Revised November 2014: Actual Situation in Mexico to Date

There are a number of families that are still living in government shelters after having been expelled from their communities in 2009 and through 2014 without resolution, or a serious government attempt to attend to their cases; there are over 50 - 70 cases are documented just in the southern state of Chiapas: including those of Chilil, Los Llanos, Matamoros, and Union Juarez. There are evangelicals under siege in many communities in Zapatista autonomous zones in Las Margaritas, Ocosingo, San Cristobal and the Chiapas Highlands areas. The families of Evangelical prisoners from the Acteal case rejoiced for the release of some of their men in 2009, 2010, and recently in 2014, but are still waiting for the Supreme court to release the remaining in prison. Drug cartel violence in the northern states of Chihuahua, Sinaloa, and Tamaulipas has extended throughout Mexico to Michoacan, Guerrero, and though the southern states, into Central America. In 2011, 3 foreign missionaries were killed, and from December of 2010 to June of 2011 3 Evangelical s were murdered in Chiapas. Please keep Mexico in your prayers, and Be A Voice for those who don't have one wherever and whenever you can.

Mar 1, 2012

VOM Ministries Forming their Youth and Young Adult Outreaches

 While Voice of the Martyrs in Mexico has been working for several years in establishing their youth connections through Locos por Jesus, soon to be promoted in Latina America, we rejoice to  see the Australian and VOMC teams joining in their ThirteenThree effort.

Coming up: VOMC's youth ministry launch and annual conference

 

The Hovsepian brothers, whose father was martyred in 1994,
are scheduled speakers for the conference.

 
This spring, please join us for our youth ministry launch and for our annual prayer conference! Scheduled speakers include Gilbert and Joseph Hovsepian, Iranian brothers whose father, Haik, was martyred in 1994 (for more information about the Hovsepian's ministry, go to www.hovsepian.com).
Be sure to mark your calendar now for these special events in Calgary!
Centre Street Church, West Campus
4120 Centre Street N
Calgary, AB T2E 2Y7
Thirteen Three is the new youth and young adult initiative of The Voice of The Martyrs Canada. Thirteen Three's mission is to empower and impassion young adults to be bound with their persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ through praying, giving, writing, and telling others. For more information about VOM's youth ministry, visit www.ThirteenThree.ca or visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ThirteenThreeCanada.
Youth Ministry Launch
Friday, April 13, 2012
7:15 - 10 p.m.
Our annual prayer conference will be held the following day. The conference will provide the opportunity to hear from Iranian Christians, pray for the persecuted, and worship together with fellow believers.
Standing in the Fire Prayer Conference
Saturday, April 14, 2012
9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Celebrating Early Release in China

Update: Li Ying released early from prison in China

(Sources: China Aid Association, VOM-USA)

Praise God for Li's early release!


 
Journalist and Christian activist Li Ying was released from prison in China on December 25, 2011, almost five years before the end of her 15-year sentence. During her time in prison, she was reportedly forced to work 15 hours a day on products for export. Her visits with her family were also strictly limited, and she was not allowed to have a Bible.
Li was arrested in April 2001 for her work on an underground Christian magazine. In December 2001, Li was one of 17 South China Church leaders who were convicted of "using a cult to undermine enforcement of the law," five of whom were sentenced to death. Li was one of them, but as a result of the ensuing international outcry a higher court revoked the death sentences in September 2002, citing lack of clarity about certain facts and insufficient evidence. The case was retried in October 2002. Instead of the crime of "using a cult," the five who had been condemned to death were convicted instead of "intentional assault" (for more information, click here).
China Aid Association founder and president, Bob Fu, spoke with Li on February 10. Li is very grateful for the support she received from around the world. She told Fu that she was aware of the many letters she had received but that authorities never let her see the letters.
Thank the Lord for this wonderful answer to prayer! Ask Him to restore Li physically and emotionally. Pray that she will draw ever closer to Him as she comes to terms with her new life outside prison walls. Pray for the many Christian believers currently in prison for their faith.
To learn more about the persecuted Church in China, please visit the China Country Report. To find out how you can encourage other imprisoned believers in China, visit VOM's letter writing site at www.PrisonerAlert.com. For our letter writing guide and complete prisoners' list, go to the Writing Letters page.

Celebrating Release in Turkmenistan

Update: Pastor released from prison in Turkmenistan

(Source: Forum 18 News Service)

Praise God for Pastor Ilmurad’s release!

 
Nearly 18 months after his August 2010 arrest, Pastor Ilmurad Nurliev has been released from prison. Pastor Ilmurad, 46, was arrested at his home in Mary in south-eastern Turkmenistan on August 27, 2010. He was charged with extracting money from three people -- an accusation his wife, Maya, and fellow church members strongly denied (for more, click here).
On February 18, Pastor Ilmurad was among a group of about 230 prisoners freed under amnesty from a labour camp. "Church members have been coming to the house to celebrate my release with me," Pastor Ilmurad said. "I want to thank ... everyone who supported me and helped my release."
Praise God for Pastor Ilmurad's release! Pray that God will heal any physical, emotional, or spiritual wounds. Pray that God will continue to equip and use Pastor Ilmurad to further His Kingdom in Turkmenistan.
Please visit the Turkmenistan Country Report for more on Turkmenistan's persecuted Church.

