Sanga, Nigeria

Jul. 20, 2017 | Nigeria
Pray for Sanga Barau Who is Undergoing Surgeries Following an Attack

Planned murder of Indian Pastor

Pastor Shot and Killed in Drive-By Shooting at Church in Northern India
Local Christians Stage Demonstrations Calling for Perpetrators to be Apprehended
07/17/2017 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Pastor Sultan Masih was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting outside of his church in Ludhiana on Saturday, July 15. Following the killing, local Christians staged demonstrations calling on authorities to apprehend those responsible for the brutal murder.
According to reports, Pastor Masih was outside of The Temple of God Church on his cellphone when two masked men riding a motorcycle shot the pastor four times around 8:30 p.m. on Saturday night. The masked assailants then sped away on the motorcycle. Witnesses rushed Pastor Masih to the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital where he died.

Pastor Sultan Masih was shot dead outside his church on Saturday, leaving behind his wife Sarabjit, and sons Elisha and Hanok. Please pray for comfort for the family. Read more:

The Christian community in Ludhiana, the largest city in India’s north-western state of Punjab, is in shock after a pastor was shot dead outside his Pentecostal church on Saturday evening (15 July).
opendoorsuk.org
Relatives of Pastor Masih claimed that they had noticed suspicious activities outside the church for the past two months. Stephen Sidhu, a relative of the slain pastor, told the Times of India, “Some suspicious-looking men were making rounds of the area, clicking pictures and making videos of the church and also of the address on its board. During the silver jubilee function of the church on May 31, about 20 to 25 miscreants arrived and accused the pastor of conversion. There was a campaign going against the church and the priest on a social networking site, too, saying, ‘No conversions.'”
On Sunday, July 16, local Christians staged a demonstration in Ludhiana by blocking traffic on the Jalandhar Bypass Chowk on National Highway 1 from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.. Hundreds of demonstrators blocked vehicles, accusing local authorities of inaction and calling for the perpetrators of the murder to be brought to justice. In response, Ludhiana police have created a special investigation team to investigate the murder, but have yet to bring suspects in for questioning.
This is shocking beyond words,” John Dayal of the United Christian Forum told ICC. “We welcome the relief provided to the family by the Chief Minister of Punjab and his assurance that the crime will be investigated by a special team. We hope and pray that the killers will be soon apprehended.
Attacks on Christians and their places of worship have dramatically increased since the election of the BJP-led central government in 2014. In 2016 alone, ICC documented more than 360 separate attacks on Christians, mostly led by radical Hindu nationalist groups operating with near complete impunity.

William Stark, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “Attacks on Christians and their places of worship continue to escalate in both number and intensity because of the impunity enjoyed by those committing these attacks. This brutal murder of a pastor outside of his church must be a wakeup call for many in India. Those perpetrating attacks on religious minorities in India, whether the victims be Muslim or Christian, must be confronted and brought to justice. India’s constitution guarantees full religious freedom for all, which means that everyone should be able to live without fear of attack because of their religious identity. Unfortunately, Prime Minister Modi and his BJP-led government have done little to make this constitutional guarantee a reality for India’s religious minorities. This must change or else we will continue to see religious violence in India escalate.

Another unreached people.

 They MUST hear, they MUST be discipled-or the end cannot come!
Angku in China

The Angku were originally part of a large Austro-Asiatic group that occupied much of Yunnan before the Dai and Yi people arrived. “They were driven out of their habitats by the invaders, dispersed and split into the isolated groups they are today.” Most Angku women are fond of chewing betel nut which blackens their teeth and gums. Stained teeth are considered a mark of beauty among Angku women. Since the betel juice only stains temporarily, some women use black dye to artificially stain their teeth. The Angku are staunch followers of Theravada Buddhism. Angku life revolves around the local temple.

Ministry Obstacles
The worldview of the Buddhist is quite different than the worldview of Scripture.

Outreach
Pray Han Chinese believers will be burdened to carry the Gospel of Christ to this Buddhist community.

Pray for the followers of Christ
There likely are no followers of Christ among the Angku community at present, but pray for those that will soon emerge. Pray they will be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Pray for Scripture availability.

Pray for the entire people group
Pray the Angku people will be made aware of their need for a Saviour and forgiveness of sin. Pray they will understand and believe that Jesus is that Saviour.

Scripture Focus
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.” Psalm 33:12

Long prison sentences given to twelve Christians in Iran

During the past week, we’ve received news that twelve Christians in Iran have been given heavy sentences of at least ten years in prison. The Christians comprise three separate cases of four men each, and include eight Iranian converts from Islam (including Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani who was released from prison in 2012 after being sentenced to death for apostasy). Several of the men are out on bail, while others are already in prison.

Mansour Borji, Advocacy Director of  Article 18, an organisation that defends persecuted Christians in Iran, stated: “The charges and sentences are out of fear, the sentences are harsh and the whole way the court hearings have been conducted… tells us about how the Iranian government is fearful of the growth of Christianity inside Iran.”

Cuban Pastor Sentenced to One Year of Heavy Labor and House Arrest for Homeschooling Children

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Pastor Ramon Rigal Was Sentenced on Truancy Charges for Homeschooling His Children

07/13/2017 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on July 7, Pastor Ramon Rigal, leader of Iglesia de Dios en Cristo, was sentenced to one year of heavy labor and house arrest for choosing to homeschool his children. Rigal has openly stated that his decision to homeschool was largely attributed to his Christian faith.

Diario de Cuba reported that, originally, Guantanamo courts had sentenced Rigal to one year of imprisonment. After appealing, this most recent adjudication led to a modified reduction of the punishment. Rigal confirmed that his legal counsel proved that he did not commit any serious criminal act. Rigal commented on the outcome, “I saw a bit more justice during the trial. We had good representation. Our lawyer demonstrated in every circumstance that we had not broken any criminal law.” Despite a strong legal showing, Rigal would still be penalized with the one-year sentence mentioned above.
Pastor Mario F. Barroso, a religious freedom activist from the Patmos Institute, as well as a close friend of Rigal, clarified to ICC, “Correctional labor is a form of forced physical punishment, where the state typically chooses the locations and the working conditions. People sentenced to this penalty are assigned to a ranch or a farm of some sort, and believe me it’s not light work.”
Rigal’s case has garnered some international attention in previous months. In February, Rigal was arrested because of his actions. This led to protests outside of the Cuban Embassy in Washington, DC in May. Protesters specifically picketed with signs that read, “Free the Rigals,” but organizers and participants were also focusing on the larger problem of Cuba’s repression and stronghold on education. Cuban law does not permit homeschooling, founded on the claim that it “promotes capitalist values” and thereby conflicts with the regime’s inculcation of socialism.
Rafael Cardona, ICC’s Latin America Correspondent, stated, “It is very concerning and disheartening when a Christian pastor faces harsh punishment simply for deciding to homeschool his children. It is even more egregious when a tough punishment is still issued despite having adequate legal defense and proving that no criminal laws were violated. In Pastor Rigal’s case, we have to be aware that he made multiple attempts to inform the state about the curricula and content of the education, including any religious elements. Nevertheless, the Cuban authorities still proceeded with a sentence that does not seem to fit the offense. Unfortunately, these kinds of repressive measures taken against people of Christian faith happen commonly in Cuba. We will continue to pray for Pastor Rigal and his family.”
For interviews with Rafael Cardona, ICC’s Latin America Correspondent, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org

 

Good News for Freedom of Speech

Another Christian street preacher cleared of charges

Andrew Frost has been acquitted of a public order offence charge
Only a week after Mike Overd and Michael Stockwell’s public order convictions were overturned at Bristol Crown Court, another preacher has been acquitted of a public order offence charge.

Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, Andrew Frost was acquitted last week at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court.

Thank you for your support.

We are only able to help preachers like Mike, Michael and Andrew because of your generosity. 

Andrea Williams commented: “We give God all the glory for these results, which are fantastic victories for freedom of speech and the freedom to share the life-giving news of the gospel.

Help us continue protecting gospel freedoms

Another street preacher acquitted

Last week, Andrew Frost was acquitted of a public order offence charge, where he was accused of causing harassment, alarm and distress to two men in a homosexual relationship.

Andrew was preaching on the streets of Nottingham city centre in March this year. Andrew preached on the consequences of sin, and quoted Luke 13:1-5 and Matthew 15:19.

As he preached, two men holding hands walked by.

Rory Green, a friend of Andrew who was preaching alongside him at the time, gave evidence that the two men shouted abusive comments at Andrew.

Andrew continued to preach from Scripture.

The two men left, but approximately 15 minutes later a woman, who said she was the mother of one of the men, approached Andrew, and accused him of abusing her son and his partner. One of the men then returned and called the police.

The two men claimed that Andrew verbally abused them and directed several lewd comments at them, all of which Andrew denied.

