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URGENT Prayer Request 3/19/2020

 

We were informed one of the persecuted Christians that Voice of the Persecuted is caring for abroad is very sick and may have the COVID-19 virus. Please pray for Neda to be healed and keep praying for our persecuted brothers and sisters, worldwide. 🙏

May the Lord bless, protect and give you peace so you can encourage others and shine His light during these trying times.

The Voice of the Persecuted Team

 

PRAISE REPORT: One of the Chibok school girls has been found! 218 still missing

breaking News

(Voice of the Persecuted) It’s been over two years since 276 majority Christian girls were taken from their school in Chibok, Borno State by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram in Nigeria. 56 girls had managed to escape, but 219 remained in captivity. The militant group has been terrorizing Nigeria and targeting Christians in their campaign for an all Islamic Nigeria for the past for 7 years. They are currently ranked as the deadliest terrorist group in the world. According to the latest reports, one of the Chibok school girls has been found alone by members of a local vigilante group known as Civilian JTF(Joint Task Force). Apparently she was recognized by a civilian fighter. Since the Boko Haram uprising, local authorities have encouraged these civilian groups to be alert and to protect their villages, as the military did not have the ability to police their areas and often could not reach their villages during attacks.

A Chibok community leader has confirmed that the girl was rescued in the Sambisa Forest, near the border with Cameroon on Tuesday, May 18. The rescued girl, Amina Ali Nkek is from Mbalala village, which is south of Chibok. She was taken by the locals to a military base nearby. She will be protected by military personnel until further investigations are completed.

Emmanuel Ogebe, a Nigerian human rights lawyer who has been involved in the campaign to find the schoolgirls, also confirmed that Nkek had been found. He told VICE News she is believed to have been carrying a child.

As the global community stood behind France after the Charlie Hebdo jihadists attacks on January 7, 2015, world leaders expressed great sorrow and attended a march with an estimated 3.7 million people in a show of unity and solidarity following the terrorist attacks that claimed 17 lives.  During the same week n Nigeria, experienced an attack by Boko Haram militants took place on the town of Baga in Borno state. There were 2,000 casualties. Amnesty International described it as the terror group’s “deadliest massacre” to date. It was so horrific, local defense groups said they had to give up counting the bodies left lying on the streets.

Why isn’t the same level of outrage as in the Frace attack not given to the greater numbers of attack victims in Nigeria? We have confirmed from our sources on the ground that attacks continue nearly every other day on villages surrounding the Sambisa Forest—Boko Harams main hideout. Where’s the media coverage or global solidarity and concern? Where is the church?

The abduction of the mostly Christian Chibok schoolgirls garnered international attention in April 2014. The global campaign, #BringBackOurGirls was shared millions of times on social media. Sadly, it was only for a short while short attention spans focused on the latest headlines. For the most part, the girls were forgotten. I’ve heard someone sharing that all the girls were rescued. The media silence caused them to believe the crisis was over…..

We are so grateful the Chibok story received coverage, but many are completely unaware that for the past 7 years, thousands of North Nigerian women and children have been abducted and experienced the same as the Chibok girls. Victims who were fortunate to escape their captors have shared detailed accounts of the systematic rape, forced marriages, forced conversions, and slavery that women and girls are subjected to while being held. They are also used to aid the militants during attacks/raids on villages and used as decoys to draw out soldiers. The horrors of slaughter and beheading that they’ve witnessed is blood curdling. It’s also great concern that the young girls they have used as suicide bombers could be those who’ve been abducted. Please pray for those still in captivity and those recovering from the nightmare.

The great numbers of internal refugees (IDP’s internally displaced) is mind-boggling to say the least. Many have languished in camps for years. Little ones born in camps call it home having no knowledge of any other way of life. The children have not been able to attend school. The great needs of the masses take funding away for educating these little ones. It breaks my heart when we hear the stories of boys and girls dreaming of going back to their studies. Some have not been in a classroom for years.

Voice of the Persecuted is helping to care for Nigerian Christians suffering in IDP camps. There’s a great need for food, medicine and clean water. With your help, we have been able to build a contained fresh water well, supply bedding/mattresses, food and clothing and to provide medical care and prescriptions in a safe place. In the area we are working, nearly 10,000 Christians are in great need of our help. It is easy to believe others are standing in the gap to support them, but this is not the case. Too many of these dear ones go without the basics to survive. Funds available to care for them this month is short. If you have considered doing more for your brothers and sisters persecuted for Christ, now would be a great way to go on the mission with us through your gifts. No amount is too small to make a difference. Will you show them compassion this month?

