Volume 13 | Issue 7 | July 2011
Teenager Rejected by Family After Conversion Former Hindu finds life in Christ and attends Bible College. June 19 – “Though I long to see my family, I haven’t been home in three years, ever since my Hindu family poured hot water on me to show their hostility. They were extremely upset when I accepted Christ as my Savior as a teenager in 2006 at a camp sponsored by my school. I stopped worshipping idols and other gods that my family worshipped. I began to pray and read the Bible every day.
Beaten And Mistreated
“My practices provoked the anger of my family. They started mistreating me by keeping food from me and even pouring hot meals on me. I’ve had six different Bibles ripped out of my hands and burned. I was beaten severely for attending church services. “One time during the Christmas season, I was beaten so badly by my father that I was half dead. Then I heard the voice of God saying, ‘Leave your family whom you love and follow me.’ I told my father that I would be leaving for Bible College to study and learn about Jesus. He was furious, and demanded from me money he had spent for my upbringing. It broke my heart. I had to work hard to meet the demands of my family.
First Graduate in Family “Learning of the terrible condition I was in, an evangelist reached me with help and brought me to Sielmat Bible College, supported by Open Doors. Now I have
completed three years at Bible College and graduated. My father attended my Bible College graduation in secret, coming in late to the back and leaving early. I was the first graduate in my family, but he did not want to speak to me.
Strength of the Lord
“It is the strength of the Lord Jesus that keeps me going. I’ve also received training in the Standing Strong Through the Storm seminar in Churachandbur District. I helped serve the meals, and those who taught the seminar noticed my servant’s heart and asked me to tell my story. “My family has only given me pain and sorrow and I think about it and weep. But I believe in God’s promises, and one day I will be with Him in His heavenly home where there will be no more sorrow, crying or pain and we will be singing praises for Him forever.” Medha Nongmaithem was born at Kumbi in Bishnupur District in a Meetei Hindu Family. In September 2006, a preacher spoke from John 3:16 while she was at a school camp and God touched her, convicting her that she needed salvation.
India’s constitution allows for religious freedom for all faiths, yet radical Hindus are eager for a pure Hindu nation. “Anti-conversion” laws in five states are clearly biased against Christians and Christian missionary activity. In 2010 nine believers were killed in India. There were many reports of Christians being arrested and assaulted, and church buildings and schools being damaged. Yet the church is growing, and unity is increasing as a result of the opposition felt by all denominations.
AFRICA Egypt...................................2 Nigeria................................2 Sudan..................................2 ASIA China...................................3 India....................................2 Indonesia...........................3 Nepal...................................3 Vietnam..............................3 LATIN AMERICA Colombia...........................3 MIDDLE EAST/ MUSLIM WORLD Middle East.......................4 Iran.......................................4 Israel....................................4 Pakistan..............................4
Open Doors PO Box 27001 Santa Ana, CA 92799 949.752.6600 www.OpenDoorsUSA.org
Volume 13, Issue 7
Pastor, Church Official Shot Dead
June 10 (Compass) – The Rev. David Usman and church secretary Hamman Andrew were the latest casualties in an upsurge of Islamic militancy that has engulfed northern Nigeria this year. They were shot and killed on June 7. The Rev. Titus Dama Pona said, “Christians have become the targets of these Muslim militants – most churches no longer Rev. David Usman, shown at his 2009 carry out worship ordination, was service for fear.” shot by Muslim extremists.
Muslims Attack Christian Homes, Threaten Priest
June 27 (Compass) – Enraged Muslims burned down several Christian-owned homes on June 25 after villagers had begun circulating a rumor that a Coptic Christian was constructing a church building on his property. On June 23 in another village, Muslims surrounded the Church of St. George and demanded that the Rev. Gorgy Thabet leave the village or they would kill him and hold Muslim prayers in the church building. Security police removed the priest from the village.
Military, Militias Kill Christians
Two women read the Bible in their church in Bauchi state, Nigeria.
Christian Communities Near Town Disappearing
June 14 (Compass) – In two villages in Bauchi state, most area Christians have been displaced as scores of armed, hard-line Islamists destroyed the Christians’ homes and drove them out. The attack on Mdandi village on Mar. 27 was preceded by an assault on Feb. 10. Muslim extremists also attacked Gumel, another Christian village, in February – leaving two Christians dead, destroying three church buildings, burning more than 50 houses and displacing more than 300 residents.
