VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

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Persecution Watch: Praying for Believers in India

1/21/2021 (Voice of the Persecuted) India Population: 1.4 billion, Christians: 66.2 million

In August 2017, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) ranked India’s persecution severity at “Tier 2” along with Iraq and Afghanistan. Over the past seven years, India has risen from No. 31 to No. 10 on Open Doors’ World Watch List, ranking just behind Iran in persecution severity. In April, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom requested that the U.S. State Department name India as a “country of particular concern” because of Christian persecution -attacks.

Some government leaders now refer to India as HINDUSTAN, the land of the Hindus. They actively try to purify Hindustan by making the whole nation Hindu, no room for Christians.

Hate crimes against Christians in India, including instances of murder, rape, and arson, have risen by 40 per cent in the first half of 2020, according to a new report. The report, by campaigning group, Persecution Relief, noted that the “disconcerting” rise has taken place in spite of a three-month national lockdown.

Several charities identify state cooperation with extremists as a key problem. Since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a Hindu nationalist party, won the general election in 2014, Christian commentators have claimed the government, particularly at a local level, has been unwilling to clamp down on extremist Hindus.  According to Persecution Relief, between January 2016 and June 2020, there have been 2,067 crimes inspired by religious intolerance against Christians in India.

And as increasing numbers of Dalits become Christians, more states in India are reacting by passing anti-conversion laws, which, believes Paul Robinson, ‘will pave the way for further violence.’

The latest state to legislate against freedom of faith is Uttarakhand. Christians there who share their faith could face a jail sentence of up to five years. The new law requires clergy leading a person to Christ to give one month’s notice, which will trigger a police investigation into the proposed conversion. And individuals wanting to change their religion must first get permission from the state government. Similar anti-conversion laws are in force in Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Jharkhand, and are pending elsewhere. Significantly, there have also been moves to impose anti-conversion legislation that would be binding across the whole of India.

The law legislates against ‘forced conversion’. On the face of it, this may sound reasonable. But the law is wide open to abuse. Any warning of judgement could be considered a threat, and the promise of heaven as an inducement. And Christian charitable works could be portrayed as a form of bribery.

Hindu radicals have made death threats against Christians in Uttarakhand and have ordered them to close their churches. Acts of intimidation are reported on an almost daily basis.

 Prayer Points

  • Pray that the Lord will touch president Narenda Modi and his government officials and convict them of their anti-Christian actions and give religious freedom.

 

  • Pray to the Lord that He will protect His believers from the many active as well as proposed ant conversion laws. That the laws will prove to be ineffective to spread the good news

 

  • Pray that Christians will not be excluded from COVID-19 relieve. The pandemic is used as a new weapon for persecutors. Many Christians are often deliberately overlooked when official COVID-19 food and aid are distributed. This has left many desperate for food, particularly since many Christians are from the Dalit caste and thus very poor and have lost their sources of income this year.

 

  • Pray that the Lord will protect Open Doors and the many other NGOs who works through local church partners to strengthen the Indian church through providing emergency aid.

 

  • Pray for the Rapid Response teams that are often first on the scene after violent attacks, persecution survival training, Bibles, livelihood and community development programs, advocacy support and legal training trauma counseling.

 

  • Pray that the Lord will make seeing eyes blind when pastors and missionaries are faced with India’s immigration officers.

 

  • Pray for protection for our brothers and sisters, especially those who are new Christians from Hindu background, and those who live in rural areas and are particularly isolated. Pray God will help their families and communities to accept their new faith.
  • Pray for easy access to the internet and that both believers and Hindus will see messages that encourage and or convict them.

 

  • Praise God that many are coming to faith in India through miraculous healings and the courageous witness of India’s Christians. Pray this will continue, and many more will come to know Jesus.

Pray the Lord will enable Christians to forgive their persecutors.

Pray against the forces of darkness and that in spite of their efforts the church will continue to expand rapidly.

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

  • Leah Sharibu and Alice, prisoners of Boko Haram, pray that they will be set free.
  • Pray pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison.
  • Pray for Anita, a Christian convert persecuted for her faith in Iran.

