Persecution & Prayer Update - June 21, 2018 (Used with permission of Voice of the Martyrs Canada) PAKISTAN: Christian Beaten to Death by Police Sources: Morning Star News, Dawn News
Christians in Pakistan frequently face false accusations from community members and authorities. In a recent case on May 29th, such an allegation resulted in the death of a 24-year-old Christian. According to relatives, Waqas Masih was assisting his uncle with a construction project when police approached on the pretence of drugs.
The three involved police officers, who were known for blackmailing the poor, demanded money from the uncle, Saleem Masih. As a heated argument ensued and threats were made against all present, Wasaq panicked and fled. The officers chased after him. By the time his family arrived, the officers had already caught up to Wasaq and beaten him to death. The police claim that he had simply fallen.
According to the family, authorities pressured them to drop their testimony against the officers, even offering them money. A case was registered against the three constables who were taken into custody, but no official charges have been laid. A post-mortem exam has been ordered to determine the cause of death.
To view more information on issues facing Christians in Pakistan, including video reports, go to our Pakistan Country Report.
Please remember the deceased young man's family, as they not only grieve this tragic loss but also try to stand for what is right in the midst of their pain. Pray that the truth will come out and that those responsible will be held to account for their crime. Intercede for the safety of other Christians throughout Pakistan, including those who've been falsely imprisoned.
NEPAL: Church Growth Challenged by New Dangers Sources: Mission Network News, International Christian Concern
For the past several years, the church in Nepal has been growing at a significant rate. Christians have shown the love of Christ by caring for orphans, fighting human trafficking, and providing necessary job training. Recognizing the benefits, even the communist government requested assistance from the church.
As the church's influence has grown -- resulting in more people coming to faith in Christ -- the challenges being experienced due to opposition have also been on the increase. Hindu nationalism in India has spread into Nepal, bringing with it a push for anti-conversion legislation and threats against Christians. The aftermath of the mounting pressure includes death threats against church leaders, the destruction of churches, and threats of endangerment to children at school.
According to Joe Handley of Asian Access, Christians are refusing to be intimidated: "They tell me that 'We're not going to stop. No matter what the government does, it won't stop the work of God, and we will continue to obey Christ's command to take the Gospel to the ends of the nations and the ends of the earth.'" The Nepali believers are asking for prayer as they move forward with the grace of the Gospel.
Pray that these believers will not be fearful, but rather would stand firm in the power and love of God (2 Timothy 1:7). May they continue conveying His love and peace to many others in Nepal's communities through their various humanitarian and evangelistic outreaches.
PRAISE REPORT -ALGERIA: Two Churches Re-Open Despite Continual Pressure Sources: Middle East Concern, The Voice of the Martyrs Canada
Algerian Christians are grateful to God that two recently closed churches in Oran Province have been permitted to re-open. The churches were closed by authorities in November 2017 and February 2018. For reasons yet unknown, the governor signed an order authorizing the unconditional re-opening on June 10th.
The order was forwarded to both applicable congregations, as well as to members of the local police who were instructed to remove the seals from the church doors. While these churches have been permitted to once again operate, they still do not have official registration from the government. A 2006 ordinance requires that all churches must obtain permission from a national committee.
According to our sources, the committee never meets and, therefore, applications are not being approved.
Praise God that these believers in Oran Province are now allowed to worship freely. However, we do request prayer for other Algerian churches that have remained closed or are presently in the process of undergoing government-ordered closure. For more information on the country's mandated church closures, see this story. If you would like to post a prayer of praise or petition on behalf of our persecuted family around the globe, visit VOMC's prayer wall.