Update on the Persecuted Church
By Voice of the Martyrs
-- Please take time with your church or Christian group
to pray for your brothers and sisters in the persecuted church.
And as you pray, be sure to tell others about the suffering of
the persecuted church and invite them to join you in intercession.
Here are some areas that you can lift up in prayer:
Vasily Yurevich plans to appeal a fine handed down on December
28th, according to Forum 18 News Service. He was fined 150 times
the monthly wage for organizing an "illegal" service
on property the church owns. The fine came exactly two weeks after
the church received written notice that its re-registration application
had been rejected, rendering all its public activity illegal and
subject to punishment. New Life pastor Vyacheslav Goncharenko,
who could also be fined, said: "We will stand up for our
rights to worship God. This is all we want to do, and God will
Pray the Lord of all creation will encourage Belarusian believers
to continue meeting. Pray He will help them find creative ways
to assemble together. Pray international publicity about these
religious restrictions will cause authorities in Belarus to allow
churches to continue meeting. Pray God will draw the nation of
Belarus to Himself, and all will know the value of human life
and the joy of worshipping the Creator.
On January 9th, Eritrean authorities entered a building in Asmara,
and arrested 25 members of a Catholic Church during a wedding
rehearsal. The arrest marked the first crackdown against the Catholic
community, which enjoys "official" recognition by the
government, along with Orthodox and Lutheran Christians and Muslims.
The same Sunday morning, security police arrested 67 evangelical
Christians at a wedding ceremony in Barentu, taking all of them,
including the elderly and young children, to the Sawa Military
Training Center for "military punishment." Meanwhile,
25 of the 60 Rema Charismatic Church members arrested at a New
Year's Eve celebration have been released after signing a pledge
not to participate in such meetings again.
Pray international protests will bring about the release of these
innocent victims, especially the children and the elderly. Pray
each one will know the comforting presence of Jesus during this
ordeal. Pray their faith and witness will lead their captors to
A young worker with Strategic World Impact, a group that specializes
in humanitarian emergencies, was arrested January 17th, with no
reason given for his arrest. According to Assist News Service,
the same staff member had been arrested a few weeks ago and while
in custody had witnessed the deaths of eight people. The number
of believers in Eritrea arrested for their faith is up to 567.
Pray God will protect this young man, especially since he witnessed
the deaths of eight people. Pray for his quick release. Pray Jesus
will give him His very special strength and comfort as a witness
to his captors.
VOM recently learned of the arrest of two pastors, Kidane Gebremeskel
and Abraham Belay. These men are now being held by police. Kidane
has a wife and three children; Abraham's marital status is unknown.
Pray God will encourage and sustain these faithful believers,
whatever treatment they are facing. Pray He will give supernatural
peace and hope to their families.
(ASSIST News Service)
Representatives of the Paris Elim Church will be going to court
in order to continue worshipping in their current location. The
pastor says the local government is trying to chase the church
from its current place of worship. This is happening to many other
Protestant churches in Paris, and in many other places across
France. He says the local authorities have had a policy for some
time that is anti-Christian and they desire to see churches closed.
In addition to pressure from local authorities is the increasing
rise of Islam, which is becoming more aggressive and very anti-church
Pray the members of Paris Elim Church will remain faithful to
Jesus in this controversy. Pray the court will allow them to continue
worshipping at their present location. Pray the Holy Spirit will
move in love and power to defeat the spirit of atheism that pervades
Besides all the devastation from the December 26th tsunami, three
new churches have been threatened with closure when the head of
the North Grogol community accused the churches of disturbing
the community, as well as meeting illegally in business buildings.
The pastor of one church that has a legal certificate from the
Religion Department authorizing them to meet is firm that they
will continue to meet. In a separate incident, a priest in Central
Java, Thomas Harsidiyono, was found dead in a church retreat compound
on January 14th, with massive head wounds. Despite the string
of attacks against Christians in various areas of Indonesia, the
provincial police chief said that the attack was "probably"
Pray the churches facing possible closure will trust God, seeking
His will concerning a place where they can continue to worship
together. Pray God will comfort the parishioners who are mourning
the loss of Fr. Harsidiyono. Pray for the people of Indonesia
who do not know the love of God in Christ Jesus His Son.
Christian leaders in Northern Nigeria say a report released in
December by the government of Kano state grossly underreports
the number of Christians killed by Muslim militants last year.
The report states that 84 people died in religious clashes in
Kano, in 2004. However, the chairman of the Kano chapter of the
Christian Association of Nigeria places the casualty count at
nearly 3,000 Christians dead. Meanwhile, intelligence forces have
uncovered plans by Muslim militants in Kano, to attack Christians
and burn down churches in order to destabilize the government
and force the observance of Islamic law.
Pray God will comfort all the families mourning loved ones who
have been killed. Pray Christians will remain bold in their faith
and will love their enemies. Pray the Muslims will come to know
the God of mercy who forgives and redeems through the blood of
from Persecution Watch on CBN.com
Voice of the Martyrs
Used with permission. (c) 2004 Voice of the Martyrs
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