Sometimes holding onto God when our circumstances overwhelm us is all we can do… remember… something happens when we pray that wouldn’t happen if we hadn’t prayed!
Rev. Dale R. Hiscock
MONDAY | Laos - CHURCH CONTINUES TO GROW UNDER COMMUNISM
Laos, a communist nation, is considered one of the most overlooked countries in south-east Asia for Christian ministry. It’s a tiny landlocked nation surrounded by China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Burma.
Laos has a complete lack of freedom of expression, let alone a free press to highlight cases of corruption. Buddhist temples are the centers of social and religious life, and most Lao men are expected to spend time serving in a temple.
Buddhism is deeply ingrained in the thinking and culture of Lao society. Although it is often mixed with animistic beliefs and practices, every deviation from it is unthinkable and perceived as dangerous. Therefore, Christians refusing to participate in Buddhist practices are perceived as foreign and a threat to traditional culture.
Witnessing to Buddhist neighbors and family can be a huge challenge, but believers here are boldly living out their faith. An AsiaLink short-term missions team was just in the country delivering Bibles and resources to the Laos church! While in the country they learned first hand that… despite it being a communist country we have much to praise God for. They learned that the Lao church is continuing to grow in ways beyond our imagination. In one province, over the Christmas period, 91 people accepted Jesus.
As well… in the last couple of months we have heard of seven new house churches that have been established among the Khmu people and that around 400 people had accepted Christ.
- Pray for the young leaders of this work, almost all of whom are aged 25-40. There are many temptations that could sidetrack them. They are working hard but receive little income, which at times cannot meet their family needs. Their children are often challenged at school or even refused places because their fathers are church leaders.
- Pray for the Lao church that it will continue to grow.
- Pray for Christians who have nowhere to read the Bible and pray without being watched.
- Pray for older Christians to take the initiative in discipling new believers.
- Pray that Christians would know how to witness to their Buddhist neighbors and family.
TUESDAY | Kashmir - ONGOING CONFLICT OPENS DOOR FOR KASHMIRI BIBLE BROADCASTS
Community and government clashes in Kashmir state (North-western India) are boiling over with lives lost in the fighting. In this area of conflict, we praise the Lord for news of a brother who has been able to record the Kashmiri Bible and it will be serialised and broadcast in the Kashmir region where millions will have the opportunity to hear the Word in their mother tongue. He asks us to pray that the Lord’s peace will descend on this community in the days to come. Also that people will tune in and hear and understand God’s word for them.
- Pray for our teams, brothers and sisters in this region, so that peace and calm may be restored in Kashmir.
- We praise God for an opportunity to encourage and teach new believers from Kashmir who have made their way to Nepal. They are totally isolated from the rest of the Christian world and now they can enjoy the freedom to learn and worship the Lord.
- Pray for the peace of Kashmir as there is constant conflict between the Indian government and the Muslims who make up the vast majority of the population.
WEDNESDAY | Iraq - MUSLIM WOMEN ACCEPTS CHRIST AFTER BEING ABUSED BY ISIS
A Muslim woman in Mosul who was raped and tortured by ISIS militants embraced Christianity and begged Jesus for healing after witnessing the love of local Christian workers. The young woman, known only as Nofa, shared her story with Iraqi Christian workers at a camp where she, along with thousands of others displaced by ISIS, have taken refuge. A pharmacology graduate, Nofa was dreaming of owning her own pharmacy just two years ago. However, those dreams were dashed when ISIS stormed her hometown, killing her father, an Iraqi army officer. Then, ISIS fighters entered her house and raped her for two days. Afterwards, she lived through the worst two years of her life, and grew to hate everything about Islam, after observing ISIS’ actions towards her and others.
Christian workers along with all other aid agencies are unable to enter the Iraqi/UN run camps for security reasons and can only pass relief items through a chain-link fence. Yet, being faithful to the Lord they passed food and clothing to Nofa and her mother through the fence and shared the gospel with her. Once she heard about Christ, she raised up her hands to heaven and said with tears, “Lord, I accept you and surrender myself totally to you; please pick me up from my sufferings”. Nofa is just one of thousands of women who have suffered horrendous atrocities at the hands of ISIS militants.
While sharing the message of Christ’s forgiveness, Christian workers have taught many abused women about the need to forgive, and that the healing process begins with forgiving those who harmed them.
- Pray for a speedy end to the fighting in Iraq and Syria.
- Pray for the thousands of women and children who have been abused and raped. Ask God to provide the funding and resources necessary in helping many of these who have been abused an opportunity to heal and be restored.
Thursday | Pakistan - NINE YEAR OLD BOY ACCUSED OF BLASPHEMY
While he was at school, a nine-year-old Christian boy was falsely accused of burning a Koran. His mother and he were imprisoned on the charge of blasphemy. They were eventually released from prison after police found no evidence to substantiate the accusation. However, “despite their innocence, the two imprisoned Christians revealed that they were interrogated and tortured during their four days in prison, saying their interrogators tried to force them to confess to a crime they did not commit. The interrogators, however, failed to get any confession from them,” said the report.
- Pray for this Christian family and the many others in Pakistan who face uncertain actions by the police and authorities.
- Continue to pray for Bro. Hamid, our AsiaLink director in Pakistan and our ministry team in the country!
FRIDAY | China - CHINA CRACKDOWN CONTINUES
China continues its crackdown… A court in China’s northeastern Liaoning province sentenced five Christian leaders to three to seven years behind bars for purchasing and selling prohibited Christian devotional material.
On Feb. 22, the five Christians, four women and one man, learned they would be imprisoned. Of them, pastor Li Dongzhe and Piao Shunnan received seven years, Zhao Chunxia and Li Yuan were given five years, and Shi Jinyan was sentenced to three years.
Most of them belong to a Korean ethnic minority group that resides within China, and all of them attend registered churches. They were arrested last June. Pray for them and their families as they face an uncertain time in prison.
- Ask God to protect and bless them as they endure this season of ministry.
SATURDAY | North Korea - AT LAST NEWS ABOUT IMPRISONED PASTOR LIM
It’s been almost a year since we last heard anything of Pastor Hyeon Soo Lim from Mississauga, who has been sentenced to life in prison in North Korea. At long last he was allowed to meet with the Swedish ambassador in Pyongyang and telephone his family.
The Swedish Ambassador reported that he met with Pastor Lim for 40 minutes and that they discussed Pastor Lim’s health and other matters, but refused to comment further. Pastor Lim’s family confirmed the call but wouldn’t provide details of the conversation.
The family said in a statement that they would like “to extend our deepest gratitude to the Swedish Ambassador for representing the Canadian government in Pyongyang and helping make this meaningful phone call happen…
We take this as an encouraging sign that diplomatic efforts are bearing fruit and we hope to see Reverend Lim return home as soon as possible.”
- Keep praying for him and his family! Pray for our ministry feeding children in North Korea as well as in providing Bibles for North Koreans!