Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ugandan Christian brutally imprisoned by Muslim father

A 14-year-old girl in western Uganda remains in frail health 10 months after her father tortured her for leaving Islam for Christianity, reports Compass Direct News.

In March 2010, Susan Ithungu came to faith in Christ after an evangelist spoke at her school. A month later, news reached Susan's father that she had converted to Christianity. He warned her and her brother against attending church or listening to the gospel message, threatening to kill them in broad daylight if they embraced Christianity.

Susan was then locked in a room with no sunlight. Her brother was warned against telling anyone of her imprisonment, but would secretly bring her food and water.

In October 2010, Susan’s brother finally told the neighbours about his sister's situation. They then reported the case to the authorities, and police freed her. Susan was extremely weak and unable to walk or talk.

“Her hair had turned yellow, she had long fingernails and sunken eyes, and she looked very slim, less than 20 kilograms,” said one pastor. Her father was arrested shortly afterward but quickly released.

At last report, Susan is still struggling with her health—unable to walk, but able to talk and eat soft foods.

“The great news is that Susan is still strong in the Lord Jesus Christ,” the pastor said. “She needs prayers and support, so that she can resume her education soon.”

You can help by praying!
  • Thank God for Susan's rescue and pray for her continued healing.
  • Pray many Christians will be emboldened by her story of persevering faith and confidence in Christ (Hebrews 10:32-39).
  • Pray for safety for her brother.
  • Ask God to bring her father to repentance and that he, too, will come to know Christ as Lord.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Imported Bibles seized by Iranian government

The Iranian government is expressing great concern over the large volume of Bibles entering the country, reports Mohabat News.

Authorities reportedly seized 6,500 Bibles in transit between the cities of Zanjan and Abhar in northwest Iran.

An Iranian official recently stated that “missionaries with reliance on huge money and propaganda are trying to deviate our youth.” He also expressed his concern that “religions are strengthening their power to confront Islam.”

Prior to this, in November 2010, police officers and revolutionary guards seized 300 Bibles and burned them.

Please pray with us!
  • Pray the Word of the Lord will continue to go forth in Iran and that many will come to embrace Christ as their Saviour.
  • Pray Iranian believers will never be ashamed of the gospel because, through its power, God brings salvation (Romans 1:16).
  • Pray for strength and insight for all those involved in ministry in Iran.

Update: Formerly imprisoned Cuban pastor settles in United States

An old photo of Pastor Carlos
and his family.
A formerly imprisoned Cuban pastor recently arrived in the United States as a political refugee along with his wife and daughters, reports VOM USA and Compass Direct News.

In February 2006, Cuban authorities raided the home of Pastor Carlos Lamelas and arrested him on charges of aiding emigrants who sought to leave the country illegally. Pastor Carlos was later accused of being involved in human trafficking.

Those acquainted with Pastor Carlos denied that he was ever involved in such activities and believed he was being targeted for opposing the Cuban regime on religious rights issues. Carlos suffered in prison without charges until he was suddenly given a conditional release in June 2006. He was later fined, however, on charges of “falsifying documents.”

Unable to find employment and fearing another arrest, Carlos applied unsuccessfully for political asylum in 2010. In 2011, however, his case was reviewed, and he and his family were granted status as political refugees.

“For our part, we have been open to the will of God, and we know he will take us where we can best serve him,” Pastor Carlos shared.

During Pastor Carlos's imprisonment, hundreds of Christians wrote him letters of encouragement, many through The Voice of the Martyrs' letter writing site,

“We know that many brothers and sisters have collaborated for our benefit; we're sorry not to know specifically who they are,” said Pastor Carlos. “Nevertheless, we want them to know that our love and gratitude is sealed in our hearts for the rest of our lives.”

To get involved in writing letters to prisoners of faith, visit You can also download a free guide with pointers and prisoner addresses at

Monday, August 29, 2011

Christian in Pakistan forced to marry kidnapper

AsiaNews reports that another young Christian woman has been abducted and forced to marry her kidnapper. A formal complaint was launched with police who did not immediately intervene because the kidnapper is a “respectable businessman.”

Mariam Gill was abducted on August 3 from her home in Kahota, 20 kilometres from Islamabad. The Muslim man who abducted her, Muhammad Junaid, forcibly converted her to Islam before marrying her two days later.

Sohail, Mariam’s brother, said she went to the market and didn’t return. Their family looked everywhere for her. People in the village told the family they saw Muhammad Junaid forcefully take her away. Mariam’s family went to police, who showed no interest in their complaint.

A police officer said that Muhammad is a respectable man and if Mariam married him, it was of her own free will.

Mariam was recently interrogated by local officials. She told them she was abducted and forced to convert. She has no intentions of turning away from Christianity. Officials allowed Mariam to return home and urged both parties to reach an agreement.

Muhammad has since threatened the family, stating there will be “terrible consequences” if Mariam is not returned to him.

You can read the entire article here.

Christ’s sure presence

Excerpted from Extreme Devotion, a book of 365 true accounts of men and women who totally sold out for Jesus.

Siberia: Paulus

It was getting late, and the Soviet officer had beaten and tortured Paulus for many hours. “We are not going to torture you anymore,” he said, smiling brutally when the Christian looked up. “We will send you instead to Siberia, where the snow never melts. It is a place of great suffering. You and your family will fit in well.”

Paulus, instead of being depressed, smiled. “The whole earth belongs to my Father, Captain. Wherever you send me I will be on my Father’s earth.”

The captain looked at him sharply. “We will take away all you own.”

“You will need a high ladder, Captain, for my treasures are stored up in heaven.” Paulus still wore a beautiful smile.

“We will put a bullet between your eyes,” shouted the captain, now angry.

“If you take away my life in this world, my real life of joy and beauty will begin,” answered Paulus. “I am not afraid of being killed.”

The captain grabbed Paulus by his tattered prison shirt and screamed into his face, “We will not kill you! We will keep you locked alone in a cell and allow no one to come see you!”

“You cannot do that, Captain,” said Paulus, still smiling. “I have a Friend who can pass through locked doors and iron bars. No one can separate me from the love of Christ.”

Despite an uncertain future, we can be sure of one thing: Christ will face it with us. Whether we are going through a private trail or a public grieving, we are never going alone. In contrast, every human companion will fail us at some point. There will be places in life’s journey where they cannot walk with us – the water will be too deep and their understanding would be murky at best. Only Jesus has the ability to pass through the “iron bars” on our suffering hearts and share these difficult times. Although, in his wisdom, he may not choose to deliver us from our circumstances, his sure presence will see us through them. Smile, knowing you have a Friend from whom you can never be separated.

You can order a copy of this book from our online catalogue or by contacting our office.

