China Just Escalated Their Brutal Persecution Of Christians To An Entirely New Level

 

Be very thankful that you don’t live in China.  Approximately one out of every seven people on the entire planet lives in China, and it has become one of the most dystopian societies that the world has ever seen.  Surveillance cameras, government spies and facial recognition scanners are everywhere, and the totalitarian “social credit score” system that is currently being rolled out is an absolute nightmare.  And the Chinese government is not content to simply control how people behave.  They also want to literally control what people believe, and the ongoing crackdown on the Christian faith has been absolutely brutal.  Over the past several years, scores of pastors have been arrested, countless underground churches have been shut down, and thousands of Bibles have been burned.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough for Chinese officials, and so they have now taken things to an entirely new level.

When the communists first came to power in China, it was a very dark time for Christians.  But underground churches started blossoming even in the midst of the persecution, and eventually there were a few decades where the national government more or less tolerated unsanctioned gatherings.  Today, it has been estimated that there are more than 100 million Christians in China, and it is being projected that China may actually have more Christians that any other nation on the planet by the year 2030.

Needless to say, the communists don’t like any threats to their power, and they see this underground movement as a very serious threat.

Under the leadership of Chinese President Xi Jinping, the persecution of unofficial churches has steadily escalated.  This year they actually tried to ban Christians from gathering on Christmas, and a series of new regulations has just been introduced that requires “total submission to the Chinese Communist Party at all times”…

A new mandate entitled “Administrative Measures for Religious Groups” has been approved by the CPC and is comprised of six chapters and 41 articles dealing with the organization, functions, offices, supervision, projects and economic administration of religious communities.

The new rules also seek to ensure that religious leaders support, promote and implement total submission to the Chinese Communist Party at all times.

So what does that sort of “submission” look like?

Well, in some cases officials have required churches to take down pictures of Jesus and replace them with pictures of President Xi Jinping.

Yes, this is how twisted things have become in China.

The new regulations also require all churches to “spread the principles and policies of the Chinese Communist Party” in all of their activities…

According to International Christian Concern, Article 5 of the new ordinance reads that “religious organizations must adhere to the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, observe the constitution, laws, regulations, ordinances and policies, adhere to the principle of independence and self-government, adhere to the directives on religions in China, implementing the values ​​of socialism …”

In addition, Article 17 specifies that all religious organizations “must spread the principles and policies of the Chinese Communist Party” in everything they do.

Any church that does not go along is likely to be raided and shut down at any time.

For example, Pastor Wang Yi once led one of the most important underground churches in all of China, but his church was raided and he was arrested.

And now we have learned that he has just been sentenced to nine years in prison…

Wang Yi, a leader in one of the most well-known Christian congregations in China, has been quietly sentenced to nine years in prison, according to a statement on the website of the Intermediate People’s Court of Chengdu Municipality.

The sentencing is the latest incident in an ongoing crackdown on organized religion in China. Early Rain Covenant Church, which Wang founded in 2008, attracted about 500 followers and was considered one of the most influential “underground churches” in China, operating independently of the state.

According to Chinese officials, Pastor Yi received such a harsh sentence for “subverting state power”.

Of course it isn’t just pastors that are being arrested.  Countless numbers of ordinary Chinese citizens have been swept up during the raids, and many are never seen or heard from again.

One Chinese Christian woman told the Los Angeles Times what happened to her when she was interrogated…

Li Chengju glared at her prison interrogator as he pressed her to renounce her Christian church and condemn her pastor.

Her captor warned she would not be so lucky as the pastor, who was locked in secret detention but at least might get a day in court.

“Look at you. You sweep the floors at church,” the interrogator said. “You think you’re getting a trial like your pastor? You don’t qualify.”

The way that the Chinese are treating their citizens is absolutely reprehensible, and unless they completely change course we should not be conducting any trade with them at all.

Sadly, the “five-year plan” that was launched in 2018 to indoctrinate churches all over China is not even halfway done…

The government calls its campaign “Sinicization” — a euphemism for turning faith into a tool for indoctrination in Chinese Communist Party ideology. The official five-year plan, issued in 2018, calls for inserting “patriotic education” and “socialist core values” into churches, revising the Bible and using church sermons to enforce party leadership and reject foreign influences.

The persecution of Christians is likely to get even worse in China, and this comes at a time when Christian persecution is on the rise all over the world.  This is something that many of us have been anticipating because of the times in which we live, but it is still horrifying to actually watch it happen.

As I close this article, I would like to share a message from Pastor Wang Yi that was posted on Facebook after he was arrested.  May his words inspire all of us to live every moment and to be the people that we were created to be…

“I hope God uses me, by means of first losing my personal freedom, to tell those who have deprived me of my personal freedom that there is an authority higher than their authority, and that there is a freedom that they cannot restrain, a freedom that fills the church of the crucified and risen Jesus Christ.”

“Regardless of what crime the government charges me with, whatever filth they fling at me, as long as this charge is related to my faith, my writings, my comments, and my teachings, it is merely a lie and temptation of demons. I categorically deny it. I will serve my sentence, but I will not serve the law. I will be executed, but I will not plead guilty.”

“Those who lock me up will one day be locked up by angels. Those who interrogate me will finally be questioned and judged by Christ. When I think of this, the Lord fills me with a natural compassion and grief toward those who are attempting to and actively imprisoning me. Pray that the Lord would use me, that he would grant me patience and wisdom, that I might take the gospel to them.”

“Separate me from my wife and children, ruin my reputation, destroy my life and my family – the authorities are capable of doing all of these things. However, no one in this world can force me to renounce my faith; no one can make me change my life; and no one can raise me from the dead.”

“Jesus is the Christ, son of the eternal, living God. He died for sinners and rose to life for us. He is my king and the king of the whole earth yesterday, today, and forever. I am his servant, and I am imprisoned because of this. I will resist in meekness those who resist God, and I will joyfully violate all laws that violate God’s laws.”

