Thursday, May 31, 2012

‘Oh Lord, hold my hand’

In 1999, religious war broke out on the Maluku Islands in Indonesia. The Voice of the Martyrs was there to respond to the needs of those affected by the violence.

In this video, survivors of the attacks gathered together to express their love of the Lord through song. Produced by a VOM contact in Indonesia, the video also contains footage and photographs from the country.

The song, entitled "Giama", is performed by the band Yangere Petra WKO. The lyrics, roughly translated, are below.

“Oh Lord, hold my hand. Don't let us fall into temptation of the world.
Don't abandon us.
To whom we put on our hope if it is not on you.
Lord forgive our sins that we commit that our heart become calm.
Don't abandon us.”

(Length 4:34)

For other videos like this, visit VOM Canada or VOM USA on YouTube. You can also watch videos on our multimedia site.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

VOM visiting St. Albert, Whitby, Kemptville and Calgary in June

Please join us to hear testimonies of persecuted
Christians and to discover how you can come
alongside those suffering for their faith.
We warmly welcome you to attend an upcoming VOM event this June.

June 3, 2012 – 11 a.m.
St. Albert Salvation Army
165 Liberton Drive
St. Albert, AB T8N 6A7
Speaker: Greg Musselman
For more information, phone 1-780-458-1937.

June 3, 2012 – 6:30 p.m.
Hebron Christian Reformed Church
4240 Anderson Street
Whitby, ON L1R 2W1
Speakers: Trevor and Monica Ross
For more information, kindly phone our office at 1-888-298-6423.

June 6, 2012 – 7 p.m.
Southgate Community Church
1303 French Settlement Road
Kemptville, ON  K0G 1J0
Speaker: John Barron
For more information, email
CLICK HERE to download the event poster (PDF) 

June 13, 2012 – 7 p.m.
First Alliance Church
12345 40th Street SE
Calgary, AB  T2Z 4E6
Speaker: David Harrison
For more information, phone 403-212-8845.

To view other upcoming VOM events, or to request a speaker, please visit our Events page or contact our office.

Is religious freedom in danger in Canada?

Photo by Bitpicture, available under a
Creative Commons Attribution Generic license 
According to bishops in Canada, freedom of religion and conscience are in danger of disappearing from Canadian society, reports CNA.

“In the past decade in Canada there have been several situations that raise the question whether our right to freedom of conscience and religion is everywhere respected,” the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops observed in a recent pastoral letter.

“At times,” the bishops observed, “believers are being legally compelled to exercise their profession without reference to their religious or moral convictions, and even in opposition to them.” They pointed to the dangers of “radical secularism” and an “aggressive” relativism that opposes all claims of truth.

The Canadian bishops also highlighted the anti-religious nature of some “anti-discrimination” laws, as well as the tendency of advocacy groups to use provincial Human Rights Tribunals to promote a radical agenda and block believers from speaking and acting freely.

These “acrimonious procedures,” they said, “would be better replaced by a civilized and respectful debate” that offers “a voice in the public forum to religious believers.”

“If that voice is suppressed in any way, believers should view this as a restriction on their right to freedom of religion, one which should be forcefully challenged,” the bishops stated.

Billed as a “pressing appeal” to people of all religions and outlooks, the Canadian bishops' “Pastoral Letter on Freedom of Conscience and Religion” cites the country's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which numbers “freedom of conscience and religion” among the fundamental Canadian liberties.

However, the bishops' message also makes it clear that religious freedom is not a right given by the government. Rather, it is a human right that the state “acknowledges and respects” but “does not grant.”

For the full report, click here.

Do you agree that religious freedom is in danger in Canada? Why or why not?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pelagius' choice

If you were offered the best this world can give – perhaps a new car or condo, a lucrative career, expensive clothes, or the latest electronics – would you accept it if the cost was rejecting Christ?

In A.D. 925, a teenager named Pelagius in Spain was given this very ultimatum. When Pelagius’ uncle was detained by the Muslim caliph (king), Pelagius was also held hostage. One day, the caliph called for Pelagius and offered him the best the world could give – freedom, royal privileges, safety. There was a catch: denying Christ.

It was a tempting offer. But Pelagius replied, “All that means nothing to me. A Christian I have been, am, and will continue to be.” For his refusal to deny his faith, Pelagius was brutally tortured and killed.

For you, following Christ likely won’t result in torture or death. But your faith will cost you something – “missing out” on certain activities or pursuits, facing rejection from family and friends, or enduring ridicule and scorn.

In those moments, remember Pelagius. He had the option of taking the easier road, but he fixed his eyes on his true identity: “A Christian I have been, am, and will continue to be.” He knew that a relationship with Jesus is better than anything this world can give.

This story was originally posted on our youth and young adult site, Thirteen Three’s mission is to empower and impassion young adults to be bound with their persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ through praying, giving, writing, and telling others. To learn more, visit our Thirteen Three website.

Monday, May 28, 2012

In mailboxes this week!

Look for the June issue of The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter in your mailbox this week!
  • “The man who defied the authorities”: Meet Pao, a Vietnamese Christian who has been arrested and beaten for witnessing in his country. Be encouraged by his faithfulness to evangelize as well as disciple new believers despite opposition from authorities. 
  • A father’s courage: When Rachel was just seven years old, she watched as police came into her home and arrested her father for “preaching against the government.” Find out what he was preaching and how this affected Rachel, who is now much older.
  • Back to our roots: VOM founder Richard Wurmbrand shares the importance of leaving quarrels and debates to others. 
  • What you can do this summer: Stay involved with our persecuted family this summer through engaging activities and resources that bring them help, love and encouragement.
  • Bookstore: Check out this month’s featured resources like VOM’s “This Shirt is Illegal” T-shirt and the Underground Reality youth kit that inspires and challenges others to remember those in bonds (Hebrews 13:3).
The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter is the flagship publication of The Voice of the Martyrs in Canada. Published monthly, it is available free of charge to anyone in Canada who requests it.

You can subscribe online here.

Christian women ‘barely citizens at all’

Magdalene Ashraf, a Christian nurse trainee,
was brutally attacked in July 2010 by several
Muslim men who raped her and threw her
from the window of a medical centre
in Karachi, Pakistan.
Revelations about the scale of hate crimes against Christian women in Pakistan and Egypt were scheduled for discussion at a meeting in UK’s parliament on May 15, reports Christian Today.

At the briefing in the House of Commons, MPs and peers were expected to hear how Christian women in countries marked by religious persecution experience kidnapping, violence, rape, and even have basics like water denied them.

