Missions, The Persecuted Church Across the World

Pastor’s Name on ISIS Hit List – April 17th

Voice of the Martyrs, 11th April 2024

On Sunday, January 28, two masked gunmen entered a Catholic church in Istanbul during a service and randomly shot and killed a 52-year-old man. The self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility.

Turkish police quickly arrested two suspects with ties to ISIS and later arrested 25 more after raiding numerous locations. Afterwards, police contacted a pastor of a rapidly growing church in another part of Turkey and told him that his name was on an ISIS hit list.

“This pastor has been threatened by ultra-nationalist Turks many times, but this was the first time that he sounded worried,” said a front-line worker.

Turkish police offered to protect the pastor and encouraged him to set up security cameras. “We can’t pray for the elimination of persecution,” said the front-worker, “but we can pray that believers will be strengthened and recognize these things are happening because of the growth of the church.”

Unfortunately, Islam is considered by most Turks to be part of their national identity; it is hard for them to imagine leaving Islam even if they know little about its teachings and do not practice its tenets.

Believers face a range of challenges from family members, neighbours, employers and the government. It is not uncommon for the government to assign police officers to a pastor or church for “protection” from threats by Islamic leaders. This is a way to monitor the activities of pastors and churches.

Mission Support within the Congregation, Missions

Jacksons – April 17th – Update 2 (excerpts)

Fraser’s new laptop should be with him now.  Pray for his managing his time, currently having 10 open projects on his desk.  Things are falling into place for attending and leading workshops at the Theological Education Association conference in Pretoria in June.

Thank God for the men in Maximum and Medium A who attend Dawn’s Bible studies. It’s a privilege to facilitate sessions in which such men feel able to be vulnerable and ask questions about topics that worry them.

In Maximum Bible study we’re looking at anger. Pray that the men would recognise the symptoms of growing anger and choose to react in a godly way.

When asked what changes knowing Jesus has made, Theswin, once an angry and violent number gang man, said, “Being able to love my enemies.” Shortly after giving his life to Jesus, a man told him he was the one who’d shot him outside when he nearly died.  Theswin immediately wanted to inflict harm on him but then a huge sense of peace flowed over him. He told the man he now followed Jesus and, whatever his past deeds, he had to love and forgive him. They became close friends until the other man was released and shot dead. Theswin’s family and friends no longer recognise him as the person he was before meeting Jesus and agree that his reaction to his enemy was miraculous.

Ashley and Dawn have visited another drug support group to offer them their Restoration programme. Many of the support group work during the day.  Ashley and Dawn are prepared to try a mixed group.

Our church leadership now must take a final decision on action over a situation in our congregation.  Pray wisdom for the leaders and our response to their decision.

Missions, The Persecuted Church Across the World

Young Christian Woman Killed by Her Muslim Brother – April 17th

Morning Star News, April 12, 2024

The Muslim brother of a 19-year-old woman in eastern Uganda on March 29 killed her for putting her faith in Christ, a relative said.

Namukuve Sawuya had come to faith through a Christian Union Fellowship at her high school, a relative said. When her father, Alhaji Muzamiru, noticed she was not attending Muslim prayer times during Ramadan, he became angry and called her and her six siblings together at their home in Nawaningi village, Bulamagi Sub-County, Iganga District.

He asked her why she had not attended the prayers.

“She kept quiet for a while and later replied that she had converted to Prophet Issa [Jesus Christ],” the relative said. “This angered her elder brother, Abdul Rahim Munaabi, and he got hold of a wooden chair and hit her on the head. She cried out once, saying, ‘Oh Mum,’ and stopped breathing.”

Her mother was away checking on a relative who was ill in Naluwerere, the source said.

“Namukuve’s body was removed from the house and dumped in a swamp near the River Naigombwa.”

Rice farmers in the swamp discovered the body and informed police. Officers took it to a mortuary for autopsy and were investigating the crime.

Sawuya’s body, abandoned in the mortuary, was buried on hospital land, the source said.

Missions, The Persecuted Church Across the World

Christian couple given two years in prison – April 17th

Church in Chains, April 10th, 2024

Pastor Ramesh Ahirwar and his wife Sakshi Ahirwar from Viveknagar Bhansa village near Sagar in Madhya Pradesh state have each been sentenced to two years in prison and a fine of 25,000 rupees (€280) after Hindu extremists accused them of “forcible conversion” under the state’s anti-conversion laws.