You are invited to join us on Thursday, January 21 in a prayer call for the persecuted church.

Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

Time:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: 712 775-7035

Access Code: 281207#

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

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

What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God.

The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted and our missions became one. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch is an important part of our own.

With the passing of Blaine into glory on December 26, 2019, Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with our dedicated prayer warrior team.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the call to share the trials they’re facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer.

Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone. We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you.

If you’re new to the call and can’t find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

NOTE: Persecution Watch has a new email address for the prayer team and those who would like to receive urgent prayer requests, weekly call prayer points and notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Please fill out the form below to be included in our new distribution list to receive this important information. 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.

Hindu Nationalists Incite Animists to Attack Christians in India

Church structure demolished in Chichima village, Rayagada District, Odisha State on Dec. 13, 2020. (Morning Star News)

(Morning Star News) – Six Christian families were worshipping in a wood-and-hay structure in eastern India last month when an influential man of wealth wielding an axe led others in and, in coarse language, asked why they had abandoned their tribal religion.

Elder Burjo Tadinji of the church in Odisha state’s Chichima village, answered, “We have known the true living God; we will not leave him. We used to indulge in fights and speak lies, but we do not do all that now. We like this faith, and that is why we follow it.”

Outraged, the leader of the mob of 20-25 men from three different villages began swinging the axe on the church structure, according to pastor Bibudhan Pradhan, who normally leads the small congregation of 15 but was absent that day (Dec. 13).

“They manhandled the Christians, damaged [an adjacent] Christian home, and broke the thatched structure with the axe,” Pastor Pradhan, 48, told Morning Star News. “They threatened to chase them out of their homes and the village if they reported the matter to the police.”

The mob joined in, and soon the church structure was reduced to pieces, with Tadinji’s adjoining home also damaged. They tore the clothes of one Christian and with a stone broke the mobile phone of another Christian recording the attack, Pastor Pradhan said.

The mob leader, whose name is withheld to protect area Christians, then warned them not to report the attack to police, church elder Tadinji said.

“If the police come, we will not let you live in the village and we will chase you away,” he said, according to Tadinji.

The Christians present were all converts from animistic tribal religion. The animist assailants were trained and incited by Hindu nationalists, sources said.

Pastor Pradhan established the church in Chichima, a remote mountain village in Rayagada District, five years ago. The land on which the structure was built belongs to Tadinji.

“Though I insisted that we file a complaint, the villagers fear the repercussions and refuse to risk losing their birth-village,” Pastor Pradhan said.

Tadinji said the Christians delivered a written complaint of the assault to the village head.

“He said, ‘I will deal will this’ but did nothing,” Tainji said. “He too fears the influential man.”

‘Hinduization’ of Tribals

Members of the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) are visiting area villages and appointing leaders, sources said.

RSS members usually identify a tribal villager with leadership qualities and a strong physique, train him in influential speaking, and task him with propagating the idea that the tribal people are Hindus even if they practice the animistic rituals of their ancestors. In every village in Rayagada District, a source who requested anonymity said, Hindu nationalists have placed an image of the Hindu deity Shiva.

Pastor Pradhan said all the villagers are told to sacrifice a chicken to Shiva every year.

“It is in the tribal culture to offer a sacrifice of a chicken while buying land, planting seed, harvesting the land, and other occasions,” he told Morning Star News. “When someone in their homes has fever or illness, they sacrifice a chicken to please the god of nature. They seldomly visit hospitals – only in emergencies. They often visit the witch doctor, who again demands them to perform sacrifice.”

Sukanta Naik, a volunteer for the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) who has travelled to Odisha for 40 years, said Hindu nationalist groups have become very active in indoctrinating tribal people. Hindu nationalists increasingly try to drive a wedge between tribal peoples and Christians, persuading villagers that those who have left their beliefs and other rituals have betrayed their ancestors, gods, and the country of India.

