Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Pakistan - Christian Children Sold As Slaves - Barnabas Fund


25 May 2006


Gul Khan, a leading member of a militant Islamic organisation based in Pakistan, is funding its activities through the sale of Christian
children into slavery. The children, aged between 6 and 12, are abducted from their homes in remote Christian villages in the Punjab
and incarcerated in appalling conditions, until being sold for approximately $1,700 each into the sex trade or a life of domestic
servitude. While they are held they are beaten savagely, only fed once a day and ordered not to talk, play or pray.

The trade was exposed by two Christian missionaries (one Pakistani, the other American), who had seen photographs of boys for sale on the black market in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province. The missionaries constructed an elaborate and hazardous rescue plan, with
the Pakistani posing as a Lahore businessman who wanted to buy boys to beg for him. Not only did they manage to buy back twenty boys and return them to their homes, but also they secretly filmed Khan accepting money for seventeen boys.


Khan is a senior member of Jamaat-ud Daawa (JUD), an organisation linked to Al-Qaeda. The US State Department has declared JUD to be a front for a terrorist group Lashkar-i-Toiba which is banned in both Pakistan and the UK. Yet JUD is popular in Pakistan for providing free medical care and education for the poor. After last year's earthquake in Kashmir it was quick to give tents, blankets and food. At its base near Lahore JUD claims to have created a “pure Islamic environment” that is superior to western “depravity”. The base was funded by Osama bin Laden in the late 1990s. JUD and Al-Qaeda jointly attempted to assassinate the Pakistani President, Pervez Musharraf, in 2003. JUD's leader, Hafez Muhamed Sayeed, was accused of inciting riots in Pakistan earlier this year in response to the publication of the Danish cartoons of the Islamicprophet Muhammed. Although the evidence against Khan is overwhelming the police have indicated that the power of groups such as JUD is too great for them to tackle. So far no investigation has taken place.


“The revelation of this horrifying trade in Christian boys to fund Islamic terrorism is an extreme manifestation of the discrimination and oppression of Christians in Pakistan,” said Dr Patrick Sookhdeo theInternational Director of Barnabas Fund. “The classical teachings ofIslam on the second class status of non-Muslims (called dhimmi) create an attitude of contempt towards Pakistan’s Christian minority which is seen in a whole raft of daily discrimination, injustice and humiliation. The situation is exacerbated by issues of caste and poverty. It is in this context that such horrors can take place. I am encouraged that the police did make some efforts in this case, but, as so often happens, they appear now to be intimidated themselves by the weight of the whole Islamist movement in Pakistan. I pray that the exposure of this slave trade to the international community will help bring an end to it.”


* Pray that the slavers will be stopped and brought to justice and in the words of one of the missionaries “Pray that a public outcry will arise in Pakistan and around the world that will put an end to their vile business.”

* Pray for the twenty Christian boys who have been reunited with their families after such severe suffering and trauma. Pray for emotional and, where necessary, physical healing for them.

* Pray for other Christian boys who may have been sold already and for whom freedom might never again be a reality. Pray that the Lord Jesus will comfort them by His presence and that somehow justice would be done and they would be given their liberty.

* Pray for the Pakistani police and judiciary and for President Musharraf that they will be able to control and contain the Islamic extremists and enforce full law and order to Pakistan."

Aid for Indonesia: Barnabas Fund


A magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck the densely populated heart of Java island, Indonesia around dawn on Saturday morning, 27th May. Hundreds of square kilometres were affected, including the ancient royal capital Yogyakarta. According to the most recent estimates, almost 5,000 people have been killed, 10,000 injured (1,000 of them seriously) and 150,000 made homeless.

Although the region is Muslim-majority, there are many Christians amongst the earthquake victims, killed, injured or made homeless. Church buildings have also been destroyed. First estimates suggest 10,000 Christians have been affected, but the real figure could be much higher. Barnabas Fund is therefore appealing for assistance for Christian victims of the earthquake.

