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VOM-USA News & Prayer Update

May 4, 2005

“For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us, you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many” (2 Corinthians 1:8-11).

Prayers for May 3, 2005
From The Voice of the Martyrs
The Voice of the Martyrs Visit: Persecution.com
Pray for BELARUS
BELARUS (Missions Insider)
Christian believers in Belarus continue to suffer under the most repressive religion law in Europe. All religious groups are required to register with the government, a process so difficult and exclusive that few groups are actually granted official status, without which they are not allowed to construct buildings. Even after registration, they are forbidden to function outside the town or city, within which they are registered. They are not allowed to preach publicly, and many churches must meet in secret. Meeting in an unused cowshed, New Life Church in Minsk, is being threatened with closure because the land is not designated for religious use. There is also growing concern about the political stability of the country under the repressive rule of President Lukashenko, who has censored the media and ruthlessly squashed opposition political parties.

Pray God will keep Belarusian Christians firm in their faith, knowing that He is their refuge and fortress. Pray President Lukashenko will turn to the One whose power is love.

Pray for IRAN
IRAN (Compass Direct)
Iranian authorities abandoned preliminary hearings against Christian convert Hamid Pourmand before an Islamic sharia court in Tehran last week, apparently after news of his trial leaked out to the international press. Officials informed the Protestant lay pastor’s lawyer and family that he was being transferred to his home city of Bandar-i Bushehr to stand trial. Officials did not indicate when the prisoner would be moved or when his trial would begin. Pourmand, 47, was arrested by the Iranian security police last September for deserting Islam 25 years ago to become a Christian. A former colonel in the Iranian army, he was serving as lay pastor of an Assemblies of God congregation. He faces the death penalty for apostasy and proselytizing under Iranian law. “Hamid’s wife and sons feel very alone now,” an Iranian source told Compass. “They are isolated, without any source of income, and no place to go when summer comes.” (Click here)

Pray international publicity regarding this trial will bring about Pourmand’s release. Pray God will protect him in prison and draw near to keep him strong in his faith. Pray Christians will find ways of bringing physical, emotional and spiritual aid to Pourmand’s wife and children.

Pray for LAOS
LAOS (Compass Direct)
The government of Laos has launched a new crackdown on Bru tribal Christians in southern Savannakhet. Twenty-four Bru Christians were arrested the last week of March. They were beaten, tied to a post under the hot sun, tortured with red ants and asked to sign documents renouncing their faith. Eventually, 22 of the believers—under great duress—signed the documents and were released. The other two remain in prison. Meanwhile, other Christians living in Muangphin district have been threatened with serious harm if they meet together for prayer or worship.

Pray our merciful Father will give peace of mind and comfort to the believers who renounced their faith. Pray He will provide opportunities for them to continue to share the Good News. Pray the two men still in prison will know the presence of Jesus with them to give them strength and courage.

Pray for SAUDI ARABIA
SAUDI ARABIA (VOM-Canada)
On April 22nd, several carloads of religious police surrounded a home in Riyadh, where 40 Pakistani Christians had gathered for a weekly prayer meeting. Everyone present, including women and children, was detained. All were released that evening with the exception of the owner of the house and the preacher. They were released two days later. The investigating police officer said that the church contained crosses, Christian literature and tapes. He stated the church was run by a Pakistani man who claimed to heal the sick, heard confessions, distributed communion and held prayer meetings. Officially, foreigners are allowed to worship in their own homes as long as they do not proselytize. Raids like this demonstrate that this freedom is not always allowed. (Click here)

Pray God will protect Christians in Saudi Arabia and allow them opportunities to share their faith. Pray they will have the strength to trust their victorious Savior. Pray the loving attitude of Saudi Christians will bring the reality of Jesus to those in this closed country who have never had the opportunity to learn of Him.

Pray for VIETNAM
VIETNAM (religionjournal.com)
According to Compass, Vietnam has promised to release Mennonite church worker Le Thi Hong Lien on April 30th, two months short of completing her one-year sentence on charges of opposing an officer performing official duties. On February 28th, Lien was transferred from prison to a mental hospital, apparently to help her recover from the abuse she endured in prison. The first time her parents visited her, they said she had lost her mind and did not recognize them. She has recently begun to recall acts of torture. She remembers drug injections, frequent and severe beatings, electric shock and food deprivation. She has trouble using her jaw, which was broken.

Give thanks to God that Lien has been released. Pray our compassionate Father will heal her body, mind and spirit. Pray God will deliver her guards from the darkness of their brutality into the light of Christ.

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