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CHINA: Joint Prayer Network in Beijing Banned by the Government

CHINA: Joint Prayer Network in Beijing Banned by the Government

A joint prayer network in Beijing has been disbanded by the local government. Many pastors within the network were summoned and asked to shut down their churches.

The Beijing Ministerial Joint Prayer Network (BMJPN) was founded in 2004 by Pastor Jin Mingri from one of the largest house churches in Beijing, Shouwang Church. He has gathered dozens of pastors to regularly pray for church revival and missions. While it started in Beijing, now there are pastors from different provinces who are actively involved in BMJPN.

Recently the authorities have summoned many pastors who are part of the BMJPN to the local religious affairs bureau to receive interrogation. They informed the pastors that BMJPN has not registered with the government, so its activities are considered “illegal religious activities.” They should be banned from preaching online and they were asked to dismiss their churches.

A pastor told Gospel Herald (Hong Kong) that he will not dismiss the BMJPN. He is also prepared to see churches forcibly shut down by the authorities. Many churches have been gathering in smaller groups these days, both due to the pandemic and the increased crackdown.

During the pandemic, China has further tightened its grip on house churches; it first used the excuse of COVID-19 to stop in-person gathering, now not only does it pressure the church to stay closed, it is also clamping down on online services and gatherings.

Source: International Christian Concern

  • Thank the Lord for the courage of the believers in China. Pray they will remain faithful as they face escalating opposition.
  • Pray these prayer network members will see the Lord at work in these difficult times and rejoice, even in the midst of their sufferings.
  • Pray for those in authority who oppose the Gospel, that they will experience the new-found hope and joy found through a relationship with Christ.

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CHINA: Officials Plan to Turn Church into Hotel

CHINA: Officials Plan to Turn Church into Hotel

Officials in central Henan province recently informed some church leaders of their intent to seize the church’s building and turn it into a hotel.

Although the church is a member of the officially recognised Three-Self Patriotic Movement, officials banned the church from meeting last year. The church continued to congregate, and in May 2019 authorities told church leaders they would arrest church members if they gathered for worship again. Church members are undecided on how to respond.

In 2018, the government closed hundreds of churches in Henan province and removed crosses from other church buildings.

Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA

  • Pray for all Christians in Henan province who are facing these restrictions. Ask God to strengthen their faith and make them all the more determined to follow Him.
  • Pray for wisdom for church leaders and members as they decide how to deal with officials. Pray they will be aware of the Holy Spirit’s leading.
  • Ask the Lord to touch the lives of those in authority, who currently oppose the Gospel.

Post your prayer for Christians in Henan Province in the comments below.

UKRAINE: Ban on Church Meetings

UKRAINE: Ban on Church Meetings

Many churches in eastern Ukraine have stopped meeting after Russian-backed rebels ordered a ban on services.

Rebel leaders in the self-declared Luhansk People’s Republic, seized from Ukraine in 2014, have declared all unregistered religious groups illegal.

Protestant, Seventh Day Adventist and Pentecostal churches have all had their applications rejected: the 48 Baptist churches in the region did not apply to register on principle.

Baptist leaders say that they are complying with the ban because they fear that their services will be raided or they will be arrested. Other churches have closed too and some pastors have reportedly left the region. Local Christians believe they are under surveillance.

Already, certain Baptist leaders have been targeted for persecution. Pastor Anatoly Tolstenko, who is 82, is on trial for leading ‘illegal worship’ after rebel fighters raided his Path of Salvation Church in Luhansk last month. Militants say they found banned ‘extremist’ literature at the church: local Christians say it had been planted there.

Russian-backed rebels control about a third of Ukraine’s Luhansk Region and about half of neighbouring Donetsk Region.

Sources: Forum 18, Release International

  • Ask God to give wisdom and strength to church leaders in the Luhansk region.
  • Pray that Christians in the area will find alternative ways to meet and have fellowship.
  • Thank God that the government of this region – and of the whole world – is on His shoulders and that “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him” Romans 8:28.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

CENTRAL ASIA: Clampdown on Christianity

CENTRAL ASIA: Clampdown on Christianity

Throughout Central Asia, Christians are facing worship bans, arrest and torture as Islamic nationalism gains ground.

A recent survey revealed that 263 people had been punished in Kazakhstan during 2017 for hosting religious meetings, offering religious literature, or other religious crimes. Most of those prosecuted were Protestant Christians. The clampdown continued into 2018 with almost 80 prosecutions within the first six months.

Churches in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan face regular harassment from authorities for meeting without a permit, while those same authorities refuse to issue the necessary permits.

In Kazakhstan, Christians are perceived as a threat to the state. Homes and church buildings are regularly searched. Even praying together can be deemed illegal.

Throughout the region, Christians from Muslim backgrounds are facing the worst persecution. One church leader, Pastor Batyr, recounts: “If a Muslim decides to follow Christ, then he is considered to be a traitor — a traitor to our people, our culture and our nation. All former Muslims who believe in Christ are secret and underground. They can never be officially recognised”.

Source: Release International

  • Uphold the Christian workers throughout Central Asia who are spreading the Good News of the Gospel.
  • Pray for deliverance for those imprisoned for their faith and that in the meantime, God will mightily use them to reach fellow prisoners and guards.
  • Pray for Muslim background believers, that they may be granted wisdom and discernment as they worship the Lord secretly and take opportunities to share their faith.
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TIBET: Minors Banned from Religious Activities

TIBET: Minors Banned from Religious Activities

As a ‘semi-autonomous state’ under the control of mainland China, Tibet has maintained a unique place for being predominantly Buddhist. However, since the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has adopted stricter controls over religious activities, all religions in Tibet have been affected. Most recently, controls have been enforced prohibiting children from participating in any religious activities.

Signs have been posted on churches throughout China and Tibet, stating, “No minors”. Before Tibet’s school students left for summer holidays, a letter was sent home to their parents. Part of the letter included a notice that the students were barred from participating in any religious activities during their summer holidays.

The control of the CCP over the people is also affecting religious holidays and festivals. Celebrations demonstrating “freedom of religion” to the world are only intended as propaganda to visiting tourists, as Tibetans are specifically excluded from participating.

Sources: UCANews, Tibetan Review

  • Pray for these Tibetan Christians as they endeavour to bring up their children in the ways of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).
  • May God continue to bless their efforts while sharing the Gospel with others of their communities.
  • Intercede for the opposing political leaders, that they too will come to realise their need for Jesus as Saviour.
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