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Christian News May 15, 2009 4:00 AM

There's a tough fight brewing in Washington - and we need your help.

Today's skirmish:  Should Congress express support for President Obama's vision for Middle East peace and his Middle East envoy, Senator George Mitchell?

56 Members of Congress, led by William Delahunt of Massachusetts, have co-sponsored a resolution that supports the President's appointment of Mitchell.

Others in Congress are waiting to hear from you and other constituents before deciding what to do. That's where you come in.

Click here to tell your Representative that you support American leadership to bring peace and security to the Middle East.

Wouldn't you think it would be a no-brainer for Congress to express support for appointing as Middle East Peace Envoy the man who brought peace to Northern Ireland?

Not so fast.  One prominent Jewish community leader objected to Mitchell because he would be too "fair." [1] Right-wing Christian Zionist Gary Bauer said Mitchell is too "even-handed." [2]

The fight here is, of course, much larger than support for this one resolution or even for George Mitchell.

It's about whether President Barack Obama has the political support to make a serious effort to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - and how hard he'll be able to push.

The Economist this week talks about shifts in American politics that are creating new maneuvering room for President Obama when it comes to Middle East peace and diplomacy. [3]

We're proud that the article cites "the emergence of a vigorous bunch called J Street" as critical to the fresh wind blowing in the United States when it comes to Israel and the Middle East - and that with your help, we are offering a strong and vibrant political voice of support for American leadership in bringing peace and security to Israel and the Middle East.

Now is our chance to show Congress we know how to make our voices heard.

Click here to send a message to your Representative right now.

The pro-Israel, pro-peace community is vigorously supporting Mitchell's appointment.

J Street members like you sent 13,831 thank you messages to President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for their powerful choice.

Allied organizations such as the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism, Americans for Peace Now, Israel Policy Forum, Brit Tzedek v' Shalom, Churches for Middle East Peace, and the Arab American Institute have actively supported Mitchell's nomination and are also actively supporting this Resolution.

Now, it's the House of Representatives' turn to show their support. This is why we started J Street - so we could mobilize thousands of emails in a matter of hours to show support for Middle East peacemaking in the halls of power. Will you join us?

Click here to write to your Representative right now.

Thank you.

- Isaac

Isaac Luria
Campaigns Director
J Street

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 June 30, 2010 6:38 PM


 
 

 

 


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 July 01, 2010 7:25 PM

Testimonies of Moroccan Believers (MBB)

Sameer is a devoted Christian; recently when a Western couple was deported they gave Sameer their old laptop, empty of any information. A week later the Security Police came to Sameer's house and confiscated the computer, blindfolded him and took him to an undisclosed location. The police officers questioned him, "Why are you a Christian? What do you hold against Islam?” Sameer said that each time God gave him the right answers and helped him to stand strong through-out the torture. After three days the police allowed him to go saying, "We will monitor you." Even though Sameer still suffers from anxiety, he wants continue to serve God by visiting local brothers and sisters, encouraging them.

Adel has been a Christian for many years; recently he was jailed for two days because he had evangelized among Muslims. Currently Adel is under surveillance from the Security Police and expects that he will be sent to jail again. Adel says, "I'm not afraid. In prison there are people who don't yet know about the gospel."

Abdel makes a living by producing leather covers for Bibles, bookmarks, and bags with Christian symbols. He also has a small shop where he distributes Bible CDs in the Berber language. In Morocco the distribution of Christian materials is dangerous, and on a regular basis, the Secret Police come to his shop to interrogate him or order him to go to the police station. According to Abdel the Moroccan churches still need much instruction and guidance in the Christian faith, and because most Berbers are illiterate, they are grateful for Christian CDs in their language.

Father we pray for these saints who share the Gospel message in spite of difficulties, challenges and hardships. We ask that You protect, comfort and provide for Sameer, Abdel and Adel - bless them abundantly!

Praying with you,

The Prayer Force Team

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 July 07, 2010 8:34 PM

Sustaining the Helpless in Burma
Babies, the Helpless Victims of Persecution
Dear Friend:

For the past half century, the Buddhist Burmese government has persecuted the Karen, a Christian minority living precariously on the eastern border of Burma.
 
The Karen are existing in a state of near starvation. Karen mothers do not receive enough nourishment to provide breast milk for their infants, so they are forced to watch their children starve before their eyes, knowing there is nothing they can do to prevent it.
 
To address this problem, ICC is providing fortified milk formula, which provides the essential nurtirents babies are unable to obtain from their mothers. ICC has been able to deliver the milk to grateful mothers who have traveled hours form their homes in the mountains to get it.
 
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 July 08, 2010 8:41 PM

July 8, 2010

Dear Donna

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, he is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by a stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit. Jeremiah 17:20

Church Sealed in Indonesia Worshippers Forced to Hold Services Outdoors

Since April 11, the Gereja Kristen Indonesia (GKI) Taman Yasmin Church in Bogor, West Java has been forced to hold its services on the roadside in front of their sealed church in stifling heat. The church pastor, Rev. Ujang Tanusaputra, told Compass News that the church had received an official building permit from the Bogor city government. The construction was going smoothly until a Muslim group began demonstrating, so the government quickly sealed the building to appease them. Although the church brought a lawsuit against the mayor’s sealing, and won, the congregation is still not permitted to worship in the building, which is 80 percent completed.

On June 20, Compass visited the church’s Sunday worship gathering, where about 200 people met in a service limited to one hour, with around 100 policemen present. Tanusaputra said he hopes the Lord will intervene to show that Indonesia is a country where laws are followed and all faiths may worship freely. “We [will] continue worshipping by the roadside as part of the struggle to remove the seal,” he told Compass.

Despite having the largest Muslim population in the world, Indonesia is a secular republic. Islamists, however, continue to incite violence against Christians and use legal means to oppress the church. Church closures by fundamental Muslim groups have been an ongoing problem in Indonesia. During the 63 years of the country’s life as an independent state, at least 1,100 churches have been revoked, attacked, or shut down.

Father, we ask for your mercy and favor to be upon the Christians in Indonesia, so they may worship you freely. This week, as we celebrated our nation’s freedoms in America, we pray for the same freedoms for our Christian brethren in Indonesia. Father, today we pray specifically for the churches’ doors in West Java to be re-opened, and for the government and Muslim organizations to cease in their opposition to Christianity. Lord, please bring hope and peace to Indonesian Christians as they stand against growing aggressions; bring them into a deeper trust in You and Your love.

Praying with you,

The Prayer Force Team

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 July 15, 2010 6:17 PM

Kogo Four Need Our Prayers and Encouragement

Danazumi, Ummaru Ado, Aminu Barau, and Talatu Bala - commonly referred to as the Kogo Four - were arrested February 2009. Their “crime” was constructing a church without a permit. Although the constitution of Nigeria allows freedom of worship; the same constitution stipulates the need to get permission to construct a place of worship. Since Kogo is under Muslim dominance, and ruled according to Sharia Law, the chance of receiving a permit is unlikely.

At the trail the men were not sentenced; but their appeal to receive the permit to build a church was denied. Since then, a lawyer appointed by Open Doors has successfully removed the case from the Islamic court system and into conventional courts; they now are awaiting a hearing date to obtain the legal permission to construct a church.

