Prayers for November 29, 2005
From The Voice of the Martyrs
CHINA (ASSIST News Service)
China Aid Association (CAA) reports eight Chinese house-church leaders in Henan province were released early November 19th, after being arrested and imprisoned November 3rd, at midnight. None of the confiscated church property was returned. Among those released were Pastor Huang Hailang (aged 40) and Pastor Wei Lin (20s) who, China Aid Association reports, "were tortured with their legs wounded by the interrogators on November 3rd." According to a CAA field reporter, all of the released are in good spirits with thankful hearts to God and to those who prayed and helped in their release. Meanwhile, CAA learned kidnapped house-church leader, Pastor Zhang Mingxuan, was sent from Beijing to an unknown location in Sheqi county, Henan province November 19th. According to a reliable source, the action to move Pastor Zhang from Beijing was to prevent him from meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush during his visit in China.
Pray believers worldwide will continue to lift the Chinese government before the Throne of the Almighty, pleading with Him to relieve our suffering brothers and sisters. Pray God will help authorities understand they are fighting a Power much greater than they realized. Pray Christians in China will rejoice in their freedom in Christ Jesus.
EGYPT (Compass Direct)
At the risk of losing family honor, an Egyptian Christian couple went public last week reporting the questionable, sudden disappearance of their daughter. After highlighting 21-year-old Heba Nabil Narouz Ghali in "missing persons" reports in the newspaper and over national television, the Ghali family has identified a Muslim man they are accusing of kidnapping their daughter seven weeks ago. A November 10th article in the weekly El-Wafd newspaper stated the young woman was last seen September 28th leaving work at a local supermarket in Sheikh Zayid, a suburb of Cairo. The Ghali family also released their daughter's picture and a request for information in a November 11th broadcast on TV Channel Three. Athanasius William, the family's attorney, plans to file a kidnapping report next week. He hopes this will obligate the police to produce Nabil Ghali's daughter. However, he said in similar cases in the past, "I only know of one where the girl had the courage to say that she was taken by force."
Pray God will protect Heba Ghali and keep her aware of Jesus' presence with her. Pray the Lord will remove her fear of retaliation and give her courage to admit she was kidnapped. Pray the Holy Spirit will "kidnap" the hearts of Muslim men and bring them to their Savior.
INDIA (Compass Direct)
Members of the Believers' Church in India (BCI) in Himachal Pradesh state met peacefully on Sunday, despite death and arson threats issued by Hindu extremists November 4th. The extremists from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP or World Hindu Council) and its youth wing, Bajrang Dal, assaulted the pastor and threatened to burn him and his 60 church members if they failed to take part in a November 20th "reconversion" ceremony. The planned reconversion ceremony was apparently dropped due to police intervention. "About 20 people came for the (church) service. This was lower than usual as some villagers were facing opposition, but at least we were able to meet without incident," said Ramesh Masih, son of Pastor Feroz Masih.
Give thanks to God for the testimony of the 20 members of the Believers' Church who trusted their Father enough to attend the service despite Hindu threats. Thank Him the meeting was not hindered by any opposition. Pray for God's grace to Hindus and that He will draw them to Himself.
INDONESIA (Compass Direct)
Indonesian Christians are in shock as details emerge of two vicious attacks in the town of Palu, Central Sulawesi. On November 19th, motorbike riders shot a man and woman at close range shortly after they left a church service. Palu is near the town of Poso, where machete and shooting attacks have killed four teenage girls and seriously injured two others in the past month. The victims of Saturday's shooting were identified as Novlin Pallinggi, 37, and her husband Pudji Laksono, 45. Pallinggi remains in critical condition, while Laksono is stable. Two women and one man were attacked with machetes, killing one of the women November 18th in the same town. Officials have refused to comment on the religious affiliation of the three victims.
Pray God will release His merciful healing power to restore Pallinggi and Laksono to perfect health. Pray Jesus will comfort all whose loved ones have suffered severe attacks because of their faith in Him. Pray Muslims will personally come to know the Lord is God and there is no other.
PAKISTAN (Religion Today)
Sparked by allegations that a Christian had burned pages from the Koran, an enraged mob of 2,000 men, armed with sticks, hammers and flammable substances, attacked the Catholic parish compound November 12th, in Sangla Hill. Father Samson Dilawar watched from the roof as the crowd destroyed the mission that had taken almost a century to build. They broke into the Church of the Holy Spirit, smashing the marble altar and shattering the stained-glass windows. Father Dilawar's house was set on fire before moving on to St. Anthony's Girls School, where the students had already been sent home. Father Dilawar retreated into the locked room where nuns were praying. The attackers "tried to break the door down, but did not succeed. Otherwise, we could have all been killed." Two other churches-one Presbyterian, one Salvation Army-as well as at least half a dozen houses belonging to Catholic families were also burned. The violence has shocked Pakistan's Christian community and highlighted the failure of authorities to protect religious minorities.
Give thanks to God no one was killed in these destructive attacks. Pray all those in Pakistan who claim salvation through the blood of Jesus will remember they are ambassadors for Christ. Pray those who attacked these churches will come to repentance and seek forgiveness from our loving and merciful Father.
Prayers for November 22, 2005
From The Voice of the Martyrs
BELARUS (Compass Direct)
Local lawmakers in the city of Bobruisk (located in eastern Belarus) report religious literature was legally confiscated from a library in late September. Forum 18 News Service reported the library was run by Baptists belonging to the Council of Churches, who refuse to register with state authorities in post-Soviet countries. The Bobruisk City Executive Committee vice-chairman said the literature is currently being held by an unspecified administrative commission because the Baptists had both "ignored" and "violated" the legal procedure for holding religious events by acting without state approval. "Religious events should be in a house of worship, not on the street," he told Forum 18. He said the operation of a street library by unregistered Baptists would have violated Article 193 of the Administrative Violations Code "because distributing literature counts as one form of their religious activity." Article 193 punishes unregistered illegal activity with fines up to five times the minimum monthly wage (i.e. up to $53 U.S.) and is handed down by an administrative commission rather than a court.
Pray Baptists in Bobruisk will be as wise as serpents and harmless as doves as they deal with authorities. Pray their faith in Jesus will remain strong. Pray they will find ways of distributing literature that will bring many to a saving knowledge of Christ.
CHINA (Compass Direct)
Pastor Cai Zhuohua and two other Christians found guilty of "illegal business practices" have dropped plans to appeal their conviction. According to a China Aid Association (CAA) report, a clerk from Haidian District People's Court visited Cai at the Qinghe detention center and warned him his sentence would be increased if he "annoyed" the judges with an appeal. This decision came as President Bush began an eight-day tour of Asia, including a visit to China November 19th to 21st. In a speech made in Japan, he urged China to open the door to more political and religious freedoms.
Pray God will thwart the plans of Chinese authorities to stop an appeal, using the time these men are imprisoned to bring many to salvation through faith in Jesus. Pray they will know His presence with them every moment. Pray the faith and witness of China's underground Christians will be like molten lava to rise up and cover the whole country.
INDONESIA (Compass Direct)
Denied permits and ordered not to worship in public or at home, churches in East Bekasi, West Java, have taken temporary refuge in a Social Affairs Agency office. In September, local officials ordered them to close because they did not have the required permits. The congregations had altered residential buildings to cater to large numbers of worshippers. The Anti-Apostasy Movement Alliance (AGAP, an alliance of Muslim extremist groups) began to enforce the order, attacking the Pentecostal Church of Indonesia El Shaddai on October 2nd. They also forced a Lutheran (HKBP) and a Presbyterian church in the complex to cease services. The Jakarta Post reported around 500 Christians from the HKBP church "scuffled" with 200 Muslims on Sunday, October 29nd, after a third street service. The following day district officials offered the use of the Social Affairs Agency office for two months while they searched for a building site for each of the churches.
