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.

ICC ruling could unhinge Sudan's peace

Sudan-In the wake of the International Criminal Courts actions last week, Sudan has taken aggressive action that will affect the lives of thousands and perhaps millions of people. It's also going to affect Christian outreach at various levels, too.Matt Parker with Kids Alive International just returned from Sudan. He says the ICC issued a warrant against President Omar al-Bashir for war crimes. Parker says, "This potentially has far-reaching implications for our work and for many NGOs (non-government organizations) and the whole political situation in Sudan."According to Parker, there have been demonstrations in Sudan both in support and opposition to the president."At the moment the situation is under control. We pray it will stay that way. In many ways this could potentially threaten a lot of the talks for peace including the peace treaty that was signed between the North and the south several years ago."If that is unhinged, Parker believes the entire country would be destabilized.At least 13 relief organizations have been asked to leave because al-Bashir believes these groups were instrumental in providing evidence again him in Darfur.Parker says, "Obviously that has huge implications on a large number of people. A lot of refugees, a lot of children,and the poorest of the poor are going to be affected by this, especially in the Darfur area which has just been ravaged by the affects of war."Kids Alive runs children's homes for orphaned children in Sudan in both the North and the South. Parker says they are prepared for this unrest."We've ordered extra food in. Our home managers and director in Sudan are monitoring the situation very closely. At the moment, everyone is staying very close to home. They're trying to stay off the streets."However, the unrest isn't stopping the plans of Kids Alive to build two more children's homes in Sudan.In the midst of the uncertainly, Parker says there is certainty one thing they talk about."It does give us opportunities to share our faith and to share that with the children that we work with. Even though there is instability around, they do have a heavenly Father on whom they can rely and they can trust."Funding is needed for these two homes.
If you can help financially, click here.
As in the days of Noah..

Three martyred in Eritrea

Eritrea-The persecution in Eritrea has not let up as hundreds of Christians remain imprisoned, many of whom are tortured and eventually killed. Eritrea is currently ninth on the International Christian Concern Hall of Shame. The Hall of Shame is a list of the ten countries with the worst Christian persecution worldwide. Eritrea follows other very high-risk areas, including North Korea, Iraq and Iran.Eritrea has no constitution and is run by a singular communist ruling party. Since 2002, 2000 Christians have been imprisoned in military barracks and sometimes metal shipping containers. ICC remembers the deaths of three martyrs this month.All three faithful followers were arrested for being believers outside the specified ramifications.Anyone outside of approved Christian denominations (which consist of the Eritrean Orthodox Church, the Eritrean Lutheran Evangelical Church, and the Roman Catholic Church) does not have permission to worship and may be imprisoned, forced underground or thrown out of the country. For these three believers, imprisonment, torture and death were the results.One woman was horrifically tortured until she was finally given the option to either sign an official document recanting her faith, or be killed. Two other men were also given this option on separate occasions. Two of the three were purposely exposed to malaria and given the incentive of medicine if they recanted. After suffering immeasurable torture, all three faithful believers were killed for their bold refusals to deny Christ.These direct attacks affect many other believers indirectly. Believers who are imprisoned or have been martyred leave families behind. One of the three martyred Christians mentioned was 42 with a wife and children at home.
ICC pleads for you to pray for the victims of this spiritual warfare, including those who are imprisoned, tortured and killed, as well as their afflicted families.
If you would like to help these suffering Christian families, you can donate to ICC's Suffering Wives and Children fund.
As in the days of Noah...

