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During July We Have Prayed About

July 26, 2006

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - No. 388 - Wed 26 Jul 2006


WELCOME to the 13 intercessors who have joined the list this month.

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During July We Have Prayed About -

UZBEKISTAN, where Christians are suffering greater repression and
persecution as Uzbekistan\'s alliance with Russia and China casts
doubt on continuing US influence there.

* UPDATE: Uzbek authorities have been cracking down hard on
Western-funded non-government organisations (NGOs) to remove
Western influence and channels of reporting. Amongst those
targeted are Christian NGOs serving the Uzbek people in fields
such as health and education. The US-based NGO Central Asian
Free Exchange (CAFE), one of the largest in Central Asia, has
been operating in Uzbekistan for 15 years (since independence).
CAFE\'s activities included a library in Tashkent and translation
work but was ordered to close on the grounds of illegal
distribution of religious material. Also CAFE\'s gifts of bicycles
to isolated villagers was deemed inducement to conversion. Global
Involvement Through Education has met the same fate. These are
large, highly professional Christian NGOs. Pray for God to
re-open the door. (Psalm 24:7-10)

Forum 18 reports Uzbek courts recently imposed heavy fines on
three Protestant leaders of Muinak, a poverty-stricken town in
the north-western autonomous republic of Karakalpakstan. Salauat
Serikbayev, Jumabai Senetullayev and Lepes Omarov were fined 50
times the minimum monthly wage simply for leading an unregistered
church. Serikbayev (31) who pastors the unregistered Muinak
Pentecostal church told Forum 18 in 2003, \'In effect we are being
forced to live like the early Christians of the catacombs. We
have to hold our religious meetings in the desert, several
kilometres from the town, for fear of persecution by the
authorities.\' Pray for provision, grace and justice.

SOMALIA, where Mogadishu has fallen to Islamists who are striving
to control all of Somalia and bring it under Sharia Law.

* UPDATE **URGENT**: On 20 July Ethiopian troops crossed into
Somalia to defend the powerless UN, AU and IGAD-backed
Transitional Federal Government based in the provincial town of
Baidoa. Since capturing Mogadishu the Islamic Courts Union (ICU)
has declared jihad (Islamic holy war) and positioned its militias
around Baidoa. Whilst Ethiopia, a mostly Christian country, has a
superior fighting force, Eritrea is offering support to the
Somali Islamists. Presently in a standoff, Ethiopia and the ICU
are on the verge of war. Flames of Islamic zeal and identity will
be fanned by this situation, putting Somali Christians at even
greater immediate risk. Pray for Christ to work in Somalia for
the benefit of his Church. (Ephesians 1:22)

TERRORISM, one of the greatest threats to religious liberty and
security in the world today. We continue to ask God to frustrate
the ways of the wicked (Psalm 146:9).

OTHER ISSUES FOR PRAYER ARISING IN JULY

* CHINA: UNRELENTING PERSECUTION

On 29 June 2006 the Zhongmu City People\'s Court sentenced house-
church patriarch Pastor Zhang Rongliang (55) to seven-and-a-half
years in prison. Pastor Zhang has serious diabetes and high blood
pressure. He has been imprisoned several times for a total of 12
years and has endured harsh treatment including electric shock
torture. On 14 July prominent house-church leader Pastor Wang
Jinhua was arrested along with her husband Mr Xu Jinfu and their
eight-year-old son Xu Enze from their home in Jilin City, Jilin
Province. Whilst Mr Xu and his son were later released, Pastor Wang
Jinhua was transfered to Baishan Prison. These are only two of a
continual stream of pastors being harassed and imprisoned. Please
pray for God to protect, sustain, build and strengthen his Church,
and bring justice and liberty to China.


* INDIA: PERSECUTION ESCALATING RAPIDLY

On 25 June four nuns (all aged about 35) from Mother Teresa\'s
Missionaries of Charity were conducting their weekly hospital
visitation in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh. They were ministering to
terminal AIDS patients when some 50 Hindu militants attacked them
supposedly for trying to convert patients. The sisters have been
ministering there for more then 20 years with government and
hospital permission. They were arrested but later released after
intervention.

On 6 July in Kota district, Rajasthan, Hindu militants attacked
Emmanuel Mission\'s orphanage, harassing and terrifying the girls
and setting part of the building on fire. On 16 July lay pastor Om
Prakash Pandey was arrested without charge in Uttar Pradesh as he
led worship. He was then beaten in the police station by the Police
Inspector and others before being released. On 17 July some 20
Hindu extremists attacked three Christians, Daniel (17), Manju
(21), and Umesh (27) of the Harvest Full Gospel Church as they
ministered to hospital patients in the southern Indian state of
Karnataka. The assailants then took them to the police station and
had them arrested for distributing Christian literature. They were
released on bail on 22 July. Also on 17 July Hindu extremists in
Baglkote, Karnataka, beat four students of the Gospel for Asia
Bible College in Bijapur who were distributing Christian
literature. In Madhya Pradesh the BJP-led state government has
amended the anti-conversion law to make it even more stringent.
Please pray for God\'s intervention in India.


* IRAN **URGENT**: ANOTHER BELIEVER IMPRISONED

Another believer just imprisoned in Iran has been told he will be
freed if he renounces his faith but if he refuses to recant then
there will be executions. Analysts fear Iran may exploit the
world\'s pre-occupation with the Middle East conflict to ramp up not
only its nuclear program but also its persecution of religious
minorities. (Article 23 of Iran\'s Constitution states: \'The
investigation of individuals\' beliefs is forbidden, and no one may
be molested or taken to task simply for holding a certain
belief.\'!) Pray for God\'s ever-present Holy Spirit to counsel,
comfort and embolden this believer and his young family so that
their light will shine before everyone. (Matthew 5:14-16)

\'On my account you will be brought before governors and
kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when
they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to
say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it
will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father
speaking through you.\' Matthew 10:18-20 NLT

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We usually provide a summary to use in bulletins unable to run
the whole RLP. As a summary is not practicable with this
monthly update posting we suggest using instead one or more of
the above paragraphs.

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The WEA Religious Liberty Commission sponsors this
RL Prayer List to help individuals and groups pray
specifically and regularly for religious liberty
issues, and in particular to uphold the Church
where it is suffering persecution.

RL Prayer is moderated by Ron Clough, a commissioner
of the WEA RLC and convenor of the Australian EA RLC.
Elizabeth Kendal researched and authored this message.