Episode 120: Syria, Azerbaijan, Sudan, and Central Asia
Dory and Todd share prayer reports on Syria, Azerbaijan, Sudan, and Central Asia. Afterward, a VOM worker shares his experience observing the contrasts between the modern, American Church and the underground, persecuted Church.
Please pray for Syria, Azerbaijan, Sudan, and Central Asia.
Christians in Syria who share their faith have always faced danger, but the escalating civil war is making evangelistic efforts even more dangerous. Several evangelists who work with VOM have lost family members. “In some cases, people were killed because of their Christian identity,” said VOM’s program officer for the region. “We are checking into how we can be of assistance to those who have been injured for their faith, including one whose face was mutilated as a warning to other Christians.” The war has also displaced many Christians. As Christians flee the fighting and leave their houses behind, Muslims and members of the rebel groups take possession of them. In addition, one church was closed by the government in recent months, and other churches remain under threat of closure. Pray for peace and the protection of Syrian believers. Matthew 6:10
Police raided a church in Azerbaijan recently and questioned about 50 children who were attending. Police searched the church for foreigners and, after finding none present, began questioning about 50 children to make sure they had permission from both parents to be there. At least one church member was fined without being tried in court. Although police have denied that the raid occurred, at least 20 police officers and the local head of the State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations reportedly participated in the church raid. Please pray that our Christian brothers and sisters in Azerbaijan will rely on the spirit of power through Christ and will be bold and loving despite government oppression. 2 Timothy 1:7–12
Authorities in South Darfur have closed the offices of Sudan Aid and the Sudan Council of Churches (SCC), ordering staff off the property and arresting three employees of Sudan Aid. Agents from the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) arrived at the organizations’ offices in Nyala on the morning of April 22. They demanded that SCC staff hand over keys to the buildings and vehicles and ordered all staff members to leave. NISS agents also closed down a church clinic that was serving the needy in the area. The day after the offices were closed, staff members returned to find more than a dozen armed security personnel cordoning off the compound. The security agents told staff the offices were closed and they should go home. Two days after the closures, Sudan’s federal Humanitarian Aid Commission froze the bank accounts of the SCC in Nyala. Please pray for the protection of believers in South Darfur.
Pray for the secret printing of a new Bible translation in Central Asia. Pray for those involved in distribution, and pray that the new Bibles will replenish those confiscated by authorities.