Give thanks to God these congregations will have a place to meet and worship. Pray all the Christian congregations will be Christ-like in their behavior toward the officials. Pray God will have mercy on Muslim authorities and bring many of them to salvation through Jesus' blood.
NIGERIA (Compass Direct)
The past four years have been a jumble of tears and pain for Ishaya Kpotun Shaba of Niger state in north central Nigeria. He has not set his eyes on his daughter, Saratu, since she was abducted in December 2001, at age 19 by extremists bent on converting and marrying her to a Muslim. When Shaba reported the kidnapping to the Maikunkele town police, officials showed no interest in rescuing his daughter. Instead, to Shaba's shock and disbelief, he was summoned to appear before an Islamic court in Minna on January 9, 2002. The Upper Area Court judge informed him in the summons his daughter had requested he allow her to "embrace the religion of her choice." Shaba showed up at court but never saw his daughter. Instead, the judge called him into his chambers and told him that his daughter was now a Muslim, therefore, he was summoned to an Islamic court. Later, he heard his daughter was forced to marry a Muslim man in Minna, the state capital. As in other Nigerian states where Islamic law has been imposed, Muslims insist they will not apply it to Christians who have found out just how painfully false that claim can be. Shariah helps government officials jail Christians without cause, limit their job prospects, remove their church buildings, and force their daughters to marry Muslims. In a state where the population is roughly divided between Muslims and Christians, Islamists have taken a deliberate stab at religious domination and largely succeeded.
Pray God will work a wonder of His love to comfort Shaba. Pray the Lord will give Saratu an extreme devotion to Jesus and she will continue strong in her faith and witness of His merciful love. Pray Nigerian Muslims will seek to learn more about Jesus.
PAKISTAN (ASSIST News Service)
At least 450 Christian families have fled the village of Sangla Hill, Nakana district in the Punjab region of Pakistan after an angry mob, estimated around 2,000 Muslims, vandalized and set fire to buildings. The Christian families have not yet returned for fear of further violence. Qaiser Felix reports three churches, a nuns' convent, two Catholic schools, the houses of a Protestant pastor and a parish priest, a girls' hostel, and some Christian homes were first vandalized and then set on fire by the angry mob. The violence took place November 13th, and was apparently motivated by an alleged case of blasphemy against the Muslim Koran. On Friday November 11th, Yousaf Masih, a Christian, allegedly burned some copies of the Koran and disappeared. One of his brothers, Salim Masih, was arrested the day before. The Commission of Justice and Peace in Lahore said the blasphemy accusations were false: The accusers had economic problems to sort out with the families they accused. Saqib Sohail Bhatti, a Christian general councilor of Sangla Hill, told Asia News the accusations were false: "Yousaf Masih is an illiterate person and cannot distinguish the Koran from any other book." The Justice and Peace Commission issued a statement saying "the local police seem to be party in this act of terror and using religion for hatred against the religious minorities," thus, "an immediate judicial inquiry should be called to establish the causes, effects, and responsibility of these shameful incidents. Moreover, a strict action should be taken against the policemen for their criminal negligence."
Pray Christians worldwide will intercede for this community. Pray God will give Pakistani Christians courage, boldness and love toward Muslims. Pray the Lord will convict Muslims of His mercy toward them and reveal His eternal truth.
Prayers for November 15, 2005
From The Voice of the Martyrs
ERITREA (Compass Direct)
The number of Eritrean Christians confirmed to be jailed for their religious beliefs has shot up to a total of 1,778, nearly double the documented count six months ago. At least 26 full-time Protestant pastors and Orthodox clergy are in jail, and their personal bank accounts frozen by government order. "Their family members are suffering (to) a great degree," according to one source. In late September, three Protestant leaders imprisoned months ago by Eritrean authorities were handed jail sentences of two and three years by sham courts. Last month police raids in several locations of Asmara and the town of Kushete landed at least 51 more Protestant Christians in police detention.
Pray Jesus will draw near to the imprisoned Christians, giving them a sense of His loving presence. Pray Christians around the world will respond bountifully to the needs of the prisoners' families. Pray for a miracle of God's grace causing Eritrean authorities to cry out for the living God.
Nearly 10 months after Pastor Oqbamichael Tekle-Haimonot was arrested at a wedding in western Eritrea, authorities at the Sawa military training center have released the ailing evangelical leader on bail. Pastor Haimonot, a minister in the Kale Hiwot (Word of Life) Church, suffered a severe breakdown last May after being subjected to solitary confinement, hard labor and other physical and emotional mistreatment at Sawa. Five weeks ago, security police raided the Kale Hiwot Church at their headquarters in Asmara and arrested members. They released 25 members on November 8th.
Give thanks to God that these believers are no longer suffering in Eritrean prisons. Pray our loving Father will restore Pastor Tekle-Haimonot to complete mental, physical and spiritual health.
Two high school girls are in critical condition after being shot point blank on November 8th near a Pentecostal church. Ivone (last name unknown) and (Yuli) Siti Nuraini, both 17 years old, were shot by men on a motorcycle in the Gatot Subroto area of Poso. Ivone was shot in the left jaw, while Yuli was wounded in the neck. Both girls are presently in critical condition in the hospital. This incident follows the shocking attack on four Christian girls in the same city on October 29th, when three were beheaded. Hundreds of troops have been dispatched to the area. There are reports that the attackers have been arrested, but no names have yet been released. This recent shooting, however, demonstrates the danger from militant Islamic groups has not abated.
Pray Jesus will comfort the families of the girls who were attacked as they await their healing and return to their homes. Pray Christians in Indonesia will remain faithful, bold and loving as they follow their Shepherd. Pray their witness will draw many into God's kingdom which cannot be shaken.
IRAN (Compass Direct)
Jailed 14 months ago for converting to Christianity, former Iranian army colonel Hamid Pourmand has been allowed to visit his family on a monthly basis since August. Pourmand has reportedly developed good rapport with both guards and prisoners at Evin Prison. Despite earlier reports that Pourmand's case had been appealed before the Iranian Supreme Court, sources now say his lawyer has decided to drop the appeal out of fear it would be perpetually delayed, giving authorities an excuse to keep the Christian in prison. While in prison, Pourmand has been psychologically torturedmore than once told he would be imminently hanged, and at other times forced to listen to the screams of children. (Click here)
Give thanks to God Pourmand's witness of Christian love is being rewarded with home visits. Pray the Lord will strengthen him as he undergoes physical and emotional abuse, as well as giving him an ability to pray for his torturers. Pray God will use Pourmand to help draw many to Him and His everlasting love.
NIGERIA (Compass Direct)
Having planted a church of 300 former Muslims, the Rev. Murtala Marti Dangora knows what it's like to be a high-profile target of religious intolerance. He has been under a death sentence since converting from Islam 25 years ago, and for almost as long, authorities have refused to grant official approval of his Evangelical Church of West Africa congregation. He has been detained, dragged to court, and publicly assaulted for receiving Christ. He said, "Despite my ordeals, I have never regretted becoming a Christian.... I thank God that I got saved.... I now have light in my heart."
Give thanks to God He has protected Rev. Dangora and allowed him to speak to many Muslims of the love of Christ. Pray He will continue to guard this faithful servant. Please join with Rev. Dangora in his prayer "that my other Muslim relatives will come to know Christ as the only true God and Savior of the world."
