As persecution increases, so does the distribution of Scripture

biblia 7

If you live in the West you might think the Church is in decline, but more printed Bibles were distributed by United Bible Societies last year than ever before. 32.1 million Bibles were distributed across the world in 2011 – an increase of 11.2% over 2010.

Total Scripture distribution, 2009-2011

It is the first time that the number of Bibles distributed by Bible Societies has exceeded 30 million in a single year. And these figures do not include Bibles in other formats, such as audio or digital, which are rapidly growing in importance and will soon become the main channels for Bible distribution.

The biggest growth was seen in Africa and the Americas, where 3.6 million more Bibles were distributed last year than in 2010. Bible distribution in Europe and the Middle East rose by a modest 2.7%, but fell by 4.2% in Asia Pacific.

The majority of the Bibles we distributed were in the world’s major international languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swahili.

biblia 6Report from Christian Today. Photo credit www.unitedbiblesocieties.org

The United Bible Society has reported a sharp increase in the number of Christian Scriptures distributed in some of the countries where believers suffer the highest levels of persecution. Statistics suggest that Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world and Baroness Warsi made headlines recently when she warned that Christianity could be wiped out in the Middle East.

However, recent figures released from Bible Societies around the world indicate that more Christian Scriptures were distributed than ever before in 2012. Global Scripture distribution rose from just over 381 million in 2011 to more than 405 million in 2012; an increase of 6%. Of the 405 million distributed, 32.1 million were whole Bibles, which matched 2011’s record-breaking year of Bible distribution.

Surprisingly, the highest increase was in Syria, which is facing huge humanitarian crises as a result of ongoing conflict across the country. Despite this, over eight times more Scriptures were distributed by the Bible Society, through a network of church volunteers, in 2012 than 2011; 163,000 in total last year. „Christians in Syria are under enormous pressure and are in great need of encouragement,” said Mike Bassous, General Secretary of the Lebanon Bible Society, which oversees Bible Society work in Syria. „Staff in Syria are working hard to produce enough Scriptures to meet these needs.”

There has been a similar substantial increase in the distribution of Scripture in Iraq, which borders Syria to the east. Although only 330,000 Christians remain in Iraq, following a mass exodus of believers as a result of increasing persecution, more than 66,000 items of Scripture were distributed in 2012, a 57% increase on the previous year.

Similar reports are coming from countries such as Egypt, India, Laos and Nigeria, which, along with Syria and Iraq, and among those suffering some of the highest levels of persecution according to Open Doors.

United Bible Societies Director General Michael Perreau says that he is greatly encouraged by the continued growth in demand for Scriptures, particularly in countries where Christians are under increasing pressure. „With rising persecution of Christians in certain parts of the world, and increasing secularisation in others, it is encouraging and heartwarming to see that God’s Word is more sought after and cherished than ever before,” he observes. He noted that there has also been „a huge boost” in digital access to Scripture, which is particularly helpful in countries where it is dangerous to read printed Christian literature.

Mr Perreau asked that Christians around the world would pray for the protection and blessing of those who undertake the dangerous task of distributing Scriptures in persecuted countries, and for everyone who encounters God’s Holy Word.

Reclame

Anmol, martir la varsta de 7 ani, torturat si omorat in India pentru convertirea familiei sale la crestinism

READ THIS ARTICLE IN ENGLISH here

Matei 10 :28; 32-33

 Nu vă temeţi de cei ce omoară trupul, dar care nu pot omorî sufletul!

32 Aşadar, pe oricine Mă va mărturisi în faţa oamenilor îl voi mărturisi şi Eu înaintea Tatălui Meu, Care este în ceruri. 33 Însă de oricine se va lepăda de Mine în faţa oamenilor mă voi lepăda şi Eu înaintea Tatălui Meu, Care este în ceruri.

Poza 1 si 2 Anmol, cu doi ani in urma, Poza 4 – parintii cu ceilalti 2 copii si fratii lui Harish, Poza 5 – Inmormantarea.

Traducere Blogul Agnus Dei de la – Mission News Network, photos de la Gospel for Asia, map of Northern India from socioecohistory.wordpress.com

Anmol, un copil de 7 ani, a disparut Duminica 17 Noiembrie,  in drumul lui spre casa de la  Biserica Credinciosilor (Believer’s Church) din Nordul Indiei. In acea dimineata, ca si in alte duminici, Anmol  a participat la clasa de scoala duminicala.  A doua zi, trupul sau neinsufletit a fost gasit intr-o balta.