They denied the charge but were convicted and sentenced on 11 March 2024 at the Trial Court of Sagar district, even though the woman they are accused of pressurising to convert denied in court that they had tried to forcibly or fraudulently convert her or her husband.

The couple’s conviction is the first under Madhya Pradesh’s anti-conversion law. “I am shocked at the conviction,” the pastor told Morning Star News. “The charges against us are baseless and utterly untrue.”

Pastor Ramesh and Sakshi appealed to the High Court and are currently out on bail while their appeal is processed. Their first appeal hearing was held on 5 April at the High Court in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, and the court extended the order of bail granted by the trial court until 30 April 2024.

Pastor Ramesh said he was on a trip to Delhi in October 2021 when members of the Hindu extremist organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) incited a man named Abhishek Ahirwar to accuse the couple of abducting his estranged wife, pressurising her to convert to Christianity and trying to fraudulently convert him too.

Mission Support within the Congregation, Missions

Bibles burned outside US church on Easter Sunday – April 17th

Barnabas Aid, April 3rd, 2024

On Easter Sunday morning (31 March 2024), a trailer full of Bibles was set alight outside a church in Mount Juliet, Tennessee. Please pray for the congregation of Global Vision Bible Church, that the Lord will give them strength and comfort following the incident.

According to the church’s pastor Greg Locke, “At 6:00am our security cameras caught a man dropping off a trailer in the middle of the intersection and blocking the road into our church. He then got out and set fire to an entire trailer full of Bibles right in front of our church”.

The identity of the perpetrator is currently unknown. Police are investigating the matter, and although they cannot provide any further details at this time, they have confirmed that the fire was set “intentionally”.

This is unfortunately just the latest incident in a rising trend against Christians and churches in the United States. In 2023 alone there were at least 436 attacks on churches – more than double the number reported in 2022. These included 315 instances of vandalism, 75 instances of arson, 10 gun-related incidents, 20 bomb threats and 37 other incidents. This was the second consecutive year where the number of reported incidents was more than twice as many as the previous year, and marks an 800% increase in the number of acts of hostility against churches since 2018.

Such acts serve as a reminder that Western society is not immune to Christian persecution. Jesus warns us that the world will hate us (John 15:18-20).

Mission Support within the Congregation, Missions

Steadfast Global – April 17th – Update 2

Steadfast Global, 12th April 2024


A Christian couple have been released on bail pending an appeal against a 2-year prison sentence imposed under anti-conversion law in Madhya Pradesh. Pastor Ramesh Ahirwar (41) and his wife Sakshi (41) were tried and convicted on 11 March following a false allegation that they had pressured a Hindu woman to convert to Christianity. While giving evidence at the trial, the woman in question denied that she had been pressurised or offered any inducement to convert.   


The father of a young Christian man who was shot and killed in the Sialkot district of Punjab province last November, has reported that he and his family have been threatened with death unless they withdraw the complaint made against the man accused of killing their son. Noor Ul Qamar reported that on 18 March, six armed men led by the father of the alleged killer, entered their home, and made the threat.


A prominent community and religious leader in Kachin state was killed on 18 March in what has been described as a targeted attack. Nammye Hkun Jaw Li (47) was working in his computer shop in Mogaung township when three armed men entered and shot him three times. As well as being an active advocate against military activities in his home state, Nammye Hkun Jaw Li previously held roles within the Kachin Baptist Convention. He is survived by his wife and three children.

Missions, The Persecuted Church Across the World

The Northern Hmu in China – April 17th

Joshua Project, April 15th, 2024

Chinese people have despised the Hmu people for centuries and called them “men-dogs.” When a Hmu person dies, a shaman “opens the road” by giving directions to enable the soul of the deceased to reach heaven after a long journey. In 1898, missionary W. S. Fleming and the first Hmu convert, Pan Xiushan, were murdered and Christian inquirers were beheaded. Today the main centre for the Northern Hmu people is Kaili City.   

Northern Hmu have strongly resisted the good news of Christ and this resistance may linger today. Ethnic religious practices, ruled by fear, legends and superstition are strongholds that must be pulled down before truth of the gospel can take hold.

