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9 years ago
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9 years ago
Dear Donna Matthews,
On February 2, Rev. Wilson Issavi was arrested by Iranian state security agents in Isfahan, Iran, an incident that has recently hit mainstream Christian media.  However, ICC sources have confirmed that there were an additional eight other Christians arrested along with Rev. Issavi who are currently imprisoned and awaiting charges.  The names and whereabouts of the remaining eight Christians must remain undisclosed for security purposes. 
Rev. Issavi was visiting a friend’s home in Shahin Shahr, Isfahan when state security raided the house unannounced.  Rev. Issavi, his hosts and others were apprehended by the security agents and immediately taken to prison.  Friends and family are deeply concerned as they are unable to contact Rev. Issavi.  The location and physical condition of the nine Christians is unknown.
The arrest of Rev. Issavi was a devastating blow to the Iranian Christian community.  Rev. Issavi is known among friends as a humble and devoted servant of the church.  He is considered a man of prayer who has lived a modest life to better assist those in need.
The arrests occurred after the Iranian government forced the closure of Rev. Issavi’s church, the Evangelical Church of Kermanshah, on January 2.  Before its closure, the Evangelical Church of Kermanshah was among the few remaining open churches in the country. 
Iranian Christians are under constant threat of discrimination, imprisonment, torture, and even execution by the Iranian government which severely restricts religious freedom.
Please pray:
-          That Rev. Wilson Issavi and the eight other believers will be released from prison.
-          That the Holy Spirit will give them strength and comfort amidst any torture or mistreatment they may face.
-          That the Lord will give strength to their families.

Sincerely in Christ,
Jeff King
President, ICC
International Christian Concern
P.O. Box 8056
Silver Spring, MD 20907
Phone: (800) ICC-5441
Fax: (301) 585-5918
9 years ago

Dear Donna 

Pakistani Christian Beaten for Refusing to Convert to Islam

Riaz Masih’s Christian parents died when he was just a young boy. Although raised by a Muslim cleric, he never converted to Islam. His continual refusal to convert infuriated his four older Muslim brothers, and after ransacking his house on Feb 8, they beat him unconscious.

"They threatened…that I must convert right now or face death," Masih said. "They said killing an infidel is not a sin, instead it’s righteousness in the sight of Allah almighty." According to Compass News Masih said that Akram-Ullah, the Muslim cleric, and his brothers offered him 1 million rupees (US$11,790), a spacious residence and a woman of his choice to marry in order to lure him to Islam, but he declined.

Father we praise our brother Raiz for his courage to withstand the threats on his life and stay steadfast in his love for You. We ask that You cover him with Your divine protection against any future attacks and that his witness will bring honor and glory to You. We pray for softening of the hearts of Riaz’s brothers so that they too can call You Lord!

9 years ago
 Is there a difference between "freedom of religion" and "freedom of worship"? Some advocates for international religious freedom are monitoring what they fear is a change in the language being used by Obama administration officials.  They are concerned that the broad emphasis on spreading "freedom of religion," which the President used when he spoke in Cairo last June, is being subtly replaced by the more limited concept of "freedom of worship."  Read more >>
9 years ago

One of the largest earthquakes ever recorded tore apart houses, bridges and highways in central Chile on Saturday and sent a tsunami racing halfway around the world. Chileans near the epicenter were tossed about as if shaken by a giant, and the head of the emergency agency said authorities believed at least 300 people were dead.

9 years ago
n Focus: Pastor Kumara Nayak

Pastor Kumara Nayak is in need of your prayers this month as he recovers from third-degree burns sustained while attempting to save his church from a fire started by Hindu radicals.
On January 22, a mob of radical Hindus broke into Pastor Nayak’s Memorial Gypsy Church in Andhra Pradesh, India, and doused the building in several gallons of kerosene. ...
9 years ago

March 3, 2010

Dear Donna

Five Family Members Gunned Down in Mosul

Mosul, Iraq is a dangerous place for Christians to live. Some remain there because they do not have alternatives. Others choose to stay and serve the community. Such was the case of one Christian family living and serving in Mosul both out of necessity and commitment. But last week, attackers forced themselves into the house, gunning down all five family members and then throwing their bodies out onto the street as a message to Christians. Also in the past week 40 to 50 more families have fled Mosul. While it is difficult to quote exact numbers, it is estimated that just ten years ago, 100,000 Christians lived in Mosul. Now it is thought that only 150-300 Christian families remain.

Father, our heart breaks that Your people are under attack in Mosul. Comfort and strengthen them. Send Your Spirit to rain down on this region in power that in the midst of this persecution Your church will not only survive, but increase mightily.

