THE AID AGENCY FOR THE PERSECUTED CHURCH www.barnabasfund.org
to help you pray for the persecuted church
JANUARY 1 - 4 Thank you for your prayers for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ, which make such a difference to them. We sometimes have to change or omit their names for security reasons, and we have only limited space to share their stories. But the Lord knows the people and places we are praying about. Thank you for your understanding. Please do not feel limited by the specific prayer requests, but pray as you feel led.
Tuesday 1 This year marks the 20th anniversary of Barnabas Fund. Please give thanks with us for all that God has enabled us to achieve in the last two decades, and pray for us as we continue to fulfil the fourfold calling He has given us: to provide practical aid for Christians under pressure; to encourage prayer for the persecuted Church; to raise awareness of their sufferings among Christians in the West; and to bring their plight to the attention of those in authority. Pray too that the Lord will comfort and strengthen His suffering people in 2013 and bring them relief from their troubles.
policies of Western nations and bring tangible change for Christ’s suffering people throughout the world. Thursday 3 Give thanks that 76 Christian girls in Kenya are growing up in the safety of the Cana Girls Rescue Home, a Christian shelter that Barnabas Fund has supported for many years. There they are encouraged by the pastor couple running the home to study hard at school and are helped to grow in their Christian faith. Many of the girls ran away from their parents, who wanted to force them to practise traditional African religions, especially by undergoing a “female circumcision” rite, and often to marry much older non-Christian men who were not of their choice. Pray that the Lord will comfort and restore them and that they can rejoice in God as He spreads His protection over them (Psalm 5:11). Ask the Lord to bless their studies and that they will grow up to be strong women of God.
Wednesday 2 Barnabas Fund’s Proclaim Freedom petition closed on 31 December
2012. This campaign was designed to press Western governments to promote freedom of religion, human rights and justice in other countries, especially for the millions of persecuted Christians, and for those who incite or engage in hatred and violence towards Christians to be held accountable. Give thanks that tens of thousands of people signed the petition, and pray for Barnabas as we make plans to present it. Pray that this and the other initiatives will influence the
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Some of the girls from a rescue home in Kenya that Barnabas supports
Friday 4 “I cannot fathom why they targeted the little ones.” The mother of John Ian Maina, a nineyear-old boy who was killed in a brutal grenade attack on a Sunday school in Kenya, expressed her grief at this cruel crime. Several other children were injured in the attack on St Polycarp Church
JANUARY 5 - 8 in Nairobi, for which sympathisers of the Islamist group al-Shabaab are thought to be responsible. An improvised explosive was thrown at the room where the children were waiting for their Sunday morning session on 30 September 2012. Pray for John’s bereaved family, that they will know the presence of our Comforter in sorrow (Jeremiah 8:18), and that the Holy Spirit will enable them to forgive and love his killers. Ask that the traumatised children will know the Lord’s peace as they recover from this attack. Saturday 5 Remember in prayer twelve Christians from Shiraz, Iran, who are in prison under harsh conditions because of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 13:3). Seven of the twelve were arrested during a raid on a house church in February 2012. They have been held separately in Adel-Abad prison alongside murderers and drug dealers. The remaining five were detained in a prayer meeting on 12 October 2012 and are being held at the Intelligence Ministry’s notorious detention centre. Pray that God may strengthen them during their confinement and during any interrogations they might have to undergo. Ask the Lord that they can remain strong in their witness and they will experience the joy of the Lord despite what they are undergoing. Sunday 6 The Gospel continues to spread in Iran despite the threat of arrest faced by those who accept Christ. The country’s media has acknowledged growth in the number of Christians; a report in a government-backed newspaper stated that 200 house churches, made up of Christians from Muslim backgrounds, are now meeting in Mashhad. A senior Islamic cleric, quoted in a local newspaper,
also warned against the spread of Christianity. He said that 600 people have become Christians in Neishabour alone. Praise the Lord for these many new brothers and sisters in Christ, and pray that He will protect them from the pressures and risks that accompany faith in Christ in Iran. Monday 7 Pray for the congregations of two churches in Esfahan, Iran, where state security agents have been permanently posted in an effort to hinder their activities. The agents interfere in many aspects of church life at St Luke’s and St Paul’s, ordering the pastors around, threatening the congregation and attempting to create tensions by spreading false rumours. Listening devices have also been installed. After the pastor of St Luke’s was made to release personal details of his congregation, members were harassed and warned of dire consequences if they persisted in their faith. Pray for Christians in Iran, that the Lord will sustain them and never let them be shaken (Psalm 55:22), and ask that the official campaign against them will cease. Tuesday 8 Tomorrow (9 January), a Supreme Court hearing is scheduled to take place over the future of Greater Grace Church in Baku, Azerbaijan. It was issued with a liquidation order in April 2012, a decision upheld by an appeal court in July. If the Supreme Court does not overturn the ruling, the church, which has a congregation of nearly 500, will be dissolved. This is an important test case for religious freedom in Azerbaijan, as Greater Grace is the first church to be closed since a strict Religion Law requiring all churches to re-register was introduced in 2009. Pray that the Lord will move the Supreme Court to rule in the church’s favour. Lift up to the Lord the leaders and members as they await the verdict.
