April 21, 2019

VOM Weekly Prayer Update: Week 04/22/2011

Here is the weekly prayer updates from the Voice of the Martyrs email prayer letter. If you have never heard of Voice of the Martyrs check them out at http://www.persecution.com/. Please keep our persecuted brothers and sisters in prayer from around the world.

  • AZERBAIJAN–Unregistered Churches Banned from Worship
    Three religious communities in Gyanja, Azerbaijan, have been banned from meeting for worship. The worship bans were imposed in mid-March because the communities do not have state registration. Local sources said one of the religious communities was warned that “if they met for worship on the following Sunday or at any future date they would all be arrested.” Two buses full of police and riot police later arrived to prevent them from worshiping, but the church had already reluctantly canceled the Sunday service that day. The government, however, continues to deny its involvement in religious oppression. Babek Sadykov of the Gyanja Police said, “No one is being prevented from worshiping.” And President Ilham Aliev told a government-initiated World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue that “freedom of religion and freedom of conscience have been fully established in Azerbaijan.” Pray that believers will be encouraged to continue worshiping together despite opposition.
  • EGYPT–Copts “Terrorized” by Gang
    Since late January, Copts in Minya province have suffered repeated attacks from a large gang of thugs who target Christians. The first attack on a Coptic family occurred on Jan. 28. The family reported the assault to police but withdrew their allegations after receiving death threats from the gang. Then, on Jan. 29, the gang leader raped two Coptic women, threatening to kill their children if they took the matter to police. In another assault, gang members kidnapped a 30-year-old man and a 12-year-old boy; their families were forced to pay ransoms to secure their release. The gang has also reportedly imposed a nighttime curfew on Copts. Copts in Minya are dismayed that the police and army have not taken more decisive steps to detain gang members and their leader. Pray that authorities will take action to apprehend the gang members in Minya province.
  • CHINA–Pastor Arrested in Inner Mongolia
    VOM contacts in China report that one of their dear friends, a pastor, was arrested in Inner Mongolia Tuesday, April 12. The pastor, Jesse, was arrested along with four other leaders. His “offense” is that 1,000 university students attend his church. About 100 of the university students are also Bible school students who are taught by a VOM worker. Police have detained Jesse five times over the last year, and they had warned him and let him know they were watching him. Pastor Jesse and the four others are being held in a detention center where prisoners are usually held for at least 30 days. It’s not known whether he will be formally sentenced. A friend wrote, “We sent some clothes [to Jesse] but were not able to meet and talk to him. Please pray. The situation here is so bad.” Ask the Lord to encourage Pastor Jesse, and pray for his release. Pray that his church members will not falter in their faith but will grow stronger.

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