Friday, August 26, 2011

House-church members targeted in China

Pastor Shi Enhao
Chinese authorities have recently targeted several Christians involved in house-church activities, reports ChinaAid Association.

On August 11, approximately 100 officials surrounded the residence of Pastor Lu Jingxiang in Mingguang city, Anhui province, where his house church was hosting a summer camp for children.

Pastor Lu and three visiting Christian leaders were taken to the police station for holding an “unregistered, illegal meeting.” The principal of the local elementary and high school recorded the names of all the children in attendance. Pastor Lu and the three other leaders were later released. The evening before the raid, local officials spread rumours that Pastor Lu had hidden drugs and cult members in his home.

On August 13, three leaders of a house church in the city of Suqian, Jiangsu province, were given five-day administrative detention sentences. Last month, the church's pastor, Shi Enhao, was sentenced to two years “re-education through labour.” Furthermore, Pastor Shi's son, daughter and son-in-law are reportedly also at risk of being detained.

You can help by praying!
  • Pray Chinese believers facing persecution will have an intimate experience of God's comfort and protection.
  • Pray increased persecution will result in increased boldness among the believers (Acts 4:29-31).
  • Pray God will bring to repentance those who afflict His people in China (Psalm 83).

Christian workers beaten in Andhra Pradesh

Seven Christian men were brutally assaulted and arrested for painting Bible verses on a rock on a hill in Karimnagar, reports an All India Christian Council leader.

The team painted Bible verses on the rock to make them visible to people passing by on the main road. VHP and Bhajrang Dal activists noticed these verses and became enraged, as a Hindu temple is located on top of the hill.

The activists found the men responsible and brutally beat them. They also filed a case under 153(A) section. The police arrested the seven men on August 3. They were released on bail after two days in jail.

Please pray God would use these seven Christian men in mighty ways!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Christian killed, injured in mob attack in Egypt

A Christian was killed and several others were injured by a mob of Muslims who recently attacked the predominantly Christian village of Nazlet Faragallah in Al-Minya, Upper Egypt, reports Compass Direct News.

The attack was reportedly sparked by an August 6 argument between a Muslim man and a Coptic Christian woman. The nature of the argument could not be confirmed, but several Christian men allegedly came to the aid of the woman, ending the dispute.

Several hours later, a group of Muslims arrived at the village church and started pelting congregants with rocks as they left the building. The Christians responded in kind. Several people suffered cuts and bruises, and some of the windows of the church building were broken.

The next day, Muslims armed with long swords and guns then rampaged through the community, looting and burning several homes and businesses belonging to Christians. At least eight homes were torched to the ground. A Christian farmer, Maher Nassif, 46, was killed when he tried to defend his home. The men then looted the home and stole Maher's livestock as his teenage son, who witnessed the attack, escaped into the night. The violence raged on until the next morning.

According to villagers, tension between Muslims and Christians has intensified in the country since the revolution earlier this year. One local Christian blamed worsened relations on the increased radicalization of certain Muslims in Egypt who want to "complete their faith by killing Christians."

You can help by praying!
  • Pray the Christians in this region will not be ruled by fear but trust in Christ (1 Peter 3:14-15).
  • Pray those who mourn for Maher will find comfort in the fact that Christ has triumphed over death and that those who die in the Lord will be raised with Him (1 Corinthians 15:50-58).
  • Ask God to equip Egyptian Christians to demonstrate His peace and grace, even to those who target them for their faith.

Words from our founder: The sin of making it difficult

I've heard that in the Middle Ages there were two believers who were condemned by the Inquisition to be burned at the stake. They asked to be bound back to back, so that they should not look one another in the eye, as each of them regarded the other as a heretic.

When I heard this story, I thought it was an exaggerated legend. Later on, in prison, I saw people who gave their lives for the same gentle Jesus, but who would not even say “Good morning” to one another, because they belonged to different confessions, or to two different groups within the same confession.

We all allow such things to be done, without realizing how difficult it will be for us to give an account of the sin we have committed, the sin of making it difficult for those who seek the truth to find it.

Excerpted from Christ on the Jewish Road. You can order this book online 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. For more information, please visit our website.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Two Eritrean Christians die in military camp

Shipping containers like these are frequently used
to imprison evangelical Christians.
Two Christians in Eritrea, whose arrest and torture were widely ignored, have died in military camp, reports Mission Network News.

Hiwet Tesfu, 23, and Zemame Mehari, 27, were arrested in April 2009 for attending a prayer meeting in Dekemhare. They were in ill health, repeatedly tortured and denied medical treatment in their two years and three months serving time.

The Eritrean government says it does not have any religious prisoners in custody. Open Doors USA’s CEO, Carl Moeller, says this claim is based on the country’s stance on religious organizations.

“They don't recognize these evangelical or Pentecostal sects as ‘religious' institutions or organizations; therefore, when they arrest them, it's for holding illegal activities or illegal meetings,” says Moeller. “So, when they're held, they're not holding ‘religious' prisoners: they're holding ‘social' and ‘political' prisoners.”

In 2002, the Eritrean government began a crackdown on all Christians. It is reported that thousands of Christians have and do face inhumane prison conditions and gross neglect.

Hiwet and Zemame are the most recent in a string of 18 Christians known to have died while serving time for their witness in Eritrea. Few believers have actually been charged, but remain in prison nonetheless.

While one would think such circumstances would lead to a halt of the gospel’s spread, Moeller says the opposite is true: “When they see Christians willing to go to prison, willing to die, willing to be tortured for this religion, it creates an undeniable thirst for understanding what that faith is about.”

The full article can be found here.

Pray for Christians in Eritrea!
  • Pray the Christians in jail will remain strong in their faith and will find encouragement in the Saviour for whom they suffer.
  • Pray the families of those imprisoned would continue to trust God to provide all their needs.
  • Pray those who imprison Christians for their faith would see the freedom believers have in Christ, though they are physically bound in chains.

Sudanese Christian teenager traumatized after kidnapping

Please pray for Hiba, a Christian
teenager recently reunited with her family.
A Christian teenager in Sudan recently escaped from kidnappers who tortured her and pressured her to convert from Christianity to Islam, reports Compass Direct News.

On June 17, 2010, Hiba Abdelfadil Anglo, then 15, was abducted by a gang of Muslims. She was initially locked in a room and beaten until she was unconscious. For months, the men moved her to various locations in Khartoum, threatening to kill her if she tried to escape, while calling her Christian family members “infidels.” She was also raped by the leader of the group.

After a year of captivity, Hiba had given enough of an impression that she had converted to Islam for the men to leave her unguarded. She was able to leave the house and beg a motorist to take her to her home two hours away. She was reunited with her family on July 10.

Hiba's mother said that when she first went to a police station to open a case, officers told her she must first leave Christianity for Islam. At last report, Hiba remained deeply traumatized.