But Andrew was charged under the Public Order Act 1986“with intent to cause harassment, alarm or distress used threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour.”

Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, Andrew was found not guilty at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court last week. The court also ordered the repayment of his legal fees.

Andrew was represented in court by Christian Legal Centre allied solicitor, Michael Phillips.

Read the full story

‘Jesus can set them free’

Andrew said: “I wanted these men to know the truth, that Jesus can set them free. Because in the sight of God, these things are wrong.”

“I am thankful that the judge saw sense and acquitted me of this charge,” he continued.“Christians need to be free to share the good news of the gospel to anyone who will listen – as we are commanded in Scripture to do.

“I want to say thank you to the Christian Legal Centre for supporting me throughout this process.”

Help others like Andrew to keep sharing the good news

Public order convictions overturned

Thank you for praying for Mike Overd and Michael Stockwell, whose public order convictions were overturned two weeks ago.

Mike and Michael were convicted of religiously aggravated public order convictions in February this year. They were found guilty under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 at Bristol Magistrates’ Court.

Mike and Michael had been arrested for preaching at a Bristol shopping centre in July 2016, along with two other men.

Swedish Court Fails to Protect Midwife Forced to Conduct Abortions

 

The Swedish Appeals Court issued a decision this week ruling that the government
can force medical professionals to perform abortions. If they refuse, they can lose their jobs. Ellinor Grimmark, a Swedish midwife who holds to the Christian faith, has been denied employment at three different medical clinics simply because she will not perform abortions. “Participation in abortions should not be a requirement for employment as a medical professional. In accordance with international law, the court should have protected Ellinor’s fundamental right to freedom of conscience,” said the Alliance Defending  Freedom’s International Director of European Advocacy Robert Clarke. “For that reason, Ellinor is considering an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.” Grimmark lost her initial case in November of 2015 when a district court found that her right to freedom of conscience did not protect her from being discriminated against for not preforming for
refusing abortions.

Pray for Keowynn, Kicked Out of His Home by His Son

Jul. 07, 2017 | Laos

Pray for Three Young Christian Women Abused by Muslim Leaders

Jul. 07, 2017 | Tanzania

Bonded Slavery in Pakistan

This report is all too common among the lower classes of Christians…

Sold Twice: A Pakistani Christian Brick Kiln Family – please help bonded “slave” labourers
Donate now
Nadeem and his wife are bonded brick kiln labourers in Pakistan, and parents of five children aged three to ten. Both are illiterate. Their work is heavy and back-breaking, under the blazing sun.

Nadeem and his family
Nadeem and his family

When Nadeem first began brick-making, ten years ago, he borrowed 42,000 rupees (about £300, €350) from the brick kiln owner. With the passage of time his debt has risen to 215,000 rupees (about £1,500, €1,800). Many brick kiln workers owe money to their employers, for without borrowing it is almost impossible for them to survive financially during the monsoon months when the heavy rain prevents them making bricks. These debts (on which interest is charged) keep the worker “bonded” to their employer, like a slave, unable to leave and seek another job.

Three years ago, Nadeem and his family were sold by his first employer to another brick kiln owner who treated them very badly. Nadeem’s wife fell ill but the brick kiln owner asked Nadeem to use force to make her continue working.

Making bricks is backbreaking work, in slave-like conditions, for Nadeem and his wife, and many Christians like them
Making bricks is backbreaking work, in slave-like conditions, for Nadeem and his wife, and many Christians like them

Then they were sold to yet another brick kiln owner for the cost of their debt – 215,000 rupees (£1,500, €1,800). Nadeem “signed” the agreement with a thumb-print, unaware that the document was committing him and his family to an even worse position. His new owner wants to have all five children working alongside their parents, to increase the number of bricks produced. So Nadeem cannot send them to school. The family cannot go to church any longer because the owner insists they work on Sundays. Until they pay back the ever-growing debt, they are trapped.

 

More on the country-good video.

Appalling unjust sentences in Iran

Shocking prison sentences for our Iranian brothers

An Iranian pastor has just paid a high price for refusing to obey official orders about how he should run his church – he’s been given a ten-year jail sentence!

Almost a month after his hearing, Pastor Victor Bet Tamraz has learnt he’s been declared guilty of ‘evangelism’, among other charges. Two Christians on trial with him – Amin Afshar Naderi and Hadi Asgari – also face long prison sentences, on charges which included ‘acting against national security’.

Please pray that God’s peace will fall afresh on Pastor Victor, Amin and Hadi.

The three men appeared in court on June 11 – two-and-a-half years after Victor and Amin were arrested at Pastor Victor’s house in Tehran province on Boxing Day 2014. Hadi was arrested last August at a picnic in Firuzkuh, along with Pastor Victor’s son Ramiel.

Judge Ahmadpour has now sentenced Victor to ten years’ imprisonment, Amin to 15 years and Hadi to ten years plus a two-year travel ban. They plan to appeal.

In a further blow, Pastor Victor’s wife, Shamiran Issavi, has now been charged with ‘participating in foreign seminars’ and ‘acting against national security’. Both she and her son Ramiel are released on bail and are now awaiting trial.

  • Please ask God to reassure these men of His plans and purposes for their lives–Pastor Victor, Amin and Hadi (Jeremiah 29:11). Pray their appeal will be swift and successful.
  • Pray that all charges will be dropped against Shamiran, Ramiel and two other Christians arrested at the same Firuzkuh picnic: Mohamad Dehnay and Amir Sina Dashti.
  • Pray for our entire Christian family in Iran, who will be shaken by Judge Ahmadpour’s verdict: pray they will stand firm in their faith and put their trust in God. Pray that Judge Ahmadpour will recognise that Iran’s Christians want to build up their nation, not ‘threaten its security’.

(Sources: Middle East Concern)

Indian persecution becoming commonplace

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Indian Christians beaten – then banned from meeting

Christians in eastern India were beaten and abused and instead of receiving justice were given an order to stop worshipping.

Hindu women raided Pastor Samuel Karjee’s church in Odisha, dragged outside the 12 Christians present and handed them over to a 300-strong mob. The crowd beat them with sticks, kicked and insulted them. Police resolved the issue by closing down the church.

Please pray for justice for our brothers and sisters in Abasing village.

A 24-year-old Christian, Rajata, suffered serious internal injuries and is still receiving hospital treatment. The casualties included 13-year-old Madhusmita who was punched in the stomach. The Christians’ Bibles and devotionals were snatched.

Police did arrest 25 Hindus – and five injured Christians. They were all set free after police and Hindus reached an ‘agreement’ which amounts to a ban on church services. Four Christian detainees were bullied into signing it, despite having had no say in its wording.

Under the ‘agreement’, Christians are allowed to worship only on their own at home. Christian ‘events’ can be held only with advance permission from the police. Any further disturbances will be dealt with by local police, not the courts.

There have been no worship services in Abasing since the June 18 attack, says Pastor Samuel. ‘I can’t tell you how dry and barren we feel,’ he says. ‘Our hearts yearn to pray and worship together.’

  • Lift up in prayer our brother, Pastor Samuel, and his fellow believers in Abasing. Ask God to comfort, protect and strengthen them.
  • Pray that God will touch the hearts of individual police officers in the Abasing area and convict them of the need to uphold religious liberties.
  • Continue to pray for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Government: pray that they will take firm action to stamp out growing intolerance and persecution. There has been a sharp rise in attacks on Christians since Hindu nationalists tightened their grip on power in March elections.

(Source: Morning Star News)

Yazidis

These people became better known when they were marooned on a mountain top besieged by ISIS and when dozens of their women were kidnapped as sex slaves. They need the gospel and labourers to be sent by God to them.

Yazidi in Iraq

Population
543,000
Main Language
Some of the Bible in Kurdish Kurmanji: looks like Turkish.

“Încîl û Zebûr” ji hêla “Kitabi Mukaddes Şirketi-yê” ve sala 2009-ê hatiye weşandin.

Heger hûn bi awayeke çapkirî dixwazin, ji kerema xwe bi Kitabı Mukaddes Şirketiyê re bikevin têkiliyê

Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

Introduction / HistoryThe Yazidi are a Kurdish people who follow an old religion related to Zoroastrianism, but which has remnants of Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Where Are they Located?They are located primarily in the Nineveh province of northern Iraq. The sacred valley of Lalish is the center point of their culture. Though some live in Syria, Turkey, Armenia and Georgia, many have emigrated to parts of Europe. Almost all of the Turkish population has emigrated to Germany. The Armenian and Georgian populations largely relocated to Russia. Sweden also has a significant population since 2008.

What Are Their Lives Like?They were persecuted along with other Kurds by Saddam Hussain and have been misunderstood by Muslims controlling them for centuries. They are scorned and despised as “devil worshippers,” mostly because of their beliefs regarding the “Peacock Angel.”

They are mostly monogamous, though chiefs may take more than one wife.

