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Project – China: VOM Sponsored Bible School

Project – China: VOM Sponsored Bible School

In China, only 13 theological seminaries and Bible schools are recognised by the government and all of them belong to the Three-Self (official) church.

Though technically they are theological colleges, they are influenced by the government and include compulsory teaching on Communism Theory and Patriotism Education.

Meanwhile, thousands of Bible schools had been started by underground churches, all of which are considered ‘illegal’ in the eyes of the communist government. At these Bibles colleges, the material taught is from the Bible, designed to equip believers to know and serve the Lord and the church and to win people for Christ.

VOM Australia supports two Bibles colleges in China.

Candidates apply for the training every year. Those who are accepted are generally young people who believe they have been called to serve the Lord and have been recommended by local pastors and elders.

These students from impoverished families would not be able to afford to enrol without sponsorship. VOM supplies funds for accommodation, food, theological books and transport from and to their homes.

There is an enormous need for pastors and church leaders in China. The Bible schools aim to train and equip believers for service in local churches in various parts of the country.

MYANMAR: Christian Families Pressured to Choose Jesus or their Village

MYANMAR: Christian Families Pressured to Choose Jesus or their Village

Eleven families of believers from the Palaung tribe in Shan State have experienced pressure from villagers to leave their new Christian faith.

Villagers grew angry because the believers had gathered to worship and pray. After pushing the families to leave their faith or leave the village, three of the families grew fearful and have since left the church.

Missionaries who work in the area convinced village leaders to allow the families to remain in the village; however, villagers retaliated by stoning the homes of the Christians.

Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA

Let us pray.

  • Pray that the Christians remain firm in their faith and love their neighbours despite the intimidation and attacks.
  • Pray that the three families who left the faith will return to Jesus.
  • Pray the persecutors will experience the love of Christ, through seeing the Gospel displayed in the lives of the Christian families.
INDIA: Pastor Victimised by False Forced Conversion Accusation

INDIA: Pastor Victimised by False Forced Conversion Accusation

On 9 January, the government of Madhya Pradesh, a state located in Central India, enacted the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Ordinance 2020.

Later confirmed by the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act 2021, this ordinance is considered the most stringent anti-conversion law in India.

Since the law was promulgated, Christians in Madhya Pradesh have suffered. Radical Hindu nationalists use the anti-conversion law as legal cover to persecute. False accusations of forced religious conversion are utilised to harass pastors and justify violence.

Source: International Christian Concern

Pastor Dileep Vasuniya is among the pastors victimised by this new wave of persecution. On 7 February, Pastor Vasuniya and his congregation were attacked by a gang of radical Hindu nationalists as they gathered for worship. Congregants were beaten, Bibles were burned, and Pastor Vasuniya was falsely accused of violating the anti-conversion law.

According to Pastor Vasuniya, members of the gang falsely claimed he promised them a house and money if they converted to Christianity.

“I was charged under the anti-conversion law and was sent to jail,” Pastor Vasuniya said in a recent interview. “I spent a brief time in jail before I got bail. This was a disheartening experience.”

Since being released, Pastor Vasuniya has been forced to fund his legal defence against the radicals’ false allegation. Travelling 65km to the courthouse three or four times a month, the defence has financially crushed Pastor Vasuniya and his family.

“I have spent more than 78,000 rupees on the legal case filed against me,” explained Pastor Vasuniya. “This is more than my entire earnings for one year!” Pastor Vasuniya said.

“Some of my church members have recanted their faith due to threats from local radicals,” Pastor Vasuniya continued. “Others are praying in secret. The building we were using for the church has been locked since the attack in February. I do not know if we will be able to resume worship in that building.”

“The radicals have also continued to threaten me,” said Pastor Vasuniya. “They say that the worst is yet to come. I am concerned for my children and their futures.”

Despite the desperate situation, Pastor Vasuniya remains steadfast in his faith. When asked if he would recant his faith to end the challenges faced by his family, he rejected the idea immediately.

