Displaying items by tag: Religion

Thursday, 17 August 2023 20:55

Lithuania: change needed

Freedom has brought good progress in Lithuania. Doors for the gospel remain open. However, freedom has also brought dangers like greed for material goods, selfish pleasure-seeking, and a belief that traditional morals have no value. Substance abuse, suicide, and trafficking of women for prostitution all damage the social foundations. Spiritual transformation must accompany economic growth. Lithuania was the last European nation to be Christianised.

Published in Europe
Thursday, 17 August 2023 19:58

Pakistan: over 100 arrested after churches burned

Over 100 people were arrested in Jaranwala after thousands of Muslims burned churches and vandalised homes. The unrest was sparked by claims that two Christian men tore pages from the Quran. The historic Salvation Army Church was still smouldering on 17 August, one day after the riot. The ruins are surrounded with barbed wire, The situation remains tense. Public gatherings have been restricted for seven days. The men accused of damaging the Quran have been charged with blasphemy, punishable by death. An accusation of blasphemy can result in widespread riots, lynchings and killings. Yassir Bhatti, a 31-year-old Christian, was one of those forced to flee their homes. ‘They broke the windows, doors and took out fridges, sofas, chairs and other household items to pile them up in front of the church to be burnt. They also burnt and desecrated Bibles, they were ruthless.’ Videos on social media show protesters destroying Christian buildings while police appear to look on.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 10 August 2023 22:21

USA: revival among Generation Z

Generation Z grew up with iPads and iPhones. They are connected to technology. American Survey Centre calls 1/3rd of this age group 'religious nones' (no religious affiliation). A summer camp leader says, ‘It’s essential we preach and teach the Bible, sharing the love of God to them when they're young - before the world has a chance to beat them up, chew them up and spit them out.’ This year, 3,000+ campers accepted Jesus as their personal saviour at Crossroads Summer Camp. The camp leader attributed this surge in salvations to the goodness of God compared to what the world has to offer. The Crossroads leader said,‘I think they've seen the materialism of our world. The ideologies that are being shoved down their throats. They're all empty. When they feel the presence of God, when they taste and see that the Lord is good, nothing else will satisfy them.’

Published in Praise Reports

A group of Christians in Hampshire who took over the local tourist information office when it was in danger of being closed say it has become a valuable way of engaging people with faith. Their organiser said, ‘Tourist information centres everywhere are closing because everything is online. But older people prefer to go to a tourist information centre to pick up a leaflet etc. When we took the centre over from the council they were delighted. We open on reduced hours, giving out leaflets and selling books to pay the bills. It's now quite a ministry. People come in asking questions like where are the toilets, or when does the next bus go? Then they start coming up with issues that as Christians we feel qualified to signpost them in the right direction’.

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 10 August 2023 21:52

Silent prayer near abortion facility

Adam Smith-Connor has pleaded not guilty to charges related to breaking a local ‘buffer zone’ around an abortion clinic and praying silently outside the medical facility. He was approached by police outside the clinic earlier this year. He thought he would not be prosecuted, as the statutory time-limit for pressing charges had elapsed. At his hearing on 9 August he said, ‘We are standing in the nation of the Magna Carta, the nation which has championed democracy and freedom. We have a history of upholding human rights we can be proud of and a respect for freedom that I fought to uphold when I served this country for twenty years in the army reserves, including in Afghanistan. Yet here I stand before you, being prosecuted for a thought crime.’ His legal team contend that freedom of thought is protected absolutely through the Human Rights Act and therefore, the local council has no power to prohibit silent prayer.

