The View from the Firehouse


The one thing that is universal in fire stations the world round, is usually late at night there is a deck of cards, a pot of coffee and two or three fire fighters sitting around solving the worlds problems. It’s just a shame that no one listens to us.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

VOM News and Prayer Update: August 29

"Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."(Galations 6:2)

CHINA
(Compass Direct)
On August 17th, Chinese authorities released Zan Aizong, a journalist who reported the Hangzhou City police using force to demolish an unregistered church building and beating hundreds of believers on July 29th. Zan, the former China Ocean News Zhejiang Province bureau chief, was arrested on August 11th for "spreading rumors and disturbing social order." Two days before his arrest, Zan received a notice from his employer that he was "no more suitable for the job." As a journalist, Zan said in a telephone interview on August 20th, "my responsibility is to report the truth, even though it means losing my job." According to Yu Jie, a founder of the Beijing Church of Ark, Zan was recently baptized in a house church in Hanzhou. Yu believes Zan's experience in jail will only make him identify more with the plight of the believers.

Give thanks to God for Zan's release. Pray the Lord will provide a job for him and allow him to continue his ministry of countering the lies of the enemy. Pray Jesus will use Zan's increased compassion for suffering Christians to bring relief to many believers.

INDIA
(VOM sources)
Official sources reported that on August 20th, one person was killed and five others injured when unidentified persons fired at a congregation in Churachandpur district of Manipu. Evening services were being held in the Evangelical Baptist Church in Vengnuom area when some armed persons in combat dress came in a vehicle and started firing in the direction of the church. The incident happened when armed persons in a van were challenged by armed miscreants near the church. Immediately after they were challenged, the occupants of the van, whom local residents suspect to be security forces in mufti, emerged from the vehicle and started indiscriminate firing towards the church which was filled with people. One believer died at the spot, while another succumbed to his injuries at the district hospital. Four others were injured. In addition, one man was hurt when he was knocked down by someone evacuating the injured on a scooter.

That same day, Pastor Jwala was conducting a morning worship service in Sheopur near Jhalsy when a group of radicals with a local leader entered the meeting with hockey sticks and mercilessly attacked Pastor Jwala and members of the congregation. After the brutal attacks, they were taken to the police station where pastor Jwala was booked under the Anti Conversion Law. Bail was not granted to the victims.

Pray God will comfort with His deep peace those who mourn for the dead. Pray the Lord Jesus will touch the injured with His healing power. Pray the Christians will be faithful witnesses of the love and forgiveness of their enemies, leading them to repentance and salvation.

MALAYSIA
(ASSIST News Service)
Lina Joy (42), who was born Azlina Jailani to Malay parents, converted from Islam to Christianity when she was 26. Since Malaysian law requires a Muslim's religious matters to be decided in a Sharia (Islamic) Court, Lina had to get a certificate from the Sharia Court to show she had permission to convert to Christianity. As long as Lina is officially identified as a Muslim she is legally compelled to marry a Muslim man in a Muslim ceremony and be subject to Islamic Laws, including Islamic family law. Lina has been fighting for her rights. Two earlier court cases were dismissed, so her counsel is now challenging the decision in the Federal Court. The Federal Court ruling will clarify whether the religious freedom of Malaysia's Muslims is determined by the Constitution (which gives liberty) or Sharia (which denies it). The decision is still pending. As all Malays (50 percent of the population) are defined by the Constitution as Muslim, religious freedom is thereby denied them from birth on racial grounds.

Meanwhile, in the northern state of Kelantan, state-funded Islamic missionaries are receiving financial incentives to convert tribal Orang Asli people to Islam. Islamic missionaries who agree to live and work among them will receive free housing, a monthly allowance of 1,000 ringgit (US$270) and a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Those who marry tribal women will be given 10,000 ringgit (US$2,700).

Pray God will give Prime Minister Badawi the courage to stand for justice and religious liberty. Pray the Holy Spirit will move in the hearts of the judges to enable Lina Joy and all Malaysians to enjoy freedom to live under God's law without interference. Pray Malaysian Christians will be filled with supernatural love for those who oppose them, allowing them to see the One who loves them and longs to draw them close to Himself.