The Kono Four and the congregation of the Kogo Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA) ask for our prayers. In addition Open Doors is offering an opportunity to write letters of encouragement to help them persevere in their quest to build a house of worship. Please refer to the letter writing guidelines on the Open Doors website.

Father we pray for Danazumi, Ummaru, Aminu, Talatu and the congregation of the Kogo ECWA; that through Your grace they will live out clear testimonies in the midst of this trial. Father we ask for wisdom for the lawyer as he pursues the permit to build a church and for You to intervene in the decision of the courts, praying that Your Name will be glorified in the process and that many would come to faith in Jesus Christ through these events.

Praying with you,

The Prayer Force Team

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 July 20, 2010 9:23 AM

Update on Son Jong Nam

In 2007 The Voice of the Martyrs made a concerted effort to publicize the arrest and imprisonment of North Korean Christian Son Jong Nam.

We have continued to follow Son Jong Nam's case since that time, in spite of difficulties getting information out of North Korea. Our contacts on the Korean peninsula have informed us that the most recent information leads them to believe that Son Jong Nam has died in prison.

We are thankful for all those who prayed for and wrote letters to Son Jong Nam; we are also thankful for his example of faithfulness to Christ in spite of trial, hardship and suffering. His suffering is over; he's arrived safely Home.

Thank you.


More Info...

Son Jong Nam  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 July 29, 2010 4:56 AM

Last week, Open Doors USA launched a campaign in support of a Congressional letter to the King of Morocco. This letter asks King Mohammed VI to stop the deportation of Christians from Morocco and to allow those who have been deported on false charges the opportunity to return.  To date about 128 foreign Christians have been deported and 58 of those are U.S. citizens. Take action today!
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 July 29, 2010 5:05 AM

Chuck Colson draws attention to a worrying trend by the current administration to replace “freedom of religion” with “freedom of worship,” which is a much more limited concept than our 1st Ammendment Right.  Be sure to watch this video and forward to your friends and family.  Please note, the Ambassador for International Religious Freedom has been appointed since the creation of this video.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 July 29, 2010 5:07 AM

Open Doors President, Dr. Moeller, discusses the expulsion of Christian foreigners in Morocco as well as the crackdown on local converts to Christianity who have experienced increasing surveillance, interrogations, and in a couple of cases, beatings.  Read More>>  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 July 29, 2010 5:11 AM

: North Korean defector, Son Jong Nam, became a Christian after fleeing his homeland.  Later, Son returned to North Korea to share the Gospel even though he had experienced torture in a North Korean prison and knew the huge risk to his life if caught. Just this month the Associated Press reported that Son was tortured to death for his evangelistic efforts.  Read More>>  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 July 31, 2010 4:34 AM

ohar Haydarov

Location: Uzbekistan
Arrested: March 2010

On March 9, a criminal court in Uzbekistan sentenced 27-year-old Tohar Haydarov to 10 years in prison for the "Illegal sale of narcotic or psychotropic substances in large quantities," according to Forum 18 News Service. Members of the Baptist church in Uzbekistan insist that the charges are fabricated and that Haydarov's sentence was punishment for his religious activity. It is unclear why Haydarov received a 10-year sentence. According to Forum 18 News, Baptists insist that police planted drugs on Haydarov, and church members insist that he is an honest man.

More Info...
Prisoner Archives  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 August 02, 2010 2:27 PM

Dear Donna,

There is still time to take action in support of religious freedom in Morocco. The increasing pressure on foreign and national Christians warrants a strong response from the US and we need your voice to be effective!

Since March of this year, the Moroccan government has expelled about 128 foreign Christians including 58 U.S. citizens. The government claims that these individuals are guilty of proselytizing which is illegal in Morocco, but have failed to provide any evidence to substantiate the accusations.

Furthermore, the Moroccan government did not follow due process of law in the deportations and denied court hearings to those deported. Most of these individuals were expelled from the country without the opportunity to set their affairs in order, say goodbye to friends and family, or even to gather their belongings.

The Moroccan government has also increased pressure on national converts to Christianity. There are only an estimated 1,000 Moroccan Christian converts within the country who are not recognized by the government. Open Doors has learned of increased interrogations and surveillance of Christians which has made it nearly impossible for national converts to meet and worship together.

If left unchallenged on the deportations of foreign Christians, the government may perceive that Christians worldwide are willing to turn a blind eye to increased persecution of national Christians. For this reason, it is imperative that we speak out on behalf of the deported Christians.

You can help by sending a message to your U.S. Representative and Senators, asking them to sign a Congressional letter (view the letter) which requests that the Moroccan government stop all deportations and allow those who have been deported to return to the country.

Considering that the Millennium Challenge Corporation has a 5-year contract with Morocco which is worth $697.5 million, and this was awarded based on numerous factors including “ruling justly,” the government should be willing to abide by their own national laws on deportation and uphold their constitutional guarantees of freedom to worship both for foreign residents and Moroccan nationals.

Please use your freedom today to speak out on behalf of those Christians who have been treated unjustly by the Moroccan government.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 August 07, 2010 12:44 PM

Update on Alimujiang Yimiti

Imprisoned Uyghur pastor Alimujiang Yimiti, who was finally allowed to visit with his family in recent months, has been denied further visits, according to China Aid Association. Alimujiang's mother, wife and children were allowed to meet with him in April for the first time in two years. In May, they were permitted a second meeting for 20 minutes. However, authorities have since demanded that Alimujiang's wife and mother bring a letter to each meeting, stamped by local police, verifying their relationship to him. Please send a letter of encouragement to let Alimujiang know you are praying for him. Tell your friends about Christian persecution in China, and encourage them today!

More Info...

Alimujiang Yimiti
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 August 14, 2010 11:06 AM

Religious Freedom Grim in Islamic Maldives

The Maldives, an Indian Ocean archipelago southwest of Sri Lanka, claims a 100-percent Muslim population. With only 300,000 people, this South Asian nation has more than 70,000 expatriate workers representing several non-Islamic religions, including Christianity.

In previous years, Christian expats have either been arrested for attending worship in private homes or denied visas on suspicion of being connected with mission agencies. “[If] you engage any Maldivian in a discussion on Christianity and [someone] reports it to authorities, you can be in trouble,” an anonymous source reported to Compass. “A Maldivian youth studying in Sri Lanka became a Christian recently, but when his parents came to know about it, they took him away. We have not heard from him since then.”

A European expat worker stated, “I wish I could attend church, but I am too scared to look for one. I have not even brought my Bible here; I read it online. I don’t want to take any chances.”

Father, we pray for Your gospel to be spread and advanced in the Maldives, because we know that all things are possible with You, even despite an overwhelming Muslim population. We earnestly pray for religious freedom in the Maldives, so that Christians may openly worship You and proclaim the Good News to the lost.

Praying with you,

The Prayer Force Team

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 August 19, 2010 9:57 AM


Dear Donna,

In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. Psalm 18:6

Prayer Urged for Pakistan Flood Victims

The media has given extensive coverage to the floods, the worst in 70 years to hit Pakistan, causing widespread devastation. Reports estimate 1,600 people have died and 14 million have been affected. Our hearts and prayers go out to the people of Pakistan.

