Persecution Podcast 143: Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Iran and Nepal
David and Dory share prayer updates for Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Iran and Nepal.
A young woman in Central Asia was kicked out of her home by her parents recently after a Muslim leader blamed them for the girl’s Christian faith. “Rebecca” and a group of other women gathered to comfort a young woman whose mother had died, and one of the Christian women prayed. While prayer is common in this Muslim-majority country, several Muslim women became enraged when the Christian ended her prayer in Jesus’ name. A local Muslim leader questioned everyone in the room, asking them if they believed in Jesus, and the Christians bravely admitted their belief. The Muslim leader then took Rebecca to her parents’ home and blamed them for their daughter’s Christian faith. Though Rebecca’s parents aren’t strongly opposed to Christianity, they forced her to leave the home out of fear of their neighbors. Pray for Rebecca as she adjusts to this change in her life, and pray that the community will be positively affected by the faith of these young people.
Authorities in Kazakhstan have used strong-arm tactics and falsified information to prevent several churches from re-registering with the government. All churches were required to re-register under Kazakhstan’s Religion Law, which was updated in October 2011. Under the revised law, churches had until Oct. 25, 2012, to apply for re-registration, and the Agency of Religious Affairs was supposed to respond to the applications within one month. However, after the Full Gospel Church submitted its paperwork, officials from the Department of Religion intimidated and threatened several church members, pressuring them to remove their signatures from the applications. The church’s re-registration application was denied. Members of God’s Victory Church were also harassed, and officials denied the church’s application based on falsified information added by the authorities. Other churches have reported similar experiences, and at least five churches have filed lawsuits. Please pray for these churches as they fight for the legal right to worship.
Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani spoke in London recently, thanking those who had prayed and worked for his release during his imprisonment. “It is the opportunity for me to share about what the Lord did for me and to thank you because you supported me by your prayers,” Nadarkhani said. “You supported my family in a very difficult time. My prayer is I ask the Lord to bless you for what you did for me as a small member of the body of Christ. Today my presence here is the will of God and the result of what your prayers did for me.” Nadarkhani was sentenced to death for apostasy in 2010, but in September 2012 the apostasy charge was reduced to a charge of evangelizing Muslims and he was released on time served. He was a guest speaker at the national conference of UK-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide in November. Praise God for his release, and continue to pray for persecuted Iranian Christians.
Pray for the bold pastors who have received the gift of a motorbike. Rural areas in Nepal have very poor roads or no roads at all, and these motorbikes help the pastors respond quickly to believers’ needs.