Ps Bobby Butar Butar MTh blog

The Persecution & Prayer Alert January 09

Posted on: Januari 22, 2009

In this week’s edition: reports from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, with updates from Sri Lanka and VOMC

Let us know what you think about The Persecution and Prayer Alert! Please take the time to fill out a brief online survey to help us to serve you better. Go to www.persecution.net/survey.htm.
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1. Pastor beaten in Andhra Pradesh, India

On January 16, Pastor Yakobu (37) was attacked by Hindu militants at his home in Gumpula village, Andhra Pradesh, India. At approximately midnight, Pastor Yakobu was home alone when he heard a knock on his door. When he answered, six men burst in, beat him, cut him with a knife and shaved his head. They also set fire to his clothes and books and shouted that they didn’t want any pastors in the village. The next morning, Pastor Yakobu and several local pastors went to the police station and filed a complaint against the attackers.

Pray for healing for Pastor Yakobu. Pray that he, his wife and their children will rely on God’s guidance and care. Pray for an outpouring of the Lord’s Spirit in India to embolden and strengthen Christians facing trials for their faith.

For more on the persecution of Christians in India, go to www.persecution.net/india.htm.
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2. Christian sisters kidnapped, raped and forcibly converted in Pakistan

Pakistani Christian sisters Parvisha Masih (18) and Sanam Masih (14) face a long legal battle after escaping from Muslim kidnappers who raped and forced them to convert to Islam. In early November, two Muslim men, Muhammad Irfan and Muhammed Mehboob, convinced the girls to get into their car by offering them positions at a salon to help support their family. The girls were subsequently drugged and taken to a hotel in the city of Mianwali where they were held at gunpoint, raped and threatened with death if they attempted to escape. The next day, they were driven to the city of Karachi where they were held for several days in the home of Mehboob’s brother-in-law. Both girls were forcibly converted to Islam and their names were changed. The captors then took Parvisha and Sanam to a lawyer’s office, reportedly to arrange their transfer to a government shelter for women. The lawyers told the girls they could spend the night with their families, but they were instead taken to an empty house where they were drugged again and Parvisha was sexually assaulted. When Sanam heard her sister crying out for help, she was able to steal one of the lawyer’s cell phones and call the police. The lawyers and kidnappers were arrested and the girls were returned to their parents.

The Masih family anticipates a long and difficult battle for justice, as the legal system typically favours Muslims and rarely rules against alleged conversions to Islam.

Ask God to grant Parvisha and Sanam His healing, love, and strength as they recover from these attacks, especially as they fear a future of societal rejection. Pray that those responsible will repent and come to know Jesus. Pray for wisdom for the family’s lawyers.

To learn more about how Pakistani believers suffer for Christ’s sake, go to www.persecution.net/pakistan.htm.
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3. Pastor attacked, wife gang-raped in Bangladesh

Pastor Shankar Hazra (55) and his wife Depali (45) were attacked by Muslims outside their home on the Chaksing Baptist church property in Gopalganj district, Bangladesh on January 6. According to a January 20 report from Compass Direct, in the early morning, the couple went outside to use the washroom when approximately seven Muslims surrounded them. They tied Pastor Hazra to the porch and blindfolded Depali and forced her inside the house. The assailants looted the couple’s belongings and gang-raped Depali. Upon leaving the house, they broke into the nearby church building where they urinated and defecated on the floor. Pastor Hazra was eventually able to untie himself and get help for his unconscious wife.

Although the couple testifies that their attackers were Muslim, police officers, Muslim-owned media and some influential citizens have made the claim that the crime was actually committed by two Christians and a Hindu under the direction of another local pastor. When the police stated these allegations in the initial report, Pastor Hazra signed the document without reading it because he was so shaken from the attack. Depali has since written a corrected statement of the events. At last report, the couple was living with relatives to avoid further attacks.

Ask God to heal Depali from the physical and emotional scars of the rape. Pray that those who are truly guilty will be found and convicted. Pray that Pastor Hazra and Depali will continue be a light that draws others to Jesus (Matthew 5:14-16).

Find out more about the persecution of Christians in Bangladesh at www.persecution.net/bangladesh.htm.
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4. Update: Christians lobby against Sri Lankan anti-conversion bill

Within the next month, the draft bill entitled “Prohibition of Forcible Conversion of Religion” is to be taken up in the Parliament of Sri Lanka for debate, final reading and a vote (see www.persecution.net/lk-2009-01-14.htm for more). On January 6, the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress launched a report that contained highly inflammatory and false accusations against the Christian community in an attempt to bolster support for the repressive legislation. The National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka, a VOMC partner, is urging immediate attention in advocating against the proposed anti-conversion bill. To download a sample lobbying letter, go to www.persecution.net/download/lk-sample-letter.pdf. To view a copy of the anti-conversion section of the bill, go to www.persecution.net/download/lk-legislation.pdf.
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5. From Behind the Wire: VOMC Persecuted Church Prayer Conferences

Don’t miss VOMC’s upcoming Persecuted Church Prayer Conferences in Mississauga, Ontario on March 28 and Edmonton, Alberta on April 4. This year’s conferences will focus on our brothers and sisters in North Korea. Hear the testimony of guest speaker Mr. Kim, a man who served in the North Korean military until he came to know Christ and escaped to China. Learn more about the work of The Voice of the Martyrs in Korea from VOMC co-workers, Eric Foley and Ahn Hyun Sook. Be blessed through the music and worship led by violinist Trevor Dick. VOMC CEO, Glenn Penner, and Greg Musselman will also report on how the mission is serving the Persecuted Church worldwide. For more information, please phone our office at 1.888.298.6423 or check out our conference brochure at www.persecution.net/download/2009confbroch.pdf.
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6. In this week’s VOMC weblog (www.persecution.net/weblog.htm)

Check out the latest posts by VOMC staff:
a) Glenn Penner asks for prayer for those involved in a heartbreaking story from ChinaAid in “Chinese authorities deny dying husband’s request for a final visit with his imprisoned wife.”

b) In “Blasphemy laws ‘will be abolished,’ says Pakistan Minister for Minorities,” Glenn discusses promises made by Pakistan’s Minister for Minorities regarding the country’s controversial blasphemy laws.

c) View a video which reveals the disturbing beliefs and philosophies of Hamas leaders in “Hamas in their own voices.”

d) Adele Konyndyk highlights a recent persecution incident reported by Compass Direct in “Newly-converted Christians expelled by sons in Bangladesh.”

To make comments on these and previous VOMC weblogs, go to persecutedchurch.blogspot.com.
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The Persecution & Prayer Alert is a ministry of The Voice of the Martyrs, Canada.  (Mailing address: P.O. Box 117, Port Credit, Mississauga, Ontario  L5G 4L5)
Tel. (905) 670.9721. Website: www.persecution.net
Contacts: Glenn Penner & Adele Konyndyk

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