“I cannot forget this bad incident, and whenever I try to pray, I find it difficult to forget,” Hiba said. “I ask believers to pray for me for inner healing.” She also shared her fear that the Muslim criminals are trailing her.

You can help by praying!
  • Ask God to grant Hiba His healing and strength in the aftermath of this attack.
  • Pray she and her family members may be drawn together in love and trust.
  • Pray authorities will bring to justice all who were involved in her abduction and torture.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Story from church history: St. Lawrence killed by greedy official (AD 258)

The following was written by Dan Graves for

“Will you go to Heaven and leave me behind?" Lawrence, one of the seven deacons of Rome, was genuinely upset. Was there some fault in him that God would send the rest of the church leaders to death but spare him?

Sixtus II, Bishop of Rome (pope) in the year 258, comforted Lawrence. God was keeping him back to undergo an even greater ordeal, said the bishop. "Be comforted, you will follow me in three days," he is supposed to have predicted.

The Roman emperor, Valerian, had ordered the death of all Rome's bishops, priests and deacons. The prefect (Roman magistrate) who carried out the order, however, knew that, as deacon, Lawrence had charge of the church's money. "I'll let you go free," he promised, "if you will turn the money over to me."

According to the oldest traditions we have, Lawrence agreed to bring the church's treasures to the prefect. "But it will take me a few days," he said. "The church is very rich."

Released to carry out his promise, Lawrence distributed the church's goods among the poor. He then gathered the city's lame, its blind, and its beggars. On the third day he appeared before the prefect. "Come out and see the wondrous riches of God," he said.

"What is the meaning of this?" raged the prefect.

Lawrence explained that these poor people would some day have new bodies and live forever in Heaven. The treasure of the Holy Spirit was hidden in them as if in jars of clay.

Thwarted from getting his gold and believing that he would be the laughing stock of Rome, the prefect ordered a slow death for Lawrence. On August 10, 258, Lawrence was tortured by having his arms dislocated and then was laid upon a grill and slowly roasted to death.

During his ordeal, he is said to have suggested his killers turn him over, remarking that he was "done" on the one side. He was so calm that the pagans who looked on were greatly impressed.

That is how the legends tell the story, but the facts are not easy to establish. What is certain is that Lawrence was martyred on this day. A hundred years later his story was so well known that the famous Bishop Ambrose of Milan wrote about him and so did others. By then, emperor Constantine had long since built a chapel in his memory. Later popes built other memorials and these became Rome's Church of San Lorenzo.

For other stories of steadfast faith from church history, visit

Mass arrests of Christians continue in Eritrea

The Eritrean government bans all
Christian groups that do not belong to a
state-approved church.
Eritrean officials have arrested at least 90 Christians in recent months, including many college students, reports Release Eritrea and our sister missions, VOM USA and Release International.

In May, authorities detained 64 believers in Adi Abeyto, a village near the capital, Asmara. Only six of the 90 arrested have been released. The others are thought to be held at a police station or in the notorious Mitire military prison.

It is not clear why the Christians were detained, but college students have reportedly been arrested in recent weeks for refusing to take part in celebrations for the country's Independence Day (May 24). For example, 26 students from the Mai-Mefhi College of Technology were arrested in June and detained at an unknown location.

In 2002, the Eritrean government banned all Christian groups that do not belong to a state-approved church. Since then, thousands of Christians have been imprisoned. Sixteen are known to have died in custody.

You can help by praying!
  • Pray Eritreans imprisoned for Christ will be released.
  • Pray Eritrean Christians will remain steadfast in faith, lovingly proclaiming Christ both inside and outside of prison walls.
  • Pray those who persecute Christians in Eritrea will repent of their ways and come to faith in Christ.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Pakistani Christians reject murder claims

Christians believe Pakistan’s Minister for
Minority Affairs was assassinated by
religious extremists.
Christian leaders in Punjab province, Pakistan, reject claims by police that the murder of Shahbaz Bhatti, the Minister of Minority Affairs, had no religious instigation, reports the Union of Catholic Asian News.

Investigators say they believe the murder of the Christian leader was in relation to a bitter land dispute with relatives. They have publicly concluded that the assassination of Bhatti was not religiously motivated.

Supporters of al-Qaida and Tehrik-i-Taliban claimed responsibility for Bhatti’s murder on March 2 in Islamabad.

Bhatti was in support of changes to the country’s controversial blasphemy laws. Many Pakistani Christians have been falsely accused under Law 295C of blaspheming Mohammed or the Qur’an, a crime punishable by death. Courtrooms packed with militants have often pressured judges into returning a guilty verdict or continuing trials indefinitely.

Paul Bhatti, advisor to the prime minister on minority affairs and brother of the slain leader, said he plans to appeal for a judicial commission to continue the investigation.

For more information on Shahbaz Bhatti’s death, click here. To read the full report, click here.

Inseparable: Witnessing and persecution

Written by Glenn Penner

During his 14 years in prison, Romanian pastor Richard Wurmbrand was terribly tortured. Communist Colonel Sandu Franco was bewildered as he interrogated his victim. Wurmbrand had once been an atheist like him. Returning home one day, Franco said to his wife, “Something is wrong with me!  I am sick.  I have never met anyone like this man in my whole life.”

The colonel was deeply convicted by two forces that were unknown to him: brotherly love and godly humility.  Against these, he had no defence. Seeking to destroy the life of another, he received new life from God.  Franco became a Christian and shortly afterwards also went to prison.

Immediately following Matthew 5:10-11, when Jesus declared that those who were persecuted for their faith were to be congratulated for following in the footsteps of God’s messengers throughout history, our Lord commands us to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. These two thoughts cannot be separated: witnessing and persecution.

As we witness for Christ, we can expect opposition and, as we suffer, the love and joy we demonstrate testifies to the reality of Christ in our life and the truthfulness of what we profess. Others then say, “I have never met a person like this before!  Something is wrong with me!”

All over the world today, followers of Jesus are languishing in prison just as Richard Wurmbrand did.  Many are beaten. Others are tempted through bribery to abandon their faith.  Starvation, cold, and abuse are daily realities. If only they would deny their confession or promise to be silent and never to witness for Christ again, many would be freed.

Our call is to remember them in their bonds, to minister to them and their families, and to speak on their behalf. Will you join us?

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, at

Friday, August 19, 2011

Islamic officials raid church in Malaysia

In Malaysia, Islamic religious officials
raided a church dinner without warning
or warrant.
On August 3, about 30 Islamic religious and police officials raided the Damansara Utama Methodist Church in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, reports Agence France-Presse.

The raid took place while the church members were hosting a dinner for their welfare programs, which assist single mothers and HIV/AIDS victims.

