The Persecution & Prayer Alert
“Those whom we serve on your behalf, who are persecuted for
|YEMEN: Christian Witness in the Midst of Civil War
Sources: The Voice of the Martyrs USA, The New York Times
The civil war in Yemen has created a humanitarian crisis, leaving the Christian minority vulnerable to increased persecution by various militant groups. A mission is delivering food and water supplies to a small community of Christian families who have no source of income. Nearby Muslim families are witnessing the love and unity that’s taking place among these believers.
Since the war began in early 2015, tens of thousands of people have been killed or injured, and millions displaced from their homes. Compounding the severity of the situation, the coalition’s bombing campaign has been “among the deadliest and most indiscriminate in the region’s recent history,” according to a report by The New York Times.
Yet, in the midst of this war-ravaged country where hatred and strife are having such catastrophic consequences, these believers are demonstrating the love of Jesus — not only among those of their own community but also to their Muslim neighbours. Previous reports, as well as an informative three-minute video clip on Yemen, is available here.
Praise God for the way He is working through the witness of His people who are serving as powerful examples of His compassion and loving kindness. We join them in offering thanksgiving to our Lord for making this wonderful provision of food and other necessities available. Pray that this small community of believers will continue receiving the provision in abundance so they can generously reach out to others in need by sharing what they have. May the Lord pour out His Spirit upon this nation, bringing peace and comfort to Yemen’s many innocent citizens who are trying to survive in the midst of this unresolved political war.
|IRAN: Christians Arrested at Engagement Event
Sources: Middle East Concern, Mohabat News
The families of three Azerbaijani Christian men, who have been detained for almost two months in Iran, recently appealed for help. Eldar Gurbanov, Yusif Farhadov, and Bahram Nasibov were arrested on June 24th at an engagement party in Tehran. No charges have been filed against them, nor have they been allowed access to a lawyer.
About ten people were initially arrested but most were soon released. Along with the three mentioned men, a Christian convert from a Muslim background by the name of Naser Navard Gol-Tapeh has also been detained. According to one of our sources, Naser was “held separately from everyone else during the raid and there has been no word of his whereabouts since his arrest.”
The Azerbaijanis were invited to Tehran by friends. The concerned families don’t know why their loved ones were arrested nor do they know exactly where they are being held. Thankfully, since the arrests, the three men were allowed to call home. It was revealed during their telephone conversations that the imprisoned Christians have been kept in separate cells at a prison somewhere in the province of Tehran.
After receiving petitions from their families, the Azerbaijani Embassy in Tehran requested permission to meet with the men, but this has not yet been granted. Information on how you can stand with these concerned families — by participating in a petition for their release — is available here.
Ask the Lord to make His reassuring presence tangibly known to these imprisoned men and their families as they wait upon Him for divine intervention, granting each of them the strength and encouragement required to be effective witnesses of the Gospel wherever they happen to be located. Also pray that the hearts of the governing officials involved in this case will be touched by the Holy Spirit’s promptings to “act justly and to love mercy” (Micah 6:8), so these followers of Christ can be set free and joyfully reunited with their families.
|INDIA: Court Acknowledges Plight of Odisha Victims
Sources: World Watch Monitor, Release International
According to India’s Supreme Court, adequate compensation has not yet been paid to those who’ve suffered severe loss during the religiously-motivated tide of violence that took place against Christians in the Kandhamal district of Odisha (formerly known as Orissa).
On August 23rd, 2008, about 100 Christians were killed, 300 churches and 6,000 Christian homes damaged, and 56,000 people displaced by extremists who retaliated the killing of their Hindu leader, Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati. His death sparked the worst case of anti-Christian violence in India’s history. The extremists targeted multitudes of innocent believers residing within this district, even though Maoist rebels claimed responsibility for Swami’s death.
After the violence, the local community has struggled to receive adequate compensation from the government. However, Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, believes that the Supreme Court’s most recent ruling is a positive one: “It is a step forward in justice for the victims of Kandhamal…. The justice procedure is slow and inadequate, but this is a sign of hope.”
Learn more about what it means to be a follower of Jesus for India’s Christians by reviewing our country report. Note that there is also a video clip (on the right) featuring a song of praise presented by the orphaned children of the Sideras Children’s Home.
After eight years of hardship — and for many persecuted victims, homelessness — it is encouraging to know that the Supreme Court of India has acknowledged the need to properly compensate those whose homes have been badly damaged or destroyed during the violent outbreak. Pray that Odisha’s state government will be able to meet this tremendous need for compensation in a timely and efficient manner so displaced Christians can finally resettle in permanent housing and move on with their lives. May God’s blessings also be upon the many rescued children whose parents were killed during the massacre so they can continue to heal, grow and thrive in the safety and care of our VOMC-sponsored homes.
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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