In dimineata zilei de 17 Noiembrie, Anmol s-a bucurat impreuna cu alti copii din clasa sa, cantand cantari impreuna si ascultand la dascalul care-i invata din Biblie. Parintii lui Anmol au crezut ca copilul lor s-a dus acasa la prieteni de-ai lui, ceea ce el o facea din cand in cand, la invitatia lor. Dar cand au vazut ca Anmol nu se mai intoarce, au inceput sa se ingrijoreze si au raportat disparitia lui la politia indiana din orasul lor.

Pe cand se facea seara, politia a primit un telefon in care s-a raportat despre un trup neinsufletit, plutind intr-o balta. Parintii l-au identificat la spital, ca fiind copilasul lor de 7 ani, Anmol. Le-a fost clar ca copilul lor a fost torturat. Ucigasul l-a mutilat cu salbaticie pe Anmol; evidentele torturii:  lui Anmol i s-a rupt gatul, i s-au rupt degetele de la picioare si mainile lui au avut urme de taieturi si arsuri. Pana si fata lui a fost arsa, iar pe abdomen i s-a pus jaratic sau lemne aprinse, care i-au ars abdomenul. Gura i-a fost legata- ucigasul nu a vrut sa-i auda urletele. Dar cel mai socant este faptul caci cauza finală a morţii a fost stabilită ca fiind înecarea. Aceasta denota faptul ca Anmol a fost torturat pe viu inainte de a fi omorat. Inca nu se cunosc detaliile ucigasului  pentru ca politia isi continua investigatiile.

In anul 2003 Harish, tatal lui Anmol, impreuna cu alti 45 de indieni au devenit crestini, predandu-si viata si incepandu-si lucrarea pentru Isus Hristos dupa un eveniment miraculos in care un frate de-a lui Marish a fost vindecat de o boala pe care o suferea de lunga durata. Cu timpul, mai multe rudenii, chiar si cele mai indepartate au inceput sa-L urmeze pe Hristos datorita propovaduirii Evangheliei pe care o facea Marish. Persecutiile impotriva familiei au inceput la scurt timp si au continuat in toti anii acestia, culminand in luna Noiembrie cu martirizarea copilului lor iubit, Anmol.

Marti, 19 noiembrie a fost o zi grea pentru familie, ziua cand si-au inmormantat fiul Anmol, un martir la varsta frageda de 7 ani. La inmormantare au participat in jur de 200 de persoane si in sat s-au auzit plansete de durere si bocete zguduitoare.

Organizatia Gospel for Asia ne cere sa ne rugam pentru aceasta familie indurerata si pentru comunitatea acestei biserici, care se afla intr-o zona in care persecutia impotriva crestinilor a crescut cu 400%.

Open Doors USA 2013 world ranking of persecution by country – North Korea still #1, Mali newcomer to list #7

WWL-Main-Download

Information and watch list from the non denominational group http://www.OpenDoorsUSA.org. Rankings released January 8,2013

North Korea – For the eleventh year running, this is the most difficult place on earth to be a Christian. In a country of 24.5 million, there are just 400,000 Christians. North Korea is one of the remaining Communist states, and it is vehemently opposed to religion of any kind. Christians are classified as hostile and face arrest, detention, torture, even public execution. There is a system of labor camps including the renowned prison No. 15, which reportedly houses 6,000 Christians alone. But despite severe oppression, there is a growing underground church movement of an estimated 400,000 Christians. We have written on North Korea several times in the past year. At the bottom are some noteworthy articles you can read in order to become more familiar with the brutal hardship that is endured by the Christians of North Korea. You can also read about North Korea’s hidden gulag, below all of the links, and visit the website that published The Hidden Gulag Report.

African countries surge – Open Doors reports that persecution of Christians in Africa vastly increased in 2012. Mali is a newcomer on the list and holds the No. 7 position. Tanzania (No. 24), Kenya (No. 40), Uganda (47) and Niger (No. 50) also moved onto the World Watch List and Ethiopia is one of the strongest risers (from No. 38 to No. 15) on the list. In addition, the small African country of Eritrea made the Top 10 for the first time at No. 10. Libya climbed from No. 26 to No. 17.

