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Prisoner’s one Request: Pray for Eritrea!

Prisoner’s one Request: Pray for Eritrea!

Twen Theodros has spent 13 years behind bars in Eritrea. Despite having suffered brutal treatment, this young woman, who is described as a “precious, lovely Christian” by those who know her, is more concerned about others than for her own wellbeing.

VOM’s partner, Release International, recently managed through contacts to find out how she is doing in prison and how we could pray for her. Her reply was simple yet deeply humbling: she said she had only one prayer request – that God would be glorified in Eritrea!

Twen, who is in her thirties, and the other Eritrean prisoners of faith need our prayers. Pray for their release but also that they would remain united. Sometimes there is conflict among the prisoners simply because they are locked up together for 24 hours, day after day.

Source: Release International

  • Praise God for this remarkable woman, whose love and witness are glorifying God in a harsh Eritrean prison and inspiring fellow believers.
  • Ask the Lord to minister to Twen and her fellow prisoners to give them patience, strength and even joy in the midst of suffering.
  • Pray for the authorities in Eritrea, that they would demonstrate, mercy, compassion and justice to these prisoners.

For information on Twen and to write to her go to: https://www.prisoneralert.com/pprofiles/vp_prisoner_262_profile.html

Writing to prisoners is a great way to provide encouragement to believers who are imprisoned for their faith, it also acts as a Christian witness to guards and authorities.

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

We will continue to build God’s church!

We will continue to build God’s church!

We will continue to build God’s church!

Dear Friends,

This is the sentiment echoed by believers at the very highest level in China. Recently, I travelled to China and sensed that the air was thick with nervous anticipation regarding the newly announced regulations by the Chinese authorities on their future restrictions toward Christian activities in the country. The local pastors we met, were anxiously discussing ways in which the church would function under these new rulings.

This approach to restricting the move of God is not limited to China as we are seeing this all over the Communist world right now where intimidation, arrests, violence and persecution are on the increase against Christians.
On a positive note, among the pastors and leaders we met, there was no fear but a determination to continue in the work they have been called to do and their concern is for the safety of their flock.

Attempts in the past to stop the move of God in China have been fruitless and this is another one of those occasions. As one pastor said, “We have lived with persecution and survived, and we will do so again.”

Christians in China need our prayers and support as they grapple with these changes and yet their hunger for more of God’s Word and Christian teaching to help them remain faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ, continues.

I pray that as you read this, you are as moved to action as we are, in doing whatever we can to support the work of persecuted believers in China. Requests by Chinese Christian leaders is for the world to pray earnestly for them, and to send them Bibles.

We are reminded of the comforting scripture in Romans 8:38-39 “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Thank you for your love, support and prayers for persecuted Christians who together we are serving in the name of our Lord Jesus.

Blessings,

Tony Benjamin
CEO

Bibles Plus 2018 is responding to the cries from persecuted believers, willing to risk all for a Bible. For a gift of $25, you will provide a persecuted Christian family with a Bible PLUS some basic life essentials  https://vom.com.au/biblesplus/

IRAQ: Revival of Life in Qaraqosh

IRAQ: Revival of Life in Qaraqosh

For many Christian families in Qaraqosh, this Easter is particularly special, as they will be celebrating it at home for the first time since fleeing the city in 2014.

The city, located in northern Iraq’s Nineveh Plains, was occupied by the Islamic State group for over three years before its liberation in October 2017.

Since then, around 5,000 families have returned to the city that used to be a home to 50,000 Christians. They are now rebuilding their lives amidst the ruins and rubble that IS left behind.

On Sunday, the Palm Sunday celebrations saw thousands of Christians take to the streets of the ancient city, where they marched, waving palm and olive branches, and chanted Christian songs. The march culminated in an open-air religious service on the square of St John’s Church.

Andraws, a 25-year-old English teacher at a recently re-opened school, said that he and his family had almost lost hope of ever returning to their home town.

