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CORONAVIRUS: An Opportunity to Advance the Gospel?

CORONAVIRUS: An Opportunity to Advance the Gospel?

During a season of quarantines and uncertainty, the Coronavirus is providing opportunities for advancing the Gospel. Some of the countries most affected by the pandemic so far are also countries where believers face persecution every day.

In an Islamic country heavily affected by the coronavirus, Christians are handing out masks and offering help to those forced to stay in their homes under quarantine. When asked why they are helping, they have a great opportunity to share about Jesus’ love and how He helps us overcome fear. Christians in parts of China affected by the coronavirus have felt more freedom to boldly witness for Christ because China’s oppressive facial-recognition cameras are less likely to identify them when they are wearing masks.

As you assess the risks of the coronavirus and make decisions for your family, we ask you to pray specifically and fervently for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ.

  • Pray for the protection of those not infected and for the healing of those who have become infected. Pray that they will trust in God and feel His presence and care each day.
  • Pray that Christians around the world will seek opportunities to advance God’s kingdom amid the confusion and fear caused by the pandemic.
  • Pray for eternal fruit as Christians in China and other nations reach out to those affected by or fearful of the coronavirus.
  • Pray that followers of Christ will see God’s goodness amid hardship, sickness and loss caused by the coronavirus and that they will convey His goodness and hope to those around them.
  • Pray that this crisis will lead government officials in hostile areas and restricted nations to the truth of the Gospel and the hope found only in Jesus Christ.

Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA

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NEPAL: Living the Christian Life with Beautiful Aroma

NEPAL: Living the Christian Life with Beautiful Aroma

An extremely poor family who came to Christ has experienced intense persecution but also rapid spiritual maturity. The family is so poor that they live in a shelter on government-owned land.

One day they met a pastor who told them about Christ. Eager for the hope Jesus promised, they accepted Christ as a family. They began attending church, walking eight miles each way. Then the persecution started.

Their landlord confiscated the land they were leasing to grow crops. In addition, their neighbours prohibited them from using the village water tap. “They are alone from society,” their pastor said. However, he is impressed with their mature faith in such a short time. The family told him, “The Christian life is like a rose that blooms and spreads aroma in the midst of a thousand thorns.”

Source: Voice of the Martyrs USA

  • Father God, I thank you for the spiritual maturity of this family and pray that they will continue to grow, stand firm in their faith and have strength to face their difficult situation.
  • Protect them from the enemies of the faith, let no violence be directed towards them.
  • Pray the Lord will prosper their way and let them find favour. Let them be a shining light for Jesus Christ.

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CHINA: New Measures Forbid Baptism

CHINA: New Measures Forbid Baptism

Authorities in China’s Zhejiang province have forbidden baptism in a new set of measures.

Changes in church location, church growth, adjustment of service times, and offering boxes have also been forbidden. Other prohibited items include an individual bank account for the church and donations from other countries.

Local community directors have been charged with overseeing the implementation of these regulations.

This comes after the Chinese government implemented a revised version of the Regulations on Religious Affairs last year. Churches have come under increased scrutiny.

China believes these measures keep churches under government control and will prevent foreign officials from using religion to overthrow the government.

Source: ChinaAid

  • Pray for China and its government. May the gospel be spread in boldness and unhindered.
  • Ask the Lord to cover all Christians in this nation with His love and protection.
  • Pray for the underground church to explode in growth, even though its authorities try every avenue to restrict baptism.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

UKRAINE: Worship Ban in Luhansk

UKRAINE: Worship Ban in Luhansk

Since 2014, the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine has been under the control of rebels. This self-declared government has imposed oppressive religious restrictions. Last year, an order was made that no religious groups may hold services of any kind without registration. Subsequent to the deadline of October 2018, no Protestant church of any kind was granted registration.

Now, a year later, the ban remains in effect and those who do not heed the restrictions are taken to court. There have been at least six court cases in 2019, including that of Pastor Vladimir Rytikov of the Krasnodon Baptist Church. In June, he was sentenced to 20 hours of community service for leading unregistered worship. His appeal was rejected on 21 October. Some of the others have received fines and some have avoided further punishment

Many church buildings now sit empty. While these church communities officially own their buildings, they can no longer legally use them. At least one church has begun using Skype to provide broadcasts for congregants. Members of other churches have been meeting in homes, but they are careful to limit these gatherings to no more than four people at a time.

Along with restrictions on public worship, foreign religious leaders have been banned from visiting the territory. As a result of being denied contact with fellow believers, many Christians are feeling isolated.

Source: Forum 18

  • Uphold the Christians in Luhansk by praying for them to be granted the freedom to meet peacefully in worship.
  • Ask the Lord to work in the hearts of the governing officials within this region, impressing upon these leaders the importance of honouring Christ.
  • Pray the isolated church members receive needed encouragement and fellowship by meeting in small groups.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

IRAN: Concerns Over Christian Convert Missing Since his Arrest

IRAN: Concerns Over Christian Convert Missing Since his Arrest

Friends and family of Mohammad Salehi, a Christian convert in his early 30s, are very concerned as they have heard no news of him since his arrest in August.

Mohammad was arrested at his home in Karaj on 25 August by agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard. It is very unusual that someone is detained for so long without the family being informed. It is not known where or why he is being held.

Friends of Mohammad request prayer both for him and his family who are deeply concerned for his well-being.

Source: Middle East Concern

  • Pray Mohammad’s whereabouts will become clear soon. Pray for his release.
  • Ask God to encourage and strengthen Mohammad and his family during this very difficult time.
  • Pray for his fellow prisoners and guards, may they be moved by Mohammad’s witness for Christ.

Post your prayer in the comments below.