Eritrea – persecution and death for non state approved Christian denominations

Photo credit see also this story from March of this year – Eritrea jails 125 Christians in campaign against ‘illegal’ worship

For us, this is reminiscent of Communist Romania, where the only recognized religion during the communist regime which ended in 1989, was the Orthodox Church. All others were persecuted, economically deprived, not allowed to attend universities and not considered for good, high paying jobs.

Open Doors USA is reporting the death of a 41 year old man who recently converted to Christianity, died in a Medefera prison after being held there since December. Curiously, of the Protestant denominations, Eritrea only approves of the Catholic Church and Lutherans. Here is the story from Mission Network News:

Eritrea, which ranks #10 on the Open Doors World Watch List of countries with the worst persecution of believers. Yosief is the 24th reported death connected to punishment for religious activities outside of the government-sanctioned Catholic Church, Orthodox Church, Lutheran Church, and Islam.

Sources told Open Doors that Yosief, 41, had been sick for a long time, but that the harsh treatment at a secret Medefera incarceration center aggravated the effects of the unknown disease.

However, because of the government’s secrecy surrounding prisoners and denied access to watchdog organizations, there may be many more deaths and burials that have not been reported.

Yosief was originally from Asmara. He went to Mendefera to teach at a primary school some time prior to his arrest. Six months after his arrival, Yosief came to faith in Christ. His devotion to Bible study and prayer caught the attention of representatives of the ruling Eritrean People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (EPRDF) at the school.

Authorities arrested him in December and took him to the secret incarceration center in Mendefera where he was kept incommunicado. Sources told Open Doors the center holds many other religious prisoners whose whereabouts were previously unknown to family members and churches.

„Christians should be hugely encouraged to see how God through His Holy Spirit enables His children even new–and isolated ones like Yosief–to remain firm in their devotion to Christ no matter the circumstances,” commented an Open Doors team member.

Please pray for other Christians incarcerated in Eritrean prisons. Pray for the Holy Spirit to give believers strength and peace.

Sex trafficking up 18% in Europe (Reporting from Austria)

via Mission Network News

Your prayers are needed for Austria.

Operation Mobilization says plans to build Europe’s largest brothel are in the works. Called the „FunMotel,” a large-scale brothel on the outskirts of Vienna would service 1000 customers a day in nearly 150 rooms.

The Austrian businessman behind this project reportedly claims the FunMotel will transform the sex industry from „grocer to supermarket.” Along with decreasing the social stigma attached to prostitution and brothels, an increase in market demand will put more women at risk of sex trafficking.

Ask the Lord to intervene in this situation. Pray the brothel won’t be built.

According to an April report from the European Commission, human trafficking is on the rise in Europe. Trafficking went up 18% between 2008 and 2010; this could be „the tip of the iceberg,” though, according to some EU officials.

A „clear majority” of victims in the European Commission’s report, some 61 percent, hail from a European Union nation. Most claimed citizenship in Romania or Bulgaria, the two poorest EU states.

OM EAST, an OM team supporting churches throughout Eurasia, brings the hope of Christ to Vienna’s prostitutes. Their claims support this finding, stating on the OM EAST Web site that every second prostitute in Greece and Austria is from Romania.

To try and „turn the tide” of this massive injustice, OM EAST is networking with other agencies on preventative measures like outreaches, meetings in Eastern European churches and schools, and good literature projects to strengthen families.

Click here to learn more about the work of OM EAST and how you can come alongside their efforts.

Please pray for those caught in the hopeless web of sex trafficking. Pray that the light of Christ will shine into their lives through OM workers. Pray that more will be done to protect women from this evil.

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