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Myanmar, Burma

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Barnabas provided Kachin refugees with emergency aid, including shoes for
1,000 needy children

The Burmese army is continuing to pursue its agenda of intimidation and violence against ethnic minority groups, the majority of whom are Christians. In Kachin state, soldiers are kidnapping, raping, torturing and killing Christians, apparently with impunity. This is despite a peace deal negotiated between the Burmese government and representatives of the predominantly Christian people group in May 2013, which it was hoped would bring an end to two years of intense suffering endured by our brothers and sisters.

Believers from the Kachin and other mainly Christian ethnic minority groups are persecuted for both their ethnicity and their faith, and continue to suffer great oppression despite Burma’s recent moves towards political reform. In Kachin state, at least 64 women and girls have been raped, 66 churches and 200 villages have been destroyed and nearly 100,000 people have been displaced since July 2011, when the army broke a 17-year ceasefire. Two Kachin people were killed by the army just two weeks after the peace deal was agreed. Then, in early September 2013, women and girls were kidnapped and gang-raped by soldiers who attacked their village. Other villagers, including a church leader, were also kidnapped and were tortured.

Throughout Burma, the authorities have continued to disrupt Christian gatherings, restrict the publication of Christian literature and prevent the construction or repair of church buildings. The government actively promotes conversion to Buddhism. Christians are sometimes forced to help build and maintain Buddhist pagodas and monasteries or to destroy church buildings. In some remote areas, children of very poor Christian families are targeted by special schools, known as Na Ta La, which offer them free food and education as well as government jobs when they graduate. At the schools, they are prevented from practising their faith and are forced to shave their heads in accordance with the teachings of Buddhism. They may be beaten or threatened with military conscription if they resist.

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    • Praise God that local police in the village of Tehsil Summodri, Faisalabad District, Pakistan acted to withdraw false allegations of blasphemy against 31 Christians and 23 other villagers. The allegations under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code (which carries a mandatory death sentence) were made on 2 September when Christians were ploughing a piece of land given to them for free by its Muslim owner to extend the local Christian cemetery. A group of Muslims accused them of desecrating Muslim graves. The police investigation revealed that the land had been a Muslim cemetery many years earlier but the graves had been moved elsewhere. They changed the charges to the lesser ones under Section 297 (which carries a maximum prison sentence of one year or a fine). It is very unusual for the Pakistani police to defend the rights of Christians in this way. Pray that others will follow their example. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 24 hours ago

    • School text-books in Turkey are still teaching that the Armenians and most other Christian minorities of the Ottoman Empire a century ago were agents of enemy foreign powers such as Britain and Russia. This, the books say, was the reason for what they call the “necessary deportation” of the Christians. Turkey still does not accept blame for the deaths of at least 1.5 million Armenian and Assyrian Christians, many massacred or dying of deprivation as they were force-marched out of their homeland. Next year, 2015, is the 100th anniversary of the worst year of the Armenian and Assyrian Genocide. Please pray that the innocent suffering of these faithful believers will be recognised by every country and that the world will resolve never to let such a genocide happen again. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Nov 2014 00:00

    • Pray for 27 Christians, believed to be from various Asian countries, who were detained overnight by the Saudi authorities on 5 September for worshipping at a private home in Khafji. The home had been under surveillance since a neighbour had reported suspicious activities there. Pray that the Lord will protect His people in Saudi Arabia, where it is illegal to practise a non-Islamic religion in public but supposedly permissible to do so in private. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Nov 2014 00:00

    • Wao, a predominantly Christian town on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines, is protesting against its inclusion in the new semi-independent Islamic region of Bangsamoro. Wao’s mayor, Elvino Balicao, is seeking exemption from the Bangsamoro government and its Islamic law and has asked that the town remain under the central government. He said that the town is 83% Christian and that local churches support exemption from Bangsamoro. Wao is in the centre of the Muslim-majority province of Lanao del Sur. Pray that the Lord will protect His people and that Wao will gain exemption from the Bangsamoro government. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Nov 2014 00:00

    • Our Father in Heaven, we lift up our brothers and sisters serving sentences in labour camps in North Korea, whether foreigners like Kenneth Bae from the USA, or the far greater number of North Korean believers whose names we do not know but You do. Please pour out Your grace into their lives as they suffer hunger, exhaustion, pain and imprisonment for the sake of Christ. May they continue steadfast in their faith, loving their enemies and praying for their persecutors. May their Christ-like lives draw other North Koreans to You. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Nov 2014 00:00

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