Tuesday, June 22, 2021 (Voice of the Persecuted) Our brothers and sisters in China desperately need our prayers. The basic message that CCP is sending to all house churches throughout China is your days are numbered, submit. Please join us, tonight, in a prayer conference call for the persecuted Chinese Church hosted by Persecution Watch.
(Bitter Winter) There is no pause nor mercy in the CCP campaign to crack down on independent house churches. The limited tolerance granted to some of them in the pre-Xi-Jinping era is gradually coming to an end. Either the house churches join the government-controlled Three Self Church, or their leaders go to jail. It also happens that house churches are labeled as xie jiao, “heterodox teachings,” and their elders and pastors prosecuted under Article 300 of the Chinese Criminal Code, originally conceived to crack down on banned new religious movements.
Beijing’s Zion Church is one of the most famous house churches in China. In 2018, it was officially “dismantled” and banned by the authorities, which tried to bankrupt it by imposing extravagant fines. It was also accused of being a xie jiao. Much to the CCP’s surprise, however, Zion Church did not disappear. It lost its place of worship, as the CCP persuaded the landlord to cancel the lease, but devotees continued to meet in private homes. A believer told Bitter Winter that there are “hundreds” of Zion Church meeting places, not all of them in Beijing, and the total membership may be in excess of 25,000.
Obviously, this is not something the CCP can tolerate. Two Zion Church preachers, Qie Jiafu and Huang Chunzi, have been arrested in their homes in the last days of April. It is unclear whether they will be formally incriminated, but believers are afraid that this is just the beginning of a new crackdown on their church.
In March, Bitter Winter reported about the attack against another significant house church, Renai Reformed Church, in the prefecture-level city of Guiyang, in Guizhou province. When the church’s elder, Zhang Chunlei, went to the police station to negotiate the release of the devotees arrested during a police raid in a hotel where they had gathered for praying, he was arrested himself.
Elder Zhang should have been released after 11 days of administrative detention, but this did not happen. When his wife and the Christians of the Renai Reformed Church protested, they were told that Zhang’s case was being investigated. On May 1, he was formally indicted for “religious fraud” and placed under criminal detention at Yunyan Branch Detention Center. Houses of Renai Church members were also searched by the police, and religious items were confiscated.
On May 7 in Chengdu, Sichuan province, yet another pastor of Early Rain Covenant Church, Wu Wuqing, was arrested for “disturbing the public order” after officiating the funeral of a church member. Wu had already been arrested in April, and Early Rain’s leader, pastor Wang Yi, is currently serving a nine-year sentence in jail.
These are significant messages sent to all house churches throughout China. Unless they submit to the government, their days are numbered.
“Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.” Hebrews 13:3
- Pray for God’s will to be done in China as it is in heaven.
- Pray that, through prayer with King Jesus, the Chinese church will be strengthened, and evil attacks will be nullified.
- Pray for the gospel to be preached, disciples to be built, and Chinese Christians to become leaders in prayer to carry out the Great Commission.
- Pray that, this summer, Chinese church leaders will be able to rest and refresh themselves in God’s Word and through fellowship with one another.
- Pray for Chinese Christians currently facing state pressure, persecution, jail and death for their beliefs and actions. Pray for them to be courageous and trust in God, not man.
- Pray for Chinese children from Christian families. Pray that they will come to love, know, and follow Jesus, and be leaders for the next generation.
- Pray for Chinese believers to be people of prayer, who take all their anxieties to King Jesus, and joyfully rest in his protection.
- Let this be the desire to pray for us here in America too!
We will also Pray for:
Leah Sharibu and Alice that they will be set free from Boko Haram captivity.
- Leah Sharibu was kidnapped along with 109 other students on February 19, 2018 when Boko Haram attacked a boarding school in the city of Dapchi, Maiduguri Diocese, in north-eastern Nigeria. A month later, some of the girls died in captivity and all the others were released, except Leah. She was the only Christian in the group.
- Alice Loksha Ngaddah was kidnapped during the Rann attack on March 1, 2018. She was a nurse working with Unicef and is a mother of two.
Pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison, for his family, the children, and the church in China.
- On December 28 the police raided the Early Rain Church and arrested Pastor Wang Yi, his wife Jiang Rong, and ten elders of the well-known 750-member church for holding “illegal” services. Some 100 believers were detained, questioned, and later released. Pastor Wang’s wife was also released. Pastor Wang remained in detention.
Anita, an Iranian Christian, persecuted by the Islamic regime seeking asylum.
Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran, for his release and his family as their persecution continues.
- Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence, recently reduced from ten years. Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani converted to Christianity at the age of 19 and leads a 400-member house church in Rasht, Iran. Since 2006, Iranian authorities have consistently harassed and detained Pastor Nadarkhani and his family. In 2010, the authorities sentenced him to death for apostasy before acquitting him in 2012. Pastor Nadarkhani was tried again in 2017 on false charges of “acting against national security” and promoting “Zionist Christianity,” for which he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. By July 2018, plainclothes agents raided Pastor Nadarkhani’s home to execute the sentence, beating and apprehending him and using a taser gun on one of his sons. He is now incarcerated at the notorious Evin prison near Tehran.
- “And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Luke 10:2
I am looking forward to praying with you.
The Lord’s servant,
Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Conference Call Leader
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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 time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.
Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.
“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.
On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are 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 are new to the call and cannot 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!
God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.
Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team
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