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JANUARY 9 - 12 Wednesday 9 Praise God for a welcome victory for religious freedom in India. An “anticonversion” law in the state of Himachal Pradesh, which was used by Hindu extremists to stop people becoming Christians, was partially struck down on 30 August 2012 after a legal challenge brought by Christians. The requirements of the law endangered Christian converts, as they were expected to give official notice of their conversions and be listed in a public registry. The registry was checked by Hindu extremists, who tracked down, persecuted and even murdered new Christians. Give thanks that the court decided that some aspects of the law are unconstitutional. The case will now go to India’s highest court, where the judges are expected to come under pressure from Hindu extremists. Pray that their influence will not prevail. Thursday 10 Pray for Lal Mani Prasad, an Indian pastor, who was beaten unconscious in a vicious attack on his family. A group of around ten Hindu extremists broke into the family home in Narela on 14 October 2012. After insulting the family for their faith in Christ, two of them hit Pastor Prasad on the head with a steel bucket and continued beating him until he passed out, soaked in blood. His son Samuel’s hand was broken in the attack, and the pastor’s wife and three daughters were also assaulted. Pray that the Lord will restore Pastor Prasad’s family to health and heal their wounds (Jeremiah 30:17), both physical and emotional, and that He will protect Christians in India from attack by extremists. Friday 11 Babar Bhatti, a pastor in Pakistan, was shot outside his home in Faisalabad by Muslim extremists on 30 September 2012. He was with a member of the church youth group when the attack happened. Pastor Babar was taken to hospital, where he underwent surgery 4
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to remove two bullets from his left leg. Prior to the shooting, he had been receiving threatening phone calls. Thank God for preserving Pastor Babar’s life and pray that he will make a full recovery. Pray that the Lord will watch over his coming and going (Psalm 121:8). Saturday 12 Give thanks that Barnabas Fund opened another 13 new Christian schools in Pakistan in 2012, bringing the total number of Barnabas-funded schools in the country up to 35. Hundreds more disadvantaged Christian youngsters are now receiving a Christian education in a supportive environment. These Christian schools are bringing Christian children opportunities that were not open to them before owing to discrimination and poverty; 200 former students, from one Barnabas-funded school in a rural area where most of the pupils’ parents are factory workers and street-sweepers, have
Barnabas has opened another 13 Christian schools in Pakistan in 2012
JANUARY 13 - 17 now graduated from university. Give praise for the change that the schools are bringing to so many lives. Pray that the school principals and teachers will have wisdom and integrity in leading the schools, and that more supporters will join Barnabas Fund’s school-place sponsorship scheme. Sunday 13 As the Burmese military continue their violent offensive against the mainly Christian Kachin people, helpless children may be caught in the firing line. For example, on 15 October 2012 a seven-yearold boy, Bawn Hkaw, the son of a pastor, was shot in the left thigh and right hand during a two-hour siege at a Kachin refugee site. Troops fired machine guns and mortars from a hilltop, destroying houses and forcing the refugees to run for cover. Bawn Hkaw’s father heard his screams and rushed him to a local hospital. Pray that he may make a full recovery from his injuries, and that the merciless attacks on the Kachin will cease. Monday 14 Christian leaders in Laos can come under great pressure from local officials, who may use any measures available to force new Christians to renounce their faith. Five Christian leaders were arrested in Phin district, Savannakhet province, on 11 September 2012. While two of these, who have not been named, were released two days later, Bounlert of Alowmai church, Adang of Kengsainoy church and Onkaew of Kapang church are still in custody. They have been made to endure inhumane conditions, their hands and feet in chains. Adang and Onkaew have become seriously ill. Pray that all three will know the Lord’s love and strength in
these dire circumstances, and that they will soon be released. Pray that their congregations will be able to continue to worship in their absence. Tuesday 15 Pray that the Lord will give Christians in Laos the strength to stand firm as they face pressure from local authorities to perform acts of spirit worship or else be evicted from their villages. This tactic has been used against around 50 Christian families from several villages in Savannakhet province. In one case, the pressure was intensified with the threat that the Christians’ homes would be seized and destroyed. Taking part in the rituals would be viewed as a public statement that the Christians were returning to the villages’ traditional religion and renouncing their faith in Christ. Pray that the Laotian authorities will honour their commitments to uphold religious freedom so that Christians can worship as they choose in peace. Wednesday 16 On 14 