According to research, women are more likely to experience sexual harassment or rape because of their lower social status – which is due to both their religion and their gender.

One survey of women from minority religions in Pakistan revealed that 30 per cent of those with jobs had experienced sexual harassment. Other reports revealed how abductions of Coptic women in Egypt have increased, with 800 cases of Christians kidnapped and pressured to convert to Islam since 2009.

One speaker included Thomsena Anjum, originally from Pakistan’s Punjab province, who fled to the UK with her family after being shot at following a blasphemy allegation against her son. Her husband, Stephen, worked closely with assassinated Pakistan minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti.

“These hate crimes towards Christian women are increasing and do not seem to end. These crimes are unreported and unpunished,” she said.

John Pontifex from Aid to the Church in Need adds, “Taken as a whole, this research suggests that Christians in general are often treated at best as second class citizens and Christian women are treated as if they are barely citizens at all.”

In light of the struggles Christian women face around the world, VOM’s women’s ministry, Release Women, seeks to reach out specifically to our suffering sisters. We serve and encourage our sisters through prayer and hands-on projects while being inspired and challenged by their testimonies of overcoming faith in the face of imprisonment, brutality and even death for Christ's sake. For more information on how you can get involved, click here.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Extreme instruments

A Communist Prison: A Christian Pastor

“Why is it that so many Christians sing only once a week? Why only once? If it is right to sing, sing every day. If it is wrong to sing, don’t sing on Sunday.”

The pastor had spent several horrifying years in prison at the hands of the Communist authorities. He was jailed for his belief in Christ, and though he remembered the tortures there, he did not focus on them much. Instead he spoke of the times of joy in the presence of his Lord. He and his fellow Christian prisoners formed a community of praise – in the middle of prison.

“When we were in prison we sang almost every day because Christ was alive in us. The Communist were very nice to us. They knew we liked to praise God with musical instruments, so they gave every Christians in prison a musical instrument. However, they did not give us violins or mandolins – these were too expensive. Instead, they put chains on our hands and feet. They chained us to add to our grief. Yet we discovered that chains are splendid musical instruments! When we clanged them together in rhythm, we could sing, ‘This is the day (clink, clank), this is the day (clink, clank), which the Lord has made (clink, clank), which the Lord has made (clink, clank).’” What a joyful noise unto the Lord!

To those who have yet to experience it, persecution seems to focus entirely on loss. The loss of freedom. The loss of hope. Even losing one’s life. However, those who have suffered for their faith in Christ overlook what’s missing and focus on new discoveries. They relish what little freedoms they have instead of regretting what they lack. In this story, Communist captors robbed believers of most of life’s freedoms and dignity. However, these stout believers focused on what remained – their joy in the Lord. If it is good to sing to the Lord when you have everything – it is good to sing to him when you have lost it all, too. What will you do today to make sure you do not lose your Christian joy?

Excerpted from Extreme Devotion, a book of 365 true accounts of men and women who totally sold out for Jesus. You can order a copy of this book from our online catalogue or by contacting our office.  

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sabina’s story

Sabina Wurmbrand was imprisoned by the Communist regime in Romania during the country’s worst Stalinist period (1950-1953). During her sentence, she was sent to the dreaded subterranean Fort of Jilava. She also endured forced labour working on the Danube River – Black Sea Canal. Tens of thousands of prisoners died during the construction of this canal.

Sabina was the wife of Reverend Richard Wurmbrand (1909-2001), who was imprisoned for his Christian faith for 14 years. While in prison, he envisioned a ministry that would focus on the plight of the persecuted Church, raise a voice on their behalf, and provide encouragement and assistance to them. In the mid-1960s, he founded The Voice of the Martyrs.

This documentary contains unique, never-shown-before footage of some of these Romanian Communist prisons. (Length 26:00)

For other documentaries and videos about the persecuted Church, visit our multimedia site.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The way of the cross is the way of love

Written by Glenn Penner 

What would compel someone to be ready to die for his/her faith?

I think a significant clue to answering that question can be found in John 15:13, where Jesus said that the greatest expression of love is when one friend lays down his life for another. Sacrifice in this passage takes place in the context of relationship: love, friendship.

Our relationship with Jesus Christ is intended to be more than just a belief in Him; more than an affirmation of theological and biblical truths. We must meet Christ in love, not simply in our thoughts. We are called to a relationship in which we surrender to His love for us and in doing so, we fall in love with Him.

For those of us (like myself) who tend to live in the realm of thoughts and ideas, this is not a comfortable thought. Indeed, all of us, like our parents in the Garden of Eden, feel an irrational pull to hide when we hear the voice of the God who loves calling out to us.

But knowing God is this way, knowing Him in love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18) and it is fear that keeps us from following Him recklessly and unashamedly, regardless of the cost (1 Peter 3:14, 15). Obedience to the point of death is the consequence of a surrender to the Person of Christ, not simply an acceptance of an obligation.

So what could compel someone to be ready to die for his/her faith? Love. Love that blossoms from the heart of a man or woman who has meditated on God's love for him/her and who responds in kind; a person who meditates on the cross of Christ, God's ultimate expression of His love, and in response, picks up a cross of his/her own.

The way of the cross is the way of love.

Glenn Penner, former CEO of The Voice of the Martyrs Canada, passed away in January 2010. Glenn was passionate about researching and teaching the theology of persecution. For more of his writing, you can check out his book, In the Shadow of the Cross.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pray for Afghanistan

Afghanistan is no stranger to struggle. The Soviet invasion in 1978 and pullout a decade later brought no peace. Islamic factions engaged in jihad, or holy war, and the Taliban, which follows an extreme form of militant Islam, gained control in 1996. The Taliban’s takeover of the country imposed a deviant expression of strict Wahhabist Islam, particularly devastating for Afghanistan’s women.

When the Taliban fell in 2001, the country’s economy improved largely because of the infusion of international assistance. Despite some progress, Afghanistan is extremely poor and highly dependent on foreign aid.

In 2004, Afghanistan held its first democratic elections and instated a new constitution. It declares, “The religion of the state of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is the sacred religion of Islam.” Followers of other religions may exercise their faith and perform religious rites “within the limits of the provisions of law.” However, the constitution also says, “no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam.” Despite gains toward building a stable central government, a resurgent Taliban and continuing provincial instability remain serious challenges for the Afghan government.

