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Persecution Watch: Praying for Cuba

(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Thursday, September 8, 2022 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.

CUBA:  Population 11.4 million, Christians 7.1 million

Since 1959, Cuba has been governed by the Communist Party, which seeks to control the church according to its Communist ideology. The government reacts harshly against opposition voices and demonstrators. When church leaders or Christian activists criticize the regime, they face arrest, closure of their churches or businesses, prison sentences, and harassment by the government. New churches are often denied registration, as the authorities want to control and limit the church’s influence. The government controls all media and restricts access from the outside world, so it is very hard for Christians to communicate widely in the country.

David Curry, the CEO of Open Doors, explained to Breitbart News in an interview last week what have you in Cuba is a communist regime who is trying to diminish the ability of the church to speak out.”

Cuba, is officially an atheist state.  In Cuba state-affiliated thugs have for years terrorized Christian leaders who support pro-democracy dissidents, in some occasions assaulting Catholic clergy mid-Mass.

“Cuba has jumped up now to number 37 on the WWL (# 51 in 2021) and while it’s not a huge country, they are beginning to get very serious about controlling the church,” Curry explained. “Christians for some years had some degree of freedom there and they dropped off our top 50, but now they’re back.”

Curry noted that Christian leaders in Cuba had found some “alignment” with the pro-democracy movement of the island. While true for decades – the Christian Liberation Movement (MCL) has been at the forefront of the push for freedom since the 1990s – the Cuban Communist Party’s courtship of the Vatican had for years added at least a veneer of tolerance towards Christians to the repressive Castro regime.

“What you see is that there’s some sense of alignment between pastors and priests around individual freedoms and things which would challenge the ideology of the communist regime of Cuba,” Curry explained. “They would like to see them sort of stay out of these discussions and let the government do what they want. I think all of these dictators have a similar belief around that.”

“So, they’re beginning to say ‘Look, if you’re going to speak out against the cruelties of the government, we are going to crack down on you and make it difficult for you to get registered officially,’” Curry continued, “and those that are registered of course they have to toe the line. So that’s the game, a very dangerous game that’s being played in Cuba against the pastors and priests of that area.”

New churches are often denied registration, as the authorities want to control and limit the church’s influence. The government controls all media and restricts access from the outside world, so it is very hard for Christians to communicate widely in the country. The continued rise is the result of highly restrictive measures against churches deemed to be opponents of the regime – especially non-registered Protestant churches. The Covid-19 crisis has been used as a pretext to hinder church and community activities, monitor church leaders, make arbitrary arrests, confiscate private property and impose extortion fees. Christian leaders from different denominations were among those arrested during anti-government demonstrations in July.

National service is compulsory for men. If it’s discovered that they are active Christians or have Christian parents, they often face persecution if their commanding officer is prejudiced against believers.

Pastors – the majority of whom are men – come under particularly close scrutiny from Cuba’s Communist regime. They face beatings, arrests, confiscation of Christian literature, destruction of property and death threats. Children of activists or pastors are also vulnerable and may face mistreatment from their teachers and peers. An Open Doors source says: “Christian men and boys in Cuba are beaten adults physically; children in the soul.”  

Prayer Points

  • Pray for President Miguel Díaz-Canel,  (since Apr 19, 2018; re-elected on Oct 10, 2019) and party leader Raul Castro that God will touch them in a special way to recognize religious freedom.
  • Ask God to confuse and distract the local authorities and to misconstrue the government actions against Christians.
  • Pray for the protection of Christians that have been denied registration of their church and are. therefore, subject to much government interference
  • Pray for the Christians men who must serve their term in the army, that the Lord will have His hand of protection on them as
  • Pray to the Lord for resilience and wisdom for church leaders.
  • Pray that Congregations are not hindered to worship, despite the oppressive restrictions.
  • Pray for many Christian outreach teams to come to Cuba to encourage and minister to the saints.
  • Pray for the children of church leaders whose faith and names make them very vulnerable to persecution.
  • Pray for the government to be unable to use COVID19 as a pretext to make arbitrary arrests and or confiscate private property as well as impose excessive penalty fees.
  • Pray that Christians will be given wisdom and boldness and protection as they go out to bring the good news to the lost.
  •  Pray for NGOs to be able to continue to be active to serve the churches in Cuba
  • Pray that Christians have good internet coverage where they live and that the messages will edify them as well as touch unbelievers who surf the net.
  • Pray that persecuted believers will not become bitter and be able to love and forgive.
  • Pray to the Lord that in spite of the hostile climate more Cubans will turn to the Lord, that His church will grow because of the governments designs to control and restrict their lives.

Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

USA Time Zone:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

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

Access Code: 281207#

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

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

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

What is Persecution Watch?

Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.

Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.

“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone.

We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you are new to the call and cannot find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.

Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team

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

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

Persecution Watch: Praying for Believers in Cuba

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

Cuba is an island country and has a single-party authoritarian regime where political opposition is not permitted.  Cuba has performed better than other countries in the region on literacy, infant mortality, and life expectancy, but income per person is about 5% of the USA. There are over 11 million people.

In a survey sponsored by Univision, 44% of Cubans said they were not religious and 9% did not give an answer while only 34% said they were Christian. The government’s relaxation of restrictions on house churches in the 1990s led to an explosion of Pentecostalism, with some groups claiming as many as 100,000 members.  In 2010 Operation World estimated 3.5% were evangelicals. Christianity is often practiced in tandem with Santería, a mixture of Catholicism and African faith.

Prayer Points

Since the 1990s the church has been growing.

  • Pray the church grows in numbers, biblical understanding, and holiness.
  • Please pray for a peaceful resolution between anti government protesters and people in power.

Cuban Christians are praying for their rulers and authorities to turn to Jesus. 

  • Pray the Holy Spirit will begin a powerful work in their hearts.

People are crying out for aid, but the political situation is making it difficult for it to reach the people who need it most.

  • Please pray for channels to open wide for foreign aid to get through.

Cubans are feeling isolated.

Pray for Christian literature, radio, internet, Jesus film, etc.

  • Pray for more Bibles and other Christian resources to be made available to this thirsting nation.
  • Pray that each of its 11 million citizens will know God’s love for them. 
  • Pray that God will provide for their spiritual, physical, emotional, and financial needs.
  • Pray for the Cuban government.
  • Pray that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
  • Pray that all Cubans will experience increased personal security and stability.
  • Pray for the Cuban pastors.
  • Pray for provision, safety, and the courage to preach and teach the Good News of Jesus Christ faithfully and winsomely.

Half a million people have been imprisoned for Ideological reasons.

  • Pray for forgiveness between the government and the people.

Persecution – harassment and discrimination of believers, sometimes imprisonment of leaders. 

  • Pray for courage and perseverance of believers.

Many Church leaders fled or were expelled 

  • Pray for God to raise new leaders, bible schools, Christian training.

There are more open doors for tourists.

  • Pray for missionaries to come, and expatriates to minister inside Cuba. 

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

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

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

Pastor Wang Yi to be released from Chinese prison.

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

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran for his release and his family as their persecution continues. Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence.

The Harvest

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

Michael Laird, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

USA Time Zone:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

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

Access Code: 281207#

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

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

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

What is Persecution Watch?

Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.

Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.

“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone.

We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you are new to the call and cannot find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.

Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team

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

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

The Ignored Pandemic: 360 Million Christians Persecuted Worldwide

(by Raymond Ibrahim) The year 2021 “saw the worst persecution of Christians in history”—with an average of 16 Christians butchered for their faith every single day.

This is according to the World Watch List-2022 (WWL), which was recently published by the international humanitarian organization, Open Doors.  The report ranks the top 50 countries where Christians are most persecuted for their faith. Annually published and released at the beginning of each year, the WWL uses data from field workers and external experts to quantify and analyze persecution worldwide.

