Proverbs 21:30

The Persecution & Prayer Alert

“To the heart which cries, ‘He is too far away, I cannot reach Him,’ the
answer is, ‘You do not have to reach Him, He comes to you.’ So God has
been coming to us across the millennia: through the process of revelation, in
the acts of His providence, in the first coming of Christ. And He will continue
to come until that last day when we will be united with Him forever.”
~ John N. Oswalt

TURKEY: Historical Church Permitted to Continue Services

Source: World Watch Monitor

A worship service at Bursa’s French Church
Cultural Centre led by Pastor Ismail.
Photo: World Watch Monitor

Church-going Christians in Bursa, a large city located within northwest Turkey, were ordered by officials to vacate their premises by February 26th. We are delighted to report that on the 23rd, three days before the previously announced deadline, city authorities had rescinded the order to vacate. Various congregations share the historic “French church” dating back to the 1880s — the only recognized place of Christian worship in Bursa.

For decades, the church sat in ruins. Aykan Erdemir, a Turkish academic who grew up in Bursa and is now a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told reporters that as a child he played among the piles of rubble with friends. He saw the church’s reopening as a symbol of Bursa rediscovering its multicultural past.

Upon news of the initial eviction order, Aykan was mindful of Turkey’s failure to institutionalize religious freedom for its non-Muslim minority. “Christians do not have any legal entitlement to the building. They only have usage rights for the time being, which I think is a very precarious situation,” he explains. “Members of non-majority religions have to depend on the goodwill of bureaucrats and the majority population. Such problems will continue to happen until religious minorities have property rights for their houses of worship and restitution rights to use their historical churches.”

The church remains a symbol of the struggle experienced by the city’s non-Muslims to become an accepted part of society. Pastor Ismail Kulakciolgu, who represents one of the four congregations that regularly conduct worship services at the historical church, tried to convince the council that Bursa would lose a priceless piece of its cultural heritage if the congregations were forced out of their building: “We’re trying to explain that this church, which is used as a house of worship by different congregations, is perhaps the only example of its kind in the world.”

Additional reports, including informative video clips, pertaining to persecution in this country are available at the Turkey Country Report.

Let us join together in praising God for the permission that was recently granted by local governing officials to the members of this multicultural church in Turkey, allowing for the continuance of their worship services. Pray that as these Christians, representing various denominational affiliations, gather peacefully in this beautiful sanctuary of worship, their special bond of unity and love will serve as a strong witness to others in the city of Bursa and throughout Turkey. Also pray that their Turkish society will champion religious liberty for all of the country’s citizens.

KENYA: Disapproving Relatives Beat Christian Unconscious

Source: Morning Star News

Hassan’s mother on the pathway where
he was attacked outside Nairobi.
Photo: Morning Star News

A Christian of Somali descent has been badly injured after his militant Muslim relatives beat him to an unconscious state on February 7th. The relatives had ambushed 26-year-old Hassan in an area outside of Nairobi because he and other Christians were holding mid-week devotional times in their homes.

At 9 a.m. that Sunday morning, Hassan and his 15-year-old brother were on their way to a worship service at a church located about ten kilometres from their home when the incident took place. As the brothers made their way down a pathway off the road, their uncles suddenly attacked Hassan from behind.

“They hit me with a blunt object, and I fell down bleeding,” Hassan recounts. “Then they stepped on my stomach; and while I was struggling, another hit me on my head. I (don’t) know what happened after that point. I just woke up to find my mother screaming for help.”

This was not the only time Hassan has been severely injured by militant Somalis in Nairobi. On October 27th, 2011, a gang viciously attacked him after learning that family members had become Christians. The Somali neighbours hit Hassan with a metal bar on his forehead and face, resulting in the loss of two teeth, and then inflicted knife wounds to his hand. Afterwards, the attackers left him for dead.

“Please pray…that God will continue protecting us and heal my son at this trying moment,” pleads Hassan’s widowed mother of nine children. “We have to move away from this area for the sake of our lives.”

Thank you for upholding Hassan’s immediate family as they seek another place in which to live. May the Lord sovereignly guide them to a safe haven among a warm and loving community of fellow believers who will provide them needed ministry, healing and encouragement — especially in the case of Hassan after all he has endured for following Jesus. Pray that this young man’s uncompromising, steadfast faith will be a powerful testimony to his unsaved family members who are clearly in need of our Lord’s love, mercy, forgiveness and eternal salvation.


CHINA: Pastor Jailed for Social Media Prayers Freed

Source: China Aid

Yan Xiaojie
Photo: ChinaAid

On February 2nd, authorities released Pastor Yan Xiaojie of the China Christian Evangelic Mission in Wenzhou city after serving five months in criminal detention. Public security bureau officials originally apprehended Pastor Yan on August 26, 2015 for circulating prayer requests on social media concerning churches that were being targeted for cross removal in the Zhejiang province.

After Pastor Yan had been given an eight-day administrative detention, he was placed under criminal detention “indefinitely” under suspicion of “gathering a mob to disturb social order.” An elder of the church, Cheng Chaohua, who had been detained the day after Yan, was thankfully released last December.

To date, there are still eight other believers from Zhejiang province remaining in detention. Seven of them are church elders or their wives, including prominent Pastor Gu “Joseph” Yuese. The eighth is Christian lawyer Zhang Kai who has been held in an unregistered jail since July of 2015. A previous report on the case of the prominent Beijing-based lawyer, and his efforts against the cross-removal campaign, can be reviewed at this page.

Meanwhile, the congregation of Haicheng Christian Gathering in Wenzhou received an official warning about a month ago that the cross on their premises would also be removed. Prior to receiving notification, the building’s electricity and water supply had been cut off.

May the Lord honour and vindicate these faithful believers of China’s Zhejiang province who are standing strong in the face of adversity and imprisonment. Pray that their efforts will not be in vain but rather used as a catalyst in bringing about a greater awareness of the tremendous spiritual needs within their country and, ultimately, an outpouring of God’s Spirit and resulting revival. Please also intercede for the provincial officials who have instigated and participated in the cross removal campaign, as well as the demolishing of churches, in hopes that they too will experience a reverential fear of the one true God.

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.


March 4, 2016 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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