Muslims make up the vast majority of Afghanistan’s population at 99.85 percent. Christians account for 0.05 percent. While there is limited freedom to practice other religions, there is no freedom to propagate another faith or to convert from Islam. Authorities often ignore the persecution that occurs. Citizens are free to practice their own religion, but individuals and organizations suspected of evangelizing Muslims have been threatened or attacked by militants. Because of these limitations, the Church in Afghanistan remains almost entirely underground.

Please pray for Afghanistan.
  • Pray for the protection of Afghan believers, and for the clarity and consistency of their witness.
  • Pray the Afghan people will experience genuine freedom and an improved quality of life.
  • Pray that in the crucible of suffering, the Body of Christ will mature and grow.
For other Country Reports and accompanying prayer requests, click here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Christians under fire in Khartoum, Sudan

The wall of this Christian compound was recently
destroyed by Muslim extremists.
Photo: Compass Direct News
There have been several attacks on Christians in Sudan's Khartoum region in recent weeks, reports Middle East Concern.

On April 21, a church building in Sawafi was attacked by a mob provoked by a radical Muslim leader. Security forces stopped the mob. However, some found an alternate route, enabling them to ransack and burn down the building.

The same day, a Bible School located on a church compound in Al-Gereif was badly damaged in an arson attack by a Muslim mob. The church had received threats of violence in late March and early April. Office equipment, library resources, and students' personal belongings were destroyed.

On April 19, in Burri, a group of 130 university students of South Sudanese origin were detained and given seven days to leave Sudan after being accused of celebrating South Sudan's invasion of the Heglig oil field within South Kordofan province. The students denied that they had held any such celebration.

The day before, churches in Al-Baraka, Dar el Salam, and Takamul districts received notice that their properties would be demolished because of lack of structural integrity. Church leaders complained that the Ministry of Planning and Urban Development had not informed them of required changes to the buildings. Church leaders have reportedly been informally notified that the orders have been reversed.

Meanwhile, the April 8 deadline for those of South Sudanese origin (many of whom are Christian) to leave Sudan following the secession of South Sudan in July 2011 has been postponed for 30 days.

Please pray!
  • Pray that Christians in Khartoum will know the peace, presence and protection of Jesus. 
  • Pray that the detained students will be released. 
  • Pray that all demolition orders will be officially withdrawn. 
  • Please ask God that church leaders will know the Spirit's guidance and wisdom at this time.
For more information on the trials Christians face in Sudan, visit our Sudan Country Report.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Faithful until death in Turkey

On April 18, 2007, Wolfgang Haede’s brother-in-law, Necati Aydin, and two other Christians were brutally murdered by five young men seeking to rid Turkey of Christians.

In this personal account of his brother-in-law’s sacrifice, Wolfgang, who worked in Turkey as a missionary for many years, explores the question of what is worth living and dying for. In the process, he also examines the deep historical roots of Christianity in Turkey, a nation that is culturally Muslim but officially secular.

Read Faithful Until Death, and draw closer to Christ through the life of this modern martyr. (Paperback, 128 pages)

In Canada, you can order this resource for $8.00 from our online resource catalogue or by contacting our office.

Monday, May 21, 2012

One believer released, others remain imprisoned in Iran

Farshid Fathi, among others,
remain imprisoned in Iran.
Photo: Present Truth Ministries
Fariborz Azram, a believer from a Muslim background, was released on April 11 after six months in detention on account of his faith, reports Middle East Concern. He was arrested during a raid on his home on October 17, 2011.

For most of his time in prison he was denied visitors and little information about his condition was disclosed to his wife and two children. It remains unclear whether he was released unconditionally or whether bail was paid pending formal charges and a court hearing.

Elsewhere, more than 20 believers remain detained across Iran because of their Christian faith or activities. Following a series of raids in February and early March, five believers remain detained in Shiraz, three in Kermanshah, and at least seven in Isfahan.

Among others detained are some who have been held for more than a year, including Noorallah Qabitizade, who was arrested in December 2010, and Youcef Nadarkhani who has been detained since October 2009 and remains under a death sentence.

After a year of being held without charge, Farshid Fathi was sentenced in April to six years in prison. Farshid's attorney is reportedly planning to appeal the ruling.

Meanwhile, Behnam Irani, who is serving a sentence in Karaj since May 2011, is reported to be in ill health and suffering abuse from fellow prisoners.

Please pray for Iran.
  • Praise God that Fariborz has been released and returned to his family! 
  • Pray that he will be protected from further threats and harassment. 
  • Ask the Lord to help him to overcome this ordeal and to remain strong in his faith. 
  • Pray for the release of Noorallah, Farshid, Youcef and Behnam. 
  • Pray that, like Paul, their imprisonment will result in the advancement of God's kingdom (Philippians 1:12-14).
For more information about Iran's persecuted Church, click here.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Extreme hero

As a soldier in the Soviet Red Army, Vania Moiseev was constantly reprimanded for sharing his faith. Many men in his regiment came to Christ through his testimony. When his commander ordered him to keep silent about his faith, he replied, “What would a nightingale do if ordered to stop singing? It could not, and neither can I.”

Everyone who knew Vania said that his faith was contagious. Soon he was arrested and subjected to brutal torture. He wrote to his mother saying, “I know we will probably not see each other again, but don’t weep for me. An angel showed me the heavenly Jerusalem, and it is beautiful. Please do your best, dear Mother, to meet me there.”

He went on to assure her God was encouraging him by sending angels to his side. He described the various encounters he had with angels. “Angels are transparent. When you have one in front of you and a man stands behind, the presence of the angel does not block the view of the man. On the contrary, you see him better. When you see through an angel, you can understand and appreciate even a torturer.”

In the end, Vania was killed for his faith at age twenty-one. He was a young martyr whose courageous life enabled him to become a hero all over Eastern Europe.

Angels are everywhere. Their likeness is in books, shaped into candleholders, hung as Christmas ornaments, and formed into angel-shaped cookie cutters. Many people regret they have never seen real angels – God’s heavenly messengers. Yet everyday angels are often overlooked. An unlovely person in need of our acceptance just may be an angel. The enemy who hurts us may be the angelic being we are looking to see. Even if a person turns out to be an ordinary human after all, our love for that person will still bring us one step closer to heaven. Like Vania, are you looking at your life through a heavenly perspective? Are you looking for angels where you previously saw only an enemy? Look for potential angels to love today.