June 17 (Compass) – A student at St. Paul Major Seminary was shot on June 8 near the gate of the United Nations Mission in Sudan. He and other Christians were fleeing the town after Muslim militias looted at least three church buildings in Kadugli. On June 8 in Kadugli Market, Islamic militants loyal to the government slaughtered a young Christian bus driver whose father is an elder in the church. “The churches and pastors were directly targeted,” said the Rt. Rev. Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail.
Birth of New Country Challenged by Violence
June 15 – About two-thirds of the population have fled the violence in Kadugli and Nuba, South Kordofan, as disputes continue over oil rich Abyei. The recent actions cannot be seen as an attack on the Church, although churches have been attacked, especially in Kadugli. North and South Sudan have agreed to demilitarize the disputed Abyei region as South Sudan is preparing to become the world’s newest country on July 9.
One of two church buildings destroyed in Tafawa Balewa, Bauchi state, earlier this year.
Incidents Of Persecution
Hindu extremists: • threatened a pastor on May 19, stopping construction of his church. • beat a Christian for his faith, destroying his house, on May 20. • beat five Christian families for their faith on May 28. • filed a false complaint against Christians, who were then arrested on June 5. www.opendoorsusa.org
Christian, Visiting Lepers Beaten, Jailed
June 20 (Compass) – A retired Indian army officer invited about 80 leprosy patients to his home on June 12 to celebrate Pentecost and receive gifts. He and two of his Hindu visitors who helped bring others were beaten, arrested and charged with forcible conversion. The leprosy patients told the police the men were innocent.
Christians in India have long complained of a culture of impunity.
Volume 13, Issue 7
Members of Shouwang Church Arrested, Expelled
June 30 (Compass) – After authorities pressured the property owners of Beijing’s largest unregistered church to stop leasing to the congregation in April, they have been forced to meet outdoors for the past three months. Police detained 16 members of the Shouwang house church between June 10-12 and placed several more under house arrest. On June 26, police arrested 15 more people who showed up at Shouwang’s designated outdoor worship venue.
Urged to Leave House Church
Members of China’s governmentapproved churches have gone to police stations to “admonish” detained house church members, urging them to leave Shouwang and join TSPM churches.
Church Members Expelled
A church member was arrested on May 8 and expelled to his hometown in Hubei Province. A second church member was detained on June 27, his identity card was confiscated and he was sent to his home town in Shandong Province.
Leaders of the troubled Shouwang house church in Beijing have established a legal committee to assist church members facing arrest or house arrest, the loss of employment or homes and forced relocation to their home towns.
Turning Fear Into Faith
June 13 – Muslim Background Believers in Java province take great risks when attempting to meet together for fellowship and baptism. They do so secretly in small groups of no more than 10 or 15 to avoid suspicion from locals. They change their meeting place each time they gather in order to cover their tracks. While some are fortunate to participate with their families, many come with fear because their Muslim relatives do not even know about their new faith.
New Criminal Code Forbidding Evangelism
June 2 (Compass) – Five years after it abolished Hinduism as the state religion, Nepal is working on a new criminal code forbidding a person from one faith to “convert a person or abet him to change his religion.” Offenders could be imprisoned for a maximum of five years and fined. Nepal’s Constituent Assembly Building
Anywhere Safe for Christians? June 10 – On April 21, police discovered five sets of explosive materials near the Catholic Christ Cathedral in Serpong. They were set to explode on the morning of Good Friday. With the rise of a new generation of self-trained and almostwithout-pattern terrorists, Christians face the constant possibility of their loved ones becoming the next victim of a random attack on the street. Now every Muslim is encouraged to wage the holy war— anytime, anywhere; alone or in small groups.
Growing in Places Hidden
June 15 – The majority of Christians in Vietnam are from tribal backgrounds who live in provinces where the government’s grip on Communism is still strong. Village leaders continue to pressure believers to recant their faith, while church activities are either strictly monitored or prohibited altogether. Open Doors has reached these Christians with an underground Bible school, although Bible teachers have been “invited” to the police station and classes raided. The Bible school will provide discipleship and leadership training to 1,842 students from 18 tribal groups this year.
