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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Missionary-pastor martyred in West Africa

By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

GUINEA, WEST AFRICA (ANS) -- Missionary-pastor Michel Loua, 47, of Jacksonville, Texas, was executed on Sunday night, Nov. 14, in a prison in Guinea, West Africa. Church leaders are calling his death a modern-day martyrdom in this predominantly (85 percent) Muslim nation.

Michel Loua
(Courtesy Gilmer Mirror newspaper).

According to an article by Charles Johnson in the Gilmer Mirror newspaper

(www.gilmermirror.com),  Loua and his family had come to the United States four years ago for him to attend seminary in preparation to evangelize his native Guinea with the Christian Gospel.

In his report, Johnson says Loua graduated in 2009 with a master’s degree from Baptist Missionary Association Theological Seminary in Jacksonville. He was the first person from Guinea to obtain such an educational level in theology.

Johnson says that Loua had made at least four trips back to Guinea to check on the status of his established church work, and to make preparations to return his family to their homeland.

On one of these trips, he constructed a house with quarters to house and teach local missionaries in their outreach endeavors, Johnson writes.

Johnson reports that Loua was no stranger to Upshur County. He and his family joined Rosewood Baptist Church in December of 2008. He preached numerous times at Rosewood and held a revival there earlier in 2008.

Loua also preached in several other churches of Liberty Baptist Association, composed of BMA churches in Upshur and surrounding counties. Some of these churches helped him to finance his house building in Guinea and supported him while he was a seminary student. Other churches purchased a tractor for Loua to use in raising food to help supply the needs of native Guinea missionaries.

Johnson states that Loua last returned to Guinea in June of this year. He apparently became caught up in the politics of the presidential election which took place in Guinea the week before his execution. There had been several ethnic struggles, particularly between the Christian and Muslim groups. He was arrested three weeks before his death and placed in chains at a prison in Guinea’s capital.

Johnson cites at least two African news service reports which states the president of Guinea sent soldiers to the prison to offer Michel Loua as a human sacrifice to enhance the leadership of Guinea’s president.

He writes that according to Guinea Muslim beliefs, it was necessary to kill an infidel (non-Muslim) to insure the new leadership’s success. Loua was reportedly tortured, shot through the heart, and his body mutilated.

Johnson adds that Loua was born and raised a Muslim. He converted to Christ at the age of 22. After accepting Jesus Christ as his Savior, he faced immediate persecution from even his own family. His head bore a deep scar from an initial stoning from relatives after his Christian conversion. There had been numerous death threats on Pastor Loua since 1985.

Johnson goes on to say that Loua began to evangelize other Muslims in Guinea and was instrumental in helping to establish at least a dozen churches in his nation. Even before he owned a Bible, he led fellow Guineans to Christ using verses from the Koran which spoke of Jesus.

Loua’s survivors include his wife of 15 years, Elisabeth; a son, Joal, 14; two daughters: Debora, 12, and Mary, age 4. Elisabeth is also expecting the birth of their fourth child in about three weeks. She plans to name this child Michel.

A memorial service for Michel Loua was held on Tuesday, Nov. 23, at Woodland Heights Baptist Church in Jacksonville. Several people from the area were in attendance at the service.

At least two funds have been established to help assist the Loua Family. One is at Austin Bank in Jacksonville. The other is through the benevolence fund at BMAAT Seminary, Attention: Dr. Charley Holmes, P.O. Box 670, Jacksonville, TX 75766.



** Michael Ireland, Chief Correspondent of ANS, is an international British freelance journalist who was formerly a reporter with a London (United Kingdom) newspaper and has been a frequent contributor to UCB UK, a British Christian radio station. While in the UK, Michael traveled to Canada and the United States, Albania,Yugoslavia, Holland, Germany,and Czechoslovakia. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China,and Russia. Michael's volunteer involvement with ASSIST News Service is a sponsored ministry department -- 'Michael Ireland Media Missionary' (MIMM) -- of A.C.T. International of P.O.Box 1649, Brentwood, TN 37024-1649, at: Artists in Christian Testimony (A.C.T.) International where you can donate online to support his stated mission of 'Truth Through Christian Journalism.' If you have a news or feature story idea for Michael, please contact him at: ANS Chief Reporter

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