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Persecution Watch: Praying for Believers in Tunisia
(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Tuesday August 12, 2021 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.
Tunisia: Population: 11.9 million, Christian 23,100 thousand (0.2 %)
Tunisia has a rich Christian history. It was the home of notable church fathers Tertullian and Cyprian as well as the Christian martyrs Perpetua and Felicity. The third Council of Carthage ratified the New Testament canon in Tunisia in A.D. 397. However, there are now few churches or Christians in Tunisia. Since the Arab Spring uprising, which began in Tunisia, the country has grown increasingly democratic; the Tunisian government became the first in North Africa to enact religious-freedom reforms. But even with a rich Christian history and increased religious freedom, the gospel is opposed by many Muslims and has been slow to take root in modern Tunisia. 99 percent of Tunisians are Sunni Muslims. Less than one-half of 1 percent are Christians.
Christian converts from Islam and Christians who share the gospel suffer persecution from their communities, family members and co-workers. Although the government has begun to implement certain religious-freedom reforms, change will take time in a Tunisian culture that has long been dominated by Islam. Churches function openly, and Christian converts from Islam are free to worship in them, but open evangelism remains illegal. And while it is illegal for families to persecute their family members who leave Islam, it still happens, and local governments still harass Christians. In rural areas, more severe persecution continues, as Muslim families feel shamed by family members who leave Islam.
Tunisia rose in the rankings this year due to a reported increase in violence against Christians and property owned by Christians. A greater number of Christian buildings, houses and shops owned by Christians were attacked. Additionally, there was an increase in pressure in church life. The situation for Tunisian Christians continues to vary by area, and in some regions anti-Christian sentiment against Christians and churches is significant. Also, pressure on Christians—particularly Christian converts—continues to be strong across all aspects of life.
Tunisia’s president has suspended parliament and dismissed Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi in a move condemned as an attack on democracy by his rivals, but which others greeted with celebrations on the streets.
President Kais Saied said on Sunday he would assume executive authority with the assistance of a new prime minister after violent protests broke out in several Tunisian cities over the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economy.
Bibles have been available in the past, but the last Christian bookstore in the country has closed and Bibles are now scarce. It is possible to distribute small numbers of Bibles and ship Bibles with official permission.
In cooperation with local partners and churches, NGOs support the church in Tunisia in a variety of ways. Through indigenous partners, OD/VOM provide training, Christian literature distribution, socio-economic development, and advocacy training to stand up for the rights of Tunisian Christians. They also respond to persecution and provides training and resources for front-line workers.
- Pray for the president in Kais Saied who has only been in power for a year and that he will bring new freedoms for Christians.
- Pray for President Kais Saied was invoking emergency powers to dismiss him, freeze parliament and claim executive authority Pray for a peaceful resolution of this conflict.
- Pray for an underground seminary in Tunisia to train pastors.
- Pray for the protection of Tunisian believers.
- Pray for unity and collaboration among Tunisian churches.
- Pray for the house churches throughout Tunisia to be invisible to radical Muslims.
- Pray for Christians who are geographically isolated from other Christians. There are many lonely believers in Tunisia. Pray for them to find other believers around them to connect with and pray for strong and fruitful fellowships.
- Please pray that the light, peace, and love of Christ would overcome a spirit of intimidation and fear that some Tunisian believers are feeling. Pray that Tunisian Christians continue to pray in the Spirit to keep their minds free from fear, intimidation, and confusion.
- Pray for female believers in Tunisia struggling with trauma. Pray for God to bless them. Pray they will find security and help in Christ.
- Pray that the Lord will guide and protect His believers when they reach out to give the Good News.
- Pray for the NGO front line workers that the Lord will guide and protect them.
- Pray that Christians will love and forgive their persecutors.
- Pray that the Lord will protect and build His church in Turkey.
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
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What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.
Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.
“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.
On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.
Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone.
We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you are new to the call and cannot find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!
God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.
Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted, Nadia 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.
“Terror,Blood and Death of Christians” When Will It Stop?