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 10 August 2023 20:02

Burkina Faso: terrorists and mission

Shopkeepers near the Togolese border were returning from a day at the market when terrorists attacked, killing more than twenty people. It is a disturbing trend. Terrorists have killed more than 5,000 people so far this year. Helen Williams of World Missionary Press (WMP) says local ministries are being cautious. ‘As far as we know and from everything I’ve heard, the ministry work continues. It may have restrictions and be a little bit more difficult, but the work goes on. WMP recently sent Scripture booklets to a ministry that goes into villages. I don’t know if that’s been restricted – going into different places. But we sent them a shipment of material in French and had reports and photos from them going home-to-home, having open-air campaigns and planting churches in one particular village. Eight million people who speak the Moore language they have just received their first shipment of that language. They are overjoyed.’

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 10 August 2023 19:58

Pakistan: intolerance

Pakistani Christians are crying silently for peace, understanding, and respect for their religious symbols. But their cries are not heard domestically or globally. Christianity has been an integral part of Pakistan's multi-religious society since its inception in 1947 when Muhammad Ali Jinnah promised equal citizenship rights. In 2023 Christians are treated as second-class citizens, discriminated against, and targets of hostility and violence. Often the blasphemy law is misused against them, further worsening their situation. A comprehensive strategy that includes improved security measures for religious minorities and educational campaigns to foster tolerance and mutual respect is needed urgently. The government needs to uphold its commitment to religious freedom and safeguard all its citizens, as enshrined in its constitution and in line with international covenants. Pray for the government to reassess its approach toward religious minorities and condemn violence and threats against them. Pray for incorporating religious tolerance and coexistence in the curricula for school and public awareness campaigns.

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 04 August 2023 05:58

Kazakhstan: Points for prayer

Some say ‘to be a Kazakh is to be a Muslim’. Most Kazakhs follow a version of Islam influenced by shamans and indigenous practices. Other Muslim countries send Muslim missionaries to Kazakhstan, successfully converting even ethnic Russians to Islam. After the Soviet Union broke up, the number of mosques grew from 46 to 2,300 in 2020. The government keeps Islam moderate and is the only Central Asian state where Islam has no special status. Pray for freedom from historic spiritual bondages. Kazakhstan's cultural and religious diversity provides many opportunities for evangelising. A number of Kazakh Uzbeks and Uyghurs are turning to Christ and taking the gospel back to their own people. Christianity is still largely an urban phenomenon, but churches and missions (Baptists, Korean groups, Western agencies) are recruiting for village ministry. Pray that the Gospel might be shared in the listeners' language, in the many towns and villages of this sprawling land.

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 04 August 2023 05:53

Iran: Hijab enforcement tensions

The Iranian authorities are doubling down on policing and severely oppressing Iranian women and girls for defying the return of the morality law which insists women and girls wear headscarves in public with police patrols enforcing obedience. Social media is showing women being violently assaulted by officials and the people helping them to escape are being targeted by the police firing tear gas See At the same time, a clampdown on religious minorities also needs a prayerful response. Over 50 believers were arrested on unknown charges immediately following the reinstatement of the morality police. ‘The reason for this sudden surge in nationwide arrests of Christians is unclear at this stage,’ Article18’s advocacy director Mansour Borji says. ‘What is obvious is that Iran has begun a fresh crackdown on civil liberties, and the traditionally vulnerable groups, like Christians, are on the front line of those targeted.’

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 04 August 2023 05:52

Nigeria: Bishop dismissed Islamising fears

Speaking to Aid to the Church in Need, Bishop Kukah of Sokoto, who criticised previous governments’ failure to curb extremist violence and protect Christians, welcomed the new president, Bola Tinubu, and vice-president, Kashim Mustapha, despite fears over them both being Muslims. Bishop Kukah said he has known Tinubu for 20 years and has worked with Kashim Shettima. Referring to the fact that Tinubu is married to a Christian, Shettima said a man who has not Islamised his family will not Islamise Nigeria. Bishop Kukah stressed that politicians should not be assessed by their religion but by their capacity and competence and how they see justice, fairness, and equity, adding ‘Of course, I would like a Catholic president, but he would not govern Catholics, he would govern Nigeria.

Published in Worldwide
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