PAKISTAN
(Compass Direct)
In an attempted land-grab, Muslim attackers have terrorized a predominantly Christian village in Pakistan's Punjab province over the past two weeks and demolished its church. Three Christian men were hospitalized with serious hatchet wounds from an initial August 7th attack on a village 20 miles southwest of Lahore. The Muslim aggressors, led by Yaqoob Maher, came from a neighboring village. Another critically injured Christian, Bashir Masih, was abducted and remains missing since a second assault on the village on August 12th, when he tried to stop armed attackers from stealing his cattle. When Christian villagers tried to file an official complaint against the assailants, Sharaqpur police instead filed an official complaint against 10 of the villagers, accusing the Christians of "opening fire" on Maher.

Pray the power of the Holy Spirit will give these villagers boldness and zeal for the Lord, not allowing the Muslims to have victory over their minds. Pray the Lord will keep Bashir Masih safe and quickly return him to his village. Pray for the Muslims whose eyes have been blinded by the enemy of their souls.

UZBEKISTAN
(Forum 18)
Uzbekistan intends to impose massive fines and jail people and the leaders of their religious communities for sharing their beliefs outside places of worship. The proposals were made at an August 4th meeting of religious leaders, called by the state Religious Affairs Committee. Those attending the meeting were representatives of state-registered religious organizations, including the Spiritual Administration of Muslims in Uzbekistan, the Russian Orthodox Diocese of Central Asia, the Catholic Church in Tashkent, the Jewish community, the Baptist Union and the Full Gospel Church. All unregistered religious activity is illegal in Uzbekistan. The state Religious Affairs Committee told the religious leaders that they and their clergy must stop their members and those who regularly attend places of worship from sharing their beliefs with anyone outside their churches. The fine for sharing their beliefs would be between 200 and 600 times the minimum monthly salary. Persistent proselytizing would impose jail sentences between three and eight years on them and their religious leaders. Leaders of religious communities are fearful of openly attacking the proposals because of the danger of reprisals against their communities by the authorities. There is currently a crackdown on religious believers of many faiths taking place in Uzbekistan.

Pray all Christians will be emboldened to obey God rather than man. Pray their witness will confound the authorities as they see the power of Jesus through the life of His followers. Pray our merciful God will bless thousands of people in Uzbekistan with every spiritual blessing in the knowledge of Christ their Savior.

# Posted by Alyfireman :: 5:18 PM :: |
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Thursday, August 17, 2006

How Long are we

going to allow the government to take over our decisions:

Restrictions already ban smoking in licensed day-care centers. Now the smoking ban extends to a less-formal baby-sitter arrangement in some one's home, so long as a sitter is getting paid, even if the care is for just one child.article

And it gets better:
Ossiander tried to delete the baby-sitter provision, with vocal support from Paul Bauer. They said it would be impossible to enforce and it's up to a parent to decide not to put their child in a smoker's care. Ossiander's amendment failed.

"What level of secondhand smoke is acceptable for children?" Traini said. "None."

So what's next spanking hurts your child, so what are we no longer do that, own a gun not with children around. After all you can't be trusted to make the right choice for you children. And don't even think about raising your children to be Christians, because that would make them closed minded bigots.

If you read the whole article the Anchorage Assembly passed a law that would ban smoking in bars. I really didn't have a problem since I no longer go to bars. My wife tried to say some people don't have a choice of were they are going to work, I just don't buy that. How far are we going to let government decide for us. Look at this quote.

During the debate Tuesday night, Ossiander at one point rattled off a long list of high risk jobs, like commercial fishing, or jobs where employees are exposed to toxins, like dry cleaners.

"I don't believe government can make every job completely safe," she said.

Allan Tesche, in his first Assembly meeting since emergency heart surgery in May, said it was cynical to say the Assembly can't make all work places safer.

"If we pass this ordinance, we are going to make work places safer," Tesche said just before the final vote. "That we can't do a perfect job is no excuse."


But this one takes the cake:

"This government will not let people die on their own when we can take a simple regulatory measure and say you can't smoke indoors, take it outside," Tesche said. "That is exactly what government should be doing."

You see I as a grown adult can no longer decide what is safe. Boy where wore these guys when I decided to join the military has a firefighter. Maybe they are right it's not safe defending this country, not to mention running into burning building. I shouldn't have been allowed to make them dangerous decisions.

