Displaying items by tag: Asia
Hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the floods in Pakistan are living in the open, exposed to swarms of mosquitoes and other hazards. Despite the efforts of government and relief organisations, families need more food, shelter, medical assistance, medicines, and clean water. Stagnant floodwaters, covering hundreds of kilometres, may take up to six months to recede. There are widespread cases of skin and eye infections, diarrhoea, malaria, typhoid and dengue fever. On 24 September the Sindh provincial government said makeshift health facilities and mobile camps had treated over 78,000 patients in just 24 hours. Malaria spreads quickly around stagnant waters. The UN said malaria, typhoid and diarrhoea patients in large numbers were entering medical camps and hospitals; more medicine and test kits are needed. Families are forced to drink and cook with unsafe water. They need to drink to stay alive.
Thousands of defiant protesters flooded Tehran streets on the ninth day after the suspicious death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while held in custody for not properly wearing the hijab headscarf. The regime cracked down with force, killing at least 41 and shutting down the web and social media for 80 million citizens, but outrage over Amini’s death has only expanded. Officials claim Mahsa died due to underlying health issues; her family says that is not true. Women defiantly burn their hijabs and headscarves and cut their hair. The USA announced it will expand Iranian internet services to support free-flowing information.The internet is needed when protesters want to organise themselves and share footage of what is happening with the outside world. Also billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk is giving the country Starlink, a satellite constellation providing internet access to 40 countries - a true game-changer.
The European Evangelical Alliance prayer network has a prayer request from Nazareth Hospital , which began 160 years ago as a Christian medical mission. It has grown from a five-bed clinic to the town’s main trauma and acute care hospital, employing 800 staff from all faiths in the region. Their Christian witness, mission and faith is important; their reach is felt across staff and the annual 250,000 patients. Talks with Israel’s government to find a solution to the funding crisis have been unsuccessful, and many hospital departments have had to close. Despite all their efforts they believe the Lord wants this ministry to continue. They say, ‘Please join us in urgent prayer for the hospital, that a solution will be found for our finances, that we will be able to pay our staff what they are owed, that the hospital will reopen, and that our Christian witness will continue for the next 160 years in Nazareth, or until the Lord returns.’
Sixty members of a Chinese church have submitted applications for asylum in Bangkok, after being denied refuge in South Korea. They had fled the communist regime to escape religious persecution. Pastor Pan’s church has been on the run for years. He said the persecution is growing worse. The group remains stateless, jobless, and homeless, but not without faith. ‘We're thinking of our children's future. We refuse to put their education in the hands of the Communist Party, to give them an atheist education, and to turn their backs on God. So we are willing to pay this price to flee China to allow them to keep going to church school and to know God. Although we don't know what we will encounter in the future, what our God gives us is the best. He will lead us through these issues; God always has the best plan and arrangement.’
‘Those who believed Peter were baptised and added to the church - about 3,000 in all’ (Acts 2:41). This passage reminds us that the early Church grew rapidly during a time of persecution. It is happening again in Laos. Small house churches are scattered throughout the country, and believers in Laos face continual persecution. Converts to Christianity are considered betrayers to their community’s Buddhist-Animist traditions. Unregistered house churches are illegal. Communist authorities intensely monitor Christians. Yet, there is reason for hope. While only 2.5% of the 7.4 million population are evangelical, the yearly growth rate of the Church is 6.8%. Most of the house churches in Laos are led by faithful but untrained leaders, but this is not a limitation for a sovereign God. Pray protection over house church leaders who are targets of persecution; pray for believers to safely proclaim the Gospel to their neighbours and persevere with grace.
Over a hundred Armenian soldiers are dead after border clashes with Azerbaijan ,which lost fifty of its troops in the worst fighting since 2020. Armenia appealed to world leaders for help after Azerbaijan began advancing on its territory. The conflict between the former Soviet republics is over the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region, which is Azerbaijani territory but populated with ethnic Armenians. Azerbaijan states that ethnic Armenians are illegally occupying its land. 30,000 people died in a 1991 conflict following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and ethnic Armenian separatists broke away from Azerbaijan. The six-week war in 2020 killed 6,500 people and ended with a Russian-brokered truce; Armenia cedied swaths of territory it had controlled for decades. Armenians are mostly Christian with military ties to Russia, while Azerbaijan is a Muslim country with ties to Turkey. On 14 September Armenia said a truce had been agreed but there was no confirmation from Azerbaijan. See
Xing Hongwei is a member of China's Early Rain Covenant Church (ERCC). He was arrested in a worship service raid on 14 August and suffered greatly whilst in detention due to his medical condition. He has been freed on bail and enjoyed a celebration meal with his family. Mr Hongwei was originally arrested after more than twenty police officers raided an ERCC church service at a tea shop. Sixty church members were locked inside the building and released only after they provided their identification. Mr Hongwei was arrested because he refused to comply with the authorities' demands. ERCC, which is heavily persecuted, announced Mr Hongwei's release in a prayer request update. His faith became firmer during his time in detention and he jokingly said that he successfully went on a diet, which he could not have achieved if outside.
The Pakistani Supreme Court has issued a highly significant and welcome ruling, which includes the declaration that the preaching of Christianity ‘is not a crime, nor can it be made into one’. The nine-page ruling is a clear and comprehensive denunciation of the way in which ‘blasphemy’ laws are misused in Pakistan. The court raises issues such as false and malicious accusations, the lack of credible evidence in many cases, and the mob violence with which an accused person is often threatened. One judge said, ‘Many a time false allegations are levelled to settle personal scores, and cases are also registered for mischievous purposes or on account of ulterior motives’.
The military junta continues to bomb civilians, and over 28,000 homes have been burnt down since the February 2021 coup. As order breaks down, soaring food prices cause a hunger crisis. Many are fleeing Myanmar if they get a chance. AMG has established a camp with over fifty homes for refugee families and two hostels for lone children. An AMG member met a young Christian woman at the camp who suffered watching her mother abused and scarred by her alcoholic father. Then her mother became a Christian and prayed fervently for her father. Miraculously, he came to Christ and left his drinking and drugs. As the military violence approached, her parents sent her across the border to safety. Myanmar females live in fear of being sexually assaulted by the military. One boy came into the hostel for lone children traumatised, always wanting to fight others. Now, his voice has been heard singing with other children. Pray for God’s protection over refugee camps.
Pakistan’s floods are a ‘wake-up call’ to the threats of climate change. A sense of injustice is keenly felt. Pakistan contributes -1% of global greenhouse gases but its geography makes it exceptionally vulnerable to climate change. Global warming makes air and sea temperatures rise, causing more evaporation. Warmer air holds more moisture, making monsoon rainfall more intense. Pakistan also has more glacial ice than anywhere in the world outside of the polar regions and is referred to as the 'third pole'. As the world warms, glacial ice melts. Glaciers in Pakistan's Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa regions are melting rapidly, creating over 3,000 lakes. 33 risk suddenly bursting, which could unleash millions of cubic metres of water and debris, putting seven million people at risk. Glacial lake outbursts are already damaging infrastructure. Climate impact scientist Saeed said Pakistan’s floods are ‘absolutely a wake-up call to governments globally who promised to tackle climate change at successive UN climate conferences’.