We live in a world filled with hurting Christians who have been abused, beaten, discarded and hidden from view… all because of their faith in God.
We just learned of one young Chinese house church Christian who simply disappeared several months ago. When he was arrested by Chinese authorities he refused to give them the password to his cell phone and computer. So police locked him away in the deepest and darkest part of the security bureau basement. For months he never saw sunlight!
In order to survive living in the darkness of his cell, he kept the light of his faith alive by singing hymns and worship songs much like Paul and Silas in the New Testament. Apparently, when he worshipped God, the environment in the police station incredibly changed for the better. Now that’s the power of God being released.
Somehow I believe he was strengthened to endure by Christians who were praying for him, even though they didn’t know who he was or what was happening to him. Prayer is one of the most powerful weapons God has given us to make a difference in others lives.
“Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.” Hebrews 13:3 (NLT)
Rev. Dale R. Hiscock
MONDAY / Pakistan - YOUNG ADULT APOLOGETIC CONFERENCE
Our Annual AsiaLink Standing Strong Young Adult Apologetic Seminar just took place July 5th – 6th in central Pakistan at a secure location. We are still awaiting a ministry report from the Seminar.
Meeting in an non-air conditioned facility with temperatures ranging from 40C to 47C (104F to 116.6 F) over 300 young adults attended the two day seminar hungry to learn more.
This seminar has been used by God to challenge Christians, nominal Christians, Hindus and Muslims to examine their life in the light of scripture. We’ve seen many come to faith in Christ as a result and are thankful to God for this impactful opportunity to challenge young minds to trust God with their lives. Christian young people are under incredible pressure to compromise their Christian faith and convert to Islam. This seminar seeks to give an intellectual and spiritual response to questions of faith and the uniqueness of Christianity within a Muslim world.
• Thank God for the safety and protection of all those who attend.
• Continue to pray for those who attended, that they will faithfully follow the Lord.
• Pray that our ministry to young adults will continue to expand and grow!
TUESDAY / South-East Asia - VILLAGE AUTHORITIES THREATEN PASTOR WITH PRISON
South-East Asia is home to many Christians enduring oppression and suffering for their faith.
One AsiaLink partner who supports a network of churches in a country closed to Christ has shared an example of the kind of persecution faced by pastors in this part of Asia: “I got a phone call from a pastor last month. He said, ‘Please pray for me. The village authorities came to me and threatened me to stop holding worship service at my house. They said I must sign a paper that states that I have renounced my faith, and that I will stop gathering with others for worship. If not, I will get arrested and be put in prison.
The authorities threatened us with guns so that the members of my church and I will sign the paper out of fear. I told the authorities that I do not want to sign the paper and if they want to arrest me, then can go ahead.’”
Our AsiaLink partner encouraged the pastor to be strong and not be afraid.” I told him to be faithful to God and He will take care of you all. I encouraged him that he wasn’t alone – there are many people being persecuted and imprisoned for their faith in the name of Jesus. In the end, God helped them.
The pastor and his members have only been Christians for one year, and yet are facing tremendous persecution. The reason that this incident happened is because the pastor was planning to expand his house church to accommodate the 130 people who regularly attend on Sundays. Please pray for them!”
• Praise the Lord that the church is growing in closed countries in South-East Asia!
• Pray for Pastor B and many pastors like him, who face threats from the authorities for their faithful witness and shepherding of God’s people.
• Ask the Lord to uphold them through every trial and keep them walking in the narrow way.
• Pray that many officials, whether police officers, village or national leaders, would come to know the Lord, as they see the faithful, devoted worship of believers.
Wednesday / China - UNREACHED PEOPLE GROUP - LAMA PEOPLE OF CHINA
Pressed into tiny villages scattered throughout western Guizhou Province’s Qinglong, Shuicheng, Pu’an and Panxian counties are a people group known as the Laba (Lah-bah).
They number about 250,000, most of whom have never heard the Good News. Although they speak a local dialect of Mandarin Chinese, the Laba see themselves as a separate people group from the Han. They have been called the Huguang people at times because of their supposed origin in Huguang County, Hunan. The Laba may have descended from a garrison of Han Chinese soldiers sent to Guizhou to fight the Miao. After the wars ceased, they settled down with local wives, many of them Miao, and gradually forgot their Han roots, taking on their own ethnic identity.
Today, the Laba share many characteristics of their Miao neighbors and speak a Miao word here and there. They worship the spirits of their ancestors, and in the past sacrificed a cow every three years, believing their ancestors would eat it in the after life.
Many of the Laba’s Miao neighbors are now believers, due to missionary work in the late 19th century. As a result, the Gospel has reached a small group of Laba. Those in surrounding villages have heard that their neighbors follow Christ, but see it as something only for the literate, not for the majority of Laba who can’t read or write.
• Pray the Laba will hunger for the One True God and seek to know Him through contact with believers in neighboring villages.
• Pray God will give Laba and Miao believers a vision for reaching every Laba village with the gospel.
THURSDAY / China - ENDURING FAITH CONTINUES DESPITE HARASSMENT
A number of house church members in the city of Chengdu, China continue to be monitored by police and authorities after their house church was closed and the their pastors arrested.
On June 20th police entered the home of a christian couple, saying they needed to register their address.
In the home there were a number of children studying and playing. Immediately afterwards, officers from a local police station, along with workers from the Bureau of Education showed up at the apartment.
A few parents who learned that the authorities had arrived rushed over to get their children were taken to a local police station, along with their children. One house church brother was slapped in the face. After a few hours, all the parents and children were taken away by the police, and were finally released later that afternoon and evening.
What encouraged us at AsiaLink was the Chinese believers response to the constant harassment from authorities.
One of the house church believers writes, “During the past six months, since the house church was closed, many brothers and sisters have suffered various losses. But we are thankful for their endurance in the midst of these difficult times. We are even more thankful for the ways in which God has comforted and encouraged us through his Word.”
Sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. (Heb. 10:33-36)
• Pray for China’s Christians who are enduring harassment, beating, persecution and imprisonment for their faith.
• Pray for the many other pastors and Christians who are imprisoned as well throughout China.
FRIDAY / North Korea - NEW TRANSLATION OF NORTH KOREAN BIBLE
An updated version of the Bible for North Korea with the Old and New Testament combined is underway. Specifically, this Bible is translated from Hebrew to South Korean and then to North Korean, a total of two translations.
• Pray for AsiaLink friends who are preparing and praying that the Bible will be ready for printing soon.
• Pray that the translators and the experts who will be proofreading and supervising the translations will be filled with wisdom, power, and strength to complete this task.
• Pray that there will come a day when the Bible will be sent to each of the 5.9 million households in North Korea.
SATURDAY / China - PASTOR STILL BEING HELD IN PRISON - WIFE JUST RELEASED
Jiang Rong, the wife of Pastor Wang Yi of Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu was released from detention in China on June 10th, after six months in jail. However, her husband, Wang Yi remains in “secret detention” awaiting trial. Four other members of their house church remain in detention. Jiang Rong was released on bail and is living at her brother’s home where she was reunited with her son, Shuya. She is being monitored by police.
• Thank the Lord for Jiang Rong’s release.
• Ask God to encourage Pastor Wang!
• Pray that God would strengthen their mind with scriptures and memories of God’s past faithfulness to them. (Psalm 51:10).
• Pray for the church they pastored that has since been forced to close that it’s members will continue to trust in God.