Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June Prayer Updates

1. UZBEKISTAN: There seems to be a campaign against churches going on – even fully registered ones. Assistant Pastor ‘ARTUR’ and two church members were given 15-day prison sentences, and five other members received hefty fines, after police raided their church. Christian literature was destroyed, the church building sealed and the electricity cut off. Pray for Christians throughout Uzbekistan who are suffering church raids, arrests and fines.

2. CHINA: GAO ZHISHENG has disappeared again, just days after security officials apparently freed him in April, at the end of a 13-month detention. He was allowed to return home to Beijing and visit his in-laws (his wife and family are in the US); but 4 police officers stayed with him at all times. Ask God to strengthen and protect Gao and his family. Pray that the Chinese authorities will respond to international pressure to release him for good.
Pastor WANG DAO, detained May 9, has chosen life imprisonment, rather than exile. He longs to rejoin his fellow church members, and urges them to meet boldly and faithfully while he is isolated from them. Pray for him, his wife, and fellow Christians.
Give thanks that Pastor DOU SHAOWEN was given an early release from prison. Last June he was sentenced to 1-year of ‘re-education’ in a hard labour camp—extreme conditions—forced to work 18 hours a day, and sleeping in a room with over 70 other prisoners. Ask the Lord to heal his body, soul, and spirit. Pray that he will remain steadfast in the faith.
Please remember the five Church leaders jailed in November 2009: Pastors WANG XIAOGUANG and YANG RONGLI, and leaders ZHANG HUAMEI, YANG XUAN, and YANG CAIZHEN. They were sentenced to from 3 to 7 years in prison.

3. INDIA: Pray for Christians in Madhya Pradesh state. Hindu nationalist organizations have declared their intentions to rid the district of all Christian influence. They want to drive away all Christian pastors, evangelists and foreign aid workers, and force people to return to Hinduism by making them attend “re-conversion” rallies.
BIHAR STATE: Evangelist RAVI MURMU (32), from the Brethren church, was brutally murdered after he had helped screen the Jesus Film. Ask God to comfort and bless his widow, RINKU, & their 8-year-old daughter CELESTY. Ravi’s brother says, “The peace of God still reigns in this house and in this family.” Pray for protection for all Christians.
ORISSA: Continue to pray for Orissa Christians, who suffered widespread anti Christian violence in 2008. Many Christians are still homeless. Pray that the Indian government will step up its efforts to restore these people to their homes—they have suffered so much.
MADHYA PRADESH STATE: Pray for Pastor RUJHIYA (36), and for his wife and three young children. After he was attacked by a mob, and detained and threatened by police, he and his family went into hiding. “My wife and children say that we are ready to face whatever comes our way…we will not renounce our faith.” Indian Christian leaders believe that a major onslaught against Christians is in the offing. Please pray.

4. ISRAEL: Ask God to protect Palestinian Christians living in Jerusalem. May God grant them continued joy and boldness in their witness. Praise God, the Church is growing throughout the Middle East, even in spite of increasing political tensions in the region.

5. IRAQ: Pray for wisdom and safety for Believers. Muslim extremists are warning Christians to leave the country immediately or risk violent death. Despite the threats, Christians continue to meet in secret, praising God. Though many have fled, the Church is growing.

6. NIGERIA: The Nigerian Church faces continuing violence. Christians need grace to forgive, and love to reach out to their persecutors. Pray for the grieving family and friends of murdered Pastor ISHAKU and wife SELINA. Pray for safety for Christian Ministry workers. Pray that the funds SRO has sent to Jos will be used wisely to help those in greatest need.

7. IRAN: The Church is growing by leaps and bounds, in spite of the increasing number of arrests and imprisonment of Believers. Pray that the many new Believers will receive the discipleship they need to grow in Christ. Thank God for the international Christians who provide Bibles & teaching materials to the Church—and who help imprisoned Christians & their families. Pray for needed funds.
Pray for DANIEL SHARHI (19) who was arrested and then released on bail. Pray that all charges against him will be dropped. Thank God that MARYAM ROSTAMPOUR and MARZIEH AMIRIZADEH have been acquitted of all charges by the Iranian judicial authorities. However, they were warned that any future Christian activity in Iran will be dealt with seriously. The two have now left Iran, and are safe in another country.
PRISONER: Please pray for Pastor BAHNAM IRANI. His recent arrest and detention appears to be a continuation of a calculated and determined attempt to immobilize the Iranian House Church movement. A number of House Church Leaders have asked us to pray for Christians in Iran—especially for those Believers from a Muslim background.

