Inés San Martín Jun 18, 2021 rome bureau chief
Displaced Iraqi Christian children in Erbil, the largest city in Iraqi Kurdistan, hold a sign for the Catholic charity organization Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). (Credit: ACN.)
ROME – According to Bishop Mathew Kukah of Sokoto, the Church in Nigeria is one of martyrs. However, he said it wasn’t a Church of sorrows, because despite the persecution perpetrated by Islamic terrorist organizations, “our people have risen to the challenge.”
“The great news for us Christians in Nigeria is that we’ve been quite relentless, and this persecution, which is part of the life and oxygen of Christianity, has found a greater witness of faith and confidence of our people,” he said on Friday.
The prelate also said that Nigeria is a “very troubled country, almost on the verge of internal explosion,” which has created “serious pressure” for the Christian community, with Boko Haram no longer restricted to Nigeria’s northeast, reaching even Kukah’s diocese in north central Nigeria.
“Every day, we see death and destruction at a massive scale,” he said, noting that two days ago, schoolchildren and their teachers were kidnaped, and their whereabouts remain unknown.
Kidnapping girls and selling them as slaves has long been one of Boko Haram’s strategies to finance its crimes.
Kukah’s words came during the presentation of the 2020 financial report of the pontifical charitable agency Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). According to the annual report, ACN raised almost $150 million last year, a 15 percent increase from 2019.
One of the questions raised during the presentation was the impact of the allegations made earlier this year against the founder, Father Werenfried van Straaten, who after an apostolic visitation to ACN in 2009 was found guilty of “serious violations” in four areas of Catholic moral and social teaching.
Dr Thomas Heine-Geldern, executive president of ACN International, said that the donors of the charity “understand that our mission is an important one, and they’re continuing to support our work with their donations.”
He also noted that most of the benefactors were “satisfied” with the way the papal charity had handled the allegations, claiming the past five months have been the most successful in raising funds in the charity’s history.
“Not only did the pandemic turn our own work upside down, but it also dramatically worsened the plight of Christians in many regions of the world, who found themselves — literally almost overnight, without work, pay or food. And many priests and religious were also left not knowing how to make ends meet,” he added.
“In this emergency, however, ACN‘s benefactors remained true to the charity. This great generosity leaves us feeling profoundly grateful,” Heine-Geldern continued. “It was quite unforeseen, especially since the crisis has inflicted profound economic insecurity and difficulties on us all. We were particularly pleased to note that the number of our benefactors has also increased worldwide.”
The organizers of the September 25 March for the Martyrs hope to raise awareness of the plight of the most persecuted religious group in the world.
Gia Chacón, the founder of the non-profit organization For the Martyrs, is on a mission to spread the word that the Christians are dying for their faith in unprecedented numbers.
To that end she is organizing a “March for the Martyrs” to be held in Washington, DC, on September 25.
“We believe knowledge inspires action— the more people who are aware of the crisis of Christian persecution, the more that can be done to aid the suffering faithful,” she told Aleteia.
That knowledge is based on what Chacón has witnessed in her travels to the world’s most dangerous places to be a Christian, from East Africa to the Middle East.
It’s also founded in the work that humanitarian organizations have done to document persecution and violations of religious freedom around the world.
Christians, the world’s most persecuted religious group
According to a recent report from Aid to the Church in Need, almost 340 million Christians — that’s one in eight — suffer some form of persecution, ranging in severity from harassment to murder.
Christian martyrdom is far from a thing of the past. The humanitarian organization Open Doors reports that more than 4,000 Christians were murdered for their faith in 2018.
Called to help persecuted Christians
In 2017, at the age of 20, Chacón was working in the cosmetics industry when she felt a need to find a greater purpose in her life. She took some time off and joined her grandmother, Michelle Corral, in Egypt where she was engaged in humanitarian and missionary work.
John Burger reported in Aleteia that while living among Egyptian Christians, Chacón was inspired to devote her life to helping persecuted Christians:
“It was in Egypt, traveling with my grandmother, that I experienced the face of the persecuted Church for the first time. I realized that there are Christians suffering for their faith, and that these were not just the older generation, but people my age were willing to risk everything for their faith, willing to risk their lives to go to church, to serve Christ and live their lives for the Gospel,” said Chacón.
Jonathan Roumie from The Chosen marches
On September 20, the first March for the Martyrs was held in Long Beach, California. Hundreds of people from many Christian denominations took part, including the actor Jonathan Roumie, who plays Jesus in the popular series The Chosen.