Court Says “Insufficient Evidence” for Pastor Lou Yuanqi’s Case, Yet Continues to Keep Him in Prison

XINJIANG-ChinaAid just learned that Pastor Lou Yuanqi of Uygur Autonomous Region received a verdict of “insufficient evidence” and his case was sent back to the Public Security Bureau (PSB) by the prosecutor.The court said “'the facts used in the case are not clear,the evidence is insufficient.”Despite this ruling,Pastor Lou continues to be imprisoned. Pastor Lou stood trial on December 15, 2008 on charges of “utilizing superstition to undermine the law.” Sources say the real reason for the charge was to stop Lou’s house church from meeting in his home. After Lou’s trial, his daughter Lou Tiantian, 18, was beaten by court police when she tried to speak with her father as he was being put into a police car. Lou Tiantian was taken to the hospital where she received medical treatment, then was released the same night.During Lou’s trial, the presiding judge acknowledged the persecution in Xinjiang.However, witnesses reported that the judge stated, “’If the Christians have more religious freedom in areas outside Xinjiang, they should consider leaving Xinjiang because Xinjiang is special.”Pastor Lou was first detained on May 17, 2008 at 1 p.m. in Qingshuihe town, Huocheng county of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. At 11:30 p.m. the same day, Pastor Lou was transferred to Huocheng County Detention Center. Pastor Lou’s suffers from hepatitis B and the harsh prison conditions worsen his health.Pastor Lou’s wife, Wang Wenxiu, his children and church continue to meet despite Pastor Lou’s imprisonment. When told that Christians around the world were praying for their family, Wang asked friends to pass on this message to the international community: “Please thank them for us because this [imprisonment of Pastor Lou]is God's best will.It is His promise.It is the grace of the Lord. How could we be worthy of awakening so many brothers and sisters’ prayers for us? The Cross of Jesus encourages us to move forward.I am very joyful and full of gratitude for all of the prayer support. ”
Write an encouraging letter to Pastor Lou Yuanqi in prison:
Pastor Lou Yuanqi,
Huocheng County Detention Center,
Yili City,
Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China
Communicate your concern to the Chinese government on Pastor Lou’s behalf:
Cell Phone numbers in Huocheng PSB office
Director of Police: Mr. Wang Keqiang +86- 13909999156
Director of Domestic Security Protection
Mr. Di Li Xia Ti +86-13519980871
Deputy Director of Domestic Security Protection: Mr. Li Gang +86-15894-181-855 or +86-13899703878
Director of Detention Center: Mr. Jiao Feng +86-13909991370
Deputy Director of Detention Center: Mr. Sun Baoliang +86-13031375159
Ms. Wu Aiying, minister of Ministry of Justice of the People’s Republic of China
Tel: +86-10-65205114
Fax: +86-10-64729863
As in the days of Noah...

Yitong Law Firm Closed for Defending Human Rights Cases

BEIJING-On March 3, a hearing was held for the Beijing Yitong Law Firm which is being forced to shut down for six months by the Haidian District Judicial Bureau.ChinaAid sources say the reason behind the forced closure is that authorities are punishing the firm because some of its attorneys signed an open letter in August 2008 asking that independent candidates be allowed to run in the election of the leadership of the Beijing Lawyers Association [equivalent to the U.S. Bar Association], and because the firm has provided representation for a number of human rights cases, including cases of persecution against house church Christians.Only Li Jisong, the director of the law firm, was allowed to attend the public hearing on March 3 at 9:30 a.m. in North Room B101, Office Area No. 1 of Haidian District People’s Government of Beijing Municipality (Address: 17, Changchunqiao Road,Haidian District, Beijing).The other 12 lawyers and workers from the firm were forbidden to attend the hearing, even though the hearing was public and they filed official request forms asking permission to attend immediately after receiving the hearing notice on February 23.The government officials said there was no room, because all the seats were filled by February 25.In fact, the government deliberately filled all the seats with Haidian District Bureau of Justice officials.Presiding over the two-hour hearing was a committee organized by the Bureau of Justice.The committee has not yet released a decision.The government says the forced closure is because the firm allowed Christian attorney, Li Subin, to practice law without a license. However, the firm says that Li Subin, who worked as deputy director of the firm, served only in administrative duties and acted as a legal advisor. Although he has been a fully qualified and licensed attorney since 1991, he never acted as an attorney at the firm because the government refused to renew his license after he brought a lawsuit in 2001 against the Louyang City Bureau of Justice and Louyang Bar Association for collecting illegal lawyer license registration fees. Even though Li Subin won the suit, his license has been refused renewal ever since, and he has had no explanation from authorities for the reason.The forced closure of the firm is the most recent in a series of government tactics to shut down the firm in order to stop their human rights defense work. In October, government officials pressured the firm to fire some of their attorneys, including Li Subin, because they signed the open letter asking for the free election of the leadership of Beijing Lawyers Association.The implication for a free election is that the member lawyers would be able to choose their own leadership rather than accept the leaders the government chooses.A Chinese news source (, interviewed Attorney Liu Xiaoyuan of Yitong Law Firm.Attorney Liu said that the law firm will defend itself on the basis of the following three aspects:
1) Haidian District Bureau of Justice is not qualified to impose the administrative penalty of forcing the law firm to close for six months.
2) Li Subin did not act as an attorney in the firm’s cases; he was only involved as a legal advisor. 3) Even if the charge was legitimate, the penalty of closing down the law firm for six months is not fair or just. In similar cases, the penalty is generally a warning, an order for improvement, or a fine.
ChinaAid urges the international community to speak out on behalf of Yitong Law Firm. Their work defending human rights cases, including persecuted house church Christians, has made them a target of the government.
Contact the Chinese Ambassador and let him know your concern for the actions against Yitong Law Firm:
Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong,
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Ave NW,
Washington DC 20008
Tel: 202-7456743
Fax: 202- 588-0032; 202-7457473
As in the days of Noah....

