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The power less sought.

One of the most powerful and oft quoted Scriptures is also one of the Scriptures most quoted out of context. Consider 2 Cor 12:9. Typically when we quote a verse, we quote the whole verse. Yet for some strange reason (really not that strange) when we quote some verses we only quote a portion of it.

” And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”

Now consider the rest of that Scripture ,

“Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

The glory is in the midst of the “infirmity.” In fact we see that the power of God rests upon those who truly discover and encounter His strength in the midst of their weakness. We are never more weak or vulnerable when we are faced with disease and death. And so in the paradoxical Kingdom of God, when we are weak, then we are strong. This strength is what glorifies God. For all of us can glorify God on the mountain-top. Indeed this is the accusation of the Devil in the opening chapter of Job.

Yet only the few can glorify God in the deepest part of the valley, the depths of the dungeon. To glorify God when all is going well is very natural and is something the world understands. To glorify God in the depths of our infirmities, the depths of our dungeons like Paul and Silas, is supernatural and the world marvels at something so other-worldly. Indeed with Paul and Silas we get to see that supernatural power. The building shakes, the the captives doors are loosed and the jailer and his family are saved. All of that began with Paul and Silas glorying in their infirmities and praising God in one of the darkest moments of their life.

I believe peace to be our spiritual barometer. In the midst of a set of circumstances, what is the “atmosphere,’ around us that emanates form the condition of our hearts? Many people stoically go through situations, many are angry and bitter and unapproachable. Yet on the cross, even in the midst of unspeakable anguish, we see Jesus caring for his mother and giving directions for her well being. In saints who walk with the power spoken of in 2 Cor 12:9 we see them minister to others despite their situations. ………………..bro Frank

Tonight on Persecution Watch: 40 Brave Soldiers for Christ

(Voice of the Persecuted) Dear Prayer Warriors, Blaine Scogin, the Founder of Persecution Watch, would have celebrated his 69th birthday today. He was legally blind but now in Glory he can see! I will always remember one of stories he shared with us.

In April 2019, Blaine shared the following message along with a beautiful video.

They Profess Allegiance to Another King

—– “Paul and Silas have caused trouble all over the world, they shouted, and now they are here disturbing our city too. And Jason has welcomed them into his home. They are all guilty of treason against Caesar, for they profess allegiance to another king, named Jesus.” —– ( Acts 17:6-7 )

The above is true. Down through the ages believers who have followed Jesus have professed allegiance to him.  The followers of Christ bear witness that his kingdom is not of this world. Jesus told Pilate,

—– My kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my kingdom is not of this world ” —– John 18:36

Because of their profession of Jesus as King and those who follow him [are] citizens of a spiritual Kingdom, believers have been persecuted by the temporal authorities for not submitting to the power of the state.  For the first few decades the followers of Jesus were not persecuted by the Roman authorities. The Roman authorities tolerated Christians as just another sect of Judaism. But when Nero came to the throne and those emperors who followed him, Christians were persecuted. They were persecuted because they would not acknowledge the power of the state as being god.  They would not acknowledge Ceasar as being god.

The Christians submitted to the power of Rome. They paid their taxes and Roman authorities considered the believers model citizens. But the early Christians drew the line at offering sacrifices to Ceasar as a god or regarding him as a deity.  To offer sacrifices to Caesar was to pledge allegiance to him and the state.  Failure to do so, one would we be regarded as a traitor.  But for the early Christians to offer such sacrifices would be tantamount to violating the first commandment of committing idolatry.

Two thousand years later, this is being played out in the persecuted church.  In a nation such as North Korea, Kim Jung Un is regarded as a god.  Failure to honor him as such can have one sent to a death camp, or mercifully executed on the spot. Many of our brothers and sisters have been executed for not bowing down do the portrait of the Kim family.

In China, the state is reasserting its authority to be god.  Specifically, President XI, appointed president for life, is setting himself up to be the deity who rules China.  Consequently, obedience to China is obedience to President Xi. This will bring the Chinese Christians into direct conflict with the government. Or should I say with President XI.

The persecution of Christians in nations like N. Korea and China amount to one thing, believers will not worship the state as god. They will not worship the rulers of those nation such as Kim Jung Un and  Xi, nor worship Satan who inhabits those individuals. What occurred in Rome 2000 years ago is occurring in the persecuted nations today.

