On April 26, three Christians were killed and two others wounded in Kirkuk, Iraq, according to CNN.com.
Local police in southern Kirkuk told CNN attackers slit the throats of a Christian woman and her daughter-in-law, killing them both. Meanwhile in a nearby neighborhood gunmen attacked another Christian family shooting the father and his three sons. One of the sons died instantly and the others were wounded.
This incident is the latest in a series of attacks on Christians that have occurred in Iraq in recent years. In October 2008, more than seven Christians were killed and more than 200 families displaced. The Christian community in Iraq is estimated to be 3 percent of Iraq's 26 million people, or about 800,000. Since 2003, Christian leaders, churches and businesses in Iraq have been targeted by Islamic extremists. As a result, many believers have fled.
The Voice of the Martyrs encourages you to pray for these families as they mourn their loss and for healing for those injured. VOM supports persecuted believers in Iraq and in 2008 responded with 300 Action Packs to help persecuted and displaced believers in Mosul. Ask God to protect believers in Iraq as they risk all for their faith.
As of the time of this writing, the Free Gao petition has 58,923 people who have signed the petition to help pressure the Chinese into freeing Gao. There have also been 228,950 emails sent on behalf of Gao.
Gao has been in prison for 82 days now, and has suffered unspeakable torture for simply being a Christian. If you have not yet signed the petition or sent emails, please go to http://www.freegao.com and make a difference for this family.
Thank you for caring!
George Jeltonoshko knew his government did not want people propagating the gospel of Christ, but he had a stronger conviction to obey the commandments of Christ—even if it conflicted with the laws of his country.
It was not a huge surprise to him when the police came to his door. He figured it was inevitable that they would find out about his ministry activities because of the literature he had been spreading. When his trial date came, he was given a state-appointed Communist attorney. George boldly told the judge, “I don’t want a lawyer. I feel I am right, and righteousness needs no defense.”
The judge asked him, “Do you plead guilty?”
He replied, “No. To spread the good news of God’s love is the duty of all Christians.”
judge then asked him to join the ranks of the “official churches,”
which were nothing more than state-run puppet churches. But George
refused. The state church followed the commandments of the state, not
the commands of God.
The judge was getting frustrated. “Where do you meet for worship?” he demanded.
George answered, “True believers worship everywhere.”
He was sentenced to three years in prison where George Jeltonoshko continued to carry out his work and worship. He was right. Righteousness needed no defense.
Doing the “right thing” may be a popular motto. That’s easier said than done, however, because what is right in God’s eyes often conflicts with popular opinion. The dispute between right and wrong often becomes apparent in a classroom, a workroom, and even a courtroom or church. We can’t rely on our environment to tell us what is right. People can persuade us to confuse compromise with righteousness. God’s Word is the only defense for determining what is right in every situation. Others may not understand or agree with the choices we make. However, God promises to honor our commitment to doing what is right. Those who observe us will see the light and feel the warmth of our righteous actions.
On Feb. 22, the Taliban attacked six churches, burned several Christian homes and four Bibles and injured children in Karachi, Pakistan, according to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts.
Eye witnesses reported the Taliban shouting, "Accept Islam, Accept Islam, LA ILAHA ILL ALLAH MUHAMMADUR RASOOL ALLAH," meaning there is no god, only Allah, Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. The churches that were attacked are, Christ United Church, Philadelphia Pentecostal Church, ARP Church, Salvation Army Church and two public churches.
The Voice of the Martyrs supports persecuted believers in Pakistan. Pray for the believers who were injured in this attack and those who lost their homes. Ask God to encourage and protect believers in Pakistan who continue to stand for Him despite persecution
April 23, 2009
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Geng He, the wife of kidnapped Christian human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng released an open letter to the U.S. Congress, as Senator Bryon Dorgan, Chairman of the Congressional -Executive Commission on China (CECC), spoke on the case of Gao Zhisheng from the Senate floor. Gao was kidnapped on February 4 by Chinese officials and has not been heard from since.