The Hindu nationalists then obtain tribal support for political candidates and policies and introduce Hindu beliefs and practices into animist religious systems, analysts say.

Ostracized

Villagers in Chichima stopped associating with Christians when tribal people there first converted about five years ago, Pastor Pradhan said.

“Fear has gripped their minds, and they need much prayer,” he said, unsure when church services might resume.

Villagers have warned the pastor not to enter the village, saying they will damage his motorbike, he said, adding that police stand with the Hindus and do not protect the Christians.

Odisha (formerly Orissa) state, where Christians make up less than 2.8 percent of the total population, saw anti-Christian violence in 2008 in which more than 120 people lost their lives, at least 50,000 people were internally displaced and more than 6,000 Christian homes were destroyed and damaged.

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 Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2021 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, as it was in 2020. The country was 31st in 2013, but its position worsened each year after Modi came to power.

Chhattisgarh Attack

Pastor Pradhan, who has also ministered to Christians in Kondagaon District, Chhattisgarh state, said that Christians in the area are still living in fear after a mob of more than 3,000 agitators on Sept. 22 damaged 10 homes belonging to seven Christians in Kakadbeda.

The next morning, they proceeded to Singanpur village, damaging homes of three Christians, and Tiliyabeda village, damaging the homes of two Christians, he said. They assaulted Christians and sent them fleeing for their lives.

“They are praying in their own homes,” Pastor Pradhan said. “I went to visit them to start regular worship service, but they refused. Only after they feel safe to start a church service, they will inform me. So they have asked me not to visit them until then.”

Worship in a church in Perigaon village, Rayagada District, Odisha state has also ceased. Tribal animists there have on three occasions blocked Pastor Pradhan and his wife from entering by placing a huge log on the road, he said. On Dec. 1, 2018, the animists burned the church building where he had led services.

Special Report-Nuns arrested by Chinese Communist Party as Beijing turns up heat on Church in Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Extracts from The Guardian article: Read the full report here. In May, two Chinese nuns who work at the mission were arrested by mainland authorities during a visit home to Hebei province, according to three Catholic clerics with knowledge of the matter. The nuns, in their 40s, were detained for three weeks before being released into house arrest without being charged. They are forbidden to leave the mainland, according to one of the clerics. Meanwhile, Western diplomats say, Chinese security agents have stepped up surveillance of the mission in recent months.”

Fearless, Cardinal Zen calls for courage.

“We are at the bottom of the pit – there is no freedom of expression anymore,” the former Bishop of Hong Kong, Cardinal Joseph Zen, told Reuters in a written reply to questions. “All these things are normal in mainland China. We are becoming like any other city in China.”

With the exception of 88-year-old Cardinal Zen, all Church leaders, local priests and parishioners interviewed for this article declined to be named. “For any word you say,” Zen told Reuters, the authorities “can say you’re offending the National Security Law.”

 

Long Ostracized Christian Withstands New Level of Persecution in India

Followers of traditional tribal religion attack Sattar Singh Markam, a Christian resident of Bargaon, Gariaband District, Chhattisgarh state, India. (Morning Star News)

(Morning Star News) – Representatives of eight village councils in central India first summoned a new Christian to give him an ultimatum in October.

They interrupted a church service on Oct. 18 asking for Sattar Singh Markam.

“I was conducting the church service when some men came to call Markam and asked him to present himself before the council,” pastor Chitrasen Sahu told Morning Star News. “He went to see them after the church service was over.”

At the joint meeting in Bargaon, in Chhattisgarh state’s Gariaband District, they told Markam to renounce Christ or “leave with your Christian faith and never come back,” Pastor Sahu said.

Markham, who was suffering three epileptic seizures a day before he put his faith in Christ 12 years ago, told them the Lord had healed him and given him life and that he would never turn away from his Christian faith.

A week later, on Oct. 25, a tribal mob of about 300 people incited by radical Hindus attacked his house after his church, which meets there, had finished worship. Two women remained inside, praying, when the mob arrived and began manhandling and arguing with them while Markam was working in his field. The mob also damaged his house.

