Thursday, February 28, 2008

Open Doors: Sri Lanka

A Sri Lankan pastor was killed and his wife critically injured, in an shooting that took place recently. Their two-year-old son was not injured, but is reportedly in shock after witnessing the attack.

It is believed that this was a contract killing by a Buddhist businessman in response to his wife's conversion by the pastor.

Read more here.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Open Doors: Mexico - Letter Request

An update on those Christians in Chiapas who were expelled from their homes, from Open Doors.

"The following people were expelled by authorities: Jose Gonzalez Gonzalez, along with his wife Francisca and their seven children; Nicolas Gonzalez Perez, his wife Ernestina and their six children; Armando Morales Dircio, his wife Catarina and their 1-year old son. Read More...

We ask that you not only help us lift up these displaced families in prayer, but we also encourage you to join us in sending letters of encouragement to them. We highly encourage children to write letters, also.

Writing Guidelines:
  • Please do not mention Open Doors in your letters.
  • Print or write clearly, in simple language. (only write in English)
  • Be sure to include the children’s names on the envelope.
  • Do not say anything negative against other religions or the government.
  • Share words of comfort and encouragement.
  • Sign your name inside.
  • Provide your name & country, not your full address. (in the letter)
  • Don't send money with the letters.
  • Be encouraging, keep the message brief, but include 1 - 2 Bible verses.
Send all letters to:

Open Doors
ATTN: Guerrero Families
PO Box 27001
Santa Ana, CA 92799"

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Compass Direct: Chiapas, Mexico

"Traditionalist Catholics" expelled 20 evangelical Christians, including 14 children, from their homes and dumped them on the edge of town. It appears that their 'crime' was refusing to pay local fees for celebrations honoring Catholic saints.

Caciques, (local leaders), in sympathy with these Traditionals, told the evangelicals they would be burned if they returned to their homes.

"Traditional Catholics" practice a combination of Catholicism and local native religion.

Read more here.

Compass Direct: India

There have been new attacks on Christians in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.

First, a church was attacked by Hindu extremists shouting "No conversions" and "He who talks in favor of only Hindus will rule the nation". The members locked the church and fled, but church members were caught and severely beaten. The church was vandalized.

Secondly, believers meeting in a home in Kosmi were attacked, again by extremists shouting "No conversions". Four people were beaten severely, including one woman, and the extremists attempted to assault other women who were present.

Read more here.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Open Doors: Indonesia (Direct Post)

According to a January report from the International Crisis Group Christian and Muslim communities aided by government initiatives, are working towards reconciliation in Poso, Indonesia. The Rev. Rinaldy Damanik, a key peace activist, said progress has been made but there is still much work to be done in breaking down barriers of hatred and mistrust between the two communities.

“It’s true that the situation has improved, in the sense that we’ve had no murders or mysterious shootings in the past year,” Damanik told Compass Direct News. “But I’m more concerned about the new community policing system. There is now a police post in every village, with seven to eight police officers. If we only have security when they are present, it’s not genuine security. A sense of security must come from within the community.”

Please pray:
  • For a continual effort from the government to initiate congruency between Muslim and Christians in Indonesia. (Leviticus 26:6)
  • That there will be a supernatural sense of peace growing inside of the community and they will recognize God's hand in their newly found peace. (Numbers 6:26)
  • Give thanks to the Lord that the amount of violence and mysterious murders decreased over the past year. (Psalm 34:14)

Forum 18: Belarus

One of the missions my church (Riverview Church, Novelty, OH) has been involved with is Summit Missions International of Akron, OH. We have made fleece tie blankets and collected items for the orphanage they support in Belarus, where the poverty level is simply mind-blowing.

Now, according to information from Forum 18, Belarus is cracking down even more on the workers who come to provide these necessities. Workers can only be invited by registered religious organizations who have been registered for 20 years. That pretty much eliminates most of the work being done in Belarus.

