FATHER REJECTS SON
We invite you to pray for an URGENT situation unfolding in South-East Asia. Even though his real name can’t be shared, we’ve given him the name Kham*. He currently is imprisoned for his faith.
What is remarkable about Kham is that he once was far from Christ. Before he came to faith Kham strongly opposed Christianity.
When his son Noi* became a Christian and shared his new Christian faith with his family, Kham became so angry that he kicked him out of their home and threw away the Bible his son had given him. Incensed at Noi’s love for this Christian God Jesus, Kham reported his son to the authorities hoping he would be arrested!
After leaving his village, Noi eventually attended Bible College and learned from other church leaders before returning to his home. Despite being rejected by his father, Noi made a decision that he would once again share his faith with him.
This time Kham was open to listening to the gospel from his son, and in a supernatural moment surrendered his life to Christ. Overcome with a passion to share Christ with others, Kham began to witness about Jesus to others in his village and led 5 families to Christ.
Then, as recently as this past January, he led 8 more families from his village to the Lord.
However, village authorities became concerned by the growth of Christianity in their midst and arrested Kham a number of weeks ago.
Kham is presently in prison awaiting the court to pass a verdict, and will not be released unless he signs a document renouncing his faith. His wife, and the families who recently became Christians, are also under pressure to renounce Christianity.
Pray with us for Kham, his family, and those who have recently become Christians. It’s incredible to hear stories like the transformation of Kham – from reporting his son to the authorities, to following Jesus and being arrested and detained himself. These believers need our prayers for strength, endurance and comfort. We pray that God would use this situation to bring even more unreached people to himself!
Rev. Dale R. Hiscock Executive Director
*names changed for security reasons
MONDAY / China / XI BECOMES THE MOST POWERFUL LEADER SINCE CHAIRMAN MAO
China is changing… Since China’s present leader Xi Jinping became party General Secretary in November 2012, one of his prime concerns has been his personal accumulation of power and influence. His crackdown on corruption in the communist party won the hearts of many of China’s citizens. However, it is now apparent that no other Chinese leader over the past 31 years has garnered such power.
Just this past weekend, in a show of his political strength, Xi disregarded instructions by one of China’s most influential and beloved leaders Deng Xiaoping, that no leader should pursue a cult of personality, and that China should be ruled by a collective leadership, namely the Politburo Standing Committee.
My friend Paul Hattaway observed… “All that has now changed as during China’s recent congress the constitution was amended so Xi can remain in power for as long as he wishes (instead of serving two five year terms). Xi first raised concerns among Christians about three years ago when he spoke about the need to control “illegal religion”.
Persecution has markedly worsened since then, and hundreds of house church pastors have vanished over the past few years. Many are assumed to have been killed. Others may be held in “black jails” — secret facilities where they are tortured mercilessly. When someone enters a black jail they are usually never heard from again. Their families have no idea of their whereabouts, and all communication ceases.
Last year the government announced draconian new laws designed to punish “illegal religion” (i.e. all worship or activity outside the control of the atheistic Communist Party). These new laws, which came into force last month (Feb. 1st), include fines of up to $30,000 US for holding prayer meetings or Bible studies, while Christians who travel out of the country (including to Hong Kong) to attend conferences or other Christian events may be arrested and fined up to US$50,000.
These amounts are more than a lifetime’s income for many Chinese believers.
Pressure is also being applied to those who associate with Christians. For example, landlords face heavy fines if they rent a property to any believers who subsequently use it for house church meetings. So landlords will now be more selective asking… ‘are you a Christian’ in fear of being fined or having their property confiscated.”
Pray for Chinese house church leaders and those in their networks to know how to respond to this new day of heightened control by Chinese authorities.
Pray that the church in China would be strengthened by this new season of oppression and that the church would grow even larger.
TUESDAY / Kashmir / HINDU HOSTILITY TOWARDS CHRISTIANS
In the Kashmir region of India there are more stories of the hostility of Hindus towards Christians. An unwell Hindu woman and her husband converted to Christianity after receiving prayer and ministry from a local pastor. The woman sadly passed away some time after. A large group of Hindus heard about the conversion and death of the woman and reacted angrily, seizing the body and performing Hindu last rites before burning the body on the grounds of a local church.
