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NEWSLETTER
Weekly Edition (21-Aug-2005)
“His physical body was weak, but his spirit was as strong as a giant, Yuan paid a high price simply for refusing to compromise his faith in Jesus.” - Johnny Li, minister-at-large for Open Doors International.
Table of Contents
China
Patriarch Allen Yuan Goes Home to His Lord
(CM) On August 16th Pastor Allen Yuan (Yuan Xiang Chen) age 91, went home to be with his Lord and Savior. Pastor Yuan had endured years of change in China while clinging to his faith which caused him to spend over 20 years of imprisonment. As a strong leader of the underground church movement, he gave stability to a movement that now numbers multiple millions of believers, in a communist nation that has persecuted the church for many years. We mourn his loss but know that he is in a place where there is no more suffering. His crowns are lying at the feet of Jesus and his legacy will bolster the future of Christians in China.

Members of Christian Monitor staff have met with Pastor Yuan on many occasions. In those encounters we discovered a man who said very little of the suffering he endured while spending years in prison and hard labor. He said much about his love for China, his passion for the Gospel of Jesus, and his devotion to the underground church. His leadership and dedication to living as he taught others to live is an inspiration to all of us. One member was reminded of the intensity and urgency he felt in his later years of preaching the Gospel to the lost souls of China and Tibet. The feeling was that the time of harvest was right now and the laborers needed to be sent into the fields.

We have been touched by this man of God and his life would be an inspiration to all of us. The church in China will miss Pastor Yuan but is better equipped because of him. Those of us who had the opportunity to meet him are forever changed and carry within us a portion of his anointing and passion. You could not sit in his presence and not be changed.
Prayer Points
  • We must thank God for the dedication of His servant Allen Yuan. We must pray God would allow his legacy to impact future generations inside of China. We must pray those of us in freedom would learn from his example.
  • Pray for the leadership that was underneath Pastor Yuan. Pray in his absence they would find the strength to carry on the work that he trained them for. Pray for the mantle he left behind to go forward in double measure with those who carry it.
  • Pray for his wife Alice and his children. As they mourn his loss may God fill them with hope for the future and the assurance that his life counted. Pray God would allow them to see the oceans of faces that were touched by their husband and father.
  • Pray many would find inspiration in his life of dedication to the Lord in the midst of great persecution.
  • Turkmenistan
    Church Raid Conducted by Anti-terrorist Police
    (CM) The registered Dashoguz Baptist Church had concluded an open air worship service on Sunday, August 14th and then gathered for fellowship. Ten members of the police force interrupted the fellowship meal and began questioning the church members about their activities. They confiscated their Bibles and hymnbooks and questioned the children in attendance. Hoping to find them at the meeting without parental consent the police were dismayed when all of the children’s parents were present and stated their children were believers.

    The following day the leaders of the church were summoned for further interrogation. As stated in the report by Forum 18 news, “Officers warned church leaders that they had no right to hold church services or to read the Bible together in the countryside, and that such activity was an offence. They said that without registration of the congregation in Dashoguz, the congregation cannot meet or spread their faith”. The interrogators denied the validity of registration with the national Adalat (Fairness or Justice) Ministry, in the capital Ashgabad [Ashgabat].
    Prayer Points
  • Pray for this body of believers in Turkmenistan. Persecution of Christians is on the increase as freedom of religion is publicized by a government built around the personality cult of President Saparmurat Niyazov.
  • Pray for the children who were questioned by the police. Pray the memories of the incident would fade and not have a long term effect on them. Pray this situation would provided training for the future should persecution continue.
  • Pray for the church at large in Turkmenistan that continues to function under strict registration requirements. Pray for a boldness to overcome the obstacles and a desire to reach the lost for Jesus.
  • Pray for the government of Turkmenistan to adhere to the principles of human rights protection including the freedom to worship according to conscience.
  • Vietnam
    Freedom for Confession
    (CM) Pastor Quang of the Mennonite church in Hanoi was offered his freedom for confession of his alleged crime. In March of 2004 Pastor Quang confronted policemen stationed outside of house conducting surveillance of his home and church. Through that confrontation Pastor Quang and 5 others were arrested and became known as the “Mennonite Six”. Of those six only Pastor Quang and Pham Ngoc Thach remain imprisoned. While we understand the Vietnamese authorities’ interest in ‘saving face’ through an admission of guilt by the pastor, we do not understand the request based on the guilty verdict handed down by the court system and the denial of his appeal.

