Archive for January, 2008

Chinese Police Confiscate, Burn House Church Bibles

Posted in China with tags , , , , , on January 31, 2008 by Mike

BosNewsLife is reporting that several Chinese Christians were beaten by Chinese police last week when they tried to recover Bibles that had been confiscated from a house church in December 2007.

“After ignoring the members’ request, officials proceeded to violently remove them from the office. One female church member, 54-year-old Liang Guihua, was thrown into a wall and rendered unconscious for more than 10 minutes,” the group claimed. “After the assault the members went to a local hospital for evaluation.”

The organization said that authorities “have now resorted to the burning of Bibles…to hinder the growth of the House Church [movement] in China.” China’s government has denied human rights abuses, saying Christians are free to worship with the official Protestant and Catholic churches. However rights groups say most of China’s estimated 130 million Christians prefer to worship outside government control in homes of believers.

Read the entire article here.

More Details on Orissa

Posted in India with tags , , , , , , on January 29, 2008 by Mike

CBN News is providing more details on what exactly has happened to the hundreds of Christians that have been attacked in recent weeks in Orissa state, India.

Hundreds of homes and churches were destroyed. More than 2,000 Christians are in refugee camps. Hundreds more are hiding in the jungles for fear of another attack.

“As the mob was destroying our churches I could hear them chanting ‘Victory to our Hindu gods,'” said Kandhamal pastor Solomon Nayak. “All we could do was hide in our homes and pray.”

Dr. Sajan George, who heads the Global Council of Indian Christians, was asked if he had any evidence that the violent onslaught was a coordinated and planned attack.

“This was well coordinated, well orchestrated because it has happened in 80 different places,” he replied.

George’s organization documents the persecution of Christian in India. He says the attacks weren’t just random acts of violence.

“They marked the houses, they knew were the churches were and they spontaneously went and attacked,” George said.

George and other Christian leaders believe the attacks are part of a much larger campaign by Hindu fanatics to stop lower-caste Hindus known as Untouchables or Dalits from converting to Christianity.

“God is moving among the Dalits and setting us free. The Hindus don’t like this. So they accuse us of bribing and forcing others to convert and this is not true,” Dalit convert Daniel Digal said.

Chinese Christians Hold Huge Gathering

Posted in China with tags , , , , on January 24, 2008 by Mike

New America Media is reporting that over 5,000 Chinese Christians met in Hong Kong for a Gospel of China conference.

“It’s the first time we held this conference out of the United States,” said Jingling Qu, executive editor of the [Christian Life] Quarterly. “The audience number doubled that of our former conferences.”

Christians from the mainland spread all over Hong Kong for board and lodging. Due to a shortage of hotel rooms, they filled churches – lying in sleeping bags at night and took shuttle buses to the three-day meeting at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, where the ceremonial transfer of the sovereignty of Hong Kong between the British and Chinese governments was held in 1997.

According to Christian Times, a Chinese-language weekly based in Hong Kong, a film documenting the hard lives of migrant workers, AIDS patients who got the disease by blood-transmission and homeless people was played at the conference. It triggered tears and prayers – especially among people living a similar life. More than half of the audience was from less developed or rural areas of China, where semi-underground home churches thrive. Most of them had never left Mainland China before.

An Independent Missionary in China

Posted in China with tags , , , , on January 22, 2008 by Mike

Dennis Dixon went to China years ago for much different reasons than those that are keeping him there now. The Palestine Herald-Press tells his story.

“I went to China and I liked it a lot,” Dixon recalled. “Though I had been saved when I was younger, I wasn’t what you would call a Christian at the time. I was living through some dark years and I went to China as a worldly man. And China is a great place for a worldly man.”

As a worldly man, Dixon managed a coffee shop, a restaurant and bar for his friend. In all, he was managing four different businesses, but his life took a different direction one day when a child was found living in the trash near his village.

The child had been kicked out of his home and had basically been sold into slavery before being discarded.

There was a private school in a village relatively close to Dixon, the school was run by the charity Gift of Joy, and was a Christian-based organization.