To read more about it, click here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Open Doors: Nigeria (Direct Post)

Sumaila, Nigeria - A policeman was killed and two Christian teenagers were injured on Friday February 8. Muslim high school students went on a rampage over claims that a Christian student had written a “blasphemous” article on the prophet of Islam, Muhammad. Having injured the two Christian students, the Muslim students went directly to the town’s police station, where they killed a Christian police officer and burned down the police station.
According to Compass Direct News, one of the injured minors said the accused Christian student, Ashiru Danlami, could not possibly have written the alleged English-language article as he could hardly speak English, much less write in the language. Rev. Samaila Kogo told Compass that Muslim students wrote and published the article as a pretext for attacking the Christian students.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Open Doors: Prayer for Azerbaijani Muslim-Background Pastor

Zaur Balaev is a convert who felt called to be a pastor. He has persevered despite the persecution against him and his church. Now he has been jailed on false charges and has suffered two heart attacks and has kidney pain. He needs our prayers badly.

Please pray for Pastor Zaur. To read more, click here.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Compass Direct: Nigeria, Vietnam, Iran

A young Christian woman's refusal to become involved with a young Muslim man who pursued her resulted in violence that left one person dead, seven Christians hospitalized and churches burned. Article here.

Four pastors were able to visit two jailed Christian lawyers in Vietnam. Read more.

Iran is considering making the death penalty official for conversion from Islam.

Open Doors: Gaza (direct post)

Healthy Daughter Born to Pauline Ayyad in Gaza

Pauline Ayyad gave birth to her first daughter on Monday, February 4, at a hospital in Gaza. She named her baby girl Sama, which means “heaven” in Arabic. Sama has two older brothers: George (2) and Wisam (1). Because of her weight (4 lbs.), Sama was put in an incubator after her birth; she was released from the hospital on February 6.

This great joy is overshadowed by the death of Sama’s father, Rami Ayyad, who was found murdered this past October because of his position as manager of the Bible Society Bookshop in Gaza.

Gaza is in a state of turmoil, so giving birth under these circumstances was an especially emotional event for Pauline and her close family and friends. Thankfully, the hospital’s electricity and medical equipment were all functional, and the Caesarean-section birth progressed without any complications. Pauline and Sama are both doing fine.

Please pray:
  • Praise the Lord for delivering such great joy through the birth of this precious little girl, and please pray for good health for Sama and a quick recovery for Pauline. (Psalm 100:4)
  • Pray that Pauline experiences the deep joy and happiness of receiving this miracle out of God’s hands! Pray that Sama will be a source of great encouragement for Pauline. (Colossians 1:16)
  • Pray that close family and friends will know how they can best support Pauline and her children as they cope with this complex situation. (Numbers 11:17)

Saturday, February 09, 2008

VOM: India

Two Christians Attacked, Kidnapped and Later Released - VOM Sources

On January 17, eight Bajrang extremists attacked a house church in Madhya Pradesh, kidnapping two believers. According to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts in India, "a group of Bajrang extremists attacked a house church in Pathigawan village. Eight men, led by AP Sakhi (Bajrang Area Secretary) came on motorbikes with Bajrang Dal flags at around 8 a.m. and surrounded the house church where worship was taking place. They beat the two kidnapped believers mercilessly before taking them away on their bikes." VOM contacts added the believers were later released. "The extremists attacked with swords, sticks, knives and other instruments. Two believers were critically injured in the attack and are undergoing treatment in the hospital," VOM contacts said. Pray for Christians facing difficult situations in India. Pray God protects them and gives them courage to stand in spite of the attacks. Pray for a speedy recovery for the two believers injured during this attack. Ask that God uses their powerful testimonies to draw nonbelievers into fellowship with Him.
Psalm 91, Romans 8:31

Friday, February 08, 2008

Nebraska Court rules in favor of street preacher

A man who wanted to share his faith by street preaching had been harassed by police under a city ordinance, and finally gave up.

A recent court decision on his behalf cut down the ordinance he was being harassed under and upheld his right to witness.

Read here.

