"With words of hatred they surround me; they attack me without cause. In return for my friendship they accuse me, but I am a man of prayer." Psalm 109:3-4
Pakistani Mother Condemned for Blasphemy is Stunned and Shattered
Asia Bibi Noreen, sentenced to death by hanging under Pakistans blasphemy laws, has had yet another setback. Hope of possible pardon by Pakistans president was dashed when High Court Chief Justice Khawaja Muhammad Sharif ruled that the government may not grant a pardon.
Pakistan is a country in crisis. While the reports of the devastating monsoon floods fade from our headlines, the relief and reconstruction effort is still in its early days.
The task is overwhelming. Since the floodwaters inundated the country in early August, over 20 million people have been affectedthats more than the total number of those hit by the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean and the Haiti earthquake put together. One-fifth of the countrys agricultural land has been covered by the floodwaters, which have left over 5,000 miles of road and rail, together with 1,000 bridges, destroyed in their wake.
Now, three months later, millions of people are still homeless, living in makeshift shelters and facing a daily struggle to survive in the face of malnutrition and disease.
While the scale of the disaster is truly shocking, the story you wont hear in the media is the desperate plight of Christians living in the flood-ravaged regions. Christians in Pakistan are used to living as second-class citizensbut in the aftermath of the flooding, the discrimination against believers is more acute than ever. In fact, the situation is so dire that pastors across the country have issued an emergency call for help.
Daniel, an Open Doors co-worker, recently traveled to the flood-hit regions of Pakistan. "Of course I had heard the stories about Christians being neglected during the relief operations," says Daniel. "But in the first village I visited, I was shocked by this harsh reality."
"The village was still under water, the people camped on higher ground," Daniel continues. "The Muslims there had strong, solid tents. But the Christianswho were on their own a few hundred meters down the roadhad only improvised shelters made from branches and leaves. The local Christian leader told me that the believers were passed over when Islamic aid came to the village. All they got were leftovers," he says. "However, when a local church brought supplies to the Christians, they had to share with the whole village."
"According to the pastors who spoke to me," says Daniel, "this situation is the sad reality in many flood-hit areas."
Fearful of attacks
Not only are Christians being sidelined in the aid effort, they are also fearful of threats and attacks from Muslim extremists. Believers in some areas have been told to vacate their region or convert to Islam. "The Christians say that the Taliban is very active," says Daniel. "There is always a risk that aid workers will be attackedespecially foreigners or Christians."
Reaching those most in need
Despite the risks, Open Doors is working with our partner organizations in Pakistan to help Christian families most at risk in the aftermath of the floods. Through your support, we continue to provide help to those most in need.
Your gift to Open Doors will be the answer to the prayers of Christian families most in need today. Your prayers are essential, too.
If this story has touched you, please share your thoughts with us below:
Additional Frontline Faith Articles
Indonesian Christian teacher, Wilhelmina, became a victim of the
country's Islamic legal system when she was charged with defaming Islam
while giving private lessons to a group of elementary-aged children.
The country's new constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but
prohibits laws "contrary to the beliefs and provisions of Islam."
Afghanistan is ranked 6 on Open Doors' World Watch List.
For the past half century, the Buddhist Burmese government has persecuted the Karen, a Christian minority living precariously on the eastern border of Burma.
July 1, 2010
But the Lord God helps me, therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame. Isaiah 50:7
Christian Professor in Pakistan Beaten for Refusing to Convert
The morning of June 14th, upon exiting his house on campus, Professor Samuel John was attacked and beaten by a mob of 20 to 25 Muslim students. When his wife realized what was happening, she ran to help him, but the students beat her as well. Both John and his wife were rushed to the hospital, with his injuries listed as critical. John later reported the matter to the dean of the Peshawar University College, but the official was unable to take any action because the Islamic student council is supported by political parties and powerful Islamic groups.
who is a father of four and has been teaching psychology for 12 years,
has subsequently faced various forms of harassment from different
Islamic student groups who have thrown stones at his home, sent
threatening letters, and have threatened his family over the phone. I
am still getting threats, the professor told Compass. They say,
Leave the university or accept Islam if you dont convert, we will
kill your family.
