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Hope for Revival in Brunei

Hope for Revival in Brunei

Even through imprisonment and interrogation, faithful servants, Jasmin and Nazif, continue to evangelise in Brunei and pray in hope that, one day, they will be able to do so freely.

Jasmin and Nazif have both been imprisoned for evangelising and, at one time, Jasmin was interrogated in prison for 19 days.

“Each time, after I’ve been arrested, people offer me places to live in Indonesia or Malaysia to minister there and I just say no, I will not go. I am believing for revival in Brunei,” says Jasmin.

Conversions to Christianity in Brunei are on the rise and, despite what their government may report, they far outweigh conversions to Islam. Due to these numbers increasing, the government is becoming stringent and evangelising outside of homes is increasingly difficult.

“Anything relating to the gifts of the Spirit, ministering to people, praying for healing, crusades are all forbidden here,” says Nazif.

Recently, they had the opportunity to pray for a Muslim man who discovered he had a brain tumour. The entire church fasted and prayed for three days and the man said he saw a bright light and felt the tumour go. When he returned to the doctor, the X-ray showed no sign of a tumour. When questioned by the hospital staff about how this happened, he told them that a Christian man had prayed for him.

This incident sent the entire hospital into uproar and government officials questioned the man and convinced him to return to Islam. They have not seen or heard from the man since.

Muslims in Brunei are not able to join in Christmas or Easter celebrations, even in their Christian friends’ homes. New Christian converts are even paid by the government to convert back to Islam.

“It’s getting more complicated,” says Nazif.

“The most effective way for Christians to reach unbelievers is through their testimony and the fruit of their life – they need to see the difference.”

“There are CCTV cameras everywhere,” he says, “they record and watch your conversations and the only place you can speak freely and relax is at home.”

Pastors and Christians alike, long for the day they can register their churches, as they are still seen as ‘underground’. They often meet late in the evening – sometimes at midnight – to come together for fellowship as a church, in remote areas, unseen by prying eyes.

“I’ve heard various testimonies from Malaysia and Indonesia where the Lord intervenes and prayers are answered,” says Jasmin.

“I strongly believe, one day with these prayers we’re praying, God will open doors and we will have our own church and be registered. Even if it doesn’t happen soon, we are trusting the Lord it will happen for the generations to follow.”

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Christians in Brunei

Christians in Brunei

It is becoming increasingly difficult for Christians to practise their faith and ministry in the Kingdom of Brunei Darussalam.

With a ruling Muslim government and spies in churches using laser surveillance technology, every movement is being monitored carefully.

The Sultan, Hassanal Bolkiah, along with the prime minister, has declared his vision that Brunei will be an entirely Muslim nation by 2035.

Since overtaking his father’s reign in 1967, he has made dramatic changes to the way in which the government operates.

In 2014, Brunei became the first East Asian country to adopt parts of Sharia law, despite condemnation from the UN. This first phase of the law included punishment for general offences, such as showing disrespect for Ramadan or propagating religions other than Islam. Following this, there was a widespread banning of Christmas in the country and punishment for violating the ban was a five-year jail sentence. Putting up Christmas trees, singing religious songs or even wearing clothes or a hat that resembles Santa were all considered an offence.

Last year, the Sultan and his Islamic Religious Council approved a draft Criminal Code to bring the country one step closer to the full implementation of Sharia Law. The law, implemented last month, facilitates the introduction of harsher punishments for crimes, such as the amputation of limbs for theft, and the death penalty for adultery and homosexuality.

Despite this, Christianity is growing rapidly and has increased from 9% in 2014 to 12% in 2018. House churches are becoming the most effective way for Christians to meet and worship. Currently, there are only 20 legally registered churches. No new church buildings are allowed.

Projects in Brunei
Voice of the Martyrs Australia was active in reaching out to the persecuted church in Brunei in 2018 and has many more projects underway for the year ahead.

Last year, we were able to purchase and distribute Bibles in Brunei. Chinese residents of Brunei can obtain Bibles, but Bibles in the Malay language are illegal and are confiscated if discovered. No bookshops inside Brunei sell Bibles.

Much-needed Bibles were distributed to churches throughout Brunei with the help of our partners.

VOM also worked to support pastors in two ways. Firstly, by providing a few key pastors with much-needed transportation to visit church members and also evangelise. Many of these pastors travel long distances, transporting various resources along dirt roads. Funds were provided to purchase suitable vehicles.

Secondly, pastors need support for income-generating projects so that they can freely engage in ministry. VOM was able to assist pastors by sending monthly funds to support wages, assist with setting up farms or purchasing supplies to start businesses.

In 2019, VOM is continuing to support pastors by providing monthly funds for them to evangelise without concern for their livelihood. VOM is also working on a new project to provide disciple training for church leaders, equipping them to minister effectively to their churches and training them to evangelise Muslims.

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If you would like to financially support our Front Line Ministry fund please go to vom.com.au/donate.

Project: Brunei Pastor support

Project: Brunei Pastor support

Recently, with the help of our supporters, Voice of the Martyrs has supported several pastors in Brunei.

Our contact in Brunei reports:
Pastor Y, a Christian leader in Brunei and former prisoner of faith, currently leads 13 house churches. With the funds supplied by VOM, Pastor Y has been able to hire a full-time administration worker. Having a worker assist with administration duties allows Pastor Y to focus on discipleship and evangelism.

Brother U is a former police officer and has experienced persecution in his working life. His salary was cut by more than 70% after it was discovered he was a Christian, later he was ordered to arrest his own family for putting up Christmas decorations at their house. Now retired, Brother U and his wife work in ministry including evangelism in rural areas and support of widows and orphans. With the funds supplied by VOM, Brother U was able to purchase a car to help in his ministry, including the distribution of VOM supplied Bibles. He was also able to purchase ducklings and building materials to start a duck farm, allowing him the means to support his family long term.

Pastor A was forced to retire from the police special branch due to his faith in Christ and active service to the Lord. Pastor A leads two house churches, one being across a river from his house. With the funds supplied by VOM, Pastor A was able to replace the church’s old boat, with a more reliable, larger one. The boat allows Pastor A to: ferry more members to church; evangelise and deliver VOM supplied Bibles to people who live along the river; evangelise local villagers as he ferries them around and for emergency transport in times of flood. The funds Pastor A received will also allow him to support himself and his daughter for the foreseeable future.

Please pray for these pastors as they minister in a country that is ruled by a version of Sharia law, in which Christians make up only 9% of the population.

If you would like to financially support the work of Voice of the Martyrs, please go to: https://vom.com.au/donate

ALL PROJECTS

 

Project: Bibles for Brunei

Project: Bibles for Brunei

Recently, with the help of our supporters, Voice of the Martyrs has been able to send Christian tracts along with 1000 Bibles to Brunei. Christians in this small Southeast Asian country experience persecution from the government, family and society at large. Brunei is ruled by a version of Sharia law. Christians make up only 9% of the population.

Our contact reports:
Churches and Christian villagers have been greatly blessed through receiving these Christian materials. Many Bruneian believers thought they were forgotten in their persecution. Receiving a Bible demonstrates the love and provision of The Lord through VOM and their supporters. It will allow them to delve deeper in the Word of God and grow spiritually.

If you would like to financially support the work of Voice of the Martyrs, please go to: https://vom.com.au/donate

ALL PROJECTS