According to the WWL-2022 (covering from Oct. 1, 2020 – Sept. 30, 2021), “over 360 million Christians suffer high levels of persecution and discrimination for their faith—a rise of 20 million from last year. The number represents one in seven Christians worldwide. This year records the highest levels of persecution since the first list was published 29 years ago…”

For this same reporting period, 5,898 Christians were murdered “for their faith,” a number representing a 24% increase from 2021 (when only 4,761 Christians were killed).  Additionally, “6,175 believers [were] detained without trial, arrested, sentenced or imprisoned,” and 3,829 Christians were abducted.

Perhaps even more reflective of the hate for Christianity, 5,110 churches and other inanimate Christian buildings (schools, monasteries, etc.), were attacked and profaned.

Crunching these numbers into daily averages, the above statistics mean that every single day around the world, more than 16 Christians were murdered for their faith; 27 were either illegally arrested and imprisoned by non-Christian authorities, or abducted by non-Christian actors; and 14 churches were destroyed or desecrated.

For the first time since these WWL reports were published, Afghanistan, which for years was usually ranked the #2 worst nation (following North Korea) shot up to the #1 spot, meaning “Afghanistan is now the most dangerous place in the world to be a Christian.”  Additionally,

Read full report at Gatestone Institute here

Persecution Watch: Prayer for Colombia, Mexico and Cuba

(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021 in a conference prayer call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch. 

The Lord put the persecuted countries in the West on my heart; namely, Colombia, Mexico, and Cuba.

The vast majority of people in Mexico and Colombia claim to be Christians. However, many blend paganistic religions with Christianity.

Christians in many parts of Mexico and Colombia are persecuted by rebel groups who exploit the people. True Christians will not go along with their evil schemes and are persecuted for it.

The people in Cuba are persecuted by the atheistic government. 65 percent of the population identifies as Christian.

Pray for Colombia and Mexico:

  • We cannot serve two masters; pray for those claiming and thinking to be Christians but are not.  
  • Pray for the NGOs and others who distribute Bibles.
  • Pray that God’s Word would reach all people groups, such as the Tzalzl and Chol people in Mexico.
  • Pray for pastors in the “red zones” of Colombia and Mexico; they would stand their ground, be encouraged, be protected from guerrillas and drug and arms dealers.
  • Give church leaders wisdom, knowledge and understanding on how to deal with rebel and criminal groups who make their living with illegal activity.
  • Pray for those sharing the gospel in guerrilla-controlled areas; for displaced pastors sharing gospel in new communities.
  • Pray for widows and children of murdered pastors, restoration, provision, and peace.
  • Pray for teachers reaching out to children from minority ethnic groups.
  • Pray for Christian converts in villages where an indigenous faith is practiced, against confiscation of property, imprisonment, physical harm.
  • Pray that believers kicked out of their communities would remain strong in their faith. 
  • Pray for a strong government without corruption who allow criminal groups to continue; pray for Christians in government.

Cuba: (if time permits)

  • Pray God’s Word would go throughout Cuba, even the most extreme areas, and people would have a hunger for it.
  • Pray for Christian leaders who are being harassed, threatened with prison; pray they would not give in to threats.  (Acts 4)
  • Pray for pastors pressured to provide the government with information regarding church leaders.
  • Pray that church leaders would have wisdom in speaking and sharing the Word.
  • Pray for parents who were arrested for trying to remove children from communist indoctrination at school.
  • Pray for thousands of churches at risk of being demolished and for the ones that have already been demolished.

Pray for the Harvest!

Valerie, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

USA Time Zone:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: 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

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

What is Persecution Watch?

Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.

Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.

“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone.

We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you are new to the call and cannot find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.

Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team

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

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

Photo: Colombia, San Agustin, Iglesia Church by Makalu

Persecution Watch: Praying for Believers in Mexico

(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Thursday October 7, 2021 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.

Mexico: Population: 133.8 million, Christians 128.2 (96 %)

Technically speaking, Mexico’s Constitution offers freedom of religion at least on paper, but Christians on the ground report federal authorities are unable or unwilling to uphold these promised protections.