Father, we lift up Samuel John and his family to You, and ask that You would protect and encourage them as they face this awful persecution on the university campus. We pray for peace amongst the student groups, and for Pakistani Christians to continue to stand firm in their faith even in the face of opposition.
May 20, 2010
Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live
Be at rest once more, O my soul
Psalm 116:2, 7
Pakistani Forced to Sell Kidney to Pay Debt
a low-wage machine operator, said his Muslim employer, Ghulam Mustafa,
forced him to sell his kidney in an effort to pay off a loan. In 2007
Gill took a loan of 150,000 rupees (US$1,766) from his employer at an
interest rate of 400 percent. This exorbitant rate Mustafa charges only
Mustafa confirmed to Compass News that last month, after he took over Gills home to pay off part of the loan, he then gave Gill two weeks to pay the outstanding balance. On May 6, Mustafa came to Gills home with about five armed men and transported him to Ganga Ram hospital, where they forced him to sell his kidney. The value of the kidney was estimated at around $2,355, leaving Gill with outstanding debt of about $2,945.
Gill, who used this loan to send his 17-year-old daughter to college, says that he does not know how he will repay the rest. The balance is due next month.
our heart breaks for our brother Gill. We ask that You provide the
resources to pay off the balance of his debt and heal his body due to
the surgery. Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he
shields him all day long. Deut. 33:12
Update Prayer Report-
Authorities in Xinjiang Province recently moved Uyghur Urumqi, and allowed the first visit from family members since his arrest in January 2008, according to Compass sources. Praise God! Alimjan Yimit from a prison in Kashgar to a prison in the provincial capital
pastored a Uyghur ethnic state secrets to foreign
organizations, his actual offense was talking to visiting Christians
from the United States. The Kashgar Intermediate Court found Alimjan
guilty of leaking state secrets on Oct. 27, 2009 and gave him a
15-year sentence. Alimjan was noticeably thinner but in good spirits,
the family reported. Officials have now granted Alimjans wife Gulnur
and other close family members permission to visit him once a month. in Xinjiang prior to his arrest
in January 2008. While the initial charges against Alimjan were both
instigating separatism and leaking
we thank and praise You for the visits that Alimjan can have from his
family. We know that You are sustaining him during his time in prison,
and we ask that You would continue to strengthen his faith daily. We
also ask that You give the lawyers wisdom as they work to reduce
Alimjans sentence. May You be glorified in his situation, and may he
and his family trust You through it.
DON'T FORGET THE RIGHT TO WORSHIP FREELY: Open Doors USA President, Dr. Carl Moeller and Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, Director of Interfaith Affairs for the Simon Wiesenthal Center co-wrote this op-ed published in the Washington Times. It highlights the importance of promoting international religious freedom in U.S. foreign policy and the need for President Obama to appoint a qualified for International Religious Freedom. Read Article>>
April 21, 2010
Prayer for Secret Believers and Churches in Tunisia
Across Tunisia, satellite television has become quite popular, even common. Nearly all homes have a radio and a television; most have a satellite dish too. These are powerful tools that allow the message of Jesus to be brought into hearts and homes.
Tunisian (Arabic) language programs began a few years ago, with a few people responding in faith. Today the programming has grown and encompasses a broad range of purposes, from explanation and testimony, to teaching and discipling. However in a culture where being different or expressing uniqueness is looked down upon; many decisions for Christ are being made in secret. But for others who have newly accepted Christ, and through the presence of the , are able to discover one another and worship together. Praise God for His work in Tunisia!
Father, we praise and thank You for those in Tunisia who have heard Your Word through the media. We ask that You would strengthen those believers, despite the risks involved, and protect them as well as those who work in the program ministry. We also pray for those who have responded in faith, that they will connect with local fellowships. Please continue to have the media reach every village and home, so that all can be touched by the gospel.