What has not been reported is the impact this disaster has had on Christians living in a Muslim-majority society. Open Doors has received the following statement from church leaders in Pakistan, “Many people have lost their homes, and the safest areas for them to congregate have been mosques. Ramadan has begun and we are deeply aware of how vulnerable Christians are at this time. We are concerned that Christians will be sidelined in relief efforts, and are working to provide immediate assistance.”

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 August 19, 2010 9:59 AM

Somali Christians Plead For Prayer

Somalia’s small community of secret Christians has called on believers around the world to pray for them specifically during Ramadan. Somali Christians are routinely persecuted facing harassment, assassination, violent attacks, abduction and forced conversion to Islam. Along with the political instability and the control of al Shabaab rebels over certain areas, the arrival of Ramadan increases the activity and zeal of extremist toward Christians in Somalia.

The Christians understand that their compatriots believe they are honoring Allah by persecuting those that have left the Islamic fold. But they pray that “Muslims will come to respect their Christian neighbors, families, fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers and allow us to live in peace, even if we do not convert to Islam,” explained one Christian, who must remain anonymous for security reasons. “Please pray for all Somali Christians who suffer persecution to not seek revenge but commit their case unto God.”

Father, we ask for Your mercy upon the people of Pakistan, that proper water, food, shelter, and medicine will be provided to the affected areas as soon as possible. We ask that Christians would not be discriminated against in the relief efforts, and for peace to come to Pakistan in the midst of the widespread disaster. We also lift up our brothers and sisters in Somalia and ask for protection over those facing heightened persecution during Ramadan. Father we commit your Word into our hearts “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” - Matt 5:44 and ask that You fill them with compassion and love, instead of a desire for vengeance for their mistreatment. Humbly we come to You asking that You provide a way for all Christians facing persecution to worship You openly, that through their testimony many will become aware of their need for salvation through Christ alone.

Praying with you,

The Prayer Force Team  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 August 20, 2010 6:56 PM

Pakistan Floods devastate millions

Aid to Orissa after a mob kills Christians

Relief in Iraq for Christians forced to flee

Prayers for Somalians being harassed & killed

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 August 20, 2010 7:39 PM


Persecution Watch...

Iraq - A number of Christians have been shot in their homes, causing many to flee.

Indonesia - Demonstrators from Islamic organizations demand closure of 600-member church.

Pakistan - Police file a false report on Christians, arresting five of them after a Muslim extremist attack.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 August 24, 2010 6:19 PM

Gao Zhisheng Confirmed Tortured
Named ABA's International Human Rights Lawyer of the Year

On August 6, Gao's daughter, Geng Ge (Ge Ge), proudly accepted the ABA Lawyer of the Year Award on behalf of her father.At the annual American Bar Association conference, held in San Francisco on August 6, 17-year-old Ge Ge smiled as she walked to the podium to accept the International Human Rights Lawyer of the Year Award on behalf of her missing father, Gao Zhisheng.

"I am so very proud of my father," she said. "This is the first time that this award [has been] granted to a Chinese person. If my father knew that I accepted this award for him, he would be very happy."

The President of ABA expressed warm regards toward Gao Zhisheng, praising him for his breadth and depth of work for human rights in the Chinese legal system. Ge Ge then shared her admiration for her father and his devotion to his work. "Deep in my heart, my father is the type of person I admire very much. He can get over any difficulties, and he is not afraid of anything.. I feel that my father is an outstanding father."

Though proud of her father's accomplishments, Ge Ge admitted, "I have been really worrying about my dad's situation." Ge Ge and her family continue to dread the reality that Gao continues to be held hostage by the Chinese government and may never return home. Read the Interview with Ge Ge and coverage of Gao Zhisheng's ABA award.

Urge your friends and family to Sign the Petition and Donate today to help Free Gao Zhisheng!

ChinaAid refuses to back down in the call for freedom for Gao Zhisheng, and all other human rights defenders like him. Reliable sources in China recently confirmed that Gao Zhisheng was severely tortured last year in Xinjiang, following his family's escape to the U.S. After briefly resurfacing this March, Gao Zhisheng was able to talk to his family and visit his brother and father-in-law, before being kidnapped again by the authorities from Beijing. No one has seen or heard from him since April 20, 2010. Read the RFA Interview with Gao's Brother and Sister.

"Gao's continued forced disappearance is a blatant disregard of the basic human rights of the Chinese people," says Pastor Bob Fu, who visited Gao's family in June. "If there is no regard for even a well-respected, human rights attorney's dignity, what stops the Chinese Government from exploiting the dignity of its citizens? We will not stop until Gao's rights are restored, as a law-abiding citizen of China. We will not rest until Gao Zhisheng is allowed to be reunited unconditionally with his family in the US."

ChinaAid needs your help to free Gao Zhisheng. Your donations help us raise awareness for Gao's case and fight to preserve the basic human rights of the citizens and their legal defenders in China.

Urge your friends and family to Sign the Petition and Donate today to help Free Gao Zhisheng!

Visit FreeGao.com to learn more.

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 August 24, 2010 7:28 PM

North Korea to Release Christian Activist
Former president Jimmy Carter is on his way to secure Aijalon Mahli Gomes's freedom.
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 August 26, 2010 5:05 AM

Update on Alimujiang Yimiti

On July 13, the family of Uyghur house-church leader, Alimujiang Yimiti, was permitted to visit him for 20 minutes, according to China Aid Association. Yimiti's family was relieved to see him alive, as guards had repeatedly refused to allow them visits in recent weeks. During their meeting, Alimujiang confirmed that he had received his wife's letters. Please continue sending letters of encouragement and let Yimiti know you are praying for him. Let your friends know about Christians suffering in China and encourage them to pray and write to him as well.
Your letters make a difference and can result in shorter prison sentences for those accused. Write and pray today!

More Info...

Alimujiang Yimiti
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 September 02, 2010 9:37 AM

Dear Donna,

Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me. Micah 7:8

Christian Blogger Released from Prison Following Change in Egypt’s Emergency Law

We thank and praise God for the release of Hani Nazeer, a Christian and social worker, arrested in October 2008 for posting a link on his web log referencing a controversial book written in response to a novel criticizing Christianity. During his imprisonment, Nazeer was beaten, pressured to convert to Islam, and exposed to constant deprivation. "One prisoner told me, 'If you convert, you will be out in two days'," he explained. Nazeer was released last month due to recent reforms to Egypt's Emergency Law. The Law, passed in 1981, was designed to be used to detain terrorists and others who violently opposed the state. We give great thanks for Nazeer’s steadfast faith and release from prison.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 September 04, 2010 2:51 AM

Dear Donna,

When you come together to pray for persecuted Christians, you discover a deep connection to the body of Christ around the world.

For the 11th year Open Doors is providing churches with a free kit to mobilize prayer for Christians living where faith costs the most. Our 2010 focus is on a serious problem that requires your special care—the need for Christians to be Free to Believe.

Order your free IDOP Church kit today and join the largest global prayer event of its kind!

