Persecution Fridays – Iran – Government Takes Child

October 14, 2011 at 6:30 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com

Iran: Government Takes Child

Agents of Iran’s intelligence ministry recently took a Christian couple’s adopted child, demanding that the couple file a complaint against other Christians being held in prison, according to Mohabat News. The couple was taken to the hospital because of emotional stress caused by the loss of their child. “This is the first time I have ever seen this tactic — taking a child hostage,” said a VOM contact. “In the past, it is always the parents.”

The Christian couple legally adopted their child after years of waiting, according to Mohabat News. Security officers reportedly took the child as a way to pressure the Christian family and other Christian converts. Mohabat News reports that the security agents threatened the couple, saying, “If you want your child back, you must file a complaint against your fellow Christians in prison.”

Within the past year, Christians have been arrested, falsely charged and imprisoned for extensive periods of time. House and church raids are common occurrences, and the Christian community faces continual threats and pressure. Please pray that this Christian couple will get their child back soon and that they will rely on God during this time of extreme emotional stress.

Persecution Fridays: Uzbekistan – False Prosecutions

August 19, 2011 at 6:30 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com

Uzbekistan: False Prosecutions

Authorities in Uzbekistan continue to pressure churches and religious groups, often fabricating evidence to punish or limit Christians’ ability to practice their faith. Christians recently have been subjected to excessive fines, false accusations and literature confiscations. In the most recent case, on July 15, 2011, Konstantin Malchikovsky, pastor of the Hamza District Baptist Church in Tashkent, was indicted for tax fraud.

The indictment involved allegations that Malchikovsky failed to pay taxes on church offerings and book sales between 2003 and 2010. According to Forum 18 News, a government investigator threatened church members with jail time if they refused to fabricate evidence against the pastor. The government apparently wants the church to use a cash register to receive offerings so they can issue a receipt for each one.

Malchikovsky faces a maximum of two years in jail if convicted. Local Christians told Forum 18 that city tax authorities did not present to the court all of the documents claimed as evidence. And the judge ignored documents that proved the inaccuracy of the indictment.

Last spring, authorities raided the Hamza District Baptist Church, confiscating money, printing equipment and tens of thousands of Christian books. Four church members, including Malchikovsky, were fined between 50 and 100 times the minimum monthly wage.

In a separate raid in June, authorities confiscated about 250 Christian books and recordings, a computer and a passport from Christian Anvar Rajapov’s home. Rajapov was fined 80 times the minimum monthly wage. Ignoring police threats, Rajapov twice unsuccessfully appealed the ruling to Tashkent Criminal Court. On July 10, when Rajapov asked the court for the return of his hard drive, the court ordered that it be destroyed.

In another case, the Uzbek Supreme Court recently upheld the 10-year sentence of Tohar Haydarov, who was arrested in March 2010 and charged with the “illegal sale of narcotic or psychotropic substances in large quantities.” Church members consistently told Forum 18 News that the allegations were fabricated to punish him.

Although prison authorities have shown Haydarov letters that have been mailed to him, he has not been allowed to read them. The reason, prison authorities say, is that there are “too many citations from the Bible in them.” Local Christians told Forum 18 News that Haydarov has admonished other Christians to “appreciate dearly your worship services and listen attentively to the sermons. I so much wish to attend worship services, but, alas, I don’t have the opportunity.”

Persecution Fridays – Iran

July 22, 2011 at 9:38 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com

Iran: Life in Prison

In March 2009, Christian roommates Maryam Rustampoor, 29, and Marzieh Amirizadeh, 32, were charged by the Iranian state with being “anti-government activists.” They spent 259 days in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison before being released in November 2009.

In the first interview since their release, the two discussed their life in prison with Sam Yeghnazar of Elam Ministries. Continue Reading Persecution Fridays – Iran…

Sermon Sunday – Jonathon Edwards

May 15, 2011 at 6:30 am | Posted in Sermon Sunday | Leave a comment
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Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

by

 Jonathan Edwards
 (1703-1758)

Preached July 8th, 1741

“In due time their foot will slip”–Deut. 32:35

Transcription update copyright © Tony Capoccia, 2007

In this verse the vengeance of God is threatened upon the wicked unbelieving Israelites, who were God’s chosen people, and who lived under the means of grace; but who, despite all of God’s wonderful works towards them, remained without sense, having no discernment in them (Deut. 32:28). After all the cultivations of Heaven, they brought forth bitter and poisonous fruit; as shown in verses 32 and 33. The verse that I have chosen for my text, “In due time their foot will slide,” seems to imply the following things, relating to the punishment and destruction to which these wicked Israelites were exposed. Continue Reading Sermon Sunday – Jonathon Edwards…

Persecution Fridays: Cuba

March 4, 2011 at 10:17 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com 

Cuba: Persecution Increases

Pastors and Christian leaders in Cuba are reporting a shift in how the government treats Christians. The government appears to have moved away from higher profile forms of oppression, such as threatening to shut down or destroy churches, and is now focusing pressure on church leaders, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).

Church leaders both within and outside of the Cuban Council of Churches (CCC) report receiving frequent visits from state security agents and Cuban Communist Party (CCP) officials. The CCC is an umbrella organization representing Protestant churches. These visits and meetings seem to have the intent of intimidating church leaders and making them aware they are under close surveillance.

In October 2010, Pastor Homero Carbonell decided to resign as leader of La Trinidad First Baptist Church in Santa Clara after prolonged government pressure and threats, according to CSW. He hoped giving up his leadership position would alleviate some of the demands on the congregation, but nothing has changed.

