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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.

CHINA: Imprisoned with Serious Health Concerns

CHINA: Imprisoned with Serious Health Concerns

Hu Shigen was taken into custody in July 2015 and was convicted of “subversion of state power” the following year. A photo of his baptismal ceremony was used as evidence against him, resulting in a sentence consisting of seven-and-a-half years.

While in prison, Hu suffered a heart attack, as well as other health complications. Due to the seriousness of his condition, Hu’s family was promised that he would be released on medical parole. Believing that confessing to the accusations would ensure his necessary medical release, Hu pleaded guilty. However, despite the promise given by authorities, they have refused to release him.

Another infirm prisoner, Ge Jueping, has been detained without a verdict for three years. Taken into custody in November 2016, as part of a mass arrest of human rights activists in Suzhou, Ge has undergone a trial but not yet received a verdict. His health has since declined severely and includes the diagnosis of cancer. Even though Ge’s loved ones have expressed their concerns to officials, no response has been given.

Source: ChinaAid

  • Intercede on behalf of these two imprisoned believers, and for their concerned family members. Ask God to provide each one His peace, strength, encouragement and healing.
  • Pray the authorities will not only allow them medical leave but also complete vindication from all charges and accusations.
  • Uphold the many Chinese Christians who are facing opposition and uncertainty. Pray they will fully trust God and His purposes.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

UGANDA: Susan Ithungu Faces New Health Challenges

UGANDA: Susan Ithungu Faces New Health Challenges

Susan Ithungu, who suffered permanent leg damage as a young girl after being locked in a small room for becoming a Christian, is now facing another health challenge.

Susan came to know Christ in 2009. When her Muslim father discovered her conversion, he began to beat her and threatened to kill her. After trying for months to persuade Susan to deny Christ, he finally locked her in a small space in their mud shanty. Six months passed before neighbours realised what was happening to Susan and notified the police, who rescued her and took her to a hospital. Susan suffered from untreated malaria while locked away in the small room, and the months of calcium deficiency affected her growing bones.

Having already endured multiple surgeries, Susan, now a teenager, recently developed an infection in her thigh that required another immediate surgery. She faces a long recovery and possibly further surgery, and she will also be missing more school.

Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA

  • Pray for Susan’s healing and encouragement. Ask the Lord to strengthen her faith through this ordeal.
  • Pray for the doctors treating her and for those providing her post-operative care; that they may be granted wisdom and patience.
  • Ask the Lord to continue to use Susan’s testimony for His glory and for the spiritual benefit of many. Pray for her family.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

TAJIKISTAN: Pray for Gulnora, Wife of Imprisoned Pastor

TAJIKISTAN: Pray for Gulnora, Wife of Imprisoned Pastor

Gulnora’s problems with hypertension began soon after the secret police arrested her husband, Pastor Bakhrom Kholmatov.

Bakhrom, 42, was arrested on 10 April 2017 in a raid on the Sonmin Sonbogym (Good News of Grace) Protestant Church by secret police. They also harassed and beat church members while confiscating items from the church, including the pastor’s computer and the book More Than a Carpenter, by Josh McDowell.

At his trial in July, Bakhrom was sentenced to three years in prison for possession of “extremist material.”

To visit her husband in prison, Gulnora has to make a six-hour journey, it was during one of these trips that Gulnora suddenly became ill. She was taken to a local hospital, too sick to even visit her husband. After being diagnosed with high blood pressure, she was transferred to a hospital closer to her home.

Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA

  • Ask the Lord to strengthen Gulnora physically and spiritually so she may be fully healed and remain strong during this time of great testing.
  • Pray she will be encouraged as she receives love and care from her Christian family.
  • Commit to the Lord Bakhrom. Pray the Lord would sustain him. May he be given many opportunities to share the Gospel while in prison and rejoice as he sees the Holy Spirit at work.

 
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CHINA: Pastor Yang Hua Update – Critically Ill

CHINA: Pastor Yang Hua Update – Critically Ill

Earlier this year, we posted the story of Pastor Yang Hua who was arrested and detained since December 2015, then in January 2017, sentenced to prison under the charge of “illegally possessing state secrets” for two years and six months.

Since then, Pastor Yang Hua has become critically ill with inflammation of the blood vessels. His legs are swollen and badly ulcerated, and without adequate treatment he may need a double amputation. He is at risk of developing sepsis and other serious complications.

Pastor Yang Hua described his condition:

“On March 17, 2017, ulcers began to appear on my legs. I reported it to the detention centre, but the staff said they had seen this many times before, and that it was nothing more than impetigo [a bacterial skin infection]. On March 18 the resident doctor gave me some medication.

By March 19, after the festering had spread, I again requested that the detention centre provide proper treatment, such as injections or an IV.

On March 20 and 21, the physician on duty put me on an IV drip. The burning pain was so much at this point, however, that I couldn’t sleep for several nights.

From around 3.30 to 4 am on the 22nd, the agony was truly unbearable. I rang the alarm to report to the cadres on duty. Officer Luo, on watch that night, was furious at being disturbed and screamed some truly awful obscenities at me. No one else in the cell was able to sleep, so in the end the physician on duty gave me two painkillers. I haven’t been able to walk or go to the toilet by myself during this period.

On the morning of March 22, the detention centre brought me to the department of dermatology at the Guiyang Sixth Municipal Hospital for a physical inspection. The doctor diagnosed me with a form of allergic vasculitis [an inflammation of the blood vessels], and said that if no treatment could be found one outcome might be high-level amputation [above the knee]. He recommended high doses of penicillin for a fortnight. The detention centre clinic, however, does not have penicillin.

At 2.30 pm on March 22, the detention centre gave me a blood test for HIV/AIDS.

On March 23, I was again brought to a hospital designated by the authorities, this time the No. 368 People’s Armed Police Hospital, for a physical inspection. Five physicians were involved but couldn’t come to a final diagnosis. They did, however, recommend that I be taken to a regular hospital for treatment. They also indicated that the cost of treatment might be extremely high. “That day I submitted a written request for hospital treatment, asking the detention centre authorities to quickly arrange it.

On the morning of March 24, I was brought to the Guizhou Provincial People’s Hospital to have a blood and urine test. Though they had the results that morning, the guards refused to inform me of them except to say that the HIV/AIDS test had come back negative.”

Pastor Yang’s wife, Wang Hongwu has not seen her husband since he was detained back in December 2015. On March 24, she accompanied the lawyer and finally saw her husband. Allowed only two minutes to speak to each other, she was then asked by the police to accompany them to the No. 368 People’s Armed Police Hospital where she had the opportunity to speak with the chief doctor about her husband’s condition.

It was after this, Wang wrote a letter to fellow parishioners for prayer:

The provincial hospital diagnosed it as anaphylactoid purpura [blood vessel inflammation]. I saw that both of Yang Hua’s legs were covered in rashes and spots of necrosis. Around the shins on both legs, in particular, there’s a large area of necrosis and seeping wounds. The feet are swollen up to the ankles. The doctor said they’d use large doses of hormones and anti-inflammatory drugs to treat it. Because the illness came on so ferociously and rapidly – around a week – the hospital gave me a notice of severe illness and told me that Yang Hua might develop a range of other symptoms, including septicemia, hemorrhaging of the digestive tract, kidney damage, and more.”

Source: Church in Chains, Ireland.

Prayer Points

  • Pray for Pastor Yang’s health and healing, and that the Lord will give him courage during this time of suffering.
  • Pray for his wife, Wang Hongwu and his family, and for the Lord to walk with them during this difficult time.