Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Security Beefed Up for Peaceful Christmas in India

NEW DELHI – Authorities in communally sensitive Kandhamal district, Orissa state, have beefed up security for vulnerable Christians.Thousands of police have been deployed in the district to prevent any attacks or violence during Christmas.
"All hot spot areas in Kandhamal have been secured. We have also intensified checking in all entry and exit points," said Superintendent of Police S. Praveen Kumar.He told media that police patrolling will be enhanced to ensure a trouble-free Christmas.
Major violence against Christians began during the Yuletide celebration in 2007. Dozens of churches were razed down and many were beaten on concocted allegations.Following this, the murder of a Hindu leader in August 2008 triggered one of the worst incidents of anti-Christian violence in the country. Hundreds were killed, thousands of homes were burned and looted, and churches were attacked by anti-social elements....

Christians in Vietnam Hold Another Historic Celebration

HANOI (Compass Direct News)For the second time in 10 days, Protestant history was made in Vietnam Sunday when 12,000 people gathered for a Christmas rally here.The event, which took place in the large square in front of the entrance to My Dinh National Stadium in the heart of Hanoi, was said to be 10 times larger than any prior Protestant gathering in history in northern Vietnam. On Dec. 11 in southern Vietnam, an estimated 40,000 people attended a Christmas celebration in Ho Chi Minh City.
Local sources said long-requested written permission for the event, entitled “Praise Jesus Together,” never came in spite of several reminders. But four days before the event was to take place, Hanoi authorities and police told organizers – in words as close as they would get to granting permission – that they would “not interfere.”
“One can hardly overestimate the importance of such an event in the lives of northern house church Christians,” said one long-time Compass source. “For many, this will have been the first time to join in a large crowd with other Christians, to feel the growing power of their movement, to hear, see and participate in the high quality, and deeply spiritual mass worship.”
The day before the event, Christians gathered near the stadium for final prayer and to help with preparations. Witnesses said the huge public square at the entrance to the stadium was arrayed with thousands of stools rather than chairs – plastic, backless, and bright blue and red. In 10-foot tall letters, “JESUS’ was emblazoned on the backdrop to the stage...
--Unprecedented Christmas Gathering Held in Vietnam

Iraqi Christians Face Bomb Threats in Run-Up to Christmas

Iraqi Christians buy a Christmas tree in central Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, Dec. 14, 2009. Although the number of Christians has dropped in Iraq, Christmas, a national holiday in Iraq, is very popular in the capital.(Photo: AP Images / Karim Kadim)
Some churches in Iraq have canceled Christmas services to protect themselves against the threats of bombings on churches.Just a day before Christmas Eve, a bomb planted near Church of St. Thomas in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul killed two men and wounded five others on Wednesday.Earlier this month, a series of bombs left four people dead in Mosul.
"I’m very sad that we are not able to have our rituals for Christmas this year and not have a sermon, but we do not want any Christians to be harmed," Edward Poles, a Christian priest at Sa’a Church in Mosul, which was bombed last week, told The New York Times.
While Christians in the United States prepare to gather in churches and homes to celebrate Christmas, believers in more religiously restrictive countries face more intense persecution during the holiday season....

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Ethnic Korean Pastor Expelled from Tianjin and Church Abolished

Pastor Han Changxu
The Office of Religious Affairs notice abolishing Immanuel Church and banning Pastor Han Changxu from serving in the church
TIANJIN – On May 16, 2009, the Office for Religious Affairs in Jinghai county, Tianjin issued a notice abolishing Immanuel Church and banning Pastor Han Changxu, an ethnic Korean, from serving in the church.
Pastor Han Changxu , a native of Heilongjiang province, was ordained as a pastor by the Presbyterian Church in 2008. He has been serving in Immanuel Church in Jinghai county, Tianjin since 2004. During the 2008 Olympics, authorities in Tianjin placed Pastor Han on surveillance when they discovered he had contacts with missionaries from South Korea.
Authorities in Jinghai County of Tianjin have tried to prevent Pastor Han Changxu from having contact with churches in South Korea. In March of this year a Christian brother from South Korea attended a Sunday service at Immanuel Church, was detained by the PSB officers and subsequently expelled from China. Afterwards, authorities began to persecute the church and the pastors from both China and South Korea.
ChinaAid strongly denounces the relevant authorities in Jinghai County of Tianjin for their illegal action of persecuting freedom of belief. ChinaAid urges authorities in Jinghai County of Tianjin to restore Immanuel Church and restore freedom to Pastor Han Changxu to serve the church and to the believers to worship God.
Contact the Chinese Embassy in Washington D.C. to on behalf of Pastor Han Changxu and Immanuel Church:
Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong
3505 International Place, NW,
Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: (202) 495-2000
Fax: (202) 588-9760
PS:Please keep Pastor Changxu and Immanuel Church members as well as all their contacts in and outside China in your prayers.Help Pastor Changxu....!!!
As in the days of Noah...

Historic Church Ransacked in Northwest Pakistan

WASHINGTON, D.C.-International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that a historic church in a secure area of northwest Pakistan was ransacked and vandalized the night of May 11. Rev. Ijaz Masih, the pastor of St. George Grecian Church in Bannu Cantt, told ICC that he had presided over a beautiful Sunday service on May 10. On the morning of May 12, however, laborers who were working to renovate the church were shocked when they arrived and found the church's cross broken in pieces, the altar demolished and partially burned, Bibles and hymnbooks burned and torn apart, and the pews reduced to ashes. The attackers even ransacked the bathrooms and cemented over a plaque inscribed with the names of the donors responsible for the original construction of the building.Local Christians were astounded that the attackers could sneak into the church and vandalize it without being noticed by anyone in the neighborhood. They are especially concerned because the church is located within a military zone and thus is considered to be in a very secure location. Rev. Ijaz told ICC that he had started as the pastor of St. George Church two years ago, and that the Christians in Bannu Cantt had been living peacefully with their Muslim neighbors. Rev. Ijaz believes that the attack was carried out by radical Muslims linked to the Taliban or Al Qaeda with the goal of provoking a clash between local Christians and Muslims.A Christian advocacy group in Pakistan, the Center for Legal Aid, Assistance, and Settlement (CLAAS), reported that even though police have registered the attack, they are not investigating it as they would if the attack had been on a mosque.
Jeremy Sewall, ICC's Advocacy Director, said, "Please pray for the members of St. George, that God would give them courage in the midst of this frightening situation. This attack clearly shows that Muslim radicals continue to operate with impunity in Pakistan."

