Persecution and Prayer alert, Voice of the Martyrs

By —— Bio and Archives November 17, 2011

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image(Source: Present Truth Ministries, Compass Direct News)

With his faith intact and his love for Christ steadfast, Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani remains in Lakan Prison in Iran charged with apostasy and sentenced to death. The Iranian government has denied the sentencing is based on apostasy despite abundant evidence to the contrary (for more, click here).

The court in Gilan is awaiting a response to their two letters of referral that were written to the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khameini. Youcef’s attorney has said the court will wait one month for a response. If they do not receive a response, they will issue a ruling sometime in mid-December.

According to a member of Pastor Youcef’s denomination who requested anonymity, Youcef’s health has deteriorated and he has undergone physical and psychological torture. “We know that he has been in extreme situations, and we consider that torture,” the source said. “When you have spent time in a solitary cell unable to talk to others for a long time, or you are told you will be killed, this is also torture.”

Please pray that Pastor Youcef will remain healthy and strong despite the burdens of imprisonment. Pray that the worldwide attention garnered by his persecution will increase pressure on Iranian officials to stop harassing and imprisoning Christians. Please pray that Youcef and his family will experience a peace that surpasses all understanding as they endure these trials (Philippians 4:7).

To post a prayer of support for Pastor Youcef and his family, visit our Persecuted Church Prayer Wall. For more on the trials believers face in Iran, go to the Iran Country Report.

Update: Formerly imprisoned pastor forced to remain in Cuba

(Source: Christian Solidarity Worldwide)

Confined to a country where the government has made it well known his presence is unwanted, a Cuban pastor and his family have been refused permission to leave despite the U.S. government’s offer of asylum.

Pastor Omar Gude Perez served almost three years of a six-and-a-half year prison sentence on charges human rights watchers say were unjust. While he was in prison, his wife Kenia and their two children received an eviction notice from government officials in an attempt to remove the family from their home (for more information,click here). The family was granted asylum in the United States last July but have been informed by a government official that they will not be issued exit visas, which are required to leave the country.

Pastor Omar, who is a national leader in a fast-growing network of independent churches called the Apostolic Movement, was released from prison earlier this year but is prohibited from preaching or from travelling outside the city of Camaguey. He was charged with illicit economic activity and falsification of documents, and many say the unfounded charges are a direct result of his Christian activities. Other Apostolic Movement pastors have also been harassed and threatened with imprisonment and the closure of their churches.

Please pray that Pastor Omar and his family will continue to faithfully serve Christ wherever He leads them. Pray that, if it is the Lord’s will, they will be able to leave Cuba for the United States. Please pray that governing authorities in Cuba will cease in their harassment of Christian leaders and that followers of Christ will remain steadfast in their faith.

To learn more about persecution in Cuba, visit the Cuba Country Report.

Chinese Bible exhibition called ‘propaganda’ by house church leaders

(Source: ChinaAid)

A deceptive exhibit in the United States that displays Chinese Bibles is causing North Americans to believe there is religious freedom in China, say three former Chinese house church leaders.

The Christian leaders, who were all imprisoned in China for their beliefs, voiced their disdain for the display while visiting the exhibition “Thy Word is Truth” on the campus of Dallas Theological Seminary. The exhibition has already been viewed in Washington, D.C. and Chicago.

On November 1, a forum regarding the exhibition was held at Northwest Bible Church in Dallas. The participants—representatives of China’s government-controlled church and two professors from Dallas Theological Seminary—strongly supported the notion that China respects religious freedom and that scriptures are readily available to believers. However, this is simply not the case.

Despite the government-run Amity Press’ reports that millions of Bibles have been published in China, about two-thirds of them are exported, leaving many Christians without a Bible (for more on the need for Bibles in China, click here).

Please pray along with ChinaAid’s founder and president, Bob Fu: “We hope and pray to our Lord Jesus Christ that China’s house churches can soon be legally recognized, that all our brothers and sisters who are in prison for the sake of their faith would be quickly released, and that the Bible in China could be freely printed and transported.”

For more on our suffering brothers and sisters in China, please visit the China Country Report.

Update: Pakistani Christian charged with ‘defiling the Qur’an’ seeks bail

(Source: International Christian Concern)

Ruqqiya Bibi was sentenced to 25 years in prison for “defiling the Qur’an” by touching it with unwashed hands, and after spending eight months in prison, she is seeking bail. Her husband, Munir Masih, who was also imprisoned for the same crime, was released on bail in December of last year (for more information, please read the story). At last report, the outcome of her November 10 hearing was unknown.

Please pray that Ruqqiya will be freed on bail and that her and her husband’s convictions will be overturned. Ask the Lord to protect them from angry citizens who may attempt to harm them. Pray that the gospel message will be taken to every household in Pakistan, and that many will turn to Christ for their salvation.

Go to the Pakistan Country Report for more information on persecution in Pakistan.

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