From Central Asia to Mexico; our brothers and sisters in Christ ask for our prayers.
In Mexico, there is an urgent prayer request for Ruben Lopez, a Christian, who was taken into custody on March 20. The day he was incarcerated, he told his wife not to grieve because their lives were safe in God’s hands. Communal authorities held a meeting on March 21 to impose conditions on him under which he would be allowed to continue living in his home village of Community Freedom, Las Margaritas, Chiapas, Mexico.
When he rejected the conditions, authorities expelled him from the community and would not allow him to even take his belongings. Christians in Chacala community received him and his family, giving them lodging and food. He remains firm in following Jesus despite the consequences. Open Doors is working on the process of returning them to their community.
A court in Azerbaijan ruled to liquidate the Greater Grace Protestant church of Baku on April 25. An appeal has been lodged with the Baku Appeal Court. This church has had legal registration for 19 years, but the State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations has not granted re-registration and has filed a lawsuit against the church.
Since re-registration of all churches was ordered in the wake of the 2009 amendments to the Religion law, very few Christian groups have been granted re-registration. Urgent prayer is requested for this appeal and for wisdom for all involved in the situation.
In Kazakhstan, authorities appear to have stepped up raids on unregistered religious communities, particularly on congregations of the Baptist Council of Churches, which worship in private homes.
These congregations refuse on principle to submit to state registration, and their leaders are often warned and fined. Urgent prayer is requested that unregistered churches might continue to serve the Lord and His people there. Pray that the raids will stop.
Also in Kazakhstan, urgent prayer is requested for a small Methodist church in Taldykorgan. The owner of the home where they meet has been fined for using her private home for worship. The pastor fears that the church will be closed.
In India, Christians are mourning the sudden, recent death of Jaikant Pawar, a new convert from Hinduism. Pawar and his wife Champa were the only Christians in their village of Balgal, but had been fellowshipping with Christians in nearby towns since their baptism three years ago. When his body was brought home from the hospital for burial on April 20, the Christians from neighboring villages arrived in Balgal to comfort Champa and help her with the final rites of his cremation. Tribal villagers gathered in front of their home shouting accusations and refusing to allow his burial. The gathered Christians fled when the neighbors’ harrassment escalated into an attack. Following the intervention of the District Collector, Pawar’s body was returned to the Christian community and the burial took place in Balgal where a piece of land was allotted for the purpose.
Please pray for Champa’s comfort, protection and direction, especially as she is in her first trimester of pregnancy. Pray also for justice following the attack and for the physical and emotional healing of all the Christians who were assaulted.
Father, we lift up Your church across the globe as she struggles to even gather to worship. We pray for protection, that doors will remain open. We pray for comfort for those who mourn the loss of loved ones or suffer from attacks. We pray that where Satan would use this persecution to thwart Your work, You would use even these hard times to bring opportunities for Your gospel to be established and to flourish. In the name of Jesus who builds His church, Amen.