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Praying for Believers in North Korea

(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Thursday, January 26, 2023, in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.

North Korea: Population: 25.9 million, Christians about 400,000

North Korea, being second in Christian persecution last year, made it back to the top and is again Number One (1)

North Korea remains a brutally hostile place for Christians to live. If discovered by the authorities, believers are either sent to labor camps as political prisoners where the conditions are atrocious, or killed on the spot – and their families will share their fate as well. Christians have absolutely no freedom. It is almost impossible for believers to gather or meet to worship. Those who dare to meet must do so in utmost secrecy – and at enormous risk. A new ‘anti-reactionary thought law’ makes it amply clear that being a Christian or possessing a Bible is a serious crime and will be severely punished.

A report issued in 2022 by The International Bar Association and The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea said that Christians are particularly targeted and exposed to torture in North Korean prisons. “Detention periods have been documented as being longer for Christians than other groups, and witnesses have reported that ‘identified Christians are interrogated for longer periods, usually under torture’, and subjected to some of the worst forms of torture to force them to incriminate others during interrogation,” it said.

The reason for such extreme persecution is that Christianity is seen as a particular threat to the dictatorial ideology and governance of the country’s barbaric regime. Christians are viewed as enemies of both the leadership and society in general.

Also: “No food, no church.” That’s what we’ve been hearing in North Korea as the country experiences the impact of its worst drought in nearly 40 years.

 • Pray that the Lord will soften the hardened hearts of Kim Jong-un and his regime.

 • Pray that the Lord will take away Kin Jong-un idols, that the Nuclear – Military complex will fold like a house of cards.

 • Pray to the Lord that the insane surveillance system will implode where almost everybody is an informer.

 • Father God, we thank You for the remarkable bravery of our brothers and sisters in North Korea. Continue to encourage, equip and empower them as they follow You amid such extreme persecution.

 • Pray that the Lord will protect secret gatherings of believers – may their meetings be places of divine encounter.

 • Pray to the Lord to protect the NGOs secret networks from detection by the forces of darkness.

 • Pray for NGO’s to be able to bring in sufficient supplies to North Korean Christians who desperately need emergency food relief.

 • Give wisdom, boldness and discernment to Your children to know how to express their faith in society without drawing the attention of the authorities.

 • Pray that the Lord will give supernatural strength to believers who are tortured to the point of death to deny their faith and or reveal the name of other believers, to not break down and bring glory to His name.

 • Pray that the Lord will be merciful and put an end to the cruel labor camps like Yodok. The prison is noisy from the cries and wailing of the tortured, women are raped and when they give birth babies are killed in front of them.

 • Pray that your words will continue to be readily available in North Korea, blind, confuse and distract the border guards. That nobody will come to harm for distributing the word.

 • Pray that the Lord will protect and give Hos strength and peace tp believers who have loved ones in prison or labor camp.

 • Pray that in spite of all the persecution that the Lord will grow the numbers of believers and that the day is near where Christian can plant churches.

Again, we want to lift-up these persecuted witnesses to the Lord:   

  • Leah Sharibu, prisoner of Boko Haram since 2018, pray for her release.
  • Alice Loksha Ngaddah, kidnapped February 2019. She is a mother of two, working as a nurse for UNICEF. Pray for her release. 
  • Pray pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison
  • For the release of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran, and his family as their  Persecution continues. Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence, recently reduced from ten years.
  • Pray for Ryan Kohler, pilot for Mission Aviation who is in prison in Mozambique. While flying supplies to orphanages in the Northeast of the country, he and two others were detained and accused of supporting terrorism.

The Harvest

  • “I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18)

Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

USA Time Zone:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: (667) 770-1476 

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

If you are experiencing any difficulties joining the call, please let us know.

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, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team

NOTE: Please fill out the form in the sign up link below to be included in our distribution list to receive urgent prayer requests, prayer points, notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

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.

Praying for Believers in Eritrea and Ethiopia

(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Tuesday, Dec 20th, 2022, in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.

Before the 1993 Eritrean War of Independence, Eritrea and Ethiopia were one nation.

Eritrea: Population: 5.5 million, Christians 2.6 million

Despite almost half the population identifying as Christian, believers in Eritrea continue to suffer extreme persecution, making it still one of the hardest places in the world to follow Jesus.

The government recognizes only three denominations— other Christians are at risk of severe state persecution. Gatherings are raided and believers arrested. The conditions facing Christians in prison can be inhumane. Some pastors have been incarcerated for over a decade and have faced solitary confinement. There are possibly more than 1,000 Christians imprisoned in Eritrea, with none formally charged.

The western and eastern parts of the country are majority Muslim. Christians from Muslim or Orthodox backgrounds living in those regions are more susceptible to persecution.  

