Wednesday, January 11, 2006

News Items: Indonesia, Laos, India

(Source: Open Doors)

Indonesia: The Indonesian government has established a new Security Operation Command to investigate violence in Central Sulawesi following a New Year's Eve bomb explosion in Palu that killed eight people and injured 56 others. The bomb exploded in a marketplace in a Christian area at 6:30 a.m. as residents were buying pork for their festive meals. Pork is offensive to Muslims, and the bombing of what locals call a "Christian market" where the meat is sold may point to Islamic terrorists. Human rights groups immediately called for an independent investigation, but the government responded with the new Security Operation Command, which planned to send 1,100 police reinforcements and an unspecified number of soldiers to Poso and Palu.
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Please join us in prayer for:

- A just investigation into the bomb attack
- The Security Operation Command will not protect corrupt police who have been complicit in attacks against Christians
- The Christians involved to forgive and not retaliate
- Holy Spirit to comfort those families who lost loved ones and complete healing for those who were injured

Laos: An itinerant evangelist, pastor and father of four children was brutally murdered in southern Laos the week before Christmas, according to Compass Direct. The body of Aroun Voraphorn was found on December 23, abandoned on a jungle road near his home village of Huaysiat. His wife last heard from him on December 18, when he told her by telephone that he would arrive late for his youngest daughter's birthday party as he was buying a birthday cake. Religious motives for the killing cannot be ruled out, as in 1996 the evangelist had been imprisoned for his faith. At a funeral service on Christmas Eve, his wife Metta Voraphorn pleaded with Christians in Laos to continue preaching the Gospel fearlessly as her husband had done.

Please join us in prayer for:

- Continued courage and comfort for the Voraphorn family
- Provision for the Voraphorn family
- That Lao Christians will continue to meet and worship despite this attack
- For an unbiased investigation into Aroun’s death and that the attackers will be brought to justice

India: Police decided yesterday to allow a make-shift Hindu temple but banned Christians from worshipping at a nearby house church following a conflict that led to Hindu fundamentalists attacking four people. Hindu extremists had set up the temple near the house church in Umarkote village, Orissa state, in October 2005. They then complained to police that the house church worship was disturbing their own rituals. On Friday, December 30, the extremists attacked three women who had come to the house for a weekly prayer and fasting meeting and warned them to stop attending services. They also slapped a church member, Samraj Rai, who had come to warn the women, and damaged his motorbike. Police interrogated the pastor and other church members regarding accusations that they were forcibly converting Hindus but declined to register the Christians’ complaint over the assault.

Please join us in prayer for:

- International attention be drawn to perversion of justice within the Indian police departments
- Local Christians to be able to worship freely in Umarkote village
- Encouragement for Samraj Rai and the women who were attacked

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