In Senator Dorgan’s speech, he reminded the Senate that when Gao sent an open letter to the U.S. Congress in 2007, he was later kidnapped and severely tortured by Chinese authorities for more than 50 days. Senator Dorgan stated, “…we know this situation is extremely grave because we know what the Chinese have done to him in their prison system previously. They have not offered the slightest word about his whereabouts, despite the repeated denials by United Nations agencies. We know he was seized by ten agents of the Chinese government. And our government, foreign governments, NGOs and the media have all asked for information about this courageous human rights lawyer.”
Senator Dorgan continued, “And the Chinese government has said nothing. Chinese government has signed or ratified most of the international human rights commitments that require it to come clean about Mr. Gao. And I call on and we call on today the Chinese government to allow Mr. Gao to have access to a lawyer, access to his family and to publicly state and justify the grounds for the continued detention of this courageous person.”
Gao’s wife, Geng He was present when Senator Dorgan addressed the Senate. In her open letter released today to the U.S. Congress, she wrote, “In the past, whenever I was worried about my husband because of his challenges against tyranny, he would often console me by saying, evil cannot win over good, the ones upholding justice will always have help. He said that if one day he would be persecuted because of his ideals and sense of justice, the people in the world who believe in justice would stand by him and support him. I know that he would still harbor this light and hope in his heart while enduring various torments in prison! …
“Honorable members of the U.S. Congress, please help me support my husband, lawyer Gao Zhisheng, so that the evil forces will know that there is resistance against persecution; so that the millions of Chinese suffering this despotic rule will know that the United States is concerned about their human rights situation, and will not give up. My husband would be more resolute because of this, the Chinese people would feel inspired because of this, and China and the world would eventually transform because of this!”
More than 50,000 concerned citizens in the U.S. and around the world have signed a petition on Gao Zhisheng’s behalf requiring the Chinese government to give an account of Gao’s whereabouts and ask for his immediate release. Today, ChinaAid president Bob Fu together with Geng He presented the petition to Senator Dorgan, and copy of the petition was also delivered to the Chinese Embassy.
ChinaAid will continue the petition and calls all those concerned for Gao Zhisheng to sign the petition at www.FreeGao.com and continue to pressure the Chinese government for his release. In addition, ChinaAid calls on all concerned Americans to contact their Senators and express their concern for Gao Zhisheng at http://www.senate.gov/reference/common/faq/How_to_contact_senators.htm.
Sign a petition for Gao Zhisheng’s immediate release at www.FreeGao.com.
ChinaAid grants permission to reproduce photos and/or information for non-fundraising purposes, with the provision that www.ChinaAid.org is credited. Please contact:Katherine@ChinaAid.org with questions or requests for further information.
DUBLIN, April 24 (Compass Direct News) – Even as the North Korean government this month allowed two high-profile, U.S. Christian bands to perform at a music festival in Pyongyang, the fear of punishment authorities have instilled in North Korean Christians keeps most of them from publicly revealing their faith. As many as 400,000 Christians are estimated to worship secretly in the country, and Suzanne Scholte, head of the North Korean Freedom Coalition (NKFC), estimates that more than 200,000 North Koreans are held in political prison camps for various perceived “disloyalties” to the regime, including adherence to Christianity. Christian support group Open Doors estimates that of the 200,000 people incarcerated in political prison camps, at least 40,000 are Christians. A delegation of North Korean refugees described their experiences in preparation for events in Washington, D.C. on Sunday (April 26) through Saturday (May 2) as part of North Korea Freedom Week, organized by the NKFC. “A lot of people ask me if there really are people in North Korea who believe in Christ,” said Eom Myong-Heui, a refugee who is now an assistant pastor at a large church in Seoul, South Korea. “Do you really think that the missionaries who were there and all the believers who meet underground are all dead?”
We would like you to take some time today to pray for the persecuted church. Below are a few requests to start with. If you feel led, please say a prayer in the comments section.