– Pastor Wang Yi, “My Declaration of Faithful Disobedience” (Click to Source)


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The Exodus: Christians Fleeing Gaza, Fearing Persecution

by Elizabeth Blade

A 60-year-old Christian from Gaza is now living on the streets of Nazareth but says he prefers to stay there than to go back to Gaza, where he had lived his entire life.

Kamal Tarazi fled the Gaza Strip in 2007 after Hamas, an Islamic group considered a terrorist outfit in Israel, seized control of the enclave, ousting its previous government, officials from Fatah.

“The moment they took control, they started persecuting us, ruining our churches and forcing Christians to convert to Islam”, the 60-year-old Christian recalls.

The Turning Point

It was then that Tarazi decided to organise demonstrations against the movement, uniting Christians and Muslims alike. The calls to act didn’t move the masses, but they did anger Hamas.

“I was jailed several times. Do you know what a Hamas prison is? It is pure torture”, he explains, adding that the Islamic group decided to keep him alive to avoid depicting themselves as persecutors of the local Christian population, something that could potentially anger the international community.

After two months in prison, Tarazi had had enough. Shortly before Christmas, he applied for a permit that would allow him to cross the border into Israel and then travel to Bethlehem – located in the West Bank – to attend a series of religious ceremonies.

Once the permit was given and the border was crossed, Tarazi vowed he would never go back, and he is not alone.

Gaza’s Christian community has been steadily declining over the years. Before Hamas came to power in 2007, Christians made up some 3,500 people in the Strip. Now, however, there are no more than 1,300 and Tarazi says the actual number is even lower.

“I am sure there are no more than 500 Christians left in Gaza and it is just part of the general trend”, he explains.

Over the years, many Gazans decided to flee the Strip, unable to cope with the difficult security and economic situation.

In 2018 alone, some 35,000 Gazans fled the Strip and Tarazi says the number of those who have left since 2007 surpassed 200,000 people.

“For Gaza, with its total population of 1.8 million, this number is significant”, he continues.

The Comeback

Despite promises he would never go back fearing for his life, Tarazi decided to give it a try in 2014, shortly before Israel started its operation Protective Edge aimed at putting an end to the continuous rocket barrage emanating from the Strip and targeting Israel’s southern communities.

“I missed my family and wanted to see how they were doing”, he says. But when he came home, he found an empty place.

“My wife and daughter left the flat where we used to live and moved in with my parents-in-law. As for my house, Hamas turned it into a warehouse, where they kept rockets and various ammunition”, he goes on, adding that he wanted to flee again but the Islamic group wouldn’t let him do so, imprisoning him for several months.

That, however, didn’t silence Tarazi and every time he was out of prison, he gathered crowds sending a clear message to Hamas: “Bidna Naesh” – Arabic for “we want to live”.

Similar protests have been staged by other peace activists but just like in the case of Tarazi, they too were silenced.

Hamas’s Days Numbered?

But Tarazi says the policy to silence those who oppose the Hamas regime cannot continue for too long. “Christians and Muslims live well together in Gaza but both are tired of this organisation that kills and damages everything around them. Their days are numbered”, he warns, adding that the situation in Gaza is explosive.

In Gaza, where 75 percent of the population lives in poverty, the unemployment rate is 52 percent, and the average salary is less than $20 a day, some 68 percent of Palestinians describe their situation as either bad or very bad, according to a recent poll conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research.

Leaving for good

“My situation was so bad and I was so desperate to leave that at some stage I tore my clothes off in public and wanted to set myself ablaze”, Tarazi recalls, adding that Hamas prevented him from doing so. To hush him they finally gave him a permit to leave Gaza, five years after his return.

“Initially I went to Bethlehem and from there to a church in Nazareth that gave me shelter for some time, until one day they asked me to pay for the accommodation they provided me with, which of course I couldn’t afford, and that pushed me to the streets of Nazareth, where I currently live”, he continues.

With winter approaching, no money in his pocket, and no Israeli job permit, Tarazi relies on the aid of charity organisations.

But help won’t come as Israel lacks relevant bodies that could take care of Tarazi’s needs.

“Israel has organisations that take care of African refugees and NGOs that help Palestinians with mainly legal advice but none of them will be able to provide him with housing, medication or even food”, explained a representative of Gisha, a non-profit organisation that protects the freedom of movement of Palestinians.

Tarazi, mewanwhile, continues to stroll along the streets of Nazareth, hoping that ordinary citizens will show more empathy.

Sputnik reached out to a number of other NGOs and aid organisations but none was able to help. Hamas hasn’t responded to a request for comment by the time of publication. (Click to Source)


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United Nations refugee camps put Christians last for food, shelter, baby items

Posted by  on December 20, 2019

Christians often languish in the United Nations refugee camps in Iraqi Kurdistan.

I discovered this when I was in Iraq last month documenting the good work the Nazarene Fund has been doing with our Save the Christians fundraising money.

The shortcomings in relief efforts are because the United Nations is completely inept but also because the bigotry against Christians doesn’t stop at the fence that wraps around the enormous camps.

Christians refugees inside the UN camps can be the last to get food, shelter, diapers for their babies, and clean clothing and bedding. And their refugee paperwork can mysteriously get “lost”, leaving them no way out.

The Nazarene Fund, and their in-country partners at White Mountain Research, fill in the gaps in resources given to Christian refugees in the region by going into the UN camps to deliver food aid to Christian families.

All the money and power in the world and the United Nations is failing the Christians of Iraq and Syria. (Click to Source)


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UN Officials Block Syrian Christian Refugees from Getting Help

Syrian Refugees | 2019-12-08 18:15:49

Christian Syrian refugees have told CBN News that they have been blocked from getting help from the United Nations Refugee Agency, the UNHCR, by Muslim UN officials in Jordan.