October 2012 Ali Hussein, a notorious Muslim gang leader in Deir Mawas, Egypt, stormed into the home of a Christian family and demanded that a young mother of two be handed over to live with him. When the family refused, Hussein shot dead Ephrem Marzouk (24), and scores of gang members then flooded into the house, killing Ephrem’s 61-year-old father Ibrahim. Before the raid, the gang had killed all the animals in the stables to frighten the villagers. They have been terrorising Christians in the area for over two years. Pray for peace for this beleaguered Christian community, and that the authorities will provide better protection for them. Thursday 17 Christians in Egypt are increasingly vulnerable to accusations of blasphemy. Bishoy Kamel, a Christian teacher from Sohag province, was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment after cartoons deemed BARNABAS PRAYER JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013
JANUARY 18 - 21 offensive to Islam and comments against Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi appeared on his Facebook page. His appeal was rejected on 27 September 2012. Pray for Bishoy, that the Lord will protect him as he endures imprisonment, and that his conviction will be overturned. Give thanks, however, that Nevien, a Christian teacher who was falsely accused of blasphemy following a history lesson she taught on the life of Muhammad, was acquitted on 30 September 2012. Friday 18 Christians in Egypt have become even more vulnerable after a contradictory draft constitution left the way open for an Islamic state. While some clauses in the document guarantee equality for women and freedom of belief, others indicate that legal rulings will be shaped by sharia law, which discriminates against women and non-Muslims. Islam is referred to as the “state’s religion”, and an “anti-blasphemy” measure is included in the draft. The state is also granted powers to interfere in matters of morality and behaviour. Pray for Christians in Egypt, who are already at risk of persecution, that the Lord will protect them if sharia law is imposed on the country. Ask that religious freedom will be upheld, and that hard-line Salafist Muslims, who say that the draft constitution does not go far enough, will not make it even more extreme. Saturday 19 Give thanks to the Lord that Barnabas Fund’s International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church captured the imaginations of Christians around the world. A chorus of voices lifted up our suffering brothers and sisters in prayer on 1 November, with individuals and churches in 30 countries taking part. In India, for example, an awe-inspiring 4,440 churches participated. Praise the Lord that He is a God who hears our prayers if we ask anything according to His will (1 John 5:14), and pray that our continued 6
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intercession for persecuted Christians will bear much fruit. Sunday 20 The protests against the anti-Islamic film Innocence of Muslims led in September 2012 to renewed calls for a global blasphemy law. Muslim leaders such as the head of Hezbollah, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for an international law banning the defamation of religion, chiefly Islam. There are concerns that such a law, if introduced, would limit rights to freedom of speech, and that it could lead to Christians and other nonMuslims in Muslim-majority countries being even more marginalised and endangered. Existing “blasphemy laws” in Pakistan are often misused, and Christians are especially vulnerable. Pray that the international community will firmly resist the introduction of an international blasphemy law. Monday 21 Christian women who live in contexts of pressure and persecution may suffer both for their gender and for their faith. Kidnapping, rape and sexual violence against women may be used as a weapon in campaigns against Christian minorities, for example in Burma. Women may be forced by crushing poverty to take jobs as domestic workers in the homes of people from the majority community, who are often very abusive to them, as in Pakistan. Or they may be obliged to comply with highly restrictive codes of behaviour or practices that are not their own, such as the strict dress codes enforced by sharia law, and they may be severely punished for any infringement. Pray that
JANUARY 22 - 25 persecuted Christian women will be protected from abuse and strengthened in their faith, and that they will know the Lord’s peace in their trials. Tuesday 22 Christian leaders of a church in Orissa, India had just attended a three-day Barnabas-funded leadership training course when their church was attacked. A mob entered the church and demanded money from the believers. When the Christians refused, they were beaten and furniture was destroyed. The village leaders sided with the mob and also punished the believers. One of the subjects studied during the training, “Standing firm in the midst of persecution”, helped the leaders to stand strong in their faith during this time of trial. Give thanks that the training came at exactly the right time, and pray that the leaders can convey what they learnt to the congregation. Pray that all 334
Some of the many Indian church leaders trained with a grant from Barnabas