Ethiopia: Population: 115.4 million, Christians 69.2 million

Over the past, Ethiopia has seen a dramatic increase in violence driven by civil and military conflicts, the worst of which is the “ethnic cleansing”, particularly in the Tigray region. Egregious human rights abuses, such as rapes and mass killings, are being perpetrated by the various actors involved in the conflict.

While the Orthodox Church is a target for Islamic attacks, it is also a perpetrator of persecution as well.

 Prayer Points 

  • Pray for wisdom and provision for the government as they lead a country greatly affected by war, drought, plagues, and political instability.
  • Pray that Christians facing intense pressure to renounce their faith will have the strength to hold onto Jesus and trust Him for their futures.
  • Pray that the Lord will protect pastors and evangelists who serve in a hostile environment and that they may see His power breaking through.
  • Ask God to bless the ministry among women and youth—ask God to raise up more women and young people to strengthen the church.
  • Pray to the Lord to remind the Coptic Church that they and the Evangelical Church serve You, the almighty God, and that therefore no room for discord or conflict.
  • Pray for the Lord to protect Christians from violence and killing, especially in the Tigray region.
  • Pray for special protection for Christian girls and women from Muslim radical violence and rape.
  • Pray that Christians will be given wisdom and boldness and protection as they go out to bring the good news to the lost.
  • Pray to the Lord for the NGOs who minister to the persecuted Christians with spiritual and physical aid.
  • Pray that Christians have good internet coverage. Pray for the webmasters that the Lord will give them encouraging messages for the persecuted Christians and also attract Muslim seekers
  • Pray to the Lord that He will appear to many in their dreams – and then that they will be connected to believers who can equip them.
  • Pray for rain to cover the arid ground.
  • Pray that persecuted believers will not become bitter and be able to love and forgive.
  • Pray that imprisoned Christians and their families will be sustained by God’s grace and presence.
  • Pray that the Lord will protect the congregations of believers that are watched by the police.
  • Pray for the Christian youth who are required to serve in the military, even if they don’t want to.
  • Pray to the Lord to strengthen His Church, to raise up His church to be the light on the Hill and shine our Christian values over the land.

Again, we want to lift these persecuted witnesses to the Lord:  

  • Leah Sharibu, a prisoner of Boko Haram since 2018, pray for her release.
  • Alice Loksha Ngaddah, kidnapped February 2019. She is a mother of two, working as a nurse for UNICEF. Pray for her release.
  • Pray For Pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison.
  • Pray for Anita to make an easy transition into her new culture and that the Lord will be gracious in bringing her family members where they too will be able to freely worship our Lord without fear.
  • For the release of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran, and his family as their persecution continues. Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence, recently reduced from ten years.

The Harvest

  • “I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18)

Michael Laird, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

USA Time Zone:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: (667) 770-1476 

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

If you are experiencing any difficulties joining the call, please let us know.

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, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team

NOTE: Please fill out the form in the sign up link below to be included in our distribution list to receive urgent prayer requests, prayer points, notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

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.

How do I pray for the suffering saints around the world?

(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Tuesday December 6, 2022 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.

Some of you may remember this letter by Brother Blaine, Founder of Persecution Watch, written for the Body of Christ to encourage continued prayer for the global Persecuted Church, our brothers and sisters in Christ. In a world that feels it’s on the verge of chaos, all news seems to be bad news. It’s hard to keep focus with so much going on across the globe. Persecution continually rises as is more and more negativity towards our faith in Christ. Let us ask the Lord to help us focus on Him, His Kingdom purposes and that the Holy Spirit will guide our prayers.

“My Brothers and Sisters,

Often it is overwhelming to know how to pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters. There is never a lack of information and with the increase of persecution sometimes there is TMI. As we sense the culmination of redemptive history drawing near, we know the persecutions will increase.

It is during these times our heart cry to God in “Dear Lord how do I pray for the suffering saints around the world?  The information is too much. And the needs are too great.  Dear God, how do I pray?”

Lately I have found the most powerful thing we can pray is the word of God. The New Testament is a book about persecution, written by those who were persecuted, for the persecuted.  As I have started praying for the persecuted church years ago. The New Testament takes on a deeper meaning. The early saints drew encouragement and strength from the letters that were written to them by the Apostles.  These letters have given rise today to what we call our New Testament [and] a source of encouragement to the early Christians. They are a source of encouragement to the persecuted Christians of today. Much inspiration can be derived from the letters to pray over our persecuted brothers and sisters in this present hour.

Also, the Psalms are a great encouragement to pray for our persecuted family. Many of these Psalms are written by David. King Saul was seeking to take his life, David was persecuted. As David wrote about the afflictions that Saul was bringing against him, we see the afflictions that come against our brothers and sisters by those who persecute them. So again, the Psalms are a great source of encouragement to pray for those who are in the shadow of the cross. 