UN Response to Syrian Christians? Get Lost

One of the refugees, Hasan, a Syrian convert to Christianity, told us in a phone call that Muslim UN camp officials “knew that we were Muslims and became Christians and they dealt with us with persecution and mockery. They didn’t let us into the office. They ignored our request.”

A clear pattern of discrimination by the United Nations refugee agency in Jordan against Christians. And it appears to be one reason that while tens of thousands of Syrian Muslim war refugees have been settled in the United States and Britain, only a small number have been Christian.

And the two governments that could stop this persecution of Christian refugees – the US and Britain – have done little to nothing about it.

A Former Archbishop of Canterbury Says “Enough”

Lord George Carey is suing Britain’s home office alleging that “politically correct” officials have been “institutionally biased” against Christian refugees. He also wants to find out why out of 60-thousand Syrian war refugees accepted into the United States and Britain in 2014, almost none were Christians.

Lord Carey’s attorney, Paul Diamond, explains the case:

“You have this absurd situation where the scheme is set up to help Syrian refugees and the people most in need, Christians who have been “genocided,” they can’t even get into the U.N. camps to get the food. If you enter and say I am a Christian or convert, the Muslim U.N. guards will block you [from] getting in and laugh at you and mock you and even threaten you.

Christian Refugee Viewed as the Enemy by Muslim UN Officials

Another Syrian refugee, Timothy, who told us he became a Christian after seeing Jesus in a dream, said he was also blocked from entering a refugee camp by Muslim UN officials.

“All of the United Nations officials, most of them, 99 percent, they are Muslims,” Timothy explained from Jordan, “and they were treating us as enemies.”

Diamond says, “Sunni Muslim officials have blocked the way. They’ve laughed at them, threatened them, said ‘You shouldn’t have converted. You’re an idiot for converting. You get what you get,’ words to that effect.”

Carey says by doing nothing, western governments are complicit in what calls “the steady crucifixion of Middle East Christians.”

“And no simple measures are taken by both the British and the American government,’ Diamond says, “It would be simple just to open up a refugee camp for religious minorities, for Christians, Yazidis, whatever they are, and they’d be safe. But no one does that.”

Nations Also Deporting Christian Refugees to Certain Imprisonment or Death

Christians refugees who have made it to western countries are increasingly being deported back to Muslim nations, with no regard for the danger they will face.

Swedish attorney Gabriel Donner who represents Christian asylum seekers, says Sweden is now deporting up to one-third of Christian refugees back to Muslim nations where they are likely to be imprisoned or killed.

One of those Christian refugees now facing imminent deportation is Iman Amir-Ourang from Iran, shown here with members of his church in a foot washing. He says Swedish officials either did not understand or care about the evidence of his Christian faith.

Amir-Ourang told us, “There are so many atheists living in Sweden, so they can’t believe in somebody that believes in God. So just because they don’t believe in our Lord, they don’t trust anybody else to believe in the Lord either.”

“They don’t understand the message in the Bible. It’s just completely alien to them,” Donner added.

Britain Ignores Christian Refugees While Welcoming ISIS Children

President Trump told CBN News in 2017 that Christian refugees would be given priority. But Muslim governments officially classify Christians as security threats, causing their asylum applications to western countries to be rejected.

The UN Refugee program did not respond to our request for answers.

Lord Carey has publicly appealed for money in his suit against the British home office, which has already threatened the 84-year churchman with all court costs if he loses.

Meanwhile, Britain’s Home office is spending a lot of time and money on the resettlement of the children of ISIS terrorists. (Click to Source)

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China Update – A Message from the Church in China

Do you notice anything different about the above photo? It was taken earlier this year, and shows a group of Christians from the Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, China. The photo shows faithful believers meeting in a public park after their services were shut down and their leaders taken away. Starting last December, more than 100 members of this fellowship have been arrested, with many being tortured in prison.

If you look closely, you will see that many have packed bags next to them as they worship the Lord. They brought their clothes and personal items to the open-air meeting in case they were arrested and taken to prison. Across China right now thousands of churches are going through similar intense hardship.

In this newsletter we would like to give a brief summary of what is presently happening in the Chinese Church. The situation is fluid and changing daily, but our contacts in China have shared the following update, followed by a special message from 2 Corinthians chapter 4, which seems particularly relevant and will hopefully greatly encourage you in your own walk with God.

First, an update on some of the recent developments in China:

* Thousands of churches continue to be closed down, and many pastors and evangelists have been arrested. This is true both of city churches and rural fellowships. The persecution is nationwide, and is the result of the implementation of new anti-religion laws introduced in 2017 and 2018.

* Many large city churches have tried to protect their brothers and sisters in the countryside by providing resources, finances and teaching so their faith will be strengthened and better able to withstand the storm. Although the most severe persecution first affected the cities, it has now spread even to small towns and villages. The majority of Chinese Christians remain poor farmers and factory workers.

* Many house church leaders have gone missing. Large numbers have been arrested, while others have gone into hiding. Invasive technology, however, means it is now very difficult to remain anonymous in China. Some leaders have decided they should simply continue to serve God openly, and they are ready to face whatever consequences their actions may bring.

* Even many government-registered Three-Self churches are undergoing a fiery trial. Video cameras with facial-recognition technology have been placed behind pulpits, facing the congregation, and on the walls above church entrances. Scripture posters have been forcibly removed from the walls of many churches and replaced with portraits of President Xi or the national flag.

* All children’s ministry has been banned. This has always been a particularly sensitive topic for the Communist authorities in China. Children are being encouraged to tell on their classmates if they are involved in any religious activity.

* All over the country various local initiatives have been launched in an attempt to stop the growth of Christianity. For example, in the city of Guangzhou the authorities announced they will pay 10,000 Yuan (about US$1,500) to citizens who disclose the names of any missionaries (foreign or Chinese) who work in their city.

