THE AID AGENCY FOR THE PERSECUTED CHURCH www.barnabasfund.

org

prayer

to help you pray for the persecuted church

MAY/JUNE 2013

MAY 1 - 4 Thank you for your prayers for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ, which make such a difference to them. We sometimes have to change or omit their names for security reasons, and we have only limited space to share their stories. But the Lord knows the people and places we are praying about. Thank you for your understanding. Please do not feel limited by the specific prayer requests, but pray as you feel led. and it has announced that those responsible for the attack will be prosecuted. Pray that the authorities will follow through on this undertaking, and for Barnabas Fund partners as they help the Christians rebuild their lives. Thursday 2 Standing firm in their faith can put Pakistani Christians in danger of their lives. Younas Masih was shot dead as he made his way home in Baluchistan on 5 February. The fatal attack followed a heated discussion with his Muslim co-workers, who had threatened Younas after he resisted several attempts to persuade him to convert to Islam. When Younas’ son tried to register the shooting with the police, they refused to launch an investigation into the incident, leaving the grieving family feeling abandoned. Pray that Younas’ relatives will know the peace of the Lord in their distress, and that they will see justice done. Ask that the authorities in Pakistan will provide proper protection for the country’s vulnerable Christian minority. Friday 3 More than 30 Christians were hospitalised with serious injuries after Hindu extremists attacked a group of worshippers with iron rods on 8 February. Around 100 members of three Hindu nationalist groups stormed a church building in Rajnandgaon, Chhattisgarh state, where a three-day prayer event was being held. The assailants accused the Christians of forcibly converting Hindus and beat them badly. The police refused to lodge a complaint against the attackers and instead filed a counter-claim against the church. Pray for those injured and distressed by this brutal assault, and for those responsible to be brought to justice. Saturday 4 Pray for healing and peace for Pastor R.D. Joshua from Sultanpur, Uttar Pradesh in India, who was attacked while leading a service in a village in February. About ten people stopped

May
Wednesday 1 Pray for the hundreds of Christians from Joseph Colony in the Badami Bagh area of Lahore, Pakistan, who were left homeless after a 3,000-strong Muslim mob torched their houses on 9 March. The violence erupted over a false accusation of blasphemy by a local Muslim against Savan Masih, a Christian man. After the mosque loudspeakers called on Muslims to “kill the blasphemers”, the mob attacked various Christian homes, looted goods and set the buildings on fire. The police responded by registering a blasphemy charge against Savan. However, the provincial government has compensated the Christians,