Specific information is always good to pray over regarding certain areas of the world. But the most powerful thing we can pray in a general sense over the [global] persecuted church is the powerful word of God.  This is not a cop out as; “O God bless the persecuted church”  but a powerful weapon to pray back to God His Word that He will amplify back to the persecuted brothers and sisters. In the Spirit, this can be such a tremendous encouragement to our persecuted family.

Dear brothers and sisters when you feel overwhelmed in how to pray for your persecuted family. Look to the Word of God. Ask the Lord to give you something out of His word to pray over the persecuted. And then a powerful prayer will emerge from your heart.

Your brother in Christ,

Blaine”

We are continuing to lift up these persecuted witnesses to the Lord:

Alice Loksha Ngaddah was kidnapped in February 2019. She is a mother of two, working as a nurse for UNICEF. Pray for her release.

Leah Sharibu prisoner of Boko Haram since 2018. Pray for her release.

Pastor Wang Yi to be released from Chinese prison.

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.

Pray for Anita to make an easy transition into her new culture and that the Lord will be gracious in bringing her family members.


The Harvest

“I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18)

Please join Sister Valerie on the prayer conference call as she lifts the persecuted to the Lord in prayer.

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

USA Time Zone:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: (667) 770-1476 

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

If you are experiencing any difficulties joining the call, please let us know.

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, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team

NOTE: Please fill out the form in the sign up link below to be included in our distribution list to receive urgent prayer requests, prayer points, notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

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.

Christian Family Suffers after Arrests at Birthday Party

(Morning Star News) – A Christian mother and her family in northern India have suffered assaults and threats since she and others were arrested from her son’s birthday party on false accusations of fraudulent conversion, her husband said.

“Our lives have turned into a living hell as we struggle to survive each day with our 7-year-old son,” Mahendra Kumar told Morning Star News. “We face threats every day and do not know what will happen tomorrow.”

Kumar’s wife, Indrakla, was one of six women, four of them Christians, arrested on charges of fraudulent conversion based on a complaint of members of the Hindu extremist Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council) on July 30 in Maharajganj, Azamgarh District, Uttar Pradesh state.

“We have been targeted several more times after we filed a counter-complaint regarding the harassment and attacks that we have faced,” Indrakla told Morning Star News.

The six women were arrested when Hindu extremists intruded into a large birthday celebration for the couple’s only son on July 30 in Maharajganj District’s Bishunpura village, accusing Christians of using the event as a cover to fraudulently convert people. Those arrested remained in jail for more than a month before being bailed out.

Since then, on two occasions assailants deliberately rammed a car into Kumar while he was on his motorbike with his son, and the family has received several threats, he said.

On Oct. 21 Kumar and his wife awoke at 2 a.m. to the sound of several people banging on their door.

After Indrakla, who goes by a single name, was released on bail on Sept. 1, the family opted not to return to their rented home upon learning that Hindu extremists were planning to attack them. When they returned in October, the threats and harassment continued.

Jailed

Indrakla was getting her son ready for the party at about 1:30 p.m. on July 30 while three Christian women sang worship songs in an area near the house under a tent cover, she said.

The family had invited around 600 people, including 300 church members. About 150 guests had arrived when someone informed Indrakla that a group of men had arrived, arguing and objecting to the gathering.

When Indrakla told the intruders, members of the VHP, that they were gathered only to celebrate her son’s birthday, they accused her of luring people to convert under guise of the party. Police soon arrived, and in their presence the VHP members continued to harass her and her husband, she said.

“I stepped forward and tried to reason with them that it was my son’s birthday, and if there is nothing wrong with Hindus performing Hindu worship during their family birthday celebrations, what is wrong if we sing Christian choruses and pray before we eat?” Indrakla said.

The Hindu extremists refused to heed or answer her, she said.

“The atmosphere of celebration soon changed into despair as the police and Hindu extremists denigrated us,” Indrakla said. “They termed our birthday celebration as a ceremony for luring Dalit masses into becoming Christians.”

Dalits have historically been regarded as “untouchable,” lower than and thus outside the lowest level in the Hindu caste hierarchy.

Police arrested Indrakla and three other Christians – identified only as Savita, Anita and Sadhana – and the owners of the house, identified as Subhagi Devi and Sunita, two women who are not Christians.

All six were taken to the Maharajganj police station, where officers tried to pressure Indrakla into confessing that she distributed Christian literature, she said.

“I said, ‘I don’t have any literature, and neither do I distribute any literature,’” Indrakla said.

One of the two landladies told police that they were witnesses to the birthday party and that no form of conversion was taking place.

Officers told the six women they would release them by evening, but instead they were charged on a complaint of Ashutosh Singh, block president of the VHP, with “provocation and criminal intimidation” and, under the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act 2021, with “unlawful conversion from one religion to another by misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by any fraudulent means,” in First Information Report No. 286.