When he returned, the women left, and the mob began arguing with him.

As they told him to leave Christianity or face the consequences, Markam told them how he was miraculously healed through Christ. They scoffed at him and began slapping and pushing him, he said. Markam fell to the ground, and the mob beat and kicked him.

“They kept asking me, ‘Now tell us, will you leave your Christian faith and come back to your ancestral faith?’” he told Morning Star News. “I replied, ‘If I had not found Christ, I wouldn’t be alive today; I will not leave Christ at any cost.”

‘Attack His Livelihood’

The mob left after beating him, Markam said.

“While they went,” he told Morning Star News, “they told each other, ‘He will not agree like this – let us attack his livelihood, his fields. When we harvest his crops, he won’t be able to sustain his family and survive in the village without food and money. He will automatically leave the village and flee.’ I am so shaken by what I overheard.”

The next day he filed a complaint with the Sobha police station. Officers registered a First Information Report under Indian Penal Code sections for obscene acts, voluntarily causing hurt, criminal intimidation, destruction, damage or defilement of a place of worship and criminal acts done with common intention.

Police have made no arrests, Pastor Sahu said.

Markam and his family have faced opposition for their faith since they became Christians. At a large meeting in a nearby village 11 years ago, they pressured him to leave Christ, deciding to socially boycott him and his family when he refused. He could not speak with, buy from or sell to anyone in the village.

Nor would anyone work for him.

“For 11 years, Markam has cultivated his land by himself with no help,” said Pastor Sahu. “People are afraid to work even as hired hands on his field because of the warnings. He has suffered much for Christ’s sake, but it has not deterred him from his faith.”

Fomenting Hatred

Arun Pannalal, president of the Chhattisgarh Christian Forum, said systematic, coordinated attacks on area tribal Christians began in the last six months.

“Outsiders and nontribal people are the ones instigating these attacks,” he said. “There is absolute political silence on them, and the inaction of the police is the only answer we get. The tribal belt in Bastar region [including Gariaband District] is simmering, and a large-scale ethnic violence can erupt at any moment.”

In recent years Hindu nationalist groups have targeted tribal people through propaganda and social programs, leading many to believe that they were originally Hindus. Tribal Christians have maintained their tribal identity and their Christian faith, infuriating Hindu nationalists.

“Seven districts of south Chhattisgarh known as the Bastar area are under the grip of organized terrorism by Hindu fundamentalists groups,” Pannalal told Morning Star News. “Their agenda is to overall create terror, thus establishing their supremacy, fomenting hatred, which in turn precipitates the Hindutva [Hindu nationalist] votes [out of hard-core religious bigotry].”

The Christian community, being neither militant nor uniform and having no representation in the state government, is a soft target, he said.

Markam and his household, including his parents, wife and five children, remain the only Christian family in Bargaon village, where tribal people make up 88.7 percent of the population, according to 2011 Census data.

On Nov. 10 Markam and local Christian leaders submitted a memorandum to the Gariaband District collector pleading for action against the attackers.

The Chhattisgarh Christian Forum has requested the district administration to hold meetings between Christians and their adversaries in disturbed areas, Pannalal said.

“The administration should take steps of preventive detention and assure that law and order situation does not go out of hand,” he added.

The forum also has approached several ministers in the Congress Party-led state government seeking their intervention.

India ranked 10th on the Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. The country was 31st in 2013, but its position has been worse each year since Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in 2014.

Persecution Watch: Pastor Bob Fu and family finally able to come out of forced exile

Youtube screen shot

12/15/2020 (Voice of the Persecuted) Dear Prayer Warriors, after a month and a half, “by the grace of the Lord and with lots of prayers”, Bob Fu, a Chinese American pastor, was finally able to return back to his home in Texas!

And God is able to make all grace abound unto you; that ye, having always all sufficiency in everything, may abound unto every good work” 2 Corinthians 9:8″

Pastor Bob Fu: 

Pastor Fu has received death threats, his family have been forced to leave their home for a period of time and they have been under armed protection.

