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The Voice of The Martyrs

From The Voice of the Martyrs

Persecution.com


NIGERIA One Dead, 60 Injured in Muslim Attacks on Christians – VOM Sources
On February 2, one Christian was killed, 60 others injured, and churches, businesses and homes set on fire, in the latest Muslim attacks on Christians in Bauchi state, Nigeria. According to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts in Nigeria, “One Christian man was killed, over 60 people were seriously injured and five churches were damaged.” This latest attack took place after two friends, a Christian lady and a Muslim man, had a disagreement. VOM contacts report, “These two were said to be friends of some sort until they had a disagreement on February 1. The Muslim man claimed that the Christian lady made some blasphemous utterances against the Prophet Muhammad. They were said to have parted ways that day without much trouble, but with a threat from the man that he would deal with the lady in his own way.” VOM contacts added that the following day the Muslim man ganged up with Muslim extremists and started searching for the lady. “The lady was alerted of the attack and ran to the police station. The gang traced her to the police station and insisted the police release her. When the police did not release her, the attackers set the police station on fire. After the lady and the police escaped, the Muslim extremists attacked Christian homes, churches and shops,” VOM contacts said. Believers who lived in the damaged and destroyed homes have not returned because of fear they might be attacked again. Pray for Christians in this state. Ask God to comfort the family of the deceased and those injured. Pray these believers will be encouraged to remain faithful in their walk with the Lord. Psalm 23:3-5

ALGERIA Christians Under Increased Pressure – VOM Sources/ Middle East Concern
Christian leaders in Algeria have asked for international support following recent incidents that threaten human rights, especially religious rights. According to a February 7 report from Middle East Concern, believers are under pressure because the local Algerian media has been running an intense campaign against the church. Seven Christian fellowships are known to have been closed by the authorities and several believers have been arrested and formally charged. Pray that the closed fellowships will be opened, those arrested will be acquitted and for God to turn the negative media reports and use them for good. Ask God to encourage believers in Algeria and for the officials persecuting them. Pray they will hear the message of Jesus Christ. Romans 15:3-5


CHINA Women Detained and Treated Indecently by Police – China Aid Association
On February 2, two Christian women, Meng Xiu Lan and Zhou Cheng Xiu, were detained by police in Jun Tun County, Yunan Province, after they were found distributing Christmas cards. According to China Aid Association (CAA), the two women, aged 55 and 53 respectively, were “threatened, mocked, stripped and frisked violently.” CAA added, “Police then handcuffed the two women and escorted them back to their homes. After searching the homes, police illegally confiscated CDs, handouts, Bibles, song books and calendars, without proper documentation.” Pray the Lord comforts and encourages these women after this difficult experience. Ask God to use their testimony to draw nonbelievers, including their persecutors, into fellowship with Him. Isaiah 53:4-5

EGYPT Egyptian Court Recognizes Faith of 12 Converts to Christianity – VOM Sources Praise God! An Egyptian court has recognized the faith of 12 converts to Christianity. The decision overturns a lower court ruling which said the state need not recognize conversions from Islam because it constituted “apostasy,” an act often treated as a capital crime in the Muslim world. A lawyer for the 12 Coptic Christians described the case as a victory for human rights and freedom of religion that will open the door for hundreds of other Copts who want to return to their original faith from Islam. There is concern, however, over the ruling’s mandate that the converts’ former religion must be noted in their official documents, as this could leave them vulnerable to discrimination. Thank the Lord for this victory. Pray that these individuals will not be subject to further discrimination. Pray that those who were born into Muslim families and convert to Christianity will also have their conversions recognized by the Egyptian government. Psalm 103:1-5

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Voice of the Martyrs

MALAYSIA Bibles Confiscated at Airport – Compass Direct News
On January 28, a customs officer confiscated two boxes containing 32 Bibles from a Christian woman in a Kuala Lumpur airport in Malaysia. According to Compass Direct News, “Online news agency Malaysiakini reported that upon arrival at the airport, Juliana Nichols was asked to open boxes and declare their contents. Despite producing a letter from her parish priest stating that the English Bibles were meant for use in her church, the officer told Nichols the texts needed to be cleared with the Internal Security Ministry’s Control Division of Publications and Al-Quran Texts.” The Compass report added that Rev. Dr. Hermen Shastri, general secretary of the Council of Churches of Malaysia, released a statement stating, “The Bible is Holy Scripture for Christians,” and “no authority on earth should deny Christians the right to possess, read and travel with their Bibles.” Shastri called for the immediate release of the Bibles and an official apology from the customs department. This incident is the latest in a series of seizures of Christian literature by the Malaysian government. Pray for the people of Malaysia, who are concerned by the government’s crackdown on religious freedom. Ask God to protect and encourage Malay-Muslim converts who are cut off from meeting with a larger fellowship of believers. Joshua 1:9

