Prayer Alert VOM Aus: VIETNAM: No Sanctuary for Degar Christians

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VIETNAM: No Sanctuary for Degar Christians

The Degar, or Montagnards, are collectively the indigenous tribal people of Vietnam. Today a remnant still survives in the Central Highlands, although systematic repression and violent persecution at the hands of the Communist regime in Hanoi threatens their existence.

Hanoi deems Degar Christianity a “reactionary” and “evil” religion. Those refusing to renounce their faith may expect prison and torture. Many have fled into Cambodia, which rejects them as illegal migrants and repatriates them at Vietnam’s request.

On 11 September the Cambodian government gave the UN refugee agency in Phnom Penh three months to repatriate some 200 Degar Christians or Cambodian security forces will do it themselves.

Vietnam has indicated that it is “ready to receive” the Montagnards and has assured the UNHCR that “it will not discriminate against or punish them.” But as noted by the deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division, Phil Robertson, Vietnam’s assurances cannot be trusted, for Degar believers have been lured back before only to be arrested and tortured on arrival.

Source: Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin

Prayer Points

  • Pray the Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen will protect the Degar Christian refugees.
  • Pray Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang will end the repression and violent persecution of Vietnam’s indigenous Degar Christians and that this crisis will shine a spotlight on Vietnam’s critical decline in religious freedom.
  • Pray the Lord will intervene for the Degar church; may they know His presence, comfort, provision and protection.

mapa vietnam

Alert from China Aid: Gao Zhisheng kidnapped again

Gao Zhisheng kidnapped again following release of experiences, torture details

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Gao Zhisheng

(Photo: China Aid)

China Aid
By Rachel Ritchie

(Yulin, Shaanxi—Sept. 24, 2015) China Aid just learned the human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who authorized the release of details concerning his torture in a Chinese prison yesterday, has been kidnapped, as he predicted would happen.

Sources say Public Security Bureau officers arrived at Gao’s home at approximately 1 p.m. and began frantically searching for Gao.

Gao previously told China Aid that he expected to be detained again after the release of his interviews with China Aid and the Associated Press and that he was prepared to be disappeared in to police custody.

He told China Aid founder and president, Bob Fu, that he was also prepared to be tortured again, because “torture can’t truly hurt” him anymore—that the Chinese dictators will be hurt the most by their actions. Gao added that he does not hate his persecutors.

China Aid calls for President Obama to immediately and resolutely press Chinese President Xi Jinping about Gao’s and call for his unconditional and immediate release.

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VOM Mexico asks that you lift Brother Gao in your prayers, for his physical, mental and spiritual health… and that his faith remain as strong as it is today. Also keep in prayer those government funtionaries responsible for his constant surveillance and abuse.

VOM Mexico sends to printers abridged Spanish study version of In the Shadow of the Cross: Theology of Persecution and Discipleship

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The three part study version of In the Shadow of the Cross by VOMC’s Glenn Penner, planned since before his death in 2010, is finally being printed, thanks to a funding project by the VOMC Mission office. The abridged version is accomodated to be more accesible to the persecuted Body of Christ in Mexico and in general.

The first study is actually taken from the last chapter in Glenn’s original text book, to present Glenn to the Mexican reader, and to exhort the church to do it’s homework… fulfill the Great Commission instead of standing by and waiting for the return of Christ to take the church out of this world, through understanding God’s reasons for waiting, or for delaying the return of Christ.

It lays the basis for the second and main part of the manual, understanding and delving into Glenn’s development of the Theology of Persecution and Discipleship, that Pastor Daniel Celis, presents from Genesis through Apocalypsis with relevant comments and a point of view that reflects his own experience and studies with the persecution of the Body of Christ in Mexico.

The third study is a presentaion of the ministerial protocols developed in a collaboration between Luis Antonio Herrera, native of Chiapas, with more than 20 years of experience in the persecution field, and Linda Picard, an American bi-vocational missionary, responsible for initially establishing the VOM Mission in Mexico.