Christian workers retrenching after aid worker slain:Funeral services held for Leggett as Mauritania danger pegged at high

Christian groups working in Mauritania are retrenching following the slaying of an aid worker by an organization reportedly linked to al-Qaida.According to a report from Compass Direct News, a man who had been working in the capital city of Nouakchott reported he and his team were being relocated to an undisclosed European city because of the turmoil."After the crime various believers were arrested, and the community of workers is going through very tense moments because of another threat by al-Qaida and the lack of security," the aid worker who had sought anonymity told the report. "Our leaders have asked us to leave the country for awhile, as the government had sent a security force of 10 policemen to guard our home 24 hours a day."...

Beaten by His Own Family for His Faith in Christ

WASHINGTON, D.C.-International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that a Pakistani man preparing to become a pastor was imprisoned for three months by his own family and continues to receive death threats on a regular basis for his decision to convert to Christianity. Malik Abbas Ali decided with his wife and children to become Christians on October 10, 2006, and Ali changed his name to Abad Masih (Masih is a Pakistani word referring to Jesus the Messiah). He had been living a comfortable life, known and respected by businessmen and politicians in Faisalabad, Pakistan. When his extended family heard about the conversion, however, everything changed.Abad's family and in-laws began to harass him repeatedly, accusing him of being a "crusader" and threatening him with "severe consequences" if he did not repent and return to Islam. In addition, they enlisted the support of Muslim religious leaders to put additional pressure on him. When words did not convince Abad to return to Islam, his family resorted to physical abuse. They forced him to sign away any rights to his inheritance or his current property.Abad had to flee his home, and has been playing a dangerous game of hide and seek with his family ever since. However, God has provided for him along the way. The director of a Christian ministry in Faisalabad gave them a place to live until Abad's family found out where he was staying. Abad fled again, this time to Karachi. In January 2008, however, Abad's in-laws discovered his location and revealed it to his parents. Abad's family then forcibly took him back to Faisalabad, beat him, and threatened to kill him if he did not return to Islam. With the help of religious leaders, they put him in prison for three months, where Abad was poorly treated and nearly died of starvation.After being released from prison in April 2008, Abad fled again. Three years of persecution has not diminished Abad's faith or the faith of his family. Though he continues to receive threatening phone calls, Abad told ICC that "those who believe in Christ are never afraid of hardships and sufferings." He puts his faith to practice by preaching in church and sharing his testimony whenever he gets the opportunity. Abad's wife, Sumera, told ICC, "We are true believers of Christ and the Lord Jesus Christ always guides us and gives us strength even though people stop supporting us. Without him, since we are human, it would not be possible to be strong in such hard circumstances." Abad is intending to enroll in a seminary on July 15 to become a pastor. God has paved the way for him to go as the head of the seminary has promised not to charge him tuition and agreed to take care of his children's schooling as well.
The head of Abad's church said, "Mr. Abad and his family are really an inspiration for all of us. We really feel strengthened by their strong faith. We request all of you to pray for them because they need it the most."
Please keep Abad and his family in your prayers.

Campus evangelists clash with police:Dispute over signs, 1st Amendment rights prompts 4 arrests, including felony charge

A campus evangelism group is stunned today, as a ministry event at a community college in Ohio resulted in four members being arrested, one on a felony assault charge that the ministry's leader claims is fabricated."I've done ministries like this at more than 200 universities," said Jason Storms, director of Faithful Soldier School of Evangelism, a ministry of Mercy Seat Christian Church in Milwaukee, Wis. "We train people to do evangelism, and I have never seen an incident like this."Storms and a team of students earlier this week traveled to Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio, with signs, literature and a message of faith...
PICTURE LEFT:Arrest of evangelism student Daniel Pollion at Sinclair Community College

Family of Kidnapped Pastor Flee Home in Colombia

According to Compass Direct News, the wife and children of pastor William Reyes, who was kidnapped last September in Colombia and is still missing, have moved from their home to another city due to threatening strangers presumably linked to his kidnappers. The Pastor had been receiving extortion threats from illegal armed groups operating in the La Guajira peninsula. Family members have not heard from Pastor Reyes since, nor have his abductors contacted the family to demand ransom....

Washington Post columnist:Christians "pernicious";Uses review of gardening book to deliver missionary dig

A columnist at the Washington Post has used a column about a gardening book to deliver a dig at Christians, calling the missionaries who traveled to the Hawaiian Islands while the region still was a kingdom "pernicious."

Iran: Secret Believers Growing Despite Persecution

"When they unpacked the Bibles in a house church, the Christians there were overjoyed. Their leader said: 'Here are brothers and sisters who have converted through Christian radio programs and have been waiting for a Bible for years. So we decided to fast and pray for one week. Today it's the last day!'"
(Santa Ana, CA)—Many Iranian people feel frustrated by Islam 30 years after the Islamic Revolution—reflected by the current protests in Iran after the controversial re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.They are searching for spiritual truth and some are finding it in Jesus. More than 100,000 are secret Christian Believers from a Muslim background who often meet together in rapidly growing house churches.Such Believers are actively targeted by authorities. 2008 marked the toughest year regarding Christian persecution since the Islamic Revolution.At the same time, the number of official Christians has halved from 250,000 Armenian and Assyrian Christians before the Islamic revolution of 1979 to around 125,000 now. Many have left Iran as a result of discrimination and persecution. Since the election of President Ahmadinedjad in 2005, Christian persecution has increased with security forces rigidly enforcing anti-Christian legislation.
Churches monitored by secret police
Around half of the 125,000 belong to the officially recognized Armenian, Assyrian and Chaldean Churches. They are allowed to teach their own people in their own language but it is forbidden to use Farsi to preach the Gospel. Many churches have a lot of visitors during their services which are monitored by the secret police.The other half, mainly Farsi speaking Believers, meet in small house churches or are reliant on satellite television for their spiritual nourishment. Often first generation Christians, they are desperate for Bibles and spiritual teaching in their own language.
Seed bearing fruit
New Christians often tell their family members, friends, neighbors, colleagues or fellow students about Jesus. One Iranian became a Christian while living away in Scandinavia. Within a month of his return home, 50 members of his extended family converted. By the time of his next visit one year later, the house church had grown to 250 members.One burglar stumbled upon a sermon in the Farsi language while trying out his stolen satellite dish. He gave his life to Christ, told his friends who also worked in the world of crime and today they form a house church of 12.According to an employee of the Iranian Home Ministry even children of government ministers and mullahs convert to Christianity.
Growing spiritually in hiding
Most house church members meet in secret to avoid the gaze of authorities, militant Islamists, informers and religious vigilantes. They rely on Christian radio and television programs, Internet and books in Farsi to grow spiritually."Once we sent Bible couriers into a remote town," says Stefan van Dijk (not his real name), Open Doors' operations head for Iran. "When they unpacked the Bibles in a house church the Christians there were overjoyed. Their leader said: 'Here are brothers and sisters who have converted through Christian radio programs and have been waiting for a Bible for years. So we decided to fast and pray for one week. Today it's the last day!'"Muslim background Believers from Iran tell about visions and dreams as a reason for converting, more than any other country in the Middle East...
Source: Open Doors USA

North Korea threatens foreign Christians:Warns of 'something bad' for group that sent Gospel via fax

North Korea,busy in recent weeks launching test missiles, exploding test bombs and warning the world it will respond with a barrage of weapons should it be attacked, is not neglecting its assault on Christianity.
The nation has responded to a campaign to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world with a threatening fax sent to the Christian ministry Voice of the Martyrs.

