There are so many needs throughout Asia… So many unreached people groups who have never heard of Jesus. Many Christians are at a breaking point… they need our prayer support in order to persevere through these dark moments. Then there are those unreached and unengaged people groups who are facing uncertainty and systematic persecution.
Our prayers can be like an uplifting wind that empowers those Christians over whatever obstacles they are facing. Needless to say, our enemy will discourage us, side track us, overwhelm us with problems diverting our attention to stand with those whose lives are threatened!
We think of many people groups like the Rohingya and the Karen (Christian) people in Burma who are facing life-threatening attacks from Burma’s army.
Remember… prayer isn’t to remind God of what our problems are, but to remind our problems who God is! Join me in praying for the following needs!
Rev. Dale R. Hiscock
MONDAY North Korea - PASTOR RELEASED FROM NORTH KOREAN PRISON
Over the past 2 years many of our partners and friends have prayed for the early release of Pastor Lim who was sentenced to a life of hard labor in a North Korean prison. Earlier in August our prayers were answered – when we learned he had miraculously been released.
We thank God for this amazing miracle and you our friends and partners for praying when it looked like there was no hope. Pastor Lim is pastor of a Presbyterian Church in Mississauga and stated in an interview that holding Canadian citizenship was the reason he wasn’t executed or tortured during his more than two years of detention in North Korea. “If I’m just Korean, maybe they kill me,” Lim said during an interview with CBC’s Rosemary Barton. “I’m Canadian so they cannot, because they cannot kill the foreigners.”
He was arrested in January 2015 when he travelled to North Korea on a humanitarian mission and sentenced that December to a life of hard labour for allegedly trying to overthrow the regime using religious activity. State prosecutors initially sought the death penalty. He said North Korea treated him well despite forcing him to dig holes and break coal by hand all day in a labor camp.
Lim stated that he was “coached and coerced” into confessing that he traveled under the guise of humanitarian work as part of a “subversive plot” to overthrow the government and set up a religious state. North Korea let him go on humanitarian grounds. Lim said that his captors watched him 24 hours a day during his incarceration through video cameras installed in his cell. He shared that they even installed cameras in his washroom.
Lim told his Toronto area congregation about his life in a North Korean prison during the past two and a half years. Daily digging of metre-deep holes through frozen mud, breaking apart frozen coal and outdoor labour in the scorching heat of summer under the constant watch of two guards was Rev. Lim’s routine.
“I did not have a day of gloom,” said Rev. Lim as he explained in a Korean heart-to-heart with his Mississauga congregation how he turned moments of despair into trust in God.
The pastor maintained that he is not angry with North Korea despite his incarceration. “I thanked North Korea. I forgive them, and I love them.
Thank the Lord for his safe return! Pray for the many unknown and unnamed North Korean Christians held in prison camps in North Korea. Pray for the safe delivery of Bibles by our partners and for the feeding of NK children that we are helping with!
TUESDAY China - IMPRISONED CHINESE PASTOR IS “BARELY ALIVE”
Pastor Zhang Shaojie of the Nanle Country Christian Church, in Henan Province, is “barely alive” after suffering various forms of torture in prison, according to reports from his daughter.
He is currently serving a 12-year prison sentence which officially began in 2014. His daughter Esther expressed concern that her father is suffering both mentally and physically as a result of meager food rations and sleep deprivation.
When his sister, Zhang Cuixia, visited him on July 7th, she shared that her brother appeared fragile and was not allowed to discuss events outside of the prison. According to his sister, he looks “like a bag of bones”, with dark discoloration encircling his eyes. During her visit, government agents monitored her conversation, limiting it to only talk about family members and praise of new policies under Communist Party leader, Xi Jinping.
Pray that Pastor Zhang will be strengthened and renewed spiritually, emotionally and physically, as he awaits release. Pray for his family, that they would receive ongoing strength and encouragement from the Lord.
Wednesday Burma - UNREACHED PEOPLE GROUP FACING ETHNIC CLEANSING
News agencies from around the world have been focusing on the systematic manner in which the unreached Muslim people group the Rohingya are facing extreme persecution from the Myanmar army. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Wednesday that ethnic cleansing is taking place in Myanmar against the Rohingya Muslim minority, and the UN Security Council condemned the violence that has led nearly 380,000 Rohingyas to flee to Bangladesh.
The region where the Rohingya have lived is in Arakan province, once a sovereign and independent state, that is now one of the provinces of Burma. The Arakan State comprises a strip of land along the eastern coast of the Bay of Bengal from the Naf River to Cape Negaris, and stretches north and south touching Bangladesh on the northwest. The river Naf separates it from Chittagong region of Bangladesh. It is cut off from Burma by a range of nearly impassable mountains known as Arakan Yomas running north to south, which was an obstacle against permanent Muslim conquest. The northern part of Arakan, today called the “North Arakan”, was a point of contact with East Bengal. These geographical facts explain the separate historical development of that area both generally and in terms of its Muslim population until the Burmese king Bodaw Paya conquered it in 1784 AD. Under different periods of history Arakan had been an independent sovereign monarchy ruled by Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims.
Most of the elderly Rohingya grow beards and the women wear hijab. All Rohingya houses are surrounded by high bamboo walls.
There is still in existence a social bond in every village called “Samaj”. All social welfare activities such as Adhahi meat distribution, helping the poor, widows, orphans and needy, marriage and funereal functions are done collectively by the Samaj.
The Rohingya over the past number of years have faced strong pressure from Burma’s Buddhist culture. The Rohingya have faced decades of discrimination and persecution by the majority Buddhist population in Myanmar, where they are denied citizenship despite centuries-old roots in the country.
