China extends anti-Christian programme The Chinese authorities appear to have stepped up their persecution of Christians – in unofficial and official churches alike. Authorities have banned all online services and officials have also accelerated their programme to remove and demolish crosses from church buildings, according to Release partner ChinaAid. Pastors have also been detained for organising online prayer meetings. Please pray that God will strengthen His people in China. Our partners report that the authorities demolished at least two churches at Easter. Officials tore down the state-sanctioned Donghu Church in Qinghai province, the oldest and largest in its district – and a private home used for a house church in Hunan province. ChinaAid also reports that several members of Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, Sichuan, were arrested at home on Good Friday as they watched online Sunday School services and were taken in for questioning. Meanwhile, Beijing lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who has been detained since 2009 and has suffered appalling torture, has been awarded the Lin Zhao Freedom Award. The prize is given to Chinese human rights activists who suffer persecution for promoting freedom and the rule of law. Gao has not been seen since 2017 when he made an apparent attempt to escape house arrest.
Pray that restrictions on Chinese churches will be lifted.
Pray that the coronavirus crisis will prompt many more people in China to find out about Jesus and to ‘hunger and thirst for righteousness’ (Matthew 5:6).
Pray that Gao Zhisheng will be released and allowed to live in peace.
(Source: ChinaAid) UPDATES Praise God that our Iranian brother Ebrahim Firouzi has been treated with warmth and kindness by locals during his time in exile. In a recent YouTube interview, Ebrahim says that threats that he would be treated harshly by Islamist extremists have proved unfounded. Before he was sent into exile late last year, Ebrahim had spent almost seven years in prison. Pray that God will bless Ebrahim and will fill him with His peace. (Source: Morning Star News) Pray for our Iranian sister Mary (Fatemeh) Mohammadi who has just received a suspended prison sentence of three months and a day and ten lashes for ‘disturbing public order’. She was arrested in Tehran in January, during protests after the downing of the Ukrainian passenger jet. Pray that Mary will be encouraged and ask God to heal her from her ordeal in jail where she suffered greatly.