The arrested women were transferred to the Azamgarh police station that night, and the next morning, July 31, they appeared before a special lower court, as it was a Sunday. They were denied bail and sent to Azamgarh jail.

Forced conversion is punishable by imprisonment of one to five years with a minimum fine of 15,000 rupees (US$181), and three to 10 years of prison for the conversion of minors and women from the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe community.

One of the landladies and Savita and Anita were released on Aug. 30, while Sadhana, Indrakla and the other landlady were released on Sept. 1.

“The ground reality is that under the garb of the allegation of forced conversions, people are being targeted by right-wing fanatic organizations being backed by the government to gain popularity or benefit politically,” the attorney representing the women, Munish Chandra, told local media outlet The Wire.

Attacks

While his wife was in jail, Kumar and their son had taken refuge at the home of Indrakla’s brother. On the way back from an Aug. 16 court hearing for the six women, a car crashed into the motorbike on which Kumar, his son and sister-in-law were riding.

“Thankfully, none of us were hurt in that accident,” Kumar said.

After the next hearing on Aug. 24, again a car rammed into his motorbike. Thrown onto the road from the impact, Kumar and his son sustained leg injuries, his sister-in-law several internal injuries, and her son several bruises.

“I am sure we were attacked by people sent by the complainant,” Kumar told Morning Star News. “It cannot be a coincidence that we are hit by a car on both the court hearings in the same way.”

The six women were granted bail at the Aug. 24 hearing, though they were not released until a week later, he said.

The cordial relations Indrakla had with those in her community before the July 30 incident have chilled since her arrest and jailing, she said.

“The community that we lived in have all suddenly turned their faces against us,” she said. “They are behaving as if we are their enemies. They say that we indulge in converting people.”

The landlords have been pressuring Kumar to vacate the house to spare them further trouble, and his extended family members have shunned him, he said.

“They have flatly refused to shelter us,” he said. “They say that till our case is settled, they will have nothing to do with us.”

Financial Setback

Kumar, a street vendor of cookies and candies, borrowed various resources from neighbors and other villagers to provide a “grand celebration for their son,” said their pastor, Santosh Kumar.

An emotional Indrakla said much money and planning went into preparing the birthday gathering where intruders set into motion events that have hurt their income. Due to the threats from Hindu extremists, Kumar cannot leave home and resume work.

“We borrowed utensils, harmonium, mic and all the items required,” she said. “We rented stuff from a tent house and have not paid for any of that yet.”

The food prepared for more than 600 people went to waste, and there was no one to tend to household affairs while Indrakla was in custody. Amid the chaos, some of the borrowed or rented items were stolen, along with some of their own possessions, Indrakla said.

“We have people coming and asking us every day to either return their things or pay for it,” Indrakla said. “Where do I get the money from to pay them?”

Counter Case

On Sept. 4, Kumar and Indrakla filed a private court complaint under the Code of Criminal Procedure over the attack and harassment they have faced.

They have also filed complaints to Scheduled Caste-Scheduled Tribe commission offices in New Delhi and Lucknow, as well as to the district superintendent of police, said Dinnanath Jaiswar, a Christian leader and social activist in Uttar Pradesh.

“Since these Hindu extremists came to know about the counter-complaint, they have targeted the family many times,” Jaiswar told Morning Star News. “Now the court has directed the police to investigate the threats and intimidation of the victims.”

Jaiswar noted that Indrakla and the other women are low-status Dalits, while the assailants are upper-caste Hindus.

“It’s a prestige issue for them,” he said. “They cannot digest how these Dalits have exercised their legal rights against the upper caste. For them, the reality has been that the law is there for the upper castes to be used against the lower-caste people. They think they are the higher strata of society and the government belongs to them.”

Christian families who are Dalits thus face double discrimination for being both low status and followers of Christ, he said.

Various entities have designated Uttar Pradesh as the state in India where Christians experience the most persecution. Christians make up only 0.18 percent of the state’s population, according to the 2011 Census, or 356,000 Christians in the highly populated state.

The hostile tone of the National Democratic Alliance government, led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, against non-Hindus, has emboldened Hindu extremists in several parts of the country to attack Christians since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took power in May 2014, religious rights advocates say.

India ranked 10th on Open Doors’ 2022 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, as it was in 2021. The country was 31st in 2013, but its position worsened after Modi came to power.

China’s Ongoing Persecution of Christians and the Case of Pastor Wang Yi

Pastor Wang Yi of Early Rain Covenant Church—Facebook

(The Heritage Foundation) The political landscape in the U.S. has shifted since 2018, yet Pastor Wang Yi still languishes in a Chinese prison. He’s a fitting symbol of the many persecuted by Communist China for their religious faith. Yet few outside China know his name.

