SHE DIED IN HER FATHER’S ARMS

Dear Friend,

With Easter here, we’re reminded that the situation many Asian countries from China to Burma to Pakistan continues to worsen. I think of Burma, where an innocent 6-year-old girl was recently shot and killed in her own home when police and soldiers broke in. Sadly, she died in her father’s arms while being rushed to a hospital.

Amid this dark period in Burma, a powerful video (See below) recorded in the city of Yangon shows Christians laying on the ground side by side, praying and desperately holding on to their Bibles as they cry out to God pleading for the bloodshed and violence to stop.

The people of Myanmar have been left feeling hopeless since the military coup early in February that has now led to a military crackdown. The Burmese military known as the Tatmadaw has ruthlessly used violence as it seeks control of the country. Daily rallies since the military seized power have been met with tear gas, rubber bullets and live rounds in a bloody crackdown by the Tatmadaw

The coup has brought back for many the painful memories of when Burma was under the control of the military junta for almost 50 years.

During the next days and weeks let’s join with our brothers and sisters in praying that the violence in Burma would end and that peace would be restored. Remember your prayers make a difference!

Yours for Asia

(Reverend) Dale R. Hiscock
Executive Director

 

 

MONDAY China - HOUSE CHURCH RAIDED WITH 10 CHRISTIANS ARRESTED

Authorities in the southwestern Chinese province of Guizhou raided a house church on Tuesday, March the 16th, detaining at least 10 people for questioning. The raid took place during a Bible study group meeting held in Guizhou’s provincial capital, Guiyang, on Tuesday morning.

The house church was raided by officials including the civil affairs bureau and the police. One witness reported that “More than a dozen of our brothers and sisters were taken away [by police].” One church elder, Zhang Chulei, was also detained after going to the police station at around 5.00 p.m. on Tuesday to inquire after the others.

Another report stated that the police called the elder in for questioning. By the end of last week many of them had not been released. Another Christian who lives in Guiyang, who gave only a surname, Li, said it had been rare for members of “house churches” to meet in person since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. “Lately it has been mostly online meetings, with no offline gatherings” Li said. “Offline gatherings are restricted. Sometimes we will gather in small groups of around a dozen people, or just a few people” he said. “Large-scale gatherings are definitely banned.”

Bro. Zhang, who leads this house church, was one of the first house church pastors to sign the Declaration of the Christian Faith that was started by now jailed pastor Wang Yi who is serving 9 years of imprisonment. Prior to the raid, Bro. Zhang had already been subjected to repeated surveillance and harassment by the state security police, barred from participating in any religious activities, and from communicating with other church members. Currently, religious meetings involving more than one household are banned under pandemic restrictions by the government.

Pray for the church in China as it adjusts to new religious laws that have come into place since President Xi became President.

Pray that God would give church leaders godly creativity in responding to these new measures meant to control Christians and destroy the message of the gospel!

TUESDAY China- NEW RESTRICTIONS ON PASTORS COMING INTO PLACE ON MAY 1ST

Authorities in the southwestern Chinese province of Guizhou raided a house church on Tuesday, March the 16th, detaining at least 10 people for questioning. The raid took place during a Bible study group meeting held in Guizhou’s provincial capital, Guiyang, on Tuesday morning.

The house church was raided by officials including the civil affairs bureau and the police. One witness reported that “More than a dozen of our brothers and sisters were taken away [by police].” One church elder, Zhang Chulei, was also detained after going to the police station at around 5.00 p.m. on Tuesday to inquire after the others.

Another report stated that the police called the elder in for questioning. By the end of last week many of them had not been released. Another Christian who lives in Guiyang, who gave only a surname, Li, said it had been rare for members of “house churches” to meet in person since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. “Lately it has been mostly online meetings, with no offline gatherings” Li said. “Offline gatherings are restricted. Sometimes we will gather in small groups of around a dozen people, or just a few people” he said. “Large-scale gatherings are definitely banned.”

