Today is the alternate International Day of Prayer – Open Doors World Watch List: Pakistan, China, Egypt, Nigeria, India, Iran, Central Asia – Video for each country from Open Doors

PAKISTAN:
Central Asia consists of 5 countries: Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Over 60 million people live in this region, but currently less than 10% profess Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Although the degree of persecution varies across the 5 nations, one factor remains consistent: Christians in Central Asia face constant pressure for their faith.

Find out more about persecution in Central Asia by visiting the Open Doors website: http://www.opendoorsuk.org/countries

CHINA:
China, with a population of 1.3 billion people, has seen tremendous changes. These political, economic, and social changes have brought changes to the church, too. Sixty years ago, there were perhaps 750,000 evangelicals in China. Thirty years ago, there were an estimated three million. And today, conservative estimates of evangelicals in China range between 60 and 80 million. This growth, representing one of the largest revivals in the history of Christianity, came in the face of persecution…

Find out more about persecution in China by visiting the Open Doors website: http://www.opendoorsuk.org/china

EGYPT:
Egypt is one of the world’s greatest civilizations. The land of the Pharaohs. The birth Place of Moses. A place of refuge for Jesus as a child. Visited by the disciples Mark and Peter and the apostle Paul. One of the first nations to embrace Christianity. But 13 centuries ago Islam changed all that. Today, Islam is the official religion of Egypt. Christians are free to follow Jesus in this Muslim dominated society. However, this freedom has its limits…

Find out more about persecution in Egypt by visiting the Open Doors website: http://www.opendoorsuk.org/egypt

NIGERIA:
The plight of Nigerians is often in the news. But the message is generally connected to the economy, oil and corruption. The sometimes-fierce battle between Christians and Muslims is rarely reported.

Find out more about persecution in Nigeria by visiting the Open Doors website: http://www.opendoorsuk.org/nigeria

INDIA:
India possesses a population of almost 1.3 billion people, more than 80% of India’s peoples are followers of Hinduism, Only about 3% of India’s population claim to be Christians. These followers encounter growing persecution…

Find out more about persecution in India by visiting the Open Doors website: http://www.opendoorsuk.org/india

IRAN:
Today, the Islamic Republic of Iran is home to 75 million people, with 98 percent of the population adhering to Islam. At least 450,000 followers of Christ live in Iran. And while Christianity is an officially-recognized religion in Iran, in practice, many Christians face oppression from their neighbors. Christian believers in Iran continue to place their hope and trust in God. They ask for our prayers as they bravely share Christ with their families and neighbors. God is moving and the church is growing. Please continue to pray for God’s grace and endurance for the followers of Jesus in Iran.

Find out more about persecution in Iran by visiting the Open Doors website: http://www.opendoorsuk.org/iran

CENTRAL ASIA:
Central Asia consists of 5 countries: Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Over 60 million people live in this region, but currently less than 10% profess Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Although the degree of persecution varies across the 5 nations, one factor remains consistent: Christians in Central Asia face constant pressure for their faith.

Find out more about persecution in Central Asia by visiting the Open Doors website: http://www.opendoorsuk.org/countries

VIDEO by Open Doors UK & Ireland

8 Videos in succession

Though persecution is on the rise, it isn’t stopping believers in Kazakhstan (Central Asia) from sharing their faith

English: Map of the Ethno-Linguistic groups of...

English: Map of the Ethno-Linguistic groups of central Asia.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Click on photo to enlarge and for source.

From the Russian/Asian front. Mission News Network reports:

Kazachs consider evangelist worse than spies for bringing Kazakhs to Christ.

SGA serves Bible-preaching churches in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States by helping national pastors and churches reach their own people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. „There definitely has been an uptick in the level and intensity of persecution in these countries,” says Griffith.

„The worst persecution believers get would be in Turkmenistan andUzbekistan, but it certainly has been stepping up in Kazakhstan.” (Photo credit http://voiceofthepersecuted.wordpress.com)

Persecution Personified

Earlier this year, Pastor Bakhytzhan Kashkumbayev was imprisoned as part of a nationwide crack-down. He’s been arrested on trumped-up charges, denied medical attention, and imprisoned in a psychiatric asylum. Now, according to International Christian Concern (ICC), Kazakh officials are harassing members of Kashkumbaev’s Grace Protestant Church.

„You are worse than spies. You bring Kazakhs to Christ,” an officer reportedly told one of ICC’s sources.

In Eastern Kazakhstan, Baptist Pastor Pavel Leonov is facing up to a year in prison for refusing to pay a fine equal to two months’ income, according to Forum 18 News. Leonov is part of the Council of Churches Baptist, a group which refuses to register their fellowships with the government.

SGA works with churches of the Union of Evangelical Christians Baptist (UECB), a group registered with Kazakhstan’s government. But that doesn’t mean they don’t run into problems, Griffith notes. „They try to comply with registration laws,” he says. „They try to follow the law as closely as they can, and they still end up getting persecuted anyway.”

The Silver Lining

Though persecution is on the rise, it isn’t stopping believers in Central Asia from sharing their faith. „The churches remember what life was like under Communism,” Griffith states. „They know what it is to live and serve under persecution, and they’re certainly not going to stop proclaiming the Gospel because this seems to be stepping up again.”

Keep praying for persecuted Christians around the world. Pray specifically for believers in Central Asia. „Pray for these pastors who are encountering difficulty right now,” adds Griffith.

