Posts Tagged ‘persecuted

25
Sep
09

Orissa Advocacy

To wrap up our week on India and Orissa I’d like to tell you about an easy way you can help bring justice to Orissa Christians.  Representative Trent Franks (R-CA) and Representative Emmanuel Cleaver (D-MO) have jointly sponsored a letter to the Chief Minister of Orissa, Navin Patnaik.  You can send a letter to your representative asking him or her to sign the letter to the Chief Minister of Orissa.  According to Open Doors, who is hosting this campaign, 11 U.S. Representatives have signed on to the letter so far. The more support the letter has, the greater the pressure is placed on the Chief Minister to take action on behalf of persecuted Christians in Orissa.

Just click on the link below. It will take you to a prewritten letter. You may change the wording or keep it. Fill in your name, click the send button and your done! It will only take five minutes of your time but it could have a long lasting impact on persecuted Christians in Orissa

https://secure2.convio.net/ccod/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=181

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22
Sep
09

Orissa Prayer Campaign

One year ago on August 23, 2008, a leading Hindu activist was murdered. A Maoist guerilla group claimed responsibility, but the assassination was exploited by Hindu extremist forces and violence soon erupted against Christians. According to reports, more than 50,000 Christians were rendered homeless, 315 villages were completely destroyed, 120 were murdered and hundreds more injured. By government estimates, 250 churches were destroyed. The violence continued unabated for more than two-and-a half months. There is only one way to describe what has happened in Orissa; it is not ethnic cleansing but religious cleansing.
Today, on the one year anniversary, more than 4,000 people are still living in relief camps and thousands have been unable to return to the villages for fear of death or of forcible conversion to Hinduism. Churches are being replaced by the building of new Hindu temples, and on the gutted remains of churches it is written “India is for Hindus.” But the Christians of Orissa will not renounce their faith.

Federal soldiers are maintaining a fragile peace. Unable to till their fields, unable to regain their houses and restart life, cut off from schooling and the markets, living in constant fear, the victims of the Orissa violence are caught in a trap and are dependent on the little help they receive. As the months pass, and the tents begin to rot in the 100 heat and the monsoon rain, it’s important that we do not forget them.
Our brothers and sisters in Orissa face challenges and persecution on a daily basis that we cannot even begin to imagine. On this one-year anniversary please join in prayer for an outpouring of the Spirit of the Lord in the state of Orissa. Pray each day for seven days…then again…and again, blanketing them with an outpouring of our love letting them know that they are not suffering alone. The following prayer requests have come directly from the field.

Day One – Church
Pray that the Lord will keep the Church steadfast and strong in faith during these testing times. Pray for the bishops and leadership of the various churches and Christian organizations that they will continue to experience the presence of God and His vitality so that they can continue to lead His people.

Day Two – Holy Spirit
Pray against the spirit of fear that threatens to dominate the minds of the Christians in Orissa and in India in general. Pray that the God-given spirit of love, power may keep them from growing fearful.

Day Three – Justice/Healing
Pray for the Christians who have been falsely accused or are held without trial. Pray for justice and for the truth to prevail. Pray also for the sick and injured due to the violence; may they experience the healing hand of the Lord and the loving touch of His people. Pray for the families who have lost their loved ones, in some cases, their breadwinners. Pray for sustenance for them and for the peace of the Lord to guard their hearts and their minds in Christ Jesus.

Day Four – Rebuilding/Relief Organizations
Pray for the various organizations and churches that reach out and provide aid in Orissa. Pray that the Lord would bless the rebuilding efforts and that the lives of the people may be impacted for good. Pray that the victims may sense the Lord’s love for them through these efforts. Please also pray for the efforts of Open Doors in all of this.

Day Five – Peace in the Region/Forgiveness
Pray for peace and harmony in the area which is still very tense. Years of anti-Christian propaganda carried out by Hindu extremists has brought hatred against Christians to the area. Pray that the government, other agencies and especially the church may be successful in fostering peace and reconciliation. Pray that Christians will forgive their oppressors and that this would lead to a witness of Jesus and His love.

Day Six – Government
Pray for the authorities in the state of Orissa, especially the newly elected government. Pray that the government will not forget the plight of the people but will do all it can to alleviate their pain and suffering. Please pray for the various commissions that have been set up to investigate the violence, that they may provide impartial reports so that proper action can be taken. Pray for the Panigrahi and Mohapatra commissions of enquiry.

Day Seven – Evangelism
Please pray for an outpouring of the Spirit of the Lord in the state of Orissa. Pray that many, who do not yet know the Lord, will come to knowledge of His saving grace. Pray that the suffering of His people may result in a greater harvest of souls for the Lord’s kingdom.

22
Jul
09

What if your city banned Christianity?

Earlier this month the official leaders of the Katin village in Laos confiscated the livestock of all the Christians in that village. The Christians felt violated and mistreated, but it was nothing in comparison to what was about to take place.

On July 11th, the village officials called a special meeting for all residents and announced that they had “banned the Christian faith in our village.”

The chief of Katin village, along with village security, social and religious affairs officials, warned all 53 Christian residents that they should revert to worshiping local spirits in accordance with Lao tradition or risk losing all village rights and privileges – including their livestock and homes, according to advocacy group Human Rights Watch for Lao Religious Freedom (HRWLRF). The Katin chief also declared that spirit worship was the only acceptable form of worship in the community.

When I read stories like these, I like to put things into perspective with my way of life. What if the mayor of my town took away all the Christians cars? I would feel like it was a violation of my rights, something a mayor should not have the power to do. Then, what if a month later we were all called to a town meeting where the mayor announced that the Christian faith was banned. It would be unconstitutional, and unfair…..something that could never happen here in the US, right?

