Asia

Displaying items by tag: Asia

Friday, 27 January 2023 08:21

Bangladesh: Missionary support needed

Bangladesh is one of the world’s most densely populated countries. Bangladesh was part of Pakistan until its independence in 1971. Islam is the official religion, and the government propagates Islam with financial assistance to mosques and by organising Imams’ training. 89% of the population is Muslim. The Christian population is a fraction of 1%, facing persecution from Muslim communities and ISIS. Christians meet in underground house churches. In the early 1800s, William Carey ministered to the Bengali and translated the New Testament into their language. Today, indigenous missionaries effectively continue the work of evangelism and discipleship. Missionary support and funding is their greatest need for discipleship and training programs. Missionaries also engage in compassionate outreach, including providing education to poor Muslim and Christian children, running feeding centres that provide nourishment to hundreds of children, and sheltering orphaned or abandoned children. 

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 27 January 2023 08:19

Myanmar: Opium production at nine-year high

The production of opium increased sharply in Myanmar, reaching nearly 795 metric tonnes in 2022, nearly double the production in 2021 - the year of the military coup that plunged much of Myanmar into a bloody civil war that still continues. The UN believes the increase is driven by economic hardship and insecurity that followed the military takeover, and farmers in remote conflict-prone areas have had little option but to move back to opium. The region, where the borders of Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos meet - the Golden Triangle - has historically been a major source of opium and heroin production.

Published in Worldwide

Following the instalment of the most religious and hard-line government in Israeli history, over 80,000 protesters rallied in Tel Aviv against plans by the new right-wing coalition to overhaul the judiciary. The reforms will make it easier for parliament to overturn Supreme Court rulings, among other things, and protesters said changes are an attack on democratic rule. Rallies were also held outside the prime minister's Jerusalem residence and the northern city of Haifa. Critics say the reforms would cripple judicial independence, foster corruption, set back minority rights and deprive Israel's court system of credibility. If it passes into law, the plan could make it easier for the government to legislate in favour of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank without worrying about challenges in the Supreme Court. Israel has previously highlighted the power of the court to rule against it, as a way of blunting international criticism of such moves.

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 20 January 2023 05:08

India: Violent attack on church

A disturbing new video by Global Christian Relief shows a violent attack on Sacred Heart Church in Edka village, Narayanpur on January 2nd. The mob of purportedly 1,000 extremists used rocks, iron rods, and wooden sticks. The mob was protesting against 'illegal' conversions and construction of churches,’ Global Christian Relief stated in an explainer. One witness said the situation is dire, with Christians being targeted and attacked. The latest incident is part of ongoing tensions between indigenous animist followers and Christians. The witness added that the church was destroyed, ‘They are going to attack our other institutions,’ the individual warned. Father Devasia, priest of Sacred Heart Church confirmed the damage to the church was profound and, ‘A tense situation prevails here. Police attempting to stop the violence were injured.’ Christians have also been driven out of their homes by extremists.

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 20 January 2023 05:07

Syria: Will diplomatic meetings help?

Foreign ministers from Turkey, Syria, and Russia may meet this month in the highest-level talks since Syria’s war began. Turkey supported Syria’s opposition for 10 years, Russia backed Syria. But sadly, diplomacy remains disconnected from the people’s needs. The UN calls Syria ‘one of the most complex humanitarian and protection emergencies on the planet.’ Extreme poverty haunts nearly every household, and disease runs rampant. Fighting has lessened but shows no signs of completely stopping. It would be easy if just two factions were fighting, but Turkey is in the mix with Iran and rebel Kurds. Physical danger is a minor threat compared to economic challenges. A pound of sugar is over £2.87. Rising prices make it unbearable for people to live yet hope remains. Many Christians fled during the crisis, but those remaining are committed to reaching their communities for Christ.