The current crisis erupted on Aug. 25, when an alleged attack by insurgent Rohingya attacked police outposts in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, killing a dozen security personnel. This purported attack gave Burma’s army an excuse to attack the Rohingya. according to various sources approximately 125,000 Rohingya refugees have fled to Bangladesh and “the number has now tripled to nearly 380,000. Altogether, Burma had over 842,000 Rohingya living in the country.
Pray for the Rohingya that have escaped to Bangladesh that they will receive the care they need. Pray for the thousands who are still in Burma who are facing persecution in an unprecedented way. Pray that the message of Christ will bring comfort and hope to those in need.
Thursday China - 13 CHRISTIANS ACCUSED OF BEING A CULT
More than a dozen Christians in China’s southern Yunnan province face trial on falsified cult charges. At least 13 Christians are facing court hearings and prison sentences for allegedly “participating in cult activities.”
Last October, three Christian women, Liu Wei, Yin Dianhong, and Tu Yan, were taken into police custody for evangelizing and establishing house churches in the Lincang, Chuxiong, Dali, Zhao-tong, Yuxi, Pu’er, and Xishuangbanna regions of Yunnan.
Authorities also arrested other Christians, including Zhang Congying, Li Yunxiu, Li Wan-hong, Liang Qin, Peng Huifen, Ya Jiaping, Zhong Yonggui, Su Min, and Li Shudong. Some of the arrested Christians have been released.
During their search police found books such as the Bible, Streams in the Desert (a program AsiaLink used to broadcast into China), Pilgrim’s Progress, Song of a Wanderer, Power Through Prayer, Our Daily Prayer, and Shepherdship, as well as poems and songs composed by Christian writer and composer Xiaomin.
While investigating the cases, they claimed the Christians participated in the Three Grades of Servants, which the government has labeled a cult.
In response, Tu’s sister, Tu Kui, wrote to authorities, explaining that the books had nothing to do with the cult. She is reported to have said, “The books … can’t be used as evidence to persecute us. Which country doesn’t have Pilgrim’s Progress?”
Tu Yan’s case is before the court in Dali, which is yet to be scheduled. On Sept. 3, her lawyer, Wang Zongyue, said he has not yet received notice of the impending trial, despite the court having the case for about two months.
Pray for these Christians and the many others who face arrest and prison throughout China! Pray that God would give them justice and that they would find the strength to continue serving the Lord… That with the heroes of old they would be able to say…
Friday Laos - ENTIRE BROTHEL COMES TO CHRIST
One of our AsiaLink personnel living in south-east Asia shared that “It’s always an uplifting time to visit our AsiaLink projects. There is a such a variety of work, including supporting and training local believers, to various ventures that employ people to sewing classes and rehabilitating girls involved in prostitution.
Here is some good news! Just a couple of weeks ago in our city, an entire brothel including the owner made a decision to follow our father! Eight people in total! Now our friends are walking them through these new steps and will be looking at discipleship and alternative employment for the girls. In all the projects listed above, the goal is always to reach and teach.
Over the past six months, our partners in the communist country of Laos have reported that 876 people have made the decision to follow Jesus. Praise God for delivering so many from the Buddhist faith and spirit-worship that dominates this country! One national worker shared this about their ministry in Laos…
“I really thank God for all the things happening in my life. My family got saved and all seven of my children are attending school regularly. I’ve had the opportunity to share the gospel with over 100 people and 12 have decided to become saved. We have faced difficulties on the mission field such as all the walking between villages in the mountains with no roads. Local authorities also restrict Christianity by stopping the sharing of the gospel.”
Praise God for changing the lives of those in the brothel. Pray for the many others who are sold into this environment. Pray that God would lead this national worker and others to those people who are already responsive to the message of Christ.
Saturday Pakistan - CHRISTIAN MAN BURNED ALIVE
When Ameen, 45, an impoverished Christian husband and father could not make his installment payments to Muslim shopkeepers, they and their accomplices raided the Christian man’s home, beat him with sticks and cricket bats, threatening to kill him if he did not pay them immediately.
Reports indicate that early the next morning,“the shopkeepers returned, trapped him in his home, set the room on fire and locked it”. “They stayed outside the room and did not allow any of the family members or local residents to unlock the room to save Ameen’s life.”
The man was burned alive. His three children who were present during the ordeal were left “traumatized” and “shocked after witnessing the brutal death of their father,” said his widow.
Pray for Ameen’s family as they come to grips from this horrific ordeal they have faced. Pray for healing for them. Continue to pray for Bro. Hamid and Aksa as they give leadership to our ministry in Pakistan whether by our women’s ministry, Apologetic Seminars, Marriage retreats, AsiaLink’s Bible Correspondence School, medical outreaches etc..
Sunday Philippines - BATTLE WITH ISIS FOR CONTROL OF PHILIPPINE CITY CONTINUES
Earlier this year, we shared with you news of a crisis brewing in the Philippine city of Marawi. The city is being torn apart by an ongoing conflict between Philippine national armed forces and local ISIS-affiliated militants hoping to establish a caliphate in the area.
Nearly 800 people have been killed. Thousands more have been injured and over 250,000 have been forced to leave their homes and possessions in the search for safety. Just a few days ago, reports from the city stated that the Philippine Armed Forces were moving in on the last stronghold of the ISIS militants.
However, the work is far from finished; the cost of rebuilding Marawi is estimated to be over $1 billion. As this conflict draws to a close, AsiaLink would like to thank you for your prayerful support. AsiaLink partners on the ground have been able to provide a continuous supply of food to three different communities, and are planning three new medical camps for this predominately Muslim city that needs Christ.
Continue to pray for our partners providing medicine and food to victims of the conflict, and sensitively sharing the message of Christ with those who are searching. Pray for the victims, both Christians and Muslims, who have been affected by this crisis.