We humbly ask and need your support to help alleviate their suffering. We pray God can use each one of us to do our part for His love to shine on these persecuted brothers and sisters in Nigeria. Any amount is greatly appreciated. If your church is being led to do more for our persecuted family, please contact us. We would be happy to send detailed updates of this relief project. Is God calling you to be a part of this important mission?

We are committed to being a VOICE for persecuted Nigerian Christians and bring them comfort, relief, and encouragement. We have committed to a long-term mission in Nigeria. When they are able to return home, we will be there to encourage and help rebuild villages and their lives. They will not be forgotten!

We want you to know that even in great hardship, they thank God and feel extremely blessed that He has kept His hand on orphan-306x4601them. They have been so encouraged and thank God for each one of you who have joined this mission through prayer and your support.

Together with your generous help, we can reach the goal to alleviate horrific suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

Every day, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and to further His Kingdom! As you greatly bless others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!
You may also send your gift to:

2740 Third St
P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183

If the Lord is placing it on your heart and you are able, please help us to continue the mission in Nigeria. It will be a long term project. Donations always desperately needed

 

 

Persecuted Christian’s message to the West and the UNHCR

Pakistan-refugee
Voice of the Persecuted interviews a Pakistani Christian who endured extreme persecution now trying to survive as an asylum seeker in Thailand. 
Asking for a true account of the reality of life for Christians in Pakistan, Sunny Gill, a well-known photo-journalist, explains the cause of extreme persecution against them and why it been a never ending battle. He hopes this interview will serve as a message to Western Christians and nations, as plea to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and a dire warning to Pakistani Christians seeking to come to Thailand for asylum.

My name is Pakistani Christian.

Due to serious threats against my life, I was forced to leave Pakistan and move to Thailand. Upon arrival, I put in a request at UNHCR Bangkok for asylum.

In Pakistan, we are considered second class citizens simply because of our Christian religious beliefs. We have always been discriminated against by Muslims. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but it’s the truth.

Our story starts when we are born into a Christian family. Often, our parents carefully choose our name in a way which will not become a problem for us in the future. Names such as JOHN, JAMES, THOMAS etc. are easily recognized by Muslims as Christian or Churaa, which means sanitation worker. Due to the unpleasant nature of the job, it is considered a lowly position by Muslims and normally done by minorities, mainly Christians. With a Christian name, the potential for persecution is much greater.

discriminationducksWhen we go to school, our text books teach us that Hindus, Christians, and Jews can not be your brother. There are more than 60 syllabus in Pakistani text books which spread hate in Muslims hearts for a non-Muslim. We are always an easy target for fundamental Muslims.

“If you were to list the ten worst situations in Pakistan, extremism would be #10, but discrimination would be #1!”

Pakistani Christians have always played an important role in fields such as education, medical and others, but still we continually face much discrimination.

It’s very sad that Muslim parents teach their children not to drink water from a Christian or Hindu’s home. Non-Muslims are kafirs (unbelievers, disbelievers, or infidels), so they are considered dirty. It’s not uncommon for them to keep different water glasses for non-Muslims, which I have witnessed. Not all Muslims do such things, there are many  tolerant Muslims in Pakistan who are good people. Often, they have received their education from Christian institutions.

He highlights for us many incidents in Pakistan done by the local people including:

  • In Shanti Nagar on February 6, 1997, thousands of Islamic protesters descended on the village with placards stating: “Kill the Christians because they are blasphemers towards the Holy Quran and Holy Prophet.” 785 houses were destroyed, four churches were burned, and 2,500 Christians forced to flee.

Pakistan-gunman-roof

  • The 2009 Gojra riots were a series of attacks targeting Christians in Gojra, a town in the Punjab province of Pakistan. Forty houses and a Church were set ablaze by a mob on August 1st.  Most of the houses were burnt by young males who had their faces covered with veils. This resulted in the deaths of eight Christians, including four women and a child. The victims were all burnt alive. 18 others were injured. Televised footage showed burning houses and streets strewn with blackened furniture and people firing at each other from their rooftops.