You can order a copy of Extreme Devotion from our online catalogue or by contacting our office.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Poem for the persecuted

Alyse L. of Ohio, age 14, wrote the following poem of encouragement for the persecuted Church.
When I keep my eyes on Jesus
All else just seems to disappear:
All my worries, all my fears,
All my sorrow, shame, and tears.
When I keep my eyes on Jesus,
It’s then I see what really matters.
And everything else is taken away,
All that I’ve put in my own way. 
When I keep my eyes on Jesus,
And on Him alone,
I stop focusing on things of this world
And start seeing things that are out of this world. 
When I keep my eyes on Jesus,
His tender arms o’er me enfold,
And He whispers my name
With a gentle assurance
And lovingly places me in His mold. 
If you keep your eyes on Jesus,
He’s sure to do the same.
And everything will become as new,
When His will you do.
This poem, along with many resources and activities to teach kids about their suffering brothers and sisters, can be found on our children’s ministry website, Do your kids or Sunday school students have a poem, drawing, or other creative way to show their support for the persecuted Church? If so, we’d love to hear about it. Simply contact our office, and be sure to take some photos!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Grenade attack on church in Kenya kills one

The Nairobi church that was damaged with grenades
Photo: Compass Direct News
A grenade explosion on April 29 at a church in Nairobi, Kenya, killed a 27-year-old university student and injured 16 people, reports Compass Direct News.

Kelvin Walumba was killed after a man pretending to be a fellow worshipper threw three grenades as the service was concluding. Only one of the grenades exploded. A security guard said the assailant, who after running out into the street fired three pistol shots into the air, appeared to be of Somali origin.

Al Shabaab Islamic extremists from Somalia have embarked on a series of assaults in Kenya after the Kenyan military invaded Somali territory last autumn in an attempt to quell extremist attacks.

Church leaders said four members of the church are in critical condition: Leonida Mbogo, Julia Mumbi, Ezekiel Muthini, and Shalom Koronge. Leonida sustained serious injuries to her leg. A Sunday school teacher said one of her students, a boy identified only as Jessy, was receiving hospital treatment for injuries and is in stable condition.

Please pray:
  • Pray that God will bring comfort and peace to the family and friends of Kelvin. 
  • Pray for healing for those injured and all those who witnessed the attack. 
  • Pray too for the perpetrator. Pray that the Holy Spirit will convict him and bring him to repentance.
Visit our Persecuted Church Prayer Wall to post a prayer of support for our suffering brothers and sisters in Kenya.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A letter from Pastor Youcef

Youcef Nadarkhani
Photo: Present Truth Ministries
Present Truth Ministries recently received the following letter from Pastor Youcef, an Iranian Christian who has been sentenced to death for apostasy. In his letter, Youcef discusses his current condition, his thoughts about persecution, and his response towards the burning of Qur’ans.

Please continue to keep Pastor Youcef and his family in your prayers.
07 May 2012
Greetings from your servant and younger brother in Christ, Youcef Nadarkhani. 
To: All those who are concerned and worried about my current situation. 
First, I would like to inform all of my beloved brothers and sisters that I am in perfect health in the flesh and spirit. And I try to have a little different approach from others to these days, and consider it as the day of exam and trial of my faith. And in these days which are hard in order to prove your loyalty and sincerity to God, I am trying to do the best in my power to stay right with what I have learned from God’s commandments. 
I need to remind my beloveds, though my trial due has been so long, and as in the flesh I wish these days to end, yet I have surrendered myself to God’s will. 
I am neither a political person nor do I know about political complicity, but I know that while there are many things in common between different cultures, there are also differences between these cultures around the world which can result in criticism, which most of the times response to this criticisms will be harsh and as a result will lengthen our problems. 
From time to time I am informed about the news which is spreading in the media about my current situation, for instance being supported by various churches and famous politicians who have asked for my release, or campaigns and human rights activities which are going on against the charges which are applied to me. I do believe that these kind of activities can be very helpful in order to reach freedom, and respecting the human rights in a right way can bring forth great results in this. 
I want to appreciate all those are trying to reach to this goal. But at the other hand, I’d like to announce my disgust at insulting words or activities which make stress and trouble, which unfortunately are done with the justification (excuse) of defending human rights and freedom, for the final result is so clear and obvious for me. Insulting the belief of other nations or people, whether they be a majority or minority, is not accepted and is an unworthy deed, specifically for those who have this teaching to love and respect others more than themselves and treat them the same as you want to be treated. 
Then, burning and insulting is not a reverent behavior for a Christian, but it’s worthy to be in obedience to the word of God and humble ourselves to glorify God. 
I try to be humble and obedient to those who are in power, obedience to those in authority which God has granted to the officials of my country, and pray for them to rule the country according to the will of God and be successful in doing this. For I know this in this way I have obeyed God’s word.  I try to obey along with those whom I see in a common situation with me. They never had any complaint, but just let the power of God be manifested in their lives, and though sometimes we read that they have used this right to defend themselves, for they had this right, I am not an exception as well and have used all possibilities and so forth and am waiting for the final result. 
So I ask all the beloved ones to pray for me as the holy word has said. At the end I hope this be prepared as soon as possible, as the authorities of my country will do with free will according to their law and commandments which are answerable to. 
May God’s Grace and Mercy be upon you now and forever. Amen. 
Youcef Nadarkhani

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Following Christ in Somalia despite great risks

Somalia's Islamist terror group al Shabaab is working to rid the Muslim country of all Christians. Christian converts from Islam are especially targeted.

Watch this video for testimonies of believers in Somalia who are devoted to follow Jesus Christ despite great risks.

For other videos like this one, visit our multimedia site.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

“When I am alive, I want my life to glorify our Lord’s kingdom”

Please keep Thong and his family in your prayers. 
Thong Chan, a Khmu Christian, spent 13 years and eight months in prison in Laos for his faith. He was released earlier this year.

Thong was arrested June 8, 1999, and sentenced to 15 years in prison. On February 2, 2012, he was released, two years early. VOM supported him and his family while he was in prison, and provided medical care after his release.

Below are excerpts of an interview conducted by VOM staff shortly after his release.

VOM: You don’t seem like angry or bitter about being in the prison. Were you angry about having to be there?

Thong: I don’t feel regret, but on the other hand, I give thanks to the Lord. Even in prison, I knew that God was with me, and I knew what He had done for me on the cross. It is greater than what I have been through in prison.

What was the time that you felt the lowest or when was it the most difficult? What was the worse time for you?

The worst time was from 1999 to 2001 — about three or four years — because in that time, I didn’t have a Bible. I was also just a new believer, but I still had peace in my heart. When I got a Bible or radio, I would read and listen to grow my faith every day.

