Here's the latest news from Compass Direct.
Hundreds of demonstrators from outside area try to create image of local opposition.JAKARTA, Indonesia, February 25 (CDN) — Hundreds of Muslims from outside the area where a 600-member church meets in West Java staged a protest there to call for its closure this month in an attempt to portray local opposition.
In his editorial for The Voice of the Martyr’s May newsletter, Dr. Tom White talks about how parents facing persecution decide to involve or not involve their children in suffering. What would you do? After all, children are young. They have their whole lives before them. Why should they suffer for their parent’s decisions? Read the May newsletter to hear what some parents have chosen.
For a Christian in Cuba named Juan, avoiding suffering was not an option. Juan had already lost his job because of his faith. He, his wife and three children were barely surviving financially. But when his children were given the choice to join the communist youth organization, Juan didn’t even consider it.
“I am totally convinced that since Christ called me through the gospel, he made me leave all the former things. I separated myself from anything I considered sin…” he said. “We do not belong to anything here in [Cuba].”
In elementary school, Cuban children join a communist youth league called the “Pioneros” or Pioneers. In order to join the Pioneers, the children have to swear allegiance to the Cuban flag. Then the children are given a red handkerchief that they wear with their school uniform, signifying that they are Pioneers.
Juan said, “Christ said his kingdom is not of this world,
and we converted to him. …We only wanted to do what He wanted us to do. Our
interpretation was that to be a Pioneer you had to be a follower of Che
[Guevara].” (Che Guevara, one of the guerilla leaders of the Cuban revolution, was
a brutal killer in the name of communism.)
Joining the Pioneers was not an option for Juan’s kids. It might have been a choice that made their lives more peaceful, but it was not in line with who they were as followers of Christ.
Because they didn’t join the Pioneers, his kids had problems at school. Teachers and school administrators discriminated against them. Though their grades were good, teachers did not give them opportunities for advancement. Other students would mock them, calling them, “Christian, Christian!”
“When they took this stance, which in my opinion was best, it formed their personalities to be Christians, and they have actually become Christian workers. My children are evangelists. Their spouses are evangelists. Their children are not Pioneers, either. They do not belong to the world, the political or human system, but to Christ,” said Juan.
“Jesus calls us to live a life of sacrifice. He paid a price with his life, so we [also] have to pay a price.”
What about you? Where does your allegiance lie? What are the choices facing you? How can you show that you are separated from the world and living for Christ? What sacrifice is Jesus calling you to make?
The following news is from our friends at China Aid. This is an inspiring testimony. Be sure to read the whole thing.
SHANXI--Members of Shuozhou Church have suffered uncertainty since 500 members were detained at a church gathering, and six members were criminally detained in November, 2009. Head pastor Gao Mao's home was further ransacked and razed to the ground on November 20th, with the officials immediately planting trees on the property to hide the damage. (See the CAA report). In faith members have spoken out, as the case undergoes a review by the court has now been returned to the public security office who first submitted their case for further evidence. Following the church's poignant Confession of Faith, released on February 8, 2010, one faithful woman in the church speaks on behalf of her fellow persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ:
This is a great piece from our friends at Mission Network News.
Iran (MNN) ― The recent arrest of Rev. Wilson Issavi points to a growing trend in persecution against religious minorities in Iran, according toVoice of the Martyrs, USA.
Officials arrested Issavi earlier this month, taking him to an unknown location and not specifying charges. Farsi Christian News Network said that as of Monday, his family and friends still do not have any information about his whereabouts.
However, Issavi's arrest was not the first sign the government was not pleased with his church. VOM's Todd Nettleton said Issavi's church, the Assyrian Evangelical Church in the city of Kermenshah, was shut down in January.
Assyrians are culturally viewed as Christians. Therefore, Issavi and his church are not being targeted because they are committing apostasy.
"This is a part of a concerted effort to pressure and close churches that previously have been been tolerated by the government," Nettleton said.
Pressure began back in March of 2009, when the government threatened and shut down the Assyrian Pentecostal Church in Tehran. Then in October, the Assemblies of God Church in Iran was forced to end Friday service and only hold gatherings on Sundays.
Nettleton said that in the past they have seen persecution against individuals leaving Islam. However, this is taking persecution to the next level and even going against the country's constitution, which protects religious minorities.
There is good news, however, as the government tries to force Islam on even more people.
"One of the amazing things about Iran is the government, and the failure of the government, which is driving people to explore Christianity," Nettleton said. As officials say they are leading the country exactly how Muhammad would want them to, "the people look around. They see the broken country. They see the election that appears to have been stolen, and they say, ‘Wait a minute. If this is Islam, I want to know what else is out there.'"
Pray God's Spirit will draw many of these seeking individuals to faith in Jesus Christ.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, and CBS News 5 - the first teen that was arrested has been released and the new teen that they have now arrested is in custody. Police are remaining silent on the investigation due to "sensitive" issues.
Read more at the SFGATE website.
More details are emerging about the two men suspected of setting fire to eleven churches in east Texas. According to CNN, shoe prints, surveillance tapes and some witness accounts have led investigators to the current suspects.