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Weekly Edition (27-May-2006)
Table of Contents
Baby Dies After Christian Mother’s Arrest
19 May 2006 "Two days after an evangelical Christian mother was arrested from her home and jailed by Eritrean police," reports Compass Direct (CD), "her 6-month-old son has died on his sickbed in Nefasit, 10 miles east of Asmara." Ghenet Gebremariam and two other female members of Nefasit’s banned Full Gospel Church, were arrested. CD says: "They were detained on accusations of "actively witnessing about Christ" to the inhabitants of their town, local Christians confirmed to Compass today. All three were mothers forced to leave young children behind in their homes." Ghenet’s baby passed away from unknown causes. After police became aware of the death of the baby, Ghenet was released on bail. The other two women remained in custody.
Prayer Points
  • Pray that the Lord would comfort Ghenet during this tragic time. Pray that God would comfort the weeping heart of a mother and that the Lord would provide love, care and guidance to Ghenet.

  • Pray for her and the other two women as they await trial. Pray that the Lord would care for them, show them compassion and allows them to return home.

  • Pray for the safety of the children of the other two mothers. Pray that God would provide safe places for them to live in and pray that the Lord would take care of them.

  • Pray for the police interrogating the three women Pray through their witness these police would come to know Christ as their personal savior. Pray that God would work in their hearts to draw them to Him and adopt them as His own children.
  • Eritrea
    Oppression Continues
    24 May 2006 - Continued religious persecution in Eritrea has led Amnesty International (AI) USA to make "a new call to Eritrea's President Issayas Afewerki to make the coming 14th year of Eritrea's formal independence a year for the implementation of the human rights improvements urgently awaited by the international community, as well as many Eritreans in the country and abroad." According to AI, "although there have apparently been fewer arrests so far in 2006 than the previous year," the pattern of persecution has remained the same. AI says: "The main government targets have been Jehovah's Witnesses, because they refuse military conscription, and members of evangelical Christian churches which were closed down in 2002. Some 70 members of a dissident Muslim group are also detained. 25 evangelical pastors as well as three 'reformist' clerics of the officially permitted Eritrean Orthodox Church."

    The Irish based charity, Christian Concern for Freedom of Conscience (CCFC), "launched a new postcard campaign - Release Innocent Christians to draw attention to the hundreds of innocent Christians who are currently imprisoned in Eritrea." CCFC has made the following appeal to the Eritrean government: "I appeal to you to release the hundreds of innocent Christians who are in prison in Eritrea – some in dreadful conditions in shipping containers. They pose no threat to your government. Indeed their Christian faith makes them model citizens who will greatly benefit Eritrean society."
    Prayer Points
  • Thank the Lord for the international concern that is present. Pray that the Lord would hear the cries of His adopted sons and daughters in Eritrea and provide for them during this time of testing.

  • Pray for those imprisoned. Pray that God would bind them to Him and that they would be strengthened in their faith. Pray that God would continue to encourage them and continue to keep them hopeful.

  • Pray that the Lord would protect them from harm and release them soon to their families. Pray that the families would also be strengthened in the Lord and that the too would be faithful to God.

  • Pray that God would bless those who are not Christians. Pray that God would draw them to Him and that they too would understand the amazing grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  • Pray for freedom to descend in Eritrea. Pray for the liberty of all and for freedom of worship and religion.
  • Iran
    Christian Interrogated and Arrested
    22 May 2006 – Compass Direct (CD) reports Ali Kaboli, 51, a Christian who converted from Islam over 30 years ago, was arrested on May 2 and "is under arrest and interrogation in northern Iran, where secret police have held him incommunicado for the past three weeks." CD says that he was permitted one brief phone call. Since then he has not contacted anyone. "To date," says CD, "no charges have been filed against Kaboli, who has been threatened in the past with legal prosecution for holding ‘illegal’ religious meetings in his home." CD continues: "He could also be charged for converting to Christianity, which under Iran’s apostasy laws calls for the death penalty." CD also reports that several members of Kaboli’s house Church have also been taken in for questioning. Kaboli has been threatened, intimidated and harassed by police for a long period of time.
    Prayer Points
  • Thank the Lord for the persistent faith of Ali Kaboli. Pray the Lord would continue to strengthen his faith during this time of extreme trial. Pray that God would protect him and pray that his interrogators and prison guards would see Christ through this man.

  • Pray that the Lord would protect Kaboli physically, spiritually and psychologically and pray that any injuries he may have already sustained would be healed by the Lord.

  • Thank the Lord for the persistent commitment of the Christians who attend Kaboli’s house Church. Pray that they too would not be intimidated and continue to love the Lord.

