Missions, The Persecuted Church Across the World

Uyghurs in China – January 12th 2022

The Joshua Project 11 January 2022

What is the future for China’s Uyghurs, a people with a rich and centuries-old Turkic culture severely oppressed by China’s government?  Millions of Uyghurs live in China’s north-western Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, now a police state that imprisons well over 1,000,000 Uyghurs in brutal “re-education” camps.  Although almost all Uyghurs are Sunni Muslim, they mix their Islam with folk religion.

Their community-oriented culture and religion face serious threats.  Such a situation makes them less open to outside ideas.  Few Uyghurs are open to Christ and Han Chinese Christians have little interest in reaching them.

The Uyghurs may listen to believers who demonstrate the compassion and love of the only Saviour.  Their language contains the complete Bible, the JESUS Film and many audio and visual materials based on the Bible.

Pray that members of this people group will soon have as rich an understanding of the need for God’s presence as Moses did.

A small but growing number of Uyghur believers live in nearby Central Asia.  Pray that they would be strengthened in their faith and filled with the fruit of the Holy Spirit.  Ask God to disciple Uyghur believers to reach Uyghur communities throughout China.  Pray God would stir Chinese Christians to intercede for and reach out to China’s suffering Uyghurs.  Ask that suffering Uyghurs would experience God’s comfort from within re-education camps and broken homes.

Missions, The Persecuted Church Across the World

Militant Buddhists Attack Christian Families – January 12th 2022

Voice of the Martyrs, 6 January 2022

After worshiping peacefully together in a tin hut for more than 10 years, a church of more than 20 families from the Chakma people group recently began constructing a church building in their village in Bangladesh.

Shortly after building began, a mostly-Buddhist organization known as the Underground Army destroyed the church building’s windows and threatened to torture or kill the men of the church, who fled into the jungle for several weeks.

Frightened, the women and children of the church lived together in one home for safety.  Eventually, the Underground Army found the women and beat them with canes, leaving them bruised.  The militant Buddhists then looted the believers’ empty homes, stealing their crops and livestock.

For their safety, the Christian children have not attended school since the initial attack.  Pray for the families to remain strong in their faith despite the pain they’ve endured and the uncertainty they face.

Pray that the Buddhists will witness the gospel in the lives of those they are persecuting and repent.  Pray for the completion of the church building’s construction.

Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in the world.  Churches are careful when offering relief to the poor and needy because they do not want to encourage false conversions among people claiming faith in Christ solely for economic benefit.

Millions of Bangladeshis are learning about Christ and the Bible through media outreaches.

Missions, The Persecuted Church Across the World

God’s Favour at Work in Iraq – 15th December 2021

Release International, 10 November 2021 (excerpts)

During a four-day online speaking tour, Jamal, a Muslim- background Christian, described how his Hand of Help organisation is giving new hope to Christian refugees in northern Iraq who fled the conflict with Isis and have been given a safe haven in the region of Kurdistan.  And through remarkable favour with the government, Jamal’s work has been extended to help displaced Muslims and Yazidis.

In 2003, before the upheavals of the Gulf War and Isis, there were around 1.8 million Christians in Iraq.  Today there are considered to be fewer than 400,000 Christians living in Iraq.

As well as distributing relief aid, Hand of Help train seamstresses, electricians and hairdressers and teach computer skills.

Through all of this comes the message of Christ’s love. Jamal’s team uses the Gospel of Luke to teach his students keyboard skills.

The Kurdistan government has seen the remarkable work Hand of Hope is doing and is right behind it.  The country’s parliament has presented the ministry with its Shield of Honour.

The government has given this openly Christian ministry access to teach at a prison and to work in camps for displaced Muslims and Yazidis.

Says Jamal: ‘This is a Muslim country and we are a Christian organisation.  We clearly say we are Christian and yet they allow us to go to the camps.  It’s amazing!

Missions, The Persecuted Church Across the World

Iran-U.S. Nuclear Talks as Iranian Christians Suffer – December 15th 2021

International Christian Concern, 12 December 2021

As the United States and Iran come closer to reaching agreement on the renewal of a nuclear deal for Iran, Christians continue to face severe persecution at the hands of the Iranian regime.

Since President Biden took office, U.S. officials have been negotiating with their Iranian counterparts in an effort to revive an agreement that aims to curb the Iranian nuclear program.  Though the plan passed under President Obama in 2014 amidst heavy criticism for being too soft on the regime, President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the agreement in 2018.

The Biden administration is still committed to reaching an agreement with Iran, but as these negotiations continue, the regime continues to arrest Christians for worshipping. In addition to being named a Country of Particular Concern for religious freedom violations by the State Department, ICC highlighted persecution in Iran in its recent 2021 Persecutor of the Year Report.  ICC also listed Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi among the worst persecutors of Christians.