Pakistan-Christian-woman

  • And on March 9th, 2013 a charged Muslim mob of over 3,000 common people attacked a Christian community in Lahore. They were not thugs or gang members, but local paperboys, store owners, family men –among their other identity: Muslim radicals. They attacked over 100 (according to some reports well over 150) homes destroying the entire community. An event that could well be seen by the international community as a genocidal attempt to eliminate Christianity from Pakistan.

Pakistani politicians have oftentimes blamed events on groups such as Mossad, or the CIA. They easily point fingers at others, because it’s very difficult to accept your own mistakes.

Why are school books giving the wrong impressions and spreading hatred? Why are schools telling them that Shia, Christians and others are kafir?
I received my education in a Christian school. Our teachers never taught us anything against Islam. Maybe they didn’t speak against it out of fear, but our religion is not one of hatred towards those of different beliefs. It is one of tolerance towards others.

Among countries with a Muslim majority, Pakistan has the strictest anti-blasphemy laws. The first purpose of those laws is to protect Islamic authority. By the constitution (Article 2), Islam is the state religion. Critics complain that Pakistan’s blasphemy law “is overwhelmingly being used to persecute religious minorities and settle personal vendettas,” but calls for change in the blasphemy laws have been strongly resisted by Islamic parties. source

Christian parents in Pakistan realize the extreme danger of the blasphemy law, which the penalty is often death. Christian children are taught from a very young age to not speak against Islam.

All Christians, in fact all minorities, in Pakistan have a fear of the blasphemy law, which is very easy for Muslims to impose on them as revenge for any reason such as personal vendettas.

The Blasphemy law is often misused in Pakistan. Numerous disputes have resulted in a false blasphemy charge against a minority. Pakistan-persecuted

Many have lost their lives because of this law. A large number are tortured and killed in police custody when arrested for a blasphemy charge. The police will then report they have committed suicide. Many are killed outside the courts when extremists wait for those exonerated to leave. They assassinate them in broad daylight, some even on the court house grounds.

Last year, the case of Rimsha Masih displayed all that is wrong with Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy law. Rimsha, believed to have been between 11 and 13 years old, comes from an impoverished Christian family living near the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. She suffers from Down Syndrome. Rimsha was accused of burning pages with Quranic [Koranic] passages. Police took her into custody on August 17, 2013. The entire Christian community was reportedly assaulted by an enraged mob who demanded that police turn her over to be killed.

Threats against the Christian community were also made. Almost 400 families were forced to flee to other parts of the capital. Later, a Muslim cleric with a known distaste for Christians was arrested for framing the girl to cause problems for the local Christians. Though he was arrested,  he was never formally indicted. The witnesses withdrew and he was acquitted for lack of evidence. The girl’s own family had to go into hiding. After the charges against her were dropped, continued threats forced Rimsha and her family to leave Pakistan. They now reside in Canada and have been granted asylum.

Once an individual is accused of blasphemy, the stain never goes away. Unfortunately even if the accused is found not guilty, the risk of being killed by a radical is still a very grave threat.

Pakistan-blaphemy-protests

All Christians whether educated, or uneducated are at risk of becoming victims of the blasphemy law. Those who speak against the injustice of Christians become targets of persecution. Lawyers, politicians, journalists and activists who highlight the human rights abuses of persecuted Christians will face serious threats to their life, many are killed.

Salmaan_Taseer-001

Salmaan Taseer

Salman Taseer served as Governor of Punjab from 2008 until his assassination in early 2011. He was an outspoken critic of the Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. He also called for the pardon and release of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman falsely accused of blasphemy. On January 4 2011, Taseer was shot 27 times by his own guard, Mumtaz Qadri, who disagreed with Taseer’s opposition to Pakistan’s blasphemy law. Afterwards, Muslims who considered him a hero began to call Qadari, ‘GHAZI’.

“Ghazi” is a title of honor for a Muslim who slaughters a non-Muslim for the cause of Islam. After the murder, more than 500 clerics voiced support for the crime. Qadari’s supporters tried blocking police attempting to bring him to the Anti-Terrorism Court, some even showered Qadari with rose petals.

October 1, 2011, Qadri was sentenced to death by a Pakistani Anti Terrorist court at Islamabad for murdering Taseer. Qadri was executed on  February 29, 2016. His home became a shrine to ‘the faithful’, and thousands of supporters have marched in the streets, praising him as a heroic defender of Islam.

