“God is looking for people to use…
The most dangerous prayer you can pray is this: ‘Use me.’”- Rick Warren
Dear Friend ,
In this month’s prayer alert you’ll discover:
- That Jesus is now considered a killer in one of China’s new ethics textbooks where portions of the Bible have been rewritten to suit its communist ideology.
- You’ll read about an ex-Buddhist monk searching for truth in Bhutan that needs your prayers.
- Chinese police are now hunting down 1 million Chinese Christians by name and address that they gave willingly.
- Honor killings claim another victim and her killer was her 9-year-old nephew.
All these and more are shared in this month’s PRAYER ALERT where DANGEROUS PRAYERS ARE ALWAYS NEEDED!
Yours for Asia’s Harvest,
(Rev.) Dale R. Hiscock
China – COMMUNIST PARTY REWRITES BIBLE
China’s communist Party (CCP) continues its reshaping of Christianity into its own image.We recently learned that a new Chinese ethics textbook has altered a story from the Bible. The textbook in question is entitled “Professional Ethics and the Law” and is used in vocational training schools across China since 2018. The textbook has rewritten scripture to paint Jesus as a killer. Citing John 8, the textbook completely changes the story. Rather than Jesus stopping the stoning of a woman caught in adultery, saying “Go now and sin no more,” the textbook claims Jesus stoned her to death.
The new version of the Bible story now reads: “The crowd wanted to stone the woman to death as per their law. But Jesus said, ‘Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone.’ Hearing this, they slipped away one by one. When the crowd disappeared, Jesus stoned the sinner to death saying, ‘I too am a sinner. But if the law could only be executed by men without blemish, the law would be dead.’”
The question section under the passage asks the reader, “Through this short story, how do you view the law?” In reworking the story of Jesus the textbook infers that if only people without sin can enforce the law, the law will become powerless. It implies that because illegal behaviours of Chinese judicial officials in law enforcement are unavoidable, they should be tolerated. As a result Chinese students are now being taught a communist reinterpretation of Jesus. A Chinese believer recently wrote “I want everyone to know that the Chinese Communist Party has always tried to distort the history of the Church, to slander our Church, and to make people hate our Church”.
- Pray for the truth of Jesus to reach every hungry heart in China.
- Ask the Lord to strengthen His church and to guard it against subtle and blatant heresies of any kind.
- Pray China will be flooded with the Word of God!
- Pray for the safety of AsiaLink partners printing the Bible inside China.
Bhutan – Outreach in Bhutan
AsiaLink partners in the Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan have shared news with us about how the current pandemic is affecting their ministry.
Early in July, measures were relaxed enough to enable churches to meet again after a long period of meeting online. At this time, the church in the capital city of Thimphu was able to resume outreach and several people came to faith before stricter measures were reintroduced.
While plans for baptisms of these new believers have been put on hold, the church has returned to online meetings and eagerly anticipate resuming regular church gatherings sometime in the fall.
Encouragingly, the smaller house churches in Bhutan have continued to grow with an emphasis on fasting and prayer during the pandemic.
An AsiaLink partner has asked for prayer for a man he recently had the opportunity to share the gospel with. The man is an ex-Buddhist monk. For years, he lived and worked in the monasteries in Bhutan encouraging people to worship Buddha and gather up good karma. When our partner met him, the ex-monk had many questions about Christianity which led to a great conversation. As our partner continues to build a relationship with this man, would you pray that the Lord would reveal Himself to this ex-monk?
- Pray for a spirit of boldness among the believers to keep sharing the
- Pray for a relaxing of laws that were originally established in fear that Bhutan would be destabilised through Westernisation and democracy.
- Pray for Bhutanese converts, who risk losing their citizenship and rights.
- Pray for the ongoing training of Christian leaders and support for their ministry.
- Pray that believers across the borders with India and Nepal to share the gospel and distribute literature.
- Pray for evangelists to operate boldly and with wisdom, and to be protected in a hostile environment.
Laos – VILLAGERS THREATEN CHRISTIANS
In an effort to persuade the Christians to leave their village, villagers illegally logged all the trees on the property of one of the Christians. When the village faced drought and famine in 2019, village leaders purposely did not include the names of the Christian families on the list of those who would receive government assistance.
When one of the Christians complained, village leaders told him the Christians were being stubborn by not leaving the village even though most of the village doesn’t believe their “foreign religion…Right now, the only way to get you to leave is to threaten to kill you. Letting you Christians in this village is a waste of land here.” The Christians do not want to leave their homes.
- Pray these believers will be used by God to bring many in the village to Christ.
- Pray for the Laos government, to allow Christians to worship without fear.
- Ask God to protect them!