As talks continue between U.S. and Iranian diplomats, the United States must emphasize human rights for all Iranians in these meetings to promote greater religious freedom in the country.

Missions, The Persecuted Church Across the World

Afghani Christians Flee The Taliban – 1st December 2021

Church in Chains, 23 November 2021

Hamed was the founder of an NGO that employed fellow Christians in Afghanistan and for 20 years his organisation oversaw many humanitarian projects.  When the Taliban took over they hunted him, ransacked his organisation’s office and stole the money on hand.  Shai Fund was able to keep Hamed and his family in a safe house until it was able to evacuate them from Afghanistan.

The withdrawal of remaining Western troops in August and Taliban’s return to power shocked the world with reports of summary executions soon after the takeover.  Taliban fighters went from house to house to search for members of specific groups, including Christians.

As apostasy is a crime punishable by death under Sharia law, the estimated 5,000 to 12,000 Afghan Christians are at extreme risk of being targeted with deadly violence.  Many have left or are trying to leave the country, some heading toward the mountains despite the approaching winter.

On 14 November Shai Fund reported that since the fall of Kabul, it has evacuated over 9,000 Afghans fleeing the Taliban and is also assisting those still in the country in safe houses with practical support.

Shai Fund is a Christian organisation that supports those affected by war, conflict, disaster, persecution and exploitation by partnering with local communities to provide urgent aid, practical support and humanitarian assistance.

Missions, The Persecuted Church Across the World

Boko Haram Attacks Increasing in Cameroon – December 1st 2021

Voice of the Martyrs, 25 November 2021

Boko Haram has been regrouping in Nigeria and increasing attacks there have correlated with increasing attacks in Cameroon.  Boko Haram’s previous incursions into Cameroon had not been well organized, but recent, organized attacks have specifically targeted churches and Christian activity.  In a typical attack, Christians are killed, churches burned, homes destroyed and Christians displaced.  

Several Christian villages have been abandoned completely after suffering repeated attacks.  From January 2018 to November 2019, 7 predominantly Christian villages were attacked in one northern region. The attackers killed 10 people and kidnapped 7 others, while burning 575 houses, 7 churches, 2 schools and 1 evangelical hospital.

Most of Cameroon has a thriving Christian presence and many churches. But Christians living along the Nigerian border have experienced repeated, brutal attacks by Boko Haram. In these villages 50 to 80 miles from the border, men, women and children are attacked simply for being known as Christians.

Bibles are generally available but distributing them in the north is challenging because of security issues.  Many people cannot afford a Bible and would prefer the Scriptures in a local language rather than French or English.  Bible translation ministries have done great work translating the Bible into local languages, such as the local Fulani dialect, in both Roman and Arabic script.

Missions, The Persecuted Church Across the World

Eastern Cham in Vietnam – 17th November 2021

Joshua Project, 16 November 2021 (excerpts)

One of the most ancient ethnic groups in Southeast Asia, the Eastern Cham live in the provinces along the coastline of southern Vietnam in the coastal and Mekong Delta provinces.  A small minority group now overrun with poverty and persecution, the Eastern Cham kingdom once reigned in Southeast Asia and are descendants from the Champa kingdom in Vietnam, Cambodia and southern Laos. They are a mixture of Hindus and Muslims, highly influenced by traditional ancestor worship and animism.

Their religious beliefs contribute to their history and identity, making it difficult for Cham individuals to become Christians, as it would result in expulsion from the community.

Pray that Christians in other Vietnamese tribes will be led by the Lord to the Eastern Cham, to tell them about Christ, and that  this people group will comprehend that the blood of animals will never get them right with the one, true God.

A number of individuals in this tribe identify themselves as Christians.  Pray also they would be able to live as faithful followers of Christ yet be able to stay in their culture.  The Eastern Cham people have very low self-esteem and self-worth as individuals and as a people group. Yet, they have pride in their heritage, and vehemently point out to visitors that they are Eastern Cham, not Vietnamese.

Missions, The Persecuted Church Across the World

Early Rain believers and security officers – November 17th 2021

China Aid, Monday, November 8, 2021 (excerpts)

Deacon Xu Jiale and his wife Qin of Early Rain Covenant Church started to share the gospel with the national security officers of Chengdu District who stay at their home. Police have continued face-to-face surveillance since last week.