Pray for CHINA
CHINA Christian Leader Detained – China Aid Association
On January 29, Bai Cheng, a Christian leader, was detained in Luoyang, Henan Province. According to China Aid Association (CAA), Cheng was arrested while he was leading a Bible study. CAA reported, “That same day Cheng’s sister-in-law received a criminal detention notice issued by the Public Security Bureau of Luoyang stating that Cheng had been put in criminal detention at Luoyang City Detention Center for his suspected participation in ‘evil cult’ activities under Article 61 of China’s criminal law.”The police confiscated two computers from Cheng’s car. Isaiah 54: 17

Pray for IRAN
IRAN New Draft Law Proposing Death Penalty for Apostasy – Institute on Religion and Public Policy
The Iranian parliament is reviewing a bill for the Islamic Penal Law (Penal Code) that legislates the death penalty for apostasy. According to the Institute on Religion and Public Policy, the draft law defines an apostate as “any Muslim who clearly announces that he/she has left Islam and declares blasphemy.” This proposed law is aimed to deter conversion from Islam. Pray for strength, wisdom and grace for believers in Iran as they faithfully continue to share Christ despite pressure from the Islamic government. Psalm 119:105

Pray for BELARUS
BELARUS Government Renews Pressure on Baptists – Forum 18 News
The Belarus government has recently issued fines to the Baptist Council of Churches for “unregistered activity.” According to Forum 18 News, this increased pressure is aimed at pressuring Baptists to register their church activity. Forum reported, “The Council’s congregations reject state registration in post-Soviet countries, believing that it leads to government interference.” Nikolai Varushin, who recently faced persecution told Forum, “This is our path; we are prepared to suffer for our faith. We just pray that our people will remain true to the Lord.” Pray for believers in Belarus. Ask God to encourage them to remain courageous in the midst of increased persecution. Psalm 37:23

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The Voice of the Martyrs — November – Part 4

TURKMENISTAN
Pastor Released from Prison – VOM Sources / Forum 18 News
On November 9, Baptist Pastor Vyacheslav Kalataevsky was released after eight months in prison. According to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts, Kalataevsky and his family are thankful for the prayers and support of believers around the world. Forum 18 News reports government officials have warned Pastor Kalataevsky not to meet for worship with fellow believers. Pastor Kalataevsky told Forum 18, “Officials summoned me for what they said was a conversation, but at the end presented me with a pre-written statement saying that I agreed not to meet with my fellow believers. All it lacked was my signature, but I refused to sign it, both on my behalf and on behalf of my wife.” The Forum 18 report added, “Although Kalataevsky’s congregation does not oppose state registration in principle. Officials kept telling him that his congregation does not have enough adult citizen members to apply for registration. They added that unregistered religious activity, including people meeting together for worship in homes, is banned.” Praise God for Pastor Kalatatevsky’s release from prison. Ask God to protect his family and congregation as they face scrutiny and pressure from the government. Psalm 27:1, Isaiah 54:17

AZERBAIJA
Imprisoned Pastor Required to Pay for Necessities in Prison – VOM Sources / Forum 18 News
Pastor Zaur Balaev’s friends and family are said to be “shocked” by the financial demands he is facing in prison. According to VOM sources, Pastor Balaev is required to pay for hot water to wash or do laundry and cook his food. His family is allowed to visit him only after paying “a considerable amount.” Zaur’s wife was allowed to stay with him for three days for his birthday, but as she was leaving the prison, she said, “I am shocked by the conditions and the sum spent, because I was forced to pay for everything.” According to Forum 18 News, officials deny payment was demanded. “The state pays for everything, including food,” said Mehman Sadykov, spokesperson for the Justice Ministry. “Such reports don’t correspond with reality.” Pray for strength for Balaev and his family during this time. Pray their appeal will be successful. Pray that Balaev will be a testimony to other prisoners, demonstrating the love and power of Christ. Philippians 4:19; 3 John 2