So during that time when you didn’t have anything at all. Why did you stay faithful to God?

I remember something I heard on the radio. The speaker said that our Lord is the God who created the world, the universe. When I remembered his words, I would think about the earth, the stars and the moon, and I saw the glory of God. How great God is! If no one can create them, how can they exist? When I look at them, I see that they are real. It comforts me and supports me and caused me to depend on my faith during that time.

Is there anything that you want to say to the people who prayed for you?

I was in jail. I know how hard the life is, but I want to encourage believers in America to be strong in their faith. I know many Americans have not accepted Jesus Christ yet, but you have the freedom to proclaim Jesus and share the Gospel. Go evangelize in the name of Jesus because you can. You have the right to read the Bible, to pray and go to church. Please, do that.

Please pray for my country Laos, that God will change the country to be the land of the Lord. Pray that everyone accepts Jesus Christ because I know that nothing is worthy in this life except becoming a Christian and following Jesus Christ.

Thank you to my brothers and sisters in America, Canada and many other countries for your faithful prayer. I know that I am still alive today because of your faithful prayer. I am now sharing my testimony because of your powerful prayer.

Please pray for my life from now on. When I am alive, I want my life to glorify our Lord’s kingdom. I want to share the gospel and do good things to glorify Him. Pray for me. Pray for my family to minister, and pray that God will provide what we need.

To read the full interview, click here. For more information on the persecuted Church in Laos, visit our Laos Country Report.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Christians in Nigeria killed, injured

Debris from an earlier suicide bombing in Nigeria
On April 29, believers worshipping at Bayero University in the northern city of Kano, Nigeria, were targeted by militants from Boko Haram, reports the Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin.

The jihadists attacked the open-air service held outside the faculty of medicine, throwing explosive devices amongst the worshippers then chasing and shooting believers as they fled. They also attacked a worship service being held in the sporting complex, again throwing explosive devices amongst the believers who were then chased and gunned down as they ran away.

Twenty-one people were killed and more than 20 were treated in hospital for gunshot wounds.

In an almost simultaneous attack, six Boko Haram gunmen burst into a chapel in the northeast city of Maiduguri, spraying bullets throughout the sanctuary. The pastor and three others who were preparing to serve communion were killed, while others were injured.

Please pray for Nigeria.
  • Ask God to surround those who are grieving with His love, peace, and comfort. 
  • Pray that the perpetrators of this violence will repent and turn to Jesus Christ. 
  • Pray that Christians in Nigeria will keep their eyes on Jesus, persevere in their faith, and not grow weary or lose heart (Hebrews 10:32-39; Hebrews 12:1-3).
Click here for more on Nigeria's persecuted Church.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Finding courage in prison

Mainland China, during the Red Guard Era (1966-69)

Over and over, a mother spoke soothing words to her five-year-old child as they sat in their dark, damp cell. The woman was in jail because she had protested against the arrest of her bishop; her child was in jail because the little girl had nowhere else to go.

All the prisoners were indignant at seeing the child suffer so. Even the prison director said to the mother, “Don’t you have pity on your daughter? Just declare that you give up being a Christian and will not go to church anymore. Then you and the child will be free.”

In despair the woman agreed, and she was released. After two weeks, she was forced to shout from a stage before 10,000 people, “I am no longer a Christian.” On their return home, the child, who had stood near her when she denied her faith, said, “Mummy, today Jesus is not satisfied with you.”

The mother explained, “You wept in prison. I had to say this out of love for you.”

Siao-Mei replied, “I promise that if we go to jail again for Jesus, I will not weep.”

The mother ran to the prison director and told him, “You convince me I should say wrong things for my daughter’s sake, but she has more courage than I.”

Both went back to prison. But Siao-Mei no longer wept.

Today, on Mother’s Day, please also remember the mothers who face persecution around the world. Pray that God will protect the children who are left without their mothers' care, and that these mothers will have the joy of knowing that the Lord is caring for them in their absence (Psalm 68:5). Pray too that God will enable Christian parents to demonstrate an unwavering commitment to Christ so that their children will be encouraged walk closely with the Lord as they grow up (Deuteronomy 11:18-20, 2 Timothy 1:5).

Christian women living in nations hostile to Christ face unique challenges. Some are forced into hard labour, others are subordinated and sexually abused. To serve and encourage our sisters in Christ, VOM’s women’s ministry, Release Women, aims to connect women in Canada with women suffering for Christ’s sake. Find out more by visiting our Release Women website or by “liking” us on Facebook.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Words from our founder: Overcoming solitude

VOM founder Richard Wurmbrand spent
14 years in prison for his faith. 
One of the greatest problems for an underground fighter is to know how to fill up his solitude. We had absolutely no books. Not only no Bible, but no books, no scrap of paper, and no pencil. We never heard a noise, and there was absolutely nothing to distract our attention. We looked at the walls, that was all. Now normally a mind under such circumstances becomes mad.... I can tell you from my own experience how I avoided becoming mad, but this again has to be prepared by a life of spiritual exercise beforehand....

I, and many other prisoners, did it like this. We never slept during the night. We slept during the day. The whole night we were awake... The demonic forces are forces of the night, and therefore, it is so important to oppose them during the night. Vigils are very important. In the free world, vigils are largely unknown. In my country, even before the Communist takeover, we had vigils....

In solitary confinement we awoke when the other prisoners went to bed. We filled our time with a program that was so heavy we could not fulfill it. We started with a prayer, a prayer in which we traveled through the whole world. We prayed for each country, for where we knew the names of towns and men, and we prayed for great preachers. It took a good hour or two to come back. We prayed for pilots, and for those on the sea, and for those who were in prisons.

The Bible tells us about one of the great joys we can have, even in a prison cell: “Rejoice with those who rejoice” (Romans 12:15). I rejoiced that there were families somewhere who gathered with their children, read the Bible together, told jokes, and were so happy with each other. Somewhere there was a boy who loved a young girl and dated her; I could be happy about them. There they had a prayer meeting; and there was someone who studied; and there is somebody who enjoyed good food, etc. We could rejoice with those who rejoiced.

Excerpted from Richard Wurmbrand’s book, The Triumphant Church. You can order this book from our online catalogue or by contacting our office.

