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PAKISTAN: Asia Bibi’s Appeal to be Heard in October

PAKISTAN: Asia Bibi’s Appeal to be Heard in October

Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy against Islam, will fight for her freedom in court in October.

Bibi was convicted of blasphemy in 2010 after Muslim women told a cleric in a village in the eastern Punjab province that she had made “derogatory remarks” about the prophet.

Since her arrest in 2009, the international community has pressured Pakistan’s strict government, calling for her release and reforms to the blasphemy laws.

Asia’s appeal was scheduled for 26 March of this year. However, rising tensions and protests against her appeal from Pakistan’s Muslim community delayed her appeal until October.

As Bibi has been sitting in prison for over six years, reports have indicated that the health of the 51-year-old mother has been deteriorating.

As the blasphemy law in Pakistan is often abused by Muslims to settle personal scores with Christians and other religious minorities, international religious freedom advocates have asserted that the charge against Bibi is trumped up and have called for the Pakistani government to immediately release her.

Sources: CBN News, The Christian Post

 Prayer Points

  • Pray the Lord will grant favour to Asia Bibi and her legal representatives.
  • Pray for justice for Asia and her family; may the court be impartial and not be swayed by prejudicial arguments or protests.
  • Pray for Asia’s health and protection, and that of her family. Pray that if she is set free she will be protected from those wishing to take ‘justice’ into their own hands.

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The Photocopy Bible Evangelist

The Photocopy Bible Evangelist

Peter loved sharing the Word of God from his ‘photocopy Bible’. He boldly proclaimed the Gospel from this well-used copy of the Vietnamese Bible and many people became believers. But one day, Peter had his photocopy Bible taken away from him. He was arrested and sent to prison for preaching the Gospel.

Peter is a coffee farmer in central Vietnam. When he is not attending to his farm duties, he loves to preach the Gospel. With his photocopy Bible in hand, he leads a team into different provinces to share the story of salvation.

He clearly remembers 30 July 2008 – the day he was arrested for preaching the Gospel. As the leader of the evangelism team, he was given a nine-year jail sentence to discourage others from following his example.

Frequent interrogations and beatings were designed to try and force Peter to deny Christ and confess his crime. Some prisoners were given extra privileges if they beat prisoners at the guard’s direction. Often, they would start a fight, then blame the cause of it on any of the Christian prisoners.

The prison food was very poor. “I found it difficult to eat and keep the food down because of my stomach problems. Many of us suffered the same dilemma,” Peter shared. “Breakfast was a small bowl of rice and for lunch and dinner we had some vegetable soup; sometimes it might have a little meat in it. I remained sick most of the time.”

In 2009 he was sent to another prison to work on a rice farm. The conditions there were a little better but his stomach still caused problems and he experienced ongoing headaches.

One day in April 2010 a drunk prisoner attacked Peter viciously and beat him about the head until he was bleeding badly and fainted. The jail’s clinic gave him 10 stitches and kept him for two days, but on the third day he was forced to return to work on the prison farm. “Every time I moved my head I felt dizzy and I’d have to sit down or I would faint,” Peter recalled. He was still weak from the beating and his head pounded with the pain, but he had no choice but to keep going.

Prison church
At night, Peter tried to remember Bible verses as the Word brought comfort to his soul. He bought a pen and paper from the prison and began to write down as many Scriptures as he could remember. “I was able to read my little paper Bible every morning,” he said.

There were 24 other Christians in the prison. They were able to meet and share in prayer on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays and one of them would preach. The amount of freedom they had to share with one another depended on which officers were on duty.

Peter commented, “We tried to evangelise the officers and other prisoners, but many just pushed us away. We knew that all we could do was pray for them. Prison officers often came and watched our worship service. They’d even see us take out our handwritten Bibles. They knew we were Christians but they just did not want to believe in God.”

Courageous faith
Today, Peter is working his coffee plantation with his wife. They try to make ends meet but are facing a drought in their area and their well has dried up. They don’t have enough money to drill deeper.

As with all released Christian prisoners in Vietnam, VOM provided a full medical examination for Peter. These assessments are completed at a private hospital through qualified doctors.