The worst death toll is in the town of Bantul where 70-80% of the homes were destroyed.The second worst affected area is the district of Klaten. The Christian population of Bantul is estimated at 2% to 5%. Equivalent figures for Klaten are 10% to 15%. This means that there are up to 40,000 Christians living in Bantul and up to 180,000 Christians in Klaten.

The destruction of church buildings will become a particular difficulty once the initial emergency has been dealt with. Before the earthquake there were only around 40 legally registered church buildings in Bantul and some 147 in Klaten. In addition there were around 50 underground churches functioning in Bantul and Klaten. Because it is so difficult to get worship permits, the loss of legally registered church buildings will have a very serious effect on the Christians. Further west on Java, the forced closure of large numbers of churches is causing huge problems for the Christian community, as it is illegal to worship in homes.

Barnabas Fund is working in conjunction with Asian Mission and Integrated Development (AMID) and other partners in the region to send help to the affected area. AMID already have 50 volunteers working in five locations in cooperation with local churches and Christian organisations. Funds are needed for food, water, clothing, bedding, tents, and medical supplies. Barnabas Fund is sending an immediate grant if US$50,000. A Barnabas Fund representative will be in the earthquake area next week.

Please click this link to donate online using our secure server. (Please quote project reference 22-618 when you send your gift.)

If you prefer to telephone, dial:

0800 587 4006 from within the UK or +44 1672 565031 from outside the UK. (Please quote project reference 22-618 when you send your gift.)

If you prefer to send a cheque by post, click this link for addresses of our regional offices and to print a donation page. (Please quote project reference 22-618 when you send your gift.)


Pray that assistance will reach all the earthquake victims speedily. Although central Java is well supplied with roads and infrastructure, many roads and bridges were destroyed, hindering relief efforts. Pray that medical staff will have extra strength to cope with the demands on them.

Pray that the Christian minority will get sufficient help as well as the Muslim majority. Christians in this area suffer discrimination and neglect. Pray that they will not be discriminated against in the aid efforts as happened in Indonesia’s Aceh province after the 2004 tsunami.

People in the devastated area are very fearful. There have been hundreds of after-shocks already and they also fear a large eruption from the nearby volcano Mount Merapi. Most prefer to sleep in the open in the rain, rather than to go inside the remaining buildings which still stand. Pray that Christians will be able to radiate peace, hope and trust in their heavenly Father."

Open Doors: Pray for Iraq

"Jesus' message never waivers; He teaches that we are to love the Lord and love one another. If we have love, then we have perfect unity. Beginning last Thursday, on May 25th, our Iranian Christian brothers and sisters have pledged 40 days of prayer and fasting for the salvation of Iran. Over 120 Iranian church leaders ask that Christians worldwide would join them in praying for their country. Open Doors USA is responding to this call and urging Christians in the U.S. to earnestly pray for the Iranian people. 'Pray that we will become united,' said one of the Iranian church leaders. 'If we were united, we could beat this regime. If we were united, we would not give in to Satan, because the love of Christ would be central.' Praise God for our unity in prayer and His many blessings that follow. In response to the 40 days of fasting and prayer, please focus your prayers this week in praying for the people of Iran.

-Unity, wisdom, and courage for church leaders; ministry of healing and reconciliation; peace and strength for Iranian Christians.

-Pulling down the strongholds of fear and violence; blind the eyes of secret police; reduce the tide of Islamic fundamentalism; protection over house meetings.

-Social barriers to be softened; conversions of prominent Muslims and government officials; and the establishment of a stable government.

-More Bibles and Christian literature to be delivered; courage and boldness to share Jesus; freedom of religion.

-Effective development of church planting and discipleship; the multiplication of pastors and Churches; and training for pastors and Church leaders.

For more details of this time of prayer and fasting, and for more prayer points please go to

In addition we would like to add prayers for the people of Indonesia as we mourn the loss of life and those left homeless. I also wanted to let you know that yesterday Emily [my note: who usually does these postings for OD] was in an auto accident, today she is at home recovering. Although the accident was serious Emily was able to walk away with only minor injuries. Thank God for His protection."

