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VOM News and Prayer Update: September 12

September 12, 2006

“For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.”(Psalm 107:9)

CHINA
(China Aid Association)
Four Christians in custody in Langzhong City, Sichuan Province have submitted applications demanding their right to read the Bible in the detention center where they have been since June 27. They also asked that a suitable place inside the detention center be provided for regular Sunday services. The four Christians, Li Ming, Jin Jirong, Wang Yuan, and Li Mingbo, were illegally arrested when they went to the local Social Order Office to inquire about the situation of two members of their church, currently imprisoned. The four applicants have not been allowed to read the Bible since they were sent to the detention center. The officers even forbid them to use biblical terms such as God, Jesus, etc, when they communicate with their families. August 20, 2006, the four engaged Dr. Li Baiguang, from Beijing, and Miss Gou Qingju, as their lawyers. The formal application on their behalf requests the assurance of their right to read the Bible and a place to meet for regular Sunday services at the detention center. Dr. Li Baiguang commented, “Though we know our legal action may have little obvious effect, we will persevere. This case would also shake up Chinese judicial officers and let them know religious freedom is a birth right that can never be deprived. Secondly, it can serve as a legal education for officers in the Chinese government who lack the basic concept of Rule of Law.”

Pray these four Christians find favor with the court and receive their requests. Pray their witness of faith and courage will allow the officials to see the reality of Jesus in their lives. Pray the name of Jesus will be glorified in all the proceedings.

INDONESIA
(Compass Direct)
A pastor and his wife living in Aceh province, Indonesia, have gone into hiding after a Muslim mob set fire to a church building September 1st. Several weeks ago, Pastor Luther Saragih of an Indonesia Evangelical Mission Church congregation, distributed letters to several villages in Aceh inviting Christians to a revival service. A Muslim resident somehow received a copy of the letter and edited it, making it appear that Muslims were invited to the service. More than 500 Christians arrived for the service, along with a large crowd of irate Muslims. Police detained Saragih and scolded him for organizing the service, but another pastor was able to deliver a brief sermon before the event was cut short. Later that night, a mob of more than 100 men poured gasoline over the building and set it on fire. They also attempted to burn a second building used as a church kindergarten and came looking for Saragih and his wife at their nearby house. The couple escaped to the jungle. Christians in a neighboring province have provided shelter for Saragih and his pregnant wife. Local police and Muslim leaders are reportedly still searching for the couple. Despite this grave resistance, church members have moved their worship services to a local house, as they refuse to buckle under Muslim attacks.

Pray God will keep his faithful servants safe from harm. Pray many of the Muslims who heard the brief sermon will be moved to seek the Lord. Praise God the members of this church are continuing to meet, praising God in the knowledge that He is building His church and the gates of hell can not prevail against it.

IRAN
(Compass Direct)
One month after ordering his arrest, Iranian court authorities in the Northern city of Rasht have released Christian convert Issa Motamedi Mojdehi, declaring the former Muslim “free for the moment.” Motamedi Mojdehi was granted bail August 24th on the basis of a written guarantee from a fellow Christian, who signed over his personal work charter to a revolutionary court in order to obtain the prisoner’s release. Although the initial drug charges that were the pretext for Motamedi Mojdehi’s arrest remain in his legal file, the judge introduced new accusations against him at his August 24th hearing. According to unnamed “confidential witnesses,” the judge said, the convert’s 8-year-old daughter, Martha, allegedly had been trying to lead other children to the Christian faith.

Give thanks and praise to God for Issa’s temporary release. Pray God will put a hedge of protection around him and his family, particularly his daughter, Martha. Pray the Lord will show Himself mighty in undermining all efforts of the Iranian government to stop the spread of Christianity.

PAKISTAN
(Compass Direct)
The Christian ex-wife of a Pakistani Muslim who abducted their young children from court custody two years ago cajoled him into meeting her last week in a Lahore park, where police arrested him. Accusing Maria Samar John of trying to convert the children to Christianity, Abdul Ghaffar had kidnapped his then 5-year-old son, Joshua, and 3-year-old daughter, Miriam, during a supervised parental visit within the Lahore Family Court premises on September 13, 2004. A police investigation had netted no tangible clues on Ghaffar’s whereabouts. Lahore’s Center for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement, which had sheltered John from her abusive husband since 2000, after she fled the forced marriage, reached a breakthrough last month when they traced Ghaffar’s telephone number. After his arrest, Ghaffar told police a religious dispute was at the heart of the custody fight. “Maria was trying to convert my children to Christianity, so I abducted them,” he said. At the time of this news release the children were with their paternal grandparents, but the police are looking for them and will return them to Maria. Under Pakistani divorce laws, children remain in their mother’s custody until age 12, when the father has the right to claim guardianship. The court has a criminal complaint against Ghaffar, so Maria and the children will also have to appear. It is possible that Ghaffar’s influential family might exert heavy pressures on the court.

Pray God will protect the children and reunite them with their mother. Pray for a miracle of God’s grace to take away the trauma these children have suffered and replace it with joy and hope. Pray the Holy Spirit will bring Ghaffar to repentance and cause him to have a compelling desire to know Jesus.

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