Senior pastor Daniel Ho said the officials came in and started taking videos and photographs. They subjected the church members to “undue harassment” and took down the identification of all Muslims present in the building.

Islamic religious officials have previously voiced concerns about Muslims converting to Christianity, as conversion from Islam is illegal in the country.

Muslims make up about 60 per cent of Malaysia’s population while Christians make up about 9 per cent.

To read the entire article, click here.

Pray for Pastor Daniel’s church:
  • Pray church members will continue to show love to those they have been ministering to, despite the opposition.
  • Pray the Muslims affected by the raid would come to know Christ.
  • Pray religious freedom will be respected in Malaysia.

Police harass pastor in Uzbekistan

Pastor Salavat, seen here with his daughter,
has been harassed for his Christian witness.
On July 9, security police harassed a pastor and confiscated his laptop while he was waiting for his wife at a market, reports our sister mission VOM-USA.

As Pastor Salavat waited for his wife in their car, two men in military uniforms approached the pastor and asked him to step out of the car. The men grabbed Salavat and treated him roughly. Salavat demanded to see their IDs, which they showed him before searching his car without permission or cause.

"It looked as though they were looking for something specific," Salavat said.

It soon became clear that they were searching for his laptop, which they confiscated without offering a warrant or receipt. Ten days later, Salavat's laptop was returned without explanation.

Pastor Salavat spent six months in prison for leading an unregistered church in Uzbekistan. He was later sentenced to a year of forced labour for continuing his Christian work (for more information, click here).

You can help by praying!
  • Pray for peace and strength for Salavat and his family. 
  • Pray that those who oppose Christians will be moved by their steadfast faith. 
  • Pray that Uzbekistan's leaders will respect freedom of religion.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Prisoner of faith: Tohar Haydarov

Tohar Haydarov
He has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for the “illegal sale of narcotic or psychotropic substances in large quantities.” It is a charge he and his church members strongly deny.

Those close to 27-year-old Tohar Haydarov believe he is being targeted because of his religious activities. “[He is] a man with a pure conscience and an honest Christian,” they insist.

Tohar has been imprisoned in Uzbekistan since March 2010. A judge recently confirmed his sentence, stating that "the punishment was given in proportion to the act, taking into account the public danger of the act."

Prison authorities recently showed Tohar some of the many letters sent to him. However, he is not allowed to read them because "there are too many citations from the Bible in them."

Please continue to send encouraging letters to Tohar!

When writing, never mention the name of the source of your information or the name of any organization such as VOM 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.

To compose a letter in Tohar’s language, please visit To learn more about letter writing, click here.

Please mail your letters to:

Tohar Haydarov
UYa 64/49
Otryad 13
Pos. Shaikh-Ali
G. Karshi, Kashkadarya Region
180020 Uzbekistan

Seeing it God’s way

Excerpted from Jesus Freaks, a best-selling collection of worldwide testimonies targeting teens with the life-changing message of the Persecuted Church.

Some deaths seem senseless – but God sees things differently than we do. As Tertullian, a Christian historian said, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.”

Some have been tortured because they refused to betray those who worked with them.

Some have stood firm, knowing that if they gave in – even a little – it would undermine the faith of many.
Some refused to be quiet because they realized their responsibility to tell the godless men around them of God’s love so they too could be saved.

Some have simply been willing to lay down their lives for the One who laid down His life for them.

We shall not end our lives in the fire, but make a change for a better life.
~ Julius Palmer (Burned at the stake in England 1556) ~

This is the end. For me, the beginning of life.
~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Hung in Germany 1945) ~

For to me, living is for Christ, and dying is even better.
~ Paul the Apostle (Beheaded in Rome 65 AD) ~

Heroic acts are often devastating, and there is a time for grief. But we must move on to discover the secret of the martyrs in this book. These believers were absolutely sure of eternal life. They were convinced that they were not ending their lives but exchanging their lives on earth for a life with their Lord in heaven.

Throughout history, many have died so you could experience the faith and freedoms you enjoy today.
You too can choose to stand strong. God will honour you and you will make a real difference in your world.

Learn about these martyrs
Be encouraged by their heroic lives.
And make your life count!

You can order a copy of Jesus Freaks from our online catalogue or by contacting our office.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Help free Asia Bibi now!

Almost a month ago, we told you about VOM USA’s campaign launched on behalf of Asia Bibi, a Pakistani mother convicted of blasphemy.

More than 220,000 signatures have been collected through VOM’s online Call For Mercy petition.

Check out the CBN News update below.

Join VOM in raising a voice for the persecuted and sign the petition today!

Muslims strip, beat, threaten Christian convert in India

A recently converted Christian woman
was stripped and beaten for her faith.
A Christian woman in West Bengal, India has been beaten and threatened by Muslims, reports Compass Direct News (CDN).

Selina Bibi converted to Christianity from Islam about four months ago. Muslim extremists told her she must return to Islam or leave her village of Motijil. They said if she refused, she would see her house burned to the ground.

At Selina’s baptism in late March, a large group of Muslim extremists came to disrupt the service. The local pastor, Bashir, asked the Muslims if he could at least finish the service.

In early April, two Muslim women and members of the extremist group called Selina to one of their homes. They forcibly stripped her naked and searched for “Christian marks” on her body, believing that Christians receive markings upon conversion. When they realized she had no such marks, they beat her.

The Muslim extremists have resolved to ostracize Selina and her two teenage sons. She has been denied access to the local well, and disallowed from buying goods from the store or selling produce.

Despite the threats and her scars, Selina recently started a weekly Bible study.

For the full report, click here.

Pray for Selina Bibi!
  • Pray Selina’s faith would be strengthened, even as she faces beatings and threats.
  • Pray her sons would see Christ through her example.
  • Pray the Muslims abusing Selina would also see Christ as their Saviour.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Religious restrictions increasing worldwide

Nearly a third of the world’s total population live in countries where government restrictions on religion or social hostilities involving religion rose substantially between mid-2006 and mid-2009, reports the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life.

Only about 1 per cent of the world’s population lives in countries where government restrictions or social hostilities declined.
Other major findings include:
  • The Middle East-North Africa region had the largest proportion of countries in which government restrictions on religion increased — with nearly a third of the region’s countries imposing greater restrictions. Egypt, in particular, ranked very high on both government restrictions and social hostilities involving religion.
  • Europe had the largest proportion of countries in which social hostilities related to religion were on the rise from mid-2006 to mid-2009. Social hostilities involving religion have also been rising in Asia, particularly in China, Thailand and Vietnam.
  • Restrictions on religion are particularly common in the 59 countries that prohibit blasphemy, apostasy or defamation of religion. While such laws are sometimes promoted as a way to protect religion, in practice they often serve to punish religious minorities whose beliefs are deemed unorthodox or heretical.
For the full report, click here.