The mediation, pastoral, and social networking skills of Luis and his organization, Coordination of Christian Organizations (Coordinacion Organizaciones Cristianas), along with Linda’s personal and social skills, combined with the love for Voice of the Martyrs as a ministry, facilitated the devolpment and refining of a first class integral program of Immediate and Secondary attention to and for the Persecuted Church in Mexico.

Added to the third study are case examples, programs, and projects to illustrate how VDLM – VOM Mexico has developed the best all round plan of attention with a small staff and little funds, and the coordination of efforts by others including pastors, churches, ministries and NGO’s.

Throughout the three studies are Interactive Dynamics taken from the VOM USA 100 Suggestions to become involved… to make this small work not just an academic study but a common sense and practical exercise in responding to: persecution, those who are persecuted, and those who are persecuting our brethren or us.

Ten thousand manuals should be available by the end of July, and will be presented at the VOM Mexico August General Assembly in Chiapas for team training in presenting the principles and ideas around Mexico. Workshops will then be sheduled in different regions with the hope of impacting the Body of Christ in Mexico, and affirming those who are actually facing persecution in the flesh.

If you are interested in supporting this project, please contact this office or VOMC for more information. Your prayers are appreciated always as we set out on this new stage of ministry.

Voice of the Martyrs in Mexico opens new Training & Distribution Center

1VDLM / VOM in Mexico has moved it’s Sinaloa support office to a new building in the same neighborhood, but with better accomodations, security, and more economical. We are looking forward to the development of our northern Mexico team, serving the northern and central states of Mexico as a bridge between those who are actually experiencing religious persecution in the flesh in Mexico and the Body of Christ who should be sensitive and respond to their needs both in prayer and physically, … opening up opportunities to serve the persecuted body of Christ on both a national and international level.

Our team consists of Janeth, Adrianna, and Jorge being trained and mentored by Founder and General Ministry Director Linda Picard, and subject to the Administration and Board members in the Chiapas ASAP Base, which supplies both immediate and secondary attention to the persecuted Body of Christ in Mexico.

DSCF5354The office is equipped to receive volunteer groups and small groups for training sessions, distribute literature and materials for VOM sponsored and related activities, and to present VOM activities for Children, Youth, Women, Leadership, and general conferences relating to Biblical & persecution themes. Tuesday we will receive formally our first volunteer group in the new office, Women in the Breach / Hearts of Fire from the ICCVU (Villa Union Congregational Women’s group) with a brief introduction to our program and goals, and then proceed to the work at hand in fabricating crafts and materials for conferences and activities around the republic.

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Work is also progressing in the preparation of several VOM themes as monthly magazines, Jorge’s work to reach out to pastors and leaders, keeping them informed,  and involving their churches, alliances or ministry groups in the work.

VOM Mexico has in the past 2 years becomes the principal source of information about religious persecution in Mexico, specifically based on its field work and the relationships of trust formed through it’s immediate attention to threated groups and families, it’s programs of support and follow up, and the coordination of aid through the work of Luis Herrera.

Please feel free to contact us directly to learn more about religious persecution in Mexico itself or to learn more about supporting this ministry and it’s outreach and projects. Persecution in Mexico is rarely reported and is often least understood for its complexity… sadly because most presume that Mexico being “Christian” precludes the presence of such barbarities as massive expulsions of Evangelical Indigenas and non Indigenas, preaching the Gospel, group prayer, building churches, children denied their rights to an an education, government aid being denied, or fees and participation required of Protestant Christians for Roman Catholic and Tribal Traditionalist fiestas and celebrations.

We, working here in Mexico have a better understanding of the complications and problems faced, and the fact that the government and human rights organizations are not interested in responding.