Joseph Colony in Lahore was torched by a Muslim mob

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MAY 5 - 8 the meeting, tied the pastor to a tree and beat him viciously, leaving him with a broken arm and his whole body bruised. The instigator of the attack has links with the BJP, the political wing of the Hindu nationalist movement, and initially the police refused to register a case against those responsible. Ask the Lord for strength and endurance for His people in India as they face hostility and violence from militant Hindus. Sunday 5 Four Indian Christians have been living for a year under the threat of unjust punishment. On 25 March 2012 a church service in Chichgaon, in the Chhindwara district of Madhya Pradesh, was violently disrupted by Hindu extremists. After making various accusations against the assistant pastor and two other Christians, the extremists beat them severely. They then had them locked up at the police station. When the pastor of the church asked the police to file a complaint against the persecutors, they refused to do so and instead arrested him also. All four are still facing legal proceedings. Give thanks that whilst in jail the pastor was able to witness to his fellow prisoners, and that one of them came to Christ. Pray that justice will be done and the four Christians will be cleared of the charges against them. Monday 6 Attacks against churches in Egypt have increased since the revolution of 2011. St George’s Church in the village of Sarsena was targeted by local Muslims twice in two days in February. They were incited by Salafists who claimed that the church was “an unlawful neighbour” to the Muslims who lived next door. St George’s was set ablaze on 15 February, and then the following evening, while a so-called “reconciliation” meeting was taking place, Muslims threw Molotov cocktails and stones at the building. In a separate incident, a church in the Upper Egyptian city of Kom Ombo came under attack for several days over an unfounded rumour that a Muslim woman had converted to Christianity; 12 Christians were injured in the violence at the end of February. Pray that the authorities will provide better protection for churches in Egypt. Tuesday 7 Since at least two dozen Christians were killed during a peaceful protest on 9 October 2011, in what became known as the Maspero Massacre, the Egyptian authorities have tried to pin the blame for the violence on the Christians. On 4 February 2013 two Christians, Maikel Adel Naguib Farag and Maikel Mossad Shaker, were jailed for three years, having been convicted on very flimsy evidence of stealing a machine gun from the armed forces. Despite video footage of military vehicles running over protestors, officials have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing by the army. Three soldiers, who were said to have lost control of their vehicles, were convicted of the involuntary manslaughter of 14 protestors. Nobody has been held responsible for the deaths of the other victims. Pray that there will be justice for all the Christians killed and injured. Wednesday 8 Arrest. Torture. The threat of the death penalty. This is what Christians accused of evangelising Muslims may face in “liberated” Libya. At least 48 Egyptian Christians were arrested and tortured on 27 February after Salafists accused them of “proselytising”. The detainees’ heads were shaved, and acid was used to burn off the traditional cross tattoos on their wrists. One detainee died in custody, and his lawyer said that he had been tortured to death. Another was given electric shocks, and many
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MAY 9 - 12 were left with cuts and bruises. The Christians were later freed, and the authorities claimed that they had been arrested for violating immigration rules. These arrests followed those of four other expatriate Christians, also on suspicion of proselytising. Pray that the Lord will bind up the wounds of our brothers and sisters (Psalm 147:3) and bring them peace as they recover from the brutal treatment they suffered. Thursday 9 It was once hoped that Libya would emerge from the Arab Spring as a country where the excesses of Islamism were restrained. The Islamist Justice and Construction Party (JCP), which is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, took fewer of the seats allocated to political parties than expected in Libya’s first general election. More recently, however, the party has been gathering support, and around half of the independent candidates who have since been elected have now joined the JCP group. The party now wields considerable influence. Pray that Islamist control, which would make the already vulnerable position of Christians even more dangerous, will not be established in Libya. Friday 10 Pray for the congregation of an Egyptian church in Benghazi, Libya, that was attacked on 28 February. Two church ministers were assaulted by Islamist gunmen, who attempted to lynch one of them, Paul Isaac. Pray that the church’s ministers and congregation will know the Lord’s presence in the aftermath of this disturbing incident. Lift up Christians in Libya in general, who are increasingly vulnerable to violent attack, and ask that the Lord will arm them with strength (Psalm 18:32) to face their circumstances. Saturday 11 Praise the Lord for the ministry of a popular Christian magazine in Kyrgyzstan that is supported by Barnabas Fund. Although it
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is written for children and packed with pictures, poems, puzzles and stories, adults also like to read it; it is read out during church meetings and distributed on the streets and in buses. Children like to share copies with their friends and classmates. The magazine, which usually appears six times a year, is also translated and distributed in other countries; Barnabas helps to fund copies for Kazakhstan and Bulgaria. A ten-year-old child in Bulgaria said, “[It] talks to me about God. And I like to hear about Him.” Pray that the magazine will continue to encourage Christian children and adults in their faith, and that stricter laws on religious practice in Kazakhstan will not impede its distribution.

Enjoying a children’s Christian magazine in Bulgaria

Sunday 12 The constricting grip of state regulation continues to tighten on the churches of Kyrgyzstan. Amendments to its Religion Law have imposed harsher and more wide-ranging rules on the censorship of religious literature. A human rights advocate said that “implementation is likely to be chaotic, selective and arbitrary”, with “non-traditional” churches most likely to face