* In Henan, which is the province with the largest number of Christians in China, the authorities have issued a paper entitled, “Christianity’s Enormous Harm on China’s Security.” Such reports show how insecure the government is as they seek to consolidate their hold on power. In reality, Christians in China are the most peaceable, hard-working and obedient members of society.

* There is a massive shortage of Bibles right now. The churches are facing a famine of God’s Word as printing slows down, and in many places appears to have come to a halt. Bibles are becoming increasingly rare, and many websites and apps that enabled believers to access the Scriptures have been blocked by the government. Asia Harvest is one of a few organizations still able to provide Bibles to China’s house church Christians.

Please pray for this urgent need. Without the nourishment of God’s Word, the Body of Christ in China will wither.

A Message from the Church in China (from 2 Corinthians 4)

“Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the Word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.” (2 Cor. 4:1-2).

The first thing that we Christians in China would like the global Body of Christ to know is that we have not lost heart. Although we are experiencing a severe trial and some people have given up the faith, we are thankful for the hardship, because God is pruning His Church. It is vital that all believers know that it’s not Satan or any government that prunes God’s Church. The Master Gardener is our loving and wise Heavenly Father!

The reason the Lord prunes is to make the vine even more fruitful, for He said: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful” (John 15:1-2). Therefore we do not lose heart, for we know our lives are completely in the hands of our all-powerful Lord and Savior. At the moment, He is getting rid of some unfruitful branches among His people in China, so that His Church will be refined and more holy as we march forward in spiritual warfare.

We look forward to the time when we will be more fruitful for the kingdom of God. In the meantime, we will not stop proclaiming the Gospel, and we are willing to lay down our lives if necessary so that all of China will hear about Jesus Christ.

“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Cor. 4:3-5).

While our lives are firmly in God’s hands, we also recognize that the source of attacks on the Church is the devil. Mankind has been locked in a fierce battle with Satan ever since God declared: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15). The word “enmity” means much more than a separation. This was the commencement of a full-on war to death, as the devil seeks to destroy mankind, especially those people who reflect the character and goodness of God.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Cor. 4:7-9).

We praise the Lord that He sets limits on what man can do to us. Although millions of believers throughout China are now without a church building to go to and countless home meetings have also been closed down, our faith is strong. The truth of God’s Word and the indwelling sweet presence of the Holy Spirit can never be taken from us. We are not afraid, for the Lord Jesus told us, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).

“We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body” (2 Cor. 4:10).

Hallelujah! Already we are seeing the benefits of this time of purging in China. In many places, instead of being decimated, churches are experiencing growth! The hardship has caused Christians to become more serious about our faith, and the gospel ie being boldly proclaimed, resulting in even more people pressing into the kingdom of God.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Cor. 4:16-18).

Finally, brothers and sisters around the world, we want to thank God for you, for we are all members of the same family. Thank you for praying for the Church in China! Although your struggles may be different from ours right now, we know that the Lord is passionate for His people, and He will never abandon us. God’s purpose in suffering is always to humble us, so that we will rely not on our own futile strength, but on the power of His might. We want to conclude by reminding all Christians of this exhortation:

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings” (1 Peter 5:6-9). (Click to Source)

 

 

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Africa: Alarming Rise of Christian Persecution

by Uzay Bulut

  • “In some regions, the level and nature of persecution is arguably coming close to meeting the international definition of genocide, according to that adopted by the UN.” — The Independent Review of FCO support for Persecuted Christians.
  • “The assailants asked the Christians to convert to Islam, but the pastor and the others refused. They ordered them to gather under a tree and took their Bibles and mobile phones. Then they called them, one after the other, behind the church building where they shot them dead.” — World Watch Monitor, May 2, 2019.
  • As the British report demonstrates, persecution against Christians and other non-Muslims is not about the ethnicity, race or skin color of either the perpetrators or the victims; it is about their religion.
  • If these crimes are not stopped, it is highly likely that the fate of the African Continent will be like that of the Middle East: Once it was a majority-Christian region; now, Christians are a tiny, dying, defenseless minority.

According to a recent interim report published in the U.K., “it is estimated that one third of the world’s population suffers from religious persecution in some form, with Christians being the most persecuted group.”

Although the full report — commissioned by British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and conducted by the Bishop of Truro, the Right Reverend Philip Mounstephen — was due to be released by Easter this year, “the scale and nature of the phenomenon [of Christian persecution] simply required more time,” accordingto the report. As a result, Mounstephen explained, the “interim” findings released in April are incomplete, and the final report will be published at the end of June.

According to the “overview” section of the interim “Independent Review of FCO support for Persecuted Christians”:

“In some regions, the level and nature of persecution is arguably coming close to meeting the international definition of genocide, according to that adopted by the UN.”

Africa — now home to the greatest number of Christians in the world — is one such region.

On June 16, for instance, a Christian elementary school in a Muslim village in Uganda was destroyed, International Christian Concern (ICC) reported.

On June 15, “a mob of Muslim protestors set a church ablaze in Maradi, the third largest city in Niger. The incident was a response to the arrest of a very prominent Imam who was arrested after he claimed the country’s proposed legislation on worship was ‘anti-Islamic.'”

On June 9 and 10, two terrorist attacks in Burkina Faso left 29 Christians dead. This purposeful slaughter of Christians came less than two months after the April 28 massacre of 80-year-old pastor, Pierre Ouédraogo, and other members of his congregation in Burkina Faso, by armed Islamists. A local leader, who requested anonymity, told World Watch Monitor:

“The assailants asked the Christians to convert to Islam, but the pastor and the others refused. They ordered them to gather under a tree and took their Bibles and mobile phones. Then they called them, one after the other, behind the church building where they shot them dead.”

On June 7, a Christian woman in Niger was kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists and released three days later with a letter calling on all Christians to “leave the town within three days or be killed.”