Prayer Points:

  • Accomodation of Sinaloa C / D Center & the training of its staff
  • Preparation and Printing of VOM Monthly Magazines
  • Development of VOM ministerial and leadership relationships in the northern and central parts of Mexico
  • Development of sensitivity and interest in those who are actually persecuted for their faith in the regions attended by our new VOM Center.
  • Development of a deeper consciousness of the actual situation in Mexico, and an attitude of mutual respect between Catholics and Evangelicals.
  • DSCF5351Jorge, Director; Janeth, Office Manager; Salome, Maintenance; Adrianna, Crafts

 

 

 

VOM Korea: What Happens When A Christian Is Imprisoned?

What Happens When A Christian Is Imprisoned?

wurmbrand, man and his workPost by Pastor Tim – Some years back North Korea separated imprisoned Christians from the rest of the concentration camp population.  Why?  Because in the midst of their own suffering, imprisoned Christians were a witness to others, and more and more prisoners came to faith in Jesus Christ!  Pastor Foley wrote about one such North Korean prison story – if you haven’t read it yet, it is worth your time.

I was reminded by this as I read Richard Wurmbrand: The Man and His Work, by Merv Knight, co-founder of Voice of the Martyrs Australia. He told the story of Nikolai Khamara who died because of being tortured in prison.  He had been tortured in severe and horrifying ways, which included burns, wounds, bruises and having his tongue cut out.  In the book Extreme Devotion, it is recorded that when threatened with having his tongue cut out Khamara replied,

Praise the Lord Jesus Christ.  There, I have said the highest words that can be said.  And if you wish, you can now cut out my tongue (Extreme Devotion, Day 264).

But what was most amazing to me was not the fact that Khamara suffered and died for the cause of Christ, but that he was originally arrested and imprisoned for robbery.  Khamara was not a Christian . . . he was a thief.  In his own words he said “I am a lost man.”  But while he was serving a 10 year prison sentence for his crimes, he was surrounded by Christians imprisoned for their faith.

Merv Knight recounted what happened to him while in prison.  He said,

Khamara watched the Christians and wondered what kind of beings they were.  They were men, but they would show joy despite their suffering and would sing in very dark hours.  When they had a piece of bread, they shared it with someone who had none.  Their faces would shine as they spoke to someone whom Khamara could not see. (pg. 18)

Through the witness of these Christians, and the realization that he was a lost man, Khamara gave his life to Christ in a prison cell.  Khamara’s life was forever changed because of the witness of those Christians who were imprisoned for their faith.

Whether it’s the more recent stories of North Korean Christians in concentration camps, or the documented stories of Christians imprisoned under the Soviet Union . . . one thing seems to always be the same – even in the worst places, Christians are sharing the gospel and Jesus is redeeming lives.

Not even prison camps or concentration camps can change that.

Mexico: Displaced protestants refused re-entry to village amid ongoing religious freedom violations in Chiapas

A group of 47 displaced Protestants from Chiapas State, Mexico, were refused re-entry to their village despite state government promises that village leaders had agreed to uphold religious freedom.

The Protestants, who were forcibly expelled from Buenavista Bahuitz village in Chiapas State in 2012, were initially told that they could only return to their homes if they converted to Roman Catholicism and participated in Roman Catholic religious activities. According to Luis Herrera, director of the Coordination of Christian Organizations of Chiapas (COOC), the group later received assurances from the state government that they had negotiated the return of the displaced group and that their religious freedom would be protected.

The government promise of action came after a month-long peaceful sit-in in front of the state government palace in Tuxtla Gutierrez by the Buenavista Bahuitz group and other communities of forcibly displaced Protestants. The sit-in ended on 1 December after the state government made verbal commitments to address their situation.

The group set out for Buenavista Bahuitz in the early hours of 20 January by bus, accompanied by some state government officials. Upon arrival at the village, they were met by village leaders who demanded that the Protestants convert to Catholicism before they would be permitted to stay. Herrara noted that the government officials present appeared to be taken by surprise by the village leaders’ stance and questioned their preparations. Negotiations were held on the spot and the village leaders eventually agreed to allow the Protestants to stay if they paid a fine which Herrera described as “extremely high.” The group declined and returned to the grounds of a church in the city of Comitán de Domínguez Tuxtla Gutirerrez where they have lived in rudimentary housing for the past two and a half years. where they have been sheltered by the Jesus es el Camino church, pastored by Josue Perez Pardo.