13-year-old Girl Raped for Two Days,Then Released:Growing Trend of Muslim Men Imposing Islam on Christian Girls by Rape, Forced Marriage

WASHINGTON, D.C.-International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that a Muslim man in Pakistan kidnapped, raped, and forced a 13-year-old Christian girl to convert to Islam after deciding he wanted to marry her. The girl, whose name is Rida Ilyas, is a sixth-grade student living in a small Christian neighborhood in Faisalabad. On February 13, a Muslim man named Muhammad Shahid accosted her at gunpoint as she was leaving her school. He told her to be quiet or she would be killed, and forced her to convert to Islam. He wanted to marry her, and so for two days he raped her thinking that she would agree to the marriage to cover the shame of being raped, even though it is illegal in Pakistan for women to marry under the age of 16. He then released her on February 15. Rida returned to her family and told them everything, and her family filed a criminal case against Shahid at the police station. Shahid responded by attempting to take custody of Rida until she was 16 and could legally marry him. Fortunately, Rida's family was able to gather support from their local Christian leaders and lobbied the police until they agreed to drop Shahid's claim on Rida. Rida's family is relieved, but has refused to send her back to school for fear that Shahid would try to kidnap her again.Rida's mother told ICC, "Thank God my daughter came back. It's a miracle of Jesus Christ. Otherwise, I know some Christian girl's case who was kidnapped, sold to another man as a sex slave, and forced into Islam. After a year her dead body was delivered to her home. I am not interested any more to see the police station or doctor's medical report even though she was raped." Rida's mother is rightly cynical of receiving justice from the Pakistani authorities, who often ignore Christian complaints altogether.This story calls attention to a growing trend in Muslim countries where Muslim men are given financial rewards for converting a Christian woman to Islam by forcibly marrying them.Rida is not alone. In the past year, we have received five confirmed reports on Christian girls kidnapped and raped by Muslim men who were attempting to force them into Islam in Pakistan:
--Farzana Rashid, 14, was kidnapped by police on March 28, 2008 from her house in Lahore and was raped and charged with a false crime.
--Sumaira Rafiq Masih was raped by three influential landowners when she was working in the fields near Patoki, Punjab, on May 14, 2008.
--On June 4, 2008 a Muslim man named Ramzan kidnapped two Christian sisters from Chak 285-JB, a village in Toba Tek Singh, Punjab.
--Saba Younis, 13, and Anila Younis, 10, were kidnapped on June 26, 2008 by a Muslim man named Muhammad Arif Bajwa.
--In November 2008, Parvisha, 18, and Sanam, 14, told a local magistrate in Gujranwala about their abduction from their home, rape, and forcible conversion to Islam.