For sure there will be those who will say we have no king but Caesar, but there will be those believers who say we have no King but Jesus.  And the latter will pay a heavy price for declaring Jesus as their King.

Below is a YouTube video that tells a story of 40 brave soldiers who would not sacrifice to Caesar. The story is true though it is told in ballad form.

Who will our King be?  Will it be Jesus or Caesar?  Will we be one of the brave soldiers for Christ. Though it may cost us. Will we stand with those in the shadow of the cross.who have determined that Jesus be there King and they pay the price. Will we stand with our persecuted brothers and sisters

Bro Blaine

The Lord our God told us to pray with out ceasing 1 Thessalonians 5:17. As we come together to pray tonight, we will seek the Lord’s presence and strength. 1 Chronicles 16:11. I invite you to join us as the Spirit of the Lord leads you.

Your sister in Christ,

Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Leader

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

Time:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: 712 775-7035

Access Code: 281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link or App Store – iTunes

What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted and our missions became one. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch is an important part of our own. With the passing of Blaine into glory on December 26, 2019, Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with our dedicated prayer warrior team.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the call to share the trials they’re facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone. We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you’re new to the call and can’t find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

NOTE: Persecution Watch has a new email address for the prayer team and those who would like to receive urgent prayer requests, weekly call prayer points and notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers. Please fill out the form below to be included in our new distribution list to receive this important information. Since the passing of Brother Blaine Scogin, we thank you for your patience as we have transitioned into this new season. We are grateful for your prayers and to the Lord for guiding us as we continue the Persecution Watch prayer call mission.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

VOP Aid to Pakistani Christian families during Covid-19 pandemic

Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) received reports from our Pakistani correspondent of numerous cases where poor Christians had been asked by Muslim charities to denounce Jesus and accept Islam in exchange for food packages during the Covid-19 crisis. It’s immoral that Pakistan’s religious minorities, often the most vulnerable in the society, are targeted for more abuse during a pandemic. The crisis has put them at an even greater risk of being discriminated against and persecuted solely for their faith.

In April, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) shared they were troubled by the reports of food aid being denied to religious minorities amid the spread of COVID-19 in Pakistan.

In a recent address by Prime Minister Khan to the international community, he highlighted that the challenge facing governments in the developing world is to save people from dying of hunger while also trying to halt the spread of COVID-19. This is a monumental task laying before many countries. Prime Minister Khan’s government has the opportunity to lead the way but they must not leave religious minorities behind. Otherwise, they may add on top of it all one more crisis, created by religious discrimination and inter-communal strife”, added USCIRF Commissioner Johnnie Moore.

These actions are simply reprehensible,” stated USCIRF Commissioner Anurima Bhargava. “As COVID-19 continues to spread, vulnerable communities within Pakistan are fighting hunger and to keep their families safe and healthy.  Food aid must not be denied because of one’s faith. We urge the Pakistani government to ensure that food aid from distributing organizations is shared equally with Hindus, Christians, and other religions minorities.”

Pakistan’s economic and social structure is ill-equipped to deal with a pandemic like Covid-19. While the country was in strict lockdown people were unable to work with many Christian laborers unable to feed their families. With little choice, they sought help from charities who misused the situation to forcefully convert people to Islam. That’s when Voice of the Persecuted stepped in to help over 20 families with basic food necessities. We were able to identify impoverished families in Lahore and set out to cover them with food packages during the lockdown.

Our Pakistani representative, Akash Mushtaq, delivered food parcels and spoke with people on the ground. Akash asked Rafiq Masih how he has managed during the coronavirus lockdown.

“We have been very helpless. We have asked for help from government assisted charities and they have turned us down. Many Muslim charities have denied us food because of our Christian names. When they read Masih as our surname, they deny food.”

Many Christians are honored in writing Masih meaning “Christ” in English as their surname.

Shamim, a mother of five, told Voice of the Persecuted,

“I work as a maid in different households and I was able to earn about $200 a month. It was not enough for a family of seven people but we are thankful for whatever we have. Since the lockdown, I have not been allowed to enter homes and I cannot earn. My children are asking for food and clothes and I cannot provide for them. Many Muslims come to offer food if we convert to Islam. We are hungry but not faithless.”

