Updated: Apr 17
‘Let’s see if your Jesus comes here to save you’ Believers in India were taunted, beaten and forced to pose ‘like Christ on the cross’ in police custody when extremists accused them of ‘forced conversion’. Pastor Indresh Kumar Gautam and four others were arrested after 30 Hindu extremists broke up their Sunday service in Pratapgarh district, Uttar Pradesh. Please pray for Pastor Indresh, aged 24, and the four others arrested with him. As extremists armed with sticks and rods threatened the congregation and started beating people, police officers who had come with the extremists looked on. Later at the police station, a senior officer brutally beat the five detainees with a cane, insulting them and accusing them of trying to convert local people. He forced four of them to pose as if they were being crucified, because he wanted to see how it felt to ‘torture Jesus’. ‘Let’s see if your Jesus would come here to save you,’ he mocked. The Christians were released on bail after signing an affidavit promising not to engage in ‘conversion activities’; one said he was not a Christian. Pastor Indresh says he intends to take legal action.
Ask God to heal all those who were beaten. One, named Akash, is said to be in severe pain and unable to walk.
Pray for the church in India, especially in eastern Uttar Pradesh where anti-Christian sentiment runs high. Pray that Christians will remain steadfast. Ask God to encourage Pastor Indresh’s church which is now meeting in smaller home groups.
Pray specifically for the police involved in the arrest and torture of Pastor Indresh and the others. Pray that Jesus will speak to their hearts and convict them of the truth.
(Source: Morning Star News) UPDATES Thank God that our imprisoned Chinese brother Pastor Wang Yi of Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, Sichuan, is said to be in good spirits, despite having lost a great deal of weight in prison. This recent photo of him has been circulated online after his family were allowed to visit him. His wife, Jiang Rong, remains under tight surveillance. Pastor Wang was detained in 2018 and sentenced to nine years for ‘subversion’. Pray for his release. (Source: VOM Korea) Praise God that the Baptist community in Aliabad, Azerbaijan, has finally been officially allowed to meet – more than 25 years after it first applied for permission. Pastor Hamid Shabanov, who has been arrested and fined many times for hosting religious meetings, has confirmed that his church is now able to meet for two hours on a Sunday. Pray that the Government will now grant the Baptist community legal status. (Source: Forum 18) Thank God that the hopes of greater religious freedom in Sudan are rising. State-appointed committees imposed on churches under former President al-Bashir were abolished last month: the committees had been responsible for the large-scale confiscation of church property. A truck belonging to the Baptist church when it was seized in 2012 has just been released by the transitional Government. Pray that all other confiscated property will now be returned. (Source: Morning Star News) Praise God that our Iranian brother Amin Khaki has been told he is to be released early. Amin was arrested in Rasht and sentenced last March to 14 months for ‘propaganda against the state and establishing house churches’. (Source: Middle East Concern)
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