Roumie addressed the marchers, recalling America’s founding and his own family’s experience as Christians in Egypt.
“The United States was founded by men and women who fled religious persecution,” he said. “My own father left Egypt in the 60s because of religious persecution. He brought his family over in search of a better life.”
“The fact that we can be here praising Jesus’ name together without apology deserves a round of applause. God called you here to celebrate with us, to march with us,” said Roumie.
Milton Quintanilla | Contributor for ChristianHeadlines.com | Friday, June 11, 2021
Nevada to Pay Church $175,000 Following Lawsuit over COVID-19 Worship Restrictions
The state of Nevada has agreed to pay a church $175,000 in legal fees after placing restrictions on houses of worship during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to The Christian Post, the Nevada Board of Examiners unanimously approved a request from the Office of the Attorney General to pay Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley $175,000 as the result of a tort claim.
Susan Brown, chief of the Board, explained that the payment was “to comply with the consent decree in this case that requires the state of Nevada to pay a reasonable attorney fees,” adding that the “cost will come out of the tort claim fund.
This letter is a compilation of Scriptures which I believe could easily be applied to the current situation and state of the Church and congregations in America. Throughout Church history there have been saints and sinners in every group and congregation, in our day the congregations are being depleted of members, the primary reason are the Pastors. There is an old saying, “So goes the pastor so goes the church, so goes the church so goes the nation”, when applied properly, this old axiom is very telling of the moral decline of this and other western or Christian nations. Many people claiming to be faithful sit in a continuous environment of wickedness, tolerating and snickering about the evil around them, they refuse to take a stand for righteousness, instead shrugging and turning their back away from sin, afraid of being ridiculed and/or persecuted. Some make the claim they aren’t going to judge another, but we are told to judge and make decisions of right and wrong, we are told not to judge when we are doing the same sin, that is hypocrisy and shameful. So here are some scriptures taken and compiled as I think they could and possibly should be applied to the environment in which we live today in this nation. Is it prophecy? It was to those to whom it was written in their day. Is it a warning for our day? I think the scriptures are, the warnings should be understood and if applicable to your situation then they should be used to learn and correct behaviors and/or thoughts.
For this land is full of adulterers; because of a curse the land mourns. The pleasant places in the wilderness are dried up. The course of the life of this people is evil, and their might is not right.
The pastors, the teachers, and the priests are profane; in this house I have found their wickedness.
Their way shall be to them as slippery ways; in the darkness they shall be driven on and fall in them; for I will bring disaster on them in the year of their punishment.
I have seen a great folly and a horrible thing in the teachers, with the pastors, and the priests; they commit adultery and walk in lies; they also strengthen the hands of the evildoers so that no one turns back from his wickedness.
All of them are like Sodom to Me and like the inhabitants of Gomorrah.
For from all of the leaders of this people profane behavior has gone out into all the land.
Do not listen to your teachers or pastors whose intention is to make worthless words; they continually speak a vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of the Lord.
They continually say to those who despise Me “ you shall have peace ”; and to everyone who walks according to the dictates of their own heart, say they, “ no evil shall come upon you. ”
Behold, a whirlwind of the Lord shall go forth in great fury. A violent whirlwind that shall fall on the heads of the wicked.
The anger of the Lord will not turn back until He has executed and performed the thoughts of His heart against the wicked of this land.
I have not sent these teachers, these pastors or the priests, yet they ran. I have not spoken to them, yet they taught.
But if they would have stood in My counsel, and caused this people to hear My words, then they would have turned this people from their evil way and from the evil of their doings.
I have heard those claiming to be prophets whom I have not sent; they prophesy lies in My name saying “ I have dreamed, I have dreamed. ”
How long will this be in the hearts of the prophets who prophesy lies? Indeed they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart, who make My people forget My name by their dreams which everyone tells to their neighbor.
The prophet who has a dream, let him tell it; and he who has My word, let him speak it faithfully.
What is the chaff to the wheat?
Is not My word like a fire?
Is it not like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?
Therefore, I am against these false prophets who steal My words everyone from his neighbor.
Behold, I am against the prophets who use their tongues and say “ the Lord says ”.
Behold, I am against those who prophesy false dreams and tell, and cause My people to err by their lies and by their reckless behavior.
