South-East Asia

Over 10,000 people have had to flee their homes since 11th April due to sustained attacks in the area by the Burmese military.

Myanmar village

Our partner reports that while fighting has eased in recent days, the Burmese army continues to send and deploy fresh troops in Kachin. Many of the displaced people require aid and medical attention.

Our partner regularly travels to bring aid to these displaced people. Many are hiding in the jungle, and amongst them are numerous pregnant women. Some women have already given birth in the jungle whilst trying to find a place of safety.

There are also children and elderly people, none of whom had time to pack belongings before the army began to drop bombs on their villages.

Please remember our partner in prayer as she travels in this area and ministers to many of these displaced people in desperate need. Pray too that the situation in Myanmar would settle and that people forced away from their homes would find safety and shelter.

East Asia

The arrest of an Asian-American pastor in China is further evidence of the country’s attempts to exercise power over house churches.

John Cao was sentenced in March to seven years in prison. After John became a Christian in his twenties, he became a prominent figure in the Chinese house church movement and founded more than a dozen schools. At these schools he offered education and encouragement for future missionaries for China.

After making a regular trip to Myanmar for humanitarian work, he was arrested and detained by Chinese security agents. While the arrest and conviction is technically due to a border crossing violation, John had been making this trip into Myanmar in the full knowledge of security agents for many years. It is only now that the government is seeking to clamp down on churches and church leaders that John has been imprisoned.

The case is being appealed so please remember John and his family in your prayers in this difficult time. Keep praying too for Christians across China as they endure increased pressure from the Chinese government.

Source: Huffington Post

North Korea

April saw the historic and much-anticipated meeting between the leaders of North and South Korea.

Supreme Leader Kim Jung-un and President Moon Jae-in met on 27th April to discuss the possibility of peace and denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula. The meeting marked the first time a North Korea leader had ever stepped foot in South Korea.

President Moon of South Korea has been particularly eager to reach an agreement with the North, even reaffirming promises made in the past to invest heavily in the North if Kim Jung-un agreed to denuclearisation.

The meeting resulted in a joint declaration that both nations would work towards the common goal of peace and denuclearisation. While it is too early to say what will happen as a result of this meeting, it can only be positive that Kim Jong-un is prepared to engage with diplomacy.

Do continue to pray for North Korea in this time of momentous change in attitude towards the outside world.

Source: New York Times

Subcontinent

In India, a Hindu-nationalist politician has claimed that Christian missionaries are a threat to the country’s unity.

India Gate

Bharat Singh claimed that missionaries are a threat in reference to the existence of two Christian-majority states in the north-east of India. Tensions in India have risen in recent months, with Hindu nationalists increasingly targeting Christians with violence and discrimination.

This growing intolerance of Christians may go some way to explaining the new anti-conversion laws that have been introduced in the Indian state of Uttarakhand.

Anti-conversion laws are often used in India to claim that a Christian has forcibly converted a Hindu to faith in Jesus. Christians are arrested and detained due to false allegations that these laws have been broken. As a result, Christians must be more careful about how they evangelise and bring converted Hindus into the church.

Sources: World Watch Monitor (23rd April), World Watch Monitor (2nd May)

Central Asia

In Pakistan, a Christian woman has died after being set on fire by a Muslim man.

After 25-year-old Asma refused to convert to Islam and marry Muhammad Gujjar, he poured kerosene over her and set her on fire. Asma had resisted pressure to convert and marry her attacker for quite some time. She was rushed to hospital with 80% of her body covered in burns before passing away.

The local Christian community was proud that Asma stood her ground, as Christian women from impoverished backgrounds in Pakistan are often forced to renounce their faith. Gujjar was arrested for the killing but he is reportedly claiming that Asma caught fire by accident.

Horrific incidents like these remind us of the constant difficulty many across Asia face. We thank God for the assurance that Asma is now with Him. We pray for comfort for her grieving family and trust that justice will come for Muhammad’s actions.

Source: Morning Star