BELARUS – Protestant Bishop Deported — Forum 18 News
On Oct. 16, Protestant Bishop Veniamin Brukh, a Ukrainian bishop in the Full Gospel Church, was deported from Belarus because of his active religious activities, Forum 18 News reported. Brukh, founder of one of the largest charismatic churches in the Belarusian capital of Minsk, told Forum 18 News he believed he was deported because of his “continued active participation in the local Protestant community.” He also stated, “The secret police and state affairs apparatus were monitoring that activity. They probably consider me a danger to the state.” VOM encourages you to pray for believers in Belarus who are facing persecution. Pray the churches Brukh led will continue to stand strong and spread the gospel. Pray their testimony will draw nonbelievers into fellowship with Him.
CHINA – Christian Persecution Intensifies — China Aid Association
On Oct. 29, China Aid Association (CAA) reported that since the end of the Olympics in Beijing, cases of religious persecution have increased. CAA has received reports of intensified religious persecution in Beijing, Heilongjiang, Yunnan and Shangdong provinces. In Beijing Pastor “Bike” Zhang Mingxuan and his family members were evicted from their home, beaten and arrested. In Heliongjiang province, the city of Yichun recently banned all house churches, CAA also reported. In Yunnan province, house church members were attacked right after the Olympics. In Shandong province, Pastor Zhang Zhongxin was sentenced to two years of re-education through labor. After the Olympics his appeal was denied, according to CAA. Meanwhile, CAA has learned that 29 house church leaders have been serving time in labor camps and prisons in Henan province since July 2007. They are accused of being “evil cult” members. One leader was sentenced to seven years imprisonment the harshest sentence against a house church leader in recent years, besides Pastor Zhang Rongliang. Pastor Zhang was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in 2004 for allegedly “attempting to illegally cross the border and forgery of an official document,” according to CAA. Pray for Christians in China who face immense challenges. Pray the Holy Spirit encourages and protects believers as persecution increases in China.
SOMALIA – Christian Aid Worker Beheaded for Leaving Islam — Compass Direct News
In September, a Christian aid worker was beheaded for converting from Islam to Christianity, among other charges, according to an eyewitness. Muslim extremists from the al Shabab group fighting the transitional government in Somalia, sliced the head off Mansuur Mohammed, 25, before horrified onlookers of Manyafulka village, 10 kilometers from Baidoa, Compass Direct News reported. The extremists had intercepted Mohammed, who managed to escape, earlier in the morning. Sources close to Mohammed’s family said he converted from Islam to Christianity in 2005. An eye witness said extremists gathered villagers telling them that they would prepare a feast for them. Five masked men emerged, carrying guns, wielding Somali swords and dragging the handcuffed Mohammed. One recited the Quran as he proclaimed that Mohammed was a “murtid,” an Arabic term for one who converts from Islam to Christianity. Mohammed remained calm with an expressionless face, never uttering a word, said the eyewitness. Pray Mohammed’s family will be comforted. Ask God to protect and encourage believers in Somalia. Praise God for his faithfulness.