“A Communist officer told a Christian he was beating,
|NORTH KOREA: Detained Canadian Pastor Hospitalized
Sources: The Gospel Herald, UPI
A Canadian pastor, who was arrested in North Korea last year for allegedly plotting to overthrow the state, is presently hospitalized because of poor health. According to Canadian diplomats, Hyeon Soo Lim has been receiving treatment in the hospital since August.
Hyeon, a pastor of Light Presbyterian Church in Toronto, had gone missing in January 2015. The following month, news of his arrest broke out, reporting that North Korean officials accused him of committing crimes against the state. In August 2015, North Korean state news released a video of Hyeon confessing to the alleged crimes. However, those monitoring persecution noticed that he appeared to be reading from a script, raising suspicions that the pastor had been coerced into confessing the crimes.
In December of that same year, after a brief trial, Hyeon was sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labour. The pastor is in his 60s, and many people — including his family — expressed concerns over his health.
For almost 20 years, Hyeon has been involved in humanitarian work in North Korea, where he helped establish orphanages and nursing homes. By the time of his arrest, he had travelled to the country more than a hundred times. During an interview with CNN in January, Hyeon said he was required to work eight hours a day, six days a week, in the labour camp. He dug holes for the planting of apple trees. “I hope I can go home someday,” Hyeon added. “Nobody knows if I will ever go home, but that is my hope. I miss my family. I am longing to see them again, and my congregation.”
Please pray for Pastor Hyeon during his time of need. Ask the Lord not only to heal him physically, but to also comfort him in his longing to be with family. May he be released from imprisonment at the labour camp so he can return safely home — whole in both body and spirit. Intercede for Pastor Hyeon’s captors that they may come to know Christ through his testimony, and thus receive the assurance of God’s salvation and promise of eternity.
|UGANDA: Burning of Home Where Converts Took Refuge
Source: Morning Star News
On October 30th, militant Muslims of a village in eastern Uganda gutted the home of a Christian family for providing refuge to two boys who were threatened with violence for leaving Islam. Stephen Muganzi, 41, explained that the two teenaged boys sought refuge on October 16th after their parents began questioning them about their conversion to Christianity and subsequently threatened to kill them. The two boys, aged 16 and 17, had secretly become believers about seven months earlier.
After the youths fled their homes and the parents began searching for them, Stephen himself began receiving threats: “I started receiving threatening messages on my phone accusing me of converting the boys to Christianity, as well as housing them in my house without the parents’ permission. But I did not take (them) very seriously.”
The boys’ fathers (names withheld, for the security of their endangered sons) organized a group of sharia (Islamic law) vigilantes to punish them for apostasy. The mob, including the boys’ fathers, then set fire to the Christian man’s home.
The church sent one of its elders to check on the extent of the damage. “The loss is enormous,” the elder announced. While at the premises of the burned home, he also discovered leaflets that were left behind by the attackers. The notes read: “Be informed that we are not yet finished with you. Expect more. Worse things are on the way.” Stephen’s family and the youths have been forced to seek shelter elsewhere.
Thank you for joining with us in praying for the safety of the imperilled teens whose lives are being sought by the militant Muslims of their community, a situation instigated by their very own fathers. May these young believers experience the comforting presence of their Heavenly Father in personally meaningful ways. Also pray for Stephen and his family, who have kindly offered to help the two boys in an effort to keep them safe and their newfound faith strong. May the Lord give Stephen the strength and provision to continue assisting the boys, ensuring that they have good quality care, education and a promising future.
|NIGERIA: Released Chibok Girls Reunite with Their Families
Sources: BBC News, VOMC contact
Further to VOM Canada’s previously announced report on October 13th, the day on which 21 of the Chibok schoolgirls were safely released from captivity, here is an update on the students’ joyful reunion with their families which took place a few days after their release….
During an emotional ceremony on October 16th in the capital city of Abuja, 21 of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls were joyfully reunited with their families. The girls, who were among more than 200 kidnapped in April 2014, survived almost two-and-a-half years of brutal captivity by the Boko Haram terrorist group.
One of the freed girls openly expressed her gratitude for the Lord’s help while testifying at the ceremony: “I was…(in) the woods when the plane dropped a bomb near me but I wasn’t hurt. We had no food for one month and ten days but we did not die. We thank God.” Another girl stated, “We never imagined that we would see this day but, with the help of God, we were able to come out of enslavement.”
Excited relatives were waiting with great anticipation for this reunion which took place three days after the girls’ release from captivity. One parent announced, “We thank God. I never thought I was going to see my daughter again, but here she is… Those who are still out there, may God bring them back to be reunited with their parents.”
Most of the students kidnapped in April 2014 are still missing, and some may have died in captivity. It is unclear how the release was negotiated, but a government official reports that further negotiations are under way to free more of the schoolgirls.
To view a brief news clip of the 21 Chibok schoolgirls being joyfully reunited with their families, visit this page. Let us rejoice over the Lord’s deliverance of these girls, remaining mindful to pray for the safe and speedy release of their companions still in captivity.
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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