MAY 13 - 16 problems. An organisation that is found to have literature that is branded “extremist” could now be banned under the law. The authorities are also proposing that any church must have 200 adult founders in one locality to be allowed legally to exist. Pray that Christian ministry and outreach will flourish in Kyrgyzstan despite the government’s attempts to stifle them, and that the Lord will protect His people from persecution under this law. Monday 13 Pray for Sharofat Allamova, a Christian woman in Uzbekistan whose house was raided by police twice in January. Officers confiscated three Christian books, two DVDs of a Christian film and a sermon, and a video called “Life in the Church”. Sharofat is now facing up to three years in prison for storing illegal religious literature. The authorities have harassed her before: in 2007 she was given a six-month suspended jail term after Christian books and films were found in her bag, and in May 2012 she was fined ten times the minimum monthly wage for possessing religious literature. Pray for peace for our sister, and that the authorities will relent and not pursue the case further. Pray too for greater religious liberty in Uzbekistan, so that Christian literature may be made available freely. Tuesday 14 Barnabas Fund’s partners in Syria have reported numerous attacks on church buildings by opposition forces. Such attacks were condemned as “war crimes” by advocacy body Human Rights Watch on 23 January. The organisation’s report found that rebel forces had “deliberately destroyed religious sites” in the Christian villages of Jdeideh and Ghasaniyeh, in Latakia governorate, after the areas had fallen to their control and government forces had left. Ask that Christian congregations in Syria whose places of worship have been destroyed will be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power (Ephesians 6:10) in the face of violence by opposition forces. Give thanks that these devastating attacks have been recognised as violations of international humanitarian law, and pray that this will put pressure on Western governments who have come out in support of the rebels. Wednesday 15 Kidnapping for ransom has been an opposition tactic almost since the very beginning of the civil war in Syria, and many Christians have been brutally tortured and killed. On the roads around Aleppo they are a particular target. Most recently, two church leaders were kidnapped on 9 February while travelling back to Mashta Al Helou, a Christian area of the city. Pray that all kidnapped Christians will be returned to their communities unharmed, and that they will know that God is sovereign over whatever circumstances they face. Pray that the Lord will comfort families whose loved ones have been taken in their anxiety and grief. Thursday 16 As well as being displaced from their homes and enduring the risk of violence from opposition fighters, many Syrian Christians had to suffer the harshest winter the country has seen in 20 years without even basic necessities. Give thanks that Barnabas Fund was able to bring hope to many by providing heaters, blankets, mats and emergency lamps to help families survive freezing temperatures and power cuts. These items were crucial during the cold months for Christians who were forced to flee their homes with nothing and to sleep on mattresses on the floor in sub-zero temperatures. Praise God for the positive impact of this aid, and pray that He will meet the needs of His people in Syria, who are suffering so acutely.
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MAY 17 - 21 Friday 17 Iraq’s beleaguered and dwindling Christian community continues to suffer violence and threats. Two Christians were killed in the northern city of Mosul in January amid ongoing sectarian tensions. The body of Shdha Elias (54) was found on 7 January in an area where attacks have been made against Christians in the past. Her throat had been cut. The following day, Ayyoub Fauzi Auyyoub Al Sheikh, a Christian medical student, was killed by a car bomb near the university in Mosul. Separately, a radical Muslim cleric, Ayatollah Ahmad Al Hassani Al Baghdadi, issued a fatwa in December 2012 threatening Iraqi Christians with death unless they convert to Islam. Pray that the Lord will give His people in Iraq peace amid such turmoil.   Saturday 18 “The Indonesian government’s failure to take decisive action to protect religious minorities from threats and violence is undermining its claims to being a rights-respecting democracy.” The Asia director of Human Rights Watch, a leading human rights organisation, made this comment as it released a new report that details a sharp rise in religiously motivated violence in Indonesia in 2012. The authorities are criticised for passively and sometimes actively condoning certain extremist Islamist groups, and for discriminating against non-Muslim minorities in word and deed. Pray that this report will shame the Indonesian government into more determined action to protect the country’s vulnerable Christian minority and to ensure equal freedoms for all its citizens. Sunday 19 On 27 January about 50 members of the Islamic Defenders Front, a militant Islamist group, descended on a church in Mekargalih village in West Java, Indonesia. They scaled the gates, vandalised the building and physically assaulted
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the pastor, at one point throttling him with his own necktie. They accused the church of operating without a valid permit, and the pastor was later jailed for three months on this charge. The church has tried repeatedly to obtain a permit but has been obstructed by the local authorities. It has been attacked three times in the last two years, and many of the congregation are now too afraid to attend services. Pray for protection and justice for this church and others in West Java that have suffered years of harassment, violence and bureaucratic obstacles. Monday 20 Pray for five Christian families in Vietnam who have endured repeated violent attacks by their fellow villagers since becoming Christians. The families, who came to Christ in 2012, have since suffered three waves of violence, the most recent taking place between 18 and 22 February. During this period, their homes and belongings were vandalised in successive night raids. On 22 February, a number of the believers were physically assaulted, leaving several of them with serious injuries. One family fled into the jungle after receiving death threats. Pray that the Lord will be the strength and shield (Psalm 28:7) that our brothers and sisters need as they endure persecution in His name. Tuesday 21 “The decree is intended to provide the tools to end the house-church movement entirely.” Nguyen Van Dai, a Christian lawyer in Vietnam, added his voice to a chorus of concern among church leaders about Decree 92, which provides new guidelines for regulating religious practice in the country. The decree imposes harsh and complex new criteria that churches must fulfil if they are to obtain legal status; these will