Yet I did not send them nor did I command them; therefore they shall not profit this people at all.
Thus shall it be said to these false prophets that I, even I, will utterly forget you and forsake you, and I shall cast you out from My presence.
I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten.
A mainland Chinese woman, that worked as a prostitute in Hong Kong, looks out from inside a police van September 19, 2002 before being sent back to China. A total of 85 prostitutes from mainland China were arrested during a raid at the territory’s Shum Shui Po district, Hong Kong police said. (Photo: REUTERS/Bobby Yip)
“Pastors” in Pakistan are being paid by sex traffickers to find brides for Chinese men among their church congregations, a disturbing new report has revealed.
The Associated Press reports that sex traffickers offer Christian parents in Pakistan thousands of dollars to give girls in marriage to Chinese men. Pakistan’s Christian community makes a vulnerable target, notes the report, as the religious group is among the country’s most impoverished and makes up just 2.5% of the population.
Christian pastors are paid by sex traffickers to preach to their congregations with promises of wealth in exchange for their daughters. Parents receive a few thousand dollars and are promised about $280 a month in future payments as well as a Chinese visa for a male family member. They’re also told their new sons-in-law are wealthy Christian converts.
However, that’s rarely the case, notes the Associated Press, which interviewed over a dozen Christian Pakistani brides or would-be brides who fled before exchanging vows.
Once the brides arrive in China, many of them forced to live in rural, isolated towns. With a significant language barrier, they are subject to abuse and forced to rely on a translation app to communicate with their husbands.
Muqadas Ashraf, who was 16 when her parents married her off to a Chinese man last year, returned to Pakistan less than five months later, pregnant and seeking a divorce.
“It is all fraud and cheating. All the promises they make are fake,” she said.
One pastor who leads an evangelical church in Gujranwala, a city north of Lahore, told the AP of a fellow pastor who tells his flock, “God is happy because these Chinese boys convert to Christianity. They are helping the poor Christian girls.” He revealed that in that city alone, over 100 girls have disappeared.
Rizwan Rashid, a parishioner at the city’s Roman Catholic St. John’s Church, said that two weeks earlier, a car pulled up to him outside the church gates. Two Pakistani men and a Chinese woman inside asked him if he knew of any girls who want to marry a Chinese man.
“They told me her life would be great,” he said. They were willing to pay him to help, but he said he refused because the church’s priest often warns his congregation against such marriages.
The AP notes that in Pakistan, girls are seen as less desirable than boys and as a burden because the bride’s family must pay a dowry and the cost of the wedding when they marry. By contrast, potential Chinese grooms offer parents money and pay all wedding expenses.
Ijaz Alam Augustine, the human rights and minorities minister in Pakistan’s Punjab province, told the AP that “greed is really responsible for these marriages.”
“I have met with some of these girls and they are very poor,” he said.
The AP reports that since October, thousands of girls have been forced into sham marriages, some as young as 13 years old.
In April, Human Rights Watch called on China and Pakistan to take action to end bride trafficking, pointing to “increasing evidence that Pakistani women and girls are at risk of sexual slavery in China.”
Last month, the embassy said China was cooperating with Pakistani law enforcement agencies to crack down on illegal matchmaking, Reuters reports.
On Monday, Pakistani authorities arrested 12 suspected members of a prostitution ring taking young Pakistani women to China, according to the South China Morning Post. A senior official at the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in Lahore, capital of Punjab province, said a female Chinese national and a fake Pakistani priest were among the detainees.
China’s total Christian population is now thought to number anywhere between 25 million and 100 million people Photo: GETTY Getty Images
A local government communications agency in China recently held a seminar to discuss with Communist Party members the “enormous harm” Christianity is to the atheist nation and identify ways to stunt its growth.
According to Chinese Christian persecution watchdog China Aid, the event, titled “Christianity’s Enormous Harm on China’s Security,” was held on April 22 in the city of Hebi in China’s Henan province.
According to the NGO, the seminar encouraged party members to avoid being persuaded by Christian ideology and to sustain “correct views” when it comes to religion.
“The Chinese government often views religions, including Christianity, as foreign attempts to undermine its rule, even though there is no evidential basis for such a claim,” China Aid reports. “As a result, they often try to suppress religious adherents, and they openly forbid Communist Party members from practicing a religion.”
UCANews.com reports that the Hebi Municipal Radio Administrative Bureau in Henan publicly admitted to holding the seminar on its WeChat page.
