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Persecution Watch: Praying for Believers in Eritrea

(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Thursday, April 28, 2022 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.

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—Orthodox, Catholic, and Lutheran. Those not part of these groups are at risk of severe persecution at the hands of the state. 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. While some are released, many of these are moved to military service—which is no freedom at all—or house arrest. The ongoing detention of Christians shows that the government has no intention of relaxing its repressive policies.

Christians not recognized by the state are especially vulnerable to the everyday surveillance imposed by the state, with phone calls monitored, bandwidth kept slow, and a network of citizens tasked with spying on their neighbors. This intrusive level of monitoring has led to Eritrea holding the infamous title of “Africa’s North Korea” (The Economist, Aug. 14, 2018).
Meanwhile, converts from Islam and the Eritrean Orthodox Church face harsh mistreatment from their families and communities.

What has changed this year? Very little has changed, except for a slight increase in pressure on churches. The country remains sixth on the World Watch List, making it still one of the hardest places in the world to follow Jesus.

Who is most vulnerable to persecution? Whereas persecution by the state affects Christians across Eritrea, other forms of opposition are more localized. The western and eastern parts of the country are majority Muslim, while the central areas are more Christian Orthodox. Christians from Muslim or Orthodox backgrounds living in those regions are more susceptible to persecution.      

  • Pray that imprisoned Christians and their families will be sustained by God’s grace and presence.
  • Pray for a change of heart for the longtime dictator President Isaias Afwerki.
  • Ask God for wisdom, discernment, and boldness for believers as they seek to meet together despite the threat of surveillance.
  • 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 for the leaders of the Orthodox church, that they will embrace all followers of Jesus as brothers and sisters and not as competitors.
  • Pray for the Lord to protect the new believers, converting from Islam and joining evangelical churches.
  • Pray that Christians from Islamic and Orthodox backgrounds will be encouraged and empowered to stand firm in their faith and would worship in unity with together.
  • Pray for the protection of believers who want to come together and have worship as well as fellowship
  • Pray for the secret Christians in Yemen who live under constant threat because of their faith. Ask God to give them courage, wisdom, and boldness, that they would know how to best live out the gospel.
  • Pray for believers to sense God’s presence and know that Christians are praying for them.
  • Pray that believers experience God’s comfort under persecution and forgive their persecutors.
  • Pray to the Lord to guide and protect NGO workers in their covert support to Christians.
  • Pray to the Lord to break the powers of darkness and that all Christian believers can worship openly without any fear.

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 for Pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison.
  • Pray for 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.
  • 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.

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.

Persecution Watch: Praying for Christians in Eritrea

(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Thursday December 30, 2021 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.

Eritrea: Population 5.4million, Christians 2.5 million (3% Evangelical)

Located on the Red Sea, Eritrea is governed by a totalitarian regime that seeks to control every aspect of life. Some have compared Eritrea to the “hermit kingdom” of North Korea, as it is one of the most secretive and isolated countries in the world. In 2002, the government outlawed every form of religion except Islam, Orthodox Christianity, Roman Catholicism, and the Lutheran Church. All other religious groups are illegal, and the government maintains tight control of approved churches, including their messages. Years of communism, required military service and economic depression have caused many Eritreans, including evangelical believers, to flee the country. But during the recent war in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, the Eritrean army was allowed to cross the border and destroy two Eritrean refugee camps, taking many refugees, including Christians, back to Eritrea. Over the past year, the government has released some Christian prisoners while arresting several new groups. While the 2018 peace agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia ended a two-decade war, the benefits have been one-sided. Ethiopians may travel freely between the two countries, but travel for Eritreans is restricted by their government. Despite these hardships, the underground church in Eritrea continues to grow due to the faithfulness of church leaders inside and outside the country.

Known as the “North Korea of Africa,” Eritrea is infamous for its intricate and inhumane prison system, often putting prisoners in shipping containers, creating insurmountable conditions, and leaving them in isolation. Prisons are part of an underground tunnel system that often prevents families from reaching and even contacting their loved ones. Conditions have even worsened due to the pandemic.

Evangelical churches must meet secretly. The government actively seeks to infiltrate these underground churches and imprison their leaders. About 400 believers are known to remain in prison, including several top leaders. Imprisoned Christians are not given a trial or allowed to see their families, many of whom do not know where their loved ones are imprisoned or even if they are still alive. Christians simply disappear and are assumed to be in government prisons. The conditions inside these “prisons” are some of the harshest in the world. Christian prisoners are provided meager rations and held in shipping containers in extreme desert conditions for years. When long-term prisoners are released, they are blacklisted by the government. They are unable to get jobs, watched constantly and their families lose opportunities. They still need extended physical and emotional help.

