Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the evangelical church in Russia enjoyed 25 years of freedom. “Sadly, however, a new set of repressive laws known as the ‘Yarovaya package’ went into effect Wednesday, July 20, which threaten to eliminate these very freedoms,” Sergey Rakhuba, President of MISSION EURASIA said. In a media update Rakhuba says: “These laws are alarmingly similar to the 1929 Soviet law on religion that the Stalin administration used to unleash persecution against evangelicals, causing a catastrophe for millions,” Rakhuba said. “Despite the protests of religious leaders, these laws were nevertheless signed by President Vladimir Putin. The collective prayers and appeals by evangelical Christians to the president went unheeded.”
Rakhuba explained that “Under the guise of anti-terrorist rhetoric, these laws are ushering in a new era for Russia and Russian Believers that will destroy religious freedom, sow seeds of fear, and encourage the search for internal enemies (i.e. members of any religious group other than the Russian Orthodox Church) and the fight against them. “No longer will people feel safe sharing their faith with a neighbour or a passer-by. Moreover, all communications providers, including the internet, will be subject to surveillance and censorship. Both individuals and religious organizations will be threatened with unbearable fines,” Rakhuba said.
“We don’t know yet how these laws will be implemented, but it is already clear that they are achieving their goal of creating an atmosphere of fear and suspicion within society, while allowing the government to restrict freedom in violation of the Constitution and international norms. Believers will soon need to make a very important choice: whether to obey God or these new Russian ‘laws.'” Rakhuba continued: “The Russian evangelical church will soon find itself behind a new ‘Iron Curtain’ which closes society off from the outside world. Mission Eurasia, however, will not abandon the Church in Russia because we firmly believe that Russia needs the Gospel more today than perhaps at any other time in history. The evangelical church in Russia desperately needs our support.
“It is especially critical that we support the Next Generation of leaders who are ready to serve in any circumstance. These leaders are competent and dedicated, courageous and bold, free and creative. Simply stated, these are the people who understand but who are not afraid. They have the unique ability to see new God-given opportunities in the midst of what is taking place.” “The door for evangelism in Russia is still open, but it is only slightly ajar,” Rakhuba stated. “Therefore, we must continue to actively share the Gospel in Russia and the other countries of Eurasia where we are deeply involved while there is still opportunity.
“It’s the most draconian anti-religion bill to be proposed in Russia since Nikita Khrushchev promised to eliminate Christianity in the Soviet Union. For years we have watched as huge changes take place in Russia under the increasingly dictatorial rule of President Putin and his administration. Freedom of religion represents a threat to the current political agenda in Russia. Today, few, if any, foreign Christian mission groups have an official presence in Russia, having been pushed out by anti-evangelical regulations.” He concluded: “Please pray for Russia and its people, especially Believers, as well as for its political and spiritual leaders. Please pray for those who have been called to serve in God’s mission fields at this difficult time throughout this vast and long-suffering nation.”
When we think of Iran, scenes of mobs shouting “death to America,” blindfolded hostages, and radical leaders demanding nuclear technology come to mind. But there’s another side to the country: Iranians who love America, Israel, and Jesus Christ. CBN News Middle East Bureau Chief Chris Mitchell spoke with some Iranian Believers outside their country in central Turkey. When someone gets baptized in this house church, people clap and cheer like fans at a football match. While they’ve suffered persecution and often fled for their lies, they still possess an infectious and joyous faith. Iranian believer Raizal said “Growing up the name Jesus Christ was always on my mind. It wasn’t long before I started liking Christianity. It was really sweet to me, the feelings, the stories, everything.
So by the time I was 15, I believed in Him and became a Christian,” he said. Many Iranian refugees have fled Iran and come here to Turkey where they can seek refugee status with the United Nations. Some say it’s just like coming out of the darkness. “It’s totally different from Iran,” Iranian Christian Afshin told CBN News. “I can speak about God’s Word to other guys. I can freely praise the Lord. I can easily go to church. It’s completely different.” Afshin attended the church led by Pastor Saeed Abedini, who languished for years in an Iranian prison. Following his arrest in the summer of 2012, the church disbanded. “As a result, I came out of Iran because it became more difficult and risky for me,” he explained.