There are times when Peter feels that his mind is confused. The doctors are considering treatment options but are more concerned with his stomach problem, which has been diagnosed as Hepatitis B, which could lead to cancer.

VOM is assisting Peter with his treatment as well as providing a large amount of rice for his family and funds to drill his well deeper to reach water.

Despite his suffering, imprisonment and concerns about providing for his family, Peter is courageous in faith.

“Even though I went through all of these trials, I will remain faithful to God,” he said.

We thank the Lord for the extreme devotion and love for God of Vietnamese Christians like Peter. Please pray faithfully for these brave believers and their families.

LAOS: Ket and Boua Arrested for Christian Activities

LAOS: Ket and Boua Arrested for Christian Activities

Two Christians in Laos were detained in early August for sharing their Christian faith. ‘Ket’ was arrested for distributing Christian materials in his village. And when authorities learned that he received the materials from ‘Boua,’ a Christian woman living in another village, they arrested her the next time she came to visit Ket in jail. Ket and Boua face an uncertain future.

As one of the few remaining communist nations, Laos is a volatile area for Christians. Officially, the constitution allows for religious freedom, and the government officially recognises four religions, including Christianity. In practice, however, Christians are harassed, evicted from their homes and forcibly relocated, denied education opportunities, arrested and forced to deny their faith.

Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA

Prayer Points

  • Pray the Lord will minister to Ket and Boua and other Christians in prison; ask Him to strengthen and encourage them during this time of uncertainty.
  • Pray their imprisonment will not be of long duration, but they may soon be restored to their families.
  • Ask the Lord to use their love for Him as a shining light in prison and provide many opportunities for them to share the Gospel.

 

Tibet: I could only Rely on Jesus

Tibet: I could only Rely on Jesus

Amber’ spent more than a decade in Tibet, providing vocational training to the people and sharing the Gospel message of Christ’s love. Amber experienced persecution as police came pounding on her door. Listen as she tells the story. You’ll hear how the Holy Spirit strengthened and spoke to her, and how God brought Amber from a place of terror to the point of being able to express Christ’s love, even to the men violently persecuting her.

Listen to the full interview on VOM Radio here

Meet the next generation: Elizabeth

Meet the next generation: Elizabeth

ElizabethBlogBanner

Burma (Myanmar) is ranked at number 23 according to the World Watch Monitor’s list of the top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted.  It is recognised as having very high levels of persecution.

The Burmese government claims to support freedom of religion, but it has since banned all independent house church activities from 2010. Religious groups face surveillance, imprisonment, discrimination, violence, destruction of property and censorship of religious materials. To read more about Burma, click here

There are many obstacles being a Christian in Burma, so there is a strong need for future generations of pastors to lead the church to remain faithful despite persecution. Thirteen Three sponsors Bible college students in Burma in order to see the Gospel spread in this difficult country and to help train future generations of pastors and leaders.

Meet 13:3’s sponsored Student:  Elizabeth
Elizabeth is a fourth year Bible college student. She is one of the next generation of leaders being trained to serve in Burma. We asked Elizabeth a few questions about her student life.

How did you become a Christian?
I became a Christian through the teaching of my mother. I believe on His finished work for me, and accepted Him as my Saviour. As John 1:12 says, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.”

What would you like to do after college?
I want to serve the Lord in children’s, women’s and youth ministries after college. I am not sure exactly what the Lord would have me do. I am praying for His direction.

Have you had any recent outreach opportunities?
I had opportunity to go on a short mission trip in December with two college girls. We gave out Gospel tracts on streets and shared the Gospel with children and adults. We were able to reach more than 90 people with the Gospel. Among them, one person clearly professed faith in Christ. It was such a blessing to be there and serve God.

How can we pray for you?
Pray for wisdom in making the right decisions.
Thank you so much for supporting me, and I want to say, “May God bless Voice of the Martyrs’ ministry and all the staff!”

The next generation of pastors and leaders in Burma are willing to serve God in areas where they could be mocked, ridiculed, beaten, arrested and even martyred. Often what is hindering them is the need for financial assistance for their training. Will you partner with them in the spread of the Gospel in restricted areas by investing in the next generation of pastors and leaders like Elizabeth?

Sponsor a Student