Encouragement in the Midst of Suffering

There are no words to describe these killers.

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

(Voice of the Persecuted) What does it mean to tell a 15 year old Nigerian girl that she is a slave for life. Particularly when she sees or hears that another young woman has been executed.

We were deeply saddened to hear the Boko Haram had executed Hauwa Limon.  She was a 24 year old midwife who worked for the International Red Cross.  Hauwa wanted to help displaced mothers deliver their babies. She was a Muslim yet executed by the Islamic militant group, Boko Haram. Their defense for executing her, she became an apostate when she went to work for the Red Cross. The first local chapter of the Red Cross was established in 1881 at the English Evangelical Lutheran Church of Dansville in New York.

How can our hearts not be saddened over this senseless killing. One can only hope that in her final moments she cried out to the…

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INDIA – Trial for seven innocent Christians: appeal for their release

Another absolute travesty of justice on the subcontinent.

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

It is urgent to speed up the judicial process which sees seven innocent Christians of Kandhamal, a district in the Indian state of Orissa, in prison. The seven have been languishing in jail because of the false accusation of the murder of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati , the Hindu leader killed by the Maoists in 2008. This is what the Delhi Minorities Committee (DMC) asks for, which has produced and published a documentary film in Hindi entitled “Kaid mein Bekasoor” (Innocents imprisoned). As reported to Agenzia Fides, the documentary was produced by journalist Anto Akkara who has been spearheading a campaign for the release of the seven innocents.

“It is shocking to know about the plight of these innocents languishing in jail for the last 10 years. It should concern the whole nation”, said Zafarul-Islam Khan, President of the Committee for Minorities. “Our mandate is to speak up for the…

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Boko Haram threatens to kill Christian teenager

Brave girl!

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

(Voice of the Persecuted) Urgent prayers needed for Nigerian Christian teenager threatened to be executed today by Boko Haram. 15 year old Leah Sharibu was among over 100 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram insurgents from a school in Dapchi, Northern Nigeria on Feb. 19, 2018. It was a kidnapping that mirrored what happened in Chibok four years earlier when 276 girls were abducted from the school in Chibok, Borno State. A month after the Dapchi abduction on March 22 the militants released 104 of the schoolgirls, with the exception of Leah. The teenager was the only Christian in the group. Boko Haram members told Leah to renounce her Christian faith and become a Muslim or they would not let her go. The Muslim schoolgirls begged her to do it and go home with them, but she refused to deny her faith in Jesus and is still…

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Twelve Christians Arrested in Nyala, South Darfur

 

No Charges Issued by the National Intelligence and Security Services

10/15/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on October 13, 12 Christian men from Darfur were arbitrarily arrested by officers from the Sudan National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) for mingling with the local Muslim community. Reverend Kuwa Shamal confirmed, “The arrests were done at Nyala market while the young men were interacting with Islam adherents, building rapport for witnessing, when Sudan’s security authorities surrounded them and led them to the police station, handcuffed.”
Rev. Kuwa Shamal (right)

Darfur is a predominantly Muslim, war-torn region. The constant conflict between the Arab Muslims and Christians led to the secession of South Sudan in 2011, after which Sudan pressed harder for adopting stronger Islamic policies.

Commenting on the incident, a lawyer who represents Christians prosecuted in Sudanese courts, expressed, “Until now, the Christians have not been asked what was happening or given a chance to explain what they were doing. This is a total breach of the law of the land that gives freedom of worship and sharing of one’s faith. It is also unlawful to detain anyone without trial.”

Adding to the matter, Rev. Kuwa said, “Some of the arrested men are disciples that I baptized in 2015 when they left Islam and converted to Christianity. The detainees have been doing a recommendable work of sharing the Good News in Darfur, and we pray for their immediate and unconditional release.”

Christians in Sudan who convert from Islam often face discrimination and hostility as a result of their faith. They are considered apostates who deserve the death penalty, according to radical Muslims throughout Sudan.

While speaking with ICC, Pastor Abdulrahem Yoshua of the Sudan Christian Assembly (SCA) sympathized with the arrested brothers and petitioned “all Christians in Sudan and all over the world to stand with the 12 during this trying moment. I sympathize with them because I have gone through the same ordeal a few years ago.”

Another American Missionary in Turkey targeted.

This past Saturday I was arrested by the police during a routine ID check at the Ankara train station. I had arrived to speak at a youth event, and then to preach at the international church the following day. Others filled in and so that wasn’t a problem, though it did cause a lot of believers in Ankara to pray for me. 🙂

Praise God, I’ve been set free, and have a 15-day visa. Need to talk with the lawyers to decide next moves. Thanks to all who have prayed, I’m doing great, glad to be back with my wife and other loved ones.David Byle

More background.

Some of the members of the youth group spent several hours Saturday evening going from police station to police station, trying to find where they had taken me. I had been taken to the main police station’s terrorism department’s jail, which obviously was not open to visitors.