    In the continuing chronicle of persecution targeting Christian Montagnards, the Montagnard Foundation reported that on 27 July 2005 at approximately midnight, thirty Vietnamese police stormed into the village of Plei Nglom Thung , Ia Pet commune, Dak Doa District, Gia Lai Province and arrested a Christian Brother named “Than”. The police accused “Than” of supplying food to some his Montagnard brothers and sisters hiding in the jungle. The soldiers and police dragged “Than' out of bed and commenced beating him in front of his wife and children. His pregnant wife, H'Plin, tried to stop the beating but the police then beat her unconscious. “Than” was then taken to Gia Lai Province Prison but his relatives are not permitted to visit him.
    Prayer Points
  • Pray for Pastor Quang as he is in poor health from the continuous imprisonment and physical labor. Pray God would touch him in his body and in his spirit. Pray his resolve to endure his imprisonment would be accompanied by a renewed strength.
  • Pray for his family who endures constant persecution from the authorities. The church building has been partially demolished and members have been harassed and threatened.
  • Pray for the body of believers in Vietnam. God’s purposes are being accomplished through them in the face of trials and tribulations. Pray they would remain true to the One who called them.
  • Pray for the exposure of hidden plans and schemes by the government to continue. Pray for confusion to disrupt the plans of persecution and oppression.
  • Iran
    Hamid Pourmand
    (Christian Solidarity Worldwide) As you may recall Iranian Christian Hamid Pourmand, a convert from Islam to Christianity, was charged with apostasy earlier this year and, after much prayer and international attention, was subsequently acquitted in May. However, he remains in prison due to his prior conviction of deceiving the armed forces about his faith – a conviction which CSW believes to be false. He has been sentenced to 3 years imprisonment and dismissed from the army with the loss of all benefits. After his conviction his wife and two children were evicted from their home which had been provided by the army.

    Middle East Concern reports that Pastor Hamid’s older son, Immanuel, has now left Iran to study abroad. His wife, Arlet, and younger teenage son have moved to Tehran and are being provided for by other Christians, as they no longer have an income. Furthermore, MEC reports that Hamid is still being pressured to recant his faith.

    News agency, Compass Direct, reports that Hamid has been permitted to visit his wife and younger son twice this summer.

    Thank you for your ongoing support for Hamid, Arlet, Immanuel and David.

    CSW Advocacy Team
    Prayer Points
  • For Hamid’s swift release and a positive resolution of his and his family’s situation
  • For Hamid to know God’s strengthening inwardly by His Spirit and for a deep sense of God’s peace
  • For Hamid’s older son, Immanuel, that he will be able to concentrate on his studies
  • For Arlet, Hamid’s wife, and David, his younger son, that they will continue to know God’s provision, both spiritually and materially
  • China
    More Harassment and Arrests
    China Aid Association (CAA) has reported the following incidents in August:

    1. Despite a visiting high level US religious freedom monitoring delegation in Beijing (www.uscirf.gov) CAA learned five American Church leaders were arrested in Luoyang City and Yichuan City, Henan Province by the PSB of Luoyang City on August 15. According to reliable collaborated sources, four American church leaders including one couple and 27 Chinese House Church pastors were arrested at a location nearby a mall at Luoyang City at 9 am while celebrating Christian fellowship together. Another American along with Chinese Pastor Wan Dagan, were arrested at 1 pm by two plain-clothed secret agents while the two were walking on a street in Yichuan City, Henan Province. None of the names of the five Americans who are believed to belong to the same group of visitors are available. Their detention location is unknown. One man, Mr. Zhuo Tao, who used to work in the Chinese army, a nephew of Peter Xu, who is the founder of a Christian house church group known as Born Again Movement, was among those arrested.

