Christ?" He responded boldly: "Their God is my God." He then became one of the 21 men who laid down their lives for their faith in Christ. (Once again, more information on this attack is available in a previous prayer alert.)

Let us thank God for the unshakable truth that He will make all things right in His perfect timing, despite the evil onslaughts of the enemy. We can also rejoice in the knowledge that all of these 21 martyred men are now present with our Lord Jesus Christ in heaven (2 Corinthians 5:8). Continue to pray for those who are grieving over this loss, as they understandably miss their dear loved ones. May God's compassionate and comforting presence be experienced in a special way by each one of them, and may His provision meet their every need.

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