They are a closed community which avoids prolonged contact with non-Yazidis, accepts no converts and will kill a daughter who marries outside the religion.

In 2007 a girl named Du’a Khalil Aswad was stoned for allegedly converting to Islam. The incident was captured on cell phone video and gained worldwide attention. There was an international outcry and killings in retaliation. Other such honor killings have been reported among the Yazidi.

What Are Their Beliefs?Yazidis believe God created the world and then created 7 archangels to rule it. One of them, the Peacock Angel, passed a test by God in which he would not bow down and worship Adam. As a result he was made the “god of this world.” This story is similar in Islam regarding Satan. However, the Muslim belief is that Satan was punished for not bowing down. The Peacock Angel is “Melek Taus” or “Shaytan”. The latter is the name in the Koran for Satan. Yazidis are forbidden to speak the name “Shaytan.”

Their world view revolves around angels. Besides praying toward the sun, they will fast for certain angels who control the affairs of this world. They aren’t supposed to wear the color blue or eat lettuce. Their holy day is Wednesday and they aren’t supposed to take showers on that day. They celebrate New Year’s Day as the first Wednesday in the month of Nisan. This is the day they believe the Peacock Angel comes to the Earth as God’s representative.

During their pilgrimage to the valley shrine at Lalish, 55 km east of Duhok in Northern Iraq, they will kiss the sacred stone black snake and enter the temple. There they baptize their children, tie colorful cloth to the tomb of the 12th century Sufi mystic who reformed the Yazidi religion, hug pillars, light fires and perform other rituals. If possible, they will carry dirt from Lalish with them and conceal it behind a veil in their home.

Their calendar adds 4,750 years to the Gregorian calendar.

Yazidis believe that they are descendants of Adam, but not of Eve. Instead, they have descended separate from others through Adam’s other wife, Jar or Jer.

What Are Their Needs?They believe Christ is the light of God, but are more focused on angels and pleasing them.

They need to hear the Gospel and see the lives of true believers. Their villages need development and their schools need English teachers.

Prayer Points* For the light of Christ to shine upon them.
* For believers to reach out to them in their Diaspora.
* For other non-Kurdish Yazidis who also worship the Peacock Angel to hear the Gospel.
* For believers among them to be accepted as Yazidis who believe in Jesus and not rejected as cultural traitors.

Referenceshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yazidi

Profile Source:   Anonymous
Prayer / Resource Links:
Global Prayer Digest: 2015-12-10
People Name General Yazidi
People Name in Country Yazidi
Population in Iraq 543,000
World Population 719,800
Total Countries 10
Indigenous Yes
Unreached Yes
Pioneer Workers Needed 11 to 14
Progress Scale
GSEC 1  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Alternate Names Yezidi
People ID 20455
ROP3 Code 116305
Country Iraq
Region Middle East and North Africa
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 7  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country North of Great Zab river, Dahuk, Ninawa, and Arbil governorates; Surchi dialect near Great Zab river.   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Primary Language Kurdish, Northern (543,000 speakers)
Language Code kmr   Ethnologue Listing
Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Primary Dialect Behdini
Dialect Code 7929   Global Recordings Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Kurdish, Northern

Primary Language:  Kurdish, Northern

Bible Translation  Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes   (1856-2016)
Bible-New Testament Yes   (1872-2005)
Bible-Complete Yes   (2008)
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text Online
Possible Print Bibles
Amazon
Forum of Bible Agencies
Gospel Go
World Bible Finder
World Bibles
Resource Type  Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio Recordings Online New Testament (FCBH)
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video God’s Story Video
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Kurdish, Northern
Film / Video Life’s Gold (Indigitube.tv)
Film / Video Magdalena (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Film / Video The Prophets Story (Indigitube.tv)
General Got Questions Ministry
General Kurdish Ministry Resources
Text / Printed Matter Bible-in-Your-Language
Text / Printed Matter Bible: Kurdish New Testament & Psalms
Text / Printed Matter International Bible Society
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Religion Subdivision: Prakriti
Major Religion ▲ Percent *
Buddhism
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.14 %)
0.14 %
Ethnic Religions
99.86 %
Hinduism
0.00 %
Islam
0.00 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
Unknown
0.00 %
Christian Segments ▲ Percent
Anglican
Unknown
Independent
Unknown
Orthodox
Unknown
Other Christian
Unknown
Protestant
Unknown
Roman Catholic
Unknown
Photo Source Bestoun94   Creative Commons
Map Source Bryan Nicholson / cartoMission
Profile Source Anonymous
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

Pastor Zhang update.

Update below on Zhang.

July 4th 2017

We’ve received reports that Pastor Zhang Shaojie, the leader of Nanle Country Christian Church, is currently enduring severe torture. His daughter, Esther, has reported that he is ‘barely alive’, and suffering both physically and mentally from the cruel treatment he’s experiencing, which includes sleep deprivation and starvation – because he recently tried again to appeal against his sentence. His daughter, Esther, said officials told Zhang they would not process his appeal unless he pleaded guilty. The leader of Nanle County Church has served almost four years of a 12-year sentence for ‘fraud’, a sentence that began in 2014.  CSW.

August 28, 2014

China

CHINA

  • NEWS UPDATES:

untitled

Latest: Pastor Zhang has been allowed a Bible! And wife allowed a monthly visit.

Pastor Zhang Shaojie of Nanle County Christian Church in China’s Henan province has lost his final appeal against a 12-year prison sentence for ‘fraud’ and gathering a crowd to disrupt public order’. Pray that Pastor Zhang and his family will know God’s peace: pray too that he will be released early, despite this ruling. (Source: ChinaAid). Pastor Zhang Shaojie has now been in prison for more than a year, having initially been taken into custody on
November 16, 2013. In October last year he was moved from Baiaohe Prison in Neihuang County, Puyang, to Henan
Prison No. 2 in Xinxiang. His family are considering their optons in appealing against his sentence.  

Zhang Cuijuan, sister of Pastor Zhang Shaojie was recently sentenced to one-and-a-half years in prison. Her imprisonment is part of the ongoing persecution of Pastor Zhang and the Nanle County Christian Church. 

Eritrea– arrests total almost one hundred Christians in the past month.

“Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”Revelation 2:10

More arrests

31st May 2017

eritrea-map-adi-qualagindaThe Eritrean security forces have arrested almost one hundred Christians in the past month.

On 21 May, 49 evangelicals were arrested outside the capital, Asmara, at a post-wedding Hamauti celebration. A Hamauti takes place a week after the wedding at the couple’s home, for friends and relatives to eat, sing, dance and pray together. The bride (name not released) and groom (Tedro Negel), in their late 20s, were among those arrested.

On 17 May, security officials arrested more than 35 Christians from their homes in Adi Quala, a market town 25 km from the Ethiopian border in Eritrea’s Southern Region. They are being held in cells in the local police station. The arrests came after security officials accompanied by representatives of the Eritrean Orthodox Church started a house-to-house search on 15 May.

A group consisting of an Orthodox Church official, an assistant, a local administration officer and a security official visited every home in Adi Quala. They told residents they were verifying food vouchers, but when residents presented their vouchers, the officials made all family members assemble and say whether they were Muslim, Jehovah’s Witness, Orthodox, Lutheran Church, Catholic or Pentecostal. The next day, the security officers went door-to-door in Adi Quala to arrest all who said they were Pentecostal.

A source told World Watch Monitor that similar searches were conducted in several parts of the Central Region, and said: “Those who identified themselves as Pentecostals in the Central Region have not been arrested but the level of fear amongst the believers has greatly increased.

On 9 May, officials arrested ten Christians from a home in Ginda, northeast of Asmara. The four women and six men are being held at Ginda Police Station. Sources said neighbours had reported to local town leaders that Christians were holding meetings.

In 2002, the Eritrean government closed all churches except Eritrean Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran. Since then, members of illegal churches have met in secret in people’s homes, but the authorities target them and have raided countless Christian homes. Members of permitted churches are also at risk if they criticise the regime. Read more about the persecution of Christians in Eritrea.

The Eritrean government started a fresh crackdown against Christians in May and it is continuing. What makes this persecution different is that whole families are now being arrested and whereas in the past most were picked up at Bible studies or Christian services now believers are being arrested at their homes.

Security officials accompanied by an Orthodox priest are turning up at homes and questioning people over their religious affiliation. All except Muslims, Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran are liable for arrest.

So far about 160 Christians have been arrested, including families with children. In the capital Asmara 49 people were arrested from Enda Korea during a wedding celebration. Christians in the northern Red Sea region have also been rounded up.

According to our partner, 12 children, one as young as two months, are now in prison with their parents in Adi Quala. One Christian who tried to ask about the Adi Quala prisoners was also arrested.

Unbelievably more than 30 children have been left without parents or guardians and the security police are monitoring them to make sure they do not get support from the Christian community.