Inside the kit you'll receive:

  • 2 x 5 ft. Free to Believe Banner
  • Free to Believe Videos
  • Ideas for Church Engagement (online only)
  • Extensive Prayer points
  • Bulletin Inserts

Join us in prayer Sunday, November 14th in your church, in your small group, or even in your home.

God has worked wonders in the lives of persecuted believers since last year's day of prayer, but there are over 100 million believers still asking for our prayers.

We hope you will join us for the 2010 International Day of Prayer. We know you'll be blessed.
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 September 10, 2010 10:37 AM



Dear Donna,

But I say to you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:44-45

Quran Burning Could Increase Persecution Against Christians in Muslim-Dominated Countries
Angry crowds in Kabul, Afghanistan and Jakarta, Indonesia are protesting and threatening retaliation if the non-denominational Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida publicly burns the Quran on Saturday, September 11. Reaction to the possible burning of the Muslim holy book could unleash worldwide rage, directed not only at the United States and its troops overseas, but also Christians living in Muslim-dominated countries.

Open Doors USA President/CEO Carl Moeller states; “The planned burning of the Quran is a disaster on two fronts as it violates the command of Jesus to love our neighbor, and it would likely cause Christians worldwide to be more vilified and persecuted… I urge the Dove World Outreach Center and its senior pastor, Terry Jones, to cancel the event. Hate is not biblical, it is not the message of Jesus.” Moeller also urges Christians to unite in prayer this week and pray that the planned Quran burning will be canceled.

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 September 15, 2010 3:52 AM



2010 World Watch
Update: Pakistan

 

Believers say Thank You

 

Family Murdered by Mob

 

World Watch Update

 

Christians say thank you after receiving Bibles from supporters like you.
Read Update>>

 

Jamshed asks for prayer after his wife and children are murdered by a mob.
Read Story>>

 

An Islamic state with a strict blasphemy law

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 September 23, 2010 5:48 PM

Accused of a minor crime and proselytizing, this month marks the 5 year anniversary that Jamaa Ait Bakrim has been in prison for his faith in Christ.
Read More

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 September 27, 2010 12:45 PM

Dear Donna,

Urgent Call to Prayer as Kim Jong-Il is poised to announce his successor tomorrow (Sept 28)

As North Korea prepares for its biggest political convention since Kim Jong-Il was officially designated successor to his father in 1980, speculation mounts that his third and youngest son, Kim Jong-Un, will be named as the country's future leader.

Whoever is in power faces the enormous task of restoring an economy that is in great trouble. A disastrous currency reform has led to many suicides as people lost their life savings in just one day. In at least three provinces (Hamkung, Yanggang and Jagang) people are dying of hunger as the government slows and halts food rations.

As the economy comes to a standstill, civilians openly protest decisions made by the government, leading to violent clashes with the police - a rare phenomenon in a country with a tight security system and a vast network of spies. "Fifteen years ago Kim Jong-Il was still considered a god, but all these years of hunger have left the people disillusioned," says Simon*, Open Doors' main contact for North Korea.

The current generation of Christians have known nothing other than persecution. One church leader expressed why it's so important to keep praying for North Korea. "Our church organization has strengthened and developed with your continuous prayer and support. The accomplishments and victory that we see today are the fruits of your love, faith and guidance. Therefore I promise to dedicate myself with dignity and responsibility to enhance the faith of our believers' lives."

Please Pray for:

  • For strength, provision and peace for the hundreds of thousands of 'underground' Christians.
  • For Kim Jong-Il and his son Kim Jong-Un, as a possible handover of power is considered. Pray that they would know God's truth and receive His love.
  • That any possible regime change will bring greater freedom for Christians.

Praying with you,

The Prayer Force Team

*"Simon" is pseudonym given to protect this believer's true identity.

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 September 27, 2010 7:57 PM

PRELIMINARY CONGRESSIONAL SCORECARD: Open Doors USA created the first scorecard grading federal legislators’ prioritization of international religious freedom. (IRF) We measured members support for the most important resolutions and letters of the 111th session of Congress that promote IRF.  View the scorecard to learn what grade your elected officials received and to send them a message asking them to make IRF a higher priority! Legislators are especially attentive to their constituents in the weeks and months leading up to an election so please don’t miss this opportunity to share with them which issues are most important to you.
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 September 27, 2010 8:01 PM

MOROCCO CAMPAIGN UPDATE: Thanks to everyone who has taken action to support religious freedom in Morocco! Open Doors supporters have been sending messages to their U.S. Representatives and Senators asking them to sign a letter to the King of Morocco. This letter, sponsored by Rep.  Frank Wolf, asks King Mohammad VI to put an end to the deportation of foreign Christians from Morocco, and permit those who have been deported to return. The letter is closing to signatures at the end of September so please work with us to get as many signatures as possible before the deadline. This letter is also a scored item in Open Door’s new Preliminary Scorecard on International Religious Freedom  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 September 30, 2010 3:22 AM

Afghanistan - Taliban Executes Pregnant Woman

The recent execution of pregnant woman in Western Afghanistan was a harsh, deadly reminder of the power still exerted by the Taliban in remote parts of Afghanistan.

35 year old Bibi Sanubar was sentenced to death after being publicly tried for having an "illicit affair" that left her pregnant. The sentence handed down by three Taliban mullahs also called for Sanubar to be lashed 200 times and then shot three times in the head. After the sentence was carried out, Sanubar's body was unceremoniously dumped in a government controlled area. The man that Sanubar allegedly engaged in the affair with has reportedly not been punished.

The killing has been condemned by the religious council for Western Afghanistan, as well as the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission head, Abdul Qadir Rahimi.

"Any such trial is unacceptable and is a violation of human rights. All trials must take place in an authorized court observing every single measure of justice," Rahimi said.

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 October 04, 2010 4:18 PM

Afghan Christians in Hiding After ArrestsClick here to view the entire article.
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 October 04, 2010 4:20 PM

Israel's Top Hamas Spy Becomes a ChristianClick here to view the entire article.
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 October 08, 2010 5:16 AM

Chinese dissident Liu wins Nobel Peace Prize (AP)

AP - Imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for using non-violence to demand fundamental human rights in his homeland. The award ignited a furious response from China, which accused the Norwegian Nobel Committee of violating its own principles by honoring "a criminal."

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 October 08, 2010 2:28 PM

Dear friend,

We believe every human being should have the right to choose and practice their faith freely. The right to be free to believe.

For millions of Christians today that right does not exist. They live in repressive countries where Christians are routinely arrested, tortured, even murdered.

The UN Defamation of Religions Resolution threatens the freedom of religion and expression for Christians and members of minority faiths worldwide.

It seeks to criminalize words or actions perceived as attacks against a religion, with the focus being on protecting Islam.

Passing this resolution results in the UN condoning state-sponsored persecution of Christians and members of other minority faith groups. We need you to voice your protest of this resolution!

A sample letter is provided for you to send that includes the necessary information for your elected officials to lobby the target UN country missions.

Please send your message today and stand up to efforts by the UN to restrict religious freedom worldwide!

