Two Pastors Fined, Other Believers Released in Azerbaijan
Thank you for your prayers for Christians arrested in December in Azerbaijan. The nation of Azerbaijan is not on the 2017 World Watch List of countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. However, political and social pressures often restrict life and freedom of worship for those who follow Christ. A 2013 report stated that “
Such was the case in the December arrest of 22 people from Aliabad village, including two pastors, who were detained temporarily and threatened with a fine of 1500 manat each (almost 800 USD). This would have been an exorbitant amount for them to pay. Thank you for your prayers, which God has graciously answered. Only the two pastors, Mehman Agamamedov and Gamid Shabanov, were sentenced to pay the fines, which they are being allowed to pay in small installments.
Please continue to pray for these believers, though, as the authorities have not yet granted them permission to gather for prayers and worship, including Sunday services. The Christian believers wrote a letter to the religious committee of the district asking for permission to hold meetings and services, but as of yet there has been no response. Pastor Mehman said, “sometimes I visit members of our church in their houses—which is also dangerous—and they are very concerned about the situation. Everybody wants to meet, pray, study the Bible and worship together.” Pray for this permission to be granted and pray for the faith and security of Christians in Aliabad.
With hands lifted high, Father, we bring before You our fellow Christians in Aliabad, Azerbaijan. Thank You that You have answered our prayers regarding the fines and that You are using that clear mercy on their behalf to demonstrate Your faithfulness to bend Your ear to hear the cries of their hearts, and ours. We continue to cry out on their behalf in their desire to meet together for worship and prayer and study of Your Word. Give them favor with the officials, Father, as their request is being reviewed, that they might be allowed this freedom. Thank You for the testimony of their faithfulness and hunger for Your Word. As Your church grows, we look with eager anticipation to that day when every knee shall bow and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. And it is in the name of Jesus, the Word made flesh, that we pray. Amen.