MAY 22 - 25 make it almost impossible for unregistered groups such as house churches (which have not been recognised by the government since 1975) to do so. Even if a congregation manages to fulfil all the conditions, the minimum period it will have to wait for recognition is 23 years. Pray that the churches in Vietnam will withstand this attempt to stifle their witness and will not only survive but thrive. Wednesday 22 Pray for 14 Christians in Nghe An, Vietnam, who were sentenced in January to between three and 13 years in prison on charges of subversion against the state. Their lawyers complained that the Christians had been subjected to torture, including sleep deprivation, and coerced into confessing crimes that they had not committed. Some of them had apparently been detained by police at random, some at a church service. During the two-day trial, thousands of Christians staged a protest against the arbitrary and illegal arrest of innocent people. Pray that the sentences will be revoked and the Christians released, and that the authorities will stop harassing and bullying the Christian community. Thursday 23 “We have reached here with the help of God. We shall live well with God’s help in our land.” A Christian woman gave thanks as she arrived in South Sudan after escaping from discrimination and oppression in Muslim-majority Sudan, thanks to the Exodus project sponsored by Barnabas Fund. Give thanks to the Lord that more than 3,500 Christians have already reached the safety of the Christian-majority South by plane and bus. Pray for His blessing upon them as they settle into their new lives, and pray too that others will be able to join them soon. Friday 24 An upsurge of arrests and deportations of Christians in Sudan has further unsettled the country’s vulnerable Christian minority. In January three Christians of South Sudanese origin were detained and then ordered to leave the country because of their involvement with churches and a Christian radio station. The following month a group of at least 55 Christians were detained without charge, falsely accused of receiving money from foreign countries. Dozens of expatriate Christians have also been deported. Pray that this frequent and severe harassment will stop, and that the churches of Sudan will be allowed to worship and serve the Lord in peace. Saturday 25 The Sudanese authorities have intensified their crackdown on Christian activities by targeting Christian-run schools. Two of these in the capital, Khartoum, have been ordered to close. One is a primary school that the authorities discovered was not teaching Islamic studies or separating boys and girls. The other provided English-language lessons for 500 adults; three of its staff had been arrested and interrogated over suspicions that they were evangelising Muslims. Pray that Christian work and witness in Sudan will continue despite the increasingly crippling restrictions being imposed upon them, and that the Gospel will spread there.

Christian women and children on their way to South Sudan

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MAY 26 - 30 Sunday 26 The various measures recently taken against Christian churches and institutions by the government of Sudan add up to a ruthless campaign that may be intended to eradicate Christianity from the country altogether. They were launched by a media drive against alleged “Christianisation” and have focused in particular on those involved in Christian ministry. Numerous church buildings have been demolished, and Christian literature has been seized. President al-Bashir has declared his intention of making Sudan entirely Islamic and of strengthening the place of sharia. Pray that God will frustrate the plans of the authorities and that the churches of Sudan will remain faithful in the face of intimidation. Monday 27 Mohamed Ibaouene (36), a convert from Islam to Christianity, was convicted in July 2012 of “proselytising” in Algeria. The verdict was passed in his absence and without his knowledge. He was later sentenced to a year in prison and fined 50,000 dinars (£420; US$630). Mohamed challenged the conviction, and on 13 February 2013 the appeal court rescinded the jail term but doubled his fine. A Muslim colleague had brought the accusation against Mohamed after the latter refused to renounce Christ. Pray for justice for Mohamed and that the rights of Algerians to freedom of religion will be respected both by other citizens and by the law. Tuesday 28 On 19 February two police officers suddenly broke into Youhao Church in Yichin City, in the Chinese province of Heilongjiang, and harassed the Christians who were gathered there. When a church leader asked to see their
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identification papers, they insulted and threatened her; then they beat her so severely that she had a heart attack. She was taken to hospital, where agents of the Public Security Bureau kept her under 24-hour surveillance, and although she was later allowed home, a representative of the Chinese House Church Alliance who travelled to visit her was confined to his hotel room and denied access. Pray for her recovery from this ordeal and that those responsible for it will be brought to justice. Wednesday 29 Pray for the unregistered churches (“house churches”) of China as the government continues to implement a three-stage plan against them. According to a new report by China Aid, in the first phase the authorities secretly investigated and prepared files on the congregations. Now, in the second phase, they are using third parties to harass the churches and make it impossible for them to operate normally. For example, utility companies have cut off electricity and water supplies; landlords have been pressured to terminate lease agreements; and church leaders have been placed under house arrest. The government seems to be trying to force the churches to join the official Three-Self Patriotic Movement, where they can be more easily controlled. Pray that the Christians will stand firm for Christ under this unrelenting pressure and have courage to obey God rather than human authorities (Acts 5:29). Thursday 30 Give thanks to the Lord for the courage and boldness of the Christians in North Korea who carry on witnessing for Christ despite the savage penalties imposed by the Communist regime. Those who share their faith or distribute Bibles risk torture and probable execution if they are caught, and their families may be dispatched to the country’s infamous labour camps to be starved or worked to death. Yet remarkably, the

MAY 31 – JUNE 2 Church in North Korea is growing well, and some who have fled abroad and become Christians there have even gone back to share Christ with family and friends in their poverty and distress. Pray that God will keep His brave witnesses from harm and continue to add to their number (Acts 2:47). Friday 31 Pray for the families of Abdoulaye and Abakachi, two converts from Islam to Christianity who were shot dead by Islamists in northern Cameroon. They were travelling with two other converts around Lake Chad on 19 February when their vehicle was stopped by four armed men who were looking for Abdoulaye. He was the leader of the converts from the Kotoko people group and had last year received a threat from militant Islamist group Boko Haram. The gunmen opened fire, killing Abakachi on the spot. Abdoulaye and another man were also shot; Abdoulaye later died of his injuries. He left a wife and 13 children; Abakachi left a wife and four children. Boko Haram had previously warned all Christian converts in northern Cameroon to return to Islam or “face Allah’s wrath”. Pray that the Lord will protect these vulnerable believers. to stand firm in the face of hostility (Ephesians 6:13).

