Persecution & Prayer Alert

"Seven years of suffering, seems a little too long.
But the Holy Spirit gives me courage to bear.
Taking this opportunity to sharpen the knife to
train my heart, to be ready to protect the sheep
from the wolves, even if it seems a little too long."
~ Poem by Pastor John Cao, who was arrested in 2017
and sentenced to seven years in prison.

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Taliban fighters
Pray that the Lord will draw Taliban members to Himself.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has stated that Christians and other religious minorities in Afghanistan face "dire consequences, including death, if discovered by the Taliban" for openly expressing their beliefs. Since most Afghan Christians are converts from Islam, all Christians are considered "apostates" by the Taliban – a crime that is punishable by death.

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Elder Wu Jiannan, Pastor Hao Mingchang, coworkers - Photo: ChinaAid
Elder Wu Jiannan, Pastor Hao Mingchang, and their coworkers.
Photo: ChinaAid

The Early Rain Qingcaodi Church, a church plant previously established by the Early Rain Covenant Church (ERCC), is located in the city of Deyang, which is part of the Chinese province of Sichuan. Shortly after the police initially raided the ERCC in December 2018 (for more details on this incident, see this report), they also broke into the Qingcaodi church, expelling the Christians and posting a notice on the gate of the building in their efforts to ban the believers from meeting. In March 2021, the Sichuan Provincial Department of Civil Affairs published a list of illegal organizations, including both the ERCC and the Qingcaodi church.

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Lahore High Court building - Photo: Wikipedia / MariyamAftab
Lahore High Court
Photo: Wikipedia / MariyamAftab (cc)

Blasphemy accusations have been used as weapons against Christians in Pakistan for many years. The world's attention was most recently drawn to this situation through the case of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who was accused in 2009 and sentenced to death. After finally being acquitted and released ten years later, Asia was forced to secretly flee the country.

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Maryam Lal and Navish Arooj - Photo: Morning Star News
Maryam Lal and Navish Arooj with officers.
Photo: Morning Star News

In a decision referred to as "unprecedented," a Pakistani court granted bail for two Christian nurses who were accused of "defiling the Quran." The women received bail on September 23rd, but the decision was kept secret to avoid backlash from militant Islamists.

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