Wang, founder of Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, China, was arrested in December 2018, along with over 100 other members of his congregation. They were charged with “inciting subversion of state power”—a charge often given to Christians who do not fit the Communist Party’s ideological mold.

Wang’s church released his statement on civil disobedience—a treatise he penned on how believers should respond when the state conflicts with deeply held religious beliefs—shortly after his arrest.

A year later, on Dec. 30, 2019, the People’s Intermediate Court in Chengdu sentenced him to nine years in prison. He was convicted for “illegal business operations” and “inciting subversion” against the state.

Wang’s wife, Jiang Rong, was allowed to visit him in November 2021—the first time since his arrest three years before. Prior to this visit, Chengdu State Security forces prohibited his family members from visiting the prison.

Information on Wang is still limited, however, as Chengdu State Security restricts what he can disclose to family members. Chengdu Jintang Prison officials have claimed Wang is in good condition. But insider reports say he is likely being held in closed confinement. If so, he can’t meet with inmates other than two hardened criminals who likely share his cell. He is forced to eat moldy rice. Any health care he receives would come, at best, from unqualified medical staff or might even be cobbled together from fellow prisoners.

The Chengdu National Security Police also continue to intimidate and harass Wang’s family. Party officials have subjected his wife to 24-hour surveillance. They installed 360-degreee cameras in her home, robbing her of all privacy. The police also surveil and harass Wang’s parents and son.

Moreover, congregants of Early Rain Covenant Church continue to face persecution. Dai Zhichao and his family, for instance, have been subject to various forms of harassment by Communist Party officials, such as intimidation and the vandalizing of their home. Police have also targeted members of his small church group, one of whom was threatened and beaten on three separate occasions. 

What Can Be Done?

The Chinese Communist Party’s attempt to bring religion under its control has been met with courageous opposition, and Wang’s testimony is a prime example. As he wrote in his Declaration of Religious Disobedience,

As long as the secular government continues to persecute the church, violating human consciences that belong to God alone, I will continue my faithful disobedience. For the entire commission God has given me is to let more Chinese people know through my actions that the hope of humanity and society is only in the redemption of Christ, in the supernatural, gracious sovereignty of God.

But can we do anything to help such persecuted faithful inside China?

Yes. Wang has been adopted as a prisoner of conscience by a member of Congress as part of the Tom Lantos Defending Freedoms Project.

Olivia Enos, a senior policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation, further recommends that the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom adopt Wang as a religious prisoner of conscience as part of their Religious Prisoners of Conscience Project. The commission has a track record of success, even in China.

For example, Dilshat Perhat Ataman, a Uyghur Muslim in Xinjiang, China, who was detained in 2018, was released a year later with the help of Tony Perkins’, the commission chair, advocacy work. If the commission adopted Wang, it would raise the profile of his case and make his release more likely. It would also make the wider world more aware of the Chinese Communist Party’s track record of religious persecution.

Indeed, the imprisonment of Wang and the detention and harassment of his family and other Early Rain members is just one of many such instances of religious persecution in China. Adopting Wang as a religious prisoner of conscience would elevate the profile of his case and shed light on the Communist Party’s systematic persecution of Christians.

The religious convictions of Christians like Wang cannot be reconciled with the communists’ efforts to assimilate them into the party ideology. This conflict must be met with efforts—on our part and on the part of the U.S. government and advocacy groups—to alleviate the plight of Chinese Christians.

The Commission on International Religious Freedom’s work in adopting prisoners of conscience is an especially promising avenue for elevating Wang’s case. Cases like these should continue to serve as a wake-up call to the leaders of the free world to defend those around the globe persecuted for their faith.

VOP Note: Please pray for Pastor Wang Yi and Chinese Christians.

This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal

Persecution Watch: Praying for Believers in Afghanistan

(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Thursday, October 20, 2022 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.

Afghanistan: Population:38.9 million, Christians in the thousands.

Christians who remain in Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover last summer routinely face persecution and torture from the Taliban government.

“There are still Christians in Afghanistan,” said Todd Nettleton, an author and radio host who works for the international humanitarian nonprofit VOM. “I think during the time of the Taliban takeover a year ago, there was a lot of coverage that kind of suggested that all the Christians had fled the country.” As the Afghan government crumbled last year, many Christians fled, because they knew the Taliban’s hardline theology and intolerance toward Christians, especially those who had converted from Islam.

Many who were widely known to have renounced Islam for Christianity escaped to other countries, but the potentially thousands of Christians who remain face profound challenges. “Those are the people who made the incredibly bold decision to stay in the country. “And their attitude was, ‘Listen, if all the Christians flee the country, who’s going to be here to share the gospel, who’s going to be here to be the church?’ And so, they made that courageous decision to stay, even knowing that the Taliban would be taking over; knowing it was a very risky thing.”

Taliban denies Christians exist in the country.