… “As a former house church pastor, a prisoner for Christ and an advocate for religious freedom for more than two in the international arena, it is really very surreal, and kind of crazy to think that you have to be exiled from your own home in West Texas, in the supposedly land of the free, because of all these slanderous accusations and threats that law-enforcement deemed substantive.”

“By the grace of the Lord and with lots of prayers and support, however, we were able to return home this weekend for the first time in 1-1/2 months.”

(Midland, TX— Dec, 09, 2020)

During a Skype interview with Andrew Boyd of Release International on December 06, Pastor Bob Fu of ChinaAid recounted his 1-1/2 month forced exile from his home due to threats linked to Guo Wengei, a Chinese billionaire residing in New York, and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Watch full interview below.

Prayers Request from Bob Fu

Pray for us… that we can have a full alignment with the biblical truth that this is not something too strange or surprising we have to go through.

It’s a spiritual battle. Unless we stop the work that God has called us to do, as the mob has demanded.

Pray for us to be prepared and ready to face tribulations.

As our mission comes from the Lord, our faith can only be strengthened by God’s grace… by God’s word… by God’s Holy Spirit.

Pray for our staff as well. They too were experiencing a stressful time. Protesters did show up at our office. Please also pray for ChinaAid’s board members, that they will make wise decisions as to how we may best handle security concerns, and that the direction of ministry work will not adversely be impacted.

We have three children. One son, 23-years-old, our oldest daughter, 21-years-old attends college, and our 15-years-old daughter in high school.

Please pray that the Lord will restore them; strengthen them; increase their faith in the middle of these terrorizing months so they learn that this experience will not terrify us. 

What has happened is the price can be proudly paid for their faith and for freedom.

Pray that God uses this to nurture and strengthen their hearts. 

the CCP want confrontations and violence “They want to silence me and China Aid’s voice for freedom.” But, as Pastor Fu stated and continues to believe, “By the grace of the Lord and with lots of prayers,” their desires will not succeed.

Dear Brothers and sisters we also need to pray for ourselves!

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith Jehovah.” Isaiah 55:8

In these times, we are being coaxed to believe deceptions. Pray that the Lord will show us the truth in all matters. Pray that the Lord will lead us to understand things as they really are, not the way we perceive them to be.

We will also continue to pray for:

  • Leah Sharibu and Alice that they will be set free from Boko Haram captivity

On Jul 08, 2020 · Leah Sharibu was kidnapped along with 109 other students on February 19, 2018 when Boko Haram attacked a boarding school in the city of Dapchi, Maiduguri Diocese, in north-eastern Nigeria. A month later, some of the girls died in captivity and all the others were released, except Leah.

  • Pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison, for his family, the children, and the church in China

On December 28 the police raided the Early Rain Church and arrested Pastor Wang Yi, his wife Jiang Rong, and ten elders of the well-known 750-member church for holding “illegal” services. Some 100 believers were detained, questioned, and later released. Pastor Wang’s wife was also released. Pastor Wang remained in detention.

  • For Anita, an Iranian Christian, persecuted by the Islamic regime.
  • 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.

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani converted to Christianity at the age of 19 and leads a 400-member house church in Rasht, Iran. Since 2006, Iranian authorities have consistently harassed and detained Pastor Nadarkhani and his family. In 2010, the authorities sentenced him to death for apostasy before acquitting him in 2012. Pastor Nadarkhani was tried again in 2017 on false charges of “acting against national security” and promoting “Zionist Christianity,” for which he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. By July 2018, plainclothes agents raided Pastor Nadarkhani’s home to execute the sentence, beating and apprehending him and using a taser gun on one of his sons. He is now incarcerated at the notorious Evin prison near Tehran.

  • For the harvest

“2 And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Luke 10:2

Please join us, tonight, as we pray for the Persecuted Church and the global harvest of souls.

In the love of Christ,

Nadia & Merlaine, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderators

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

Time:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: 712 775-7035

Access Code: 281207#

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

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

What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God.