Christians are also being detained and sent to the desert island of Nakhura in the Red Sea, where weather conditions are extreme.Pray173 Campaign

Please pray now for all those who have been affected by these arrests, especially for the children in prison and those left to fend for themselves.

Pray for an end to this cruel treatment of believers.

Join our Pray173 prayer campaign to help bring freedom for long-term prisoners of faith in Eritrea.

Please forward this email to Christian friends so that they can pray and act too.

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Government battle against Islamists in Marawi, Mindanao.

Duterte is not a man to mess with. More bloodshed is inevitable.

Mindanao is the largest island to the south.

PHILIPPINES – Christians used as human shields in Marawi; women kept as sex slaves by Islamists

Islamist militants in Marawi are reportedly holding more than 100 Christians as human shields, as the government continues efforts to re-take parts of the city, which was taken over by Islamists in May. The “Maute” Islamist group responsible has declared allegiance to Islamic State (IS) and used an IS media outlet to publicise their desecration of a church in the city. Hostages freed by government troops have told harrowing stories of living under Islamist rule. According to a Philippines Army spokesman, women have been kept as sex slaves, while civilians have been forced to search houses to find gold, money and firearms for the militants. President Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to defeat the militants; previous governments had pursued a policy of appeasement with Islamists.

From Daily Mail and Gospel Herald 

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

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(World Watch Monitor) UPDATE (25 May): Nine Christian civilians were reportedly shot dead at a militant-run checkpoint in the besieged city of Marawi in the southern Philippines on Tuesday (23 May).

Filipino news site GMA News Online – one of the biggest news and public affairs networks in the country – reported that local residents identified the nine as Christians, saying they had been pulled from a truck, had their hands bound and then their bodies riddled with bullets and left in a field.

This latest update comes as a Catholic priest and 13 other Christians are still reportedly being held by the Islamists, who have laid siege to the city, setting fire to buildings including a cathedral and Protestant-run college, and erecting the black flags of ISIS.

Reuters reports that the militants have been using the hostages as human shields, and have contacted…

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News about Iran

 

Farsi speakers (main language of Iran) number 110 million. Hard copies of Scripture are unobtainable in the region. The main religion is Shiite Islam (cf Sunni Islam in Saudi Arabia). Interested people can now access audio and written Scripture, music and  Christian literature on line. Through texting, voice chats and group studies lonely believers can have fellowship but they all need pastoral care and a church. There are many interested, mainly young people, contacting the sites on the net.

Middle East Reformed Fellowship newsletter

Other prayer points:

Amin, Afshar and Hadi have been detained without charge since last August and went on hunger strike to get medical care.

Three other men have been sentenced to 80 lashes for drinking communion wine-pray for a successful appeal.

Veronika and son, baptised in Turkey were arrested in February when their home was raided and Christian literature found.

 

Chinese believers killed in Pakistan

Chinese Students Killed by ISIS

 

Link

USA: Christian soccer player withdraws from US national team after being told to wear gay pride shirt

 United States

US Soccer has ordered all players in both their men’s and women’s national teams to wear gay pride shirts during matches against Sweden and Norway in June to celebrate gay pride month. These shirts differ from the normal shirts in having the numbers in rainbow colours. It has led to one of their star players, Jaelene Hinkle, who is a deeply committed Christian, withdrawing from the national team for what US soccer has officially termed “personal reasons”.

Jaelene Hinkle
Jaelene Hinkle

US soccer promoted their gay pride initiative with a video stating:

“US soccer pledges to support all our athletes, coaches and fans. We believe athletes should be judged by their character, work ethic and talent…no matter if you are straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, if you can play – you can play.”

However, if you are a committed Christian and are selected to represent either the men’s or women’s national teams, US Soccer will require you to publicly promote a certain set of beliefs even when these directly violate your own deeply held Christian beliefs.

From Canada Free Press

Laws against extremism

It is true to say that whenever a state brings in laws to combat extremism that law-abiding Christ-honouring believers end up being persecuted. Such is the case in Russia where an Indian missionary Pastor Victor Emmanuel Mani would be deported leaving behind his Russian wife and young child. May God bless and uphold his appeal.

Christian teacher shot dead in front of his pupils in Kenya

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It’s the news every parent dreads: a gunman has walked into their child’s school and opened fire.   Sadly in northeast Kenya that’s exactly what happened recently. Al-Shabaab militants walked into Fafi Primary School, 60 miles from Garissa, and shot dead a Christian teacher, Elly Oloo Ojiema – right in front of his pupils. They kidnapped another Christian teacher, Joseph Kamau, and a Muslim colleague who tried to protect him.   Please pray that God will comfort Elly’s family and that the two kidnapped teachers will be freed soon.   The Muslim teacher of Somali descent who was abducted tried to shield Joseph, saying he was prepared to die with him. ‘We are going to teach you a lesson for protecting the infidels,’ his kidnappers told him. The militants also beat Muslims of Somali descent at the school as a punishment for associating with Christians.
Local pastors are now calling on the Kenyan Government to provide more security for the Christian community. Al-Shabaab militants appear to have stepped up their campaign of violence in areas bordering Somalia in the past few weeks.

  • Pray that God will comfort, protect and provide for Elly’s family.
  • Pray for the safe and swift return of Joseph and his Muslim friend. Thank God for the way that his friend stood up to the militants, at huge personal cost.
  • Pray for our Christian family in northeast Kenya who are under extreme pressure and living in fear. Pray that God will uphold them with his ‘righteous right hand’ (Isaiah 41:10).

(Source: Morning Star News)

Freedom of speech at stake.

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Personal message

Will you join me in standing for freedom of speech?

Please help me challenge the censorship of biblical beliefs

Dear friends,

In 2015, I was thrown off my master’s course in social work because I expressed the bible’s teaching on sexual ethics, on Facebook.
I was told that my beliefs made me unfit to practise as a social worker.
With help from the Christian Legal Centre, I tried to get the decision reversed. But Sheffield University refused.
Even before I had finished my university course, I was effectively ‘barred from office’.
I had to challenge this decision, because freedom is at stake. And with your support, I have.
In April, we went to the High Court.
I praise God that the High Court agreed that Sheffield University’s decision could be scrutinised.
Thank you so much for your prayers and remarkable support already.
It’s so important because this case is not just about me – it’s far, far, bigger. it’s about the freedom of all of us to speak the truth about marriage and sexual ethics.
The High Court decision is a huge step forward.
But to keep going, I need your help. And I’m writing to ask you to stand with me in this case by making a donation today.
Yes, Felix, I want to stand with you, for freedom

‘I wanted to defend biblical marriage’

My extraordinary journey began in September 2015, when I posted on Facebook expressing support for Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who refused to issue same-sex ‘marriage’ licenses.
Her case was widely discussed on and off the university campus. I entered the discussion on my personal Facebook account, because I wanted to defend her.
I wanted to defend her because I, like her and indeed millions around the world, uphold the belief that marriage is the lifelong and exclusive union between one man and one woman.
But two months later, I received an email from a university official telling me that my comments were being investigated. I was summoned to a meeting the following week. That meeting’s outcome was my exclusion from university, and my hopes of becoming a social worker suddenly disrupted.
Read more about Felix’s story

‘I knew I couldn’t be the only one’

I could have let my dream go quietly, and pursued another path. But I knew that I couldn’t be the only one who has had to surrender dreams and plans, because the state has dictated which beliefs are acceptable in the public space.
We need Christians in roles of public office because we are motivated by the love of Christ. We are to carry light into darkness and offer the saving hope of the gospel.
But how can we do this when we are told that our very beliefs make us unfit to serve?
So with the help of the Christian Legal Centre, I decided to appeal.
An internal complaints body dismissed my appeal, ruling that the university acted fairly in dismissing me.
But I wasn’t about to give up.
We cannot allow this kind of ‘thought policing’ to become the norm.

In April this year, I took the rare step of taking the Sheffield University to court. I asked the High Court for permission to judicially review my expulsion.
I was granted permission to do so, but in order to take this forward, I need to raise the costs.
Can you help me?
Yes, Felix, I want to help you challenge censorship

‘You are not only helping me’

The Christian Legal Centre has not charged me a penny for the support they have offered.
Without their support and your generosity, this could not happen.
I couldn’t have come this far without you.
So I want to take this opportunity to thank you for standing with me. For helping me to make my story known.
Because by doing this, you are not only helping me. You are helping the many others like me who need someone to stand on their behalf.
Help Felix and others like him

Time to speak up

At a time where our society is becoming increasingly hostile to Christian beliefs – particularly biblical sexual ethics – it can be easy to think that there is no point speaking up.
We have recently seen in the news that holding the biblical view of sexuality is now viewed as immoral. Politicians are hounded out of office and labelled ‘bigoted’ and ‘hateful’ just for believing that marriage is between one man and one woman.
This is exactly why we must, together, make a stand.
It is a critical time to defend freedom of belief, and freedom of speech.
If you are able, please make a donation – not only to help me pay for my case to go forward – but also so that the Christian Legal Centre can continue its amazing ministry.
Please do not feel obliged to give. But if you can make a gift today, please do.
The Christian Legal Centre needs your support to meet the costs of this case and to continue its work.
Yes, I want to continue to stand for Christian freedoms

‘Thank you’

Finally, I want to say thank you again for your support and for your prayers throughout this journey.
Thank you for standing with the Christian Legal Centre so they can continue helping people like me.
Let’s pray that God’s will would be done in this next stage of my case.
Yours in Him,
Felix Ngole
Donate now to help protect freedom of speech

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More Muslim Kidnappings

Now three more Egyptian women abducted. This is a typical Muslim plot, one of their methods to intimidate, forcibly rape and convert non-muslims.