What is your view of hardship and suffering?

Below is an excerpt of an excellent article by author Philip Yancey about hardship and suffering. You can read the full article at
In my visits to churches overseas, one difference from North American Christians stands out sharply: their view of hardship and suffering. We who live in an age of unprecedented comfort seem obsessed with the problem of pain. Skeptics mention it as a major roadblock to faith, and believers struggle to come to terms with it. Prayer meetings in the U.S. often focus on illnesses and requests for healing. Not so elsewhere. 
I asked a man who visits unregistered house churches in China whether Christians there pray for a change in harsh government policies. After thinking for a moment, he replied that not once had he heard a Chinese Christian pray for relief.
"They assume they'll face opposition," he said. "They can't imagine anything else." He then gave some examples. One pastor had served a term of 27 years at hard labor for holding unauthorized church meetings. When he emerged from prison and returned to church, he thanked the congregation for praying. Assigned a dangerous prison job, he had managed to couple together 1 million railroad cars without an injury. "God answered your prayers for my safety!" he proudly announced. 
Another imprisoned pastor heard that his wife was going blind. Desperate to rejoin her, he informed the warden that he was renouncing his faith. He was released, but soon felt so guilty that he turned himself in again to the police. He spent the next 30 years in prison.
I have read enough stories of Christians suffering so as to become impervious to a prosperity gospel that guarantees health and wealth. 
I found the same pattern in Myanmar (formerly Burma), a dictatorship with brutal policies against religious activities. The person who invited me to the country informed me, "When you speak to pastors, you should remember that probably all of them have spent time in jail because of their faith."
"Then should I talk about one of my book topics like Where Is God When It Hurts? Or Disappointment with God?" I asked. 
"Oh, no, that's not really a concern here," he said. "We assume we'll be persecuted for faith. We want you to speak on grace. We need help getting along with each other."
Yancey’s article concludes with several discussion questions. Here is one that I especially encourage you to consider:

Do you think North American Christians have unwittingly embraced a "prosperity gospel" that views "health and wealth" as normal and "hardship and suffering" as unusual?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Pray for distraught Christian widow in Pakistan

Please remember Sana, a Christian
widow, in your prayers.
On March 21, a group of young Muslim men attacked a Salvation Army church in Hyderabad, Pakistan and shot to death 25-year-old Jamil and another man, reported our sister mission VOM USA.

Recently, VOM staff visited with Jamil's wife, Sana, who had been married to Jamil for one month before his tragic death. Sana is very emotionally fragile at this time.

"One minute she is laughing and the next she is crying. Her behaviour is very erratic," said the VOM team leader. Jamil had been supporting Sana, his parents and two siblings by working as a sweeper.

You can help by praying!
  • Pray that Sana will receive the care she needs and be encouraged by the prayers of her Christian family.
  • Pray that she will look to God in her grief, resting in the unfailing mercy and love of her Father.
  • Pray also for God to comfort Sosan, the wife of the other man killed in the attack, and for their six children.
  • Pray many will continue to stand as witnesses for Christ in Pakistan, even amid violence and hostility.
You can also pray for and stand with Asia Bibi, another woman in Pakistan suffering for her faith in Jesus Christ. Asia has been sentenced to death for blasphemy and is currently waiting for a court's ruling on her appeal.

To learn more about Asia's case and to sign a petition calling for her release, visit

As of Friday, more than 2,000 Canadians have signed the petition! Be sure to add your voice!

The need for Bibles in China

A woman reads a Bible at a home-church meeting.
Back in April, we printed a story in our monthly newsletter by Paul Hattaway with Asia Harvest, asking “Are Bibles Still Needed in China?”

There has long been much conflicting information revolving around:
  1. the number of Bibles printed in China,
  2. their accessibility to believers in both government-sanctioned churches and house churches, and
  3. the need for outside organizations to provide more Bibles.
On Friday, our partner mission China Aid Association, published a recent interview with Paul. If you’ve been wondering about the need for Bibles in China, please take a few moments to read this interview. It’s worth your time.

CLICK HERE to read “An Emergency in China: Interview with Paul Hattaway on the Shortage of Bibles in China Today.”

Be blessed!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Online Persecution Studies Workshops available!

Are you looking for a new way to put the true cost of discipleship into perspective and help Christians around the globe suffering for the cause of Christ?

Our sister mission, VOM-USA, offers online workshops designed to inform, inspire and educate Christians worldwide about the reality of persecution and the importance of becoming personally involved in ministry to suffering believers.

Course subjects include biblical perspectives on persecution, the history of persecution and how we should respond to persecution today.

To find out more about this exciting opportunity, contact VOM-USA at or visit

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pray for Iranian believers today!

Elam Ministries is requesting prayer on behalf of Iranian believers.

Iranian Christians Vahik Abrahamian, Farshid Fathi, Abrahim Firouzi, Masoud Delijani and Noorollah Ghabitzadeh are still detained, and the situation of Youcef Nadarkhani’s death sentence for apostasy remains unclear.

Elam says that it’s been rumoured that Vahik Abrahamian is suffering from ill health and has been denied basic necessities like a toothbrush, but beyond that little is known of the suffering going on.

Please pray for:
  • More news from those in prison
  • The families of those in prison
Additionally, the summer months mean Christians are on the move, usually visiting relatives, says Elam.

Christians are going to the Iran Region, and their families and friends in Iran are travelling to Christians in other countries. This is a time when the gospel is shared, and its authority begins to move through family networks. Many Diaspora churches have energetic evangelistic programs to reach their fellow countrymen.

Please pray for:
  • Christians on the move to share the gospel
  • Christians to be equipped with New Testaments and Christian literature
  • Iranians on the move to hear the gospel

Indian Christians released from prison in Saudi Arabia

Two Indian Christians -- Vasantha Sekhar Vara, 28, and Nese Yohan, 31 -- have been released from prison in Saudi Arabia, reports BosNewsLife.

They were arrested and charged with proselytizing in January 2011 after officials raided their house church of mainly Indian expat workers (for more information, click here).

Vara was pressured to convert to Islam in prison, but he refused. The men were deported to India on July 24.

Saudi Arabia is officially 100 percent Muslim. However, as in other Arabic countries, there have been reports of a growing interest in Christianity and many foreigners in the country are Christian.

Please pray:
  • Praise the Lord for the faith of these men! 
  • Pray they will continue to serve and worship the Lord boldly. 
  • Pray that the Lord will shine through them as they follow Him.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Dangerous days for Christians in Indonesia

Religious liberty is seriously threatened in Indonesia and Christian security is increasingly tenuous, reports the Australian Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission.