The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted and our missions became one. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch is an important part of our own.

With the passing of Blaine into glory on December 26, 2019, Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with our dedicated prayer warrior team.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the call to share the trials they’re facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer.

Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone. We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you.

If you’re new to the call and can’t find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

NOTE: Persecution Watch has a new email address for the prayer team and those who would like to receive urgent prayer requests, weekly call prayer points and notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Please fill out the form below to be included in our new distribution list to receive this important information. 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.

Persecution Watch: Iranian Christians released from Prison / Suicide spikes in Japan

Evin Prison, Iran

12/12/2020 (Voice of the Persecuted) “15 Through Him then, let’s continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips praising His name. 16 And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:15-16

Two Iranian Christians acquitted after imprisonment

Iran (MNN) — Two Iranian Christians have seen their prison sentences (a combined 10 years) overturned in the courts. Both were arrested during a raid of a house church in Tehran in 2018. Authorities charged them with “acting against national security.”

Iran has recently been condemned by the United Nations for human rights violations, a report the country has rejected. This mostly related to allegations of abuse during the November protests last year.

Daniel Hoffman of Middle East Concern says it’s hard to know why these two sentences were overturned, while many other Iranian Christians continue to languish in prison. “It’s always difficult to know exactly why certain governments do certain things. Of course, Iran has been called out over human rights abuses for quite a long time now. So it’s difficult to know what exactly was the reason why this happened. But we know from the past that the Iranian government is concerned about its image in the international community.”

Christians still in prison — The two Christians stated they loved their country and were simply gathering for a legal house church meeting. Still many Christians using the same arguments in court have not seen their sentences overturned.

Hoffman says the release brings welcome news, but we must continue to pray for Iranian Christians still in prison. “Sometimes they are mistreated by either their captors or by other prisoners. And of course, there is still very much the issue of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well, which has spread through some of the prisons in Iran. So prayer for their physical well-being and protection is definitely appreciated. And of course, we can pray for justice to be done in their situation and for them to be released and reunited with their loved ones.”

Pray these prisoners will know they are not forgotten, and that Jesus will comfort them.

And rejoice over these two prisoners that have been released. Pray they would continue bearing witness to the love and peace of Jesus.

Dear Prayer Warriors, let us praise the Lord!

” 1 Praise the Lord!
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His mercy is everlasting.

2 Who can speak of the mighty deeds of the Lord,
Or can proclaim all His praise?” Psalm 106:1-2

“Let love of the brothers and sisters continue.” Hebrews 13:1

Suicide killing more people in Japan than COVID-19

(MNN) — While other countries battle rising COVID-19 cases, Japan is seeing a different kind of spike – suicides.

More people in Japan have died by suicide in 2020 than from COVID-19. In fact, their suicide numbers in October alone outnumbered the nation’s total COVID-19 deaths in the first 11 months of the year.

One of the reasons for the rise in suicides is because Japan has a very group-oriented culture. Belonging to a group – whether it’s a family, a workplace, or some kind of community – and functioning within that group is incredibly important.

Pandemic shutdowns and solitary quarantines can cut individuals off from their group identity. As a result, many Japanese people are dealing with severe depression and anxiety.

Takeshi Takazawa with Asian Access says even online tools like social media and Zoom aren’t the same. “I’m talking with you now even though we’re miles apart, but this is a little bit different from face-to-face group talking [and] processing, and that is challenging for us and especially younger people who need heavy connection.”

Many single young people in Japan travel to Tokyo to work. Throughout the year, they make frequent visits to their families back home, but the pandemic has changed that too.

Takazawa says, “They’re told by their homeland family, ‘Please don’t come back. Don’t bring the pandemic. It’ll be bad. Grandma and Grandpa need to be protected so don’t come back.’”

It’s also hard for college students. “Many of the freshmen, they never went to campus. They never met anybody even though they entered school. Then all they see is a screen… They join a club or team but they practice separately.”

What Japan needs is hope – the kind found in Jesus. According to The Joshua Project, 97 percent of the Japanese population is unreached with the Gospel.