 

Suzan Ashraf Rawy   Hanan Adly Girgis    Rania Eed Fawzy

Three Christian women ‘kidnapped’ in Cairo suburb
Suzan went missing last week, as she walked to the church where she works in Egypt. Local Christians fear the 22-year-old (pictured) has been kidnapped – just like two other young women who vanished from the same Cairo suburb just days before.
Women in Al Khosous, a mainly Christian town just outside Cairo, are said to be too frightened to leave their houses: a women’s meeting at Suzan’s church, which she attended, has been cancelled.
Please pray for the safe return home of our three Egyptian sisters in Al Khosous.
The suspected abductions follow an incident in which a Muslim was accidently shot and killed during a dispute over money. A Christian man was taken into police custody and is expected to be charged with manslaughter.
Since then, there has been a sharp increase in attacks on Christians, especially women, in Al Khosous. But this persecution is nothing new: several local women have had acid thrown in their face, for not wearing veils.
Christians across Egypt remain under intense pressure. Extremists shot dead at least 29 Christians whom they pulled off a bus in Minya Province on May 26. Church bombings in Tanta and Alexandria in April, and in Cairo in December, killed at least 68 people.

  • Pray for the safe return of Suzan Ashraf Rawy and the two other missing women. Pray that they would know God’s protection and that his peace will fill them and their families and guard their hearts and minds (Philippians 4:7).
  • Pray for our Christian family across Egypt, that they will stand firm in their faith and put their complete trust in almighty God.
  • Pray for wisdom, boldness and firm resolve for the Egyptian Government in resisting the spread of Islamist extremism in their nation and protecting the Christian community.

(Source: Morning Star News)

Abduction of Bangladeshi girl

BANGLADESH – Twelve-year-old Christian girl kidnapped by Muslim man; family fear the possibility of her forced marriage (i.e. rape!)

A twelve-year-old Christian girl from Boruakona, eastern Bangladesh, was kidnapped by a 35-year-old Muslim man on 26 May. At the time of writing, the girl’s whereabouts are unknown, although the family have expressed concern that she may have been forced into marriage. The girl’s grandfather said that, as well as reporting the kidnap to police, the family also approached local Islamic leaders who “had assured us that we could bring our child back in 24 hours. But nothing. Police have also failed. They say they are searching … As Christians and religious minorities, we are persecuted by the Muslim majority. We can no longer live in this country.”

CHINA – House church suffers intense persecution

 LATEST: Zhang Xuihong is starting a five year sentence for “illegal business operations”.
LATEST: Please pray for our brothers and sisters in the much persecuted Huoshi Church in China’s southern Guizhou province. Local officials recently issued them with a fine of 7 million yuan (more than £800,000) – because, they said, donations the church had received between 2009 and 2015 were ‘illegal income’. When the church went to court last Friday to dispute the fine, the hearing was fraught with irregularities: many of those overseeing the hearing had been involved in persecuting the church. Several of the church’s leadership, including Pastor Yang Hua, and the church’s accountant, Zhang Xiuhong, are in prison on false charges. (Source: China Aid)

 

CHINA – House church suffers intense persecution  
Please pray for our brothers and sisters in China where a prominent house church is experiencing intense persecution.

china
Several leaders of Huoshi Church in Guìyang city, south-west China, are currently detained, including Pastor Yang Hua, and church services have been banned.
Pastor Yang’s wife, Wang Hongwu, has written an open letter describing the church’s plight and calling for prayer.
She says pastors and members have been detained and beaten and the church has been barred from its meeting place. No more than 20 people are allowed to attend prayer groups.
Pastor Yang, who has significant health problems including a form of arthritis, was detained in December and formally charged with ‘divulging state secrets’ on January 22.
Zhang Xiuhong, who oversees the church’s deacons, has been in detention since July on suspicion of ‘theft’. Another pastor, Su Tianfu, is currently under 24-hour surveillance after being released on bail. Two other Christians connected with the church are also in custody.

  • Pray that all charges will be dropped against Huoshi Church members.
  • Please pray that God will meet the financial needs of church staff and the church itself. They continue to pay a mortgage but have been banned from taking an offering.
  • Pray that the congregation will not be forced to disband even though many members are currently dispersed among other churches.

Uganda battleground

Uganda is a country that has seen many inroads by Islam.. But many are turning from Islam to Christ who then are fiercely persecuted. Jazila (26) was thrown out of her house and ALL her possessions burnt and her father cursed and disowned her. She has a 4 year-old daughter. Same day Fauzia (22) who has a 3 year-old son,  experienced the same.

Shixing, China

A small but totally unreached people-they must hear,  there must be disciples made.

Shixing in China

The area inhabited by the Shixing has a long and rich history. Their villages are “guarded by watchtowers erected by powerful Naxi kings several hundred years ago.” The Naxi’s interest in the region may have been due to the abundance of gold once found in the Shou Chu River. There has never been a known believer or Christian fellowship among the Shixing people.

Ministry Obstacles
The Shixing have no background in monotheism – there is much to correct in their worldview.

Outreach Ideas
Han Chinese believers may be able to carry the message of salvation to their Shixing neighbors.

Pray for the followers of Christ
Pray for the believers that will one day emerge among the Shixing, that pastors and teachers are even now being prepared for them.

Pray for the entire people group
Pray the Shixing will awaken to their need for life as found in the one who is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

Scripture Focus
“Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession.” Psalm 2:8

Christian Lawyers in prison-Li Heping and Jiang Tianyong. Pray for Jiang.

 

LATEST: UPDATE 

CSW Logo

Li Heping has been released!

After almost two years in detention, unable to see or speak to anyone in the outside world, Li Heping (on the right in the above photo) is at last with his family. This footage shows the emotional moment when he was reunited with his wife and daughter.

We’re writing this email to say thank you. So many of you prayed, protested, sent letters and signed petitions. We asked you to pray for Li on Monday and within two days our prayers were answered. We serve an amazing, powerful God who’s able to move in ways we can’t begin to imagine.

Please keep praying
Li’s wife, Wang Qiaoling, has reported that government authorities are still watching the family. It’s very likely that there’ll be severe restrictions on Li’s freedom and ability to talk about what has happened to him for the rest of his four-year suspended sentence.

Many human rights lawyers and activists just like Li, who were arrested as part of a government crackdown, are still in prison or have disappeared altogether. We’ve seen how powerfully prayer worked for Li: please keep praying for others like him.

May. 26, 2017 | China
Pray for Li Heping, Recently Released from Prison

Our Chinese brother faces a life sentence – for defending human rights
Chinese Christian lawyer Jiang Tianyong has not been seen since he disappeared last November. Now, his family have been told he’s been charged with trying to overthrow the regime – and faces a potential life sentence.
Jiang Tianyong went missing as he returned from visiting the family of a fellow lawyer who had been detained during the July 2015 crackdown on ‘dissidents’. Jiang is thought to have been held incommunicado in an illegal ‘black jail’ until now.
Please pray for peace and perseverance for our brother Jiang Tianyong as he awaits trial.
Jiang’s father has just received a statement from a local Public Security Bureau in southern Hunan province informing him that Jiang was charged with ‘subversion of state power’ on May 31.
Jiang, a fierce advocate for minorities’ religious rights and broader human rights, was charged in December with ‘inciting subversion of state power’ and sentenced to spend time in an unofficial ‘black jail’. His family have now been told he’s being held at Changsha No. 1 Detention Centre – the first official confirmation of his whereabouts for six months.

  • Pray that the Holy Spirit will fill Jiang afresh, giving him the power and strength he needs to endure.
  • Pray for the immediate release of Jiang Tianyong and all the other lawyers and activists arrested during and since the 2015 crackdown.
  • Pray for peace for Jiang’s wife, Jin Bianling, and their daughter who have fled to the US to avoid further harassment.

(Sources: China Aid, Reuters)

Jiang has been detained since November 2016 and newspapers accuse him of leaking state secrets.

Jiang

Eritrean refugees in Israel

Street protest in Israel against desperate plight of Eritrean asylum-seekers

Not being treated according to Exodus 22:21.

