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Posts Tagged ‘India’

 

Persecuted Church1. Violence against Christians in Sri Lanka

On March 25, a pastor and church worker were attacked by a man armed with a machete, according to a March 27 report from the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka. The armed man barged into the Vineyard Community Church in the city of Pannala, North Western Province and slashed the men. Both believers sustained serious injuries. Local church members suspect the assailant previously burned the church’s electricity meter and attacked the caretaker. At last report, no arrest had been made.

During the past three months, members of the Assembly of God church in the town of Bulathkohupitiya, Sabaragamuwa Province have faced threats and intimidation from local villagers and Buddhist monks. The congregation is also being monitored. A petition for the church’s closure has reportedly been sent to the Ministry of Religious Affairs. As a result of the tension, many church members have been unable to meet together for worship.

Ask God to strengthen and heal those injured. Pray that suffering Christians in Sri Lanka will stand strong in faith and not give in to fear. Pray that their faithfulness will be a light that draws others to Jesus (Matthew 5:14-16).

For more information on the persecution of Christians in Sri Lanka, go to www.persecution.net/srilanka.htm.
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2. Orphanage burned, believers attacked in India

An orphanage in Bargarh district, Orissa, India that was torched by Hindu militants last August (see www.persecution.net/in-2008-08-27.htm) was burned to the ground a second time on March 20, according to a March 27 report from AsiaNews. The orphanage was placed under police surveillance following the August attack, during which a young teacher was thrown into the building and burned alive. However, police were not on site on the night the orphanage was set ablaze.

In the city of Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, a group of believers was attacked on March 27, according to All India Christian Council. Pastor Pramodam Joshua, his wife, his son and seven other church members were gathered in a believers’ home when three youths approached the owner of the building and threatened him for allowing the prayer service. Two youths confronted the Christians while they were traveling home and demanded to know why they were converting Hindus. Pastor Joshua and at least two other believers were beaten and injured.

Pray for lasting peace and stability in India. Ask God to heal the injured believers. Pray that God will embolden Indian Christians to be Christ-like examples to their persecutors.

To learn more about India’s suffering Christians, go to www.persecution.net/india.htm.
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3. Five Christians expelled from Morocco

Five female Christians, four Spanish and one German, were recently expelled from Morocco on accusations of “proselytizing” Muslims. According to a March 31 report from Compass Direct, the women were among a group of tourists who were arrested by police while gathered for Bible study in the city of Casablanca on March 28. Officials seized Christian material, including Arabic books and videos. The believers were questioned by police and detained until the early hours of the next day. The women, who were deemed missionaries by the government, were deported to Spain.

Pray for true religious freedom in Morocco. Ask God to give wisdom to these believers as to how to continue serving Him. Pray for the church as it continues to establish itself within Moroccan society (1 Timothy 3:15).

Find out more about the persecution Christians face in Morocco at www.persecution.net/morocco.htm.
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4. Update: Three Iranian converts sentenced

On March 10, a court in the Iranian city of Shiraz handed three converts to Christianity from Islam eight-month suspended prison sentences with five years probation, according to a March 31 report from Compass Direct. As part of the sentence, Seyed Allaedin Hussein, Homayoon Shokouhi and Seyed Amir Hussein Bob-Annari were ordered to discontinue their Christian activities. The judge warned the men, who were first arrested in May 2008 (see www.persecution.net/ir-2008-05-28.htm), that he will enforce their prison sentences and try them as “apostates” if they violate terms of their probation, which include a ban on contacting one another.
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5. Update: President signs restrictive religion law in Tajikistan

Tajikistan’s President, Emomali Rahmon, has signed a repressive new religion law that was first sent to parliament for approval in mid-November (see www.persecution.net/tj-2009-03-18.htm). The legislation, which violates the country’s constitution and international human rights obligations, has been harshly criticized by many human rights groups, including the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief.
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6. VOMC Persecuted Church Prayer Conference this weekend!

Don’t miss VOMC’s upcoming Persecuted Church Prayer Conference in Edmonton, Alberta this Saturday, April 4. Hear the testimony of guest speaker Mr. Kim, a man who served in the North Korean military until he came to know Christ and escaped to China. Learn more about the work of The Voice of the Martyrs in Korea from VOMC co-workers, Eric Foley and Ahn Hyun Sook. Be blessed through the music and worship led by violinist Trevor Dick. VOMC CEO, Glenn Penner, and Greg Musselman will also report on how the mission is serving the Persecuted Church worldwide. Find out more by phoning our office at 1.888.298.6423 or by checking out our conference brochure at www.persecution.net/download/2009confbroch.pdf.