# Posted by Alyfireman :: 3:24 PM :: |
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VOM News and Prayer Update: August 15

"The LORD your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing."
(Zephaniah 3:17)

CHINA
(China Aid Association)
A pastor in the Three-Self Church in Pinglu County, Shanxi Province was prohibited from preaching and forced to leave the church by the Religious Affairs Bureau. The Pinglu Church invited a Hong Kong-based American pastor, Dennis Balcombe (Chinese name Bao Dening), to visit the church. The evening of July 9th, the head of the Pinglu Religious Affairs Bureau, Zhang Lianjie, came to the church and tried to dismiss the Bible classes and forbid the children to listen to Bible stories. He returned the next day with more officials, forcing the elders to retract their invitation to Pastor Bao Dening. In spite of immense pressure, church activities continued. On July 24th, Zhang came again and announced that a meeting would be held the next day to "discuss" Pastor Hu Qinghua's leaving Pinlu. All the members of TSPM (Three-Self-Patriotic Movement) and CCC (Chinese Christianity Council) were to be at the meeting. The meeting began at 6 p.m. and the elders enumerated the achievements of Pastor Hu since taking charge of the church. The meeting continued till 11 p.m., but no matter how hard the elders insisted, Zhang Lianjie declared that Pastor Hu Qinghua had to leave Pinglu Church immediately. Pastor Hu Qinghua has left Pinglu, but he still tries to comfort and encourage the brothers and sisters in Linglu Church, by phone, to stand firm in the truth.

Pray God will protect and comfort Pastor Hu Qingua with His loving presence. Pray the Holy Spirit will give the church members His grace to forgive officials who don't know Jesus. Pray the believers will remain strong in their faith and be more than conquerors.

EGYPT
(Compass Direct)
Authorities in Alexandria have detained seven Christian men without charge since a fatal knife attack on churches there last April triggered two days of violence. Alexandrian Christians plan to sue the country's Interior Ministry for the men's release, as well as for compensation for Christian-owned shops and Orthodox churches that were damaged during the unrest. Hesham Azmy Iskender was among 101 Christians and Muslims who were originally detained. Over the following month, police released most of the prisoners. However, they have continued to renew the imprisonment of Iskender and six other Christians, even after the prosecutor general issued orders for the release of all the detainees in May.

Pray God will move in His merciful power to secure the release of these seven prisoners. Pray Christians in Egypt will know the inner peace that comes from forgiving their enemies. Pray Muslim officials in Egypt will turn to the One who can save their souls.

Pray God will comfort Asya Khadim and keep her safe. Pray our omnipotent Father will put a stop to the Hudood Ordinances. Pray our God of love will remove Muslim authorities' hearts of stone and give them hearts of flesh.

INDIA
(Compass Direct)
On August 8th, a day after extending the bail of leaders of Emmanuel Mission International (EMI), the Rajasthan High Court today restored the registration of five of the mission's institutions and unfroze EMI bank accounts. EMI attorney Mohammad Akram told Compass that the court annulled the cancellation of registration of the EMI institutions without specifying a date and also ordered that their bank accounts be revived. Akram said the court also ordered the state Social Welfare Department to pull out its officials deployed at the EMI orphanage in Kota district. The officials were appointed at the orphanage following a June 13th high court order that dismissed five writ petitions EMI had filed challenging the revoking of registration of five of its institutions.

(Gospel for Asia)
In July, three students from a Gospel for Asia Bible College in Maharashtra were hospitalized after being attacked and severely beaten by a group of anti-Christian extremists. A month later, two pastors' wives were stripped and beaten before a village council for their faith in Christ. Both incidents are evidence of the growing oppression of Christians in central India, reports Gospel for Asia President K.P. Yohannan. The three students, along with a few Christians from a local church, were returning from sharing the gospel in a neighboring village when they were attacked. The Hindu fundamentalists beat the believers with belts and large sticks, and pummeled them with their fists. A group of local residents saw the attack and intervened to break up the beating and rescue the believers. The pastors' wives in Chhattisgarh state were "dragged before the community council, stripped naked and beaten for accepting Jesus and following Him," reported GFA regional leader M.A. Lalachan.