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 20 January 2023 05:05

Iraq: Christians still largely displaced

On 12th January the Commission on International Religious Freedom released its annual report, detailing key findings for religious persecution issues in Iraq. Iraqi religious minorities have been fighting for normalcy since the ISIS invasion a decade ago. Despite their efforts, tens of thousands of Christians are still displaced and unable to return to their homes as ISIS is still carrying out attacks periodically, causing fear among citizens about returning to their hometowns formally controlled by ISIS. Also, the Popular Mobilization Forces often block roadways making it increasingly difficult and dangerous to return to the Nineveh plains. Also continued airstrikes in northern Iraq by the Turkish military are disproportionately affecting religious minorities, making it unsafe to return to their communities. Turkey has made little effort to protect civilians during these airstrikes, despite calls from the communities for such consideration.  Pray for provision for all the families that have been displaced.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 12 January 2023 20:59

Armenia: Christians face dire circumstances

‘There is no time to wait, this is genocide’, said Dr Sukhudyan, describing the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, a landlocked enclave between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Deadly battles between Armenians and Azerbaijanis have previously raged there. Armenia is the world's first official Christian country, and 120,000 Christians live in the enclave. The road to it was protected by Russian peacekeepers, but on 12 December Azerbaijani protesters blocked it, preventing food, medicine, and other basic transport in or out. Now this ongoing dispute - in light of the past genocidal horrors - has human rights groups deeply concerned about what is to come. The minister of state for Nagorno-Karabakh said this is probably the prelude to an Azerbaijani armed attack, and if Russia does not step in, Armenia is not strong enough to stop them conquering the region. There will be massacres, with the oldest churches in the world possibly destroyed.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 12 January 2023 20:49

Asia: hotspots on the horizon

The war in Ukraine and the poor global economy have enabled dictators, regimes, and terrorists to take ad­vantage of the situation while the world’s attention was distracted. This will worsen in 2023, to the detriment of Christians. Ask God to protect China’s Christians as the crackdown on house churches accelerates. Pray for all the minorities in Myanmar, where the 2021 political coup has led to many attacks and bombings of churches. The internally dis­placed use churches as shelters. Iran has also taken the opportunity to crack down on churches, Christians, and Muslim-back­ground believers this year. Pray for Christian arrests and torture to diminish in 2023. Indian Christians need our prayers for an end to the anti-conversion laws being enforced in Hindu communities. Afghanistan has no national income and no natural resources, and all assets are frozen worldwide. Christianity is illegal. Those forced to stay or needing support to find safe havens need God's protection.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 12 January 2023 20:36

Turkey: God’s word transforms refugees

11-year-old Abdel at a Turkey refugee camp spent most evenings reading a New Testament that local Christian workers gave him - to the grief of his Muslim parents. Recently his mother became angry at him and ordered him to do his schoolwork. Abdel told her it reminded him of the passage he had just read in Matthew 19:13-15 about children being kept from drawing close to the Prophet Jesus, as He is known among Muslims. Stunned, his mother asked him where he had read this. Abdel told her the passage was in the Gospel of Matthew. As scripture is given to refugees the missionaries sometimes find children learning the gospel and explaining it to their parents, or vice versa. His mother explained this event to his father and together they sat down and read the New Testament. The missionary said, ‘I am not saying that they accepted Christ immediately, but truly God is doing amazing miracles here.’

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 12 January 2023 20:05

UAE: oil boss to lead climate conference

The United Arab Emirates has appointed Sultan al-Jaber to preside over the next round of climate talks in Dubai. He is CEO of Abu Dhabi’s state-run oil company and oversees its renewable energy efforts. His firm pumps four million barrels of crude daily and hopes to expand to five million, generating more heat-trapping carbon dioxide that the climate negotiations aim to limit. The Emirates’ state-run news agency said this will be a critical year in a critical decade for climate action. It quoted al-Jaber saying that the UAE is approaching COP28 with a strong sense of responsibility and the highest possible level of ambition. ‘We will bring a pragmatic, realistic and solutions-oriented approach that delivers transformative progress for climate and for low-carbon economic growth.’ Al-Jaber said the Emirates had invested over $50bn in renewable energy projects across seventy countries. His nomination drew immediate criticism.

Published in Worldwide
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