A Christian woman was dismissed from her job teaching Russian at a national university after school officials learned of her faith.
Vera, a single mother who is raising her children without family support, had hoped that her part-time job teaching Russian would eventually develop into a full-time position. She was a good teacher, and her students liked her. But after fewer than six months on the job, she was told that the university could not allow a church member in her position, especially since she was teaching many foreign students from surrounding countries.
Vera was told to either give up her church membership or resign, so she chose to leave her job.
Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA
- Thank the Lord for Vera’s faithful testimony. Pray it may be used by God to bring spiritual blessing to Vera, her family and other believers.
- Pray that she will find another job so she can continue supporting her family.
- Pray that in the meantime, she will receive much comfort, care, support and encouragement from other local believers.
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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.
Uzbek Christian Tohar Haydarov learned recently that he will be required to serve all 10 years of his sentence without the possibility of parole.
Tohar has been in prison since March 2010, when he was arrested on drug charges. His church members say the charges were fabricated and he was really imprisoned because of his religious activity.
Tohar’s Bible was taken away last year, but he said that he still “feels like God is next to him.”
Tohar, who is featured on VOM’s PrisonerAlert.com website, receives many letters at the prison, but officials deliver only a handful because there are “too many citations from the Bible” in them. Even so, knowing the letters are coming is an encouragement to him, and he “thanks all those praying for him and thinking about him.”
Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA
• Thank the Lord for Tohar’s faithfulness. Ask the Lord to surround Tohar with His perfect peace.
• Pray the Lord will use the many letters sent to Tohar to be a continued encouragement to him and to act as a Christian witness to those in authority.
• Pray the church in Uzbekistan will continue to grow, remain faithful, will be granted wisdom and favour by the Lord.
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Six weeks after a judge sentenced Yklas Kabduakasov to seven years’ house arrest for his Christian activities, he was rearrested and sent to a labour camp.
Yklas, a former Muslim, was first arrested in August 2015; he spent 12 weeks in prison before receiving a sentence of seven years under house arrest. The 54-year-old father of eight sought for a full acquittal, stating that he had not insulted Islam nor “incited religious hatred.” But on 28 December 2015, a court changed his sentence to two years’ imprisonment in a labour camp nearly 450km from his home.
The prosecution relied on evidence that was collected by Kazakhstan’s National Security Committee (KNB) secret police, who monitored his activities for over a year. They gathered secret recordings of conversations Yklas has with four university students, with whom he met to study the Bible. Additionally, KNB secret police raided his home and seized religious books.
At trial, prosecution experts testified that the Christian convert was insulting Islam as well as inciting violence against Muslims. Prosecutors also claimed that Yklas had attempted to force his subordinates at work to become Christians.
Since his transfer to the labour camp, Yklas is reportedly thinner. His lawyer told Forum 18 that Yklas remains in good spirits and has no complaints about his treatment. He and his lawyer are preparing a final appeal to Kazakhstan’s Supreme Court.
Sources: The Voice of the Martyrs USA, Forum 18 News Service
• Pray Yklas and his legal representatives may be granted wisdom as they prepare for the appeal and that they would not be apprehensive; may they rely on the Lord to give them the right words. Pray for a favourable outcome.
• Thank the Lord for Yklas’ love and faithfulness to Him; pray the Lord may encourage him even in prison. May Yklas see the Holy Spirit at work in his life and the lives of others in the camp.
• Ask the Lord to minister to the family members and fellow believers of Yklas; may they be spurred on by his testimony and example.
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