My heart is breaking. We have spent countless hours on video conference calls, and phone conversations with our brethren in Nigeria and Pakistan. Two countries, our Lord has laid on our hearts to intervene and bring hope. We have listened to heartbreaking story after story of the desperation, the untold death and suffering. We comfort those who have fled, forced to leave loved ones behind. The sorrow and helplessness in their voices digs at our very soul. But we do this with great love and joy as our Lord commanded us, but at times we shed uncontrollable tears. And today is one of those times.
As I look at videos and pictures of the achievements and growth of a family that we are aiding, I hear sadness in the father’s voice. He is alone, without his family, not by choice but a situation forced on him through extreme persecution.
A short while later I reviewed videos of another sort—the death and destruction carried out by evil men and my soul cries out like theirs does. One on the frontlines was literally broken for a time. The sights of brutal slayings, wails of brokenhearted and lives forever turned upside down, proving too much for his mind and soul to process—literally unable to speak of it. He even began questioning his own faith. After much prayer and comfort from God, he is healing with a renewed spirit and sense of commitment.
We could share all the details that would break your heart in two, but for fear for our brothers and sisters safety, the risk is too great. But know this, their suffering is real, their tears are real, what they are witnessing is real. Traumatized until they reach the Kingdom of Heaven and all sorrow is wiped from their eyes.
The shock and pain the children are enduring is impossible for us to recognize in the West. Our precious brethren in Nigeria and Pakistan wonder, “Do our brethren in the West even know, do they care?” They wonder what would it be like to live in a country where you can walk the streets without fear. Never needing to look over your shoulder, or fearing what awaits around the next corner. To live in a nation not bombarded by targeted attacks month after month, week after week. No need to flee their home to find safe places, as they pass the dead careful to avoid bodies strewn along the path. Why can’t it be this way in their own country, their generational homeland, they don’t want to leave. “We just want to live in Peace.”
I want to share their story, but must do so with discernment.
Recently, we learned of 2 men who were captured by the Boko Haram. They were given the options, convert or die. In fear, one converted, but they killed him anyway stating, “We will send you to Allah without sin.” The other refused to denounce Christ. As they butchered him, he began preaching the Gospel. He begged them not to kill him, not because he was afraid, but because in his words, “You will be judged for this, please don’t do it.” He had that much forgiveness and love for his attackers.
One dear soul tells of a vision that keeps him going, a vision from God of the Kingdom of Heaven. Those of you that share the gifts of prayer and hope, letters, and donations mean so much to those persecuted. One day soon they will be able to tell their stories. But as for now I can only ask that God would allow me to take their pain from them, if only for a moment to allow them comfort.
What if each one of us did this every day, or even once a week? Asking God to give us for a time, the pain of one who suffers allowing them to heal and feel peace. Could you handle it? Could you handle the shock, the pain, the sorrow, the helplessness and hopelessness that they feel every day even for a moment? What if we took 5 minutes even 10, every day to pray and intercede (to act or interpose on behalf of someone in difficulty or trouble, as by pleading or petition) in this manner? I believe the healing that would go forth would amaze.
We don’t normally share video’s that portray horrific images, but I turned to this video by accident which normally I will shut off rather than watch. I already hear firsthand these stories vividly in the lives of our brethren, but this time it was as if God said No, you will watch and then share it. Right now, if God is speaking to your heart to intercede for them—watch this video from Nigeria. It’s 2 years old and at present it is much more volatile. Please use discretion, the video is very graphic and not for the faint of heart. Afterwards, spend time with God asking “What can I do?” Let us know how God is using or moving you for care for these dear ones.
C. Refsland, VOP Advocate/News Analyst
WARNING! VERY GRAPHIC VIDEO BY CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIAN AMERICANS
Pray for Tunisia
Many consider the city of Kairouan, in the center of Tunisia, the 4th most holy city in Islam. It was once the center of Islamic teaching in North Africa and is home to the oldest minaret in the world (730AD). Father, just as the apostle Paul was once passionate for the traditions of his fathers, transform the worldview of many zealous Muslims in Kairouan through an encounter with Jesus.
I you would like to find out more about Christianity in Tunisia, read testimonies of Tunisian Christians, and learn how to help and pray for them, click here.