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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.

Tonight on the Persecution Watch Prayer Conference Call (Dec. 12, 2019)

(Voice of the Persecuted) Dear intercessors, you are invited to join us tonight, Thursday December 26 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church. Looking back on 2019, I believe it would be good to lift up the 7 nations who in our, perhaps my, perception caused much prayer for the persecuted Believers.

In alphabetical order:

Afghanistan

Population: 36 million, Christians in the thousands

A country where Christianity is not permitted to exist. An Islamic state by constitution, which means all government and religious officials are hostile to other religions as Christianity is.

Christian converts from Islam face strong pressure from family, friends and neighbors and can even be attacked.

  • Pray for these believers to have courage and protection.

The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan does not allow conversion from Islam.

  • Please pray for a softening of the country’s leadership and local rulers.
  • Pray for isolated believers in Afghanistan, many of whom are totally cut off from any other Christians.

China

Population: 1.4 billion, Christians 97 million

China continuously increases restriction on religious freedom and monitors and controls Christians through CCTV and social ratings.

  • Pray that the Chinese Christians who were recently arrested in raids would have courage and perseverance in the faith—include Pastor Wang Yi.
  • Pray for Chinese Christians to stand strong amidst tightening religious restrictions and to engage in cross-cultural missions effectively.
  • Pray that the Chinese government would proactively enter into constructive dialogue with local churches, in order to understand that Christian values are aligned with traditional Chinese values and that Christianity can be a positive influence for Chinese society.

Eritrea

Population:  5.1 million, Christians 2.4 million

Brutal, authoritarian president suppressing Christianity under inhuman conditions.

Thousands of Christians have been imprisoned in Eritrea over the last decade, some of whom remain in prison after more than 10 years. Pray for endurance for brothers and sisters detained in horrific conditions and ask God to give them perseverance in their faith.

Pray for President Afwerki, that God would work in his heart and reveal the truth of the gospel.

India

Population: 1.3 billion, Christians 65 million

President Moro is determined to create a Hindu state with Hinduism as the only approved religion. Increased violence and restrictions towards Christians.

  • Pray for Christian converts from Hinduism who are forcefully pressured to return to their national religion.
  • Pray with Christians in India for God’s provision and protection as they preach the gospel in places with anti-conversion laws.
  • Pray for the government of India, that they would open to religious liberty.

Iran

Population: 82 million, Christians 800,000

Islamic State under the control of religious leaders meaning that Christians persecuted and restricted “under” Islamic law. Mosques are empty and people demonstrate against Islamic leaders.

Any Muslim who leaves Islam faces a charge of apostasy and can be thrown in jail or worse. Pray that the laws will change, allowing for freedom of religion.

Nearly all churches that held services in Persian have been closed in recent years and their leaders were arrested. Pray for Christians in Iran’s prisons to have genuine love for their guards and fellow inmates.

Pray for secret believers who meet in house churches, that they will be protected and will be faithful witnesses to the surrounding culture.

Nigeria

Population: 195 million, Christians 91 million

Weak government controlled by Muslims unwilling to protect Christians. Increasing violence in the Northern part of the country against Christians by Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen.

  • Please pray for Leah Sharibu and Alice, who made a slave for life by Boko Haram
  • Pray for Christians in the middle of Nigeria, who are facing increased hostility and attacks from Fulani militants.
  • Sharia law has been implemented in 12 northern states where Christians face marginalization and discrimination. Pray that these Christians would not be discouraged. Pray they will not be tempted to give up the faith in pursuit of an easier life.
  • Pray for Fulani militants, the members of Boko Haram and other extremist groups. Pray that God will touch their hearts with His truth.

North Korea

Population:  25.6 million, Christians 300,000

Brutal dictatorship that fears Christians. Goes to extremes to punish Christians and aims to eradicate Christianity.

  • The situation for Christians is vulnerable and precarious. They face persecution from state authorities and their non-Christian family, friends and neighbors. Pray for their protection.
  • Pray for strength and courage for Christians who suffer in prisons, labor camps and remote areas.
  • Pray that God will prepare the underground church in North Korea to be a light for the country—and that they will be ready to share the gospel freely someday soon.