  • Pray for the continued growth of the Church in Iran. Pray that more and more Iranians would turn to Christ and reject Islam as their way of salvation.
  • Uzbekistan
    Increased Oppression
    Forum18 reports: "In what seems to be a widening crackdown against religious freedom in Uzbekistan, the police and NSS secret police have raided several churches and a Baptist has been fined for hosting services in her home. Yesterday (18 May), a group of Protestants in the capital Tashkent were detained following a police raid on a private flat. Humanitarian aid agencies suspected of involvement in Christian missionary activity are also being closed. Irmuhamad Shermatov, of the Justice Ministry's Department for the Defence of Human Rights, has insisted to Forum 18 News Service that "we defend human rights," but refused to say what the Ministry was doing to end attacks on religious freedom. A colleague of Shermatov's in central Uzbekistan told Forum 18 that the Justice Ministry has closed down two Protestant churches. She refused to say how in Uzbekistan church members could freely practice their faith, as the country's international human rights obligations require."
    Prayer Points
  • Thank the Lord for the enduring faith of the Uzbekistan Christians. Pray that the Lord would give them, especially those who have been arrested, the strength to persevere in their faith.

  • Thank the Lord for those who are willing to travel to Uzbekistan to encourage the faithful. Pray that those organizations can continue to exist and continue to work in the area.

  • Pray that the Lord would use the powerful testimony of these suffering Christians to transform, not only Uzbekistan, but all of Central Asia.

  • Pray for the Lord to shine His light on the authorities in Uzbekistan. Pray that God would have mercy on them all and pray that the Lord would graciously draw them to Him and transform their unrepentant hearts.
  • Russia
    Evangelist Arrested
    25 May 2006 – Mission News Network (MNN) reports "several members of the Resurrection Baptist Church in Russia's Ivanovo were detained by local authorities after a raid last week on an authorized evangelistic event.” Joel Griffith, a member of the Slavic Gospel Association (SGA) that reported the incident said: "The church was using a local theater to show a Christian film and then they were going to distribute copies of the New Testament and Psalms. When the distribution began they had some agents from the local home affairs office enter the theater and then stopped the proceedings and they told the church that the distribution was illegal. And, this was despite the church having all the necessary documents that would allow the event." Griffith continued: "For what we understand from Reverend Vladimir Miskovich, who is the region pastor there, says it's the first time in Ivanovo that they've been detained and charged in connection with New Testaments, although they have been detained for other things. It seems like the authorities in the Ivanovo region do like to cause evangelical churches some difficulties." MNN reports that the local believers were fined.
    Prayer Points
  • Thank God for the faithful witness of these Russian Christians. Pray that because of their efforts the Lord would work in the hearts of many who were there that day and draw them to Him.

  • Pray that these arrests and fines would not discourage these Christians. Pray that rather they would be encouraged and continue to share their faith with others.

  • Pray the police in this region would leave Christians alone, especially at legal gatherings. Pray that God would also work in the lives of the policemen who arrested the Evangelists and that they too would come to know Christ.

  • Pray that the Lord would provide the fines for these Christians. Pray that they would be able to pay the fines and that these fines would not affect their way of life or their ability to provide for their families.
  • Belarus
    Case against Minsk church stalled
    25 May 2006 – From Forum18: "The court case brought by Belarusian authorities to force the sale of the charismatic New Life church's worship building – a disused cowshed - has been halted, Forum 18 News Service has learnt. Judge Aleksandr Karamyshev "promised to investigate our situation after he saw that the city authorities' arguments just don't stand up," New Life church administrator Vasily Yurevich told Forum 18. "We feel that people's prayers are making a difference – we have reached a turning-point." During the court hearing, Aleksei Vaga of Minsk's Architecture Committee insisted under oath that city religious affairs officials have no influence over his committee. But in a letter which Forum 18 has a copy of, the Architecture Committee withdraws permission for the church to change the designated usage of its building, "taking into account a 24 November 2003 written conclusion from the Religious Affairs Department." In a separate development, New Life is also "very pleased" about the acceptance of their appeal against a refusal to review a decision upholding curtailment of the church's land rights. No date has yet been set for this hearing."
    Prayer Points
  • Thank the Lord for the Judge's willingness to invesigate the case brought against this Church more thoroughly. Thank the LOrd for the mercy that He is showing and pray that God would work in the heart of the judge to ensure that the Lord's name will continue to be worshipped in this place.

  • Thank the Lord for the continued faithfulness of the Christians of this Church. PRay that the Lord would continue to draw them to Him and pray that God would strengthen their faith.

  • Pray for true religious freedom to come to Belarus. Pray thatt he government would turn around the oppressive religious laws and allow people to worship freely.

  • Pray for the growth of the CHurch in Belarus. Pray that the Lord would use this case to draw many into His kingdom.