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Forum 18: Russia


The Salvation Army's Russian national registration has been restored, but its Moscow city branch is still unregistered. 'We're waiting on [the European Court of Human Rights in] Strasbourg,' Territorial Commander Colonel Barry Pobjie told Forum 18 News Service. However, the Salvation Army does not face obstruction to its day-to-day Moscow activities, unlike Jehovah's Witnesses in the city, who sometimes face obstruction and are under a local court ban. In contrast, in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don, the Salvation Army has told Forum 18 that it has not had the registration difficulties faced in Moscow. 'That didn't affect us at all,' Captain Vladimir Tatiosov said, noting that the authorities support the Salvation Army's various social projects. Pentecostal Pastor Viktor Shvedov told Forum 18 that his church can provide social assistance to prisoners, but is unofficially barred from both helping local children's homes and conducting a March for Jesus through Rostov-on-Don city centre.

Before 2005, Rostov-on-Don Pentecostals were able to provide clothes, toys and building materials to children's homes."

Forum 18: Uzbekistan


In what seems to be a widening crackdown against religious freedom in Uzbekistan, the police and NSS secret police have raided several churches and a Baptist has been fined for leading services in her home. Yesterday (18 May), a group of Protestants in the capital Tashkent were detained following a police raid on a private flat. Humanitarian aid agencies suspected of involvement in Christian missionary activity are also being closed. Irmuhamad Shermatov, of the Justice Ministry's Department for the Defence of Human Rights, has insisted to Forum 18 News Service that 'we defend human rights,' but refused to say what the Ministry was doing to end attacks on religious freedom. A colleague of Shermatov's in central Uzbekistan told Forum 18 that the Justice Ministry has closed down two Protestant churches. She refused to say how in Uzbekistan church members could freely practice their faith, as the country's international human rights obligations require."

WEA RLP: Eritrean Persecution Increasing


Eritrea's Protestant Church has been severely persecuted since mid-2002 when the government closed all but the 'official' Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran churches. During 2005 the persecution extended to include some Catholic and Orthodox members. In January 2006 the government took control of the Eritrean Orthodox Church, sacking the non-compliant Patriarch Antonois and replacing him with a compliant layman. Compass Direct wrote, 'Nearly 1800 Christians, including 28 pastors and priests from both Protestant and Orthodox churches, are now under arrest in police stations, military camps and jails all across Eritrea because of their religious beliefs.'

Prison conditions are appalling and torture is routine. Several evangelical leaders including Dr Kifle Gebremeski, Chairman of the Eritrean Evangelical Alliance, remain 'disappeared'. The suffering is immense. Please pray for the Church in Eritrea.


* to humble Eritrea's President Issayas Afewerki so he will repent and fear God (Daniel 4), or may God at least turn his heart (Proverbs 21:1) so he will stop persecution of the Church.

* to bless Eritrea's persecuted and imprisoned believers with enduring faith, a powerful sense of his loving and sustaining presence, and ultimately with justice.

* who is three but one, to create by his Spirit deep bonds of brotherly love, identification and solidarity between all Eritrea's Christians; may the politically powerful Orthodox Church and the spiritually rich evangelicals become a blessing to each other, to their nation and to the world.

' . . . I pray . . . that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.' Jesus, John 17:20-23"

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Open Doors: Letters from the Chinese Church

"China: Voices in the Dark: Letters from China's Suffering Church

(A letter from a believer in Shandong Province) 'I often give out Christian tracts, but on one occasion recently, the police took me to the police station and shouted and swore at me... They arrested me at 8 am... They told me it was forbidden to distribute tracts, to attend house churches, and that I must go to the 'Three Self' church... They interrogated me, made a record and prepared a case against me. I am really quite weak. When I recall the fierce faces of the police, I am frightened. I don't have a scrap of faith and don't dare to give out tracts again. Previously, I used to pray that our Heavenly Father would keep me faithful unto death, but now faced with reality, I feel a coward.'

