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Encouraging Iran's next generation of pastors

Our partners continue to support and train the next generation of pastors for Iran. Iran continues to host one of the fastest-growing churches not only in the Islamic region but also in the whole world. Under great pressure and severe restrictions, Iranians continue to open their hearts to Jesus every day.

One of the most important and urgent needs of this movement of God’s Spirit is the training of faithful and biblically grounded servant leaders who would make sure that the movement would grow in-depth and quality of discipleship as it is growing in numbers.

With the help of supporters, we have been able to help our partners run conferences for their theology students. Many of those that train with our partners do so remotely and are often in isolated areas of Iran. The conferences offer students an opportunity to meet together in person with their teachers for intensive teaching, much-needed fellowship and pastoral care. 

One of the students at a recent conference said “This year’s conference allowed me to process the highs and lows of ministry with brothers and sisters who all, like me, are trying to look after new house churches. The seminars addressed some of the key issues I am facing as a leader and introduced me to new perspectives and approaches. It was truly a transformative week!”

Pray for these students and teachers, that the Lord would continue to work to raise a well-prepared and spirit-filled generation of pastors for Iran.

A safe home in Southern India

Our partners in the south of India have shared encouragements and updates about their work. The ministry, based in Andhra Pradesh, is focused primarily on rural villages and outreach. Our partners oversee and support a network of small churches, offer care and financial support to the elderly who no longer can earn a living and operate a children’s home for those with no family able to care for them.

Ramya is one of the children at this home, and our partners have shared her story with us.

“Ramya came to our Home a few months back. It’s difficult to imagine that such a sweet and kind girl as Ramya grew up in such a harsh and abusive environment. 

“When was I was at my home, my father was an alcoholic and did not take care of me. My mother had died. Some other men used to say harsh things to me, and were often drunk,” says 7-year-old Ramya. 

This was her life but not anymore. Thanks to your supporters, Ramya now lives in a loving home far away from those abusing her. She has a safe place to sleep, play and learn. Your gift not only provides for her basic needs, but it also shares the love of Jesus with her. 

“I like living here because I like to study and I love to praise God,” says Ramya. She goes to one of the private schools in the area. She also loves to pray and sing worship songs. 

She used to live in a place surrounded by people who hurt her. Ramya didn’t like her home as it wasn’t safe. She didn’t sleep well, and she barely had room to stand. She said it was like living in a tiny box. She wanted a better home. Today, Ramya is happy to have a larger room where she can sleep, learn and play.”

Pray for the work of our partners in Andhra Pradesh and particularly for Ramya and the other children in the home.

Lives transformed in Mongolia

Partners in Mongolia are reaching out to families offering life skills classes and practical help. To help locals cope with bitter winters that can reach -50ºC, they give winter kits – packs full of warm clothes and extra food. They’ve shared a story with us of one family that received their help.

When our partners first met this family, the mother was in hospital with liver problems while five children were at home in a yurt with their father who drank heavily. The team in Mongolia were able to supply the children with warm clothes and food. After recovering, the mother contacted the team for help. Due to the extremely cold night, and a lack of money to purchase fuel, they had burned some of their clothes to make a fire for warmth. After consideration, the team provided the children more kits as well as some coal. Later, the team visited the family to share the gospel with them.

During their time with the family, they discovered why the mother had been admitted to hospital. She shared that she visited local shamans often for spiritual guidance. One day, one of the shamans said she needed to receive a calling to become a shaman herself. To receive this calling, they gave her a bottle of alcohol and sent her off to climb a mountain. The combined experience of heavy drinking and physical exertion caused her to develop the liver problem which put her in hospital.

She said to the team, “I now know that shamans are false and have no compassion for people. I’ve seen the difference between shamans and Christians. God sent you to us and I’m grateful for His love and help. I want to know God more.” Today, the mother and children are attending a local church and are growing in their faith.

Pray for this family as they continue to grow in the Lord and for our partners in this part of the world.

Uyghur Christians incarcerated in China

Chinese authorities are sending Christian Uyghurs and to internment camps in China’s north-western Xinjiang region, an indication that the regime’s indoctrination strategy is broader than previously understood. 

Most of the hundreds of thousands of people – perhaps more than a million – sent to a sprawling network of centres for political indoctrination and vocational training are Muslims, members of minority groups such as Uyghurs and Kazakhs

But six accounts from people who have recently lived in the region or have family there reveal that others are also being incarcerated including Christian Uyghurs. 

Previously, Chinese authorities claimed that the mass internment of Uyghurs and others were part of wider efforts to stamp out Islamic radicalisation. However, the inclusion of Christians in the internments undermine the Chinese stated defence.

The reality is that China is committed to an, as one Uyghur scholar puts it, “accelerated, comprehensive and violent program to jettison meaningful markers of Uyghur identity, such as language, Islam and tangible connections to Central Asia.”

Remember to pray about this situation in China and for the Uyghur people – particularly for those reaching them with the gospel.

Source: The Globe & Mail

Imprisoned in Iran

Fatemeh Bakhteri has begun a one-year prison sentence in the infamous Evin Prison because she refuses to renounce her faith in Christ. Fatemeh was first informed of her sentence for "acting against national security" in September 2018.

In an appeal hearing earlier this year, Fatemeh was pressured by presiding judges to renounce their faith, which they refused to do. The decision upholding the verdict was announced in May, and Fatemeh presented herself to the prison in Tehran on August 31st. 

Continue to remember the many in Iran who are being imprisoned for merely refusing to renounce their faith in Christ, including Fatemeh. Praise God for enabling these Christians to stand firm and not deny their Lord. Pray for their safety and well-being.

Source: Voice of the Martyrs

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