Chinese Christians Blocked from Attending Lausanne Conference
Chinese police have either threatened or detained some 200 delegates who had hoped to attend the Third Lausanne International Congress on World Evangelization this week in Cape Town, South Africa.
After receiving an invitation to attend the event, house church groups in China formed a selection committee and raised significant funds to pay the expenses of their chosen delegates, a source told Compass News. Unfortunately, when several delegates were about to leave China via Beijing airport on October 10th, authorities refused to allow them through customs, approximately 1,000 police officers were stationed at Beijing International Airport to restrain them.
China accused the Lausanne committee of not issuing an invitation to China’s state-controlled church, but according to the Chinese-language Ming Pao News delegates were required to sign a document expressing their commitment to evangelism, which members of the state-controlled churches could not do because of regulations such as an upper limit on the number of people in each church and the confinement of preaching to designated churches in designated areas.
Cape Town 2010 is designed to be a channel for church leaders to form partnerships to spread the Gospel and to make disciples. Some 4,000 delegates from 200 countries are expected to attend the third conference this week in Cape Town. President/CEO of Open Doors USA Carl Moeller will be attending, and is looking forward to being united with the body of Christ worldwide and focusing on religious freedom and persecution.
Christian in Bhutan Imprisoned for Showing Film on Christ
A court in predominantly Buddhist Bhutan has sentenced a Christian to three years in prison for “attempting to promote civil unrest” by screening films on Christianity.
Prem Singh Gurung, a 40-year-old ethnic Nepalese citizen, invited villagers to watch Nepali movies and between each feature he showed films on Christianity. Arrested four months ago Gurung was charged with an “attempt to promote civil unrest,” according to Compass News. He was also charged with violation of the Bhutan Information, Communication and Media Act of 2006. Sections this law require that authorities examine all films before public screening. While Gurung has the right to appeal, it remained unclear if he had the resources to take that course.
Around 6,000 Bhutanese are Christian in this landlocked nation between India and China; however, their presence is not officially acknowledged in the country. As a result, they practice their faith from the confines of their homes, with no Christian institution officially registered.
Christians on the West Bank Threatened
Since long the West Bank has the appearance of being ‘the better part’ of the Palestinian Areas when compared to the Gaza strip. Although there have been situations of discrimination and damage to Christian property on the West Bank, physical threats to Christians are rare…until the past few weeks.
Recently, Open Doors received alarming information regarding threats against Christians on the West Bank in Palestine. In one recent example an employer received an email warning him that he should fire one of his Christian employees. The employer shares, “The specific name of my co-worker is used. It is something similar to what was happening before Rami Ayyad’s death.” Rami, the manager of the Bible Society Bookshop in Gaza, regularly received unidentified death threats. In 2007 the threats became a reality when he was found murdered. He left behind his wife, Pauline, and their three children, of which the youngest was still unborn at that fatal moment.
An anonymous church leader shares that, “New believers are vulnerable and they need the support from the church. I feel that we need to help them and coach them. I want to stand next to them.” Over time he and his church received serious warnings that they should stop having contact with Muslims. Because of this increasing tension, some families even withdrew from the congregation out of fear of being connected and to becoming victim of the threats. We have no problems with the Palestinian Authority,” says the church leader, “but it is the small fanatic groups that we receive the threats from and these are difficult to control by the authorities.”
Speak Up for Christians Who Are Not Free to Believe!
Open Doors is urging people to send a message to their legislators in response to the United Nations Defamation of Religions Resolution, which threatens the freedom of religion and expression for Christians and members of minority faiths worldwide. To learn more and take action go to www.freetobelieve.info, a sample letter is provided for people to send that includes the necessary information for elected officials to lobby the target UN country missions.
Father, thank You for Your abundant love. We pray for the Chinese Christians who were detained from the conference, may Your Spirit encourage them in their situation, may they know Your love even in the face of opposition. We ask for Cape Town 2010 to be a blessed time for the worldwide church, and for unity and strength among those fighting for religious freedom. Father, please help Gurung in Bhutan to continue serving You and declaring the Gospel even during his prison sentence. And for those who saw the movies we pray that through these humble beginning they will rise up and call You Lord. We also pray against any more threats toward Christians in West Bank, and we ask for continued grace and peace over Rami’s family. Lastly, we pray for the Free to Believe campaign to have deep and lasting impact on UN legislation, and that we’d continue taking action against persecution around the world.
Praying with you,
The Prayer Force Team