VOM Prayer Update – Laos, Pakistan and Azerbaijan

VOM-USA Prayer Update for February 10, 2012

The Voice of the Martyrs USA: www.persecution.com
This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

Laos—Village Leaders Retract Demands
Source: VOM Contacts

Proverbs 15:1–2
A soft answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly,
But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.

A pastor’s wise words turned away the demands of a village leader in Laos recently. On Nov. 21, 2011, seven village officials demanded that a pastor and his church members sign documents promising they would stop witnessing. The church members refused to sign, explaining that to do so would be a betrayal of God’s teachings. The village head continued to pressure them, saying, “Christians are not good people. They do not drink, smoke or participate in the important [village] occasions.” The pastor finally agreed to sign the documents under the condition that he receive copies to show Lao Communist party officials, the governor and leaders of his church denomination. The village leaders then immediately backed off of their demands. Our VOM contact wrote, “The Christians in this village are poor and uneducated people, but the Holy Spirit puts the words in their hearts to say!” Thank God for these faithful villagers, and pray that they will remain strong in the face of harassment from local officials.

Pakistan—Evangelist Faces Harassment and Spiritual Attack
Sources: VOM Contacts

Acts 1:8
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

A VOM-supported evangelist in the Afghan-Pakistan border region reports that he is being harassed by a local Muslim leader and is also under attack by spiritual forces. After a recent Christmas service that was attended by a few Muslims, the evangelist received a letter warning him that his congregation was not respecting the Muslim call to prayer. Police have monitored the evangelist’s activities, and the local mullah has told his audience that Christian activities “must be stopped.” The evangelist says the region historically has been difficult for mission workers and that he is affected spiritually when he goes on prayer walks. Pray that God will grant supernatural strength to this brother and his church.

Azerbaijan—New Laws Further Restrict Religious Freedom
Sources: Forum 18 News, VOM Canada

1 Timothy 2:1–4
Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Under new amendments to Azerbaijan’s Criminal and Administrative Codes, anyone who distributes religious materials that haven’t been through state censorship may be imprisoned for two to five years or fined the equivalent of nine years’ salary. President Ilham Aliyev signed the amendments into law on Dec. 12, 2011, the latest in a series of increasingly restrictive legislative actions by the government. In July 2011, amendments introduced new controls on religious education among other restrictions. In December 2010, fines for illegal religious activity under the Administrative Code were greatly increased, and in 2009, the Religion Law was twice amended to restrict rights and freedoms related to religion. Pray that President Aliyev will stop enacting laws that restrict the religious freedoms of his people, and pray that believers in Azerbaijan will continue to be bold in sharing their faith.

-posted by Tim A. Blankenship

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