FROM “THE VOICE OF THE MARTYRS”


FROM “THE VOICE OF THE MARTYRS”
  
CHINA  (The first trial of the 17 top leaders from a Chinese religious group ended March 3rd, after three-and-a-half days. Inhumane torture, including sexual abuse, was revealed by some defendants during the court trial. CAA learned from a government source that only one relative of each of the 17 defendants was allowed to attend the hearing. One defendant, Mr. Xu, immediately revoked his so-called “confession papers” as soon as the court finished reading the prosecutors interrogation records. He said the listed confessions were signed under enormous torture, when “I would rather die than live.” He was hung in the air for five hours after sleep deprivation for five days and nights. Some self-claimed “torture experts” tied his fingers, toes and genitals with wire and then connected the wire to electricity. One defendant was hung in the air with a very thick blanket and then electrified after he got extremely wet. Mr. Xu´s daughter, Ms. Xu Baiyin, described her father as “calm and peaceful.” “In his final remark, he urged everyone in the court to believe in Jesus; otherwise, they will one day face eternal judgments in heaven. He also urged his children to continue to follow Christ without fear.” Government sources have said Xu and at least three co-defendants will be sentenced to death.

Give thanks to God for these faithful followers of Jesus who are trusting in His power to sustain them. Pray that as Christians around the world petition the Chinese government and lift these believers in fervent prayer, God will have mercy on them, not only sparing their lives, but also releasing them from further prison time. Pray their witness of calm peace will move the hearts of all who watched them during this trial and authorities will come to know the One who is seeking them before it is too late.
China Aid Association
 
INDIA 
Recent events in India have caused hardships for Hopegivers International in their ongoing efforts to provide care, food and shelter for some of the orphans in their charge. In a letter to National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), New Delhi, Hopegivers Founder Bishop M. A. Thomas says: “The Rajasthan state police and the administration have unleashed a reign of terror on our institutions and attempts have been made on the lives of our senior administrators. The government-sponsored radicals, in the very presence of local police, have indulged in large scale vandalism of our properties and continue to file cases without merit against us on a daily basis. Our lives are in danger, and police officials are helpless under the political disposition in Rajasthan. The supplies to our hospitals, orphanages and schools are running out, and the children will suffer if something is not done now.” Reports are circulating that building inspectors are being recruited to find fault with the orphanages, schools and church buildings in order to have them condemned and torn down. They would be replaced with yoga centers and Hindu temples. Registrations for all institutions and programs are being revoked without cause on an arbitrary basis.

Pray our loving Father will protect His children in the besieged compound, giving them food for their bodies and spirits. Pray the staff members will be witnesses of faith and hope and especially love. Pray God will answer the prayers of Christians worldwide to stop the harassment and threats of violence to this facility.

ASSIST News Service

Hindu villagers in the Eastern state of West Bengal assaulted Christian women from two different families on Thursday (March 2nd) and on February 16th. In last week´s assault, six young men forced their way into the home of Kanai Kamelia in East Medinipur district, Manhandling and tried to sexually assault his wife, Renuka Kamelia. The young men reviled the Kamelia family for attending a Christian prayer meeting. Renuka Kamelia, who bled profusely after the assault, later went to the Bhupathinagar police station, where police were said to have reluctantly registered her complaint. However, the officer in charge told Compass he had no knowledge of the attack. In the February attack, 13 local residents attacked the wife of influential Christian leader Biman Bandhu Patra. Leading the attack was Patra´s brother, who had long been upset about his decision to become a Christian.

Pray God will strengthen the hearts of these families as they trust in Him. Pray the Lord will move with power to change the hearts of the six young men, leading them to repentance and the joy of their salvation. Pray for a miracle of God´s grace to bring Patra´s brother into His Kingdom. 

Compass Direct 

IRAN  Baptist Press reports the U.S. Commission on International Freedom called for Washington to take action amid what it described as rapidly deteriorating conditions for religious minorities in the Islamic state, even though it acknowledged the White House´s policy alternatives are limited. Threats by political and religious leaders, as well as imprisonments and violence, have increased for religious minorities in Iran in recent months, the USCIRF said in a recent news release. Conditions had already begun to decline before Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected Iran´s president in August, but public remarks by the new president and other leaders have demonstrated things could become worse for non-Muslims in the country. There is no direct diplomatic relationship between the United States and Iran. The State Department has designated Iran as one of the “countries of particular concern,” a list of the world´s worst violators of religious liberty.

Pray Christians in Iran will continue to trust God in spite of opposition. Pray the Holy Spirit will strengthen them with His love and power. Pray God will bring about a great spiritual revival in Iran to break the bonds of the enemy.
Religion Today
 
PAKISTAN On March 3rd, two Muslim seminarians in Pakistan´s Punjab province were found guilty today of murdering a Pakistani Christian, who died 22 months ago after being tortured to convert to Islam. Before a courtroom packed with Islamic madrassa students and police, Judge Javed Iqbal Warraich sentenced Maulvi Ghulam Rasool and Mohammed Tayyab to 25 years in prison for their part in torturing and killing Catholic university student Javed Anjum. Prosecution lawyer Khalil Tahir Sindhu told Compass he was pleased with the verdict, but he would appeal for the sentence to be changed to the death penalty.