“It said the seminar was to help members correctly understand Christianity and prevent the occurrence of ideological deviations,” notes the outlet. However, the WeChat message was deleted only two days after it was released.
Fenggang Yang, a professor of sociology at Purdue University’s Center on Religion and Chinese Society, estimated in 2017 that there are anywhere from 93 million to 115 million Christians in a nation of over 1.3 billion people, reports the South China Morning Post. It’s estimated China is on track to have the largest Christian population in the world by 2030.
In efforts to control the growth and spread of Christianity, Communist authorities have shut down a number of prominent house churches and arrested Christians and church leaders for worshiping without the approval of the government. It has also cracked down on the online sale of Bibles; the Bible is printed in China but legally available only at church bookstores.
Ying Fuk-tsang, director of the divinity school at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, told ucanews.com that the Hebi seminar reflects the Chinese government’s increasing controls of ideology in China through telecommunications and internet networks.
Ying explained that China’s Communist Party has tended in recent years to exhibit extensive social management “through nonreligious ways to deal with religious issues.”
“[T]herefore it is no longer a single religious department to manage religion, but the joint effort of different departments to manage all around,” Ying explained, adding that he believes that President Xi Jinping is part of the effort to claim religion is a threat in China.
In light of these abuses, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom listed China as a “country of particular concern” for religious freedom violations in its 2019 annual report.
Speaking at the National Religious Broadcasters convention in April, U.S. Ambassador-at-large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback identified China as a particularly oppressive, systematic persecutor of Christians, demonstrated by the destruction of churches and the arrest of pastors and religious adherents.
“Unfortunately, the United States is one of the few countries willing to stand up to China,” Brownback said. “We need more allies to stand up to them, particularly on these issues of human rights and religious persecution.”
Christian communicators, he emphasized, play an important role in combating religious persecution and alerting the public of the sobering reality Christians around the world face every day.
“We need a grassroots uprising saying, ‘No more to religious persecution. No more,'” Brownback said. “It’s through the reporting and story-telling that you do, of organizations like yours that can serve as catalysts for advocacy.”
After watching the week long tour of duty the IDF has been conducting against the heathen who have tossed some three thousand plus bathtubs at Israel, the accuracy of the Gazan rockets equate to throwing a bathtub. I was reading in Revelation 11, here I reread these ancient Scriptures ” 1. And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.
2. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.”
At some point in the near future the current edifice on the Temple Mount is going to be no more and the above mentioned version of the temple will be built…
I saw some reports about the edifice now there was on fire when in fact it was simply a tree nearby had caught fire, so some so-called prophecy bluffs were rejoicing thinking the Revelation 11 prophecy was close to fulfillment, nice to see reality slap them in the face again.
God’s timeline isn’t ours and Christians need to stop trying to put God in our glass, whether limiting Him or thinking we’re going to push His timeline into our own perspective of where it should be. This continous pushing of timelines and imminent violence or doom causes more harm than good because it nullifies the senses of reasonable minds and creates a deadening of a heart the Spirit may be able to reach.
Is prophecy being fulfilled, I think it is, but generally it’s recognized after the fact. Is God sending modern day folks to warn His people and the lost to repent? Without a doubt He is, has, and will continue doing so until the end.
The temple mentioned in chapter 11 is often referred to as a criteria for this and that to happen. Myself, it’ll happen in it’s own time. The next few verses speak of the two witnesses or two olive tree figures who’ll minister for a little over three years. Their ministry, lives, and deaths are recorded as events occurring around and by inference, during the time of the above mentioned temple rebuilding. First half or second half of the so called Tribulations, only the Father knows for sure, but suffice to say, these events, like all of Scripture is a guaranteed event likely to happen sooner than later.
So. Now echoing through the Scripture is the Spirit of God calling you or someone you know, His love as expressed and evidenced in the records of His Son Jesus, is calling. How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation!!! Salvation based on a simple fact, that we are sinners and in need of repentance, Jesus paid that price with His blood, as the figurative lamb of God, we are saved by His sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection. We are forgiven by His love, we are saved by His grace, all that is needed is for us to accept this gift of forgiveness and life and ask Jesus into our hearts, turning ( repenting ) from our sins or evil… and it’s done, we belong in God’s family. We are adopted children by faith/belief in the saving power of Jesus the Christ.
