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NEWSLETTER
Weekly Edition (14-Aug-2005)
“My father’s life is at risk because he sacrificed the comforts of home and the company of his family to help many refugees who had nowhere else to turn to for assistance. Now he needs your help, help from NGOs, government officials, and individuals, to persuade and to exert power on the Chinese authorities to release my father.” - Grace Yoon requesting help for her father, Pastor Phillip J. Buck
Table of Contents
Uzbekistan
Extinguishing the Illumination of Persecution
Religious freedom reporter Igor Rotar of Forum 18 News was detained by Uzbek authorities on August 11, 2005. Long a reliable source of information regarding religious freedom in Central Asia, Igor was arrested upon arrival at the Tashkent airport in Uzbekistan. Sources stated the arrest was ordered by the secret police for political reasons from the “highest levels” of the Uzbek government.

Uzbekistan has come under scrutiny for various human rights violations including increased persecution of Christians. International pressures have caused this nation to crackdown on Christians and stop the flow of information to the West. Igor has become a victim of the very persecution he reports on. While searching the Forum 18 archives you will find Igor Rotar as the correspondent on the majority of articles relating to persecution in Uzbekistan.

We condemn this act of harassment intended to silence a reporter who illuminates for the free world the atrocious acts committed under the cover of darkness by the Uzbekistan government. They can never dim the hope of Christians who are persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ and will never extinguish the desire within mankind to worship their Creator. We are thankful that Igor appears to be in good health although communication has not been permitted.

We have received notice on Saturday August 13, 2005 that Igor was forcibly deported from Uzbekistan.
Prayer Points
  • Pray for Igor while in detention. Pray for his safety and health. Pray this situation would strengthen his resolve to uncover the ugly deeds of persecution. Thank God that Igor was finally released.
  • Pray for the International Community to rise up to the challenge issued by Uzbekistan through the intimidation of Igor. Pray leaders of free nations would not tolerate this outrage.
  • Pray for Christians in Uzbekistan who have been persecuted or live under the threat. Pray God would give them strength, wisdom and discernment. Pray He would accomplish His purposes in this nation.
  • Pray for those who carried out this act of intimidation. Pray God would grant mercy in repentance and touch the lives of many unbelievers who choose to deny the Truth.
  • Nepal
    Prayer Requested by a Reader
    "In Nepal, Maoists (Communists) carrying guns, disrupted a church service. They beat the Christians in attendance, especially Pastor Prem Rai. He begged them, "Please do not beat me like this. If you want to kill me, kill me directly." The Maoists twisted his legs and hands so that he cannot walk properly. They stole his rice and crops, leaving him penniless, with a wife and daughter to support from his farming. And, they accused him of being an agent of the American government. In the past, they have threatened him many times to stop church services. The church he pastors is just one of many remote, village churches persecuted in Nepal.
    Prayer Points
  • Please pray that the Lord will heal Prem Rai's hands and legs. May he walk well again so that he can take the good news to lost Nepalese.
  • Pray God would increase His church in Nepal while guiding Christian leaders. Pray for wisdom and understanding as the work of the Gospel is carried forward.
  • Pray that Nepali Christians will love the Maoists, pray for them, and bless them with visible gifts. And, may the Maoists lay down their guns, and receive the peace of God.
  • We pray that all Christians would learn to pray for the persecuted as well as the persecutors. Pray for God’s grace to touch this nation.
  • China
    Arrests, Detentions and Harassment
    On August 9th reports became available highlighting the arrest and detention of two American theology students and several underground Chinese pastors. The two students were handcuffed and interrogated for 7 seven hours before being released. Their Bibles, notebooks and other religious literature were confiscated.

    Forty One underground pastors were detained along with the two Americans. All were reportedly members of the South China Church, once led by imprisoned pastor Gong Shengliang. Thirty were later released while 11 remain in custody. The official reason for the detention was “illegal evangelism” by the Christians.

    Once again China is showing evidence of intentional persecution designed to interrupt the functions of the underground church and bring it under the control of the Communist government. The ongoing campaign of harassment has missed the goal of eliminating the underground Christian movement and given growth to the church both numerically and spiritually.

