DURING APRIL WE HAVE PRAYED FOR -
INDIA: where (1) Hindu nationalists are forging ahead with their
strategic, massive proselytising campaign; (2) Emmanuel Mission
(EMI) is under intense persecution; and (3) the Supreme Court is
assessing the unconstitutionality of religious discrimination
against Christian Dalits (untouchables).
* UPDATE: (1) On Sunday 9 April, Chakapad in the remote north-east
India tribal Adavasi-dominated Kandhamal district of Orissa saw
the Hindu nationalist Sangh Parivar (SP) 're'-convert to
Hinduism at least 344 tribal Christians in 74 families. (The SP
aimed to 're'-convert 10,000 Christians.) Tens of thousands of
animist tribals were also brought into the 'Hindu mainstream' by
conversion to militant Hindu nationalism. The speakers at this
event equated Christian missionaries with Islamic jihadis and
Maoist insurgents and called for a nation-wide ban on conversions
to Christianity. Pray for God to break through this advancing
Hindu fascism, exposing its lies, ugliness and dangers.
(2) Compass Direct reports that India's Supreme Court voided the
arrest warrant for EMI founder Bishop MA Thomas (72) and granted
bail for EMI administrator VS Thomas as well as EMI's Vikram
Kindo, a minor. Bail for EMI president Rev Dr Samuel Thomas was
rejected. He remains imprisoned in Kota, Rajasthan, separated
from the other prisoners for his own security.
(3) Though the Supreme Court has not yet ruled on religious
discrimination against Christian Dalits, the court action has led
to more open debate about how best to address the historic
disadvantage of Dalits in general. Many believe that reservations
(positions set aside for affirmative action) are not the right
way to go and that tackling root causes by empowering Dalits
through improvements in education and training would be better.
India needs to have this open discussion about caste,
disadvantage, justice and equity. Sixty per cent to seventy per
cent of India's 25 million Christians are impoverished,
persecuted Dalits. May God be at work in and through this for the
best possible outcome.
EGYPT: where knife-wielding Islamic militants attacked churches on
Friday 14 April leaving one dead and many wounded. Two days of
sectarian clashes followed and religious tensions are high.
* UPDATE: CHRISTIAN LEADERS AT RISK
On Wednesday 19 April the Egyptian government announced it had
smashed a terror cell planning terror attacks on tourist targets,
a gas pipeline near Cairo as well as Muslim and Christian
religious leaders. Six were arrested out of at least 22 members
in the group, which was studying how to make explosive devices
as well as poisons and was engaged in strategic planning for
terror attacks. But this cell is only the tip of the iceberg -
indeed, a terror attack against the tourism industry was
perpetrated in Dahab on the Red Sea coast by another jihadist
group as this bulletin was being written. Pray for Egypt's
Church, especially that God will protect those Christian leaders
being targeted by Islamic militants.
OTHER ISSUES IN APRIL
* INDIA: VIOLENCE ESCALATING IN FREQUENCY AND INTENSITY
Compass Direct (CD) reports that in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh state,
seven believers were arrested in a prayer meeting on 7 April and
charged with illegal conversions. When their pastor and other
believers later tried to visit them at the police station, the
police stood back while a mob of around 80 local Hindus mercilessly
beat the visiting Christians. On Tuesday 11 April on the outskirts
of Mumbai, Maharashtra state, two pastors suffered serious injuries
when some 50 Hindu extremists stormed a 500-strong prayer meeting,
assaulting worshippers and desecrating Bibles. Pastor Joseph was
beaten with chains and iron rods until his right arm was fractured,
his right ribs were broken and his head was bleeding profusely. The
other seven pastors present were also beaten. CD reports that the
Hindu militants then dragged five of the pastors to a nearby Hindu
temple and tried to force them to worship there. When the pastors
resisted, they were beaten mercilessly.
On Good Friday 14 April, two Christian women handing out gospel
tracts in Jabalpur were arrested for 'promoting conversion'. On
Resurrection Sunday 16 April, 15 Hindu militants stormed an 11am
Believers' Church service in the southern state of Karnataka.
Pastor VP Paulouse received a head injury and fractures in both
hands; his wife also was beaten. The militants ransacked the
pastor's house while he was in hospital. Hindu militants also
attacked a prayer meeting in the Living Faith Ministry prayer hall
in Mangalore district's Balmatta town. They locked themselves in
the hall with the women and children before vandalising the
furniture and equipment and making threats. Please pray for God to
protect and sustain his Church in India.
* NORTH KOREA: WEEK OF PRAYER 22 - 30 April
This is a special Week of Prayer for North Korea - see
<http://www.opendoorsusa.org>. Also Christian Solidarity Worldwide
has a website dedicated to mobilising prayer for North Korea at
Whilst it is horrific, sickening and distressing to read (and not
for children), the testimony of North Korean prison camp survivor
Soon Ok Lee is a powerful reminder of why this week of prayer -
indeed why constant prayer - for North Korea is imperative. Soon Ok
Lee's testimony was given before the US Senate Committee on the
Judiciary on 21 June 2002. Everything she describes is supported by
testimonies from other survivors, including former prison officers.
If you choose to read this disturbing testimony, do so remembering
that an estimated 100,000 Christians are, this day, existing in the
conditions she describes.
Ok Lee worshipped Kim jong-Il in North Korea. Today she is a
follower of Jesus Christ devoted to prayer and advocacy for North
The political and security situation in North Korea is extremely
delicate. Please pray as individuals, prayer groups and
congregations unite across the world and put this volatile,
suffering nation in the hands of our wise and merciful Almighty
God and plead for his mercy and deliverance. Christ has risen; HE
alone is sovereign; HE alone, by his Spirit, can do it. 'Now he
[the risen Christ] is far above any ruler or authority or power or
leader or anything else in this world or in the world to come. And
God has put all things under the authority of Christ, and he gave
him this authority for the benefit of the church.' Ephesians 1:21,
We usually provide a summary to use in bulletins unable to run
the whole RLP. As a summary is not practicable with a monthly
update posting we suggest using whatever you can include. The
update paragraph for Egypt is the same length as a summary.
Previous RLPs may be viewed at
http://www.evangelicalalliance.org.au/rlc/ If you downloaded this message from a website or it
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Please send this RLP to others, with attribution to
World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) Religious Liberty
Prayer List <[email protected]>
The WEA Religious Liberty Commission sponsors this
RL Prayer List to help individuals and groups pray
specifically and regularly for religious liberty
issues, and in particular to uphold the Church
where it is suffering persecution.
RL Prayer is moderated by Ron Clough, a commissioner
of the WEA RLC and convenor of the Australian EA RLC.
Elizabeth Kendal researched and authored this message.