Desperate plight of Eritrean Christian refugees gets even worse: but you can help them
“We have already begun to see a great deal of fear among the most vulnerable members of our community.” This was a recent message to Barnabas Fund from an Eritrean Christian agency in Israel, describing the effect of a new law implemented last month by the Israeli government.

Will you help needy Eritrean Christian women, seriously affected by the new law?
Will you help needy Eritrean Christian women, seriously affected by the new law?

Section 4 of the Law for Preventing Infiltrators and Ensuring their Departure (known as the “Deposit Law”) deducts 20% from the earnings of every African asylum-seeker, on top of normal taxes. It also requires their employers to make a monthly payment equivalent to 16% of the person’s salary. Effective from 1 May, this law will seriously impact the 40,000 Eritreans – mainly Christians – who fled to Israel hoping to find freedom and security in a country where they could worship the Lord without fear.

The funds – from employee and employer – will be set aside by the Israeli government and only released to the individual asylum-seeker when he or she agrees to leave the country permanently. Of course, none will return to the brutal communist regime of Eritrea which mercilessly hounds Christians of certain denominations, imprisoning them for years in atrocious conditions just for meeting together to pray. That leaves only the “voluntary” return programme to Uganda or Rwanda; Eritreans who have tried this have often ended up in the hands of human traffickers and some have been killed by Islamic State.

As a direct result of this new law, thousands of vulnerable asylum-seekers – already struggling to survive – will be plunged further into poverty. Employers will be loath to hire them because of the 16% levy, and those who manage to retain their jobs will lose a further 20% of their meagre income.
Generosity from Israeli citizens, but it is not enough

Members of the Israeli public generously donate food and other items to the Eritrean Christian agency for distribution to the neediest Eritreans – mainly mothers with small children. But, as the effects of the new law begin to bite, these donations will not be sufficient. The agency desperately needs funds to buy more items for distribution, such as pasta, rice, cooking oil, baby formula milk, and nappies.

Many Israelis are deeply unhappy with the stance of their government regarding the Eritrean asylum-seekers and a number of Israeli non-government organisations are assisting them, as well as engaging with the government to try to persuade them to change their policies.
Further harassment of men at Holot

Street protest in Israel against desperate plight of Eritrean asylum-seekers
Street protest in Israel against desperate plight of Eritrean asylum-seekers

Since Barnabas Fund and various Israeli media highlighted the atrocious conditions of the Holot Detention Centre earlier this year, additional restrictions have been placed on the three thousand Eritrean men held there. Their mobile phones have been blocked so they cannot contact family and friends. And the many who were studying can no longer access the educational materials they used to receive via their mobile wifi hubs.

Heavily armed, Boko Haram fighters attack Borno State capital in Nigeria’s northeast

I doubt the truth of his claim!

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

Heavily armed, suspected Boko Haram fighters  launched attacks in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital in Nigeria’s northeast region. Residents scattered as gunshots were heard being being fired in all directions of the Jiddari Polo area.

Security authorities say they have repelled the Boko Haram members. In a text, Brigadier General Sani Usman, Director Army Public Relations, said people should not panic and that people should not flee as the military had the situation under control. Tense after hearing gunshots for a long period of time, many decided to leave their homes and sought safety in nearby locations. Locals residents are asking for our prayers.

During a national broad cast a week ago, it was reported that acting President Yemi Osinbajo said the government had re-organized, equipped the armed forces, and inspired them to heroic feats the against the Boko Haram insurgency.

He said that the terrorist group which openly challenged the sovereignty and…

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Five Muslims Sentenced to Death in Pakistan for Heinous Murder of Christian couple

Good, some justice in a wickedly discriminatory country!

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

Composite of Shahzad Masih and Shama Masih. (Morning Star News courtesy of famly) Composite of Shahzad Masih and Shama Masih. (Morning Star News courtesy of famly)

LAHORE, Pakistan (Morning Star News) – A court in Lahore has handed the death sentence to five Muslims for torturing and killing an impoverished Christian couple over allegations of burning the Koran, sources said.

Eight others charged in the attack were sentenced to two years in prison, sources said. Hundreds of villagers in Kot Radha Kishan, incited by Muslim leaders calling for violence via mosque loudspeakers, were involved in the Nov. 4, 2014 assault in which 26-year-old Shahzad Masih and his five-months pregnant wife, Shama, 24, were thrown into a burning brick kiln. [Read VOP Nov. 6 2014 report condemning the horrific attack]

Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) Judge Chaudhry Azam on Wednesday (Nov. 25) handed death sentences to Irfan Shakoor, Muhammad Hanif, Mehdi Khan, Riaz Kamboh and Hafiz Ishtiaq, along with a fine of…

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Christian Sanitation Worker in Pakistan Dies after Hospital Refuses to Treat Him, Family Says

Despicable conditions and responses!

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

Protestors with Irfan Masih’s body during demonstration. (Twitter)

LAHORE, Pakistan (Morning Star News) – A Christian sanitation worker in Pakistan died on Thursday (June 1) after Muslim doctors refused to treat him for poisonous gas he was exposed to in a sewer, sources said.

Doctors at Civil Hospital Medical refused to treat 28-year-old Irfan Masih of Umerkot City, Sindh Province, saying they did not want to touch the filth-covered worker during the Islamic month of Ramandan, Masih’s brother told Morning Star News.

Babar Masih said that his brother entered a deep manhole to clear a sewage line but smelled poisonous gas and called out for help.

“Irfan’s coworkers did not have the equipment to pull him out, so another worker, Yaqoob Masih, descended into the manhole to rescue him,” he said. “However, both men inhaled the fumes and fainted. Two other Christian sanitary workers, Faisal Masih and…

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Indian persecution hits new low.

INDIA – Is taking Christian children on a summer camp now a crime in India?

In two separate incidents in Madhya Pradesh state on the night of 21-22 May, at least ten Christian church workers and at least 70 Christian children (aged between 6 and 15) in their care were detained by police as they travelled to a Vacation Bible School summer camp.

On the evening of Sunday 21 May, a mob of about 400 Hindu extremists demanded that the Christian church workers, held by railway police at Ratlam station, be booked on charges relating to kidnapping and forceful conversion. Although the children and their parents were all Christians, the authorities claimed that the parents had not submitted the necessary paperwork when they converted to Christianity and therefore their children were still officially Hindu – hence the accusation of forceful conversion of the children being taken to the Christian camp. The approximately 59 children were later released to their parents.

Ratlam Junction
Ratlam Junction
CC BY-SA 3.0 by Superfast1111

In the early hours of Monday 22 May, police held a further at least eleven Christian children and two Christian church workers caring for them in Chhoti Gwaltoli, in Indore. The church workers were charged on suspicion of kidnapping the children and trying to convert them to Christianity by force, allurement or fraudulent means.

Posts on social media have accused the police of harassing the children, their parents and the wider minority Christian community.

Source: GCN

Nosu, China.

Believe it or not another unreached people in a country with reputedly 50 million believers!

Nosu, Tianba in China

Violent conflict, inter-tribal and inter-clan warfare, and the taking of slaves were commonplace among the various branches of the Nosu until recently. The War songs were equally awe inspiring: “We are the famous Black Nosu! We are the tigers who eat up human flesh! We are the butchers who skin people alive! We are the supermen!'” The Tianba Nosu have been influenced by Chinese culture more than the other Nosu groups in Sichuan, although they still retain their traditional dress and most of their ceremonies and customs.

Ministry Obstacles
These people may have little concept of a loving, forgiving creator God.

Outreach Ideas
Sustained, focused prayer is needed to prepare these people to receive the good news of Christ.

There may be no followers of Christ among the Tianba Nosu today, but pray for those that will soon emerge from this group. Pray they will be kind and compassionate to one another.

Pray for the entire people group
Pray that God by the gospel to the Tianba Nosu will overturn their history of violence, and bring the knowledge of the Prince of peace.

Scripture Focus
“Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest?’ Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.” John 4:35

Eritrean Church Leaders still in jail 12 years later

NEW ERITREAN PRISONER PROFILES: We’ve just added five new profiles of Eritrean Christian prisoners to our website.
Rev G. Gebregiorsis

Futsum Gebrenegus

Meron Gebreselasie

Oqbamichel Haimanot 

Tekleab Menghisteab

 

Kiflu Gebremeskel, Patriarch Abune Antonios, Haile Naigzhi Photos: World Watch Monitor

Kiflu Gebremeskel, Patriarch Abune Antonios, Haile Naigzhi Photos: World Watch Monitor

(World Watch Monitor) Although the tiny East African nation of Eritrea has a population of just 6 million, Eritrea is one of the leading sources of refugees in Europe. There are many reasons for this, but chief among them is a lack of religious freedom.