NORTH KOREA (Religion Today)
A North Korean church leader is facing the death penalty after being arrested on charges of plotting to overthrow the government. According to Jubilee Campaign, a British human rights organization, Seong Jeun Moon, 64, was taken into custody by North Korean State Security Agency officers in Peeyeong Gun, in the Pyongan province of North Korea. Moon, leader of an underground church in North Korea, and a number of his brothers and sisters, have also been arrested and questioned. The charge of treason carries the death penalty. The secret interrogation of Moon was nearly completed as of early September. Past cases of a similar nature have led Jubilee Campaign to believe Moon and many others could possibly be executed.
Pray our powerful and merciful God will move the hearts of the North Korean authorities to allow Moon and other Christians to live. Thank the Lord for every member of an underground church and ask Him to protect these courageous believers. Pray God will gather together many more disillusioned and desperate North Koreans into His Kingdom.
Prayers for November 08, 2005
From The Voice of the Martyrs
CHINA (Religion Today)
Although China allows "belief" in a religion, the Chinese constitution does not guarantee the right to practice that religion. Adults often face severe consequences for religious actions but generally are not required to deny their faith. However, officials attempt to weaken children's faith by encouraging them to deny Jesus altogether. According to Open Doors, Public Security Bureau officers recently burst into a Sunday school room and herded 30 children into a van. Despite the scary situation, one child started singing. The van soon was filled with song. Upon arrival at the police station, the children marched bravely into the interrogation room still singing to the Lord. Threatened with having to write "I do not believe in Jesus" 100 times before they would be released, the children instead wrote: "I believe in Jesus today. I will believe in Jesus tomorrow. I will believe in Jesus forever!" Exasperated, officials called the children's parents, some of whom denied Christ. When a widowed believer came to pick up her twin sons, she refused to deny Jesus. The officers threatened her: "If you do not deny Jesus, we will not release your sons!" The widow replied, "Well, I guess you will just have to keep them, because without Jesus, there would be no way for me to take care of them!" With no avenues left open to them, the officials said, "Take your sons and go!"
Give thanks and praise to God for the faithful witness of these children. Pray the light of their faith will brighten the spiritual darkness around them. Pray God will continue to strengthen them as they face the pressures of adulthood.
GUINEA (ASSIST News Service)
A baptism ceremony in Nzerekore was attacked Wednesday, Ocober 19th, by Muslims. They complained the music from the service disturbed their prayers at a nearby mosque. Ten people were injured, two seriously, and several houses were sacked. The Muslims rioted again that Friday evening and razed a local video store. Elite soldiers had to be deployed to restore order. Several guns were confiscated, and a curfew was imposed. During the weekend some 100 people were arrested, with 56 still detained. Nzerekore is located in the Forest Region of southeastern Guinea, close to adjoining borders of Liberia, Ivory Coast and Guinea. The region is awash with bored ex-soldiers, illegal weapons and illegal immigrants. The wider region, especially neighboring Ivory Coast, is simmering with ethnic and religious tensions. Guinea is 85.4 percent Muslim, 9.7 percent African Traditional Religion (ATR), and 4.7 percent Christian. After decades of Marxist, pro-Islamic persecution of the church, there is now religious freedom in Guinea. The Guinean church has embraced missions, and in the past decade, indigenous workers have begun witnessing cross-culturally to previously unreached people groups. The Guinean church is growing. But in recent years, as Islam has radicalized worldwide, the Christian minority in Guinea has been increasingly on the painful end of a revived Islamic intolerance.
Pray God will protect, preserve and strengthen the Christians of Guinea, blessing their witness for His glory and His eternal Kingdom. Pray the Son will set people free from the spiritual shackles that have kept them in darkness. Pray the Lord will empower pastors, evangelists and all believers with His wisdom, discernment and all-encompassing love as they deal with their Muslim neighbors.
INDONESIA (ASSIST News Service)
Reuters news agency reports that Indonesian police have increased patrols in the violence-plagued Poso area of Sulawesi island. Three Christian teenage girls were beheaded by assailants dressed in black on October 29th, as they walked to school. So far no witness has been questioned and no suspect arrested, according to police. One student survived and described the attack. The three headless bodies of the girls, dressed in brown uniforms, were left at the site of the attack. The remainder of their bodies was found at separate locations two hours later by residents. Television news showed wailing and distraught relatives of the students viewing their corpses in coffins. According to Reuters, Muslim-Christian clashes in the Poso area killed 2,000 people from 1998 through 2001, when a peace agreement was reached. About 85 percent of Indonesia's 220 million people are Muslim. But in some eastern parts, Christian and Muslim populations are about equal. Most Indonesian Muslims are moderates, but there has been an increasingly active militant minority in recent years. (Click here)
Pray the gruesome horror of this attack will cause moderate Muslims to question their faith. Pray Jesus will surround the girls' grieving families and friends with His comforting presence. Pray the girl who survived the attack will recognize that God saved her for His purposes.
Sardauna Anaruwa Sashi, once a devout Muslim, became a faithful follower of Christ earlier this year. Having learned of his conversion, the police apprehended him on September 21st. According to an October 31st report by Compass Direct, during four days of detention, the 30-year-old resident of Paiko was severely tortured. He claims that at one point police beat him with their batons and almost killed him. It was only through the intervention of his pastor and a lawyer from his church that he was released. Since he has become an "infidel" in the eyes of his Muslim employer, he can no longer care for their cattle. Besides the loss of income he faces, Sashi's pastor has said that the Muslims will also never abandon their resolve to kill him. Sashi has reportedly received death threats since his release. While he fears for his life and the lives of his wife and relatives who have also turned to Christ, he testifies he will never recant. Paiko is located in Niger state, one of Nigeria's Northern states where Shariah Law has been imposed.
Pray the Lord will strengthen Sashi's faith as He provides for his needs. Pray God will help his wife and family members remain true to the Lord. Pray the love and power of the Holy Spirit will take away the resolve in the Muslims' hearts to see Sashi killed.
SOMALIA (VOM sources)
Dr. Osman Sheik Ahmed, a well-known figure in Somalia's higher education sphere, was shot and killed October 7th, in Northern Mogadishu. Witnesses have confirmed to Dr. Osman's family and members of his house church that he was assassinated by Islamic hit men from Mogadishu's radical Islamic courts. He is survived by his wife, Zahra Ali Hassan and nine children. His wife is in hiding fearing for her life. Reuters reported in 2003, that a top leader of Kulanka Culimada, the Islamic terror group that runs the Islamic courts said: "All Somali Christians must be killed according to the Islamic Law. Such people do not have a place in Somalia and we will never recognize their existence and we will slaughter them." Dr. Osman began assisting a number of Christian NGO's from 1988-1990, as a volunteer. His skills in government relations and pubic service earned him a great deal of respect from Somalis and from the international community he was assisting. It is a tough time for the Christian community in Mogadishu, where three Somali Christians were attacked on October 31st. Rev. Hirsi was shot in the stomach and is in serious condition, hospitalized in a coma. Mr. Nur sustained injury in the arm, and Mr. Mohammed was spared of physical harm.
Pray God will strengthen the suffering Christians in Somalia, making Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. Pray the faithful witness of Somali Christians will bring many Muslims to Christ. Give thanks to God that, contrary to human logic, no amount of persecution can thwart the Christian faith and for church growth in most areas where the blood of the martyrs is shed.