The Voice of the Martyrs was founded in the mid-1960s by Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, who was imprisoned and tortured by Communist authorities in his native Romania for 14 years. While still in prison, Pastor Wurmbrand envisioned a ministry that would focus on the plight of the persecuted Church, raise a voice on their behalf, and provide encouragement and assistance to them.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Christian cleared of blasphemy in Pakistan

Dildar was accused of
"abusing Islamic holy words."
A Pakistani Christian man who rescued his eight-year-old nephew from an attack by a group of Muslim boys has been acquitted of blasphemy charges, reports Compass Direct News. The 27-year-old father of two, Dildar Masih, was cleared of all charges on March 26 due to a lack of evidence.

Dildar said despite being called to court three times, not a single accuser stepped forward at the hearings to testify against him. "You cannot imagine my joy when the prison officials told me that I had been acquitted by the court," he said.

The original charge came after his young nephew, Ihtesham, was passing by a nearby madrassa (an Islamic religious school) when a group of boys from the school began to beat him for refusing to convert to Islam. Dildar saw the attack and rushed to the boy's aid. A short time later, a Muslim mob of about 55 people converged on Dildar's home while he was at work saying Dildar had been heard "abusing Islamic holy words."

Dildar said that despite threats of violence during his imprisonment, he stood by his faith. "I kept on telling God that I had complete faith in Him and would wait for the day when He would set me free," he said.

Please join us in praying.
  • Praise God for Dildar's release and for his faithfulness while imprisoned! 
  • Please pray that his faith will be a testimony to others who were in prison with him, and that they too will place their faith in Christ. 
  • Pray for other Christians in Pakistan who are facing false accusations of blasphemy.
Click here to learn more about our persecuted brothers and sisters in Pakistan.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Algerian Christian finds hope amid persecution

Reading the experiences of Pastor Wurmbrand
changed Azad’s view of persecution.
Click here for this and other resources.
An evangelist in Algeria has recommitted himself to the Lord after struggling for months following some persecution for his faith, reports VOM-USA.

"Azad" had been a believer for several years, but became discouraged after his father chased him out of his family home, and his wife's family threatened to take her away if he continued to evangelize. A few months later, his boss fired him.

Azad told a VOM worker, "I am so discouraged, and I feel hatred against God." He stopped reading his Bible or going to church.

But one day, he asked a Christian friend for something to read. The Christian gave him Tortured for Christ, a book written by VOM's founder Richard Wurmbrand about his experiences in prison. The book had a profound effect on Azad and he decided he could accept persecution for his faith. Azad understood something he couldn't see before: that he could accept the persecution he experienced as part of God's plan for his life.

Please pray for Azad.
  • Thank God for ministering to Azad during his time of need. 
  • Ask the Lord to continue to encourage and strengthen Azad as he shares the Good News with others. 
  • Pray that many more Christians in Algeria and around the world will put their trust in God, regardless of their circumstances.
Please visit our Algeria Country Report for more information on Algeria's persecuted Church.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Manini's overcoming faith

Manini thanks believers in Canada
for their continued prayers.
Manini Digal was just an ordinary teenager living in Orissa, India. But everything changed for her in August 2008, when Hindu mobs attacked village after village, targeting the Christians in their wake. The militants were seeking revenge for the death of a Hindu leader – a crime that was blamed on Christians even though Maoists accepted responsibility.

Manini’s father, mother, and grandfather were attacked before the young men set their attention on Manini. She was beaten, gang-raped, doused with kerosene and set on fire.

Eventually, Manini was brought to Indore, Madhya Pradesh, by a VOM partner so that she might receive better medical treatment. The recovery process has been slow and difficult. She has had several surgeries and continues to carry the physical and emotional scars of her attack.

VOM staff recently visited Manini to hear an update on her condition. Manini began by thanking Christians in Canada for praying for her. "By [the] grace of God and because of your prayers, I’m managing and doing good," she shared.

Manini also shared about how her faith, despite the horrors she has faced, has grown since the attack. "I believe God can do impossible things for me," she said. "I believe now that He can do all things."

The Lord has indeed done wonderful things in Manini’s life. She has experienced physical healing to the point where she only occasionally suffers pain or itching from her scars.

Manini is currently studying at a Discipleship Training School. She particularly enjoys spending time alone with God in prayer, interceding on behalf of others. She is also involved in outreach work by sharing her testimony with new believers. Her story of overcoming faith has encouraged many. Some of Manini’s favourite passages in the Bible are Psalm 23, 103, and 121.

Manini hopes to study nursing in the future and to use those gifts to serve God’s people.

As this brave sister in Christ seeks to live for His glory, please keep her in your prayers! "Please do continue to pray for me," Manini said, "that I could continue to stand for the faith and for the Lord."

To watch a video interview with Manini, click here.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

VOM visiting Kingston, Knoxford and Stratton this May

This month, please join VOM to hear how Christians around the world are standing firm in their faith in the midst of persecution, and discover how you can stand with them!

May 12, 2012 – 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
St. Mark's Anglican Church Hall
268 Main Street
Barriefield Village
Kingston, ON K7K 6W4
Speakers: Riadh & Basma, Yonatan Hiruy, Adriane Nalbandian
Please register by emailing
For more information, click here.

May 13, 2012 – 10:30 a.m.
Knoxford  Praying Band Church
3866  Route 560
Knoxford, NB
Speaker: Ruth Prior
For more information, call 1-888-298-6423.

May 27, 2012 – 10 a.m. & 11 a.m.
Christian Fellowship Chapel
192 Cameron Road
Stratton, ON  P0W 1N0
Speaker: J. Ryan
For more information, call 807-483-5848. 

To view other upcoming events, or to request a VOM speaker, please visit our Events site.

Orphans remain faithful in Laos

Children in a village in Laos
A group of 11 orphans in Laos who were threatened with expulsion from school for attending church have shown remarkable faith, reports our sister mission, VOM-USA. The children have continued to attend church, slipping away one at a time to avoid being detained by school officials on their way to worship.

Last August, the headmaster of the government-sponsored school called the boys into his office and told them if they did not stop attending church they would be expelled. Initially only four of the boys dared to defy the headmaster, but after witnessing the faithfulness of the four, all the boys began attending church again.

The boys have not been confronted by school officials in several months, and those who care for the orphans believe that their steadfast faith has deterred officials from trying to prevent the boys from going to church.

