Proverbs 21:30

The Persecution & Prayer Alert

“When (Paul) was thrown into prison for preaching
the Gospel, he had an unusually upbeat attitude. To the
church at Philippi, he wrote, ‘I want you to know, brethren,
that the things which happened to me have actually
turned out for the furtherance of the Gospel.'”
~ Dennis Fisher referencing Philippians 1:12 NKJV

INDIA: Mob Publically Ridicules Pastor

Sources: Alpha Ministries, Times of India, VOMC Contacts

Pastor Awdhesh was publicly shamed for sharing the Gospel.
Photo: Alpha Ministries

In the state of Uttar Pradesh, a Christian pastor was publicly humiliated for allegedly leading a few men in their conversion to Christianity. On January 29th, a mob comprised of more than a hundred activists belonging to Bajrang Dal, a youth organization dedicated to Hindu nationalism, went to the home of Pastor Awdhesh and forcibly took him to the organization’s district headquarters in the city of Orai.

The activists made a public mockery of the pastor by shaving his head, eyebrows, and moustache before placing him on a donkey and parading him along the city’s streets. Also, a garland of shoes, considered a symbol of shame in India, was placed around his neck. When police arrived at the scene, the mob refused to release Pastor Awdhesh. Senior officers subsequently arrived with reinforcements to deal with the situation. While there have been claims that the rally initially began with peaceful intentions, police are continuing with their investigation of the mob riot.

Similar incidences perpetrated by Hindu nationalists have occurred before in India, including the massive outbreak of state-wide violence against Christians in Orissa during August of 2008. According to writer John L. Allen, the “series of riots ended with as many as 500 Christians killed” and, as a result, numerous traumatized children orphaned. Two Christian orphanages in India, assisted by The Voice of the Martyrs Canada, are still providing the orphans needed housing, education and ministry. For additional reports, including a video clip of these children singing at one of the assisted orphanages, go to our India Country Report.

More recently was another incident of concern. In 2015, five Christian brothers, some of whom are pastors and evangelists, were charged with proselytizing after a video of their street witnessing in a predominantly Hindu city was made public. As their case is still being mediated in the courts, VOMC’s legal defence fund continues to cover the believers’ legal fees in support of their families.

May the Lord remind Pastor Awdhesh of the psalmist’s encouraging words in Psalm 119:50-52: “This is my comfort in my affliction, that Your promise gives me life. The insolent utterly deride me, but I do not turn away from Your law. When I think of Your rules from of old, I take comfort, O Lord” (ESV). Pray that this publicly humiliated spiritual leader in India will also be greatly comforted in his shame. May Pastor Awdhesh, like the early apostles, rejoice that he has been “counted worthy to suffer dishonour for the name” (Acts 5:41). Let us also prayerfully remember all believers who have been victimized as a result of Hindu nationalist violence, including the surviving loved ones of those slain in the Orissa attacks.

SUDAN: Church Leaders Arrested for Addressing Persecution

Source: Morning Star News

Rev. Kwa Shamaal
Photo: Morning Star News

Rev. Kwa Shamaal, head of missions for the Sudanese Church of Christ (SCOC), was arrested on December 18th and released on December 21st. Subsequently, he had been required to report daily to the office of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) where he was held from 8 a.m. until midnight; a requirement that was removed on January 16th. However, his colleague, Rev. Hassan Abdelrahim Tawor, SCOC vice-moderator, remains in detention without charges.

NISS officials were reportedly upset with the pastors for telling others that Christians faced persecution in Sudan. Authorities had arrested the two men from their respective homes at the same hour. No charges have been brought against them, although NISS officials were to have said they objected to the pastors’ Christian activities.

Since the church leaders’ arrests in December, Christians in Sudan and elsewhere have been praying fervently for the two pastors and other imprisoned believers in this northeastern African country. Both of these men are from the Nuba Mountain region of South Kordofan state. Ethnic Nuba, along with Christians, have faced discrimination since President Omar al-Bashir vowed to adopt a stricter version of Sharia (Islamic) law.

Due to the government’s treatment of Christians and other human rights violations, Sudan has been designated a “Country of Particular Concern” by the U.S. State Department since 1999. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recommended that the country remain on the list in its 2015 report. More information about the persecution of believers in Sudan can be found at our Sudan Country Report.

Please join us in praying for the safety and protection of Rev. Hassan Abdelrahim Tawor. May the Lord’s presence provide him needed reassurance during his unjust detainment. Ask God to also touch the hearts of Sudan’s governmental and judicial authorities so that His people will receive fair treatment and be granted the freedom to worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). In the meantime, we can rejoice over the release of Rev. Kwa Shamaal, praising God that this pastor’s detainment was short-lived. Please intercede for both pastors, and other believers in the country who are experiencing the pressures of persecution, asking the Lord to give them the courage and strength to continue sharing His love and the message of His saving grace.

TURKEY: Court Rules Government Failed to Protect Christians

Sources: Middle East Concern, Morning Star News

Susanne Geske, widow of martyr Tilmann Geske
Photo: Morning Star News

Turkish Christians have welcomed a positive court ruling in the long-running struggle for justice following the murder of three Christians in 2007. On January 26th, the Malatya Administrative Court ruled that the Interior Ministry and the Malatya Governor’s Office were negligent in their duty to family members of the victims and, therefore, must give compensation.

Necati Aydin, Ugur Yuksel and Tilmann Geske were murdered on April 18th of 2007 at the Zirve Christian Publishing House in Malatya, a city of eastern Turkey. Five men, aged 19 and 20 at the time of the incident, were arrested at the scene and charged with the murders. It was believed that the Turkish authorities received information prior to the incident but had failed to protect the victims accordingly.

In 2008, the families of the victims opened a case against the Interior Ministry and the Malatya Governor’s Office for negligence. The recent judgement of the Malatya Administrative Court, and its decision to award compensation, is a step towards justice being upheld. However, there is much discouragement surrounding the delays in the ongoing trial of the perpetrators of the murders. Although police arrested five suspects almost immediately after the crime was reported, prosecuting them has been problematic from the start. The judges have been changed at least twice, and the prosecutors four times, causing significant delays.

Especially galling to families of the victims, the five suspects in the trial were released on bail on March 10th, 2014 under a new reform law that reduced the allowable period of pre-trial detention from ten years to five. Under public pressure, authorities required the accused to wear electronic monitoring devices. Despite this, the release has caused concern among the families and friends of the victims due to previous threats made by the suspects. Yet, in the midst of the ongoing murder trial and their grievous loss, the families are greatly encouraged by God’s promises and the faithful prayers of His people. To view a previous video clip on their situation, click here.

Please join our Turkish brothers and sisters in intercession, asking that those close to the victims will experience “the peace of God which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) and His protection as the murder trial process continues. Pray that the trial will be brought to a conclusion without further delay and that appropriate sentences will be given to those responsible for the crime. May all those who aided or perpetrated the murders have a deep conviction over the seriousness of their sin, and the immense pain it has caused the victims’ families, not to mention our Heavenly Father’s own heart…ultimately leading them to experience the depths of His forgiveness and provision of salvation through His Son Jesus.

We invite you to post a prayer on behalf of these believers, and others facing persecution in various parts of the world, by visiting our prayer wall.

The Persecution & Prayer Alert is a ministry of:
The Voice of the Martyrs Canada, P.O. Box 608, Streetsville, Ontario, L5M 2C1
Tel. 905-670-9721 Website: www.vomcanada.comSign up now to receive our free monthly publication.


February 4, 2016 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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