A special thanks to our Pakistani representative for dedication, hard work and a loving heart. A huge thank you to those who have been supporting our work and making these missions possible. Your caring hearts mean more than you will ever know. They give thanks to God for answering their prayers through your gifts.

To contain the virus, Pakistan has decided to reimpose a partial lockdown and sealed off high risk residential areas across the country. The Punjab government decided to impose a ‘smart lockdown’ on seven major cities – Lahore, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Multan, Gujranwala, Sialkot, and Gujrat – to cut down the sharp increase in infections. In Lahore, the partial lockdown started Tuesday at midnight with the other six cities went under restriction on Wednesday.

Voice of the Persecuted is asking for your help to distribute food packages to more needy Pakistani Christian families in the newly restricted lockdown areas. Together with your generous help, we can reach the goal to alleviate their suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope. Please consider partnering with us to continue aiding our suffering brothers and sisters in Pakistan during this time of great need.

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

Everyday, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and further His Kingdom! As you greatly bless others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!

Please keep the people of Pakistan in your prayers, particularly Pakistani Christians as they continue to battle the crisis while searching for basic food supplies to care for their families.

Persecution Watch Prayer Conference Call: Praying for Burkina Faso

Children in Burkina Faso (Photo: by RobertoVi)

Thursday, 6/18/20 (Voice of the Persecuted) Burkina Faso – Population: 20.3 million, Christians 5.2 million

The Politics of Burkina Faso takes place in a framework of a semi-presidential republic, whereby the Prime Minister of Burkina Faso is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. However the government is not stable, many coups and  is pressured by  Burkinabé General Confederation of Labor (CGTB); Burkinabé Movement for Human Rights (HBDHP); Group of 14 February; National Confederation of Burkinabé Workers (CNTB); National Organization of Free Unions (ONSL); watchdog/political action groups throughout the country in both organizations and communities

Over the last year, Burkina Faso’s northeastern region has seen a brutal onslaught of deadly attacks on Christian churches and villages—including several during and after worship services on church grounds in which worshipers were told to convert to Islam or die. An influx of violent Islamic extremist groups into West Africa’s Sahel region has led to these attacks that killed at least 40 Christians in 2019. These groups are campaigning for attacks on believers, with some who want to create an Islamic state opposing the very existence of Christianity.

The outburst of killings during the 12-month reporting period has created an environment of fear. Many Christians are too scared to attend church services or send their children to school. Some churches have stepped up security. Christians of Muslim background are the most persecuted Christian group in the country. Family and community members reject them and attempt to force them to renounce their Christian faith. Believers are afraid to express their faith in public because of such threats.

In April 2019, gunmen shot a Protestant pastor and five other Christians in a church in northern Burkina. The attackers executed believers leaving the worship service when they refused to renounce Jesus. On May 12, 2019, a Catholic priest and five other Christians were killed in an attack in the central town of Dablo. Gunmen first stormed the church during the Sunday service and then set fire to the church and surrounding buildings.

In June 2019, militants stormed a village in northern Burkina Faso and ordered people outside to lie down. Then the armed group checked everyone’s necks, looking at the chains worn. They found four men wearing chains with crosses, indicating their Christianity, and executed them. In September 2019, gunmen shot and killed a Christian man and four of his sons in the villages of Pissele and Boulkiba.

06/09/2020 Burkina Faso (The Christian Post) – Armed Islamic militants killed 58 people in attacks in Northern Burkina Faso on May 29 and May 30. Some experts of the conflict in Burkina Faso have said that the attacks targeted Christians and humanitarian workers serving IDP camps in the region. The attacks took the lives of at least 58 people, including children. They took place in the provinces of Loroum, Kompienga and Sanmatenga within 24 hours.

A survivor speaking with a member of the UK based group Barnabas Fund mentioned that the attack in Sanmatenga province left six civilians and seven soldiers dead.  Apart from the attack in Sanmatenga, militants opened fire indiscriminately at a cattle market in Kompienga on May 30, killing at least 30 people. The day before, a convoy of traders, which included children, was attacked while traveling from Titao to Sollé in Loroum province. Dozens were injured in the three attacks.

Prayer Points

  • Pray for a stable government that can protect all its citizens from violence.