Syria made the largest jump on the World Watch List. The country is No. 11 on the list, compared to No. 36 in 2012.

Christians are persecuted in at least 60 countries for their faith. They suffer interrogation, arrest and even death in some of the most dangerous and restrictive countries in the world. For 58 years Open Doors has supported and strengthened believers worldwide through Bible and Christian literature distribution, leadership training and assistance, Christian community development and prayer and presence ministry. To partner with Open Doors USA, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535) or go to our Website at http://www.OpenDoorsUSA.org.

Related articles

From around the web

The Hidden Gulag

Second Edition

The Lives and Voices of
“Those Who are Sent to the Mountains”

David Hawk

Description: Based on extensive interviews with over 60 defectors and more than 40 satellite photos of North Korean political prisoner camps, the report calls for the dismantlement of the vast North Korean gulag system in which 150,000 to 200,000 are incarcerated.

From Page 158: In the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, crimes against humanity are committed against persons sent to the political penal labor colonies. Evidence shows that:

1. Perceived or suspected “wrong-doers” or “wrong-thinkers,” or in some instances, persons with“wrong-knowledge,”123 and/or their family from the DPRK State Security Agency,124 which refuses to acknowledge the deprivation of freedom and refuses to provide information on the fate or whereabouts of those persons with the intent of removing those persons from the “protection of law” for a prolonged period of time.

2. The abducted persons are subjected to deportation or forcible transfer from the area in which they were lawfully present without grounds permitted under international law.

3. The abducted and deported persons are deposited at distant, remote, penal labor colonies or encampments, where they are subjected to “imprisonment or severe deprivation of physi- cal liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law.”129 These abductions, deporta- tions and the subsequent imprisonments all take place without any judicial process. There is no arrest, charge, trial, conviction or sentence, as provided in the DPRK Criminal Code and the DPRK Criminal Procedures Code.

4.The prolonged, indefinite detention of family members is a violation of Article 26 of the ICCPR, “…the law shall prohibit any discrimi- nation and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination on any ground such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.” The imprisonment of family members amounts to what the ICC Statute terms as “persecu- tion.” Most family members of suspected wrong-doers or wrong-thinkers are detained for the rest of their lives in sections of the prison camps termed “total control zones.”

5. Once cut off from any contact with the coun- try or world outside of the prison camp, including former family and friends, the imprisoned persons are subjected, usually for a lifetime, to arduous forced labor under extremely severe circumstances. This begins with the provision of below subsistence level food rations.

7. Prisoners are regularly subjected to beatings and sometimes more systematic torture for infractions of prison camp regulations and during interrogations.

8.On numerous occasions, prisoners compelled to observe executions (which are carried out publicly to demonstrate to other prisoners the severe consequences of escape attempts and/or non-compliance with camp regulations) …

9. Prison camp officials and guards are regularly able to exact sexual relations with female prison- ers under circumstances that have been judged to constitute rape or sexual violence …

These are just a few excerpts from the CONCLUSIONS in the Hidden Gulag Report. You can read the entire report here – http://www.hrnk.org/uploads/pdfs/HRNK_HiddenGulag2_Web_5-18.pdf

Photo via Google satellite via stormfront.org –

the rear of a secret Gulag (internment camp for Christians)

Where Christian Persecution is Worst

World Watch List 2013

Created by Open Doors, the World Watch List (WWL) is a ranking of 50 countries where persecution of Christians for religious reasons is worst. The list covers persecution of Christians of all denominations in an entire country and focuses on persecution for their faith, not persecution for political, economic, social, ethnic or accidental reasons. VIDEO by Open Doors USA

Open Doors World Watch List 2012

The top 10 countries where the persecution of Christians is most severe… The church around the world is facing times which are unprecedented in many ways. For the tenth year in succession, the Open Doors World Watch List is topped by North Korea, and in places as diverse as Libya, North Korea, Pakistan and Burma, significant events are shaping society. But despite the many hardships, the body of Christ continues to grow.