Bibles are available, but the government tracks each Bible sold. Christian literature is highly regulated, and most believers who want Bibles must smuggle them in. For this reason, many believers must access Scripture by digital means.

  • Pray for the government, those in authority and Eritrea’s long-time leader, Isaias Afwerki.
  • Pray for the availability of more Christian resources in the Tigrinya language.
  • Pray Eritrean Christians and church leaders would have wisdom and opportunities to engage their government on the topic of religious freedom.
  • Pray that the Lord will raise up strong leaders for Eritrean churches.
  • Pray for the strength and perseverance of long-term prisoners and their families.
  • Pray for the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of recently released prisoners of faith.
  • Pray for Eritrean believers in Tigray who have had to flee or have been taken by the army.
  • Pray for the financial, physical, and spiritual needs of Eritrean prisoners’ families.
  • Pray for radio ministries reaching out to Eritreans.
  • Pray that believers’ faith would grow, that their love would increase, and that their faith would be steadfast in persecution and affliction.
  • Pray for those suffering terrible conditions in prison, held because of their faith, and for the Christian women and children whose husbands and fathers are in prison. Pray the Lord would show His grace to these families and provide for their spiritual and physical needs.                                                                                   
  • Pray that opportunities will open up for believers to share the gospel with others safely.
  • Pray for good internet access so that Christians can download scripture and related material.
  • Pray that the Lord’s hand of protection is on His believers and that His church will grow in spite of the hostile culture against Christianity.

Again, we want to lift up 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 for Pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison.
  • Pray for 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.
  • 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.

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.

Photo: Animal Market in Eritrea

Persecution Watch: Praying for Believers in Eritrea

2/18/2021 (Voice of the Persecuted) Eritrea: Population 5,3illion, Christians: 2,5 million

Christians from non-traditional denominations face the harshest persecution in Eritrea, both from the government and from the Eritrean Orthodox Church (EOC). The EOC is the only Christian denomination recognized by the government, and it is tightly controlled by those in power.

Government security forces monitor phone calls, scrutinize activity, and conduct countless raids which target Christians, seize Christian materials and damage house churches. Christians can be arrested and imprisoned without trial. Many Christians are held in inhumane prisons because of their faith, and their loved ones often do not know where they are or even if they are still alive. In June 2020, the UN reported there was no meaningful progress to address human rights violations in Eritrea.

Non-EOC Christians and Christians from a Muslim background face extreme opposition from their families and communities and from the state, often being denied crucial social services and other resources.

Evangelical churches must meet secretly. The government actively seeks to infiltrate these underground churches and imprison their leaders. About 600 believers are known to remain in prison, including several top leaders. Imprisoned Christians are not given a trial or allowed to see their families, many of whom do not know where their loved ones are imprisoned or even if they are still alive. Christians simply disappear and are assumed to be in government prisons. The conditions inside these “prisons” are some of the harshest in the world. Christian prisoners are provided meager rations and held in shipping containers in extreme desert conditions for years.

Bibles are available, but the government tracks each Bible sold. Christian literature is highly regulated, and most believers who want Bibles must smuggle them in. For this reason, many believers must access Scripture by digital means.

 

  • Pray for President Isaias Afwerki that he will have an encounter with the Living God and that he will be convicted and stop Christian persecution.

 

  • Pray that believers’ faith would grow, that their love would increase, and that their faith would be steadfast in persecution and affliction.

 

  • Pray Eritrean Christians and church leaders would have wisdom and opportunities to engage their government on the topic of religious freedom.

 

  • Pray for those suffering terrible conditions in prison, held because of their faith, and for the Christian women and children whose husbands and fathers are in prison.

 

  • Pray, ask the Lord will show grace and comfort to the families who do not know of the whereabouts of their imprisoned loved ones and provide for their spiritual and physical needs.

 

  • Pray that the NGOs will have wisdom in how to empower believers, supporting them in all their needs.

 

  • Pray that the Pastors will encourage their saints.

 

  • Pray to the Lord that believers will continue testify and share the gospel in very difficult circumstances.

 

  • Pray for easy access to the internet and that both Believers and Muslims will see messages that encourage and or convict them.

 

  • Pray the Lord will enable Christians to forgive their persecutors.

 

  • Pray to the Lord that His hand of protection is over His Eritrean Church and that He will bind the forces of darkness and grow HIS CHURCH.

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

  • Leah Sharibu and Alice, prisoners of Boko Haram since 2018, pray for their release
  • Pray pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison.
  • Pray Pray for Anita, a Christian convert persecuted for her faith in Iran.
  • 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.

Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

Time: (U.S. Time zones)

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. 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.

Eritrean evangelical Christians freed on bail due to COVID-19

 

If they’re not Lutheran, Evangelical Christian women in Eritrea have to pray together in secret. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)

(World Watch List) The Eritrean government has released on bail more than 20 prisoners who’d been in detention for years because of their faith, the BBC reports.

It says sources have said that the prisoners are from Christian evangelical and Pentecostal denominations, some held in a prison outside the capital Asmara.

In 2002 Eritrea introduced a new law that forbids all Churches except for the Orthodox, Catholic and Evangelical Lutheran ones. Sunni Islam is also officially recognized.

According to a religious freedom campaigner from Asmara, but now based in North America, Hannibal Daniel, people who’d been in prison for about 16 years have been freed on bail.

A regional spokesperson for charity Open Doors International said that, for some time, it had heard discussion that prisoners might be freed on bail due to the coronavirus pandemic (as has happened in several other countries) but could not independently confirm the reports: “If true, this could be quite significant.”

The Eritrean government has not responded to BBC requests for confirmation or denial. Previously, it’s dismissed accusations of intolerance to religious freedom.

In May 2019, a monitoring group for the UN said “thousands” of Christians are facing detention as “religious freedom continue[s] to be denied in Eritrea” and questioned why the UN was not monitoring the situation more closely.

In June 2019, Thomson Reuters reported that more than 500,000 refugees worldwide have left Eritrea, up from 486,200 a year earlier.

Many flee compulsory military service, but others flee political or religious persecution.

That same month, the government seized all Catholic-run health clinics in the country, and arrested five Orthodox priests. These moves prompted the UN Special Rapporteur for human rights in Eritrea, Daniela Kravetz, to call on the government to uphold religious freedom for its citizens and “release those who have been imprisoned for their religious beliefs.”

In August 2019, Eritrea’s Orthodox patriarch, Abune Antonios, was expelled by pro-government bishops of his Church, accused of heresy; he remained in detention throughout 2019.

Antonios had been under house arrest since 2007, when he refused to comply with the regime’s attempts to interfere with church affairs.

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom says Eritrea is a ‘Country of Particular Concern’, saying “In 2019, religious freedom conditions in Eritrea worsened, with increasing interference in and restrictions on religious groups. In spite of the significant regional political changes and the 2018 peace agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia, Eritrea continues to have one of the worst religious freedom records in the world, and has shown little interest in concretely improving the situation”. The State Department estimates there are between 1200 and 3000 prisoners held for their faith. USCIRF included some of those cases in its new Victims List.

Some prisoners, such as the leader of the Full Gospel Church, have been in prison for more than 15 years.

A year, ago, 70 Christians detained included 35 women and 10 children

At least 150 Eritrean Christians were arrested by government officials during summer 2019, with some held in an underground prison made up of tunnels.

For instance on 18 August, 2019, Eritrean security officials detained 80 Christians from Godayef, an area near Asmara airport.

Four days later, on 22 August, the United Nations observed its first annual commemoration of victims of religiously motivated violence. “On this day, we reaffirm our unwavering support for the victims of violence based on religion and belief. And we demonstrate that support by doing all in our power to prevent such attacks and demanding that those responsible are held accountable,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

The government’s 2019 clampdown on evangelical Christians had begun in June 2019 when security officials arrested 70 members (among them 35 women and 10 children) of the Faith Mission Church of Christ, in Eritrea’s second city, Keren. These were taken to Ashufera prison, 25kms from the city.

The prison is a vast underground tunnel system and conditions in which detainees are held are very harsh, a local source said. It’s far from a main road, the source said, which “means that anyone who wants to visit has to walk a minimum of 30 minutes to reach the entrance.

Inmates are forced to dig additional tunnels when officers need extra space for more prisoners.”

After the 2019 arrests, government officials also closed the church-run school, said the local source, whose identity World Watch Monitor withheld for security reasons.

The Faith Mission Church of Christ was the last church still open in the majority-Muslim city, 90kms northwest of Asmara. Started over 60 years ago, the Church once had schools and orphanages all over the country, according to religious freedom advocacy group CSW.

It had been waiting for registration since it submitted an application in 2002 when the government introduced the new law. This clampdown sent other Christians in Keren into hiding, the source said.

Eritrea is 6th on the Open Doors 2020 World Watch List of the 50 countries in which it is most difficult to live as a Christian.