Samuel Wallace, ICC's Regional Manager for South & Central Asia, said, "Muslim fanatics and sexual predators in Pakistan see Christian girls as easy prey for their lust because the government does not defend them. Protecting the most vulnerable in society is the government's responsibility, and it is to their shame that Pakistani officials fail to prosecute these heinous violations of human dignity."
As in the days of Noah...

ICC Calls for Investigation of Violence against Christians in Bauchi,Nigeria

WASHINGTON, D.C.-International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Islamic extremists in northern Nigeria gunned down Christians and set fire to their homes and churches during a three-day rampage in which 11 people were killed and 3500 were displaced.According to Nigerian news source, the Guardian, the violence against the Christians in the city of Bauchi started on February 20, 2009, following a disagreement between two factions of an Islamic sect known as Izala.The factions had agreed to hold prayer at the mosque at different times. When one of the factions breached the agreement by continuing their prayer service beyond the time allotted them, the members of the other faction parked their cars in the parking lot of a nearby church. When members of the church asked the Muslims not to utilize the church's parking, the faction responded by burning the church to the ground.Following the church's destruction, unidentified individuals burnt down a mosque. Though their claims were unverifiable, Muslim extremists accused Christians of the arson and began indiscriminately attacking Christians in the city."The security agencies and Bauchi State government have failed us. We are at the mercy of the Muslims, we are not safe, and there is no security for us here in Bauchi," stated Bishop Musa Tula in a statement quoted by the Nigerian Tribune. Bishop Tula is Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Bauchi State chapter.The Bishop added that,"If they want us to go and live in the bush, let them show us the place. We are living in perpetual fear and the Federal Government must do something urgent for the sake of peace in the country." Muslims are the majority in northern Nigeria, and Christian minorities in the region are routinely attacked by Islamic extremists. In most cases, the extremists carry out large scale and violent attacks which are largely ignored by Muslim officials who do not take enough measures to safeguard the safety of Christians. ICC's Regional Manger for Africa, Jonathan Racho, stated, "Nigerian officials have repeatedly failed their obligations to protect Christian minorities from savage attacks by Muslim extremists in the northern part of the country. We call upon the Nigerian government to establish an independent commission to investigate the attacks in Bauchi and bring the perpetrators to justice."
Please pray for Christians in northern Nigeria.
Pray for their safety and protection against persecution.
Also pray that the Muslims that persecute them will come to know the love of Jesus Christ.
As in the days of Noah...

Signing Away Our Rights:A Global Attack on Christians:Hate Speech and Anti-Conversion Laws a Disturbing Trend

Hate speech and anti-conversion laws are cropping up around the globe in what, on the surface, seems to be an effort to protect religious freedoms. In reality, these laws are generally aimed at preserving the rights of only one religion and restricting and even criminalizing the expression of others.
There are several freedoms that Americans hold especially dear: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of conscience. The reason these freedoms are so important to us is that our forefathers experienced what it was like to not have them, and many fled their countries because of it. So we have codified these freedoms in our law, specifically in the Bill of Rights to the US Constitution, to ensure that the government would never limit "the free exercise of religion" or abridge "the freedom of speech."These are not just freedoms suited for Americans, but they are freedoms the whole world should enjoy. Even the UN was able to agree that "everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion," including the "freedom to change his religion or belief." Despite the fact that nearly every country, in joining the UN, has expressed its agreement with these principles, there is a growing movement throughout the Muslim world and in some other countries that seeks to deny these fundamental human rights...
Click here to view the entire article.
As in the days of Noah...