Meanwhile, Anis Behnam, a 58-year-old university lecturer who returned to Qaraqosh last year, said he is determined to stay in his town, whatever the circumstances.

Source: World Watch Monitor

  • Thank the Lord, He is now being worshiped in Qaraqosh.
  • Thank Him for the return of these families; pray for His protection and provision.
  • Ask the Lord to grow His church in this city and beyond, all over Iraq.

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LAOS: Standing for God at Christmas

LAOS: Standing for God at Christmas

Late last week, a local church from a small village in Laos was about to conduct a Christmas service when the police arrived.

The police were claiming the church did not have the necessary permission or paperwork, and they were there to shut down the service immediately. This came as a surprise to the church leaders as they had sought permission from the local government to have this service two weeks prior to the event.

The church leaders faced a dilemma; stop the Christmas service until the situation is clarified or continue with the service and risk persecution? They chose to stand for God!

Once the police become aware of the church leaders’ decision, they immediately arrested five of the church leaders and took them away to prison, where they still remain today. Other local church leaders are currently trying to negotiate with the local government for the release of the five leaders.

It is widely believed that the Laos Central Government are providing the local authorities and Ministry of Interior in those districts with strategies to stop the Christian movement.

Source: Voice of the Martyrs contacts

  • Pray for the five church leaders who are currently in prison; may the Lord give them courage and strength during this period.
  • Pray for the church, that their faith in the Lord will be increased and magnified during this difficult time of upheaval and turmoil.
  • Pray for Laos and its believers, that God will grant them peace and wisdom during trials or hardship and persecution.
Fearless for Christ

Fearless for Christ

Four masked gunmen charged into Mohammad Yousuf Bhat’s home on the evening of 1 July 2016, pushed his wife aside and demanded to talk to him. After he stepped forward, the gunmen escorted the 43-year-old father of three outside his home in the Kashmir Valley, India and shot him seven times, killing him. Those who worked with Yousuf describe him as being a fearless, bold and passionate believer who “would not be quiet about Christ”.

In the end, his unwavering faith and evangelism of Kashmiri Muslims in North India, led to his death. Since leaving Islam himself in 1999, Yousuf had known his life could end this way.

Villagers, especially Christians, have become anxious since Yousuf’s murder. They are even afraid to speak of it.

Sharing his testimony
Before his death, Yousuf discussed the Islamists’ efforts to stop the spread of Christianity and the fear this caused among Christians. “In Kashmir, we can see the Islamic leaders start a movement to crush the believers in Kashmir valley, but this book [Bible] changed my life”, he said. “I want to share my testimony of it”.

Despite the dangers, Yousuf boldly shared his faith in big ways. He helped create a disciple-making movement among Muslim converts and distributed thousands of Bibles and copies of the JESUS film.

“It would be fair to say that Muslims have been receptive to the Gospel in Kashmir”, a VOM worker said. “The church grows, and Yousuf was seen by many as the leader of the church in Kashmir”.

The blessing of persecution
After a major earthquake in the region, Yousuf worked with others to provide health and dental care in relief camps. He also helped distribute solar-powered lights to people without electricity and brought clean drinking water to thousands of people.

Such sacrificial acts of service were a reflection of his deep faith ever since he encountered God through the Scriptures and left Islam. Life wasn’t easy after he turned to Christ, but he felt God’s presence.

“I got lots of persecution from my family”, he said. “My son was tortured. My daughter was also tortured by different people. Of course, we get persecuted in body, but inside we are getting so much peace”.

Yousuf was grateful for how these experiences increased his faith and helped him experience the peace of God. Citing Matthew 5:10, he had said the persecution was a blessing.

Before his death, Yousuf knew there were plans to kill him. However, he forgave those who persecuted his family and plotted his death.

“God bless them”, he said. “Our prayer is that God will open their ‘spiritual eyes’. So, we are praying for them”.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven”. Matthew 5:10