Pray for the people of Japan to find their hope and belonging in Christ alone.

We will also continue to pray for:
· Leah Sharibu and Alice that they will be set free from Boko Haram captivity

On Jul 08, 2020 · Leah Sharibu was kidnapped along with 109 other students on February 19, 2018 when Boko Haram attacked a boarding school in the city of Dapchi, Maiduguri Diocese, in north-eastern Nigeria. A month later, some of the girls died in captivity and all the others were released, except Leah.

· Pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison, for his family, the children, and the church in China

On December 28 the police raided the Early Rain Church and arrested Pastor Wang Yi, his wife Jiang Rong, and ten elders of the well-known 750-member church for holding “illegal” services. Some 100 believers were detained, questioned, and later released. Pastor Wang’s wife was also released. Pastor Wang remained in detention.

· For Anita, an Iranian Christian, persecuted by the Islamic regime.
· 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.

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani converted to Christianity at the age of 19 and leads a 400-member house church in Rasht, Iran. Since 2006, Iranian authorities have consistently harassed and detained Pastor Nadarkhani and his family. In 2010, the authorities sentenced him to death for apostasy before acquitting him in 2012. Pastor Nadarkhani was tried again in 2017 on false charges of “acting against national security” and promoting “Zionist Christianity,” for which he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. By July 2018, plainclothes agents raided Pastor Nadarkhani’s home to execute the sentence, beating and apprehending him and using a taser gun on one of his sons. He is now incarcerated at the notorious Evin prison near Tehran.

· For the harvest

“2 And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

Luke 10:2

In the love of Christ,

Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

Time:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: 712 775-7035

Access Code: 281207#

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

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

What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God.

The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted and our missions became one. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch is an important part of our own.

With the passing of Blaine into glory on December 26, 2019, Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with our dedicated prayer warrior team.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the call to share the trials they’re facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer.

Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone. We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you.

If you’re new to the call and can’t find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

NOTE: Persecution Watch has a new email address for the prayer team and those who would like to receive urgent prayer requests, weekly call prayer points and notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Please fill out the form below to be included in our new distribution list to receive this important information. 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.

Protestant Churches Continue to Be Destroyed Across China

(Bitter Winter) by Zhou XiaoluOn October 8, over 40 officials from the Public Security Bureau and the Caotang town government in Xi’an, the capital of the northwestern province of Shaanxi, destroyed a Three-Self church after expelling congregation members attempting to stop the demolition. One believer, in his 70s, was carried away because he had fainted seeing that the venue was about to be destroyed. The church was razed to the ground within two hours, with all its effects buried in ruins. Congregation members cry as their church is being demolished.

 

“The government demanded to demolish the church supposedly because of engineering works needed to fix the erosion of a nearby river,” a congregation member said. “But the distance between the church and the river is quite long. Officials never discussed with us the plans for the demolition; they simply arranged personnel to do it. Such actions are too brutal, totally unreasonable.”

On September 16, over 100 police officers and Maanshan city government officials in the eastern province of Anhui demolished a Three-Self church without informing its over 200 congregation members. Hired workers cut off the water and electricity supply to the church and forcibly carried away an elderly couple in charge of the church’s upkeep. The two believers were taken to a local hotel, where they were guarded by seven designated personnel.

“Officials told us that the church would be relocated but never mentioned anything about demolishing it,” a congregation member said helplessly. “Church account books and electric devices were all buried in the ruins.”

A Three-Self venue in Pingyu county administered by Zhumadian city in the central province of Henan was demolished in August after staying closed for two years ago. According to a county resident, the official reason for the demolition was that the land was needed to build water conservancy facilities. But no other buildings, except for the church, were demolished.

Congregation members put up a tent near the church ruins, waiting to settle the forced demolition issue with local officials.

In July, the Yutai county government in Jining, a prefecture-level city in the eastern province of Shandong, demolished a Three-Self church venue attended by believers from several villages. Officials claimed that the church was too close to the village committee building and that “believing in Jesus meant going against the Communist Party.”