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Khvarshin People

Not only are the Khvarshin (aka, Khwarshi) people unfamiliar to most Westerners, their homeland of Dagestan is a mystery as well. This tiny ethnic group of 3000 people lives in the nondescript Dagestan region of southwestern Russia, near the former Soviet state of Georgia. They are farmers, ranchers, and craftsmen who reside in small villages scattered throughout the mountains. Unless one is specifically looking for the Khvarshin people, they will not be found.

 

But God is looking for them. It is His desire that the gospel reach all 3000 of the Khvarshins in every one of their remote villages. Because of their size and location, the Khvarshins have yet to be presented with the gospel. They do not have the Bible available in their heart language. Another reason they remain unreached is their practice of folk Islam. This potent mixture of shamanism and Muslim rituals has erected a barrier between them and the truth.

 

Someone once compared the lost to prisoners of war held captive behind enemy lines. Liberating them requires launching a rescue mission deep into enemy-held territory. The Khvarshins, like POWs, are waiting to be set free. The only question is: who will go to free them?

 

Pray for God to raise up, equip and send out “troops” who will take the Good News of Jesus Christ to the Khvarshins. Ask Him to open prison doors, loose the prisoners from the chains of folk Islam, and lead them into the freedom and joy of His Kingdom.-CL View article…

 

Dosadh, Hindu of India

People Name: Dosadh, Hindu

Country Name: India

Population: 4,930,000

Primary Language: Hindi

Primary Religion: Hinduism

% Evangelical: 0.00

Status: Unreached

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Persecuted ChurchPastor Shot in Bomb Attack On Church in India

Compass Direct is reporting this news today. Attacker said he aimed to stop Christian conversions; Hindu extremist connection suspected.

NEW DELHI, March 10 (Compass Direct News) – In an effort to stop conversions to Christianity in the eastern state of Bihar, a 25-year-old ailing man on Sunday (March 8) exploded a crude bomb in a church and shot the pastor. Police Inspector Hari Krishna Mandal told Compass that the attacker, Rajesh Singh, had come fully prepared to kill the pastor, Vinod Kumar, in Baraw village in the Nasriganj area of Rohtas district, and then take his own life. Church members caught Singh before he could kill himself or others. At press time the 35-year-old pastor was out of danger of losing his life, according to a leader of Gospel Echoing Missionary Society (GEMS) who requested anonymity. The church, Prarthana Bhawan (House of Prayer), belongs to GEMS. “In his statement, Singh said he was personally against Christian conversions and wanted to kill the pastor to stop conversions,” Mandal said. Asked if Singh had any links with extremist Hindu nationalist groups, the inspector said no such organization was active in the area, though local Christians say Hindu extremist presence in the area has increased recently. The GEMS source said the incident could have been fallout from conversions in nearby Mithnipur village, where a Hindu family had received Christ after being healed from a mental illness around six months ago. Singh also lives in Mithnipur. Additionally, the source said, people allegedly linked with a Hindu nationalist group had sent a threatening letter to the pastor, asking him to stop preaching in the area.

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 Lezgin People

Do you know your alphabet? If you ask an elderly Lezgin woman, she might ask you, “Which one?” Originally Lezghi was written in an Arabic script. Under communism, a Latin script was introduced, later to be replaced by a Russian Cyrillic script in an effort to Russify the people.

Traditionally they are an agrarian and pastoral people. They are well known for the textiles that their women weave. Some Lezgins work in food processing while others work seasonally making jewelry or weapons. Nonetheless, unemployment among them is as high as 60 percent! This is not likely to change even if they had their own independent Muslim state.

Very few Lezgins are followers of Christ. The vast majority are Sunni Muslims whose religion has a lot of pre-Islamic beliefs and practices. That is changing, however, as young people become secularized and Lezgin clans continue to decline in influence as people leave the mountains for Caspian Sea coast towns in Dagestan and Azerbaijan. As a consequence, they are being exposed to Shi’ite Islam in Azerbaijan; and a number are becoming bilingual in the language of Azerbaijan.

