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Safe at last in Myanmar

Our partners in Myanmar (Burma) run a home for children who have had to flee their homes due to the ongoing conflict between the national Army and various minority groups. This home is a safe place for children and young people where they enjoy Bible teaching and loving care. Our partners have shared a testimony of one of the newer residents in the home:

“My name is Paw and I am 17 years old. My parents are rice farmers and I have 6 sisters and 2 brothers. My family has always struggled to take care of us. Although my parents are rice farmers, our family is very poor. The Burmese army has come into our village many times and stolen our rice and food. Sometimes Burmese soldiers would just occupy our villages, staying in our houses, eating our food and killing our chickens.

“We cannot refuse them; we are afraid they will punish or torture us if we refused to give them our food. I know that some people got shot for not giving food to the Burmese soldiers.

“It was not safe for me anymore to stay, because some of my friends, boys and girls, were taken by Burmese soldiers to work for them. It’s particularly dangerous for girls. I heard the Burmese soldiers do bad things to them. So, when the Burmese come to our village, my parents needed to hide me. This was very stressful, because we didn’t know when they would show up.

“Finally, my parents decided to send me to the childrens’ home. They heard of this home via some friends. I am new here at the home, and I like it here very much. Everyone accepted me and it feels I am part of a big family. The daily devotions are the highlight of my day. I have never experienced kindness and God’s love in my life before.” 

Please pray for our partners and this home. Pray they would be protected from those who would seek to do them harm and for the children and young people who come to the home, that they would find it to be a place of safety, blessing and full of the love of God.

Gospel broadcast in South-East Asia

Partners in South-East Asia regularly use radio and other technologies such as USB drives and SD cards to communicate the Gospel in areas with restricted access to God’s Word.

The fruit from this ministry is deeply encouraging. Our partners report that many have come to faith and groups of believers are growing through this use of radio and technology.

Many rely on these materials to teach groups of believers and our partners have shared this testimony with us:

“These Bible lessons and SD cards, I treasure dearly in my heart. I keep listening regularly again and again until I get to know and understand the details of the content. Then I prepare a message from what I learned from your teaching, and I speak at my church. I see that the people are really interested.”

Pray for our partners and for this work, that as the truth of God’s Word goes out, many would grow in their love for and understanding of our Lord and Saviour.

Homes for widows in South-East Asia

For the past two years, the generosity of supporters has enabled us to fund housing for widows of pastors - women who were left destitute and in poor quality housing after their husbands died.

Life can be incredibly difficult at the best of times for many in this part of the world. Resources are limited, work can be scarce and food in short supply. For those on their own, families offer support as they can, but have very little to spare.

We have a mandate from Scripture to care for widows and are committed to helping a number of pastors’ widows through safe housing and other provisions.

To date, ten shelters have been completed with a further six awaiting completion. The cost of supplying and building a new watertight home with the basic essentials for living, plus some chickens for sustenance, is around £450 per house. 

Please pray for the recipients of these shelters, that they would know an abundance of the Lord’s love and care for them.

Violence and tension in Syria

Not long after the defeat of the Islamic State in the area, Syrian Christians warn that the US military withdrawal from the Kurdish-controlled region (announced earlier this month by President Trump) will expose them to danger.

The expectation was that Turkey would begin an offensive against Kurds nearing their borders. Indeed, after the US left Syria, attacks began on Kurdish forces, who were crucial in the fight against ISIS. 

One Christian leader reported on what he saw in the aftermath of an attack on the northern city of Qamishli;

“Thankfully the bombs didn’t hit the centre of the city where the majority of people are but, despite that, there were deaths and people injured.

“Today I visited a Christian family whose house was hit by two missiles. A father of two children was injured and lost his house and his shop. His wife was also severely injured in her spine and she is in a critical state. Doctors said she needs surgery and she might be permanently paralyzed.”

A deal between the Turks and Syrian backer Russia led to the creation of a safe zone along the border. Kurdish Christians continue to be in a precarious position, however, with up to 100,000 Christians living in northern Syria.

Much prayer is required for the fragile peace founded in this part of the world. Religious freedom for Kurdish minorities such as Christians has been hard-won and if the deal currently keeping the peace folds, many believers may have no choice but to flee the country, joining the 700,000 Christians who have already left since 2011.

Pray for peace in this part of the world, for the region to remain stable in the wake of US withdrawal and for the witness of Christians in these Muslim-dominated lands to not just survive, but draw many towards faith in Christ himself.

Tortured to death by police in Pakistan

In Pakistan, while investigating an alleged theft, police detained 28-year-old Amir Masih. Four days later, he died in hospital from wounds inflicted by police officers.

Amir’s family only discovered that he had been detained two days after his arrest. Two days after that they learned that he had been transferred to hospital with severe injuries.

Video footage at the hospital shows police transporting Amir there on a motorcycle before kicking him as they dragged him to the entrance. He died later that day, but only after telling his family of his torture. According to his brother, Amir was mocked for his Christian faith before being beaten and electrocuted in the officers' efforts to force a confession. An autopsy confirms that he had suffered extensive bruising, along with broken ribs.

It is a widely held view that Amir received such horrific treatment due to his status as a Christian believer. Many within Pakistan continue to discriminate against and abuse those in the Christian minority.

Please pray with us for Amir's wife and two young sons as they struggle with the shock of their loved one's sudden death, and continue to remember the many Christians throughout Pakistan who face opposition from authorities and fellow citizens because of their faith.

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