Prayers for October 11, 2005
From The Voice of the Martyrs
EGYPT (ASSIST News Service)
Three people died during a riot outside a Coptic church in Alexandria, Egypt. The riot was in protest of a play accused of offending Islam. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reports police used sticks and tear gas to hold back a crowd of around 5,000 protesters, who marched on St. George's church. Dozens of people were injured in the crush. Police report one man inhaled tear gas, was trampled and later died. October 19th, a nun was stabbed by a Muslim, who protested the sale of a DVD of the play, staged at the church in 2003. The demonstration was the latest in a series of incidents at the church related to the 2003 performance of the play entitled, "I Once Was Blind But Now I See." The drama tells the story of a poor young Copt who is drawn to Islamist militants who then try to kill him. Coptic Christian leaders report the play depicts the dangers of extremism, not of Islam. The church's director, Rev. Augustinous, denied the play was offensive to Islam because its Christian hero is ultimately saved by a Muslim friend. Coptic Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt's 70 million people. Egypt's majority is Muslim.
Pray the publicity surrounding this event will lead many Muslims to view the DVD and question the tenets of their faith. Pray Coptic Christians will be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit as they deal with fanatic Muslims. Pray the Lord will surround Coptic Christians with His love and mercy and protect them from harm.
NIGERIA (Compass Direct)
Christians in the rural areas of Kano are afraid to send their children to public schools, fearing they will be forced to convert to Islam. Students are being forced to study Arabic, Islam, and say Islamic prayers. Moreover, Christian leaders report the government refuses to grant churches permission to establish schools in rural areas. "The strategy is to force Christians to send their children to public schools so they can be forced to become Muslims," said Rev. Murtala Marti Dangora, secretary of the Kano district of the Evangelical Church of West Africa. Rev. Dangora, a former Muslim, said there are still numerous cases of persecution in the state; in one case, 15 Christians were forced to flee Banda village because of Muslim antagonism. Another Christian leader noted that Christians in Kano state have lost religious liberty and are seen as second-class citizens.
Pray Christians worldwide will lift these members of the Body of Christ before His Throne. Pray God will hear their cry and work a miracle of His grace to allow believers in Nigeria to worship freely. Pray many Muslim authorities will seek the true God who loves them and grieves for their lost souls.
TURKEY (VOM sources)
VOM has received word that a high-ranking U.S. official has solidified an agreement for the freedom of the Iranian widow and her children who had been ordered to be deported to Iran where they faced imprisonment and possible execution. The agreement states they "cannot be" deported to Iran. An arrangement is being processed for the necessary paperwork to allow them to leave Turkey very soon.
Join with this family, their friends and intercessors worldwide in praising God for His divine intervention. Pray they will find a good home, Christian friends and suitable employment in the place God has prepared for them. Continue to pray God will move in love and mercy to free Christians suffering from the violent oppression of Islam.
INDIA (Gospel for Asia)
In another delay, the Indian Supreme Court has withheld its decision on the Dalit civil rights case until November. This delay is a positive development, allowing the Court to take seriously this case of discrimination against Dalit Christians and not rush in judgment. It also allows Christians to have more time to intercede with prayer, asking God to guide the thoughts and decisions of the judges. Under the current law, Dalits lose some of their basic constitutional rights when they become Christians; they are no longer eligible for affirmative action placements in education, employment, government and many other areas-rights granted to Dalits who are Hindu, Sikh or Buddhist. According to a government census, some 20 million Dalits have become Christians. Equally important, there are many Dalits whose only hesitation to becoming Christians is fear of this legalized discrimination.
Pray our merciful Father will lead the Supreme Court of India to correct these injustices. Pray fervently on behalf of these millions of Dalit men, women and children who suffer unjust discrimination. Pray the Holy Spirit will open the eyes of Hindus to see every person is of value and precious in the sight of God.
UZBEKISTAN (Compass Direct)
Christians in a remote village of Uzbekistan are being beaten, publicly humiliated and chased out of their homes and jobs for converting to Christianity. A local strongman is orchestrating harsh opposition to the small congregation in Janbashkala village, near Turtkul in southwestern Uzbekistan. Tokhtabay Sadikov has pressured local police and civic officials, the prosecutor's office, the secret police and Muslim clerics to impose punishing measures against every villager known to have "abandoned the Muslim faith of their parents." The water supply to Christian homes in the village has been cut off, and the church of nearly 100 has dwindled to 20.
Pray God will give Christians in Janbashkala supernatural courage, boldness in their faith and love for their Muslim neighbors. Pray the Lord will honor the commitment of faithful believers with His presence and guidance. Pray this overcoming remnant will lead many to Christ.
Prayers for October 20, 2005
From The Voice of the Martyrs
The death toll from the earthquake in Pakistan has now reached 50,000, with many bodies still lying under the rubble. Millions are without homes, food, water and hope.
The earthquake occurred in an area where many Islamic training camps exist and where Christians face extreme hostility. But our brothers and sisters in Pakistan are taking this opportunity to be a witness by demonstrating the love of Christ!
The Voice of the Martyrs just received a request from our field director in Pakistan for funds to provide immediate relief. Food, medicine and blankets are badly needed. Now you can join with local churches in Pakistan in an outpouring of love to those opposed to the Gospel. As Jesus states in Matthew 5:44, "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you."
Prayers for October 11, 2005
From The Voice of the Martyrs
CHINA (China Aid Association)
State security agents threatened Christian businessman, Tong Qimiao, while he was being hospitalized for a broken chest bone, caused by brutal torture. The agents showed Mr. Tong China Aid Association's news release on his case and forced him to write a statement that he was never beaten during interrogation. The officials of the Bureau of Industry and Commerce also showed up at the emergency room and threatened him that his license would be revoked unless he cooperated with the state security agents. Mr. Tong Qimiao was so seriously beaten by the state security agents on September 30th that his chest bone was broken. Reliable sources told CAA that Mr. Tong and his family would not give in and they would file a lawsuit against the agents. "We are shocked by what happened to Mr. Tong, and it is even more inhumane and barbarian that this happened in the hospital," said Bob Fu, President of China Aid Association. "This kind of case happens as the Chinese government is ambitiously developing the Western region. We urge the Chinese government to take exact steps to protect people's freedom of religion, which is enshrined in the Constitution of the People's Republic of China."
Pray God will work out His justice in this case. Pray the Lord will heal Mr. Tong quickly. Pray international publicity concerning Mr. Tong's treatment will bring an end to China's persecution of Christians.
INDIA (Compass Direct)
Religious tensions in Punjab state increased last week, as police beat several Christians in jail. They had taken them to jail to presumably protect them from Hindu extremists. At least 40 Christians were praying at a home in Maloud the night of September 25th when a mob, including members of the Hindu extremist group Bajrang Dal, stormed the house. The mob threatened the Christians and beat some of them. Believers called the police, and four of them-Gurdev Singh, Balkaran Singh, Jaswant Singh and Amar Singh, a pastor-were taken into custody, as the mob grew increasingly violent. At Maloud's police station, Assistant Sub-Inspector Hukum Chand Sharma, repeatedly struck the Christians, gravely injuring Gurdev Singh and Amar Singh. Later he also beat a 60-year-old pastor, Sukhdev Singh, who was later hospitalized with serious injuries.
Nine Christians in Chattisgarh's Durg district are on trial for disrupting the peace between two communities, by "attempting to convert" Hindu villagers with offers of money. On Monday, September 26th, the pastor and eight members of a church appeared before a judge, who offered to dismiss the case if the Christians would agree to stop their activities.,They declined to do, asserting that the allegations against them were false. Police had arrested the group on June 6th and charged them with disturbing the peace, after a mob of around 200 people attacked the Christians and accused them of offering money to convert Hindu villagers. Police did not file any charges against the attackers. Meanwhile, two other Christians in another district of Chattisgarh are awaiting charges against them for their alleged role in fraudulent "conversion."