Iranian Christians Refuse to Accept Election Results

Here’s the latest Open Doors USA press release on the Iran situation:
SANTA ANA, Calif., June 16 – In Tehran many Iranians haven’t accepted the results of the presidential elections held last Friday. News reports show protesters streaming through the streets of Iran’s capital. There are also reports that Ayatollah Khamenei has directed the Guardian Council to examine claims of election fraud after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the runaway winner.
Open Doors learned through its contacts that voters are frustrated and have lost trust in Iran’s government in cities outside of Tehran.
Iranian Christian Daryush (not his real name) from Shiraz reports: “In my neighborhood there is no evidence of any skirmishes or demonstrations and also no celebration from the elections anymore. The streets have been swept clean. But the evidence that we have trouble in Shiraz is the constant presence of the various security forces and the military helicopter I saw flying overhead. But I have only driven around my own neighborhood, so I can’t speak for the entire city.” In other districts of the southwestern city of Shiraz the situation is grimmer. Daryush shares: “Friends told me that young people in Shiraz are being arrested and that they’ve seen young men and women being beaten or worse. A friend who lives near the university and student dorms told me she heard screaming, shouting and gunfire in the early hours of the morning. The predominately young demonstrators are calling Ahmadinejad a dictator and yell chants like ‘Ma dolate zoor nemikhaim’ meaning ‘we don’t want a government of force.’ They also yell at the security forces and call them traitors and vote-stealers. A friend said that within the security forces are pro-Mousavi followers, saying ‘beechareh shodim!’ or ‘we are without hope.’”Daryush shares that the “majority of people I spoke with consider the elections a fraud and don’t accept the results at all. A friend of our family lives in Shahe Cheragh, which is a predominantly religious and conservative district of Shiraz. He said that even in that district a huge numbers of votes went to Mousavi.”Daryush continues: “There are those who have never voted, didn’t vote this time and will never vote under this regime. They look at the rest of us as naive ones and say, ‘See, we told you that the one who had been previously selected would win the election.’ Others I speak with say they will never participate in an election again because ‘it was a total fraud.’”While some Iranians never accepted this form of government, a certain percentage has considered the Islamic Republic of Iran to being a “limited democracy.” Daryush explains that “although the candidates were hand-picked and had the regime’s stamp of approval, at least we had a choice within those limits. This election, however, showed us that the Iranian people don’t have a ‘limited democracy,’ but as some are now saying ‘no democracy at all…we have an Islamic dictatorship.’
Open Doors spokesman John Fox observes that Christians in general voted for Mousavi and hope for new elections: “We cannot generalize our observations to all Christians, but we asked 29 Christians from Tehran, Shiraz and Isfahan and all voted for Mousavi. One of them said, ‘for us bad is better than worse. Mousavi also promised more religious freedom, so I hope he does not lie.’”
Open Doors USA President/CEO Carl Moeller adds that “we need to continue to pray for the situation in Iran, especially for the Christians caught in the crossfire. This could be a pivotal point in the history of Iran and the future of believers who live there.”
(For more information or to set up an interview, please contact Jerry Dykstra at JerryD@odusa.org).
PS:Please keep Iran in your prayers since this situation is far from over...
As in the days of Noah....

Muslims attack fleeing Christians with acid:9 women, 4 children injured by rampage

A door to a Christian's home in Pakistan demolished by a Muslim mob in this photograph from the Barnabas Aid
Wreckage of a Christian's home damaged by a Muslim mob in this photograph from the Barnabas Aid
Muslims apparently angered because a Christian man driving a tractor reportedly tried to pass a Muslim on a motorcycle have rampaged in one village in Pakistan, destroying Christians' homes and throwing acid on women and children as they fled, according to a new report from Barnabas Aid.
The ministry reported that the violence this week happened in the village of Bahmani Walla in Punjab state in Pakistan, which is dominated by Islamic influences.
The report said 600 Muslims used gasoline bombs to vandalize 117 homes belonging to Christians – including 48 damaged by fire, and sabotage water pumps and cut electricity...
To read more go to:
ICC reports the incident too:
Muslim Mob Burns Down 100 Christian Homes in Pakistan:Riot Incited via Mosque Loudspeakers; Mob Throws Acid on Women and Children....
WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 1, 2009) - This morning 100 Christian houses and churches were set on fire by local Muslims in the city of Kasur South, east of Lahore, Pakistan.The riots were incited by broadcasts from local mosques.This incident is similar to a February 1997 attack when thousands of Christian houses and churches were burned and hundreds of Christians were injured.ICC partners received the news this morning and went immediately to the scene to help injured Christians transferred to Lahore, renting two mini vans for this purpose.So far 9 burned women and 4 children have been transferred to Lahore for further medical treatment.All of them have been injured by throwing acid on them. Local police have arrived on the scene but the situation is out of control as thousands of Muslims have gathered for this purpose.
More details to follow.
Please call the Pakistani embassy in your country to ask them to protect the Christians in Kasur South.
Pakistan Embassies:
USA:(202) 243-6500
Canada:(613) 238-7881

Saturday, May 30, 2009

PERSECUTION USA:San Diego Officials Threaten Pastor for Holding Home Bible Studies

"The county asked, 'Do you have a regular meeting in your home?' She said, 'Yes.' 'Do you say amen?' 'Yes.' 'Do you pray?' 'Yes.' 'Do you say praise the Lord?' 'Yes.'"

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Hundreds of thousands of letters given to senators"Campaign in opposition to 'hate crimes' provisions growing"

Hundreds of thousands of letters have been dispatched to members of the U.S. Senate suggesting that the so-called "hate crimes" bill now pending before committee is the wrong way for the country to move....
Picture left:Part of the FedEx campaign of letters from citizens opposing the "hate crimes" bill.

Senate letter calls for filibuster of "hate crimes" bill:"Do not silence pastors nor penalize people of faith"

A Texas pastor has written an open letter to the U.S. Senate, asking someone, anyone, to filibuster pending "hate crimes" legislation and stop what he calls a "maddening march to the destruction of our First Amendment right to freely practice our religion."
As WND has reported, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 would provide special protections to homosexual people but leave Christian ministers open to prosecution should their teachings be linked to any subsequent offense, by anyone, against a homosexual person...

