On 16 October, a Christian worship service was attacked by a mob of radical Hindu nationalists in India’s Madhya Pradesh state. After being falsely accused of engaging in forced religious conversions, a pastor and seven other Christians were taken into police custody for questioning.
According to Pastor Dhanlal Pargi, more than 30 radical Hindu nationalists barged into a worship service taking place at India Gospel Church in Talabodi village, located in the Ratlam district.
The mob, led by Bharat Gujjar and Bhavish Gujjar, confronted Pastor Mangilal Pargi and told him that Christian worship should not take place in the village.
“Members of the mob pulled the Bible from Pastor’s hands and yelled at him saying that ‘Reading this Bible leads to many professing Christianity,’” Pastor Dhanlal said.
Pastor Mangilal started India Gospel Church in Talabodi nearly 35 years ago. Since the church was founded, Pastor Mangilal has faced significant opposition.
“The harassment from Hindu radicals is a constant thing,” Pastor Mangilal said. “They bully us whenever we pass through their houses. They tell us that we should close down the church because India is a Hindu country.”
According to Pastor Mangilal, the mob that attacked the church on 16 October also pressured local police into filing a First Information Report (FIR) against him under the state’s anti-conversion law. However, after initially taking Pastor Mangilal and seven other Christians into custody, police released the Christians because no proof was provided by the radicals to support the FIR.
“Their aim is to wipe out the Christian faith from the village,” Pastor Mangilal said. “But we know God will help the Christians to stand boldly in these intense times.”
Source: International Christian Concern
- Ask the Lord to shield the members and leaders of the church from those who oppose them and the Gospel. Pray the threats from the group will come to nothing.
- Ask the Lord to grant Pastor Dhanlal and Pastor Mangilal wisdom as they deal with the Hindu nationalists and the authorities.
- Pray the members of this church will not be discouraged but will see the Lord at work and rejoice.
Post your prayer in the comments below.
Police, state security officers, and ethnic and religious affairs bureau officials raided Guangzhou’s Bible Reformed Church. They accused Christians of “spreading evil religion”.
Authorities interrupted a Bible study, which had more than 10 attendees, and took three Christians, including Minister Yang Jun, to the police station. Officials released two individuals that night but detained Minister Yang for a day. They alleged he had been “showing off and swindling”.
Pastor Huang Xiaoning appealed to authorities on behalf of Bible Reformed Church. He said government representatives “can come at any time and ‘enforce the law,… but our worship will never cease.”
- Ask God to provide spiritual encouragement to those believers who are facing ongoing opposition, particularly evangelists and church leaders including Minister Yang and Pastor Huang.
- Pray believers across China will not be fearful but will stand as a symbol of faith, courage and unity.
- Praise the Lord for the extraordinary growth of the church in China over the past few decades.
Post your prayer in the comments below.
Police in Pap in Uzbekistan’s eastern Namangan Region on 19 November raided a group of Protestants meeting in a home for a meal and to read the Bible.
Police searched the flat illegally without a search warrant and confiscated legally-bought literature including Bibles.
Officers arrested all eight Protestants and took them to Pap Police Station, where they were questioned until 3am the next morning. Police forced most of the Protestants to sign illegally written statements and said that they might be prosecuted for possession of the religious literature they legally bought.
Christians in Uzbekistan are thought of as extremists. They face massive fines and detention for “illegal religious gatherings”. Orthodox churches meet openly and legally but most evangelical Christians meet in unregistered groups. Uzbekistan once routinely imprisoned Christians, but the government now favours short detentions and substantial fines for economic reasons.
Source: Forum 18 News Service, The Voice of the Martyrs USA
- Commit these believers to God and pray the threats of prosecution may come to nothing.
- Pray these believers will not be fearful and will continue to encourage one another in the faith and worship the Lord together.
- Pray this incident may be used by the Lord to embolden the church and add to its number.
If you would like to financially support the work of Voice of the Martyrs, please go to: vom.com.au/donate
More than 50 officials broke into Meisheng Church in Luohe, Henan, on Sunday, beating Christians and confiscating most of the church’s property.
Uniformed and plainclothes police, as well as agents from the local religious affairs and cultural bureaus invaded the service as the pastor, Chen Qi, was reading the Bible.
“They shouted as they came in, ‘Don’t take pictures. Put your phones in your pockets,’” one Christian said. “Then they grabbed the pastor’s microphone and forcibly stopped the worship.”
A man surnamed Li, the director of Luohe’s Yuanhui District Religious Affairs Bureau, walked to the podium and announced that the fellowship was “illegitimate.” After reading a document about the church’s supposed violation, he asked Chen to sign it, but Chen refused and was taken away. An official said to him, “The document will be effective no matter if you sign it or not.”
During the ordeal, a woman stood in the hallway and photographed the situation. Police pulled her hair and slapped her face as they pushed her up against the wall. They then they took her into custody.
Similarly, another woman was kicked by a handful of policemen for her attempt to take pictures. She fell to the ground, and her phone was confiscated. When her fiancé confronted one of the officers, saying “How can you bully a girl?” he was punched and accused of assaulting the police.
The authorities did not permit those gathered for the service to leave until they had seen their ID cards and collected other personal information. Then, they took desks, stools, the podium, computers, televisions, pianos, projectors, guitars, fans, water dispensers, water bottles, instant cookers, drums, and some trivial items, according to one of the church members. They also removed a cross and cut the electrical wires. Only two air conditioning units remained, since the officials had difficulty taking them down.
On the same day, authorities in Xinyang, Henan, entered a local church without showing any papers, drove out the Christians, and sealed the door using electric welding. Some of the congregants attempted to film evidence, but police took their phones. Later on, the church rented a storage unit to hold their services in.
In the same area, officials closed off the road leading to a church, not permitting its attendees to enter. The Christians decided to sing hymns on the street instead, with one minister saying, “If we lose our church, we will go out onto the streets; we will not retreat home. If we are also arrested for proclaiming the Gospel in the streets, it is the mission and responsibility of those Christians to proclaim the Gospel in every prison!”
Similar disturbances occurred in other areas of Henan, including Hua County, where Christians gathered in front of Baidaokou Church to prevent authorities from breaking in. After a short confrontation, the authorities forced their way into the church and took chairs, desks, and a variety of other items. As they resisted, some of the Christians were injured and fell to the ground.
After the authorities left, however, some of the congregants stayed and sang worship songs.
- Praise God for the faithfulness of Christians in China. May they continue to make every effort to meet together and encourage one another in the Lord.
- Pray their conduct may act as a witness to the authorities and others in their community.
- Pray the Lord would give wisdom to pastors and church leaders, when dealing with the authorities.