Christians around the world need our prayers and intercession. The least free place to practice Christianity is in the Muslim countries. In Pakistan, Muslim mobs burnt the homes of Christians when a Christian inadvertently burnt pages bearing Quranic verses. In Uzbekistan, Protestant Christians were detained and tortured, while the police appeared reluctant to investigate the murder of an American Christian. But the news isn’t all bad. Although in the past few years, increasing numbers of Westerners have been converting to Islam (Agence France Presse recently reported annual figures in France alone of 30,000 to 50,000), this trend is being counteracted by a new phenomenon – largely unreported in the Western media: Muslims, especially in the Maghreb (north-west Africa) are becoming Christians (Broken link, active July 11, 2005).
Another area of great persecution but also great advances is China and Asia. In China, the Chinese pastor of an underground Chinese church appeared in a Beijing court recently, accused of illegally printing more than 200,000 Bibles. That is 200,000 more Bibles in the hands of the Chinese who would not otherwise have them! Also in China, a Chinese Catholic priest, also a leader of an underground church, has been released from prison after six years (Broken link, active July 11, 2005). Another Christian has survived the horror of a North Korean prison after efforts by Voice of the Martyrs to release him proved successful. And a South Korean pastor aims to raise and send rabbits (Broken link, active July 11, 2005) to help alleviate the severe hunger of the North Koreans.
While these abuses continue, ministries such as RUN – Reaching Unreached Nations (Broken link, active July 11, 2005) – have been quietly providing evangelistic tools and training for nearly one million native “underground” Christian workers in China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nepal, Mongolia, the Central Asian Republics, North Africa, the Middle East, the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. Their successes can only be described in the most general of terms, to protect these Christians living and working in the most dangerous parts of world.
“Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!” Psalm 126:5