More trouble in Uzbekistan

A Protestant from north-west Uzbekistan, Jandos Kuandikov, was arrested on 14 June and is still in detention before facing criminal trial on terrorism charges, Forum 18 News Service has learnt. Uzbek police have also recently falsely accused a Protestant refugee in Kazakhstan of terrorism charges. Amongst other recent violations of freedom of thought, conscience and belief, four Baptists in Tashkent Region – Natalya Ogai, Filipp Kim, Dmitri Kim and Nurlan Tolebaev – have been fined and sentenced to ten days’ imprisonment, because of their peaceful religious activity. Fines continue to be imposed on other Protestants. However, in a highly unusual move, a court in the capital Tashkent found that charges against a Protestant had been fabricated and ordered police to be punished for this. But members of Tashkent’s Hare Krishna community have been banned from taking part in a music and environment festival.

Read the whole article here

Perspective From “Voice of the Martyrs”

I have my default webpage on my personal computer set to “Voice of the Martyrs“. I do this for two reasons:

1 – I need to see this page on a regular basis

2 – I probably wouldn’t navigate there very much if it didn’t come up every time I open my web browser.

Why wouldn’t I go there? Because it can be depressing. They have a little news feed right on the homepage with updates about missionaries being persecuted around the world.

It doesn’t give me the quick, fun distraction of a silly blogpost somewhere. It doesn’t give me a warm fuzzy feeling I get by checking out the latest series by a pastor. It doesn’t give me the self-righteous indignation I tend to fall victim to when I read the news about how messed up our world is.

It just makes me sad.

But it also helps me remember.

It helps me remember that this world is temporary.

And Jesus has overcome the world.

And He left me with a mission.

And it has nothing to do with my bank account or the size of my TV or the number hits I’m getting on my blog.

And that gets me excited.

Here’s the headline I clicked on this morning:

CHINA – Children Arrested for Attending Bible Study
March 3, 2008
On February 28, 11 children and two adults were detained by Public Security Bureau (PSB) officials while attending a house church Bible study in Qingshuihe township, Xinjiang province.

According to China Aid Association (CAA), “PSB officials disrupted the gathering and detained the minors along with Ms. Fu Jun, 41, owner of the house and Ms. Lu Lanxiang, 42. The children, aged, between 16 – 17 years of age, were brought to the Qingshuihe township PSB office in freezing weather and were not allowed to bring adequate clothing.”

The report added that CAA had confirmed PSB officials had imprisoned the believers under the charge of “illegal religious gathering;” their wellbeing was unknown and their families had been denied visitation.

Christians in China remain faithful despite the Chinese Communist government’s increased persecution leading up to the Olympics later this summer. The Voice of the Martyrs supports believers in China with medical costs, Christmas Care packs for Sunday school children and literature to strengthen believers spiritually. Pray for these courageous children and adults as their faith is tested. Ask God to encourage and protect them. Pray He gives them grace to forgive their persecutors and for the Holy Spirit to draw them into fellowship with Him.

Take five minutes and pray for this situation with me…

Case in point…

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Google pointed me here this morning.

Here’s an excerpt:

Human rights group Forum 18 said Pastor Nikolai Zulfikarov has been sentenced to two years “correctional labor” in Uzbekistan for “teaching religious doctrines without special religious education and without permission from a central organ of administration of a religious organization, as well as teaching religion privately”.     

Zulfikarov will also have to pay 20 percent of his earnings to the state for the next two years for leading the five member unregistered Baptist church in the Khalkabad area near the city of Pap, said Forum 18 which closely monitored the case.