Persecution and Prayer Alert
"So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."
~ Isaiah 41:10 NIV
RECENT PRISONER UPDATES
Source: VOM USA
During a recent visit with his family, imprisoned believer Wenxi Li excitedly shared that several more prisoners have become Christians after hearing the Gospel message! Previous to this, while awaiting his trial last year, Wenxi had led three other prisoners to Christ.
Wenxi, who has been imprisoned since his arrest in December of 2012, was permitted to visit with his wife and family this past January. His wife, Cai Hong Li, reports that he is doing well.
In June of 2013, Wenxi was sentenced to two years in prison for his role with Enyu Bookstore in the city of Taiyuan. Officials also seized hundreds of books from Wenxi. (For more information on his arrest, click here.)
While we will certainly continue to pray for Wenxi's release, let us also rejoice in the ways in which he is sharing the "Good News" while imprisoned! Pray that the seeds planted in these other prisoners' lives will now grow and mature, and in time produce a great harvest. Thank the Lord for allowing Wenxi and his family to have some meaningful time to visit together and encourage one another. Pray that they will soon be permanently reunited!
For more information on China's persecuted church, please visit the China Country Report.
Source: Christian Solidarity Worldwide
Photo: Barnabas Aid
Six Christians from Shiraz, who were sentenced to various prison terms last year, had their sentences upheld on March 29th following an appeal.
In July of 2013, following a raid on their prayer meeting, the six were charged with "action against the national security" and "propaganda against the order of the system." (For more information on the raid, click here.) Another two Christians who were also arrested at the time, Roxana Forghi and Shahin Lahouti, have since been released.
The six remaining in detention are Mohammad Roghangir (six-year sentence), Massoud Rezai (five-year sentence), Mehdi Ameruni and Bijan Farokhpour Haghighi (three-year sentences), Suroush Saraie (two-and-a-half-year sentence), and Eskandar Rezai (one-year sentence).
As these believers and their loved ones now try to cope with this latest disappointment, pray that they will look to Jesus and not lose heart (Hebrews 12:3). May they use their time in prison to be "salt" and "light" to those around them, prompting many to learn more about the Saviour for whose cause they are presently suffering. Please also lift up the country of Iran to our Lord, asking Him to encourage the growth of His church and equip His people to do the good works He has prepared in advance for them (Ephesians 2:10).
To share your own prayers for these imprisoned Christians, visit our Persecuted Church Prayer Wall.
Sources: VOM USA, Forum 18 News Service
Umid Gojayev, a 30-year-old husband and father of three young children, is continuing to be held in detention because of his faith.
In early 2012, Umid had an argument with four neighbours over access to a well where they live in Dashoguz. In the scuffle, Umid was forced to defend himself and hit one of the men on the head with a brick, causing injury. The man filed a complaint against Umid with local police. Several days later, Umid and his family reconciled with the man he injured and paid for his hospital expenses. Although the victim refused to press charges, when police learned that Umid was a Christian, they insisted on bringing the case to court.
Umid was sentenced to four years in prison on charges of "hooliganism," even though none of the other men involved in the melee were prosecuted. One of the investigators reportedly told Umid's relative that because their family member is a believer, the court will not forgive him.
After nearly two years in prison, there have been four general amnesties in which prisoners charged under the same law as Umid have been released, yet he remains in prison. "Umid was told in the labour camp, he is not being included in the amnesties because he reads the Bible," explains a Christian who knows the imprisoned believer.
As a result of his imprisonment, Umid's wife, Malahat, was forced to leave her job and care for their children. The family is struggling to make ends meet without their primary breadwinner.
Intercede on behalf of Umid, Malahat and their children, asking the Lord to provide a way for Umid to be released from prison. Pray that, in the meantime, they will continue to glorify Him in all things and in all situations. Ask God to meet every need Malahat now faces as she raises the children on her own, encouraging fellow believers to rally around this family in prayer and tangible support. Finally, pray for the authorities involved in this case...that they will seek justice and truth on behalf of Umid and his struggling family.
To write a letter of encouragement to Umid in his own language, visit VOM's letter writing site.