Barnabas Fund - International Headquarters River Street, Pewsey, Wilthire. Phone: +44 1672 565030 Latitude: 51 deg 23 min 18 sec N Longitude: 1 deg 45 min 48 sec W .
Prayer Focus 08/11

Email:

Prayer Focus 08/11

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

Prayer Focus 08/11

Country/Region: Pakistan, South and East Asia, Central Asia, Africa, Middle East and North Africa, Iraq, Egypt, China, Iran, Senegal, Kazakhstan

 

China - Church continues to meet despite harassment

Church members from Shouwang Church, one of the largest unregistered churches (“house churches”) in Beijing, continue to meet in an open-air plaza each Sunday, having been evicted from their leased meeting space by the government in April.

At the time of writing, the church had endured 15 consecutive weeks of raids and arrests at these outdoor meetings; according to ChinaAid, members of the congregation have lost jobs, done time in jail and been verbally abused.

In June, Pastor Shi Enhao, who is a house church leader and the deputy chairman of the Chinese House Church Alliance, was detained. He had called on the Chinese government to stop its persecution of Shouwang Church. ChinaAid confirmed on 25 July that Pastor Shi had been sentenced to two years in a labour camp for "re-education through labour" for holding “illegal meetings and illegal organising of venues for religious meetings”.

  • Please lift our brothers and sisters at Shouwang Church to the Lord and give thanks that, despite these challenges, they continue to make a stand each week for Christ.
  • Pray for Pastor Shi Enhao’s protection during his time at the labour camp.

Top

Iran - Death penalty upheld for church leader

Iran’s Supreme Court has upheld the death penalty for Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who was convicted of apostasy from Islam in September 2010. The pastor had appealed against his conviction, but a written verdict from the court has now confirmed that the appeal was unsuccessful. The death penalty will be annulled if the father of two renounces his faith.

Youcef (33), who was born to Muslim parents, was arrested in October 2009 for objecting to the teaching of Islam to Christian children in schools. The charges against him were later changed to apostasy and evangelising Muslims. His wife, Fatemeh Passandideh, was arrested in June 2010 and sentenced to life in prison. Supporters say that this was an attempt to pressurise the pastor to renounce his faith, but he remained steadfast. Fatemeh was released on appeal in October after four months in prison.

If the sentence is carried out, it would be the first execution for apostasy in Iran since Hossein Soodmand in 1990.

In another incident, Christian student Mostafa Zangooyee (24) was detained for sharing his faith at the university he attends on 30 June. He remains in custody.

  • Pray for protection for Youcef and others who are in prison for their faith; pray that the death sentence will not be carried out and that he will soon be released unharmed.
  • Give thanks for Mostafa’s boldness in witnessing for Christ despite the dangers that Christians face in Iran.

Top

Iraq - New church for Christian community

Iraq’s beleaguered and marginalised Christian community have made a defiant move against violent attempts to drive them out of their homeland by opening the first new church in the country since the 2003 US-led invasion.

The church in Kirkuk, where Christians have come under repeated attack, was officially opened earlier this month with around 300 people in attendance. It serves a housing complex in a secure location for around 200 Christian families who have fled violence elsewhere in Iraq, notably Baghdad and Mosul.

Emad Yelda, an MP representing Iraq’s Christians, said that the opening of the church was a message for Christians not to abandon Iraq, and a message to everyone not to target Christians. The church and complex were built on land donated by the Iraqi government and with donations, including $10,000 from President Jalal Talabani. Hassan Toran, the chief of Kirkuk’s provincial council, said that the local government “will support the Christians, financially and morally”.

  • Give thanks for this rare positive development and for the determination of Iraqi Christians to maintain a Christian presence in their homeland, despite the daily pressure they face.
  • Pray for all those who have lost loved ones in violence in Iraq. Pray especially for those from our Christian family, that they will find peace and comfort in the Lord Jesus.

Top

Senegal - Churches looted and torched

Christians have been attacked and eight churches looted and torched in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, as aggressors took advantage of political unrest in the country to vent their hostility. The churches were targeted over a two-week period following a declaration of war by Muslims against “new churches”. A church leader said this was because of the visible growth of these churches in Dakar.

The anti-Christian violence broke out as rioters took to the streets to protest against President Abdoulaye Wade’s controversial plans to change the country’s constitution. With tensions already high in the city, one neighbourhood erupted, and the crowd took out their anger on the Christians. One church was set upon by a group of men and young people during the morning service on Sunday 26 June. The worshippers were driven out and pelted with stones as they escaped before the steel-structured building was fire-bombed. The following day, the mayor ordered that the building be “cleaned up”; the steel and scrap iron, valuable commodities in Senegal, were taken away by truck, leaving nothing but a raised concrete platform where the pulpit had been. The building had seated around 400 people.