(A letter from a believer in Zhejiang Province) 'Praise the Lord that, until now, I have had no trouble. When the fear came upon me, through prayer God granted me great peace. Up until now, the Public Security has not found me. But the original fellowship I attended at university is facing persecution. Their meetings now have to be very secret. To think that my name may be recorded on a government black-list is enough to make one lose hope. But more importantly, my name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life. I don't know what the future will hold. Perhaps I will lose my present job, or even languish in jail. But I believe deeply that God is in control of everything. Whatever I have to face is all according to His perfect will.'

Please pray:

-For the faith, perseverance, and courage of these persecuted Christians as they continue to endure incessant hardships, obstacles, and discouragement for their faith.

-For these believers in particular, and for the entire Persecuted Church in China—that they will always find comfort and rest at the foot of Jesus in the midst of trials."

Friday, May 19, 2006

Open Doors: Indonesia, India

"Indonesia: * Indonesian Police announced that seven suspected Islamic terrorists have recently confessed to the beheading of three Indonesian schoolgirls in Poso, on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, in October 2005. Theresia Morangke, 15, Alfita Poliwo, 17, and Yarni Sambue, 15 were beheaded early in the morning of October 29, 2005 as they walked to a Christian school in Poso district. A fourth girl, Noviana Malewa, 15, received serious injuries to her face and neck but survived the attack. Only five of the seven terrorists have been detained for the murders, while two additional suspects are yet to be publicly identified.

Read more>>

Please pray:

-For the families of these girls - that they will find comfort and healing in the love of Christ.

-That justice will be served to the men guilty of this vicious crime, but ultimately, that the grace of God will call them into a saving relationship with Christ.

India: * Pastor Ranjan has been ministering in the Kanker District of Chattisgarh for the past three years, amid continuous threats and attacks on his ministry. Last year, Hindu fundamentalists conspired to have Pastor Ranjan imprisoned on false charges of serial rape and forced abortion, amounting to culpable homicide. Despite Pastor Ranjan's obvious innocence, even leaders within his own church denomination became reluctant to associate with him. He was able to avoid arrest for eight months, until finally surrendering in February of 2006. He is now awaiting trial in prison, with enough false testimony and documentation against him to sentence him to life.

Please pray:

-That Pastor Ranjan wnot lose hope, and that he will continue to trust in the Lord.
-That justice will win out, and his legal advisers will have wisdom in handling his case.

Encourage Pastor Ranjan by sending him a letter or a card:
Do not mention Open Doors
Greeting cards, artwork by children and postcards are best (send postcards in an envelope, do not write the Open Doors address on the postcard)
Print clearly (you can write in English)
Be encouraging, keep your message brief, include 1-2 Bible verses
Don’t say anything negative about the government or Hindus
Provide your name & country, not your full address
Don’t send money directly to Pastor Ranjan

Send Letters to:

Pastor Rohit Ranjan, India
c/o Open Doors
PO Box 27001
Santa Ana, CA 92799
Attn: Prayer Ministries "

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Uzbekistan: More Harassment


In late April, police officers from Uzbekistan's criminal investigation department burst into the home of a Protestant pastor in northwest Uzbekistan, disrupting 12 people as they were having lunch together. The pastor and another believer were charged with 'breaking the laws on teaching religion.'

The April 24th raid in Urgench, a city in the Khorezm region near the Turkmen border, targeted the house of Pastor Lunkin Sergey of the Union of Independent Churches.

In a separate incident, three Christians in Tashkent were arrested on April 21st, while visiting and helping feed patients at a tuberculosis hospital for children. One of them was charged with violating administrative laws against teaching religion. During the past 12 months, Uzbekistan police and judicial authorities have stepped up pressures against Protestant Christians, and even government-registered churches are under heightened scrutiny.

