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Tuesday, August 16, 2005VOM Prayers
"Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God. Then all who heard were amazed, and said, 'Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?' But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ" (Acts 9:20-22).
This week pray those who are persecuting our brothers and sisters in Christ will be transformed by the power of God's grace (like Saul of Tarsus), leaving all who see and hear amazed by their witness for Christ!
Thank you for praying!
VOM Web Team
Prayers for August 16, 2005
From The Voice of the Martyrs
China Aid Association (CAA) reports that more than 210 Chinese house-church pastors and believers have been arrested in Hubei, Hebei and Henan provinces since July 2005. It also states that two tourists were mistreated when arrested in Hubei province. On August 2nd, while two American theological students were preparing to have Christian fellowship with 41 Chinese house-church pastors and believers at their host family's home in Hubei province, approximately 30 Chinese plain-clothed police officers rushed into the house. One student sustained injuries to his wrists after being handcuffed because he wanted to put his shoes on before he was forced into an unmarked police car. They were neither permitted to contact the U.S. Embassy nor permitted to show their U.S. passports and other identification cards. They were released at 5:00 p.m. following a seven-hour interrogation. Some of their belongings, including their personal Bibles, notebooks and books on Westminster Confession of Faith were confiscated. The same day 41 Chinese pastors and believers from the evangelical South China Church were taken to prison. At the time of this report, 30 had been released. The remaining 11, including 38-year-old Ms. Wang Hua and 32-year-old Ms. Wang Xiao, as well as the hostess, Ms. Ren Daoyun, are still in prison. According to eyewitness reports, many of them were tortured. Sixty-year-old Ms. Ren has been repeatedly beaten by Mr. Lei Youxin, the director of the prison. He kicked her, punched her face, and beat her head against the wall with a prison chair. (Click here)
Pray God will continue to bless the people of China with a hunger for His Word. Pray they will know His presence as they are bold in sharing their faith. Pray publicity concerning the two American students will expose the reality of religious persecution in China.
On May 28th, an evangelical wedding was raided by Eritrean police, and guests were taken into custody. According to Release Eritrea, 70 Christians detained at that wedding have recently been moved to one of the hottest places on earth, a desert detention camp near the port city of Massawa. The camp is routinely used to punish young people, as temperatures in the area often reach 120 degrees. Two young people died in 2001, from heat stroke. Christian Solidarity Worldwide also reports that one Christian has apparently died as a result of the torture he endured in an Eritrean prison. Kelati Awalom, a member of the Rhema Church, was arrested for a third time on March 17, 2004, and was detained for three months, along with two of his daughters. According to reports, he was beaten until he was partially paralyzed. After his release, he continued to suffer the effects of the beating until he died at his home on July 24, 2005. Only three Christian denominations (Lutheran, Orthodox and Roman Catholic) are legally registered with the government. Anyone belonging to a different denomination or independent church risks harassment, prison and torture. Hundreds of Eritrean believers are suffering for their faith in detention camps around the country, where they are sometimes locked in metal shipping containers in the desert sun with limited food and water.
Pray God will give His followers in prison the strength to endure and a supernatural love for their persecutors. Pray the attitude of believers will draw many to Christ. Pray international publicity concerning this inhumane treatment of innocents will bring about the release of imprisoned Christians.
INDIA (Compass Direct)
Hindu villagers have accused a Christian couple in Pradesh state of attempted forced conversion. Jagdish and Grace Nayak were arrested July 19th, in Indore district. Dharmendra Chaterjee invited them to his house for prayer. After they finished praying, Chaterjee called his neighbors into the house and accused the Nayaks of enticing his family to convert to Christianity in return for education, health care and other benefits, including money for a family wedding. The Nayaks were detained by villagers, including members of the Dharma Raksha Samiti (DRS, or Religious Protection Committee) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu extremist group. Police soon took them into custody. A police inspector told Compass he believed the complaint was a planned attempt by the DRS and the RSS to keep the Nayaks away from the village.
Pray God in His mighty power will protect Jagdish and Grace from further arrests and harassment. Pray Chaterjee will remember the prayers for him and his family that were offered in good faith before the one true God of love and mercy. Pray all Christians in the region will remain faithful and Christlike.
Hindu extremists have begun a campaign to "reconvert" Christians from Dalit backgrounds in the north central Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The World Hindu Council plans to convert to Hinduism at least 80,000 Dalits (India's "untouchables" who occupy the lowest place in the caste system) in the region by year's end. Hindu organizations conducted a survey claiming more than 200,000 Dalits in one part of the state had converted to Christianity.
Pray God will dispel any spirit of fear among the Dalits who have come to know the One who loves them. Pray He will protect those who share their faith with the Dalits. Pray for the Hindu extremists who do not know how much God loves them.
INDONESIA (Compass Direct)
With angry hecklers in the West Java courtroom calling them liars, three Indonesian women accused of trying to convert Muslim children tried to defend themselves. Rebekka Zakaria, Eti Pangesti and Ratna Bangun were questioned about activities and materials used in their Christian education program for children from an elementary school. Bangun explained the children prayed, read the Bible, sang and sometimes colored pictures. In response, Judge Hasby J. Tholib said the women should never have allowed Muslim children to attend the program. Bangun and Zakaria replied they had no hidden agenda and had been completely honest with the children's parents who gave full consent to the program though none will come forward to say so now. Before the hearing ended, the prosecuting attorney announced the case would be transferred to the High Court, a move that could considerably lengthen the trial. (Click here)
Pray the peaceful, calm composure of these three women will be a witness to those observing the angry Muslim hecklers. Pray the prayers offered by Christians worldwide will bring about the release of these innocent believers. Pray the children who attended their classes will become faithful followers of Christ.
An angry mob has attacked a boarding house at a theological school in Pulo village, Makasar district, east Jakarta, twice, causing more than $10,000 in damage. The Arastamar Theological School's boarding house served students from other provinces. The mob included members of the Front Pembela Islam (FPI or Islamic Defender's Front); the FPI had accused the school of building a church. Local eyewitnesses say government officials accompanied the unruly crowd that attacked without advance warning. When the mob attacked a second time, students were able to turn them away. Local Muslim leaders such as Habib Hussin, a lecturer at the University of Indonesia, have objected to the presence of the school, despite every attempt by school management to meet legal requirements.
Pray the staff and students of the theological school will be able to repair the physical damage to their property as they grow in Jesus. Pray they will continue strong in their witness of Jesus' love.
NIGERIA (Compass Direct)
Church and government leaders in Northern Nigeria are growing restless over President Olusegun Obasanjo's failure to prevent Northern states from using Shariah Law to persecute Christians. Nigeria's Northern Christian leaders have demanded that Obasanjo's government put a stop to the Islamic law practiced in 12 Northern states. Saidu Dogo, secretary general of the northern chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), said the organization has written Obasanjo about Muslims demolishing church buildings, rejecting applications to build new churches and denying land to Christians. "Yet, we see mosques being built on every corner of the streets-you don't even need government approval in these states to build mosques," Dogo told Compass. In Jos, capital of central Nigeria's Plateau state, Gov. Joshua Dariye spoke out against Islamic abuses resulting from Shariah law when he received the governor of Zamfara state, the first state to adopt Shariah in 2000.
Pray our merciful God will give President Obasanjo wisdom, direction and courage in putting a stop to the use of Shariah Law in Northern Nigeria. Pray the witness of born-again believers will change the hearts of Muslim extremists and bring them into God's Kingdom.
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