Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year 2013!

We want to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year as the year 2012 draws to an end. 

As I was listening to Celine Dion's song here on "So this is Christmas", I remembered some Christians I read about this morning and prayed for, who are being persecuted as we speak. Some are still in prison and do not know when they will be freed. Example is our brother Behnam, an Iranian Pastor, who has been in Iranian prison since May 2011. We had shared his story before, asking brethren to pray for him. The concern now is that his health has deteriorated and he is denied medical treatment. However, if you exercise patience and read his recent Christmas Letter from prison, you will see resilience and faith expressed in the midst of difficult circumstances. Continue to pray for him.

In Indonesia, a church of about 600 members, pastored by the Rev Palti Panjaitan, Batak Christian Protestant Church (HKBP) Filadelfia in Bekasi, has been worshiping on the streets because the authorities refused them using their church building. This church is not alone, the GKI Yasmin congregation in Bogor also faces a similar challenge. In Uzbekistan, we thank God that the eviction verdict placed on Pastor Vyacheslav Goncharenko  and his church, the New Life Church was evoked just a few days ago. They can for now continue to use their property for worship services. 

Finally, in Somalia, Mursal Isse Siad, 55 was recently shot and killed because he repented and left Islam. Time will not permit us to share all the stories of the persecuted church who serve God today at the risk of their freedom, comfort and even their lives.

Why do we share these stories? The reason is simple: we are to share the burden of those brethren around the world who are suffering for their faith. We do not share them so as to make us afraid or discourage us. No! We want to see how we can stir ourselves up unto obeying the injunction: "Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering." Heb 13:3 NIV

The issue is that as you celebrate this Christmas, remember that there are many who are depending on your prayers to survive and live. Their crime is nothing but the fact that they confess Christ. One said “The best helping hand you can give us is to have praying hands”. 

One of these days, we will all meet  together in heaven with these brethren. Play your part in love.


Once again, Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year 2013!

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