    For Christians visiting the nation of China to assist the underground church this situation highlights the dangers of association with these precious brothers and sisters in Christ. For the visitor the penalty is a slap on the wrist. For the Chinese Christians imprisonment, hard labor or house arrest often awaits them. The Americans in this situation were undoubtedly deported but punishment awaits those who risked meeting with foreign Christians.
    Prayer Points
  • Pray for the Christians in detention. Pray the peace of God would surround them and strength would arise within their spirits. Pray for their provision and protection.
  • Pray for these brothers and sisters to remain faithful to their Lord in the midst of this trial. Pray the refining fires of tribulation would lead to a deeper trust in Him.
  • Pray for the nation of China to cease the crackdown on believers in the nation. Pray the testimony of the persecuted would bring this nation to repentance. Pray for understanding of the blessings on a nation “whose God is the Lord”.
  • Pray the deception of persecution to the world would be exposed in the name of Jesus and god would accomplish His purpose through the precious saints who proclaim the Good News throughout this land.
  • Laos
    Government Intolerance of Christianity
    BosNewsLife has reported from Laos on the raid of home belonging to co-workers of Christian Freedom International (CFI). The workers whose names were withheld for security reasons were medical workers providing healthcare to remote villagers. The harassment is part of a government campaign to persecute Christianity which is perceived to be a threat to the communist ideology of the state.

    The rapidly growing underground Christian movement also suffers from a lack of Bibles and teaching materials. The government of Laos has banned the distribution of Bibles in many areas along the Thai border leaving the church at a loss for desperately needed Biblical materials.

    Quoted the report, "But without Bibles and Christian literature, the many new Christians cannot grow in their faith and study Gods word," said 38-year old Pastor Khampet Deesakoun of an evangelical church in Namtee, a remote village of roughly 700 people, about 150 kilometers from the capital Vientiane.

    Many Christian groups have experienced church raids, arrests, tortures and long prison terms. The ongoing persecution of Christians calls for more intense prayer for the needs in Laos and persistent assistance in helping this body of believers to grow. Finally, Pastor Deesakoun appeared disappointed. "We really need Bibles and Christian literature. Also I need to grow and study more," he told BosNewsLife, to fulfill his dream of planting new churches in nearby villages and preaching the Gospel there.
    Prayer Points
  • We need to pray for this situation in Laos. Pray God would provide the necessary safe passage for His Word to reach these Christians who hunger for His Word. Pray those willing to take the Word of God into Laos would be protected.
  • Pray for the CFI workers who went through the raid on their house. Pray the incident will not stop their resolve to help the people of Laos. Pray for wisdom to lead them in their work and protection to follow them.
  • Pray for protection of other Christian workers inside of Laos. Pray they would act with wisdom and caution. Pray for their safety and security.
  • Pray for the underground churches in Laos. Pray they would have their prayers answered and would grow deeper in their faith. Pray for the Spirit to lead them as new churches are planted.
  • Bangladesh
    Increasing Persecution of Christians
    Sympathy was poured out to the families of Lipial Marandi and Tapan Kumar Roy. These two Christians were murdered on July 29th in the middle of the night. Reports stated the two were stabbed to death after receiving death threats one week prior. These two young men taught health awareness classes and showed the Jesus Film as workers with Christian Life Bangladesh.

    Spokesman David Beeler of Campus Crusade for Christ Asia stated the two men were ready to leave the area because of the threats. "But before they left," he says, "in the middle of the night, about 2:00 a.m. on July 29, some intruders came into their residence and stabbed them to death with machetes."

    Bangladesh is hostile to Christians because of the majority who hold to the teachings of Islam. This nation has been deemed ready for religious violence directed against minority faiths. Christians report being forcibly removed from their villages, raping of women and children, and poisoning of water supplies in retaliation for choosing to follow Christ. Christian Monitor knows of several evangelists that have been beaten and left for dead along with many children being abandoned because of their parent’s faith in Jesus.
    Prayer Points
  • Pray for the families of Lipial Marandi and Tapan Kumar Roy. Pray for God to comfort and keep them in His perfect peace. Pray the why questions would be replaced by reassurance that all things work out for those who are called by God.
  • Pray for Christians associated with this ministry. Pray God would protect those who are called by His Son’s name. Pray His right arm would defend and safety would be found under the shadow of His wing.
  • Pray for Christians throughout Bangladesh who face threats on a continual basis. Pray God would give them strength to stand the test of trials and tribulations and would reward them for their faithfulness.
  • Pray the nation of Bangladesh would protect the freedom of religious choice while controlling the premeditated violence special interest groups use to impose their set of beliefs.
  • 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
  • Grace Yoon has requested prayer for her father, Pastor Phillip J. Buck who was arrested in May of this year for his work in assisting North Korean refugees in China. The 68 year old pastor is in poor health. We also ask that you would pray for Choi Yong-hun who remains imprisoned for his work in assisting North Korean refugees escape form China.
  • Thank God that Yusaf Masih was released from detention in Pakistan. Yusaf was arrested under the oppressive blasphemy laws by false accusations that he destroyed pages of the Koran.
  • Pray against Saudi warnings issued to Indian Christians banning religious literature from coming into the repressive nation.
  • Pray for Montagnard Christians in Vietnam who face continuous persecution from a government bent on eliminating their native lands and practice of their Christianity.