October 30, 2009

Persecution Podcast Episode 31

This week Todd and Mark talk about Pakistan, Ukraine and China. Also, more audio from Mindanao, Philippines, as well as an update on the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.

Listen Here.

New, More Dangerous Hindu Extremist Groups Emerge in India

Christians concerned as rightwing factions splinter to form militant outfits.

After more than a decade of severe persecution, India’s Christian minority is growing increasingly concerned over the mushrooming of newer and deadlier Hindu extremist groups.
Gone are the days when Christians had to watch out only for the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council) and its youth wing, Bajrang Dal, which are closely linked with the most influential Hindu extremist umbrella organization, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). With voter support faltering for the RSS’s political wing, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), moderate and extremist sections within the Hindu nationalist movement are blaming each other, and militant splinter groups have emerged.  Read the full story at Compass Direct.

20,000 Bibles Seized Because of the Use of the Word Allah

CNN has a very interesting article about 20,000 bibles that have been seized because of the use of the word "Allah" that is being used in the bible, because of fears that people will come to faith in Christ and become Christians because they say the use of the word Allah is exclusive to Islam.

Click here to read the full article, you'll find it fascinating.

October 29, 2009

Two Evangelists in Ethiopia Released from Prison

Judge acquits Christians falsely accused of insulting Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

The latest in a series of false charges against two Ethiopian evangelists was put to rest on Friday (Oct. 23), and they were released. 

A court in Debiretabor, Ethiopia acquitted the two evangelists of insulting the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC) in prison, an accusation made by fellow inmates after the two were jailed on false charges of offering money for people to convert. The charge that the two Christians insulted the EOC was orchestrated by EOC members both inside and outside the prison, according to area church leaders.   Read the full story at COMPASS DIRECT.

Missions is Answered Prayer

Yesterday we talked a little bit about fasting and praying, and today I wanted to encourage you by sharing with you an article that we have on our main Voice of the Martyrs website - http://www.persecution.com  - on articles on prayer.

This is the first of five articles we will be highlighting in the coming days.  It begins...

By Cheryl Odden

Samuel M. Zwemer, a missionary and Christian scholar on Islam, said: "The history of missions is the history of answered prayer…it is the key to the whole missionary problem. All human means are secondary." J. Oswald Sanders said: "[Prayer] is fundamental, not supplementary…. All progress can be clearly traced back to prevailing prayer."

VOM could diligently publish the addresses of Christians imprisoned in restricted nations and deliver Bibles inside those nations. Such efforts, however, are fruitless without prayer. Missions is answered prayer. VOM’s work is answered prayer. VOM’s work was petitioned years, perhaps even centuries ago by men and women who tarried on their knees for the persecuted church. One of these men was Pastor Richard Wurmbrand.  Finish the article.

2009 Report on International Religious Freedom

A few days ago the United States Department of State released it's annual report on International Religious Freedom.  This is a great report to check out so that you can review each nation and see exactly how they treat the issue of religious freedom.

Picture 14 Click here to read the report.

Click here to hear a few opening comments from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, good afternoon, everyone. I feel honored to be here today to announce the publication of the State Department’s 2009 Report on International Religious Freedom. The right to profess, practice, and promote one’s religious beliefs is a founding principle of our nation. In fact, many of our earliest settlers came because they wanted the freedom to practice their own religion without a state interfering or oppressing that practice. It is the first liberty mentioned in our Bill of Rights, and it is a freedom guaranteed to all people in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  Click here to read all of Secretary of State Clinton's remarks.

October 28, 2009

Have You Ever Fasted for the Persecuted Church?

Lately I've been doing a lot of examination concerning my spiritual life, and one area the Lord has been teaching me in concerns fasting.  I don't know about you, but for most of my spiritual life I have never heard a sermon series on the subject of fasting in any church I've attended, and yet, I read the bible and I know the Lord talks about it.

So this got me thinking about prayer and fasting and whether or not any of you have not only prayed for the persecuted church, but also have fasted for the persecuted church.  I am curious, because a good friend of mine always says that when we pray and fast, that it's like high octane prayer.  

I was thinking that if just a few of us seriously prayed and fasted for Gao, Marzieh, Maryam, Asia Bibi, and any of the other prisoners listed at http://www.prisoneralert.com, maybe the Lord will move more quickly...and maybe He won't either, BUT He will change you.

And what if some of us took a Restricted Nation and prayed and fasted about that nation on a daily basis - can you imagine what God may do?

I am convinced that now is the time for the church to get more serious with our prayers and  that includes praying and fasting.  God wants to do wonderful things in our lives, and I wonder if sometimes we miss out on a greater sanctification with our Lord because we don't press in closer to Him and learn to deny ourselves.

Fasting from food, or a substance or even something you enjoy like chocolate, television, the internet, social media or any other thing that you may put before the Lord, is a small sacrifice unto our great King, especially when I think about the wonderful and truly awesome sacrifice of a bloody Jesus on a cross for my sin.  There is no greater love than that.  Amen!

Partnering with VOM Through Combined Federal Campaign

Picture 13 The Voice of the Martyrs invites people to support persecuted believers through the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC).

The CFC is one of the largest workplace giving campaigns in the world allowing any who works for the Federal government — including civilian, postal and military employees — to contribute to charities via payroll deductions.  VOM is one of many charities eligible for this workplace giving program. 

“VOM is thankful for CFC as it promotes and supports charitable giving” Brenda Matlock a VOM CFC administrator said. “Employers encourage their employees to give because it improves the quality of life for all.”

Giving to VOM through CFC is easy. Just insert VOM’s CFC code #10993 on your pledge card. The pledge form authorizes one-time or monthly gifts. 

VOM uses the donations from the CFC program to purchase Bibles, blankets, Action Packs and, most of all, to encourage persecuted individuals and their families. If you want to find Voice of the Martyrs in your campaign booklet, look in the “National/International Federations” section under “Christian Service Charities.”

To get additional information about VOM’s involvement with the CFC go tohttp://www.persecution.com/campaign.

October 27, 2009

Video: Raid on a Full Gospel Church in Vietnam

As we approach the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, it is my prayer and hope, that this video stays in your mind. This is just a small example of what persecuted Christians go through all of the time, in restricted nations, all over the world.

Video: Mr. Choi On Sharing Christ with Fellow Prisoners

In this video with Mr. Choi, he talks about the miracle God did while he was in prison. Watch.