A violent guerrilla group summoned nine Colombian pastors to a meeting on 8 July after the pastors refused to pay “protection money” in June.
On 7 July, the National Liberation Army (ELN) sent a note ordering the pastors to attend a meeting across the border in Venezuela, where the group operates with impunity. Many feared that the ELN might execute the pastors for refusing to pay the 2 million pesos ($930).
The pastors ask for prayer as they continue to face harassment from ELN members who have placed new restrictions on their churches. The guerrillas have forbidden the construction of new church buildings, and Christians are no longer allowed to meet in individual homes for worship or study. Additionally, any new pastors must be from the local region, and no one from outside the ELN-controlled region is allowed to visit the Christians there. ELN members also expect the pastors to help them financially from time to time because they are suffering from food shortages and a transportation strike.
Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA
- Ask the Lord to grant these pastors wisdom when dealing with ELN members; may He give them the right words to say. Pray for their protection and that of their families.
- Pray the Gospel may continue to go forth in spite of these threats and restrictions.
- Ask the Lord to reveal Himself to many ELN members; pray that through the witness of these pastors the members may be moved to consider Christ for themselves and start on a new path.
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Last month security officials detained Telahoon Nogose Kassa, who is head of discipleship at Khartoum Bahri Evangelical Church.
Telahoon belongs to the same church as Peter Yein Reith and Yat Michael, the two pastors cleared of capital crimes at a Khartoum court in August 2015. All three church leaders had opposed government attempts to sell off church property.
A fourth member of the church, Pastor Hafez Mengisto, was arrested after challenging workers as they demolished parts of the church last July, but was acquitted on 29 December. A similar charge against the church’s lawyer, Mohaned Mustafa, has been dismissed.
No reason has been given for Telahoon’s arrest but he was questioned for five days about his links with a foreign missionary. His parents have been allowed to visit him, just once.
Two other Sudanese pastors, Kowa Shamaal and Hassan Abdelrahim, were arrested at their homes in or near Khartoum on 18 December. They too have objected to the demolition of church buildings, this time of Sudan Church of Christ property.
Sources: Middle East Concern, Morning Star News, Release International, Christian Solidarity Worldwide
- Thank the Lord for the favourable outcome for Pastor Mengisto and Mohaned Mustafa. Pray all charges against the three Sudanese pastors will be dropped.
- Pray that members of Khartoum Bahri Evangelical Church will continue to spread the Gospel, despite intense persecution.
- Pray that the government of Sudan will end its crackdown on church leaders and that Sudanese officials will start to see Christians as valuable citizens, not trouble-makers.
SUDAN: Pastors Finally Return Home
SUDAN: Travel Ban Appeal Fails for Released Pastors
Two South Sudanese Presbyterian pastors who were imprisoned for over half a year in Sudan and faced the death penalty for espionage and other conspiracy charges have finally made it home after they were banned from leaving the country following their release earlier this month.
Yat Michael and Peter Yein Reith arrived home in Juba on Wednesday 19 August after being arrested and imprisoned and subsequently hit with various trumped-up charges of crimes against the state that could have been punishable by death.
Upon arriving in Juba, Michael and Reith went straight from Juba International Airport to participate in a thanksgiving prayer service at a church in Hai Jebel.
Reith explained that he and Michael were released because of the prayers of those who cared about them.
Although the two pastors were finally able to return home, international human rights groups continue to pressure Sudan to uphold the basic right of religious freedom.
In late June, 12 Christian girls from the Nuba Mountains were arrested while walking home from a church service in Khartoum, charged with indecent dress. While some of the girls were ruled innocent, five were found guilty and fined. One 19-year-old girl was also sentenced to endure 20 lashes.
Source: The Christian Post
- Thank the Lord for the safe arrival home of these two pastors, allowing them to be reunited with their loved ones. Thank the Lord for their faithfulness.
- Pray the Lord may use this high profile case to strengthen the faith of believers in Sudan and around the world. Ask God to grow His church in Sudan, despite the opposition.
- Pray for the young women recently charged; ask the Lord to uphold them in their faith and give them the strength to endure.
SUDAN: Travel Ban Appeal Fails for Released Pastors
Two South Sudanese pastors, accused of waging war against the state in neighbouring Sudan, were released from prison but have lost an appeal to have their travel ban lifted.
The appeal to lift it was rejected after it came to light that the country’s security services imposed the ban.
Reverends Yat Michael and Peter Reith were released from prison in Sudan on 5 August but were unable to leave the country. They were first arrested in December 2014 and January 2015 respectively.
Both men, from the Presbyterian Evangelical Church, had been accused of undermining the constitutional system of the Sudanese Penal Code, waging war against the state, disclosure and receipt of official information or documents, arousing feelings of discontent among regular forces, breach of public peace and offences relating to insulting religious beliefs.
Sources: International Christian Concern, Truth Uganda
- Pray for the success of local efforts to ensure that the travel ban is lifted and that the pastors and their families can leave the country and resume their lives.
- Pray for the safety of these two pastors from extremists who may wish them harm because of their faith.
- Pray the Lord will use the faithfulness of both pastors as a witness for the Gospel in Sudan.
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