'Patriot pastors' called to crush 'hate crimes' bill:Ministers ordered to fight for freedom, against criminalization of Christianity

America has become a morally bankrupt society that embraces intolerance against Christians, including a new push for "hate crimes" legislation, according to one pastor who believes it's all because church leaders have failed to do their jobs.But this Memorial Day weekend he is calling ministers to fight for those freedoms – from their pulpits.
"Pastors, if you wonder who is to blame for America's slide from the 'Ozzie and Harriet' morality of yesteryear to the 'Brokeback Mountain' immorality of today, look in the mirror," said Pastor Paul Blair of Fairview Baptist Church in Edmond, Okla

Military burns unsolicited Bibles sent to Afghanistan

Military personnel threw away, and ultimately burned, confiscated Bibles that were printed in the two most common Afghan languages amid concern they would be used to try to convert Afghans, a Defense Department spokesman said Tuesday.

Christian cross complaint targets nation's faith factor:Campaign assembled to protect recognition of veterans' sacrifices

A cross erected in the remote southern California desert by U.S. veterans in memory of their lost World War I buddies has become the focal point for an effort by the American Civil Liberties Union to eradicate references to Christianity from America's heritage.
But now a campaign has been assembled to fight back, to honor the veterans who have kept the nation safe for generations and to endorse the right of the public to acknowledge those efforts.
Liberty Legal Institute
has launched a new website called Don't Tear Me Down that describes the attack on the cross in the desert, which now needs a favorable ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court or faces demolition....

Challenge to mandatory government sex-ed grows:'Parents well within rights to teach children in accord with religious beliefs'

A German school district's demand that Christian parents submit their 9- and 10-year-old children to a mandatory four-day state-run sex education program that violates their religious beliefs is being challenged now by a second family before the European Court of Human Rights.
The newest challenge is being raised by the Alliance Defense Fund on behalf of Willi and Anna Dojan, who have eight children and are active in the Christian Evangelical Baptist Church....

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Christian Brothers Spend Two Months in Prison for Blasphemy:Released After Intervention by Police and Christian Lawyers

International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that two Christian brothers accused of "blasphemy" against Islam in Pakistan were released from prison on April 16 after police and Christian groups were able to negotiate a settlement with their accusers out of court. However, even the accusation of blasphemy can stigmatize a person in Pakistan for life, and Christian leaders fear that these two Christian men will not be able to continue their work and school due to this incident. Naveed Aziz, 17, was originally accused of blasphemy on January 27 in Narrowal, Pakistan, by a fellow student who noticed a pamphlet in his bag. The student told an instructor that Naveed was carrying "blasphemous" material, and the teacher proceeded to search Naveed's bag, confiscate the pamphlet, and report him to the principal. A group of angry Muslim students crowded the principal's office, demanding that Naveed be expelled from the school and handed over to police. The principal attempted to calm down the situation, but did agree to expel Naveed from the school.News of Naveed's pamphlet spread, however, and one week later Muslim students from nearby high schools and colleges conducted a rally against Naveed.Radical Muslim groups persuaded the mob to seize Naveed and his brother, Pastor Shafiq Masih, 35, burn their house and stone them. Police intervened by arresting the two brothers and taking them to prison.This provides a rare case of Pakistani police defending Christian minorities, as the police did not permit the accusers to file a court case against the two men. Instead, when a Christian legal group came to investigate the situation, they found that police were attempting to allow a local "Peace Committee" to negotiate an out-of-court agreement between the Muslim accusers and the two brothers. As a result of intervention by the Center for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS), a Christian legal group, the two brothers were finally released on April 16 after spending two and a half months in prison.Jeremy Sewall, ICC's Advocacy Director, said, "While this is an encouraging victory, these two brothers will face intense social pressure from Muslims who see even the accusation of blasphemy as reason enough for execution. Until Pakistan can address this societal pressure, even the best policing in the world will not be able to protect Pakistani Christians."

CHINA:PSB Officers Return 150,000 Yuan to Pastor Bike

HENAN – On April 17, at 9 a.m. local time, Pastor “Bike” Zhang Mingxuan was summoned to the Nanyang Public Security Bureau (PSB) office where authorities returned the 150,000 yuan that officials had confiscated from him on March 21 by the Beijing PSB. This action came as a direct result of international pressure after ChinaAid sent out a press release on the story. Pastor Bike told ChinaAid sources, “The authorities gave the money back, because of the pressure. Hallelujah! We will continue the ministry and fight for religious freedom.”
Pastor Bike, head of the more than 250,000-member Chinese House Church Alliance, was arrested and interrogated at 6 a.m. on March 21 by more than a dozen police officers in Beijing. Authorities confiscated his three cell phones, bank cards and more than 150,000 yuan from one of Pastor Bike’s bank accounts, before forcefully searching him and threatening him with death. Three hours later, Beijing authorities turned Pastor Bike over to three police officers from Pastor Bike’s hometown in Nanyang city, Henan province. Police then escorted Pastor Bike back to Nanyang by train, where he was questioned by local police. Beijing authorities later returned the bank cards and cell phones, but kept the 150,000 yuan.
ChinaAid, together with Pastor Bike, thank all around the world who spoke out on his behalf. The international pressure held Chinese authorities accountable, which directly led to the return of the funds. ChinaAid also acknowledges the Nanyang PSB and Beijing PSB for returning the funds.
For more information please visit:

Pray for Marzieh and Maryam from Iran....!!!

Would you take a moment to join us in prayer for the safety and protection of two formerly Muslim women who recently became Christians?
These two Christian women live in Iran:
Marzieh Amairizadeh Esmaeilabad, 30, and Maryam Rustampoor, 27, were imprisoned by Iranian officials on March 5 and incarcerated in the infamous Evin prison. Inmates at this prison are tortured and face other forms of mistreatment.The two women were imprisoned because they were practicing their Christian faith, but Iranian officials allege that they were involved in 'anti-government activities.'
Iranian officials asked the women to post bail at the staggering amount of $400,000 in order to be released, but when Marzieh's sisters tried to pay the bail fee, the government officials refused to accept it. This makes it clear that the Iranian officials are determined to severely punish our Christian sisters.
Both women are allowed just a one minute telephone call every day to their immediate families. Both are unwell and in need of urgent medical attention. During their last call on March 28, Marzieh said that she was suffering from an infection and a high fever. She said 'I am dying.'
--Please pray that both women will be released from prison.
--Pray that the Holy Spirit would give them strength and comfort in the face of torture and other mistreatment that they experience.
--Pray that the Lord would give strength to their families.
PS:Please remember to pray for these two sisters...The infamous Evin prison is the same where american journalist was held at.If you remember the news,she was released last week and is actually now resting in Austria with her parents and friends...
Please remember all those christians imprisoned and tortured there daily,
Pray for the authorities in Iran,too
As in the days of Noah...

