Looking Out Looking Up
A young Christian man who turned his home into a shelter for the homeless is facing a two-year jail sentence after being accused of leading an unregistered religious organisation. Aleksei Shchedrov, 28, faces criminal charges after police raided his home in February and April of this year. He is being investigated under a law that punishes "organisation of or participation in activity by an unregistered political party, foundation, civil or religious organisation." Aleksei's shelter has helped almost 100 people since he set it up in 2011. He insists that he is running a charity and not a religious organisation.
PRAY that Aleksei stands firm in the faith and trust in the LORD. Pray for an impartial and just investigation into the allegation. - WEA
Hindu extremists assaulted Christians and torched a church in Narasipura, Karnataka state, in June. The pastor and five other members of the Zion church were assaulted and the church burnt down. The attackers reportedly threatened to harm the Christians if they continued holding worship meetings. The pastor reported the threats to the Evangelical Fellowship of India.
PRAY for God's protection over Christians and the pastor and congregation of the Zion church in Narasipura. Pray for the Holy Spirit's guidance upon the pastor to discern the appropriate response to the situation. - WEA
A pastor and his congregation were violently assaulted by a mob led by a Buddhist monk in Hanwella in June. The pastor was out on a personal errand when he was confronted by a Buddhist monk. Fearing an attack, the pastor fled to the church. However, there he found a mob of around 20 people already gathered outside the church premises waiting for him. They surrounded him and began attacking him on the pretext that the pastor had earlier assaulted the monk. The mob also assaulted other Christians who were gathered at the church. According to the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL), there have been 45 incidents of Christian persecution between January and May this year. In 2012, there were 52 incidents of persecution.
PRAY for God's protection over the pastor, his family and the congregation. Ask the Lord to enable persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka to stand firm in the faith and to respond to persecution with a Christ-like attitude. Pray that the authorities will act swiftly and decisively to curb this rise in anti-Christian violence. - WEA
This nation has been on a roller coaster ride politically. The democratically-elected president, Mohammed Morsi was deposed by the army following protests against his government by millions of Egyptians. Many suspected that he and the Muslim Brotherhood wanted to turn Egypt into a strict, conservative Islamic state. There was also extreme frustration and disappointment over the continuing weak economy, prolonged electricity cuts and long lines at petrol stations. Hundreds of Brotherhood leaders, including its spiritual leader, Mohammed Badie, and eight other supporters, have since been arrested.
PRAY for peace to come upon Egypt and for great wisdom and favor for the Interim President, Adly Mansour, and his administration as they work towards restoring the nation through new elections. Pray that the people of Egypt will come together and support the new government. Pray against further violence. - IPC
The nation continues to be torn asunder by civil war. More than 90,000 people have lost their lives. Here was request for prayer from a local Christian leader in July: "For the last week, the city of Aleppo is surrounded heavily and all its exits and entry roads are closed. No way to come in or out. There is no fuel for cars. One litre of benzene is about 24 USD$, if you can find it. Diesel is 8 $ for one litre. One kilo of bread is about 8-10 $. Bread is hardly to be found. Each egg is half a dollar. All shops are running out of stuff. We are in a big prison. All over our areas daily shells are exploding. Many have been killed and hundreds injured. In the last four days, all communications have been cut off. Internet, mobile phones, and even water hardly reaches us for weeks. A few Christian areas receive these services twice monthly and only for a few hours. Now, we are working on supplying water to many of our areas."
PRAY Please uphold our Christian brothers and sisters in Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria. Pray for their protection and that the Lord will use their lives and witness for His glory amidst the chaos and suffering. Pray for effective peace negotiations to happen and that God will move the hearts to desire peace and end the war. - IPC
Thirty-nine high school students were arrested for their Christian faith and sent to do hard labour at a national military centre in July. They were also beaten and prevented from graduating "for their commitment to Christ" as they purportedly belong to church groups that are not sanctioned by the government. Eritrea has a 47% Christian population but only government-approved denominations are legal. Renewal movements and Protestant worship are criminal offences. The Marxist government began its crackdown on Christianity and other fundamental liberties around 2001 following a war with Ethiopia. Eritrea is considered by international freedom groups to be one of the world's top ten worst violators of religious freedom.
PRAY for Christians in Eritrea to remain bold and courageous. Pray that the true Gospel of Jesus Christ and new life in the Holy Spirit will be poured out on many more. Pray for a return to fundamental liberties and human rights by the government that peace may return to Eritrea. - CT, OD