China – GOVERNMENT DESTROYS ANOTHER CHURCH BUILDING
On August 28th, over 100 government officials came to demolish a house church building in Xincheng, a town in the eastern province of Zhejiang.
According to a congregation member, the building which belongs to a house church established 20 years, was built last year and was regularly attended by more than 40 believers.
Throughout this time, the congregation suffered frequent harassment by authorities for refusing to join the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM), China’s government controlled churches.
After refusing to join the TSPM the government installed three surveillance cameras, pointed at the building’s entrance, to monitor believers. To evade detection, church members creatively started gathering in secret, often in inapt places like pig sheds. Eyewitnesses reported police finally cordoned off the church building and tore it down.
- Pray that house church Christians like this will continue to be creative in how they meet for fellowship.
- Pray for China’s Christians to remain strong!
Pakistan – HONOUR KILLING: 9-YEAR-OLD BOY SHOOTS DEAD AUNT
In a suspected case of honour killing, a nine-year-old boy shot dead his aunt after being told by his family to commit the crime in a village in Pakistan’s Punjab province, police reported last month.
The incident took place in a village 200 km’s from Lahore. According to police, the boy was trained by his family to operate the weapon to kill his paternal aunt.
The 30-year-old victim had married a man of her choice some 10 years ago against the will of her family. However, the family had later reconciled with the woman, they said.
The woman—a mother of three—visited the house of her maternal uncle to attend a family function. During the function, her nine-year-old nephew opened fired on her, killing her on the spot, police said. After the incident, the boy and his family fled the family gathering.
It’s hard for most people to comprehend how someone could ever be driven to murder their own daughter, sister, niece, cousin or aunt simply to restore what they consider to be their family honour.
Obaid-Chinoy, won an Oscar in 2015 for her movie, A Girl in the River, which told the story of Saba Qaiser, whose father attempted to kill her. She commented that, “The law in Pakistan views honour killing as an offence against the individual and not the state, making it possible for a victim’s family to ‘forgive’ the perpetrator. If a father kills his daughter, the wife can forgive her husband. If a brother kills his sister, the parents can forgive their son”.
It not only means murderers go unpunished, it also creates a society where “honour” killings are not seen as crimes.
Sadly, honour killings are common in Pakistan with over 1,000 women killed annually according to official reports. Many such honor killings are not reported to the authorities.
- Pray for this woman’s family!
- Pray for women throughout the Muslim that are often affected by abuse and domestic violence from family members.
- Pray for the young boy that he will receive healing from the trauma of being involved in the killing of his aunt.
- Ask God to intervene in his young life.
- Pray for our AsiaLink team that ministers to women!
China – CHRISTIAN BOOKSTORE OWNER SENTENCED TO 7 YEARS IN PRISON
Chinese Christian online bookstore owner, Chen Yu, was charged with “illegal business operations” on September 27th. He was sentenced to seven years in prison and fined 200,000 RMB ($37,131 CAD).
Chen operated an online Christian bookstore in Taizhou city in the eastern coastal province of Zhejiang. The Christian bookstore had not been open for long, but because of the desperate hunger in China for Christian materials, had sold over 1 million books.
As a result, police have launched a nationwide investigation to track down his customers, all 1 million, through the sale records they confiscated. A house church pastor shared “People who buy Christian books are practicing believers, so the government looks into them to determine how dangerous they are to the stability of their regime.” He, too, was summoned for purchasing from Wheat Bookstore. “The Communist Party has done too many shameful deeds and continues to suppress people. Our government has a guilty conscience,” the pastor added.
Zhang Jialin, a professor at the Department of Religious Culture and Organization Management at Taiwan’s Shinri University, said that although the sale of religious books in bookstores that are not officially approved is considered illegal in China, the Zhejiang court’s ruling is still surprising.
Zhang Jialin further commented that, “The sentence of 7 years is indeed the first time I heard that the sentence was so severe. There have been online or physical bookstores in the past, but they were not as severe as 7 years. This may be related to the Zhejiang District Court recognizing its need to enforce the law according to China’s supreme leader Xi Jinping’s hard line against anything religious.”
A house church Christian from the southern city of Guangzhou who requested anonymity also disputed the verdict.
They stated, “Other illegal acts, such as corrupt officials and fraud, are sometimes only sentenced to six months or three to two years. Christians who run this kind of bookstore do not cause any damage to society, but they are sentenced to three to five years. fair.”
- Pray for Chen and his family.
- Pray that he will be strengthened during his imprisonment.
- Pray for the many Christians who bought books from this bookstore.
- Pray that AsiaLink will be able to supply through it’s partners Bibles and Christian resources, that are sorely needed as the church in China continues to grow.
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.