8. ERITREA: Praise God for the steadfast faith of SENAIT (28) who has died in prison, from anaemia and malaria. Officials had offered her freedom and medical attention if she would recant her Christian beliefs, but she refused. She was one of 16 Christian students arrested in ’08 and imprisoned in metal shipping containers. May God comfort her family & friends.
Several groups of Christians have been arrested since January—a group of 25 in April; a pregnant woman among them. When this woman’s uncle went to ask for her release he was also arrested. Pray for imprisoned Believers and their families & friends. May they know God's strength, love and grace to endure and be a witness for Christ.

9. VIETNAM - PRISONER ALERT: Please remember Pastor Y WO NIE - imprisoned since 2004. He received a 9-year sentence. His family has not been able to visit him.

10. SAUDI ARABIA: Pray for Believers like HAMOUD. After courageously sharing his testimony on a website, he was promptly arrested. During imprisonment he was subjected to sleep deprivation, prolonged solitary confinement and a continuous barrage of physical and mental torture. He has since been released; but is under strict orders not to leave Saudi Arabia or to appear on the media.
Pray for AMIRA (in her 20s)—she wants to follow the Lord Jesus but her parents want her to marry a devout Muslim. Pray that she will find a solution. Martyrdom is a real prospect which young Saudi converts know they may be called to face.

11. PUNJAB: Several Christians were assaulted by Hindu nationalists for protesting the display of 'blasphemous' banners showing Jesus smoking & drinking. Thank God that He protected teacher CHRISTOPHER MORRIS and his daughter DAISY. When nationalists doused them with gasoline and tried to set them on fire, they failed because the matches were damp.
Thank God for the powerful witness of Pastor KHALIQ BARKAT, whose church was destroyed in an extremist attack last year but has now been rebuilt. The Pastor forgives those who attacked his community—and prays for them. May God bless and keep him!

12. MOROCCO: Authorities have recently deported scores of ex-patriot Christians. Pray for a change of heart for those officials who issue these deportation orders.
Pray for the 30 orphans from VILLAGE OF HOPE Children's Home, deeply traumatized by the sudden departure of their care-givers, who were deported in March. Pray, too, for the deported Christians, who had only a few hours' notice before they had to leave. May they all be reunited soon.

13. SOMALIA: Pray for the relatives & friends of murdered Church leader MADOBE ABDI. Also pray for the wife and ten children of MU'AWIYE HILOWLE ALI, who was shot and killed by Al Shabaab militia outside his home. The Muslim extremist group appears determined to rid Somalia of all Christians. The Church is hard-pressed on all sides.

14. PAKISTAN: Continue to pray for SANDAL BIBI and her father, who were acquitted of blasphemy last year and released after 14 months in jail. Thank God, again, for justice in this case. May He continue to watch over them, and over His Church in Pakistan.
Because brothers SHAFIQUE and NAVEED (17) refused the local Muslims' calls for them to convert to Islam, their family has been forced to relocate, for safety reasons. Since then Naveed has been afraid to leave the house. Pray for protection & peace of heart.
Pray for MARWAT MASIH (29), a Christian barber who was brutally assaulted by eight Muslim men last month. Ask God to heal his grievous emotional and physical injuries. Pray that his attackers will be brought to justice. Pray that he and his family will continue to trust in the Lord to guide and protect them.

15. CONGO: The UN plans to begin withdrawal of their peacekeepers from the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2 months' time. There are concerns for the Congo's eastern region because of increasing rebel violence there. However, in these times of uncertainty & upheaval, thousands are turning for refuge to the Lord. Praise God! Keep praying for Congo.

16. EGYPT: Mohammed Ahmed HEGAZY (27), branded as an ‘apostate’ for leaving Islam, is 'devastated' by the Court’s decision to suspend his legal battle to change his religion on his identity card. He is living in hiding, having suffered severe persecution since becoming a Christian in 1998, including imprisonment. Pray for God to comfort him and his family as they share in Christ’s sufferings (wife KATARINA and 2 young children).

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

May 19 Prayer Requests

1. CHINA - Christian activist, SHEN PEILAN, has been abducted by government officials for the second time in a month. Please pray for her safety and immediate release.
Thank God! Christian lawyer, GAO ZHISHENG, has been released and allowed to go home. However, it is believed that he remains under close surveillance and is not yet free. Pray that he will soon be completely free and reunited with his family (his wife and children are living in the United States).
Pray for Uyghur house-church leader ALIMUJIANG YIMITI, serving a 15-year sentence. The Court has rejected his appeal. Ask the Lord to protect and strengthen him while in prison, and that authorities will act justly in his case. Pray that he, his wife, and their two young sons will rest peacefully in the knowledge of God’s love.

2. IRAN - Praise God for the temporary release of Pastor WILSON ISSAVI. The Court plans to review the charges against him. His faith remains strong, and he is in good spirits. He loves and wants to serve his Muslim friends. Please keep him in prayer.
MARYAM RUSTAMPOOR and MARZIEH AMIRIZADEH were back in Court for their appeal in mid-April. The Court process continues—the outcome has not yet been announced. Both women are sick and weak, suffering from various illnesses. They are determined to be faithful to Jesus, no matter what. Thank God they weren’t sent back to prison now.