Praise God for this sign of His justice. Give thanks for the courageous judge who pronounced this sentence before a courtroom full of madrassa students and police. Pray the two guilty men will have an opportunity to hear and believe the Good News of Jesus´ love and forgiveness. 

GAZA 
The Palestinian Bible Society has temporarily closed down its center and bookshop in Gaza City after it came under a bombing threat, reports acting Secretary General, Nashat Filmon. Unknown masked gunmen distributed pamphlets on Palestine Square in Gaza City last month, threatening to blow up the building housing the Bible Society if it did not close down before the end of February. Last month two small pipe bombs exploded at the entrance of the center, causing damage, but no injuries. The Bible Society´s center in Bir Zeit on the West Bank was also attacked two weeks ago, with militants breaking windows and attempting to set its student facility on fire.

Pray God will make an opportunity for Bibles to be distributed in Gaza in spite of the closed Bible Society and bookstore. Pray courageous and joyful Christians will stand out in this environment, giving hope to those who live in the bondage of fear. Pray Jesus will give Muslims visions and dreams of Himself, surprising them with the joy of His patient, persevering love.

 Compass Direct
16 Mar '06

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FROM THE VOICE OF THE MARTYRS


 

FROM THE VOICE OF THE MARTYRS

CHINA Thirty-six house-church leaders, school students and the students´ teachers were taken into custody in a raid on Wednesday, March 1st. They were released the evening of that same day, shortly after CAA called for their release. However, the 10,000 copies of the unlawfully confiscated Christian literature were not returned. Instead, they were given to a government committee, which will rule whether or not they are illegal literature. The released students continued their classes the next day. CAA also learned that a top provincial Public Security Bureau (PSB) official who directs the crackdown campaign decided to grant the release after increased international pressure.

Give thanks to God that these innocent believers are free. Give praise to the Lord for the work of China Aid Association in responding quickly to the plight of our Christian brothers and sisters. Pray God will use the literature to bring the Chinese officials out of the desert land of unbelief into His glorious Kingdom.
China Aid Association

CUBA Cuban authorities jailed an evangelical pastor, who was the former president of his denomination, last week, apparently on charges of aiding illegal emigrants. Relatives of the Rev. Carlos Lamelas, however, said the supposed allegations against him are groundless. “They accuse him of getting people out of the country illegally, which is a big lie,” said one. “If he had that kind of money, he wouldn´t be living with hunger like he is now.” Some sources believe police targeted Lamelas because he has challenged the Castro regime on religious rights issues. Police allowed Uramis Lamelas a 10-minute visit with her husband on February 27th, one week following his arrest. She said he appeared “exhausted and depressed,” and he had been isolated from other inmates during his confinement.

Pray Jesus will surround Rev. Lamelas with the reality of His comforting, loving presence. Pray the family and friends of Rev. Lamelas will know the peace that comes from trusting in God. Pray God will convict Cuban authorities of their inhumanity toward Christians and lead them to Christ.
Compass Direct

KAZAKHSTAN
Baptist pastor Pyotr Panafidin´s refusal to pay a massive fine imposed last September for leading his unregistered church in the Southern town of Taraz in Kazakhstan, led to a three-day imprisonment and the decision to confiscate his home. Detained at a court hearing on February 27th, Panafidin was due for release on March 2nd. Pastor Panafidin also faces the prospect of his home being seized for non-payment of a massive fine handed down last September for his leadership of an unregistered religious congregation. “Of course we´re worried–if the house is seized, Pastor Panafidin, his wife Katya and their nine children will be homeless,” a local Baptist told Forum 18 News. “If a religious community is not registered with the authorities, that is no reason to restrict it.” He says the requirement for religious communities to register must be removed for Kazakhstan to meet its international human rights commitments. Other Baptists who refuse to register their congregations with the authorities on principle also face pressure from the police and public prosecutor´s office.

Pray publicity will thwart the plans of the authorities, Pastor Panafidin will retain his home, and the fine will be waived. Pray the members of all unregistered churches in Kazakhstan will be witnesses to the loving reality of Jesus Christ. Pray for a powerful movement of the Holy Spirit to sweep away the spiritual darkness of this country and bring in the light of Christ.
ASSIST News

NIGERIA

On February 23rd, Muslim rioters killed 10 Christians and set ablaze nine churches in Kontagora, Niger state, in Central Nigeria. The militants in Kontagora joined their counterparts in Northern Nigeria to protest what Muslims see as the blasphemy of the prophet of Islam, Mohammed, in cartoons published by a newspaper in Denmark. “The Muslim fanatics attacked Christians and burnt churches throughout the night,” Joseph Bawa, a Christian resident of Kontagora, told Compass by telephone. The militants clubbed Bawa and his family. He said, “I was beaten up by these Muslims, it is only God that saved me–I would have been killed.”

Continue to pray God will protect His followers from the spirit of violence sparked by the publication of the cartoons. Pray Jesus will comfort those mourning the loss of loved ones. Pray God will work a miracle of His love and power to break the spirit of violence in the hearts of fanatical Muslims, bringing them into His peaceful

Compass Direct
7 Mar '06

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