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VOM PERSECUTION NEWS (From Keith UK)

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Post  Admin on Fri 14 Jan 2011, 2:38 pm

In this week's edition: reports from North Korea, Indonesia, Egypt, Eritrea and China.
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1. North Korean border guards kill five defectors
(Source: Seoul USA)
Five North Koreans were shot dead and two others wounded by North Korean border guards on the Chinese side of the border when they tried to flee North Korea, a source said January 9. The high-level source in Changbai in the Chinese province of Jilin said the seven individuals left Hyesan, Yanggang Province, and walked across the frozen Apnok (or Yalu) River and reached the Chinese side on December 14. Five of them died instantly under intense gunfire by North Korean border guards who ran after them. The two others were wounded and taken to the North.
North Korean border guards have never before shot at defectors once they reached the Chinese side. Observers say guards must have new instructions for dealing with defectors. Leader Kim Jong Il's son and heir, Kim Jong Un, has apparently ordered border guards to shoot anyone who crosses the border rivers without permission. He also reportedly said he would not tolerate defectors crossing the border. Reportedly, North Korean border guards are now armed with an AK-47 rifles with 40 reserve shells and hand grenades.
While there is no reason to suspect that those who were killed were Christian, certainly everyone who crosses the border illegally will be impacted by this shocking change in security measures. In the upcoming February 2011 VOM newsletter, you will meet Sister Yang, a North Korean defector, and hear of her life of hardship and her encounter with Jesus Christ. You'll also learn how VOM is involved in helping fellow believers in the "Hermit Kingdom." To sign up for the newsletter, go to www.persecution.net/nlorder.htm. You can also view a recent video report at www.persecution.tv/uu.
Please pray that those living in hopelessness in this restrictive nation will find hope in Christ. Pray for believers in North Korea who follow Jesus at great risk. Pray for all those in authority in this nation; ask the Lord to open their eyes to the wisdom, compassion and the light of the gospel. Pray Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un will repent of their evil deeds and turn to Jesus for forgiveness.
To learn more about the persecution of North Korean believers, go to www.persecution.net/northkorea.htm.
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2. Police, Islamists put up obstacles to worship in Indonesia
(Source: Compass Direct)
During the Christmas season, government officials in West Java province, Indonesia, blocked church members from worshipping in one church, and Islamic groups pressured authorities to seize the property of another.
The Bogor Regency Administrative Leadership Council was unsuccessful in keeping Gereja Kristen Indonesia (Indonesian Christian Church, or GKI) in Bogor's Taman Yasmin area from holding a December 25 service, but authorities did prevent its regular Sunday service on December 26.
GKI spokesperson Bona Sigalingging said police telephoned church leaders to forbid Christmas services that were to begin at 7 p.m. on December 25. The church worshipped anyway, with nearby demonstrators screaming, "Allahu akbar !" and "Break it up!" However, authorities blocked church members from worshipping the next morning.
Islamic demonstrators in Rancaekek, Bandung, got police to remove items such as pews from a Huria Kristan Batak Protestant church building on December 19. That church had already been sealed.
Thank the Lord for the faithfulness of Indonesian Christians who continue to meet together in spite of severe opposition. Pray they will be greatly encouraged by seeing the Lord's hand at work in continuing to strengthen the church and add to its numbers.
You can read more about the persecution Christians face in Indonesia by visiting www.persecution.net/indonesia.htm.
***********************************
3. Egyptian Muslims serve as 'human shields' at Coptic Christmas Mass
(Source: ASSIST News Service)
Muslims throughout Egypt turned up in droves for the Coptic Christmas Mass on January 6, offering their bodies, and lives, as "shields" to Egypt's threatened Christian community. According to journalist Yasmine El-Rashidi, among those shields were movie stars Adel Imam and Yousra, popular Muslim televangelist and preacher Amr Khaled, the two sons of President Hosni Mubarak, and thousands of citizens who have said they consider the New Year's Eve attack as one on Egypt as a whole.