Please pray!
  • Praise God for these orphans who indeed have the "faith of a child" (Mark 10:15). 
  • Please pray that their faithfulness will draw school administrators to Christ and make them open to receiving the gospel.
For more information on the trials Christians face in Laos, click here.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Update on Youcef Nadarkhani & Behnam Irani

Youcef Nadarkhani
According to Present Truth Ministries, Youcef Nadarkhani is alive and is doing well by the grace of God. A written verdict has yet to be delivered regarding his September 2011 retrial. The Ayatollah has not responded to the local court’s request for his legal opinion. It is unlikely he will respond because, if he does, it will create a legal precedent, and he neither wants to compromise on core Islamic penal code nor does he want to face the certain international uproar and loss of face that comes with executing a Christian.

Behnam Irani
Meanwhile, Pastor Behnam Irani is in poor condition in Ghezal Hezar Prison in Karaj.  He is frequently beaten by prisoners under the watchful eye of prison officials.  Sources close to the family are concerned that he will die before the end of his five-year prison sentence.  He is having trouble with his eyesight and his foot.  He also has some sort of intestinal disorder.

Please remember these men in your prayers, and consider writing them letters of encouragement. 

Youcef Nadarkhani                                        Behnam Irani
Lakan Prison                                                Ghezel Hesar Prison
Rasht                                                           Karaj, Albourz State
Islamic Republic of Iran                                 Islamic Republic of Iran

You can also compile letters to Youcef and Behnam in their own language by visiting

Please note: When writing a letter, never mention the name of the source of your information or the name of any organization such as Voice of the Martyrs or Prisoner Alert. It is not dangerous for a prisoner to receive letters from individuals, but if an organization is mentioned they may be accused of links with “foreign organizations” and receive harsher sentences. Also, please do not state anything negative about their government.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Employ Your Whole Power Upon Me!

Roman Empire
Circa 250 AD

Probius was whipped until the blood flowed, then laden with chains and thrown into prison. A few days later, he was brought out and commanded to sacrifice to the heathen gods. He knew that he would be tortured and killed if he refused. Still he courageously said:

“I come better prepared than before, for what I have suffered has only strengthened me in my resolution. Employ your whole power upon me, and you shall find that neither you, nor the Emperor, nor the gods you serve, nor even the devil, who is your father, shall compel me to worship idols.”

Probius was sent back to further tortures and eventual death by the sword.

You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you. 
~ C.S. Lewis ~

Excerpted from Jesus Freaks, a best-selling collection of worldwide testimonies targeting teens with the life-changing message of the persecuted Church. You can order a copy of this book from our online catalogue or by contacting our office.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

One year later: An interview with China’s Shouwang Church

The Shouwang Church in China has been worshipping
outdoors amid opposition from authorities for over a year.
Photo: ChinaAid 
Just days before the one-year anniversary of Beijing Shouwang Church’s forced outdoor worship services, reporter Zhong Dao conducted the an interview with a Shouwang Church member, Sister L, at her home.

Shouwang Church’s confrontation with authorities began in April 2011, when the believers began meeting for their Sunday service outdoors. The church had been forced from its indoor meeting place in a restaurant after the management, pressured by government officials, refused the church access.

Below are excerpts of the interview with Sister L.

Could you speak about your personal experience of the outdoor Sunday worship service on April 10 last year?

It will soon be a year since last April 10, so it is a good time now to look back on that day. I remember feeling a little nervous and worried that day. I felt that worshipping our Lord in this way, on an open-air platform, would be very different from before. But I was also very much looking forward to it. After all, we would be worshipping our Lord in the embrace of nature, so I felt strangely excited. As we approached the platform, we saw many police vehicles parked around the area.  Assuming that they were there on routine business, my husband and I didn’t think much of it as we walked straight for the platform. To our surprise, plainclothes police came up and barred us, and tried to drag us violently into a police vehicle.

When you were being dragged into the police vehicle, did you know where they were going to take you, were you nervous?

Sister L: I really wanted to resist when they shoved me into their vehicle.  I felt that these police were just preposterous, and I felt really unsettled and angry. As for where we were going, I wasn’t very scared because I was with my husband so I didn’t feel too nervous.

Who made a deep impression on you?

Sister L: The brothers and sisters of our church, they were unforgettable.... Using the service worship sheets that our church had previously distributed, we worshiped there as we would normally have done. There was praise and preaching and prayer, not a single part was left out. An older sister kept sharing the gospel with two or three policemen. She was not only gracious and amiable but also spoke with the authority of an elder, which left those policemen not knowing how to respond. All they could do was listen and agree.

Also, when ... we were waiting to be taken to our respective local police stations and a young brother from our church — he looked about 16 or 17 years old — really left a deep impression on me. I remember he was filled with joy and constantly quoting God’s words from the Bible to cheer us up and encourage those of us who were feeling anxious. Wow! God was using a young brother who had little experience of life to show us that He was with us. I was so grateful for this and also so thankful for this young brother. As it happened, later we were taken to the same local police station, and we continued praying, sharing and encouraging each other there. It was truly a beautiful experience. After we were released from the police station, we had a meal and took pictures together to remember that day. I believe God will continue to watch over this little brother.

With regard to the outdoor worship service, which has been going on for such a long time, do you think it’s been beneficial or detrimental to your spiritual growth?

Sister L:  Without doubt, beneficial. Before this, my faith was not personal. Society tells you to believe in yourself, to depend on yourself, or to believe in and depend on the group. But what do you do when you find that neither is dependable? So these are all lies and sooner or later you will discover that you’ve been duped. Praise God that His grace was poured out on to me so that I could realize that power, wisdom and love come from God alone. My worth and purpose can only come from trusting in Him.

To read the rest of the interview, click here. For more information on China’s persecuted Church, please visit our China Country Report.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Turkish pastor attacked over Easter weekend

Necati Aydin, Ugur Yuksel and Tillman Geske
were three men Semir had worked with before
they were martyred. (Photo: Compass Direct News)
Semir Serkek, a 58-year-old pastor in Instanbul, Turkey, says although he has experienced hostility from Muslims nearly all his life, an attack over the Easter weekend was the first time he had been physically assaulted.

According to Compass Direct News, Semir was alone at Grace Church preparing for the next day's Easter celebration when he heard frantic pounding at the door. Four young men in their late teens claimed they had questions and demanded to enter. They then threatened to kill him if he didn't recite the Islamic testimony of faith, and after a period of verbally harassing the pastor, one of the men kicked Semir in the chest, knocking the pastor down a set of stairs. The men then ran away laughing.

However, the attack did not deter Semir from attending a memorial service for three Christians murdered in Turkey five years ago. Necati Aydin and Ugur Yuksel and Tilmann Geske were brutally murdered by five young men in the southeastern city of Malatya in April 2007.