The increasing presence of criminal groups and their struggle for territorial control create an environment where Christians—and particularly Christian leaders—face the constant risk of being targeted for violence. Christians are perceived as a threat to criminal activities because they oppose corruption and drug use, or because they explicitly reject any demands or requests of criminal organizations. Christians who are outspoken about the hope of Jesus in the face of drug trafficking and violence are often targeted by gangs to remove any obstacle in their quest for control.

In the indigenous communities, anyone who decides to abandon the community’s religious beliefs or syncretistic practices often faces rejection and punishment in the form of fines, incarceration or forced displacement.

Finally, there has been an increase in violent and discriminatory acts against Christians by people who believe Christians are bigoted, xenophobic, or opposed to women’s rights. Churches have been attacked and graffitied by protestors, and reports on the ground suggest openness to Christian ethics in the public sphere is decreasing, even though Mexico is supposed to value pluralism.

“There have been missionaries that have gone up to the mountain areas and have come back down regretting it. The closer you get to what people in those areas call ‘hot spots,’ life becomes much more difficult. You risk your life and the lives of your loved ones. While I was there, I heard so many sad stories.

Mexico shot up the 2021 World Watch List after being outside of the top 50 entirely last year. This is likely due to the rise in illegal activity that directly challenges Christians and Christian teaching. Drug traffickers and gangs retaliate against and target Christian leaders for opposing their criminal activities, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, their control over parts of Mexico has strengthened. Similarly, indigenous communities that oppose Christian converts have strengthened their autonomy during the coronavirus crisis, leading to increased difficulty for these followers of Jesus. And finally, Mexican society seems to be increasing its commitment to secularism instead of pluralism. Often, Christian viewpoints are not welcome in the public sphere.

Criminal networks have spread throughout Mexico. Although there are still two main cartels in Mexico, there are others—at least 17 criminal groups—that have a significant presence in the country. That doesn’t include the new or fragmented groups, who also persecute Christians because they perceive Christians as threats to their group’s interests. Persecution against Christians inside indigenous communities occurs particularly in the southern part of the country. And the rejection of Christian viewpoints in the public square is increasingly an issue throughout Mexico.

  • Pray the Lord will convict Government leaders to be proactive and willing to protect Christians from persecution, especially because of their moral beliefs.
  • Pray for Christian leaders who risk so much to serve their church communities in places where they are the targets of organized criminals. Ask God to spare them from violence and to care for their entire family and church in dealing with the violence and trauma.
  • Pray for Christians who convert out of their community’s belief system. Pray for a softening of hearts among local leaders, and that Christians would be safe and able to be a light for Christ’s hope in the middle of a dark situation.
  • Pray that the Lord’s hand of protection is on His believers who in spite of the hostile climate share the Gospel.
  • Pray that the Lord will use the Bible to powerfully strengthen and encourage and nourish the lives of believers.
  • Pray to the Lord to give the government the ability to control and subdue the drug Lords and traffickers
  • Pray for Christians struggling to see how they fit into Mexican society. Ask God to give them compassion and courage, as they risk their lives and livelihood to walk in faith.
  • Pray that Missionaries and NGO servants are given wisdom and protection in covert ministry work.
  • Pray that the believers sense God’s presence and mature in faith.
  • Pray that Christians can love and forgive their persecutors.
  • Pray that the Lord will prompt unbelievers to be confronted with convicting messages.  
  • Pray that The Lord will open the doors wide to evangelism and that the church will be the light on the Hill to the people who walk in darkness.

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

  • Leah Sharibu, prisoner of Boko Haram since 2018. Pray for her release.
  • Alice Loksha Ngaddah, kidnapped February 2019. She is a mother of two, working as a nurse for UNICEF. Pray for her release.
  • Pray for Pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison.
  • Pray for Anita, a Christian convert facing a long prison term who escaped from Iran and praying to go to a country where she can express her faith openly.
  • For the release of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran, and his family as their Persecution continues. Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence.

Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

USA Time Zone:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: 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

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

What is Persecution Watch?

Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.

Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.

“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone.

We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you are new to the call and cannot find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.

Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team

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

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

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

What is Persecution Watch?

Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.

Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.

“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone.

We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you are new to the call and cannot find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.

Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team

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

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

Persecution Watch: Praying for Believers in Colombia

(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Thursday August 26, 2021 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.

Colombia: Population: 50.2 million, Christian 47,700 million (95%)

In Colombia, a largely Christian country, persecution is localized—and violent. Church leaders are threatened, harassed, extorted, and even murdered as a result of the violence perpetrated by guerrillas and other criminal groups, especially in the country’s more remote areas. In most cases, this violence is the direct result of Christians denouncing corruption and violence, working for the defense of human and environmental rights, serving among youth, and pursuing peace and justice—all endangering the illegal activities of criminal gangs. Christians are seen as impediments to the forced recruitment of people, especially youth, to rebel groups and to the drug trade and organized crime that pay for these groups.

In indigenous communities, significant opposition exists toward Christian missionaries and indigenous converts, who can face imprisonment, physical abuse, and the confiscation of property, among other forms of punishment. In addition, there seems to be an increasing intolerance for Christians in the public sphere and an emphasis on secularism over and above a pluralistic society that values all voices, including Christians. Christians can be wrongly seen as bigots or discriminatory, and opposition to historical Christian beliefs has been violent at times.

Colombia’s rank on the 2021 World Watch List rose by 11 spots over last year’s list. The most significant factors leading to the country’s steady rise up the list, are the violence from rebel groups—including the return of a group within FARC to guerilla activities—along with the persecution faced by indigenous Christians who have departed a traditional religion. Additionally, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected groups who were already vulnerable to criminal gangs, particularly in areas of the country that are at least partially controlled by these violent groups.

  • Pray that for the establishment of a strong government that can put an end to all guerilla and narcotic activities.

  • Pray for Christians in indigenous communities in Colombia. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, indigenous communities are restricting access to their communities and, in some cases, blocking roads that lead to their native lands. These actions prevent missionaries from reaching out to Christians and even providing help.

  • Pray for Christians living in areas controlled by rebel and criminal groups. Pray God would keep them safe and give them courage to continue to live out and preach His gospel.

  • Pray for the families of church leaders who have been killed in Colombia this year. Pray God will be their comfort and will bring them healing from trauma.

  • Pray for a NGO Children’s Center which was established in Colombia as a place to protect children whose families have been threatened or displaced.

  • Guerrilla groups in Colombia are known to recruit Christian children and pray for those who are at risk of being recruited.

  • Pray that the Lord will up raise up strong Christian leaders that can counter act violence and intolerance towards Christians.

  • Pray for unity among all the Christian churches.

  • Pray for NGOs to support Christians in indigenous communities with training and with the setting up of Christian education for indigenous children. That NGOs will strengthen the persecuted church in Colombia by developing and delivering Bible materials, constructing Christian schools for indigenous Christians, providing education programs, and bringing emergency aid to persecuted followers of Jesus.

  • Pray that the Lord will guide and protect His believers when they reach out to give the Good News

  • Pray that Believers can love and forgive their persecutors.

  • Pray that the Lord that many Christians will stop honoring him with their lips only and start honoring Him with their hearts. So that the His church can continue to grow.

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

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

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

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

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

  • For the release of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran, and his family as their Persecution continues. Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence.

Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

USA Time Zone:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: 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

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

What is Persecution Watch?

Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.

Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.

“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone.

We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you are new to the call and cannot find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.

Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted, Nadia Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team

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

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

Persecution Watch Prayer Conference Call for the Persecuted- Colombia

Thursday, 6/4/2020 – Colombia

Population: 49.9 million, Christians 47.2 million

Church leaders are harassed, extorted and even murdered by guerrillas or other criminal groups, such as ELN = National Liberation Army and FARC = Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia. This violence is often the direct result of Christians working for the defense of human rights or supporting a peace agreement that would restrict illegal activities of militant groups. The violence may also stem from Christians who work for environmental rights, working with youth or who denounce corruption and violence.