(Gospel for Asia)
The freedom of millions of lost men, women and children to respond to the love and grace of Jesus Christ is in danger of being trampled down in the legislatures of two Indian states. Gospel for Asia regional leader M.A. Lalachan said the states of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh have passed anti-conversion bills aimed at keeping people from responding to the Good News of Jesus Christ. He called for prayer for the hundreds of missionaries working in the two states, for the Bible college students there and for the hundreds of churches now under threat from anti-Christian state governments.

Give thanks and praise to God that His work in Emmanuel Mission in Kota will be able to continue. Continue to pray for all of our brothers and sisters in India, asking God to defeat the spiritual forces of evil that drive the desperate measures of Hindu fanatics. Pray that despite any new restrictive legislation, millions of lost men, women and children will come to know the love and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

IRAN
(Compass Direct)
Seven years after Issa Motamedi Mojdehi converted from Islam to Christianity, Iranian secret police have jailed him for abandoning Islam, but officially charged him with illegal drug trafficking. Authorities formally charged the 31-year-old Christian with drug trafficking when he was arrested two weeks ago. Secret police officials have told Motamedi Mojdehi that his real offense, said to be recorded in his confidential legal file, is abandoning Islam. Officials told him unless he renounces his Christian faith and returns to Islam, he will remain in jail and possibly face execution. An officer identified only as Mr. Baghani warned the arrested Christian that it might take "several executions" before Iranians understand the consequences of apostasy under Islamic law.

Pray our Omnipotent Father will protect Issa from all harm. Pray he will be kept strong by the precious Word he has hidden in his heart. Pray the mercy of God will keep Issa faithful to His Lord and Savior.

PAKISTAN
(Compass Direct)
A Christian girl has gone into hiding in Pakistan to escape Muslim in-laws who beat and raped her for fleeing her forced marriage and refusing to practice Islam. Asya Khadim, 15, won a divorce from her abusive Muslim husband in February and sought shelter with a local aid organization to avoid reprisal attacks. Khadim had been married to Tanveer Qadir for almost 13 months when her mother filed the divorce case on her behalf in January 2006. "They tried to force me to read the Quran," the Christian girl told Compass. "My husband beat me every day for two months because I refused." Khadim's case highlights ongoing national debate over the controversial Hudood Ordinances that some say encourage domestic violence against women. Give thanks to the Lord that when Asya called to the Lord in her distress, He heard her and allowed her to escape her abusive in-laws. Pray God will work a miracle of His grace to take away her memories of the suffering. Pray for Muslims everywhere to hear and receive the gospel of peace, the glad tidings of good things.

# Posted by Alyfireman :: 9:33 AM :: |
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Thursday, August 10, 2006

VOM News and Prayer Update: August 8

"Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows."(Luke 12:6-7)

BANGLADESH
(VOM sources)
On the morning of April 14th, four drivers of four different buses were hired by a militant Muslim group to crash into the SUV of our VOM contact, Andrew. On his way to visit 17 Muslim convert families, Andrew was rammed by a bus while in the front passenger seat of his moving vehicle. Immediately after the collision, the bus driver ran from the scene and reported to the leader of the hiring Islamic group that he killed the targeted Christian preacher in the red SUV. Andrew's left elbow was broken from the impact, and his right forearm was embedded with glass and severely lacerated in five places. Wasting no time, two men from the Islamic group went to the accident site to confirm the bus driver's account, but they were too late. Andrew's driver had already driven the smashed SUV away from the scene to the nearest city, where Andrew, unconscious, was later admitted to a government hospital. The Voice of the Martyrs is providing continuing medical treatment for Andrew, who was attacked for his Christian witness.

Pray the Lord will heal Andrew quickly and completely. Pray Andrew will continue bold and courageous in his faith. Pray our omnipotent Father will astound the bus driver with the reality of His presence and the loving forgiveness of Jesus.

BHUTAN
(International Christian Concern)
Two Christians, who had been imprisoned in Bhutan on charges of proselytism, have been released. The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) was told by Christians inside the country that on Saturday, July 29th, the two men had been released and reunited with their families. "Benjamin" (Budhu Mani Dungana) and "John" (Purna Bahadhur Tamang) were arrested on January 7, 2006, in the small town of Paro after sharing the gospel with a non-Christian family. Jeremy Sewall, ICC's Regional Policy Analyst for South Asia, stated, "We wish to thank everyone who prayed for these men and contacted government officials to ask for their release. This is incredibly good news."

