Communist China Church Update

As you are probably aware, the communist government is ravaging the Christian church in China. Many pastors have been beaten and imprisoned, church buildings destroyed or converted to secular use, church members beaten and some imprisoned, a rewrite of the Holy Bible to make it “pro-communist”, youth forbidden to attend church, and other suppressing tactics.

Yesterday at church I spoke with a sister-in-Christ who had done much gospel work in Communist China over the years. I asked her what her contacts were saying about the current outbreak of persecution. She said that some are saying it is really bad.

Others said they had been praying for persecution to return because the Christian church in Communist China was becoming too much like the church in America and it needed persecution to purify it.

Think about that for a moment.

Please pray that the Chinese Church will go “on in the fear of the Lord and the comfort of the Holy Spirit (Acts: 9:31). That the true believers would be “…all filled with the Holy Spirit and ” begin “to speak the word of God with boldness (Acts 4:31)”.

“Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body. “. Hebrew 13:3

Carl

Islamic Imam Beaten and Hunted By Father For Becoming A Christian

NAIROBI, Kenya (Morning Star News) – Sheikh Hassan Podo, a 28-year-old imam in Kerekerene village in eastern Uganda, missed mosque prayers for three consecutive weeks and was seen entering a church building around noon on March 16.

He had kept his faith in Christ a secret for three weeks. The young Muslim who saw Podo enter the church building in Katira Sub-County, Budaka District, went straight to Podo’s parents and brothers to report him.

When Podo arrived at the house that evening, his family interrogated him about where he had spent the better part of the day.

“Without my completing answering them, my brothers immediately began surrounding me, with sticks,” Podo told Morning Star News. “It was difficult to escape. They began shouting, beating and insulting me as an ‘infidel’ and enemy of the Islamic religion.”

His wife and two children managed to escape to the home of a nearby Christian neighbor, he said.

With sticks and other blunt objects, Podo’s relatives injured his left arm from the shoulder to his fingers, said one of the area residents who found him unconscious. He also sustained a head injury.

“There was a loud cry emanating from Podo’s homestead, raising a big concern from the neighbors who arrived at the scene of attack and helped Podo to escape,” the source said. “He bled as he fled for his life. Later he was found in a pool of blood a kilometer away from the homestead, unconscious.”

They rushed him to a clinic in Katira, and he was discharged after two days and taken to a pastor whose name is withheld for security reasons. His wife and two children later joined him at an undisclosed location.

The pastor said Podo’s father, Mwanamwoiza Juma, has since mobilized a group of Muslims from different mosques “to hunt for the life of his son, declaring a fatwa and disowning him, and giving his land to the brothers for bringing blasphemy into the family. Sheikh Twale and Galami Abdulmutwalibi have been carrying out a series of prayers to curse Podo’s family. But we know the blood of Jesus will protect the family.”

The pastor has been giving Podo discipleship lessons to strengthen the family’s faith in the midst of the ordeal, he said.

Podo put his faith in Christ on Feb. 24 after hearing the message of His saving death and resurrection from another pastor. His wife became a Christian one week later, he said.

Before his conversion, Podo was part of a Muslim extremist group that had attacked the Church of Uganda’s Katira congregation.

“Please family of Christ, our humble request is that we covet prayers for Podo and his young family for God’s healing, medication, protection, provision and to get to a safe haven for the young family,” the pastor said.

The attacks were the latest of many cases of persecution of Christians in eastern Uganda that Morning Star News has documented.

Uganda’s constitution and other laws provide for religious freedom, including the right to propagate one’s faith and convert from one faith to another.

Muslims make up no more than 12 percent of Uganda’s population, but with high concentrations in eastern areas of the country.

If you would like to help persecuted Christians, visit https://morningstarnews.org/resources/aid-agencies/ for a list of organizations that can orient you on how to get involved.  

Communist China City Pays Up To $1500 To Report Christians

China’s crackdown on Christianity escalated March 20 when the government of the fifth-largest city began issuing rewards to those who report “illegal religious activities,” including house church meetings.

The Bureau of Ethnic and Religious Affairs in Guangzhou said it would reward prizes of 3,000, 5,000 and 10,000 yuan ($450, $750 and $1,500 U.S.) to Chinese citizens who spot and turn in their neighbors to government officials, according to Asia News

The size of the prize will depend on the scale of the illegal activity. 

All churches in China are required to register with the government. Some churches, though, face severe restrictions in how they worship and practice their faith. Because of this, millions of Chinese Christians worship underground. 