Actually the Laos Constitution allows for freedom of religion, just like our constitution does. So technically this should be just as unlikely to happen to believers there, as it would be here….yet they are still experiencing this unreal persecution.

When we put ourselves in their shoes, let us pray for them, not only for their protection and encouragement, but to empathetically pray for their rights and freedom.

16
Jul
09

Meet the Persecuted- Uyger Christians in China

Testimony of Uygur Christians in China

“That must be Mamat* now,” Helen said when she heard a faint knock on the door of the apartment.  Moments later a 20-something man with grey pants and a brown cargo jacket was standing in the Open Doors office, twisting his Uygur (pronounced WEE-ger) cap in his hands. 

Helen led him to a seat and offered him some tea. “Green Tea or Berryblossom White?” 

“Oh, may I try the berry tea?” he asked very politely, still twisting the cap in his hands.  He knew that if he was discovered sitting in the apartment of foreign Christians, the consequences could be serious.  Yet he wanted to meet with us and share his experience of life as a Muslim convert in one of the most restricted parts of China. 

Mamat was from a Muslim family, and as a teenager he was very eager to defend Islam.  He said he and his brothers would often hit his sister if her skirts were too short, or if she went out with boys without supervision. 

When he was 17 years old, a friend gave him a political tape to listen to—the tape urged the Uygurs to rise up against the government and declare an independent homeland.  Mamat did not agree with the opinions expressed, but listened to the tape out of loyalty to his friend. 

Just a few days later, officers from China’s Public Security Bureau arrested Mamat. At the police station, he was put through an interrogation. “Yes, I did listen to the tape,” he told them, “but I didn’t understand it. Please forgive me – I won’t do it again!” But in spite of his pleas of innocence, he was charged and sentenced to 40 days in prison. 

He was thrown into a concrete cell crowded with 20 men. Conditions were very sparse, with thin mats on the cement floors for bedding. The men were fed water and steamed bread for breakfast, water at lunchtime and another piece of steamed bread for their evening meal. Mamat soon felt weak and dizzy when he tried to stand up. 

The time in prison made him desire to live an even more devout life.  After his release, Mamat knelt every day on his prayer mat at work. However as time passed he hungered for something more than the ritual of those empty prayers. 

Eventually Mamat moved to a university in a large city in China where he hoped to study English. At the university, a classmate shared the story of Jesus with him. He listened warily, remembering a time when another “political” message not popular with the Chinese government had landed him in prison. 

There was a strong pull in these new stories about “God’s Son” named Jesus. Surprising even himself, Mamat agreed to go along to a restaurant and meet a foreigner who was speaking with a small group of Chinese students. At that meeting the foreigner invited Mamat to meet with him at his home once a week, to read and discuss the Bible. Mamat was so hungry for truth that he agreed.

He met faithfully with the teacher for a full year, touched by his faithfulness and friendship. Finally Mamat realized that if people had believed in Jesus for 2,000 years, and if Jesus had that much influence throughout history, then the message of the gospel must be true. After 12 months of deep soul-searching, he committed his life to Christ.  

At the time, he was sharing a dormitory with five other young men, all of them Uygurs. The foreign Christian had given him a partial translation of the Uygur Bible, which he kept hidden under his pillow. He would bring it out at night when nobody else was in the room.  One night, one or two of his fellow students saw him reading the Bible and began to ask questions. The problem was, they were very difficult questions, ones for which Mamat had no answers. 

As we sat drinking tea (Mamat seemed to like it), we handed over another book in Uygur that answered similar questions on faith. As Mamat leafed through its pages, his face lit up. “This book is exactly what I needed,” he told us, “a real answer to prayer!” 

Uygur Christians face double persecution. They are persecuted by their Muslim families, neighbors and imams (religious leaders) who believe conversion to another faith is a rejection of the Uygur culture and everything it stands for. Persecution also comes from the Chinese government. Authorities are wary of the Uygur people because of their drive for an independent homeland in northwest China. A Uygur who becomes a Christian is immediately marked as a double traitor to the People’s Republic. 

Knowing the risks, Mamat continues to share his faith with his fellow students. A few months ago he started an English conversational group that meets in a tea shop outside the university. There, they discuss the issues of faith and the meaning of life, often reading passages from the Bible. 

That day over our cups of hot tea, Mamat asked us to pray for wisdom for the future. Life back in his hometown is very difficult because his friends remain true to Islam and do not understand why Mamat no longer attends prayers at the mosque. His prayer is that God would protect him and show him the way to reach his own people.

* Names and photographs hidden for security reasons

08
Jul
09

The parable of the Sower

Matthew 13:1-23 tells the parable of the sower. A farmer sows seed in many places. He scatters seed on the road, but the birds eat it. He scatters seed in rocky soil, but the sun scorches them. He plants among thorns, but the thorns choke the plants. Finally he plants in good soil, where the plants grow healthy and produce and bountiful crop.

Verse 21 says “But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.” Without being firmly rooted in the word, love and life of God, no Christian can withstand troubles and persecution. This blog highlights thousands of Christians all over the world who are firmly rooted in Christ and are therefore able to withstand the most intense persecution, sometimes to the point of death. Despite being discriminated against, verbally and physically abused, abandoned, forgotten and killed, these believers continue to persevere and remain deeply rooted in their faith.

We invite you to join our community. We are one body in Christ, when one suffers we all suffer. When one is persecuted we are all persecuted.  The stories of the persecuted church must be heard. Their suffering must not be in vain, but must be shared to encourage the body and further the Kingdom of God. We encourage you to read the stories and share them on your own blog along with your thoughts, experiences and prayers.




The purpose of the blog

To EDUCATE, ENLIGHTEN and ENCOURAGE. To be a voice to those who have none, a voice that is LOUDER than their persecution, oppression and pain. A righteous voice that is LOUDER than the enemy.

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