In the days following the brutal December 31 attack on Saints Church in Alexandria, which left 21 dead, solidarity between Muslims and Copts has been unprecedented. Millions of Egyptians changed their Facebook profile pictures to the image of a cross within a crescent -- the symbol of an "Egypt for All." Around Alexandria, banners calling for unity were displayed. They depicted mosques and churches, crosses and crescents, together as one.
Thank the Lord for the extension of support from the Muslim community, and pray the Lord will use it to spur on the government and security forces to act to protect the Christian minority. Pray He will use this improved relationship between these two communities to further strengthen the Church and act as a witness for the Gospel.
Find out more about the treatment of believers in Egypt at www.persecution.net/egypt.htm.
***********************************
4. Mass arrest of Christians in Eritrea
(Source: ASSIST News Service)
Eritrean officials arrested 30 Christians on January 2 for praying at a private house in Asmara, the nation's capital. Some of the Christians were just recently released after being detained for their faith. International Christian Concern (ICC) reported that security officials arrested the Christians and took them to the police station. The detained Christians are members of the Philadelphia Church, an evangelical church outlawed in Eritrea.
Several churches have been forced to go underground in Eritrea since 2002, when officials required all religious groups to register. The officials only recognize four religious groups: Islam, the Eritrean Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran Evangelical Church of Eritrea.
Currently, more than 3,000 Eritreans have been detained for their faith in Christ. Most are kept in underground dungeons, metal shipping containers and military barracks. Several Christians have died while imprisoned due to torture and lack of medical attention.
Please pray for church unity and genuine religious freedom in Eritrea. Commit to the Lord all believers in this nation, especially those suffering in prison. Pray for the Lord's strengthening presence, and pray for their release.
Read more about the persecuted Church in Eritrea at www.persecution.net/eritrea.htm.
***********************************
5. Continue to pray for missing Chinese Christian
(Sources: AP, ChinaAid)
For nearly two years, Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng has been detained by authorities (see www.persecution.net/cn-2010-12-09.htm). His whereabouts are largely unknown, causing deep anxiety and concern among his loved ones.
In recent days, an interview with Gao was released to the press in which he discloses the torture he endured at the hands of Chinese authorities. He describes a particularly brutal period when three police officers stripped him naked and pistol-whipped him for two days and two nights. When these officers tired, they bound Gao's arms and legs and threw him on the floor until they were ready to resume.
"That degree of cruelty, there's no way to recount it," said Gao. "For 48 hours, my life hung by a thread." Gao said this was the darkest period in the 14 months he was secretly detained until his release in March 2010. But, two weeks after his March release, he again disappeared, and there has since been little news about him.
In December 2010, a worldwide advocacy effort was launched on Gao's behalf. ChinaAid coordinated a campaign with the aim of delivering 150,000 signatures to Chinese embassies around the world. It was recently reported that Chinese embassies and consulates refused delivery of ChinaAid's petition, causing disappointment among those who hoped that the campaign would raise public awareness of Gao's plight and pressure the Chinese government into action. For more information about Gao, please visit www.freegao.com.
Pray Gao will be safely returned home at last. Pray he will continue to find comfort in the everlasting love and mercy of a Saviour who never forsakes His children. Pray Gao's family will also find refuge in God, casting all of their fears and cares on Him. Pray those involved in the petition will not be discouraged by recent events, but have enduring faith in God's justice. Pray Chinese Christians will continue to boldly proclaim the righteousness of the Lord. You can show your solidarity with Gao Zhisheng by posting a prayer on the Persecuted Church Prayer Wall at www.persecution.net/prayerwall.
You can find out more about Chinese Christians suffering for their faith at www.persecution.net/china.htm.
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The Persecution & Prayer Alert is a ministry of The Voice of the Martyrs, Canada. (Mailing address: P.O. Box 608, Streetsville, Ontario, L5M 2C1)
Tel. (905) 670.9721. Website: www.persecution.net
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