 INDIA
Christians Attacked, Church Building Destroyed – VOM Sources

  • KARNATAKA – On November 18, Pastor Siddarama Gokhavi (60) and six other Christians were beaten by Bajrang Dal activists who attacked them as they were worshiping in Ananda Nagara, Karnataka. The attackers vandalized the building, burned Bibles and chanted slogans against Christians. The militants included a senior police officer. Pastor Gokhavi and his wife, Rekha, were injured in the attack, along with five others. The attackers accused the Christians of coercing Hindus into becoming Christians. Praise God there were no serious injuries in the attack. Pray those responsible for the attack will come to recognize the love and grace of God and turn to Him in faith. Pray for the continued ministry of this house church. Psalm 91, Romans 8:11
  • CHHATTISGARH STATE – On November 19, Hindu militants attacked a church, tied up and beat the pastor unconsciousness, and burned down a recently constructed church building in Manduwa in Chhattisgarh State, India. There are no reports on the present condition of Pastor Sudharu. The Hindus accused the church of being involved in the conversion of tribal people in the region. According to reports, missionaries in this remote area face regular threats from Hindu militants. Pray for the continued witness of this church. Pray for healing for Pastor Sudharu as he recuperates from the assault. Psalm 23, Psalm 107:20

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The Voice of the Martyrs — November – Part 3

NORTH KOREA

Christians Arrested, Whereabouts Unknown – VOM Sources
In September, the National Security Service of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) announced the arrest of several “foreign spies” and “native citizens working for a foreign intelligence service.” VOM sources say those arrested are Christians and not spies. VOM sources have identified the following nine Christians who have disappeared and are believed to have been arrested by government authorities: Mr. Chul Huh (34), Mr. Chun-Il Jang (39), Mr. Myung-Chul Kim (36), Ms. Young-Su Jin (32), Mr. Nam-Suk Kang (48), Mr. San-Ho Kang (36), Mr. Suk-Chun Suh (29), Ms. Mi-Hae Park (30) and Ms. Young-Yae Lee (37). The whereabouts of these individuals is unknown. It is possible they have already been tried and executed. Pray the loved ones of those arrested will find peace in the fact that God works all things for the good of those who love Him and who have been called according to His purpose. Pray that North Korea’s leaders will come to repentance and faith in Christ. Romans 8:28, Psalm 91

 EGYPT

More Christians Jailed – Compass Direct News
Three Christian activists with the Toronto-based Middle East Christian Association have been jailed in Egypt. According to a Compass Direct News report, Wagih Yaob and Victor George were taken from their homes in the early hours of November 10, while lawyer Mamdouh Azmy was arrested at his law office later that afternoon. The police reportedly treated Yaob badly and confiscated both Yaob and George’s personal belongings, including a laptop. After being interrogated at a state prosecutor’s office in New Cairo, Yaob and George were given 15-day detentions and were accused of defaming Islam and destroying the reputation of Egypt. They are being held at Cairo’s Tora prison. Later, Azmy was transferred to a Cairo prison. Pray for the release of these believers. Pray the Holy Spirit will encourage them and their families during this difficult time. Ask that their testimony will draw nonbelievers into fellowship with Christ. 2 Timothy 1:7, Psalm 23

INDIA

Christians Beaten by Militants – VOM Sources
On November 4, six Christians, including Pastor Vishnu Barad and his wife, were beaten by Hindu militants in the Thane district of Maharastra. The believers were reportedly targeted for attending prayer meetings in the area. Pastor Barad was detained when he went to the local police station to register a complaint against the militants. On November 10, a group of approximately 50 Hindu militants attacked Pastor P.C. Nayak of the Believers Church in the city of Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh. According to the Evangelical Fellowship of India, local villagers called Pastor Nayak to a meeting regarding the construction of a church building. When he arrived at the construction site the militants beat him. He was hospitalized with internal injuries. Pray that Pastor Barad will be released. Pray for healing for those injured in these attacks. Pray Christians in India will maintain the attitude of Christ and respond to their persecutors with love and grace. Isaiah 26:3, Joshua 1:9

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The Voice of the Martyrs — November – Part 2

EGYPT

 