Sharia law does not bode well for believers in Pakistan

The Taliban has now officially enforced sharia law over the Swat valley in what looks like a desperately attempt by the government to create peace with the group. It appears to have had the opposite effect...

Update:ChinaAid Christmas Care Packs Field Report

CHINA – December 2008, ChinaAid Association together with The Voice of the Martyrs – Canada partnered with house church leaders to distribute 2,500 Christmas Care Packs for Chinese children. Each child received a school backpack filled with items such as school supplies, candy, socks or mittens and a Bible storybook.
Every year during the week of Christmas, Christians across China experience increased persecution.In 2008, ChinaAid contacts reported 44 Christians arrested and many house churches and homes raided.
ChinaAid thanks all who supported this project to bless China’s children during Christmas. ChinaAid received the following field report from house church leaders about the Christmas Care Pack distribution:
"Local house church Christians had the privilege of distributing the ChinaAid-The Voice of the Martyrs Canada Christmas Care packs to ethnic minority children in Inner Mongolia. Twenty house church Christians requested to hand the gifts to the children at a Christmas party on December 21. On December 20, more than 2,200 Christmas Care Packs were delivered to the house church. A special truck was rented to transport the gifts and the distribution teams to several cities.
In Xinjiang, an elder in the house church, prayed over the gifts, touching them with his hands. He said,
“These gifts came from North America, as if sent by neighbors. Remember our Lord loves the Chinese. Thank You, Lord, thank You for our American and Canadian brothers and sisters. You commanded us to love our neighbor, as we love ourselves.”
Some of the children live on a mountain in Guizhou province. They had never seen such a beautiful book bag and such wonderful Christmas presents. They rejoiced, jumping up and down. They cheered and sang loudly, “Hallelujah, praise to the Lord!”
At another distribution point on the Yunnan borders, there are many ethnic minority villages. More than 90% of these villagers are Christians. They love the Lord very much, though they live in stark poverty. The pastor had to send their gifts by donkey. When the gifts arrived, the teachers and the children went to welcome the “donkey train” at the entrance of the village 10 miles away. When the parents saw their children holding new book bags, they said
, “Thank You, Heavenly Father, thanks to our Lord!” The children, responded, “Thank you American and Canadian Christian uncles and aunts; we welcome you to visit us in Yunnan.”
Another group of believers, the Zhejiang house church, sent the gifts with five of their missionaries. They rented a truck, loaded the Christmas Care packs, and drove to Sichuan province. In this earthquake-stricken area, the missionaries invited the orphans to come to receive a Christmas Care pack. The children responded with grateful tears. The missionaries admonished the children saying, “Be sure to live with our Lord and grow up in Him, like the uncles and aunts in North America, to help others and become a blessing of Jesus.”
For more information please visit:
PS:I praise the Lord for these wonderful news coming from as far as Inner Mongolia....!
Please keep these precious christian communities in your prayers....!
Also visit the China Aid website and see how you can get involved and help....!!!
As in the days of Noah...

SRI LANKA (Compass Direct News):"Buddhist Mobs Attack Churches"

Buddhist mobs attacked several churches in Sri Lanka last week, threatening to kill a pastor in the southern province of Hambanthota and ransacking a 150-year-old Methodist church building in the capital. The pastor, Pradeep Kumara, has said that Buddhist extremists have come to his home and threatened him in person, as well as calling him. They are threatening to kill him if he does not leave the village. The 150-year-old Pepiliyana Methodist Church was completely emptied. The theft of items that had no monetary value, but great personal value, such as baptism and marriage records, are leading local police to believe that robbery was not the motive. Full Story.
--Pray for the safety of Pradeep Kumara and his family.
--Pray that the police are able to aprehend the individuals who robbed the church.
--Pray for the Buddhists who are persecuting Sri Lankan Christians.

INDIA (All India Christian Council):"Pastor Arrested in Andhra Pradesh"

On April 6, Pastor Prabhu Dass and two other Christians went to pray in a local believer's home. Pastor Dass gave a tract to someone along the way, and that person immediately told anti-Christian groups. The pastor was threatened by those individuals and accused of attempting to convert people. They took him to the local police station, where he is being held. Other local pastors have been unable to discover what the charges against Pastor Dass are, and they are attempting to post bail for him. Full Story.
--Pray for the safety of Pastor Prabhu Dass.
--Pray that the charges against him are dropped, and that he is released.
--Pray for the conversion of the man who rallied the anti-Christian groups against Pastor Dass.

Villagers Find Severed Head of Kidnapped Christian Farmer in Philippines:Al-Qaeda-linked radical group beheads elderly hostage in series of kidnapping

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 19, 2009) - International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on Sunday, May 17, villagers discovered the severed head of an elderly Christian farmer who had been abducted by Muslim militants in the southern Philippines nearly a month ago. Police believe these militants had transferred the victim to the Al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group that is currently holding at least five other hostages. The son of 61-year-old Doroteo Gonzales identified his father's face on Monday after police took on the case. His family had been warned that Gonzales would be killed if they did not pay the ransom of 25 million pesos ($525,000) by Saturday. Gunmen captured Gonzales from his home in Zamboanga city on April 25 and delivered him into the hands of Abu Sayyaf rebels on nearby Basilan Island. The extremist group, infamous for its brutality against Christians and foreigners, has ramped up its efforts to raise money for its activities by embarking on a kidnapping spree throughout the southern part of the country.Christians are often favored targets for these kidnappings. Just last month, militants beheaded another Christian farmer, Cosme Aballes, whom they had taken captive after raiding a Christian community in the same province. According to the BBC, the Philippine government says the radical Muslim group has been trying to evict Christians from its Basilan Island base. Abu Sayyaf and other Muslim militants have been warring in the southern Philippines for almost 30 years to establish an independent Islamic state. In 2007, Abu Sayyaf rebels ordered civilians to deliver the severed heads of seven kidnapped Christians to military outposts in Jolo, another southern Philippine island.Three teachers, a lending-firm collector, and a peace activist are known hostages on Basilan Island. In Jolo, the extremist group is still holding Italian Red Cross Worker Eugenio Vagni, who was captured along with his two colleagues in January. ICC's Regional Manager for East Asia, Natalia Rain, said, "Imagine living in a state where you know you may be seized from your home at any moment and have your fate thrust into the hands of radical terrorists. The brazenness of men who would behead an elderly man for his impoverished family's failure to pay an outrageous ransom should wake us up to the horrifying reality of this thirty-year conflict."
PS:Please keep our brothers and sisters in the Philippines in your prayers...!!!!
As in the days of Noah...

AZERBAIJIAN:"Amendments threaten religious freedom"

Azerbaijani Christians face a serious loss of religious freedom, as the government completes the process of amending the country's religion law.
The presidential administration prepared the amendments, and parliament passed them at the beginning of May....