Christian leaders who received training in JuneAugust 2012 thanks to Barnabas Fund will be strengthened in their faith to lead their flocks well. Wednesday 23 Lift up to the Lord those Christians in India who live under the constant threat of violence by Hindu extremists. Four Christians were forced to flee their village, and many more were beaten, in attacks in Chhattisgarh over two nights in early September 2012. A 600-strong mob broke down the doors of
the families’ houses, damaged their possessions and tried to force them to renounce Christ. When the families refused, the mob forced four Christians to leave the village, in the middle of the night and in heavy monsoon rain. Pray for these Christian families, that the Lord who gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak (Isaiah 40:29) will uphold them. Pray that they will be able to live in peace without fear of further harassment. Thursday 24 Pray for our brothers and sisters in Karnataka, India, where Hindu nationalists have increased the pressure on them ahead of state assembly elections. In late October 2012, reports of anti-Christian violence were being received almost every other day. It is thought that the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, which is seeking re-election, is painting Christians and Muslims as enemies of Hindus in order to consolidate the Hindu vote. Pray that this repugnant tactic of using the persecution of Christians as an election strategy will cease, and that the outcome of the poll later this year will be favourable to the Christian community. Friday 25 Pray for Christian children in Bangladesh who have been taken from their families by deceit and sold to Islamic schools, where they are physically abused and pressured to convert to Islam. Poor tribal Christian families are convinced by intermediaries to send their children to “boarding schools”, where they will be fed and educated for a fee. The intermediaries pocket the families’ money and then sell the children to the schools. The children have to endure hours of Arabic lessons and Quran readings, and those who miss Islamic prayers or refuse to take part in a lesson are subjected to violence. Pray that the Lord will enable them to persevere in their Christian faith, and that they may soon be set free. BARNABAS PRAYER JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013
JANUARY 26 - 30
Saturday 26 Give thanks to the Lord for the amazing faith and courage of the Christians of Shouwang Church in Beijing, China. Shouwang, one of the largest unregistered churches (“house churches”) in the capital, was evicted from its leased meeting-place in April 2011, and since then its members have been meeting in the open air. As a result many have been arrested, at home or on their way to services, detained for short or longer periods, or deprived of their jobs and homes – but still they persist. In a recent statement they said, “May God open our eyes to see His work, and guard our faith, so that we will be faithful and used by Him.” Pray for their protection, and that the authorities will relent and allow them to buy or rent a worship space.
Monday 28 As many as 70,000 Christians may still be locked away in North Korea’s brutal labour camps, as the country’s ruler Kim JongUn continues the repressive policies of his late father, Kim Jong-Il. Since succeeding to the leadership in 2011 he has lifted some restrictions, such as bans on Western foods, but there are no reports of improved conditions for Christians. Three generations of a Christian family can still be imprisoned for life just for owning a Bible, and many die in the camps. The secret services also try to close off avenues of escape, spying on Christian networks in China that have links to North Korean refugees. Pray for persecuted Christians in their distress, and for the establishing of wise and just government in North Korea.
Sunday 27 Chinese house churches meet under the constant threat of suppression. On 13 September 2012 a group of about 30 Christians in Kucha, in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, had gathered in one of the members’ homes for Bible study, teaching and worship. Officials forced their way into the house, declared the meeting illegal and claimed that all house churches are cults and heretical. They confiscated the Christians’ ID cards, along with mobile phones, computers, Bibles and study materials, and arrested four people for questioning. Although the Christians were released late at night, the police retained the Christian literature, alleging it to be illegal. Pray that the authorities will not harass our brothers and sisters any further, and for religious freedom to be upheld in China.
Tuesday 29 As Islamist militants continue to tighten their grip on northern Mali, Christians in the country find themselves in growing danger. Reports of appalling human rights abuses in the north, including public executions, amputations and floggings, have attracted international condemnation. Although Christians were driven out of the north at an early stage of the crisis, if the militants continue to grow in power and gain territory, the Church in Mali will be at risk of having sharia law strictly imposed on them and the grievous persecution that often follows. Pray that the Lord will protect His people and deliver them from Islamist violence and oppression.