Pastor Carbonell, a respected high-level denominational leader, denounced the government persecution in an open letter, according to CSW. He wrote that spurious accusations against him, including allegations that he is associated with the counterrevolution, brought a series of penalties to his church. The pastor also described how the Religious Affairs Office has treated the church over the past three years. In one meeting with the Religious Affairs Office, officials told Pastor Carbonell to “behave himself.”

CSW reports that the government’s attention on Pastor Carbonell and his church may have been prompted by the church’s refusal to expel family members of political prisoners and members of human rights or pro-democracy groups.

Religious groups in Cuba are under the authority of the Religious Affairs Office of the CCP’s Central Committee, rather than a government body. Church leaders have complained for years about difficulties dealing with the Religious Affairs Office, especially with regard to permission for church repair or construction. Many of VOM’s partners in Cuba have faced conflict with authorities while building or repairing churches. Some get around requirements by constructing structures with roofs but no walls.

Bibles and Christian literature may be imported into the country only through the Cuban Council of Churches, which, according to CSW, represents a minority of churches. This limitation has led to a severe shortage of religious materials in Cuba. VOM friends help bring Bibles and other materials into the country through other channels and also sponsor a clandestine printing press for Christian literature.

Persecution Friday: Iran

February 11, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com 

 Iran: Seven Christians Released

Seven Iranian Christians were released from prison on bail on Saturday, Jan. 29. Four women were released from Tehran’s Evin prison, and two men and a woman were released in the city of Isfahan three days earlier. The seven spent one month in prison after being arrested along with 31 other Christians on Dec. 26, 2010. Some of the other 31 have since been released. All were arrested simply because they are Christians.

The seven reported they spent 34 days in solitary confinement and endured hours of interrogation. They were tortured psychologically. It is likely that the other 26 Christians still in prison are in solitary confinement and are also facing interrogation.

Two of those who remain in prison are Rasool and Maryam Abdolahi, whose arrests left their two children to live as orphans. While Maryam was able to call her children from prison, the traumatized children have not heard from their father in more than 34 days. All of the other prisoners were able to call their families. Church leaders are extremely worried about Rasool.

Iran Christians
21 of the 33 Christians arrested.
(click to enlarge)

At least 26 other Christians are still in prison, including Yousef Nadarkhani, who was sentenced to death for apostasy. Two couples, Vahik and Sonia Abrahamian and Srash and Arezoo Kermanjani, have been in prison in Hamadan for nearly four months. Two others, Mojtaba Keshavarz and Shahin Rostami, have been held in Arak for more than three months. Church members are concerned for their health. Sonia is suffering from the poor conditions in prison, and Shahin is diabetic.

The women released in Tehran were Ladan Nouri, Nasrin Hosseini-nia, Anahita Zare and Sara Akhavan. Sara Akhavan’s family gave up their trade license in exchange for her bail, and if authorities decide she has broken bail, the family’s livelihood will be gone. Sadly, the trade license was not valuable enough to secure bail for Sara’s sister, Leila, who remains in prison. Rafi Nadipoor, Basir Amini and Yasaman Yar-Ahmadi were released in Isfahan.

Continue to pray for Christians in Iran, who face extreme pressure under the government’s new policy of “religious cleansing.” “We felt [your] presence alongside us,” said an Iranian Christian who spent months in prison. “Don’t think that your prayers are unimportant.”

What has God done for me?

March 29, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Many people today, inside and outside the church, have become focused on self. They are all about them and what they can do. They often don’t know or care what God has done for them. Those who aren’t professing Christians can’t see that their very life is a gift from God. Sadly, this affects the gospel. When people don’t understand what God has done for them or why He did it, is cheapens the gospel and lessens the effect the good news can have in a person’s life. When pastors don’t preach the true gospel, the people listening don’t receive what they need to hear to help them understand who God is and what He’s done for them. Continue Reading What has God done for me?…

Does the world need “Elders”?

July 27, 2007 at 11:36 am | Posted in Christianity | 1 Comment
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I will readily admit that I’m behind on the news that is going on. I am still working a daily job, as well as preparing for a huge church function, preparing to coach my daughter’s soccer team, researching my next sermon, and trying to get all my thoughts together on my new venture: an online evangelistic t-shirt company.

Even with all of that going on, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to write on something that seemed so grossly out of place and just plain weird. The news item in question is the announcement of a group of “Elders” that will use their combined wisdom and insight to help solve the “global community’s” problems. The group of Elders includes Kofi Annan, Desmond Tutu, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Mary Robinson, Jimmy Carter, Li Zhaoxing, Muhammad Yunus, Ela Bhatt, Graca Machel, and Nelson Mandela. 

Not to be rude, blunt, or sound ignorant, but I don’t know most of the people listed and regardless of whether I know who they are or not, why are they the ones “chosen” to be Elders? The group was proposed by millionaire Richard Branson (Virgin Records) and Peter Gabriel. Is this really the type of people that should be choosing “wise” men? Does this group represent the type of wisdom that the world needs? Many of the members of the Elders are pro-homosexual , pro-abortion, and pro-population control. Is that what the world needs? Maybe it’s kind of like this: “If we can’t keep you from being born, then we’ll keep you from reproducing, and if we can’t do that, then when you’re old enough to not fight us off, we’ll euthanize you”. Sure, it’s brash but how close to the truth is it? Continue Reading Does the world need “Elders”?…


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