Semir said he personally knew the three men because he worked with them at the same publishing company for many years.

The United States Commission on International and Religious Freedom has recommended that Turkey be designated as a "Country of Particular Concern" this year due to Turkey's long-term and systematic limitations on non-Muslim communities. There are about 4,500 Christian converts in Turkey.

Please pray over this situation.
  • Please pray that the men who attacked Semir will repent and be saved. 
  • Please pray that Semir's continued faith will bring God glory. 
  • Pray that the commitment of Semir and the three martyred Christians will serve to encourage other believers in Turkey that, although they are hard pressed on every side, they will not be crushed (2 Corinthians 4:8).
Click here for more on the persecuted Church in Turkey. To post a prayer of encouragement for Turkish Christians, please visit our Persecuted Church Prayer Wall.

The May edition of The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter shares the testimony of a boy in Turkey who has suffered much for his faith in Jesus. To read his story, sign up to receive a free subscription.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Children seized from Christian father in East Africa

Please pray for Christian children living in areas
where it is dangerous to follow Jesus.
A man in a heavily Muslim-populated area of East Africa recently kidnapped his grandchildren after discovering that their father – his son – was teaching them about Christianity, reports Mission Network News (MNN).

The grandfather, "Demissie," found his grandson reading a Bible one day and asked what it was. When the boy told Demissie it was his father's Bible, Demissie confronted his son, "Beniam."

According to the International Mission Board, Demissie told Beniam, "When you die, I'm not coming to your funeral. You are no longer my son. You are dead to me."

Demissie then forced the children from Beniam's arms and hurried them away. Demissie said he wouldn't allow his grandchildren to be brought up by an "infidel."

It has been three months since that terrible day, and Beniam has not seen any of his children since.
The incident has not shaken Beniam's faith, however. Three months later, he is still dedicated to following the Lord and sharing the Gospel.

"I know what is true, and once you know what is true, you can't go back. [My wife and I] have chosen to walk the road of Jesus, and we're not going back even if our family says we must," Beniam said. "Even though they've taken my children away, and even though they've said I'm dead to them, I'm still telling other people about Jesus. I'm still giving Bibles to those who want to read."

In fact, Beniam has still been pressing on with evangelism. He and his wife invited a group of prostitutes to come to their home and watch a film about Jesus. One of the women left her ways and came to Christ when she saw Jesus reaching out to touch a prostitute in the film.

Many others have also believed and now meet in Beniam's home for teaching one night a week. "Whenever we have a question, we open the Bible and find the answer," Beniam said.

He misses his children, but he prays that they will seek after the truth of Jesus.

Please pray for this family.
  • Pray for protection over these kids. 
  • Pray that Beniam and his wife will somehow be reunited with their children. 
  • Pray that the Lord will keep them safe in an atmosphere hostile to the Gospel.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Churches attacked in Khartoum, Sudan

The wall of this Christian compound was
recently destroyed by Muslim extremists.
(Photo: Compass Direct News)
Sudanese Christians have requested our prayers following several situations affecting Christians in the Khartoum area, reports Middle East Concern.

On April 21, a church building in Sawafi was attacked by a mob provoked by a radical Muslim leader. Security forces stopped the mob. However, some found an alternate route, enabling them to ransack and burn down the building.

The same day, a Bible School located on a church compound in Al-Gereif was badly damaged in an arson attack by a Muslim mob. The church had received threats of violence in late March and early April. Office equipment, library resources, and students' personal belongings were destroyed.

On April 19, in Burri, a group of 130 university students of South Sudanese origin were detained and given seven days to leave Sudan after being accused of celebrating South Sudan's invasion of the Heglig oil field within South Kordofan province. The students denied that they had held any such celebration.

The day before, churches in Al-Baraka, Dar el Salam, and Takamul districts received notice that their properties would be demolished because of lack of structural integrity. Church leaders complained that the Ministry of Planning and Urban Development had not informed them of required changes to the buildings. Church leaders have reportedly been informally notified that the orders have been reversed.

We recently requested prayer concerning the April 8 deadline for those of South Sudanese origin (many of whom are Christian) to leave Sudan following the secession of South Sudan in July 2011. The deadline has been postponed for 30 days.

The Sudanese government is treating all those in Sudan who are eligible for citizenship of South Sudan (i.e. having at least one great-grandparent born in the South) as having de-facto citizenship of South Sudan and is therefore denying them the option of acquiring citizenship of Sudan. Sudan has not provided consular facilities in South Sudan to enable South Sudanese to apply for residency in Sudan. Travel from Sudan to South Sudan is difficult at this time due to the tensions in the border areas.

Please pray!
  • Pray that Christians in Khartoum will know the peace, presence and protection of Jesus.
  • Pray that the detained students will be released.  
  • Pray that all demolition orders will be officially withdrawn.
  • Pray that church leaders will know the Spirit's guidance and wisdom at this time.  
For more on Sudan’s persecuted Church, click here.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Kuwait leaders try to halt church construction, strengthen blasphemy laws

(Sources: VOM-USA, Mission Network News)

A Kuwaiti Member of Parliament (MP) is drafting a law banning the construction of churches and other non-Islamic places of worship, as lawmakers also attempt to bring in the death penalty for blasphemy laws.

The MP, Osama Al-Munawer, at first said he planned to submit a draft law requiring the removal of all churches in the country, but later said existing churches could remain and that only new construction would be banned. A fellow MP who supports the law said, "Kuwait already has an excessive number of churches compared to the country's Christian minority." About 13 per cent of the population is Christian, although most are expatriates.

Meanwhile new teeth are being given to Kuwait's blasphemy law. Todd Nettleton from our sister mission in the USA said, "Witnesses for Christ could face the death penalty if they would be accused and convicted of blasphemy, if this law passes the process and becomes approved."

While the constitution protects freedom of belief, the constitution also says Islam is the state religion and Islamic law (Shariah) is an important source of legislation. Conversion from Islam to other religions is not permitted, and the government actively supports proselytism by Sunni Muslims. Although the first vote on this law has passed, another vote is required and the leader of the country will also have to sign off on it.

Please pray!
  • Please pray that these laws will be struck down. 
  • Pray that increased opposition will result in increased boldness among believers (Acts 4:29-31). 
  • Pray that the spread of the gospel will only grow throughout the country, demonstrating to unbelievers in Kuwait that the God Christians serve and worship is the one and only true God with complete authority over all.
For more information on persecution in Kuwait, please visit our Country Report.