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INDIA: Virus Restrictions Embolden those Opposed to Christianity

INDIA: Virus Restrictions Embolden those Opposed to Christianity

Christians in the state of Chhattisgarh have faced a tough time since coronavirus restrictions were placed in India.

According to a VOM worker, they face four main challenges: they are not allowed to farm, which is their main source of income; they live in ongoing fear of social ex-communication; they are prohibited from using communal wells; and their Christian activities are closely monitored.

Villages where there are three or fewer Christian families, impose strict guidelines on the Christians; if they perform any Christian activity in their house, they will be ex-communicated, and their land and property will be taken away. For this reason, Christian families sometimes limit church attendance to once a month, walking great distances to attend. Pray for 15 families in particular whom VOM is supporting at this time.

Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA

  • Ask the Lord to provide spiritual encouragement and practical provision to these families who have been targeted and are suffering.
  • Pray the strength and uncompromising faith of these families may be used by the Lord as a witness for the power of the Gospel and the love of Christ.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to be at work in those who currently oppose the Gospel to bring transforming and powerful change.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

ALGERIA: Churches Closed by Pandemic Remain Unopened

ALGERIA: Churches Closed by Pandemic Remain Unopened

As the COVID-19 pandemic has swept the world, places of worship in many nations have been closed to prevent the spread of the virus. In Algeria, all places of worship and entertainment have been closed since March. In August, governing officials decided to gradually reopen places of worship, beginning with large mosques consisting of over a thousand worshippers.

On 27 October, authorities in Tizi Ouzou province, where most Algerian Christians reside, released a list of 183 mosques that have been granted permission to reopen. There has been no mention of any churches being reopened, including the 25 affiliated with the Eglise Protestante d’Algérie (EPA), an umbrella organisation of Protestant churches.

For the past three years, authorities in Algeria have been waging a campaign against the EPA churches, resulting in 13 being forcibly closed, with others receiving orders to cease all religious activities. There are concerns that the pandemic closures may be used as part of this campaign, keeping all the churches in the country closed indefinitely.

Source: Middle East Concern

  • Pray for believers in Algeria who are continuing to persevere and bear witness to God’s love in the midst of intensifying persecution.
  • Pray that Algeria’s governing authorities will treat all citizens equally and allow the closed churches to reopen soon.
  • Pray the country’s Christian leaders will be filled with the wisdom and the peace of God as they confront this difficult situation, and the assurance that ultimately nothing can stop the advancement of His Kingdom.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

Project: Aid for Brick Kiln Workers in Pakistan.

Project: Aid for Brick Kiln Workers in Pakistan.

In Pakistan, COVID-19 restrictions combined with monsoon season, left brick kiln workers, along with other day workers, with no work and therefore no pay for months.

As a result of the pandemic, Pakistan went into lockdown from March to May with some ongoing restrictions in place until August.

The enforced restrictions significantly affected the country’s poor and vulnerable communities, including the Christian minority.

Pakistani Christians, most often day labourers in the lowest paying jobs, could no longer work and faced the very real threat of starvation.

For those working in the brick kilns of Lahore, Pakistan’s monsoon season resulted in additional job losses. The season which runs from June to September brought very heavy rainfalls this year. This resulted in the kilns being closed from July to September.

This meant no work, no income and nothing to feed the family.

Additionally, as much-needed aid was distributed throughout Pakistan, VOM received reports of Christians being pushed to the end of distribution queues or being denied assistance altogether.

VOM Australia, together with our distribution partner in Pakistan provided basic food packages to those who needed it most.

The distribution areas selected where those where no one else had reached. One such place was the brick kilns on the outskirts of Lahore.

There are almost 70 families residing in these brick kiln colonies. The average family size is six members. All of the adults are illiterate and have no option to work elsewhere. Their employers, the landlords, have not provided any support in this crucial situation.

Families were very grateful for the help they received. They are thankful to God who kept them safe and fulfilled their desperate need.

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

Voice of the Martyrs Australia is an endorsed deductible gift recipient (DGR) by the Australian government. This means you can claim tax deductions for all donations over $2 to Voice of the Martyrs Australia on your tax return.

VIETNAM: Woman Burned After Refusing to Abandon Christian Faith

VIETNAM: Woman Burned After Refusing to Abandon Christian Faith

A 49-year-old woman was assaulted by local authorities after she refused to give up her Christian faith.

On 5 May, authorities visited Dinh and told her they would help her during the coronavirus pandemic if she would sign a statement giving up her faith. When she refused to sign the document, an official grabbed a kettle of boiling water from her kitchen and poured it all over Dinh’s legs.

Dinh was taken to the hospital, but since her family is very poor, they could not pay for her treatment. She had not been issued health insurance because she is a Christian.

VOM provided help. “I am so happy and thankful to God for your heart of love,” Dinh wrote. “Please remember me in your prayers.”

Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA

  • Thank the Lord for the example of Dinh, who boldly stood firm despite the threats and subsequent injury.
  • Thank the Lord for the help and treatment she has received and pray she will be fully restored to health.
  • Pray her strong witness may be used by the Lord to embolden the faith of others and soften the hearts of the local authorities.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

IRAN: Christian Prisoners Contract COVID-19

IRAN: Christian Prisoners Contract COVID-19

Concerns are rising over news that at least 12 prisoners in Ward 8 of Evin Prison in Tehran, tested positive for COVID-19.

Christian convert Yasser Mossayebzadeh is one of the 12 and is now reportedly gravely ill. Two other converts, Saheb Fadaee and Nasser Navard Gol-Tapeh, did not test positive but are beginning to show symptoms. Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani and convert Youhan Omidi are at risk.

Prisoners in Ward 8 recently staged a sit-in to protest the poor living conditions that are putting them at risk of the virus. Rooms are overcrowded with few opportunities for social distancing, and the prison does not give the prisoners quality access to hygiene. It is estimated that there are at least another 10 Christian prisoners of conscience being held in other wards with no reports of their health status.

As the pandemic reached its peak in March, Iran released around 100,000 prisoners, six of them Christian, as authorities began to fear the spread of the virus within the overcrowded prisons. Despite this, the prisons are now overcrowded once more and there are even more Christian prisoners of conscience than there were before the pandemic.

Source: International Christian Concern

  • Ask the Lord to protect these prisoners from the virus. Pray the authorities will treat them with mercy and compassion.
  • Pray the Lord will use this time of uncertainty and suffering to draw them closer to Him.
  • Pray that believers in prison will have an opportunity to witness to the certainty they have in God, to those around them who do not know Him.

Post your prayer in the comments below.