    2. Also, CAA learned from eyewitness reports that on August 13, ten more South China Church leaders were released after 43 were arrested along with two American seminary students on August 2, in Hubei. Terrible torture was used against some of them including burning their arms with cigarettes and needles punctures to their wrists. One woman, Lian Tonggui, was stripped of her pants and beaten until bloody with a specially designed sharp bamboo stick. She is still in extreme pain. The two still remaining in jail are Ms. Gu Junqing - 38 years old, and sister Ren Daoyun 60 years old. Ms. Gu was recently transferred to her hometown at Tanghe County Detention Center, Henan Povince. Ms. Ren was the hostess of that gathering in Zaoyang City, Hubei Province. According to several eyewitnesses she was beaten repeatedly and passed out several times.

    3. At 9 am August 11, a Sunday school teacher’s training class was raided at Xiping Xinjian Village, Xiaogang Town, Dongxiang County, Jiangxi Province. Approximately 20 PSB and 8 police vehicles surrounded the church building where 35 high-school and university students and some church leaders were meeting. When the police began taking money from the pockets of the believers and packing church property to their vehicles, several older women asked for receipts. That is when the beatings started. All the believers were arrested and most of them were not released until 8 pm. So far 6 have received sentences for criminal detention and are waiting further prosecution. They are: Ms. Xu Meifang, Ms. Zhao Jie, Ms. Zhang Shuming (host family), Mr. Wu Jiewang, Mr. Zhu Guanzhu and Mr. Zhu Xiaochun. Another leader Ms. Xu Chahua, 42-year-old was arrested the morning of August 15.

    4. Other arrests involving abuse of women happened in Xinjiang. At 11 am, August 7, during Sunday worship service, a House Church in Hejing County, Xinjiang was raided. About 30 Christians were arrested and more than ten Christian women were stripped and paraded in front of the others. The women who refused to take off their clothes were beaten severely. One woman attempted to commit suicide by beating her head against the wall because of this extreme humiliation. More than 20 police vehicles surrounded the church. Three church leaders Mr. Song Jun, Mr. He Jiangwei and Ms. Liang Fanglan, are still being held incommunicado. The Domestic Security Protection Squad of Hejing County PSB, Mr. Ma Yi and Ms. Deng Ping and another police officer, badge ID number 131277, were involved in the interrogation and torture and abuse.

    5. From June to August, in at least four towns including Lizhuang Town, Xuzhai Town, Qiaogou Town, and Fenggang Town in Gushi County, Henan Province, according to CAA’s field reporters, approximately 400 to 500 believers were arrested including pastor Huang Congju, pastor Fan Zhgang and pastor Ding Xuezhi. They belong to 15 house churches. They were accused of “anti-society, anti-TSPM” because they left their corrupt government sanctioned Three-Self Patriotic Movement organization and declared their independence in 2003. All of them were released after paying heavy fines from 2000 to 5000 RMB.
    Prayer Points
  • Pray for each of these situations. We cannot possibly understand the suffering endured by these brothers and sisters in Christ. Pray for God to heal the emotional scars as well as the physical pain.
  • Pray for the believers who are left without their leadership in the church. Pray for the Holy Spirit to empower them to carry on the work of the Gospel. Pray for wisdom in operating in their absence.
  • Pray for those in detention. Pray for the peace of God to guard to their hearts and minds. Pray for faithfulness to the Gospel and a witness to the life changing power of Jesus to be evident to all.
  • Pray for the underground church in China to continue moving in God’s will and timing. Pray Jesus would shepherd his flock and the Holy Spirit to lead. Pray for the workers to find rest in Him while carrying an overwhelming burden to minister to the faithful.
  • Global
    The World Outside is Watching
    Lord, why is it that people play games —
    Hurting one another with their pettiness —
    Saying that they are Yours, Lord —
    Yet their actions show otherwise.

    Do they not know the outside world is watching —
    Looking for the love of Christ they are so desperately in need of —
    Their hearts aching with burdens they need to share and let go of —
    Searching for the One they can trust.

    How will they recognize You, Lord —
    If we as a family of brothers and sisters in Crhist —
    Can’t extend our arms of love to one another —
    Will Your lost sheep be able to find their way home?

    Show us Your way, Lord —
    Teach us to love one another with Your love —
    Remove our sinful ways from us —
    So that we can help those who are lost come home to the Shepherd.
    Prayer Points
    Can we demonstrate to the world our love for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering for their faith?