The above incidents are not isolated. According to the 2019 World Watch Listcompiled by Open Doors, a persecution watchdog group:

“While the violent excesses of ISIS and other Islamic militants have mostly disappeared from headlines from the Middle East, their loss of territory there means that fighters have dispersed to a larger number of countries not only in the region but, increasingly, into sub-Saharan Africa. Their radical ideology has inspired, or infiltrated, numerous splinter groups such as Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), a deadly group that broke away from Nigeria’s Boko Haram that also enslaves Christian women and girls as an integral part of their strategy.”

Terrorist groups are not the only sources of persecution in Africa. Many Muslim governments and individuals also target Christians.

According to the Open Doors 2019 report, the situation in many African nations is as follows:

In Somalia, there is a “life of violence and isolation” for the Christian community that numbers only a few hundred.

“Estimates suggest that 99 percent of Somalis are Muslims, and any minority religions are heavily persecuted. The Christian community is small and under constant threat of attack. Sharia law and Islam are enshrined in the country’s constitution, and the persecution of Christians almost always involves violence. Additionally, in many rural areas, Islamic militant groups like al-Shabab are de facto rulers. Somali Christians often must hide their faith to stay safe.”

Libya is home to a Christian population of only around 38,000.

“Converts to Christianity face abuse and violence for their decision to follow Christ. Libya is also home to many migrant workers who have been attacked, sexually assaulted and detained, which can be even worse if it is discovered they are Christians.”

Sudan is home to 1.9 million Christians.

“The country has been ruled as an Islamic state with limited rights for religious minorities and heavy restrictions on freedom of speech and press. Christians, whose population is over 1,900,000, face discrimination and pressure— multiple church buildings were demolished in 2017 and 2018, leaving some Christians without a place to worship. Christian converts from Islam are especially targeted for persecution.”

In Eritrea, sometimes called “Africa’s North Korea”, there are around 2.5 million Christians, and many suffer in prisons.

“Since 1993, President Isaias Afwerki has overseen a brutal authoritarian regime that rests on massive human rights violations. In 2018, there were raids on churches, and hundreds of Christians were imprisoned in inhumane conditions. Additionally, there are estimates that other Christians are currently in Eritrea’s vast prison network, but no one knows how many there are or if they are still alive.”

Nigeria, where over 90 million Christians live, is one of the worst places in Africa for Christians.

“Nigeria’s score for violence has stayed as high as possible, primarily due to the increased attacks on Christian communities by militant Fulani herdsmen. These attacks claimed the lives of hundreds of believers during the reporting period, and villages and churches burned to the ground. Additionally, in parts of northern Nigeria, Christians are treated as second-class citizens. Christians from Muslim backgrounds face persecution from their own families”.

Christians in Egypt, whose Christian population is 9,937,600, suffer from persecution in various ways.

“Those with Muslim backgrounds face enormous pressure from immediate and extended families to return to Islam. Severe restrictions on building or securing places for worship prevent Christians from congregating, in addition to hostility and violence toward believers who do gather. In recent years, Islamic extremist groups have targeted Christians and churches in numerous violent and deadly acts of persecution.”

In the Central African Republic (CAR), the main religion is Christianity, and the Christian population numbers more than 3,450,000.

“Over the last year, the situation has worsened for CAR Christians who face intensifying pressure from Muslims. Christians are also threatened by jihadists and criminal groups in the country whose actions often overlap. And Christian civilians are still caught in the violent conflict between the mainly Muslim Seleka and self-defense militant groups called anti-Balaka.”

Algeria, where around 125,000 Christians live, “has seen an increasing number of churches closed” over the last year.

“At the same time, Christian converts have become more open about their faith, leading to a backlash by Muslim families and the intolerant society. Laws regulating non-Muslim worship, banning conversion and prohibiting blasphemy make proselytizing and public expression of the Christian faith dangerous as well.”

In Mali, the Christian population is 425,000.

“The West African country has become increasingly militant. In the northern part of the country especially, this intolerance has resulted in increasing violence against Christians from jihadist and criminal groups that have a vested interest in keeping the country mired in chaos and instability.”

In Mauritania, there are only around 10,000 Christians from population of 4.5 million people.

“The ‘Islamic Republic of Mauritania’ — the autocratic government of Africa’s 11th largest country — often acts as protector of the Islamic religion. As a result, the state is a major source of persecution. Radical Islamic preachers and militants contribute to the radicalization of society, fueling antagonism and hatred toward non-Muslims. Additionally, a caste system marginalizes darker-skinned Mauritanians and those who do not adhere to Islam.”

In Ethiopia, where the main religion is Christianity and the Christian population numbers more than 64 million, “radical Islam is growing at the local, regional and national levels. Particularly in the rural areas, where Muslims are the majority, Christians are harassed and often denied access to communal resources.”

Morocco has a Christian population of around 31,500.

“Christians suffer persecution from both the state and society. There are restrictions imposed by the state on Christians, such as confiscation of Christian materials written in Arabic, restrictions on evangelization and difficulty getting places of worship for believers from a Muslim background. Radical Muslims within the general populace also put pressure on Christians. In rural areas, pressure from family and community can also be considerable.”

In Tunisia, for the small community of Christians numbering around 24,000, “life within Islamic society comes with hostility and daily pressure.”

“And the threat of Islamic militant activity—especially by those returning from fighting with ISIS—is still worrying, with one suicide-attack on a police station in Tunis in September and a major attack in the border region with Algeria in July 2018.”

In Kenya, another African nation where the main religion is Christianity, Christians are targeted both by Muslim officials and terror groups.

“Inspired by Islamic radicals in Somalia, Muslim politicians have made it their agenda to eliminate Christianity. Officials often demand churches do things that are not in line with their faith, while militants viciously carry out suicide bomb attacks and other brutal acts against those considered to be the enemies of Islam. Due to corruption inside the government agencies, those operating against Christians tragically often enjoy impunity.”

