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Persecution and Prayer Alert, Voice of the Martyrs

Christianity growing in Afghanistan

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By —— Bio and Archives April 5, 2012

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(Source: Mohabat News)

Afghanistan, a country long suffering from civil wars, has not experienced peace for many years. Ongoing bombings by fundamentalist Muslims have stolen peace from the lives of Afghanis. However, the country has recently seen signs of change as people hear the Good News of Jesus Christ.

According to Mohabat News, “Informed Afghan authorities acknowledge that Christianity has obtained a special place not only among youth, but also among various layers in society. (In addition), house churches are growing tremendously.” Further, an independent Shi’ite website in Iran reportedly quoted a knowledgeable Afghan official as saying, “There is evidence of widespread Christian propaganda in Afghanistan, and the existence of more than 10 churches that operate secretly in residential houses have been proven.”

New reports indicate that some members of the country’s parliament have embraced Christianity. A Farsi news service also published a report on these conversions, writing, “Evangelism and Christian propaganda is taking place in the country at a high level, but this is the first time that those who call themselves representatives of the Afghani people not only have become ‘apostates’ but have joined Christian ministries to evangelize. This time they want to present their Christian services to Muslim people through parliament.”

Muslims make up the vast majority of Afghanistan’s population at 99.85 per cent. Christians account for 0.05 per cent. While there is limited freedom to practice other religions, there is no freedom to propagate another faith or to convert from Islam.

Thank the Lord for the way He is working in this nation. Ask Him to give Afghani Christians a strong and mature faith with a bold desire to share the gospel. Pray the Lord will continue to work to bring many more to repentance. Pray for protection of believers in Afghanistan.

For more on the trials Christians face in Afghanistan, please visit the Afghanistan Country Report.

Officials arrest five Christians in southern village in Laos

(Source: Compass Direct News)

On March 25, officials in a village in southern Laos arrested and detained five Christians during worship and charged them with leading a religious movement without official approval, according to advocacy group Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom.

The five Christians from Palansai district were attending a worship service in nearby Boukham village in Ad-Sapangthong district. The two men—Phosee and Viengsai—and three women—Alee, Poon, and Narm—had previously attended services in the area without interference from authorities.

Boukham church members meet in a private home, as do Christians in most other provincial villages. Officials strongly oppose small groups meeting outside the umbrella of the government-approved Lao Evangelical Church, but many Christians prefer meeting at house churches, citing strict controls over LEC activities. “This is typical of Laos now,” a pastor from the capital, Vientiane, said. “In Vientiane we see things opening up a little. But the law is fluid. Things can change from day to day, and the situation is still very difficult in the provinces.”

Pray for the release of these believers. Ask the Lord to give them the strength to stand firm in their faith. Pray they will rely on the Lord to give them the words to say as they stand before authorities (Matthew 10:19). Pray that God will use them as a witness for the gospel even at this difficult time.

For more information on the persecuted Church in Laos, go to the Laos Country Report.

Pastor sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment in Vietnam

(Source: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission)

A pastor of a banned Mennonite church was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment for undermining national unity. State media reported that, on March 27, Nguyen Cong Chinh was found guilty of writing and spreading material that slandered government authorities and “distorted Vietnam’s domestic situation.” It also accused him of having affiliations with anti-government groups. Chinh is reported to have repeatedly complained to outside organizations about Vietnam’s mistreatment of religious minorities and lack of religious freedom.

Pray for Nguyen’s release, in the Lord’s good timing. Ask the Lord to minister to Chinh, his family and his church and give them the strength to remain faithful. Pray that God will provide opportunities for Chinh to clearly share the gospel for which he suffers (Colossians 4:2-3).

Go to the Vietnam Country Report for more on Vietnam’s suffering Church.

Christian meeting bombed in Kenya

(Source: Compass Direct News)

On March 31, a bomb attack at an outdoor worship service killed two Christians—a woman and an eight-year-old boy—and wounded more than 30 in the Kenyan city Mtwapa.

Hundreds of Christians were attending the outdoor service when a hand grenade was thrown towards the pastor’s podium. Muslims were also holding a meeting around 300 metres from the scene of the attack. The Islamic preachers were vilifying Christianity in their sermon which could be heard from the location where the Christians were holding their conference.

Kenyan officials blame members of al-Shabaab, a radical Islamic group in Somalia, for the bomb attack. Attacks and kidnappings coordinated by al-Shabaab in last year have prompted the Kenyan military to strike at al-Shabaab targets in Somalia. The Kenyan government has issued a warning of possible attack by the militants during Easter celebrations.

Pray for the wounded and the grieving. Pray these Christians will rest in the knowledge that the Good Shepherd walks with them through this difficult time (Psalm 23). Pray the Lord will give these Christians the grace to continue to meet together and encourage one another. Pray also for the perpetrators.

To post a prayer for those affected by this attack, please visit our Persecuted Church Prayer Wall.


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