“I had to change homes because I was sure that one day the intelligence services would recognize my home as an underground house church,” he continued. Others fled for their lives. “It was really a bad situation,” Raizal recalled. “I couldn’t pray because of all the trouble there. Even if I say ‘Jesus Christ,’ they may kill me. It became a problem in my job and for my health,” Reza said. “They tried to kill me and then I ran away.” Despite the constant danger, and risk, these Believers keep the faith. Now they’ve found a church home and family. Their pastor leads house churches in Iran, as well as the North America, Germany, and Malaysia, all via Skype. “The main church is my house, and through the Internet I connect to everybody,” Reza said. “That’s why it’s become an Internet church.”
He says a great revival is underway within Iran. “In 1994, there were about 100,000 Believers. Right now, there are 3 million. You can see what the Holy Spirit is doing.” Many came to faith through a dream or a vision. “I had a dream a long time back and every time I did Jesus was with me,” he continued. “In all my life, He was helping me but I didn’t know who was this Person. Suddenly Jesus said to me, ‘Come to Me.’ I did and He accepted me.” Despite all the hardship and being forced from their homeland, these Believers exude joy. Many hope to achieve refugee status one day and immigrate to other countries. In the meantime, they want Believers in the West to pray for the Church in Iran and for all the people of Iran to find Jesus Christ,” he said.
GOD HIDES 18 MUSLIM CONVERTS AND PROTECTS THEM FROM ATTACK
In the warm clear waters of the Arabian Sea, 18 former Muslims were baptized recently at an early morning service conducted by Bibles for Mideast. The new believers had personally approached the ministry leaders and requested baptism. “They wanted to be purified in the Spirit and the Water to get ready to meet Jesus Christ – the Bridegroom, who is coming in the clouds soon to take His Bride,” says Pastor Paul. “Our Lord’s return is imminent, they all believe.” After the baptism service the group worshiped together and celebrated the Lord’s Supper. “During the worship service two women and a man from among the believers together prophesied in the Spirit to vacate the present shelter soon and move away to another place,” Pastor Paul reports.
Not knowing where the Holy Spirit was leading them, they obeyed the Lord and left the house where they stayed on July 17th and reached a new location a significant distance away. In his farewell to them, Pastor Paul instructed the new believers to conduct regular services and launch further ministries in their new location. “We promised that by God’s grace we would go there to do follow up ministries whenever they needed our help.” Little did Pastor Paul realize how God was protecting them in the move. The following day Pastor Paul “heard the shocking news that some fanatics under a religious leader came to that house with bombs and guns late at night (before dawn July 18th), broke the door by gun shot and entered inside to kill everybody at the house,” he reports.
But praise be to God, they found nobody inside! The new believers had left less than 24 hours before the malevolent visit. Frustrated beyond measure, the Islamic militants proceeded to destroy the house “with great anger and violence.” “We praise and thank our Lord Jesus Christ that He cares for His servants as a hen protecting chicks with its wings. We praise and thank our Lord for His unspeakable gifts and mighty protection. “We are in a new area.
Pray for us and the people of this place and surrounding places to experience the salvation of Jesus Christ by God’s grace and God’s protection.” “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His Holy Name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits”
In a major victory for natural marriage and the right of Romanian citizens to determine their own destiny, the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) has approved as constitutional a voter initiative that would permanently memorialize marriage as the union of one man and one woman in Romania’s Constitution. More than three million Romanian citizens (in a country of less than 20 million people) signed the petition to place this issue on the ballot—by far the most signatures ever obtained on any referendum in Romania’s history. The unanimous 8-0 decision by the CCR means that the referendum can now move forward.
Liberty Counsel submitted a major brief in support of the referendum, pointing out the intrinsic and common-sense benefits of natural marriage, discussing the deleterious effects of same-sex “marriage” in the handful of nations that have tried out this social experiment, and debunking the fraudulent Kinseyan “research” that lies at the heart of the sexual revolution. Liberty Counsel’s brief was also instrumental in exposing and rebutting the misleading arguments and briefs submitted by a number of pro-homosexual organizations from outside of Romania. Romania and other traditional nations in Europe have come under increasing foreign pressure to abandon their heritage, traditions and sovereignty in favour of the homosexual agenda pushed from abroad.
“This is a great victory for marriage, democracy and the rule of law,” said Horatio “Harry” Mihet, Chief Litigation Counsel at Liberty Counsel and a native of Romania. “By approving this referendum, the Constitutional Court has given voice to the millions of Romanians who want to affirm the timeless definition of marriage. The CCR has recognized the sovereignty of the Romanian people to define marriage for themselves, as well as the supremacy of their choice over and above the dictates of pro-homosexual forces in Europe and beyond,” Mihet said. Mihet was born in Romania. His first day of freedom before immigrating to the United States was December 25, 1989, when Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was overthrown and shot by a firing squad after a short military trial.