In a May 21 article for Open Doors, Lindy Lowry says that Boko Haram, founded in 2002 in Nigeria, has expanded into neighboring countries:

“They have conducted terrorist attacks in Niger, Chad and Cameroon, which have resulted in dramatic refugee and humanitarian crises. They are even regarded as ‘slave raiders’ who target women in raids for ‘wives’ in the areas around Lake Chad, which borders Chad, Niger, Cameroon and Nigeria…

“In Rwanda, the country has closed thousands of churches and has arrested at least six pastors since February 2018 for ‘noise pollution’ and failing to comply with building regulations. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s eastern province of North Kivu, leaders of the church have been targeted and killed. Reportedly, at least 15 armed extremist groups were known to be operating in the area.”

As the British report demonstrates, persecution against Christians and other non-Muslims is not about the ethnicity, race or skin color of either the perpetrators or the victims; it is about their religion. In Africa, various Islamist groups and individuals are attacking and attempting to annihilate Christians for being Christian. If these crimes are not stopped, it is highly likely that the fate of the African Continent will be like that of the Middle East: Once it was a majority-Christian region; now, Christians are a tiny, dying, defenseless minority. (Click to Source)

Uzay Bulut, a Turkish journalist, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.

Iraqi Christian survives being burned alive by ISIS 3 times: ‘[Jesus] spoke to me’

By Caleb Parke | Fox News

An Iraqi Christian who said Jesus appeared to him twice in his dreams recounts being imprisoned by ISIS, tortured and burned three times by the terrorist group.

The man, a Yazidi, recounts his harrowing story in a documentary by Sean Feucht and Bethel Music.

“The Yazidis… were really targeted by ISIS for genocide…they were raped, they were beaten, they were executed,” Feucht told Fox News. “ISIS didn’t even want to imprison them, they just wanted to kill them, wipe them off the map.”

Feucht interviewed the man, who was not named, through his non-profit, Light A Candle Project, which goes into all parts of the world but primarily Iraq, where the Islamic State was at the height of its brutality, to help people who’ve experienced some of the world’s worst suffering.

Sean Feucht, the founder of The Light A Candle Project, told an Iraqi Christian who was tortured by ISIS that Jesus appeared to him in his dreams because he loves him. His story was their first supernatural encounter documented in an upcoming documentary with Bethel Music called "Heart and Hands: Iraq."

Sean Feucht, the founder of The Light A Candle Project, told an Iraqi Christian who was tortured by ISIS that Jesus appeared to him in his dreams because he loves him. His story was their first supernatural encounter documented in an upcoming documentary with Bethel Music called “Heart and Hands: Iraq.” (Bethel Music)

 

The Yazidi man says he was burned alive three times by ISIS after they found out he was a follower of Christ. He said his body “didn’t burn” a single time when he was imprisoned and tortured by the radical Islamic terrorists for two months.

“He spoke to me,” the persecuted Christian shared, referencing Jesus in his dreams.

Feucht told him: “Jesus appeared twice to you in a dream because He loves you.”

The man said he was stoned and ISIS members drenched him in 20 gallons of gasoline. But even though he was burned alive, he said he inexplicably survived unharmed. He credited Jesus for surviving.

“And they burned me, but I didn’t burn,” he said.

 

 

The Iraqi Christian’s story is one account from the upcoming documentary film “Hearts and Hands: Iraq” that is expected to be released later this year. A preview was shown at the “Heaven Come” conference in Los Angeles.

Feucht said it shows what persecuted Christians go through overseas.

His group recently raised over $100,000 to distribute food, blankets, mattresses, and other materials, as well as offering trauma therapy counseling and kids programs, teaching music, and praying with persecuted Christians in the region where Christianity once flourished but is now near extinction, according to faith leaders.

“I feel like we’re really called to the most persecuted, closed, dark, marginalized places,” he said. Over the past 15 years, the Bethel Music worship leader has gone into North Korea, India, Afghanistan…”some of the topmost closed countries and places where it’s illegal to be a Christian,” he said. But they said they’ve seen and heard stories of incredible miracles.

Bethel Music worship leaders Bethany Wohrle and Sean Feucht play music with refugees as part of the "Light A Candle Project."

Bethel Music worship leaders Bethany Wohrle and Sean Feucht play music with refugees as part of the “Light A Candle Project.” (Rachel Soh)

 

Feucht said he is encouraged by the growth of the church in Iraq, China, and India, places where it is most persecuted.

“Our team’s in Iraq right now, and the U.S. State Department just sent out this notification that said ‘All US personnel leave Iraq’ and all the NGOs left but our guys are still there. We were there through ISIS. We’ve been there through the worst of the worst,” Feucht said. “Everyone thought we were crazy. Right as everyone was leaving, we came in, and because of it, we have a thriving, flourishing project there.”

For Feucht, mission work is in his family’s DNA, as the son of medical missionaries who took him on trips to unreached people and remote places, he has seen what most Americans Christians, who make up just 5 percent of the global Christian population, don’t get to see.

“We want to re-define missions for a generation to where we’re actually the first ones to respond,” Feucht concluded. “That’s the essence of the gospel to go into places where no one else is willing to go.” (Click to Source)

Hindu Radical Leader Calls for Forced Sterilization of Christians and Muslims in India

05/03/2019 India (International Christian Concern) – As India continues to go to the polls in what is set to be the biggest democratic election in history, Deva Thakur, vice president of the radical Hindu Mahasabha Party, has called for the forced sterilization of Indian Christians and Muslims. The radical leader also called on Hindus to have more children in order to counter the rise in India’s Christian and Muslim populations.

Speaking to reporters last Saturday, Thakur explained that Christians and Muslims are a threat to Hindus and “have to be forced to undergo sterilization.

Thakur and the Hindu Mahasabha Party are no strangers to controversy. In the past, they have used religiously divisive language to stir up anti-minority sentiments in their campaign to establish India has a Hindu nation.