3. VIETNAM: After refusing to renounce his new-found faith in Christ, SUNG CUA PO and his family were expelled from their village, and their year’s supply of rice confiscated. They fled into the forest. Ask God to protect, encourage, and provide for them.
Christian Lawyer, LE THI CONG NHAN (31) has been released after three years in prison. She now faces three more years of House Arrest. Praise God for her strong Christian witness and for her release. Ask God to use her, even during House Arrest.
Pastor NGUYEN VAN LY, serving an 8-year jail term for 'harming national security', has been temporarily released from prison on medical grounds. He was recently diagnosed with a brain tumour, and has had a stroke, his leg and arm are still partially paralyzed. He’s been sent to “a church-run home” for a year's medical treatment. Ask God to heal this strong man of faith. Pray that he will not have to return to jail.

4. MYANMAR (BURMA): Military violence against the Karen people has risen to genocide. Over 500,000 have died; millions are living as refugees. Ask the Lord to intervene. Pray for KAREN BELIEVERS to have grace and boldness as they suffer (they seem to be first on the receiving end of these atrocities). Pray that other countries will stop ignoring the situation.

5. PAKISTAN: Pray for SONIA MOHAN (19) who was abducted on April 1 after being tricked into leaving the safety of her home. Pray also for the many other Christian girls that have been similarly kidnapped. The girls are forced to convert to Islam and marry Muslim men. Ask the Lord to sustain and protect them—and to intervene on their behalf.

6. TURKEY: Pray for persecuted Believers in Turkey to remain bold in their faith, and forgiving of their persecutors. May God protect His Church, and grant His people courage to share the Gospel with others. Pray for genuine spiritual Revival in Turkey.

7. ERITREA - Recently, 17 young soldiers, gathered for prayer, were arrested and thrown into jail. Pray for physical & spiritual strength for them, and for all Eritrean Believers who are imprisoned for their faith. Pray for the future of the Church in Eritrea. More than 2,200 Christians remain unjustly imprisoned for their faith in Eritrea. Pray for the wives and families of these prisoners; especially of imprisoned pastors—that God will provide their daily needs, and continue to encourage & build them up in the faith.

8. SUDAN: Ending two decades of fighting between Sudan's northern and southern regions, the elections concluded on April 15th. Pray that the Peace Accord will stand, and that Christians will be free to worship in peace. Pray for a stable, democratic government to be established. Pray for the growth of the Church; for healing, consolation, and peace.

9. NORTH KOREA: A U.S. Christian MISSIONARY (name unknown) has been sentenced to eight years of hard labour. His treatment shows the plight of Believers in that reclusive country. Pray fervently for the Church in North Korea. Pray that Christians will have opportunities to share the love of Christ, even with those who oppress them. Ask God to sustain the 50-70,000 Christians in prison camps. Many die from starvation and overwork. Pray for their release, and the closure of these camps. When Christian escapees are caught they are often publicly executed as an example to others. Strict control over all aspects of people’s lives means that no one can speak out for justice without severe retribution. Pray—for an end to these executions—for Christian lawyers, journalists & civil activists to speak out boldly for freedom—for those without rights and/or resources, to know the love of Jesus and see justice restored. Give thanks for the courage and perseverance of Christians who continue to meet together to teach and encourage one another—at the peril of their lives. Pray for the safe delivery of Bibles and Christian literature to them. Pray that those Believers attending state churches will gain insight into the truth, and have the courage of their convictions.

10. ALGERIA: Pray for the “TAFAT” Church. A gang of extremists destroyed their building & its contents. Yet the Christians stood firm, even daring to keep on meeting together in their vandalized building. Please uphold PASTOR MUSTAPHA in prayer, asking the Lord to continue to give him wisdom & courage as he leads his church during this difficult time. Please also pray for the Believers & for the advancement of God’s Kingdom across Algeria.

11. NIGERIA: In recent months Nigeria has experienced wildfires of terrorism, violence and murder — 500 people, mostly Christian, were slaughtered. Pray that the hearts of Believers would be filled with peace. Pray for comfort and grace for those who mourn the death of loved ones. Pray for healing for those who were injured.

12. BANGLADESH: Pray for three Christians who were beaten, and are being held in a pagoda in Lemuchari village in an attempt to force them back to Buddhism.

13. MEXICO: Remember the Believers who are suffering persecution in this country— especially in Oaxaca, Jalisco, Guerrero and other localities. May God give wisdom, health, protection & joy to the Ministry Workers who serve them; may He strengthen His Church.