Pray God will give Uzbek Christians a fearless confidence in their Savior. Pray for a miracle from our omnipotent Creator to bring peace and justice to Uzbekistan. Pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit among those in positions of authority to turn them to the One who loves them and wants them to know eternal peace. "

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Open Doors: Turkmenistan, India

"Turkmenistan: * Police in Turkmenistan's capital city broke up a Christian house group meeting, confiscating personal belongings and subjecting the group to extensive interrogation. The incident occurred just hours after U.S. officials recommended that Turkmenistan be labeled one of the world's worst violators of religious freedom. After seizing materials, the officers forced the Christians to reenact their meeting activities while police videotaped them. Noting that Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov's 'increasingly oppressive personality cult' had effectively become 'a state-imposed religion', the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom this week recommended that Turkmenistan be added to the U.S. State Department's list of violators of religious freedom as a Country of Particular Concern.

Read More>>

Please Pray:

-That those who videotaped the re-enactment of the church service will not be able to forget what they saw and will have many questions; Ask the Lord to reveal to them the answers to their spiritual questions.

-For the faith, perseverance, and witness of Christians in Turkmenistan, and particularly to those from this specific house church.

-That the situation in Turkmenistan will receive greater international attention, and that through the persecution of these Christians, more people will come to know Christ.

India: * Police in Madhya Pradesh state colluded with Hindu extremists by having Christian 'evidence' planted in a social worker's personal bag in order to charge him with 'forcible' conversion of children, sources said. Sunil Kumar Rao was helping to educate the children of poor laborers when police arrested him, even though they found no evidence that he was even a Christian, let alone trying to “forcibly” convert the children. After Hindu extremists arrived, however, police extracted planted Christian articles from Rao’s personal bag that had not been there before. Also this week, Hindu extremists slapped a 60-year-old pastor for distributing Christian literature, and a Christian man and Hindu woman were beaten for trying to get a marriage license.

Read More>>

Please Pray:

-For the Lord’s presence and protection for Sunil Kumar Rao and others who are injustly arrested because they are Christians, and that their testimonies will bring glory to God.

-That justice and truth will rain down upon the nation of India and pierce the darkness that surrounds the minds of so many.

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Voice of the Martyrs: Indonesia - Two house churches closed

"The Voice of the Martyrs - In the Indonesian city of Bogor in West Java on April 23rd, a Muslim mob of about 200 and a crowd of supporters from surrounding areas shut down a Sunday morning service at the Gunungputri house complex. With hundreds of pleased onlookers standing by, the church was evacuated and emptied of its contents. The protesting demonstrators insisted that illegal religious activities were taking place in the house because nearby neighbors had never submitted a recommendation allowing Christian gatherings there. The owner of the house finally gave in to the mob's demand to stop holding Sunday services. A few policemen showed up on the scene as women from the congregation cried while their church was officially closed.

Still not satisfied, the Muslim mob marched to a Christian house being 'misused' as a church, which also served as a store. However, when the crowd arrived, the house -- which was regularly used as a Sunday service meeting place -- had already been locked by its owner. Fearing that the mob would shut the church down by force, members of the congregation left the church to avoid any conflict or destruction. Unable to enact another church closure, the mob disbanded, but only after they warned security forces that they would return if the Christians continued holding services at the house-store. The Muslims demanded that the local government strictly enforce a church establishment law against Christians, requiring a minimum amount of members and community support. This makes it difficult for many small churches to survive, especially in predominantly Muslim or rural regions. Even though religious freedom is 'guaranteed' in Indonesia's constitution, dozens of churches have been closed in the past several months."

Friday, May 05, 2006

Forum 18: Uzbekistan - Raid on Protestant Easter Services

"[O]n 30 April, about fifty police raided a banned Protestant church and detained church members during Easter celebrations. Simultaneously, police raided the church's land and broke the caretaker's arm in a bid to force the church to give its land to the state. Following the raids, Forum 18 has learnt that the Prosecutor's Office intimidated and threatened children, in a bid to force them to sign statements that they would no longer attend Christian services and that they were renouncing their Christian faith. Parents were also pressured to write statements that they would not 'attract their children to Christianity' and warned that failure to comply could see them deprived of their parental rights. A state religious affairs official told Forum 18 that 'the police simply have to stop the church's members from holding illegal religious meetings.'"