In Christ,
Lindsay Vessey
Lindsay Vessey
Advocacy Director
Open Doors USA

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Take Action

Who is behind the resolution?
The countries supporting this resolution are, ironically, the very Islamic-majority countries of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) that persecute Christians and other minority faiths. Members of minority faiths such as Christians or Jews who make truth claims or even evangelize can be accused of "defamation" and can be punished under national blasphemy laws.

History of the Resolution
While Defamation of Religions Resolutions have been introduced and passed previously, it is up again this year for a vote. The resolution lost support in the UN General Assembly vote during the last couple of years and we think this year may be the tipping point.

Your voice makes a difference
We need to encourage key countries to change their vote on this resolution. These countries are not easily influenced by American citizens. But they are more receptive to pressure from our federal legislators. So ask your legislator to pressure key countries to change their vote on the Defamation of Religions Resolution today!

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 October 09, 2010 6:55 PM

A teacher in a local school was accused of preaching Christianity. In a country that does not allow preaching or practicing any faith out-side of Islam, this is a serious offense.
Read More

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 October 13, 2010 7:47 PM

  Open Doors Provides Safe Havens for Converts on the Run How your support is providing help and hope to persecuted believers who have nowhere else to turn

Open Doors provides Safe Haven

"I dreamed of a vast field, full of people—hundreds, perhaps thousands. They were all dressed in white and were looking up to heaven in expectation. Suddenly, a dazzling light shone on the crowd. Out of the light, the Lord Jesus stepped forward. He hovered over the people and blessed them.”

It was a year ago when Hasani’s journey of faith began. Like countless other converts living in closed Islamic countries, God first spoke to Hasani through the vivid dream he describes above. "I awoke confused, my whole body shaking,” recalls Hasani. "I had heard of Isa—Jesus—only from the Quran. I knew He was a man who had performed miracles, but I never thought that He would reveal Himself to me!”

Seeking Jesus
As a devout Muslim, the vision turned Hasani’s world upside down. "After my dream, I had to know more about this man Jesus, so I began to secretly watch Christian satellite broadcasts on the television,” says Hasani. Eventually, he found the courage to speak to a Christian neighbor, who took him along to a gathering of believers. "I started to attend the services in secret, and also took part in a Bible study group,” Hasani recalls.

It wasn’t long before Hasani’s wife grew suspicious. An argument flared up, and Hasani’s wife gave him an ultimatum. "If you don’t want to follow Islam, I want a divorce.” Hasani felt as if his heart was being torn in two, but he knew he had to stand firm for Christ. With courage, Hasani calmly gave his answer: "I am not walking away from the Lord Jesus.”

Betrayed and beaten
A short while later, Hasani returned home to find his whole family waiting for him. Angered by his decision to continue following Jesus, Hasani’s wife had told them of his conversion. "Have you really abandoned Islam?” barked Hasani’s eldest brother, filled with rage.

Again, Hasani stood firm. "I cannot deny the Lord Jesus,” he replied. "If I were to do so, He wouldn’t acknowledge me in heaven. So if you are asking me whether I believe in the Lord Jesus, the answer is yes!”

"Cursed!” screamed Hasani’s brother, "You’re cursed by God! From now on, you are no longer part of this family. Anyone can kill you for your apostasy!”

Hasani’s situation only got worse when he was lured to an abandoned warehouse some time later and was locked up and beaten in an attempt to force him to deny Christ. After three days, Hasani thankfully managed to escape. Unable to return home, Hasani was literally on the run.

Open Doors steps in
Through your support, Open Doors was able to step in to help Hasani, and we continue to minister to him as he remains in hiding.

"Thank you that you care about me so much,” says Hasani, who asks us to uphold him in prayer. "Please pray that God will strengthen me to persevere in my faith. But do not pray only for me, but for all secret believers worldwide!”

Throughout the Muslim world’s most restricted countries, Open Doors teams are working to care for converts like Hasani who pay such a high cost for following Jesus. Your gift to support Open Doors will enable our co-workers in these countries to provide safe houses, spiritual care and vocational training for believers who simply have nowhere else to turn. Thank you for your support!

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 October 13, 2010 7:52 PM

Brother Abdul presses on as persecution intensifies after his arrest.
Read Update>>

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 October 13, 2010 7:55 PM

After Brother Simon converted to Christianity, he has disappeared.
Read Story>>

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 October 15, 2010 12:36 PM



Dear Donna,

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you. Psalm 89:14

Christian Jailed in Ethiopia Accused of Desecrating Quran
Tamirat Woldegorgis, arrested in August after a Muslim co-worker accused him of inscribing “Jesus is Lord” in a copy of the Quran, has been languishing in jail for the past two months.

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 October 15, 2010 12:42 PM

Working through partnerships with national and international production companies, Open Doors is producing multimedia Christian programs for internet, radio and satellite television. Through these programs we are able to train and disciple (secret) believers in the Middle East, and to encourage local Christians.

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 October 15, 2010 12:46 PM

–Last week we prayed for the October 10th trail against four Algerian Christians accused of ‘illegally opening a place of worship’. Last Sunday the president of the criminal court requested postponing the trail to November 28; this request was granted. Please continue to pray for these four men, that they will be acquitted and allowed to worship freely.

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Iraqi bishops underscore reasons Christian minority flees country October 19, 2010 10:42 AM

VATICAN CITY (CNS ) -- Christians in postwar Iraq, already a tiny minority in the mostly Muslim country, continue to leave because of fear for their safety, and to a lesser extent, because of economic difficulties, Iraqi bishops said.

Concrete solutions and help from the international community are needed immediately if the flight of Christians is to be stopped, many warned at the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East, which ends with a Mass Oct. 24.

Kidnappings for ransom, bombings of churches and other Christian buildings and a general lack of security have made life so precarious for the vulnerable Christian community that about half have left their homeland for safer destinations in the past seven years, the bishops said.

At least one bishop raised the question of systematic attacks as part of a "plan" to drive all Christians from the Middle East.

In comments both in and out of the synod hall, Iraqi bishops and priests painted a picture of extreme hardship for the small Christian community sticking it out in the country torn by violence since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

"Since the year 2003, Christians are the victims of a killing situation, which has provoked a great emigration from Iraq," Syrian Archbishop Athanase Matoka of Baghdad told synod participants Oct. 16.

He blamed the invasion for bringing to Iraq in general and Christians in particular "destruction and ruin on all levels."

Archbishop Matoka said that while violence targeting Christians appeared to have dropped off in the last two years, the general insecurity and instability of the situation in the country is such that Christians continue to emigrate.

"Where is the world conscience?" he asked. "We ask the great powers: Is it true that there is a plan to empty the Middle East of Christians and that Iraq is one of the victims?"

In a briefing with journalists Oct. 18, Chaldean Auxiliary Bishop Shlemon Warduni of Baghdad said that in the past he also suspected that there was a plot to rid the Middle East of Christians. "If you ask me by whom, or how, I don't know," he said. However, there has never been such mass emigration in the history of the country, he said.

At least 20 churches have been bombed, two bishops have been kidnapped and one of them killed, and some 20 priests abducted and tortured, Bishop Warduni said.

Whether or not there is targeted persecution of Christians, he said, what is driving them away now is the fact that "there is no peace, there is no security, there are no jobs."

He made an appeal to world leaders to "take our wealth, but leave us in peace."

