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VOM-USA News & Prayer Update

April 20, 2005

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith-the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:6-9).

Prayers for April 19, 2005
From The Voice of the Martyrs
The Voice of the Martyrs Visit: Persecution.com
Pray for INDIA
INDIA (Compass Direct)
Hindu and Muslim villagers burned down a prayer hall and attacked three church members in a village in Kerala, India, on April 1st. Two days later when the pastor, Paul Ciniraj Mohammed, a Christian from a Muslim background, spoke to some of the villagers about the assault, he and his assistant were also beaten severely. When the attackers were beating his assistant, the pastor knelt down and prayed to God to save him and also to forgive the attackers. Village women who witnessed the beating saw him praying and were moved by his humility, asking the attackers to stop the beating and apologize. Ciniraj did not report the incident to the police because the attackers apologized. The prayer hall was completely demolished, but Christians in the village said they would continue to meet for prayer and Bible study in their homes. (Click here)

Give thanks to God for this humble pastor whose prayers moved his attackers to repentance. Thank God also that the villagers were not intimidated and will continue to meet in their homes. Pray this witness of humility and zeal will bring many more villagers into the Kingdom of God.

Pray for KAZAKHSTAN
KAZAKHSTAN (ASSIST News Service)
A new draft religion law and other legal changes that significantly restrict Christians are likely to be considered at a session of the lower house of parliament. According to Forum 18 News Service, religious minority leaders and human rights activists have expressed fears over plans to require all religious communities to register before they can function and to ban missionary activity by both foreigners and local citizens unless it is licensed. In a March letter to the head of the parliamentary working group, Protestant churches in Almaty complained that the proposed new restrictions on religious activity violated the country’s constitution and international commitments. Some see the hand of the National Security Committee secret police (KNB), the former KGB, in this tightening of state control over religious activity.

Pray God will intervene to thwart the plans of those who want to destroy Christianity in Kazakhstan. Pray God will embolden Kazak believers to continue faithfully no matter what governmental restrictions might be imposed on their activities. Pray they will show their Muslim neighbors the love of Jesus at all times.

Pray for JORDAN
JORDAN (Compass Direct)
An Amman court of Islamic law has ruled in favor of Christian widow Siham Qandah, revoking the legal guardianship of her children’s Muslim uncle, Abdullah al-Muhtadi, and ordering him to repay misspent funds. Al-Muhtadi proved unable to provide the court with documented evidence of his claimed expenditure to buy the children a refrigerator. The seven-year custody battle may continue, as the former guardian has the right to appeal the judgment within 30 days. Once they turn 18, the children (now 16 and 15) will be allowed to choose whether their official identity will be Muslim or Christian.

Give thanks and praise to God that He has loosed the chains of injustice for Qandah and her children. Pray she will not have to fight this legal battle again. Pray the Lord will bring more religious freedom to the country of Jordan.

Pray for CHINA
CHINA (VOM Canada)
According to a Vatican spokesman, four priests of the underground Catholic Church have been arrested this year. Thomas Zhao Kexium, 75, was detained by security forces as he was returning from a funeral. The reasons for his arrest and his present location are unknown. Bishop Philip Peter Zahao Zhendong, 85, was arrested January 3rd and is still detained. National security forces arrested Bishop James Lin Xili, 86, on March 20th. Two days later, Gao Xinyou, worker in the pastoral care of the laity, was also arrested.

Pray God will bring His peace to these prisoners. Pray for their health, as most are old and frail. Pray their assurance of faith will lead many prisoners to faith in Jesus Christ.

Pray for VIETNAM
VIETNAM (Compass Direct)
At an appeal court hearing on April 12th, the prison sentences of Pastor Nguyen Hong Quang and evangelist Pham Ngoc Thach were upheld. Quang and Thach, convicted of the crime of “resisting officers of the law while doing their duty,” were sentenced to three-year and two-year terms, respectively, on November 12, 2004. While the appeal hearing was in progress, various police units and security forces dressed in riot gear and carrying billy clubs surrounded the courthouse compound. At the same time, a group of 200 Christians—Mennonite leaders, Christians of Vietnam’s ethnic minorities, leaders from the Vietnam Evangelical Fellowship of house churches and four Catholic activists—held a prayer vigil. On April 11th, Mrs. Quang was summoned to the police station and scolded for writing and circulating an urgent appeal to Christians everywhere to fast and pray for justice to be done for her husband and the other Mennonite prisoners. (Click here)

Pray God will give Quang and Thach great peace and many opportunities to spread the Good News of salvation. Pray many prisoners will see the love of Jesus in Quang and Thach and desire to know their Savior and His love. Pray God will move in power to block any more attempts by authorities to halt Christian activities in Vietnam.

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