 

  • Pray for the participation of Christians in government and that they can promote Christian values

 

  • Pray that the voice of Pastors is heard, who are pleading for support from Christians worldwide to deal with the physical and emotional ramifications of growing jihadist violence and from the international community to prevent a disastrous undoing of the religious cohesion that Burkina Faso has been known for in previous years.

 

  • Pray for the Lord’s comfort and grace to all who have lost loved ones in the attacks and that He would be close to the broken-hearted.

 

  • Pray that Christians would have the courage and faith to remain firm in Jesus as they face increased hostility.

 

  • Pray for all international forces helping in the fight against extremists in the larger region. Pray that they would be able to help bring stability and prevent the spread of violence to Burkina Faso’s neighboring countries.

 

  • Pray for NGO’s like the Barnabas fund to provide much needed support.

 

  • Pray for special protection of the ex-Muslim Christians that they can live out their faith and experience God’s presence.

 

  • Pray that the Lord will appear to radical Muslims in their dreams and connect them with believers.

 

  • Pray that believers will be encouraged and boldly share the Gospel.

 

  • Pray to the Lord that Christians love God so much that they can forgive and love their neighbors.

 

  • Pray to the Lord that He will do a mighty work in growing His church.

Again, we want to lift up persecuted witnesses for the Lord and pray for Leah Sharibu and Alice, pray that they will be set free. And also lift up pastor Wang Yi to be released from Prison and ask for the release for Anita, a Christian convert recently sentenced to 6 years in prison for sharing the Gospel in Iran.

You are invited to join us on Thursday, June 18 in a prayer call for the persecuted church.

Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Moderator

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

Time:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: 712 775-7035

Access Code: 281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link or App Store – iTunes

What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted and our missions became one. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch is an important part of our own. With the passing of Blaine into glory on December 26, 2019, Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with our dedicated prayer warrior team.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the call to share the trials they’re facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone. We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you’re new to the call and can’t find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

NOTE: Persecution Watch has a new email address for the prayer team and those who would like to receive urgent prayer requests, weekly call prayer points and notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers. Please fill out the form below to be included in our new distribution list to receive this important information. Since the passing of Brother Blaine Scogin, we thank you for your patience as we have transitioned into this new season. We are grateful for your prayers and to the Lord for guiding us as we continue the Persecution Watch prayer call mission.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

Join us tonight on the Persecution Watch Conference Call

6/16/20 (Voice of the Persecuted) Dear Saints, as we pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters, they are praying for us. Please join us tonight as we pray for the church to awaken in these end times.

Pray for and Leah Sharibu and Alice, captives of Boko Haram, to be set free.

Pray for Anita, a Christian convert who had recently been sentenced to 10 years in prison for sharing the Gospel in Iran. We have learned from Voice of the Persecuted that her sentence was lowered to 6 years. Her attorney has appealed the lengthy prison term with the hope of lowering it to 1 year. At present, she has not yet been called back to the prison and is still under house arrest. Pray she also will be released without serving the prison sentence and for her faith to remain strong.

Pray that Pastor Wang Yi in China will be able to minister to inmates and that soon he will be released from prison. Pray for his family and for the Church that God gave him to lead.

In the Shadow of his Cross,

Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Leader

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

Time:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: 712 775-7035

Access Code: 281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link or App Store – iTunes

What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted and our missions became one. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch is an important part of our own. With the passing of Blaine into glory on December 26, 2019, Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with our dedicated prayer warrior team.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the call to share the trials they’re facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone. We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you’re new to the call and can’t find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

NOTE: Persecution Watch has a new email address for the prayer team and those who would like to receive urgent prayer requests, weekly call prayer points and notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers. Please fill out the form below to be included in our new distribution list to receive this important information. Since the passing of Brother Blaine Scogin, we thank you for your patience as we have transitioned into this new season. We are grateful for your prayers and to the Lord for guiding us as we continue the Persecution Watch prayer call mission.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

China: Elderly Christians told to give up faith or lose government benefits

(Bitter Winter) By Even though China’s economy has been severely affected by the coronavirus, and many residents suffer financial difficulties, the CCP threatens to take away the last means of survival from elderly believers—government-issued subsidies. To keep them, they must stop believing in God.