Father Raymond Moussalli, Chaldean Patriarchal Vicar of Amman, said at the briefing that there were about 400,000 Iraqis in Jordan, a small country not well-equipped to handle a large refugee population. Of those, about 5 percent are Christian, he said.

Before the invasion to oust dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003, there were about 800,000 Christians in Iraq, but now there are 400,000 to 500,000, he said. Many have left large cities for the relative security of the Kurdistan region, where there are now more than 200,000 Christians as opposed to the 150,000 left in Baghdad, Father Moussalli said.

Anan J. Lewis, a consecrated virgin and English professor at the University of Baghdad attending the synod as an observer, said that the Christian population had declined nearly two-thirds since the early 1980s when some 1.5 million lived in Iraq.

She said that there are 16-18 Chaldean and Syrian churches left open in Baghdad out of 28 before 2003. Some of those open only once a month for Mass and have no stable congregations left, she said.

She said that she lived peacefully with her Iraqi Muslim neighbors, and that those carrying out the violence against Christians "are not my neighbors, are not my colleagues or my classmates." She said that she believed it possible that attacks were planned from outside Iraq.

Father Sameer Shaba Maroki, professor of Eastern theology at Babel College in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, said that even when the international embargo in place under Saddam Hussein put great economic strain on people, there was no great exodus of people for economic reasons.

The situation in Iraq following the toppling of Saddam, he said, has not improved. "The reason is fear, not economics." Father Maroki said that Christians were the victims of violence and kidnapping because they were the most vulnerable group.

In addition, Christians get stuck in the middle of disputes between Sunni and Shiite Muslims, Father Maroki said.

Cardinal Emmanuel Delly, Chaldean patriarch of Baghdad, gave a more positive spin to the situation when he spoke to synod members Oct. 16. He said that Christians live "peacefully and freely" with the Muslim population and that there is mutual respect between both religions.
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 October 19, 2010 10:43 AM

Asked about the apparent discrepancy in views at an Oct. 18 Vatican news conference, Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, head of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, said, "The beautiful thing about this meeting is that we don't all think the same." But he said that there had been definite improvement in the north of the country and that positive developments should be taken into account.

END

http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1004293.htm

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 October 21, 2010 7:39 PM

Dear Donna,

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

Chinese Christians Blocked from Attending Lausanne Conference
The conference held this week in Cape Town, South Africa is designed to be a channel for church leaders to form partnerships to spread the Gospel and to make disciples worldwide - sadly delegates from China were blocked from attending.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 October 21, 2010 7:42 PM

Christian in Bhutan Imprisoned for Showing Film on Christ
Prem Singh Gurung was sentenced to three years in prison for “attempting to promote civil unrest.”  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 October 21, 2010 7:47 PM

Prem Singh Gurung was sentenced to three years in prison for “attempting to promote civil unrest.”
Read More  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 October 21, 2010 7:50 PM

To learn more and take action go to www.freetobelieve.info.

Father, thank You for Your abundant love. We pray for the Chinese Christians who were detained from the conference, may Your Spirit encourage them in their situation, may they know Your love even in the face of opposition. We ask for Cape Town 2010 to be a blessed time for the worldwide church, and for unity and strength among those fighting for religious freedom. Father, please help Gurung in Bhutan to continue serving You and declaring the Gospel even during his prison sentence. And for those who saw the movies we pray that through these humble beginning they will rise up and call You Lord. We also pray against any more threats toward Christians in West Bank, and we ask for continued grace and peace over Rami’s family. Lastly, we pray for the Free to Believe campaign to have deep and lasting impact on UN legislation, and that we’d continue taking action against persecution around the world.

Praying with you,

The Prayer Force Team

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 October 22, 2010 9:51 AM

On Jan. 11, 2010, Imran Ghafur Masih was sentenced to life in prison and fined 100,000 rupees ($1,155 U.S.), according to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts. His family has appealed the decision to the Pakistan High Court and is awaiting a hearing date.
VOM encourages you to send a letter to Imran, letting him know you are praying for him. Also pray for his persecutors. Tell your friends about Christians suffering in Pakistan, and encourage them to pray for Imran and to write to him as well.
Your letters make a difference; they can result in shorter prison sentences for those accused. Please write to Imran and encourage our Pakistani brother.




More Info...

Imran Ghafur
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 October 23, 2010 11:40 AM

A Christian pastor was beaten and left for dead in the Pakistani village of Sanda Chistana.


Pastor Patras Sani was riding his motorcycle when he was hit in the face with a wooden rod by a group of three Muslims. Pastor Sana was thrown from his bike and the Muslims continued to beat him until he lost consciousness. They then stole 3700 Pakistani Rupees (approx. $43) and left him for dead.


By the Grace of God, passersby found Sani and rushed him to the hospital.

"Even though we are beaten by radicals and we are persecuted by Muslims, we shouldn't stop preaching the Word of God," Sani says.

"I am not afraid of persecution and I will continue to preach the Word of God. Many Muslims come to our meetings and receive healing and God is setting many hearts free."

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 October 23, 2010 11:52 AM

Years of bureaucratic struggle over a church property finally erupted in violence in the Shandong province of China.


For two years the Changchunli church members have been protesting the unlawful arrangement the director and deputy director of Ji'nan Municipal Bureau for Ethnic and Religious affairs manipulated the presidents of the Ji'nan Christian Council and Municipal Christian Three-Self Patriotic Movement Committee (Municipal CCC/TSPM) into signing. The agreement authorized the removal and demolition of the Changchunil Church and reduced the property owned by the church from 1129 square meters to a mere 300 square meters.


Despite efforts to force church members to accept the terms of the contract and the loss of their church, the protests continued. The Municipal Bureau for Ethnic and Religious Affairs made the Municipal CCC/TSPM stop all religious activities of Changchunli, recall the chief pastor, cancel the church's management committee functions, and disperse its members. Members and leadership refused and the protests continued.


When church members were told that the area that had once been their property would become another church, Changchunli church members pitched tents on the construction site and began living there.


The church members have done more than camp out on their former property. They have filed reports and complaints with the proper authorities and have received no replies.


Because of their continued protests members of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement Changchunli Church were attacked by a mob of some 200 people dressed as police. Sixteen people were seriously injured and one person was permanently blinded in one eye.


Police were immediately called, but the response time was curiously slow. When emergency responders did arrive, they refused to speak to the victims. They instead chose to speak to the land developers.


Instead of taking the attack laying down, later that same day Changchunli church members staged a 300 person strong protest at the municipal government to raise objections with the way police responded to the attack. 
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 October 28, 2010 7:53 PM

Burma’s Ethnic Christians Fear Bleak Future after Election
Christians in Burma are concerned about the upcoming election (the first in 20 years). According to Compass News it is possible that afterwards, the military regime will try to “cleanse” the areas of Christianity. Most of the slightly more than two million Christians in Burma (also called Myanmar) reside along the country’s border with Thailand, China and India which falls under the military’s target zone.

The Burmese junta however is expected to remain at the helm of affairs after the election. The majority of people in Burma are not happy with the military’s USDP party, and military generals are expected to twist the results in its favor, said Htet Aung, chief election reporter at Irrawaddy.