Pray for distribution and use of the JESUS Film and for gospel radio in Lezghi. Pray for the Holy Spirit to work in their lives so that they yearn to know the One who is Alpha and Omega. Pray for local fellowships of believers. Pray for Christian development workers or businessmen to establish employment opportunities among the Lezgin people.-TP View article…

 

 

Ansari of India

People Name: Ansari

Country Name: India

Population: 9,630,000

Primary Language: Urdu

Primary Religion: Islam

% Evangelical: 0.00

Status: Unreached

 

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Ministry a laser beam of light in dark corner

 

North Korea (ODM/MNN) ― Do you ever wonder if anyone is making a difference in the darkness of North Korea? Open Doors is. They’re planting seeds of hope in a country that is widely recognized as the world’s worst persecutor of Christians.

This is happening not only in North Korea but with persecuted believers around the world.

About 40 North Korean women regularly receive Bible study training, child education fees, and living expenses in one Open Doors project.

“Our greatest reward is to see their lives change through a stronger faith in our Lord and to see them become devoted mothers and wives,” says an Open Doors co-worker.

One North Korean believer wrote: “We will do our very best to spread God’s Gospel in North Korea. Thank you so much for your continuous support and care.”

According to Open Doors ministry statistics for 2008 released today, training in North Korea increased more than in any other country. Training Christians in the Word increased from 440 in 2007 to 4,212 in 2008 in the country ranked No. 1 on Open Doors’ World Watch List of 50 countries where Christians suffer the most severe persecution.

North Korea also had more people receiving social-economic assistance than any of the 45 countries where Open Doors ministers to the persecuted. According to Open Doors statistics, 54,330 North Koreans were helped in 2008, which was a 42 percent increase over 2007.

“We give thanks to our Lord for enabling Open Doors to increase the number of pastors and church leaders trained in the Word in 2008, and also the increase in the number of people helped through our social-economic programs,” says Open Doors USA President/CEO Dr. Carl Moeller. “Also, Open Doors continued its delivery of Bibles and Christian materials — almost 4 million — to believers around the world. Open Doors is truly making an impact for His kingdom. All this would not be possible without the support and partnership of thousands of individuals and churches who share our passion for the persecuted.”

Worldwide, 3.9 million pieces of literature were delivered in 2008. They included Bibles, children’s Bibles and materials, study Bibles, New Testaments, Gospels, training materials and other types of literature to strengthen Christians. Literature deliveries increased by 74 percent in Central Asia, 51 percent in Vietnam, 28 percent in the Middle East, 25 percent in sub-Saharan Africa and 22 percent in Egypt.

After receiving a children’s Bible, Daniel Abba, 13, of Nigeria, said: “This is the greatest gift of my life. It contains life; it has an answer to all my needs. It will teach me how to be free from sin. I can use it to help others who are walking toward destruction.”

More than 114,400 Christian leaders were trained in programs that varied from intensive, on-going theological training courses to shorter seminars designed to teach and encourage persecuted Christians. Worldwide, Open Doors training increased six percent. In addition to North Korea, training increased significantly in India (79 percent) as persecution there increased.

Open Doors sponsors many Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS) seminars in India each year as well as in many other countries. At SSTS seminars, participants learn about what the Bibles says about persecution. Also, the participants are encouraged in the faith, and trainers let them know believers in the West are praying for them.

Mary Patmajhi, 17, attended an Open Doors-sponsored SSTS seminar for women in Gopalpur, Orissa, after the August 2008 violence. She is a student who wants to study but is unable to do so because of aftermath of the violence. “I really want to study and be something for the Lord. The Open Doors seminar that I have attended has given me hope and encouragement. The exhortation that we as young people received during the seminar,  to give ourselves to the Lord and the community, makes me want to serve the Lord by becoming a person of influence for Him,” she said.

More than 206,500 individuals around the world benefited from Open Doors’ social-economic development programs in 2008, a 37 percent increase from 2007. In addition to North Korea, there were large increases in aid in the Middle East (465 percent), sub-Saharan Africa (136 percent) and Southeast Asia (40 percent). Also, social-economic support increased in India from 35 persecuted Christians helped in 2007 to 23,464 in 2008; mostly due to the violence against Christians in the state of Orissa.

In China, there was almost no social-economic outreach in 2007. But after the Sichuan earthquake last May, Open Doors partnered with churches to help more than 3,860 individuals.