The events of 20 January follow a series of serious religious freedom violations and forced displacements in Chiapas this month. In early January in the municipality of San Juan Chamula, tensions erupted after Protestants in the village of Las Ollas declined to participate in festivals celebrating the Roman Catholic patron saint of Mexico, the Virgin of Guadelupe. According to the  Organización de Pueblos Evangélicos de los Altos de Chiapas (OPEACH), the villagers had been compelled to pay financial contributions to Catholic festivals in the village over the past year, but had decided they would no longer do so in December 2014. They were subsequently attacked, beaten, and had their water and electricity cut on 8 January 2015. OPEACH stated that the village leaders have also threatened to bar the Protestant children from attending school and to block Protestant families from receiving state benefits allocated to the community.

On 14 January, a group of ten Protestants were forcibly displaced from the community of La Florecilla in San Cristóbal de las Casas municipality after having their water and electricity supplies interrupted, and after being physically attacked, arbitrarily imprisoned and given a deadline by village authorities to renounce their faith or be forced to leave. Local religious leaders in San Cristóbal de las Casas, who have offered refuge to the families, informed Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) that the problem had been going on since 2011 and that numerous complaints to the municipal and state governments had been made but no action had been taken to protect the rights of the group or to uphold the rule of law.

CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said, “We are extremely disappointed that the government of Chiapas did not follow through on its promises to assure the safe return of the Buenavista Bahuitz community and to uphold their religious freedom. The events of 20 January, which have occurred amidst serious violations of religious freedom and the forced displacement of religious minorities in other parts of the state, call into question the state government’s purported commitment to defending religious freedom and addressing these and the approximately 30 other cases of religious freedom violations in the state of Chiapas. We continue to call on the state government to meet its obligations under Mexican and international law and urge the federal government to intervene if the state government is unable or unwilling to fulfill it

November 2014: IDOP Around Mexico

This year we made a greater effort from our social network sites to promote IDOP: the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. We had saw a reach extended to various nations in Latina America from Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, Puerto Rico, and around Mexico, including in the states of Tabasco, Campeche, Jalisco, Guanajuato, Chihuahua, Sinaloa, and Sonora to name a few. We are finding more and more Latinos are interested in Extreme Missions and the persecution in restricted or hostile areas. Many are paying close attention to reports about atrocities perpetrated against our Christian brethren, and the constant attacks against Christians in Nigeria, Pakistan, Siria and Irak in particular… and they want to know if what they are hearing is true or exaggerated… and how to respond. DSCF5324                            Villa Union Sinaloa… DSCF5346                            Mazatlan, Sinaloa DSCF4827                         Temas de IDOP 2014: Ten Misericordia sobre ellos Señor.

Enfoque en Siria; Las Jovencitas raptadas de Chibok, Nigeria; Irak; las familias de los jovenes deChibok; los niños y familias refugiados de Siria y Irak; Los encarcelados como Asia Bibi y Pastor Saeed; los que se sientan abandonados; Petra y los demas de Los LLanos en Chiapas; y los que no puedan adorar a Dios en iglesias, … por donde sean. DSC_0236Chiapas Mexico con Director Luis Herrera, Coordinadora Niños Valientes Lolita Hernandez y niños voluntarios. DSC_0168Eduardo Lopez de Buena Vista Grupo compartiendo en Iglesia Nazarena de Tuxtla Gutierrez. idop 3Equipo Voz de los Martires y afectados comparten sus propios testimonios en Tuxtla. idop 10 Prayer Points:

  • Concern and discernment on part of Latin American churches for their brethren who suffer for the sause of Christ.
  • Prayer and physical support for those brethren through organizations like VOM and missions.
  • For strenghth and grace of Spirit for those who personally experiment persecution for sharing and exercising their faith, to maintain their confidence and hope no matter what the cost, and in so doing win those to Christ who would persecute them.