Families in Mosul
9 years ago

My prayers have gone out for the families in Mosul.  Thank you Donna!

9 years ago
AP - One of two Baptist missionaries still held on kidnapping charges in Haiti was released and flew to Miami on Monday, but the U.S. group's leader remained in custody. Full Story
9 years ago

JOS, Nigeria – The U.S. government and human rights activists called Tuesday for Nigeria to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the deaths of more than 200 unarmed people in renewed violence between Christians and Muslims.

Acting President Goodluck Jonathan had promised that the fighting would stop after more than 300 people were slain in January. Jonathan fired his national security adviser late Monday night following the weekend violence.

"After the January killings, the villages should have been properly protected," U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said. "Clearly, previous efforts to tackle the underlying causes have been inadequate, and in the meantime the wounds have festered and grown deeper."

Human Rights Watch also urged Jonathan to provide protection for those in the small villages surrounding Jos, a central Nigerian city that has become the fault line for religious violence in the region.

Those who survived attacks Sunday in three mostly Christian villages said security forces never provided them any guards, even though Jos itself has remained under a dusk-til-dawn curfew since January's fighting.

"It's time to draw a line in the sand," Human Rights Watch researcher Corinne Dufka said in a statement Tuesday. "The authorities need to protect these communities, bring the perpetrators to book and address the root causes of violence."

Police say they have arrested more than 90 people suspected of inciting the violence. Some described it as a reprisal attack for Muslim deaths in January, while others said Fulani cattlemen wanted to take
9 years ago

March 10, 2010

Dear Donna

Islamic Assailants Kill Hundreds of Christians near Jos, Nigeria

A tragic genocide took place yesterday morning in Plateau state, Nigeria. Several hundred Christians, including many women and children, were killed with machetes by ethnic Fulani Muslims in a violent rampage. “We were woken up by gunshots in the middle of the night, and before we knew what was happening, our houses were torched and they started hacking down people,” survivor Musa Gyang told media.

According to Compass News the attack on Sunday is the latest in several religious clashes in the state in recent months that have claimed lives and property. Plateau state is a predominantly Christian state in a country almost evenly divided between Christians and Muslims. The Muslim minority has been contesting ownership of some parts of the state, leading to frequent clashes.

Father, we pray that You would be with the Christians that are still living in the midst of the chaos in Jos. We ask that You would bring peace and civility to the region now. We pray that the violence would not spread any further, but instead stop completely. Please give wisdom to President Goodluck Jonathan, particularly as he is meeting to discuss strategies to prevent clashes spreading to neighboring states.

9 years ago

Iranian Pastor Tortured, Threatened for ‘Converting Muslims’ 

Rev. Wilson Issavi, 65, was accused for “converting Muslims” and thereby arrested after finishing a house meeting at a friend’s home in Isfahan. Issavi is now being tortured in prison and threatened with execution, sources reported to Compass News. Arrests taking place over the last month seem to be part of an anti-Christian sweep in Isfahan, particularly targeting Christian leaders. One regional analyst, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the Iranian government is set on crushing religious freedom within the country. “The recent spate of church leader arrests provides clear evidence of the Iranian authorities’ desperate determination to strangle the growing church movement, along with all other forms of perceived political dissent,” he said.

Another case in point: on Feb. 28th, Isfahan residents Hamid Shafiee and his wife Reyhaneh Aghajary (both converts from Islam and house church leaders) were arrested at their home. Aghajary was at home with a group of other Christians when police came for her and her husband, who was not at home. Police handcuffed her and, upon finding boxes of Bibles, began beating her. Her husband Shafiee was arrested an hour later when he returned to the house. Their fate and whereabouts are still unknown.

Father, we ask that You would work mightily in the area of Isfahan, and continue to strengthen the Christians and church leaders there as they suffer for Your Gospel. We pray for religious freedom in Iran, and for Your Word to pierce the hearts of the Iranian authorities. We ask that Your Holy Spirit would minister to Rev. Wilson Issavi in his pain and hardship in prison, and comfort the families of Hamid Shafiee and Reyhaneh Aghajary as they wait to hear their kin’s outcome.

