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MIRIAM: The Cost of Following Christ

MIRIAM: The Cost of Following Christ

As a university student, Miriam never wore a hijab. One day a Muslim lecturer asked, “Are you Christian?” When Miriam answered, “No sir, I am Muslim”, the professor became very angry and shouted, “Why you don’t wear hijab as a Muslim lady, to protect yourself as the Koran says?” He warned her that she would experience a very tough time at the university if she didn’t wear a hijab.

Miriam was very upset about the interaction and slipped away to a discrete corner and started to cry. Another lecturer approached her, asking why she was crying. Miriam told him what had transpired. He consoled her by saying, “You are free to wear or not to wear the hijab. No one has the right to instruct you to wear it.”

This same lecturer challenged the one who had threatened Miriam, saying that he didn’t have the right to say what he did, and told him very clearly not to cause any future problems for her.

He told Miriam that if she faced similar opposition again, whilst studying at the university, he was available to help. Miriam asked him, “Are you Muslim sir?” he replied, “I was Muslim but now I am an atheist”. Miriam was surprised by his answer, but grateful that he was kind to her and defended her against the other lecturer. Miriam soon decided to become an atheist.

Sometime after completing her university studies, Miriam met a Christian leader and debated with him on the basis of Christianity. She met with him many times, challenging him to prove to her that Christian faith is the ‘right faith’. The Christian leader continued to answer her questions and Miriam began accompanying him to church. This led to her becoming a Christian.

After her conversion, Miriam’s faith was discovered accidentally at home. Her family became very angry with her and began torturing her, trying to force her to return to Islam.

Fearing for her life, Miriam fled to another town.

Miriam’s father eventually discovered where she was living and forced her to come home. He tied her to a bed and began to torture her, aggressively trying to force her to deny her newfound faith.

Miriam managed to escape again. She travelled to Alexandria where she met a person working with a VOM partner ministry that aids and supports Muslim background believers.

The ministry has helped Miriam find accommodation and has encouraged her to participate in trauma counselling. She is now 31 and has been diagnosed with cancer. She is currently undergoing chemotherapy.

Please remember to pray for Miriam, for her physical strength, mental health, and her spiritual growth.

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PAKISTAN: Tortured to Death by Police

PAKISTAN: Tortured to Death by Police

While investigating an alleged theft, police detained 28-year-old Amir Masih. Four days later, he died in hospital from wounds inflicted by police officers.

On 28 August Amir Masih was taken into custody after accusations of theft were made against him by his employer. Two days later, after not returning home, his family discovered that he was being detained. Finally, on 2 September, they were informed that Amir was going to be transferred to hospital because he was not well.

Video footage at the hospital shows police bringing Amir there on a motorcycle and then kicking him as they dragged him to the entrance. He died later that day, after telling his family of his torture.

According to his brother Sunny, Amir was mocked for his Christian faith. He was then tortured, beaten and electrocuted in the officers’ efforts to force a confession. An autopsy confirms that he had suffered extensive bruising, along with broken ribs.

At last report, six police officers, including a sub-inspector, have been criminally charged. Various political officials have intervened to ensure justice will be done. One of the officials, Shunila Ruth, believes it is very possible that Amir was tortured because of his Christian faith. “Unfortunately, there are segments in our society who continue to be prejudicial towards members of marginalised communities,” she states.

Sources: Morning Star News, Daily Times, Pakistan Today, The News International

  • Uphold Amir’s wife and two young sons, along with his other family members and friends. Pray the Lord will comfort them during this time of considerable shock and grief.
  • Pray that true justice will be done, and that action is taken to prevent similar incidents in the future.
  • Remember the many Christians throughout Pakistan who face opposition from authorities and fellow citizens because of their faith.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

VIETNAM: New Believer Tortured for Faith

VIETNAM: New Believer Tortured for Faith

Village leaders tortured a Hmong Christian recently in an attempt to force him and his wife to renounce their new Christian faith.