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Christians at higher risk after UN conference

International (MNN) ― Several national leaders continue to seethe after Iranian President Ahmadinejad inappropriately made anti-Semitic remarks at a United Nations conference on racism.The dispute over Iran's and Israel's issues caused such a distraction that more pressing matters which should have been addressed in a discussion about racism were dismissed. David Harder of the Christian satellite television network for the Middle East and North Africa, SAT-7, notes the discrepancy from the conference."One of the things that's overarching is that by bringing up issues that Iran has with Israel, they was able to completely neglect the treatment of Christians in the Middle East and North Africa."The topic of Muslim subjugation seems to be brought up quite often in international circles, while the persecution of the Christian minority in the Middle East and North Africa is very much ignored. "There are Christians that live in every country in the region and they suffer; they have difficult times," says Harder."Sometimes the pressure is very overt, and sometimes it's very subtle. Unfortunately, those things weren't dealt with."
Christians in hostile areas are at even higher risk now that many of their leaders feel contempt toward the West, due to some Western delegates walking out of the UN conference."Whenever there is animosity towards the West in general, unfortunately the Christian believers in other countries throughout the region are often targeted because many people view Christianity as a Western religion. They don't realize that it truly is a Middle Eastern religion."Harder notes that many people in the West seem to forget this, too, and often do not think about Christians living in the Middle East or North Africa. Although they may be a minority, their presence is still vibrant.To help brothers and sisters in Christ in these areas, Harder encourages you to find and support a ministry that works there. SAT-7 creates television programs to encourage these believers, as well as to reach out to unbelievers. The ministry has seen a great deal of transformation in the region and continues to watch people in countries such as Iraq and Jordan come to the Lord, especially as a result of recent SAT-7 Easter programs.
To help SAT-7 reach more for Christ, click here.
Above all, these persecuted Christians need prayer.
Pray for their safety and protection as tensions rise toward the West.
Pray that they would be free to worship as many of other religions are able.
As in the days of Noah...

Media celebrities appear on SAT-7's Easter program

Lebanon (MNN)-In the Middle East, Lebanon has the largest indigenous Christian community by percentage; around 30 percent of Lebanon's population is comprised of believers.Some of these believers have influential roles in Lebanon media, and they shared their faith recently on a special SAT-7 Easter program titled "And Follow Me." As hosts of many well-known Lebanon T.V. programs, many viewers weren't aware that they were Christians.The hosts shared the importance of their faith and profiled a number of ministries working to help the area's poor, refugees and orphans. Also featured were a number of musical performances recorded in front of a live studio audience.The vast majority of people in the Middle East don't know the claims of Jesus: His divinity, His death and resurrection. Most non-Christians are taught that Jesus was only a man, and they believe that Judas either took Christ's place on the cross or that Jesus didn't really die and was later revived. A holiday such as Easter, which celebrates Christ's resurrection, is foreign to many in the Middle East.SAT-7 broadcast the truth of Easter through their holiday special and many other Easter programs shown through the month of April. Live youth and children's shows, films, live church services, and documentaries all describe the reality of Christ's resurrection.
Pray that these special programs will prompt many to inquire about the Gospel and search the Scriptures.
Over $750,000 is needed to cover the costs of special productions, programming and air time for all three SAT-7 channels. If you could help meet these financial needs, click here to donate.
As in the days of Noah...

UZBEKISTAN:Urgent prayer needed for SGA-sponsored pastor

Uzbekistan (MNN)-As religious oppression continues in Uzbekistan, ripple effects are reaching innocent children. Pastor Pavel Nenno, sponsored by the Slavic Gospel Association, was detained at the beginning of the month on illegal religious activity charges. The pastor's family is concerned for his health, as he has been sent to a strict confinement facility and has very high blood pressure."We really need people to pray that the Lord would intervene in the situation," said SGA's Joel Griffith, "that Pavel would be released, and that this case actually would be thrown out."As a result of Nenno's imprisonment, his center for homeless children was shut down. One of the children who regularly attended Nenno's center went to play at a local train station because the center was closed. What started as innocent play soon had devastating results."Apparently the child slipped in front of a train, and his leg was severed,"Griffith said.On March 27, while Nenno was leading activities for the 65 children who regularly attend his center, police raided the building and confiscated two computers containing his communications with SGA. They also took Bibles, a small pastor's library, and Nenno's work files.Although he was arrested at the time, Nenno was soon released, and the case was thought to be settled with a fine. However, Nenno was immediately arrested again after appearing in court and sentenced to 15 days in jail.He faces several charges, including conducting illegal religious activities with children and using Christian literature in educational activities with children.Nenno's wife asks for urgent prayer; he has been taken to a strict facility where the cells have no beds, and family isn't allowed to bring him food. Nenno has extremely high blood pressure, and his wife is meeting with the police officials in charge of this case.Religious oppression has increased in Uzbekistan, with a rise in police raids, detentions of believers, and deportations of foreigners participating in religious activities.In a documentary aired last year on Uzbek television, missionary activities were placed on the same level as "religious dogmatism, fundamentalism, terrorism and drug addiction."But while churches in Uzbekistan feel increased governmental pressure, Griffith says religious oppression is not unique to the country."This seems to be something that's just spreading across those former Soviet republics in Asia which are largely Muslim in make-up."
PS:Please remember this precious family in prayer and pray for the inmediate release of Pastor Pavel..Pray for all those former soviet republics in Asia...
As in the days of Noah...

"Taliban wants Pakistan"...says Open Doors

Pakistan (MNN)Taliban-enforced sharia law went into effect this week in part of Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province, and many believe this is the first step toward seizing control of the country.President of Open Doors USA Carl Moeller agrees."Look at the prize that's on the table with Pakistan. You have a country with nuclear weapons, the fifth or sixth largest army in the world, sea port access, and it's geo-politically strategic enough that the United States has invested billions of dollars there over the course of 50 years," he says.Pakistan ceding this part of the country to the Taliban means it's only a matter of time. Moeller says, "I think we've got about 12 to 18 months before Pakistan falls into utter chaos. There's no unifying force against these extremists. So, most people are really nervous."While sharia law has just been implemented, already the Taliban is exercising harsh punishment. According to published reports, an adult couple who attempted to elope was executed because these families didn't approve of the marriage. In another case, a 17-year-old girl was beaten severely for talking to a man who wasn't her husband.According to Moeller that punishment will affect the minority Christians. "The Taliban have no conscience when it comes to taking out their perceived offenses against Islam, against Christians will extreme violence -- murder and public humiliation and beatings."This is a concern because many of the people doing humanitarian work in Pakistan are Christians. "People don't realize there may be six or eight million Christians in Pakistan," says Moeller. "A number of these people are doctors, nurses, and other workers that are in these areas and are experiencing great repression. Some have been kidnapped and have disappeared." Sharia law has already had a negative impact on the church, says Moeller."The Muslim-background believer church is in deep hiding right now because of the increased violence against visible Christians."Open Doors is providing help for these believers. "Those who have turned to Christ from Islam, in many cases, have to relocate. They have to get new identities because their families will carry out the dictates of sharia law against them: anyone who leaves Islam is an apostate and worthy of death."Despite the oppression, Moeller says church leaders are still committed to preaching the Gospel. He spoke at a recent pastor's conference and came away moved. "They were rejoicing in the prospect of taking the Gospel to people who are afraid and hurting. In general, when people are fearful and there's a great foreboding, the message of the Gospel resonates more deeply in people's hearts and souls."
In the meantime, Moeller is asking people to pray.
He's hoping more than 100,000 people will commit to pray for Pakistan and other countries where Christians face persecution daily.
As in the days of Noah...

