Looking out Looking up
In recent years, an Algerian law which regulates the activities of non-Muslims has been used to justify the detention of Christians and church closures. The law, Ordinance 06-03, prohibits any Christian activity from taking place outside state-recognised church buildings. This effectively bans Bible studies in private homes. It also bans evangelistic material and activities. Penalties for breaking the law include exorbitant fines and a maximum of up to five years in prison. Over the years, numerous individuals and churches have been affected by this law. A recent case was that of Karim Siaghi who had given his neighbour a Christian CD. Karim has been charged and found guilty for proselytisation in the absence of witnesses and without any evidence presented. He is currently appealing his sentence.
PRAY for righteous and god-fearing judges to preside over Karim's appeal and acquit him of the charges. Pray for his wife and children to know God's peace. As Christians worldwide mount a petition campaign by writing to Algerian ambassadors in their countries, pray for a change of heart in the authorities. Pray for other Algerian Christians whose cases are still pending in the courts, for them to have strength and peace in the midst of uncertainty. - OD
Orphaned children are coming to Christ through the ministry of local churches. But in a northern Laos orphanage, eleven orphans are being pressured by their principal to leave the orphanage, unless they stop attending church.
PRAY for the faith of these young children to persevere in their faith. Pray for their protection and provision, as they are dependent on government support. Pray that churches in Laos will prosper in their ministry to children and be a continuous support and source of hope for young believers. - VOM
Following riots on 10 Oct 2011 between Egyptian Christians and security forces, Christian leaders have called for prayer, healing and justice as the country faces ongoing sectarian violence since the people's revolution in spring. The October riots began when Christians peacefully demonstrated against an attack on a church. Demonstrators say they were then attacked by mobs. Egypt is due to hold parliamentary elections in a month's time to determine the country's future after the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak.
PRAY for security forces to be fair and unbiased in their actions to uphold justice by bringing perpetrators of the church attacks to book. Pray for Christians to remain steadfast in using peaceful approaches. Pray for God's sovereignty over the coming elections and attempts by groups who want to take advantage of the uncertainty and power vacuum following the revolution.
In 2009, Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani was convicted of apostasy and imprisoned. The death penalty has been pronounced on him but Youcef has refused to recant his faith. He appealed his fate in the courts in September, but the outcome as of mid-October remains uncertain. However, in response to international condemnation, Iranian officials seem to be shifting the scope of Youcef 's alleged crimes. Where first it was apostasy, officials recently said he was being sentenced for treason, and then rape and extortion. Iran has also accused western media of using the case to tarnish the country's image. Youcef 's life is clearly only in God's hands as there is no knowing which twist the case will take next. While apostasy is not officially prescribed in Iranian law, it can be punished by death under fatwas and religious texts. The death sentence on Youcef marks the first time an Iranian court of law has ordered execution for apostasy.
PRAY for Pastor Youcef 's life to be spared. Ask God to strengthen and comfort his wife, two children, and congregation. Pray that international pressure on the Iranian government will work to so that it will treat Youcef and other Christians according to the law, which does not provide for death for apostasy. Ask God to strengthen the faith of Iranian Christians. - WEA, Media Project
THAILAND & CAMBODIA
Heavier-than-usual monsoon rains have flooded Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and the Philippines since July. Thailand and Cambodia are the hardest hit, with 315 people dead in Thailand and 247 dead in Cambodia, as of 19 Oct. Thousands have been displaced by the floods with their homes destroyed. Rice fields in these two countries have also been destroyed, destroying the livelihood of farmers and the rural poor, and also affecting food supply. While the floods in Thailand have received wider news coverage, Cambodia, a poorer country, is expected to face an even harder recovery. An estimated 24% of its total rice crops have been wiped out.
PRAY for those who have been made homeless due to the floods and who have lost family members. Ask that the governments of these nations would act efficiently in conducting relief and reconstruction. Pray that every person who needs help will be reached. Pray for covering for the churches and Christian workers that are delivering help to those affected. Ask God to heal and restore the land so that agricultural communities will have a future. Pray that through this tragedy many will come to know the Lord. - CA