All else is secondary to our life with and in God. Loving God and loving our neighbors are the two criteria that’s proof of our changed heart. On these two records hangs all of the ancient laws and prophets. If anything or anyone disregards one or both of these two things they are liars and false in their testimony.
So whether the temple of chapter 11 arrives from the current events or at a later time, Praise the Lord God in Heaven. What we are seeing is only a prelude to what’s coming down the pike for believers.
Take care and God bless.
1st Peter 2
21. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
22. Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
23. Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
24. Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
25. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
The camera lens homes in, mapping the man’s face—measuring the space between his eyes, the distance between the nose and mouth, the angle of his cheekbones, the shape of his chin. Instantly, that data is converted into a string of numbers or points, called a “faceprint.”
His face is recognized, compared with tens of millions of photos of faces in a database. His identity is confirmed. And he doesn’t even know he has been “detected,” “recognized” and “tracked.”
You’ve seen the images in movies. Many of us willingly submit our “data” every day, holding up our phone as the operating system algorithm detects, identifies and recognizes our face.
This is the mass AI technology that China has developed. And it is one of the most powerful surveillance tools—and Christian persecution tactics—ever made, especially when you consider that the country has installed millions of these cameras on streets, in public venues, on university campuses—and churches.
Facial recognition tech in all state-approved churches.
Reports from counties in Henan and Jiangxi provinces say cameras with facial recognition software are now in all state-approved religious venues.
China maintains it moved decisively to contain COVID-19 after the virus took flight in Wuhan, but for the country’s 97 million Christians, the cost in heavy restrictions—as surveillance reached into their homes, online and off-line interactions were tracked, and their faces were scanned into the Public Security database—is high.
Reports from counties in Henan and Jiangxi provinces say cameras with facial recognition software are now in all state-approved religious venues. Churches that have refused to install these cameras have been fined raided and even banned, like the 1,500-member Zion Church in northern Beijing.
In April 2018, Zion Church, one of the Chinese capital’s largest house churches, received a letter from city officials asking them to install 24 surveillance cameras in their sanctuary for “security reasons.”
“The church decided this was not appropriate,” Zion Church Pastor Ezra Jin told Reuters. “Our services are a sacred time.”
After the church refused, state security officials and police began to harass churchgoers, contacting their workplaces and asking them to promise not to go to church. In August 2018, authorities threatened to close Zion Church because they refused to install the cameras. A month later, officials banned the church and confiscated materials.
Zion leaders understood what the government was asking. Reportedly, many of these cameras are installed next to standard CCTV cameras, but they link to the Public Security Bureau, meaning artificial intelligence can instantly connect with other government databases. The facial recognition software will eventually be linked to China’s “Social Credit System,” which monitors the loyalty of citizens with regards to the tenets of communism. With 415 million surveillance cameras and counting, the state has the infrastructure and legal framework to pressure religious minorities in both direct and indirect ways we’ve never seen before.
And these potentially detrimental systems are spreading beyond China.
Standing on the eve of a new world, one where sin & wickedness will become mainstream unlike anything we’ve known before, with war & death looming over the horizon, economic collapse & hunger along with desolation of societal norms, the immediate future of this age or epoch of humanity seems to be reaching its endtime scenario.
I predicate these ideas on not only scripture but mainline news articles. Not stories from the fake news but from those sources the MSM ignores, sources which can be verified from various other sources. Examples such as the nations around the world are prepping for war & economic collapse. Ideas such as the Great Reset being touted as the solution to all that ails the world.
Christian persecution growing exponentially around the world, the religious cultism of Wokeism spreading its tentacles into every aspect of our lives, the lists could go on with Islamic violence, corruption across all levels of western societies, sin & wickedness rolling across the landscape like a darkening fog, clouding all lying within it.
Seeing, we need to see with the Spirit, we need to ask the Father to help us to see the world we are now facing. Some will say “..I’m not going to worry, God will provide..”… Indeed, DON’T worry, but understand when GOD is providing. HE warns us across the ages through Scriptures to prepare both spiritually and physically for wicked times, meaning more than just praying.
Ezekiel 38:7 “Be prepared, and prepare yourself, you and all your companies that are assembled about you, and be a guard for them.
Psalm 23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
1 Peter 1:13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Ezekiel 12:3 Therefore, son of man, prepare for yourself baggage for exile and go into exile by day in their sight; even go into exile from your place to another place in their sight. Perhaps they will understand though they are a rebellious house.