Video added as an article update

Asia Noreen Bibi, is a Christian mother of five who was charged with blasphemy in 2009. Her crime? After picking berries in temperatures exceeding 100 degrees, Asia went to the well to get water for herself and Her Muslim co-workers. She drank some of the water then dipped the cup again to refill it. Seeing this, a Muslim women blamed her, as a Christian, for defiling the well causing it to become unclean and unfit for them to drink or touch. Asia said some heated words were exchanged, after which two of the Muslim women fabricated the blasphemy case against her. It is also claimed a few days later she was taken, beaten, forced to admit, ask for forgiveness then convert to Islam, she refused to convert. Bibi was then arrested, charged, and sentenced to death by hanging.

Bibi maintains her innocence stating she had great respect and honor for the Muslim Prophet and the Quran, but and never made the alleged blasphemous remarks. Her case has drawn international criticism and her death sentence has so far not been carried out. A Pakistani mullah has advertised a $10,000 reward for anyone who kills her. She remains in prison under solitary confinement and required to prepare her own food, both for security reasons. While this case has drawn widespread attention, it’s not an unfamiliar tale.

Shahbaz Bhatti

Gill also recalled, Shabaz Bhatti who was a Pakistani politician and elected member of the National Assembly. He was the first Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs from November 2008 until his assassination on March 2, 2011 in Islamabad. Bhatti, a Roman Catholic was an outspoken critic of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws and the only Christian in the Cabinet. Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for his killing and called him a blasphemer of Muhammad.

“And there are hundreds of other examples.”

I became a victim of religious persecution which forced me to leave my family, job and homeland. He shared life is difficult in Thailand where he and his wife have applied for asylum. “Fear of immigration and the police is always on our head. Though Thailand kindly invited the UN to open its office here, they are not involved with the government of Thailand’s laws.” Thai authorities basically view them as ‘illegal immigrants’.

We are thankful to the Thailand government who issues us visas and grants entrance in their nation. However, we need a place to live until we are resettled by the UNHCR. As a humble request to them, I ask:

“Please ask your agencies to deal politely with the asylum seeker and refugees. We have already been through so many horrific trials. We are away from our families and burdened by great emotional distress.

His warning to Pakistani Christians seeking asylum

“Do not come to Bangkok! It’s not easy here to live and it’s very expensive. It’s also very sad to tell you that there are those claiming to be agents making false papers and selling them to innocent Christians. They will tell you that these false documents will help you in your case to the UNHCR. There are many agents in Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi etc., don’t trust anyone! Please, listen! They will be putting you through hell!

Pakistani FIA is also taking lots of money from Christians who are coming to Bangkok. They are asking for a large amount of bribe from Christians. They say, “We know you going for asylum.” Pakistani Christians are giving it to them, or they don’t allow them to go from immigration check to the airplane. Please be warned!

A humble request to the UNHCR

christians-in-pakistan-unhcrPlease provide ‘asylum seeker papers’ to all those seeking asylum nearer to their arrival in the country. Waiting a year for an interview after the six month wait for the paperwork is unbearably long. We are under continued fear of deportation. We don’t have job’s, we don’t haves visa’s, we don’t have enough money to eat even a good meal. I have even had to eliminate a meal each day. We can barely afford to eat twice a day due to financial problems. We appreciate and are grateful for the chance to be rescued from the terrorizing abuse in our nation. Please consider our plight to survive, now that we’ve come this far.

We are converted Christians. Our forefather were Hindus, Sikh, ect. Missionaries from Europe converted us. Now we are true believers in Jesus. Pakistani Christians don’t want to convert to Islam to save ourselves. We would give our life before denying JESUS without any doubts.

UPDATE July 2015:

The UNHCR Thailand office has postponed this persecuted Christian’s asylum interview date another 12 months. They’re money has run out and to get by, they are forced to ask others for support. They, like the many others in Thailand are desperate. Unable to legally work without asylum, threats of being arrested and thrown into detention centers has brought great stress and anxiety upon them. Many face extreme depression with the sense of complete loss of dignity.

Pakistan-Christiancross

PAKISTANI CHRISTIANS NEED YOUR PRAYERS! And pressure must be put on Pakistan to protect all of it’s citizens, regardless of stature, ethnicity, or religion.

