Friday, January 31, 2014

Chinese Gov’t Continues to Pressure House Churches

Let's hope our brethren continue to persevere even in the midst of this trial.

1/25/2014 China (ChinaAid) - A house church in Guangzhou, the provincial capital of China’s southern Guangdong has been pressured by local police six times since the beginning of the month; meanwhile, Christians in Neihuang County, in central Henan fear to attend church meetings because of persecution from several local government departments. Police have disrupted church gathering twice a week since the beginning of January to warn the church to cease their meetings, “Mark,” a missionary at Guangfu House Church in Guangzhou, said.

“They come to our place twice a week. This past Sunday… I went to the local police station and talked with them about our belief and what we do. They gave me the phone number of a deputy director of the police station; I also saw him. He asked me whether we just read the Bible and pray. I said yes and didn’t say anything more than that,” Mark said.

“I thought this thing was over so we went on with the gatherings. Then, they came again, and they even told the landlord, who is a brother among us, not to gather together.”

On one occasion, the church members tried unsuccessfully to obtain information about those persecuting them. “We asked the officer from the local police station to leave his phone number, but he wouldn’t do so. When we asked him to give us his name, he only said his last name, which is Yao. When we asked for his first name, he wouldn’t tell us,” Mark said.

“When I said I wanted to see his identification papers, he said I didn’t need to look at them. He just said he is from Pingguwu Police Station, and that I can find him there, and that the director of the police station told him to come to our place. When I asked him what the director’s last name was, he didn’t say.”

This isn’t the first time Guangfu House Church has experienced persecution. Last May, three Christians from the church were summoned by the Baiyun District Public Security Bureau and were accused of preaching the Gospel to passersby.

On that occasion, the believers were told that their gatherings were illegal. As a result, the landlord of the building where the church met was pressured to the point of cancelling the church’s lease.
In addition, the water and electricity in a home that Mark had purchased to host meetings in were cut for almost a year.

Mark also said that Guangfu House Church has heard of another local house church have received warnings from police.
Neihuang County, Henan

In addition to persecution in Guangdong, believers in Neihuang County in China’s central Henan told ChinaAid that the Neihuang County Public Security Bureau, Religious Affairs Bureau and other government agencies have pressured believers so much that many are afraid to participate in church services.

“They dare not come to the gatherings,” one believer said. “When people from the Religious Affairs Bureau come, many of the believers dare not come out. Some people in the town risk their lives to come to the gatherings(Source).”

Bloodshed Continues in Nigeria as Boko Haram Attacks Christians


1/29/2014 Nigeria (Morning Star News) - Authorities suspected Islamic extremist group Boko Haram was responsible for an attack on a Catholic church service in Adamawa state on Sunday (Jan. 26) that reportedly left 45 people dead.

Sources told Morning Star News that 22 bodies were recovered from the church building in Waga Chakawa village, other church members were killed while trying to escape and still more were slain later in nearby bushes after being taken hostage. Of the 45 people reportedly killed, two were policemen. The total number of those killed who were taking part in the church service was unknown.

One of the survivors, 42-year-old Matthew Apogu, told Morning Star News that Boko Haram Islamists used improvised bombs and guns on the church.
“The gunmen used explosive devices to attack us as the worship service was on, and many of our Christian brethren lost their lives,” he said. “I saw 22 corpses, but some of my relatives who also escaped from the church told me that they saw 25 dead bodies.”
Apogu said the Islamist extremists took some Christians away as hostages.

“We were all scattered by the attackers, and as we escaped those that were not able to escape were taken hostage, especially, women, children, and the elderly,” he said.
The gunmen also burned homes, Apogu said.

The Rev. Raymond Danboyi, a Catholic priest with the Diocese of Yola, told Morning Star News by phone that only 22 deaths of church members had been confirmed.
“Twenty-two of our parishioners died in the attack carried out by gunmen we believe are Boko Haram members,” Danboyi said.
Maina Ularamu, chairman of the Madagali Local Government Council, reportedly said 45 people had been killed, but he later told Morning Star News that the council had yet to determine the total casualty figure.

The attack came as leaders of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (EYN) reported that 262 of its members were killed by Boko Haram, and another 12 were kidnapped, last year. Boko Haram gunmen bombed 36 Brethren Churches and burned down 854 houses, they said in an email.
The attacks on its members and churches, the Brethren leaders said, occurred in the states of Adamawa, Borno, Kaduna, and Yobe, all in northern Nigeria.
Boko Haram, which seeks to impose sharia (Islamic law) throughout Nigeria, was also suspected in a bombing attack on a market in Kawuri village, Borno state on Sunday evening (Jan. 26). At least 52 people died and all 300 homes in the village were reportedly burned down. The group also reportedly attacked the village of Wala on Friday (Jan. 24).

Boko Haram, the name residents of Maiduguri, Borno state originally gave the group that calls itself, “The Congregation of the People of Tradition for Proselytism and Jihad” (from the Arabic, Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad,), has killed thousands of civilians, including hundreds of Christians(Source).

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Report: 9 out of 10 Top Christian Persecution Countries Due to Islamic Extremism

It's a New Year. Let's begin it right by praying for our persecuted brethren.

WASHINGTON – Nine out of the ten countries ranked the most oppressive for Christians to live in were due to Islamic extremism, according to Open Doors' annual World Watch List, which was released Wednesday.

With the exception of North Korea – ranked No. 1 for the 12th year in a row – every other country on the top 10 list had as its source of persecution, Islamic extremism. North Korea's persecution of Christians was due to communist oppression and dictatorial paranoia, explained Open Doors in its 2014 World Watch List. According to the report, the countries with the most extreme persecution besides North Korea are: Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Pakistan, Iran, and Yemen, respectively.

Open Doors announced the rankings for its 2014 World Watch List, which documented the 50 nations least tolerant of their Christian population, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The Christian persecution watchdog group's methodology involved measuring the level of Christian freedom found in five spheres of life: private, family, community, national, and church. A sixth sphere regarding degree of violence also factors in to the rankings.

Dr. David Curry, president and CEO of Open Doors; Dr. Ronald Boyd-MacMillan, head of Strategy and Research for Open Doors International; and Dr. Paul Marshall, author and senior fellow at Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom, were among those who gave remarks at the press conference(Source).