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RUSSIA: Strict Opposition to Missionary Activity

RUSSIA: Strict Opposition to Missionary Activity

In July 2016, Russia passed religion laws restricting “illegal missionary activity” by either citizens or foreigners. This activity could involve speaking to people about religion, or the distribution of either printed, audio or video materials.

Between January and June of this year, there have been 42 known prosecutions, resulting in 36 convictions. All those who were convicted received fines.

Most of the recent convictions have not involved religious organisations but rather individuals who were sharing their faith. Those charged were convicted because they did not notify the authorities of the existence of their “religious group”, even though they were acting as individuals.

These laws do not only affect Christians but also citizens belonging to other religious groups. According to Russia’s current laws, individuals or groups engaging in missionary or evangelistic activities of any kind could possibly be subjected to stiff opposition.

Source: Forum18

  • Prayerfully uphold our brothers and sisters in Russia who are presently encountering opposition for sharing their faith.
  • Ask the Lord to provide for those who have received fines so they will have the resources required to pay the penalties.
  • Pray God’s people will not “grow weary of doing good” but rather look with an expectant hope to His promises of an abundant spiritual harvest (Galatians 6:9).

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ERITREA: Thirty Christians Arrested at Wedding

ERITREA: Thirty Christians Arrested at Wedding

Eritrean authorities continued their crackdown on unregistered religious groups when 30 guests were arrested at a wedding ceremony in late June. These Christians were arrested in the capital city of Asmara, joining 15 others who were previously arrested in April and sent to a prison camp.

The government of Eritrea is known as one of the most oppressive in the world, notorious for its arbitrary arrests and detention of people – without a trial. Last year alone, between May and August, more than 330 Christians were arrested.

Since religious restrictions were instituted in 2002, only four religious groups are legally allowed by the government: Eritrean Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Lutheran and Sunni Islam. Membership in any other group is strictly prohibited, and even members of these legally recognised groups are not necessarily immune from harassment.

Sources: Release Eritrea, Barnabas Fund

  • Remember the hundreds of believers presently imprisoned in Eritrea; some of them already having endured many years of inhumane treatment in terrible conditions.
  • Pray that these prisoners and their families will be provided with inner strength as they undergo such severe trials.
  • Pray those in authority will come to respect the rights of all citizens, including the freedom to worship.

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PAKISTAN: Kidnapped Christian Girl remains Trapped

PAKISTAN: Kidnapped Christian Girl remains Trapped

Christian teenager Huma Younus, who was kidnapped and forced into an Islamic marriage last year, is now pregnant and being confined to one room by her abuser.

Recently, Tabassum Yousaf, a lawyer representing Huma’s parents, informed them by phone that she was pregnant after being repeatedly raped by the man who abducted her.

“Asked by her father if she could leave her abductor’s house and return to her parents’ home, she told him that she is not allowed to leave the house and that her life has become still more difficult,” Yousaf was quoted as saying. “She is now imprisoned within the walls of one room.”

Younus was taken from her home in October 2019, at the age of 14, and later forcibly married to a radical Muslim man named Abdul Jabbar.

In February, the high court ruled the marriage was legal under sharia law. There has been a delay in the appeal due to the pandemic.

The marriage violates the Child Marriage Restraint Act, which forbids the marriage of girls aged 18 and younger. Although the law was passed in 2014, it has not yet been applied.

Sources: The Christian Post, Aid to the Church in Need

  • Pray for Huma and her family who have been forced to endure this unbearable situation. Uphold Huma’s physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
  • Ask the Lord to intervene and change the heart of her captor.
  • Pray the authorities will do more to ensure justice and mercy for Huma and her family. Pray for the protection of vulnerable girls and women throughout Pakistan.

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CHINA:  Government Orders Low-Income Families to Abandon their Faith or Lose Financial Aid

CHINA: Government Orders Low-Income Families to Abandon their Faith or Lose Financial Aid

In the Chinese government’s continuing persecution of Christians, poor families are now being told to renounce their faith or lose welfare benefits.

The Chinese economy has been deeply affected by the coronavirus pandemic, especially low-income households struggling to make ends meet.

Now government officials are ordering Christians who receive welfare payments to replace crosses, religious symbols, and images inside their homes with portraits of China’s communist leaders.

“All impoverished households in the town were told to display Mao Zedong images,” a local pastor told Bitter Winter. “The government is trying to eliminate our belief and wants to become God instead of Jesus.”

A church member in one of the villages recalled how authorities entered his home and destroyed a calendar with an image of Jesus on it, then replaced it with a portrait of Mao instead.

“Impoverished religious households can’t receive money from the state for nothing – they must obey the Communist Party for the money they receive,” he explained.

Enforcing the new regulation started several months ago across China.

Earlier this year, the communist regime began removing crosses from churches throughout China and now portraits of Mao and Xi have replaced images of Christ.

Source: Bitter Winter

  • Pray the Holy Spirit will give His children heavenly wisdomand strategies to know what to do in this crisis.
  • Ask God to glorify His Name once again among the people of China.
  • Pray the kingdom of Jesus Christ would be strengthened and would grow even larger as a result of the current anti-Christian campaign.

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SUDAN: Apostasy Laws Abolished

SUDAN: Apostasy Laws Abolished

After more than 30 years of Islamist rule, Sudan has passed a series of legal reforms. Two major changes involved the abolishment of public flogging and the repeal of apostasy laws for those leaving Islam. Other regulations relate to the consumption of alcohol, female mutilation, and the opportunity for women to travel with their children without having to obtain permission from their husbands.

“We will drop all the laws violating human rights in Sudan,” claims Justice Minister Nasredeen Abdulbari, signalling that other changes may yet be coming. He further states that these changes are a way of safeguarding the rights of non-Muslims, who make up approximately three percent of the population. These changes reflect significant steps forward in the continuation of reforms announced this past April.

Sources: Release International, BBC, Mission Network News, Barnabas Fund

  • Praise God for these encouraging changes to Sudan’s legal system.
  • Pray that these reforms will truly be a major step towards freedom of religion for all citizens.
  • Pray for Christians who still encounter opposition from their leaders and neighbours. May these believers be encouraged by the fact that though positive reforms are a ‘work in progress,’ they will eventually achieve greater freedom and enhanced unity.

Post your prayer in the comments below.