Proverbs 21:30

The Persecution & Prayer Alert

“One aspect of God’s glory is His almighty power…. In His love
and compassion for needy people like ourselves, (He) has chosen to
‘show Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are fully committed
to Him’ (2 Chronicles 16:9). Be assured that He delights in showing
Himself strong in the challenges of life. And when He proves His
power on our behalf, let’s remember to give Him the glory!”
~ Joe Stowell

PAKISTAN: Illiterate Christians Sentenced to Death for Blasphemy

Sources: Pakistan Today, International Christian Concern, Christian Post

Shagufta and Shafqat
Photo: World Watch Monitor

A 43-year-old crippled man was sentenced to death, alongside his wife, in April of 2014 for allegedly committing blasphemy the previous year. Shafqat Emmanuel, who is paralyzed from the waist down, filed an appeal at the Lahore High Court in an attempt to seek bail due to his deteriorating health. “I have developed bedsores and may die in jail, as there is no possibility of better treatment here,” he states.

Shafqat and his wife Shagufta, the parents of four children, are from the city of Gojra, Punjab, in eastern Pakistan. Even though there was no sufficient evidence in support of the charge, the pressured judge rendered them guilty of sending blasphemous text messages, something which they deny on account that they are both illiterate.

“There was no evidence that the text messages came from a phone owned by the couple,” explains Farukh Saif, an official of World Vision in Progress, an organization defending the Christian couple. “In the first place, they had lost the phone some months before July 2013 and, secondly, there was no SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) card in their names.”

Since fracturing his backbone in an accident during 2004, Shafqat has been restricted to a wheelchair due to the paralysis of his lower body. After the accident, Shagufta then worked as a cleaner at a local missionary school in order to support their impoverished family. The Lahore court is set to hear the petition on March 5th. To review VOMC’s initial report on their situation, click here.

May God’s ministering presence provide needed strength, protection, provision and encouragement to Shafgat, Shagufta and their four children during this extremely trying time. Pray that their accusers — as well as the judicial authorities involved — will extend compassion and mercy to this already suffering family. Ask God to work mightily in their accusers’ lives, turning “hearts of stone” into “hearts of flesh” (Ezekiel 11:19), so they will be receptive to His conviction and leading. Also pray for the couple’s legal representative that he be divinely protected and filled with great wisdom while preparing for the upcoming March appeal hearing. In the meantime, may Shafgat receive proper health care and experience overall improvement of his physical condition. Let’s stand with this family by trusting in God’s promises and faithfulness to work all things together for good (Romans 8:28).

An informative three-minute video clip is also available here.

TURKEY: New Development in Case Against Conspirators

Source: VOM USA

Pastor Emre Karaali

A new development arose in the case against those who conspired to kill Pastor Emre Karaali. In January 2013, Pastor Emre learned that more than a dozen people — including some who had infiltrated his church and even babysat his children — were planning to assassinate him. Evidently, those plotting his death had associations with a police chief and military officer. Because of this, the courts had also indicted the two officers.

After waiting a year for the officers to give their story, Pastor Emre’s lawyer notified him that they are no longer required to give witness statements, claiming there is not enough evidence that they had any part in the plot. Though there were phone records showing a connection between the assassins and the officers, and earlier court hearings have confirmed the relationship between them, prosecutors do not see these connections as sufficient evidence. This means the decision will have to be appealed, further prolonging the case.

Although Pastor Emre has forgiven those who plotted to kill him, the case is weighing heavy on his heart. An earlier report can be found at this page.

Pray that the Lord will continue to be with Pastor Emre as he patiently waits for the outcome of this next stage in the legal process. May the Holy Spirit serve as the unseen Mediator in his case, bringing about justice while working out God’s greater plan of salvation throughout the process. Let’s stand with Pastor Emre, and other believers around the world, by interceding not only for those directly involved, but also for the many others in Turkey who have yet meet their Risen Saviour.


CHINA: Church-Affiliated Kindergarten Director Released

Source: China Aid

Cheng Jie and her husband,
Du Hongbo, with their young children.
Photo: Du Hongbo via ChinaAid

Having served two years in prison for allegedly “engaging in illegal business operations,” the director of a church-run kindergarten in China’s southern Guangxi region was released on February 17th. Cheng Jie, who provided leadership for the Hualin Foreign Language Experimental Kindergarten, was picked up after being released from prison by her husband and two young sons.

Local authorities had arrested Cheng at the school on February 18th, 2014. Four months later, on June 24th, Guangxi officials crossed the border into the neighbouring Guangdong province and detained Huang Quirui, an elder of the church that founded the kindergarten. Along with Huang, authorities detained Li Jiatao, another church member and mother of two young children; and Fang Bin, the man who was contracted to print the textbooks for the school.

Officials alleged that all four had engaged in “illegal business operations” by printing character-education textbooks without government approval, and then selling the books rather than using them solely for internal use. The lawyer defending the four detainees countered that the books were sold for an amount that only allowed the kindergarten to break even for the printing costs and that authorities were targeting the school because it was founded by a church. A previous report on this case is available here.

We can join fellow believers globally in praising God over the good news of Cheng’s release, and the resulting joyful reunion she is now able to enjoy with her husband and children. As she transitions from imprisonment to resume life once again with her family and community, may Cheng experience God’s wonderful work of healing and restoration. In fact, may she be granted even greater opportunities to proclaim the Gospel there in China and in many other parts of the world through the sharing of her testimony. In the meantime, please uphold Huang and Li as they await their release from prison which we trust will take place soon.

We invite you to join along with others in the sharing of prayer requests and/or praise items relating to the persecuted church at the Persecuted Church 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 25, 2016 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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