Over the past six months, the leaders of four different churches in Tajikistan have received huge fines because they were part of a plan to create a new Tajik translation of the Bible.
According to some Tajik Christians, the current translations available in their language use archaic words and sometimes the translation is unclear. In response to the need, these churches arranged to have a new translation made through Linguatec, a translation company.
According to Linguatec representatives, they were visited by the State Committee for Religious Affairs (SCRA) and questioned about the work they were doing. The state committee then issued a warning that the translators must receive permission before translating any religious texts. After assuring the committee of their willingness to abide by all regulations in the future, no penalties were levied. For the churches, however, the SCRA was not as tolerant. Each of the four churches was fined between $1,200 and $1,800, amounts equivalent to the combined average monthly salaries of five to eight Tajik labourers.
In reference to the situation, one local Christian explains: “The authorities do not want Tajik churches, which is why they pressure them with fines and other punishments. They want to make us weary and stop.” Christianity is considered a “foreign element” in this predominantly Muslim nation.
Source: Forum 18
- Pray God’s wisdom will be granted to the Christian leaders as they deal with challenges imposed on them by governmental agencies.
- Pray God’s financial provision will be made available to the churches that have been penalised.
- Pray those who oppose the work of God will be enlightened to the truth of His Word and respond.
Post your prayer in the comments below.
Government agents invaded Wheat Church in Shanghai last Sunday and banned the church.
The church was conducting a worship service when the officials broke in. They accused the attendees of conducting religious activities in an illegal place. The church’s preaching was stopped, and all followers were expelled.
Around 200 Christians refused to leave. Standing in the cold, they sang and worshipped in front of the church.
According to Chinese religious regulations, religious activities may only take place in approved venues. These locations are then monitored by the authorities.
- Pray that the members of the Wheat Church will not stop meeting together and will grow in unity and faith through this ordeal.
- Ask that the Lord will use the witness of these faithful believers for His glory.
- Praise God that the church continues to grow in China, despite intense persecution.
Post your prayer in the comments below.
In 2018, Christmas Care packs were distributed to children of the persecuted church in China.
One of our distribution partners reports:
Since greater religious regulations were introduced in February 2018, the church in China has been especially persecuted. These gifts from outsiders prove to the believers that they are not alone, they have not been forgotten by the outside world. We all know that the easiest way to bring joy to parents is to bless their children. Once again, the Christmas Care outreach has brought encouragement and hope to the suffering church of China.
Eleven hundred children in seven provinces in mainland China received Christmas Care packs. All of the beneficiaries are believers, all reside in persecuted regions and all are in low-income areas. We were able to minister to the following provinces: Anhui, Henan, Jiangsu, Guangdong, Yunnan, Liaoning and Beijing.
From the field:
“Thank the Lord! And thank you, brothers and sisters, for your offering! Our kids are very happy and grateful for receiving these backpacks and the stationery. We feel God’s love. We are very thankful.
“Every day our kids carry their backpacks to go to school; they are going to school with your blessing and love. They love God more and more. They go to school with their ability to be positive to influence others and to love others. It all started with your love and selfless offering.
“Thank you very much! May our Lord remember and bless you all.”
“Thank God! All of the children and their parents are very grateful when they received those backpacks and saw so many items inside. They received not only those backpacks and so many items, but also the love from our Lord, Jesus Christ.
“One parent says that her daughter loves this backpack very much; wherever she goes, she carries it. They are
“Thank you, our brothers and sisters, for your offering! May our Lord remember you all! God bless you!”
If you would like to support our Christmas Care project go to vom.com.au/christmascare
A Nigerian government official has claimed that Leah Sharibu, a Christian teen kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2018, is still alive. This comes more than a month after a Christian aid worker, also kidnapped by Boko Haram, indicated that Sharibu had been killed by her Boko Haram captors.
“Contrary to false reports, she [Leah] is alive, given assurances from our security agencies, and the government is committed to her safe return as well as all other hostages to their families,” Garba Shehu, a presidential spokesman told the media. “Instead of giving up, the government is carrying forward process that should hopefully yield her release by her captors.”
On 19 February 2018, Sharibu, age 16, was kidnapped by Boko Haram along with more than 100 other students from the Government Girls Science and Technical Secondary School in Dapchi, located in Nigeria’s Yobe state. The others kidnapped with Sharibu were released on 21 March 2018 after Boko Haram concluded negotiations with the government. However, Sharibu was not released because she refused to renounce her Christian faith.
In July 2019, Boko Haram released a video in which Grace Taku, a kidnapped Christian aid worker, mentioned that Sharibu and three other Christian women had been killed in captivity. In that video, Taku pleaded to have authorities intervene and secure her release.
“The government is pursuing many options to ensure the safe return of Leah Sharibu,” Shehu told the media. “The worrying cycle of speculations on whether Leah Sharibu had been harmed by her abductors is what has made us to speak out.”
Sources: Morning Star News, International Christian Concern
- Ask the Lord to intervene on behalf of Leah and other captives in Nigeria. Ask Him to be their rescuer.
- Pray the Lord will have mercy on the perpetrators, to bring about a miraculous change of heart, repentance and faith.
- Pray for the Nigerian authorities to expedite action to ensure her release.
Post your prayer in the comments below.
A young man travels to work each day on public transport. He uses the time to read the Bible. However, as citizens of Iran can be placed in jail for owning a Bible, he covers it up so that people will not see what he is reading.
One day, he felt the Lord moving in his heart to talk to a lady on the bus. At first he struggled with the idea but eventually he took the cover off his Bible and went over to her. He told her that the Lord loved her, and that he wanted to share the Bible with her. She started crying loudly, causing a scene. At 24 years of age, pregnant and not married, she had been thinking every day about killing herself. This was the day that she had told the Lord if He was real He needed to tell her, otherwise she would walk in front of a bus. The young man gave her the Bible and she prayed with him to give her life to the Lord.
Iranians are more open to the Gospel than ever before. To date, our partner in ministry has smuggled 85,000 Bibles into Iran. This year Australia has funded the purchase and distribution of a further 2,000 Bibles.
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.