The Persecution & Prayer Alert
“So do not fear, for I am with you;
|VIETNAM: Numerous Pastors Jailed and Threatened
Sources: International Christian Concern, Christian Today
More than 100 Vietnamese pastors of house churches have been imprisoned for refusing to join a central official church. The government-controlled “official church” wants to combine multiple house churches in order to control and diminish the influence of the thriving independent churches. A particular group of house churches representing a total membership of 3,000 was ordered to merge congregations and meet in a building that can hold only about 500 people.
One of the Vietnamese ministry leaders, Pastor Su, who himself served a prison term between 1975 and 1984, expressed great concern over the new ruling: “If the pastors refuse to sign a paper saying they would combine, and that their gatherings would not go over 500 people, they will be beaten or thrown into prison.”
The latest pastors to be imprisoned (more than 60 of them) joined another 42 church leaders who are still behind bars, even though the 15-year sentences they received in 2001 for practising their faith have been completed. Despite the risks, Pastor Su and his ministry team are continuing with their Christian mission among the villages of Vietnam.
In order for vitally needed ministry to endure, missionaries are trained secretly and Bible study groups move from village to village so they cannot be tracked down. Learn more about the challenges facing believers in Vietnam by reviewing our country report.
We can thank the Lord for the tremendous witnessing efforts and steadfast faith demonstrated by the persecuted Christians of Vietnam. May these church leaders and their congregation members not be intimidated by the governmental stipulations but rather encouraged to stand firm on the promises of God — relying on Him for the wisdom, diplomacy and favour required to deal appropriately with the authorities. Pray for radical changes to take place in the hearts of the Communist leaders, especially those who are responsible for implementing and administering Vietnam’s laws, so that the work of the Gospel will continue to thrive.
|EGYPT: Legal Battle Ends with ‘Return to Islam’
Source: World Watch Monitor
Mohamed Hegazy battled with the Egyptian courts for nine years in order to be officially recognized as a Christian. His fight has just ended — with his apparent decision to return to Islam. Please pray for 34-year-old Mohamed who has endured relentless persecution since trying to change the religious status of his ID card to “Christian.” He announced his return to Islam in a video recently posted on YouTube.
Mohamed, who had been behind bars intermittently since December 2013, was charged with “protesting without permission” and “defamation of religion.” On June 29th, the court finally ordered his release on bail but it took an additional month before he was actually freed. During the ordeal, his lawyer, Karam Ghobrial, was deliberately ensnared in red tape, and Mohamed himself was transferred between several different police stations.
In his YouTube video, Mohamed utters the Shahada, the Islamic proclamation of allegiance, and then delivers an apparently well-rehearsed statement: “I say this out of my complete free will. I am not being held by any agency, nor am I under any pressure of any kind.”
Mohamed Hegazy changed his name to Bishoy Armia Boulous after he became a Christian at 16 years of age. He has been imprisoned twice, tortured and beaten repeatedly in jail; and his young family was forced to go into hiding. Previous reports on his situation, including a video clip, are available here.
Release International’s CEO, Paul Robinson, states: “We must pray for Mohamed Hegazy. We do not know what he has gone through recently, added to all that he has suffered since his conversion to Christianity. God knows his heart.”
Pray that Mohamed and his family will experience the God of all love and compassion, whose mercies are new every morning. May he receive inner peace and rest from the turmoil of his battered soul, as well as greatly needed healing and restoration – spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically. Also intercede for his lawyer, Karam, who has paid a high price for defending his client through the ordeal. Pray that God will strengthen and protect him too. Finally, please uphold others of our extended Christian family in Egypt who are suffering great duress, that they will not be worn down by harassment and persecution but rather further strengthened and encouraged to stand firm in their faith.
|NIGERIA: Update on Persecuted Teen (Danjuma)
Source: VOM Canada Correspondent
Some may remember a report that was published in the May 2016 issue of VOMC’s publication about a young teen named Danjuma. The 13-year-old has endured horrific physical assaults for his Christian faith, resulting in the loss of his eyesight (one of his eyes had also been gauged out by Boko Haram militants), in addition to other serious injuries.
We are pleased to inform you that Danjuma has received a prosthetic eye, and is doing well. Our ministry partners, who are in contact with the young teen and his mother, relay this good report to all who’ve been praying for him: “He is always so upbeat and positive. All the people, including the medical community treating him, say what an encouragement and blessing he is to be around.”
We encourage our readers to continue praying for Danjuma and his family as they make important decisions regarding his future and ongoing education. His situation represents hundreds of other children from Christian families who are suffering the aftermath of similar attacks. These children and their families are in need of our prayers and support.
If you would like to post a prayer of praise or petition on behalf of our persecuted family around the globe, visit VOMC’s prayer wall.
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