Christians Acquitted of Charges of “Insulting Islam” – Compass Direct News

On November 5, Adel Fawzy Faltas, the Egyptian leader of the Middle East Christian Association, and Peter Azzat, an associate, were acquitted of charges of “insulting Islam.” They were also released from prison after being held three months. According to Compass Direct News, journalists, lawyers, clergyman, family and friends gathered at Faltas’ home to celebrate the acquittal and release. “Faltas, 61, and Peter Ezzat, 25, had been held on unsubstantiated charges of insulting Islam and tarnishing Egypt’s reputation abroad. Charges without evidence against Faltas and Ezzat included insulting Islam, posing a threat to national security and tarnishing Egypt’s reputation abroad,” Compass said. Compass reported Faltas said, “I was always a free man. When you respect yourself and what you are doing, then you are free.” According to the report, “Faltas recounted how 30 State Security Investigation officers and plain clothes policeman had raided his house at 2:30 p.m. on August 8. He said the most difficult part of the ordeal was spending the first 14 days in an isolation cell 1.75 meters in length and three-quarters of a meter in width with no seat.” Praise God for the release of Faltas and Azzat. Pray for Christians in Egypt to remain faithful in their relationship with Jesus Christ despite being treated as second-class citizens. Psalm 91, Romans 8:31

 

 

 

IRAN

 

Christian Couple Sentenced to be Whipped – Farsi Christian News Network

In July 2007, an Iranian Christian couple was sentenced by the Justice Court of Revolution to be whipped, two years after they were accused of attending a house church. According to Farsi Christian News Network (FCNN), “The couple was arrested on September 21, 2005, by government agents. They had gathered in a house, in a town northwest of Tehran (gohar dasht) for their regular prayer and devotional time.” The FCNN reported, the woman was born into a Christian Assyrian-Iranian family, while the man converted to Christianity long before their marriage. Following the arrest in 2005, the couple was required to check in with authorities on a regular basis until the court decided their punishment. FCNN reported that on one occasion when the wife met with authorities, she was abused and decided not to return. According to FCNN, “After a few days, in September 2007, two female and four male agents went to this couple’s house and showed them a letter from the court saying they should execute the sentence of whipping right there in their house. This couple is under high mental pressure right now.” The Voice of the Martyrs is providing assistance to this couple. Pray for this couple and Christians in Iran who face great challenges because of their faith in Jesus Christ. Ask that the Holy Spirit will give them peace, health and protection during this difficult time. Psalm 23; 2 Timothy 1:7

 

 

TURKEY

 

Malatya Murder Trial Date Set – Compass Direct News
Malatya’s Third Criminal Court has set November 23 to open the trial of the confessed murderers of Turkish Christians, Necati Aydin and Ugur Yuksel, and a German Christian, Tilmann Geske. The three Protestant Christians were tortured and killed by having their throats cut on April 18 of this year in the Zirve Publishing Company’s office in the southern province of Malatya. Last week, all news about the pending trial in the Turkish press sensationalized justifications the killers offered for their crimes while under police interrogation, including far-fetched allegations against the victims. “It is clear from these statements of the suspects that there is some group of powerful influence behind them,” spokesperson Isa Karatas of the Alliance of Protestant Churches in Turkey told Compass. “These people want to portray Turkey’s Protestants as enemies of the nation.” Pray for justice in this case, but most importantly that the testimonies of the martyrs will draw nonbelievers into the full knowledge of Jesus Christ. Pray for the families of the slain believers. Psalm 119:105, Isaiah 26:3

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The Voice of the Martyrs — November – Part 1

ISRAEL

 

Church Set on Fire – Compass Direct News

On October 23, suspected arsonists set fire to the Narkis Street Baptist Church, in Western Jerusalem. According to Compass Direct News, the arsonists forcibly entered the building through a side door and set three fires in the sanctuary. The fire damaged 60 chairs and also caused smoke and water damage in the building. Compass News reported that although the police had not yet determined those responsible for the attack, it was suspected they were Jewish militants. According to Pastor Victor Blum, the leader of a Russian Messianic Jewish congregation that meets in the building, an anti-missionary organization named “Yad L’Achim” has threatened him and his congregation over the past few years. The group opposes the church’s local evangelistic work and claims that the believers are members of a “dangerous sect.” Pray God gives these believers boldness to stand against this attack. Pray the testimony of Christians in Israel will draw the attackers and other nonbelievers into the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Joshua 1:9; 2 Timothy 1:7

 

INDIA

 