Pray our compassionate Savior will physically and emotionally heal the injured believers. Pray they will display God's heart toward their enemies. Pray the police will recognize that their attempts to wipe out Christianity were in vain.
INDONESIA (Christian Freedom International)
Christian Freedom International, a fact-finding mission to Indonesia, reveals alarming and growing evidence of religious persecution against minority Christians. Christian Freedom International (CFI) president Jim Jacobson, conducted a fact-finding mission to Indonesia, the world's largest Islamic nation, in September 2005, visiting numerous forcibly closed churches in West Java. CFI urges the Indonesia government to allow religious freedom, to intervene and stop the forced shut-down of churches and to denounce the radical Islamic group known as AGAP. AGAP is an abbreviation for Aliansi Gerakan Ant Pemurtadan, which translated into English means Anti-Apostasy Alliance Movement. According to Jacobson, "AGAP has a mission to close churches and basically eradicate Christianity in Indonesia. They use fear, intimidation, threats, and obscure government regulations, in cooperation with local officials, to accomplish their goal." At least 35 churches in Bandung and neighboring regions have been closed by Islamic mobs during the past 12 months alone. A free copy of the Christian Freedom International fact-finding report entitled, "Churches Forced to Close in Indonesia" can be viewed or downloaded online by visiting www.christianfreedom.org.
Pray Christians in Indonesia will remain faithful to Jesus, knowing His grace is sufficient for them. Pray that as the persecution of Christians increases, our powerful God will grow His church. Pray many Muslims will tire of the violence and seek the God of peace and His Son, Jesus Christ.
NIGERIA (ASSIST News Service)
Rejoice Gwammikat Daniel Chirdap, the 16-year-old who disappeared during a visit to her father's house in Kagadama, Yelwa, has been returned to her family. Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reports that Rejoice disappeared on September 12, 2005. Two days later her family received a letter from the Bauchi State Shari'ah Commission informing them it had given custody of Rejoice to Imam Yakubu of Kagadama, Yelwa. There has been no explanation as to how Rejoice, a minor, came to be in the Commission's hands without parental consent. CSW states that following widespread publicity and high-level advocacy on Rejoice's disappearance, the Bauchi State Police Force finally took action on September 23rd. "They intervened decisively and the Bauchi State Shari'ah Commission handed Rejoice over to her family. Although somewhat traumatized by her experience, a medical examination revealed that Rejoice was otherwise unharmed," CSW said.
Give thanks to our merciful Father that Rejoice was returned to her family unharmed. Praise God that the international publicity and prayers of thousands of Christians caused the Bauchi State Shari'ah Commission to act on her behalf. Pray God will also grant His mercy to all those who persecute Christians in Nigeria, bringing them into His loving arms and eternal Kingdom.
Prayers for October 4, 2005
From The Voice of the Martyrs
CHINA (VOM sources)
On September 25th, Chinese Christian Zhang Yi-nan was released from the Ping Ding Shan City Bailou Labor Camp in Henan province, China. Zhang's wife, Ding Guizhen, and their son, Zhang Kairi, were waiting for him at the steel gate of the prison camp but were not immediately allowed to welcome him home. Zhang had completed two years of laojiao-"re-education through labor"-before being escorted out of the camp by 10 policemen. Instead of being taken immediately home, he was first taken to the Lushan County Police Station where he was "instructed" about what he should not tell or do following his release. Police reportedly told him that he was "very defiant," because he wouldn't admit his "mistakes"-choosing to be a Christian and to be a part of an unregistered house church. He was finally allowed to go home with his wife and son in the early afternoon. When he arrived home, one of his first activities was to watch the video documentary, The Cross: Jesus in China. (Click here)
Give joyful thanks to God for the release of our brother in Christ. Thank Him for Zhang's faithful, persevering witness to his Savior. Pray God will protect him and his family from officials who don't realize they are battling a Power much greater than they.
INDIA (ASSIST News Service)
Hindu fundamentalists returned to the Gospel Echoing Missionary Society (GEMS) compound in Rohtas district, Bihar state, India, Sunday, September 25th. Several Christians were severely injured as in a previous attack August 31st. "About 16 people came from two nearby villages and broke open the gate of the compound," a representative of GEMS told Compass. "They pulled out some of the GEMS staff (from the compound) and brutally beat them. They also robbed them of their belongings before throwing them into the fields.... The most serious injuries, however, were sustained by newlywed Kirupakaran Shankar. The attackers injured his spinal cord, resulting in the loss of movement in one leg. GEMS is the largest indigenous Christian missionary agency in Bihar and has around 100 families, including a total of 900 children, living in the compound. The mission contains a school, student hostel, orphanage, hospital and other social service facilities. As part of a new campaign to stem the increasing number of conversions around the country, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP or World Hindu Council) has called for a comprehensive law to ban religious conversions in India. Addressing media on August 25th, Mohan Joshi, national secretary of the VHP, said anti-conversion laws in some states were not stringent enough to curb religious conversions. India has 25 million Christians, who represent 2.4 percent of the population. India is 83 percent Hindu and 11 percent Muslim.
Radical Hindu villagers of Jamanya village in Maharashtra state's Jalgaon district, remain hostile to Christian families they attacked on May 16th. They threatened to beat them if they refuse to renounce their faith, detained and beat a Christian visitor, and attacked the house of another believer. On September 25th, the Jamanya village court pressured the 11 Christian families, who were attacked, to renounce their faith. September 23rd the villagers detained and beat Neta Gyansingh, one of the victims of the earlier attack. Three men allegedly sent by one of the Hindu extremists, earlier broke into the house of local Christian, Saimal Mohan Singh Barela. "Barela has not yet returned to his house and is living in his relative's house with his wife and children for fear of his life," a local pastor said.
Pray the One who makes wars to cease will calm the violence of Hindus in India. Pray the believers in the GEMS compound will continue bold, loving and wise in their faith. Pray the Lord will quickly and completely heal Kirupakaran Shankar.
INDONESIA (Compass Direct)
Three women accused of "Christianization" have appealed the September 1st conviction handed down by an Indonesian court. Rebekka Zakaria, Eti Pangesti and Ratna Bangun were sentenced to three years in jail after members of the Muslim Clerics Council (MUI) in Indramayu district, West Java, accused them of trying to convert Muslim children. The judges pronounced the Sunday school teachers guilty of breaching Indonesia's 2002 Child Protection Act, saying they had used "deceitful conduct, a series of lies and enticements to seduce children to change their religion against their wills." At the final court session, one of the Muslim protestors said that Islamic organizations would continue campaigning against Christian activity and "illegal" churches in the district of Indramayu in coming months.
Give thanks to God for these women whose faith gives them peace with God through Jesus Christ. Pray for opportunities to boldly share their overcoming faith with others. Pray the judges determining the outcome of their appeal will not be intimidated by Muslim extremists.
MALAYSIA (Compass Direct)
Judges in Malaysia's Court of Appeal announced on September 19th that Lina Joy, a former Muslim who converted to Christianity in the late 1980s, must apply to a sharia court for permission to legally renounce Islam. The court claimed Joy, 41, was constitutionally free to practice the religion of her choice. However, the Muslim designation on her identity card prevents her from marrying a Christian and places other restrictions on her everyday life. Article 11 of the Malaysian Constitution gives every person the right to change his or her religion; but Article 3 declares Islam to be the official religion of the state. The dual court system in Malaysia also complicates matters. (Click here)
Pray God will give wisdom and strength to Lina Joy as she awaits the final decision concerning her legal right to be a Christian. Pray the Lord will soften the hearts of the sharia court judges to accept her conversion. Pray the light of Christ will shine into the spiritual darkness of Muslims everywhere.