The Eritrean government outlawed worship outside of Islam and the Orthodox, Evangelical Lutheran and Roman Catholic Church in 2002, driving all other Christian churches underground as they faced varying degrees of restrictions and attacks. Since then, thousands of Christians have been arrested and incarcerated without benefitting from a legal process. Among them are a number of prominent church leaders arrested in 2004, who remain incarcerated today, almost 12 years later. World Watch Monitor spoke with the family of one of these prisoners.

Haile Naigzhi, leader of Eritrea’s Full Gospel Church, was arrested during the early hours of 23 May, 2004. He was taken from his home to Police Station #1 in Asmara, then moved to Wongel Mermera – a dungeon-like prison in Asmara, where he still resides, alongside at least five other prominent church leaders (see list below). They have little hope of release anytime soon.

For years following Naigzhi’s arrest, his wife and three children (names withheld to protect their identity) waited for his release. In 2013, his wife received credible information that the government wanted to arrest her and the children, so she decided to flee.

As World Watch Monitor reported last year, the journey out of Eritrea is fraught with danger. Movement in Eritrea is heavily controlled through an internal travel-pass system and checkpoints; anyone trying to cross the border can be shot on sight. If you make it past those first two hurdles, you reach the desert, exposed to the unforgiving elements and lawless human traffickers. Whatever destination you aim for after that could see you either crossing the Mediterranean on a rickety boat or dodging deportation from African countries with diplomatic and ideological ties to the Eritrean government.

World Watch Monitor cannot divulge the details of the Naigzhi family’s journey, nor where they ended up, but today they are settled in a new country, where they have been granted asylum.

“We feel safer here,” said Naigzhi’s wife. “We are able to freely serve God. I am also happy because the children are in a good school.”

But their 19-year-old daughter misses home. “Ever since we left our country, things have dramatically changed in a way we didn’t know they would. I knew the moment we left that we would have an uphill battle until we are able one day to go back home again. And it was all true.”

Naigzhi’s wife added: “I miss my husband dearly. It is very lonely for me.”

Their eldest daughter last saw her father when she was seven, whereas the youngest son (13) does not remember a time when they were all together.

The other boy, 17, last saw his father when he was five and confessed to also feeling homesick.

“I miss home, I miss my friends, and I miss our house,” he said.

“It is difficult, but we hold on to Jesus,” said Naigzhi’s wife.

Her daughter added:

“We learnt that having a ‘bed-of-roses’ kind of life on earth is not actually God’s number one plan for us, but that everything we face in this world shapes our spirits into the beautiful spirit the Lord wishes to see in us. I am happy in every way and most especially to be the daughter of the Most High God. I am also happy to be the daughter of a prisoner for Christ. He is the best dad ever! God will make things perfect one day, and I trust Him with all my heart. He is faithful to keep His word.”

Eritrea is No. 3 on Open Doors’ 2016 World Watch List, which ranks the 50 countries in which it is most difficult to live as a Christian. No-one knows for certain how many Christians remain in the elaborate network of incarceration centres in Eritrea. Although there seems to have been a lull in arrests, pressure remains high on Christians and on society in general. Thousands are still intent on fleeing the country, the majority aiming for Europe. Hundreds have died trying.

Incarcerated church leaders

Abune Antonios

Head of the Orthodox Church, removed from his position in 2007 after criticising the Eritrean government for interference in church activities. Two priests accompanied by government security agents entered the Patriarch’s residence and confiscated his personal pontifical insignia. He was replaced by Abune Dioskoros – a development orchestrated by the Eritrean government. Patriarch Antonios, who has never been charged with any offence, remains under house arrest and strict state surveillance.

Ogbamichael Teklehaimanot

Senior pastor of the Kale Hiwot Church. Arrested for participating in a Protestant wedding ceremony in Barentu on 9 January, 2005. Taken to Asmara Police Station No. 5, then subjected to 10 months of solitary confinement and hard labour at Sawa military camp. Released after six years, then re-arrested six months later, after a fleeing church member, who was being monitored, called him. Now back in prison in Barentu, where he has been for 11 years in total.

Kidane Weldou

Senior pastor of the Full Gospel Church and member of the executive committee of Gideons International in Eritrea. When his vehicle was found abandoned in 2005, his wife and four children assumed he had been arrested. Believed to be in Wongel Mermera prison.

Haile Naigzhi

Leader of Eritrea’s Full Gospel Church, arrested at his home during the early hours of 23 May, 2004, and taken to Police Station #1 in Asmara.

Kiflu Gebremeskel

Founder and senior pastor of Southwest Full Gospel Church, and member of the executive committee to the Full Gospel Church of Eritrea. Before he became a full-time pastor, Dr. Gebremeskel was also a mathematics lecturer and until 1999 was department and faculty head at the University of Asmara. Has a Ph.D. in mathematics from Chicago University. Taken from his home in Asmara Gejeret in May 2004. Wife and four children have not been able to visit him.

Million Gebreselasie

Anaesthetist and pastor of Massawa Rhema Church. Arrested on 3 June, 2004, five days after another pastor, Tesfasion Hagos (who has since been released and granted asylum in another country), visited his church and home. Arrested at a police checkpoint just before entering Asmara, as he was returning Pastor Hagos’ belongings to his home. Taken to the 2nd Police Station, where he was held for about two months, before being relocated to Wongel Mermera, where he remains. Unmarried.

Futsum Gebrenegus

Eritrea’s only psychiatrist. Also served as an Orthodox priest. Arrested in Nov. 2004 for allegedly being involved in the renewal movement within the Orthodox Church.

Gebremedhin Gebregiorsis

Expert theologian and Orthodox priest also arrested in Nov. 2004 for allegedly being involved in the renewal movement within the Orthodox Church.

Tekleab Menghisteab

Doctor and Orthodox priest also arrested in Nov. 2004 for alleged involvement in the renewal movement within the Orthodox Church.

Click to enlarge.

Tajikistan – Church pastor held for having Christian literature.

Secret police arrested a church pastor in Khujand – the second largest city in Tajikistan – in April and are accusing him of “extremism” for being in possession of Christian literature, including church hymnbooks. Bakhrom Kholmatov’s family have not heard from him since his arrest. The Tajikistan government imposes heavy restrictions on all religious groups and the import, export and distribution of religious publications has to be approved by the authorities. Under new laws introduced in 2011, children under the age of 18 are prohibited from taking part in public religious activities – a cause of great concern for Christian parents. Christians make up around 2% of Tajikistan’s mostly Muslim population.

  • Lift up pastor Kholmatov and ask that the Father will be his hiding place and protection (Psalm 32:7).
  • Pray that his family will be encouraged that the Lord delivers the righteous (Psalm34:17).
  • Pray that the government of Tajikistan will revoke its oppressive laws and permit religious freedom.

https://reformedglobalprayer.com/2017/05/10/tajikistan/

Cowardly Muslim Terrorism…Gunmen Kill at Least 35 Coptic Christians in Egypt

It seems to me that in every country where there is a strong jihadist Muslim element and they are up against democracy or Judeo-Christian ethics or an established church they will bomb and kill to try and get their way. They are deluded fools of Satan who face hellish judgment.

More Egyptian terror

Gunmen Kill at Least 35 Coptic Christians in Egypt
 
Masked Gunmen Attack Coptic Christians, Mostly Children, Traveling to Monastery
05/26/2017 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that multiple masked gunmen attacked a caravan of Coptic Christians traveling to the Monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor in Minya province, Egypt. Minya province is approximately 140 miles south of Cairo.

Sources told ICC that two buses and two other vehicles were traveling from a village to the monastery to pray. Most of the passengers in the buses were children. The source also informed ICC that the caravan was “in front of the Abu Tartour plateau when 10 masked [militants] in four 4×4 vehicles intercepted [the caravan] …and opened fire.” The source continued, “[The attack] resulted in the death of 35, most of them kids and more than 25 are injured.” So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The precision and execution of this attack led the source to believe that “the militants carried out this attack very carefully; they knew the details of the trip and its time and ambushed the buses.”
In recent months, radical extremists have hunted Coptic Christians. In April 2017, ISIS suicide bombers killed approximately 70 Christians in two church bombings on Palm Sunday.
On May 6, a Coptic Christian, who ran away from El-Arish, was murdered after he returned to his barbershop. Four masked gunmen shot him, following the pattern established in the January and February murders of seven Coptic Christians.
In February 2017, hundreds of Christian families fled their homes in El-Arish, a city located in the Sinai Peninsula, after ISIS carried out a series of murders targeting Christians. Between January 30 and February 23, seven Christian men living in and around El-Arish were targeted and murdered by masked men. During the height of the killings, an ISIS affiliate in the Sinai region promised to eliminate the Christian minority, claiming that Egypt’s Christians were the group’s “favorite prey.”
On December 11, 2016, a suicide bomber attacked the small church of St. Peter and St. Paul, attached to St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral located in Cairo. As a result of that attack, 25 Christians, mostly women and children, were killed.
Coptic Christians make up approximately 10 percent of Egypt’s population of 92 million. These constant attacks have created an atmosphere of insecurity and fear among Coptic Christians. President al-Sisi declared a state of emergency after the Palm Sunday bombings, but it has done little to curb the violence.
 