In addition to this, Colombia is the hub of drug trafficking. Think of drug lords, the Cocaine business its violence

In indigenous communities, there is a significant opposition toward Christian missionaries and indigenous converts, who, as a result, face imprisonment, physical abuse and the confiscation of property, among other forms of punishment. In addition, because of rising secularism, there is an increasing intolerance to Christian references and religious opinions in the public sphere—especially about issues concerning life, family, marriage and religious liberty—because they are considered discriminatory and “hate speech.”

Colombia rose six spots in the 2020 World Watch List from 2019. This is primarily due to increased pressure from criminal and ethnic groups and the increase in the number of Christians killed and church buildings attacked.

Church leaders are being threatened, harassed, extorted and even murdered as a result of the violence perpetrated by guerrillas or other criminal groups who are often protected due to corruption of the local authorities. Sometimes the violence is directed toward the church leaders’ families and entire communities to discourage anyone wanting to convert to Christianity. Christians are also ridiculed when they attempt to participate in public debate especially concerning gender, marriage and abortion. Political parties and ordinary citizens reject faith-based opinions and try to enforce agendas that contradict Christian values. Indigenous people who convert to Christianity and missionaries risk imprisonment, torture and the confiscation of property.

In August 2019, the Constitutional Court ruled that the scope of protection for the respect of Christian public personalities is not guaranteed in the same way as for those exercising the right to freedom of expression to criticize them. According to the ruling, freedom of expression must be protected even if the expressions aired diminish the reputation of Christians, just because they are publicly known.

13% OF RELIGIOUS LEADERS HAVE RECEIVED DEATH THREATS. Attacks on religious leaders across the country are widespread. A recent study by the Bogotá mayor’s office found that over the past three years 12.6% of religious leaders in Bogotá have received death threats, 4.1% have faced extortion and 3.9% have been threatened with kidnapping. The that is just Bogota, the rest of the country?

The pastor of Nueva Filadelfia Church was assassinated on September 16 outside his home in Antioquia, forcing his wife and five adult children to flee the village in fear. The families of religious leaders have also been targeted.

This year alone, Christians in Buenaventura, a Colombia port city, have seen eight violent attacks against Christianstwo churches shattered, one murder and multiple cases of threats, extortion and abuse.

  • Pray to the Lord for a government that will bring peace and stability to the nation.

 

  • Pray against the corruption in government agencies that fail to protect their citizens from spiritual and physical harm.

 

  • Pray for protection of Christian communities in areas with a high guerrilla presence, such as Catatumbo, Arauca, Cauca and Guaviare, as there are increasing incidents of religious persecution.

 

  • Pray that the church will remain strong in the midst of violent scenarios, that the preaching of the Word will not cease, and that the violent will be led to repentance. According to the Open Doors Colombia research department, more than half of the believers in rural areas of conflict zones are threatened with death, extortion, bans on evangelism and constant surveillance.

 

  • May God strengthen all those who follow the gospel, even in the most hostile circumstances.

 

  • Pray for discernment and wisdom for the leaders of tribal Christian churches who face persecution, torture, imprisonment and violence every day. Pray that Christian leaders will stands strong in faith.

 

  • Pray against the guerilla groups who lure children into their ranks with promises of cash and weapons.

 

  • Pray that NGOs supporting Christians will continue to provide all the needed support to embattled pastors and leaders.

 

  • Pray believers are bold to share the gospel and that your hand of protection is over them.

 

  • Pray that the Lord will protect and build His Church despite the hostile environment.

 

Again, we want to lift up persecuted witnesses for the Lord and pray for Leah Sharibu and pray that they will be set free. And also pray for pastor Wang Yi to be released from Prison and pray for Anita, a Christian convert recently sentenced to 10 years in prison for sharing the Gospel in Iran.