Because Indonesia’s president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, depends on Islamist support in parliament, he is reluctant to challenge the issue of increasingly violent Islamic intolerance. Because the ascendant China is courting Indonesia, the US is reluctant to challenge Indonesia over its serious decline in religious liberty.

West Java is a hotbed of militant Islamic fundamentalism where Christians are less than two percent of the population. Last year Muslims there were called to form Islamic paramilitary forces in readiness for jihad. As tensions grow and protection diminishes, Christians in West Java and Papua become increasingly vulnerable.

Islamic zeal and belligerence will escalate as Ramadan progresses during August. A city council has threatened “mass mobilization” against the Christian population, for whom these are dangerous days. Please pray for God's intervention and for divine protection.

You can read the full report here.

Please pray that God will:
  • draw his people into prayerful dependence, that they might “wait for him” (Isaiah 30:18) and see his salvation; through it all, may the Indonesian Church -- in grace and by the power of the Holy Spirit – be light, salt and yeast for the glory of God.  
  • intervene for the protection of his people and the advance of the gospel in Indonesia. 
  • expose the intolerance of Islam, while frustrating the schemes of the wicked (Psalm 146:9).

Watch this summer’s Persecution Report

In this video, you will hear about a family spreading the gospel in a warzone in Colombia and a Christian man who was tortured and killed by members of al Qaida in Iraq. You will also learn about believers arrested in Iran and Christians facing continued attacks in India. (Length: 13:42)

For more videos like this one, please visit our media site at

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Muslim extremists torch churches in Zanzibar, Tanzania

The remains of Pastor George's church
building in Zanzibar. (Photo: Compass Direct)
On the island of Zanzibar off the coast of Tanzania, the Evangelical Assemblies of God-Tanzania (EAGT) church has been reduced to ashes by Muslim extremists. Compass Direct News (CDN) reports the July 30 attack comes just days after another church on the island was burned down.

The assailants were heard shouting, “Away with the church – we do not want infidels to spoil our community, especially our children,” said Leonard Massasa, overseer of the EAGT churches in Zanzibar.

The church’s pastor, Paulo Magungu, said he and his 40-member congregation did not have a place to meet for worship on Sunday.

 “We have reported the case to the police station. I hope justice will be done,” Pastor Paulo added. He went to police immediately after he found out about the attack.

A few days earlier, Pastor George Frank Dunia of the Free Evangelical Pentecostal Church in Africa found his church building in ashes as well.

 “The members are afraid, not knowing what other plans the Muslims are out to do. We request prayers at this trying moment,” said Pastor George.

These attacks come on the heels of recent persecution on Zanzibar’s neighbouring island of Pemba, where Muslims have reportedly openly vowed to not befriend “infidels.”

Muslims have challenged the existence of a church there and Muslim landlords are making it difficult for their Christian tenants to even sing and pray.

Pray for Christians in Tanzania!
  • Pray the congregations targeted in these recent attacks would be able to meet despite their destroyed buildings.
  • Pray the hearts of the Christians in Tanzania would be overwhelmed with love for their Muslim persecutors.
  • Pray that Muslims in Tanzania will come to faith in Jesus Christ.

Monday, August 8, 2011

This week in church history: The death of James Abbes

The following was written by Dan Graves for

James Abbes stripped off his clothes and shoes. Where he was going in a few minutes, he would not need them – new and glorious garments would be his. But here on earth, some poor folk might find his old garments helpful.

The crowd had come to see one of the burnings that were all too common in the sixteenth century. They would not be disappointed. And they heard words of encouragement, too. As James moved toward the stake, he urged the bystanders to cling to the truth and to seal the cause of Christ with their blood if need be – just as he was now doing. The young man seemed completely confident.

One of the sheriff's servants was cut to his heart by this talk. He cursed James' faith, calling it heresy and he mocked James as a madman. To England's ruling elite as well as to the sheriff's servant, James was a heretic. He held Reformation views during the reign of Queen Mary Tudor of England.

Earlier, when the bishop of Norwich learned of James' "heresy," he ordered him arrested. James wandered about to escape capture, but an informant turned him in. The bishop of Norwich convinced James to recant and gave him a piece of money to seal the bargain.

The money burned the young man's conscience. Although he knew it meant a cruel death, he came back to the bishop and threw down the coin, saying he had been wrong to accept it.

The bishop attempted to talk James out of the stand he was taking; but this time, there was no swaying him. He was given a mock trial and condemned to be burned.

On August 2, 1555, the sheriff's men fastened James to a stake at Bury, England. As the fire was lit, he praised and glorified God.

To read the full account, and for other testimonies of faithful Christians suffering persecution throughout history, please visit’s website

Friday, August 5, 2011

Prisoner of faith: Pastor Ilmurad Nurliev

Pastor Nurliev has been imprisoned
since August 2010.
Pastor Ilmurad Nurliev was arrested at his home in Mary in south-eastern Turkmenistan on August 27, 2010. He was charged with extracting money from three people – an accusation his wife, Maya, and fellow church members strongly deny. During his trial, several of the witnesses against the 45-year-old pastor were coerced into testifying.

“All this is being done because of his faith,” Maya explained.

Pastor Nurliev was sentenced to four years in prison and his wife was forced to pay “compensation” immediately or risk being kicked out of their home. Pastor Nurliev was also ordered to undergo “forcible medical treatment” to “wean him off his narcotic dependency,” another claim that his wife and church members reject.

In December 2010 Pastor Nurliev was transferred to Seyi Labour Camp, known for its use of psychotropic drugs on prisoners. A former prisoner in the camp described conditions “like something from the Middle Ages.”

Instead of working in the labour camp's brick kiln, the pastor is being permitted to work at his trade as a barber, serving both prisoners and camp staff.

The pastor is a diabetic, and his family is concerned about his health while he is in prison. He has no access to medical treatment. Prison authorities have also denied him a Bible.

You can encourage Pastor Nurliev today by writing him a letter. Letters remind prisoners of faith that they are not forgotten by the Body of Christ as they suffer!

Please send your letters to:
Ilmurad Nurliev
746222 Lebap vilayet,
uchr. LB-K/12

Please note: When writing your letter, never mention the name of the source of your information or the name of any organization such as The Voice of the Martyrs. 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.

For more information on writing letters to prisoners, please visit You can also compose a letter to Pastor Nurliev in his own language online at

Mississauga VBS students remember the persecuted

This summer, participants in Grace New Covenant Pentecostal Church’s VBS spent a day focusing on the persecuted Church and “remembering them that are in bonds (Hebrews 13:3).” We want to share the children’s experience at the Mississauga church with you and encourage you to educate your youngsters about the persecution of Christians worldwide in ways they can understand.

The day began with songs and stories to introduce children to the overall theme–remembering them that are in bonds.