A man who identified himself only as Pastor Joseph, who fled Burma as a child, referred to the junta’s clandestine campaign to wipe out Christians from the country. At least four years ago a secret memo circulated in Karen state, “The text, which opens with the line, ‘There shall be no home where the Christian religion is practiced,’ calls for anyone caught evangelizing to be imprisoned,” the British daily Telegraph reported Jan. 21, 2007. “It advises, ‘The Christian religion is very gentle – identify and utilize its weakness.’”

There is “utter confusion” among people, and they do not know if they should vote or not, said Aung Zaw, editor of Irrawaddy. While the second largest party, the National Unity Party, is pro-military, there are few pro-democracy and ethnic minority parties. “Many of the pro-democracy and ethnic minority candidates have little or no experience in politics,” Aung said. “All those who had some experience have been in jail as political prisoners for years.” For now, an uneasy calm prevails for Christians in the Thai-Burma border region.

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 October 28, 2010 8:01 PM

Increase in Foreign Christian Workers Expelled from Arabian Peninsula
Throughout the Arabian Peninsula, there has been a recent increase of Christian workers who have either been threatened or deported. Often, no concrete reasons are given. In some cases, the foreign Christians involved have been working in the region for many years. In the past few months, Christian expats were deported from Qatar, Oman and Yemen. A wave of deportations of Christian expats has already been observed in the Maghreb (especially in Morocco, which started in 2009 and still continues). It’s remarkable that this trend does not only occur on a national but also on regional level and that it is currently happening simultaneously. It may be a method by local governments to resist possible foreign influence and keep in with Islamists who are pressuring for influence over the political system.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 October 28, 2010 8:03 PM

Tribal Believer Graduates from Open Doors’ Women’s Training Program
Like most tribal women in Central Vietnam, Thanh tills her own small piece of land in a remote village. She struggled with weakness and depression. Her children and husband were the only thoughts that kept her from committing suicide. One day, she stepped into a house church in her village and heard the pastor talking about Jesus Christ. “After hearing him, I felt hope was restored in my heart and when he called for people to come forward to receive Christ’s salvation, I immediately responded,” said Thanh. A former Buddhist, Thanh got rid of the ancestral altar that stood her living room. Thanh’ s transformation was fast-tracked when she joined an Open Doors Women’ s Training Program in 2008. This year, she graduated from the course along with 35 other women. According to Thanh, the greatest benefit she received from the program was her increased love and discipline in reading God’s word. Adding to her joy are her three grown up children, who are beginning to understand Thanh’ s faith. Although they have yet to believe in Christ, she continues to pray for them.Open Doors Women’ s Training Program for house churches this year has a total of 2,467 participants all over the country, including the central and the northern provinces.

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 October 28, 2010 8:07 PM

Father, we pray for the Christians in Burma facing looming opposition and persecution. We ask that You protect and guide them through their hardship, and that after the election the military regime will protect Christians instead of targeting them. We also pray for Pastor Ilmurad to be granted prisoner amnesty, avoiding the Seydi labor camp. Please strengthen him and his wife, allow them to trust You through this time. Father we pray for the foreign Christian aid workers throughout the Arabian Peninsula and surrounds, and we ask for Your shield over them as they continue to carry out the work of the Gospel. Lastly Father, we praise You for the beautiful transformation that Thanh has experienced and we pray that her family and friends will come to a saving knowledge of Christ as well. We lift up to You all the women worldwide who have been transformed by Your love and grace. Father we love You!

Praying with you,

The Prayer Force Team


Take a United Stand for Those Who Aren't Free to Believe

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 October 29, 2010 4:50 AM

Dear friend,

There’s still time to take action to stop the passage of the UN Defamation of Religions Resolution (DoRR). We’ve had a great start to this campaign, but we need your voice to help make it a success. The DoRR is likely to be coming up for a vote soon at the UN so please take a moment to help stop its passage!

This resolution criminalizes words or actions perceived as attacks against a religion, with the focus being on protecting Islam. Passing this resolution results in the UN condoning state-sponsored persecution of Christians.


Take A United Stand For Those Who Aren't FREE to BELIEVE


Christians who make truth claims or evangelize can be accused of “defamation” and those individuals can be punished under national blasphemy laws. Members of minority faiths such as Christians are frequently falsely accused of “defamation” to settle personal scores or to shut down any criticism of Islam. This has happened in countries like Pakistan and Egypt. Sadly, the Defamation or Religions Resolution provides legitimacy to these national blasphemy laws.

You can see what a precarious situation our brothers and sisters are in worldwide. That’s why we’re asking you to send a message to your legislator, asking him/ her to ask key countries to change their vote on the Defamation of Religions Resolution. A sample letter is provided for you to send.

Please send your message today and stand up to efforts by the UN to restrict religious freedom worldwide!

Advocating with you,
Lindsay Vessey
Lindsay Vessey
Advocacy Director
Open Doors USA

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 October 30, 2010 9:32 AM



FREE TO BELIEVE: Open Doors USA recently launched an advocacy campaign asking our supporters to speak out against the UN Defamation of Religions resolution.   Supporters can send messages to their elected officials from our website using a pre-written letter. This resolution essentially amounts to the UN condoning state sponsored persecution of Christians and other minority faith groups. Voice your opposition to this resolution and share why you think freedom of religion is important.

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 October 30, 2010 6:22 PM

CHINESE CHRISTIANS BLOCKED FROM ATTENDING LAUSANNE CONGRESS: After receiving an invitation to attend Capetown 2010, house church groups in China formed a selection committee and raised significant funds to pay the expenses of their chosen delegates.  Chinese police threatened or detained some 200 Chinese delegates who had hoped to attend. When house church member Abraham Liu Guan and four other delegates attempted to leave China via Beijing airport on Sunday (Oct. 10), authorities refused to allow them through customs.  Officials detained one delegate and confiscated the passports of the other four until Oct. 25, the closing date of the conference.  Full  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 October 30, 2010 8:57 PM

Christianity Thrives among 'Gypsies' Despite Prejudice
Roma Revival: Missionary efforts continue to succeed.



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In deporting thousands of Roma, or Gypsies, to Romania and Bulgaria this summer, France polarized the European Union and focused continent-wide attention on the ethnic minority known for its centuries-old story of discrimination. Fewer know how far the gospel is spreading among them.

"Most people still hate Gypsies, especially in France," said John Boyd, a Roma pastor who works with Light and Life, an international Assemblies of God ministry by and for Roma. "[Yet] revival hasn't stopped. God is calling Gypsies all around the world."

Pentecostalism has spread throughout the worldwide Roma community since the early 1950s. France, the source and center of the main movement, has over 200,000 Pentecostals among perhaps 500,000 Roma, according to Thomas Acton, a professor of Romani studies at the University of Greenwich. Missionary efforts among Roma continue to be fruitful.

In the United Kingdom, Boyd and his fellow ministers host tent missions where groups of Roma converge in a field to hear preaching and teaching. "This summer has been exceptional," he said. "In eight weeks we've seen about 300 people come to faith in Christ."