In particular, Thakur’s recent sterilization statement speaks directly to a fear held by radical Hindu nationalists that India is being overrun by Christians and Muslims. Speaking to Asia News, John Dayal, General Secretary of the All India Christian Council, explained, “For Thakur, the population of Muslims and Christians is growing day by day. To rein this in, the [government] will have to impose emergency [measures] and Muslims and Christians will have to be forced to undergo sterilization so they can’t increase their numbers.

[Hindu radicals] raised a racket when the 2016 census showed the Hindu population under the 80% mark,” Dayal recalled. Although this was a drop less than 1%, it was enough to fuel fears that Muslims and Christians in India would eventually overtake Hindus.

In an election already marred by religiously divisive rhetoric, Thakur’s sterilization statement belies the dark consequences of radical Hindu nationalists coming to power. For many religious minorities in India, it is hoped that the current elections will bring change to the country and bring in a government that respects religious freedom and the rights of minorities. (Click to Source)

 

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Muslim who sought to kill Christian cousin embraces faith after Jesus appears in dream

 CURRENT PAGE:WORLD | WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2019

By Leah MarieAnn Klett, Christian Post Reporter

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An Egyptian Muslim who planned to kill his cousin for converting to Christianity has shared how he embraced the religion he once hated after Jesus delivered a powerful message to him in a dream.

Mostafa, a new convert in Egypt, recently shared with persecution watchdog Open Doors how he traveled to Cairo with the intention of killing his cousin, Mohammad, who had converted from Islam to Christianity.

In Egypt, converting from Islam to Christianity is seen as a betrayal of one’s family and heritage. Christian converts risk losing their family, friends, and even their lives.

After finding his cousin sitting in a Christian worship service, Mostafa slipped behind him and waited to make his move. But as he listened to the songs and prayers, he noticed that the words he was hearing appealed to him.

Following the service, Mostafa approached Mohammad with tears in his eyes: “I came all the way from our family’s village to spy on you and see if you had indeed become a Christian,” he said. “I should inform your family about what I saw, but I just can’t. I think the choice you made might have been the right one. Can you tell me more? Why did you leave Islam for Christianity?”

That evening, the cousins spent hours talking about the Gospel. That night, Mostafa had a dream. He saw Jesus on the cross, looking at him and saying: “I did all of this because I love you, and I want you to be free from your sins.”

The next morning, Mostafa told Mohammed what he saw in his dream and asked his cousin to pray together with him for his salvation.

Mostafa recalled telling God: “I planned to kill my cousin, Your follower. But now I am prepared to give my life for You myself.”

The following month, Mostafa was baptized with his cousin standing next to him. He hasn’t told his family that he and Mohammed are now followers of Jesus, and the two men are currently living as secret believers.

Egypt is No. 16 on Open Doors’ World Watch List and continues to be a country that poses extreme danger and violence for Christians, according to the persecution watchdog. Various Islamic extremist groups remain the largest persecutors of Christians in the country.

Despite continued persecution, a number of Christians across the Middle East have embraced Christianity. Officially, about 10% of the 95 million population are Christian, although many believe the figure is significantly higher.

Last year, a former Muslim-turned-pastor who started hundreds of churches in Pakistan told The Christian Post that many Muslims are making decisions to convert after Jesus Himself has visited them in dreams and visions.

“It’s very dangerous for anyone to preach the Word of God face-to-face in non-Western countries,” the pastor told CP. “God reveals things through dreams to evangelists/pastors. People in the East are more uneducated and unable to read the Bible so God uses this method to reach them.”

“[People] are very faithful in the East, placing themselves in positions to see the signs of God by studying the Word of God,” he added. “Eastern people watch for the signs and miracles to show that the Word of God is alive. It is a privilege, one not everyone can share in — to own a Bible in the East. In the West, people look more for wisdom, like the Greeks of old. They do not always rely on faith, which can’t be seen.”

Mission Frontiers magazine also reported that out of 600 Muslim converts, 25 percent experienced a dream that led to their conversion.

A now-former shaman in a village in northwest China shared in another article for Open Doors in July that she saw Christ while on her deathbed.

“I was in the back seat of a taxi as my brother drove me toward endless darkness. But then three men, who were wearing brilliant white robes, approached. But their light was so bright, I couldn’t see their faces,” Ting, the former shaman, said of her experience.

“They told me I must make a choice. And as they spoke, two other men wearing black robes invited me to follow them. I knew in my heart one of the men wearing a white robe was Jesus. So I followed Him.”

In 2015, an Islamic State terror group fighter who had killed Christians also turned to Christ after reportedly dreaming of “a man in white.” (Click to Source)

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How The Apostles Died/ The Death of Jesus

 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. (Matthew 5:10-12) King James Version (KJV) Public Domain

I feel this article needs to be reprinted and it is of great importance to all of our faith in Yeshua/Jesus the Messiah.

Dear Friends,
Please take the time to read all of this — very interesting and really give us something to think about….!   And, please forward to all your friends. 
 
Have a Very Blessed Day!!!
Bill
remember-the-persecuted-58-638
I’ve NEVER, EVER SEEN THIS ALL IN ONE PLACE BEFORE!

1.   Matthew 
Suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia.  Killed by a sword wound. 

2. Mark
Died in Alexandria, Egypt, after being dragged by Horses through the streets until he was dead.
 3.  Luke
Was hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous Preaching to the lost.
4.  John
Faced martyrdom when he was boiled in huge basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution In Rome.  However, he was miraculously delivered from death.  John was then sentenced to the mines on the prison Island  of  Patmos.  He wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation on Patmos.  The Apostle John was later freed and returned to serve as Bishop of Edessa in modern Turkey.  He died as an old man, the only apostle to die peacefully.

5.  Peter
He was crucified upside down on an x-shaped cross. According to church tradition, it was because he told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die In the same way that Jesus Christ had died.