IRAN:Pray for Mohsen and Feresthe

When the Iranian secret police arrested Brother Mohsen, they made their intentions clear. First and foremost, they wanted to punish him for his “apostasy” by leaving Islam to follow Jesus Christ. But this was not their only aim. They also wanted to force Mohsen to divulge the names of his contacts, to tell them about his network, and to disclose the names of the others he was ministering to.But Mohsen stood firm. Angered by his silence, the secret police resorted to torture. But still Mohsen refused.Angered by his silence, the secret police resorted to torture.to speak.The torture continued until Mohsen was so ill that he was granted bail in order to receive medical treatment. Some of his teeth were broken. His spinal cord was damaged and his face injured.Knowing that the secret police would quickly return to take Mohsen back into custody, he and his wife Feresthe seized the opportunity to escape.They managed to leave Iran and sought refuge in Turkey.Now, several months later, Mohsen and Feresthe, along with their 12-year-old son, are waiting to hear the result of their United Nations asylum application.They greatly value your prayers for the outcome—to return to Iran would mean certain imprisonment and possible execution. Meanwhile, Mohsen and Feresthe are seeking to serve the Lord in their new town. Each week they meet with a small group of Iranian believers also seeking refuge in Turkey.

Please pray that the Lord will encourage and uphold each of them, and that He will provide for the families’ practical and financial needs.
PS:Continue to pray for this family and the many iranians seeking asylum and the persecuted believers in Turkey.To know more about this and other cases,you can always visit the Open Doors website at:
As in the days of Noah...

Brother Sani says, "I cannot thank you enough... God has used you mightily!":Your prayers are answered as Nigerian Christian is freed from jail

When a Nigerian court sentenced him to three years in jail back in late 2007, Brother Sani cried out to God for help. And thankfully, the Lord heard his cry. Today, having served less than half his sentence, Sani is a free man!Sentenced on blasphemy charges, and without the right to appeal, Sani’s legal situation was bleak at the outset. Open Doors intervened and quickly hired a lawyer for Sani. Despite many challenges and threats during the legal proceedings, our lawyer held his ground and fought tirelessly for Sani’s freedom. His perseverance paid off. Finally, the judge had no option but to release Sani on the grounds of lack of evidence. “I cannot thank you enough,” exclaims Sani. “I never thought I would be out of prison by now. But God has used you mightily to fight on my behalf. No one but you came to help me. Thank you!”But it’s not only our legal support for which Sani thanks God. He and his family have been overwhelmed by the love and concern of Open Doors supporters around the world, expressed in prayers and letters of encouragement.“I think God loves me most by giving me these people to pray for me. There is such unity in the Body of Christ! I don’t know these people, but my God knows them all—and He will bless them!”Brother I, a local Open Doors co-worker, visited Sani soon after his release. “I could see in Sani how the prayers of believers around the world were at work,” I says. “Sani is full of life and zealous to keep walking with the Lord after his experience.”What a joy to see how the Lord has been at work in sustaining and strengthening Sani during his time in prison, and has brought about his miraculous release.
Thank you for praying..!
PS:Oh My God....!Look at his face.....! and all those letters....!PRAISE GOD he IS FREE....!!!!!Continue to pray for him,for his safety,protection and provision....!!!
As in the days of Noah...

NIGERIA WATCH:Meeting the Physical and Spiritual Needs of Stricken Believers in Jos

The Christians of the city of Jos are familiar with suffering. The capital of Plateau state, a Christian region bordered by seven Islamic sharia* states, has seen much violence in recent years.Still vivid in the memories of the people of Jos is the outbreak of rioting in 2001. During those months of violence, hundreds lost their lives in the fighting, which led to much bloodshed, carnage and untold suffering.The people of Jos were fearful when tensions began to rise again last November. Their worst fears were quickly realized when once again violence erupted.Official reports claim that this most recent bloodbath was politically motivated because Muslims were unhappy with the outcome of local elections. Some Christian leaders think, however, that extremists used the elections as an excuse to rid Jos of Christians and to move towards forcibly claiming the city for Islam.Whatever the cause, the results of the violence are stark. More than 30,000 people were displaced from their homes, and are now living in makeshift camps. Forty-five church buildings were looted and burned. And 129 Christians—including five pastors—were killed....
To read more go to:
As in the days of Noah...

Muslim Employer Brings Justice to Christian Employee's Raped Daughter:Police Pressure Father to Drop Case

WASHINGTON, D.C.-International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that as of April 6th, four of the six thieves who raped Naomi Rafiq, a Christian girl, had been arrested and imprisoned by the local police. While the local police have promised to track down the remaining two suspects, Naomi's father says that he is being pressured by the police and elders of the neighboring town, where the thieves are from, to drop his lawsuit.In answer to prayers and the protests of the Christian community of Cheecha Watni, Pakistan (see ICC's report from February 17), police finally started an investigation into the rape and robbery after the Muslim employer of the victims filed a lawsuit against the suspects. Muhammad Akram Khan owns a brick kiln called Allah Waris Bricks Company and employs the Christian families that were robbed on January 10 (see ICC's report of the robbery). Khan told ICC that he "loves and takes care of his workers," and said that the police will continue the investigation until they find the remaining two suspects.The Sherriff of the police department, the Saddr Police Station in Cheecha Watni, told ICC that the suspects that police had apprehended so far are Muhammad Akram son of Abdul Majeed, Ibrar son of Abdul Majeed, Maqsood son of Sultan Ahmed and Nadir son of Hassan Ali. The Sherriff promised that these men would be punished and said that the police had recovered the stolen items and returned them to the Christian families.However, Rafiq Masih, Naomi's father, told ICC that these four suspects belong to influential Muslim families from a neighboring village, and that the police and elders of the village are issuing threats for him to drop his case against the rapists.In another answer to prayer, Rafiq said that his daughter has physically recovered from her injuries.
Please continue to pray for her emotional and mental recovery.
Jeremy Sewall, ICC's Advocacy Director, said, "It is rare to find a Muslim employer who will treat Christian employees well in Pakistan, let alone come to their defense. While Naomi and her father still need prayer, it is an incredible answer to prayer that police have pursued the suspects to the extent that they have. Unfortunately, this only goes to show how much discrimination Christians normally face from the justice system in Pakistan."
PS:Praise God for these developments....!!!Keep this girl,her family and Mr.Khan in your prayers....We serve a GREAT GOD....!!!!