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Wednesday 30 The militant Islamist group, Boko Haram, which is waging war against Christians in Northern and central Nigeria, has been responsible for an estimated 3,000 deaths since 2009, according to an army chief. The group has been carrying out deadly attacks on churches and Christian communities, as well as the security forces and other official targets. Entire Christian families have been killed in cold blood in their homes, and children, pregnant women and the
JANUARY 31 – FEBRUARY 2
This new church building in Burundi was roofed with help from Barnabas
elderly have not been spared. Pray for the safety of our vulnerable brothers and sisters as they face such murderous hostility. Thursday 31 Praise God that five impoverished congregations in Burundi now have roofed churches to worship in with help from Barnabas Fund. Many of the members are destitute. They have only recently resettled in the area after living for many years as refugees in neighbouring countries to escape a long and violent conflict that ended in 2008. They collected stones for the foundations and built the walls with bricks they made themselves. Barnabas helped by funding the nails and iron sheets for the roof, which the Christians could not afford. Pray that the congregations will be beacons of light in their area.
February Friday 1 At least four churches in Tanzania were destroyed, and others attacked, during two nights of rioting by Muslims beginning on 12 October 2012. Police arrested 122 members
of the Islamic separatist group UAMSHO (Association for Islamic Mobilisation and Propagation) in connection with the riots, which took place in Dar es Salaam. Muslim groups cited “police laxity” in dealing with an incident of alleged blasphemy involving a 14-year-old Christian boy as the reason for the riots. Pray for the boy’s protection in light of the disproportionate reaction of local Muslims. Pray too for the congregations of the destroyed churches, that they will be able to meet and worship in peace without fear of further attacks. Saturday 2 Give thanks for a significant move towards better political representation for Christians in Indonesia. A Christian politician has made electoral history in the country by taking one of its highest political posts. Basuki Purnama became the first Christian to be elected vicegovernor of Jakarta despite opposition from hardline Muslim groups. His inauguration ceremony was delayed from 7 to 15 October 2012 because of protests by Islamists. Mr Purnama has been praised for his honest leadership and has promised to bring reform by emphasising BARNABAS PRAYER JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013
FEBRUARY 3 - 7 transparency and servant-leadership among public officials. Praise the Lord for this promising new Christian influence in Indonesian politics, and pray that Mr Purnama will be protected from harm at the hands of his opponents. Sunday 3 The congregation of GKI Yasmin Church in Bogor, Indonesia, continues to suffer harassment from local authorities. In a new blow in early September 2012, the church was ordered to move from its current location. This order went against a ruling by Indonesia’s Supreme Court that had allowed the church, which had been blocked off, to be reopened. The mayor of Bogor, who has been influential in the campaign against the church, is thought to have bowed to pressure from Islamists in making these decisions. The ruling provides for land elsewhere to be given to the church, but the congregation resisted it on principle. Pray that this long-running dispute will be resolved and that GKI Yasmin Church will be allowed to worship in peace. Monday 4 Life for Christians in parts of Indonesia continues to be unstable. On the evening of 9 October 2012, two bombs exploded in Poso, Central Sulawesi. The first explosion hit the home of Okrifil Mamuaya, a local Christian, causing windows to shatter and damaging a car parked in front of the house. An hour later, the second bomb exploded outside Immanuel Church. Give thanks that no-one was injured in either blast. Pray for Christians in Indonesia, that the Lord will protect them as they face the threat of violence from Islamists and that further aggression towards them will be deterred.