Chinese Law and Religion Monitor

Chinese Law & Religion Monitor
July – December 2011Chinese Religion and Law Cover-2011-12[3]
Vol. 7, No. 2
Editor’s Note 
By “Bob” Xiqiu Fu
In the second half of 2011, human rights, the rule of law and freedom of religion all continued to deteriorate. Large numbers of rights activists and political dissidents were silenced as a result of the cruel persecution they suffered in the first six months of the year. Regrettably, in the face of the Chinese Communists’ almost savage “big stick” dollar-diplomacy, the heads of most governments in the international community have maintained a public attitude of cowardly silence and trying to curry favor with the Chinese Communist government.
This Fall/Winter 2011 issue of Chinese Law and Religion Monitor contains five articles as well as documents pertaining to a house church that has been banned by the government and the church’s petition. The contents of this issue cover international religious freedom, civil rights, Europe’s Islam problem, and China’s house churches as well as information about specific cases. The aim is to explore problems at the intersection of the rule of law and religious freedom with civil society and the political structure and to explore constructive solutions to these problems.
As our earlier issues, this issue is also available on www.amazon.com
1. Prof. P. Coertzen, of South Africa’s University of Stellenbosch, in “Religious Freedom and a South African Charter of Religious Rights and Freedoms,” explores what freedom of religion means in a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious country like South Africa, what the government’s role is and what contributions Christianity can make.
2. Pastor E. Perez Romero, director of ChinaAid’s Los Angeles office, in “Religious Freedom, Civil Disobedience and Civil Society,” uses Biblical teaching to show that religious freedom is bestowed by God and that when obedience to God means disobedience to man the use of civil disobedience is appropriate, and discusses some issues and makes some suggestions for how the church, by using the Gospel, can bring culture in civil society to new heights. July – December 2011 Vol. 7, No. 2 4
3. Prof. Ou Dongming, of Sichuan University’s South Asia Institute, and Prof. Hu Yu, of Southwest University of Science and Technology, in “Islam and Liberal Citizenship--Analysis on Tariq Ramadan’s Views on Western Muslims,” look at the growth of Islam in Europe’s democratic societies and the challenges it has brought, exploring and analyzing the paradoxical theory of European Muslim intellectual Tariq Ramadan: Europe’s Muslims can integrate with Western society if they just hold onto the principles of their faith while at the same time leaving behind those cultural values and customs that are seriously outdated. The authors pointedly ask: how is it possible to introduce new ideas to a faith-derived culture while maintaining the principles of the faith?
4. Liu Peng, researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ American Studies Research Institute and director of the Beijing Pushi Institute for Social Sciences, in “House Churches: Problems and Solutions,” looks at the new cycle of church-state conflict triggered by the persecution of Shouwang Church and gives a comprehensive overview that profoundly explores the history, current status and operations mode and principles of house churches and sums up with some proposed solutions to the problem of house churches.
5. Yang Kaile, a house church and church-state relations expert, in “The imperative for innovation in management of house churches,” raises the need for the government to change its thinking about house churches, to be innovative in its management of religion, and to give up its rigid and outdated guiding principles and the resulting handling methods― such as “illegal Christian meeting sites,” “they are the enemy” mentality, spy penetration idea” and “reeducation for conversion”.
6. “Documents Banning the Shangxi House Church in Lizhou District, Guangyuan city, Sichuan province and the Church’s Petition” contrasts the policy and actions of the government in banning the house church with the house church’s respect for the government while striving to argue its position in accordance with the law. The house church’s common desire and bottom line: “We are doing this simply for our faith! We want to meet together!”
In short, these six papers all focus on this central theme: religious freedom is a global issue and the Chinese government should learn from international models, update its thinking, and grant the fundamental rights and freedoms that the rule of law bestows to house churches.
In the past five years, five people have had a profound impact on China’s religious freedom, rule of law and development of civil society. As a consequence, they have been cruelly persecuted. We need to pay attention to their cases and the international community needs to intervene. They are: Christian human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who has long been missing in government custody; blind rights activist Chen Guangcheng of Linyi District, Shandong province; constitutional rights scholar and Christian Dr. Fan Yafeng, who has long been held under house arrest; Uyghur house church leader Alimujiang, serving a 15-year prison sentence in Xinjiang; and imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo.
China Aid Association will continue striving for improvements in religious freedom, human rights and the rule of law in China. To do this, we need the joint efforts of all parties at home and abroad, to explore theory and practice, and effectively promote the development of civil society in China.
Editor: Pastor Xiqiu “Bob” Fu, founder and president, China Aid Association 
December 31, 2011 
Texas, USA 
Pastor Bob Fu 
Editor-in-chief, founder and president of China Aid Association

The Voice of the Martyrs Canada: Church ransacked in eastern Algeria

The Voice of the Martyrs Canada: Church ransacked in eastern Algeria: The Protestant Church of Ouargla in eastern Algeria was vandalized by an unknown number of armed men on the evening of February 1, reports I...