Five Nuns Beaten; Militants Attack Church Service – VOM Sources

  • MADHYA PRADESH – On October 25, five nuns were beaten by 20 Hindu militants in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. The militants surrounded the house of a local believer, where the nuns were attending a prayer meeting, and accused the nuns of forcibly converting local Hindus to Christianity. When the meeting was over, the militants attacked and beat them until the police arrived and took the nuns to safety. All five nuns were injured, and one is in serious condition due to head injuries she sustained in the attack. Pray God encourages them as they heal from their injuries. Psalm 107:20
  • MAHARASHTRA – On October 23, Pastor Victor Periera and a group of local villagers were beaten by Hindu militants. The militants were angered because the pastor had organized prayer meetings attended by Hindu tribes in the Thane district of Maharashtra state. Pastor Periera was conducting a prayer service at a local church when the attackers stormed the building. The attackers shouted curses at Christianity and beat the pastor and several believers. The pastor’s rib was broken in the attack. Pray for Pastor Periera’s healing. Ask God to give believers in India boldness to share Christ with nonbelievers, despite persecution. Psalm 91:16

COLOMBIA

 

Evangelical Pastor Killed – Associated Press

Pastor Diego Armando Bejarano, 27, was killed recently in the region west of Bogotá. Witnesses say hooded men took Bejarano by force and stabbed him. The motives for the killing are unknown; however, it is common knowledge guerrillas groups view Protestant pastors who encroach on territory under their control as military objectives. In the last 10 years, guerrillas have assassinated 133 pastors, Protestant missionaries and Catholic priests, according to the Evangelical Council of Colombia. Ask God to encourage and minister to the pastor’s family and church as they mourn. Pray his testimony draws his attackers and nonbelievers into the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Matthew 5:4

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Voice of The Martyrs: October

 ERITREA

Gospel Singer Helen Berhane Granted Asylum in Denmark – VOM Sources
Eritrean gospel singer, Helen Berhane, who was released from prison in November 2006 after being detained in Eritrea for two years without charge, has been granted asylum in Denmark. Berhane and her daughter arrived in Denmark on October 19, after spending 11 months in Sudan. Her health remains extremely poor, due to the physical suffering she experienced during her detention. She cannot walk without assistance. During Berhane’s detention, she was held for extended periods of time in shipping containers and tortured several times by authorities in an effort to force her to recant her faith. Thank God that Berhane has found a safe place to live. Praise Him for her faithfulness. Pray for God’s continued protection and provision for her. Ask Him to give her direction and wisdom, so she can continue serving Him. Pray for believers in Eritrea who face persecution and suffering for the sake of their faith in Jesus Christ. Psalm 84:11, Psalm 119:105

PAKISTAN

Christian Homes Demolished in Pakistan – VOM Sources
On October 19, local Muslims demolished homes belonging to three Christian families in the village of Lobhana, near Lahore, Pakistan. According to The Voice of the Martyrs’ contacts, more than 70 armed villagers moved in with tractors and began destroying the homes. VOM contacts said, “They demolished and looted three homes and only stopped when the police arrived.” Some of the Christians attacked reported that the Muslims threatened to kill them. VOM contacts added that the land where some of the demolished homes were located had been given to the Christian families by the Pakistani government more than 10 years earlier. However, some local Muslims claimed the land, intending to build a cemetery. Pray for God’s protection for Christians in this area. Ask Him to provide resources for these families to rebuild their homes. Pray the testimony of these believers will draw nonbelievers, especially their attackers, into the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Psalm 68:19, Proverbs 3:5, 6

NIGERIA

Muslim Officials Dismiss Christian School Librarian – Compass Direct News
Sixteen months ago, Muslim officials forced Asabe Ladagu, a Christian widow, to leave her job as a librarian. The incident occurred after she and others requested land to build a chapel in the capital city of Borno state, in northern Nigeria. According to Compass Direct News, Muslim administrators at Ramat Polytechnic forced Ladagu into early retirement without pay. Ladagu told Compass, “We were branded dangerous people because we were Christians. I have been forced out of office now for 16 months, not retired and not on staff roll of Ramat Polytechnic. Other Christian brethren, too, have either been forced out or have been the subjects of witch hunts.” Pray for God’s provision and protection for Ladagu and other Christians in northern Nigeria. Ask God to use their testimonies to draw nonbelievers into fellowship with Him. Philippians 4:19, Psalm 27:1

INDONESIA

Imprisoned Christians Sentenced – VOM Sources
The remaining Christian leaders imprisoned in April have been sentenced to five years in prison. They were imprisoned after a video recording of them praying for Muslims was leaked to Islamic organizations. According to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts in Indonesia, “The defendants have been found guilty of abusing the Quran, and the judge sentenced them to five years in prison. Their lawyers are planning to appeal this decision in East Java High Court in Surabaya.” Pray for those in prison and their families. Ask God to give them boldness and wisdom as they face these difficult challenges. Joshua 1:9, Philippians 4:13

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