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The Voice of the Martyrs

"The person who bears and
suffers evils with meekness and silence,
is the sum of a Christian man."
~ John Wesley


TURKEY: Entry Ban on Christian Workers

Sources: Mission Network News, International Christian Concern, Christianity Today

Padlock

For years, Turkey has placed restrictions on religious leadership training. As a result, many pastors in the country have been foreign nationals. However, new visa restrictions are now being placed on foreign religious workers entering the country.

In early April, an American pastor (name withheld) had to travel to the United States for a family emergency. Despite working in Turkey for 20 years, authorities informed him that a travel ban had been issued and, if he left, there would be no opportunity for him to return. That ban was confirmed a week later when he attempted to re-enter the country. He was detained overnight and then put on a flight to Germany.

In February, a similar situation happened with an American couple returning to their home in Istanbul after travelling abroad. When consulting with their lawyer and government authorities, it was verified that an entry ban had indeed been issued.

Turkish authorities have not released the reason for these bans. However, the U.S. State Department has issued a warning about travel to Turkey because of unfounded allegations of affiliation with terrorist organizations. In October 2018, Pastor Andrew Brunson was finally released after two years in prison over allegations of espionage and terrorist connections. For more information, go to the Turkey Country Report.

Remember these church leaders who are no longer permitted to return to their homes, nor allowed to continue ministering in churches within Turkey, leaving these congregations without their appointed leadership. Pray for foreign Christian workers still in the country during these times of uncertainty. May the Turkish authorities respectfully consider the religious rights of all citizens, sanctioning the recently implemented restrictions to be lifted.


CHINA: Christianity Allegedly an "Enormous Harm"

Source: ChinaAid

Conference - 'Christianity enormous harm on China security' Photo - ChinaAid - www.chinaaid.org=
Hebi conference on Christianity.
Photo: ChinaAid

A seminar was held during late April in the city of Hebi, Henan, to discuss "Christianity's enormous harm on China's security." Attended by members of the Chinese Communist Party, the gathering encouraged all members to maintain "correct views" in regards to the religion.

The Chinese government often views religion as foreign attempts to undermine its rule. ChinaAid reports that, since May 12th, 15 churches across China have faced harassment from authorities. Officers from the religious affairs bureau raided the churches, ordering activities to cease. In some cases, the pastors were ordered to stop in the middle of their sermons. Members were also taken for interrogation before being released.

In recent months, there has been increased pressure on non-registered churches, attempting to force all Christians to join the government-approved churches. The recent raids have led some to suggest a coordinated effort to crack down on the Christian faith. For more information on persecution facing Christians in China, visit our country report.

Pray for the many Christians in China who are facing opposition and oppression because of their faith. Also remember those belonging to the government-controlled Three-Self Churches as they attempt to spread the truth of God in an environment opposed to the Gospel. May their oppressors be receptive to the message of the Bible and come to understand their need for salvation through His Son Jesus.


LAOS: Christian Targeted for his Faith

Sources: Radio Free Asia, International Christian Concern

Agoon - Photo: Radio Free Asia - www.rfa.org
Agoon
Photo: Radio Free Asia

Police in southern Laos have allegedly beaten a detained Christian, trying to force him to renounce his faith. The man, Agoon, was cutting timber along with others in a protected forest. According to one source, they were doing so at the request of the village leader.

When confronted by police, the others were allowed to leave. However, Agoon, the only Christian in the group, was arrested and charged with illegal logging. Authorities insist that the timber worker's arrest was unrelated to his religion. Yet, while in custody, the police tried to force him to renounce his faith, beating the unwavering believer harder when he refused. A source who requested anonymity believes that Agoon's detainment for the cutting of timber was merely an excuse, as any arrest made for his Christian beliefs would raise the ire of the international community.

Conflicts between Laos' small Christian community and communist authorities in this predominantly Buddhist nation frequently flare up; Christians want to assert their right to freedom of worship under the constitution, while governing authorities consider Christianity a foreign religion. To learn more about persecution in Laos, go to the country report.

Pray that Agoon will continue standing firm in his faith, regardless of the abuse he has been forced to endure. Ask the Lord to intervene on behalf of this faithful believer, serving as his Defender and Deliverer. Please also uphold other Christians throughout Laos who are facing pressure from governing authorities, as well as the opposing members of their communities. May the message of God's love be consistently expressed in both word and deed through the lives of His people, touching the hearts of many throughout the nation.

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.



The Persecution & Prayer Alert is a ministry of:
The Voice of the Martyrs Canada, P.O. Box 608, Streetsville, Ontario, L5M 2C1
Tel. (905) 670-9721 Website: www.vomcanada.com

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