Abdoulaye, a Christian convert from Islam killed in Cameroon

June 
Saturday 1 On 1 June 1993 it was announced that Barnabas Fund had been created to care for persecuted Christians and their families. Give thanks to God for His faithfulness to us throughout the last 20 years, as our work has expanded into scores of countries and helped countless Christians who suffer discrimination, harassment and violence because of their faith. Praise Him for His transformation of so many lives through this ministry, and pray for His ongoing guidance and strength as we continue to reach out to our Lord’s suffering family. Pray that they may be equipped

Sunday 2 On 20 January 2013 the Eritrean security police raided the homes of various Christians and arrested 50 people. One of them was a lady of 85, detained for hosting an underground church in her house. They joined hundreds of other believers currently held in Eritrean prisons, some of them in appalling conditions. Many more have fled the country to escape the persecution and have ended up in prison in Egypt, where they have been subjected to rape, beatings and starvation. Pray for all those Eritrean Christians suffering for their faith in their own country and beyond, that the Lord will be their help and shield (Psalm 33:20). Pray too for a prison ministry, supported by Barnabas, that visits and helps Eritrean Christians jailed in Egypt.
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JUNE 3 - 7 Monday 3 Atrocities against Christians in Nigeria continue unabated. In Mubi, Adamawa state, various churches were attacked at the beginning of February; eight Christians were killed and three church buildings and a number of homes set ablaze. The violence drove Christians to stay at home after dark and to keep away from services. A month later, in Sheka, Kano state, 13 Christian factory workers were shot dead. In January a sheikh who claimed to be a commander of the militant Islamist group Boko Haram declared a ceasefire on its behalf, but in March a video was circulated in which one of its leaders, Abubakar Shekau, denied that it had made a truce with anyone. Pray that the Lord will be a wall of fire around His people (Zechariah 2:5) as they face such desperate dangers. Tuesday 4 “It’s good to be in the hands of El Shaddai.” These were the last words of Abdi Welli, a Somali pastor in Kenya, who was gunned down in the market place in Garissa on 7 February. Another church leader was wounded in the attack. Abdi Welli was a convert from Islam who had served as a missionary in west and east Africa. The militant Islamist group al-Shabaab is suspected of the attack; they have murdered numerous converts from Islam and have also intensified their violence against Christians in Kenya in the past year. Pray for comfort for Abdi Welli’s grieving widow and three children, and that Somali Christians will be preserved from alShabaab’s vicious campaign. Wednesday 5 Lift up to the Lord our brothers and sisters in Tanzania, where incidents of anti-Christian violence are on the increase. Two church leaders were killed in separate incidents in February. Pastor Evarist Mushi was shot dead as he arrived to take a service at his church in Mtoni, in the Urban West region of the semiautonomous island of Zanzibar, on 17 February.
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His shooting followed an attack on a Christian butcher’s shop in Buseresere, Geita region, on 11 February, during which Pastor Mathayo Kachila was beheaded. Tensions had been rising in the area as Muslims protested against the Christian ownership of butcheries. Pray that the Lord will draw near to the families of Evarist and Mathayo as they mourn. Pray for the easing of religious tensions in Tanzania, particularly on Muslimmajority Zanzibar. Thursday 6 Lift up to the Lord our Christian brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka, who face many kinds of pressure. Intermittent surges of severe violence by Buddhist extremists endanger Christians and their property. Buddhist nationalists continue to press for “anti-conversion” laws that would greatly hinder Christian work. And, as many Christians endure the poverty and need created by the ravages of the long civil war, they are discriminated against in the resettlement programmes, so that they have no means of securing adequate housing. Pray that the Lord will protect His people in Sri Lanka from attack by extremists. Ask that He will meet all the needs of those struggling without support, and pray that the government will recognise the rights of Christians and end discrimination against them. Friday 7 Many Christians in Sri Lanka are very poor and have little defence against the destructive natural disasters that frequently hit their country. Early this year severe flooding – the worst for eight years – devastated large parts of the island, damaging and destroying homes and sweeping away crops and livestock. Praise the Lord that Barnabas Fund was able to provide emergency food packages for 4,500 Christian families across six districts. Pray for these believers as they seek to rebuild their lives after the floods, and for better protection for them against their unstable environment.