Praying with you,

The Prayer Force Team

8 years ago
ICC Interviews Eyewitnesses

ICC's Regional Manager for Africa, Jonathan Racho, inteviews an eye witness of the violence against Christians in Nigeria in which over 500 Christians, mainly women and children, were slaughtered by Muslims.
Here's part of that interview:
Witness 1: At around 3 AM on Sunday night, we heard very heavy gun shots. People were scared, so some children started to run outside the village. Then they were massacred outside the village. I was watching them ... They camped at a Roman Catholic church, near the place I was hiding. They used the Catholic church to hide some of their weapons. They burned down people’s house and when people run outside of their house, they slaughtered them with machetes. They had guns, but they killed most the people with machetes.
Read more.
8 years ago

March 17, 2010

Dear Donna

Morocco Begins Large-Scale Expulsion of Foreign Christians

Moroccan authorities deported more than 40 foreign Christian aid workers in an ongoing, nationwide crackdown that included the expulsion of foster parents caring for 33 Moroccan orphans. Police first went to Village of Hope orphanage last Saturday, questioning children and looking for Bibles and evidence of Christian evangelism; by late Sunday night they had told all foster parents and staff that they had to leave on Monday.

The eviction process was painful. The Moroccan authorities gathered the children together and told them about the deportation of foreign staff and foster parents. After that, parents had to further explain to the devastated children what was about take place. Some of the children had been with their parents for 10 years, and the trauma caused was beyond description.

Chris Broadbent, an orphanage staff member, emphasized that government accusations that they had been proselytizing were unfounded and that all staff had signed and adhered to a non-proselytizing policy. "We were a legal institution," he said. "Right from the start, they knew it was an organization founded by Christians and run by a mixture of Christian and Muslim people working together."

Father, we ask that You would open the eyes of the Moroccan government and authorities. We pray that a point of compromise may be reached, so that the 33 children can be reunited with the only real parents they know. We pray for peace and understanding between the Muslims and Christians living in Morocco, and that You would use the Christians to show Christ’s love and grace, no matter the circumstances.

8 years ago

Christians Face 1,000 Attacks in 500 Days in Karnataka, India  

Minority Christians in southern Karnataka state are under an unprecedented wave of Christian persecution, having faced more than 1,000 attacks in 500 days, according to an independent investigation by a former judge of the Karnataka High Court. “Attacks are taking place every day,” Justice Michael Saldanha reported to Compass News.

The latest attack took place on Wednesday, March 17, when a mob of around 150 people led by Hindu extremists stormed the funeral of a 50-year-old Christian. As the funeral service was about to begin, the mob pulled the coffin apart and desecrated the cross that the relatives of the deceased were carrying.  They threw the body into a tractor and dumped it outside, saying his burial would have contaminated Indian soil.

Karnataka Home Minister V.S. Acharya denied the results of the inquiry. “The allegation of Karnataka having faced 1,000 attacks is absolutely false,” Acharya stated. “Karnataka is the most peaceful state in India, and the people are law-abiding.”

Father, we ask that You would put an end to these attacks in Karnataka. Please help the state government to stop denying reality, and give them wisdom to understand the inhumanity of what is taking place there. We pray for the Christians who are continually suffering for Your sake, and we ask that Your Holy Spirit would strengthen them daily.  Thank you for their faith and courage, and help us to boldly continue to support them in steadfast prayer.

Praying with you,

The Prayer Force Team

8 years ago

March 29, 2010

Gao ZhishengSHANXI -- On Sunday, March 28, 2010, missing human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng spoke to his wife and children for the first time in over a year - confirming he is still alive! False rumors of his death, torture, and escape from the custody of the Chinese Government have shrouded Gao's absence with mystery for over a year. Gao's brief phone conversations with western media mark the first official contact the public has had with him since his abduction by police on February 4, 2009.

Yesterday, Gao informed reporters that he had been released from detention six months ago, and had taken up residence at Wutai Shan mountain, a Buddhist landmark in northern Shanxi province. He refused to give details on his condition or whereabouts, saying he could not legally give interviews.

Close friend and fellow human rights lawyer Li Heping confirmed he had also spoken with Gao on Sunday. Gao told him he had "friends around him" - indicating he was being held under close surveillance by Chinese authorities.

Gao's wife Geng He and their children were overwhelmed with emotion as they spoke with Gao on Sunday morning. The children could not stop crying. In a statement released on Monday morning, Geng He appealed to the Chinese government to allow Gao Zhisheng to join the family in New York. Gao's family has suffered greatly in his absence. Geng He's parents have been severely harassed in recent months, for which Gao feels guilty.

He told the Associated Press, "I just want to be in peace and quiet for a while and be reunited with my family. Most people belong with family. I have not been with mine for a long time. This is a mistake and I want to correct this mistake."

While on his campaign in Europe to promote awareness of Gao's cause, ChinaAid President Bob Fu attributed the breakthrough to increased international pressure. "Thanks to the more than 124,000 supporters in over 180 countries around the world who have signed the petition to Free Gao, the Chinese Government has been forced to respond and to allow Gao Zhisheng to reconnect with his loved ones."

ChinaAid thanks you for your continued support and urges you to continue to take action. From Argentina to Zimbabwe, you, the international community have answered the call. And this is just the beginning.