After the couple refused to abandon their faith in Christ, the villagers hung the man upside down over a fire of spicy chillies. The acrid smoke burned his skin, throat and eyes, until he eventually agreed to renounce his faith.

The couple has since fled to another village where they are able to openly follow Christ.

Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA

  • Pray the Lord may help this couple overcome the trial they have suffered. May they experience great love and support from their Christian family.
  • Thank the Lord the couple now have an opportunity to openly live out their faith. Pray He will use them as a strong witness for the Gospel.
  • Ask God to continue overseeing the growth of His church in Vietnam, calling even those who oppose the Gospel.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

PAKISTAN: Young Christian Boy Beaten to Death by Muslim Employer

PAKISTAN: Young Christian Boy Beaten to Death by Muslim Employer

Badil, a ten-year-old Christian Pakistani boy, was working at a factory to care for his mother and two brothers, was raped and tortured by his Muslim employers before he finally died on 10 July.

His employers, Mohammed Akram and Irfan, were arrested in Sargodha after being charged with his murder on 14 July in Rasheedabad, Faisalabad.

Badil’s father is a drug addict who drained the family financially trying to feed his addiction. His mother, Sharifa Bibi, works as a maid earning only 3500 Pak rupees every month ($32). Badil, being the eldest of three children, recognised the hardship at home and decided to leave the Presbyterian school he attended, and find a job. He worked for Mr Akram, at a scrap metal dealership for 100 rupees a day – less than one dollar. He had only worked for Mr Akram for ten days before the incident happened.

The work requirements were difficult for a ten-year-old boy. He was required to work from 9am to around 7pm. Two days before the murder, he came home extremely late with only half of what he should have been paid. His mother instructed him to stop going to work because he was being cheated, but he persisted, knowing that his meagre income could help the family.

On the morning of the incident, he went to work with his brother, Moon, who was willing to assist him with some of his tasks. By the end of the day, Badil informed his employers that he would not be coming to work the next day because he was not being paid well. According to Moon, Badil was beaten up by Akram and Irfan for saying he was no longer coming to work.

His almost lifeless body was left at his house and when his mother Sharifa saw him that evening, he was still alive. He passed away at the Intensive Care Unit at dawn.

Pakistani Christians face difficulty, discrimination and persecution because of their Christian identity. They are frequently disadvantaged, trapped in a cycle of poor education and poverty.

Sources: International Christian Concern, Pakistani Christian Post, The Voice of the Martyrs USA

  • Ask the Lord for justice for Badil and his family. Pray the outrage over the tragedy will be heard at all levels of society.
  • Pray Badil’s family will find comfort in knowing that they will one day be reunited with Him. Ask the Lord to help Moon to overcome the grief and shock of this loss.
  • Ask the Lord to use this case to bring change to the way minorities and the disadvantaged are often treated in Pakistan.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

CHINA: Authorities Beat Christian Couple

CHINA: Authorities Beat Christian Couple

A Christian couple affiliated with a persecuted church in Chengdu, Sichuan, faced eviction after suffering beatings and torture at a local police station on Saturday.

At around 9am on 2 March the husband and wife, surnamed Liu and Xing, respectively, had just finished visiting members of Early Rain Covenant Church when they were taken to the local public security bureau office and beaten and tortured from 2pm until 10pm.

When they were finally allowed to return to their home, they were informed that the public security bureau officials and property owners were evicting them.

Early Rain Covenant Church has been under intense official pressure over the past year, culminating in an overnight attack on 9 December that left around 100 of the church’s members in police custody.

By the end of the week, more than 150 of the attendees had been arrested, and some of them are still in custody and facing criminal charges, including Pastor Wang Yi and his wife, Jiang Rong.

Source: ChinaAid

  • Thank the Lord for faithful Christians in China who willingly follow Him, though they face severe opposition.
  • Ask God to grant Liu and Xing His healing and abundant provision.
  • Pray for the release of the believes in custody. Ask God to spiritually strengthen them so they will not be fearful.

Post your prayer for Liu and Xing in the comments below.