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SRI LANKA: Pastor Forced to Close Ministry Following Threats and Intimidation

SRI LANKA: Pastor Forced to Close Ministry Following Threats and Intimidation

A pastor in Sri Lanka has been forced to close his ministry after being detained by police and threatened by Buddhist monks.

On Sunday 18 October, police arrived at the pastor’s house in Bakamuna, located in the Polonnaruwa district of Sri Lanka. Police ordered the pastor, whose identity has been withheld, to immediately report to the local police station.

At the station, he was taken into an office crowded with Buddhist monks. With the pastor’s church attendance list in their possession, the monks went on to issue a series of threats against the pastor and demanded his ministry be closed.

The pastor’s church has endured similar threats in the past five years. However, in light of these most recent threats, the pastor has decided to close down his ministry.

Christians make up 8% of Sri Lanka’s total population. They face frequent persecution and local opposition, often led by Buddhist monks.

Sources: Barnabas Fund, International Christian Concern

  • Ask the Lord to provide the pastor with wisdom, protection and courage. Pray too for the church members, that they will be encouraged in the faith.
  • Pray this incident will in no way stifle the growth of the church in Sri Lanka but that the Lord will use it somehow for good and for His glory.
  • Ask God to work in the hearts and minds of those who oppose Him and the Gospel in Sri Lanka. Pray for a harvest.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

LAOS: Christians Detained for Planning Christian Funeral

LAOS: Christians Detained for Planning Christian Funeral

Four Lao Christians have been in jail for more than three months in the country’s Khammouane province for planning a Christian funeral that is contrary to the local customs.

On 3 July, the four Christians travelled to Khammouane’s Phousath village to attend a funeral that was deemed by village authorities to have violated Lao customs and “divided community solidarity.” As a result, they were arrested before they could conduct the Christian ceremonies, said a Phousath village official.

The local villagers wanted to perform ceremonies for the deceased Christian “according to our culture handed down to us by our ancestors,” the official continued, “When someone dies, we help by making donations, sharing food, and asking [Buddhist] monks to come and pray at the home.”

“But [the Christians] wanted to do things that violate our traditional customs. They were preparing things that we felt were strange and wrong and do not understand, and so we acted in order to prevent them from happening,” he said.

While no trial has been held to prosecute these four Christians who are from different villages, the police investigation has been completed and no decision was made as to what happens to them next. Their wives and children are facing hardships due to the loss of income and uncertainty about the four men’s fate.

On 12 October, an official in the religious affairs department of the Lao central government reportedly stated that his department will now work with the Lao Front for National Construction and the Evangelical Church of Laos to win justice for the four imprisoned villagers.

Sources: International Christian Concern, Radio Free Asia

  • Pray for justice for these believers and for their swift release.
  • Pray this difficult time endured by these Christians and their families, may be used by God as a witness to the God-given faithfulness and strength of believers.
  • Pray for Christians in Laos who face opposition. That they will be encouraged and strengthened and will stand firm when tested.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

 

LAOS: Transformation for Young Man

LAOS: Transformation for Young Man

Khamla was devastated when his wife left him. One day, as he walked past the Buddhist temple in extreme sorrow, something that looked like a small bird hit him in the chest. He unexpectedly changed; he became violently strong and was suddenly unable to communicate.

His parents and the community were so fearful that they locked him in a cage. His parents made many animal sacrifices to the spirits and invited multiple witch doctors to help him, but nothing worked.

Finally, they turned to the Christians, who sent believers to pray every day. After a month of prayers, Khamla calmly told his father he was ready to leave the cage. Khamla, his parents and siblings all gave their lives to Christ after witnessing his transformation, and many others in the village began to show an interest in Christianity. This worried village authorities, and they declared that Khamla and his family could remain Christians, but no one else in the village could. They also said that Khamla and his family could not lead others to Christ. “Pray they will know what to do and that the Lord breaks down these barriers, as many saw the healing miracle of the Lord,” a VOM partner wrote.

Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA

  • Praise God for this remarkable testimony.
  • Pray Khamla and his family will have much contact with other believers and be given an opportunity to grow in knowledge and understanding of the Gospel. Pray too they will be given the strength to stand against opposition.
  • Pray that other members of the community, including the authorities will also come to marvel at the wonder and power of Christ.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

MYANMAR: Imprisoned Pastor Cannot Leave Wa State

MYANMAR: Imprisoned Pastor Cannot Leave Wa State

Rev Ai was arrested in 2018 along with other Christian leaders during a separatist crackdown in Wa State. His family struggled while he was in prison, and members of the Wa State Army prevented other believers from helping them.

Ai was released after several months, but the situation remains very difficult for Christians in the region. They are not allowed to meet for fellowship or even pray before meals, and pastors are strictly prohibited from leading church activities.

Ai and his family would like to leave the area, but as members of the Wa ethnic group they are not allowed to move outside Wa State borders.

Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA

  • Pray for Ai and his family. Ask God to grant them strength and wisdom to navigate the considerable difficulties they are facing.
  • Pray that in spite of the oppression from the authorities, believers will find ways to encourage and care for one another.
  • Ask the Lord to be at work throughout the nation, bringing light from darkness to grow the church in strength and number.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

LAOS: Destroyed House Church Now Larger than Before

LAOS: Destroyed House Church Now Larger than Before

Most Laotians consider themselves Buddhist, but they generally practise a syncretistic version of Buddhism mixed with tribal animism. Christianity is viewed as an American religion or as a tool of the CIA to undermine the Laotian regime. Believers are persecuted by family members or village authorities who are concerned that Christians offend the spirits.

In February 2019, police destroyed a building that was being used as a house church in Boke province, in an attempt to eliminate their ‘Christian problem’.

In the year since the building’s destruction and subsequent rebuild, so many people have come to Christ that the church does not have room for them all. The church is extending the existing building, making it larger than before to accommodate all the new believers.

Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA

  • Praise God that He is not limited by man’s actions and that He brings good from opposition.
  • Pray for the leaders of this church that they will be led by the Spirit as they guide and teach so many new believers.
  • Pray too that those who formerly opposed this church may have an opportunity to hear the Gospel and put their trust in Christ.

Post your prayer in the comments below.