Persecution and Prayer Update - July 9, 2020 (used with permission of Voice of the Martyrs Canada) IRAN: Twelve Arrested in Coordinated Raids Sources: Article 18, Middle East Concern, Iran Human Rights Monitor
Tehran, IranAt least twelve Christians have been arrested by intelligence agents in a coordinated operation on June 30th and July 1st. Besides the arrests, dozens of others were ordered to provide contact details and told they would be summoned for further questioning.
The first raid happened at a home located in the city of Tehran where about 30 Christians were gathered. While recording the raid, the agents were polite and separated the men from the women. But later, when the cameras were off, they treated the Christians harshly. The agents came prepared with arrest warrants for six of those in attendance who were then handcuffed, blindfolded, and taken away.
Those arrested were taken to their residences in Tehran and Karaj where they were searched for Bibles and other Christian materials. However, as three of the people listed on the warrant were not present at the meeting, these individuals were arrested later when agents went to their homes. That same night, three converts in Malayar were ordered to report to the Revolutionary Guard office the next day. Yet, before they had a chance to turn themselves in the following morning, they were arrested.
The three from Malayar have all been released after posting bail. The fates of the other nine Iranians are unknown, though at least two were attempting to raise bail at last report. It is believed that the raids were coordinated with the help of an informant who had infiltrated the church, gaining their trust. For more on the persecution of Christians in Iran, go to our online country report.
Prayerfully remember all the believers who were recently arrested, as well as those interrogated for practising Christianity. Also uphold their concerned families and fellow church members. Continue to pray for the many others who are being imprisoned in Iran due to their faith in Jesus Christ. May they be refreshed, sustained, comforted and encouraged as they trust in God for their vindication and deliverance. In addition, intercede for the person who had infiltrated the church with wrong intent, asking the Lord to use the messages of God's Word that were heard during the services to bring about sincere repentance and salvation.
INDIA: Christian Man Slain for His Faith Sources: Christian Solidarity Worldwide, International Christian Concern, Church in Chains, Morning Star News
Kande Mudu, also known as Philip, was a 27-year-old man who converted to Christianity four years ago. His family were the only Christians in the village of Bari in Jharkhand; and ever since their conversion, they have faced opposition and threats from other villagers. In 2018, the family's home was attacked and Kande's mother-in-law was gang raped. Five of the six attackers were convicted but the sixth perpetrator continued threatening to harm Kande if he refused to abandon his faith.
On June 7th, a group of men came to the door and demanded that Kande step outside. Suspecting what might happen, he encouraged his wife Bindu to remain strong and never give up her faith in Jesus. She took their children and sought safety at nearby houses, but no one would help the fleeing family. Bindu finally found refuge at the home of another Christian who lived several kilometres away.
Kande's body was found on the side of the road later that night by his younger brother. The attack was so brutal, the victimized believer was barely recognizable. The next day, charges were laid against eight men. During the funeral, Bindu was approached by her father who tried persuading her to forsake Christianity if she wanted to stay alive, recounting the rape of her mother and the recent murder of her husband.
Bindu responded, "I will live for Jesus and die for Jesus, but I will never turn back." To read more about the challenges facing Christians in India, review here.
Lift up Bindu and her family in your prayers, as they face this devastating time. Pray for their protection, comfort, guidance, provision and peace. May those responsible for their loved one's death be held responsible. In the midst of this tragedy, may the faithful testimony of Kande and Bindu serve as a light to others in their village, so that many will see the truth of the Gospel and, as a result, receive God's eternal salvation through Jesus Christ (John 14:6).
TURKEY: Foreign Christian Workers Expelled Sources: Christian Post, International Christian Concern, Christian Solidarity Worldwide
Christian workers were expelled from Turkey, as their permits had been either revoked or denied renewal. So far this year, the number of those forced to leave the country has already reached sixteen. The latest of those workers are Joy Subasigüller and Pastor Zach Balon, both from the United States.
On June 5th, Joy was told that her residency permit had been revoked, even though she has resided in Turkey for nearly ten years and is married a Turkish pastor named Lütfü. The couple, who have three young children (all Turkish citizens), have appealed but such appeals are regularly denied.
Pastor Zach Balon is pastor of the New Hope Church in Istanbul. He was about to fly on a trip with his family on June 24th when he was told that he wouldn't be allowed to return to Turkey once he left. He immediately cancelled the flight and filed an appeal. In these cases, and so many others, the notified Christians all had the necessary legal documentation and visas, yet they were subjected to deportation due to the country's crackdown on Christianity and government efforts to strengthen President Erdogan's support among conservative Islamic elements. More information on the persecution of Christians in Turkey, including previously posted reports, can be reviewed here.
Pray that the appeals presented to the courts on behalf of the believers requesting to remain in the country will be successful. May the Turkish authorities diminish their campaign against foreign Christian workers. Ask God to continue blessing the past, present and future outreaches of the church throughout Turkey, so that many more names will be added to the Lamb's "Book of Life" (Revelation 13:8; 20:15).