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Weekly Edition (10-Jul-2005)
"Within two weeks I had recovered, so they brought me back to the interrogation center where I was again beaten and tortured for another 54 days," wrote Lee. "During this time, I would think of Joseph who was also in prison and Daniel in the lion's den. God was unchanged – and as He was with those before me, He would watch over me. I kept my faith." – Brother Lee (alias for a missionary who survived a North Korean prison)
Table of Contents
Prayer Requested
In this week’s newsletter we are burdened to present two press releases given to Christian Monitor this week. We consider our relationship with each group to be held in high esteem and trust the facts presented here. Both situations deserve our concentrated efforts, interceding to alter the situations and asking God to accomplish His perfect and permissible will. We believe that oftentimes persecution of believers occurs for the purpose of stirring up the people of God to prayer. In other words we often benefit from the suffering of others. We write this with no intention of minimizing the suffering our brothers and sisters in Jesus go through. They pay a price many of us would never be willing to pay. Yet God promises they will never be abandoned by Him. The apostle Paul so eloquently told us in II Corinthians 4, “that we may be persecuted but never forsaken. Struck down but never destroyed, always carrying in our bodies the dying of Jesus so that the life of Jesus would be manifested in us”. Please intercede for our Chinese brothers and sisters and remember to pray for all who suffer for the sake of the cross. As God would never abandon them, neither should we.
Prayer Points
  • Father we lift up these situations to you. We may not always know how to pray but we ask for the Spirit to intercede for us in those times. Thank you that you remain faithful to us and do not forsake your children. May we have the same mind through Jesus our Lord.
  • China
    Underground Bishop Detained
    (Cardinal Kung Foundation) Bishop Jia Zhi Guo, the underground Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Zheng Ding in Hebei Province, was arrested again by two government officials at his house at approximately 3:30 pm Beijing time today July 4, 2005 and was driven away to an unknown location. The government officials telephoned Bishop Jia in advance, notifying him that he was being picked up and ordering the Bishop that he was to tell the people that he was being taken away by the government officials to visit a physician. Bishop Jia is not sick at present and there is no need for him to visit a physician. We have no idea how long Bishop Jia will be taken away.

    Bishop Jia is 70 years old and was ordained a bishop in 1980. He was previously in jail for approximately 20 years and has been under strict surveillance for many years. He takes care of approximately 100 handicapped orphans in his house. This is the sixth time that Bishop Jia was arrested since January 2004. The first arrest was April 5, 2004. A car with four government security policemen suddenly appeared at the bishop’s residence and took him away without explanation. The second arrest was September 9, 2004 when Bishop Jia was forced by two security personnel to take a tour for three days to Wentang Township in Pingshan County. Adding insult to injury, they forced the bishop to pay for the hotel and meal expenses, including for those government officials who watched over him. The third arrest was September 30, 2004 when Bishop Jia was forcibly taken away by security personnel of Shijiazhung district. The arrests on December 14, 2004 and January 5, 2005 were Bishop Jia’s fourth and fifth arrests.

    Joseph Kung, the President of the Cardinal Kung Foundation, said: “I said it before and I am saying it again. The spirit of the Olympic Games is being so downgraded by their coexistence with the evil spirit of religious persecutions in China. The noble name of “Olympic” is being severely tarnished by its association with religious persecutions and human rights violations in China who is hosting the 2008 Olympic Games. This is about the time for the Olympic Committee to consider canceling the Games in China in order to preserve their good name and spirit.”
    Prayer Points
  • Pray for Bishop Jia once again as he is held in isolation. Pray God would cause remembrance of previous detentions and the Bishop would draw strength from those times. Pray God would deliver him from captivity. Above all pray that God would accomplish His purpose through brother Jia.
  • Pray for the orphans under the care of the Bishop. Pray God would grant His perfect peace upon them and give them security in His presence. Pray they would grow through this experience and gain confidence that God will never abandon. Pray this situation would give the children strength should they face persecution in the future.
  • Pray for the guards and police who are involved in this lock-up. Pray the Holy Spirit would touch them through Bishop Jia and cause them to look upon him with compassion. Pray they would see Jesus through this man and know they have been in the presence of Him.
  • Pray for the many imprisoned underground leaders in China. Pray for focus on their calling and peace with the circumstances that cause persecution to persist in China. Pray all would remain faithful to the One who has called them from darkness into His marvelous light.
  • China
    Leading Beijing Pastor Awaits Sentencing
    (China Aid Association) CAA learned that Pastor Cai Zhuohua, the leader of six Beijing-area house churches, was put on trial Thursday morning in a Beijing courtroom for alleged “illegal business practices.” The trial lasted about four-and-a-half hours and the verdict was not announced. Cai was on trial along with his wife, Xiao Yunfei; her brother, Xiao Gaowen; and his wife, Hu Jinyun.

    Nine lawyers had volunteered to represent the accused Christians, but the judge allowed only five of them into the courtroom.

    Pastor Cai’s mother was also not allowed to be in the room for the trial. The family had been told that they would be allowed 10 seats for family members in the room. When they arrived at the court, though, they were told they would have only five seats. But then guards allowed only three family members inside, and Cai’s mother was prohibited from entering. Two members of the church were allowed to enter, as was Xiao Yunfei’s father. Even though there weren’t enough seats for family members, the judge invited more than 20 law school students as his guests to observe the trial. Eyewitnesses report that about 30 of pastor Cai’s church members boldly stood outside the court building showing solidarity with pastor Cai.

