Friday, September 23, 2011

Shouwang, Youcef, Lahore Christians

Chinese police block Shouwang Church's meeting
BEIJING, CHINA Now 23 weeks and counting, thirteen Chinese believers including a pastor were arrested at Beijing’s Shouwang Church’s outdoor Sunday services on September 11. The government forced them out of their facility around Easter, but the church has continued to meet in an outdoor park in the face of mass arrests each week.

Public Security Bureau (PSB) officers, attempting to deter the church from assembling, detained many believers at home on Saturday, and officers from Guangying Police Station detained one woman in a hotel. Officers separated detainees among eight local police stations, interrogated, and released by Tuesday the 13th.

One of the women detained was celebrating her birthday. After being released around noon, she was re-arrested and detained in a police station basement. Many believers risking arrest, accompanied her to the station and waited outside with cake and birthday cards. “When she was released around 11:00 that night, they celebrated together and enjoyed the love of being in the fellowship of Christ. May God remember what she and other believers sacrificed."

One man who was detained 48hrs until Tuesday Sept. 13 was allowed a family visit on Sunday evening. “Our brother met his wife and child in the lobby of the police station under the watch of guards. Our sister witnessed that he was full of peace and joy when he hugged his child.” Outside the eight police stations where believers were detained, many other believers, risking arrest, “waited outside to be companions with those who were under detention. During this period of spiritual warfare, our love of being one family in Christ makes this Mid-Autumn day very special."

Pray for the Shouwang Church to continue to be faithful and continue in unity during this trial of their freedom and faith. Ask the Lord to open a door for them to occupy the floor in the building which they have leased and already paid in full. Pray that their pastors would be released from house arrest and their members would no longer be arrested for gathering to worship. Pray that their love for one another would be an example to us and churches around the world.  Source: AssistNews


IRANIAN PASTOR YOUCEF NADARKHANI RECEIVES NEW TRIAL DATE FOR SEPT 25
IRAN - Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, 34, has received a trial date of Sept. 25, 2011, for the reexamination of his conviction. He was arrested Oct 2009 for protesting that his two young sons to be forced to study the Q’uran in public school. Pastor Youcef was convicted and sentenced to death by hanging for apostasy and evangelism of Muslims in Nov 2010. On appeal, the Supreme Court remanded his case to the lower court for “procedural flaws” and ordered Pastor Youcef to repent and recant his faith. His execution was put on hold, and his lawyer sentenced to 9 years in prison and 10 years ban on practicing law for “actions and propaganda against the Islamic regime,” apparently for representing Yousef. The Revolutionary Tribunal in Rasht will examine specifically whether Youcef was a practicing Muslim between age 15, the age of accountability in Islam, and the time he became a Christian at age 19. If the court finds that he was not a practicing Muslim during those years, then it cannot be established that he changed his religion, which is punishable by hanging. After the lower court's review, it will be again referred to the Iranian Supreme Court for a final ruling. Despite being drugged, his wife arrested, and state threats to take his sons in the last two years, all to pressure him to recant his faith, Pastor Youcef is standing firm and strong, and even encouraging those who are discouraged, exhorting them to trust in the Lord. Source: Voice of the Martyrs

800 POOR CHRISTIANS DRIVEN FROM HOMES IN LAHORE, PAKISTAN
PAKISTAN – Outside the city of Lahore, over 800 poor Christians were forced to live on the roads when government bulldozers arrived early Saturday morning Sept. 10 and demolished their slum homes. The bulldozers pushed down their shanties even as the residents were dragging their belongings out of them. Authorities had given the 150 families only one day’s notice to vacate the land to build an alternate road to a fruit and vegetable market. But when the bulldozers turned toward their church building, the women gathered inside and around the church, weeping and singing, and stared down the heavy equipment. Their church was saved, at least for now, but they remain homeless and without shelter.