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Tuesday 5 Pray for nine house churches in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, that have been shut down by the authorities. Islamists had complained about “improper” use of the buildings, and the deputy mayor said that the churches were illegal because they lacked the proper permit. Private homes cannot be used for “religious ceremonies or functions” in Aceh, which is the only Indonesian province where sharia law is officially permitted. The Aceh branch of the Islamic Defence Front called on the authorities elsewhere in the province to stop any unapproved non-Muslim worship. Pray for the lifting of these oppressive restrictions and for freedom of worship for Christians in Aceh. Wednesday 6 Pray for Christians in Mindanao in the Philippines, who are threatened with becoming part of an Islamic sub-state. The government has reached an agreement with a Muslim separatist group that has been waging a violent campaign for independence, to create an area called “Bangsamoro” that will be governed by sharia law. When Mindanao Christians objected to a similar agreement in 2008, the Islamist group responded by killing some 400 of them and displacing 750,000. Pray that the government will keep its promise that Christians will not be made subject to sharia, and that religious liberty throughout the Philippines will be maintained. Thursday 7 Pray for an evangelical church leader from the city of Idleb, near Aleppo, in Syria, who was subjected to a horrific ten-hour ordeal at the hands of a gang of Wahhabi Muslims on 9 September 2012. They kidnapped and blindfolded him, tying his hands and feet together, and then beat him repeatedly, causing him to pass out twice. The kidnappers interrogated him about his Christian ministry and threatened to kill him. He woke to find himself abandoned at the side of a road. The church leader was left severely
FEBRUARY 8 - 11 traumatised; pray that the Lord will bind up his wounds and restore him to full physical and mental health. Friday 8 “The situation is very critical and bad. Your supportive intercession prayers are highly requested and valued.” These were the words of one of our partners in Aleppo, Syria, after two Christian areas of the city were invaded by armed opposition forces on 25 October 2012. The districts of al-Syriaan al-Jadide and al-Syriaan al-Qadime fell to the rebels, who positioned snipers on roofs in both areas. In the former area, two checkpoints were set up in front of a church building, and a Christian school was taken over. Three churches belonging to different denominations have been destroyed. Christians are often targeted by opposition forces,
Barnabas is helping to feed the beleaguered Christians of Aleppo
who generally view them as being government supporters. Pray that the Lord will be a shield around them and protect them (Psalm 3:3) as they face these attacks. Saturday 9 Keeping Christian books and Bibles in one’s home in Uzbekistan can result in
enormous fines. Two couples from Navoi were charged exorbitant sums, 90 times the minimum monthly wage, in April and June last year for this reason. When one of the couples, Artur and Irina Alpayev, refused to pay, both out of principle and because they did not have the funds, bailiffs came to their flat in August and September 2012 and seized essential household items; they were warned that more might be taken. The other couple, Nikolai and Larissa Serin, have also been threatened with confiscation of their property. Pray that the Lord will intervene and that the fines will be retracted and property restored. Pray that authorities in Uzbekistan will loosen their controls on the possession of religious literature. Sunday 10 A disabled Christian woman, Natalya Pleshakova, and her mother Valentina were brutally beaten when police raided their home in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Six plain-clothes officers broke into their flat with sticks and bats. Natalya was knocked down and dragged into the kitchen, while blows were rained down on Valentina. After their home was turned upside down and Christian literature seized, the women were taken to the police station. There, officers tried to force them to renounce their faith in Christ. They were released only after an ordeal that lasted ten hours. Pray that the Lord will comfort the women as they recover from this nightmare, and that He will be the refuge and shield (Psalm 119:114) of vulnerable Christians in Uzbekistan. Monday 11 “We want him freed. I and our older children are praying for him. We all miss him.” The wife of an Uzbek pastor detained in BARNABAS PRAYER JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013
FEBRUARY 12 - 15 Kazakhstan spoke of how his arrest has affected his family, as news broke that he could face a 15year prison sentence if extradited to Uzbekistan. Makset Djabbarbergenov was originally charged in Uzbekistan with offences relating to the teaching of religion and the distribution of religious literature, which each carried a maximum threeyear jail term. But he has now been charged with a much more serious offence relating to involvement with religious extremist organisations. Pray that the authorities in Kazakhstan will release Makset, and that the Lord will protect him from being extradited and imprisoned on account of his faith. Tuesday 12 All her Muslim friends and relatives broke off contact with “Amangul” after she converted from Islam to Christianity in Kyrgyzstan. She was also fired from her job as a teacher. With her usual support network fallen away, Amangul was very grateful that she could stay at a Barnabas-funded Christian safe house when she needed specialist medical care in a city far from her village. The congregation that runs the shelter had decided to build it after the number of persecuted Christians increased so much that church members became unable to accommodate them all in their homes. Barnabas’ support subsidised part of the land purchase and building costs. Give thanks for the love and care that this congregation in Kyrgyzstan is showing to suffering Christians such as Amangul. Pray that Muslims in the country will show tolerance towards those who convert from Islam to Christianity. Wednesday 13 Christians in some Central Asian countries live under constant threat from their local police. An elderly pastor, his wife and son were assaulted in an illegal police raid on their house-church gathering in Turkmenistan on 23 September 2012. Pastor Begdjan-aga, who 12