Continued Prayer for Maryam and Marzieh
We have been praying for two Iranian Christian women, Maryam and Marzieh, who were in prison for their faith and then released last November. Last week they again were in court facing charges that could have sent them back to prison for life, or even worse, the death penalty. We have since learned that they were not detained and that their court process will take a few more days...we ask for your continued prayers.
Father, we know You are in control. We pray again that You would set Maryam and Marzieh free from all charges set against them, and comfort them with Your abundant peace. Please continue to heal their illnesses and pain, and bind their hearts with Yours as they wait for the outcome of their court hearing.
Prayer for during North Korea Freedom Week
week we gave the opportunity and challenge to seek God and cry out to
him on behalf of our brothers and sisters facing extreme persecution in
So far, more than 33 individuals have signed up to hold prayer vigils during North Korea Freedom Week (April 25- May 1) in their church or home, including Christians in Kenya, Romania, Australia and other countries worldwide. In addition over 1,450 people have visited the Open Doors website and written messages which will be translated and then sent by radio into North Korea.
The plate of food remained uneaten in the Mandera prison cell. Hassan, a convert from Islam was arrested last August for allegedly distributing in a small village outside of Somalilands capital city of . Hassan knew that he needed to remain strong while in prison
even his family turned against him.
His accusers and his family, all Muslims, met and agreed that Islamic teachers, or sheikhs, should go and visit him in jail. The two sheikhs met him in the police station cell and implored him to stop spreading Christianity. Hassan refused. In hopes that a worse situation would convince him to return to Islam, he was moved to the dreaded Mandera prison in a remote part of Somalias self-declared state of . In spite of the pressure, Hassan acted boldly and staged a hunger strike to protest his transfer to the prison. I still belong to Jesus, he said. I know one day I will be released. Although discouraged Hassan, said he is adhering to Christ.
Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. - Psalm 25:16. Father, we pray that You would encourage and strengthen Hassan as he remains in this harsh prison. Strengthen his faith to continue to be a living testimony to his family and that they will turn to Christ who is the passion of Hassans life.
Ethnic Somali Christians, small in number, practice their faith in secret under extremely dangerous conditions. Fighting between Somali Islamic militias and Ethiopian forces reportedly has led to increasing hostility towards Christians in some areas. Islam is the official religion; there is no legal provision for religious freedom.
Father, we pray for the handful of believers in Somalia to grow in their faith and that their freedom to worship would be recognized by the government. Protect converts to Christianity and comfort them in their isolation from families and clans. Put an end to the political instability that has devastated this country.
Open Doors USA
David, his wife and three children lived quietly on
the island of Kinbidhoo in the Maldives. They learned the local
language and were always willing to participate in social activities
such as beach cleaning and other community projects. David was known as
a generous man and was willing to lend financial support to anyone in
need. But last December David came under suspicion by police and was
accused of conducting non-accepted religious" activities.
Davids neighbors went to the authorities and petitioned on behalf of him and his family claiming truthfully that they had kept to themselves and had never spoken to them about religion or displayed a Bible. But the local police were skeptical saying that these neighbors wouldnt even know what a Bible looks like.
Throughout the Maldives the level of suspicion of foreigners has increased. The police in Davids case claim that although the islanders say he never talked to them about religion, they are wary of an ulterior motive for the family having lived on the island for several years. They believe that missionary groups have a rotating membership and are working under a long-term plan to bring Christianity to the islands.
David and his family are now facing deportation.
The harvest truly is great, but laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Luke 10:2. Father, our concern is for the many who will never hear Your Word in the Maldives. We ask today that you send an army of missionaries to these islands and that Your Truth will take root and flourish.
Under the laws of the Maldivian government evangelism is banned. All citizens must be Muslim and the practice of any religion except Islam is prohibited. Churches are forbidden as well as the import of Christian materials. The few Maldivian believers must practice their faith in secrecy. Once a peaceful archipelago, local analysts consider radicalism as one of the greatest challenges facing the Maldives today.
