Uzbekistan—Police Harass Pastor—VOM Sources
- Galatians 5:1
- Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
On July 9, security police harassed a pastor and confiscated his laptop while he was waiting for his wife at a market. As Pastor Salavat waited for his wife in their car, two men in military uniforms approached the pastor and asked him to step out of the car. The men grabbed Salavat and treated him roughly. Salavat demanded to see their IDs, which they showed him before searching his car without permission or cause. “It looked as though they were looking for something specific,” Salavat said. It soon became clear that they were searching for his laptop, which they confiscated without offering a warrant or receipt. Ten days later, Salavat’s laptop was returned without explanation. Pray for Salavat and his family, and pray for all Uzbek Christians who aren’t able to worship freely.
South Sudan—Christians Remain at Risk—VOM Canada, Middle East Concern
- 2 Timothy 1:7–12
- For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.
South Sudan officially gained independence from Sudan on July 9, becoming a new nation. The secession follows a long history of violent conflict, including two civil wars between the largely Islamic north and the Christian and animist majority in the south. Christians, in particular, have endured severe oppression. Although many have expressed hope for a more peaceful future, it is clear that Christians on both sides of the new border remain at risk. Violence erupted in several areas in the months leading to South Sudan’s independence. Government agents and Islamic militants looted churches and killed Christians in parts of South Kordofan state. Many are concerned that churches in Sudan may face further restrictions on freedom of worship if the government implements a strict form of Islamic law. As Christians continue to flee to South Sudan, it is also feared that believers who remain in the north may be especially vulnerable to violence, pressure and accusations of defaming Islam. Pray that Christians in both Sudan and South Sudan will continue to entrust themselves to Christ, knowing that he is sovereign over kings of the earth.
Nigeria—Maiduguri Christians Face Extremist Threat—Release International, Compass Direct News
- 2 Corinthians 5:18
- Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.
Christians are fleeing the northern city of Maiduguri amid threats of further large-scale attacks by Islamic extremists. Most churches in Maiduguri have been boarded up and are under police or military guard as rumors spread that Boko Haram militants are planning a “massive attack” for the end of July. The widely anticipated assault would mark the two-year anniversary of the death of the group’s founder, Mohammed Yusuf, who died in police custody. Church attendance in Maiduguri has reportedly fallen dramatically following a series of bomb attacks on churches there. Leaders of the Christian Association of Nigeria have advised churches to suspend or reschedule services, and several have changed service times to try to outwit potential attackers. Church leaders fear that this extremist threat could deepen the divide between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria. “This Boko Haram has to be dealt with before they plunge the entire nation into a very serious crisis,” a church leader in Maiduguri told Compass Direct. Pray for the safety of Christians in Maiduguri, and pray that Muslim extremists will see that they can be reconciled to God only through Jesus Christ.