Shen Bing and wife Li moved in with Deacon Xu last week,  expelled from their own home.  Police moved into the house last week to discourage Shen and Li from staying.  Deacon Xu and his wife are in their 70s.  All 4 believers took their harassment with peace and joy. Kind and meek to the police, they took the opportunity to preach the gospel to them.  Police were not offended.  Rather, they became interested in it. 

On November 5, police installed two surveillance cameras at the entrance of Deacon Xu’s home. Working personnel began a large project outside Deacon Xu’s place: installing cameras, digging the ground, and burying power lines.  Qin reportedly told the workers:

“Great! Surveillance cameras make us safe. It would be great to install chips in each individual. One chip in the body, the other in the brain, wouldn’t it be great? Thank God, thank the Lord for their care of us. God knows that we are old and can’t defeat evil gangsters, so He allows cameras to be installed so that we are protected, and gangsters won’t intrude on our house. The cameras will record malicious deeds of gangsters.” 

Police on duty at Deacon Xu’s home each day, have meals in their living room during the day and sleep in the living room at night. The couples prayed together one evening and wept. Suddenly, the officers broke into the house but stood by quietly until they finished praying. The leader of the police said in surprise, “You all are so emotional! Ugh, you win!”

On the first night, a police officer fell asleep at the dining room table. Li put a jacket on him because of the cold nights in Chengdu. She wrote a poem reflecting on the experience:

Gently, Took off the coat gently

Put it on the person who is on the night shift

Don’t wake up the person who is in deep sleep

Cold midnight, Children, poor children 

May you in your weary dream See angels 

Even if being at my own place We have no freedom

The elderly and gray-haired Deacon Xu couple continuously preached the gospel to the officers, becoming Christ’s beautiful testimony.

Missions, The Persecuted Church Across the World

Cuba – 3rd November 2021

Voice of the Martyrs, 1 November 2021 (excerpts)

Despite the change in leadership in 2018, churches in Cuba face unrelenting pressure from the government, which remains committed to communism’s atheistic ideology and sees churches as a threat to the revolution begun by Che Guevara and Fidel Castro in the 1950s.

Cubans remain poor, with the government seeking to control every aspect of life. When church leaders resist state teachings that are contrary to God’s Word and disobey government restrictions on Christian witness, they are called in for interrogation. Although gathering in unregistered churches and constructing new church buildings are banned, many churches boldly worship despite the risks.

Unlike the overt violence Christians faced during the communist revolution, more subtle methods of persecution are now used by the Cuban government, largely out of concern for its global reputation. Christian leaders are often summoned by government officials for questioning or held for up to 48 hours to pressure them, and churches are demolished by hired gangs so the government can deny responsibility.

Legal church buildings are seized, and no new church buildings have been legally built in the country since the revolution. Many believers meet in illegal house churches, often extensions of the pastor’s home or shaded structures in the backyard of a family’s home. Churches continue to grow through active evangelistic activity, but some believers have never owned a Bible because of government oppression. Though no Christians are known to be imprisoned in Cuba, many are closely watched so that they are effectively under house arrest. In addition, Christians are often denied jobs and educational opportunities.

Missions, The Persecuted Church Across the World

Muslim brothers jailed for life for killing Christian – November 3rd 2021

Barnabas Fund, 1 November 2021 (excerpts)

Two Muslim brothers known for their hatred and harassment of Christians have been jailed for life by Alexandria Criminal Court for the killing of Egyptian Christian shopkeeper Ramsis Hermina, 47.

Under Egyptian law it means that Nasser and Ali al-Sambo must serve 25 years in prison for the brutal attack on 10 December 2020 in which two other Christian men, including Mr Hermina’s brother, were injured.

Ramsis Hermina was held by Ali al-Sambo while his brother Nasser stabbed him in the abdomen and neck

The brothers were known for their religious fanaticism and for their harassment of Christians, especially Christian shopkeepers, in the al-Wardayan district where they lived. This escalated when Nasser was released from serving time in prison for previous violent behaviour, as he claimed that Christians testified against him.

On the morning of the attack, the brothers’ mother, who was in poor health, died. Hours later Nasser and Ali al-Sambo left their home in a fit of rage and, armed with knives, a sword and clubs, headed to the Christian-owned shops, shouting obscenities against Christians and accusing them of being the cause of their mother’s death.

Mr Hermina heard the shouting and hurried to bring in the household goods he had on display outside his shop. He was caught by the brothers and, as Ali held him, Nasser stabbed him in the abdomen and neck.

Mr Hermina’s brother Adel, 60, who owns a shop next door, and another shopkeeper, Tareq Fawzy Shenouda, went to help him but Adel was stabbed and Mr Shenouda was hit on the head with a club and stabbed. The al-Sambo brothers went on to ransack all three of the men’s shops.