Bro. Zhang, who leads this house church, was one of the first house church pastors to sign the Declaration of the Christian Faith that was started by now jailed pastor Wang Yi who is serving 9 years of imprisonment. Prior to the raid, Bro. Zhang had already been subjected to repeated surveillance and harassment by the state security police, barred from participating in any religious activities, and from communicating with other church members. Currently, religious meetings involving more than one household are banned under pandemic restrictions by the government.

Pray for the church in China as it adjusts to new religious laws that have come into place since President Xi became President.

Pray that God would give church leaders godly creativity in responding to these new measures meant to control Christians and destroy the message of the gospel!

WEDNESDAY China - UNREACHED PEOPLE GROUP – Aoka PEOPLE OF CHINA

More than 300,000 Aoka (Aow-kah) people live in southeast China, mainly in Hunan province. The history behind this people group is unknown. Their language seems to be a variation of Mandarin Chinese, but they wear traditional Miao clothes.

Although anthropologists debate how to classify these people and their language, God uniquely created the Aoka and He knows their deepest need. Traditionally, Aoka believe there was a ladder connecting heaven and earth, but at some point the ladder was broken and people can no longer access heaven.

Today they mainly practice animism, worshipping animate and inanimate objects around them. There is no need to convince them a spirit world exists; they already believe in demons and evil spirits. Most Aoka are illiterate. Many speak a form of Mandarin, but few, if any, can read and understand Chinese translations of the Bible.

As with many other unreached people, this presents a formidable challenge in establishing self-sufficient churches. One of the few evangelistic tools available to help reach the Aoka is the JESUS film, which is available in their native language.

Pray that the Aoka people, who have been influenced by other people groups, will come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior, find their identity in Him and influence others for Him.

Pray for recordings and broadcasts to be developed in the Aoka language so all of them can hear and understand the Good News of Jesus. The Aoka people have strong beliefs in demons and evil spirits.

Pray that they will come to know the one true God who has power over all creation.

 

THURSDAY China - ANOTHER HOUSE CHURCH RAISED BY POLICE

On March 7th, authorities in the southwestern province of Sichuan raided the Fountain of Life Church during a Sunday service in the provincial capital, Chengdu. Police arrested Pastor Zha Changping, his wife, and three other church members taking them to the local police station for questioning. All five were released after several hours of interrogation. Fountain of Life Church is one of the earliest founded urban house churches, and is a sister church of the now-closed Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu. Among its members is a former state security police officer who converted to Christianity, and was later forced to resign from his state job.

Pray for this house church and the many others we never hear about who are suffering for their faith!

Ask God to strengthen pastors and church leaders!

 

FRIDAY Pakistan - TWO EVANGELISTS ACCUSED OF BLASPHEMY

Two Christian evangelists are being charged with violating Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy law and could face a mandatory death sentence if found guilty. The two evangelists are accused of making derogatory remarks against Islam, the Koran, and offending the religious sentiments of a Muslim while preaching in Lahore. On February 13th, Haroon Ayub Masih and Salamat Mansha Masih were preaching in Lahore. While ministering, the two Christians met Haroon Ahmad, a Muslim, and several of Ahmad’s friends. This discussion with Ahmad turned into an argument that ended with Ahmad accusing the Christians of making derogatory remarks against Islam.

Pray the Lord would gives these two men the patience they need to endure a lengthy legal process. • Ask Him to strengthen the faith of these men.

Pray for Bro. Hamid and Aksa who lead our AsiaLink ministry in Pakistan.

SATURDAY Burma/Myanmar - SURPRISE MILITARY COUP LEAVES MANY QUESTIONS

In much of a surprise, Burma’s military early in February orchestrated a coup, removing the democratically elected government, arresting Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto head of government, and other key government figures and civilian leaders.

The military at the time claimed the arrests are because of fraud that took place in last November’s election, in which Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), won by an overwhelming majority. Although there were issues with the election there was never any hint or evidence of fraud.