„For some reason, it just doesn’t seem to grab the attention of the news media, and it needs to,” says Griffith. „I mean, these are people that are actually being killed for their faith.”

You can read more of Pastor Bakhytzhan Kashkumbayev’s story at http://voiceofthepersecuted.wordpress.com

Christian man in central Asia prays for the men stoning him

Photo credit www.wadeburleson.org

This report is from Global Advance via Mission News Network

In a country that stresses religious freedom, it is often difficult for Americans to understand what it means to live and die for faith. Global Advance reports about pastor Ibrahím, a man who knows first-hand the dangers of pursuing God.

Ibrahím lives in a community of radical Muslims. His country, unnamed for security reasons, is one of the „Stan-Nations,” all of which are Islamic countries in which the persecution of Christians is not uncommon. The region, in general, is charged with violence.

When Ibrahím converted to Christianity, his Muslim friends decided that it was necessary to kill him. It was their „sacred duty” to stop the spread of Christianity, and this was the way to do it.

His friends informed him that he could say goodbye to his wife before they stoned him. Ibrahím chose to keep the situation from his wife, and told her he would be right back. He did not want to risk her life or alarm her.

The friends took the new Christian to the local dump. There they began beating him. One man picked up a large rock to complete the act of murder by hitting Ibrahím in the head. At this, Ibrahím launched aloud into prayer for his abusers and their children. His prayer was not in vain.

The man holding the rock dropped it and yelled, „I cannot kill the man that is proclaiming blessing over my children!” God was watching over His faithful child.

Many Christians around the world experience similar situations every day. Unfortunately, their stories don’t always end the way Ibrahím’s did.According to one of Global Advance’s sources, February 2012 saw a 309% growth in Christian-targeted terrorist attacks in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

Pray for continued strength for Christians who are persecuted, and for the increase of their faith. Pray for the success of the gospel in these countries so resistant to it.

Source: Central Asia (MNN)article/19072

Persecution of Christians in Kazakhstan

Photo via www.nationsonline.org Story via Mission News Network

Kazakhstan (CAM) ― Is religious freedom a reality in Kazakhstan? The answer depends on who you ask.

While the constitution of this Central Asian country provides for freedom to worship, in truth it is adherents of traditionally recognized faiths and denominations who enjoy that privilege.

Ironically, says Christian Aid Mission, more restrictive laws were enacted to stem the tide of growing Islamic radicalism in Kazakhstan. In the process, intense government scrutiny of all minority religious groups has led to persecution of Christians, particularly evangelicals.

A law passed in 2011 requires churches and religious organizations to apply for state registration. The process is not that simple, however, as official registration is restricted to groups of 50 people or more. Most Christian congregations in Kazakhstan are small and meet in private homes.

To comply with the new regulations, a group of believers can only gather for worship or prayer in a state-approved location, such as a church building. Since the purchase or construction of building costs anywhere from $12,000 to $18,000 on average, congregations find themselves facing a great dilemma. (Photo below via bosnewslife.com)

Even believers who are members of government-sanctioned churches sometimes encounter harassment from local authorities and have to prove their case in court.

The crackdown has resulted in arrests, steep fines, and imprisonment. According to the Forum 18 News Service Web site, fines were imposed on at least 62 Council of Churches Baptists since the start of 2013. The denomination refuses to pay the fines on principle, considering them in violation of human rights.

In response, the government has reportedly imposed a new set of restrictions on the Baptist churches, banning the members from traveling outside of the country until the fines are satisfied.

The following report was taken verbatim from a Christian Aid-assisted ministry in Kazakhstan. It reveals the extreme measures taken by local authorities to try to stamp out unregistered churches.

On March 31 in a town in eastern Kazakhstan, nine Christians (mainly elderly people) gathered to celebrate Easter, to pray, communicate, and have some tea. After a while, seven police officers came into the apartment. They brought two drunken men with them as witnesses.

Without presenting any documents, the police began to take a video and do a search of the apartment. The senior captain offered to take the Christians to the police station for questioning, but the Christians refused, demanding a good reason for why they should. The answer was that they were engaged in unregistered religious activities.

On April 3, this group of Christians was called to the police station. After police kept them in the office from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., they were given the interrogation report to sign. The report stated they were engaged in illegal religious activities and storage and sale of drugs. Some of the elderly people signed the report without reading it. But after one woman pointed out the information about drugs, all of them refused to sign it. The authorities threatened to place the group in jail overnight. The Christians sent a statement to the regional prosecutor’s office, including a copy of the document that accused them of storage and sale of drugs.

An administrative court proceeding took place April 18, where four of the Kazakhs were each fined $577 to be paid within one month. The next day, a trial was held for three more of the Christians. Two were fined a penalty of $577 each, and the other individual was fined $1154. Two more people are in the hospital at the present time and haven’t been given a summons to the court. The total sum of fines was $4616.

Before the “law of religious activity,” this small group of Christians was without any need of registration. With the introduction of new rules, the legal features were established. They applied for registration a couple of times since September of last year and were rejected because there were less than 50 people.

Despite opposition, the Kazakh churches continue to grow. About 25% of the country’s population is Christian, most of whom are from the accepted Russian Orthodox denomination. Protestants, making up 0.8%, are viewed with suspicion as dangerous sects that may pose a threat to the government.

 

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