Such gatherings still attract controversy. One of Boyd's meetings near Cambridge this summer made national headlines. Newspapers featured local residents complaining about the Roma presence and making the same accusations of theft and disruption levied at Roma throughout the centuries. The Daily Mail reported that a local pub barred the outsiders.

"Frankly, I'm glad. We're against drinking," said Boyd, who rejected the media's description and said police didn't report any real problems with the villagers.

René Zanellato, who works in France with Light and Life, says the ministry operates Bible schools and social programs throughout Europe as well as in India, Jerusalem, and other places that have large numbers of Roma. "Usually the Gypsies are Orthodox because they are born in an Orthodox country, or they are Catholic because they are born in a Catholic country, but they don't practice," he said.

Acton says ministry among Roma is successful because evangelists have been able to make the gospel understandable "as if God were a Gypsy."

"The Romani churches have nativized the gospel," he said. "It's not a foreign ideology; it's the gospel that has taken on Romani colors." Acton, a Baptist, said Roma storytellers can make traditional Bible stories sound fresh and immediate. "When you hear [a] Romani translation of the Bible, it sounds like it was written yesterday."

In Romania, which has the largest concentration of Roma in the world, the town of Toflea became a legend after the mass baptism of over 500 people in 2009. Many Roma in Romania have neither birth certificates nor marriage licenses, so Christian lawyers help them get their names into the governmental system.

Beni Lup, a non-Roma attorney and regional director of Walk Thru the Bible Ministries, has bigger dreams. "I work with a group of Gypsy lawyers whom I challenged to go to law school five years ago," Lup said. "I want to see some of those people in the government writing laws for their own people."

Roma evangelists have a vision that extends beyond their people. "We have over 1,000 churches in Spain," Boyd said. "Now a lot of the work is to reach non-Gypsies in the area."

Lup cites

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 November 01, 2010 5:52 AM

10 Christian Worshippers Killed in Baghdad Church Raid

GMT 10-31-2010 22:25:45
Assyrian International News Agency
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Baghdad -- At least 10 Christian worshippers were killed and about thirty wounded tonight, when Iraqi security forces stormed a Baghdad church in which terrorists wearing explosive vests were holding them hostage.

The raid also killed seven Iraqi soldiers and police officers. The violence erupted just after 9pm, almost four hours after a group of between six and eight gunmen wearing military uniforms stormed Our Lady of Salvation Chaldean Catholic church in the inner-city suburb of Karrada.

Worshippers caught up in the carnage described their ordeal to the Guardian as they fled the church. They said the terrorist attack was heralded by a car bomb outside the fortified church gate at 5:30pm. The two priests, who were about to begin mass ushered at least half of their 120-strong congregation to a small room in the back of the ornate building, in a bid to protect them.

"After a while one of the terrorists opened the door and threw in a bomb," said a man who identified himself as Bassam. "There were injuries. They killed people, they injured people," he said, before collapsing on the road outside the church. "Where is our father?" he screamed," referring to his priest. "Where is our father?"

For the next four hours, the terrified congregation cowered inside the room. The streets of central Karrada were shut down and darkened, with only flares from circling helicopters illuminating a pitch black sky. As the Iraqi forces closed in, militants inside the church threw sound grenades and detonated several larger bombs.

Local television station, Al-Baghdadia reported that one of the gunmen had called the network in the early stages of the seige, identifying himself as a member of an al-Qaida-aligned group, the Islamic State of Iraq. He demanded the release of prisoners in Iraq and Egypt.

The station said the caller spoke in classical Arabic, in what was seen as an attempt to disguise an accent that was identifiably non-Iraqi.

A three-vehicle American patrol arrived at the scene around 8:30pm. About eight US soldiers -- now a rarity on the streets of Baghdad -- joined Iraqi counter-terrorism units outside the church walls.

"This won't take long," said an Iraqi army captain at the scene. "It will be over in half an hour."

Ferocious gunfire heralded the raid -- almost on the captain's cue -- followed by three loud booms, which security officials at the scene said were caused by terrorists detonating explosives strapped to their body as troops advanced.

A second burst of shooting followed the crack of sniper rounds from nearby rooftops. Eerie silence lasting around 5 minutes then followed, before a soldier called frantically for an ambulance -- a fleet of which had been kept waiting about 500 metres away.

For the next forty minutes, a cacophony of screeching ambulances carried away the dead and injured. Walking wounded and survivors without injuries stumbled past them through the mayhem.

Among them were two elderly ladies in their blood-stained Sunday best, several children trembling too much to walk and a traumatized elderly couple searching in vain for their priest.

The priest they call Father Rafael is believed to have survived, but his colleague, Father Wissam, is believed to have been killed.

Bewildered and frantic, the survivors collapsed onto a median strip crying for telephones to call their families.

"I am going to leave Iraq with my family tomorrow," said Bassam, an employee of an internet company. "Why am I here?" he wailed. "Look at this -- this is Iraq."

By Martin Chulov
www.guardian.co.uk

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 November 02, 2010 12:59 PM

Christians Forced to Meet on Street
ICC Helps Secure Imprisoned Chinese Pastor's Release
Dear Friend:

On April 14, 2010, Liangren Church in China signed a two-year rental agreement for a building to worship in. Less than a month later, however, the government ordered the landlord to close the front gate with iron chains and locks. The church was forced to meet outside on the street. Because of this, Pastor Wang Dao wrote a letter seeking assistance. As a result, he was summoned to court and placed on criminal detention for “disturbing the public order.” ICC provided his legal aid in partnership with ChinaAid. He was released on bail but faces trial again in less than a year. Below is part of a letter he wrote in response:

Thank you for taking great risks in fighting for the rights of the persecuted Christians in China, including your care and help for Liangren Church of Guangzhou. The rights defense attorneys who work side by side with you are like angels.  Wherever there is a need for them, there is their presence!  Please accept our heartfelt gratitude for you!  May God keep a record of the hard work you have done!

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 November 10, 2010 2:31 PM

Pastor Youcef Nardarkhani

Location: Iran (Islamic Republic of)
Arrested: October 2009

Recently, Pastor Youcef Nardarkhani was reportedly sentenced to death for apostasy. VOM contacts confirm that the pastor's trial was held in recent weeks in the 11th Chamber of The Assize Court of the province of Gilan. Pastor Youcef is one of several members of his church who have been imprisoned. In the past, the Iranian government has also imprisoned and released his wife. Pastor Youcef was arrested in October 2009 after protesting a decision by the government requiring that his son study the Quran.

More Info...
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 November 12, 2010 4:36 AM

A court in the Buddhist state of Bhutan has sentence an ethnic Nepalese Christian to three years in prison for showing films about Christianity.


Prem Singh Gurung was arrested for "attempting to promote civil unrest "and charged with violating Sections 105(1) and 110 of the Bhutan Information, Communication and Media Act which requires authorities to screen all films before public presentation.


Gurun was arrested after residents complained that he was showing Christian films between Nepali movies in several small villages.


Christian persecution began in Bhutan in the 1980s with a campaign to "protect the country's sovereignty and cultural integrity." Nepalese charged that the campaign was discriminatory, but authorities responded by forcibly expelling more than 100,000 ethnic Nepalese -- many of whom were clandestine Christians -- to the Nepalese side of the border in Jhapa.

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