14. EGYPT: Pray for MAHER EL-GOHARY (former Muslim) and daughter DINA (15). They’re trying to get their Christian identity officially recognized by the Egyptian state. A few weeks ago, when they ventured out from their hiding place to get some bottled water, someone threw acid at Dina. Ask God to help them—make a way for them—give them safety, courage and daily provisions. “The eyes of all wait upon Thee …” Ps 145:14-16
A huge mob attacked a Christian community in northern Egypt, for erecting a wall around their church. They pelted the building with rocks before assaulting several of the 400 Believers who had sought refuge inside. They also burned about 28 Christian homes. Pray for peace and justice. Pray for an end to anti-Christian violence in Egypt.

15. KYRGYZSTAN: There is much political unrest in the country, with “pockets of chaos.” Several evangelists are facing deportation. Pray God’s protection for Believers, and for open doors for ministry. Pray that religious freedom will be respected under the rule of law, and that Christians will no longer be subjected to harassment. May God grant them peace. After weeks of instability in April, the interim gov’t has set the date for parliamentary and presidential elections—Oct., 2010. A new constitution referendum is slated for June 27th. Pray that Church will be deeply rooted in faith and keep growing. Pray that a new government will be put in place that will allow freedom of religion for all.

16. LAOS: In spite of a decree assuring them of religious freedom, over 48 Christians were expelled from their village—forced to leave behind all their possessions. Some of their homes have been destroyed. These Believers are now living in temporary shelters on the edge of the jungle. Recently they heard that local officials are planning to burn down these temporary shelters too. Ask God to intervene. Pray for strength, provision, and peace.

17. SOMALIA: Pray for the relatives and friends of murdered Church leader MADOBE ABDI, who was kidnapped and killed by a militant group which appears determined to rid Somalia of all Christians. Several believers have been killed in the past year. Specifically targeted are Believers with Muslim backgrounds (though Abdi came from a Christian family). Pray for the Church in Somalia, where Christians are under pressure on all sides. Members of the government-aligned Islamic Courts Union, a coalition of Sharia judges and militants, are alleged to have set fire to a Christian home in a district of Mogadishu last month, after learning that it contained a Bible and Christian literature.

18. AROUND THE WORLD: Pray for those who distribute Bibles and Christian literature, that all materials will arrive where needed. Pray for wisdom and financial support for those who minister the message of Christ’s love electronically - by Radio, TV, and the Internet, etc.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Libya: Prayer Answered

In Islamic countries, converting to Christianity can carry severe penalties. Around three months ago, four believers in Libya were imprisoned because of converting from Islam. In a wonderful answer to prayer, they were recently released from prison. What a reminder to be thankful that the LORD our God cares for every land on earth, that his eyes see everything, that his ears are attentive to our prayers, and that his hand is mighty to save.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


On Monday the president of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, signed a bill regarding Swat Valley and surrounding areas which puts this north-western area of Pakistan under Islamic law. This constitutes a concession to the Taliban and bad news for Christians in the region since the Taliban openly acknowledge that the penalty for converting from Islam to Christianity is death. Please pray for this situation, that Christians would be bold, even to death, and that before long the Taliban would be overturned.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

March Matching Fundraiser

Here in America, we feel like we're hitting rough times economically. It's hard to show Christian generosity when your stock just lost nearly half its value, and your retirement keeps moving further and further off. So we tell ourselves, forgetting that Christians in Pakistan face death daily for Christ's name, while we hesitate to give even out of our abundance for his sake.

During the month of March, we are trying to raise money for an emergency relief fund. This will give us the resources to offer immediate assistance to persecuted Christians around the world, when and where they have the most pressing need. Thanks to a generous donor, any gifts made to SRO in March will be doubled, up to $2,000, and put towards our emergency relief fund, so please consider contributing this month.

"Then the righteous will answer him saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'" Matthew 25:37-40

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Christians in Pakistan

Being a Christian in Pakistan has been difficult for a long time. In recent weeks their plight has grown even more difficult, as the Taliban are increasingly trying to enforce Islamic beliefs. The extreme application of sharia law will give rise to many serious problems for Christians, with the most serious application being death for converts from Islam.

Please pray for the safety of the Christian community. If you would like to help the Christians practically then please get in touch with us, and we can provide you with further details.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Violence in Nigeria

In the province of Bauchi, Nigeria, there has been a worrying incident of violence. The Barnabus Fund reports “An outbreak of violence on 20 February between Muslims and Christians in Bauchi city, the capital of Bauchi state in Northern Nigeria, has left at least nine Christians dead. Six of them were shot and three killed with machetes. At least six churches, perhaps as many as 13, have been burnt down, as well as three mosques.”

Please keep the families of the murdered Christians, their churches, and all other believers in that area in your prayers. Ask that peace would be restored, and that the Nigerian Christians would resist the desire to return evil for evil.