“I stayed almost a week at the private school,” Dixon noted. “There were 27 students there and they were all Christians.

“That’s when God revealed himself to me and I repented and came back to Him.”

Now Dixon ministers to those in China who are rejected by society because of mental illness and other conditions. Read the rest of the story to see how to support him financially.

Uzbek Pastor Presses On

Posted in Uzbekistan with tags , , , , , , on January 21, 2008 by Mike

Christian Today tells the story of Pastor Salavat Serikbayev, a man who has been jailed, abandoned by his church, and endured times of near starvation. But he remains faithful to God.

Pastor Serikbayev, a former Muslim, was jailed in 1999 for conducting Bible studies, performing baptisms and having dozens of Bibles and Christian books in his home. But jail and several other brushes with the law have not stopped him from serving Jesus.

“I had a family including two children at that time,” he says. “Still I was happy to suffer for Christ; this was something I could do for Jesus.”

Undeterred he continued to lead a church. Then in February 2006, he was arrested again for his religious activities in Karakalpakstan. He was sentenced to two years of correctional labour, reduced to one year, and was made to cultivate plants in the desert.

He was in trouble again the following year when the police raided his church. Says Pastor Serikbayev: “I was at a monthly pastor’s meeting at this apartment. After half an hour, 15 of 16 policemen raided the meeting and said, why are you here? Many had no passports, so everyone was arrested and taken to the police station.

Read the rest of his story. And then pray for him and his church who face arrest and imprisonment.

More details on Indian attacks

Posted in India with tags , , , , , on January 20, 2008 by Mike

World Vision office destroyed by Hindu attackers in OrissaChristian Today has more details on the attacks on Christians that occurred this week in Chhattisgarh, the neighboring state of Orissa.

Around 100 unknown attackers armed with lathis weapons (sticks) and petrol bombs attacked a prayer meeting led by Pastor Mohan C Thomas and Jose Kajur in Bothli village of Gurur area of Durg district., reports the Evangelical Fellowship of India.

The attackers rushed to the attack site in a truck where around 2,500 people from nearby villages had gathered to attend an open air prayer meeting last Wednesday.

The innocent Christian worshippers and workers were targeted on the pretext of forceful conversion. In a brutal attack lasting around 10 minutes, the attackers beat them mercilessly and burnt the huge pandal (tent) where they were assembled down to ashes, according to the EFI’s General Secretary, the Rev Dr Richard Howell. The incident was witnessed by viewers on a prime News Channel IBN 7.

Why the Silence?

Posted in Overseas with tags , , , , on January 19, 2008 by Mike

Herb Denenberg has written an excellent opinion piece in The Bulletin of Philadelphia. He asks the question why the media and millions of people paid more attention to Ellen DeGeneres’ puppy fiasco and Michael Vick’s dogfighting outrages than to the fact that millions of Christians are being persecuted, arrested, tortured, and killed around the world.

I found one thing more incredible than the worldwide persecution of Christians, and that’s the fact that church leaders and others who should speak up are relatively silent, even almost indifferent. You can give a thousand explanations for this indifference and silence, but you can’t give one grain of justification for it. Isn’t it about time that the world wakes up along with our political leaders, our religious leaders and the public itself?

We have to take action urgently on religious persecution against all groups, both the majority and minority religions. Consider some of the statistics. It’s hard to believe, but the 20th century saw more Christians die (45 million) just for being Christians than in the first 19 centuries (25 million) after the birth of Christ. That’s one of the conclusions of Nina Shea in her book on Christian persecution, In the Lion’s Den.

There’s every reason to believe that the 21st century will be just as bad or worse. We have Islamo-fascism, the voice of religious persecution and genocide, shattering the peace of the world; we have endless anti-Christian and anti-Semitic hatred being spewed by governments, media outlets and mosques in the Middle East; we have an Iranian government doing what even Hitler did not do – loudly announcing and repeating to the world its genocidal intentions. And we have mounting evidence that the cry of “Never again” may be an empty slogan and not a real call to action and to justice for Christians, Jews or any other religion subject to discrimination and persecution.