For many hours Saturday I was interrogated by multiple policeman, who painstakingly typed up my answers in their computer. One of the interrogators was obviously from the secret police, as he knew the names of all sorts of Christian workers and activities around the country, and asked about my connections with them.

They asked so many questions about so many things that several times I thought to myself that I wouldn’t need to write up my own memoirs later on, if only they would share with me all the copious notes they had written about me. 🙂

Yesterday (Sunday) afternoon I was released and given a 15 day exit paper, during which time I must leave the country. They told me I’ll have to pay a fine for overstaying my visa, but it wouldn’t cost much, and if I do they wouldn’t put an entry ban on my file, thus enabling me to return on a tourist visa.

My friends and coworkers were working feverishly to help me while I was in there. Andrew Brunson’s lawyer, Cem Halavurt agreed to help me, since my own lawyer felt that since they were apparently accusing me of a crime (doing things “linked to terrorist groups,” though they ended up not pressing any charges) that it was no longer an area she was able to help with. He sent another lawyer who managed to visit me in the prison Sunday morning for about 30 minutes. Cem himself had bought an air ticket to fly to Ankara today (Monday) to help, but thankfully didn’t have to because I was released yesterday.

It’s hard to know exactly why they decided not to deport me (as they were planning to do on Saturday). It could be that they don’t want to disturb relations with America right when things seem to be getting better now that Andrew Brunson has been released. Or it could have been the Supreme Court decision from February 2017, which explicitly prevents the government from deporting me until they have time to look at my case and make a decision. Maybe it was a bit of both.

Whatever the case, I was happy to take the many opportunities that arose to explain the good news of Jesus to various different policemen. Even now, just a few minutes ago, when Ulrike and I arrived at the train station for our return journey, two of the policemen with whom I had spent so much time on Saturday came up to me to greet me and wish me well on my return journey.

I’ve met with some church leaders, some of which seem to think that our time of ministry here in Turkey is coming to an end. Others are expecting I’ll be able to stay, somehow, someway. I got a call from a staff member of the US Embassy this afternoon, who also encouraged me to make sure I leave the country in 15 days. They are aware of my situation, and have also informed people at the Istanbul Consulate, in case I need any help from them.

Tomorrow will be an important day, as we meet with lawyers, ministry colleagues, fellow BCC leadership team members, members of the BCC board, colleagues and leaders from our mission sending agency, to decide what steps to take next.

It might be as simple as making an exit trip out of Turkey, returning shortly thereafter with a tourist visa, then applying and (highly unlikely) receiving a residence permit. Or they may let me come back in on a 3-month tourist visa, but then need to be away from the country for 3 months before coming again. Or they may put a one year, 5 year or permanent entry ban on me (despite promising not to–one never knows).

These last two days Ulrike and I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support, not only from believers here in Turkey, but from literally all around the world. It means a lot to us and encourages us greatly to know we’re not alone, that we’re a part of such a great family, God’s family.

It goes without saying that we value your prayers as we consider what to do in this situation. We’ll try to send more information in the upcoming weeks as things become clear. Our hearts are at peace. We long to stay in Turkey with the people we have grown to love here, but are resigned to do whatever God wants. To him be all the glory. Amen.

David & Ulrike

What would your church do in the face of this threat??

Montagnard House Church in Central Vietnam Faces Shutdown

Local Authorities Plan to Close the Church on October 14

UPDATE??
10/13/2018 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on October 7, local authorities attempted to shut down a Montagnard church and took their leader in for interrogation in Daklak Province, Vietnam.

On Sunday morning, more than 20 churchgoers gathered at the home of Christian leader Ama Sim for service. Approximately 13 officials from the Cuor Dang commune and Cu M’Gar district suddenly entered the home as the group was praying.

Officials asked the members to stop their religious activities and leave. The group refused and responded by saying that if any action were to be taken, it must be after their service.

Given the cramped space, the officials could not enter and only stood at the door until the group finished. They then demanded that Ama Sim be taken back to their office for investigation. The church refused, worrying that he might disappear if taken into custody, so they stood their ground until the officials relented.

Finally, the officials threatened them, saying, “We are giving you [a] warning this time, but next Sunday if you still gather, we will bring more crowds to shut you down.”

The church is asking for prayer for the Ede Border Evangelical Group, in Cuor Dang Commune, M’Gar District, Daklak Province.

The communist government in Vietnam is nervous about large gatherings of people for fear of ‘subversive activities.’ Many religious gatherings fall victim to this suspicion, with believers often attacked, detained, or imprisoned on trumped up charges.

Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “Montagnard Christians in Vietnam have long faced persecution and discrimination for their ethnicity, Christian faith, and role of fighting alongside the US during the Vietnam War. It is shameful that the government continues to violate the freedom of belief and religion, as enshrined in Vietnam’s constitution, especially toward minorities.”

For interviews with Gina Goh, Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org