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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

VOM News and Prayer Update: July 25

"Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us."
(Romans 5:5)



CHINA
(China Aid Association)

Rock the Desert is an outdoor Christian concert festival held annually in Midland, TX. This year the event will feature the lack of true religious freedom in China and growing persecution of house churches there. Rock the Desert is scheduled for July 27th – 29th. The following special cases will be among those highlighted:
Jiang Zongxiu, who was beaten to death for carrying the Scripture. Her family has not seen any justice. Her remains are still in the hands of the government and her abusers are still free.
Pastor Cai Zhuohua, in a Chinese prison today, is accused of printing Bibles. Pastor Cai's 5-year-old son is living with his grandparents while his wife is also in prison.
Pastor Zhang Rongliang was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison on July 4, 2006, after he was arrested on December 1, 2004, for his leadership in the house church movement.
Pray this event will enlighten many people to the reality of Christian persecution in China. Pray God will open eyes and hearts to respond by praying, writing letters of support and giving generously to support the families of prisoners. Pray that although the prisoners' bodies are physically deprived and even tortured, their spirits will thrive as they know the abiding presence of their Savior.

PAKISTAN
(VOM Sources)

On June 6, 2006, Nasir Ashraf, a Christian stone mason, was brutally attacked just outside Lahore. While working while working on the construction of a room at a school near Manga Mandi in Pakistan, Nasir became thirsty and took a break. He drew water and drank from a glass chained to a cemented public water tank next to a mosque which was reserved for "all" poor people. Returning to the construction site, a Muslim man asked him, "Why did you drink water from this glass since you are a Christian?" The man accused Nasir of polluting the glass. The Muslim man yanked the glass off the iron chain, broke it and threw it in a garbage can. The man summoned other militant Muslims to the scene, furiously saying, "This Christian polluted our glass." Hearing this, the incensed mob began beating Nasir, yelling that a Christian dog drank water from their glass. The militant Muslims encouraged bystanders to beat Nasir because it would be a "good" deed that would benefit them in heaven. The attackers pushed Nasir off a ledge onto the ground. The impact of the fall dislocated his shoulder and broke his collar bone in two places. Nasir was knocked unconscious and he did not regain his senses until he reached a clinic. A doctor told Nasir that some people had brought him there. The doctor advised Nasir to never make this kind of mistake again. Nasir's father took him home and a VOM representative was alerted about the incident. VOMedical is helping with Nasir's medical treatment and is monitoring his recovery from the attack. Pray for Nasir that he will be able to forgive his enemies. Pray the Lord will bring justice in this situation.

(Compass Direct)
A Christian girl has gone into hiding in Pakistan to escape Muslim in-laws who beat and raped her for fleeing her forced marriage and refusing to practice Islam. Asya Khadim, 15, won a divorce from her abusive Muslim husband in February and sought shelter with a local aid organization to avoid reprisal attacks. Khadim had been married to Tanveer Qadir for almost 13 months when her mother filed the divorce case on her behalf in January 2006. "They tried to force me to read the Koran," the Christian girl told Compass. "My husband beat me every day for two months because I refused." Khadim's case highlights ongoing national debate over the controversial Hudood Ordinances that some say encourage domestic violence against women. Under this law, a woman who has been raped must produce four Muslim male witnesses to prove the allegations. According to the Peace Council of Pakistan, at least 50 percent of women who report rape are jailed and accused of adultery.

Pray God will comfort Asya Khadim and keep her safe. Pray our omnipotent Father will put a stop to the Hudood Ordinances. Pray our God of love will remove Muslim authorities' hearts of stone and give them hearts of flesh.

TURKEY
(Compass Direct)
Nationalists in Turkey's Northern city of Samsun have stepped up a two-year campaign against a Protestant church, denouncing in the media the legally registered congregation's right to exist. Izzet Altunbas, chairman of the Samsun Association of Balkan Turks, and a prominent member of the local Nationalist Movement Party, publicly attacked the Agape Protestant Church in vicious terms in mid-June. In speeches broadcast over three local TV channels on June 16th, Altunbas declared that establishment of the church, officially registered as the Agape Church Association, revealed "extensive damage" to the nation in that it reflected Turkey's compliance with European Union legal norms strengthening a dangerous "assimilation" drive against both Turkish ethnicity and Islam. "I find this association and its secret activities a huge danger for Samsun and for Islam," Altunbas said. "This is treason against our Muslim and Turkish identity."

Pray members of Agape Protestant Church will have the mind of Christ in dealing with those who oppose them. Pray God will strengthen them with the sure and certain knowledge that no weapon formed against them will prosper. Pray the Holy Spirit will overcome the spirit of nationalism and allow many Turks to find their identity in Christ.

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