JUNE 8 - 11 Saturday 8 “I am able to go out for my ministry without worrying about my family’s safety. We are able to have peaceful nights [and] to enjoy our meals and family prayers.” With these words a Sri Lankan church leader expressed his joy and gratitude for the sturdy new house provided for his family with support from Barnabas. In 2007 they were forced to flee their village during the civil war, and for some time they had to live in a tarpaulin hut with no protection against thieves or wild animals. But their new house has made them secure again and transformed their lives. Give thanks that Barnabas has been able to build or repair more than 600 houses for homeless Christians in Sri Lanka and India, and pray for our plans to provide more. than 2.5 million Christians in the country, while a senior church leader added that the enumerators did not visit every house and assumed that anyone with a Hindu name was a Hindu. An accurate estimate of the size of the Christian minority is vitally important at a time of significant political change. Pray that their freedoms will not be diminished, but protected and enhanced. Monday 10 “I could not survive without your support. Now I never worry about food because I can feed my children every month.” Asma, a Pakistani Christian mother whose husband was killed by Muslim extremists, spoke of the security brought by the regular food parcels she receives from Barnabas Fund. Give thanks for the lasting difference Barnabas’ feeding programme has made in Asma’s life and in those of many other Christians in Pakistan, who endure great hardship. Praise the Lord that we have been able to extend the programme to include another 890 families, bringing the total number of families supported to 2,067. Tuesday 11 “Today, a great justice has been served. Masih was innocent and everyone knew. An innocent man was saved from a terrible fate.” The lawyer for Barkat Masih was speaking after his client was acquitted on 28 January of a false charge of blasphemy in Pakistan. Barkat, who works as a sweeper, had refused to hand over to two Muslim men the keys of a site where he was working; it is thought they were trying to occupy the land illegally. They threatened him with “dire consequences” and accused him to the police for insulting Muhammad (which carries a mandatory death penalty in Pakistan). Give thanks for his release, and pray for him and his family as they relocate and rebuild their lives.
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A Sri Lankan Christian family outside their new house, built with help from Barnabas

Sunday 9 Pray for Christians in Nepal, whose numbers appear to have been grossly underestimated in the country’s latest census. The preliminary results put the number of Christians at 2 million, but when the final report was issued more than a year later, it recorded just 375,699 (about 1.4% of the population). The Federation of National Christians of Nepal said that it could prove from church records that there were more

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JUNE 12 - 16 Wednesday 12 Freedom for Christians in Cuba remains elusive despite some political reforms in the last five years. During 2012 the number of violations of freedom of religion or belief increased fourfold to 120. The government continues to control the churches through legal restrictions and official surveillance and harassment, and church leaders are sometimes detained. All registered churches must have their activities approved by local Communist Party officials, while unregistered groups cannot legally gather for worship. Pray for relief for God’s people from such stifling regulation and for full religious freedom to be established in Cuba. Thursday 13 “We want to praise the Lord for his protection, because a major disaster has been prevented.” With these words a Christian minister in Turkey thanked God that a plot to kill his fellow pastor Emre Karaali was foiled by counterterrorism police. Police arrested 14 suspects on suspicion of plotting to kill Emre on 15 January; two of them are thought to have infiltrated his church. They had been attending for over a year and had become very close to the pastor and his wife. Give thanks that the Lord protected the pastor from this danger, and pray that He will keep him and other vulnerable ministers in Turkey safe from harm. Friday 14 Armenians, who are predominantly Christians, are a very vulnerable group in Turkey. Five attacks on elderly Armenians were carried out in the Samatya area of Istanbul between December 2012 and January 2013. In a particularly brutal attack on 28 December, 85-year-old Marissa Kucuk was stabbed to death and a cross was carved on her body. Khatchig Mouradian, an Armenian activist, said, “The attacks highlight the unbearable heaviness of being Armenian in Turkey.” Pray that the Lord will be a shield for all those in Turkey who take refuge
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in Him (Proverbs 30:5), and ask that Armenian Christians there will know His peace despite the weighty burdens they bear, and His strength to stand firm. Saturday 15 Give thanks for a victory for religious freedom for British Christians. On 15 January, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) found in favour of Nadia Eweida, who had been fighting a lengthy legal battle to have her right to express her faith in the workplace upheld. Nadia was told in 2006 by her employer, British Airways, that her cross necklace breached their uniform code, despite the fact that Muslim hijabs and Sikh bangles were permissible. Nadia refused to remove her cross, and her campaign to be allowed to wear it to work culminated in the ECHR’s ruling that her right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion had been violated. Praise God for this victory, and pray that it will encourage other Christians in the UK to defend their freedom. Sunday 16 Pray for Saeed Abedeni (32), an Iranian-American pastor who has been jailed for eight years in Iran for planting house churches “intended to undermine national security”. The US citizen was arrested last September while visiting his homeland, where he was trying to establish an orphanage. The charges against him relate to his work in starting a house-church movement following his conversion from Islam to Christianity in 2000. He was sentenced on 27 January. Saeed has reportedly been subjected to physical and psychological abuse in prison. Pray that the Lord will uphold and protect him and swiftly bring about his release. Pray also that the Lord will comfort Saeed’s wife Naghmeh