A mob of around 1,000 attempted to burn the woman’s husband alive before police took him into protective custody. The mob resisted police control and set fire to the church building connected to the husband and his late wife as well as damaging cars of believers attending the church. Local Christians hid, fearful for their lives and local pastors are attempting to seek justice for the actions of the mob. So far there have been a few arrests with quick releases.
Continue to pray for believers in the volatile and dangerous region of Kashmir in India.
WEDNESDAY / China / UNREACHED PEOPLE GROUP - THE “XIANGTANG”
Most of the 107,000 Xiangtang (Shyahng-tahng) in southwestern Yunnan Province have never heard the name of Jesus. The Xiangtang are farmers, who eat mostly corn, buck-wheat, bean curd and vegetables. Many of their traditional customs have died out, but they continue to seat important guests behind the hearth in the place of honor while less important guests sit near the door.
One of their old customs involved buying a bride. Men were required to pay in silver coins or agree to work for the bride’s family for three years in order to win her hand in marriage.
Although many people in this Yi sub-group have been assimilated into Han Chinese culture, in some remote areas they still hold tightly to their own cultural identity and beliefs. In such rural areas the Xiangtang worship their ancestors and have many superstitions about various spirits, both good and evil. They worship the dragon and the “Spirit of the Ravine,” to whom they pray for help, blessing and protection.
The Xiangtang who live in more urban areas, however, have conformed to the surrounding Chinese culture and given up any type of religious beliefs. When asked what they believe in, most young people respond, “I believe in myself.”
Pray that the Xiangtang, both young and old, will see their need for a Saviour and seek out the One who knows and loves them intimately.
Pray that Chinese believers who live around the Xiangtang will have compassion and boldness to tell them about the saving faith found in Jesus Christ.
Pray that multiplying churches will be planted among the Xiangtang to nurture and disciple new believers.
THURSDAY / China / IS A NEW CULTURAL REVOLUTION TAKING PLACE?
Persecution against underground Christians in China’s central Henan province has increased greatly since the implementation of China’s revised Religious Affairs Regulations on Feb. 1st. According to local Christians in Luoyang, Henan, officials in the area have hired local gangs to break into churches and gathering places. In the attacks, they have broken doors and windows, as well as confiscated seats and religious books.
Additionally, large numbers of church attendees and pastors have been kidnapped and detained by unidentified men while preaching.
“No one dares speak out,” a church member in Shangqiu, Henan said in an interview. “We are afraid of traveling … The local governments in Tanghe, Nanyang, and Zhoukong are suppressing house churches. It feels like another Cultural Revolution” has begun. The Cultural Revolution refers to the period between 1966 and 1976, when Mao Zedong attempted to destroy all influences besides Communism in China, and was a period of great economic and societal hardship, especially for Christians.
Pray for the pastors and Christians who have been arrested.
Ask God to guide them as they endure this time of harassment and renewed persecution.
FRIDAY / Malaysia / KIDNAPPED PASTOR STILL MISSING
For more than a year, Malaysian pastor Raymond Koh has been missing. On February 13, 2017, masked men forced his vehicle to stop, pulled him from the car, and then drove away with both vehicles – all captured in broad daylight by CCTV cameras. Despite widespread distribution of the video footage, there have been no demands and no word on Pastor Raymond’s whereabouts. Just prior to his kidnapping, the pastor had been the victim of multiple threats, accusing him of preaching to Muslims.
Ask the Lord to intervene and secure Pastor Raymond’s release (Psalm 91:14).
Pray for his wife Susanna and family as they continue to wait for news!
SATURDAY / Pakistan / CHRISTIAN CHURCH ATTACKED
On March 3, more than two dozen men entered a Pakistan Gospel Assembly Church located north-east of AsiaLink’s ministry centre in Punjab province and began beating people with sticks. Women and children were among those injured. This led to a fierce confrontation between local Christians and Muslims.
The roughly 200 families within the village are restricted to their homes, terrified of more assaults. Police have charged five Christians, while no action has been taken against those who instigated the aggression.
Pray for protection over the village and the peace of God to reign where there has been tension and fear.
Pray for justice for those responsible and for those who were attacked.
Pray for Pastor Hamid and his wife Aksa along with our AsiaLink team in central Pakistan. They have been unable to send their reports due to security measures in their area of the country.
Pray for their safety!
Pray for our Bible Correspondence School that reaches nominal Christians and Muslims who are searching for truth.
Pray for Pakistan’s Christians to have boldness and faith!