PAKISTAN:Sisters Lured Into Horrific Trap

Warning: Story Contains Graphic Content
Two Christian girls in Pakistan have finally been rescued after two Muslim men kidnapped them two months ago,raped them repeatedly, forcibly converted them to Islam, and sold them to other men as sex slaves. Despite this intense psychological trauma, the girls had the courage to tell their local government that they would never leave their Lord.Sisters Parvisha, 18, and Sanam, 14, received a call in early November 2008 from their neighbor, Muhammad Irfan, offering them training in cosmetology and jobs in his beauty salon. Parvisha, the oldest of seven children, convinced her father, Pastor Sharif Alam, to allow her to take the opportunity so that she could help support their struggling family. Irfan told the girls that he would come to pick them up since they did not know where his shop was.
Kidnappers Drug, Rape, Force Sisters to Accept Islam
On November 12, 2008, Irfan picked the girls up with the help of another man, Muhammed Mehboob, drove them 30 minutes away from home and stopped to get drinks. The girls' drinks were heavily drugged, and when the sisters came to they found themselves locked in a small hotel room almost 500 miles away from their home in Gujranwala. At gunpoint, the girls were told that if they tried to escape or made any noise they and all of their family would be killed...
Click here to view the entire article.
As in the days of Noah....

Eritrea: A Christian Burial Ground

Since 2002, more than two thousand Christians have been arrested in Eritrea.Imprisoned across the country in dark cells, military barracks, and metal shipping containers, these believers have never been taken to court or allowed to see their lawyers. They have been tortured and martyred for their faith.Eritrea won its independence from Ethiopia in 1993.Today, Eritrea has no constitution, and the ruling party is the only legal political party in the country. Its Communist rulers enacted legislation in 2002 that restricted recognized Christian denominations to the Eritrean Orthodox Church, the Eritrean Lutheran Evangelical Church, and the Roman Catholic Church. Believers outside of these denominations who have not yet been imprisoned have been forced underground or chased out of the country.
Martyred for Refusing to Recant their Faith in Jesus Christ
Imprisoned without formal charges in the infamous Wi'a Military Training Center, Azib Simon was arrested in December 2007 for her participation in the underground church...
Click here to view the entire article.
As in the days of Noah..

A Continued Call to prayer for our Brothers and Sisters in Egypt and Pakistan

Pakistan - After 7 months of legal deadlock, lawyers in Pakistan said they have new hope they can restore Saba Masih to her family. Saba, a 13-year-old Christian girl, was kidnapped last year and forced to marry a Muslim.
Pray that the lawyers can legally maneuver around Pakistani policemen who, according to Compass, have stonewalled attempts to arrest the captors in spite of a Pakistani judge charging them with kidnapping. Praise God for the judge’s decision to file kidnapping charges. This marks a major shift of momentum in the case where previously the judges have repeatedly sided with the Muslim kidnappers. Continue to pray for all those involved “Thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ” 2 Cor 2:14.
Saba’s sister Aneela, aged 10, was also kidnapped last year but has since been returned to her family…Glory be to God!
Egypt - Maher Ahmad El-Mo’otahssem Bellah El-Gohary, the Muslim-born Egyptian, is legally attempting to change his religion on his identity card from Muslim to Christian. In a hearing on Feb 22nd, more than 20 Islamic lawyers advocated that he be convicted of “apostasy,” or leaving Islam, and sentenced to death.
Pray for El-Gohary who was not present at the hearing, as his attendance would have put him at extreme personal risk. He had planned to obtain papers authorizing his attorney to act as his proxy representation in court. But staff members at the registry office swore at and beat his attorney thus preventing him from filing the proxy.
A new court date has been set for March 28th.El-Gohary who is now in hiding told Compass “I am now in a position where I can’t do anything else,I have to go to court despite the danger. I believe God will protect me. It’s a very hard decision, but I have to go.”
Pray for his safety as he continues this legal battle.
Pray with El-Gohary that “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Proverbs 16:7.
Read the full report on these and other stories on the Open Doors Website.
As in the days of Noah...