Freedom of religion and freedom of speech should be a basic human right upheld in all nations. Americans can help by contacting their Senators and Congressmen about the misuse of blasphemy laws in Pakistan. Ask that future aid and other relations with Pakistan ought to be curtailed in the light of Pakistan’s steadfast refusal to accord Christians and other religious minorities basic human rights. Pakistan ought not receive any but the most urgent humanitarian aid until these totalitarian laws are repealed.
And please remember to pray for our brother in Thailand, as he desperately waits for asylum to be granted!

By Lois Kanalos

UPDATE: Sunny has been granted refugee status from the UNHCR. He and his family are still at risk of being detained by the Thai authorities and sent to the IDC as they do not recognize his UNHCR status. Please pray for them and for a timely resettlement to start a new life living freely in a different country.

This interview may be shared, or reprinted with credit to Voice of the Persecuted

Voice of the Persecuted is helping to relieve Pakistani Christians in Thailand. We cannot continue the work without your generous support. Help us reach life saving goals by joining us in the mission for persecuted Pakistani Christians.

If you would like your gift to be used specifically for those suffering in Thailand, please add Pakistani Christians in Thailand to the note section on the donation page.

In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

Everyday, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and further His Kingdom! As you greatly bless others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!

 

Chinese Underground Church Leader Samuel Lamb Dies

Pastor Samuel Lamb

Pastor Samuel Lamb

BEIJING, CHINA – Chinese Pastor Samuel Lamb, who spent more than 20 years in a forced labor camp and prison for his house church activities, has died, his supporters confirmed Monday, August 5.

Lamb, whose last name was also spelled as Lam, passed away Saturday, August 3, in Guangzhou city at the age of 88, said Open Doors USA, a major advocacy and aid group with close ties to Chinese house church Christians.

Born in 1924 in a mountainous area overlooking Macau, he was raised as a Christian while his father pastored a small Baptist church, Christians said.

As a young enthusiastic preacher, Lamb was first detained during what Christians called “one of the first big waves of persecution” under Chinese leader Mao Zedong and was held in prison from 1955 to 1957.

The Chinese authorities sentenced him a second time in 1958. “He spent 20 gruesome years in labor camps, where he mostly worked in coal mines,” Open Doors USA recalled. Despite the reported harsh punishments, Lamb continued to teach the Christian faith behind bars.

WIFE DIES

He saw his wife for the last time during the five months that he was on remand. She died in 1977, a year before Lamb’s sentence ended.

Christians who knew him well say Lamb was targeted by the government was his refusal to merge his “illegal house church” into the Three Self Patriotic Movement, the state-led Protestant Church.

“The government used to forbid Christian leaders to preach about the second coming of Christ and to teach minors under 18 years old. China basically made the state church evolve around the state and not around God,” Open Doors USA commented.

Following his release, Lamb continued his work as pastor. He soon experienced “God’s response” said Open Doors USA, adding there has been “an amazing growth of the Church in China” now estimated at up to 130 million believers.

“More persecution, more growth,” Lamb said about these developments. His own Guangzhou-based congregation now has  4,000 members. It is  located in  block of three-storey houses while in a neighbouring block, another two storeys also serve as part of the church, Christians said.

Samuel-Lamb-Chinese-pastor
PREPARE TO SUFFER

Though his congregation is technically still illegal, it hasn’t been raided in years, according to Christians familiar with the church in Guangzhou.

Yet, he always remained cautious about the government. “We must be prepared to suffer. We must be prepared for the fact that we may be arrested. Before I was sent to prison, I already prepared a bag with some clothes, shoes and a toothbrush. When I had to go to the police station, I could just pick it up. I was ready,” Lamb reportedly said.

“People are still being arrested. You don’t know what will happen tomorrow. Today the authorities are not bothering us, but tomorrow things may be different. I pray that we will receive the strength to stand firm,” the pastor was heard saying in talks with visitors.

Open Doors USA called Lamb “a heroe for millions of believers” and a “reliable partner” in the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s, when he helped to deliver over 200,000 pieces of Christian literature to Chinese believers.

“The death of Samuel Lamb leaves a hole in the Chinese Church,” the group added.

“Together with other heroes of faith like Wang Mindao and Allen Yuan, he symbolized the brave faith of a Church that grew at an unprecedented speed in world history. Long after his passing it will be said in many churches that more persecution only has one outcome: more growth.”

(BosNewsLife)

 

 

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