6.  James
The leader of the church in Jerusalem, was thrown over a hundred feet down from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple when he refused to deny his faith in Christ.  When they discovered that he survived the fall, his enemies beat James to death with a fuller’s club.
* This was the same pinnacle where Satan had taken Jesus during the Temptation.
7.  James the Great
Son of Zebedee, was a fisherman by trade when Jesus Called him to a lifetime of ministry.  As a strong leader of the church, James was ultimately beheaded at Jerusalem.

The Roman officer who guarded James watched amazed as James defended his faith at his trial. Later, the officer Walked beside James to the place of execution.  Overcome by conviction, he declared his new faith to the judge and knelt beside James to accept beheading as a Christian.
8.  Bartholomew
Also known as Nathaniel was a missionary to Asia.  He witnessed for our Lord in present day Turkey.  Bartholomew was martyred for his preaching in Armenia where he was flayed to death by a whip.
9.  Andrew
Was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Patras, Greece.  After being whipped severely by seven soldiers, they tied his body to the cross with cords to prolong his agony.  His followers reported that, when he was led toward the cross, Andrew saluted it in these words: “I have long desired and expected this happy hour.  The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it.”  He continued to preach to his tormentors for two days until he expired. 

10.  Thomas
Was stabbed with a spear in India during one of his missionary trips to establish the church in the sub-continent.
11.  Jude
Was killed with arrows when he refused to deny his faith in Christ.
12.  Matthias
The apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot, was stoned and then beheaded.
St. Paul
Was tortured and then beheaded by the evil Emperor Nero at Rome in A.D. 67.  Paul endured a lengthy imprisonment, which allowed him to write his many epistles to the churches he had formed throughout the Roman Empire.  These letters, which taught many of the foundational doctrines of Christianity, form a large portion of the New Testament.

Perhaps this is a reminder to us.

That our sufferings here are indeed minor compared to the intense persecution and cold cruelty faced by the apostles and disciples during their times for the sake of the faith.  And ye shall be hated of all men for My name’s sake:  But he that endureth to the end shall be saved. 

Faith is not believing that God can;
it is knowing that God WILL!”
Jesus’ Death: For the next 60 seconds, set aside whatever you are doing and take this opportunity!
Let’s see if Satan can stop this.

THE (SCIENTIFIC) DEATH OF JESUS
At the age of 33, Jesus was condemned to death.  At the time Crucifixion was the “worst” death. Only the worst criminals were condemned to be crucified. Yet it was even more dreadful for Jesus, unlike other criminals condemned to death by Crucifixion, Jesus was to be nailed to the Cross by His hands and feet.
Each nail was 6 to 8 inches long. The nails were driven into His wrist. Not into His palms as is commonly portrayed. There’s a tendon in the wrist that
extends to the shoulder. The Roman guards knew that when the nails were being hammered into the wrist that tendon would tear and break, forcing Jesus to use His back muscles to support himself so that He could breathe.
Both of His feet were nailed together. Thus He was forced to support Himself on the single nail that impaled His feet to the cross.  Jesus could not support himself with His legs because of the pain, so He was forced to alternate between arching His back then using his legs just to continue to breathe.  Imagine the struggle, the pain, the suffering, the courage. Jesus endured this reality for over 3 hours. Yes, over 3 hours! Can you imagine this kind of suffering?  A few minutes before He died, Jesus stopped bleeding.  He was simply pouring water from his wounds.  From common images, we see wounds to His hands and feet and even the spear wound to His side…  But, do we realize His wounds were actually made in his body.  A hammer driving large nails through the wrist, the feet overlapped and an even larger nail hammered through the arches, then a Roman guard piercing His side with a spear.  But before the nails and the spear Jesus was whipped and beaten.  The whipping was so severe that it tore the flesh from His body.  The beating so horrific that His face was torn and his beard ripped from His face. The Crown of thorns cut deeply into His scalp.  Most men would not have survived this torture.  He had no more blood to bleed out, only water poured from His wounds.  The human adult body contains about 3.5 liters  (just less than a gallon) of blood.  Jesus poured all 3.5 liters of his blood; He had three nails hammered into His members; a crown of thorns on His head and, beyond that, a Roman soldier who stabbed a spear into His chest..

All these without mentioning the humiliation He suffered after carrying His own cross for almost 2 kilometers, while the crowd spat in his face and threw stones (the cross was almost 30 kg of weight, only for its higher part, where His hands were nailed). Jesus had to endure this experience, to open the Gates of Heaven, So that you can have free access to God.  So that your sins could be “washed” away.  All of them, with no exception!  Don’t ignore this situation.  JESUS CHRIST DIED FOR YOU!He died for you! It is easy to pass jokes or foolish photos by e-mail, but when it comes to God, sometimes you feel ashamed to forward to others because you are worried of what they may think about you.  God has plans for you, show all your friends what He experienced to save you.  Now think about this! May God bless your life!  60 seconds with God… For the next 60 seconds, set aside what you’re doing and take this opportunity!  Let’s see if Satan can stop

This..  All you have to do is:
1.  Simply Pray for the person who sent this message to you.
2. Then, send this message to people.  The more the better.
3.  People will pray for you and you will make that many people pray to God
for other people.
4.  Take a moment to appreciate the power of God in your life, for doing what pleases Him.If you are not ashamed to do this, please, follow Jesus’ instructions.

He said (Matthew 10:32 & 33): “Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before My Father in heaven; but whosoever denies Me before others, I also will deny before My Father in heaven.”
Yes, I love God. He is my source of life and my Savior. He keeps me alive day and night.  Without Him, I am nothing, but with Him “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me”. Philippians 4:13.This is the simple proof.  If you love God and you are a believer and trust in salvation through Christ Jesus, send this to all those you love.
God Bless You All and meet every need!
Get online and get completely recovered! We are a Biblical Online Recovery Program that is life changing and empowering. We are Teen Challenge Certified Teachers and have integrated the world famous Teen Challenge PSNC curriculum for the most healing fusion of elements for your recovery. VRM is breaking the chains of addiction for a lifetime! Check us out!