The organization labeled Afghanistan a restricted country, where beatings, torture and kidnappings are routine for Christians. Christians are forbidden to openly worship or evangelize in the country, where the population is 99.8 percent Muslim, and both local and national governments are “highly antagonistic” toward Christian believers. The number of Christians who are martyred there, though small, generally die without public knowledge, and converts from Islam often are killed by family members or other radicalized Muslims before any legal proceedings can begin.

The situation is still very chaotic—there are lots of things happening in the country. They’re the conquerors, the victors, and they want to show that they are there. Many bad things are happening, but it’s different from region to region or village to village. It depends on the local commander—what would he do?

Some women are already being kidnapped, taken from their houses, and forced into marriage, although we don’t know the exact number. Of course, many women will have to buy burqas, especially in the big cities. In many rural areas, it was like the Taliban never left during the last 20 years. For them, it was still the same, very strict. In other places, there was more freedom, but now they must go back. We also know from local sources and the media that many women haven’t returned to work because they’re afraid they will be punished for it later.

There is a lot of fear. It’s not just the girls who are at risk; it’s the boys too. The Taliban may recruit them. This is a difficult time to be a parent in Afghanistan—how can you protect your children?

And then there are the Christians who face all that and must hide their faith. They are thinking, how much does the Taliban know?How much do my neighbors know? Will they betray us? 

Maybe someone will accuse you of something that you have not even done, but they so fear for their own lives that they must give the Taliban something. So, it’s a country ruled by fear now.

Looking at the facts, there is no official church for indigenous believers in the country. The last church building that was there was destroyed 50 years ago.

The number of indigenous believers is relatively small. That makes them more challenging to reach. Are they being hunted down? They’re a target. When you get a house visit, the Taliban want to see if you are a good Muslim in their eyes, according to their standard of what makes a good Muslim. So, if you are a Christian, you’re not just a bad Muslim; you are an apostate—and you will be targeted.

Prayer Points

  • Pray for Taliban government leaders that the Lord will convict them, help them to recognize the value of women as equal partners.
  • Pray that the Lord will blind the radical Muslims and Jihadists, confuse them, distract them, frustrate them in their quest to hunt down Christians.
  • Pray for the safety of Muslim background believers who are under tremendous pressure, that the Lord will give them wisdom to deflect questions like ‘why did you miss prayers?’, ‘we don’t see you in the mosque’.
  • Pray for the Lord to comfort, console and have His hand on the young Christian girls and women who were kidnapped, and were forced into marrying Muslims.
  • Pray for protection of teenagers and men from being forced into the Taliban military.
  • Pray for the Christian refugees who are trying to restart their lives in a strange country and culture.
  • Pray for the refugees who live in tent cities so that they can stay warm in the coming winter month.
  • Pray that the Lord will put His hedge of protection around those Christians who stayed behind and must hide their faith. Pray that these Christians will connect with other believers for fellowship and encouragement.
  • Pray to the Lord for protection and provision for Christians who are witnessing to Muslims.
  • Pray to the Lord that He will give wisdom and discernment to those who want to return to Afghanistan to His witnesses.
  • Pray to the Lord that Christians will forgive and love their persecutors.
  • Pray for the NGOs working to equip and encourage Afghan Christians and that the Lord will show them creative ways to distribute aid and support.
  • Pray that the gates of hell will be closed and that in due time the Lord will let His believers plant churches all over Afghanistan.

We are continuing to lift up these persecuted witnesses to the Lord:

Leah Sharibu prisoner of Boko Haram since 2018. Pray for her release.

Alice Loksha Ngaddah was kidnapped in February 2019. She is a mother of two, working as a nurse for UNICEF. Pray for her release.

Pastor Wang Yi to be released from Chinese prison.

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.

Anita, a Christian convert, had faced a long prison term but was able to escape from Iran. She and her family have finally arrived in their permanent host country where they can express their faith openly. Pray for an easy transition into the new culture.

The Harvest

“I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18)

Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

USA Time Zone:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: (667) 770-1476 

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

If you are experiencing any difficulties joining the call, please let us know.

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, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team

NOTE: Please fill out the form in the sign up link below to be included in our distribution list to receive urgent prayer requests, prayer points, notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

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.

News: Iran Punishes Christians with Harsh Prison Sentences

Sara Ahmadi and Homayoun Zhaveh. (Article 18)

(Morning Star News) – When authorities in Iran summoned a Christian couple in Tehran on Aug. 13, the house-church members supposed it concerned the return of their confiscated belongings.

Instead, Homayoun Zhaveh and his wife Sara Ahmadi were detained in Tehran’s Evin Prison, notorious for its harsh treatment of people deemed political enemies of the state, rights organizations say.

“Friends are concerned about their well-being, especially as Homayoun suffers from advanced Parkinson’s disease,” Christian Solidarity International (CSI) said in an Oct. 6 statement, citing information from Middle East Concern.

