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Opposition in China

Our friends and partners at Asia Harvest have recently shared an update about the ongoing difficulties for Christians in China. What follows is a summary of the various challenges faced by believers in this Communist land:

• Thousands of churches continue to be closed down, and many pastors and evangelists have been arrested. This is true both of city churches and rural fellowships. The persecution is nationwide and is the result of the implementation of new anti-religion laws introduced in 2017 and 2018.

• Many large city churches have tried to protect their brothers and sisters in the countryside by providing resources, finances and teaching so their faith will be strengthened and better able to withstand the storm. Although the most severe persecution first affected the cities, it has now spread even to small towns and villages. The majority of Chinese Christians remain poor farmers and factory workers.

• Many house church leaders have gone missing. Large numbers have been arrested, while others have gone into hiding. Invasive technology, however, means it is now very difficult to remain anonymous in China. Some leaders have decided they should simply continue to serve God openly, and they are ready to face whatever consequences their actions may bring.

• Even many government-registered churches are undergoing a fiery trial. Video cameras with facial-recognition technology have been placed behind pulpits, facing the congregation, and on the walls above church entrances. Scripture posters have been forcibly removed from the walls of many churches and replaced with portraits of President Xi or the national flag.

• All children's ministry has been banned. This has always been a particularly sensitive topic for the Communist authorities in China. Children are being encouraged to tell on their classmates if they are involved in any religious activity.

• All over the country, various local initiatives have been launched in an attempt to stop the growth of Christianity. For example, in the city of Guangzhou, the authorities announced they will pay 10,000 Yuan (about US $1,500) to citizens who disclose the names of any missionaries (foreign or Chinese) who work in their city.

• There is a massive shortage of Bibles right now. The churches are facing a famine of God's Word as printing slows down, and in many places appears to have come to a halt. Bibles are becoming increasingly rare, and many websites and apps that enabled believers to access the Scriptures have been blocked by the government.

Please continue to pray for Christians in China.

Source: Asia Harvest

Theology students arrested

An AsiaLink partner has asked for prayer for two theological students who were arrested in a Central Asian country.

They were visiting a house church when officials raided the house and arrested them alongside other house church members. While the church members were released after a few hours, the students were put into jail in the capital, where they are currently detained.

Our partners have shared the following points for prayer:

  • Ask the Lord to be near to all His precious daughters and sons in prison, to surround them with His peace, and to fill their hearts with hope and assurance in His goodness 
  • Ask the Lord to protect and provide with His mighty hand for all families whose loved ones have been arrested
  • Ask the Lord to give courage, boldness and resilience for all underground believers inside the country as they minister and serve for the sake of the Kingdom 

Persecution in Nepal

A growing number of Christians are facing persecution in Nepal, as Hindu extremists call for the country to return to a Hindu state.

Persecution towards Christians rose considerably in the region after the Nepalese government introduced anti-conversion laws in 2017, and decided to limit freedom of religion.

Recent incidents in Nepal include the demolition of a church building and an attack on a Christian run hospital. A Hindu extremist group intimidated members of staff and burnt Bibles, after accusing the hospital of offering free treatments to patients if they converted to Christianity.

However, Christianity has continued to grow in Nepal, with more than 8,000 churches established and over a million converts to Christianity since the adoption of a secular democracy in 2008.

Source: Premier

Forced re-conversion in India

In Eastern India, Christians who worshipping privately in their own homes in a village in eastern India were dragged to local leaders and forced to bow to an idol. 

Indian flag Delhi

Two days before the incident, an announcement was made in the village. The 12 resident Christian families were threatened with banishment if they did not convert back to the tribal religion of the village. 

The attack on Christians in the village was carried out by local religious extremists. One pastor recounted what happened:

“They poured buckets of water on them and made them do a ritual which is believed to be a procedure to renounce Christ. They fled to a safer place very far away. The village heads plotted to kill them if they find them praying any day after the ‘reconversion ritual.’”

Despite appeals to local authorities, no police help was extended to the believers.

Please continue to pray for believers in India, that they might continue to grow in faith and be courageous in the face of opposition.

Source: Morning Star News

Summer teams

The summer months see our two HistoryMakers teams of young adults travel to Asia to serve alongside various AsiaLink partners. Would you pray for these teams over the next few weeks?

The first team had 12 members and was led by two AsiaLink staff members. The team is currently on their way home from South-East Asia after carrying Bibles into a country with restricted access to God’s Word.

Please pray for the team as they return home, for those that have received copies of the Bible and that the Lord would use the trip to challenge the hearts of the young adults for global mission.

The second team also has 12 members and will be travelling to India this week. The team will be based in Delhi for a week. Alongside a local AsiaLink partner, the team will take part in kids and youth outreach. The team will then catch a flight to Eastern India and travel to a rural village where they’ll run a programme for the children of a local orphanage.

Please pray for the team as they prepare to go, for protection against sickness while away and for the Lord to use them to impact the lives of those they meet and minister to.

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