One example of Christian community development outreach is a center in Iraq which provides the Christian community with vocational training (in English and computers), a bookshop and library. Due to violence in the country, some of the other centers established were forced to close.

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Hope for slum dwellers

 

‘Slumdog Millionaire’ is the story of a boy’s life growing up in the slums of India

India (MNN) ― After viewing the Academy Award winning film, ‘Slumdog Millionaire,’ many people were shocked by the living conditions portrayed. The picture painted of poverty was uncomfortably accurate.

Dave Stravers with Mission India explains the reality of the poor conditions. “People in the slums have a few square feet of space, and sometimes a roof over their heads. [There is] no running water and no toilet facilities whatsoever, not even a hole in the ground. Usually their work is day by day. They’ll go stand on a street corner or a place where some people come to hire day laborers, and they typically earn anywhere from 50 cents a day to two dollars a day, depending on the job.

“Kids don’t go to school because they work, even from the age of six. They’ll go out doing some job, working in a factory or even scavenging on the street. Often there’s not enough to eat and conditions are extremely crowded. … It’s a pretty grim existence.”

While there is a happy ending for the protagonist of ‘Slumdog Millionaire,’ this is clearly not the case for all who live in poverty. With all this in mind, the situation may seem hopeless for these slum dwellers; but with the help of Mission India, hope flows in abundance.

“In the past six months, more than 30,000 children have come to Christ through our ministries to children in slums; and actually more than 30,000 of their parents have also come to Christ,” says Stravers. “These people are generally living without much hope, but when they receive the Gospel and the friendship of a local Christian, life can really dramatically change for them.”

Mission India has reached thousands with the Gospel through Children’s Bible Clubs and adult literacy courses. Slum children are given opportunities to engage in tutoring, games, music and Bible stories, many experiencing holding a toy or learning a song for the first time. Once adults are trained through literacy classes, many are able to pass literacy tests, allowing them to earn much higher incomes and rise up out of poverty.

God has softened the hearts of many in India to receive the Gospel as they participate in these ministry activities. “The church in India is growing so fast,” says Stravers. “The Holy Spirit has really prepared people in India to hear the Gospel and believe like never before.”

The response of local Christians has been equally exciting. Believers are delighted to share their faith and the Gospel in any way they can. Mission India is currently providing training for 100,000 believers who would like to minister through Children’s Bible Clubs and adult literacy classes. Stravers notes that “for every three or four that we train, there are three or four more who would love to [be trained].” Although this may keep the ministry busy, an abundance of servants for the Lord is undoubtedly a welcomed problem.

Mission India asks you to pray for connections to reach as many people as possible with their ministries. “The Holy Spirit has already prepared hearts to receive Christ–that work is done. Now it’s a matter of just bringing the workers to those people who are ready to be helped.”

If you would like to help Mission India in this exciting work, click here.

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In Other News

Political power split benefits India’s believers View article…

Inside India: Where Are the Indian Missions in Influencing the Indian Diaspora around the World? View article…

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Botlikh People

“Might makes right” is the lesson the Botlikh people of southern Russia learned in 1999. Their mountainous homeland was chosen by the Russian Defense Ministry for a military base to repel terrorist attacks from the neighboring Chechnya region. Although war was unwillingly thrust upon them, 2,500 Botlikh people fought alongside Russia’s regular army forces against the invaders, resulting in three local residents receiving the Hero of Russia title-the highest award for military valor. An additional 106 people were awarded the Order of Courage.

Despite their war accolades, the peoples of Botlikh are a peaceful group of gardeners who make their living by tending their orchards which provide grapes, apricots, apples, and walnuts not only for them, but for the other nearby regions. The Botlikh peoples barter for other products, especially meat, cheese and wool.

They are a predominantly Sunni Muslim community with no Scriptures in their language. Living in Europe’s least evangelized region, with no active church planting within the past two years, plus Muslim influence bent on forming an Islamic Republic leads to the Botlikh people “perishing for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). A strong national identity coupled with their own language makes it necessary for Christ’s missionaries to learn of these people by living among them in order to plant an indigenous Botlikh fellowship.

Pray for favorable conditions for missionaries to live in this region, translate the Scriptures and plant fellowships.-MB

 

Badhai, Muslim of India

People Name: Badhai, Muslim
Country Name: India
Population: 513,000
Primary Language: Urdu
Primary Religion: Islam
% Evangelical: 0.00
Status: Unreached


 

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