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is 75, was pushed out of his house. His wife was physically assaulted and threatened by a police officer, and their son was beaten when he asked police to produce identification. The congregation was rounded up, and all except the pastor’s wife were taken to the police station. The church has been trying unsuccessfully to obtain registration since 2006. Pray that the Lord will heal the physical and psychological wounds caused by the illegal raid, and that this church and others in Turkmenistan will be protected from further harassment. Thursday 14 Rimsha Masih, the 14-year-old Christian girl who was released after being falsely accused of blasphemy in Pakistan, continues to be under intense pressure. Her position has now become even more vulnerable; three out of the four witnesses who testified that evidence against her was planted by Khalid Jadoon Chishti, the imam of the local mosque, have withdrawn their statements. They claimed that they had originally been coerced into making them. Pray that justice will be done in Rimsha’s case, and that the Lord will protect and strengthen her and her family at this difficult time. Friday 15 Lift up to the Lord Ryan Stanten, a 16-year-old Christian in Pakistan who has been charged with the country’s most serious “blasphemy” offence. He was accused of forwarding to Muslim neighbours on 9 October 2012 a text message containing material deemed offensive to Islam. The following day, an angry Muslim mob led by Islamic clerics ransacked the home where Ryan lives with his mother, Rubina Bryan, and set fire to numerous household items. Ryan was subsequently arrested and charged under section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code, which carries the death penalty for using derogatory remarks against Muhammad. He denies sending the text, and there was no
FEBRUARY 16 - 19 trace of it on his phone. Pray that our brother will be cleared and that he and his family will be protected from those who want to cause them harm. Saturday 16 Give thanks that ten displaced Christian families in Pakistan now have their own newly-built homes thanks to Barnabas Fund. They had all been made homeless in 2010 by devastating floods that submerged a fifth of Pakistan. Pray that they will experience God’s abundant blessing in their lives as they start again in their new homes. All ten families are converts from Hinduism. Pray that the Lord will continue to be their rock, their fortress and deliverer (Psalm 18:2).
Barnabas has funded a new home for this Pakistani Christian couple
Sunday 17 Give thanks that charges against two Christian children, who were accused of blasphemy and detained in Egypt, were dropped in October 2012. Mina Nady Farag (9) and Nabil Nagy Rizk (10) were arrested after the imam of their local mosque in Ezbet Marco village accused them of desecrating the Quran by tearing up pages and urinating on them. The father of one
of the boys pointed out that, as they are both illiterate, they could not have known what they were doing when they found the pages amongst rubbish in the street. Give thanks that the boys have escaped prosecution for their unwitting actions, and pray that the Lord will protect His Church in Egypt from such accusations, especially vulnerable children. Monday 18 Praise God for a rare legal victory for Christians in Egypt. On 8 November 2012, the country’s prosecutor general ruled that a Cairo church was the rightful owner of a piece of land in Shubra Al-Kheima district that around 100 Salafist Muslims had taken over three days earlier. Wielding sticks and rods, they had put up a sign saying “Al-Rahma Mosque”, then performed Islamic prayers for 24 hours. They threatened to set fire to shops belonging to Christians if they were blocked from performing Friday prayers at the site. But the trespassers left after church officials reported the incident to the Interior Ministry. Pray that the church will now be able to go ahead with its building plans without further opposition. Tuesday 19 Praise God that the Islamisation of constitutions in the Middle East and North Africa since the Arab Spring has been partially checked in Tunisia. The country’s Islamist rulers have withdrawn a proposed “anti-blasphemy” clause from the final text of the new constitution. Other attempts by the Islamist ruling party, Ennahda, to Islamise Tunisian society have been fiercely opposed by secularists. Give thanks that this clause, which would have made Christians and other minorities more vulnerable, will not be included, and pray that moderate influence will prevail in Tunisia and hold back the forces of Islamism that endanger our brothers and sisters. BARNABAS PRAYER JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013