The children were then divided into four groups, and each group went once through four stations over the course of the day.

Station 1: Find the fire
Here, kids learned about the persecution that occurs around the world on a daily basis. The station was set up to look and feel like a prison cell, and the children listened to the difficulties facing those persecuted. To provide reference, the VBS leaders made use of Torchlighters: The Richard Wurmbrand Story DVD and a VOM prayer map.

Station 2: Fight the fire
In the May 2011 VOM newsletter, readers were invited to create parachutes that are being dropped in the jungles of Colombia. This station was set up to imitate a jungle and 45-plus parachutes were made and decorated here! The children also got an opportunity to pick a Prisoner of Faith and write an encouraging letter to him or her.

Station 3: Feel the fire
To give kids an idea of what it’s like for prisoners to have their physical, emotional and spiritual strength tested, VBS leaders created a games’ station to test kids’ endurance levels. Some of the games took away the use of kids’ hands and feet. Others timed the kids while holding weights or had them see how long they could stand with knees bent against a wall.

Station 4: Face the fire
In this station, the three older groups were taken witnessing to “face” possible rejection when spreading the gospel. Most of the kids were nervous at the start, but they built up confidence with each person they spoke to! By the end of the day, more than 1,000 people in Mississauga received a tract with the Good News!

Through this VBS, children received a glimpse of the persecution happening around the world. Please join us in praying that the new-found awareness greatly impacts their lives for years to come.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Justice for family of martyred Christian in Pakistan

Rasheed Masih's family mourned his death
at his funeral last year. (Photo: Compass Direct) 
The Pakistani court has sentenced three Muslims to life imprisonment for the murder of a Christian they killed for refusing to convert to Islam, reports the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ).

Over a year ago, in March 2010, we reported about the murder of 36-year-old Rasheed Masih. Rasheed, a successful potato merchant, reportedly went to the home of one of the defendants to make a business deal. During the meeting, Rasheed was asked to convert to Islam.

Rasheed refused so the four men gathered there beat him with iron rods. Rasheed’s brother and the police found his bloodied body and rushed him to hospital. He succumbed to his injuries on the way, but not before stating who had tortured him.

The police denied that Rasheed had made such statements and refused to arrest the four Muslims. A large group of Christians demanded the arrest of the killers and blocked a major highway in protest. After five hours, the police conceded and the arrests were made.

Ghulam Rasool, Amjad Iqbal, and Kashir Saleem have been sentenced to life imprisonment. Muhammad Asif, the fourth Muslim, was acquitted by police. The three convicts have been further ordered to each pay Rasheed’s family 100,000 rupees (approximately $1,100 CAD) as compensation.

The ECLJ plans on filing an appeal to the Lahore High Court regarding the acquittal of Asif.

For the full report, click here.

In mailboxes this week

The August issue of The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter is hitting mailboxes this week and next.

Here's your sneak peak!
  • Christians are under fire in Pakistan. Read an update on Asia Bibi, who was given the death sentence for blaspheming Muhammad, and how her family is encouraged.
  • Accused of desecrating a Qur’an, Imran Ghafur was sentenced to life in prison in Pakistan. Read an update on his case.
  • Be inspired by Burmese Pastor Lai, who faces opposition for his faith from his neighbour yet continues to share the gospel.
  • Lucio has been targeted in Chiapas, Mexico, for his faith in Christ. Learn why and how VOM is helping him.
  • Hear Pastor Richard Wurmbrand share how the persecuted Church gives to Christians in the free world.
The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter is the flagship publication of The Voice of the Martyrs Canada. Published monthly, it is available free of charge to anyone in Canada who requests it.

You can subscribe online here.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pray for Christians in Iraq!

Iraqi Christians are requesting our prayers for two recent incidents, reports Middle East Concern.

Yesterday morning, a car bomb exploded outside the Holy Family Church in Kirkuk. At least 20 people were injured, including the priest, other church staff and neighbours. One person is reported to be seriously hurt. The church building was badly damaged, and several nearby homes were also damaged.

Bombs were found outside two other church buildings in Kirkuk.

Back in July, a house fellowship leader was detained by the police and continues to be held without charge. It is believed he may be held for his Christian activities, because the authorities recently warned him to stop.

Today in Baghdad, four men were convicted of planning and coordinating the October 31, 2010, attack at the Syrian Catholic Church of Our Lady of Salvation in Baghdad in which 58 people, including the perpetrators, were killed. Three were given the death sentence and the fourth a 20-year jail term.

Iraqi Christians request our prayers that:
  • The wounded and traumatized will know the presence, peace and healing touch of Jesus.
  • The perpetrators of the bomb attack will love mercy and act justly, and know the Spirit's conviction of guilt and the Father's loving offer of forgiveness and new life.
  • Our brother will know the peace and presence of Jesus, and be released soon.
  • All officials involved will love mercy and act justly.

Christians in Laos ordered to stop house meetings

Christians in Sounya, Laos, have been
ordered to cease meeting for worship. 
Authorities in the northern Laos village of Sounya have ordered all Christian residents to stop meeting for worship in private homes, reports Compass Direct News (CDN) and Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF).

The order comes after four Christians were arrested on July 10. Pastor Seng Aroun, a man known as Kofa and two other Christians met for Sunday worship at Kofa’s house. When the service concluded, police arrested all four men for assembling for worship without approval. On July 13, all but Pastor Seng were released. It is believed he remains in detention.

In 2002, there was an initial conversion of about 400 Sounya residents. Since then, opposition of Christians in the village has increased with police conducting three separate waves of church leader arrests.

In 2009, police tore down the Sounya church building and ordered all Christians to cease meeting for worship. Last year, despite the dangers, Christian began meeting in small groups. In January, they were permitted to meet in private homes on Sunday, but even this freedom has since been attacked.

You can read the entire CDN report here and the HRWLRF report here.

You can help by praying!
  • Pray freedom of religion will truly become a reality in Laos.
  • Pray God will give Pastor Seng wisdom as he speaks with authorities.
  • Pray other Christian small groups in Laos will remain safe.

Young pregnant Christian attacked by Muslim

On July 25, a group of Christians in Minya, Egypt came to the rescue of a young pregnant believer who was being attacked by a Muslim man, reports AsiaNews. A group of Muslims armed with iron rods and farming tools then attacked the Christians.

Security forces intervened, but arrested only the Christians involved in the clash, including the pregnant woman’s husband.

Local clergy explained that most residents in the area are Christian and until now haven’t had much conflict with Muslims.

Villagers believe the attack on the woman was premeditated and was in response to a church bell which has angered some local Muslims.

There are fears the Muslims could attack again. Since the fall of Mubarak, the former president, Muslims in multiple communities in Upper Egypt have been repeatedly attacking Christians.

