Voice of the Martyrs 020411

Remember to pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering for their faith.

VOM-USA Prayer Update for February 4, 2011

The Voice of the Martyrs USA: www.persecution.com
And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8

AFGHANISTAN—Jailed Christian Refuses to Deny Faith—VOM Contacts

Philippians 1:12–13
But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ;

Imprisoned Afghan Christian Shoaib Assadullah was recently offered his freedom if he would deny his faith, but Shoaib stood firm, according to VOM contacts. Shoaib has been in prison since Oct. 21, when he was arrested for giving a New Testament to a man in Mazar-e-Sharif, in Northern Afghanistan. Shoaib had expected to receive the death penalty when he was sentenced on Jan. 4, but international pressure forced the attorney general to intervene. The court has stated that Shoaib will be in prison for at least six more months, and some believe doctors are forcing mind-altering drugs on the 26-year-old Christian. Throughout his ordeal, Shoaib’s faith has remained strong. He said he has placed his life completely in the hands of Jesus. “Without my faith, I would not be able to live,” he said. Shoaib has requested prayer for his family’s salvation. Pray also that international pressure will force the Afghan legal system to release Shoaib quickly, along with Said Musa, another Christian imprisoned in Afghanistan. Praise God for Shoaib’s strong faith.

BHUTAN—Possible Status Change for Christians—VOM Canada

Philippians 1:3–5
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now…

At its December meeting, the authority that regulates religious organizations in Bhutan discussed allowing a Christian organization to register in order to represent its community. This would be the first time in history that Bhutan has recognized and given rights to its mostly underground Christian population. Government officials in Bhutan currently recognize only Buddhism and Hinduism as official religions. Therefore, only these two communities have the right to openly practice their beliefs and operate houses of worship. Non-Buddhist and non-Hindu religious practices were banned in 1969 and 1979, respectively. Sources indicate that the government’s willingness to recognize Christians is partly aimed at bringing the Christian community under religious regulation. The government is likely to register only one Christian organization, expecting it to represent all Christians in Bhutan. Thank the Lord for this positive step. Pray that God will move in the hearts of authorities and make them open to hearing the name of Jesus.

NIGERIA—More Killed in Ongoing Plateau Violence—Release International and Christian Solidarity Worldwide

Philippians 1:9–10
And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ…

Midnight raids on two villages in Plateau state have claimed the lives of eight people amid continuing religious tension in central Nigeria. Sources report that the raids occurred in the villages of Farin Lamba and Fan. Two men, a woman and a baby were killed in the attack on Farin Lamba. According to villagers, the attackers wore military uniforms. In response, protesters demanded the removal of the Special Task Force charged with keeping peace in the area. The force is accused of either turning a blind eye to attacks on Christians or even instigating the attacks. This is the fifth recorded attack on Christian villages in the area within two weeks. At least 13 people were killed during raids on villages in the area in January. Continue to pray for Christians in Nigeria. Pray that their Muslim neighbors will recognize the difference between followers of Jesus and those who are simply non-Muslims, and that they will want to know Christ, too. Pray that God will move government officials to provide protection and equality for Christians.

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