    The U.S. Embassy sent an observer to be present at the trial, which had been announced for hearing room #3 at the People’s Court of Haidian District in Beijing City. However, when he arrived at that room, the embassy staffer was told that the hearing had been moved to hearing room #6, then forced to leave the premises.

    Once the hearing began, Pastor Cai revoked his written testimony, which was composed from the interrogation records of the police. He said he was not aware what the interrogator had written down on the interrogation record, and that he was forced to sign the record of the interview under torture. He denied that he had anything to do with the record.

    All three of the other accused Christians also revoked their testimony, saying they had been forced under threat of torture to sign.

    The lawyers tried to present evidence that the case had to do with Cai’s unregistered church activities, but the judge would not allow any arguments about religious issues. “This has nothing to do with religion. This is an economic crime,” presiding judge You Tao said from the bench.

    Police witnesses read their prosecution/accusation papers, as well as records from the interrogation. Only one witness for the defense was allowed to testify: an old Christian lady that said she had received Christian literature from Pastor Cai without being asked to pay anything.

    This witness led into the defense’s core argument: that because the Christian literature was being given away, it was not a for-profit activity and therefore could not have been “illegal business practice.”

    Cai was arrested last September 11 at a bus stop, where he was dragged into a van by state security officers. The prosecution of his case was reportedly arranged directly by the Department of State Security. Authorities had been shocked to find more than 200,000 pieces of printed Christian literature in a storage room managed by Cai. In China, only one printer is legally able to print limited numbers of Bibles in China, and those Bibles can only be sold through registered churches.

    The verdict in the case will be announced later. CAA sources say it could be a week, or it could be a year. It is believed that the Chinese government will try to find a time when political fall out from the decision will be less. One of Cai’s lawyers Mr. Gao Zhisheng, chief attorney at Beijing Shenzhi Law Firm told Agency France Presse that, “It is impossible for them to be found innocent, but I have confidence to strive for lighter sentences.”

    “Clearly the charges against pastor Cai are false,” said Bob Fu, President of CAA and a former coworker of pastor Cai, “We urge people of conscience around the world to pray and protest on behalf of these faithful Christians.”
    Prayer Points
  • Pray for the decision that the justice system will hand down for the four Christians. Pray they would not fall victim to policy but would be allowed to freedom to carry out the ministry and the worship of God with the ability to tend to the harvest fields.
  • Pray for the children who have been deprived of their mother and father. Pray the peace of God would calm and reassure them. Pray their every need would be met and the faithfulness of God would be evident in their lives. Pray this training ground would bear much fruit in the future.
  • Pray for those under the care of Pastor Cai. Pray for leadership to cause growth in the absence of this leader. Pray for boldness and a sense of purpose to encompass them through this persecution. Pray the Gospel would go forth in Jesus name.
  • Pray for Christians around the world to realize the necessity of prayer in this situation. Pray the reality faced by the underground Christians in China would captivate hearts and lead to fervent prayer. Pray strong intercession would bring a change in this situation.
  • Global
    Lest We Forget
    (CM) Let us continue to intercede for the many needs of the persecuted church around the world. Time and space do not allow for an adequate representation of all these needs. Several are presented here and are no less important than those presented in-depth in this newsletter. The Christian Monitor website contains recent articles that expose prayer needs in these nations. Continue to lift up these needs and pray continually for persecuted Christians around the globe. You may never see or hear the results of your prayers but know that they impact many lives. If at all possible commit to an hour a day to intercede for the needs presented in this newsletter. Please tell others about the issues highlighted.
    Prayer Points
  • Pray for Vietnamese Christians who suffer at the hands of the communist government. While the government talks a line of respect for human rights and freedom of religion they constantly persecute Christians. Many underground church leaders remain imprisoned or under house arrest.
  • Pray for Christians in India undergoing vicious attacks from radical factions. More often than not homes are destroyed and villages looted. Christians face much discrimination and are treated as a lower caste.
  • Pray for the Christians in Eritrea who endure hardships at the hands of a government intent on closing down evangelical groups. Pray this nation would repent and acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
  • Pray for our brothers and sisters suffering in North Korea. No nation has persecuted Christians as North Korea has. Worship of the Kim Jong Il is required and adherence to the Juche philosophy of man in control is enforced. Christians in prison camps face the harshest treatment with the most difficult labors assigned. As Soon OK Lee has told us they are less than human.
  • Pray for those imprisoned in Saudi Arabia for what has been deemed illegal religious activity. The religious police often utilize brutal tortures to induce recantations of faith in Jesus and confessions of wrongdoing.
  • Pray for those in Indonesia who still suffer persecution from radical Islamic groups. Pray for protection from attack and endurance in the faith. Pray for peace in villages and strong government without bias based on religious preference.
  • Pray for Christians in the former Soviet Republics as they face challenges of religious laws aimed at restricting the ability to gather in small groups or function as independent evangelical groups. Fines and jail sentences await those who carry out “illegal” religious services and many are denied official registration.
  • Pray for Christians living in freedom to develop thankfulness to God for His divine blessings. We need to pray God would continue to protect those freedoms and they would learn to become people of prayer to their God and intercede for their brothers and sisters around the world.