JUNE 17 - 21 and their two children, who live in Idaho. their gatherings are sometimes raided in this way. Pray that they will be allowed to practise their faith in peace, and for greater freedom for Christians in Saudi Arabia. Wednesday 19 In mid-January, British and European politicians called on Burma (Myanmar) to stop its military offensive in the predominantly Christian Kachin state. The campaign was launched in June 2011 and has led to the displacement of over 100,000 people and the destruction of around 200 villages. Scores of churches have been burnt down; children have been killed and women raped by the Burmese military. A ceasefire announced by Burma’s president, Thein Sein, to take effect from 19 January was ignored by the army, but tentative peace talks did begin. Pray that the fighting will end and that the beleaguered Kachin people will be left in peace.  Thursday 20 Molotov cocktails were thrown at two church buildings in Makassar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia, in the early hours of Sunday 10 February. The front door and sign of one of the buildings were damaged. Two other churches were then targeted in apparently coordinated attacks at 4am on Thursday 14 February; both buildings suffered fire damage. The police said that they believed the fire-bombings were intended to stir up religious tensions. Many church buildings in Indonesia are the target of attacks by militant Muslims who object to the presence of Christians. Thank the Lord that no-one was injured in the Makassar incidents, and pray that Christian-owned property will be kept safe from assault. Friday 21 Give thanks to the Lord that six Christian schools in Indonesia that were facing the threat of closure can now continue their work unhindered. The schools, in Blitar in East Java,
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Saeed Abedini, a pastor jailed for eight years in Iran

Monday 17 Iranian Christians continue to suffer abuse and opposition from the Islamic authorities. Earlier this year one ayatollah defamed their faith and declared that today’s Christians are “a shame to Christianity”, while another warned against the growth of house churches, saying that they attract ungodly youth who have gone astray and induce them to convert. He has previously tried to provoke the intelligence and security services to take action against the Christian community. Pray for protection for our brothers and sisters in Iran in this climate of intimidation, and ask that the churches there will continue to grow. Tuesday 18 On 8 February members of the mutawaah, the notorious Saudi Arabian religious police, descended on the home of an Ethiopian Christian in Dammam, where a private worship service was being held. They arrested 53 Ethiopian believers, most of them women, and accused three of the church leaders of trying to convert Muslims to Christianity, which is an illegal act in the hardline Islamic state. At the time of writing most of the Christians were facing deportation. Expatriate Christians are theoretically permitted to worship in private, but

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JUNE 22 - 24 received an injunction from the authorities at the end of 2012 that required them to provide Islamic courses and readings of the Quran for Muslim students by 19 January or be shut. The schools firmly resisted the threat, saying that parents were “fully cognisant of the fact that only the Christian religion is taught in these schools” when they registered their children. Praise the Lord that after three days of talks between local officials and Christian leaders, the order was rescinded. Pray that the schools will continue to be a safe environment where students of all religions can learn about the Christian faith. Saturday 22 Pray for church leaders in Laos, who are extremely vulnerable to harassment. Their faith is seen as an American import and a threat to national identity, and so they often come under suspicion from the authorities. Three pastors from Savannakhet province were detained by police on 5 February after going to a shop to make copies of a Christian DVD. Pray for Bounma, Somkaew and Bounmee, who stand accused of spreading Christianity, although they said they were making only one copy of the DVD for each of their households. Ask that they will be returned to their communities, and pray that the joy of the Lord will be their strength (Nehemiah 8:10). Sunday 23 Those who become Christians in Laos risk losing everything. A couple from Chumpoy in the Sanamsai district of Attappeu province were thrown out of their village on 23 January for converting to Christianity. Pray for Sakien and his wife Dong, who came to Christ after hearing the testimony of their son and daughter-in-law, Sanien and Pitsamai; they had become Christians after Pitsamai was healed
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after prayer. Sakien and Dong are currently sheltering in a partially constructed church building in another village; pray that they will either be able to return to their home or find adequate housing elsewhere, and that the Lord will sustain them in their new faith throughout this trial.

Food aid from Barnabas reaches needy Christians in Mali

Monday 24 “I had just cooked my last meal, and there was no food in the house, nor money, nor any other way of obtaining grain. Thank the Lord for this aid, which has saved me and my children.” Bâh Kamaté, a Christian widow with six children in Mali, was “completely overwhelmed” when her pastor told her that she was going to receive corn and rice funded by Barnabas. Thousands of Christians fled the north of the country after the Islamist takeover in 2012, and their plight was worsened by food shortages resulting from drought. But praise God that Barnabas has helped to supply food for more than 5,100 Christians, as well as meeting other needs. Pray for His continuing provision for His people as Mali continues to face an uncertain future.