In February, the Xinglou town government in Pizhou, a county-level city in the eastern coastal province of Jiangsu, demolished a Seventh-day Adventist house church venue after months of attacks against it. The police arrested the church director and some congregation members in October last year “for holding illegal gatherings” and seized the building and all valuables inside.

“It felt more heartbreaking than having my home destroyed,” a church member recalled, still haunted by the traumatic experience of seeing the venue demolished.

Two more house church venues in Pizhou were demolished for refusing to join the official Three-Self Church.

 

 

Persecution Watch: Prayers Answered—Pakistani Girl has been rescued!

12/8/2020 (Voice of the Persecuted) Dear Prayer Warriors, last Tuesday, we prayed to the Lord to rescue Farah Shaheen , a 12 year old girl who was kidnapped, forcefully converted to Islam and married to a 45-year-old Muslim kidnapper, Khizar Hayat, in June 2020.

Authorities had told her father to be happy for her conversion. See report

Today we learn she has been rescued!

Police in Pakistan Find Christian Girl Chained in Kidnapper’s Home

We thank and praise the Lord our Father, for unswerving our prayers and the prayers of many. Glory to the King of all Kings!

“1 Praise the Lord.

Praise the name of the Lord;
praise him, you servants of the Lord,

you who minister in the house of the Lord,
in the courts of the house of our God.

Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good;
sing praise to his name, for that is pleasant.

For the Lord has chosen Jacob to be his own,
Israel to be his treasured possession.

I know that the Lord is great,
that our Lord is greater than all gods.

Psalm 135:1-5

“13 Your name, Lord, endures forever,

your renown, Lord, through all generations.

14 For the Lord will vindicate his people

and have compassion on his servants.”

Psalm 135:13-14

We welcome you to come and join us to pray for the persecuted Church and the harvest on the Prayer Conference Call, tonight!

We will also continue to pray for:
· Leah Sharibu and Alice that they will be set free from Boko Haram captivity

On Jul 08, 2020 · Leah Sharibu was kidnapped along with 109 other students on February 19, 2018 when Boko Haram attacked a boarding school in the city of Dapchi, Maiduguri Diocese, in north-eastern Nigeria. A month later, some of the girls died in captivity and all the others were released, except Leah.

 

· Pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison, for his family, the children, and the church in China

On December 28 the police raided the Early Rain Church and arrested Pastor Wang Yi, his wife Jiang Rong, and ten elders of the well-known 750-member church for holding “illegal” services. Some 100 believers were detained, questioned, and later released. Pastor Wang’s wife was also released. Pastor Wang remained in detention.

 

· For Anita, an Iranian Christian, persecuted by the Islamic regime.

 

· 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.

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani converted to Christianity at the age of 19 and leads a 400-member house church in Rasht, Iran. Since 2006, Iranian authorities have consistently harassed and detained Pastor Nadarkhani and his family. In 2010, the authorities sentenced him to death for apostasy before acquitting him in 2012. Pastor Nadarkhani was tried again in 2017 on false charges of “acting against national security” and promoting “Zionist Christianity,” for which he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. By July 2018, plainclothes agents raided Pastor Nadarkhani’s home to execute the sentence, beating and apprehending him and using a taser gun on one of his sons. He is now incarcerated at the notorious Evin prison near Tehran.

 

· For the harvest

“2 And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

Luke 10:2

In the love of Christ,

Nadia and Merlaine, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderators

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

Time:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: 712 775-7035

Access Code: 281207#

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

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

What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God.

The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted and our missions became one. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch is an important part of our own.

With the passing of Blaine into glory on December 26, 2019, Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with our dedicated prayer warrior team.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the call to share the trials they’re facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer.

Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone. We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you.

If you’re new to the call and can’t find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

NOTE: Persecution Watch has a new email address for the prayer team and those who would like to receive urgent prayer requests, weekly call prayer points and notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Please fill out the form below to be included in our new distribution list to receive this important information. 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.

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