THE BLACK KETTLE

Proverbs 21:30

The Persecution & Prayer Alert

“When we struggle for human rights, for freedom, for dignity,
when we feel that it is a ministry of the church to concern itself…
for those who are deprived, we are not departing from God’s promise.
He comes to free us from sin, and the church knows that sin’s
consequences are all such injustices and abuses. The church knows it is
saving the world when it undertakes to speak also of such things.”
~ Oscar A Romero


CUBA: Pastoral Leader Threatened with Arrest

Source: Christian Solidarity Worldwide


Rev. Alain Toledano
Photo: Christian Solidarity Worldwide

The reverend of the Emanuel Church, which was demolished on February 5th, has now been threatened with arrest. Reverend Alain Toledano was told by the chief of police in Santiago de Cuba that charges are being prepared against him concerning the alleged illegal possession of chairs and supports for the roof of the destroyed church.

The police threats came after Reverend Toledano and a number of other church leaders held meetings on February 23rd with regional Cuban Communist Party (CCP) and Ministry of Housing and Planning officials to discuss the events of February 5th. According to the reverend, the First Secretary of the CCP in Santiago told the group that the belongings of the church would be returned, and the question regarding the future of the property and his family home would be discussed with government officials. However, at a meeting later in the day, government officials and the police chief contradicted the CCP official and informed the reverend that a criminal case was being built against him.

Reverend Toledano, who belongs to the Apostolic Movement, a network of churches that the government has refused to register, was out of the country attending a religious event when the demolition of his church and home took place. Shortly after his return on February 12th, he was visited by six state security agents who warned him not to hold any religious meetings or to “go out into the streets.” The pastoral leader also expressed concern for his wife, who was dragged out of bed at 5 a.m., then handcuffed and detained for the duration of the demolition, along with her two young daughters who witnessed the mistreatment their mother endured. All three are exhibiting signs of emotional trauma: “My daughters toss and turn all night, and during the day they are dazed and fearful,” he adds.

More information on persecution in Cuba, including reports of other cases, may be reviewed at our country report.

Pray that the Lord will strengthen and encourage Reverend Toledano, his family and congregation so they will be able to withstand the opposition of the governing officials. Just as God shut the mouths of the lions in the Old Testament account of Daniel (chapter 6) so no harm could come to His faithful servant, may the threats of charges against this Cuban church leader not come to fruition. Like the mentioned Biblical character, may Reverend Toledano be granted wisdom and favour when dealing with the authorities. In addition to needed healing and restoration for this victimized family and church congregation, pray that the Lord will bring about changes in the hearts of the authorities through the work of His Holy Spirit and the witness of these steadfast believers.


ALGERIA: Church Threatened with Closure

Source: Release International


A church in Algeria.
Photo: Flickr / Maya-Anais Yataghene

A church in the Kabylie area of northern Algeria is being threatened with closure. Officials have given a warning that they will start legal action against its pastor if he continues to hold services. The church, which is linked to the state-approved Protestant Church of Algeria, was issued a letter recently demanding that all religious activities cease because it was in breach of a 2006 decree regulating the use of buildings as places of worship.

Congregations in Algeria are required to seek a permit to use a building for non-Muslim worship but the authorities rarely respond to applications. In 2011, a church in Bejaia, also located within the area of Kabylie, faced the same threat after the local mayor ordered its closure. However, the mayor withdrew the order following protests by Christians and religious rights campaigners. Other reports, as well as an historical overview of the situation in Algeria, can be found at VOMC’s country report.

Please pray that our Almighty God will ensure justice is meted out on behalf of His people in Kabylie, resulting in the withdrawal of the order for this church’s closure. In fact, may the authorities and community members no longer listen to the false allegations of the enemy but rather recognize the benefits and goodwill that Christianity offers to their society as a whole. Ask God to abundantly bless this church and its pastor, bringing His peace into the situation and into people’s lives.


RECENT PRISONER UPDATE

PAKISTAN: Heightened Concerns over Asia’s Security

Source: Morning Star News


Asia Bibi

Concerns have increased over the safety of Asia Bibi, the first Christian woman sentenced to death for “blasphemy” in Pakistan. These new security concerns follow the execution of extremist Mumtaz Qadri who assassinated Asia’s biggest advocate, Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, in 2011. For a report on the governor’s assassination, click here.

Mumtaz was executed by hanging on February 29th, 2016 for the assassination of Governor Taseer who had criticized Pakistan’s blasphemy laws and advocated for Asia’s release. She has been on death row since her 2010 conviction for allegedly blaspheming during an argument with a Muslim woman who accused her of contaminating a bowl of water by merely drinking from it. Past reports on Asia’s case are available on this page.

A senior Punjab government official confided to sources that Asia’s security has increased following intelligence reports that Islamist groups are conspiring to have her killed in prison to avenge the hanging of the extremist. Islamic militants feted Mumtaz Qadri as a hero, resulting in a large gathering of up to 150,000 people in the streets of Rawalpindi — many chanting for Asia to be hanged.

The official assured that although Islamist groups were calling for her swift execution, the government was exercising extreme caution to protect her. “The government is doing its best to keep Asia safe,” he explains. “She has been told to cook her own food to prevent any attempt at poisoning her meals. All guards deployed for her security have been carefully vetted by intelligence agencies and other security outfits to ensure they are not extremists in their belief.” Asia’s lawyer, Saiful Malook, confirms that she is being held in isolation and under strict security. “But calls for her speedy execution have increased the risk to her life manifold,” he adds with great concern for his client’s safety and well-being.

Thank you for joining us in concerted prayer for Asia Bibi and her suffering family. Pray that God will continue to protect Asia in the face of increased threats against her life. May those who wish her harm be brought down by His strong and mighty arm, in hopes that they would realize the error of their ways and the harshness of their hardened hearts…bringing them to the point of sincere repentance and salvation. Ask that in the meantime He would make a way of deliverance for our long-suffering sister in Christ, leading her to a place of safety, peace, healing and reconciliation with loved ones. May the government officials involved in this difficult case sense God’s guiding presence, wisdom and protection as they seek the best solution.

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.com

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March 17, 2016 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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