The Hmu New Testament was completed in 2018 and audio Bible resources are available in their language.

Pray for many from today’s people to know that they must have no other God but the Lord.

Pray that the followers of Jesus among the Northern Hmu people would be nourished by the Holy Spirit and would fellowship together. Pray they would have nothing to do with the deeds of darkness, living as children of light. Pray that these disciples would make disciples who will plant churches among Hmu people, spreading and growing deep roots. Pray for the Holy Spirit to work powerfully through those ministering to Hmu people. Pray they would be given spiritual understanding.

Mission Support within the Congregation, Missions

Blythswood – April 17th – Update 2

Daniel Centre

Balazs will now release Roxana on Thursday at the end of her 45-day trial period, the other staff members agreeing that she does not have the right chemistry for the position.  Sergiu, the night warden, has been very distressed about his mother who has mental issues, went missing at the weekend, and was found 150 miles away at a railway station by the police.

The sale of their Cluj depot has not completed and Balazs has still to finish his report for Christian Aid on his work with the Ukrainians in Romania.

He and his wife Agnes spent 4 days with Blythswood CEO Jeremy Ross and his wife Fiona visiting the Cornerstone Project in Navi Mumbai in India which provides afterschool care for the children of prostitutes. They also visited a fledgling church there in the slums.

Balazs will visit Serbia next week with Jeremy, Finlay and Alan Lawson who are all trustees for Blythswood’s work in that country.  Balazs would like Blythswood to sponsor the Theological Faculty there which prepares young Roma Pentecostals for ministry to their own people. 

 Talita Kum

Adi is in good form and does not want to give up teaching the TK1 children himself, so they are currently well-staffed.  The Blythswood shops are also doing well in Jimboliya in support of the Talita Kum projects.  Adi is apparently well-skilled at handling the inspectors who periodically visit charity shops and look for reasons to fine them.

Mission Support within the Congregation, Missions

Jacksons – April 3rd – Update 1 (excerpts)

We’re thankful that Fraser is much better and now has a way forward to correct an almighty mess a college made trying to upload catalogue data to a new library system. His laptop is still just about hanging together. Pray that he and the other NetAct leaders can replace it very soon as his computer is threatening to die at any moment.

Thank God for the enthusiasm and desire to learn and change that Dawn encounters during the prison Bible studies. Pray for the men as they encourage others to come and meet Jesus and as they face up to the difficult changes they must make in their own lives and attitudes.

Ashley is making enquiries in the next area regarding the community/gang restoration course. Pray his message and our offer will be well received, that opposing forces will be negated and that God will lead us to a receptive place. Pray against the darkness and violence seeping through many aspects of life in many community areas.

Pray for the men hanging around the streets who are sort of interested but weren’t brave enough to sign up to face themselves and change.

Ruth hit her head on a marble counter on Friday and has been suffering from concussion ever since.  Thank God she’s in a place where medical care is readily available and has friends who are helping take care of her.

Missions, The Persecuted Church Across the World

Coptic Priest Threatened with Death in Sudan – April 3rd

Christian Solidarity Worldwide, March 28, 2024

‘He threatened to shoot me if I did not accept Islam. I refused and said if God wants me to die by your bullet, His will is above us.’ 

These are the words of Father Arsenius, priest of the Al-Masalma Coptic Church in Omdurman, Sudan, which was attacked by RSF gunmen last May.

Moments before his life was threatened, the attackers had shot Father Arsenius’ son in front of him and threatened to do the same to him if he did not accept Islam. In a TV interview after he fled to Egypt he said: ‘My son was lying down in front of me and heavily bleeding. I rushed to help him and told them this is my son, but they did not allow me and threatened me to shoot him if I tried to help him.’

Thankfully, the attackers didn’t shoot Father Arsenius. His son was treated in hospital and has now recovered.

Sudan has been in a state of crisis since April 2023 when conflict broke out between two factions of the ruling military junta – the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) – days before they were due to merge as part of a planned transition to democracy.

In the year since then, it is Sudan’s civilians who have suffered the most, experiencing some of the gravest crimes under international law. Christians are particularly vulnerable, with reports of attacks on clergy, the bombing of churches by both warring parties, and the seizure of religious buildings for use as military bases.