Latin America Colombia
Indigenous Christians Attacked by Witchcraft
June 15 – Witchcraft is being used by traditional Indian authorities in western Colombia in an attempt to weaken and even stamp out the faith of indigenous Christians, who now number around 3,000 believers. Congregations have already faced www.opendoorsusa.org
several cases of young people and adults who have participated in occult rituals to destroy their church. Indigenous students are taught traditional beliefs in school about preparing potions, rituals and prayers to the spirits of Mother Earth, who is said to be more effective and powerful than the Christian God. To date 59 Christian teachers have
been fired from their positions for opposing the beliefs and practices taught in the official curriculum. An indigenous medicine man practices his craft.
Volume 13, Issue 7
Middle East/Muslim World Middle East
Christians in Turmoil
June 8 – On Dec. 18, the wave of revolutions in the Middle East started.
The tiny group of Christian believers, numbering less than 2,000, has been living in fear since a Polish Catholic priest was murdered by extreme Islamists, who have also increased pressure on the evangelical community, especially on the Muslim Background Believers who have connections with the Church outside of Tunisia.
Libya is torn apart by a bloody civil war. Most ex-pat Christians have fled the country. Church leadership in Tripoli stated that 75% of the believers in their fellowship had left. However, all the leaders had remained.
Algeria has stepped up its campaign against the Church, closing 8 churches in the area of Bejaja. One Algerian believer was sentenced to 5 years for handing out a Scripture to a neighbor. The Christian minority in Algeria makes up less than 0.1% of the population.
Civil war is also affecting Yemen. The tiny national Christian community has been somewhat isolated by the political unrest, and most foreign Christians have left the country. A Christian radio ministry has continued, and a number of Yemenis recently reacted positively to these programs.
Although Syria has a sizeable Christian minority, a pastor said this country is not for Christians anymore and over time, it will be emptied out. Another pastor commented, “Just read the slogans on the walls: Let’s send the Christians to Beirut (meaning, forcibly move the Christian minority to Lebanon, the only country in the region that used to be Christian).
Difficulty Finding a Christian Spouse June 14 – Christians are a small minority on the West Bank. Ultimately young Christians tend to leave the country, making the small church even smaller. One of the major difficulties for many young Christians besides finding a job is finding a boy or girl to marry.
According to tradition it’s the young man that chooses the girl and his parents take the initiative to communicate with the girl’s family.
Hostile Rhetoric Turns Up Heat on Christians
June 22 (Compass) – Increased public statements against Christianity in Iran have intensified pressures on Christians, resulting in the arrest of more than 120 Iranian Christians between December and January. The statements reflect Islamic leaders’ dismay with the growth of house churches and may signal dissension within Iran’s leadership. In May, Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi said authorities have not done enough to quench the growth of Christian house churches, considering the “massive funding” the government has spent toward that end.
Christians in Baghdad and Mosul risk kidnapping, torture or death. Refugee Christians are not only struggling with finding a job or a place to stay but also face cultural and language barriers. www.opendoorsusa.org
Public statements against Christianity may indicate a rift between political leaders based in Tehran (pictured) and religious leaders in Qom.
Police Torture Sister of Christian Who Eloped
June 13 (Compass) – Police tortured a young Christian woman into revealing the whereabouts of the legal team helping her family after an influential Muslim family kidnapped her and her sister. Police also helped the Muslim family beat relatives of the Christian woman on court premises and attacked the offices of the organization trying to help her family. PAKISTAN
Families Flee After Another Bogus ‘Blasphemy’ Charge
June 15 (Compass) – Some 60 Muslims tortured a Christian uncle after he intervened to help his 8-year-old nephew. The nephew was surrounded by Muslim boys and being forced to renounce his Christian religion. Area Muslims accused the Christian of blaspheming Islam when he rebuked the boys on June 10. At least 10 Christian families in Punjab Province fled their homes in fear after the accusation.
Police Reluctant to Prosecute Attack on Church
June 1 (Compass) – Armed Muslims disrupted the worship service of a church outside Lahore on Sunday (May 29), cursing the congregation, smashing a glass altar and desecrating Bibles and a cross. When the pastor tried to register a case against the vandals, police initially tried to protect the leader of the Muslim intruders. Later, they made him publicly apologize. page 4