USCIRF annual report highlights negative religious freedom conditions in Eritrea

 

 

In 2019, religious freedom conditions in Eritrea worsened, with increasing interference in and restrictions on religious groups. In spite of the significant regional political changes and the 2018 peace agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia, Eritrea continues to have one of the worst religious freedom records in the world, and has shown little interest in concretely improving the situation. No new religious institutions were officially registered, and thus only four religious communities remain legally permitted to operate: the Coptic Orthodox Church of Eritrea, Sunni Islam, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Evangelical Church of Eritrea, a Lutheran-affiliated denomination.

During 2019, there was an increase in political activism and calls for democratic reform by secular and religious Eritreans. The government responded harshly to both registered religious groups as well as unrecognized ones, such as the Pentecostal and Evangelical Christian communities, and accused religious actors of political interference for defending their beliefs and human rights. Christians were arbitrarily arrested and detained, including in waves of arrests in May of more than 171 adults and children gathering for worship around Asmara. In August, another 80 were reportedly arrested for practicing their faith. In April, Eritrean Catholic bishops wrote a joint letter calling for national truth and reconciliation. Throughout the year, the government forcibly took over and closed multiple faith-based schools as well as 22 additional Catholic Church-run health centers.

Read full report available in English and Tigrinya here.

USCIRF Commissioner Johnnie Moore cautions that religious freedom conditions in Eritrea continue to trend negatively. The governmentt maintained severe restrictions on religious practice and conducted waves of arrests of religious minorities.

Please keep our Eritrean brothers and sisters in your prayers.

Tonight on Persecution Watch: Eritrea

 

Mar. 26, 2020 (Voice of the Persecuted) Dear Intercessors, again, we want to lift up two persecuted witnesses for the Lord and pray for Leah Sharibu and Alice that this year will be the year where they will be set free. And also pray for pastor Wang Yi to be released from Prison.

Eritrea

Population: 5.3 million, Christians 2.5 million

The authoritarian regime under President Afwerki is responsible for massive human rights violations, especially toward Christians. Christians who aren’t members of state-approved churches are considered agents of the West and a threat to the state.

The current Eritrean government, only recognizes four religious affiliations, including Sunni Islam, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Eritrea, the Catholic Church, and Orthodox Christianity, even though the constitution proclaims religious freedom. Consequently, religious minorities outside of these four groups face consistent opposition from government bodies.

Thirty Christians were arrested on Monday, June 3, 2019 while praying at nondenominational churches in three different locations in Asmara, Eritrea. According to local reports, the arrested individuals will be freed only if they disavow their faith.

Eritrean police officers are known to carry out raids on private homes where devotees of unrecognized religions, especially Pentecostal Christians, meet for community prayer. In this week’s raid, Pentecostal Christians were targeted while they prayed in their community churches. The condition of the jails these Christians are sent is most troubling. Eritrea is known for imprisoning dissidents in metal shipping containers in the heat of its desert climate.

70 prisoners arrested in June are being held in prison in Ashufera. The term “prison” refers to a number of underground tunnels that the prisoners are forced to extend, by digging, whenever more people are brought in, according to the Italian online publication Tempi. Those arrested are all members of the Faith Mission Church of Christ, the last church to have been left open in the city of Keren. The 60-year-old congregation had asked for official registration in 2002, though they never received any response from Eritrea’s government. After the arrest of 70 of its worshipers, the church’s school was also closed down. The arrested have been asked – before a judge – to renounce their faith, more specifically, to “renounce Christ.”

Twenty-one Catholic-run hospitals have been closed down, the last on July 8th of this year. Each of them offered free healthcare to over 170 thousand people a year – it took a month to confiscate and close down every single one of the clinics, most in rural areas.

  • Pray to the Lord that the media will start reporting on Christian persecution by the government and the inhuman conditions in which prisoners are being kept.
  • Pray to the Lord for the government to protect all their citizens and give them religious freedom.
  • Pray for unity between all the Christian churches.
  • Pray that the church will continue to teach and minister to their members hearts and help them to overcome the fear of arrest.
  • Pray that the Lord will sustain the Christians who are in prison for their faith, strengthen their faith and encourage them daily through His Spirit.
  • Pray that Eritrean Christians, in view of the advancement of radical Islam, may have the grace to continue sharing the gospel and that many would come to faith in Jesus.
  • Pray to the Lord that there will be a move to tolerance for Christians as the Somali people are more than are extremely hostile to Christians and specially to converts.
  • Pray believers are bold to share the gospel and that your hand of protection is over them
  • Pray for the secret believers who meet in house churches will be protected.
  • Pray that NGOs will provide clandestine spiritual support to the persecuted Christians.
  • Pray that the Lord will both continue to sustain and grow His Church despite these circumstances.