One AsiaNews source said that until the Egyptian constitution is changed, Christians will be in danger.

For the full article, please click here. To post a prayer of solidarity with these believers, visit our Persecuted Church Prayer Wall.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Arrests continue in Eritrea

Our sister mission VOM USA posted a story about arrests continuing in Eritrea (sourcing Release International, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Release Eritrea and VOM sources).

Read it here:

Eritrea: Arrests Continue

Ninety Christians have been arrested in Eritrea in the last two months, as authorities continue a campaign against Christians that began in December. Six of the 90 arrested have been released, but the location of the other 84 is unknown.

On June 2, 2011, police arrested 26 college students from Mai-Mefhi College of Technology. Students were not given a reason for their arrest, but Release Eritrea reports that the students may have been arrested because they did not participate in Independence Day Celebrations. In May, 64 Christians in a village near the Eritrean capital of Asmara were arrested and detained at Asmara’s 6th Police Station.

Sources believe the arrested Christians either remain at the police station or have been moved to Mitire Prison in northeastern Eritrea. Mitire is a remote military prison that is notorious for torture and its harsh living and working conditions. Former Mitire prisoners told Christian Solidarity Worldwide that Mitire is an open-air facility in the desert, where prisoners are terrified by poisonous snakes. Prisoners receive very little food and are forced to work constructing buildings for officers. Because there are no medical facilities, most prisoners leave Mitire after they become too sick to work.

In May 2002, the government of Eritrea banned all Christian groups that do not belong to officially recognized churches. As a result, the Eritrean government has imprisoned several thousand Christians, making the country one of the harshest persecutors of Christians in the world. Many Christians imprisoned in 2002 remain in detention and have never gone before a court. At least 16 Eritrean Christians have died in custody since May 2002, mostly due to torture, treatable illnesses and malnutrition.

Please continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in Eritrea!

Lao Christian kicked out by family for refusing to visit witch doctor

A Christian in Laos was recently kicked out of his home for taking his daughter to a medical doctor rather than seeking treatment from a witch doctor, reports our sister mission VOM USA.

Twenty-six-year-old "Noy" lived with his wife and their two children in his in-laws' home. He began facing opposition from his family members when he converted to Christianity because he attended church on Sundays rather than work in the field.

When his daughter became ill, the family told Noy to take her to a witch doctor. Instead, Noy said, "I will take my daughter to the hospital. God will rescue her life." His in-laws cursed him and burned his Bible and other Christian books while he was at the hospital.

When Noy returned after his daughter's recovery, his in-laws told him he couldn't live there unless he renounced his faith. Noy refused, saying, "How can I forsake the living God?" They then forced him to leave the house.

With help from VOM workers, Noy and his family have purchased a simple bamboo house, but are without basic necessities such as food, clothing and materials for farming.

You can help by praying!
  • Thank the Lord that Noy and his family stood firm in their faith and that they are continuing to attend church joyfully.
  • Pray God will provide for their physical needs and guard their hearts against anxiety.
  • Pray Christians in Laos will be a bold testimony of love to those around them.

Priest re-arrested in Vietnam

Father Van Ly,
who has serious health issues,
has been re-arrested.
Please pray!
Father Nguyen Van Ly, a Vietnamese priest who has spent more than 15 years in prison, was re-arrested by authorities on July 25, reports AsiaNews.

Van Ly was last arrested in February 2007, when he was detained for distributing material "harmful to the state." He was released in March 2010 to undergo a year's medical treatment for serious health concerns, including two severe strokes that left him partially paralyzed.

During his medical leave, authorities prevented him from giving interviews or meeting with activists. Police also reportedly roughed up a U.S. diplomat who attempted to visit with him.

For more information on the trials Father Van Ly has faced, click here. To read the full article from AsiaNews, click here.

Please pray for Father Van Ly!
  • Pray that he will be released from prison.
  • Pray for continued health and strength. 
  • Pray that Father Van Ly will trust in the Lord in all things. 
  • Pray that freedom of religion and freedom of speech will be respected in Vietnam.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Iranian Christian convert temporarily released

Masoud Delijani was arrested at a house church in March.
He has been released temporarily on bail. (Photo: Mohabat News)
An Iranian Christian convert who was arrested during a house church meeting has been released after 114 days in prison. Mohabat News reports that Masoud Delijani was temporarily released on bail on Saturday, July 9.

Masoud was arrested on March 18 in a raid by Intelligence Ministry security forces on a house church in Kermanshah. The believers were meeting in the private home since Iran’s theocratic government does not allow Farsi speaking Christians to have church buildings in which to meet.

It is likely that Masoud along with nine other believers were arrested for their faith in Christ and their participation in Christian gatherings. At the time of the arrest, the home was searched and items like Christian paintings, Bibles, and DVDs were confiscated.

Masoud is said to have spent most of his detention in solitary confinement. The arduous conditions of his imprisonment, including spiritual pressure, have weakened him physically. He has been temporarily released after posting a bail of $100,000 USD.

He awaits a court date at which he will answer to charges regarding his Christian faith.

To read the full report, click here.

Pray for Masoud Delijani!
  • Pray God will strengthen Masoud and heal his physical conditions.
  • Pray the charges brought against him will be dropped.
  • Pray those who have witnessed Masoud’s testimony will come to see his Saviour.

Chinese pastor sentenced to labour camp

Pastor Shi Enhao, vice-president of the Chinese House Church Alliance,
has been sentenced to two years of “re-education” in a labour camp.
(Photo: ChinaAid)
Earlier this month, we reported the case of Pastor Shi Enhao, the vice-president of the Chinese House Church Alliance. Pastor Shi was first arrested in March and has since faced re-arrests and beatings before being taken to an undisclosed location.

VOM’s partner, ChinaAid, is now reporting that Pastor Shi has been sentenced to two years of “re-education through labour.” This sentence is handed out by police and requires no trial or conviction of a crime.

Pastor Shi, who helps lead a house church of thousands of people who meet in various sites, is reportedly charged with “illegal meetings and illegal organizing of venues for religious meetings.”

Police have threatened the pastor’s wife and three daughters and ordered his church to stop meeting. Musical instruments, choir robes, and 140,000 Yuan (around $20,500 CAD) in donations have been confiscated.

ChinaAid says the case has significance in relation to the events unfolding around the Shouwang Church in Beijing. After being evicted from its rented building in April, the large house church decided to meet publicly outdoors. The congregation has continued to face opposition from authorities (for more information, click here).

Critics of the Shouwang Church say clashes with authorities could be avoided by meeting in smaller groups. However, the results of Pastor Shi’s case clearly demonstrate that this strategy does not guarantee freedom for house church members.

For ChinaAid’s full report, click here.