We can’t thank you enough for your faithful support and your prayers this year on behalf of our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world.
Your prayers are vital in helping to sustain Christians around the world who are undergoing persecution because of their love for Jesus. We truly believe that we can do nothing without God – and that nothing is impossible for Him!
In many places on our planet, it’s still dangerous to be a Christian, from Syria to Uganda, from North Korea to Nigeria. Yet, despite all the darkness, God’s kingdom is advancing.
We were delighted to hear that the Iranian authorities had released Pastor Saeed Abedini in January and Pastor Behnam Irani (pictured left) in October, and we continue to pray for their healing. We remember the 90 other Christian prisoners still behind bars in Iran, including Maryam Naghash Zargaran who has just had her sentence extended. Please also pray for Yaser Mosibzadeh, Saheb Fadayee and Mohammed Reza Omidi whose appeal against a sentence of 80 lashes each for drinking communion wine has been scheduled for February.
We’ve also had the privilege of walking alongside several Chinese brothers and sisters detained for their faith. Zhang Kai, a human rights lawyer, was freed in March, while Pastor Gu ‘Joseph’ Yuese, China’s highest-ranking church leader, has been under ‘residential surveillance’ since his release in April. Pastor Yang Hua, who is scheduled to appear in court on Boxing Day, has been in jail for more than a year on suspicion of ‘divulging state secrets’. It’s feared that Christian lawyer Jiang Tianyong is back in custody after his disappearance last month. It appears that he is likely to face criminal charges.
We continue to pray for our family in Pakistan, especially for those who were affected by the Easter Sunday bombings on a Lahore leisure park, and for Asia Bibi whose final appeal was postponed at the last minute. And we thank God for glimmers of hope: for news that blasphemy charges have been dropped against an eight-year-old boy from Quetta and for a positive meeting with the Pakistan High Commission this month as we handed in our petition calling for repeal of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.
And we lift up in prayer four men in Sudan who will spend Christmas behind bars: Pastors Hassan Abduraheem and Kowa Shamaal, Abdulmonem Abdumawla and a Czech national, Petr Jasek (pictured right), who are on trial for serious crimes, including ‘spying’.
These dear brothers and sisters know they are not forgotten and that their church family is calling out to God for them: that alone is cause for hope this Christmas. Thank you for the part you play in upholding them: we pray you will know God’s peace and presence as you draw near to Him in prayer on behalf of our persecuted family this Christmas.
- For persecuted family to Jesus, the Prince of Peace, asking him to fill them with His joy, peace and love – and declaring that the government of the world is upon his shoulders (Isaiah 9:6).
- For those who will spend Christmas behind bars and their families who are unable to celebrate with them in person.
Ask God to protect believers as they draw together in church services over Christmas. Pray that the light of hope shining through Christians’ lives will draw many others to Him.