Many blessings,

Andy, Prayer Call Moderator for Persecution Watch

Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday

From any location on your phone

Time:

9:00 PM EST

8:00 PM CST

7:00 PM MST

6:00 PM PST

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

Eritrea: 150 Christians arrested on account of their faith

150 Christians were arrested because of their faith in Eritrea. The first 70 were arrested in Keren on June 23, 2019.

Almost 2 months later, on August 18, 80 more were arrested in Godayef, and taken to a nearby police station before disappearing.

In an underground tunnel

The 70 prisoners arrested in June are being held in prison in Ashufera. The term “prison” refers to a number of underground tunnels that the prisoners are forced to extend, by digging, whenever more people are brought in, according to the Italian online publication Tempi.

Those arrested are all members of the Faith Mission Church of Christ, the last church to have been left open in the city of Keren. The 60 year old congregation had asked for official registration in 2002, though they never received any response from Eritrea’s government. After the arrest of 70 of its worshipers, the church’s school was also closed down.

“Renounce Christ”

On top of the 150 arrested for their faith, many more have been asked, before a judge, to renounce their faith, more specifically, to “renounce Christ.”

On August 16 2019, 6 Christian government employees were taken to court and asked to give up their faith. After replying that they were not willing, they were set free as they await a verdict.

Twenty-one Catholic-run hospitals have been closed down, the last on July , 2019. Each of them offered free healthcare to over 170 thousand people a yea. It took a month to confiscate and close down every single one of the clinics, most in rural areas.

The government

A law dating back to 1995 says that only the government can provide social assistance, and therefore run healthcare facilities.

But the government appears unable to do so as they continuously postpone their promised democratic reforms.

written by Francesca Merlo  source

UN Decries Lack of Reforms and Widespread Abuse in Eritrea

A U.N. investigator is condemning an Eritrean crackdown on fundamental freedoms and religious practice in a new report, as well as the country’s harsh, indefinite military service and widespread abuse.

Hopes that Eritrea, which has been accused of human-rights abuses, would institute reforms after it signed a historic peace agreement with Ethiopia in 2018 have not materialized.  If anything, a U.N. report on its human rights situation has found widespread human rights violations, including arbitrary arrest, enforced disappearances, sexual violence and torture. read more

Tonight on Persecution Watch: Nations of Brutal Dictatorships and Severe Religious Oppression

Prayer ministry of Voice of the Persecuted

(Voice of the Persecuted) Looking back, our first prayer letter of 2019 we want to praise and thank the Lord for giving Asia BiBi her release from prison and safe conduct into a country where she can be a Christian without fear.

Again, we want to lift-up two persecuted witnesses for the Lord and pray for Leah Sharibu and Alice that this year will be the year where they will be set free.

As we start a new year, I feel it would be prudent to pray for some of the countries with the most:

  • Brutal dictatorships
  • High level of Islamic oppression

North Korea – Population: 25.6 million; Christians: about 300,000

Eritrea                                  5.2 million;               about  2.5 million

China                                    1.4 billion                         97.2 million

  • Pray for the protection of the secret believers.
  • Pray for the secret believer who are sharing the good News.
  • Pray that for the Christians that suffer, being tortured and being kept under inhuman prison conditions.
  • Pray to the Lord that He will exercise His power and bring about a change in government.
  • Pray specifically for Pastor Wang YI.

Yemen         Population: 28.9 million      Christians: a few thousand

Iran                                 82.1 million                         about 800,000

Afghanistan                   36.3 million                        a few thousand

Pakistan                        200.8 million                             3.98 million

Nigeria                          195.9 million                            91.12 million

 

  • Pray Believers from Muslim backgrounds, particularly for those who have been shunned by their families and community upon conversion.
  • Pray to the Lord that the constitution that promises religious freedom will be fully implemented and that the laws banning Christian practices will be abolished.
  • Pray that Christians Internet messages and websites will reach deep in the Muslim communities and encourage Christians.
  • Pray to the Lord that the believers will have courage, wisdom and boldness to reach out to Muslim neighbors.
  • Pray to the Lord that He will appear to many Muslims in their dreams and connect them with believers.
  • Pray to the Lord that believers will love and forgive their persecutors
  • Pray that the Lord will build His church by adding daily to the number of believers.

You are invited to join us on Thursday, January 3 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church.

Many blessings,

Andy, Prayer Call Moderator

Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday 

From any location on your phone

Time: 

9:00 PM EST

8:00 PM CST

7:00 PM MST

6:00 PM PST

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.

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