  • Pray for those congregations that have lost their church buildings. Pray that they will find alternative meeting space so that they can continue to worship our Lord and Saviour.
  • Pray that the Lord will provide the resources for the rebuilding of damaged churches and that Senegalese Christians will be protected from any further attacks.
  • Such anti-Christian violence is almost unheard of in Senegal. Pray that this incident will not set a precedent for further attacks on the Christian community.

Top

Kazakhstan - Pastor faces criminal charge for praying for the sick

Pastor Yerzhan Ushanov, from Taraz, Jambyl Region, Kazakhstan, is facing prosecution for “causing severe damage to health due to negligence” after he prayed for the healing of a sick man who visited his church. The charge carries a penalty of up to two years’ imprisonment, a fine of between 100 and 200 times the minimum monthly wage, or community service of between 180 and 200 hours.

Pastor Ushanov was accused of using hypnosis by the man’s wife, who said her husband felt sick afterwards. The allegation was dismissed by members of his church, who said, “This is not the first time the authorities in southern regions of Kazakhstan bring such absurd accusations against pastors for allegedly using hypnosis... In some cases the authorities have even demanded some of our pastors obtain a special licence from the Health Ministry for praying to heal the sick.” In April 2010, another pastor from the Jambyl Region was fined 100 times the minimum monthly wage for allegedly harming a woman’s health by praying for her. The Supreme Court later overturned the conviction and cancelled the fine, but the pastor has not yet received his money back.

The secret police opened a criminal case against Pastor Ushanov on 8 June, and on 25 June five regional secret police officers broke into his home and searched it. Church members said the police had planted evidence against the pastor during the raid, a book entitled Modern Hypnosis, which they then seized along with computer equipment, Christian literature and personal data about church members. The officers warned Pastor Ushanov to “change his profession, and leave Taraz for good, if he does not want to get into trouble”.

Six days earlier, police officers from the Department for the Fight against Extremism, Separatism and Terrorism raided the church during a Sunday worship service following a complaint by a woman that she had been poisoned when she ate at the church cafeteria. This allegation was also dismissed by a church member, who said they only rented the premises and did not serve food.

It appears that the church is being targeted by the authorities; it is regularly visited by a particular secret police officer who is said to keep tabs on believers.

  • Lift up to the Lord Pastor Ushanov and pray that allegations against him will be dropped so that he can continue his ministry without fear of reprisals.
  • Pray that the Lord will heal the sick man who was prayed for by the pastor and pray that he and his wife come to know the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Pray that Christians in Kazakhstan will continue to stand firm in their faith despite the harassment they face.

Top

Pakistan - Christian murdered as he cleaned the streets

Father of four Abbas Masih (36) was stabbed to death as he was cleaning the streets in Lahore on 20 May. Eyewitnesses said that a Muslim flower-shop worker ordered him to pick up dried leaves and flowers outside the shop; Abbas said he would do so when he returned from the end of the street. The angered shop worker stabbed Abbas in the chest with a knife. Abbas was taken to hospital, where he died.

Abbas’ family was not eligible for financial compensation from the government upon his death, so Barnabas Fund is supporting his widow Rukhsana and their four children with monthly food parcels.

  • Pray for Abbas’ family, that they will know the Lord as “a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows” (Psalm 68:5).
  • Pray for an end to the employment discrimination that our brothers and sisters face in Pakistan.

Top

Egypt - Mixed news for Christians

On 3 July the Supreme Administrative Court in Egypt ruled that Christian reconverts could have their registration changed back to “Christian” on their national ID cards and birth certificates. Religious registration affects many important areas of life including marriage, inheritance, education and church attendance.

The ruling applies to those who were registered on their birth certificates and/or national ID cards as “Christian” but whose religious identity was changed to “Muslim”, either because they converted to Islam as adults, or as a consequence of a parent changing his/her registration, or because of a clerical error. It means that those who return to Christianity having converted to Islam will be officially identified as Christians rather than Muslims. The ruling does not apply to converts to Christianity who were registered as Muslim at birth.

This is particularly important for Christian women and girls, as many are kidnapped by Muslims and forcibly converted to Islam, and the number of these incidents has greatly increased since the revolution broke out in January.

Despite this rare piece of good news, there is still an air of disquiet among the Christians in Egypt as Islamist parties gear up for the elections later this year, and Christians are continuing to suffer violence. On 30 June the husband of a Christian woman tried to defend her from sexual harassment by Muslims at the bus terminal in Kolosna in Minya province. Shortly afterwards, thousands of Muslims descended on the mainly Christian part of Kolosna, where they looted and torched Christian homes and businesses and beat up Christians. And in the Upper Egyptian village of Awlad Khalaf, a mob of nearly 200 Muslims burned eight homes belonging to Christians on 25 June. The attack was prompted by a rumour that the house being built by one resident was going to be turned into a church.