Burma was long considered a pariah state, ostracized from the world, while under the rule of its oppressive military junta from 1962 to 2011. The generals who ran the country suppressed almost all dissent and stood accused of gross human rights abuses, prompting international condemnation and sanctions. A gradual liberalization began in 2010, leading to free elections in 2015 and the installation of a government led by veteran opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi the following year.

Although, there have been serious concerns and criticism about Aung San Suu Kyi’s government, most notably from her failure to take strong action on behalf of the country’s oppressed religious and ethnic minorities, and its lack of concern over the genocide of the Rohingyas, a predominantly Muslim people group living in this majority Buddhist country.

But overall, Burma has made enormous strides in recent years. The election last November was only the country’s second-ever democratic election, after 50 years of direct military rule.

Some Burma observers have inferred that this coup is a desperate step backwards for Burma and that if the military reverts to prior political repression of a decade or more ago… Burma will return to the dark days of isolation from which it has only recently emerged.

Since then, crowds have gathered, peacefully demanding the results of the landslide November election be honoured and the country continue on the democratic path it has pursued since 2015. Sadly, over 510 people have been killed as protests across the country have resulted in a wave of violence by police and the military

We don’t want the junta, we want democracy. We want to create our own future.” Those are the words of one protestor at a large rally in Myanmar and they echo the desire of many hearts in this land.

Myanmar has been thrust before the eyes of the world, but reports have not explained how this political tussle might affect the church. According to the 2016 census, Christianity is the country’s second-largest religion, practiced by 9% of the population, primarily among the Kachin, Chin and Kayin, and Eurasians because of missionary work in their respective areas of the country.

One worker in the country explained that the military is no friend of the gospel. Prior to the democratic transition of 2015, the military junta persecuted believers. The old adage that ‘to be Burmese is to be Buddhist’ – a threat which seemed to recede under the NLD–has returned. Now the future is uncertain.

After the coup, one of AsiaLink’s partners was able to contact some local pastors to encourage them. However, this partner has had to rely solely on telephone and internet connections which could be cut off without warning. There is concern that the military may use these restrictions as a cover for maintaining its strict crackdown. This would leave rural churches isolated from wider fellowship for even longer periods.

There are so many questions left to be answered because of this coup… Will there be an upsurge in persecution? Will church planting become more difficult as a result?

Disturbingly, Burma is hurtling towards a very risky, high-stakes, civil war. The junta is digging in and the toll of civilians killed, injured and arrested is soaring. Despite this, a defiant population steadfastly refuses to surrender to military rule. These are days of great danger and opportunity for Burma’s long-persecuted ethnic Chin, Kachin and Karen, who comprise most of Burma’s nearly nine percent Christian minority.

Pray that Aung San Suu Kyi and all the others who have been arrested would be released immediately and unconditionally.

Pray that this coup, instead of being a step backwards, would eventually result in positive changes to Burma’s system of government, and a fairer, more just country where all citizens are truly equal

Pray that Myanmar would return to democratic rule soon.

Pray for those under threat from the military, that they would be kept safe.

Pray for our brothers and sisters in remote areas who may be cut off from wider fellowship for some time.

Ask God to uphold and prosper the work of evangelism and church planting in Myanmar.

Pray for those working with displaced people within Myanmar and across the border in Thailand, that their ministry would not be inhibited by increased military action and restrictions.

 

Sunday

China – PASTOR SERVING 9 YEARS IMPRISONMENT

 

SUNDAY China - PASTOR SERVING 9 YEARS IMPRISONMENT

Pray for Pastor Wang Yi and the many others of his house church who have been imprisoned. Pastor Yi was sentenced to 9 years in prison. Currently his wife is awaiting her trial.

Pray God would strengthen Pastor Wang, his wife, family and other Christian prisoners.

Shocking Video Shows Christians Filling Streets of Burma’s Capital City, Clutching Bibles, and Crying

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