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Belarus mapThe police raided the John the Baptist Pentecostal Church in Minsk during a morning worship service on May 27, according to a May 28 report from Forum 18. The church, which holds state registration, meets in the home of Pastor Antoni Bokun since it has been refused state permission to rent any other premises. Pastor Bokun was arrested and held overnight at a police station and church member Jaroslaw Lukasik, a Polish citizen married to a Belarusian, was detained for several hours. On May 28, Pastor Bokun was fined 620,000 Belarusian roubles ($313 CAD) for holding an "unsanctioned mass meeting." On May 30, Forum 18 reported that Lukasik was fined 31,000 Belarusian roubles ($15 CAD) on administrative charges of engaging in "illegal religious activity." He also received a second deportation order and has until June 7 to leave the country.

Belarusian authorities have barred several other Christian communities from renting property for holding worship services. Hence, congregations may be registered but cannot meet legally.

Pray that Antoni and Jaroslaw will remain steadfast in the work the Lord has given them (1 Corinthians 15:58). Pray that Christians in Belarus will be encouraged to continue to meet together despite increasing government opposition (Hebrews 10:23).

For more information on the persecution of Christians in Belarus, go to the Belarus Country Report.