Sources: God Reports, Assist News Service
A 16-year-old Christian convert from Islam by the name of Aman Ullah was kidnapped by the Taliban on May 25th in Peshawar, the heart of Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province. “We don’t know which of the 32 different Taliban groups operating both in Afghanistan and Pakistan is responsible,” says John Taimoor, founder of Crossbearers ministry. “My team, workers and disciples from Muslim backgrounds are facing pressures from many sides and physical persecution.” (For previous reports of persecution in Pakistan, please go to www.persecution.net/pakistan.htm.)
The young kidnap victim came to Christ about a year ago, and he has already memorized the books of John and Ephesians in the Bible. His goal is to memorize the entire New Testament since he had memorized the Quran as a young person. “He is very dear to me,” Taimoor shares. “‘Aman Ullah’ means ‘peace of God’ in Arabic, Persian, Urdu and Pushto languages,” he adds. “He is a diamond, very dedicated and brilliant…. He made public statements and gave his testimony.”
Taimoor asks for prayers for his ardent young disciple. “We are looking to our Saviour who is able to save us to the uttermost but we also look to our friends for prayer and what God places on their hearts!”
Pray for Aman’s protection, asking for favour among his captors. In fact, while waiting for his safe release, may this young disciple be anointed as God’s spokesperson in their lives, helping them to realize their need of Jesus as Saviour and Lord. Also ask God to protect and minister to all who are faithfully serving Him in Pakistan.
Source: Middle East Concern
Egyptian Christians have requested prayer following the detention of a Christian teacher accused of blasphemy. Demiana is a social studies teacher working at three schools in Luxor province. She was detained on May 9th following complaints by a few parents and pupils concerning the content of a class she taught on April 8th. Two independent investigations were conducted, one by the school council (representing parents and teachers) and one by the local office of the Ministry of Education. Both found no basis for the charges.
When questioned, ten of the 13 pupils interviewed stated that the accusations were false. Lawyers representing the parents of one pupil then went to the prosecutor’s office and filed a complaint. The prosecutor’s office started its own investigation which led to Demiana being detained. She was initially detained for two days before a court order extended this by a further 15 days. However, on May 14th, she was released on bail. Although an initial hearing was scheduled for May 21st, no further information has been received to date. To learn more about the challenges facing Christians in Egypt, review www.persecution.net/egypt.htm.
May Demiana know the peace, presence and protection of Jesus who has promised to never leave her nor forsake her. Pray that His presence will also be powerfully evidenced during the legal proceedings, touching the hearts of all the officials involved and serving as a means of bringing about greater freedom of religious expression for Christian believers in Egypt. Ultimately, may God be glorified through this case, opening the spiritual eyes of the students, parents, teachers and others of Demiana’s community. (You can share your prayers on behalf of Demiana on our prayer wall at www.persecution.net/prayerwall.)
The Chinese government has ordered the closure of more than a dozen house churches in the southern province of Hainan in recent weeks and many others have been threatened. On May 26th, while the Sanya Hosanna Church was holding a morning worship service, several people from the Religious Affairs Bureau and the neighbourhood committee came to deliver a document with the title, “Announcement by the Hongqi Street Community of the Voluntary Dissolution of Irregular and Illegal Religious Meeting Sites.” They told the believers that if they met again the next week, then the officials would take measures, holding them accountable for the consequences.
The local neighbourhood committee also exerted pressure on the landlord to stop renting the meeting site to the church, which was given 15 days’ notice to move out. The leader of the church was also restricted from going to Hong Kong to attend a special conference; the reason given was that it might jeopardize national security and national interests.
Also on May 26th, three other Sanya house churches (Elim Church, Bethel Church and Xinju Church) faced the same kind of persecution. Two weeks earlier, Sanya’s Mengai Church, Hexing Church, and three other house churches were shut down. A church in Haikou has experienced similar treatment, and several other churches have been forcibly closed. In addition, some churches in the Baoting county have been shut down.
“Closing a dozen churches in Hainan is an alarming sign that little has changed with Xi Jinping as president,” said ChinaAid founder and president Bob Fu. “The government is carrying out its plans to ‘eradicate’ the independent house church movement, a crackdown that would affect up to 100 million people. China must end this repression if it wants global respect as a rising power.”
Pray that these believers will be greatly encouraged spiritually, cultivating a deeper relationship with the Lord as they embrace the fellowship of His sufferings (Philippians 3:7-10). Ask that His faithful servants be granted mercy and favour with the officials of the Religious Affairs Bureau and members of the neighbourhood committee. May their oppressors discover the joy and peace of personally knowing Jesus, as witnessed in the lives of these Christians…even in the midst of life’s challenges.
Release International sources state that Pastor Behnam Irani’s health remains a significant issue although he continues to be positive and strong in the Lord. He is reported to be suffering from a skin condition that prevents him from going outside, as well as back and eyesight problems. Please also include in your prayers the housing needs of his family. (Added note: There are concerns that even if he completes his prison sentence, the authorities may attempt to keep him detained indefinitely under the charge of being “an apostate.”) To learn more about his situation, go to www.persecution.net/ir2012-03-15.htm.
Thank you for remembering to pray for the release of Pastor Behnam Irani, Pastor Saeed Abedini and other Iranian Christians who are imprisoned for their faith. May God sustain them and their families as they face extremely difficult circumstances.
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