Many blessings,

Andy, Prayer Call Moderator

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 has 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 serves as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted.

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.

Prayercast Ramadan Challenge: Day 13 – Afghanistan

Thoughts of Afghanistan bring images of war, violence, and terror. In the face of decades of suffering, it can be easy to forget the many people who live this reality day after day. Seventy-seven people groups, both tribal and nomadic, dot the beautiful Afghan countryside. This diversity is also shown in landscapes that vary from grassy and arid mountainous regions, to plains with lush valleys, and even cities like Kabul with bustling open air markets. Though their history is plagued by instability, the unique culture of Afghanistan continues to thrive.

The Afghan people have suffered greatly from over thirty years of conflict both from internal factions and external groups. A devastating civil war, followed by the oppressive rule of the Taliban, an extremist Islamic group, has created a society where over half the population has known nothing but war. These conflicts left over a million dead, an estimated four million children orphaned, and approximately 2.5 million refugees. Even though the Taliban was driven out and a democratic government established (2002-2004), corruption remains rampant, and the still-prominent Taliban and tribal warlords continue to destabilize the nation. The government has struggled to rebuild its infrastructure and continues to rely heavily on foreign aid. With one of the world’s lowest living standards, most live in poverty, and over half lack access to clean water. Additionally, Afghanistan’s destructive opium production rate is the highest in the world. These harsh conditions contribute to a life expectancy of only fifty years and a population where 40% are under the age of fourteen. Under the oppressive Taliban reign (1996-2001), girls were often forced to marry as children, could not receive an education or be employed, were required to wear a full burqa in public, and could not leave the house unless accompanied by a male chaperone. Though conditions for women have improved, they remain a particularly vulnerable part of society.

One of the least reached nations on earth, Afghanistan is 99.9% Muslim with 72 unreached people groups. There are roughly 48,000 mosques and zero church buildings. Afghanistan is one of the world’s most persecuted nations, where any belief contrary to Islam is illegal. Converting from Islam to Christianity can result in death, and believers gather and worship in secret. Yet extremist violence has caused many Muslims to question their faith. Though impossible to document, it is undeniable that the Church is growing, and Muslims are turning to Christ. Some have encountered Jesus in dreams and visions; others have heard the Gospel through Christian radio. Christian relief agencies also manifest the love of God through meeting the nation’s immense physical needs. Some of these humanitarian workers have even died as martyrs. But amid great persecution, there are perhaps several thousand believers in Afghanistan today!

As we continue on the nightly prayer conference call during Ramadan, using the Prayercast Ramadan Challenge prayer points, let us unite in prayer that the church in Afghanistan will grow. Let us pray that there will be those who will come under the shadow of Jesus, and for the Light of Christ to shine in that Nation.
Please watch the video below and see prayer conference call details below.
PRAYER POINTS

• Pray for appropriate and expedient solutions to ongoing threats of violence.

• Pray for Afghans who are seeking Truth to boldly embrace a new identity in Christ.

• Pray for protection over Afghan believers and perseverance despite suffering.

Our prayers do have an impact on the things of eternity and the souls of men and women to find truth in him who is the Living Word. Please join us on the prayer conference call to lift prayers up together. As ever, I remain your brother and prayer partner in our Lord Jesus. Meet you on the call!

Blaine Scogin, Prayer Director of Persecution Watch and Voice of the Persecuted

VOP Note: If you are unable to participate on the call, or cannot join us on a particular evening, you can still use the prayer points and pray in your personal prayer closet. The only thing I would urge you is, please do it.  Whether you pray privately, in a group, or on our call, please pray for a great harvest of souls during this time of Ramadan.

Nightly Call scheduled through Ramadan 

Time:
9 p.m. Eastern time
8 p.m. Central time
7 p.m. Mountain time
6 p.m. Pacific time
Call 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

Available International IDOP Prayer Conference Call Numbers

(Note: If using one of the call numbers below, you may experience issues in your country. If you are unable to connect, try using the VoIP dialer available at this link. Click on VoIP dialer, go to this number 712-775-7035 in the drop down menu—enter access code 281207 (do not add the # symbol)—enter your name and click on the ‘Place Call’ button.)