CSI and other advocacy and aid organizations recently issued calls for prayer for Zhaveh, 63, and Ahmadi, 44. Middle East Concern (MEC) reported they were first arrested in June 2019 on suspicion of belonging to an “illegal organization,” with Zhaveh spending a month in Evin Prison and Ahmadi held there for 67 days – half the time in solitary confinement.

In November 2020, Ahmadi was sentenced to 11 years in prison for her alleged role in leading a house church, according to MEC, adding that Zhaveh was sentenced to two years for house church membership. The sentences included a two-year ban on membership in any social or political group, a two-year ban on foreign travel and six months of community service.

The convictions were upheld on appeal in December 2020, but Ahmadi’s prison sentence was reduced to eight years, MEC reported. The couple expected to start their prison sentences on June 15, 2021, but upon arrival at Evin Prison in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, they were told they could return home for an indeterminate time.

“On Aug. 13, Homayoun and Sara answered a summons to the prison, expecting to have confiscated property returned,” MEC stated. “Instead, they were both detained. Prayer is requested that their harsh sentences will be reviewed, especially since Homayoun is in poor health, and that they will be acquitted; and that the Iranian authorities will stop the persecution of their citizens for the peaceful expression of their faith.”

Rash of Imprisonments

Also serving time in Evin Prison for his faith is house-church leader Joseph Shahbazian, sentenced to 10 years by Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court on June 7 for “founding and leading an organization that aims to disrupt national security,” according to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

Initially arrested on June 30, 2020, following raids on house churches in several cities, Pastor Shahbazian was released on bail on Aug. 22 of that year. An appeals court in Tehran rejected his appeal in August of this year, and on Aug. 30 he began serving his sentence at Evin Prison, USCIRF reported.

As an Iranian-Armenian he was permitted to worship as part of Iran’s historic Armenian Christian community, but he was targeted as a pastor of a church that included Iran converts from Islam, according to Barnabas Fund.

In the Shiite stronghold of Mashad in northeastern Iran, a grandfather with cancer is being held in Vakilabad Prison for converting to Christianity, according to advocacy group Article 18. Gholamreza Keyvanmanesh, in his late 50s, and three other Christians arrested in Neyshabur face charges of “acting against national security through propaganda against the regime” and “insulting the sacred” (blasphemy), Article 18 reported.

“The other three – two women and another man, in their 40s and 50s, whose names cannot be reported – are being held in Neyshabur Prison,” the organization stated.

Members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps warned at least eight other Christians present at the meetings of the four arrested Christians that they will soon be summoned for further questioning, according to Article 18.

“They were also forced to sign commitments to refrain from gathering with other Christians,” Article 18 reported. “Bibles and mobile phones were among the items confiscated from the church members.”

Christianity is among the official minority faiths in Iran, but converts to Christianity are not recognized and are vilified as “enemy groups of a ‘Zionist’ cult,” the group stated.

Converts are banned from attending the churches of Armenian and Assyrian Christians, who are permitted to teach only in their own ethnic tongues and not to seek new members, Article 18 stated.

Hence converts meet at private homes but are frequently raided and charged with belonging to “illegal” groups with “anti-security” purposes, “even though in reality the meetings are no different from church gatherings anywhere else in the world,” Article 18 stated. “In recent years, dozens of Iranian Christians have been handed prison sentences of up to 15 years on such trumped-up charges.”

Iran was ranked 9th on Open Doors’ 2022 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.

Persecution Watch: Praying for Believers in China

(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Thursday July 21, 2022 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.

Population: 1.4 billion, Christians 96.7 million

Surveillance in China is among the most oppressive and sophisticated in the world. Church attendance is rigorously monitored, and many churches are being closed down – whether they’re independent or belong to the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (the officially state-sanctioned Protestant church in China).

It remains illegal for under-18s to attend church. All meeting venues had to close during the Covid-19 crisis, but some churches were forced to remain closed once restrictions began to lift and were quietly phased out.

Christian leaders are generally the main target of government surveillance, and a very small number have been abducted.

The following two reports show what Christian’s experience:

The Chinese government continues its efforts to transform Christianity into a tool of the state. China offers yet another instance of the persecution of Christians by governing officials that is unfortunately on the increase not only in China, but in all too many other nations around the world.

“600 Church of Almighty God Members Sentenced in 2021,” by Wang Yichi, Bitter Winter, November 3, 2021:Since the CCP started carrying out a 3-year “Final Solution” plan against The Church of Almighty God (CAG) last September, the persecution has continuously strengthened. Even common CAG members have been sentenced to penalties as severe as seven years and six months in prison.

2019. During the following two years or more, the police kept them in pre-trial detention, and deprived them of visits from their relatives. When their relatives went to the detention house and applied for visits, the police not only refused to allow the meetings, but took the opportunity to interrogate the relatives about the faith of the arrested CAG members.

