Displaying items by tag: Asia
Iranians across the world have joined a Bible reading plan organised by the Bible Society. Nahid, a Christian worker, says it is a great way for these Christians to connect with each other. If they think they are alone, they can get depressed, but when they are reading scripture with another sister or brother, it is healing. This Bible reading plan has been especially helpful during the pandemic. Iranian Christians love Jesus with all their hearts, and seek to show His love to the world. But some in the West are still not ready to see them as Christians.
After a decade of civil war, Syria has at last begun to reconnect with its neighbouring countries, including Lebanon, Jordan, and the UAE. President Assad’s grip on the country is tenuous as areas near the Turkish and Iraqi borders are controlled by rebel groups. Fighting has left Syria in economic ruins; families which used to have more than enough income to provide for themselves are now in poverty because of hyperinflation. A man with cancer did not continue with expensive treatment; it was better that one dies rather than all of them dying. Families without enough food for all their children give lunch to some children lunch and dinner to the others. But God is working. The story of Jesus is reaching new populations; there is a budding movement of the Holy Spirit and churches are forming among the Druze in the south and the Kurds in the north.
On 17 October Sri Lankan fishermen launched a flotilla of boats from the northeastern fishing town of Mullaittivu to Sri Lanka’s northernmost tip, Point Pedro away. They are demanding that the government does more to protect the nation's prawn-rich northern waters from poaching by Indian fishing trawlers in the narrow Palk Strait which separates the South Asian neighbours. Bottom trawling was banned from Sri Lankan waters in 2017 because it involves dragging heavy nets across the seafloor to catch a large volume of fish, causing severe damage to the marine ecosystem. However, the authorities have failed to stop Indian poaching even though their fishing community has been complaining for years. Mass poaching takes valuable fish stocks away from Sri Lankan fishermen, so they struggle to make ends meet. Palk Strait is a rich fishing ground known for jumbo prawns. Sri Lanka regularly detains large numbers of Indian fishers and seizes their boats, but poaching continues.
A mob of 300 chanting ‘Hail Lord Ram! Victory to Lord Ram’ attacked the House of Prayer church, destroying CCTV cameras, lights, fans, musical instruments and furniture. Eva Lance, the church leader, tried to call the police but couldn’t connect. The mob tried to set fire to vehicles parked outside and attacked twelve church members. One man was beaten semi-unconscious, a woman’s hair was pulled out and a young boy was found lying in a pool of his own blood and vomit after having his ears cut off and being badly beaten. He was hospitalised. The police opened an investigation naming Eva’s former school principal and a member of a right-wing Hindu group among those responsible. Then the mob filed a counter case against the victims, accusing them of non-bailable offences like molestation, robbery and organised crime. Christian Solidarity Worldwide said the involvement of the police and community leaders in this attack must be a wake-up call to India’s lawmakers.
Record-breaking rains and heavy flooding have killed over 150 people in India and Nepal in recent days. 77 have been killed, 22+ injured, and 26 are missing across Western Nepal; at least 46 have died in Uttarakhand, and 27 bodies have been recovered in Kerala. 11 teams from the National Disaster Response Force also evacuated 6,500 people to 184 relief camps. Crops have been destroyed, roads are waterlogged, bridges washed away, vehicles submerged, and houses reduced to rubble in Kerala, home to 33 million people. The flooding comes in the middle of a religious pilgrimage when Hindus journey to Uttarakhand. 3,000 pilgrims were evacuated from a barge on the Sarda River, which had overflowed. Meanwhile more than 200 families are currently in a further 26 evacuation camps across the state. Heavy rainfall is forecast to continue for the coming days, and residents are urged to stay indoors.
Abdo Saade is one of the most powerful men in Lebanon. He owns 4,000 electricity generators across Lebanon, which keep the lights on in the absence of a reliable power supply. He turned Lebanon's tattered electricity grid and inept state utility into a lucrative business, nicknamed 'Generator Mafia'. Millions of Lebanese pay enormous sums from their meagre salaries each month on two separate bills: one to the state electricity company, the other to their local 'generator man'. Without Mr Saade’s syndicate the country's economy would grind to a halt. A fuel shortage has further disrupted daily life, and two main power plants closed for 24 hours on 9 October. This week businesses have shut, hospitals anticipate mass deaths from power cuts to ventilators, water supplies to four million are threatened, and there have been fistfights and shootings at petrol stations.
Last week 560 men, women, and children who were on paid flights and ready to evacuate were blocked at the last minute and had to return home. However, over 200 of these persecuted Christians cannot go home. They have nothing but the clothes on their backs and are in imminent danger. Just when things seemed hopeless, God provided a new temporary housing option. Please pray for God to clear the way for these flights to take off and provide safe places of refuge outside Afghanistan. Pray for encouragement for those who were sent home; may the Holy Spirit move in their hearts and remind them they are seen by our Lord. Pray for protection for those who will remain inside Afghanistan, continued provision for their daily needs, and a clear plan for long-term ministry and support.
The federal government declared relief initiatives of food grains ration cards last March to mitigate the effects of Covid. The cards were insufficient. 50% of rural households had to reduce their number of meals and 68% reduced the number of items in their meals. The Dalit community are at the bottom of the complex cast hierarchy, are marginalised and experiencing the worst effects of pandemic. Over 60% of women are anemic. Livelihoods have collapsed and hunger is now an epidemic. Workers Action Network reported increased workloads for women but decreased pay. Within homes women are the last to eat and have the least to eat. This is particularly severe for pregnant and lactating women. Today’s situation will have long-term effects on public health and nutrition. Dalit and Adivasi women die younger than dominant-caste women, and nutrition and health have always been a struggle for them.
Just days after 150 Chinese military jets conducted drills close to Taiwan, escalating tensions between the two sides, President Xi Jinping spoke at an event to commemorate 110 years since the revolution that overthrew China’s last imperial dynasty. He said, ‘Compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait should stand on the right side of history and join hands to achieve China’s complete unification. The historic mission of achieving the complete unification of our country must be, and can be, realised.’ However, Taiwan’s defence minister said that military tensions with Beijing were at their worst point in more than four decades. China claims that Taiwan is part of its sovereign territory, in the same way as Hong Kong, and threatens to take control by force. Taiwan has its own elected government and constitution, maintaining that it will defend its democracy and independence.
80 persecuted women in northern Iraq are experiencing three days in a Help The Persecuted spiritual retreat this weekend. They will have a safe place to stay, hear from Godly speakers, receive biblical counseling, and worship together. Cala has lived in a refugee camp since IS invaded in 2014. She always believed in God and tried desperately to draw near to Him, but never knew what was missing. She heard about Jesus through the internet, asked a visiting pastor about church, and accepted Christ in 2020. Her Yazidi community persecutes her, and she has been kicked out of the camp several times. Cala feels very isolated, and her heart’s cry is to serve the Lord. Pray that she and her 79 companions will be encouraged as they build relationships with other Christian women, accepting each other now in unity as members of the Body of Christ.