A Catholic from Fuzhou city in the southeastern province of Jiangxi has been receiving monthly 250 RMB (about $ 35) from the government since 2018, the year her husband died. At the end of 2019, local government officials threatened the woman, in her 60s, that the subsidy would be withdrawn unless she removes images of Jesus from her home. “Because the Communist Party feeds you,” they told the woman, “you must only believe in it, not God.” Two months later, the pension was canceled because she refused to remove the symbols.

“It has become difficult to maintain belief in God because of religious persecution,” the woman told Bitter Winter helplessly.

On April 30, community officials in Fuzhou forced to cover up a cross image in the home of an 80-plus-year-old Christian, threatening to scrap her subsistence allowance otherwise.

In late April, the Fuzhou city government intensified religious investigations through “return” inspections—visits to the places that have previously been stifled to make sure that people don’t resume practicing their faith. During one of them, Civil Affairs Bureau officials threatened a Sola Fide believer in a nursing home, who has been paralyzed for eight years, to drive him out of the residence if he continued his belief. His “five-guarantees”—government aid in the form of housing, food, clothing, medical care, and funeral expenses to people who cannot work and have no income—would also be revoked. Officials tore down images of Jesus in his room already last autumn.

“The officials said that I am supposed to believe in the Communist Party since it feeds me, or else all my social benefits would be canceled,” the believer said. “I won’t give up my faith no matter how the government pursues me. If it cancels my benefits, I will meet God earlier.”

On January 19, officials from Jiangxi’s Yingtan city deprived a local Christian of her government aid for hosting religious meetings at home, even though the woman was immobile from an illness. In March, officials from the city’s Yujiang district destroyed religious calendars in the homes of two believers who receive government benefits.

On January 23, Taian city officials in the eastern province of Shandong harassed a Catholic, in her 70s, because of religious symbols in her home. The woman told Bitter Winter that they told her to replace the tokens with portraits of Xi Jinping or Mao Zedong since “she lives on the Communist Party’s welfare,” which might be canceled if she didn’t listen to them.

“By forcing me to remove the portrait of the Lord Jesus, the government tried to stop my belief in God, but they cannot take away my belief from my heart,” she said.

In late April, officials from Heze city’s Cao county in Shandong destroyed crosses and other religious symbols in the homes of several elderly believers who were also receiving poverty alleviation subsidies. A local churchgoer said that these state representatives claimed that no poverty alleviation resources should be given to the people who have religious symbols at home; they must believe in the Communist Party to enjoy aid from the state.

 In April, officials from Kaifeng city’s Lankao county in the central province of Henan removed a religious calendar and couplets with cross images from the home of a poor Christian and scratched her poverty alleviation aid. They also ordered her to renovate the house and install a toilet ahead of an inspection by higher-ups. The demand was against poverty alleviation regulations, which stipulate that the state should cover such expenses.

“What should I do without my income? How can I reason with them? It’s just like the Cultural Revolution,” the distraught believer lamented.

Persecution Watch: Inspired to pray and encouraged by the testimony of persecuted Christians

In 2009 in Iran, Maryam and Marziyeh were imprisoned and sentenced to death because of their Christian faith.

6/13/2020 (Voice of the Persecuted) Dear Prayer Warriors, in 2009 in Iran, Maryam and Marziyeh where imprisoned and sentenced to death because of the Christian faith. They were born into Muslim families but converted to Christianity and began to share the gospel with those around them. Both were arrested in March 2009 after being accused of evangelism and apostasy. After 259 days in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison, they were released.

It is my prayer that you’ll be able to watch the video below and that you’ll be deeply encouraged by the Love and Power of our living God.

Pray for Anita and Leah Sharibu and pray that they will be set free.

Pray for Anita, a Christian convert who had recently been sentenced to 10 years in prison for sharing the Gospel in Iran. We have learned from Voice of the Persecuted that her sentence was lowered to 6 years. Her attorney has appealed the lengthy prison term with the hope of lowering it to 1 year. At present, she has not yet been called back to the prison and is still under house arrest. Pray she also will be released without serving the prison sentence. Pray for her faith to remain strong.

Pray for Iranian women converts who shared the Gospel with many but fled the country when they learned they would be targeted for arrest. Pray for their asylum with freedom to worship, as they have a great desire to share the Gospel message with the lost. They also long for a way to continue doing so in Iran. Pray they will have hope in the Lord and not be overwhelmed by an unknown future.