ATTEMPTED COUP IN TURKEY SETS OFF ALARM BELLS FOR CHRISTIANS
Turkey is becoming more unstable and more Islamic. There are now fears that one of the most important structures in Christendom, the Hagia Sophia, could again be turned into a mosque. On July 1 the Muslim call to prayer was sung in the main sanctuary of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. It set off alarm bells in the Christian world. This hasn’t happened in more than 80 years. The magnificent Christian basilica, built by the Byzantines in the 6th century, became a mosque in the 15th century after Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman army. “The first thing done after conquering Constantinople was to go to Hagia Sophia and take an axe and break down the Christian altar there to prove that another faith had taken over,” Dr. Paul Maier, author of “The Constantine Codex”, said.
The Hagia Sophia would remain a mosque for more than 450 years under Ottoman rule. By the early 1900s the Ottoman empire was dead, and in 1935, Turkey’s secular leader, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, changed the Hagia Sophia from a mosque into a secular museum. “He wanted to bring Turkey, kicking and screaming into the 20th century and for that he wanted to secularize the state,” Maier explained. But now Turkey is going in the opposite direction. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party has called for a new Islamic constitution. In May, some of his followers demanded that the Hagia Sophia be made into a mosque again. The coup attempt this month against Erdogan has not only allowed him to consolidate his power, but has energized his Muslim base.
“This coup has empowered President Erdogan more than ever. He was already the most powerful leader of Turkey since Ataturk, and Erdogan can easily use this to establish more control over Turkish society,” Mustafa Akyol, political analyst and author, said. Erdogan has long been accused of trying to revive the Ottoman empire, and that could mean the Hagia Sophia could be a mosque again.
At least 108 pastors who refused to comply with government orders to consolidate their unregistered house churches into a single, officially approved church have been imprisoned for their faith and are at risk of being poisoned. Churches regulated by the government are prohibited from meeting in smaller groups: no Sunday school classes for children or adults, no youth groups or other gatherings apart from the congregational worship as a whole. In addition, taking Communion and collecting offerings are forbidden, police monitor sermons to ensure nothing is said against communism, and plural leadership is prohibited; only one leader is allowed for each congregation. Children are also prohibited from learning about Jesus Christ.
In response to the continued persecution of Christians in Vietnam Sunday 30th April 2017 has been set aside as a day of prayer for revival in Vietnam. The day will be known as ONE.VN and will run from 6.00AM till 6.00PM that day. ONE.VN is designed to bring the Church together as ONE Church with ONE mind, ONE heart and ONE voice praying and seeking God’s blessing and the continued outpouring of the Holy Spirit across the nation of Vietnam. All believers from every church will be invited to pray and seek the Lord on one day in all 63 Provinces of the nation. People will be invited to pray as they are able, ensuring continuous prayer throughout the 12 hours. Sunday services will focus on prayer for the nation, praying for revival, for workers to be sent into the harvest.
Believers from Australia, New Zealand and around the world are being invited to travel to Vietnam and join in with the local Christians. Interested people are asked to register their interest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org If emailing please provide all details requested below:
REJECTED BY MOSQUES MUSLIM BELIEVERS TURN TO CHRIST IN BRITAIN
Muslims seeking asylum in Britain are converting to Christianity at a church in the English Midlands. Three to four Muslim migrants a week are accepting Christ at St. Mark’s church in Stoke-on-Trent. Some say they were turned away from local mosques even though they were homeless and needed help. In one week 15 refugees were baptized at the church. Rev. Sally Smith who presides over the congregation has allowed asylum seekers to stay in her home, provided them meals, gave them clothes, purchased shoes for their children, and even made sure their medical needs were met. The church is filled with donations of what’s needed to start a new home. Food parcels are provided to the refugees twice a week; language lessons are offered, and if needed, even bus fares are given.
“It is about being part of a Kingdom where there are no border agency officials, where there are no passports necessary, where there are no immigration detention centres,” Smith said. “One worldwide family where there are no dividing barriers.” Refugees who have made a dangerous trip across several continents end up being dropped off in Stoke. They learn by word of mouth that Smith will lend a helping hand. She said the church also becomes a family to those who find themselves alone. “With the mass movement from across the world we have got people of faith coming into secular society and faith really matters to them,” Smith said. “And they are not too bothered, as bothered as we may think, about how that faith is expressed.”