A Christian woman has accused three men of repeatedly raping her earlier this month and attempting to force her to convert to Islam, according to a September 27th report from Compass Direct. Testifying in court on September 22nd, Ribqa Masih (22) said Ghulam Abbas and Mohammad Kashif drugged her on September 2nd and took her to Lahore, approximately 100 km from her home. Upon arrival, she was repeatedly raped throughout the night. They threatened to kill her and her family if she did not recite the Islamic creed, which would have been considered an official conversion to Islam. She refused, saying she would rather die than renounce her faith. The next morning she was handed over to another man who was supposed to take her home. Instead, he raped her several times over the next three days. Finally on September 6th she was finally left at a bus stop in Faisalabad Ribqa hired a rickshaw to take her to her uncle's home where she called her parents. Only one man, Abbas, has been taken into custody, and he denies the charges. Ribqa still has difficulty walking because of her injuries. Many girls do not report rapes because of the impact on their family honor, which often is a matter of life and death in Pakistan. "Nobody wants to marry these girls, even though they are innocent," said Khalil Tahir, Masih's lawyer. Father Paschal Paulus, her priest, credits the family for their willingness to stand with Ribqa. Her six younger siblings have been forced to leave school because of taunts and threats. The family has also been threatened by Muslim neighbors if they do not drop the charges.
Pray God will send His holy angels to protect this family. Pray the Lord will give them courage and confidence in the Rock of their salvation. Pray God will work a miracle of His loving compassion to bring these men to repentance.
Prayers for September 27, 2005
From The Voice of the Martyrs
House-church leaders in Cuba are expressing concern over new government directives issued in April and due to come into effect this month. According to a September 15th report from Forum 18, the new legislation requires all currently operating house churches to register with the authorities. In recent years, some leaders attempted to register their house churches and faced such restrictive complications, that few have managed to complete the process. Under the new directives, if registration is refused, permission can never be granted to meet in that home. Church members may file an application to hold services in a different home within 15 days of the refusal. The legislation also restricts the number of house churches within a particular area and requires detailed reporting of all services and those in attendance. No signs may be displayed that pertain to the church. Foreigners are prohibited from any involvement or attendance of services in house churches in mountainous regions, without government approval. Authorities retain the right to supervise the services to ensure compliance. House churches failing to comply will be closed down and face fines up to a sum equivalent to 50 months' wages.
Give thanks and praise to God for His faithful followers in Cuba. Pray God will give wisdom to church leaders who attempt to register and make plans for the future of their fellowships. Pray the Lord will continue to grow His church in Cuba in spite of government interference.
EGYPT (Compass Direct)
Egypt's leading forensic doctor, Dr. Ayman Soda, has refuted a court physician's report against Coptic Christian Shafik Saleh Shafik. The case has prompted death threats by Muslims, where Shafik is accused of binding and beating Magda Refaat Gayed before she fled his Cairo shelter for troubled women, On September 20th, Dr. Soda testified it would have been impossible for Magda to have jumped from a height of 11 feet, as she claimed, as the ropes and chains would have precluded free movement. The Gayed family had requested that the then 16-year-old Coptic Christian girl be placed in Shafik's safe-house after she had run away from home with a Muslim man. Two weeks after she had disappeared from home, she was discovered living with a Muslim group that had promised she could marry the man as soon as she converted to Islam. The three judges of Cairo's Abbassiya Criminal Court No. 15 delayed giving a verdict until October 17th. (Click here)
Give thanks to God that the truth has been revealed. Pray the Lord will convict Magda of her false testimony and bring her to repentance. Pray the judges who rule on this October case will not be intimidated by Muslim extremists.
INDIA (VOM sources)
Radical Hindus have expelled evangelist Zacariah (24) from his village for spreading the good news. Zacariah has been working among a poor Hindu community for four years. He started his ministry with a JESUS film team and later began a small, challenging ministry among the poor Hindus. Zacariah has a small congregation of 15-20 people in a village in the Chickmaglur district of Karnataka state in southern India, where he continued his prayer meeting despite an expulsion order issued by radical Hindus. They have now threatened a death penalty for his continued refusal to accept the expulsion order. Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) is intervening to protect the life of this bold soldier of Jesus Christ. A political leader has been asked to interact with the police to extend protection.
Praise God for the bold witness of this faithful believer who continues to reach out with the love of his Savior to the poor. Pray God will surround Zacariah with His strong arm of protection. Pray our merciful and omnipotent Father will reveal Himself to the radical Hindus and bring His peace to India.
PAKISTAN (Compass Direct)
Maria Samar John was bought by her husband, Abdul Ghaffar, and forced to convert to Islam. A year ago, he disappeared with their two toddler children, then 5-year-old Joshua and 3-year-old Mariam. Ghaffar left Lahore, Pakistan, with the children and there have been no new clues to their whereabouts since October 2nd last year when a judge issued a warrant for Ghaffar's arrest. "I miss them a lot and I have been weeping for them," John told Compass as she described the past year without Joshua and Miriam. "I pray to God for their safety and safe return."
Pray God will protect these innocent children and bring them home to their mother. Pray the Lord will reveal the whereabouts of Abdul Ghaffar and he will be brought to justice. Pray Jesus will make himself known and bring comfort to all women who suffer under the bondage of Islam.
VIETNAM (Compass Direct)
Officials in Son Ha district incited a mob to burn down the home of evangelist Dinh Van Hoang in Quang Ngai province on August 21st, because he would not sign a paper denying his Christian faith. Local authorities came to Hoang's home that Sunday morning and told him Christians were not accepted there. They warned him he would have to give up his religious faith or face the destruction of his home. Hoang, as he has done previously, replied he could not give up his faith. Soon after, a mob burned down his house containing all his possessions. Additionally, in late July authorities in Son Tinh, Quang Ngai Province, destroyed the homes of 10 Hre families because they would not give up their Christian faith. The actions came after Vietnam adopted legislative measures supposed to support greater religious freedom.
Pray Hoang will continue to trust in God, who works His judgment on all who are oppressed. Pray Christians in Vietnam will continue bold in their faith and loving witness. Pray officials will enforce the new legislation so it provides more religious freedom.
Prayers for September 20, 2005
From The Voice of the Martyrs
EGYPT (Compass Direct)
Coptic Christian Rezk Shafik Attallah has not seen is 20-year-old daughter, Marianna Rezk Shafik Attallah, since she disappeared from work May 30th. He is convinced that she was kidnapped by a former police constable while running an errand for work in El-Fayou, 60 miles south of Cairo. Police have obstructed efforts by her fiancé, Bishoy Hosni, and her father to find her. An Egyptian security official reported that former policeman Ali Mahmoud Abdel Rasoul had taken the young woman and moved 250 miles south to Sohag. But the official warned her fiancé and father to stop looking for her, saying she had left of her own free will. "If she went of her own free will," Hosni told Compass, "then why didn't she come to say that (to us)?" Reportedly Rasoul had previously been fired from the police force for "bad behavior."
Pray God will move in His mighty and merciful power to protect Marianna and return her to her family. Pray the Holy Spirit will convict Rasoul of his actions and the light of Christ will overcome the darkness in his soul. Pray the Lord will empower Christians in Egypt to stand up for Jesus, showing His love toward their oppressors.
