Christians in a village in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh are being denied access to water for their crops – to force them to deny Jesus. They have steadfastly refused.
Local Hindus are refusing to sell water from their boreholes to four Christian families, and their crops are dying as a result. Even local police and the village chief have not intervened to restore the water supply, despite the Christians’ appeals for help.
Neighbours accuse the Christians of converting people by force. Yet, on one recent occasion, a mob forced every local Christian to take part in Hindu rituals and declare that they denied Christ. Some younger Christians reportedly felt they had no option but to give in to these demands. Those who resisted were beaten – and now find themselves without water for farming.
“They have all joined together and are conspiring against us,” says one of the Christian women.
Sources: Release International, Morning Star News
- Pray that God will strengthen and provide for His people in Jalalabad.
- Pray that Jesus will comfort and speak clearly to those Christians who felt compelled to deny Him so they may be restored in their faith.
- Ask God to build and strengthen His church in India amid mounting intolerance and hostility towards non-Hindus. Pray more will be done by authorities to curb Hindu extremism and anti-Christian violence.
A Pakistani bike shop owner has been accused of blasphemy after telling one of his customers that Christians believe Jesus to have been the final prophet. Ashfaq Masih, 28, was arrested following accusations that he had “disrespected” Islam’s prophet, Muhammad.
The incident took place in Lahore on 15 June at Masih’s shop in the Bagarhian suburb of the city, near a sizeable Christian neighbourhood, the majority of whose inhabitants work as manual labourers.
As the argument unfolded, the owner of a nearby shop, Muhammad Ashfaq, joined a crowd of people who had amassed to hear what was going on. Muhammad Ashfaq, a complainant in the case, told World Watch Monitor: “Even when other men had gathered, Ashfaq Masih maintained a disrespectful stance. “While the argument was going on, someone informed the emergency police, who reached the spot and immediately put him in the police van and left.”
A local police chief, Wasim Akhtar, said the incident had been “unfortunate” but that the situation was “under control”.
“Most of my customers are Christians and I have been running this shop for the last 17 years and no religious argument has ever happened before,” added Muhammad Ashfaq. “Masih took over the shop about two years ago and this is the first time an argument like this has taken place. However, now a few children have informed us that he used to talk about religion.”
Masih’s lawyer, Riaz Anjum, said he would file an application for bail. “The family is extremely poor and have now fled,” he added. “We are in touch with the police and working so that the family can soon return to their home.”
Pakistani Christians make up only 1.5 per cent of the total population but over a quarter (187) of the 702 blasphemy cases registered between 1990 and 2014 were against Christians.
Source: World Watch Monitor
- Intercede for Masih and his family. May the Lord’s strength and protection be upon them. Pray they may remain faithful to Him during this difficult time of testing.
- Pray this case will very soon be resolved so that Masih may be released.
- Ask the Lord to somehow use this situation for good, in His perfect timing for Masih, his family and the Christian community.
Two Chinese students, whom the Pakistani government accused of “preaching,” were kidnapped and killed by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) in May.
Chinese nationals, Li Xinheng and Lu Ling Lina lived in Quetta, Pakistan, where they were studying at a local language school with the intent of becoming teachers.
On 24 May, their vehicle was stopped by men dressed as police officers. Li Xinheng and Lu Ling Lina were pulled from their vehicle and forced into another vehicle, while a third Chinese student managed to escape. A local man who tried to help the students was shot in the foot.
The Pakistani military responded by raiding the militants’ hideout and killing 12 ISIS fighters, but the two Chinese hostages were already dead. Other foreigners living in Pakistan are understandably concerned.
Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA
- Please pray for the families of the Chinese students who were killed, may the Lord minister to them in
- Pray for the 11 other Chinese students who have been sent home as a result of this incident. Pray they will be granted the Lord’s guidance.
- Pray for foreigners and locals in danger of being targeted. Ask for the Lord’s protection and deliverance.
Yuri Pak was released from prison Saturday 17 June. Yuri a teacher, dean of a high school and a local church leader was sentenced to two years in prison, after being convicted of making a false emergency-services call.
In April 2015, someone used Yuri’s mobile phone to make a prank phone call to Kazakhstan’s emergency services. Authorities were quick to charge Yuri with making a bomb threat in that call and arrested him.
During the trial, the “evidence” used against him was a two-minute-long recording of a man, obviously drunk, and using rough prison jargon. Expert witnesses testified that the caller’s voice did not match Yuri’s voice. Additionally, the caller references spending 10 years in prison and being angry at police, but Yuri had not been in prison.
As a testimony to his character, Yuri’s students came to his trial to support him. His pastor also wrote a letter of support. Various local news stations reported on the spurious trial, but even with all that support, he was sentenced to two years in prison, apparently in retaliation against his involvement in a Christian church.
After his release, Yuri was able to attend the graduation ceremony of several of his students that same weekend.
While Yuri was in prison, many people wrote letters of support to him through www.prisoneralert.com. Yuri’s wife Olga, wrote to VOM, saying, “Our family is extremely grateful to each one of you for your prayers and letters with words of encouragement and faith. Your prayers and letters helped us to go through this difficult trial without losing our faith and courage. We believe that ‘your labour is not in vain before the Lord.’ With love in Christ: Yuri, Olga, Anna and Daniel Pak.”
Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA
- Give thanks to the Lord for answered prayer for Yuri and his family. Pray the Lord will help them overcome the time of trial and separation.
- Pray the Lord will use Yuri’s story as a witness to His Gospel and further extend His Kingdom throughout Kazakhstan.
- Thank the Lord for the encouragement Yuri and his family received through receiving letters of encouragement. May those in authority in the prison who witnessed this support be moved and intrigued by this gesture.
The Eritrean government has stepped up its campaign against Christians, arresting almost a hundred followers of Christ in recent weeks. The arrests came as believers in the repressive East African country marked ten years since government officials placed the Eritrean Orthodox Patriarch, Abune Antonios, under house arrest and incommunicado, and 15 years since the forced closure of many churches.
Since the government passed a law shutting down many churches, some Christians meet in secret. Evangelicals are at particular risk since a 2002 law was passed ─ prohibiting churches other than those of Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran affiliation. However, as the Orthodox leader’s incarceration shows, members of permitted churches are also at risk if they criticise the regime.
The fresh wave of arrests took place early this May, leading up to Eritrea’s Independence Day (24 May). Many Christians found themselves under added scrutiny around the time of the country’s Independence Day celebrations because they are reluctant to participate in ceremonies that go against their conscience.
According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide, at least 28 Christians have died during their incarceration ─ or shortly after being released ─ as a result of harsh treatment in prison or withheld medical treatment. Those who have survived imprisonment recount facing torture, hard labour, filthy conditions and insufficient food.
Source: World Watch Monitor
- Pray for Eritreans in prison, may their faith and resolve be strengthened as they wait for the Lord’s deliverance.
- Ask the Lord to also comfort the prisoners and their families and give them an eternal perspective and His peace which passes all understanding.
- Commit to the Lord the government leaders in Eritrea, pray they will seek wisdom, true justice and mercy.