Episode 118: Kazakhstan, Iran, Nigeria, Colombia, and Sudan/South Sudan
Dory and David share prayer updates for Kazakhstan, Iran, Nigeria, and Colombia. In an interview with Todd, Brad Phillips of Persecution Project Foundation shares about the current difficulties Christians are facing in Sudan and South Sudan.
A church in Kazakhstan closed voluntarily after the pastor’s wife was fined for holding worship meetings in her home — the church’s legal address. After paying the fine, the church decided to close in order to avoid further punishment. Church officials said they eventually would have been shut down if they hadn’t closed on their own. Pastor Valery Kim and his wife, Larissa, said they will not re-register the church because they cannot collect the 50 signatures required for re-registration under the Religion Law. Kazakhstan’s 2011 Religion Law prohibits all exercise of religion or belief without state permission, making any future church activity illegal. Pray for the churches suffering under this restrictive religion law.
A former member of Iranian intelligence recently confirmed the government’s official agenda against Christians in Iran, specifically new Christian converts. Iranian intelligence agents are identifying pastors and active Christians in order to arrest and torture them in prison. Officials hope this agenda of arrests, terror and torture will suppress the spread of Christianity. The former intelligence agent reported that Iranian intelligence has gathered tens of thousands of files on Iranians who have converted to Christianity. In a recent example of this systematic persecution, secret police raided a Christian’s birthday party in Karaj and arrested all in attendance. The secret police photographed all of the Christians and accused them of being Zionist Christians, an accusation that carries the stigma of collaboration with Iran’s greatest enemy. Those accused of Zionism are often executed. Pray for the Christians arrested at the party and for all converts in Iran during this time of extreme persecution.
Christian leaders in Nigeria’s Plateau state say Muslim extremists, including members of Boko Haram, have killed more than the 35 Christians reported by the military in May. Attacks on 15 Christian villages left many houses destroyed and displaced more than 1,000 villagers. Christians, including children, were sometimes shot in their homes or slashed with machetes. Some believers have taken refuge at police stations and primary schools in other parts of the state, while others have fled Plateau state to avoid further attacks. Although authorities have increased security to protect Christians from Muslim extremists, the attacks continue. Pray that God will grant peace to Nigerian believers as they continue to suffer from past attacks and fear for their future.
Pray for those involved in VOM’s parachute project. Pilots in single-engine airplanes use these parachutes to drop Christian literature and radios into remote areas.