Pray that Pastor Wang Yi in China will be able to minister to inmates and that soon he will be released from prison. Pray for his family and for the Church that God gave him to pasture.

Brothers and sisters if you are so led by the Spirit, please join me tonight as we pray for the persecuted church and global harvest of souls, as well as an awakening of the church in America.

In the Shadow of His Cross

Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Leader

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

Time:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: 712 775-7035

Access Code: 281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link or App Store – iTunes

What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted and our missions became one. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch is an important part of our own. With the passing of Blaine into glory on December 26, 2019, Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with our dedicated prayer warrior team.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the call to share the trials they’re facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone. We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you’re new to the call and can’t find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

NOTE: Persecution Watch has a new email address for the prayer team and those who would like to receive urgent prayer requests, weekly call prayer points and notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers. Please fill out the form below to be included in our new distribution list to receive this important information. Since the passing of Brother Blaine Scogin, we thank you for your patience as we have transitioned into this new season. We are grateful for your prayers and to the Lord for guiding us as we continue the Persecution Watch prayer call mission.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

China: Jiangxi province continues to intensify religious persecution after coronavirus lockdown

Numerous old Local Churches in Shangrao’s Guangfeng district had their crosses removed.

(Bitter Winter) By – Venues of the old Local Church (Laodifangjiaohui, 老地方教會)—unregistered Christian congregations that follow the teachings of the Chinese minister Watchman Nee (1903-1972)— were among many other victims of China’s religious persecution in the past few months. More than 40 churches were suppressed in four cities of the southeastern province of Jiangxi: Shangrao, Jingde, Yichun, and Fuzhou. Some were demolished, while others closed or repurposed by the government.

At least 28 venues were stifled in Shangrao city’s Guangfeng and Guangxin districts and Yugan county. A local government employee revealed to Bitter Winter that the CCP is fighting Christianity for “ideological territory and people’s hearts” in rural areas and wants to limit its development. To achieve this goal, the municipal government requires localities under its jurisdiction to strengthen atheist propaganda, demolish unregistered places of worship, and intensively “sinicize” the state-run venues.

On April 27, as local government officials oversaw the demolition of an old Local Church venue in the Guangxin district, they warned its congregation that “believing in Jesus is believing in a foreign god.” And “since the coronavirus was brought to China from abroad, believing in Jesus means going against the Party.”

“If believers protested against the demolition, they would be labeled as reactionary elements,” a local believer said helplessly. “The Communist Party is so unreasonable!”

On the morning of May 22, an old Local Church in Guangfeng district’s Hengshan town was cleared out on orders from the local government. Its chairs and tables were confiscated. [Without warning,] officials brought in a crane to remove the church’s cross.

In late April, another old Local Church meeting venue in the district’s Shatian town had its cross, the Ten Commandments, and other religious symbols removed. “The government is like a stone, and we are like an egg—we cannot defeat them!” a church preacher told Bitter Winter.

The old Local Churches in multiple areas have been shut down or emptied.

Since quarantine measures were relaxed, authorities throughout Jiangxi intensified crackdowns on Christian churches, even those administered by the state. In the past few months,  crosses were removed from at least 26 Three-Self churches in Duchang, a county in Jiujiang city. From April 18 to 30, 48 Three-Self venues were shut down in Shangrao’s Yugan county.

On May 12, an old Local Church venue in Yugan county was repurposed for an activity center for the elderly. A congregation member recalled that the government arranged people to climb over the church’s courtyard wall to remove its cross. They later used shovels to take off the venue’s signboard.

A local official revealed to Bitter Winter that the government is eliminating unregistered churches now, and state-approved Three-Self churches will soon be targeted for elimination too.

On May 17, seven police officers and village officials raided an old Local Church venue in Taqian, a town in Leping city. They tore down Biblical verses and religious symbols from the walls and burned them, as well as smashed the church’s donation box.

The church’s donation box was smashed, and religious verses removed and burned.

A congregation member told Bitter Winter that the local government pressured the church to register with the state, or the congregation would not be allowed to hold gatherings. They could even be arrested, or the venue could be destroyed.  “We won’t register,” the believer explained. “If we surrender, we’ll be controlled by the government, forced to raise the national flag, and sing the national anthem. It means believing in the Communist Party, not God. But gatherings can’t be organized unless we register. By doing so, the government aims to eliminate our faith.”

 

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