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

Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator

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. Since the passing of Brother Blaine Scogin, we thank you for your patience as we have transitioned into this new season. We are grateful for your prayers and to the Lord for guiding us as we continue the Persecution Watch prayer call mission.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

 

 

Christian Family Takes Refuge in Mountains after Expulsion from their Home in Mexico

Pastor Mario Choj visits Pérez family in Mitontic, Chiapas, Mexico. (Morning Star News photo courtesy of Federico Sarao)

“To follow Christ is beautiful. It doesn’t matter if we have to live in suffering, persecution and contempt from our village. Everyone in the family says that to live close to God is a blessing, and we delight in the salvation found only in Jesus Christ.”

(Morning Star News) – Miguel Pérez Díaz, his eight children and 87-year-old father have been living in a mountainside shack since May, when local officials expelled them from their village in Chiapas state, Mexico.

Relatives, friends and neighbors in Tajlovijho, a village in the municipality of San Andrés Larráinzar in southern Mexico, had been harassing them for leaving indigenous religious practices for Christianity, sources said.

“The first action they took against them was to cut their potable water service,” pastor Mario Choj told Morning Star News. “Then they made them leave the humble home they owned.”

Leaving the “traditionalist” blend of Roman Catholic and indigenous rituals and beliefs, the Pérez family put their faith in Christ four years ago and began a small fellowship in their home, said Pastor Choj, who leads an Assemblies of God Church called Jesús Es el Camino.

The family loaded the few belongings their neighbors allowed them to take and headed up the mountains to a village called Mitontic, where they survive by collecting the morning dew from a nylon sheet and rain water that falls from the metal roof of the shanty they built, the pastor said. They store the water in empty soda bottles and other containers.

Shack where the Pérez family has taken refuge in Mitontic, Chiapas, Mexico. (Morning Star News photo courtesy of Federico Sarao)

Despite taking refuge far from their home, they are obligated to pay Tajlovijho officials 500 pesos (US$26) each month to keep authorities from taking possession of their house and remaining belongings, sources said.

Pastor Choj said Pérez told him the family is ready to suffer for Christ.

“To follow Christ is beautiful,” Pérez said, according to the pastor. “It doesn’t matter if we have to live in suffering, persecution and contempt from our village. Everyone in the family says that to live close to God is a blessing, and we delight in the salvation found only in Jesus Christ.”

Their case is one of thousands in which indigenous Mexican families that have been driven from their homes and lost all their belongings “only because they have accepted that Jesus is the only hope that we Mexicans have to be free of sin and eternal punishment,” Pastor Choj said.

The “traditionalist” religious mix practiced by the area’s predominantly ethnic Tzotzil, who are of Mayan origin, includes drunken festivals honoring pagan idols that evangelical Christians eschew. In a misuse of Mexico’s “Uses and Customs” law designed to protect indigenous culture, local caciques (political “bosses”) cite local regulations requiring villagers to contribute fees toward and participate in the festivals.

Christian attorneys note that this misuse of Mexico’s “Uses and Customs” laws violates the guarantee of religious freedom in Article 24 of Mexico’s constitution.

Similar cases of persecution have happened in Oaxaca, Durango and other states outside of Chiapas. In July residents of Huejutla, Hidalgo state, cut water service to two Christian families for refusing to participate in “Catholic festivals of the community,” according to online outlet Animal Político.

Denying any religious motive, officials with the Ministry of Interior blamed the two evangelical families “because they did not fulfill their duties” to villagers and did not “participate in their ‘uses and customs,’” the news cite reported.

In Chiapas, Pérez and his family, including wife Guadalupe Hernández and father Miguel Pérez Núñez, came to faith in Christ after reading an evangelistic pamphlet printed and distributed by Cruzada Mexican, a ministry also known as Every Home for Christ-México, Pastor Choj said. Volunteers leave the pamphlets, New Testaments and other Christian literature, some of them translated into indigenous languages, at area Protestant churches.

“The Pérez family previously lived happy and faithful, but they did not know what trials were coming to their peaceful life,” Pastor Choj said. “But they pray that more Christians would spread the Word of God, as many still need to know the love that is available only from Jesus Christ. They also pray for all the families expelled from their own houses and lands.”

Mexico ranks 39th on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List of the 50 countries where Christians experience the most persecution.

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