Preparing for our physical needs can be nearly as important as preparing for our spiritual needs. As evil continues to engulf our world please seriously consider that this new reality isn’t going to be conducive to the old views of faith & church. Persecution is coming to a neighborhood near you. War & desolation looms on the horizon, people of faith need to prepare with food storage, having plans in place to evacuate or bug out if necessary, have plans to be able to worship in private locations, and on & on. Jesus warned us about coming persecution, He never told us to voluntarily lay our head on the block and wait for evil to lop it off.
We are told to endure:
Matthew 24;12. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
13. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
2 Timothy 4:4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
5. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
Mark 13:13. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
Enduring in both soul & body, how are you going to be able to reach out to someone with the Good News of Jesus if you’re dead? Yes you may be with the Lord but there may have been that one person left that only you could have reached out to with God’s plan of salvation before that unsaved person dies. We need to prepare out heart, our mind, our body, and spirit for the days coming, if we don’t & miss those times when our Savior is pointing out preps then we’ll be at a loss when we are faced with evil times.
So watch and prepare, make plans & watch.
http://y2u.be/uvn5C9yZSRs Salaam, an Open Doors team leader shares prayers requests for the church in the Horn of Africa. Tap the “Watch video” button to watch the prayer request. *Representative names and photos are sometimes used to protect identity.
https://www.opendoorsusa.org/prayerapp Friends, recently a Christian family of converts from Hinduism was brutally beaten; they escaped only by running into the forest and spending the night there. Ever since Balraj* and his family chose to follow Jesus a few years ago, they have been threatened and pressured in their remote village in India. Balraj remembers verbatim the most common threat he has received over the past few years: “Here we perform poojas [rituals] and worship our gods and goddesses; you will not bring this foreign religion and you better give it up, or else we will kill you.” A few days ago, as the family got ready for bed, villagers broke into their home and began attacking them with thick bamboo sticks. The villagers told Balraj and his family that they were kicking them out of the village and continued the beatings. When the family escaped into the woods, they were bleeding badly. The next morning, they found their house had been ransacked. Village elders severely warned them not to make a police report and threatened their lives if they continue to follow Christ. Please pray that Balraj and his family will heal physically, emotionally and mentally from the injuries suffered during the attack. Pray for provision for Balraj and his family. Pray for strength and protection for Indian believers. There continues to be intense persecution during the country’s strict coronavirus lockdown. Pictured: Balraj’s severely injured family entering a hospital ambulance.
https://www.opendoorsusa.org/prayerapp Friends, we have just heard news of the May 20 arrest of 20 believers—including a pregnant woman—in Eritrea’s capital city of Asmara. The group also includes six couples. The reason for the arrests and surrounding circumstances are not known at this time. We do know that officials are keeping these Christians at a government school, closed down because of COVID-19 restrictions. Eritrea ranks #6 on Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List. In the East African country, government security forces conduct house-to-house raids and to date have arrested hundreds of Christians. Extreme levels of government pressure, including state-sanctioned violence, often force Christians to flee the country. Please pray these believers would sense God’s presence in this uncertain and fearful time. Pray for safety and protection for this expecting mother and her unborn child. Pray that believers would be released from custody quickly. *Representative names and photos are sometimes used to protect identity.
https://www.opendoorsusa.org/prayerapp Secret church reaches out during pandemic in Iran Friends, despite the risks and their own suffering, secret Christians in Iran felt called to reach out to their community with food and sanitary items during the coronavirus pandemic. These believers who worship behind closed doors are spreading the love of Christ in their community—not in words, but in deeds. House churches inside the country are quite resilient. “They have become used to living in difficult circumstances,” explains Steve*, an Open Doors fieldworker. “So, when COVID-19 reached Iran, they were afraid that it would hit them or their loved ones, but at the same time they were undaunted. They felt it was their calling to take care of people around them—not only other believers but neighbors, colleagues or others nearby who were struggling. “First, they used their own resources but, when those ended, they reached out to our partners, who in turn contacted us. They thought that no one cared about them. But, through our partners, we showed that the worldwide church is standing beside them.” Please pray the seeds of Christ’s love that are planted grow and bear fruit. Thank God for the strong underground church in Iran that has been prepared for such a time as this. Pray for provision for secret believers to continue to minister during the pandemic. Pictured: Local Christian distributing food and relief items.