Read More

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Open Doors: India, Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan

"India: * Hindu leaders attending a centenary celebration of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) last weekend converted at least 344 tribal Christians to Hinduism. Although police were present, they took no action to enforce Orissa state anti-conversion laws that require official permission for such events. The so-called 'reconversions' took place as key Hindu dignitaries encouraged the Christians to blow conch shells and recite Hindu scriptures in a symbolic 'return' to Hinduism.

Read More>>

Please Pray:

-That these 're-converted' individuals will return to Christ, and that all Indian Christians will be strengthened in Christ to remain in His love and under His name despite the pressure and persecution they face.

-That Satan's schemes to deceive and destroy will be rendered powerless.

Sri Lanka: * Sri Lanka's Parliament has appointed a 19-member committee to review a bill that would outlaw 'forcible' conversion, before it is presented for a final vote. According to Compass Direct the bill calls for prison sentences of up to five years and/or a stiff fine for anyone found guilty of converting others 'by force or by allurement or by any fraudulent means'. Against a backdrop of increased military activity between the government and northern separatists, attacks on churches have continued.

Read More>>

Please Pray:

-That this bill will not serve the Buddhist led government as a tool to threaten and intimidate the Sri Lankan people from sharing their Christian faith or for Buddhists to convert to Christianity.

-For the endurance and testimony of Christians in Sri Lanka despite whatever attempts their government would make to limit religious freedom.

Uzbekistan: * Since May 2005, the political, economic, and religious climate of Uzbekistan has deteriorated, and pressures on the church have worsened. According to Compass Direct the government has attributed the rapid spread of Christianity and the growth of the Uzbek church to the influence of the West through financial support. In an effort to put an end to the growth of Christianity in Uzbekistan, police officers have interrogated and documented many Christian leaders and pastors, and attempted to close even registered churches. Many expatriate Christian workers did not get their residence permits renewed and had to leave the country.

Read More>>

Please Pray:

-For the continual spread of the Gospel and growth of the Uzbek church.

-For the testimony of Uzbek Christians as they endure opposition and persecution."

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Compass Direct - Turkey: Anti-Missionary 'Witch-hunt' Haunts Bingol

Muslim woman attacked for 'Christianizing', while followers of Jesus live in 'disgrace'.

April 20 (Compass Direct) - Fanned by local media and a Muslim mufti, an anti-missionary 'witch-hunt' targeting Christians in the Turkey's eastern city of Bingol left a Muslim woman beaten in her tailor shop last month while police allowed her attacker to walk free. Guler Morsumbul has not yet found a lawyer willing to represent her in court against the man who attacked her six weeks ago, supposedly for 'Christianizing' his daughter. A relative says many others have suffered from a growing climate of fear since reports of missionary activity first appeared in a national newspaper three years ago. 'Whoever has a grudge against someone else, whoever wants to destroy someone's business, simply calls the other person a Christian', the relative said."

Read More

Compass Direct - Indonesia: Christian Foundation Threatened by Muslim Group

"April 25 (Compass Direct) - A Muslim community group called Majlis Taklim on April 9 entered the premises of a Christian social institution in West Java, Indonesia, demanding its closure for the fifth time this year. The Apostolic Nation Building Foundation (ABB) operates from a residential building in West Bekasi district, West Java. Around 70 Majlis Taklim members came to the ABB headquarters on April 9 and told the foundation to cease all activities, accusing them of running an illegal church and trying to 'Christianize' the community. Staff immediately called the police, who arrived and monitored the situation; there was no violence. Majlis Taklim coordinator Radesman Saragih said church members should take the warning seriously or be prepared to face unspecified negative consequences."

Read More