CHINA:Groundbreaking Ceremony for Christian Senior home

China (MNN)At the end of this month, a church in Hangzhou supported by China Partner will see a long-held dream take baby steps toward its fulfillment.On March 30, a groundbreaking ceremony was held to mark the commencement of Hangzhou Christian Senior Home's second phase of construction."I was reminded of several of our partners who made a donation to help with this project last year," said China Partner President, Rev. Erik Burklin, after receiving an invitation to the home's groundbreaking ceremony. China Partner gathered donations from several associates last year, and the gift was hand-delivered by Dr. Werner."Rev. Gu was visibly moved by the generous support."The home will provide care and ministry for the elderly. Several years ago, Reverend Joseph Gu shared his dream of building a Christian senior home next to the church with China Partner's founder, Dr. Werner Berklin. The "Senior Project" has been ongoing, supported by China Partner while funding efforts continued.
You could support the project by praying with your church or visiting China Partner's Web site to learn more.
As in the days of Noah...

IRAN:Church grows,crackdown continues

Iran-A great spiritual hunger in Iran has caused many to turn away from traditional Islam, resulting in an ever-increasing number of conversions. Words of Hope President Lee DeYoung says that conversion is viewed as a serious offense in Iran, and the government continues to hunt those suspected of turning to Christianity."We continue to hear reports of government inquiries," DeYoung says, "and people being called in for questioning about alleged Christian activities."Many believers have taken to exercising their faith "underground" to avoid officials' prying eyes."It shows that the government of Iran is still very vigilant and concerned."DeYoung adds that in Iran, conversion could result in punishment by death. Many Iranians are tired of the disillusionment associated with Islam and Iran's government. The disillusionment has resulted in a great spiritual hunger in Iran. As the hunger grows, so does the number of converts to Christianity; God's family is growing despite continued persecution."The work of God in Iran testifies to the power of the Gospel," said Victor Atallah, founder of the Middle East Reformed Fellowship (MERF).MERF partners with Words of Hope in Iran to broadcast Christian programming into Iran. Every night, Iranians tune in to God's Word broadcast in Farsi, their native tongue. Believers are also encouraged through the Internet and Biblical training offered by WOH. DeYoung urges sustained prayer for believers in Iran as governmental pressure continues."People there are courageous," De Young said."They need wisdom, and they need God's protection so that they can continue to minister in Jesus' name both on the radio and in other ways."
If you'd like to become involved in supporting Words of Hope's work in Iran, click here to make a donation.
As in the days of Noah...

Libya Tortures Four Christian Converts from Islam:Other Christian converts on the run fearing for their lives

WASHINGTON, D.C.-International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Libyan intelligence officials have detained and tortured four Christians for converting from Islam. The Christians have been imprisoned for the past seven weeks in Tripoli, Libya's capital. Libya's External Security Organization is believed to be behind the detention and torture of the Christians, according to our sources.The security agents have barred the families from visiting the detained converts and are putting severe physical and psychological pressure on the Christians in order to force them to reveal the names of other converts. Fearing for their lives, converts from Islam are on the run. The detention and the torture of the Christian converts come at a critical time in Libya's relations with the international community. The country has been improving its relations with the international community following the lifting of sanctions imposed on it due to its involvement in the bombing of an American airliner in which 270 people were killed. By torturing the four Christian converts and stifling religious freedom, Libya is once again violating basic principles of the international human rights law. ICC's Regional Manager for Africa, Jonathan Racho, said, "We call upon Libyan officials to stop torturing the four Christians and release them from detention. Libya must respect the rights of its citizens to worship freely and not to be tortured. We particularly ask the Libyan leader and the current head of the African Union, Mr. Muammar Gaddafi, to set the prisoners free and demonstrate his country's commitment to respect human rights."
Please pray for the safe release of the detained believers. Also pray for comfort and strength of their families.
Please call the Libyan embassy in your country and politely ask the Libyan officials to release the Christians.
(0)20 7589 6120
(020) 7589 6087
(613) 230-0919
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As in the days of Noah...