“The authorities could not have picked a better time, just before Easter to introduce these measures,” a priest told AsiaNews. “At this time, we often meditate on the passion of Jesus and Judas’ treachery for 30 pieces of silver. The Guangzhou government wants to turn people into many mini Judas.”

Guangzhou, with 11 million people, is the fifth-largest city in China and the capital of the province of Guangdong.

Last year Guangzhou authorities shut down the 5,000-member Rongguili Church, but members still meet in homes, Asia News reported. 

Referencing the new regulations, one Christian woman told the website, “Now here in China we live in a Big Brother atmosphere.” Under the new law, citizens can report suspicious Christian activities at the government office, by phone or via letter. 

The law lists as dangerous people who “establish religious places without authorization; non-religious groups; non-religious institutions; non-religious places, temporary places of worship, religious activities and religious donations.” This includes “organizing unauthorized religious courses, conferences, unauthorized pilgrimages,” AsiaNews said. 

Children under 18 are not allowed to take part in Mass or catechism, according to AsiaNews.

Related:

Chinese Official Vows to Eliminate Christianity in China

How I Can Only Imagine Smuggled the Gospel into China

‘We’re Not Allowed to Print Anything’ about Jesus, Chinese Print Shop Tells Church

Persecution Rising in China: And Things Could Get Worse

Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.

Photo courtesy: Pixabay

Pastor of Underground Church in Kenya Beaten Unconscious

Please pray for this Christian pastor and his family. Hebrew 13:3 instructs us to:

Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.

Carl

NAIROBIKenya, March 11, 2019 (Morning Star News) – The Somali pastor of an underground church in Kenya near the Somali border suffered a broken thigh bone and other injuries after Muslim extremists beat him with wooden clubs on Friday night (March 8), sources said.

Pastor Abdul (surname withheld for security reasons), a 30-year-old father of three, had finished leading a prayer gathering at 9 p.m. on the outskirts of Garissa and was on his way back to his house when several ethnic Somali Muslims attacked, he told Morning Star News from his hospital bed, still visibly in pain.

Pastor Abdul said he did not know the assailants. As they approached him, he said, one of them told him, “We have been following your movements and your evil plans of changing Muslims to Christianity.” 

Leader of an underground church of 30 former Muslims, he clandestinely met with them in smaller groups on varying days for worship, prayer and Bible study, he said.

“Immediately several assailants began hitting me with wooden clubs, and I became unconscious,” Pastor Abdul said. “I woke up and found myself surrounded by neighbors. I was rescued by the neighbors who found me in a pool of blood.”

They rushed him to a hospital in Garissa, where doctors found his thigh was broken and bruises throughout his body.

“Apart from the thigh pain, I now feel pain all over my body, especially the waist, the back and my left leg near the ankle,” Pastor Abdul told Morning Star News between groans. “I’m almost unable to bear the pain. My family is in great fear, and Christians have located us to another place. Our prayer for now is to get a safe place for my family. My life and that of my family is at stake.”

His children are 8, 5 and 3 years old.

The pastor, who became a Christian seven years ago, said the Muslim extremists discovered his activities even though he had taken precautionary measures to try to keep his movements secret.

The population of Garissa, about 100 miles from the Somali border, is predominantly ethnic Somali.  On April 2, 2015, 148 people at Garissa University College lost their lives in an attack by Muslim extremist Al Shabaab, a rebel group in Somalia affiliated with Al Qaeda, and several attacks on churches and Christians have taken place in Garissa.

Somalis generally believe that all Somalis must be Muslim. Somalia’s constitution establishes Islam as the state religion and prohibits the propagation of any other religion, according to the U.S. State Department. It also requires that laws comply with sharia (Islamic law) principles, with no exceptions in application for non-Muslims.

Somalia is ranked third on Christian support group Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian; Kenya is ranked 40.

If you would like to help persecuted Christians, visit http://morningstarnews.

INDIA – No. 10 on Open Doors’ World’s Watch List

10.Unprecedented Christian Persecution in India

In the world’s second most populous country, Christians saw unprecedented persecution on numerous fronts from both the State and general Hindu society. For the first time, India enters the top 10 on the World Watch List, jumping one spot from No. 11 in 2017. Home to more than a billion people, even an incremental rise in persecution yields an exponential impact. Since the current ruling party took power in 2014, Hindu extremists have fueled a crackdown on Christian house churches and have attacked believers with impunity—believing that to be Indian is to be Hindu. So any other faith is viewed as non-Indian. In rural areas, Christians were told that one church would be closed down every week because they have been “destroying” local tradition and culture by “luring” others to convert to Christianity. And it is common for Christians to be cut off from local water supplies and be denied access to government-subsidized groceries. In India, saying “yes” to Jesus has become a risky decision that costs you and your family greatly.