Father, in Ezekiel 36:27 You said to Israel, I will put my Spirit within you. Likewise, we call on You to fill our brothers and sisters in the Maldives with Your presence. Our hearts are heavy for those who love You in secret; we ask that You help them feel our love and prayers for them as we unite as one Body in Jesus Christ.
Open Doors USA
"There is no other country in the world where Christians are being persecuted in such a horrible and systematic manner," says Carl Moeller, President/CEO of Open Doors USA.
One expert on North Korea stated: "Christians are the target of fierce government action, and once caught, are not regarded as human. Last year we had evidence that some [of those captured] were used as guinea pigs to test chemical and biological weapons."
Click countries below to view profiles of the top 10:
1. North Korea
3. Saudi Arabia
Persecuted Christians - Open Doors Homepage
Our Brothers and Sisters Around the World Are Suffering for Their Faith.
BE THEIR VOICE
Volunteer with www.Be-A-Voice.net
It's as simple as sharing current
encouraging others to write to Christians imprisoned for their faith
and requesting complimentary copies of Tortured for Christ
for those who want to learn more.
When you join VOM's new Be-A-Voice Network you will receive FREE online access to prayer bulletins, prisoner profile sheets and the ability to request free copies of Tortured for Christ for your Christian friends.
By becoming a member, you make a commitment to continue making the message of today's persecuted church known through prayer, education and practical involvement.
Volunteer for VOM in Your Local Church and Community.
» JOIN NOW at www.Be-A-Voice.net
Questions? Contact our network administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Help Linfen Church!
Before dawn on Sunday, September 13, 2009, a band of 400 government officials, police and hired ruffians launched an attack on Linfen-Fushan Church in Shanxi. With no warning, members who were sleeping at the church construction site were mercilessly beaten, with more than 30 left in critical condition. Bulldozers razed the factory and church building to the ground, and the mob looted any valuables and smashed the remaining property. Following the brutal attack, the Fushan governing officials arrested more than ten Linfen church leaders.
Esther, the daughter of two Linfen pastors, called home frantically in October, after learning about the attack on Fushan Church over the internet. The phone rang and rang, but no one answered. She later learned from a relative that her father and mother had been arrested in a sweeping backlash against house church leaders on October 11, 2009.
In the trial held on November 25th, Esther's father Yang Xuan was convicted of "unlawfully occupying agricultural land" and sentenced to 3 1/2 years with a 20,000 Yuan fine. Her Aunt Yang Rongli received a maximum sentence of 7 years in prison and 30,000 Yuan fine, and her Uncle Wang Xiaoguang received 3 years in prison with a 10,000 Yuan fine. Esther's mother, Yang Caizhen, was arbitrarily sentenced to two years Re-education through Labor in the brutal Laogai (labor-camp) system. Already fearing for their safety and health, Esther learned in December that her mother had been severely beaten in prison.
ChinaAid has now partnered with Esther (Yang Xue) to tell the world about the persecution of Linfen Church, with our new website, www.HelpLinfen.com.
HelpLinfen.com tells the full story of the Persecution of Linfen Church, complete with translated documentation and photo evidence. It also includes (Esther's) The Daughter of Linfen Prisoners' Appeal to the international community, as well as the appeals and testimonies of other family members and prisoners. In the coming months, HelpLinfen.com will also feature more ways to get involved and share the Linfen story with others.
Visit www.HelpLinfen.com today, and help us raise awareness about the devastating persecution of Linfen Church and .
More Ways to Help Linfen Church!
From the American journalists held captive in North Korea, to the violent elections in Iran, oppression has certainly been spotlighted in the news in 2009. But the persecution suffered by our brothers and sisters around the world often goes unnoticed.
To bring awareness to the , releases the World Watch List, an evaluation of persecution based on the findings of a specially-designed questionnaire covering 50 key aspects of religious freedom.
Open Doors is always on watch for persecuted Christians. Because of our commitment to serve on the frontlines, our field operations are serving in 46 of the 50 top most persecuted countries in the world.