William Stark, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “These attacks are blatant and targeted acts of persecution against Christians. Extremist groups, especially ISIS, have declared Christians to be their ‘favorite prey’ and seek to eliminate the Christian minority. The government must be more intentional about protecting vulnerable minorities and punishing the attackers. Continual support for displaced families is vital, whether it is food, housing, or medical care. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families during this difficult time.”
For interviews with William Stark, Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org

 

# # #

You are free to disseminate this news story. We request that you reference International Christian Concern (ICC) and include our web address, www.persecution.org. ICC is a Washington D.C.-based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC provides Awareness, Advocacy, and Assistance to the worldwide persecuted Church.

Pray for Altan, Unable to Attend Church

What would you do?

May. 26, 2017 | Turkey

PHILIPPINES – Church torched and Christians held hostage as Islamists rampage through city in Mindanao

Islamist militants have burnt a church and taken Christians hostage in Marawi, a city on the island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines. Around 100 armed men launched an assault on Marawi on Tuesday (23 May), prompting thousands of residents to flee and leading the president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, to impose martial law across the whole of Mindanao. A local Christian leader said that the Islamists seized a pastor, ten worshippers and three church workers, and are threatening to kill them unless the government withdraws its security forces. There are also reports that a policemen has been beheaded by Islamists.

Please pray for the safe return of Pastor Teresito ‘Chito’ Suganob and the 13 other Christians kidnapped from his church.
Armed men raided St Mary’s Cathedral on Tuesday and abducted the 14 Christians. As well as setting light to the cathedral, they also burned down three buildings of the church-owned Dansalan College.
The Filipino army engaged in firefights with militants whom the Government has since identified as members of the Abu Sayyaf Group and the Maute Group: two soldiers and a police chief were killed. President Rodrigo Duterte has imposed martial law in Mindanao, an island with a significant Muslim population.

  • Pray for our Christian family in the Philippines, especially in the south of the country where several Islamist terrorist groups have been active.
  • Pray especially for wisdom for church leaders in the southern Philippines: several pastors have been held hostage by terrorists.
  • Pray that God will thwart the plans of the men of violence, including the Maute Group, considered one of the newest but most feared terror groups in the country.

(Sources: BBC, Morning Star News)

The government of the Philippines has been engaged in a decades-long conflict with Muslim separatists in the southern Philippines, which has a significant Muslim population. The previous government agreed a peace deal with some Islamist armed groups in 2014 and also proposed creating an autonomous region in Bangsamoro – an area which includes the city of Marawi – with its own laws, which would have allowed for the implementation of sharia. Public opposition to the deal has resulted in the legislation to enact it being delayed, and some Islamists have continued their violent campaign.

From Aljazeera here

Christians in Kenya fear imminent attack – please pray

Please pray for our Christian family in north-east Kenya who fear an imminent attack after a renewed outbreak of violence against non-Muslims in the region.
Al-Shabaab militants appear to have stepped up their campaign of violence in areas bordering Somalia – and Christians in the city of Mandera believe they could be the next target.
‘The Christians living in Mandera are living in great fear of an imminent attack,’ one church leader said. ‘We have to think whether to continue with the Christian mission work or to leave the place. We cannot pretend that all is well.’
Please pray that our Christian family in Mandera and across Kenya will stand firm in their faith.
Al-Shabaab militants are suspected of involvement in a gun attack on quarry workers in El Wak, 105 miles from Mandera, on May 12. Two people died, including a Christian named Dalama Otieno. It’s believed the group were targeted because they were non-Muslims.
Three days later, government official Dekow Abbey Sirat was shot dead at his home in Mandera County. Al-Shabaab said it carried out the attack.
The same group killed six Christians in a grenade and gun attack on a residential compound in Mandera last October. Previously, in late-2014, it had killed 38 non-Muslims at a quarry in nearby Kormey and shot dead 19 Christians after hijacking a bus near Mandera.

  • Ask God to protect and strengthen His people in Mandera: pray that they will look to Him, their ‘refuge and fortress’ (Psalm 91:2)
  • Pray security forces will be adequately deployed
  • Pray that God’s people in Kenya will stand firm in their faith. Pray that attacks will only strengthen their resolve to build God’s kingdom in their nation and that their hearts will not grow cold (Matthew 24:12).
  • Pray for Al-Shabaab militants, that their plans will be thwarted and that they will renounce violence.

Myanmar update

Rev. J Laning and Margaret, Elder John VanBaren and Val spent about two weeks (May 2-16) in Myanmar with Rev. Titus Certi, their church, and a group totalling 41 men including 31 from “up country” for a Reformation conference. This is II Timothy 2:2 in action. The wives and girls served humbly in the background. I hope to add recent pics of the church and the men involved. Meantime the full account should soon be available at:

Official PRCA site

Conferees

Rev. Titus and family. He is very busy not only leading his church but also translating KJV into Burmese along with other Reformed books and lessons.

 

Pray for the Spread of the Gospel to North Korea Through Radio Broadcasts

May. 19, 2017 | Korea, North

Pray for a Church Planter Receiving Death Threats

May. 19, 2017 | Colombia

Xavier serves at great personal risk in paramilitary country.

Xavier serves at great personal risk in paramilitary country.

 

Iranian injustice.

 

imgres-3

LATEST: Please pray for our Iranian brothers Yaser Mosibzadeh, Saheb Fadayee and Mohammad Reza Omidi. They have just been given ten-year prison sentences for their involvement in house churches. Mohammad has also been sentenced to two years’ exile in Borazjan, southern Iran, far from his family in Rasht. The three men have still to hear the outcome of their appeal against a sentence of 80 lashes for drinking communion wine. (Source: Middle East Concern)

Iranian Christians still waiting to hear if they’ll be whipped

Three other Iranian Christians – Yaser Mosibzadeh, Saheb Fadayee and Mohammad Reza Omidi – are still waiting to hear if they have won their appeal against a sentence of 80 lashes for drinking communion wine. A second case against them relating to crimes against ‘national security’ has yet to come to court; judges in Rasht have now referred the case to Tehran. Pray they will be acquitted on all counts. (Source: Christian Solidarity Worldwide)
Next time you take communion at church spare a thought – and a prayer – for three Christians in Iran who may be whipped as a punishment for taking communion wine.
The men have appealed against the sentence but if their appeal fails they will receive 80 lashes each.
The lawyer for Yaser Mosibzadeh, Saheb Fadayee and Mohammad Reza Omidi attended a  hearing on Thursday during which they made their appeal against the brutal sentence handed down in September. Please pray that the appeal judge will overturn their sentence when he gives his verdict expected within 20 days.
The three men were arrested in Rasht in May as they celebrated communion. Their lawyer insists it is not illegal in Iran for Christians to drink wine, only Muslims. The three men have a Muslim background.
The three have also been charged with ‘acting against national security’. Iranian officials have threatened further charges if the men meet together or share the gospel with others.
Meanwhile, Christian converts Amin Nader Afshar and Hadi Askary have gone on hunger strike inside Tehran’s Evin Prison unless they receive adequate medical care and a fair trial soon. Hadi is reported to have a kidney infection which has not been treated.
They have been behind bars since their arrest last August, at a picnic in Firuzkuh, but have not yet been charged, despite weeks of interrogation. The other three men arrested with them posted substantial bail and were released.

  • Pray that the appeal judge will scrap the earlier sentence against Yaser, Saheb and Mohammad. Pray that no other charges will be brought against them.
  • Pray that God will protect and heal Amin and Hadi. Amin’s hunger strike has caused his blood pressure to drop dramatically. Pray that they and their three friends will be tried and acquitted soon.
  • Pray that every Christian behind bars in Iran will know that God will prove wrong every false word spoken against them (Isaiah 54:17).

(Source: Middle East Concern)

Iranian Christians Mohammed Roghangir and Massoud Rezai have been prevented from gaining early release from jail on good behaviour. Arrested at a prayer meeting in Shiraz in 2012, Mohammed and Massoud were sentenced to six and five years respectively for ‘action against national security’. A recent appeal by the men for early release was apparently blocked by Iranian intelligence.
Also in Iran, three house church members – Yaser Mosibzadeh, Saheb Fadayee and Mohammed Reza Omidi (known as Youhan) – have just been sentenced to 80 lashes each for drinking communion wine. They plan to appeal. The three Christians from Rasht and their pastor, Youcef Nadarkhani, are due to appear in court on October 15 charged with ‘action against national security’. (Source: Middle East Concern).

UPDATE

Yaser Mosibzadeh, Saheb Fadayee and Mohammed Reza Omidi  have been released on bail. Pray for their exoneration.