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‘Risk of genocide’ linked with level of religious freedom

(World Watch Monitor) Yemen is the country where the risk of genocide, or mass killing, rose most last year, says Minority Rights Group International (MRG) in its 2017 Peoples Under Threat index, which also includes a large number of countries in which it is most difficult to live as a Christian.

Nine of the Index’s top 12 are also in the top 12 of Open Doors’ 2017 World Watch List– namely Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and Nigeria.

MRG calculates its annual index based on a number of indicators directly linked to the level of freedom of religion and expression, including democracy and governance, conflict data, and displacement.

Yemen, for instance, ranks 8th on the MRG Index and 9th on the WWL. The civil war that erupted there in 2014 has caused chaos and lawlessness, creating a climate where oppression can flourish.

Radical Islamist groups such as Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the Islamic State have exploited the power vacuum in Yemen to gain significant influence. Christians have been killed and abducted, including 16 people killed in an attack on a Christian care home for the elderly in March 2016.

According to MRG’s index, which lists the top 70 countries most at risk of genocide, mass killing or systematic violent repression, two-thirds of the countries where this risk has risen are in Africa.

Also, an increasing number of people are living at “deadly risk” in a growing number of “no-go zones” around the world. MRG says its reports shows “how a lack of access from the outside world allows killing to be perpetrated unchecked in disputed territories, militarized enclaves, and in some cases, whole countries… International isolation is a known risk factor for genocide or mass killing”.

Syria, for example, leads the list for the third consecutive year and, according to the report, UN human rights officials have been “granted no access to Syria since the crisis began in 2011”.

Cholera outbreak

Meanwhile the civil war in Yemen has so far killed more than 8,000 people and injured over 45,000 civilians. The fighting between Iran-backed Houthi rebels in the north and the Saudi-backed government in the south has furthermore displaced more than 3 million people – over 10 per cent of Yemen’s population – reports the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

OCHA says these figures are most likely lower than the reality because of the lack of reporting capacity and people not having access to health centres.

Those who have not been killed or injured in the fighting might still lose their lives in the largest ever recorded cholera outbreak in a single country in a single year, aid agencies warn. With a crumbling health system, with less than half the country’s hospitals operational and a lack of available medication, nearly 2,000 people have died of cholera so far, with an estimated 5,000 Yemenis becoming ill every day. More than 600,000 Yemenis could have cholera before the end of the year, the International Committee of the Red Cross has warned.

They came as refugees. Now they’re giving back.

Christian_Persecution_02_230px

Voice of the Persecuted recommended read:

Ijaz Gill still gets choked up every time he speaks about the twin bomb blasts that killed 122 of his congregation, many of them children, and injured 168 of his friends. “When the first bomb blast hit I fell down; it hit my head and shoulder, I was injured. The second bomb blast hit many, many people,” he says, unable to detail the carnage any further. Asked if there were many bodies, he murmurs in horror: “pieces”.

Perth-based Arastoo Yazdani, 32, came to Australia from Iran as a refugee when he was still a toddler. Living under Islamic rule in Isfahan, Iran’s second city, his non-Muslims parents were treated as second-class citizens.

Esther Lukabyo fled the murderous regime of Ugandan despot Idi Amin with her family in 1974. She was just eight years old.

READ MORE at Eternity News

80 Muslim Refugees Convert to Christianity and are Baptized

baptizm_ir-afghan

Over 80 Muslim refugees from Iran and Afghanistan have converted to Christianity and been baptized in Hamburg, Germany.

Mohabat News  _  Albert Babajan, the pastor who conducted the mass baptism, said that the converts were dissatisfied with Islam and were looking for something more. “The motive for the change of faith is the same for many: they are disappointed with Islam.”

Shima, one Christian convert who was recently baptized, shared about her conversion:

“I’ve been looking all my life for peace and happiness, but in Islam, I have not found it,” she said. “To be a Christian means happiness to me.”

