Category Archives: persecution

Persecuted Pastor in Iran

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has done a very dangerous thing. He has converted from Islam to Christ. This is dangerous because he lives in Iran where such a thing violates the law of the land. He has recieved a death sentence which has been delayed in the hope that he would recant his faith.

Matt Smethurst reports:

Nadarkhani is now approaching 900 days separated from his wife, his two sons, and his church. Nevertheless, God’s sustaining grace has enabled him to endure. In a poignant, Scripture-soaked letter to his congregation dated June 2, 2010, the imprisoned pastor, echoing the apostle Peter, wrote: “Therefore [the true believer] does not need to wonder for the fiery trial that has been set on for him as though it were something unusual, but it pleases him to participate in Christ’s suffering. Because the believer knows he will rejoice in [Christ’s] glory.”

Trevin Wax published the entirety of his faith-filled letter to his congregation. This is a great encouragement to them and to us to be faithful even when the Lord and his gospel are hated by the world around us. Jesus spoke of this reality and told his disciples not to be surprised when they experienced it. “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you….If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:18, 20).

Pray for God’s grace to this pastor, his family, and his church. Also, some believe that Pastor Nadarkhani’s sentence has been delayed due to international pressure.  For more information and an easy way to let Iranian officials know your perspective on this go here.

Pray for Asia Bibi

Please pray for Asia Bibi. Voice of The Martyrs tells her situation here.

 On Nov. 8, Asia Bibi was sentenced to death by a judge in Pakistan, according to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts. The judge also fined Asia $1,190 (U.S.) and told her she had seven days to appeal the decision. VOM contacts reported that her attorney will appeal the sentence.

Asia was arrested by police on June 19, 2009, and charged with blasphemy after she engaged in a religious discussion with co-workers. Many of the local women, including Asia, worked on the farm of Muslim landowner Muhammad Idrees. During their work, many of the Muslim women had pressured Asia to renounce Christianity and accept Islam. Her family is one of only three Christian families in a village of more than 1,500 families.

On June 19, there was an intense discussion among the women about their faith. The Muslim women told Asia about Islam, and, according to VOM sources, Asia responded by telling the Muslim women that Christ died on the cross for our sins. She told them Jesus is alive. “Our Christ is the true prophet of God,” she reportedly told them.

Upon hearing this response, the Muslim women became angry and began to beat Asia. Then some men took her and locked her in a room. They announced from mosque loudspeakers that she would be punished by having her face blackened and being paraded through the village on a donkey.

Local Christians informed the police, who took Asia into custody before the Muslims could carry out their plan. She is currently being held at the police station in Nankana city. Christians there had urged the police not to file blasphemy charges, but police claimed that they had to go forward because of pressure from local Muslim leaders.

VOM is assisting Asia’s family and urges you to continue praying for Asia and her family during this difficult time. Pray that her appeal will be successful and that God will act on her behalf. Pray that Christians in Pakistan will continue to stand for Christ.

Pray that God would give our sister in Christ the grace to testify boldly of Christ and also that she would be freed from the charges against her. Pray also that we the church in the United States would:

1. “Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you are also in the body.” (Hebrews 13:3)

And

2. Since “all who live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12), and “while evil men and imposters go from bad to worse” (v. 13) in our country, all the more we should “continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you have learned it” (v. 14).