Persecution and Prayer Alert
"A 'prayer warrior' is a person who is convinced that God
is omnipotent -- that God has the power to do anything, to change
anyone and to intervene in any circumstance. A person
who truly believes this refuses to doubt God."
~ Bill Hybels
Sources: VOM USA, Forum 18 News Service
|Two young children look at a
media player in Uzbekistan where it is
illegal to own Christian materials.
On August 2nd, authorities raided the home of Pastor Stanislav Kim in Chirchik, detaining 11 teenagers and three adults who had gathered for a volleyball game. Although Pastor Kim (who leads an unregistered church) and his son were not taken into custody, they are expected to face heavy fines. The adults and teenagers were questioned for more than four hours before being released. The authorities also searched Pastor Stanislav's home and confiscated a New Testament, a Bible, several other Christian books, more than 100 slides of hymns, and computer equipment.
Though a secular state, Uzbekistan's religion law bans unregistered religious activity and, therefore, the government relentlessly persecutes Christians. Because it is nearly impossible to obtain church registration, there are about 65 unregistered fellowships scattered throughout the country.
Please pray that this pastor and his son will not face fines, but will soon be acquitted of any perceived wrongdoing. Ask God to strengthen each believer who was present during this unwarranted raid so that they will not give in to governmental intimidation and pressure, but instead be emboldened to serve our Lord faithfully. In particular, pray that the teenagers involved will continue to grow in their faith and become strong leaders within the church of Uzbekistan. Please also lift up in prayer this Central Asian country, asking God to use His people there to achieve His greater purposes.
To learn more about the persecuted church in Uzbekistan, visit our country report.
RECENT PRISONER UPDATES
Sources: VOM USA, Pakistan Christian Post
The hearing for Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy, was postponed for the sixth time on September 9th -- this time at the request of her husband, Ashiq Masih. Asia was arrested in June 2009 after being accused of insulting the Muslim prophet Mohammed. (For more information on Asia's longstanding case, visit this page.)
The Christian wife and mother's hearing has now been rescheduled for October 16th. Although her legal team was present for the September 9th hearing, Ashiq requested the postponement because his private attorney could not attend. Sources report that the judge has issued an order declaring that the upcoming October hearing will be final, with no further adjournments.
After yet another disappointing delay in her case, pray that Asia will not lose heart but would continue to look to Jesus for daily strength and grace. May her worried family members and other loved ones be granted much patience and peace as they support this dear sister in Christ during her time of trial. Pray that God will be present in every detail of preparation for the upcoming hearing so it may go smoothly and result in Asia's freedom from prison. Finally, please also remember in prayer the many other Christians in Pakistan who are facing blasphemy charges or other such false allegations because of their love for Jesus Christ.
To add your voice to the nearly 11,000 Canadians who have signed an online petition calling for the release of Asia, please visit www.callformercy.com.
Sources: VOM USA, World Watch Monitor
|Pastor Tandin and his wife|
Two pastors are under fire for their evangelism work in the Buddhist nation of Bhutan. On September 10th, Pastor Tandin Wangyal was sentenced to nearly four years in prison on charges of receiving money for spreading Christianity. The pastor has since been released on bail but may still be forced to serve the prison term. VOM contacts are concerned for the welfare of Pastor Tandin's wife, Nengboi, and their three young sons, especially if the pastor is required to serve his sentence. The pastor's co-worker, M.B. Thapa, was sentenced to two years and four months, or a fine equivalent to approximately $1,800 CAD. He was released after paying the fine.
The two men were arrested on March 5th while carrying a sick child to a village clinic. They had arrived the previous day after accepting an invitation to hold a three-day seminar for 30 Christians from neighbouring towns. They were detained under the charges of conducting a gathering for religious purpose without prior approval, showing a film without certificate of approval from media authorities, and collecting "illegal funds."
Thank you for interceding on behalf of these two pastors, praying that all charges and accusations against them will soon be dropped. Include in prayer their distraught families who are in need of God's encouragement and material provision. Please also remember the 30 Christians who initially requested the involvement of these pastors in the seminar, asking that the Lord will strengthen both their faith and resolve to follow Him despite the opposition. May their devotion to our God serve as an effective witness of His unfailing love, leading many others in Bhutan to accept His Son Jesus as Saviour and Lord.
To learn more about the struggles Christians are facing for their faith in Bhutan, visit our Bhutan Country Report.