Persecution & Prayer Alert

"George Washington Carver (1864-1943) overcame terrible
racial prejudice to establish himself as a renowned American
educator. Spurning the temptation to give in to bitterness for the
way he was treated, Carver wrote, 'Hate within will eventually
destroy the hater.' The Biblical response is to return good for
evil. When offended, 'do not avenge yourselves.' Instead, do
what is right that you may 'live peaceably with all....'"
~ Dennis Fisher (referencing Romans 12:17-19)


China: Tragic Incident at Church Demolition

Source(s): China Aid, International Christian Concern


A church that was demolished in China.
Photo: ChinaAid

The wife of a church leader in the central Chinese province of Henan was tragically buried alive underneath the rubble of their demolished church where she suffocated and died. On April 14th, a demolition team was instructed to destroy the Beitou Church in Zhumadian in order to pave the way for new developers to take ownership of the lucrative property.

In an attempt to stop the destruction of the building, church leader Li Jiangong, accompanied by his wife Ding Cuimei, stood in front of the bulldozers. The demolition workers purposely continued with their work, eventually burying the couple underground. Li Jiangong dug his way up to the surface but, unfortunately, he was unable to save his wife in time.

A member of the demolition team was heard to have said just before the incident: "Bury them alive. I will be responsible for their lives." The two demolition workers were later criminally detained by the local authorities because of pressure from the media. Other reports on persecution in China are available at our online country report.

Pray that the Lord will bring an overwhelming sense of comfort, peace and strength to the surviving church leader, Li Jiangong, and his family as they come to terms with their sudden great loss. Ask that He would also make His loving presence known to the believers of Beitou Church, so they will experience tremendous comfort during this difficult time as well. May this tragedy be used by the Lord to bring attention to the plight of the suffering church in China and, additionally, to reach those desperately in need of His forgiveness and salvation -- including the very ones responsible for the crime.

Tajikistan: Bomb Threats Against Church

Source(s): Release International

An evangelical church in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe has received repeated anonymous bomb threats. In-country sources state that the calls were made by someone who referred to himself as a Muslim with intentions of blowing up the church.

Local Christians are greatly concerned as the church is in the midst of preparations for an upcoming Easter celebration which is scheduled for May 1st. They are requesting prayer for God's intervention and protection so that any plans made by militants to target the services will be appropriately averted. To learn about persecution in the country of Tajikistan, click here.

The recent suicide bomb attack on Christians in Lahore, Pakistan, has put believers in other countries on high alert during church festivals. For more information on the attack that took place in Lahore, visit this page.

Please pray for God's divine protection over His people in Tajikistan, and that our Christian brothers and sisters in this part of the world (estimated to number fewer than 100,000) will not be intimidated by the threats. Instead, may they continue walking closely in fellowship with our Lord Jesus as they persevere with the building of His Kingdom in their nation. Additionally, intercede for the Tajik government, in hopes that officials will take firm steps to protect those of minority faith groups, such as Christians, while promoting religious tolerance for all. May our omnipotent God, who sees the affliction of His children, work through the government's policies to ensure ongoing justice and protection are provided on their behalf.

Nigeria: Rebel Fighters Sign Up for Rehabilitation Program

Source(s): The Sunday Telegraph

The Nigerian military has made significant gains against the Boko Haram terrorist group in the past 18 months, raiding a number of the group's camps in Nigeria's vast Sambisa forest, and freeing at least a thousand women and children who were taken captive during other mass abductions.

Yet, in none of the raids have any rescued prisoners or captured fighters been able to give convincing accounts of meeting or seeing the Chibok schoolgirls who were kidnapped on the night of April 14, 2014. The militant group's leader, Abubakr Shekau, had previously demanded the release of jailed comrades in exchange for the girls. But a deal along those lines -- brokered by the Red Cross -- fell through after Nigerian prison officials said that the commanders on a list given to them by Boko Haram were not in their custody.

The terrorist group is now seeking a large ransom for the release of the remaining 219 schoolgirls. (Some of the girls have thankfully managed to safely escape captivity.) The sect is thought to have issued the demand during secret contacts with the government of President Muhammadu Buhari who has announced his willingness to negotiate for the girls' freedom. A previous report on the kidnapping of the Chibok schoolgirls may be reviewed here.

Another encouraging step has recently been made by the government. Nigeria's Defence Headquarters launched "Operation Safe Corridor," a program to rehabilitate repentant Boko Haram fighters through camps where they will be offered jobs and training in return for undergoing biometric profiling. The military said some 800 fighters have already signed up for the program, and that other similar camps will be available across northeast Nigeria in ensuing months.

While we can be so very grateful for the wonderful gains made thus far, please pray for the success of the rehabilitation program. May many more Boko Haram members firmly resolve to leave their former deeds of evil behind them, and instead reach for the greater plans God has in store for their future. Ask the Lord to continue ministering to the abducted victims being held against their will – resulting in their liberty from captivity, reunion with concerned family members, and the restoration of their lives. Uphold Nigeria's governmental leaders as they seek to bring an end to the violence, rehabilitate insurgents, and provide protection for the civilian population. May He bless them with wisdom, strength and discernment.

To post a prayer of praise or petition on behalf of our persecuted family around the globe, please visit VOMC's prayer wall.

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