Find out more about our World Watch List by visiting the Open Doors website: http://www.opendoorsuk.org/countries VIDEO by Open Doors UK & Ireland

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 sweeping across Middle East and North Africa (MENA) while the Western media largely ignores it

Photo credit www.worldmissionresources.org

Update, from Nigeria Sept. 29 reports:

Islamic militants kill a pastor, his son & a village leader in Dorawa:

On Thursday, September 26th, police said suspected Islamic militants killed a pastor, his son and a village head and torched their Christian church in Dorawa, about 60 miles from Damaturu. They said the gunmen used explosives to set fire to the church and five homes.

Farmers and government officials are fleeing threats of imminent attacks from Boko Haram in the area of the Gwoza Hills, a mountainous area with caves that shelter the militants despite repeated aerial bombardments by the military.

A local government official said there had been a series of attacks in recent weeks and threats of more. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared for his life, said Gwoza town was deserted when he visited it briefly under heavy security escort on Thursday. He said militants had chased medical officers from the town’s government hospital, which had been treating some victims of attacks. He added that militants had burned down three public schools in the area. The official said the Gwoza local government has set up offices in Maiduguri, the state capital to the north.

More than 30,000 people have fled the terrorist attacks to neighbouring Cameroon and Chad and the uprising combined with the military emergency has forced farmers from their fields and vendors from their markets. (source http://www.theguardian.com)(Photo credit above http://www.bbc.co.uk

As many as 50 students were killed in an Agricultural college:

This time it is believed that most of the college students were Muslim, and the perpetrators opened fire on the students as they were sleeping. The attack happened Sunday, September 29 at 1 a.m.  The students were killed by suspected Islamist gunmen in their dormitory in Yobe state, north-eastern Nigeria. The school’s other 1,000 students fled the college, about 25 miles (40km) north of Damaturu town, where there have been similar attacks on schools as part of a continuing Islamist uprising.

North-east Nigeria is under a military state of emergency to battle the Islamist uprising by Boko Haram militants who have killed more than 1,700 people since 2010 in their quest for an Islamic state. Boko Haram means „western education is forbidden” in the local Hausa language.

And that may have been the motive for the killings.

27 killed in separate attacks:

Twenty-seven people died in separate attacks on Wednesday and Thursday night in two villages of Borno state near the north-east border with Cameroon, according to the local council chairman, Modu-Gana Bukar Sheriiff.

Persecution sweeping across

Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

http://www.mnnonline.org and Open Doors USA reporting:

English: Middle East and North Africa

Photo credit wikipedia (MENA)

Nigeria (MNN) ― Believers in northeast Nigeria are reeling after Islamic militants killed their pastor and his son, and set fire to their church building and five homes. The Associated Press reports Islamic militants attacked the church in Yobe state just before dawn yesterday; the incident went unnoticed by nearly all major media outlets.

Dr. David Curry, President and CEO of Open Doors USA, points to the attack as the latest in a rising tide of persecution sweeping the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

„We’ve had situations in the last three weeks in Iraq, in Syria, inPakistan, and now last night in northern Nigeria, where people are targeting believers,” says Curry. „My greatest concern is that there won’t be any pressure to follow-up on this attack.

„Attack after attack on Christians seems to go by the wayside.”

Thousands have fallen in Nigeria alone at the hands of the Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram. Their name means „Western education is sinful,” and their four-year-old terror campaign seeks to rid northeast Nigeria of all who follow Christ.

„The threat of terrorism in a few states in the northeastern part of our country has proven to be a challenge to national stability,” Jonathan told UN leaders earlier this week. „We will spare no effort in addressing this menace.”

Terror goes by a different name in the nearby Central African Republic: Seleka. This band of Islamic terrorists rose to national power in March following the ouster of former President Francois Bozize.

Their primary target soon became the Church.

„The various atrocities that preceded, accompanied, and followed Seleka’s rise to power have been specifically aimed at the Christian population,” states a letter from the CAR Evangelical Alliance to Seleka Islamist leader and CAR President Michel Djotodia.

„Churches and Christian institutions have been desecrated and plundered, priests and pastors have been assaulted, and nuns raped.”

In CAR, 50% of the population is Christian and 15% are Muslim. Despite outnumbering the followers of Islam, Christian communities in CAR claim their Muslim neighbors are joining Seleka’s violent campaigns.

„It’s not like Christianity is a minority religion, but ever since the coup in March, the Muslims have increased their persecution of Christians,” said Open Doors spokesman Jerry Dykstra.