Pray the Lord will strengthen and protect Benjamin and John as they rejoice in their freedom and rebuild their lives. Pray God will help government officials allow more freedom to the people and not be overly concerned with the need to keep their "identity." Pray Christians will be the light of Christ in a dark place.

Pray God will comfort Asya Khadim and keep her safe. Pray our omnipotent Father will put a stop to the Hudood Ordinances. Pray our God of love will remove Muslim authorities' hearts of stone and give them hearts of flesh.

CHINA
(China Aid Association)
  • Fifty house-church leaders and Christians are still being detained after their church building was destroyed by the Chinese government on July 29, 2006. Meanwhile, the Chinese House Church Alliance issued an urgent statement calling for an independent international investigation regarding the forced destruction of the church and arbitrary arrests of these Christians. Among the 50 detained, four are still missing. On July 29, 2006, the local government sent several hundred trucks, four excavators, and thousands of military policemen to the building site to destroy the church. There were several thousand Christians there. When the police violently dispersed them, some Christians were injured, and over 50 were arrested. Since the Chinese central government official still denies the existence of those arrested, their church family members are greatly concerned. The church has not received any information about the conditions of their brothers and sisters in prison.
  • On the morning of July 27th, a Sunday school teacher's training class in Wangxi Production Group, Gengwang Zhuang, Tong Xu Village; Huainan City, Anhui Province was attacked by the local national security guard squad. Based on eyewitness information, some Christians, including 90 children (age 9-16), and 40 adults, were attending a summer Bible teacher's training class in the home of Li Lizhong, a villager in Anhui Province, when the local police suddenly attacked them. The party branch secretary of the village, went to Li Lizhong's house with another village cadre member. They scouted the training class on the pretext of examining "family planning," and left. A half hour later, more than 40 village cadre members and a squad of the National Security Guarder stormed into the village and surrounded Li's house. Under the pretext that the training class was disturbing the peace, the police swarmed the house. Some church equipment was carried away. In the whole process, the police did not show a search warrant or any legal certificate. All the children were released after registering their names and other personal information. More than 40 adults were taken to the police station and all were released at 3:00 a.m. the next morning, except for two, Pastor Li Lizhong and Sister Cai Yili, who were sentenced to 15 days administrative custody.
  • Three more Christian leaders from Xiaoshan district were arrested on August 3rd, 47 are still in jail. The three leaders are Brother Ni Huiming (45), Sister Shen Zhuke (52), and Brother Shen Jian (48).The local authority is threatening to force all Christian companies to pay a heavy fine for their support of the church building which was destroyed on July 29th. One Christian lady, Sister Wang Aizhen from Kanshan town, Xiaoshgan district, was severely beaten by the anti-riot police on July 29th, and one of her chest bones was broken. She is still being hospitalized.
Pray the Christians will remain faithful to Jesus, loving in their attitude toward their enemies, and bold in their witness. Pray those in prison will be comforted by the Word they have hidden in their hearts. Pray many Chinese officials will realize they are working for a cause that does not satisfy their deepest longings.

IRAN
(ASSIST News Service)
July 24th, an Iranian Christian, named Issa Motamadi, was imprisoned on account of his faith. French internet news site VoxDei reports that Issa Motamadi, a resident of the North-western town of Resht, the capital of Gilan Province, will soon stand trial before a Revolutionary Tribunal. While Issa Motamadi has been accused of apostasy, it is likely that a non-religious charge will eventually be leveled against him in order to prevent accusations of religious persecution. Article 23 of Iran's Constitution states: "The investigation of individuals' beliefs is forbidden, and no one may be molested or taken to task simply for holding a certain belief." Allegedly, Issa and his wife Parvah came to the attention of the authorities around seven months ago when they decided to give their newborn son a Biblical, Christian name. Sources explain that this is interpreted as a sign of irrevocable rupture with Islam as it demonstrates that the child is born to Christian parents. Identified as Christian from birth, he cannot be accused of apostasy. There causes great concern that President Ahmadinejad may escalate persecution of Christians.

Pray Issa and Parvah will be strong as they stand up for Jesus. Pray that human rights and religious liberty organizations will intercede for Issa with appeals to their Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Pray our loving and merciful Savior will make Himself known to the authorities in Iran who are in bondage to the tenets of Islam.

# Posted by Alyfireman :: 5:12 AM :: |
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