Persecution Podcast Episode 54
This week David and Dory discuss Indonesia, Eritrea, and Pakistan. This week’s speaker, a professor at Oklahoma Wesleyan University, shares a lecture on suffering.
Christians worshiping in the street in Indonesia.
Nations discussed for prayer:
- Government officials in West Java tried unsuccessfully to prevent the Indonesian Christian Church, or GKI, in the city of Bogor from holding a Dec. 25 Christmas service. Bona Sigalingging, a spokesperson for the church, said police telephoned church leaders and told them to cancel Christmas services that were scheduled for 7 p.m. Christmas day. The church worshiped anyway, with nearby Muslim demonstrators screaming, “Allahu akbar [God is great]!” and “Break it up!” The next morning, authorities prevented the Christians from holding their regular Sunday service. In a separate incident on Dec. 19, a local hard-line Muslim group persuaded police to remove items such as pews from a Huria Kristan Batak Protestant church in Rancaekek, Bandung. That church had already been closed by authorities. Thank the Lord for the faithfulness of Indonesian Christians who continue to meet in spite of severe opposition. Pray that they will be greatly encouraged by seeing the Lord’s continued work in strengthening the church and adding to its numbers.
- More than 100 Christians have been detained since Dec. 30 in raids on churches in or near the capital, Asmara, and in the town of Nakfa in eastern Eritrea. In a Dec. 31 raid on the Philadelphia Church in Asmara, all 41 members present were arrested and taken in for questioning. They were also beaten at the police station. On Jan. 1, 27 more Christians belonging to various churches near Asmara were taken into custody and are reportedly still being held by police. On Jan. 9 in Nakfa, 35 believers, including two elderly men in poor health, were arrested during a worship meeting at a private address. The Eritrean church has been further shaken by the news that another Christian has died in custody. Seble Hagos Mebrahtu, who was 27, died at the Sawa military camp on Jan. 1, apparently because she was refused medical treatment for malaria. She is reported to have been tortured after being found reading a Bible at her home. Her death brings to 16 the total number of Christians known to have died in custody since 2002. Pray that Eritrean Christians will persevere in faith and continue to glorify God while enduring this harsh persecution.
- Asia Bibi’s blasphemy conviction has caused turmoil and debate not only over the resulting death sentence but also over the blasphemy law itself. Asia, a poor Christian woman, was accused by her co-workers of blasphemy and sentenced to death by the courts. Her case sparked debate across Pakistan about the validity of the law, which prohibits speaking against the Prophet Muhammad or the Quran. The governor of Punjab province, who supported Asia Bibi and called for repeal of the law, was murdered by his own body guard. Asia’s life is also at risk. The VOM team in Pakistan is concerned for her safety both in prison and also as she moves between the prison and the courthouse for hearings. Asia’s family is in danger, too, and our team helped move them to a safe, secret location. Her husband and children are very worried about her. Pray for Asia’s safety and for the safety of her family. Pray that the blasphemy law, which is often used against Christians in Pakistan, will be repealed.
This week’s speaker is Darek Jarmola, Professor of Religion at Oklahoma Wesleyan University. Darek’s lecture is on suffering, how it relates to our relationship with God, and how we can share the message of salvation with others.