To the north, a similar situation unfolds as violence against Christians in Egypt reaches historic levels. Members of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) were quick to blame Coptic Christians for the July removal of MB proponent and former President Mohamed Morsi from office.

It was a summer of rage for many believers as they endured beatings, their homes and businesses were looted and destroyed, and churches were set aflame. In August, one church was forced to close its doors for the first time in 1,600 years.

And yet, most believers and secular media alike remain unaware of the deadly trend.

„Open Doors has been trying to raise this awareness among Western believers and the media in general,” says Curry. „We believe it’s worthwhile asking the question: ‘Are these attacks coordinated?’ Certainly they seem to be intentional and directed at believers.

„Over the last decades…the population of Christians in the Middle East has gone from 20% to 4%. Why is that? It is because there is a concerted effort to force Christians to convert. There is a concerted effort to persecute Christians, to drive them from their home.”

Nepali Christians of Katmandhu

A short report from Christian Broadcasting News (CBN)-

Nepal is known for being on top of the world. It’s also a secular country where Hinduism and Maoism struggle for dominance. Christians face widespread persecution but God is on the move. Their numbers have grown from 29 people when the first church was planted in Nepal 60 years ago, to nearly 1 million today. Most of those coming to Christ in Nepal today are former Hindus and face much opposition including a young girl whose mother tried to kill her for becoming a Christian.

Tales of persecution – Ethiopia

Released Christian finds kids missing

Ethiopia (MNN) ― Tamirat Woldegorgis, a Christian in southern Ethiopia falsely accused of desecrating a Qur’an, has just been released after serving two of his three sentenced years in prison.

However, Tamirat has lost more than just two years of his life in prison. Due to cramped and harsh conditions, one of his legs is now paralyzed.

Furthermore, when he returned home, Tamirat discovered that his two children, ages 6 and 15, are missing.

„I have been trying to locate my children, but all in vain,” says Tamirat. „My life is ruined–I have lost my house, my children, my health. I am now homeless, and I am limping.”

According to Voice of the Martyrs, Canada’s source Compass Direct News, Tamirat is staying with a friend in an undisclosed town. Tamirat believes Muslims from his area may have taken his kids to restrict his influence.

Tamirat used to work in a cloth-making business before his arrest. When Tamirat was arrested back in August 2010, it was because his co-worker found that Tamirat had written “Jesus is Lord” on a piece of cloth.

Tamirat’s co-worker further accused him of writing “Jesus is Lord” in the cover of a Qur’an, but with no evidence. But Tamirat was still sentenced to three years in prison on November 18, 2010 for desecration of a Qur’an, a serious offense according to Muslim Shariah law.

Ethiopia is nearly 35% Muslim. Jijiga, the town where Tamirat was imprisoned, is the capitol of Ethiopia’s Somali Region Zone Five, which follows Shariah principles.

Persecution of Christians in Ethiopia is only getting worse. Ethiopia moved up to #38 on the World Watch List of countries with the worst Christian persecution, where last year it was #43.

Pray for the safety and salvation of Tamirat’s children, and for reunion with their father. Pray for courage among persecuted Ethiopian Christians and for the spread of the Gospel there.

Why Read About the Beheading of Christians? John Piper

from John Piper DesiringGod.org – Why Read About the Beheading of Christians?.

from World Magazine

World Magazine received a two-minute video of Islamic militants beheading a man for becoming a Christian. The article is called “Brutal Beheading”. I hope many of you read it.

Why?

Because we can’t get into the reality of most of the Bible without some real emotional connection with terror. Every book of the New Testament has terror in it, something like a beheading. The situation in the first century, when these books were written, was more like Afghanistan than America.

Without the help of horrific news we will likely romanticize the New Testament. Some of you they will kill (Luke 21:16). Be faithful unto death and he will give you the crown of life (Revelation 2:10).

We are soft. Mentally and emotionally soft. The thought that we might one day be beheaded with a knife, not a sword, or might have to watch someone beheaded, is itself so traumatizing that we can scarcely allow ourselves to think about it.

The miracle of the peace of Jesus (John 14:27) that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7), will appear as miraculous as it really is, when we experience it not by escaping this news, but by preparing for it, and trusting God in it. Including when our own time comes.

Link to World Magazine report.

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