"Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations" Isaiah 56:7
On Sunday, 4 March 2012, Russia will go to the voting polls. Most news sources and Russian insiders agree that Vladimir Putin will become Russia’s next president. Regardless of whether or not Putin is who the country wants, the question thus becomes: What will happen when he takes office?
The biggest fear for many Christians in any power change worldwide is that the church might have fewer freedoms. This fear is especially heightened in the former Soviet Union, of which Russia is a part.
"In the former Soviet central Asian countries--like Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and the like--we've seen tremendous crackdowns the past few years against religious groups and evangelical churches," says Joel Griffith with Slavic Gospel Association http://www.sga.org/
Even more disconcerting is that those crackdowns tend to be somewhat contagious across Central Asia, in particular. When amendments are made to a religion law in one country, similar amendments may follow in a neighboring nation. Russia has been able to stay relatively free, but there is awareness of these goings-on nearby.
"Our prayer is that Russia would certainly not go down that route, but that the churches would remain free and able to worship and proclaim their faith freely," notes Griffith.
Source : Mission News Network – Read full article HERE
Freedom of religion was written into the constitution after Communism’s collapse in 1991. But the hopes of spiritual renewal of the early 1990s have not grown as much as many Christians had hoped. 90% of Russians have no meaningful link with a church—whether Orthodox or not.
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It is reported that on 2 January Pastor Wang Dawei of Canaan Church was arrested by government officials for conducting worship service in Xilinihot, Inner Mongolia.
During the raid on the house church, officials destroyed church property, tore down banners and forced an end to the worship service and warned all Christians present that if they did not join a government recognised 'Three-Self church', they will be arrested and the the house church will be banned. Furthermore the officials confiscated Bibles, hymn books and all printed matter.
After dispersing the congregation the government officials installed a new lock on the church door.
Referring to the incident in media interviews, Pastor Wang Dawei stated that both he and his congregation are prepared to suffer persecution for the sake of their faith and urged Christians everywhere to pray for them.
Over half the population follow Buddhism or Shamanism or both. Mongolia has strong links with Tibet and most Buddhist Mongolians will try to visit Lhasa in Tibet at least once in their lifetime.
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