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.
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. 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 to help alleviate the severe
hunger of the North Koreans.
While these abuses continue, ministries such as
RUN – Reaching Unreached Nations – 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!”