To read more about these countries and the remaining 40 countries on Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List, click here to see the list and download the full report. To help you pray with these believers, Open Doors has a mobile prayer app that alerts you to prayer requests from believers. Learn more about it and sign up to get regular updates delivered to your phone.  Share Your Comment

Dear Reader: thank you for your time reading these important posts concerning persecution of our brothers and sisters in the Lord.  Let us remember them in prayer and support them financially and physically were we can. God bless your obedience to Him. Carl

Sudan and Eritrea: 6 & 7 In The Top 10 Persecutors of Christians

6.Christian Converts in Sudan Targeted for Persecution

Sudan has been ruled as an Islamic state by the authoritarian government of President al-Bashir since 1989. Under his charge, the country offers limited rights for religious minorities and places heavy restrictions on freedom of speech or press. The last year has been difficult for Christians in many ways. There have been arrests; many churches have been demolished and others are on an official list awaiting demolition. And many Christians are attacked indiscriminately in areas like the Nuba Mountains where there is an ongoing conflict between government forces and rebel groups. Christian converts from Islam are especially targeted for persecution. So to keep from being discovered, converts will often refrain from raising their children as Christians because this might attract the attention of the government and community leaders (since children might inadvertently reveal their parents’ faith).

7.Christians Imprisoned in Shipping Containers in Eritrea

Since 1993, President Afwerki has overseen an authoritarian brutal regime that rests on massive human rights violations. During the 2019 World Watch List reporting period, government security forces conducted many house-to-house raids and imprisoned hundreds of Christians in inhumane conditions, including small shipping containers in scorching heat. Protestants, in particular, face serious problems in accessing community resources, especially social services provided by the State. Christians from non-traditional church groups, such as evangelicals, face the harshest persecution. In 2018, Eritrea embraced an end to hostility with both Ethiopia and Somalia. How that agreement will play out for the situation of Christians remains to be seen. This extreme pressure and state-sanctioned violence are forcing some Christians to flee Eritrea–often called “Africa’s North Korea”–and seek asylum.

Dear Reader: please pray for these precious people who are suffering for believing in and following Jesus Christ. That is their only “crime”! May grace upon grace be upon them.

Carl

Libya and Pakistan: No. 4 & 5 Persecutors of Christians

4.Believers in Libya Face Deadly Violence

After the ouster of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi, Libya plunged into chaos and anarchy, which has enabled various Islamic militant groups to control parts of the country. Libyan converts to Christianity face abuse and violence for their decision to follow Christ. The country is also home to many migrant workers who have been attacked, sexually assaulted and detained, which can be even worse if your Christian faith is discovered. Libyan Christians with a Muslim background face extremely violent and intense pressure from their family and the wider community to renounce their faith. Believers from other parts of the continent are also targeted by various Islamic militant groups and organized criminal groups. Few will forget the horrifying video of Egyptian workers martyred by ISIS militants on the coast of Libya. The level of violence against Christians in Libya is very high, and Christians in Libya are subjected to violent, inhumane and degrading treatment.

5.Christians in Pakistan Live With Open Discrimination and Constant Threat of Mob Attacks

Under Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws, Christians continue to live in daily fear they will be accused of blasphemy—which can carry a death sentence. The most well-known example of these laws is the case of Asia Bibi. After sitting on death row for more than 10 years, the Christian wife and mother was acquitted of blasphemy charges in October however her life is still in grave danger from radical Islamists that have gained increasing political power in the world’s sixth-largest country. For that reason, the new ruling government must maintain good diplomatic relationships with some radical groups. Christians are largely regarded as second-class citizens, and conversion to Christianity from Islam carries a great deal of risk. An estimated 700 girls and women abducted each year are often raped and then forcefully married to Muslim men in the community, usually resulting in forced conversions. While traditional, historical churches have relative freedom for worship, they are heavily monitored and have regularly been targeted for bomb attacks (for example, the Quetta attack in December 2017 on Bethel Memorial Methodist Church). In Pakistan, all Christians suffer from institutionalized discrimination. Occupations seen as low, dirty and derogatory are officially reserved for Christians. Many Christians are very poor, and some are victims of bonded labor. On the other hand, many Christians belong to Pakistan’s middle class; however, this does not save them from being marginalized or persecuted.