FEBRUARY 20 - 24 Wednesday 20 Lift up to the Lord our Christian brothers and sisters in the Nuba mountains in Sudan, where they are the target of “cleansing” aimed at removing non-Arabs and non-Muslims. Asia Omer Kuku, a Christian mother of seven, was killed when the predominantly Christian town of Heiban was bombed by government forces. During the attack, which took place on 27 September 2012, five bombs were dropped near a crowded market place. Several other Christians were wounded. Pray for Asia’s grieving family, that the Lord will comfort them in their distress, and that the needs of her children will be provided for. The conflict has created a humanitarian crisis in the area; pray that the violence will soon end and that aid agencies will be able to reach the territory. Thursday 21 A Christian couple in Russia have had their 14 adopted children removed by the authorities, in a case that bears the marks of religious discrimination. Although Ilya Yaroslavkin, a church pastor, and his wife Lubov have won awards and been praised for their exceptional care, local authorities accused them of worshipping “the wrong god” and following “unintelligible church traditions”. The couple’s children were removed from their schools on 12 September 2012 without being able to say goodbye to their parents. Pray for this family, which has been so cruelly torn apart. Ask that the Lord will comfort Ilya and Lubov and their children as they endure this separation, and that the decision will be overturned so that the family can be reunited. Friday 22 “The gunmen were asking students if they were Christians or Muslims, and then asked Christian victims to deny Christ. Christian students who refused to do so were killed by the gunmen instantly.” This is how one Christian student described a systematic attack at a college 14
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housing complex in Mubi, Adamawa state, northeastern Nigeria, on 1 October 2012. At least 46 people, mostly students from Federal Polytechnic Mubi, were killed. Violence flared following the election of a Christian in a student union poll. Boko Haram was believed to have been involved in the massacre. Pray for the families of these students as they try to come to terms with their traumatic deaths. And plead with the Lord for an end to Boko Haram’s deadly campaign against Christians in Northern Nigeria. Saturday 23 Churches in Nigeria are being ruthlessly targeted in suicide bombings thought to be the work of Boko Haram (see 30 January). For example, at least seven people were killed when an explosive-laden car was driven into a church in the Malali neighbourhood of Kaduna state on 28 October. On 23 September, a church in Bauchi was attacked by a suicide bomber, and at least four people, including a seven-year-old boy, were killed. Dozens were injured in both bombings. Pray for those who are mourning, that they will know the presence of the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3), and that He will defend His people in Nigeria from further barbaric attacks. Sunday 24 A woman and her three children were among 16 Christians killed in Plateau state, Nigeria, on the same day. Gunmen simultaneously attacked three villages in the Riyom area on 10 October 2012, killing 14 Christians. Several other people were injured and property destroyed in what were described as coordinated attacks. Elsewhere in Plateau state, two Christians in a car were shot dead in Barkin Ladi. Muslim Fulani herdsmen were thought to be responsible for the murders. Pray that they will be brought to justice.
FEBRUARY 25 - 27 This Christian woman started her small business with help from Barnabas
Pray also for the bereaved and injured, that the Lord will “heal the broken-hearted and bind up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3). Monday 25 Helping hardworking Christian women in Juba get out of poverty - this is the aim of a Christian microfinance ministry in South Sudan, which Barnabas Fund supported last year. Thanks to our help 197 Christian women received microloans for starting up or expanding small businesses. Many started selling food or drinks at local markets or opened small shops. They are doing well; 89% of the women are repaying their loans and can now provide for their families. Give thanks that these small loans are enabling Christian women to become self-sufficient. Pray that the young nation of South Sudan, where the majority of the people are impoverished and Christian, can build up its infrastructure and bring its people out of poverty. Tuesday 26 One of the gravest dangers facing some Christian women and girls in Muslim-majority contexts is forced marriage and conversion to Islam. Especially in Pakistan and Egypt, increasing numbers of Christian women
are being kidnapped, sexually assaulted and then pressured to marry their Muslim captors and become Muslims themselves. The authorities will often take no action to protect women, and a victim’s family may be told that she has converted and married of her own free will. Pray that the Lord will be a shield for our Christian sisters to protect them from harm (Psalm 18:30). Wednesday 27 Pray for the many Christians who have been forced to flee their homelands and take refuge in other countries because of antiChristian injustice and violence. Some of them continue to be at risk of religious persecution in the countries where they have fled, and converts in particular may face severe obstacles when they apply for refugee status in the West. These include suspicion from the authorities that their conversions are not authentic, and hostility from officers and interpreters to their decision to convert. Barnabas Fund is providing practical help for displaced Christians in various countries and is arguing their case at an international level. Pray that the Lord may be a shelter for His people wherever they go, and that Western governments will become more sensitive to the plight of Christian refugees. BARNABAS PRAYER JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013
FEBRUARY 28 Thursday 28 Praise God for a European Union decision that those who are unable to practise their faith publicly in their homeland can now claim refugee status in EU countries. The European Court of Justice decided on 5 September 2012 that EU member states will now
grant asylum on the basis of religious persecution even when the claimant is able to practise his or her religion privately in the home country. Pray for Christians trying to escape from oppressive regimes, that this ruling will make it easier for them to find a new home.
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www.barnabasfund.org Barnabas Fund is a Company registered in England Number 4029536. Registered Charity Number 1092935 Cover: An Ethiopian Christian woman at prayer (Source: Steve Evans, AKA Babasteve) ÂŠ Barnabas Fund 2012 16
BARNABAS PRAYER JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013