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Rehab outreach in Myanmar

An AsiaLink partner based in Myanmar (Burma) recently shared encouragements from a ministry among residents of a drug rehabilitation centre.

Drug addiction is a serious issue for many men in one area in which our partner operates, and yet the government prohibits the opening of new rehab centres in this region. In response, churches have opened their doors to help these men, providing mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual assistance.

Myanmar men

When our partners first arrived to help at this church-run centre, many of the men were not open to their offer of help. However, members of the ministry team opened up about hardships they had faced themselves - fleeing from armed forces, losing family members and seeing their villages destroyed. As a result, many at the rehab centre began to warm up to them.

On Easter Sunday, our partner had an opportunity to share the Gospel at the centre. There was an amazing response - men who had been deeply downcast were now shouting with joy and freedom! A time of prayer followed and our partner reported that,

By the time we left, we were no longer strangers to the men.  We had really become brothers and sisters in Christ.  We were asked to come again and again to encourage them.

Please pray for the men in this centre that they would continue to respond to the Gospel and be transformed by the love of Christ!


Oppression and growth in Iran

In recent weeks, the Iranian Minister of Intelligence revealed that operatives had been deployed to counter “advocates of Christianity”.

This is all part of the radical regime stepping up efforts to curb the growth of Christianity within the nation's borders. Government officials have also “summoned” individuals who have expressed an interest in learning more about the Christian faith for invasive interviews and intimidating interrogations.

Iran arch

Christians have been routinely oppressed in Iran for decades, and just last year 100 Christian leaders were rounded up and imprisoned. There is also a ban on the publication of the Old and New Testaments in Farsi - the majority language, and death sentences have been passed for some who have converted away from Islam.

The measures being taken by the government are fuelled by its fear over growing numbers converting to Christianity. One media outlet inside the nation reports that while some Iranians have been embracing Christianity for decades, they are now doing so “at an unprecedented pace, perhaps by the thousands every day.”

More Iranians have become Christians in the last 20 years than the previous 1,300 years put together

Operation World, a mission research organisation, describe Iran as being home to the “fastest growing evangelical church in the world.” In fact, more Iranians have become Christians in the last 20 years than the previous 1,300 years put together.

We praise God for how He is moving in this long-oppressed part of the world, and for all He is doing through our Iranian brothers and sisters. Please pray that they would continue to grow in faith despite earthly opposition. 

Source: Washington Times


Indian elections

On Sunday, voting ended in India’s mammoth general election.

Over the five-and-a-half-week process, some 600 million voters will have trekked to the polls to select the 543 members of India’s next parliament. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is seeking a second term in office.

Indian flag Delhi

The election has been described as “a battle for India’s soul”. Many of those running have received criticism over religiously divisive taunts - most notably the incumbent party, the BJP. On the first day of voting, the party president pledged that the BJP, if re-elected, would “remove every single infiltrator from the country, except Buddha, Hindus and Sikhs.” 

While Christians, Muslims and other religious minorities have made India their home for centuries, the BJP seeks a re-emphasis on the primacy of Hinduism both politically and culturally, believing that India is at its core a Hindu nation.

In this time of uncertainty for the future of India, one of our partners has shared the following prayer with us, and they would love you to pray along with them:

Lord, you know what lies in the voting boxes that are under lock and key. Protect them from any attempt at tampering.

Lord, prevent any violence and intimidation of voters from political parties. 

And Lord, let there be peace all over the country as the results are awaited. Amen.

Source: Foreign Affairs


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Pakistan

Now that Asia Bibi has finally left Pakistan and been reunited with her family in Canada, her prison cell has a new resident: another Christian woman condemned to death over blasphemy charges.

Bibi’s lawyer has revealed that he will now take up the case of Shagufta Kausar, a 45-year-old mother of four, and her husband.

Kausar is locked in the same prison cell where Bibi was incarcerated for many years. Kausar and her husband, Shafqat Masih, 48, were condemned to death by a court in February 2014. A prayer leader at a local mosque accused Kausar of sending blasphemous text messages. He said that he showed the text to others, including a lawyer who attempted to call the sending number. The lawyer later received the text messages himself.

After Kausar and Masih were arrested, many outraged locals surrounded the police station, demanding that the couple be handed to them so that they could be killed.

Pakistan woman head scarf sewing

Christians are Pakistan’s largest religious minority after Hindus, comprising about 1.6 per cent of the Muslim nation’s population. However, the highest number of blasphemy charges are filed against Christians because of their poor status, their origins in the downtrodden “untouchable” caste, and their association with the West.

Please pray for Shagufta Kausar, her family and those who will represent them legally. May the Lord uphold them and deliver them from the death sentence.

Source: Christianity Today


Reaching the Khmu

In one South-East Asian country, the number of believers form the Khmer people group has risen from just 6000 to around 70,000 over the last 30 years.

An AsiaLink partner in the region shared with us this story of a recent convert:

“One of our teams led a woman to Jesus called 'Mrs P'. Afterwards, she started reading her Bible, praying and listening to our Christian radio broadcast into the region. When her husband discovered this, both he and their children turned against her. They asked her to stop believing in Jesus and to renounce her faith and if she didn’t, they would force her to leave the house. 

The conflict went to the head of the village, and the local village authorities also asked her to stop believing in Jesus, because their village was not Christian. They said that if she would not listen, she would have to leave the village immediately! Please pray for Mrs Pheng that she will stand firm in her faith in the midst of wolves.”

We praise God for how he has used our partners over the years to bring many Khmu people to himself. Please pray for the ongoing work amongst this people group, and for 'Mrs P' in particular as she faces opposition from her family and village.


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