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Myanmar, Burma

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Barnabas provided Kachin refugees with emergency aid, including shoes for
1,000 needy children

The Burmese army is continuing to pursue its agenda of intimidation and violence against ethnic minority groups, the majority of whom are Christians. In Kachin state, soldiers are kidnapping, raping, torturing and killing Christians, apparently with impunity. This is despite a peace deal negotiated between the Burmese government and representatives of the predominantly Christian people group in May 2013, which it was hoped would bring an end to two years of intense suffering endured by our brothers and sisters.

Believers from the Kachin and other mainly Christian ethnic minority groups are persecuted for both their ethnicity and their faith, and continue to suffer great oppression despite Burma’s recent moves towards political reform. In Kachin state, at least 64 women and girls have been raped, 66 churches and 200 villages have been destroyed and nearly 100,000 people have been displaced since July 2011, when the army broke a 17-year ceasefire. Two Kachin people were killed by the army just two weeks after the peace deal was agreed. Then, in early September 2013, women and girls were kidnapped and gang-raped by soldiers who attacked their village. Other villagers, including a church leader, were also kidnapped and were tortured.

Throughout Burma, the authorities have continued to disrupt Christian gatherings, restrict the publication of Christian literature and prevent the construction or repair of church buildings. The government actively promotes conversion to Buddhism. Christians are sometimes forced to help build and maintain Buddhist pagodas and monasteries or to destroy church buildings. In some remote areas, children of very poor Christian families are targeted by special schools, known as Na Ta La, which offer them free food and education as well as government jobs when they graduate. At the schools, they are prevented from practising their faith and are forced to shave their heads in accordance with the teachings of Buddhism. They may be beaten or threatened with military conscription if they resist.

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    • Loving Father, we pray for Christians in one district of West Java, Indonesia, who have seen seven of their churches closed by the authorities because of alleged building permit irregularities. We pray especially for those who have had to move to other locations for security reasons, that You will keep them safe. We thank You for the support our brothers and sisters have received from the national human rights commission. We pray that the crippling restrictions on church buildings in Indonesia will be relaxed and that local authorities will not yield to pressure from Islamist groups. We pray too that the newly elected president of Indonesia will take effective action to combat religious intolerance. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 1 hour ago

    • Around 40 church leaders and members in Nepal were arrested on 13 June, accused of forcibly converting Hindus. They were detained in Boudha by the police, who were pressured by Hindus to take action against them. A crowd of Hindus then gathered outside the jail and threatened a riot if the Christians were freed. They were all released eventually, but a Barnabas contact said that Hindus were looking for arguments with Christians and trying to attack them, having been encouraged by Hindu nationalists in India. The vice-president of India’s ruling BJP party had visited Nepal from 30 May to 1 June and called for religious conversion to be outlawed. Pray that the freedom of Nepalese Christians to share their faith will be upheld in the country’s new constitution. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Sep 2014 00:00

    • “The training helped me to establish the foundation of my faith in the Word of God and build my life on it. I deliberately teach the course to my friends.” Mr Lepcha, a Nepali living in India, had participated in a tutor training course sponsored by Barnabas that equipped him to lead Bible training courses. He then also started serving as an elder in his church. Give thanks that these courses are building up the faith of 419 Christian students and 54 teachers, most of whom are converts from other religions. It is also helping them stand strong when they meet resistance from their relatives and communities. Pray that they will experience God’s comfort when experiencing persecution and God’s strength to reach out in love to those who are hurting them. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Sep 2014 00:00

    • Pray for a Christian family in Kandhamal in Orissa state, India, who have been left devastated after their home was destroyed for the third time by Hindu extremists. The Digals of Budruka village were among hundreds of Christian families to lose their home in the horrendous anti-Christian violence of December 2007. They returned two months later and rebuilt their house, but in August 2008 the attacks resumed, and their second home was also destroyed. After receiving financial aid from the government they were able to rebuild it again this year, but in April it was wrecked once more, shattering their hopes of returning to their village to cultivate their land. Pray that the Lord will comfort them in their distress and provide them with a peaceful dwelling-place and secure home (Isaiah 32:18). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Sep 2014 00:00

    • The landslide victory of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in India’s general election in May sparked alarm for Christians and other minorities in the country. The BJP is the political wing of a Hindu nationalist movement, Hindutva, which is striving to make India a religiously pure nation. It has given support to Hindu extremist groups that attack Christians, and states under the party’s rule have generally experienced a rise in anti-Christian violence. The BJP has introduced “anti-conversion” laws in a number of states, which are used to prevent legitimate Christian evangelism. Prior to the general election, the BJP pledged to introduce national legislation to curb “missionary” activity and end proselytising if elected. Pray that the BJP will rule justly and that the rights and freedoms of all Indian citizens will be upheld. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Sep 2014 00:00

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