INDIA (Compass Direct)
Gospel Echoing Missionary Society's mission compound in Bihar state, India was surrounded by a mob of Hindu extremists August 31st . They were kept under siege for three days as the mob attempted to kill the Rev. Augustine Jebakumar, Director of the mission. The attackers demanded Jebakumar's arrest for allegedly desecrating a Hindu idol. The trouble began when a group of young people taking part in a religious procession passed the compound in Sikaria village. Jebakumar objected to their noise and a man in the procession hit him on the nose as others joined in the attack. The mob then hit the Christians with sticks and stones, injuring at least 12. Four were seriously injured; two were later hospitalized. One hundred families and 900 children were trapped inside the compound with no electricity for three days. Jebakkumar said he cooperated with the arrest as the police admitted they were unable to control the violent crowd. The Hindus are planning to build a temple on land near the compound.
Pray God will quickly heal the injuries of those who were attacked, assuring them of His loving comfort and power. Pray for opportunities for these Christians to express God's love to the Hindus. Pray God will sovereignly move to put a stop to the temple construction.
JORDAN (Compass Direct)
Three months after winning a final court victory for custody of her two children, Christian widow Siham Qandah has enjoyed her first anxiety-free summer in seven years. Although by law her children's Muslim guardian had 30 days to submit a petition against the June 13th decision revoking his guardianship, his lawyers took no legal action. He embezzled nearly $17,000 from the U.N. trust funds Qandah's daughter and son were to have inherited at age 18. For Qandah, the right to raise her children as Christians far outweighed the economic factors. Qandah's problem now is how to provide financially for her children. At her lawyer's advice, she has not asked for a Muslim guardian to be named for her children. Consequently, there is no channel through the Islamic courts to collect their military orphan benefits, totaling about $120 per month. She prefers to avoid any possible custody disputes until her children, now 17 and 15, reach age18. Under Jordanian law they can then declare their own religious identity. She is considering developing a small business in her hometown, perhaps a shop selling kitchen and household goods for local women. (Click here)
Praise God for His mercy toward this faithful Christian mother. Pray He will lead her and bless her business. Pray Christians all over the world will continue to pray for her Muslim brother-in-law, Abdullah al-Muhtadi, to come to repentance and experience the peaceful reassurance of God's forgiveness.
PAKISTAN (ASSIST News Service)
Pakistani Christian, Younis Masih, a resident of Lahore, was arrested September 10th. According to the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA), on September 9th, Masih went to the house of Baba Chaby, and told him the loud Islamic music he was playing was disturbing people and stopping them from sleeping. Chaby refused to turn down the music, saying his Muslim friends were listening to the songs. As a result, Masih went home. The next day some of the people who had been in the house listening to the music went looking for Masih. They thrashed him with sticks and beat him till he fell on the ground unconscious. When his wife attempted to intervene, she was also badly beaten, and her clothes torn to shreds. After Masih regained consciousness, he, his wife and a relative went to the police station to register a complaint. Announcements were made in area mosques, instigating the local Muslims to attack and burn Christian's houses...on the allegations a Christian man committed blasphemy and uttered derogatory remarks against the Prophet. Subsequently, about 400 local Muslim protesters attacked and looted houses where Christians lived. More than 100 Christian families fled the area to save their lives. A group of angry individuals then surrounded the police station, and demanded a complaint be registered against Masih. To appease the crowd, police registered a blasphemy case against him. Police then arrested Masih and his cousin, who were already sitting in the police station to lodge their complaint with police against the attack. According to APMA, the police took Masih and his cousin into custody and tortured them brutally. Masih was subsequently sent to jail. In its news release, APMA stated that organizational lawyers have submitted a request to the police to pursue their case against those individuals who harassed and attacked the Christians in their homes. The Christians in the areas are still in fear, although heavy police contingents are deployed at the area to avert any further unpleasant situation.
Please join with these suffering Christian brothers and sisters in their prayers that justice be done. Pray the Lord will surround Masih with His presence and the peace only He can give. Pray God will open the ears of the Muslims who have been deaf to His Word.
ISRAEL (ASSIST News Service)
Messianic Jews have called for international protests against violations of religious freedom in Israel. An orthodox group, Gur Chassidim, has been persecuting 30 Messianic Jews in Arad, by insulting them in public, calling them Nazis, whores and dirty Christians. Messianic Jews number approximately 6,000 in Israel, and at least 100,000 worldwide. They believe in the Messiah Jesus Christ, while Orthodox Jews regard them as apostates. According to eyewitnesses, the police have turned a blind eye and even sided with the persecutors. An assembly hall has been burned down. As the authorities, police and judicial system seem unable to protect the Messianic Jews, they are calling for international solidarity. Three Christian organizations in Germany have pledged their support. Letters of complaint should be addressed to Israeli embassies. http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/s05090055.htm
Pray the Messianic Jews will continue to trust the love and protection of their Messiah and Savior. Pray God will strengthen them to know and demonstrate the love of their Savior toward His chosen people. Pray they will follow the Shepherd of their souls as He leads them day to day.
Prayers for September 13, 2005
From The Voice of the Martyrs
BURMA (Christian Freedom International)
Christian Freedom International received a report yesterday that the Full Gospel Assembly, a fast-growing church movement in the Kyauktada Township of Rangoon, Myanmar (Burma), was ordered by the military government to shut down. According to reports, State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) officials ordered Reverend Mung Tawng, of the Full Gospel Assembly, to cease all activities. An unnamed Burmese source urges Christians around the world to pray for Myanmar (Burma) saying, "It is a sad thing to hear that many churches have been shut down in Myanmar (Burma). Let us not forget the fact that freedom of worship is also one of the rights we have as human beings." Since 1999, the U.S. Secretary of State has designated Myanmar (Burma) as a "Country of Particular Concern" under the International Religious Freedom Act for their particularly severe violations of religious freedom.
Pray our omnipotent Father will bring peace and justice to this troubled country. Pray Christians will speak out, knowing God's Word will not return to Him void.
ERITREA (Compass Direct)
Eritrean police arrested a bridal couple along with their 18 wedding guests on Sunday night, September 4th, dragging them to jail because they were Pentecostals, authorities said. The seven women and 13 men were attending a private wedding ceremony in the home of the bride when Asmara police raided the house. Breaking into the traditional wedding tent of the groom, the police took him into custody along with his bride, the best men and bridesmaids. Jailed at Police Station No. 5 in Asmara, the 20 prisoners included two key leaders of the Hallelujah Church, Aklilu Habteab and Kashay Imbaye, as well as Zerit Gebreneguse, an evangelist in the Philadelphia Church. The church reportedly had taken careful precautions, as there was no singing or noticeable Christian activity, but somehow police learned about the wedding and arrived just as the ceremony was beginning.
Pray God will keep these prisoners as the apple of His eye and hold them under the shadow of His wings (Psalm 17:8). Pray the Holy Spirit will empower them to be witnesses of the love and faithfulness of their Savior. Pray God will answer the impassioned prayers of Christians worldwide to bring about the release of their suffering brothers and sisters.
On September 4th, the homes of at least 14 Christian families in the village of Taybeh, northeast of Ramallah, Palestine, were torched by Muslims from the neighboring village of Dir Jarir. The Muslims destroyed a store, a farm and a gas station. They also vandalized cars and beat the villagers as they fled their homes. The extent of the damage was exacerbated by problems coordinating the Palestinian Security Forces and the Israel Defense Forces, which delayed the response by several hours. The violence was instigated by the death of a Muslim woman who was killed by relatives after they suspected that she had been involved in a romantic relationship with a Christian man. When the family found out, they forced her to drink po(VOM-Canada)
On September 4th, the homes of at least 14 Christian families in the village of Taybeh, northeast of Ramallah, Palestine, were torched by Muslims from the neighboring village of Dir Jarir. The Muslims destroyed a store, a farm and a gas station. They also vandalized cars and beat the villagers as they fled their homes. The extent of the damage was exacerbated by problems coordinating the Palestinian Security Forces and the Israel Defense Forces, which delayed the response by several hours. The violence was instigated by the death of a Muslim woman who was killed by relatives after they suspected that she had been involved in a romantic relationship with a Christian man. When the family found out, they forced her to drink poison and then buried her without notifying the authorities. When Palestinian authority decided to investigate and planned to exhume the body, the family feared the relationship would be discovered. The attack was reportedly to avenge what her family considered the dishonoring of a Muslim woman.