Gao is not free yet. His movements are still being watched and monitored. He is not free to speak publicly or without surveillance. We must continue to press the Chinese government to free Gao Zhisheng, to uncensor his movements, and to allow him to reunite with his family.

Take Action:

  1. Encourage more to Sign the Petition. Every voice counts, and every voice will be heard!
  2. Call on your local representatives to take official action on behalf of Gao Zhisheng.
  3. Urge U.N Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to hold the Chinese government to the international covenants on human rights.

Thanks to you, the world has now regained contact with Mr. Gao Zhisheng. Because of you, Gao was able to reconnect with his family. With your continued support, we can make their dream of reunion a reality!

For more ways to get involved, visit


8 years ago

Update Report – Iraq Elections Results  

According to Chaldean Archbishop Louis Sako, the final results of the Iraqi Parliamentary elections show a change [compared to 2005]. Having won the elections, Iyad Allawi is given the first chance to form a coalition government. Allawi is leading an ethnically mixed coalition of both Sunni and Shia Muslims.

The country coordinator of Open Doors responded slightly positively about these election results saying, “Local Christians hope Allawi will be able to bridge the sectarian division in Iraq. Allawi’s bloc claims to be a secular alliance which implies separation between state and religion.”

Although there was much violence directed towards Christians prior to the elections, it’s complicated to detect where the motives came from and why. “I am afraid of a division in the country,” says Sako when asked about his vision for the future of Iraq. He adds, “Please pray for peace and a harmonic co-existence between all human beings. Prayers help to respect the rights of the others, help the dialogue to build a harmonic society. God is working through people who pray.” 

Father, thank you for the slightly positive outcome of the Iraqi elections. We know that You are in control of all politics, governments, and world leaders. We ask now that You would continue to steer Iraq into just and fair decisions regarding religious freedom. We pray for peace between all people there and throughout the world.

Praying with you,

The Prayer Force Team

8 years ago

April 21, 2010

Dear Donna

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 Holy Spirit, 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 North Korea during North Korea Freedom Week

Last 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 North Korea.  

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.

It is not too late to participate. You can either organize a prayer event or send a letter of encouragement. Visit the

8 years ago

April 28, 2010

Dear Donna
‘Pinpricks’ of Truth Making Way into North Korea

As refugees from North Korea and activists from Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) gather in Seoul, South Korea this week to highlight human rights violations in the hermit kingdom, there are signs that North Korean citizens are accessing more truth than was previously thought. A recent survey by the Peterson Institute found that a startling 60 percent of North Koreans now have access to information outside of government propaganda.

Kim Seung Min of Free North Korea Radio said in a press statement, “North Koreans are increasingly finding out that their misery is a direct result of the Kim Jong-Il regime, not South Korea and America.” The radio station broadcasts into the country for five hours a day, adding to information gleamed by refugees and merchants who cross the border regularly to buy Chinese goods.

The radio station is a partner in the North Korea Freedom Coalition (NKFC), which is holding its annual North Korea Freedom Week events this week in Seoul. “We set out to double the radio listenership of 8 or 9 percent,” said NKFC Co-Chair Suzanne Scholte. She described the flow of information as “inpricks in a dark veil over North Korea... Now those pinpricks are becoming huge holes.” Scholte adds, “This is a spiritual conflict as well as a physical one – some people didn’t want us to call it freedom week. But we’re making a statement … God gives us freedom by the very nature of being human and North Koreans are entitled to that too.” Read the full story from Compass News.

Father, we praise and thank You for the fantastic news of more information entering into North Korea. We give You the glory for this. We pray for the North Korea Freedom Coalition to accomplish its goals, and ask that You would continue to open up the hearts and minds of those who don’t know the Gospel, and put in them an understanding of the true freedom found in Christ.

Buddhist Extremists in Bangladesh Beat & Take Christians Captive

Urgent Call to Prayer:
Since April 16th, Buddhist members of an armed rebel group and their sympathizers are holding three tribal Christians captive in a pagoda in Bangladesh after severely beating them in an attempt to force them to return to Buddhism. They are to be kept in the pagoda for 15 to 20 days as punishment for having left the Buddhist religion, according to Christian sources.

Father, we pray for those held captive: Pastor Shushil Jibon Talukder, Bimol Kanti Chakma, and Laksmi Bilas Chakma. We ask that they will not be shaken in their turmoil, but instead encouraged by Your Holy Spirit to stand firm in their faith. We ask that You would intervene and give them strength and perseverance as they suffer for Your Name. Give the rebel group an awakening, and let them see the Truth shine through their captives. 

8 years ago

This topic is closed

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