Another convert, Somaz, said: “In Islam, we always lived in fear. Fear God, fear of sin, fear of punishment. However, Christ is a God of love.”

Babajan conducted the baptism ceremony in Hamburg city park.

Many refugees have converted to Christianity since coming to Germany. Babajan says he is aware that some refugees will convert not out of true conviction, but because Christian converts are generally given added protection since they would face death should they return to their home countries.

In order to determine who the true converts are, Babajan says he asks them how Christ has changed their lives.

“Because the Christian faith changed the way of thinking, the world view. If someone told me that at night he can sleep again or an old enemy could forgive, then I know that in his heart he is a Christian.”

“There are maybe 20 or 30 percent who really want to hear the gospel. For those who want to have a license, I must face the door… It is very easy, whoever does not believe will not be baptised,” he added.

 

AFGHANISTAN – The closure of schools increases the recruitment of children on behalf of the Taliban

Child soldier Afghanistan Photo: Robin Kirk www.flickr.com

child-soldier-afghanistan
Photo: Robin Kirk http://www.flickr.com

(Agenzia Fides) – The escalation of conflicts in the Afghan province of Helmand has forced the closure of more than 150 schools, leaving about 100,000 students exposed to the recruitment by the Taliban. For about two months a constant battle raged between government forces and the Taliban for the control of Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital, which the insurgent group almost took over in October 2015. Since then thousands of troops have been deployed, but only with the result of bringing the Taliban to a distance of 17 km from the city center. The rebels now control parts of Babaji, an area on the outskirts of Lashkar Gah, and have consolidated their positions in the neighboring districts of Nad-e-Ali and Marjah.

The education system is paying a high price due to the conflicts. More than 50 schools in the districts around Lashkar Gah were closed for nine weeks because of the continuous fighting, leaving almost 30,000 students without classes, according to a statement from sources of the provincial Ministry for education. 104 other institutions in other districts, bringing together 70,000 students, were closed last year. The lack of opportunities for education and work have left few options for young people, and the Taliban are exploiting the situation by distributing pamphlets and audio cassettes, encouraging young people to join them, giving them money and weapons. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 18/12/2015)

  • Pray for Christians, many who worship in secret, in Afghanistan.
  • Pray for their families members who are often their greatest threat.
  • Pray the young will see the darkness of joining the Taliban and turn away.
  • Pray for those who are taken by force.
  • Pray for the God’s presence to awaken many.

Urgent Prayer Request: Missionary and his children have been martyred in Afghanistan

Urgent Prayer

One of our contacts in South Africa and dear brother in Christ has notified VOP that a beloved co-worker, also a South African, Werner Groenewald has been killed by the Taliban in Afghanistan. He had been running an education charity. His two teenage children were also killed. His wife escaped death, as she was not home at the time of the attack.

Reports claim a Taliban spokesman said in a statement that it was targeting “a secret Christian missionary and foreign invaders’ intelligence center.”

The small California-based NGO that he had been working with shared this statement on their website:

“It is with great sadness that we report the death and injuries of several of our staff yesterday during an attack on the offices of Partnership in Academics and Development in Kabul, Afghanistan. The attack which occurred on November 29, 2014 by multiple gunmen included one who detonated a personal explosive device killing three and injuring other staff members.

We are caring for all staff and their families as they grieve the loss of their friends and co-workers and nurse the wounded. We honor their commitment to the people of Afghanistan. We grieve for their loss and hold them close to our heart. Our thoughts are with the survivors and their families as they grieve the loss of life. Their selfless sacrifice for the people of Afghanistan is an inspiration to all.

In the midst of this unprovoked attack, Partnership in Academics and Development remains committed to providing educational resources for Afghan citizens as they become part of the international community.”

An expression of grief and anguish and an appeal for the wider body of Christ to share in the pain of this family.

Please pray the Lord will comfort his wife, Hannelie Groenewald who has also lost her children. And for all those who love them.

Thank you for always committing to pray for those enduring great suffering. To them, your prayers are priceless!

killed in Afghanistan

killed in Afghanistan

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