  • Give thanks to the Lord for the good news about the ruling in favour of Christian reconverts. Pray that converts from Islam to Christianity will also be granted the right to change their ID cards.
  • Pray that the Lord will comfort those who were targeted in the violence in Kolosna and Awlad Khalaf. Pray for an end to the violence against Egyptian Christians, that they will be left in peace, and that the authorities will ensure their security.
  • Pray for the forthcoming Egyptian elections, that Islamist parties will not emerge victorious, and that a secular rather than an Islamic state will be established.

Top

Praying_PFU
Help us: Share this article

Email:

Prayer Focus 08/11

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

Other articles

Follow Barnabas

or

receive news & appeal emails as they are published

From Twitter

From Twitter_icon
  • Islamic parties make unexpected gains in Indonesian elections http://ow.ly/vR60m 3 hours ago

  • Former counter-terrorism chief to lead inquiry into alleged Islamist takeover of Birmingham schools http://ow.ly/vOn9I Tue, Apr 2014 17:01

  • Condemned Christian mother Aasia Bibi's appeal hearing- set for today- deferred for third time in Pakistan http://ow.ly/vLEkf Mon, Apr 2014 16:03

  • "We should stand up against persecution of Christians" David Cameron in Easter speech http://ow.ly/vEai9 Thu, Apr 2014 16:53

  • UN religious freedom expert calls on Kazakh govt to end mandatory registration of religious communities http://ow.ly/vBb6V Wed, Apr 2014 14:36

Daily prayer

Daily prayer_icon
  • “Jesus Christ performed tremendous miracles in all our lives through this Shalom Camp.” A pastor spoke of how God had worked through a Barnabas-sponsored weekend Bible camp for persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka. The camp was attended by believers from five different churches that had been the target of threats or attacks by Buddhist or Hindu extremists. The participants heard teaching on the Biblical basis for persecution and took part in group discussions; they came away refreshed and encouraged, and for many the camp was a time of great spiritual renewal. Give thanks to the Lord for the peace He has brought to these persecuted believers, and ask that the weekend will continue to bear much fruit in their lives. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 20 hours ago

  • Pray for a church leader in Sri Lanka, S.S. Johnpillai, who was threatened at gunpoint by attackers who claimed to be Special Forces officers. The minister was in a hut next to his church building in Guadalupe, Trincomolee when, he said, the men “appeared out of nowhere”. The intruders put a gun to Johnpillai’s head and accused him of holding a Communion service in honour of the founder of the Tamil Tigers, the government’s opponents in the country’s long and bloody civil war. The government had that day made it a criminal offence to commemorate the group. The gunmen ignored Johnpillai’s protests that he had not dedicated Communion to the group’s founder, and they threatened to shoot him. Ask the Lord to support and strengthen Johnpillai as he recovers from this terrifying ordeal. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Lift up to the Lord persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka, where at least 65 anti-Christian incidents took place during 2013, including repeat attacks on several believers and their property in October 2013. However, a Sri Lankan government minister from a Buddhist nationalist party denied the accounts, saying that they might be “made up”. The minister claimed that Sri Lankans are “one family … trying to live together after a long civil war”. Pray that the Sri Lankan government will recognise the danger that our brothers and sisters face from militant Buddhists and that the authorities will provide effective protection for vulnerable Christians. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Condemned Christian mother Aasia Bibi’s final appeal hearing is scheduled to take place tomorrow (14 April) having been deferred twice. She was sentenced to death for blasphemy in November 2010 having been falsely accused of insulting Muhammad following an argument with Muslim co-workers. Aasia has been languishing in jail since the accusation was made in June 2009. Pray that her appeal will finally go ahead and that the judges will have the courage to acquit and release Aasia; there are concerns that they may give in to pressure from hardline Islamists who have been calling for her execution. Pray that Aasia, her husband and children will know the Lord’s peace as they await the verdict. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Indians have started going to the polls this week in a general election that is taking place in phases until 12 May. The ruling, secular Congress party is expected to be defeated by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). This would be an ominous outcome for the country’s Christian minority. The BJP has given support to extremist groups that attack Christians; states under the party’s rule have generally experienced a rise in anti-Christian violence. It has introduced anti-conversion laws on a state level, and has pledged to introduce national legislation to curb "missionary" activity and end proselytising if elected nationally. Pray for wisdom for Indians as they vote and that the outcome will result in a just government that upholds the rights and freedoms of all citizens. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Apr 2014 00:00

© Barnabas Fund 1997 - 2014 All rights reserved.
Barnabas Fund & Barnabas Aid are registered trade marks