Church of Almighty God member dies in prison. On September 25, 2021, the People’s Court of Zhangqiu, a county-level city under the jurisdiction of Jinan city in the eastern province of Shandong, opened the trial against 48 CAG members, who had been detained for more than two years. They were sentenced to penalties of two, three, or more years in prison, including four members under the age of 20 and one 67-year-old devotee. One 80-year-old member was sentenced to two years and four months in prison, and later was allowed to serve her sentence outside the prison.

As readers of Bitter Winter know, reacting to the rapid development of the CAG, the CCP has put it on the list of xie jiao (banned religious movements) since its founding, carrying out a brutal persecution against it. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, the CCP did not relax its efforts to crack down on the CAG.

A CAG member from Shandong Province was sentenced to four years in prison this August. Less than two months after her sentence, the local police informed her family that she had died of a heart attack, and urged them to cremate her body immediately. Before cremation, however, the police forbade her family from changing the clothes of the deceased, which would have allowed relatives to examine her body. The real cause of her death remains unknown.

Next:

The Chinese Communist Party’s persecution of Christians has taken a disturbing new turn. According to a recent Radio Free Asia report, Chinese Christians are being detained at secretive “brainwashing camps.” Writing under the pseudonym of Li Yuese, a Chinese Christian detailed the conditions of his detention in a “transformation facility” where he was held for 10 months after the CCP raided his house church in Sichuan province in 2018. Most of the prisoners held in these mobile facilities, operated by the United Front Work Department in collaboration with the state security police, have been taken from house churches that operate outside of state approval.

Imprisoned in a windowless room without ventilation, Li was subjected to verbal and physical abuse. United Front officials use intimidation, threats, and beatings to force detainees to renounce their faith. The repression was so brutal that Li testified, “After you’ve been in there a week, death starts to look better than staying there.” At his release, Li was in very poor health. He remains haunted by his experience.

Imprisoning Christians in brainwashing camps is another step in the CCP’s intensifying crackdown on religion. The CCP believes independent religious practice threatens its power. Under President Xi Jinping’s policy of “Sinicization,” the party seeks to conform religion to its political goals. Religious groups deemed to “disrupt public order” face severe monitoring and persecution.

The CCP’s persecution of Christians has also involved demolishing churches and arresting leaders like Pastor Wang Yi of Early Rain Covenant Church, who was sentenced to nine years in prison in 2019. Tibetan Buddhists, Uighur Muslims are also persecuted. Meanwhile, Falun Gong members are reportedly subject to forced organ harvesting and extrajudicial imprisonment.

Prayer Points:

  • Pray for the Lord to touch President Chi and open his eyes to understand Christian Values.
  • Pray for the authorities in China to recognize the importance of religious freedom and allow the Church to gather and worship without restrictions.
  • Pray to the Lord that He will blind, confuse, and distract state agencies that control churches and Christian lifestyles.
  • Pray that, despite intense surveillance, faith will flourish in China and more people will discover God’s love.
  • Ask the Lord to protect and be with the believers who converted from Buddhism and Islam as they face intense persecution
  • Pray for church leaders who are monitored and harassed for their ministry. Ask the Lord to give them strength and wisdom
  • Pray for unity of all Christian churches, that their witness will continue to be powerful while being under constant pressure.
  • COVID 19 gave Chinese authorities a reason to shut down many churches – and keeping them shut. Ask the Lord to break the powers of darkness and that He will give the keys to His pastors that believers can worship again.
  • Pray that local NGO partners will be able to reach vulnerable Christians with vital Christian literature, training, and fellowship.
  • Pray that persecuted believers will not become bitter and be able to love and forgive.
  • Pray to the Lord to protect and comfort believers whose family members are serving prison terms.
  • Pray for the Lord’s hand to be on His believers and to encourage them to bring the Gospel message to the lost.
  • Pray that the Lord will continue to grow the number of believers in spite of challenges from the Chinese Communist Party and that the community of saints will greatly expand.

We are continuing to lift up these persecuted witnesses to the Lord:

Leah Sharibu prisoner of Boko Haram since 2018. Pray for her release.

Alice Loksha Ngaddah was kidnapped in February 2019. She is a mother of two, working as a nurse for UNICEF. Pray for her release.

Pastor Wang Yi to be released from Chinese prison.

Anita a Christian convert, facing a long prison term who escaped from Iran and praying to go to a country where she can express her faith openly.

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.

The Harvest

“I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18)

Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

USA Time Zone:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: (667) 770-1476 (Note: We have a new call-in phone number)

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

If you are experiencing any difficulties joining the call, please let us know.

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, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team

NOTE: Please fill out the form in the sign up link below to be included in our distribution list to receive urgent prayer requests, prayer points, notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

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.

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