As in the days of Noah...

Friday, April 17, 2009

The struggle of Pakistan's Christians

Christians in today's Pakistan (2% of the population) have paid a high price for being in the minority. In Islamabad, the capital, a community of 5,000 of them live in extreme poverty, literally walled-off from the rest of society.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Sudan expels aid groups,CRWRC partners remains

Sudan-The Sudanese government is having a difficult time filling the gaps left when Sudan expelled 13 aid groups. This was done in response to the International Criminal Court's decision to issue a warrant for President Omar al-Bashir, charging him with war crimes for the Darfur conflict.However, the expulsions didn't affect the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee and their work in Darfur, says CRWRC's Ken Little."We have not been impacted.We work in partnership with World Relief, and our programs are going on as normal. We're keeping an alert watch around us to see what's happening. Our regular work week began yesterday, and as far as I know, today everything is going well."Even though CRWRC is still there, they can't make up the difference the 13 groups were contributing. Little says many were involved in water and food projects. "If in fact they do have to leave, it will just enhance the suffering and increase the suffering of many, many, many people in Darfur."Little believes over 2-million people have been displaced by the fighting in Darfur alone.He's hoping these groups will be able to return. "We do know that all 13 groups are appealing the decision of the government of Sudan and asking for a reversal of the decision."In the meantime CRWRC's work continues.Little says, "We've been providing some medical health clinics; some after-school programs for kids;a very comprehensive nutrition program, water, sanitation and food security; and helping with new varieties of seeds."With the increasing needs in Sudan, how is the economic downturn affected CRWRC's work? Little says, "Our Canadian giving has stayed right up there, and our U.S. giving has come down a bit."As CRWRC is helping with the physical needs, the spiritual needs aren't forgotten. But Little says it's challenging. "We're being the hands and feet of Christ.It's a Muslim-dominate society, and the best way to testify is to show and demonstrate Christ's love."According to Little, there are some specific prayer requests. He's asking people to pray for the safety of their team. Also, "Pray for wisdom for the Sudanese government and for an ability to recognize that there's an opportunity for positive change rather than retribution."He also asking people to pray for the Sudanese who were employed by the expelled aid agencies.That makes the situation even more difficult for those who were struggling to survive.
If you can help CRWRC's work in Sudan, click here.
As in the days of Noah...

NORTH KOREA WATCH:Ministry a laser beam of light in dark corner

North Korea (ODM/MNN)Do you ever wonder if anyone is making a difference in the darkness of North Korea? Open Doors is. They're planting seeds of hope in a country that is widely recognized as the world's worst persecutor of Christians.This is happening not only in North Korea but with persecuted believers around the world.About 40 North Korean women regularly receive Bible study training, child education fees, and living expenses in one Open Doors project.
"Our greatest reward is to see their lives change through a stronger faith in our Lord and to see them become devoted mothers and wives," says an Open Doors co-worker.One North Korean believer wrote: "We will do our very best to spread God's Gospel in North Korea. Thank you so much for your continuous support and care."According to Open Doors ministry statistics for 2008 released today, training in North Korea increased more than in any other country.Training Christians in the Word increased from 440 in 2007 to 4,212 in 2008 in the country ranked No. 1 on Open Doors' World Watch List of 50 countries where Christians suffer the most severe persecution.North Korea also had more people receiving social-economic assistance than any of the 45 countries where Open Doors ministers to the persecuted. According to Open Doors statistics, 54,330 North Koreans were helped in 2008, which was a 42 percent increase over 2007."We give thanks to our Lord for enabling Open Doors to increase the number of pastors and church leaders trained in the Word in 2008, and also the increase in the number of people helped through our social-economic programs," says Open Doors USA President/CEO Dr. Carl Moeller."Also, Open Doors continued its delivery of Bibles and Christian materials-almost 4 million-to believers around the world. Open Doors is truly making an impact for His kingdom. All this would not be possible without the support and partnership of thousands of individuals and churches who share our passion for the persecuted."Worldwide, 3.9 million pieces of literature were delivered in 2008. They included Bibles, children's Bibles and materials, study Bibles, New Testaments, Gospels, training materials and other types of literature to strengthen Christians. Literature deliveries increased by 74 percent in Central Asia, 51 percent in Vietnam, 28 percent in the Middle East, 25 percent in sub-Saharan Africa and 22 percent in Egypt.After receiving a children's Bible, Daniel Abba, 13, of Nigeria, said: "This is the greatest gift of my life. It contains life; it has an answer to all my needs. It will teach me how to be free from sin. I can use it to help others who are walking toward destruction."More than 114,400 Christian leaders were trained in programs that varied from intensive, on-going theological training courses to shorter seminars designed to teach and encourage persecuted Christians. Worldwide, Open Doors training increased six percent. In addition to North Korea, training increased significantly in India (79 percent) as persecution there increased.Open Doors sponsors many Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS) seminars in India each year as well as in many other countries. At SSTS seminars, participants learn about what the Bibles says about persecution. Also, the participants are encouraged in the faith, and trainers let them know believers in the West are praying for them.Mary Patmajhi, 17, attended an Open Doors-sponsored SSTS seminar for women in Gopalpur,Orissa, after the August 2008 violence. She is a student who wants to study but is unable to do so because of aftermath of the violence. "I really want to study and be something for the Lord.The Open Doors seminar that I have attended has given me hope and encouragement.The exhortation that we as young people received during the seminar, to give ourselves to the Lord and the community, makes me want to serve the Lord by becoming a person of influence for Him," she said.More than 206,500 individuals around the world benefited from Open Doors' social-economic development programs in 2008, a 37 percent increase from 2007. In addition to North Korea, there were large increases in aid in the Middle East (465 percent), sub-Saharan Africa (136 percent) and Southeast Asia (40 percent). Also, social-economic support increased in India from 35 persecuted Christians helped in 2007 to 23,464 in 2008; mostly due to the violence against Christians in the state of Orissa.In China, there was almost no social-economic outreach in 2007. But after the Sichuan earthquake last May, Open Doors partnered with churches to help more than 3,860 individuals.One example of Christian community development outreach is a center in Iraq which provides the Christian community with vocational training (in English and computers), a bookshop and library. Due to violence in the country, some of the other centers established were forced to close.