Pray God will protect His faithful children in this hostile environment. Pray the Lord will give them grace and courage to forgive their enemies. Pray the Holy Spirit will bring the Muslims to repentance for their inhumane treatment of an innocent girl and the subsequent attack.
KAZAKHSTAN (ASSIST News Service)
Pressure continues on Protestants in the Atyrau region of northwestern Kazakhstan as authorities find pretexts to refuse religious communities registration. At least two local Protestant churches have been arbitrarily denied registration. This is a serious concern now that unregistered religious activity in Kazakhstan has been made illegal and punishable. Local Protestants in Gulsary have tried unsuccessfully to register the Resurrection Church at the Atyrau regional Justice Administration four times. A Protestant from Gulsary, who preferred not to be named, told Forum 18 that on August 6th, two officials from the Gulsary district public prosecutor's office came to a church meeting and made all the church members write statements explaining why they were taking part in the activities of an unregistered church. They warned church members that if they met again they would be fined. "Basically, they are deliberately driving us into a trap," the Gulsary Protestant complained to Forum 18. "They find pretexts to refuse us registration, and then when we meet together they accuse us of breaking the law." Officials were already putting pressure on members of unregistered churches, but now they have acquired the ability to do this legally.
Pray the Protestants will continue to meet and bring others to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Pray they will trust the Holy Spirit to give them His words when they are dealing with the authorities. Pray God will bring a sweeping revival to this Islamic country.
Prayers for September 6, 2005
From The Voice of the Martyrs
CHINA (ASSIST News Service)
Two recent news releases from China Aid Association (CAA) document a shocking escalation of persecution in China. There seems to be a direct correlation between increasing Russian-Chinese-Central Asian solidarity and growing persecution of unsanctioned Protestant Christians in those states. China is systematically strengthening its assault on "cults" (which includes house churches.) On July 7th, Pastor Cai Zhuohua faced court in Beijing charged with "illegal business operations" for printing more than 200,000 Bibles and other Christian books. (As they were given away and not sold, there was no "business.") He is in prison awaiting sentence. Two women, Ms. Gu Junging (38) and Ms. Ren Daoyun (60) are still in prison following the detention and interrogation of two American students and 43 Chinese believers whom Ms. Ren Daoyun had hosted in her home. Mr. Song Jun, Mr. He Jiangwei and Ms. Liang Fanglan are still held incommunicado following a house-church raid in Xinjiang province on August 7th. On August 15th, five American church leaders were arrested in Jiangxi province along with 27 house-church pastors. The group had simply been enjoying Christian fellowship together. Where they are being detained is not known, but God knows, therefore, we will confidently and dependently approach his "throne of grace" (Hebrews 4:16).
Give thanks to God for these courageous Christians who know God is in control and will work all to His glory. Pray the Lord will grant them mercy and grace in their time of great need. Pray the supernatural grace of China's persecuted believers will convict their persecutors and the Holy Spirit will bring sweeping revival to all of China
INDONESIA (Compass Direct)
On September 1st, Indonesian judges sentenced three women to three years in prison for allowing Muslim children to attend a Christian Sunday school program. Rebekka Zakaria, Eti Pangesti and Ratna Bangun received their sentence after judges found them guilty of attempting to convert children under the Child Protection Act of 2002. The Sunday school teachers had instructed the children to get permission from their parents before attending the program, and those who did not have permission were asked to go home, according to Jeff Hammond of Bless Indonesia Today. The three women were relieved they had not been given the maximum five-year prison sentence but were devastated at the prospect of being separated from their children, who range from 6 to 19 years of age. Before the trial session, Islamic extremists took over the courtroom and made murderous threats. (Click here)
Give thanks to God the lives of these faithful believers were protected from the violent mob in the courtroom. Pray God will comfort these faithful believers with the assurance He will protect their children, providing Christian friends to care for them with sympathy and tender love. Pray when this case is appealed in the Supreme Court, the fact the Muslim children had their parents' consent to attend the meetings will be emphasized and bring about their release.
IRAN (ASSIST News Service)
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has flooded the Majlis (parliament) with former Revolutionary Guards while Ayatollah Khamenei has made key changes in security structures and strategies to entrench the Revolutionary Guards' hegemony over all law enforcement agencies. Now that Iran has begun to enact a policy of zero-tolerance toward breaches of the ideals of the Islamic revolution, it does not require much imagination to see how much pain and trauma Christians, other non-Muslims and freedom-loving Persians are destined to experience as Ayatollah Khamenei and President Ahmadinejad forcefully advance their Shi'ite vision of a pure Islamic state. Under orders from their new police chief, Iran's police have commenced a crackdown on "models of corruption," or in other words poorly veiled women. (Iran Focus August 27th) Iran's new Minister of Justice vowed on Saturday August 20th, that "being improperly veiled and not wearing a veil are no different. When it is clear from the appearance of a woman that she has violated the law, then the crime is obvious and law enforcement agents can take legal measures against her." He has also made it clear members of the para-military Bassij and the notorious Ansar-e Hizbollah, government organized gangs of hooligans, are regarded as law enforcement agents in clergy-ruled Iran. (Iran Focus August 25th) (Click here)
Pray God will raise up Christian prayer warriors worldwide to stand in the gap for His witness in Iran. Pray the Lord will empower the few Christians with a holy boldness to continue faithful to Jesus. Pray for the Muslim authorities who need to know the reality of our loving heavenly Father.
MEXICO (Compass Direct)
Huichol native mobs in Jalisco state have driven Christians from their homes and threatened to burn them to death, according to news reports. Beginning August 14th, the first wave of 70 Huichol refugees from the village of Agua Fria, near Mezquitic, fled on foot across the state border into Tepic, Nayarit, beginning August 14th. The total number of refugees was expected to reach more than 300. Most arrived ill from the 20-hour walk. The refugees took only one change of clothing per person. They left behind some 250 acres of land, along with bean and corn crops, cattle, horses, burros, chickens and houses, plus personal possessions. Town leaders insisted that if the Huichol Christians wish to return to Agua Fria, they must renounce their faith and return to native traditions and rites-such as drinking liquor and using hallucinatory peyote-which are practiced alongside Roman Catholic customs.
Pray these believers will remain firm in their faith during this time. Pray they will live out the words of the writer of Hebrews, "But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them" (11:16).
VIETNAM (Compass Direct)
On August 30th, as part of Vietnam's National Day amnesty, Rev. Nguyen Hong Quang, a Mennonite pastor convicted of resisting officers doing their duty, was released from prison. The Vietnamese Mennonite Church leader had faced severe pressure to sign an admission of guilt. Rev. Quang, convicted on November 12, 2004, has been held in five different prisons. According to area Mennonites, at times he was abused by fellow prisoners who were rewarded for doing so by the authorities. His health deteriorated considerably during hard labor at a prison in Dak Lak province, and he suffered frequent fainting spells.
Praise God Rev. Quang was released from prison. Ask God for his complete healing-body, soul and spirit-as well as eternal fruit from his time in prison.