JUNE 25 - 30 Tuesday 25 Pray for our brothers and sisters in North Africa living in the shadow of militant Islamism. Following the French intervention against Islamist groups who had taken over large parts of Mali, militants attacked a gas facility in Algeria in January and killed 37 people. An Algerian employee who managed to escape said, “We were told that because we were Muslim we would not be killed, and it was only the Christians they were after.” The Islamists associate Christianity with the West, so Christian targets and individuals as well as Western ones are especially vulnerable to attack. Ask that the Lord will protect Christians in the region against violence and the oppressive grip of sharia law. Wednesday 26 Christian girls in Egypt are extremely vulnerable to being kidnapped by Salafists who forcibly convert them to Islam and marry them to Muslim men against their will; over 500 have been victims of this heartless campaign since the revolution of January 2011. The Association of Victims of Abduction and Enforced Disappearance (AVAED), an Egyptian Christian organisation, says that the authorities collude with the Salafists. Give thanks for the safe return of Agape Essam Girgis (13), who was abducted from el-Ameriya on 23 December 2012. Sadly, most cases do not have a happy ending. Pray that the Lord will comfort those families whose daughters are still missing and intervene mightily to deliver the Christian girls from the hands of their captors.     Thursday 27 In another chilling sign of Egypt’s move towards becoming an Islamic state, it was announced in March that a religious police force had been established to uphold Muslim morals. The Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice shares its name with the notorious religious police of Saudi Arabia. For some months previously, vigilante Salafist gangs had been operating as self-appointed enforcers of morals, raiding shops and harassing staff and customers. The Christian community is concerned that it may now be subjected to the demands of sharia law. Pray that this will not happen and that the Islamisation of Egyptian society will be checked and then reversed. Friday 28 Two Christian boys in Egypt were found guilty on 4 February of “showing contempt for Islam” by allegedly desecrating pages of the Quran. Nabil Farag and Mina Risq were aged just 9 and 10 at the time of the alleged incident on 30 September 2012. They were accused of tearing up and urinating on pages of the Quran in the village of Ezbat Marco. The youngsters were convicted despite evidence being produced in court that they are illiterate and therefore not able to identify Quranic text. Give thanks that Nabil and Mina were not punished; they were only remanded to the custody of their parents. Pray that the boys will suffer no further repercussions from this incident; they may be vulnerable to attack or subject to discrimination.  Saturday 29 A seminary attached to a church in Almaty, Kazakhstan was liquidated by court order on 9 January. The seminary’s parent organisation had been unable to register it as a religious education establishment under the harsh 2011 Religion Law, which required all religious groups to re-register with the state. Following the ruling, the seminary was going to try to continue its activity under the auspices of a registered religious organisation. Pray that its work will resume and that the Lord will use it to equip Christian leaders as they minister in such a challenging context.     Sunday 30 Three churches in Kazakhstan were targeted by police raids supposedly intended
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JUNE 30 to “counter manifestations of religious extremism and terrorism” on 20 January. The churches in Petropavl, Taiynsha and Kishnekol, all in North Kazakhstan, were raided during worship services. The pastors of the churches each received a fine equivalent to International Headquarters The Old Rectory, River Street, Pewsey, Wiltshire SN9 5DB, UK Telephone 01672 564938 Fax 01672 565030 From outside the UK Telephone +44 1672 564938 Fax +44 1672 565030 Email info@barnabasfund.org USA 6731 Curran St, McLean, VA 22101 Telephone (703) 288-1681 or toll-free 1-866-936-2525 Fax (703) 288-1682 Email usa@barnabasaid.org New Zealand PO Box 27 6018, Manukau City, Auckland, 2241 Telephone (09) 280 4385 or 0800 008 805 Email office@barnabasfund.org.nz Singapore Cheques in Singapore dollars payable to “Barnabas Fund” may be sent to: Kay Poh Road Baptist Church, 7 Kay Poh Road, Singapore 248963 almost twice the average monthly wage in Kazakhstan. Pray that the congregations of the churches will continue to develop their fellowship despite this setback, and that the Lord will meet the needs of the pastors burdened with such heavy fines. UK 9 Priory Row, Coventry CV1 5EX Telephone 024 7623 1923 Fax 024 7683 4718 From outside the UK Telephone +44 24 7623 1923 Fax +44 24 7683 4718 Email info@barnabasfund.org Jersey Le Jardin, La Rue a Don, Grouville, Jersey Channel Islands JE3 9GB Telephone 700600 Fax 700601 Email bfjersey@barnabasfund.org Australia PO Box 3527 Loganholme QLD 4129 Telephone (07) 3806 1076 or 1300 365 799 Fax (07) 3806 4076 Email bfaustralia@barnabasfund.org

www.barnabasfund.org

Barnabas Fund is a Company registered in England Number 4029536. Registered Charity Number 1092935 Cover: A Sri Lankan Christian widow whom Barnabas helped to start up a business and support her family © Barnabas Fund 2013 16
BARNABAS PRAYER MAY/JUNE 2013

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