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Prison with hands grasping the window bars.

Ivan and his wife Maria lead a ministry training centre in Belarus. On July 9th, Maria was suddenly arrested after government agents travelling in black vans arrived at their home and took her away. At last report, no formal charges have been laid, and her husband and children do not know her location.

Belarus has been referred to as "Europe's last dictatorship," for it continues to operate under many of the repressive practices of the former Soviet Union. After the latest presidential election in 2020, which many citizens considered fraudulent, the regime arrested hundreds of protestors who opposed the current leadership. The government has also been actively oppressing Christians --- particularly those who are not members of the traditional Belarusian Orthodox Church.

According to a recent United Nations Human Rights Council report, those detained by the authorities frequently face "poor sanitary conditions," beatings, and other forms of ill treatment. For more on the persecution of Christians in Belarus, go to our country report.

Join us in lifting up Maria to the Lord in prayer. May she sense God's reassuring presence while in detainment, and receive His divine protection from any harm. Pray that Maria's husband and children will experience His strength and comfort as they await news of her whereabouts and hopeful soon return. In the meantime, may He use this situation to expand Ivan and Maria's faithful ministry throughout the country --- reaching governmental authorities and other fellow citizens with the Good News of the Gospel.

Country Information

Designation
Persecuted

Population
9,477,918 (July 2020 est.)

Religion (%)
Orthodox (48.3), Catholic (7.1), Other (3.5), None (41.1)

Ethnicity (%)
Belarusian (83.7), Russian (8.3), Polish (3.1), Ukrainian (1.7), other (2.4), unspecified (0.9)

Leader
President Aleksandr Lukashenko (1994)

Government type
Presidential republic in name, although in fact a dictatorship

Legal system
Civil law system.

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Belarus

Pray for increased freedom of religion – not only indicated as mere written words in the country’s constitution but also demonstrated as a living reality in the lives of the oppressed believers. May there be a lifting of restraints on evangelical groups in their efforts to spread the Gospel and plant new churches.

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