“Though this is a tough situation, Jesus gave us peace,” said Pastor Vasuniya. “I have hope that he will make a way for us. I am patiently waiting with hope that justice will be served in my case and that we will freely worship again.”

Unfortunately, Pastor Vasuniya’s story is not unique in Madhya Pradesh. False accusations of forced conversion have become a favourite tool of persecution used by radical Hindu nationalists operating in the state. While no pastor has been convicted, the economic and social consequences of the mere accusation are enough to serve the purposes of the radicals.

Let us pray.

  • Ask the Lord to hear the calls for justice on behalf of Pastor Vasuniya. Pray the Lord will protect him, his family and the other church members.
  • Pray too for those who have renounced their faith in fear. Ask the Lord to assure them of His love and kindness. Pray they will have a longing to return to Him.
  • Pray the steadfast faith of Pastor Vasuniya and other local Christians may be used by the Lord as a strong witness of faith to his accusers and the authorities.
CHINA: Bible App, Christian WeChat Shut Down

CHINA: Bible App, Christian WeChat Shut Down

China’s communist authorities are continuing their crackdown on Christianity by removing Bible Apps and Christian WeChat public accounts.

When someone tries to access those accounts, a message reads, “(We) received a report that (this account) violates the ‘Internet User Public Account Information Services Management Provisions’ and its account has been blocked and suspended.”

Sources: Christian Post, International Christian Concern

Bible Apps have also been removed from the App Store in China, and Bibles in hard copy are no longer available for sale online either.

Bible Apps can only be downloaded in China with the use of a VPN.

Another sign of the ongoing crackdown is that bookstores owned by the state-sanctioned Three-self churches have increasingly been selling books that promote President Xi Jinping’s thoughts and communist ideology

Let us pray.

  • Pray the Lord will flood this nation with His Word through printed Bibles and technology. Thank Him that no plan of man can stop His word from going forth and achieving His purposes (Isaiah 55:11).
  • Pray this latest crackdown will bring further resolve to His children to stay strong and not be moved.
  • Ask the Lord to soften the hearts of those in authority, drawing many to Himself.
IRAN: A New Family

IRAN: A New Family

When her husband divorced her, and her father considered her a disgrace because she was unable to bear children, Jasmine went to find an old friend for help.

When she knocked on the door, an older woman named Huma answered and told her that her friend had moved. Seeing the anxiety on Jasmine’s face, Huma invited her in.

After talking for a while, Huma, who lived alone, invited Jasmine to stay with her for a few days. Jasmine accepted, and while there, she observed curiously as small groups gathered to sing and pray. “I found that they were Christians and they had given their heart to Jesus,” Jasmine said.

A few days turned into two years, and during that time Jasmine adopted two young girls, giving her the children she never expected to have. Around the same time, Huma invited Jasmine to attend a baptism. Jasmine had already started reading the Bible regularly and learning more about Jesus, and the secret baptism moved her deeply.

“I went to Huma and told her I wanted to be baptised,”

Jasmine recalled. After talking and praying with a pastor, Jasmine confessed her sins, acknowledged the saving work of Christ and received baptism. She said she never would have come to know Him if not for Huma’s generous heart. “Huma and my new family in Jesus helped me to grow in God’s Word,” she said.

“God blessed me with this new family to heal me and show me the way to righteousness.”

Huma died a short time later, leaving her home to Jasmine and her two daughters. Jasmine, overwhelmed by grief, felt anchorless and gradually stopped attending church. Then, one of her daughters found a package in the mail and Jasmine’s grief turned to joy. A Christian worker in Iran had sent her several Bibles and a Christian magazine.

“I was overwhelmed by this gift,” Jasmine said. “I thought to myself, ‘It’s been a while since we attended a church group.’ I was about to forget that I’m a believer, but our Lord never forgets His children. He sent me this gift to remind me what He has done in my life and why I have been here in this house. I want to say thank you to the people who sent us this gift that opened my eyes again.”