Voice of the Martyrs - September 20, 2012
1. Three Christian leaders arrested in Laos
(Source: VOM Australia)
Three Christians in Laos were arrested earlier this month. It appears that authorities targeted them after believers from a Korean church visited their congregations. Charges are pending against Pastor Bounlert AlaomaiVill, who leads a church of 170 believers, Pastor Adang KengsaiVill, and Onkeo KapangVill, a church leader.
Police had spoken to the Christian leaders several times in the past in regards to their bold witness for Christ in their district. It is reported that the Christians were taken away in wooden stocks and that no one has been allowed to visit them in the prison.
Please pray that these Christians will know the strength and love of the Lord in this situation. Pray that their churches will continue to meet together in their absence. Pray that their families will be comforted and supported by their brothers and sisters in Christ.
For more information on the persecuted Church in Laos, go to www.persecution.net/laos.htm.
2. Escalation in threats to churches in Turkmenistan
(Source: Forum 18 News Service)
The harassment of Christians has been intensifying in Turkmenistan since July, with several Christians facing fines and threats of ostracism and expulsion from villages and schools.
Several believers have been accused of violating the country's law against participating in an unregistered religious community. This charge carries the punishment of a fine between five and 10 times the minimum monthly wage. In another village, government leaders and Islamic imams (elders) summoned the local residents and threatened to ostracize or expel all Protestants from the community. They also said Protestant children would be kept under special observation at school. In other regions, believers have been harassed, detained, and fined, and one believer's business was seized and shut down after police raided his home.
Please pray that persecution of believers will cease. More so, pray that those fined and harassed will remain faithful. Pray that authorities in Turkmenistan will come to know Jesus Christ through the very believers they oppose.
Please visit www.persecution.net/turkmenistan.htm for more on Turkmenistan's persecuted Church.
3. Restrictions on religious freedom struck down in India
(Source: World Evangelical Alliance)
The Himachal Pradesh High Court in India has struck down a law which made it compulsory for those seeking to convert from his or her religion to give a 30-day notice to the District Magistrate before conversion. The verdict in the landmark anti-conversion case challenged both the Himachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act of 2006 and Himachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Rules of 2007.
The Court also struck down rules making it mandatory for the state to inquire into every religious conversion. These rules did not provide sufficient safeguards outlining the time frame for such an inquiry or even who should conduct the inquiry. Unfortunately, many other provisions restricting religious freedom will stand.
Praise the Lord for the Evangelical Fellowship of India and the legal team who fought for these freedoms. Please pray that India will continue to recognize and respect the religious freedom of citizens to worship, gather together, and evangelize. Pray that, in the meantime, Christians in India will be bold in their faith despite threat of persecution.
To learn more about the suffering Church in India, please visit www.persecution.net/india.htm.
4. Update: Uzbek pastor facing extradition case in Kazakhstan
(Source: Forum 18 News Service)
A Protestant pastor who was wanted in his home country of Uzbekistan for illegally teaching religion and distributing literature has been arrested by authorities in Kazakhstan, where he sought refuge in 2007.
The husband and soon-to-be father of five, Makset Djabbarbergenov, was detained after police held his sister-in-law for two weeks in an effort to uncover his whereabouts. The 32-year-old pastor faces up to three years in prison for each violation (for more, go to www.persecution.net/uz-2007-10-16.htm). A court in Kazakhstan has ordered that Makset be held in detention until the General Prosecutor's Office decides whether to send him back.
Please pray that Makset will not be extradited. Please pray that his growing family will remain united in Christ. Pray that Makset and his family will not be fearful but will trust God (Revelation 2:10). Pray that authorities in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan will seek justice and truth in this case.
To learn more about the suffering Church in Uzbekistan, please visit www.persecution.net/uzbekistan.htm. You can post a prayer for Makset and his family on our Persecuted Church Prayer Wall at www.persecution.net/prayerwall.
The Persecution & Prayer Alert is a ministry of The Voice of the Martyrs, Canada. (Mailing address: P.O. Box 608, Streetsville, Ontario, L5M 2C1)
Tel. (905) 670.9721. Website: www.persecution.net