Forum 18: Kazakhstan


Kazakh officials have played down to Forum 18 News Service the significance of President Nursultan Nazarbayev's recent call to "suppress the activity of illegal religious movements." He also claimed that "tens of thousands of different missionary organisations work in Kazakhstan. We don't know their purposes and intentions, and we should not allow such unchecked activity." Independent Kazakh observers are unsure how seriously to take the comments, but do not think that they are meant to start a campaign against religious communities. A state programme "On the provision of freedom of belief and enhancement of state-confessional relations" has been introduced by the Justice Minister because of "radical religious movements whose aim is total Islamisation or evangelisation." Recently,Protestant churches, a Hare Krishna commune, Jehovah's Witnesses and an independent mosque have faced threats to their property, cancellation of their registration and harassment of their members. Accusations of espionage and high treason have also been made.

Forum 18: Belarus

Active Protestant churches in Belarus are facing increased pressure, Forum 18 News Service notes. In response to the indefinite adjournment of a court case to decide the fate of their church building, the congregation of New Life Church in the capital Minsk has opted for civil disobedience. They are refusing to let state inspectors with the power to impose fines onto church property. With fire, electricity and other inspectors repeatedly but unsuccessfully trying to gain access to the church, its pastor is now threatened with a fine. An assistant public prosecutor has warned that, if the obstruction continues, "we could be talking about another form of punishment." The impasse appears to be due to the authorities' disarray over which state body should resolve the issue. A senior religious affairs official told Forum 18 that the Minsk city authorities are primarily responsible for New Life's situation, but Minsk's chief religious affairs official told Forum 18 that "I'm not responsible to them for anything!" A similar case appears to be developing in Baranovichi, where New Generation Church was recently fined for alleged incorrect land use.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Open Doors: Egypt

In a serious blow to religious freedom in Egypt, a court in Cairo has ruled that Egyptians who convert from Islam to Christianity do not have the right to change their religious affiliation on their public records.

According to sha'ria (Islamic law), Islam is the most perfect faith, and it is therefore against Islamic law to return to an older "less perfect" faith.

Read more here.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Open Doors: Algeria - Anti-Proselytizing Law

Christians Encounter the Anti-Proselytizing Law

A number of sources point to a worsening in the situation of Christians in Algeria, particularly in the Kabyle region, which is often singled out as being a place where evangelism occurs.
Last December, the Christian director of a Kabyle primary school was suspended by the Ministry of Education. According to the ministry, the director used the school for evangelism, “inciting Christianity and failing to follow the school curriculum.”* The Minister of Religious Affairs, Mr. Bouabdallah Ghoulamallah, was pleased with the decision. The director, however, denies the accusations.

In another incident, five people were recently taken to court in Tizi-Ouzou, Kabylie, and accused of evangelizing.

These events highlight the fact that the anti-proselytizing law of September 2006 (which relates to worship and places of worship) is starting to be applied in Algeria. The law seeks to prevent the conversion of Muslims to Christianity and calls for prison sentences and fines for anyone who “incites, forces or uses means of seduction with a view to converting a Muslim to another religion” or who “makes, stores or distributes printed documents or audio visual materials, or any other media seeking to undermine a Muslim in his faith.”

Locally, many fear the closure of all unregistered places of worship in Algeria. This would be contrary to the Algerian Constitution, which guarantees freedom of conscience and opinion (article 36) as well as freedom of expression, association and assembly (article 41).

*Quote taken from an interview given in January to Channel 2 of the national radio service.

Please pray:
  • That the school principal’s case might receive a fair hearing from the Ministry of Education. (Psalm 7:6)

  • For the five Christians who are currently facing charges. (Deuteronomy 4:7)
  • For all Algerian Christians, that God might fill them with wisdom in dealing with the anti-proselytizing laws. (Colossians 1:9)

Sunday, February 03, 2008

VOM: North Korean Christians Detained by Government

The North Korean government, in a move unusual for them, announced the arrest of alleged spies. VOM has confirmed that these people are Christians, not spies, and they have been detained for their faith. A list of those known to be detained is here. Please pray for them!